We’re about seventeen days away from the Cassini spacecraft’s suicide mission at Saturn. NASA uploaded a series of commands four months ago that will instruct the spacecraft to use the gravity of Titan to slingshot a course back towards the giant planet, where it will be incinerated as it plunges into its atmosphere.
You know what’s odd about this?
When scientists can carom a 5,000-pound spacecraft off a moon orbiting out in the hinterlands of a planet a billion miles away, and they can predict where that ricochet will take the spacecraft within a hummingbird’s anus, nobody questions it. We just all trust that they know what they’re doing.
Or when we can parachute a Jeep onto the surface of Mars and the damn thing scoots around the planet for 5+ years all by itself, sending back videos of Martian dust devils, pictures of red deserts and blue sunsets, dried up lake beds and distant mountains. We all gasp at the wonder of it all. And only the crankiest of crackpots question its authenticity.
Or when astronomers take out their calculators and charts and predict that the Moon will totally eclipse the Sun at such and such location, on such and such date, for so many seconds, even a million years from today, nobody questions that either. Not even Alex Jones. Because over thousands of years of studying such things, we’ve acclimated to the fact that these folks know what they’re talking about. Because that’s the very nature of science… observe, record, trial and error on the grandest of scales.
— CompBindTech (@CompBindTech) August 26, 2017
But should just about every climatologist on Earth deduce that pumping excess carbon waste into the atmosphere will one day affect worldwide weather patterns which will result in extreme and catastrophic conditions for future life on the planet, the purveyors of those carbon products launch a massive, thus-far successful, decades long public relations attack on these very scientists to discredit them and their work. And they dump billions of petro-dollars into electing politicians and recruiting friendly cable “news” channels who will put their industry before the Earth—and the lives of our progeny at risk.
Sure, we all love science. But it better not get between American conservatives and their love of the almighty buck.
Where was I? Oh yeah. Shed a tear on September 15th. The Cassini-Huygens mission has been a spectacular success. And a showcase for just what NASA and the ESA are capable of when science is put before bullshit.
Featured image via NASA.gov, Public Domain