Bill Nye is continuing his quest to save the world one science show at a time with a second season of "Bill Nye Saves the World (opens in new tab)," which returns to Netflix on Dec. 29.
In the new season, the famous "Science Guy" invites scientists and celebrities to help him tackle hot and controversial topics like cybersecurity, time travel and marijuana.
"So, the thing about marijuana, you guys, it's a Schedule I drug here in the U.S., which means it is presumed to have no medical value and be addictive," Nye told Space.com. While the plant is widely used for medical purposes, he said, "nobody really knows for sure" what the active chemical components do.
In Episode 1of the new season, Nye will head to a cannabis dispensary in Hollywood, California — a state in which recreational marijuana was legalized in 2016 — and join actor Kevin Smith ("Jay and Silent Bob") to talk about history the controversial plant, weigh the pros and cons of marijuana use, and even purchase a sample of the leafy green product. "I would like to buy some marijuana," Nye tells a cannabis consultant at the dispensary in a trailer video. "This is for science."
After Nye attempts to demystify marijuana, in a subsequent episode he'll speak with NASA researchers about the science of getting a good night's sleep. "Most of us don't get enough sleep," Nye told Space.com. While sleeping sufficiently on Earth is hard enough, it can be even more of a challenge for astronauts in space. For instance, astronauts at the International Space Station see the sun rise and set about once every 90 minutes, which "makes you a little disoriented," Nye said. [Sleeping in Space: How Astronauts Get a Good Night's Rest]
Sleep may also pose a problem for future Mars colonists, because a day on Mars lasts slightly longer than a day on Earth, Nye said. "Could you do that, live on a Martian day? Or would it make you nuts, because you're still hardwired for an Earth day?" While NASA scientists are researching ways to improve sleep for astronauts in space and on Mars, the researchers' findings could also help people on Earth sleep better, Nye said.
In the sixth and final episode coming out on Dec. 29, retired NASA astronaut Scott Kelly (who spent nearly a year at the International Space Station) and Brannon Braga, a producer who has worked on "Star Trek" and "The Orville," will join Nye to talk about the science of time travel. Spoiler alert: "You just can't" travel through time, Nye said. At least not as far as we know.
But even if time travel is physically impossible at this point, the topic makes for an interesting and mind-bending conversation. This new episode of "Bill Nye Saves the World" won't exactly teach viewers how to build a time machine, but it will provide "an update on our current understanding of the astrophysics" of time travel, Nye said.
If you're a space fan, the two episodes about sleep and time travel will be your bread and butter in this season of "Bill Nye Saves the World." But there's plenty of other cool and weird science to learn about in the rest of the show.
In Episode 2, Nye will join actor and stunt performer Steve-O ("Jackass") for a discussion about cybersecurity and internet scams — and the time that Steve-O publicly challenged hackers to steal nude photos from his iCloud account. Episode 4 will break some bad news about antibiotic-resistant gonorrhea and other so-called "superbugs." In the next episode, titled "Why All Our Friends Are Dying," Nye will explain how species go extinct and how scientists could bring extinct species back to life.
Only the first six episodes of "Bill Nye Saves the World" will be released on Dec. 29; the final six episodes will follow sometime in 2018. You'll need a Netflix subscription to watch it. And if you simply can't get enough Bill Nye on Netflix, or if watching the "Science Guy" has you feeling nostalgic, you can also watch his original 1990s kid's TV show "Bill Nye, the Science Guy (opens in new tab)" on Netflix.