On Friday, NASA is planning to crash into the moon. I'm just wondering: who gave them permission to crash into the moon? Not once, but twice. The rocket and satellite will smash into the moon at 5600 mph (more than seven times the speed of sound). The size of the explosion will be equal to that of 1.5 tons of TNT and will release 772,000 pounds of lunar dirt into a 6.2 mile high spray of debris, NASA'S own version of shock and awe, in a purported experiment to see if any ice or water is released. I'm just wondering, who signed the paper? Who did the risk assessment? I mean, what if something goes wrong?
It's a big explosion. Suffice it to say that any amateur astronomer west of the Mississippi with a home telescope will be able to view it from their backyard.
I could say something scientifically lame and ask, "What if it gets thrown off its axis?" or something funny and suggest something (that I actually sort of believe), like, "What if it somehow throws off the astrology?" Or that we're not risking -- as we have the earth with continued experiments of this kind -- sending the solar system out of balance.
The irony is that one of the purposes of the experiment is to assess whether there is any water on the moon and is it worthwhile to send another manned mission to the moon. If we'd just send up two guys with a bucket and shovels, we wouldn't have to bomb the moon at all.
I'm not a big fan of explosions, anyway. In Iraq or Afghanistan or the South Pole of the Moon. But who does have a territorial prerogative there?
Who has jurisdiction? Who has the right to say that it's okay to blow up a crater on the moon? Or Jupiter? Or Saturn, for that matter? If we think there is water there, how do we know we're not affecting some life form, as well? It sort of reminds me of two kids in a backyard with a firecracker that they don't really know how to set off.
It's causing great excitement in the astronomy sector. NASA is running a live broadcast on its website (wonder if they're selling ads). A NASA spokesman announced, "It's going to be pretty cool." The Fiske Planetarium in Boulder is serving free coffee and bagels. "People like explosions," the Planetarium director is quoted as saying, "and this is going to excite them."
Well, I for one, don't like explosions. Call me a pacifist, call me cautious, call me an environmentalist, or call me something worse, I don't really care.
But, we've set up a Twitter Page: http://twitter.com/helpsavethemoon . In the hopes that we can convince NASA not to try any further experiments of this kind! Join us.
Follow Amy Ephron on Twitter: www.twitter.com/AmyEphron