Thursday, July 08, 2004

Its a Sat up..

The cassini-huygens mission reached the orbit of Saturn earlier this week, after a 7 year journey. Theres a comment in there about women drivers or male map readers, but im not brave enough to broach either subject. "Are we there yet?" must have grated.

Apparently it was a journey of 3 billion kilometres. But its been fairly simple to follow up until now:

Part 1: 7 years ago, rocket takes off,
Part 2: Forget all about it,
Part 3: 7 years later, rocket reaches destination. People think:'oh yeah, i think i remember that happening'.

Now the confusion starts. People in checked shirts and chinos with brains the size of footballs will start using words none of us recognise, then foam at the mouth about coloured pictures which look like theyve been taken by a 2 year old with a box brownie, in a cupboard, with the light off, at night. You've got to be making that stuff up right? Come on, we're not idiots. That's never a word.

There must be a group of people sat in a big aircraft hanger somewhere in the USA performing one big practical joke. "Send them that picture of a light bulb Dick, then tell them its heat clouds", "now tell them there might be signs of life, thats always a good one to keep them interested". Theyre seeing how far they can push the joke, it's some experiment into the gullibility of the human race, it must be. Nothing's 3 billion kilometres away. Although London seems it on a Monday morning. I guarantee you that there will soon be some news about saturns rings, thats the moment that the game will be up for me.

Apparently the rocket keeps flying past and taking pictures, then flying back again and taking more pictures and again and again, like papparazzi hiding behind bushes. "Will you hold this thing bloody steady" must be the cry, "i'm trying to take a picture of a cumulus above a wavelength next to a methane cloud near hydrocarbons that might be associated with a ground feature that would let people at home know absolutely nothing about stuff they never gave a monkeys about anyway". The mission probably ends when theyve used all 36 exposures.

But it got me wondering about 'light' years. Are light years the same as normal years with the fat taken out? Like a year without March, or May.