Two of the coolest topics in the universe collide in "Space vs Dinos," a new YouTube series by the American Museum of Natural History. In this series, scientists answer fascinating questions like: "How do we know an asteroid hit Earth 66 million years ago?" and "Did an asteroid kill the dinosaurs?"
In the series, hosts astrophysicist Jackie Faherty and paleontologist Aki Watanabe break down some of the strangest and most exciting facts about space and dinosaurs in the new series. "We tried to find topics that were commonly asked questions in Astronomy (and Paleontology), ones that people google a lot, so we could put our best graphics and concise answers into," Faherty said in an email to Space.com.
While it might seem intimidating to have these subjects explained by high-level scientists, Faherty and Watanabe explain the topics in a way that is clear and devoid of technical jargon that might alienate some viewers. "I try to avoid any jargon that the average person surfing the internet would be confused by. If I have to use an astronomy term, I try to define it clearly beforehand," Faherty said. Faherty used the words clear, upbeat and scientific to describe the accessible, exciting new series.
These efforts come across seamlessly in the first videos released in the series. "I hope this gets people excited about space," Faherty said. "I hope kids watch these videos and they are inspired by what we know and what we will be learning in their lifetimes. If we can create a few aspiring astronauts, astronomers, mathematicians, engineers, or something in between I will consider this a job well accomplished," she added.
Viewers will have to follow the series to explore these topics with Faherty and Watanabe, but Faherty did give Space.com a sneak peek into what might be the most surprising space episode of the series. "We discuss Drake's equation, the loose formula for how astronomers try and get a sense of how many intelligent civilizations might exist. I give two answers: (1) the scientific approach and (2) the 'Gut feeling approach.' Viewers might be surprised by my gut answer!" she said.
It's no wonder that this series revolves around space and dinosaurs. As Faherty pointed out, when people visit the American Museum of Natural History, they seldom leave without checking out space (astrophysics) and dinosaurs (paleontology). The appeal of visiting the planetarium, the Rose Center for Earth and Space, and the dinosaur fossils on the museum's top floor is obvious. They are iconic staples in the historic museum that always seem to generate the most excitement. "Given that an asteroid is the most likely explanation for the extinction of the dinosaurs it also seemed like a pretty good story and rivalry!" Faherty added.
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