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Thursday, May 15, 2014

NASA Has Built A Flying Saucer

"NASA workers at the agency's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, wearing clean room 'bunny suits,' prepare the Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator (LDSD) test article for shipment later this month to Hawaii. LDSD will help land bigger space payloads on Mars or return them back to Earth."
Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltec 
.... click photo for a larger image

Click  _here_ for the JPL website page.

"NASA's LDSD test is designed to investigate breakthrough technologies that will benefit landing future human and robotic Mars missions, as well as aid in safely returning large payloads to Earth. The NASA LDSD test over the Pacific Ocean will simulate the entry, descent and landing speeds a spacecraft would be exposed to when flying through the Martian atmosphere. During the test, a large saucer-shaped disk carrying an inflatable inner-tube-shaped decelerator and parachute system will be carried to an altitude of 120,000 feet (37 kilometers) by a giant balloon. After release from the balloon, rockets will lift the disk to 180,000 feet (55 kilometers) while reaching supersonic speeds. Traveling at 3.5 times the speed of sound, the saucer's decelerator will inflate, slowing the vehicle, and then a parachute will deploy to carry it to the ocean's surface."

"A mission overview briefing about [the] upcoming flight test of the Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator (LDSD) experiment will be provided to reporters attending a media day on Monday, June 2, at the U.S. Navy's Pacific Missile Range Facility (PMRF) on Kauai, Hawaii. The public can watch the briefing via live streaming, at 11 a.m. PDT (2 p.m. EDT/8 a.m. HST)."

"The briefing will be streamed live on the agency's website at:
It will also be carried live on:

More information is  _here_

Monday, March 3, 2014

Apocalyptic Alarmism in the Year 2012

In the three or four years before 2012, apocalyptic dogma emerged from various religious groups and began to infiltrate the mainstream, with a lot of help from Internet sites like YouTube and Facebook. … Do you remember? ... A lot of people were worried about a certain date in December 2012 when doom was supposed to happen. After a year or two it became "apocalyptic alarmism" on a grand scale! It even spawned a Hollywood blockbuster!

The spike in 2009 would be because the movie '2012' was released in the United States on November 13, 2009, and in the rest of the world shortly after that date.

By the way, perhaps the most widespread myth during those times was that the ancient Mayan race predicted the end-of-the-world on December 21, 2012. Anthropologists said that the Mayan culture does not include end-of-world beliefs. It just happened to be the date when the ancient Long Count calendar was due to end one cycle and start another. It was the gringos ('white' people) that latched onto the date and invented various world-wide disasters that had zero evidence to back them up. Most of them were not in the least bit plausible.
(Interesting videos on this page :- Mayans Never Predicted an Apocalypse)

What follows is *part of a blog post I wrote during that year. .. I hoped that the worried people would not be obsessed by one or more natural events that they thought would be “signs” of an apocalypse that would surely happen in December. (The post was also on the 'www.2012hoax.org' site. … That site now redirects to 'www.cosmophobia.org')

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Natural Earth Processes

Statistics [and history] tell us that on *any day during the year there is a good chance that somewhere on Earth there will be *one or more* of these events :-

~ algal bloom or major pollution,
~ avalanche or land slide,
~ deaths of varying numbers of animals,
~ earthquakes of varying magnitude,
~ flood or storm surge or whirlpool,
~ freezing or very hot temperatures,
~ hurricane or cyclone or typhoon,
~ major storm with snow or hail,
~ sand storm or dust storm,
~ sink hole or mine collapse,
~ tornado or water spout,
~ tsunami or tidal wave,
~ volcanic eruption.

We cannot predict or forecast most of those things, but we do know there is a good chance that *one or more* might happen somewhere on Earth on any given day. So we shouldn't be surprised if one or more of those things happen on any particular day(s) in December. It will just be the Earth doing its thing. It will always do its own thing no matter what its human inhabitants think. Also, we have no reason to expect that any particular day in December will have *zero natural disasters. If a natural disaster does happen it will be a "sign" of absolutely nothing, other than the Earth continuing as normal.
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Apocalyptic alarmism about various natural events is an old problem. ... Alarmism can also involve events that *might originate from outside of the Earth's atmosphere. Astronomer David Morrison, senior scientist with the NASA Lunar Science Institute, coined the term 'cosmophobia' after answering questions at the NASA "Ask an Astrobiologist" page. He defined it as "An unreasoning fear of the cosmos".
Further information is at the 'www.cosmophobia.org' site; and at the NASA JPL site about asteroids and comets. "No one should be overly concerned about an Earth impact of an asteroid or comet. The threat to any one person from auto accidents, disease, other natural disasters and a variety of other problems is much higher than the threat from Near Earth Objects."
Also, see my last post: What If Saturn "Explodes or Something".

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

What if Saturn "Explodes or Something"?

[ This post has been saved here: http://archive.is/HkJJ0 ]

This was a question on the 'Yahoo! Answers' website recently :-
"If something happens to Saturn like it explodes or something, will it affect Earth?"
Link to Yahoo! page

It reminded me of the type of question we used to get on the '2012hoax.org' forum leading up to the infamous date in December 2012 when doom was supposed to happen. Many of the questions were asked by young people who had been reading websites and Facebook pages, and watching videos, made by the trolls and doom merchants. Those people still occasionally make idiotic claims that have zero evidence to back them up, and are not in the least bit plausible, and are not based in any sort of scientific fact.

There are many young people in the world who tend to believe those silly claims without stopping to think if there is any proof or evidence, or checking to see if there is a track record of similar false claims made by those writers, speakers, and video makers.

In September 2012, I wrote this paragraph in case it helped with the problem :-
"Would you believe me if I made a wild claim that a huge, very deep hole five miles across is going to appear in the South Island of New Zealand on May 30 next year? Would it make any difference to you if I said that the May 30 date is when the ancient Martian calendar ends one cycle and starts another? …. Since I haven't said how or why that is possible I hope you won't just assume that I am correct. Most people need some proof, or evidence, that backs up these wild claims. Otherwise, I could say something like: "I've found a new species of apple tree that has the apples falling upwards!" and everybody would believe me without question."

I also wrote this at the end of a blog post called: Just Another Day in December :-
"Because we know all of these things, we have no reason to believe what any trolls or doom-merchants try to suggest. We can definitely reject their crazy claims with science, statistics, and common sense. In fact, we know there is absolutely zero scientific evidence to backup any of their idiotic, worthless claims. So it isn't surprising that in four or more years they haven't changed that fact. The take-home-lesson is: 'Just saying it doesn't make it true', especially if the doomsayer is likely to make a profit out of the doom saying.
Pick *any day in December. It will be Just Another Day."

In case you were wondering, this was my response on the 'Yahoo! Answers' website :-
(Note that the phrase 'extremely unlikely' really means 'it isn't going to happen'. Planets don't just explode without any external influences like collisions with other planets. At least not in our very stable solar system that is several *billions of years old, in a safe area of the Galaxy.)

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Let's say that something does happen to Saturn. Maybe it does 'explode or something' (though we realize that is extremely unlikely). First we would need to say just how far away from the Earth it is.

For convenience, the distance from the Sun to the Earth is called: one Astronomical Unit (AU). Saturn is a further 9 AU away, or a total of about 10 AU from the Sun. If you consider that the Earth is at 93 million miles or 150 million kilometers from the Sun, Saturn is an *enormous distance away! Between the Earth and Saturn there is lots of space for Mars, the asteroid belt, and the biggest planet Jupiter.

So what is Saturn made of? Saturn is called a gas giant, but it is not entirely gaseous. It is thought that the interior of Saturn is similar to that of Jupiter, having a small rocky core surrounded by hydrogen and helium. If we pretend that it has disintegrated there would be *lots of gas and a small amount of rock (and some dirty ice from the rings). The total mass would be the same as an intact planet, so it is logical to assume that most of the disintegrated materials would continue to orbit the Sun in roughly the same orbit as the intact planet. If the disintegration was violent enough some of the rock might be ejected away from the other material. However, that wouldn't concern us because of the enormous distance from Earth, the small amount of rock, the dispersal being a possible 360 degrees in every direction, and the presence of Jupiter between us and Saturn.

It is fortunate for us that there is a planet in the Solar System the size of Jupiter. (It is 318 times bigger than Earth!) There is evidence that Jupiter has enough gravity to attract many of the space rocks and comets that get close to it. It has been called the Solar System's vacuum cleaner.

So we don't need to worry that the Earth might be affected in any way by anything that might happen to Saturn.
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I just found this article, dated July 19, 2012, in the 'Weekly World News' :-
Saturn Ready To Explode
Weekly World News is a humorous publication that uses parody and spoof articles, as you can see in this short list :-
~ Putin Will Run For President of U.S. in 2016!
~ President Obama Gets a Tattoo (a picture of his own face!)
~ Watching Super Bowl Causes Impotence
~ 'Toy Story 4' Will Be Rated R

There is also an older article in 'The Spoof', dated March 19, 2010 :-
Saturn Will Explode Tomorrow
It is obvious what kind of publication it is. Apart from its name, there is also this sentence: "Always there with the funniest spoof headlines."