Meet asteroid TB145, another large one that is going to cruise uncomfortably close to the Earth in a few days, sparking many in conspiracy circles to panic and say that this could be some sort of world-ending, catastrophic scenario. Here’s the reality. TB145 is the size of the Empire State Building, which sounds really menacing when you put it that way, but in astronomical terms is a speck of sand (not that, even). However, as we all know from Hollywood, it doesn’t take that much of an asteroid to make a really “deep impact” on Earth, so the concerns are legitimate. NASA says that TB145 will come within 300,000 miles of the Earth, meaning that even if you have a couple of thousand miles error, Earth should be safe and sound when the trick-or-treating ends. The video below shows more details. As always, the only real troubling thing here is that the asteroid was discovered so late in the game, indicating that if it were on a collision course with Earth, we would have had mere days to prepare, if there was, in fact, anything to be done.
The Cassini spacecraft returned images to Earth back in April that have scientists at NASA completely stumped. One of Saturn’s many icy moons, Tethys, was photographed by Cassini at close proximity, and the images revealed mysterious red arcs on the surface that as of yet there is no precedent or explanation before. NASA even alluded to the concept that the markings look like they were “spraypainted on” although it quickly pointed out that obviously that is not really the case. It’s amazing how these spacecrafts keep revealing new things day in and day out, and especially when you have a supposedly natural phenomenon here that no one can even begin to guess what the cause is. What do you think? Were the mysterious red arcs on Tethys a marking or message of some kind, or just some sort of work of nature in the far reaches of our solar system that we have yet to understand?
On June 30, 2015, an extremely rare phenomenon will happen involving planets Venus and Jupiter. Called a conjunction, this is when the orbits of those planets cause them to almost seem to join together into one “superstar” relative to the way we see it on Earth. If you are interested in astronomy at all, or just like to peer up at the sky on a really dark night, you probably have seen both Venus and Jupiter. Both are very prominent in the sky from our Earth-based viewpoint. Venus looks really bright because it’s so close to us. Jupiter looks so bright because it is just really, really, almost unimaginably huge. In any case, on an average night, these two stars would be the star of the celestial show (pardon the pun).
June 30 will not be an average night at all really. It has been over 2,000 years since the last time the orbits of Venus and Jupiter caused this phenomenon, and that has some people out there wondering if the last time Venus and Jupiter joined up in the sky, a phenomenon Christians refer to as the Star of Bethlehem might have been the result.
It kind of makes sense. Everyone knows the story. The star, assumed to be an act of God commemorating the birth of Christ and leading an untold number of wisemen to find him bearing gifts, could actually be explained by a real scientific phenomenon that just happens to coincidentally fall around the same time that the events in the Bible supposedly happened.
What does it matter? Not much. Does it prove anything? No, not at all. Atheists are not going to be impressed with the second coming of the Star of Bethlehem any more than they would be impressed with talk of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. Christians may or may not like this explanation. Some will say that it takes away from the story because the star was supposed to be a one-time only event set forth by God Himself. Other more reasonable Christians may just think it’s pretty cool that the star could have happened scientifically as well as religiously, and in fact, we all might have an opportunity to look on the same event that happened on a magical night that changed the world forever, regardless of what you believe. One thing is for sure: the conjunction is exceedingly rare, and there is no chance that any of us will live long enough to see it again, so it’s probably worth a glance at the least.
Ceres is called a dwarf planet and hangs out with Pluto in the far reaches of our solar system. Now, NASA is releasing high-definition images of Ceres taken at very close distances. These images are literally making history. The Dawn spacecraft is getting closer to Ceres than any craft has been before, so each new image is the best image of Ceres we have ever had. As the images have been released to the public, much speculation has surrounded some mysterious bright, white spots on the surface of Ceres. They are very bright indeed and completely unusual as compared to the rest of the landscape.
Scientists are just as puzzled as the general public. It has been suggested that it could be light reflecting off ice, but why is it just two isolated spots? Why wouldn’t there we spots like this all over the surface, or at least in another area? Others have suggested it could be a volcano eruption on the surface or even a geyser? Of course, enterprising conspiracy theorists have other ideas as to what the spots might be.
We at Common Sense Conspiracy always like to point out a few facts when something like this comes up. First of all, it’s not like NASA didn’t know what these images would stir up. They were well aware that there would be those out there that would think the bright spots were more than just a natural mystery. So, don’t think anyone is scooping them here. The images were released very much on purpose. It could be that NASA wants to continue to share with the public its discoveries, and the mystery on Ceres is just interesting, nothing more and nothing less. Others believe this is being released because it is a precursor to more disclosures to come later. There is a whole huge conspiracy theory that Hillary Clinton is going to become the next American President and part of her presidency is disclosure that we are not alone in the universe. However, that theory is quite a stretch and very sparse on evidence. In any case, the spots on Ceres are alluring, and many will continue to debate what they may or may not be.
In what seems to be a neverending stream of these, NASA has once again announced that an asteroid is going to make a too close for comfort fly-by of planet Earth on Monday. While this asteroid is one of the closest yet, NASA contends that it is no threat to the Earth in any way despite it being so close it will be observable by small telescopes. As usual, there plenty of people in conspiracy circles who disagree with this assessment.
It is a tragedy. The Virgin Galactic spaceship’s crash just after launch is the second space-related incident this week. One of NASA’s rockets exploded just after launch on what should have been a routine voyage to the International Space Station. What makes the Virgin Galactic incident more of a spark for conspiracy circles is that it is private industry beginning to move into what has already been a government-sanctioned area.
The United States government has slowly evolved on its position on the privatization of space travel. Just in the last few years have we seen the first examples of private companies making strides in the industry. The benefits are obvious. One, private companies are not using taxpayer dollars. Two, capitalism can be the mother of invention. The almighty dollar spurs these companies to fierce competition which moves technological advances along at a faster rate than government entities like NASA. These are all positives for you and I, but for the government there is still one huge glaring negative to this. It reduces the government’s ability to control space travel. Up until just lately, space travel was something that was wholly controlled by the government. It simply wasn’t feasible for anyone to do it without their help. That is all changing now, and the Virgin Galactic was another rung on that ladder.
So what are we saying? Well, it’s an unfortunate accident. Throughout NASA’s history, we’ve seen unfortunate accidents. It goes along with trailblazing. It’s just the way it is. New technologies are tested as much as they can, but until they are on the launching pad, no one can ever be sure. Mistakes happen. Mechanical devices fail. This is unavoidable, despite all the precautions put in place. It is the nature of the beast. However, there are those in conspiracy circles that believe that perhaps the government might be sabotaging some of the privatized operations because they don’t want to see them succeed. While there is some sensibility to the theory, there is absolutely no evidence at this time that the Virgin Galactic is anything more than what will probably turn out to be equipment failure. There are no other incidents of private space travel accidents to point to on the record books. While this could be the beginning, for now, we have to say that it looks like there’s nothing here. But if the government shuts down private space travel next week, things might start looking a little different. What do you think?
NASA unmanned Antares rocket was to go to the International Space Station this evening, but it didn’t even make it out off planet Earth. A powerful explosion rocked the ship just seconds after takeoff, chronicled in numerous cell phone videos of people gathered to watch the launch. At this time, there is not a whole lot of information about why this happened or how many people may be injured. There already are reports of property damage from debris, so the incident was not contained just to the launch site.
There will be a lot of speculation about this event throughout the evening and tomorrow, but at this time there is no reason to suspect this is anything more than an accident. Common Sense Conspiracy will continue to monitor this event as more information becomes available.