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Solar Storm Nearly Wipes Out NASA's Messenger

CmdrTaco posted about 3 years ago | from the do-something-to-the-hatches dept.

NASA 110

tcd004 writes "There was a close call last week when an enormous coronal ejection nearly hit Mercury and the orbiting Messenger spacecraft. Scientists at the Space Weather Laboratory flew into action, modeling the event to determine how close it had come to the spacecraft using data from the twin STEREO sun observers. The group used an animated model called WSA-ENLIL, named after a Sumerian lord of wind and storms. Enlil, who wears a crown of horns, is known for being a kind but also cruel god who sends forth disasters, including a great flood that wiped out humanity. Fortunately Messenger escaped Enlil's wrath."

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110 comments

"slightest possibility of a glancing blow " (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35722824)

Sounds like it wasn't really that close of a call.

Are these efforts worthwhile? (-1, Troll)

bogaboga (793279) | about 3 years ago | (#35722836)

Apart from the knowledge we obtain from these vehicles...can we justify these expensive ventures in these recession times?

Re:Are these efforts worthwhile? (4, Informative)

Black Parrot (19622) | about 3 years ago | (#35722888)

Apart from the knowledge we obtain from these vehicles...can we justify these expensive ventures in these recession times?

Launched in the good ol' days of 2004, according to Wikipedia. Already made it's first flyby before the economic collapse.

The only way you could save money on it now is to shut down the ground team, effectively throwing away your investment and many years' work.

Re:Are these efforts worthwhile? (4, Informative)

Lord Byron II (671689) | about 3 years ago | (#35723124)

I might not be able to tell you exactly how this will benefit you, but in general more knowledge is never a bad thing. Consider the huge number of products and ideas that we use everyday that came from accidents or people just playing around (rubber, penicillin, and superglue, to name a few).

War, on the other hand, serves no creative purpose, but only destroys. I would ask you how we can continue to justify several different military actions during a recession.

One more thing: first, consider NASA's budget which is 0.6% of the federal budget. Now consider the Department of Defense's budget, which is 19%. (Both of these numbers are straight from Wikipedia for 2010.) I can't justify spending 32 times as much on wars that will only serve to kill people and create a worldwide hatred of America as we spend on our space program. It doesn't make any sense to me.

Re:Are these efforts worthwhile? (3, Informative)

GooberToo (74388) | about 3 years ago | (#35723196)

War, on the other hand, serves no creative purpose, but only destroys. I would ask you how we can continue to justify several different military actions during a recession.

Its not politically correct nor a popular notion, but massive technology and societal improvements are the direct result of war. To deny this is to admit one doesn't know history. And contrary to your assertion, war is frequently fueled by massive levels of creativity. Almost everything you take for granted in modern life, either directly or indirectly, can be attributed to war.

Re:Are these efforts worthwhile? (3, Interesting)

hedwards (940851) | about 3 years ago | (#35723338)

That's the way it's been, however that's not because of any particular rule. It's more because it's easier to get funding to blow something up than to do something productive. People tend to be more willing to open their purses for something that they feel is in their interest, particularly if it helps them avoid something that scares them.

Societies that have other values tend to have other routes to developing technology. Ones which value agriculture tend to poor their resources there and into things which are related.

Re:Are these efforts worthwhile? (1)

turbidostato (878842) | about 3 years ago | (#35723596)

"Its not politically correct nor a popular notion, but massive technology and societal improvements are the direct result of war. To deny this is to admit one doesn't know history."

I have a bit of a grasp on History and I plainly deny that: the only direct result of war is people being killed. Everything else are indirect results and, as such, they could have been gotten by other ways -without the killing.

Adscribing technology and social advance to wars as if it were the only way to achieve those results just because that was how in fact they happened is naive at best, criminal at worst.

Re:Are these efforts worthwhile? (1)

GooberToo (74388) | about 3 years ago | (#35723824)

You seem to be talking around in circles without a coherent statement.

I have a bit of a grasp on History and I plainly deny that: the only direct result of war is people being killed

Well, by you're own admission, you just contradicted yourself. Factually, history completely disagrees with you. The fact you state you know history and then directly contradict history to make your point, entirely invalidates your point as well as your credibility.

Everything else are indirect results and, as such, they could have been gotten by other ways -without the killing.

I never said they couldn't be obtained in a world of purely research driven science. But no one lives in that world. No one. Furthermore, its true that some advancements may eventually be made, but in what time span? A decade? A century? More? Like it or not, for example, WWII and the despicable medical experiments conducted by the Germans alone advanced the state of the art by fifty to a hundred years in medical understanding. Literally some of that research is still used today in new research. That doesn't justify the horrors conducted by the Germans but its fact nonetheless.

The simple fact is, almost all of the things on today's "modern" technology literally is because of WWII, the Cold War, and Vietnam. Is it possible that technology could have been developed elsewhere? Absolutely! But likely not for another fifty to hundred years.

As for societal improvements, literally almost the entire world contradicts you. Japan, Vietnam, Korea, are all typical examples which completely prove your notions to be false.

So while it may offend your polite company sensibilities, it doesn't validate your opinion in the least.

Re:Are these efforts worthwhile? (1)

Qzukk (229616) | about 3 years ago | (#35725526)

Factually, history completely disagrees with you

And factually, present day completely disagrees with history. How's our roaring war economy doing now?

Re:Are these efforts worthwhile? (1)

MartinSchou (1360093) | about 3 years ago | (#35724058)

Its not politically correct nor a popular notion, but massive technology and societal improvements are the direct result of war.

Certainly depends on the war.

What massive technological improvements did we see as a result of the 6 day war?

And I hate to break it to you, but a war is between the armies of two or more countries. What the US is engaged in in Afghanistan and Iraq are not wars anymore - they are police actions.

But please, do enlighten the curious amongst us - what civilian technological advancements have we seen as a result of the situation in Afghanistan and Iraq? I'll even let you use the first Gulf War, if you can think of anything other than improvements in GPS and autonomous navigation.

Now, it IS true that in the "good old days", both World War I and II brought some rather massive technological improvements, but the main reasons for that was the time they lasted and the amount of rapid evolution needed to keep up against the other sides.

Now, why can't we have similar improvements without war? We probably could, but that will never happen because of one thing - money. When we have an enemy that is on the brink of destroying us, we don't really care if we get paid on time. Or get paid. Keep us fed and clothed, and we'll work 16 hours a day pumping out new weapons and technology.

Let's put the money part into perspective.

In 2004 there were 2,630,000 first-time freshmen college students enrolled [ed.gov] .

Let's set tuition at a REALLY high average cost of 100,000 dollars/year - TWICE that of Yale's most expensive program [yale.edu] .

It would cost 263 billion dollars a year to give these student a 100,000 dollar college education. The US Defense Department budget was 689 billion dollars in 2010.

To be honest, I was expecting this to be a very different result. I seriously thought that the tuition for these freshmen would have been a LOT higher than the defense budget.

The question is - what would the US be able to achieve, as a nation, if they were to divert 263 billion dollars a year from its defense budget to pay for kids wanting to go to college? Sure, it'd have to drop the actions in Iraq and Afghanistan, which only cover some 150 billion dollars in the 2011 budget, so it'd have to pull another 120 billion from elsewhere in its budget. But would it really be that much less safe, if it reduced its budget from 661 billion to 398 billion? That would still put it a 3.98 times of what China spends in second place. [wikipedia.org]

But seriously - can you look at these costs and still claim that you can never get any kind of similar boosts to technology and society, if you were willing to pump the same amount of money into education?

If we go with Yale's most expensive program (50k USD/year) and expect every freshman to complete and graduate a four year degree, we're looking at yearly costs of 526 billion USD. That'd still leave the Defense Department with 163 billion USD, which is STILL more than the second place spender.

Re:Are these efforts worthwhile? (1)

GooberToo (74388) | about 3 years ago | (#35724258)

Certainly depends on the war.

What massive technological improvements did we see as a result of the 6 day war?

Nice try in idiocy and trolling. Factually, the 6-day war was also deemed the end of tank warfare and the return to massive civilian deaths. As a result of such proclamations, the state of the art in metallurgy and material sciences received a boost. The resulting research has made advances to almost everything you see as "modern" today. Not to mention, composite armors are now standard fair on main battle tanks which means dramatically extended lives for tank crews.

Absolutely, the scale and scope of the war makes big differences and massive advances as a result of small wars, such as the six day war, are by far the exception. But then again, this is rather obvious. The longer and more protracted the war, the more money is going to be spent. If this is news to you, you're an idiot. The fact you mention this as somehow validating your point, extremely diminishes your credibility. Seriously, think about it. Derr...no money spent means no science earned. Its almost universally true in all aspects of life.

The rest of your bullshit is just that...baseless rhetoric and bullshit.

If you want to close your eyes and pretend the world doesn't exist, that's fine by me. It literally costs me nothing for you to be stupid and ignorant. If on the other hand, you want to evolve to the modern world, feel free to open your eyes and educate yourself.

Re:Are these efforts worthwhile? (0)

khallow (566160) | about 3 years ago | (#35723220)

One more thing: first, consider NASA's budget which is 0.6% of the federal budget. Now consider the Department of Defense's budget, which is 19%.

19% is spent on the prevention of war. That's how you can justify several different military actions during a recession.

Re:Are these efforts worthwhile? (1)

ivucica (1001089) | about 3 years ago | (#35723288)

Libya is engagement in conflict, not a prevention of conflict. Prove me otherwise.

Re:Are these efforts worthwhile? (1)

hedwards (940851) | about 3 years ago | (#35723368)

The bigger issue is that as soon as you start putting that kind of money into the DoD people want to see the military do something. Libya is a much better user of resources than Iraq was, albeit, a much cheaper conflict to get involved in. Even if they don't give us access to their resources, having an unstable regime headed by a dictator isn't in our best interest.

There's also the issue of the things which are going unfunded so that we can devote that much money to the defense department. Things like proper universal health care and education to name a couple.

Re:Are these efforts worthwhile? (1)

ivucica (1001089) | about 3 years ago | (#35723642)

The bigger issue is that as soon as you start putting that kind of money into the DoD people want to see the military do something.

Why put the money into DoD at all?

Libya is a much better user of resources than Iraq was, albeit, a much cheaper conflict to get involved in. Even if they don't give us access to their resources, having an unstable regime headed by a dictator isn't in our best interest.

Violating sovereignty of another nation state (even the one led by an unstable dictator) is in the interest of the world's "pinnacle of freedom and democracy"? Taking sides in an internal conflict is right and justified? I don't remember the United States being so proactive during the war in my homeland. In fact, I remember certain embargoes while we were attacked. It must be just my memory.

For some reason, my logic must be screwed up as well, since I don't see anyone talking about bringing down the regime of Kazakhstan, where Nursultan Nazarbayev won with alleged support of 95% of citizens. Which is quite an ordinary thing after 20 years of rule, right? What about Sudan, Yemen? Oh, let's not forget the Democratic Republic of Kampuchea and its leaders, who, after they lost power, were supported by China and the United States.

It seems I'm a pretty much messed up person, for opposing the senseless war. Since you worry about universal healthcare and education, you are probably a pretty messed up person yourself. Since of course the "security", "stability" and "spread of democracy" [bartleby.com] are a priority, right?

Re:Are these efforts worthwhile? (1)

khallow (566160) | about 3 years ago | (#35723920)

I don't remember the United States being so proactive during the war in my homeland. In fact, I remember certain embargoes while we were attacked. It must be just my memory.

The embargoes affected everyone in the former Yugoslavia including Serbia and Montenegro. It's just unfortunate that the victims were more strongly affected than the aggressors. But that's how conflicts are peacefully resolved. Big fish eats little fish.

Re:Are these efforts worthwhile? (1)

ivucica (1001089) | about 3 years ago | (#35724250)

The embargoes affected everyone in the former Yugoslavia including Serbia and Montenegro.

Which, even despite I'm in one of the attacked countries, does not make me happy.

It's just unfortunate that the victims were more strongly affected than the aggressors. But that's how conflicts are peacefully resolved. Big fish eats little fish.

Rather odd way at looking at things. Denying defensive weaponry and other things to build up a resistance surely is an effective way to resolve a conflict. Because then it cannot even be called a conflict; if there's only one properly armed side, how can you call it a conflict?

If you however think there is someone who is defending himself, and has a right to defend himself, just help or don't interfere. Imposing a weapon import embargo on a state that cannot defend itself means its citizens will be "dealt with" by the other side.

When comparing things to the other wars, people seem to miss one important thing: insurgents in Libya have insisted that there is, really, no division among Libyans. In that way, the situation is unlike the one in Yugoslavia: supporters of Gaddafi are "artificially" separated from insurgents. Not by difference of tradition, difference of language, difference of customs, but by their opinions of the current leader. Is there a religious difference, as in Iraq? What are their differences?

Why not attempt a diplomatic solution? Why not first just threaten Gaddafi to deploy troops, and demand negotiations and observers? Perhaps I did not track the events enough, but I don't remember anyone making such demands. It was immediately "They're suppressing a rebellion, lets attack them".

Nobody went into Libya to prevent a conflict, but to encourage one. If lives were all the world worried about, they would have let Gaddafi go when he wanted to take the money and run, instead of telling him "no".

Re:Are these efforts worthwhile? (1)

khallow (566160) | about 3 years ago | (#35724902)

If you however think there is someone who is defending himself, and has a right to defend himself, just help or don't interfere. Imposing a weapon import embargo on a state that cannot defend itself means its citizens will be "dealt with" by the other side.

Any silver tongued politician could have told you that they were "helping" not just "interfering". This sort of game is played whenever there is concern about evils committed somewhere, but nobody in power wants to be at risk from doing something concrete. Games were played in the days prior to the Second World War and in Cambodia and Rwanda. Evil was allowed to fester and grow.

This is why I consider a military as more than a thing that breaks things, kills people, and destroys societies. There are always powers which take from the weaker. Too often, pathetic, insignificant diplomacy has been substituted for meaningful measures such as the use of military force to get a tyrant to back down. I have no idea why some people think that mere diplomacy can settle matters where a bully picks on the weak. But that is the great conceit of modern pacifism, that understanding and cooperation is all that is needed for two foes to come to terms in a war.

Re:Are these efforts worthwhile? (1)

bhcompy (1877290) | about 3 years ago | (#35723670)

What if Libya is a prevention of wider conflict, or future conflict?

Re:Are these efforts worthwhile? (1)

ivucica (1001089) | about 3 years ago | (#35723730)

That's just speculation. What's your evidence?

Re:Are these efforts worthwhile? (1)

bhcompy (1877290) | about 3 years ago | (#35728722)

The ultimate goal of any intervention in arab countries is stabilization. Destabilization invites war, particularly nasty war when Muslim dominated nations with what is considered a decent military for the region are so close to Israel.

Re:Are these efforts worthwhile? (1)

camperdave (969942) | about 3 years ago | (#35724998)

What if Libya is a prevention of wider conflict, or future conflict?

What if Libya is the trigger for a wider conflict, or future conflict?

Re:Are these efforts worthwhile? (1)

element-o.p. (939033) | about 3 years ago | (#35723346)

I know what you are trying to say, but just think about it for a second: "prevention of war" by going to war? And you said that with a straight face? (Well, typed it, anyway).

If you really think dropping bombs on people is the best way to prevent war, then I humbly suggest you read Three Cups of Tea [amazon.com] by Greg Mortenson.

Re:Are these efforts worthwhile? (1)

turbidostato (878842) | about 3 years ago | (#35723664)

""prevention of war" by going to war? And you said that with a straight face?"

Not that I share such an opinion, but you can bet khallow is not the first one to try that path: did you never heard about the Latin saying 'si vis pacem para bellum', or its "original" from Vegetius 'Igitur qui desiderat pacem, praeparet bellum'.

That's more or less 1500 years ago, so not really hot news.

Re:Are these efforts worthwhile? (2)

element-o.p. (939033) | about 3 years ago | (#35723788)

"Prepare," sure. "Go to," no.

There's a big difference between being the biggest, toughest kid on the playground that no one wants to mess with because they *know* they will get pummeled if they try, and being the bully on the playground who goes around picking fights.

Re:Are these efforts worthwhile? (1)

camperdave (969942) | about 3 years ago | (#35724952)

19% is spent on the prevention of war? Well, that's money out the window. How many wars are you guys involved in now? Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Pakistan. Might as well take that 19% and spend it on something useful.

Re:Are these efforts worthwhile? (1)

C1970H (811524) | about 3 years ago | (#35723936)

One more thing: first, consider NASA's budget which is 0.6% of the federal budget. Now consider the Department of Defense's budget, which is 19%. (Both of these numbers are straight from Wikipedia for 2010.) I can't justify spending 32 times as much on wars that will only serve to kill people and create a worldwide hatred of America as we spend on our space program. It doesn't make any sense to me.

To equate all DOD spending with only war, killing, and hatred of America is ludicrous. Yes, the US military is actively engaged in hostile actions. However it is usually among the first to respond when humanitarian relief is required- such as recent efforts in "Japan." [voanews.com] Furthermore military technology finds it's way to civilian "non-lethal uses." [csmonitor.com] Also, kind of funny slamming DOD budget as all war and killing while posting to a site that is accessible thanks in large part to DARPA funded core technology. Granted probably a tiny piece of that defense war and killing budget, but part of it nonetheless. Arguably some of the same tech could have made it's way to civilian use without DOD, but to deny that DOD funding accelerated those moves is naive beyond belief.

Back on topic -- the recent experiences with Messenger as pointed out in the article only reinforce the need to understand, detect and frankly plan for a major terrestrial disruption due to CME or other type bursts. I'm confident we'll experience a major outage in my lifetime, and as electronics become more and more interconnected the disruptions caused by that outage will have a larger and unpredictable impact on ordinary folks. Time to get our heads out of the sand.

Re:Are these efforts worthwhile? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35722926)

i say yes.

the knowledge we earn from this may (or may not) help a lot in many things. going from science to helping the economy.
remember that doing stuff like this gives people a job, people that will buy stuff, which once again gives other people a job and keeps the economy going.

cutting costs is not always the best way to fight a recession.

its not as if there weren't any other things that could be done other then space missions during previous years. solving the problems of earth first may not work, at the very least this way we might find some more solutions to earths problems

Re:Are these efforts worthwhile? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35722934)

fly away little troll

Yes, these are worthwhile (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35722982)

Designing, building, launching and operating a space mission is expensive. Very expensive, even.

But let's be realistic, the cost of this mission isn't even a rounding error compared to other expenses our government has taken upon itself. If we really wanted to cut back our expenses shouldn't be looking at one-off costs. There are plenty other places where orders of magnitude more money could be saved. We shouldn't save on science, again. We only have a little left anyway.

Re:Are these efforts worthwhile? (1)

dtmos (447842) | about 3 years ago | (#35722984)

Can we justify these expensive ventures in these recession times?

Where do you think the money is spent? The paychecks of thousands of people are directly related to spaceflight -- your neighbors and mine. The programs themselves buy products of every description, from commodities like gases and metals to highly engineered and specialized electronics and mechanical assemblies, from companies both large and small -- not to mention the services of a wide range of people, from painters to software engineers. These people then reinvest their paychecks in your community, at restaurants, department stores, and every other consumer outlet. It's hard to think of a more fiscally-responsible activity in "these recession times."

Re:Are these efforts worthwhile? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35723222)

That and it is a sunk cost at this point. The money was 'spent' in 2004.

Re:Are these efforts worthwhile? (1)

dtmos (447842) | about 3 years ago | (#35723722)

To be sure, in the case of MESSENGER; but IMHO the GP was asking about policy, not an implementation: He mentions "these vehicles" and "these expensive ventures", yet there is only one MESSENGER spacecraft.

Or maybe he's just a troll, and we're both screwed ^_^

Re:Are these efforts worthwhile? (2)

Grygus (1143095) | about 3 years ago | (#35723018)

Absolutely not. We need that money to fund more pointless never-ending wars like the ones on drugs and terrorism. We need to be researching less invasive ways to invade the privacy of citizens, so we can make the nation secure without anyone realizing that we're doing it by monitoring them 24/7. We need bigger CEO bonuses so that the wealthy can make all the rest of us happier by keeping the money that doesn't buy happiness. We need to route more money through the political process in case someone there hasn't gotten the message on how to vote.

Gaining knowledge doesn't add to the bottom line and impress stock brokers, so that's clearly a waste of cash. Just like education in general.

Re:Are these efforts worthwhile? (1)

Zenaku (821866) | about 3 years ago | (#35723110)

Apart from the knowledge we obtain? Well no. Duh. The knowledge we obtain from these vehicles is the only benefit anyone ever intended or expected to get from them, so if you deliberately exclude that from the calculations, then of course we can't justify it.

The first rule of Tautology Club is the first rule of Tautology club.

Re:Are these efforts worthwhile? (2, Insightful)

Colonel Korn (1258968) | about 3 years ago | (#35723348)

Apart from the knowledge we obtain from these vehicles...can we justify these expensive ventures in these recession times?

Apart from the knowledge we obtain from this sort of endeavor...can we justify the value of the human race? Seriously, this is the goal. Everything we've done and all of our efforts as a species it lead up to this sort of exploration of the frontiers of science, astronomy, and meaning. If we don't do something other than reproduce and advertise, if we're only interested in looking inward and never outward, why do we even need to exist?

Re:Are these efforts worthwhile? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35723412)

What matters beyond the knowledge it gains? What has gotten us to where we are as a civilization is NOT gold nor money but KNOWLEDGE. The pittance that is spent on NASA is NOTHING next to the mountains of money - literally HUNDREDS OF BILLIONS OF DOLLARS EACH YEAR on the 'oh so worthwhile' activity of KILLING EACH OTHER IN WARFARE. FEH! Want to save some money? STOP KILLING PEOPLE AROUND THE WORLD!

Re:Are these efforts worthwhile? (1)

Ogive17 (691899) | about 3 years ago | (#35723734)

Yeah, that's a good idea. Let's stop the programs so we have to lay off the scientists and the factory workers that make the high precision parts! That will help us out in this poor economy!

Faux budgetary concern (1)

mister_playboy (1474163) | about 3 years ago | (#35728314)

Some of us actually come here for the science stories. Anyone with even a minimal understanding of the amount of money MESSENGER requires in comparison to the federal budget overall can see your concern is facetious. Please take your lame political trolling to an iDevice "story" and leave us nerds in peace.

Coronal ejection? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35722848)

I just had one of those in the men's restroom.

Yeah, yeah (4, Funny)

Black Parrot (19622) | about 3 years ago | (#35722860)

Enlil, who wears a crown of horns, is known for being a kind but also cruel god who sends forth disasters, including a great flood that wiped out humanity.

When you meet one of them, you've met them all. A bunch of jerks, if you ask me.

Re:Yeah, yeah (2)

tverbeek (457094) | about 3 years ago | (#35723236)

At least this answers the question that pagan fanboys have been asking for millennia: "Who'd win, Mercury or Enlil?"

Re:Yeah, yeah (2)

Ironchew (1069966) | about 3 years ago | (#35725142)

At least this answers the question that pagan fanboys have been asking for millennia: "Who'd win, Mercury or Enlil?"

That thread had been quiet for about 400 years, but no, you just had to flame it up again. Classical trolls incoming.

Also... (1)

denzacar (181829) | about 3 years ago | (#35723352)

How exactly does one get to be "kind" and "cruel" at the same time? God or no god. How does that work?
He cruelly cuts people's breaks and then he kindly saves them from their burning cars?
Or does he give gifts - that also have a random chance of killing their recipient?

Re:Also... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35728848)

I believe this [tinyurl.com] is the answer. It's the only good explanation that would also allow the universe to fall within the bounds of religious context.

Re:Also... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35728986)

You gotta be
Cruel to be kind in the right measure
Cruel to be kind it's a very good sign
Cruel to be kind means that I love you
Baby, you gotta be cruel to be kind

Re:Also... (1)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | about 3 years ago | (#35731488)

There's a lot of the aspects of weather or climate personified into Enlil - he makes the plants grow, but he also sends devastating floods. Guess this unpredictable ambivalence is what they point at with "cruel and kind" here. Enlil is actually pretty badass, but with a strong schizophrenic tendency. First he helps create mankind, then he tries to wipe them with a flood, because they make too much noise. Utnapishtim - the Noah-equivalent of Sumerian mythos - does the whole ark thing, and hey, Enlil has another change of mind, walks over to old Utna and makes him immortal. Not exactly clear lines of action here.

Re:Yeah, yeah (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35728932)

Didn't you know? Gods are the original manic-depressives.

Re:Yeah, yeah (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35729648)

Not *my* God! Nope, *my* God is the genuine, One True God.

Ha! Those other ridiculous Gods are so silly.

Change orbits? (1)

LoudMusic (199347) | about 3 years ago | (#35722974)

I wonder if stuff like that has the potential to change orbits of plants. If the Sun were to push itself enough out of position everything circling it would begin to have irregular orbits around it and things could get really bad.

Re:Change orbits? (1)

Matheus (586080) | about 3 years ago | (#35723040)

I wonder if stuff like that has the potential to change orbits of plants.

I'm certainly concerned about my garden... I can never keep it the right distance from my house!

Re:Change orbits? (1)

smelch (1988698) | about 3 years ago | (#35723044)

I think our plants will be fine. Also, the sun is HUGE, the distance between planets is HUGE, its not like changing the velocity of the sun will suddenly cause all kinds of collisions to take place as we're orbiting. Basically you're worried over what happens when an ant gets catapulted off the earth.

Re:Change orbits? (1)

berashith (222128) | about 3 years ago | (#35723326)

sounds like fun , lets find out what happens... I have an ant, you get the catapult!

Re:Change orbits? (1)

thomasdz (178114) | about 3 years ago | (#35723606)

sounds like fun , lets find out what happens... I have an ant, you get the catapult!

My uncle would be upset with you.

An interesting experiment (1)

dtmos (447842) | about 3 years ago | (#35723054)

First you have to find a plant in orbit, though...

Re:An interesting experiment (1)

jd (1658) | about 3 years ago | (#35726940)

Mir!
.
In its last days, there were all kinds of moulds, spores and fungi growing on the outside. Possibly more complex life. That makes Mir a plant that was in orbit, right?

Re:Change orbits? (2)

Bemopolis (698691) | about 3 years ago | (#35723090)

I hope the commenter above who wonders whether the expense is worth the knowledge reads this comment and shudders to think how much worse it would be if everyone's grasp of physics were this fingerless. It's bad enough we have *one* Alabama.

I'm sorry to pick on you, self-professed fan of loud music, but something that ignorant of the physical processes of the Universe just friggin hurts. To quote an old physics gent: That's not right. It's not even wrong.

Re:Change orbits? (1)

lymond01 (314120) | about 3 years ago | (#35723960)

You get his idea though: if you're standing in the center of a 100% frictionless frozen pond in a vacuum, you have no way of progressing forward. So if you actually want to get off the pond what do you do? You take off your mitten and toss it in the opposite direction. Or, if you're the sun, you have a coronal ejection, spewing pieces of yourself into the void.

This could, conceivably, move the sun. And yes, the planets wouldn't just follow along with it automagically -- they have their own momentum as well as the gravitation well of the Sun to deal with. I wouldn't expect planets to collide certainly, but their own orbits might change slightly over the short term (thousands of years) which, conceivably, could have a detrimental effect on your rosebush in the side yard.

I'm likely not thinking of something physically obvious, so please point me in the right direction in the usual generous slashdot manner. :-)

Re:Change orbits? (3, Informative)

Bemopolis (698691) | about 3 years ago | (#35724418)

I'm likely not thinking of something physically obvious, so please point me in the right direction in the usual generous slashdot manner.

The most physically obvious thing you are overlooking is the amount of material in a CME. Even at their most violent a CME would be hard pressed to top 1e-20 of the Sun's mass, which would mean that with an eruption speed topping 3000 km/sec the most kick it could give would change the Sun's speed by less than the radius of a hydrogen atom per hour.

So, to follow your analogy, it is not so much like throwing your mitten in the opposite direction than it is trying to jet your way to the bank by a single, unenthusiastic fart. Which, as a strategy, is pretty close to the usual generous slashdot manner.

Re:Change orbits? (1)

Veroxii (51114) | about 3 years ago | (#35726912)

So, to follow your analogy, it is not so much like throwing your mitten in the opposite direction than it is trying to jet your way to the bank by a single, unenthusiastic fart. Which, as a strategy, is pretty close to the usual generous slashdot manner.

You sir made my day! I tip my hat to thee.

Re:Change orbits? (1)

camperdave (969942) | about 3 years ago | (#35725212)

Lie down. Breathe in through the mouth, and out through the nose. You'll get to the edge.

Oh wait! You said vacuum. Well, that eliminates the breathing solution. However, you probably wouldn't do to well in a mittenless space suit either.

Re:Change orbits? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35729056)

Have you tried thinking? Coronal ejections are a common occurrence; the Sun does that kind of thing all the time. Yet all the planets have been in stable orbits for billions of years. What does this tell you?

Another Great Flood? (1)

zamboni1138 (308944) | about 3 years ago | (#35723116)

"...including a great flood that wiped out humanity."

Jesus, there was another one of those? How many does that make for humanity?

Re:Another Great Flood? (1)

MarkGriz (520778) | about 3 years ago | (#35723192)

Jesus, there was another one of those? How many does that make for humanity?

He doesn't know. Ask his dad.

Re:Another Great Flood? (1)

Mspangler (770054) | about 3 years ago | (#35728002)

"Jesus, there was another one of those? How many does that make for humanity?"

I'm doing a small portion of His light work today...

It depends on where you live.

"The multiple flood hypothesis was first proposed by R.B. Wiatt, Jr., in 1980. Wiatt argued for a sequence of multiple floods â" 40 or more.[11][12][13] Wiatt's proposal was based mainly on analysis from glacial lake bottom deposits in Ninemile Creek and the flood deposits in Burlingame Canyon. His most compelling argument for separate floods was that the Touchet bed deposits from two successive floods were found to be separated by two layers of volcanic ash (tephra) with the ash separated by a fine layer of windblown dust deposits, located in a thin layer located between sediment layers ten rhythmites below the top of the Touchet beds (see picture)."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Missoula_Floods [wikipedia.org]

another /.gov.story.science.fiction.space.gods.gov (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35723232)

is the sun now enemizing us/our outer space program as well? the way it's blocked from our view all the time now, it must be so? got it, thanks.

is this guy now our enemy too, or do spies like us?;
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dDVt_hSo_EU&NR=1

real math; taking one (1) life =crime vs. humanity

give US a minute here. this can't be right? isn't there justdenyable
homicide? that's the old time religion? god's will? too many of us (by
about 5 billion)? still foggy? in these complex times, it can be
disgustingly enlightening to return to the teachings of the georgia stone
trustdead freemason 'math'?

freemason kids traumatized by native teachings

we're not the only (chosen) ones? the natives must have made some
mathematical errors? let's see, wasn't that problem taken care of before?
& before that. let's check the georgia stone, all the answers are there?
not to fret then, the #s never lie?

the GSM get their tiny (ie; selfish, stingy, eugenatic, fake math) .5
billion remaining population, & the money/weapons/vaccine/deception/fake
'weather' alchemist/genetically altered nazi mutant goon exchangers, get
us? yikes

the 'fog' is lifting? more chariots will be needed?

with real math, even being remotely involved in lifetaking (paying for,
supplying endless ordinance) is also a crime against ALL of the world.

ALL (uninfactdead) MOMMYS......

the georgia stone remains uneditable? gad zooks. are there no chisels?

previous math discardead; 1+1 extrapolated (Score:mynutswon; no such thing
as one too many here)

deepends on how you interpret it. georgia stone freemason 'math'; the
variables & totals are objective oriented; oranges: 1+1= not enough,
somebody's gotta die. people; 1+1=2, until you get to .5 billion, then
1+1=2 too many, or, unless, & this is what always happens, they breed
uncontrolled, naturally (like monkeys), then, 1+1=could easily result in
millions of non-approved, hoardsplitting spawn. see the dilemma? can
'math', or man'kind' stand even one more League of Smelly Infants being
born?

there are alternative equations being proffered. the deities (god, allah,
yahweh, buddha, & all their supporting castes) state in their manuals that
we needn't trouble ourselves with thinning the population, or being so
afraid as to need to hoard stuff/steal everything. chosen people? chosen
for what? to live instead of us? in the case of life, more is always
better. unassailable perfect math. see you at the play-dates, georgia
stone editing(s) etc... babys rule.

exploding babys; corepirate nazis to be caged (Score:mynutswon; hanging is
too good for them?)

there are plans to put them, (the genetically, surgically & chemically
altered coreprate nazi mutant fear/death mongerers (aka47; eugenatics,
weapons peddlers, kings/minions, adrians, freemasons etc...)) on display
in glass cages, around the world, so that we can remember not to forget...
again, what can happen, based on greed/fear/ego stoking deception.

viewing/feeding will be rationed based on how many more of the creators'
innocents are damaged, or have to be brought home (& they DO have another
one) prematurely.

not many bad guys survive a photon burst

you even knew that? cool. as a matter of fact, we're finding photons (in
their 'singular' form) to be quite useful as a general purpose life
extender.

seems like we already have enough rigging to escape a few of us out of
here, but if we were a bit more careful, we could extend our stay until we
could all go along. plus, by then, we'll have a clear destination?

looks like we're having a little trouble with math, science & history.
like we can't tell what happened, because there's now so many versions of
what we know didn't happen, &/or when, & how many innocents were
damaged/killed. seems like real history is catching up with us a bit
(definitely you & i), & may help us see, if we let it.

there's also some barely identifiable bad guys, as we're sure you know,
they peddle death, & some other not good stuff, for money etc...

it's not like they can be blown out of the sky, but we knew it would be
like this. we have a few billion little ones that we've grown very fond
of, so we're working on keeping them undead. as you likely already know,
their dna is highly advanced, & they are the vast majority, they have
better eyesight than birds, & are fully photon (intentional healing)
functional. hurting even one of them (or any of us) sets the whole cosmos
on edge. we've heard that from space, it now looks like we're making the
planet into a black hole. do we need a black hole, or any big holes, in
the planet?

Milky Way Pie (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about 3 years ago | (#35723262)

"There was a close call last week when an enormous coronal ejection nearly hit Mercury and the orbiting Messenger spacecraft.

Sun caught jerking off; nearly blows load all over Earth's satellites; Earth raises big fuzzy eyebrows in shock.

I had no idea... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35723488)

...NASA was entering the IM chat game.

Humanity Wiped Out? (1)

Jason Levine (196982) | about 3 years ago | (#35723762)

"including a great flood that wiped out humanity"

Wait. We were wiped out? Why am I always the last one to be told about these things?!!!

Re:Humanity Wiped Out? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35730602)

Because everyone else thinks you're a cunt.

NASA has an app for that (1)

Dalambertian (963810) | about 3 years ago | (#35723872)

Goddard's Community Coordinated Modeling Center just released a space weather app that lets you track solar activity in real-time. It also has data and simulation predictions for the solar surface, the solar wind, and Earth's magnetosphere/ionosphere. Really slick interface too :) http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/nasa-space-weather/id422621403?mt=8 [apple.com]

Re:NASA has an app for that (1)

Bandwidth_ (91035) | about 3 years ago | (#35730020)

For those that avoid apple and want to use computers; you can view the model predictions with the 'iNTEGRATED SPACE WEATHER ANALYSIS SYSTEM' which is very cross platform and browser: http://iswa.gsfc.nasa.gov/iswa/iSWA.html [nasa.gov] , look under the "Events" tab.

Here's a direct link to the heliosphere model showing the coronal mass ejection and Messenger that was discussed: http://iswa.ccmc.gsfc.nasa.gov:8080/IswaSystemWebApp/StreamArgumentServlet?cygnetInstanceId=65209753&argumentId=1 [nasa.gov]

I'm not sure why this is considered news, except for that Messenger is orbiting Mecury now and has been in the news recently. Messenger has been in the direct path of larger CMEs many times in it's looping paths to reach Mercury.

Loose wording (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35723874)

The writeup seems to say that after the danger had already passed, scientists jumped into action to see how close it could have been. Does it matter how quickly they worked, since they couldn't have done anything to change the outcome?

There's also mention of avoiding Enlil's (or ENLIL's) wrath, but Enlil/ENLILI is the name given to the computer model they used to (again, belatedly) model the path of the ejection. All avoiding was done before they started modeling with something they called Enlil, which if it had any wrath would have been directed at the virtual model of the spacecraft, not the actual one.

But, hey, keep writing the interesting stories that almost make sense!

Re:Loose wording (1)

oneiros27 (46144) | about 3 years ago | (#35727620)

I don't know enough about this story, as I was out of town all last week. (I do IT support for the solar missions that were mentioned)

STEREO and SDO have 'space weather' feeds, where they get data in near-real time. As CMEs are slow moving (can take a day to reach earth), we actually *do* have advance warning about them, and many of the near-earth spacecraft can be told to go into some sort of a protective mode (eg, turn so they don't take the full brunt of it).

I have no idea if it was possible in this particular case, as I know nothing about what's required to communicate with Messanger, as most spacecraft that are out that far would require the DSN (Deep Space Network) for commanding, and that takes some time to lock on.

If the warning came down quickly, they might've had a few hours between the first alert and Messanger would've gotten hit, so if the CCMC (Community Coordinate Modeling Center) can get the predictions done, and if they had gotten some emergency time on the DSN (or if they had already had an appropriate commanding window), they might've been able to do something. ... so I have no idea if it's an ambiguously written article, or if they really did do this as an exercise after the fact. (they might've still done it afterwards, as if it had been hit, they likely would've wanted to run comprehensive tests to make sure it didn't cause memory corruption, or other problems)

Impressive (1)

TangoMargarine (1617195) | about 3 years ago | (#35724252)

Scientists at the Space Weather Laboratory flew into action, modeling the event to determine how close it had come to the spacecraft

They modeled how close it came to destroying the orbiter? Wow, that's pretty impressive, guys...way to keep one step ahead...

more information (1)

nimbius (983462) | about 3 years ago | (#35724730)

about the animated modeling system, less information about dead gods plz.

Re:more information (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35729962)

Sure. You can view the model predictions at http://iswa.gsfc.nasa.gov/iswa/iSWA.html , look under the "Events" tab.
Here's a direct link to the heliosphere model showing the coronal mass ejection and Messenger that was discussed: http://iswa.ccmc.gsfc.nasa.gov:8080/IswaSystemWebApp/StreamArgumentServlet?cygnetInstanceId=65209753&argumentId=1

I'm not sure why this is considered news, except for that Messenger is orbiting Mecury now. Messenger has been in the direct path of larger CMEs many times in it's looping path to reach Mercury.

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