Thursday, January 10, 2008

NASA probe to fly past little, sun-baked Mercury

NASA's car-sized MESSENGER spacecraft is scheduled to zip about 124 miles above the cratered, rocky surface of the closest planet to the sun on Monday, part of a mission designed to place it into orbit around Mercury in 2011.

"I think we're in for some big surprises," Faith Vilas, one of the scientists involved in the mission, told reporters during a conference call on Thursday.


"Big surprises"? That sounds like a conspiratorial "insider" remark to me! I bet NASA's already dusting off the airbrushes!

Update: The above was an attempt at sarcasm and a veiled reference to a certain sensationalistic author. I don't really think NASA's gearing up to hide ET structures on Mercury, nor would I rate Mercury as a likely candidate for alien habitation. Then again, I suppose you never know.

3 comments:

W.M. Bear said...

"Big surprises"? That sounds like a conspiratorial "insider" remark to me! I bet NASA's already dusting off the airbrushes!

Exactly my sediments. I remember the same kind of talk about Mars probes a while back. Then the "big surprise" turns out to be some geological (of course) formation or other or the earth-shattering announcement (for the nth time) that there MAY be water on Mars.

Yeah, I think they're quite likely having some little insider planetary SETI jokes at the public's expense (per usual).

Mac said...

I was being sarcastic; I don't think Mercury is likely to bear any planetary SETI fruit. But I wouldn't be surprised if Hoagland "discovers" something.

W.M. Bear said...

I think your sarcasm may be perilously close to the truth. Mercury doesn't seem likely ever to have been an interstellar colony or some such but that doesn't rule out robotic probes landing there to monitor the sun's activity, etc.

On the other hand, the NASA types could be getting their jollies by deliberately raising the public's expectations by SOUNDING like they're expecting a bit of planetary SETI and then coming down with, "Nope, sorry, just geology"....