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Asteroid Named After Douglas Adams 314

tc writes "MSNBC is reporting that an asteroid has been named after Douglas Adams of Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy fame. Fittingly, the asteroid carried the provisional designation 2001 DA42, thus commemorating the year of his untimely death, containing his initials, and incorporating the famous answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything. This seems like a fitting tribute to me."
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Asteroid Named After Douglas Adams

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  • What else to say ? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tibike77 ( 611880 ) <tibikegamez.yahoo@com> on Wednesday January 26, 2005 @04:04AM (#11478210) Journal
    Rest in peace, man who made me laugh hardest ever - we don't need an asteroid named after you, but it sure sounds nice to hear somebody else cares.
  • by mccalli ( 323026 ) on Wednesday January 26, 2005 @04:07AM (#11478226) Homepage
    Fittingly, the asteroid carried the provisional designation 2001 DA42, thus commemorating the year of his untimely death, containing his initials, and incorporating the famous answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything.

    Why not call it a rock?

    Cheers,
    Ian

  • by hyu ( 763773 ) on Wednesday January 26, 2005 @04:08AM (#11478231)
    Don't Panic!
  • As hinted by the destination, asteroid Douglasadams is actually on its way to meet the mice.
  • by Feztaa ( 633745 ) on Wednesday January 26, 2005 @04:14AM (#11478250) Homepage
    This seems like a fitting tribute to me.

    This was a tribute to you?
  • DNA42 (Score:3, Informative)

    by wildsurf ( 535389 ) on Wednesday January 26, 2005 @04:19AM (#11478266) Homepage
    I'm surprised they didn't name it "DNA42".

    Douglas was always proud of his full initials. (Douglas Noel Adams.)
    • Re:DNA42 (Score:5, Informative)

      by pa-ching ( 814232 ) on Wednesday January 26, 2005 @04:40AM (#11478328)
      They didn't name it DA42 in the first place; they just happened to notice an asteroid having the provisional designation of 2001 DA42, if you read the summary correctly.
    • True, I hope they make a slight correction - he was born DNA at the same time and place (roughly) and they realised what DNA was.

      I still this his birth (and DNA) has had a greater impact in most peoples lives than the discovery DNA itself.

      Laughter is the best medicine, also you might try talking to a matress. I hear that can be quite depressing.
  • by JumperCable ( 673155 ) on Wednesday January 26, 2005 @04:22AM (#11478282)
    They are just begging for that asteroid to change course & destroy earth.

    Don't toy with fate.
  • From TFA:

    It's a relatively unremarkable space rock...
    • Re:Mostly harmless (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Mercano ( 826132 )

      It's a relatively unremarkable space rock, orbiting 224 million miles (358 million kilometers) from the sun in the main asteroid belt, between Mars and Jupiter.

      In Adams terms, "It's a relatively unremarkable space rock, orbiting 224 million miles from an unregarded yellow sun far out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the western spiral arm of the galaxy."

  • Timeless tribute. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by tod_miller ( 792541 ) on Wednesday January 26, 2005 @04:39AM (#11478323) Journal
    For the guy who made me first laugh, then cry. It would be nice to see 2001 DA42 in the night sky, but I will be inside re-reading his books.

    I hope he found some peace, and that his publicist hasn't found a way to contact him about his deadlines yet.

    The ultimate dreamer, genius, slacker, geek and philanthropist. I hope his works continue to reach people and make laugh and sigh as much I as did.

    Was this a special delivery from Magrathea?
  • Not just HHGTG... (Score:5, Informative)

    by timelady ( 566419 ) <timelady @ g m ail.com> on Wednesday January 26, 2005 @04:41AM (#11478333) Homepage
    DNA was not just an author of amazingly funny and insightful books, he wrote many stories [bbc.co.uk] for Doctor Who [bbc.co.uk]. So a space object appropriate in many ways, imho:)
  • by PhotoBoy ( 684898 ) on Wednesday January 26, 2005 @04:44AM (#11478353)
    ... of an asteroid having 2001 DA42 as its name then becoming the tribute rock to Douglas Adams himself?

    If the asteroid hits Earth will it think "Oh no, not again"?
    • 1

      (And since the lameness filter won't let me get away with the pithy, direct reply, I'll point out that the only possible answer for something that's already happened is "1." But if you want to engage in retroactive prediction, and are asking "what is the probability that, given the existence of an asteroid designated 2001 DA42 but otherwise unnamed, and a small campaign to find an appropriate rock to memorialize Douglas Adams, the two will be combined," I'd also say "pretty close to 1, given the societal
  • by tod_miller ( 792541 ) on Wednesday January 26, 2005 @04:48AM (#11478369) Journal
    There was an asteroid already incidentally called '2001 DA42' and they are using this asteroid to be named after Douglas Adams.

    Which means the asteroid name is/maybe Douglas Adams, or they may keep the original incidental naming.

    Either way, I know where my towel is.
  • Don't Panic (Score:2, Funny)

    by Baramin ( 847271 )
    I take it this asteroid is "mostly harmless" ?
  • by El_Muerte_TDS ( 592157 ) on Wednesday January 26, 2005 @04:54AM (#11478392) Homepage
    The rock hangs in the sky in much the same way that bricks don't?
  • ...the asteroid was on a collision course with Earth and preparing the way for a space highway?

    (Note to fanatics: Yes I know it was a construction ship in the Hitchhikers series)
  • timing (Score:5, Insightful)

    by trs9000 ( 73898 ) <trs9000&gmail,com> on Wednesday January 26, 2005 @04:56AM (#11478396)
    This is great and I'm sure he would've appreciated it, but that's what I find strange. Why don't we make more efforts to do these things while people are alive. I mean, once they are dead, we are basically doing it for ourselves, "Oh, yeah, remember Adams and his books?" or maybe his family. But those who we are commemorating never get to experience what we are trying to express, which is overwhelming appreciation.
    I think maybe we should try to do more retrospectives of those still with us. Who has lived a full life and made major contributions to our understanding, knowledge or culture. Then, give them an asteroid. Things like this are done, no doubt. Just something that struck me.
    • Re:timing (Score:5, Funny)

      by ThePilgrim ( 456341 ) on Wednesday January 26, 2005 @05:55AM (#11478564) Homepage
      I gues the reasion why it was not done while he was alive is because we missed the deadline.
    • Re:timing (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jesterzog ( 189797 )

      This is great and I'm sure he would've appreciated it, but that's what I find strange. Why don't we make more efforts to do these things while people are alive.

      Are you sure this doesn't happen already and you're just not noticing it? It's not as if Douglas Adams wasn't recognised in many other ways before he died, and this is just ongoing.

      Having an asteroid named after you isn't all that big-a-thing, either, and he probably only got it now because it took this long for someone to notice that he d

    • Gary Larson (of 'The Far Side' fame) got an insect named after him, and last I heard he's still alive.
    • Answer - because if we started putting the names of living people on permanent memorials such as asteroids and other celestial bodies, the practice would inevitably degrade into yet another worthless celebrity-laden piece of advertising.

      Comet Brittany Spears, anyone? I'm all for it, as long as she's dead first. Besides, she already has a celestial body, doesn't she?

  • DNA off by one? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Gallowsgod ( 766508 ) on Wednesday January 26, 2005 @05:07AM (#11478425)
    Slightly offtopic, but considering the topic it seems pretty appropriate:

    Am I the only one who thinks that the answer to life the universe and everything has to be an off-by one error?

    If the answer is 43 this suddenly gives a lot of meaning. 43 represented in hex is 2B. And if the answer is 2B then the question gives it self and it all suddenly makes all the sense in the world.
  • "Fitting" (Score:2, Funny)

    by xmpcray ( 636203 )
    ...this seems like a fitting tribute to me

    Fitting would be if that astreoid collides with earth to clear way for an intergalactic hyperway system...;)
    • by flumps ( 240328 )
      .. or for it to actually be, against all probability, a sperm whale called into existance several light years from earth wondering why its there..
  • by deft ( 253558 ) on Wednesday January 26, 2005 @05:31AM (#11478502) Homepage
    Adam?
  • by tod_miller ( 792541 ) on Wednesday January 26, 2005 @05:41AM (#11478530) Journal
    Test screening for THGTTG are underway, May in cinemas.

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0371724/ [imdb.com]
  • Asteroid Arthur Dent (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 26, 2005 @06:00AM (#11478586)
    An asteroid was named after Arthur Dent a long while ago:

    http://www.ananova.com/news/story/sm_294648.html
  • Of course (Score:5, Funny)

    by JustOK ( 667959 ) on Wednesday January 26, 2005 @06:43AM (#11478681) Journal
    Of course the asteroid was named after Douglas Adams. He was named years ago, shortly after his birth, I guess.
  • Fittingly, the asteroid carried the provisional designation 2001 DA42, thus commemorating the year of his untimely death, containing his initials, and incorporating the famous answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything.

    Perhaps more fittingly, it was described as "relatively unremarkable". Sounds vaguely familiar... ;)
  • by emtboy9 ( 99534 ) <jeff.jefflane@org> on Wednesday January 26, 2005 @08:12AM (#11479015) Homepage
    ...hundreds were injured as a small group of Mr. Adams' most maniacal supporters assaulted the proceedings by reading from "The Collected Works of Vogon Poetry", but those ruffians were quickly subdued by an improbable number of monkeys who wanted their copies of Hamlet to be read.

  • by chongo ( 113839 ) * on Wednesday January 26, 2005 @08:53AM (#11479243) Homepage Journal
    The Orbit of 2001 DA42 [astroarts.com] (minor planet number 25924) may be viewed online. Just type in 2001 DA42 and click SEARCH to see the orbit parameters. Then click Show Orbit (Java required).

    The current distance from Earth (as of 25 Jan 2005) is about 1.734 AU (equals about 259 402 932 kilometers [google.com] or 161 185 509 miles [google.com]).

    The asteroid in inclined about 1.73 degrees from Earth's orbit. It lines outside of the orbit of Mars with a Semimajor axis of about 2.41 AU. As of 26 Jan 2006 12:30 UTC, it was located approximately:

    RA 12:16:18

    Dec -3:20:19

    (which in the constellation Virgo: about 3 degrees due south of the 4th magnitude star Zaniah;
    about 14 degrees away (and somewhat west) from Jupiter;
    about 19 degrees away (and also somewhat west) from the 1st magnitude star Spica)

    2001 DA42 is currently a very dim object: with a apparent visual magnitude [wikipedia.org] of approximately 20.4. That is about 360 times fainter than Pluto. You will not be able to visually see 2001 DA42 with your typical "bark yard telescope".

    Around March 2005 DA42 will peak at about magnitude 19. Around May 2009 it will peak at about 18.5. Around June 2013 it will peak at about 18.0. That is about as bright as 2001 DA42 typically gets.

  • HHGG (Score:3, Informative)

    by Turn-X Alphonse ( 789240 ) on Wednesday January 26, 2005 @09:28AM (#11479576) Journal
    I got the books (all 5) for Christmas and I've read two of them since then. I have to say it's one book no one should ever miss.

    It goes no where what so ever, makes no sense, has very little character developement, but it's perfect just how it is. If there was ever a book which truely ignored all the "rules" and still proved to be better then anything before (or after) HHGG is the book.

    Plus you can hear/see the whole thing again in audio and video which changes enough to make it different and intresting.
  • http://www.bbc.co.uk/h2g2/guide/A559686 [bbc.co.uk]

    Here I am, brain the size of a planet, and they give me this lousy asteroid. An asteroid! Me, who has travelled the length and bredth of the universe, and is 4 times older than time itself..

    You plastic pal whos fun to be with..
  • http://cfa-www.harvard.edu/cfa/ps/special/rocknrol l/RockAndRoll.html [harvard.edu] gives a list of other interplanetary tributes to popular culture heroes - some deceased (Frank Zappa, John Lennon), some aparently still alive (Enya)
  • I'm suprised google didn't hire/buy/aquire it.
  • !2u (Score:2, Funny)

    by DrewCapu ( 132301 )
    This seems like a fitting tribute to me.
    It's not a fitting tribute to you, it's a fitting tribute to Douglas Adams, you insensitive clod! :)

I bet the human brain is a kludge. -- Marvin Minsky

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