Sunday, March 01, 2009

Everything you know is wrong

"I'm writing this emergency letter to bring you up to date on what we've accomplished, and to ask for your immediate help— to ensure that we can complete this project, solve this mystery, and perhaps change what every scientist on Earth thinks about basic physics."
Yes, even astronomers get begging letters. This one is from the Planetary Society and it is about the Pioneer Anomaly. It's like this: the Pioneer 10 and 11 spacecraft, launched in 1973 and 1974, are not where they should be. Something is holding them back. We don't know what that something is. The Planetary Society want to find out. They want to look at all the old data. But it is not just a case of getting those clunky old tapes and powering up those dusty old drives in the back of the store. No, sir. They need to convert the data to something that can be read on new-fangled modern 'puters. And they need to do it fast, while there are still geeks around who know how the old ones work. And they need to do it because the Pioneers may be telling us that there is something very wrong with our understanding of Physics. I know; it is worrying. Just keep it to yourselves. If the Fundies find out, there will be no end to their wittering about Cosmology. They will say that God is doing it, to punish us for something.

It get worse still. Apparently there are thirteen things we don't know that are really troublesome. Look on the bright side: problems One and Three might be the same as the Pioneer Anomaly, which comes in at number Two. Of course, the possibility that our Constants are not constant and we that we know stuff all about the Universe are vexing, but at least we would have only ten more worries.

The Damned:

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Clearly the Pioneer Anamoly is the hand of God tugging the probes back to the centre of creation. This should be taught in schools alongside the "theory" of gravity. I so wish I'd thought thought of this before America's finest news source.