Astronomers have a tough job, at least, some of them do. They get paid to peer into the heavens and spot rogue asteroids that could end up being the outer space equivalent of Billy Joel’s car, and now have spotted a potential ozone hazard that could cross our path in the year 2029. Astronomers, effectively keeping with their tradition of not overly personalizing things, are calling this asteroid “MN4”.
They now tell us the asteroid will miss us, but there was a brief panic there for a while, with some pretty shaky pocket protecters in some observatories.
I’ve always wanted to try this experiment. If something’s scary, just rename it. Instead of the scientific name for the asteroid, I’ll call it “Vicki”. I’ll bet the public wouldn’t panic as much if they’d employ this tactic.
According to “Space Magazine“, “Vicki” was the first asteroid to be ranked “4” on the Torino Scale. If I knew what that meant, I’d probably be scared right now.
This from the article, with the aforementioned change made:
“‘Vicki’ circles the Sun, but unlike most asteroids that reside in a belt between Mars and Jupiter, the 323-day orbit of ‘Vicki’ lies mostly within the orbit of Earth.”
Not nearly as scary as “MN4”, is it?
Anyway… When scientists constantly change their minds, we gain inattention, and they lose whatever creditility they had left. This is the case with asteroids, and other things as well.
Just recently, an anthropologist was playing in the scorching giant sandbox in a country with the name that sounds more like a frat brother than a nation- Chad. He found a skull from the human family that is about 7 million years old and sort of resembled a dehydrated Joan Collins. The scientist, who made the discovery, said that it could have been as young as 6 million years old, but I think he was just trying to flatter it. I’ll bet he says that to all the Sahelanthropus tchadensis.
The point here was that immediately after the discovery, scientists all over the place said things like, “This could change our current views on human evolution.”
Hold on a second, Prof, I thought what you guys have been teaching us for the past hundred years was rock solid truth. Now we’re changing our views just because you found a skull roughly as old as the average “Price is Right” viewer?
I don’t want to sound hominid phobic, but when you shift gears on us like that, we stop listening. What’s next? Is one day a “scientist” going to fall up, thereby rendering moot Sir Isaac Newton? — An entire scientific principle turned upside-down simply because the drunken frat buddies of a physics major nailed his furniture to the ceiling while he was passed out.
That asteroid wasn’t going to hit until 2029, so they’ll change their minds a few times between now and then concerning whether or not it’ll hit us. I’ll be into my 60’s by then, so if it passes too close, chances are I’ll be outside chasing it with a flyswatter.