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Captured Comet Becomes Moon of Jupiter

CmdrTaco posted more than 4 years ago | from the don't-leave-me-moon-buddy dept.

Space 108

An anonymous reader writes 'Jupiter's gravity captured a comet in the mid-20th century, holding it in orbit as a temporary moon for 12 years. The comet, named 147P/Kushida-Muramatsu, is the fifth body known to have been pulled by Jupiter from its orbit around the Sun. The discovery adds to our understanding of how Jupiter interferes with objects from the 'Hilda group,' which are asteroids and comets with orbits related to Jupiter's orbit.'

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108 comments

The comet's shape (5, Funny)

R2.0 (532027) | more than 4 years ago | (#29412723)

The comet's shape was revealed to be rectilinear, with an aspect ratio comprising the squares of the first 3 non-zero positive primes.

Re:The comet's shape (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29412837)

The squares of the first 3 positive integers, you mean.
1 is NOT a prime number.

Re:The comet's shape (2, Insightful)

LaminatorX (410794) | more than 4 years ago | (#29412887)

That was not an entirely settled matter when The Sentinel was written.

Re:The comet's shape (2, Informative)

bcmm (768152) | more than 4 years ago | (#29413301)

You're thinking of the dimensions of the TMA-1 Monolith in 2001: A Space Odyssey. In The Sentinel (which 2001 was very loosely based on), the beacon is not a cuboid and has no such geometrical connection to prime numbers.

Re:The comet's shape (5, Informative)

R2.0 (532027) | more than 4 years ago | (#29412915)

From Wikipedia:

"Primality of one

The importance of this theorem is one of the reasons for the exclusion of 1 from the set of prime numbers. If 1 were admitted as a prime, the precise statement of the theorem would require additional qualifications, since 3 could then be decomposed in different ways

        3 = 1 3 and 3 = 1 1 1 3 = 13 3.

Until the 19th century, most mathematicians considered the number 1 a prime, the definition being just that a prime is divisible only by 1 and itself but not requiring a specific number of distinct divisors. There is still a large body of mathematical work that is valid despite labeling 1 a prime, such as the work of Stern and Zeisel. Derrick Norman Lehmer's list of primes up to 10,006,721, reprinted as late as 1956,[4] started with 1 as its first prime.[5] Henri Lebesgue is said to be the last professional mathematician to call 1 prime.[citation needed] The change in label occurred so that the fundamental theorem of arithmetic, as stated, is valid, i.e., "each number has a unique factorization into primes."[6][7] Furthermore, the prime numbers have several properties that the number 1 lacks, such as the relationship of the number to its corresponding value of Euler's totient function or the sum of divisors function.[8]"

At least I came by it honestly.

Re:The comet's shape (2, Funny)

danwesnor (896499) | more than 4 years ago | (#29413357)

Yeah, I wrote that article when I was on acid. Might not want to take it so seriously.

Re:The comet's shape (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29414313)

Neither are 0 or any of the negative numbers. The redundancy in that sentence is overwhelming. Quick, what are the real components of the first three non-negative rational Fibonacci numbers?!!?

Re:The comet's shape (2, Informative)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#29412885)

non-zero positive primes

Isn't that somewhat redundant?

Re:The comet's shape (1)

TheMeuge (645043) | more than 4 years ago | (#29413015)

No, because "non-zero" can be negative too. Although I suppose the end result will be positive regardless...

Re:The comet's shape (0, Redundant)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#29413057)

I'd say it's doubly redundant. Primes are, by definition, both nonzero and positive.

Nonzero and positive are only slightly redundant themselves, since mathematics will only occasionally deal with positive and negative zero. Computers may also consider zero to be a positive number, so "nonzero and positive" might not be redundant in computing.

Re:The comet's shape (0, Redundant)

aldo.gs (985038) | more than 4 years ago | (#29413235)

I'd say it's doubly redundant. Primes are, by definition, both nonzero and positive.

Since the OP is talking about "positive" (meaning that there are also "negative" numbers) he's talking about the integers. And since the integers are an integral domain the definition of primality becomes the definition for integral domain:

If p is a non-zero non-unit, we say that p is a prime element if, whenever p divides a product ab, then p divides a or p divides b

So it's actually not redundant.

 
Oh, god, what have I become...

Re:The comet's shape (0, Redundant)

aldo.gs (985038) | more than 4 years ago | (#29413283)

Sorry for the self-reply, but I meant that the "positive" condition is not redundant. The nonzero condition is redundant all right.

Re:The comet's shape (1, Redundant)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#29413373)

Prime number [wikipedia.org] :

In mathematics, a prime number (or a prime) is a natural number which has exactly two distinct natural number divisors: 1 and itself.

Natural number [wikipedia.org] :

In mathematics, there are two conventions for the set of natural numbers: it is either the set of positive integers {1, 2, 3, ...} according to the traditional definition or the set of non-negative integers {0, 1, 2, ...} according to a definition first appearing in the nineteenth century.

Every prime number is a natural number, and every natural number is a positive/non-negative (depending on which definition you choose) integer. "Positive prime" is redundant.

Re:The comet's shape (1)

aldo.gs (985038) | more than 4 years ago | (#29414075)

Well, my reply was actually tongue-in-cheek because of the generality of my definition (used in algebra). I assumed the OP was talking about the integers, not the natural numbers. The integers are an integral domain, so the definition of primality becomes the one for integral domains [wikipedia.org] .

So no, it's not redundant, given the conditions I assumed (I feel I have to say it explicitly this time :-P)

Re:The comet's shape (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29417613)

I learned prime numbers as any "number not evenly divisible by any other number (excluding 1 and itself, of course)", spoken by a 4th grade elementary school teacher and even 10 year-olds saw that it was obvious to exclude 1 and self when dealing with a rule such as this.

Re:The comet's shape (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#29417781)

Yes, but that's not really at question here. Allowing negative numbers opens a whole new set of possibilities.

7 divides evenly by 1, -1, 7, or -7. Is it still prime?

What about -7?

What are the prime factors of -12?

Is -3 a prime factor of 12?

It's easier just to limit primes (and the numbers we're dividing them by) to positive integers.

Was parent's mod ironic? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29419955)

> "Positive prime" is redundant.

So is "non-zero prime" for that matter. Primality is all about division. You *can't* divide by zero! Well, not unless you want your mathematical system to devolve into a hopeless mess of illogic where you get absurdities and inconsistencies, anyhow. It doesn't stop people from trying, though...

Re:The comet's shape (1)

spinach and eggs (1472445) | more than 4 years ago | (#29421051)

Every prime number is a natural number, and every natural number is a positive/non-negative (depending on which definition you choose) integer. "Positive prime" is redundant.

The "positive" part is not the redundant part... it is the "nonzero" part that is. You have started with "every prime number is a natural number", which is a false premise... you can't rely on wikipedia for everything.

More precisely, that definition taken from wikipedia is closer to that for an irreducible, not a prime.

A nonzero element p in a ring is a prime if when p divides a product "ab", then p must divide one of the factors "a" or "b". A nonzero element p is irreducible if whenever you write p = st then either s or t must be a unit (in the case of integers, 1 or -1).

It just so happens that in the case of integers, the concepts of prime and irreducible turn out to be equivalent, which results in endless confusion. This means that "definition" of primes that people usually give is more correctly a "theorem". Anyhow, in the ring of integers, we have both positive *and* negative primes (i.e. 2 and -2 are both primes). In common speech though, we restrict ourselves to natural numbers (as the wikipedia article appears to do, sacrificing mathematical correctness for vulgarity).

So as I said to start with, the "positive" part isn't redundant; it's just being more precise than people normally bother to be. However yes, the "nonzero" part is redundant.

Re:The comet's shape (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29413619)

Replying just because this thread needs more instances of the word "redundant"

Re:The comet's shape (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#29413073)

At some level, primes are defined to be positive and non zero (or at least, that is the way I have understood things, but I'm no mathematician, so the 'real' definition may be a good deal more complicated than the simplified one us normal people use).

Re:The comet's shape (2, Funny)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 4 years ago | (#29412899)

The comet's shape was revealed to be rectilinear
Though some thought it a doorway with stars in here
with an aspect ratio comprising the squares
of the first 3 non-zero positive primes.
Burma shave

Re:The comet's shape (2, Funny)

rattaroaz (1491445) | more than 4 years ago | (#29413145)

The comet's shape was revealed to be rectilinear, with an aspect ratio comprising the squares of the first 3 non-zero positive primes.

I thought only Uranus was rectalinear.

Re:The comet's shape (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29413417)

No, you're thinking of rectumlinear.

Good catch Jupiter (5, Insightful)

moon3 (1530265) | more than 4 years ago | (#29412857)

One can imagine that over billions of years Jupiter helped to clear-out our system from similar thrash pretty well.

Re:Good catch Jupiter (2, Funny)

navygeek (1044768) | more than 4 years ago | (#29412919)

Jupiter is like VICE Cops on a rampage...

Re:Good catch Jupiter (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29413007)

I like to watch Cops. It is one of my favorite shows.

Re:Good catch Jupiter (4, Informative)

speedtux (1307149) | more than 4 years ago | (#29413011)

Yes, it did. A planet like Jupiter may actually have been essential for complex life to develop on Earth.

Re:Good catch Jupiter (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29413459)

What an intelligent design to put it there, to dispose of all the garbage.

Re:Good catch Jupiter (4, Funny)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | more than 4 years ago | (#29413615)

Actually, had there been no Jupiter in our Solar system, the aliens would have probably parked the monolith in the orbit of Iapetus instead of Europa. Europa only made commuting easier for them.

Re:Good catch Jupiter (2, Interesting)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 4 years ago | (#29414321)

Yes, it did. A planet like Jupiter may actually have been essential for complex life to develop on Earth.

Maybe. However in addition to capturing bodies that could have threatened earth, Jupiter also attracts objects from the Oort Cloud etc. that would not have been any threat to Earth otherwise. The jury is still out on whether Jupiter is actually a net positive.

Re:Good catch Jupiter (0, Offtopic)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#29413029)

What I want to know is... was a flickering bat logo projected onto the clouds of Jupiter right before this rogue comet was incarcerated?

Deep Thought (5, Funny)

ciderVisor (1318765) | more than 4 years ago | (#29412989)

"Whether they ever find life there or not, I think Jupiter should be considered an enemy planet." - Jack Handey

Re:Deep Thought (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29413625)

Awesome Post. :)

This should be NASA's focus (2, Insightful)

Absolut187 (816431) | more than 4 years ago | (#29413017)

NASA should be spending most - if not all - of its budget preparing to avert a comet/asteroid from hitting earth.

Everything else is moot if we let that happen.

Unfortunately Congress is more concerned with steroids in baseball.
Sometimes I think we deserve to become extinct.

Re:This should be NASA's focus (5, Funny)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#29413107)

Yeah, and it's been thrown around the table a few times, but we still haven't figured out what sort of payment Jupiter will accept (or how to get it there). Hiring out gas giants for protection turns out to be less easy than you'd expect.

Re:This should be NASA's focus (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 4 years ago | (#29414353)

Maybe Jupiter is Mafia. It protects us, but expects some kind of payment. Maybe free planet pr0n? I hear Uranus has a nice...

Re:This should be NASA's focus (1)

The Archon V2.0 (782634) | more than 4 years ago | (#29416335)

Maybe Jupiter is Mafia. It protects us, but expects some kind of payment. Maybe free planet pr0n? I hear Uranus has a nice...

Shhh. It's a conspiracy. Remember how Pluto got reclassified as a "dwarf planet"? They did that because Jupiter's got a "little planet" fetish.

Re:This should be NASA's focus (2, Interesting)

Absolut187 (816431) | more than 4 years ago | (#29415357)

Haha.

But srsly, if we were to focus on generating models of our solar system, it could lead to a better understanding of which comets/asteroids will stay in Jupiter's orbit, which will be hurled out of the system, which will be thrown into the sun, and - most importantly - which will cross earth's orbit.

We also need to start practicing with deflecting/destroying asteroids/comets.

These should be our top priority.

And yet we are only tracking a small percentage of potentially dangerous objects.

Re:This should be NASA's focus (1, Troll)

AmigaMMC (1103025) | more than 4 years ago | (#29413217)

NASA should be spending most - if not all - of its budget preparing to avert a comet/asteroid from hitting earth

They already did: They created Jupiter!

Re:This should be NASA's focus (5, Insightful)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 4 years ago | (#29413225)

NASA should be spending most - if not all - of its budget preparing to avert a comet/asteroid from hitting earth.

With all due respect, I disagree. Yes, some resources should be directed at that problem. But there is so much more that can and should be done by NASA. The Hubble, Chandra, and Spitzer telescopes are a good example.

But what is the point in surviving if all we are doing is treading water? Sure we could spend billions on monitoring near space for potentially dangerous objects, but IMO we're better off spending those billions on things that can advance technology.

And in the (very) long run, our currently feeble attempts at space travel may lead to the best defense against catastrophic collisions -- another colonized planet.

Re:This should be NASA's focus (1)

camperdave (969942) | more than 4 years ago | (#29413561)

Sorry, but how is colonizing another planet going to prevent a catastrophic collision?

Re:This should be NASA's focus (4, Insightful)

KeithJM (1024071) | more than 4 years ago | (#29413939)

Sorry, but how is colonizing another planet going to prevent a catastrophic collision?

Imagine when all of what would become the human race lived in one valley in Africa. One particularly harsh winter or dry summer could wipe out the whole species, right? If that happened today it might still be a catastrophe but humanity would go on. If we had self-sufficient colonies on other planets, an asteroid could destroy the earth without killing off humanity.

Re:This should be NASA's focus (1)

danbert8 (1024253) | more than 4 years ago | (#29414011)

It wouldn't prevent the collision, but it would prevent the catastrophe of eliminating all human life.

Re:This should be NASA's focus (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29414483)

It wouldn't prevent the collision, but it would prevent the catastrophe of eliminating all human life.

Not only that, but it would also allow the eventual re-habitation of the Earth. A few decades or centuries after a catastrophic event the Earth will probably be the easiest place, in this solar system, to support large numbers of human beings. Therefore, not would a self-sufficient colony prevent human extinction or the distruction of civilization, it also means that the will eventually be repopulated.

Re:This should be NASA's focus (1)

jbezorg (1263978) | more than 4 years ago | (#29415375)

Good point, but It's a Monday and all I can think of is a bad James Bond movie.

Re:This should be NASA's focus (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 4 years ago | (#29414507)

It won't help prevent a body from hitting the earth.

What it will do is lessen the relative damage caused by such an impact.

Instead of wiping out all of humanity, and drastically change the ecosystem humans live in, it will only wipe out part of humanity, and some of the ecosystems we live in.

You know that old adage about putting all your eggs in one basket (don't do it!) -- we currently have all our eggs in one basket, and it would be nice if we could change that situation.

Re:This should be NASA's focus (1)

Medievalist (16032) | more than 4 years ago | (#29415683)

Sorry, but how is colonizing another planet going to prevent a catastrophic collision?

No need to be sorry, it's a good question. See, the aliens only have the resources to throw biosphere-destroying meteors at one planet, and if we spread to more than one they will save their resources for defense against our inevitable invasion and conquering of their own planets.

It makes perfect sense once you have all the data. See http://traipse.com/upgrade/index.html [traipse.com] for another idea about averting a catastrophic collision.

Re:This should be NASA's focus (1)

Absolut187 (816431) | more than 4 years ago | (#29414933)

>> But what is the point in surviving if all we are doing is treading water?
Wow. Really? You're joking right?

You're saying survival should not be #1 on our priority list.
That is just plain stupid.

Re:This should be NASA's focus (2, Insightful)

Sir_Lewk (967686) | more than 4 years ago | (#29415763)

We are the first and only known organism that has the ability to improve the state of it's species. We have the ability to make ourselves great and prosper and you propose we do nothing more than simply survive. Take about underachievement.

Re:This should be NASA's focus (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29415835)

We are the first and only known organism that has the ability to improve the state of it's species.

It'd be a great improvement if we had the ability to make you learn the rules of grammar.

Re:This should be NASA's focus (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29416241)

If I can use saxon genitives for nouns I don't see why I can't use them for pronouns as well. I refuse to make exceptions for contractions.

Re:This should be NASA's focus (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29418251)

If that had been a contraction, "it's" would be correct, but it's not. Ask yourself, does "...improve the state of it is species" make sense?

The possessive case of "it" is "its".

Re:This should be NASA's focus (1)

Absolut187 (816431) | more than 4 years ago | (#29416455)

>> you propose we do nothing more than simply survive. Take about underachievement

No, I propose ensuring our survival should be priority #1.
I'm not saying there should be no #2-whatever.

And considering that we haven't catalogued anywhere near 100% of the NEO (near earth objects), #1 is far from finished.

Nice straw man tho.

Re:This should be NASA's focus (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29415949)

We really should spend our budget searching for a weapons platform in the antarctic if we want to stop a comet from hitting earth ...

Re:This should be NASA's focus (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29416483)

NASA should be spending most - if not all - of its budget preparing to avert a comet/asteroid from hitting earth.

With all due respect, I disagree. Yes, some resources should be directed at that problem. But there is so much more that can and should be done by NASA. The Hubble, Chandra, and Spitzer telescopes are a good example.

But what is the point in surviving if all we are doing is treading water? Sure we could spend billions on monitoring near space for potentially dangerous objects, but IMO we're better off spending those billions on things that can advance technology.

This must be one of the most useless comments I have ever seen marked +5 Insightful.

First, because you have rebutted a straw man- he didn't say "monitor", he said "avert". Spending billions of advancing technology is exactly what would follow from a serious effort to become prepared to avert a comet/asteroid from hitting earth.

Second, we do not know the point in surviving until we get there, but, it is reasonable to assume that there is no point in learning the wonders of the universe by building better and more expensive telescopes only to have all the knowledge, along with us, extinguished.

Mods, you are not using your thinking caps.

Re:This should be NASA's focus (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29413381)

Er, no, actually, NASA should be spending most -if not all - of its budget preparing to colonise the galaxy. Nearly all comet/asteroid impacts would be survivable for humans as a species, but if a neutron star collision generated gamma ray burst or a supernova were to happen within minimum safe distance (quite a lot of lightyears) it would be game over, if we could colonise the whole galaxy then species survival would only be threatened by the heat death of the universe itself.

Re:This should be NASA's focus (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#29413461)

Who cares about the species? I want to detect the coming apocalypse and move before it happens. Frying all human life on planet earth will be game over for me, and I find very little comfort in the knowledge that humanity will survive elsewhere in the galaxy.

Yes, we both just watched Numbers, didn't we?

Re:This should be NASA's focus (1)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 4 years ago | (#29413975)

I'd just like to go on records as saying Numbers is painful to watch from a mathematical point of view. It most definitely does not earn you any geek points.

Re:This should be NASA's focus (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#29414113)

I meant Knowing. I haven't seen Numbers.

I can't believe I didn't remember that.

SPOILER (to explain why the movie is relevant to my post, if you haven't seen it and don't mind reading a complete spoiler):

Knowing is about an impending massive solar flare which destroys all life on planet earth. An alien race abducts a couple of kids to restart the human race. Nicolas Cage, who plays the dad of one of the kids, has to come to terms with his own approaching doom, and also with allowing his son to be taken by the aliens "for the greater good of humanity".

Re:This should be NASA's focus (1)

davewalthall (878247) | more than 4 years ago | (#29414801)

NASA should be spending most - if not all - of its budget preparing to avert a comet/asteroid from hitting earth.

No! We should be concentrating on moving our entire solar system away from the galactic core at just under the speed of light. After we clear out all asteroids and comets. Signed, Hindmost

Re:This should be NASA's focus (1)

yurtinus (1590157) | more than 4 years ago | (#29415061)

NASA should be spending most - if not all - of its budget preparing for the Sun's inevitable expansion into a Red Giant.

Everything else is moot if we let that happen.

mmkay, bit of a stretch as an example-- but it seems extremely shortsighted for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration to be solely focused on potentially dangerous bodies. We wouldn't have the capability of deflecting asteroids and comets if it wasn't for the technologies we've developed for exploration.

Re:This should be NASA's focus (1)

Absolut187 (816431) | more than 4 years ago | (#29415319)

>> We wouldn't have the capability of deflecting asteroids and comets if it wasn't for the technologies we've developed for exploration.

So f***ing what?

Re:This should be NASA's focus (2, Interesting)

yurtinus (1590157) | more than 4 years ago | (#29417417)

Feeding trolls is bad, but perhaps I should clarify regardless:

NASAs goals and objectives are not solely to protect earth from dangerous rocks. It is a research and exploration agency. I can see that if you're terrified of dangerous space rocks, you'd want to see that mission changed. I simply think it's a bad idea to redirect all of your resources to fend off one threat which has a minuscule year to year statistical likelihood. Sure, don't ignore the threat, but don't give up on all the other exploration you're doing.

But then again, you stick to your priorities. I can respect that ;)

Re:This should be NASA's focus (1)

Absolut187 (816431) | more than 4 years ago | (#29419673)

I'm not trolling, I really can't understand how intelligent people could be comfortable with current situation, where NASA admits it does not have the resources to watch all NEOs that could be dangerous. We're talking about an EXTINCTION event. Even if the likelihood is 1%, I don't care.

Pretty pictures and robots all over the place survival of species

Don't get me wrong. I'm a HUGE exploration fan. I think spirit and opportunity are two of the coolest things mankind has ever achieved. Voyager, Hubble, ISS, etc: AWESOME.

But if I was in charge we would not spend a dime on another project until we were tracking 100% of NEOs.

As a practical matter, I think the estimates are that the cost of tracking them all is only a few billions of dollars, which would leave plenty of NASA budget left for exploration. Why we aren't doing it is just mind-boggling to me.

I can't understand how smart people - even slashdotters - can just be content to say "oh well, its only a one in 500 chance of extinction. Fuck it."

But I guess I'm just a crazy troll and everyone else is making way more sense than me...

Re:This should be NASA's focus (2, Insightful)

yurtinus (1590157) | more than 4 years ago | (#29420939)

Except it's not a 1% chance. It's not a 1 in 500 chance. Extinction level impacts are a once in tens of millions of years event. I'm no astronomer, so have no ideas the difficulties involved in finding and tracking all NEOs-- but I do know that the effort involved for that is compounded by any number of objects that don't regularly live in our space. Essentially, you can never be 100% safe. I'm not saying do nothing, it's a mitigation versus aversion discussion. You can mitigate risks substantially where completely avoiding the risk is impossibly expensive.

Additionally-- impact events are only one of a myriad of potential calamities that we might face. Destabilization of the atmosphere (runnaway global cooling/warming), supervolcanoes, nearby gamma ray bursts, clathrate methane release, velociraptors, etcetc. You can't protect against everything, spending everything you have attempting to do so is just silly. Face it - Life is risky.

Re:This should be NASA's focus (2, Funny)

Junior J. Junior III (192702) | more than 4 years ago | (#29415663)

NASA should be spending most - if not all - of its budget preparing to avert a comet/asteroid from hitting earth.

Everything else is moot if we let that happen.

Unfortunately Congress is more concerned with steroids in baseball.
Sometimes I think we deserve to become extinct.

If we just gave enough steroids to the baseball players, they could probably hit any threatening meteors, asteroids, or comets out of the solar system, thereby solving both problems.

Re:This should be NASA's focus (1)

White Yeti (927387) | more than 4 years ago | (#29416777)

That's not really NASA's job [nasa.gov] . NASA usually gets criticized for performing commercial or military missions. NASA's job is to do the science: quantify the threat and find good ways to fix it. Their scope might be expanded to a one-off, prototype deflection mission, but a standing "Deflection Corp" would be a millstone about NASA's neck.

Re:This should be NASA's focus (1)

Absolut187 (816431) | more than 4 years ago | (#29417029)

Yes. It is.

As advances in space exploration in the '70s, '80s and '90s made it increasingly clear how many asteroids and comets travel the Solar System, U.S. officials began taking notice. In 1990, Congress directed NASA to conduct two studies on NEOs, or "Near-Earth Objects." Four years later, Washington told NASA to begin working with the Defense Department and international agencies to find and catalogue potentially dangerous NEOs. In 1998, that job became the explicit task of a new agency: the Near-Earth Object Program Office at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

http://www.brighthub.com/science/space/articles/5679.aspx [brighthub.com]

Is Jupiter gravity saving Earth? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29413067)

Or is it's a destructive influence?

Because we can send in Al Qaeda...

Take THAT you Jupiterian infidels!

Re:Is Jupiter gravity saving Earth? (1)

AmigaMMC (1103025) | more than 4 years ago | (#29413229)

>Take THAT you Jupiterian infidels!

That would be "Giovian" not Jupiterian.

Re:Is Jupiter gravity saving Earth? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29413585)

That would be Jovian, not Giovian. Moron.

Re:Is Jupiter gravity saving Earth? (2, Insightful)

Wizard Drongo (712526) | more than 4 years ago | (#29413905)

If you want to get truly pedantic, it'd be Iovian, since Latin lacks the letter "j"... But let's not quibble about details...

Re:Is Jupiter gravity saving Earth? (1)

Sulphur (1548251) | more than 4 years ago | (#29416663)

"Giovian" is the Italian part of the Jovian landscape. It is AKA the Red Spot.

Re:Is Jupiter gravity saving Earth? (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | more than 4 years ago | (#29413629)

Just wait until the Republic of Jewpiter will annihilate Al-Qaeda with their Marssad squads.

"in the mid-20th century" (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29413087)

Slashdot
History for nerds. Stuff that mattered.

I'll bet if I go back 50 years, I'll find a dupe in the archive.

Avenge the Mammals! (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 4 years ago | (#29413863)

The dinosaurs saved it there for eventual revenge on the mammals. It's like a snowball in the freezer so that you can pound your enemy in the summer, when they least expect it.

Wait a second... article may be overstating case (2, Interesting)

wisebabo (638845) | more than 4 years ago | (#29414457)

The article says that the comet had an orbit around Jupiter of 12 years. Well Jupiter has an orbital period around the sun of almost exactly 12 years also. Does this mean that the comet was in orbit around Jupiter or that it was merely in an orbit that was very similar to Jupiter's (in relation to the sun).

I believe that there is a NEO that basically does the same thing around earth. It travels in an orbit around the sun just slightly different from the earth so that sometimes it is in front of the earth on it's path and sometimes it is behind. From our perspective it makes a complex lissajous (spelling?) track. But I seem to remember it is definitely NOT "orbiting" the earth.

The article doesn't specifically state whether or not the comet is gravitationally bound to Jupiter which I guess is the definition of "orbiting" (I'm not a professional astronomer). Even if it was orbiting Jupiter, with a period of 12 years it was very loosely bound. In any case, how was it brought into Jupiter's proximity? How did it get ejected? Where is it now?

Re:Wait a second... article may be overstating cas (1)

kwikrick (755625) | more than 4 years ago | (#29414679)

RTFA!

"between 1949 and 1961 two full revolutions around Jupiter were completed" (by the comet in question, around Jupiter)

Two revolutions is not much. It's an orbit, but not a steady orbit. Shoemaker-Levy 9 did 12 orbits in 50 years, a little bit more stable, but alas, it crashed into the planet.

Re:Wait a second... article may be overstating cas (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 4 years ago | (#29414713)

Does this mean that the comet was in orbit around Jupiter or that it was merely in an orbit that was very similar to Jupiter's (in relation to the sun).

The astronomer in the article said that the comet was in orbit around Jupiter -- ergo moon, not simply an object in a similar orbit around the sun.

Re:Wait a second... article may be overstating cas (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 4 years ago | (#29419213)

Jupiter has much less mass than the sun such that it's possible to have the same orbital period as Jupiter has around the sun, yet still be relatively close to Jupiter. A 12-year orbit around a small object is usually closer to the parent than a 12-year orbit around a large object.

However, at that far out, the comet risks being affected by other planets and bodies, such as Saturn. It's roughly comparable to sticking your head too far out of the car window: you risk getting womped about another car.

The Hilda Group? (1)

Tetsujin (103070) | more than 4 years ago | (#29415015)

I never really understood the whole "Hot Ice" thing (former jewel thief, maybe?) but Hilda was awesome. Pity she had to buy it early on in the series so Gene could be the star.

How does it capture an outside body? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29415029)

If the comet started in a state with enough potential energy where it was not a moon of Jupiter, then how did it lose enough total energy for it to be captured? It seems that it would have to be slowed down by friction, or a loss of mass, or else the kinetic energy gained during its passing by would fling it back away from Jupiter... so what exactly is the process of capturing?

Re:How does it capture an outside body? (1)

argent (18001) | more than 4 years ago | (#29415497)

Either a gravitational slingshot effect from Jupiter's moons, or they're defining "orbit" pretty loosely.

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