Astronomically Incredible Stories
Suffering insomnia a few nights ago I heard the following amazing stories on the radio. Both had an astronomical theme. I have no idea what station I was tuned to, but the bulletins were impressed verbatim on my mind, and I reproduce them here. Can anyone confirm that I actually heard the following fantastic reports?
Flash! ET’s Own Home
In testimony before the House Finance Committee, NASA spokesperson Col. Clyde Buttress reported that the next generation of spaced-based telescopes will be able to detect, if they exist, intelligent goings-on anywhere in our galaxy. Buttress claimed that, not only would the new generation of deep-space specs be able to detect life in other Milky Way solar systems, but if any alien husband were taking clandestine photos of his wife in the shower, NASA would be able to see the flash as well.
Moon Over Moon
[In this next report, we see that our current arsenal of telescopy ain’t too shabby either.]
By a fantastic stroke of serendipity, the Hubble Space Telescope last Thursday, while slewing toward a variable star in the constellation Cetus the Whale, happenstanced upon a fingernail-sized object estimated to be about 100 miles from the Moon. Following close on the heels of our discovery of a second satellite orbiting our Earth, this incredible find suggests that our Moon may actually have its own moons. News of the sighting soon traversed the astro community, and in minutes all the Large Array telescopes on Earth were scanning the area. It took a matter of seconds for the radio dish at El Placebo, Puerto Rico, to confirm the sighting. Other scopes locked on, and through observations from opposing sides of the globe, and from those taken over the course of several hours, the orbit was calculated to be circumlunar at an average radius of 98.628137459...(?) miles.
Spectroscopy data from Dogrel Bank in England substantiated the suspicion that this object was in fact, and in substance, a fingernail. Theories have emerged that this was an object transported to the Moon in the 1970s by being stuck to an outer surface of one of the Apollo spacecrafts. The conjecture is that the nail managed to cling to an outer surface, aided perhaps by dried spittle, and then flaked its way loose during the spacecraft’s booster thrust toward home Earth. Unable to reach escape velocity, the nail did manage to obtain a stable orbit. A few Cape Canaveral veterans are dollars-to-donuts sure that the fingernail belongs to NASA technician Tony Tarantella, now retired, who used to bite his daily to the quick!
No discovery comes without its controversy in these turbulent times, and this nail is no exception. The Center for Astrophysics at Cambridge wanted to classify this object as Space Junk; however, the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, based in, well, you know, California, insisted that it be recognized as Moon’s First Satellite. There seemed to be no room for compromise until Al Gore, the Founder of the Internet, stepped in and secured a commitment from both institutions: that they could agree to call the object – a crescent.