Fox's Cosmos television series has come to an end, at least for now, and to commemorate the final episode, Neil deGrasse Tyson took the Ship of the Imagination on a final journey into dark matter.
In the final episode Sunday, June 8, Tyson honored Swiss astronomer Fritz Swicky's numerous theories on supernovas, neutron stars and other darker ideas.
The episode was the culmination of a season that was fraught with attacks against Tyson over its views on evolution and other nonreligious ideology that is science. The first season garnered a decent following, with on average of more than 3 million viewers per episode, which Tyson and producers Seth MacFarlane and Ann Druyan, who is Carl Sagan's widow, hope will be enough to launch a new round of shows.
"Cosmos" is based on Sagan's 1980 series where he discussed similar ideas pertaining to the stars and the heavens beyond in an effort to galvanize interest in astronomy and science. Tyson, in many ways, has become the modern Sagan in his popularity and humor as he has graced numerous talk shows to discuss the series.
Sunday's episode, titled "Unafraid of the Dark," explored in depth the concept of dark matter. Swicky's theories on the topic and other ideas have become the standard in astronomy for such discussions.
But in many ways, the recent installment of "Cosmos" is strikingly different than other science-based shows in that it does not focus solely on recent discoveries, but rather how science and astronomy affect humanity's daily lives.
"If 'Cosmos' were a traditional documentary, what you would expect of it is that you would learn the latest discoveries, a page torn out of the latest research papers," Tyson said earlier this year in an interview.
He added that there are so many stories to tell that 'Cosmos' can play an integral role in how people, especially youth, understand and interact in the real world.
"What we hoped for 'Cosmos,' in a way that would transcend time so that people will still watch 35 years from now, is to pull back a little on those discoveries and ask in what way does that new-found knowledge affect us psychologically, intellectually, emotionally, spiritually," Tyson continues.
"'Cosmos' is not simply a story about the moving frontier of science. It's primarily a story of why science matters. The goal was to show how our understanding of the world continues to affect us deeply, as individuals, as a society, as a species."