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Here's the latest on space, and my opinions on it...
This is the legacy site, with blog entries from November, 2004 through June, 2011.
Updates after June 9, 2011 can be found at

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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Announcement of a date (sort of) Announced
Here is an article detailing The Planetary Society's focus on Target Earth. In it they mention the plans to announce the results of the Apophis Mission Design Contest in February as part of the program. In case you haven't been reading recently, I submitted an entry.
8:02 pm est

Asteroid Imaged in Different Media
SpaceWeather has images of TU24, one taken by an amateur astronomer (link to the SW main page until the 31st of January), and another by the Aricebo Telescope, which should be refined as time goes on. Both are cool in their own right.
5:01 am est

Monday, January 28, 2008

Tonight's the Night...
When nothing of consequence will happen. An asteroid will pass statistically close, but I fully expect to wake up in the morning.
9:54 pm est

More SS2/WK2 Pictures
I found the full treasure trove of images at Virgin Galactic's website. Not that they were hidden or anything...
8:53 pm est

SpaceX Update
Attended a local NSS meeting yesterday. Steve Davis of SpaceX was the presenter. Had some good frank talk about the Falcon 1 flight (including the full video of the flight) and development of the Dragon capsule. Some great stories about needing to do things cheaper and getting them done. Of particular interest was a communications transponder where they found a commercial alternative that was "the best ever tested", cheap solar cells that became the option when they realized how complicated it would be to re-use the panels (the cells have to be used for the multi-day approach to ISS but the return mission is only a couple hours long and can be done on batteries), combining attitude and translation thrusters while maintaining a two-fault tollerance, and placing their own communications box on the station when the normal space-rated system would have cost a significant percentage of the cost of the capsule.

We talked a bit about returning the 2nd stage of the Falcon 9, which is causing extended discussions at the FAA. SpaceX sure it's possible but think it would be great if they can. Once again it's nice to hear the refreshing "Let's try it" approach as opposed to either "It can't be done" because someone heard once that someone else said it or "We have to do it" because it was bid that way in a contract by people who may not have known what they were talking about.
5:13 am est

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Hopefully More Detail Coming
According to this article in Pravda, three cosmonauts died before Yuri Gagarin had his flight. They were suborbital flights, but years earlier. Imagine how the world would be different...

Just noticed the date on the byline: Dec 4, 2001. It fits the '40 year anniversary' mentioned in the text, and matches the date in the URL.

So, I guess more detail didn't come.
7:51 pm est

Always near the Fringe
A friend of mine who's a geek at heart got a radiosonde weather balloon payload for Christmas one year. He was curious about how they worked, and spent a day with his oscilloscope and other electronic components figuring it out. Then he brought it in to work and hung it over his desk as a conversation piece. In his research, he discovered that there is a group of people who believe that the radiosonde program is actually a mind-control experiment run by the government. The theories had everything, including a link to Nazi Germany through an early researcher named Dr. Reich. Ironically, some of the conspiracy websites actually had some useful technical data on the payload, while being off on just about everything else.

Anyway, back to the space stuff. In the table from this entry, the asteroid 1991VG is listed as being potential space junk. I'd known that other objects were determined to be old booster stages from our early exploration efforts, but hadn't heard it about VG. I used 1991 VG (as well as another suspected piece of junk, 2000 SG344) as a potential destination in my asteroid exploration paper. I doubt that there would be much interest in visiting space junk.

So I searched for more information on 1991 VG, and came across this paper. In it, the author tries to build the case that 1991 VG is an alien artifact. The three alternatives that he examines are that it's a natural object, that its human-made, or that it's alien. Unfortunately, I think the paper was written with the pre-supposed conclusion that it was alien made, and it appears that the "referree" mentioned within the paper had a similar bias. The launch dates of some of the early space probes look right, but the percentage chance of discovery argument gets a little "out there." The paper appears to be from the mid-90's, and the images posted along with the paper definitely show a slant towards the alien.

For me, Occam's Razor (always subject to how you state the comparison) applies: I think the chance of it being a human-made object is simpler than it being an alien artifact. Though this does bring up an interesting thought: should the NEO discovery project make a concerted effort to list and/or rediscover all human-made objects in heliocentric orbits to prevent confusion?
6:21 am est

Saturday, January 26, 2008

According to this table at the Minor Planet Center, the TU24 approach is about the 80th closest that we know if in the last 17 years (the chart essentially starts in 1991, though one close approach is listed in 1937). The value listed for TU24 appears to take into account the most recent update.
11:32 am est

Previous Close Encounter
Hunting around for info on TU24, I came across an article and Wikipedia entry about the asteroid 2004 XP14, which passed close by Earth on July 3rd 2006. I wish this chart showed such past encounters, so there was a simple chart to point people to when they freak out about how uncommon such close approaches are.
7:32 am est

The Comet-Asteroid Continuum
Science data released from the Stardust mission shows that the dust gathered from comet Wild 2 (pronounced Vilt) looks more asteroidal than cometary.

I hadn't heard the history that made Wild 2 such a special target. Turns out it's a former long-period comet that had a recent (1974) close approach with Jupiter to put it in a shorter-period orbit. Interesting that it was discovered in 1978, a few years after the Jupiter encounter.
6:55 am est

Friday, January 25, 2008

Asteroid Box Score
Looks like the Echo Site at JPL is back up. They're posting updates as they get data from TU24. Scroll to the bottom to see radar-created images of the 'roid, though I'm sure they'll get better after people work with the data a bit.
7:28 am est

Asteroids and Scaremongering
This has been developing for a couple days, but I've been on business travel.

Apparently, there are websites and YouTube videos raising high level of concerns about an asteroid with the designation 2007 TU24. I deliberately am not linking to the sites or the YouTube videos and haven't seen them, because in comment sections within other blogs, I've seen the makers of the scare sites and videos use the fact that lots of people are seeing their information to validate their action. If you're interested, you can find them yourselves, though I recommend against it because you're just boosting the egos of those involved.

Anyway, in response to this phenomenon, The Bad Astronomer has come through again in his strong suit: applying his knowledge of astronomy and physics to thoroughly slap down the video's contents. According to the comments (you'll see that I've been involved in the conversation), a lot of people have found his website soon after seeing the video and it has helped calm them.

The creator of the video eventually started commenting, and offered a bet to Phil, increasing the dollar amount of the donation to any charity of Phil's choosing if the asteroid had 'no effect' on Earth. At first, I thought that Phil should take the person up on the bet, because in my rational mind, I thought that the only effects the asteroid would have would be if it hit Earth. Well, apparently these videos bring up other 'possible' (possible is in quotes because they are ridiculous) effects such as changed weather patterns, earthquakes, and weird lightening. So, this person will point to any weird weather or an Earthquake on the day of the close encounter (there are Earthquakes every day, and you can see a report of them herehere) and claim them as an effect.

Now, in another chapter of the story, the NEO center at JPL has posted an update on the asteroid and its orbit. In this update, they mention that the close approach distance is now closer than they'd estimated before. Great. In the follow-up post on Phil's site, the person who made the video is now parsing the words of the press release to cast doubts on the people involved in the investigation. JPL's public affairs office released its own press release as well.

Here are some facts about asteroid detection and prediction that people interested in this event and future events like it should keep in mind:
  • Thousands of asteroids are discovered each year
  • A subset of them are marked as 'potentially hazardous' for some period of time
  • All orbit determination involves some uncertainty, and this manifests as an 'error bar' showing where the asteroid could be at any period of time.
  • Error bars get larger when the same asteroid's position is predicted into the future using the same amount of data
  • As data is gathered, the uncertainty of our prediction about a collision decreases.
  • For a time, the shrinking error bar may actually increase the chance of impact (see the Apophis news item 1 and 2 to see how this can develop)
  • Once the uncertainty shrinks to a point where it does not include the Earth, the chance of impact drops to zero (or as close as you get to zero)
  • Further refinements will take place, lowering the uncertainty and changing the likely orbit of the object, though these changes will get smaller and smaller with each update.
There is no doubt that this asteroid's close approach is a statistical anomaly (this table shows upcoming close approaches for the coming decades, but unfortunately doesn't show past events for comparison). The problem comes when people who are uninformed in NEOs, or general statistical theory, take a statistical anomaly and build a case for panic.

Some additional noise (confusion) came up over the fact that JPL plans to get a radar image of the asteroid as it passes. Schedules for the radar passes (not aligned with the closes approach date) had some people wondering about the process. Here, the answer is easy. Aricebo (one of the tracking radars) is a big bowl in the ground, and cannot move very much to track an object in the sky. It must wait until the object is nearly directly overhead. the other radar system used, at Goldstone, has fewer restrictions, but also shares its time with spacecraft. There is likely a schedule conflict. There's been so much interest in this activity that the radar website at JPL has been down for a while.

Ironically, this effect (that is, the public perception of a threat where none exists) has been written about in NEO threat literature. The question comes in how to manage information flow so that people have enough information to not be alarmed at common or just inconsequential events while being open to a real concern when a threat arises.
7:17 am est

Coming Together
There was a wave of news on the Virgin Galactic front while I was on travel. The corporate website has some info, including a ten minute video about the experience showing the design of the craft. Here is the best article I've found with images of both SS2 and White Knight 2 under construction. The dual keel design of White Knight 2 will fit well with some of the scenarios described in Jon Goff's multipart essay on Orbital Access Methodologies (This link is to part 1. Part 2 is out, but you'll need to keep checking Selenian Boondocks for updates). In short, an air-launch assisted mission gives some advantages of other designs.

No mention of propulsion technology used for the suborbital craft. I would think they'll stick with the Nitrous/rubber combination used for SS1, but the explosion at Scaled in the summer might have brought the choice into question.
6:49 am est

Monday, January 21, 2008

Mars, as few have seen
The picture is old, but I just discovered it on the web. It shows Mars as viewed in x-rays taken by the Chandra space telescope.
7:31 pm est

Tsunami Threat Overstated?
In discussions on Saturday, I found that the tsunami threat from an asteroid impact may be overstated. I need to research more, but based on the talk, the waves resulting from an impact would be like those of a nuclear detonation, similar to Crossroads Baker. There's some amazing video here, and most people will recognize parts of the footage, as it seems to be the most widely-used film of a nuclear detonation. This writeup characterizes a wave from the blast as being about 2m high about 7 km from the underwater blast.

The initial mechanism I had in mind was one similar to the 2004 Tsunami, but apparently the dynamics there were quite different.
7:27 am est

I hadn't seen much change since I found the project, but today I checked Orbit@Home on a whim and it looks like they're installing new servers. I guess I should check them more often. Here are some thoughts of what the display will look like as it runs on BOINC.

Update: I tried attaching to the project, but got the same error I got in the past. Orbit@Home is not listed in BOINCs project gallery, so I'm wondering if there's something wrong with the relationship. Will try again in February.
5:55 am est

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Around Space, the public access TV show I'm on occasionally, now has archives of their shows online. You can even catch the award-winning episode I hosted.
7:14 pm est

Another Political Space Position has an article discussing Rudi Giuliani's space policy. Given that he's poured so much of his resources into Florida, it strikes me as odd that it took so much time to do something related to space. Discussion taking place over at Space Politics, including non-sourced intel that Mitt Romney will be holding his own space discussion on Monday.
7:30 am est

Shake, Rattle and (no) Roll
NASA has confirmed a problem in developing the Ares I rocket, in the form of vibration near the end of stage 1's flight. They don't use the term in the article, but in the past, this has been called 'pogo' by the engineers working on such issues. With liquid rockets, the solution was to place flexible 'accumulators' in the propellant flow. I'm not sure what the answer is for a solid propulsion system. Past discussion can be found here.
7:08 am est

Fine Assessed, but no Cause Specified has the story of the fines assessed to Scaled Composites for last year's accident. As Rand Simberg says, assigning blame is great, but finding the cause is much more important for going forward.
6:51 am est

Friday, January 18, 2008

Delivered Live to your Computer
Live downlinks from Landsat 5 are now available, usually in the US during the late local morning. Here is the place to go. If you don't catch a live downlink, you can see the reviews of recent imaging sessions. We're not ready to image the whole CONUS yet, but our starting point will move north as we gain comfort in our new operations and as the sun moves north towards Northern Hemisphere summer.
9:56 pm est

Rethinking Someone else's Vision
Looks like a group of recognizable names are gathering to discuss options for changing the vision for space exploration. I think this is a politically savvy move. Assuming one of the current crop of candidates becomes President, the new President will want to distance themselves from our current President, and 'changing' the vision for space exploration would be a relatively painless way to do so. Never mind the fact that I like the way the article describes the groups goals:
  • Scale back lunar efforts
  • Focus on asteroid missions early as a practice to
  • Press for Mars exploration
I just hope they keep in mind the propellant needs and rarity of asteroid mission opportunities.

Update, 21 Jan: The large propellant costs are mainly for the sprint missions discussed in the recent press, and analyzed in the linked article. I'm currently investigating propellant needs and durations for missions to specific asteroids that last on the order of one year.
9:52 pm est

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Gauntlet Thrown down
High school students discovered a new asteroid. So can you.
5:08 am est

So that's what it looks like!
Images from the MESSENGER flyby of Mercury are now trickling in. The actual featured photos will change at least daily as new data arrives.
5:03 am est

Warhorse Returns
Sharp-eyed readers have noted the picture of Landsat 4 on the right. The reason I put it there was twofold:
  1. I discovered the model at the National Air and Space Museum on a recent trip.
  2. Landsat 5, identical to Landsat 4, started imaging again last week (no permalink).
We're still figuring out exactly how much imaging we can get from the 'ole girl, but things are looking promising.
5:00 am est

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Altair Efforts Ramp up
There was a news release today about Altair, the new lunar lander. One of the things they're asking for in the study contracts are comments on the "current developmental concept" (I guess it's what's pictured here.) It will be very interesting to see how this plays out in 2008, which Jeff Foust called a critical year for the Vision for Space Exploration.
5:30 pm est

Q and A on Intermodal COTS
Related to an earlier post, here are some questions and answers with the guys who proposed it over at NASASpaceflight.
5:22 pm est

Images Trickling In
Keep checking the MESSENGER website over the next few days to see pictures from the Mercury flyby yesterday.
5:18 pm est

Monday, January 14, 2008

Spirograph in Space
The MESSENGER spacecraft passed Mercury for the first time today. Two more flybys are due before it enters orbit. The mission website has this page showing the trajectory design and flyby animations. This movie (warning, large file at 75M, this version is in Quicktime, other formats available), in particular, shows the motion of the spacecraft with Earth's orbital position held constant. By the end state, it looks like an old Spirograph picture.
9:49 pm est

"You are Here"
If you want a sense of scale of the solar system, here is a little graphic of some very big stuff.
9:38 pm est

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Down the Memory Hole?
I wanted to access some old testimony given to Congress by Simon P. Worden about the NEO threat. I used the testimony as a reference in my book, but a Google search turned up no immediate hits. Going to the book, I entered the html, and was taken directly to the House Committee on Science and Technology web page. Searching for relevant topics such as Worden, object, threat, etc, the results came up with nothing. I counted on my fingers to figure out which Congress was in session then and brought up the hearings given during that session and the NEO threat one didn't come up in the list.

I realize that I'm probably missing something simple, but this just seems dumb to me.
8:37 pm est

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Political Position on Space
I debated (get it?) posting this, due to the direction that the comments have gone. Barack Obama has posted a position paper on space. That makes two campaigns (the other being Hillary Clinton) who've taken the time to spell out a policy related to space, though the Clinton positions dealt with science in general and mentioned space. Discussion ensues here, though the comments are mostly about the positions held by one of the people commenting. Perhaps someone reading my post has the energy to change the direction of the discussion.
6:35 am est

Very Cool Photo
The Bad Astronomer has been posting from the American Astronomical Society Conference all week. His last in-situ post is a doozy, showing two exploding stars. Based on spectral signatures, one was a white dwarf, while the other was a younger star. Somone in the comments asks whether one could have caused the other (my first thought), but an apparently knowledgable person quashes that with a link to the x-ray image of the scene. According to that description, the image is being described as a chance alignment, not two interacting nebulae, due to the required differences in ages between a white dwarf star and the mainline star that would cause the other nebula.

I've noticed that the Occam's Razor argument (alluded to, but not invoked in the actual discussion) typically comes down to phrasing the comparison. In this case, you could say "is it more likely that two stars of wildly varying life cycles happened to be close together and go supernova at the same time or that these nebulae are simply aligned from our perspective?" or "is it more likely that in all the possible geometries of our viewing, these two unrelated events just happened to be lined up or that one actually triggered the other?" The question can be phrased based on the outcome you want people to reach.
6:22 am est

Mark Your Calendars has a list of astronomical events for 2008. Some of them will be spectacular (the upcoming Jupiter-Venus-Moon triangles, for example), but I'd say the year is sub-par overall.
5:51 am est

Friday, January 11, 2008

Space Station One, Docked
I got an email today showing the final resting place of the prop used in 2001: A Space Odyssey for Space Station One. Don't click on the link if you're easily depressed. I guess it's lucky to be around at all, as according to Wikipedia, Kubrick asked that all props be destroyed to cut the chance of a sequel. No word whether anyone else went out and picked it up to clean up for display.

As a side personal note, my own Odyssey to see the movie in 2001 took me to the Uptown Theater in DC. I didn't know until today that it is the theater where the movie premeired, according to the Wikipedia entry. Cool.
10:16 pm est

Legislating the NEO Threat
Just received word from Rusty Schweickart at the B612 Foundation that legislation has been introduced to Congress to create an office within NASA:
To formulate situation and decision analyses, and to select procedures and systems, for deflecting and mitigating potentially hazardous near-Earth objects.
It's HR 4917, short titled as the 'NEO Preparedness Act', and you can find details here. Submitted less than a month ago, it currently only has one sponsor, Dana Rohrabacher [R-CA]. If you happen to be talking to your congressional representative in the near future, consider plugging the legislation, asking them to co-sponsor or at least support it.
5:01 am est

Thursday, January 10, 2008

More Concepts from Hop
Related to this post, I've been in contact with the artist/theorist of the delta-v map, and looked through his website. One important note is that the values in the map are derived through a patched-conic approximation, meaning they're better for the distant objects than they are for the moon. The artist's name is Hop David, and he's got some very cool ideas that I haven't seen before. His railroad towns concept uses multiple cycler spacecraft to open regular routes to the asteroids, and I like how he tells the tale of his evolving ideas. I think that more people should do that so that others can avoid covering ground already ruled out, even though it carries the risk of 'groupthink' where everyone 'knows' that something won't work and don't try it.
4:58 am est

And Then There was None (no) Chance
Mars will (most likely, the odds are down to 1 in 10,000) not get whacked on January 30th. Here is the update saying so. While it would have been incredibly interesting, it never was that likely. The article shows the changing uncertainty as time went on, and also has a picture showing how faint the object is in large telescopes. Be sure to see the full-sized image, which shows the WD5 circled, along with a whole bunch of similarly-sized dots which are cosmic rays. The image gives me an appreciation for how tough the job is.
4:43 am est

Monday, January 7, 2008

Old Report Overcome by Events
Came across a bound copy of the Paine Report today (link to html copy). It was completed just about the time that Challenger disintegrated in the skies over Florida, then published in May of 86. Some members of this team were on the Rogers Commission, investigating the Challenger tragedy. They had time to put a dedication on the front. I don't remember reading or even really hearing about it. A quick Google lead to this article, written on NASA's 45th anniversary. I'll glance through it and possibly have some more to say about it later.
9:50 pm est

Unique way to Display
Here is a 'Delta-V Map', showing the change in velocity required to go between planets and their moons. I haven't validated all the numbers yet, but the ones I looked at are in the ball park. Note the red vines for 'one free trip' via aerocapture/braking.
7:51 pm est

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Countdown to Mercury
The MESSENGER Spacecraft is headed for its first Mercury flyby. Details at the project's website. It's the first visit to the planet since Mariner 10 was there in 1975.
8:20 pm est

What if WD5 were Headed to Earth
Evacuation of the affected area is the answer, according to this article at New Scientist. Take note of their special report on comets and asteroids as well.
8:08 pm est

New way to get out of Dodge?
The traditional way to build an escape system for a space capsule (back in those backwards days when we actually built them, as opposed to breifing ourselves into believing that the space shuttle was safe enough to fly without one) is to put a tower on top of your capsule with enough rocket power to pull the crew away from a disintegrating booster. That was the basic plan for the Orion system, but it looks like another idea may be catching on.

If nothing goes wrong during ascent, the tower is simply jettisoned. For a long time, that just seemed like a waste of propellant to me. I'd asked several people about the issue, and never really received a good answer until this past November, though I still think the problems are workable. Turns out there are two reasons:
  • The primary force in a launch vehicle is compressive (caused by the acceleration of the stages below), and if the escape tower engines were fired at any time, they have enough juice on board to put portions of the structure in tension. That difference is enough to require a re-design of the affected systems. This reason strikes me as OK, but I think that you wouldn't need to fire the tower the same way you do in an abort (all motors firing at once). You could fire a subset of your motors, like 1/2 or 1/3 of them, at a time until they're all fired.
  • The reliability requirements for the escape tower are on the lines of 95%, meaning that if the whole launch is going bad, the crews have a 95% chance of getting away from the booster and surviving. If the escape system becomes part of the mission, then the reliability has to go way up into the 99.9... category, and that throws everything into disarray.
7:04 am est

Shuttle Woes Continue
Looks like the shuttle will launch no earlier than Jan 24th if everything goes "exactly right", with a February launch more likely. That leads to a conflict with a Progress supply launch. Ugh. NASASpaceflight has a more technical version of the discussion, including another potential issue with a solid rocket booster actuator. I'd be curious to see how the schedule is compressing for the 2010 retirement of the shuttle system.
6:49 am est

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Lucy in the Sky?
I'm taking the kids downtown today, and my son's shown a new interest in gems. Therefore, a trip to the natural history museum is indicated. Last night, while talking with my wife about the Hope Diamond, I Googled 'largest diamond' and came across this article about a crystal core of a white dwarf. Other news sources picked up the story, but I don't see any mention of serious journal articles in a quick scan.
6:42 am est

So, you're driving a rental car with a GPS receiver installed. As you cross some railroad tracks, the electronic voice says turn right, so you do, ON TO THE RAILROAD TRACKS. What do you do? Well, if you're this guy, you blame the receiver.
6:20 am est

Friday, January 4, 2008

Candidates Space Views
While the news spends this morning describing how surprised they are about Iowa's results, you may want to take a moment to see how candidates stand on space and other science issues. Linked from Space Politics.
6:24 am est

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Mars Moving out of the Danger Zone
Latest update on the Mars asteroid. Chances of impact decreasing.
9:55 pm est

Virtual Communications to Mars?
Here's an article about using virtual worlds (such as Second Life and World of Warcraft) for communications between families and astronauts on Mars. I think they're playing down the time lag (between 4 and 20 minutes one way) for 'normal' conversations.
9:52 pm est

SETI@Home Needs Computing Cycles!
SETI@Home has upped their data gathering power again (if I do the math right, it's by 500x). The story is in this press release.
9:48 pm est

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Congrats, Zero-G!
A NASA press release says that NASA will be purchasing 'reduced gravity services' from Zero-G corporation. That will provide an excellent cornerstone for their business. Their original business model had them flying only on weekends, though. I guess that will change.
6:03 pm est

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

More on Comets
The EPOXI (the spacecraft formerly known as Deep Impact) spacecraft flew past Earth last night. I heard about it through the Bad Astronomer. EPOXI is on its way to fly by the comet Hartley 2 during October, 2010. In looking at the spacecraft's trajectory, a BA commenter noted that the comet would be quite close to Earth at flyby time, and asked if the comet would be visible at that time. I did some searching and found this analysis. Looks like it might be naked-eye visible!
8:55 am est

Intriguing Possibility, Though Other Explanations are more Likely
Through a letters to the editor column in Discover Magazine this month, I found out about this article from the November issue. In it, the possibility of a cometary impact about 4800 years ago causing the 'great flood' referred to in many religions and myths. Looks like the primary evidence used in the argument, the Madagascar Chevrons, were reported here (using Landsat data!) in 2006. (The page also has a link to a cool interactive Google Maps layout of 50 known impact sites)

I'm kind of torn on this story. Part of me thinks that someone is trying to be a biblical literalist, and shoe horn certain discoveries into a pre-conceived scenario. Another part of me thinks that we need to pay more attention to impacts and the effect they've had on our planet and our history. As Jay Melosh, impact researcher says "the impetus is on Abbott to prove it.” Dr. Melosh also spells out what needs to be found in the chevrons that will change his mind, which is a classy touch.

The argument I'd heard in the past which made sense in my gut about the "universal flood myth" is that most early societies lived along a river. With no understanding of weather patterns, the occasional flooding of that river would catch them completely offguard. Repeated occasional flooding, sometimes generations apart, would create a paranoia about high water, and would drive myths of how people reacted to floods in the past.
8:45 am est

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