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NASA Detects Meteoric Rise In Lunar Meteors 60

Posted by Hemos
from the garbage-in-garbage-out dept.
netbuzz writes "Just because your software model can accurately predict the number of meteors that will hit the Earth doesn't mean it will fly on the surface of the moon. NASA scientists say little rocks are hitting that big rock at four times the rate they had anticipated when they started watching a year ago."
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NASA Detects Meteoric Rise In Lunar Meteors

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  • here we go again.. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by smitty97 (995791) on Monday December 04, 2006 @09:44AM (#17098812)
    dont you mean meteorite ?
    • by iMMersE (226214)
      Well said. it's going to be difficult for NASA to find lunar meteors given the Moon's lack of atmosphere.
    • dont you mean meteorite ?

      You can't have meteorites without meteors, eh?
    • A shooting star is not a star, is not a star at all.
      A shooting star's a meteor that's heading for a fall.

      A shooting star is not a star, why does it shine so bright?
      The friction as it falls through air produces heat and light.

      A shooting star, or meteor, whichever name you like.
      The minute it comes down to Earth it's called a meteorite.


      What is a shooting star? [acme.com] (.mp3)
      in Space Songs from Ballads for the age of Science by Hy Zaret and Lou Singer.
      Part of the Singing Science [acme.com] collection.
      • by cowscows (103644)
        But in the case of a space rock impacting the moon, it's not coming down to earth! Oh GOD! WHAT DO WE DO?!!?!?
        • by x2A (858210)
          Invent a new previously unused word for it? Quickly, installed the latest version of Office so we can use its spellchecker!

      • by iMySti (863056)
        "A shooting star is not a star, why does it shine so bright? The friction as it falls through air produces heat and light." Its actually caused by Ram pressure, the air ahead of it being compressed and heated up, in turn heating the object until it glows. This of course, does not fit into a poem as well.
    • by webrunner (108849)
      dont you mean meteorite ?


      Nope, apparently they've been meteorong this whole time.
    • a meteorite is the remains of a meteor that has struck the earth.
      • It's easy, just remember that -ite is the suffix for minerals or whatever, so that's the one after it has landed.

        If it's in space, it's an asteroid. If it's in the process of crashing into a world, it's a meteorunforyourlife.
      • by x2A (858210)
        no, that's what's meteoleft

        *cough*

  • by QuantumFTL (197300) <justin.wickNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Monday December 04, 2006 @09:44AM (#17098816)
    that this rocks!

    Unless you're an astronaut on the moon. Then you should probably duck.
  • Ugh (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 04, 2006 @10:19AM (#17099250)
    This is not a *rise*, as in, the rate has increased over what it was previously. Rather, it is an unexpected difference between what they expected to find, and what they actually measured.

    Sorry to be so picky, but I've just endured two weeks of non-stop media cluelessness about the meanings of and differences between radioactivity / radiation / contamination / chemical toxicity.
    • by vanyel (28049) *
      Not only is the headline at best misleading, and I would say just wrong, but the article is completely lame too. The observation it's discussing is, however, interesting...
  • NASA scientists say little rocks are hitting that big rock at four times the rate they had anticipated when they started watching a year ago.

    At that rate, it'll make selling the mixed development (housing and stores) a tough deal for people wanting to move to the moon if they have to worry about radiation and hail. The entire Lunar-Mars manned space program will depend on these sales for funding.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 04, 2006 @10:30AM (#17099404)
    As more meteors hit the side of the moon that does not have the Earth in the way, it will slowly get pushed down to crash with the Earth.

    Also in the news: Steve Colbert buys man-sized statue made of mayonnaise

    • by x2A (858210)
      Just as you speed up when you pull your arms and legs in while spinning on the office chair, the earth also spins faster as the thousands of trees a day get chopped down. The only thing that can effectively combat this is in fact by moving the moon closer to the earth. The effects of doing this is the increase to the height of tidal waves, increasing the tidal drag on the earth, and slowing it back down again, solving the problem forever.

      but, what about...

      I SAID FOREVER!!!

  • by MollyB (162595) on Monday December 04, 2006 @10:32AM (#17099416) Journal
    Shoveling against the tide here, but that term is as ridiculous as this gem: The stock market skyrocketed downward today... (heard on TV recently)
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by MadCow42 (243108)
      >>The stock market skyrocketed downward today... (heard on TV recently)

      This was probably from a Chinese commentator that remembers the Long March tests (see the Chinese Satelite story from today if you don't understand).

      MadCow.
    • Well...in fairness, you have to admit meteors often do seem to be going up, if the radiant is low and their track overhead.

      Come to think of it, skyrockets go pretty fast on their way down, too.
    • I used to launch skyrockets downwards off overpasses, tall buildings, and so forth. I'd try to time the drop so they'd explode while still in the air, but as low as possible. It was more exciting than launching the regular way - you'd get better velocity, and there was stuff to hit. Aerial rocket-bombing of plastic army men is a hell of a thing.

      Based on my empirical observations, the stock market should skyrocket down faster than it skyrockets up. I don't know the mass of the stock market or what kind
      • I dunno, I've always heard that changes in prices have a lot to do with inflation and deflation, so my impression is that the stock market is more of a lighter-than-air craft; in which case what we really need is data on its buoyancy.
        • It must not be lighter than air at all times, otherwise we'd never have a stock market crash. I'm not surprised that it must be full of hot air.
          • by drinkypoo (153816)
            Well, it IS a bubble. When the bubble is intact it's filled with hot air, which is lighter than normal air. When it breaks, then it crashes.
      • My favorite comment was from Louis Rukeyser around the time in the early 1980's when the market turned around from the long 70's slump and started the big, long bull market that carried through to 2000. We all heard about the 1920's market crash where people were despondent and jumped out of windows. Well, the market had such a big increase that Rukeyser talked about people "leaping from the sidewalk back up into the upper-story windows."
  • I think they should just wrap the moon in some sort of trampoline-like material to reflect the meteor(ite)s. And it shall be dubbed the Moon Bounce!
    • by PFI_Optix (936301)
      In related news, NASA was sued today by party supplier giant SuperDuperFunCo for trademark infringement.
  • by clickety6 (141178) on Monday December 04, 2006 @10:40AM (#17099572)
    .. the force fields around the secret NASA outpost on the dark side of the moon are deflecting more meteoroids to the observable side of the moon...!
    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      .. the force fields around the secret NASA outpost on the dark side of the moon are deflecting more meteoroids to the observable side of the moon...!
      Informative?
      I know that some mods like to give funny as informative, but this is ridiculous.
      I guess the moderation concepts of /. need to change, if this is going to happen again and again
      • by drinkypoo (153816)
        Well, first of all, you should probably assume it was an accident because most moderation seems to be retarded. With that said, some people will continue to mod Funny as Informative until the karma system is fixed, which is to say, rewards humor at the same rate as anything else. Some of us have a sense of humor, and like to laugh. The rest of you can see a negative score on funny mods so you don't see the funny things, but people don't seem to like to help themselves, they want the system to do everything
  • Bugs (Score:5, Funny)

    by macdaddy (38372) on Monday December 04, 2006 @11:03AM (#17099840) Homepage Journal
    It's those damn bugs I tell you. "I'm from Buenos Aires, and I say kill 'em all!"
  • by Scothoser (523461) on Monday December 04, 2006 @11:08AM (#17099900) Homepage

    The article had an excellent point - this will dramatically influence space exploration plans for extended stays on the moon. But how much does it impact it? 25% of the current lunar bombardment is still a bombardment. How had NASA and other space agencies planned to protect the Astronauts?

    This means the increase in bombardment rate doesn't present a new issue, it just compounds the issue by four. What has been be the best suggestion to protect against bombardment, and how is it effected by this increase in frequency? Would it be an underground base, powerful and well-placed magnetic fields, or a domed location with a shell dense enough to withstand the impacts? That's the one question that isn't answered by the article.

    I would be interested to hear from NASA on the proposed methods of protecting the base and it's occupants from these "little rocks".

    • I would be interested to hear from NASA on the proposed methods of protecting the base and it's occupants from these "little rocks".

      Pew-pew!
      ... Well, maybe not, but it'd be damned cool!
    • It honestly probably doesn't make that much of a difference. The article says they've seen 11 or 12 impacts, I guess compared to the three or four that they were expecting. Spread 12 impacts across the visible surface of the moon, and you're going to end up with a very small percentage of the surface area that was visibly impacted. If the chances of getting hit were very small, 4 times a very small number is still a small number.

      I'd imagine that a more dangerous threat is radiation, and that whatever system
    • One thing they probably need to do is figure out the local (time and space) variations in this rate. It's likely some areas of the Moon, and some times during its orbit, are more dangerous than others, because it's likely most of this dust is in a fairly close orbit around the Earth.

      Once they know that, they know what advantages there may be in situating the base in one place versus another on the surface. In other words, the best way to avoid getting wet is not so much to have a great umbrella as to stay
      • by drinkypoo (153816)
        Maybe they should just ship a lunar bulldozer (or dragline, or whatever has the best weight efficiency) up there and dig a big hole so they can build a buried base, and avoid the impact problem entirely. What, did you really think we were going to have cities under transparent domes?
        • [D]id you really think we were going to have cities under transparent domes?

          Sure! Screw efficiency. As far as I'm concerned, the major reason to go to space -- an unbelievably extravagant thing to do anyway -- is for the glory and wonder. So that ordinary blokes can do double somersaults in the air, laughing madly, while standing under a blazing starry sky the likes of which only God and a handful of mortals have heretofore ever seen.

          I say phooey on any glum whiny pussified harping on efficiency and cost
          • I don't think you'd want diamond as a shield: (Wiki [wikipedia.org]) "Unlike hardness, which only denotes resistance to scratching, diamond's toughness or tenacity is only fair to good. Toughness relates to the ability to resist breakage from falls or impacts: due to diamond's perfect and easy cleavage, it is vulnerable to breakage. A diamond will shatter if hit with an ordinary hammer."

            Old and busted: Diamond. New hotness: Light-element oxides, borides, and nitrides!
            • A very interesting point, thank you. To be serious, the best material to protect against micrometeoroids and still be transparent is probably a verrry tricky question. Ideally you'd like some kind of microreactive armor, something that will absorb the kinetic energy and blow the tiny plasma cloud back outwards, protecting what's inside. Whether diamond is sensible or not I dunno: its ability to be cleaved by jewelers is perhaps less relevant than how it behaves under hypersonic shock (probably not partic
    • I would be interested to hear from NASA on the proposed methods of protecting the base and it's occupants from these "little rocks".
      Maybe they'll try a Doctor's note. [lardlad.com]...

      I'm sorry...I just couldn't resist. BOMBARDMENT!
  • Remember me... the meteors are Chinese satellites that suffered complete failure!
  • Meteoric Rise? (Score:1, Redundant)

    by Kenshin (43036)
    The expression "meteoric rise" bugs me. Meteors FALL. It makes about as much sense as "an explosive decline".
  • It's just Al Gore. Relax.

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