Auburn electrical engineering grad stars in new National Geographic reality series

Kiss my country NASA.

When tree killin’ becomes old hat and Bama zombies start hiring aliens to take us out with space watermelons, don’t worry—Travis Taylor is an Auburn man. The 1991 Auburn grad is a rocket scientist, science fiction author, and the star of “Rocket City Rednecks“, a new “Mythbusters”-meets- Mayberry-styled reality show airing on the National Geographic Channel documenting the scientific method misadventures and masterpieces of Taylor’s family and friends. And he could totally handle it.

From the show’s website:

Meet the self-proclaimed Rocket City Rednecks. They’re five “backwoods” guys from the rocket city: Huntsville, Ala., home to NASA’s Marshall Flight Center and the birthplace of the U.S. space program. Sure, they love to shoot stuff and drink beer, and one of ‘em lives in a trailer, but with a family tree full of NASA rocket scientists (not to mention their own PhDs and advanced degrees), they aim a little higher — like using homemade moonshine to fuel a rocket! In each episode, we’ll see how they apply redneck ingenuity with advanced engineering and physics to creatively solve real-world problems… and have a little fun, of course!

Last night’s series premiere featured Taylor’s team fashioning Humvee armor out of beer cans, a frequent tool of the trade, apparently—later he and his nephew explored a quarry lake in a submarine made out out of beer kegs.

Taylor was also featured in the earlier National Geographic series “When Aliens Attack.” An upcoming episode of “Rocket City Rednecks” has him protecting the southeast from collision with a comet with homemade rockets and shotguns or something.

Ah, you don’t care for the name of the show? And you’re a little disappointed that it’s a channel like National Geographic and not, say E!, that’s playing up such a lazy—albeit alliterative—angle on southern stereotypes? Well, Taylor has something to say about that.

“Originally [redneck] wasn’t derogative or an insult,” he told The Decatur Daily. “In the 1800s, it was a term to describe farmers and sharecroppers who did whatever they had to to feed their families. They would work outside so long their necks would turn red. The true definition is family and community-centered and hard-working. Now, how is that negative?”

Leave it to an Auburn electrical engineer to get all etymological on us; we hear it was originally titled “White Trash Werner Von Brauns,” so be grateful.

h/t Brian Brown.

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