The pop astrophysicist wraps his brain around Rick and Morty‘s portal gun and the possibility of a fuel source for interdimensional travel.
Neil deGrasse Tyson may be one of the world’s most visible and readily-identifiable scientific authorities. But he’s also one of its toughest science fiction critics.
In a pair of crossover episodes between the astrophysicist’s StarTalk and Mat Pat’s The Film Theorists podcasts, the hosts analyze some of the good and bad science behind Adult Swim’s hit animated series, Rick and Morty. A show known for excessive planet and dimension jumping, there’s plenty of bait for the notoriously merciless sci-fi debunker. But in an effort to keep things fun (and not entirely decimate some of the show’s most far-out conceptions of space and time travel,) Tyson gives props to Rick and Morty’s explorations of the grey areas in astrophysics before warning, “try not to get your science from cartoons.”
Despite the disclaimer, Tyson takes on Rick’s portal gun and the prospective use of dark matter as a fuel source for interdimensional antics, claiming the show’s creators were likely blurring a scientific principle. Instead of dark matter, Tyson suggests Rick’s gun and spaceship would probably run better on “dark energy,” an equally mysterious substance that comprises the overwhelming majority of the universe. Tyson also notes how dark matter doesn’t actually interact with “our matter,” or even itself, making it virtually impossible to concentrate into anything, especially a fuel source. So, sorry, guys. It’s gonna be a minute before we’re strapping garbage cans to our cars and taking off into the vastness of our galaxy or any others.
Watch Neil deGrasse Tyson breakdown the math behind Rick and Morty below.