Sunday, December 20, 2009

A Lovely Planet In The Neighborhood?

Upton Sinclair is said to have made a very lasting observation concerning an aspect of the nature of humanity: "It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it".

Scientists are paid salaries, which seems to make them very energetic in the direction all about what they "should" be all about:


The extrasolar planet, now named GJ 1214b, is about 40 light-years away.

It orbits a red dwarf star.

It is the only known "Super-Earth" exoplanet — worlds that have masses between Earth and Neptune — with a confirmed atmosphere.

"Astronomically speaking, this [planet] is on our block," meaning it's in our cosmic neighborhood, said study leader David Charbonneau of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Mass. "For perspective, our own TV signals have already passed beyond the distance of this star."

(Space). Sometimes "astronomically speaking" is misleading, but for the most part it is probably just a bad habit.

For example, our B.C.E. technology (burning chemicals to produce thrust in rockets) which we fondly call rocket science, is not going to get us to the part of "the block" where the "near" star with planet GJ-1214b is.

Light travels at about 670,618,800 miles an hour (186,283 miles per second x 60 x 60) or 5,878,644,400,800 per year (670,618,800 x 24 x 365.25).

A planet orbiting a star 40 "light years" away, then, is 235,145,776,032,000 (5,878,644,400,800 x 40) miles away.

Our spacecraft Voyager I and II travel at about 38,000 miles per hour, or 333,108,000 miles a year (38,000 x 24 x 365.25).

So it would take them 705,914.53 years (235,145,776,032,000 / 333,108,000), one way, to get to that planet salaried scientists say is "on our block".

Many scientists' salaries come from military sources in the Pentagon budget.

The military scientists are only concerned with being able to destroy things on the earth, so "rocket science" is the apex of their intellect.

If a new discovery kills better than the last one, they will love it.

The scientist whose salary must depend on our use of current military rocket science, which is based on principles of technology developed thousands of years ago, is literally involved in a dead end endeavor in more ways than one.

This "rocket science" is not what I call modern, nor is it compliant with the tenets of ecocosmology, because we will cease to exist as a species unless we develop competent space travel technology.
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For those who think I might have been a bit hard on the boys, note that my speed calculations were liberal.

That is, the speed I gave as the probable speed for current space craft was probably a bit more than the speed at which they really travel.

I came across an article quoting salaried scientists who did some of that "astronomy speak" I mentioned above.

Notice the way speed is portrayed:

The spacecraft is just a little past the midpoint between the orbits of Saturn and Uranus, and is speeding toward Pluto at a speed of about 750,000 miles (1.2 million km) per day.

(Speedy Spacecraft Now Halfway to Pluto). The rub comes when you calculate the miles per hour of the vehicle (750,000 / 24) which comes out to 31,250.

I had given them a speed of 38,000 miles per hour in the calculation that it would take us 705,914.53 years to get to a star "on our block".

The "Speedy Spacecraft" would take longer than that at 31,250 so note that I was giving the salaried scientists, who tend to bloviate sometimes, the benefit of the doubt.

2 comments:

NiteSkyGirl Blog said...

Wow I just enjoyed reading this. I find planet finding freakin fascinating.
I add alot of new planets found on my astronomy news page and I keep going to write about it but wow the stories on the sites the story came from in the first place are already written great.

Dredd said...

NiteSkyGirl,

Since I am not controlled by a salary that would or could influence my viewpoint in some scientific matters, I can and do give another perspective from establishment (politicized) science.

Astronomy is farther away from that corrupting influence than most of cosmology is.

The reluctance to deal with the realities on this planet is understandable, however, if we are to find another habitable planet, as we must, we must deal with the seemingly overwhelming scientific problems that face us.

Scientists who have a salary coming from the military budget directly or indirectly are focused in the wrong direction.

Your two blogs Astronomy & Space News and Nite Sky Girl are great.