Heads up, folks! Some scientists are going to do some sciencey stuff tonight which will lead to weirdly colorful clouds. If you see something like that in the sky, it is not:
- A U.F.O.
- The Rapture (finally)
- Buddha descending on a unicorn
- Kanye West’s monstrous ego coming to devour us all
Thank you in advance for not flipping out like these other people, mmmkay…
Citizens of Earth, Do Not Panic If Brilliant, Glowing Clouds Fill the Sky Tonight
You know your crazy relative who’s always suspicious of black SUVs? Quick—block him on Facebook. NASA is scheduled to launch a suborbital rocket from Wallops Island, Virginia, on Wednesday night, and as one of its experiments, it will eject colorful clouds of vapor more than a hundred miles above the ground in order to study ions and neutral particles in the upper atmosphere.
What’s up with NASA’s announcement that they wanna go back to the Moon? We haven’t been there in ages…we stopped sending missions there for some reason, which I’ve never quite understood. But is NASA really ready to begin planning this thing? They’ve gotten so fat and lazy with the program over the past few years that innovation and safety have suffered, which does not give me much confidence in the agency, esepcially when it comes to something like exploring the Moon. But above all that, NASA’s budget has been so overblown that everything seems to cost three times what it should. Remember when they were talking about sending a mission to Mars? They projected it would cost $400 billion or some such outrageous amount. If I recall correctly, an innovative team of civilian scientists worked out a plan which would get a team to Mars for less than a quarter of that amount, if they had the funding. (I think I read this in Wired or Popular Mechanics a coulpe of years ago.) And with the success of last year’s SpaceShipOne, I wouldn’t be surprised if civilians plunked someone down on the Moon before NASA even had their spacecraft built.
At any rate, NASA’s hoping to put this scheme into action by 2018, so they’ve got plenty of time to improve…but I’m still skeptical. It’s particularly snortworhy when they call this ambitious new project “Apollo on steroids.” Uh-huh.