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NASA Science

Solar Storm Nearly Wipes Out NASA's Messenger 110

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the do-something-to-the-hatches dept.
tcd004 writes "There was a close call last week when an enormous coronal ejection nearly hit Mercury and the orbiting Messenger spacecraft. Scientists at the Space Weather Laboratory flew into action, modeling the event to determine how close it had come to the spacecraft using data from the twin STEREO sun observers. The group used an animated model called WSA-ENLIL, named after a Sumerian lord of wind and storms. Enlil, who wears a crown of horns, is known for being a kind but also cruel god who sends forth disasters, including a great flood that wiped out humanity. Fortunately Messenger escaped Enlil's wrath."
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Solar Storm Nearly Wipes Out NASA's Messenger

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  • Yeah, yeah (Score:5, Funny)

    by Black Parrot (19622) on Tuesday April 05, 2011 @02:08PM (#35722860)

    Enlil, who wears a crown of horns, is known for being a kind but also cruel god who sends forth disasters, including a great flood that wiped out humanity.

    When you meet one of them, you've met them all. A bunch of jerks, if you ask me.

    • by hardie (716254)

      goddamn gods

    • Also, that flood that wiped out humanity is the reason why none of us are here today.

    • by tverbeek (457094)

      At least this answers the question that pagan fanboys have been asking for millennia: "Who'd win, Mercury or Enlil?"

      • by Ironchew (1069966)

        At least this answers the question that pagan fanboys have been asking for millennia: "Who'd win, Mercury or Enlil?"

        That thread had been quiet for about 400 years, but no, you just had to flame it up again. Classical trolls incoming.

    • How exactly does one get to be "kind" and "cruel" at the same time? God or no god. How does that work?
      He cruelly cuts people's breaks and then he kindly saves them from their burning cars?
      Or does he give gifts - that also have a random chance of killing their recipient?

      • by xmark (177899)

        How exactly does one get to be "kind" and "cruel" at the same time?

        Don't date much, do you?

      • There's a lot of the aspects of weather or climate personified into Enlil - he makes the plants grow, but he also sends devastating floods. Guess this unpredictable ambivalence is what they point at with "cruel and kind" here. Enlil is actually pretty badass, but with a strong schizophrenic tendency. First he helps create mankind, then he tries to wipe them with a flood, because they make too much noise. Utnapishtim - the Noah-equivalent of Sumerian mythos - does the whole ark thing, and hey, Enlil has anot
    • by steelfood (895457)

      I find it hard to believe that you've actually met one.

  • I wonder if stuff like that has the potential to change orbits of plants. If the Sun were to push itself enough out of position everything circling it would begin to have irregular orbits around it and things could get really bad.

    • by Matheus (586080)

      I wonder if stuff like that has the potential to change orbits of plants.

      I'm certainly concerned about my garden... I can never keep it the right distance from my house!

    • by smelch (1988698)
      I think our plants will be fine. Also, the sun is HUGE, the distance between planets is HUGE, its not like changing the velocity of the sun will suddenly cause all kinds of collisions to take place as we're orbiting. Basically you're worried over what happens when an ant gets catapulted off the earth.
      • by berashith (222128)

        sounds like fun , lets find out what happens... I have an ant, you get the catapult!

        • by thomasdz (178114)

          sounds like fun , lets find out what happens... I have an ant, you get the catapult!

          My uncle would be upset with you.

    • First you have to find a plant in orbit, though...

    • by Bemopolis (698691)
      I hope the commenter above who wonders whether the expense is worth the knowledge reads this comment and shudders to think how much worse it would be if everyone's grasp of physics were this fingerless. It's bad enough we have *one* Alabama.

      I'm sorry to pick on you, self-professed fan of loud music, but something that ignorant of the physical processes of the Universe just friggin hurts. To quote an old physics gent: That's not right. It's not even wrong.
      • by lymond01 (314120)

        You get his idea though: if you're standing in the center of a 100% frictionless frozen pond in a vacuum, you have no way of progressing forward. So if you actually want to get off the pond what do you do? You take off your mitten and toss it in the opposite direction. Or, if you're the sun, you have a coronal ejection, spewing pieces of yourself into the void.

        This could, conceivably, move the sun. And yes, the planets wouldn't just follow along with it automagically -- they have their own momentum as w

        • Re:Change orbits? (Score:4, Informative)

          by Bemopolis (698691) on Tuesday April 05, 2011 @04:45PM (#35724418)

          I'm likely not thinking of something physically obvious, so please point me in the right direction in the usual generous slashdot manner.

          The most physically obvious thing you are overlooking is the amount of material in a CME. Even at their most violent a CME would be hard pressed to top 1e-20 of the Sun's mass, which would mean that with an eruption speed topping 3000 km/sec the most kick it could give would change the Sun's speed by less than the radius of a hydrogen atom per hour.

          So, to follow your analogy, it is not so much like throwing your mitten in the opposite direction than it is trying to jet your way to the bank by a single, unenthusiastic fart. Which, as a strategy, is pretty close to the usual generous slashdot manner.

          • by Veroxii (51114)

            So, to follow your analogy, it is not so much like throwing your mitten in the opposite direction than it is trying to jet your way to the bank by a single, unenthusiastic fart. Which, as a strategy, is pretty close to the usual generous slashdot manner.

            You sir made my day! I tip my hat to thee.

        • Lie down. Breathe in through the mouth, and out through the nose. You'll get to the edge.

          Oh wait! You said vacuum. Well, that eliminates the breathing solution. However, you probably wouldn't do to well in a mittenless space suit either.
    • by nedlohs (1335013)

      No. Physics does not work like that.

  • "...including a great flood that wiped out humanity."

    Jesus, there was another one of those? How many does that make for humanity?

    • by MarkGriz (520778)

      Jesus, there was another one of those? How many does that make for humanity?

      He doesn't know. Ask his dad.

    • by rossdee (243626)

      Around here we have a 100 year flood every year.

    • by Mspangler (770054)

      "Jesus, there was another one of those? How many does that make for humanity?"

      I'm doing a small portion of His light work today...

      It depends on where you live.

      "The multiple flood hypothesis was first proposed by R.B. Wiatt, Jr., in 1980. Wiatt argued for a sequence of multiple floods â" 40 or more.[11][12][13] Wiatt's proposal was based mainly on analysis from glacial lake bottom deposits in Ninemile Creek and the flood deposits in Burlingame Canyon. His most compelling argument for separate floods was

    • It's the same on - that's where the Hebrews ripped the story off. Interesting difference in reasoning though - God nukes the world for sinfulness and shit, Enlil goes about it because the little fuckers he helped create make too much of a ruckus and disturb his peaceful universe.
  • "There was a close call last week when an enormous coronal ejection nearly hit Mercury and the orbiting Messenger spacecraft.

    Sun caught jerking off; nearly blows load all over Earth's satellites; Earth raises big fuzzy eyebrows in shock.

  • So Enlil is like God and Messenger is like Noah? Are they proposing that Noah's arc might be on Mercury?
  • "including a great flood that wiped out humanity"

    Wait. We were wiped out? Why am I always the last one to be told about these things?!!!

  • Goddard's Community Coordinated Modeling Center just released a space weather app that lets you track solar activity in real-time. It also has data and simulation predictions for the solar surface, the solar wind, and Earth's magnetosphere/ionosphere. Really slick interface too :) http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/nasa-space-weather/id422621403?mt=8 [apple.com]
  • Scientists at the Space Weather Laboratory flew into action, modeling the event to determine how close it had come to the spacecraft

    They modeled how close it came to destroying the orbiter? Wow, that's pretty impressive, guys...way to keep one step ahead...

  • about the animated modeling system, less information about dead gods plz.

The moon is a planet just like the Earth, only it is even deader.

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