Russian astrologer nutcase sues NASA over Deep Impact.

Every now and then after I post an entry about some delusional twit who’s carrying on about some form of pseudoscience or another I’ll get a couple of angry emails from people who demand to know just who the hell I think I am to ridicule someone just because they’re a flaming idiot? “So what if they believe in [insert nutball belief here]?!” they demand in angry tones, “As long as they’re not hurting anybody then what’s the harm?”

It’s a hard case to argue against and when push comes to shove I’ll be the first to admit that if you’re going to insist on being a dumbass then you have every right in the world to do so, but I’ll still call you a dumbass for it. Every now and then, however, I come across a news item like this one which demonstrates clearly why the dumbasses need to be bitch-slapped a couple of times until they get some common sense knocked into them.

It seems a Russian astrologist by the name of Marina Bai is suing NASA in Russian court to try to put a stop to their plans to crash a probe in the Tempel-1 comet on July 4:

In a lawsuit she filed last month with the Presnensky district court in Moscow, Bai is demanding that NASA call off its $311 million operation, with the spacecraft already in its cruise phase. She also wants 8.7 billion rubles (the ruble equivalent of the entire cost of the mission) in compensation for moral damages.

“The actions of NASA infringe upon my system of spiritual and life values, in particular on the values of every element of creation, upon the unacceptability of barbarically interfering with the natural life of the universe, and the violation of the natural balance of the Universe,” Bai said in her claim.

You thought Tree Huggers were bad, meet the world’s first Comet Hugger. The really depressingly sad part about this story? She’s not alone in her concerns:

“Imagine leaving Moscow, then returning to find everything’s changed,” says Vladimir Portnov, a physicist and a professional astrologist. “Of course, everyday people will feel the implications of destroying a comet.”

According to Portnov, even something as “minor” as comets play a role in creating humanity’s psychic environment. By wantonly destroying a comet, NASA will inevitably disrupt that environment — with the most likely result being mass anxiety.

Give me a friggin’ break. Talk about your oxymorons! I love how this clown is described as a professional astrologist, but not a professional physicist. There’s probably a good reason for that.

Whether or not there’s any chance that these clowns have any chance of actually affecting the Deep Impact mission doesn’t change the fact that a lot of people still have to review the case in Russia and even possible the United States over a ridiculous claim that has no basis in reality simply because some idiot believes in astrology. This sort of lunacy isn’t confined to Russia either, we’ve had a fair number of similar astoundingly stupid lawsuits here in the states as well. What the fuck is wrong with you people?

Update: PZ Myers tackles this one as well.

87 thoughts on “Russian astrologer nutcase sues NASA over Deep Impact.

  1. It’s a fucking ROCK, people.  It’s a SPACE ROCK.  If these people want to stop impacting the environment, they’d do a lot better by sticking a cork up their asses and keeping their shit to themselves.

  2. Hail Boppy goodness anyone? Ya know, Ever since that epic Homeworld I just view space rocks as resources.
    Where the hell did I put that CD? ..for that matter ever since the original Warcraft I’ve viewed trees the same way. I think I needs one of them thar frivilous lawsuit thingies. I wonder if I can sue someone becase I’m offended by them taking offence? How about wasting air? What shit would that be?
    I wonder if males that grew up to have shit lives can blame it all on a Moyal (sp?). Im sure its been tried. Wah I was traumatized. boo-hoo.

  3. Homeworld is one of those games that’s been on and off my wish list forever because I can’t decide if I want to play it. I should probably put it back on seeing as it’s cheap.

  4. I think this is great news, let the court proceedings begin! When these two are able to prove their beliefs using the scientific method, NASA should agree to immediately call off the mission and to award compensation.

  5. I hate to join the bandwagon on this one, but I also have a personal stake in the life of that comet. I have already purchased land there near the comets tail. I got an outstanding deal; grabbing up a sizable piece of prime real estate for a song. I planned to build a small hut there and live out my days rereading all of my Terry Pratchett Discworld novels. This probe could easily go astray and wipe out my entire investment and there where would I be. You folks are so cruel sometimes. Sniff.

  6. Gawd!
    I work at an observatory and have a canned response for the quacks –

    THEM: What do you do?

    ME: I’m an astronomer.

    THEM: Oh my God! Tell me about the aliens!

    ME: Aliens? Oh, I see them all the time.

    THEM: NO! What do you do?!

    ME: I call the Border Patrol and they bring them   back to Mexico.

    That is a bonafide transcription of a recent conversation with a crystal hugging, gem-stone wearing, vortex seeking new-ager here in Tucson.

    She had the last laugh though – She was angered by my joke and informed me that she was originally from Orion and was inhabiting the body of someone who had grown tired of the earth. It was a very nice body so I didn’t argue.

  7. “Imagine leaving Moscow, then returning to find everything’s changed”

    I’m pretty sure that happened to a couple of Russian cosmonauts in 1991.  I think there’s a movie about it somewhere.

  8. It’s a fucking ROCK, people.  It’s a SPACE ROCK.
    If these people want to stop impacting the environment, they’d do a lot better by sticking a cork up their asses…

    I would prefer them “terminating” themselves… that would be most environmentally friendly option.

    And comets aren’t solid rocks, I think “dirty snowball” is quite good comparison.

    She had the last laugh though – She was angered by my joke and informed me that she was originally from Orion and was inhabiting the body of someone who had grown tired of the earth.

    Doesn’t that make her as illegal immigrant who should be arrested… and taken to Gitmo for investigating possible terrorist connections?

    Just looked that news link.
    “impactor

  9. While I think that their reasoning & lawsuit are both inane, I gotta admit that I was somewhat miffed to hear of the project, myself.

    I mean, that’s a pretty damned big act o’ vandalism, IMO. It ain’t NASA’s rock to destroy (I thought colonization was passe. Is the moon NASA’s to destroy if they can figure out a way to do so that won’t fuck us up tide-wise?)

    The universe is speeding along nicely towards maximum entropy without help, thank you very much…

  10. If the thinking behind it were merely on the level of your average adolescent with a fistful of firecrackers and an itch to cause random destruction then I’d very much agree with you, Maggie. However there is a point behind the experiment and it could provide some important knowledge in the event that we ever do have to live out the plot line from Armageddon and find a way to deflect an incoming comet threatening the planet.

  11. You’re right: the creepiest thing about the whole affair is that a good number of people, both in Russia and the US, probably with real things to do, have to waste some of their valuable time over this deranged idiot’s delusions. Just glad I’m not one of them…

  12. oh and btw: I just learned the mission has beeen completed succesfully by now. Cheers for science!

  13. Yup. You’re right. Destroying og disturbing an intergalactic garbage collector doesn’t mean a thing. Well maybe some other planet in some another galaxy will have to pay for our disturbance some

    day, but that won’t influence life on earth. For sure. We’re not influenced by anything going on out there. Universal laws do not apply to us. Besides that, we’re alone in space, the only

    intelligent life form amongst hundreds of billion of galaxies. Lucky us. Universe is there OUR playground, certainly. Lets blow up the moon next, just for the kicks of it, and see what happens.

    I’d like to have the North Star relocated, where do I give up my VISA details? Can you guys see how brain dead you are? No? Didn’t think so… even NASA are unable to get it.

  14. Mediator, if NASA were crashing this probe simply for “the heck of it” then you might have a point, but they aren’t and the impact itself is probably not going to be enough to alternate the comet’s course by any significant amount. There’s a lot of space in space so the likelihood that we’re putting some other civilization at risk with this experiment is pretty small.

  15. Les, do we know what “a significant amount” would be? I wish you were right, and in this particular case you might very well be so too. My point is, NASA had no idea what the outcome would be. They didn’t know the exact point of impact, and neither did they know the density of the comet. Is it firm? Soft? Mostly ice? How can one estimate anything without those important parameters? Sounds to me those folks at NASA are playing a nice round of russian roulette (“russian snooker” might be a better term here). The jubilation post impact (yes! we really hit it!) did not convince me of the contrary.

    Changing the course of an object by as little as 1cm per mile of motion, would result in a 500 mile deviation over a distance from the point of impact to Earth (approx 80 million miles) (of simplificity ignoring universal powers of attraction). Imagine the outcome over a year? A hundred years? Mankind should not be messing with stuff they do not comprehend. But NASA doesn’t give a donkey’s arse shitting in some distant backyard, as long as they get a reason to celebrate their narrow minded brains from it.

    What would be their next “achievement”? Same basic plan, probe against comet, just equipped with nukes this time?

    I think there is a good reason to be a bit sceptic here!

  16. By the way all, according to some scientists and NASA, comets are the building blocks of life. And the hard fact of the matter is that if the theory is true, NASA may have just exterminated an impending planet, solar system, or star. Our entire solar system, according to many scientists was created by a comet. Lets face it, haven’t we,” the human race ” destroyed enough life on our own planet, much less one that hasn’t even been created yet?

  17. firstly the comet wasn’t destroyed, the impact merely blew out a large crater so that the debris could be studied by the probe’s mothership. i’d also like to argue the fact that by changing the comet’s path we could have sent it towards an M type planet where life may not have evolved and thus helped to create a new species. that argument is just as relevent as the one put forward by mediator.

    the jubilation from those at NASA after the impact was more than likely due to the fact that they actually hit the comet. do you know how hard the calculations would be to send something as small as a washing machine 83 million miles through the vastness of space and hit something a few kilometres across? that they actually managed to do it is incredible.

    ok so its risky firing something at 23.000km/hr at something else of unknown composition, but thats why they decided to do it 83 million miles away, in an area of space we can be fairly sure is uninhabited since we’ve scanned the planets in this solar system for life and found no evidence. the comet also orbits our star, and since we know its velocity and the periodicity of its orbit we can be certain that it doesn’t even reach another star in this galaxy, nevermind traversing the 200 million light years plus to another galaxy so theres no chance of us destroying any innocent bystanders in the crossfire there.

    i say well done to NASA for not ballsing up the experiment and hopefully the data yielded will provide us with answers to questions we have about how our universe evolved and what it was like during the early stage of this evolution, as well as giving us the oppurtunity to discover the composition of a comet so that if, by some magnificent irony, we have disturbed the cosmic balance and sent a comet on a direct collision course with earth we will know how to handle it.

  18. one more thing, ‘scientists’ would have never said that our solar system was created by a comet, nor can comets create stars or planets. the popular theory of the day is that these bodies are created as clouds of gas condense under the influence of their own gravity. as they condense their density increases, further increasing the gravitational pull and acceleration of the condensing matter. this causes the cloud to spin and generate heat and this is how stars are thought to form. planets are created from the leftovers of this process as they coalesce into rings of dust and rocks like the asteroid belt between mars and jupiter. these coverge to form rocky cores like the planets of the inner solar system. there is no proof that comets play any part in this process other than being created from the remaining debris which was on too obtuse an orbit to join the formation of a planet. in truth we’re not sure how comets are formed, and hopefully this experiment will provide us with the information we need to answer that question.

  19. the jubilation from those at NASA after the impact was more than likely due to the fact that they actually hit the comet

    My point, exactly. It wasn’t even a question of “where”. A “somewhere” would be good enough. They don’t know what they’re messing with, nor the outcome! It may seem like it’s the technical challenge of an experiment that drives them, mainly. The glory. Being blind to the further consequences. They should have waited until they were up to the task, or concluded with a “hands off”. Based on knowledge, and not a combination of assumptions and black holes. We ARE rookies in space, and should act accordingly!

    I must admit that I was unaware of Tempel-1’s short orbital period, thanks for the update… only 5,5 years… but that doesn’t change much – except for the fact that we’re messing directly in “our own” back yard, and not some distant, ignorant neighbour’s.

    if, by some magnificent irony, we have disturbed the cosmic balance and sent a comet on a direct collision course with earth we will know how to handle it

    Good point! BUT I believe science should mateure substantially until performing those live experiments. Besides that, we can only tell what Tempel-1 consists of, and its very surface only. Some day we should be able to scan on object in space, without interfering it.

    Talking about ironi… in a world where “shit” and a bare tit is damned, but comet snooker seems to be okay :o)

    Digression… science has already established the weight of a human soul to be 21 grams, but what I am looking forward to, is the day when science attempts to explain how, when and from where our souls are incarnated. The achievement of THAT would be seansational, and a task worthy of glory.

  20. Comets, like every other thing in space IS impacted with particles in a range of sizes daily.  If you look at the photos taken just before the impact at http://www.nasa.gov/deepimpact you will see the surface of the comet is scarred with IMPACT CRATERS!  It HAS been struck before, probably with other rocks bigger than the probe.  DUH!

  21. Mediator, why didn’t you address this point of kayte’s post:

    i’d also like to argue the fact that by changing the comet’s path we could have sent it towards an M type planet where life may not have evolved and thus helped to create a new species.

      This is as much a possibility as your claim that we might have doomed a planetary ecology.  This could be a moot point as well depending on whether life started through abiogenesis, exogenesis (your position), or panspermia.
      Your point about messing in our own backyard is valid, but most things (if not every action) involve risks to some degree or another.  The risks and possible benefits need to be examined.  The risks of an experiment 83 million miles away will tend to be less than the same type of experiment done on earth or celestially closer.  For example, when the scientists were working on the Manhatten Project, there was some speculation as to whether or not the reaction would break containment and ignite the atmosphere.  We probably don’t know all of the effects of terrestrial test of nuclear weapons.  GMC is another area of potential risks, nothing like Attack of the Killer Tomatoes type risk that some would believe.  The two main risks with GMC are possible hitherto unknown allergies and possibly the plants spreading out of control and disrupting ecosystems.  The point comes when the theories, speculation and computer models have to be set aside for actual experimentation.  Without experimentation producing verifiable results science devolves back into philosophy.
      Finally, Lynda made an accurate observation that celestial bodies are always subject to impacts.

  22. Wow…what a crock of shite. I think this woman is either a) a golddigger b) clinically insane or c) in need of a swift kick in the ass. Maybe shes all of them. But seriously…suing NASA for 300 mil? What a loser. How else are we going to learn ANYTHING about the universe (which we are part of) if we dont do things like this? Wow. I think she needs to just shut her trap and get on with her damn life

  23. If the astrologer was suing because the comet and probe impact will harm their spiritual and life values then they’ll lose the case right away because if we didn’t experiment then we’d probably have died because of some childhood disease, so experimentation is a must. The experiment was to find out what a comet is made up of essentially and perhaps to get to the mysteries regarding the universe and life. But if the astrologer sued because the experiment was unnecessary and it cost too much money that was needlessly taken out of the people’s pockets, then they stand a chance to win the case, which in my eyes is a very remote possibility because every single person on earth would like to get to those mysteries.

  24. lynda: Comets, like every other thing in space IS impacted with particles in a range of sizes daily

    Well ofcourse. It’s part of its job. Could that be the reason why I referred to it as an intergalactic garbage collector, do you think? Duh. That doesn’t change me being sceptic to mankind interfering with the natural balance of Universe, without the proper skills nor knowledge. Our moon has impact craters. Large ones. Does that sanction it as target? Just like the fact that “somebody” is doing “something” doesn’t mean that “something” is the right thing to do. Thinking outside the box is often a good thing. And, just because you know that someone bigger than you was walking down the ice of a lake yesterday, doesn’t bring you any guarantees that you will stay on top of it today. Speaking metaphors, NASA didn’t even know the thickness of this ice, nor the location where their foot would step down.

    warbi: Mediator, why didn’t you address this point of kayte’s post:

    kayte: i’d also like to argue the fact that by changing the comet’s path we could have sent it towards an M type planet where life may not have evolved and thus helped to create a new species.

    Universe is not bingo. There is a plan behind everything, and there is nothing there that should be tampered with. If mankind were threatened by a globe killer someday, I believe that there’s a great chance that this situation was provoked by mankind in the first place. Of Earth, or some other civilization.

    warbi: The risks and possible benefits need to be examined.

    Yes, they do. Both sides. Pro con. And I believe that the risk of operating on an unknown object in an unknown territory, is greater than any benifit less than crucial.

    warbi: Without experimentation producing verifiable results science devolves back into philosophy.

    Without the proper knowledge, trigger happy scientists may very well devolve Earth all the way back to its source…

  25. Universe is not bingo. There is a plan behind everything, and there is nothing there that should be tampered with. If mankind were threatened by a globe killer someday, I believe that there’s a great chance that this situation was provoked by mankind in the first place. Of Earth, or some other civilization.

    And with that statement you’ve just joined my list of “nutball commenters.” Welcome aboard. You’ve got plenty of company.

    Though I must say you make me chuckle more than the average nutball…

  26. Les: And with that statement you’ve just joined my list of “nutball commenters.

  27. Really? Gee, thanks, I’m honoured. I was curious when some guy of your convictions would dawdle to such a conclusion; how come it took you so long?

    I’ve been busy. And I was curious to see if you were going to take your argument in the direction it appeared to be headed toward, but mostly just busy. You know, trying to become un-unemployed.

    Boredom was about to get to me, but finally appeared a trace clear enough for your kind to interpret. How about upgrading your recognition system with the latest nuance detection module? Your current one seems somewhat primitive. A site like yours is like flypaper to us zom-bees you know. A sweet little playground for us to settle down and breed… until boredom strikes us.

    Don’t flatter yourself too much. Just because I was generous with how long I waited before deciding you were a nutball doesn’t mean it only just now dawned on me. Sometimes you get false positives so it’s always better to be sure.

    Let me ask you one question, and feel free to find a calculator and multiply the factors as we go if you feel that accuracy is important here: Amongst dozens of planets under billions of stars of hundreds of billions + + + of galaxies, do you really think that the civilization of Earth represents the most advanced one?

    No need for a calculator as I’ve thought this one out a long time ago. I’m willing to bet the odds are pretty good that there are other lifeforms out there in a universe as big as this one and I’m also willing to bet that we’re not the most advanced species in existence. There’s just too many places out there were life could have taken hold long before we came along and had a healthy head start on the whole evolving thing.

    And attempt to disprove (any of) what I am saying. Do you think Universe is bingo?

    I’m not entirely sure I understand what you mean with that question. The Universe is Bingo?

    Do you think that the solar system is randomly organized?

    No, I think it’s organized based on standard principles of physics.

    Do you think that no moon, sun nor planet has any effect on any life form or terrestrial cycle what so ever?

    Of course they have an effect. Life wouldn’t exist at all without the energy provided by the sun and the gravitational pull of the moon causes the tides which have a direct influence on many life forms on this planet. That’s a very broad question, though, and answering yes to one aspect of it doesn’t necessarily mean that all claims of effect are thusly true.

    Do you claim that no action of mankind is able to manipulate the processes of our own solar system?

    I’m pretty sure we could have a dramatic impact on our solar system if we really put some effort into it just as we’ve damaged the Earth already. However the solar system and the objects floating around within it aren’t in anything near as fragile a balance as you seem to be suggesting.

    If you still look upon me as a nutball, drilling a bit deeper into yourself might be a good thing to do. I truely believe you are capable. And I spare myself the chuckles – you are just an average ordinary typical “normal

  28. I’m pretty sure we could have a dramatic impact on our solar system if we really put some effort into it

    No need. I recall reading about calculations to the effect that the solar system will lose a planet a couple billion years from now. Was it to be Mars?

  29. After reading all the above, I must say the most disturbing part isn’t the crackpot ravings about ruining the balance within the Master Plan of the Universe.

    It’s the complete ignorance of basic, bare-bones, high school level astronomy and physics.  Anyone who thinks that A) comets “make” stars, or B) comets are interstellar (or intergalactic) bodies, has no business even discussing the subject.

  30. Okay, just finally got around to reading the thread and one comment by Mediator really stuck out….

    Digression… science has already established the weight of a human soul to be 21 grams, but what I am looking forward to, is the day when science attempts to explain how, when and from where our souls are incarnated. The achievement of THAT would be seansational, and a task worthy of glory.

    Not to put too fine a point on it and excuse me if I missed some major discovery but what the fuck are you babbling about, Mediator?

  31. Chaos theory and the butterfly effect could show how small impacts could have large consequences.  However, here is a crackhead nut who thinks she deserves financial pay load for something she clearly does not have any remote claims.  Events and claims like these truly saddens and angers me, however, I can’t help but laugh that such scamming idiots exist.  It’s like me trying to sue the Russians for not building proper bathroom facilities, where the methane gases enter the atmosphere and thus impacting the clean air in California… hmmm my head hurts from those nasty farts and bull sh!t.

  32. What I like about fatalists is that there is some “Master Plan”, but any action taken by man that does not fall into their preconceived ideas of said plan, are against the plan.

    Universe is not bingo. There is a plan behind everything

      This would seem to imply that the scientists’ actions of sending a probe into the comet must have been part of the plan.  If there is a plan “for everything” then any and all of mankind’s actions fall within that plan, otherwise the plan is not “for everything”.  And if there isn’t a plan for everything, well… cheese

  33. See, this is the kind of discussion I wanted to have about time travel. I just don’t get it.
    You guys SAY I’m pretty but when I ask you for a date, you suddenly have prior commitments.

    I probed YOU. Where are MY fireworks?

  34. I just read this thread and may have missed it, but suppose that comet was going to wobble around the solar system for the next 20 orbits and then smack into Earth.  Maybe hitting it with the copper washing machine nudged it just enough so now it won’t.

    What a silly thing to worry about.  Comets run into stuff all the time, and stuff runs into them.  This time, we got it on camera so we can study it.  The information-yield may prove extremely valuable someday when we have to figure out how to steer some wayward comet away from home sweet home.

    Besides, it was really cool… huh-huh.

  35. I don’t agree with the reasons she is suing, I do agree however that it was a very stupid or bad idea to slam a probe into a comet in space which has been floating around a specific orbit for years and years… Imagine if NASA didn’t know that the moon was important for our tides/system and they just blew half the moon up as a test saying “It’s just a stupid space rock! give me a break!” it would have an effect.. most likely a negative effect on our natural system. This “rock in space” may not look like much to the ignorant/un-educated mind but in time we may find out that every comet/asteroid has a gravitational effect which also effects our weather system and tides. Again, it was a very bad idea in my opinion to slam into something which has an orbit. Our solar system is much like an atom, it has a core/nucleus (our sun) and it has the surrounding planets, each planet has an effect on each other.. I imagine that one comet has a certain effect on all the rest of the system as well. People are dangerous, just look at how they tested the atomic bomb… they didn’t know for sure that it would stop, they thought it could go on and on and destroy all life on earth and yet they tested it anyways. -Davethewave

  36. Yes, of course the comet has interactions with the rest of the solar system including gravitational.  Gravitational force is relative to the mass of the object.  NASA’s estimation of the mass of Tempel 1 is 0.1 – 2.5 x 10(14) kg, the mass of the earth is about 6.0 x 10(24) kg, the mass of the moon is about 7.36 × 10(22) kg.  The gravitational field of the comet is many magnitudes smaller than the fields of either the moon or earth.
      As for those who are worried about the orbit being changed, according to the NASA site the change is similar to a small pebble hitting an eighteen wheeler.  It furhther states that even this infinitesimal change in the orbit will be negated when Tempel 1’s normal orbit takes it through Jupiter’s gravitational field [mass=1.900 X 10(27) KG].

  37. Every little change is still a change, in regards to the atom idea.. according to “Nova” if the atom was slightly different in it’s calculated design nothing as you know it would exist.

  38. Yes, but what little change there is will be negated by the gravitational field of Jupiter.  In other words the effect of the probe will have no impact on the orbit of the comet once it passes Jupiter- none, nada, zilch.

    The collision with comet 9P/Tempel 1 takes place near the comet’s perihelion point and at a relative velocity of 10.2 km/s. The 370 kg impactor will impart a very modest 0.0001 mm/s velocity change in the comet’s orbital motion and by so doing decrease the comet’s perihelion distance by 10 meters and decrease its orbital period by far less than a second of time. This is to be compared to a change of some 378 billion meters in the comet’s perihelion distance due to the passage by Jupiter in 2024. Because the comet is so much larger and more massive than the impactor, there will be practically no change in the comet’s orbital motion as a result of the Deep Impact collision. As is evident from the above Table, the changes imparted in the motion of comet Tempel 1 by Deep Impact are completely negligible when compared to the orbital changes on the comet due to periodic passages near the giant planet Jupiter.

      The “abbove-table nac be found
    here.

  39. The “abbove-table nac be found

    … damned dyslexic typing!  lol The above table can…  It also appears that I somehow added quote tags to that… bizarre.

  40. Les: I’m willing to bet the odds are pretty good that there are other lifeforms out there in a universe as big as this one and I’m also willing to bet that we’re not the most advanced species in existence.

    Good. That makes me glad on your behalf. You are not a complete deniaball, and the two of us may still be talking. I just had to check. Meaning you believe that those technologically superior civilizations have “a bit” more than 40 years of space experience. Probably been able to move across galaxies for a long time. Probably knew about us ages ago. Probably monitoring us closely, as we develop and detonate our nuclear weapons. Under these dramatic circumstances, ever wonder why they do not pay us an “official” visit? Helping us, or taking over the business (like mankind traditionally has been doing when discovering “new land” controlled by technologically inferior inhabitants)?

    Les: The Universe is Bingo?

    “Do you think that the solar system is randomly organized?”

    Les: No, I think it’s organized based on standard principles of physics.

    Life wouldn’t exist at all without the energy provided by the sun and the gravitational pull of the moon causes the tides which have a direct influence on many life forms on this planet.

    Good. So, like in molecular physics, removing one of the objects, may have dramatic consequences to us. Even a meteor. That is “we don’t know but why the hell risk it, as long as the benifit is not crucial to human race”.

    Les: However the solar system and the objects floating around within it aren’t in anything near as fragile a balance as you seem to be suggesting.

    YOU claim to KNOW this, when not even NASA knew the consequences of hitting this meteor. Why weren’t YOU in charge of this operation?

    Les: You make it sound like the folks at NASA are just sitting around saying things like, “Hey! Wouldn’t it be cool if we SMASHED a probe into a comet for no apparent reason? I bet that would make for a cool explosion! Sure we have no scientific basis for wanting to do this and we could possibly bring about the destruction of the known solar system in the process, but what the hell! It’ll be fun!

  41. David said: I do agree however that it was a very stupid or bad idea to slam a probe into a comet in space which has been floating around a specific orbit for years and years…

    If you take two objects orbiting each other waaaaay out in intergalactic space, you might say they have a “specific orbit” that could be precisely calculated and can remain the same for millions of years.  This would be a two-body problem.

    Raise the ante to three bodies, and things suddenly become too complex to figure.  This is called the “three-body problem.”  The comet interacts gravitationally with several planets plus the sun, and those planets are interacting with each other to some extent.  I’m sure some of the more mathematically-inclined regulars could give us an idea how complex that is but the upshot is that the comet’s orbit is not fixed anyway, and will change just about every time.

    I heard “mosquito hitting a jetliner” but “pebble hitting an 18-wheeler” sounds more ‘Merican, yep! Pour me some more black coffee and hand me my CAT hat!  ‘Got me a load of dishwashers to deliver by mornin’.  cool smirk

  42. In other words the effect of the probe will have no impact on the orbit of the comet once it passes Jupiter- none, nada, zilch.

    I beg your pardon, warbi.  I affect the orbits of comets all the time.  Why, just this morning I walked to the store, and with my mass of approximately one gazillionth (1/100,000,000,000,000,000,000,000) that of the Earth, deflected the orbit of Tempel I six gazillionths of a millimeter to the right, thus averting the collision that would have occurred one and a half gazillion years from now.  So be careful where you shop.

    You will object that that’s way past the Universe’s bedtime anyway, but it’s the principle that counts, not grungy little “facts”.  Keeping the balance is the important thing, and if something sounds like a bad idea, it is a bad idea.

    Oh, and Mediator:

    Meaning you believe that those technologically superior civilizations have “a bit

  43. zilch: Uh, if there are civilizations capable of “moving across galaxies

  44. Actually, Mediator, they’re probably monitoring this conversation, so watch your own ass.  In fact, Les is one of them, or rather, he’s the “human” projection of this Blog, which is part of Zog.

    But I’m not worried, because my thoughts, and yours too, are just eddies dancing from wave to wavetop in the Zogtrix, so it’s all just an illusion anyway.  Ta ta!  Toto too!

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