Oct. 2, 2005

What are moons made of?

The Earth's moon was famously (and inaccurately) speculated to be composed of cheese at one time. That has been proven to be incorrect, unless you accept the conspiracy theory that the moon landings were faked and we could never know such things. Of course "we" did go there.

Aside: Going back to the moon will cost $100 billion and twelve years. Youch. There's no question that the Space Shuttle was a horse designed by a committee, but winding the clock all the way back to the days of the Apollo missions is a bit disheartening. NASA's problem is that they're (mainly) engineers, and when you give them a mission and a set of parameters they'll make it happen even if it's a stupid thing to do. And we all know what the chances are of getting intelligent guidance out of this White House. This "space initiative" is all about swagger and appearances, with the costs to be borne by another administration.
Now however we have a moon that looks like a left-over crumpet. This is space science done right. The Cassini probe is seeing amazing things as it bobbles around Saturn and it's moons. The latest image is of Hyperion, a 266 km-wide chunk that to my eye looks exactly like a gigantic crumpet...

Listening to: Man on the Moon by R.E.M. from Automatic For The People.

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