NASA To Explode Moon (Anger Appetizers #1)

22 Jul

Gentle readers, I’m going to start making a habit of this. I hate the idea of you twiddling your thumbs for half the day, forced to surf lame websites, whilst waiting for my literary brilliance to present itself. So I’ve decided to give you a truncated mini-post in the interim: to whet your appetite for cynicism, and to keep you from whining about how long it takes me to craft a legitimate article. You can thank me later.

So without further ado, I present the first installment of Anger Appetizers.

***

It always comes back to bombs with these people.

america fuck yeah

So in the wake of the recent 40th anniversary of the first moon landing, I was doing a little reading about the state of the space program. I’ve written before about my love for the romanticism of space exploration, and it’s been a while since I paid a lot of attention to what NASA is up to, outside of killing astronauts with faulty shuttles and ramming multi-billion dollar remote-control cars into Mars.

nasa

Sorry guys, I understand your operating budget ain’t what it used to be in the heyday of the Cold War, but you’re still supposed to be the smartest cats in the world. I would expect you’d be able to locate something like a blown O-ring or whatever, since, you know, you designed the damn thing.

Of course, we’re talking about the same people who think the best way to explore the moon is to blow it up.

moon exploding

According to a recent news story, there’s been a lot of talk at NASA headquarters about building an outpost on the moon. The logistics of such a project are absolutely staggering – we’re talking about a celestial body millions of miles away that’s essentially a barren rock with little to no value to anyone. Building an outpost there (for whatever reason) would require massive amounts of resources, and up till now it hasn’t looked like the moon is going to offer much in that department. I mean, there isn’t even any water up there, right?

surface of moon

Apparently there might be. American spacecraft have picked up traces of hydrogen and oxygen leaking out of the moon’s poles, which might be an indicator of frozen water trapped below the surface. NASA’s plan? To fire a rocket into the moon’s surface, detonating a chunk of the planetoid, and then sit around waiting to see if any water comes out of the big crater. If their projections are correct, the impact will generate a six-mile high cloud of dust, gas and moon-cheese that will be visible from Earth.

What a great idea. With NASAs track record, they’ll detonate the entire Moon, sending tides, tectonic plates and menstruating women into total disarray and chaos. It’ll be the end of life as we know it.

angry woman

Or they’ll just move a decimal one point the wrong way and wind up exploding the Apollo 11 landing site.

moon landing

One small step for man, one giant fucking blunder for mankind.

UPDATE: A friend sent me this video; it’s utterly funny and illustrates my point perfectly.

15 Responses to “NASA To Explode Moon (Anger Appetizers #1)”

  1. BrianJ July 22, 2009 at 1:11 PM #

    The idea that the Moon could somehow be obliterated or careened out of orbit by NASA’s plan to fire a small projectile into its surface is laughable. Since the Moon has no atmosphere worth speaking off, it is pelted by any object that the galaxy happens to throw its way. Major meteorite collissions are common on the Moon – and if you are looking through a telescope at the right time, you can see the plume of dust created by the impacts. NASA is just recreating this sort of incidient under observable circumstances for scientific purposes.

  2. Alex James July 22, 2009 at 1:18 PM #

    Right — meteorite collision is very common. If you’re looking through a telescope, you can see the plume of dust; true, true. Whatever it is NASA’s shooting at the moon is going to cause an impact that will be seen from EARTH. And yeah, maybe the idea that NASAs little missile could blow up the moon is overreaching.

    Then again, you’d think they would be able to safely land an eighty-billion dollar robot on a planet the size of Mars without plowing it six feet into the surface, too. They might not blow up the moon, but I’m convinced they’re going to fuck this up somehow.

  3. linzeebinzee July 23, 2009 at 3:41 PM #

    Even if they do mess up where the rocket hits the chances that they hit the moon landing sites are miniscule. This is a fantastic opportunity to find out more about the moon and whether it would be more feasable to build a base there. And just because the moon isn’t scenic doesn’t mean it’s not worth visiting. They don’t want to go there so they can take pretty pictures. Having a base there would provide an opportunity to learn a whole lot about the history of the universe and of our planet.

    One more thing, and I assume you were joking, but in case you weren’t…the moon has nothing to do with women’s menstrual cycles.

  4. Alex James July 23, 2009 at 3:45 PM #

    If they can make it work Linzee, I’m all for it. I just don’t harbour a great deal of hope given their track record. And yeah, I was kidding about the menstruation thing. Cheap jokes are my bread and butter.

  5. linzeebinzee July 23, 2009 at 4:10 PM #

    I’m sorry but their achievements FAR outweigh their errors. We always hear about the big errors that have been made, but compare those to the 40+ years of manned missions to outer space, the 6 moon landings, the discoveries made by the Hubble Space Telescope, the Pioneer and Voyager satellites, the many Mars rovers, Cassini, the Earth Observing System, the satellites that make your cell phone possible, as well as the many technological advancements that have been made by NASA or as a result of space exploration that we use in our day to day lives.

    You’re letting the few highly publicised mistakes overshadow the decades of achiements. Space exploration is an extremely dangerous business, and although they have suffered some devastating errors and tragedies, that doesn’t mean that NASA is incompetent.

  6. Alex James July 23, 2009 at 4:23 PM #

    Don’t get me wrong — I’ve actually written on the topic of space exploration in the past and how great I think it is. I’m also not discounting the fact that NASA has done a lot of good work — but they’re going to spend an awful lot of money on this project, and if they don’t get it right the first time, I don’t know if they’re going to get another chance. I don’t know that I would give them one, because realistically (as I stated in a previous post) as much as I’d love to see astronauts go to Mars in my lifetime, there are better things to be spending our money on right here on Earth.

    On top of which, it’s a question of accountability. If the taxpayers are spending hundreds of billions of dollars on anything, be it space exploration or a poorly thought-out war or whatever, you’d better believe they’re going to expect results, and if mistakes are made (no matter how few and far between) that’s what will be given media attention. It’s a huge investment on a huge gamble — as you said, anything to do with space is a risky business — but that doesn’t mean that somebody shouldn’t be taking responsibility for errors when they occur.

    The Mars rover thing is a perfect example: one simple error led to billions of dollars being smashed into a faraway planet. People should be up in arms about that — that’s money we could have used to feed hungry people or educate illiterates or whatever.

    I genuinely hope this thing works out for the best. The establishment of a lunar base would be easily the coolest thing to happen in my lifetime. I just hope this isn’t going to be one of those few, highly-publicized mistakes.

  7. linzeebinzee July 23, 2009 at 7:26 PM #

    I don’t see any necessity for astronauts to go to Mars at this time. It’s much cheaper and safer to just send robots. I do think we should go back to the moon though because there’s so much to learn. It’s not just about space travel.

    NASA learns from its mistakes and takes very careful measures to make sure they aren’t repeated.

    People tend to pick on NASA when looking for money to feed the needy, when NASA’s budget comprises less than 1% of government spending. The military blows through in a week what NASA gets in a year. The government wastes so much money in other areas. NASA costs taxpayers surprisingly little. The public should expect results, and they do get results (with the exception of the few glaring errors that you’ve mentioned)…unlike the war in Iraq.

    BTW the Mars Orbiter that crashed wasn’t billions…it was millions (327.6). Still a damn shame, but a bit less of one.

  8. Alex James July 23, 2009 at 7:33 PM #

    Clearly you know a lot more about aspects of NASA and its inner workings than I do, so I appreciate your comments.

    And I couldn’t agree more as far as the military budget goes, but the unfortunate reality is those expenditures will be justified out the ass above and beyond any other — probably including providing for the population’s basic necessities.

    I would love to see the military budget scrapped completely and used to fix the glaring errors in everyday civilization so we can (as I quoted in a previous post) explore space together in peace.

    I’m curious what your background is, being as you’re quite learned on this subject. Just an interested party, or do you work in the field?

  9. linzeebinzee July 23, 2009 at 7:42 PM #

    I disagree that the military’s spending is justified (though I think I might be misunderstanding what you meant). The military is notorious for wasting money…they use contractors and subcontractors and the money is not accounted for. There are those anecdotes about the military paying $500 for a hammer or $600 for a toilet seat by the time everyone gets paid.

    I’m no expert on the subject, it’s just something that interests me a lot :)

  10. Alex James July 23, 2009 at 7:52 PM #

    No, believe me — I’m on the same page as you. When I said the military’s budget will be justified, I mean the administration will do everything they can to justify it (read: the Patriot Act, the Threat Warning, etc.) — through fear-mongering and general bullshit we’ve been hearing for the last sixty or so years. And those anecdotes are rooted in statistical truth. How patently absurd.

    Following our original line of conversation, what’s your bet NASA might have caught those faulty O-rings and what all else if they’d been given a piece of the military pie? That’s why the space program did a well as it did in the ’60s, because it was bankrolled by the military in an effort to get to the moon before the Russians.

    It’s an unfortunate reality that so many of the greatest advances in human history came out of warfare. Still not worth it, though, in my estimation.

  11. linzeebinzee July 24, 2009 at 9:46 AM #

    Hmm…well I don’t know enough about it but I’m not sure if they would have caught those errors with more spending behind them. They’re on such a tight budget, I would think that every move they make would be carefully calculated. None of their equipment is expendible. And it’s not like they didn’t have tragedies in the 60s with the Apollo missions.

    It is unfortunate that the motivation to reach the moon came out of war, but it’s one of the few positive things that can come from warfare. I think it’s more unfortunate that the motivation disappeared once the rivalry died down. It would be awesome if development could happen at the same rate during peace time.

  12. Alex James July 24, 2009 at 9:55 AM #

    Once again I agree, but as the old saw goes, the best way to unite people is to give them something common to hate. That’s why movies like “Independence Day” do so well — because the only way it seems we’re ever going to put aside our petty differences and start really working towards a common goal is by fighting an external influence.

    I think that’s why war is so profitable — people work together because they fall into that “us vs. them” mentality. Hence the space boom of the 60s. It’s sad.

    Maybe one of these days we’ll have a Star Trek moment where reasonably benevolent aliens will show up and it’ll have the same effect — realizing we aren’t alone in the universe might catalyze us into thinking of ourselves not as Americans or Russians or Chinese or whatever, but as human beings. One can hope, right?

  13. linzeebinzee July 24, 2009 at 9:59 AM #

    That’s why I love Star Trek, cheers :)

  14. Alex James July 24, 2009 at 10:01 AM #

    Damn right — I’m a huge fan. Since you’re so interested in this subject, check this out if you’re inclined:

    https://jimfairthorne.wordpress.com/2009/07/13/e-t-phone-somewhere-else/

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Who Wants A Spaceship? NASA Yard Sale To Give Away Rockets « State of Affairs - January 20, 2010

    […] about them has crossed my desk in the last six months, not since I found that proposal about them shooting rockets at the moon to find out if it’s full of water. If you remembered, I questioned the validity of this idea […]

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