Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Eyes In The Sky

The National Academy of Sciences released a report on Wednesday that was troubling: apparently, NASA was never given enough money to build the telescopes it needs to complete its absolutely vital mission of locating 90 percent of the potentially deadly rocks traveling through space.

There will come a day when the human race no longer walks the earth, though we should strive to ensure that day remains in the very distant future. This is exactly the sort of mission, despite being very costly, that we shouldn't underbudget. According to the Academy's report, the US government's effort has been "relatively little;" however, what's more startling is the fact that the US is "practically the only government doing anything at all." Our existence is balanced on a knife's edge, as they say, but this mission is one way we can increase our chances of staying on that edge. We need more eyes in the sky.

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It's a good thing Earth isn't the biggest planet in the solar system. That distinction, thankfully, remains Jupiter's, and with significantly more gravity, the gas giant attracts a lot of these dangerous rocks flying through space. Just last month, a comet or an asteroid collided with Jupiter, and scientists estimate the object was the size of several football fields. Because of the collision, there is a new, expanding spot on Jupiter.

9 comments:

adrian mckinty said...

Every member of Congress should be forced to read The Road - when the comet hits things are going to be very very bad. The instantly vaporised will be the lucky ones.

Brian O'Rourke said...

Couldn't agree more.

BTW, have you seen the trailer for the film yet? It has more of an "action" feel to it, but trailers can be and often are misleading.

seana said...

Between nuclear bombs and asteroids, our chances are pretty slim, aren't they?

On the other hand, the Perseids meteor shower last night was apparently very lovely, even though it was one day off prime. Of course, I somehow didn't even manage to notice it. Although we do have a raging wildfire going on just north of here, so I was probably just paying more attention to the sound of fire trucks.

I wonder what astrologers are making of that asteroid collision with Jupiter.

Doesn't sound like it would be a good thing.

Brian O'Rourke said...

Seana,

Yeah, we don't have a snowball's chance in hell, do we? Guess that means I'd better get back to writing, so there's a better chance I don't spend my last days working in an office.

And you never know about those astrologers. Maybe that collision is representative of positive attraction between two people or something.

seana said...

That would be one heck of an attraction.

How is the writing going, by the way? It seems like your plate might be pretty full right about now.

adrian mckinty said...

OT but did you watch Rory Mac this weekend? Wow.

Brian O'Rourke said...

Seana,

Ahh, the writing is so-so. Waiting to hear back from an NY agent who read and liked a partial MS and is now reading the whole thing. We shall see. I've learned not to hold my breath.

And how is your writing going? Did you ever dust off that book you had previously started?

Brian O'Rourke said...

Adrian,

McIlroy's the real deal, man. To think, the year he was born, Burton's Batman and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade were playing in movie theaters...

seana said...

Well, I'll keep my fingers crossed for you on the agent. I know these things have a lot of setbacks, but it does sound promising.

I don't know what's happening to me with writing right now. It seems to have sort of fallen away from me, and I am not sure quite why.