Bill Nye studied mechanical engineering at Cornell and has deep ties to the space community. (MICHAEL OKONIEWSKI/AP)

“If the Earth gets hit by an asteroid, it's game over. It's control-alt-delete for civilization.”

Nye, who is best known for his public television show “Bill Nye, The Science Guy,” has some deep ties to the space community, including being taught by Carl Sagan while studying mechanical engineering at Cornell. He is also one of the founders of The Planetary Society.

And, as chief executive of the Society, Nye is taking on none other than the Obama administration over proposed cuts to NASA’s budget.

In an extensive interview with CNN published June 2, Nye outlines myriad reasons why NASA’s budget should not be cut, not least of them being that “investment in space stimulates society.”

Nye is not alone when it comes to pushing lawmakers and the administration to increase, rather than slash, funding for space exploration. In a speech that took the Internet meme machine by storm, astrophysicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson made an empassioned plea to congressional lawmakers, advocating for greater NASA funding and asking, simply: “How much would you pay for the universe?”

For Nye, space exploration speaks to two of mankind’s most basic questions: “Where did we come from?” And “Are we alone?”

To quit that exploration, says Nye, is to potentially miss an opportunity to “change the way you think about your place in space.”

Read the full piece by CNN’s Richard Galant.