September 21, 2003

Tin-foil brigadier or forebearer of doom?

Wow, who led me to this site which talks of NASA sending the Voyager spacecraft into the atmosphere of Jupiter? According to the author, doing such might cause a nuclear reaction that would destroy life on our planet. You know, man doing stuff resulting in unknown reactions has not really been all that much of a boon to mankind in the past. I do hope that NASA thinks this action through clearly before embarking on a mission that could result in the destruction of all known life in our solar system.

Posted by notGeorge at September 21, 2003 07:38 PM

Tin-foil brigadier or forebearer of doom?

I vote for the first one.

When I was in high school I was assigned to a team project on establishing a nuclear power plant -- we had to deal with every aspect, including the waste. We researched what would happen if the waste were launched into the sun, and the answer was "not much."

Now, Jupiter is considered by some to be a proto-star, with slightly too little mass to start fusion (think 2010, the movie sequel to 2001, though the trigger was artificially compressing what was already there; I think in reality the resulting star wouldn't have stayed lit for long without more mass). But I don't think one space probe's worth of Plutonium is going to be enough to make the difference.

Maybe we shouldn't make a habit of it though.

Posted by: McGehee at September 22, 2003 10:34 AM