Thursday, February 23, 2012

Forecast calls for Moonquakes and Light Wishful Thinking

The problem with planetary science or astronomy is that the word "recent" doesn't mean anything to the average human being. Here's why.

1. First imagine one egg. (Not the yolkless kind.)

2. Now imagine 12 eggs.

3. Now imagine 12 million eggs.

I got lost imagining at about 12 eggs. The reason is because we group things. I substituted 12 eggs for a dozen. If you said to me, "Guess what! I have 50 trillion cells in my body!" I wouldn't imagine 50 trillion cells, I would imagine one body. So when I see an article titled "Moon's Scarred Crust Hints at Recent Activity", I get excited and then I get disappointed. Because the "recent" earthquake was 50 million years ago.

I thought for a moment that maybe, just maybe, the Moon was still barely warm enough to have tectonic activity. It's not. It's dead. But it did have earthquakes! 50 million years ago, that is.

The thing is, I want them to say "The moon had an Earthquake YESTERDAY!" Now that would be news. Not 27 pound lobster news. Not $4/gallon for gas  news or $5000 and a trip to Hawaii if you eat astronaut food for 4 months news or Google making Smartphone glasses news. But it would definitely EPIC SPACE NEWS.

Soon, I hope, there will be less of "we found a planet 100 million light years away! With water!" and more of "OMG Dinosaurs on Titan!"

For now, however, I guess I will just have to be satisfied with 50 million year old moon quakes.

No comments:

Post a Comment