July 4, 2005

LET'S SEE THE GRUCCIS TOP THAT ONE:

NASA Cracks Open Comet to Bare Cosmic Mysteries: Deep Impact's probe hits its celestial target, transmitting images along the way. (Thomas H. Maugh II, July 4, 2005, LA Times)

An 820-pound comet-busting "bullet" released from NASA's Deep Impact spacecraft successfully intercepted comet Tempel 1 late Sunday, creating a brief flash observed by telescopes in orbit and on Earth.

Traveling at a relative velocity of 23,000 mph, the copper "impactor" smashed into the surface of the comet at 10:52 p.m. PDT, vaporizing itself and sending a luminous plume of debris into space.

"Team, we have a confirmation," mission control said five minutes later.

"That's awesome," said one observer in the control room as an image of the massive impact plume flashed on a screen at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Canada Flintridge.

"We hit it just exactly where we wanted to. There's no question about it," said Don Yeomans, a co-investigator for the mission.

"We've got all the data we could possibly ask for," Yeomans added. "The science team is ecstatic."


Couldn't they have done this so folks in a real timezone could see it?

Posted by Orrin Judd at July 4, 2005 9:22 AM
Comments

See kiddies. This is what geometry and algebra (and bunch of other stuff) are good for.

I fantasize that high school mathematics teachers across the fruited plain are preparing classes around this utterly amazing project. Classes that may answer students' age-old whine, why do I need to know this stuff, I'll never use it in my real life.

I wonder if this was visible in Sharialand. How can those fools whose weapon of choice are children wrapped in explosives ever hope to comprehend us and what we are capable of doing.

Posted by: erp at July 4, 2005 10:22 AM

See kiddies. This is what geometry and algebra (and bunch of other stuff) are good for.

I fantasize that high school mathematics teachers across the fruited plain are preparing classes around this utterly amazing project. Classes that may answer students' age-old whine, why do I need to know this stuff, I'll never use it in my real life.

I wonder if this was visible in Sharialand. How can those fools whose weapon of choice are children wrapped in explosives ever hope to comprehend us and what we are capable of doing.

Posted by: erp at July 4, 2005 10:22 AM

I suppose they just wanted to get an early start on shooting off those July 4 fireworks...

Posted by: John at July 4, 2005 10:30 AM

You got to admire the choice of dates. Brilliant.

Now if we can only schedule that Mars landing for July 4th, 2008...

Posted by: H.D. Miller at July 4, 2005 10:48 AM

How can those fools whose weapon of choice are children wrapped in explosives ever hope to comprehend us and what we are capable of doing.

They can't.

That's one of the reasons that they're filled with anger at the West.
(Another, of course, is the callous and indifferent way that the West has used the Middle East for its own ends, and they must know that we'll drop 'em without a second thought once they're squeezed dry).

They see that Arab culture is a dead end, and that Arab governments have not only failed to deliver decent living conditions, but also that Arab and Persian gov't policies have failed to lay the groundwork for a prosperous, or even survivable, future, despite their (long ago) glorious past.
Thus the shame, self-loathing, and outwardly-channeled rage.

As Orrin likes to say of the Japanese, the Arab and Persian peoples will be around in the 22d century, and may even still be majority Muslim, (although I doubt it), but the Arab culture will be gone, except for some holdover traditions, holidays, and costume dress.

Actually, that's only the best-case scenario.
The worst-case is that the Arabs retain their culture, run out of oil (or at least oil revenues), and become even more afflicted than Africa is now, with 300 million Arabs and Persians living in grinding starvation-level poverty, disease and warfare rampant.
Since the West (and East) will have no further use for the Middle East, the best that they can expect from us will be a few billion dollars a year in food and medical aid.
They will be as relevant to the rest of humanity as today's stone-age, parrot-hunting tribes of South America are to tomorrow's Moonbase Nine residents.

Posted by: Michael Herdegen at July 4, 2005 11:05 AM

This just in: Deflected Comet on Collision Course With Earth. Mathematicians Stumped.

Posted by: NC3 at July 4, 2005 11:35 AM

We have the technology to hit a speck millions of miles and months of travel away. So tell me again why the "Stars Wars" missile defense system can't be done?

Posted by: Rick T. at July 4, 2005 11:38 AM

SDI can be done.

However, there's a HUGE difference between trying to hit a snowcone half the size of Manhattan Island, a target that you've been studying for years, and which is making no effort to defend itself, versus a target the size of an aircraft, surrounded by decoys, and which you have only fifteen minutes to detect, identify, track, and destroy.

Deep Impact is the Collegiate Women's Softball Championship. SDI is MLB.

Posted by: Michael Herdegen at July 4, 2005 12:19 PM

Aw, c'mon Michael - those brawny blonde NCAA pitchers would get you on three pitches.

Posted by: jim hamlen at July 4, 2005 4:36 PM

I was in college with Kathy Arendsen (briefly) when she struck out Reggie Jackson three times in a row on ABC's Wide World of Sports.

The woman's mound is only 43 feet away, and Arendsen was (is) over six feet tall and threw in the high-80s, underhand. So, the ball comes at you from below, and seems to rise sharply into you face.

That's why her lifetime ERA in professional softball was 0.15, with 79 no hitters, and 42 perfect games, and a winning percentage in the mid-90s.

Simply put, you and I couldn't hit her with a SDI-guided bat.

Posted by: H.D. Miller at July 4, 2005 5:22 PM

you said "woman's mound", he he

Posted by: cjm at July 4, 2005 6:48 PM

Lasers

Posted by: David Reeves at July 5, 2005 2:00 PM
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