Skip to comments.Deep Impact ... Deepening Contradictions (Richard Hoagland dons his tinfoil hat once again)
Posted on 07/13/2005 12:29:57 PM PDT by Yo-Yo
Deep Impact ... Deepening Contradictions
Well, it's been over a full week now -- more than seven days -- since NASA's Deep Impact Spacecraft slammed into Comet Tempel 1--
And apparently kicked up a major firestorm ... on Earth.
"Something's" definitely been happening, since the highly-publicized culmination of "Deep Impact" the other night, but NOT in public. Something that's potentially far more revealing than "just another successful NASA mission":
A behind-the-scenes-eruption -- currently taking place in Washington and in Pasadena -- over precisely what Deep Impact actually ran into the other night ....
How do we know that such "an intense backroom debate and controversey" is occurring inside NASA?
One major clue has been the simple fact that -- unlike ALL previous NASA deep space missions the Space Agency has EVER conducted, over the last 40 or so years (of which I've been a witness to the majority, first-hand ...) -- "Deep Impact," following its Hollywood-like climax, has produced a stunning ... deafening ... totally anomalous--
I mean -- no new images ... no spectra (!) ... no excited Mission scientists publicly going on and on about all the "marvelous new data" ... at the obligatory NASA press conferences ... where they could be questioned by equally excited members of the press. And -- most curiously--
No one seems to want to talk about where the Spacecraft, still in excellent condition, could be sent to next!
Such an "extended Deep Impact mission" was actively talked about pre-impact," as this story by Keith Cowing on SpaceRef.com confirms:
"Over the past year or so, NASA has considered plans for an extended mission for Deep Impact to another comet after its baseline mission to Comet Tempel 1. One such mission would involve a flyby of Comet Boethin 3 1/2 years from now ...."
However, according to a late update, posted immediately after Cowing's story:
"Editor's note: I sent a series of questions on this topic to the NASA, JPL, and University of Maryland PAO representatives listed on all Deep Impact news releases. After 24 hours, no one has answered any of my questions or replied to simply acknowledge receipt of my initial request for information [emphasis added] ...."
(Haven't these folks heard of a little something called "Congressional funding?" Or ... "when you've got the world's attention -- and you want to go and do MORE of what you've just done -- 'strike while the iron is hot?' ... while the world is still watching ...!?")
Instead -- the Deep Impact Team doesn't seem to be interested in doing anything with regard to "continuing public interest in their Mission" ... including, answering their mail ... even from the press!
The even bigger clue that "something's" up.
The official JPL "Deep Impact" website endlessly keeps recycling THE SAME "five or six images" -- taken and released in those last few minutes before ... and after ... Impact. Oh -- just to be technically accurate -- there was ONE "new" development, on Friday, July 8th ....
JPL (finally!) put up on its website a "new" image--
Which quickly turned out to be merely a colorized (and rotated!) version of the same "look back shot" that was released days before ... on Monday morning, July 4th -- just hours after the spacecraft initially sent it to Earth ....
[Bulletin: On Monday, July 11th, the JPL web folks posted yet another "non-event": another low-res "movie" showing Tempel 1 moving majestically off into the night, with its plume of dust a visible reminder of all that we're NOT seeing close-up, of the truly important scientific events that occurred -- and were exquisitely recorded -- immediately after Impact. Which, for some reason, we're NOT supposed to see ....
[Yesterday -- Tuesday, July 12th -- the JPL "picture of the day" got even more bizarre: a time-lapse "streak," as seen from Arizona ... showing the (very) distant brightening of Tempel 1 at Impact.
[THIS is what we (the American taxpayers) spent $333 million dollars to see -- a lousy STREAK??!!]
Over seven days ....
In that Time, so sources have it, Someone -- with a press agent at least as good as NASA's used to be -- created an entire world ... and wrote a Book about it.
And ... Dr. Michael A'Hearn -- the Deep Space Mission Principal Investigator, who fought so hard and for so many years to get this unique opportunity to actually reach out and literally "touch" the solar system -- what of him ... he who should be "brimming with amazing news ... incredible new images (in color!) ... and, those historic, close-up, priceless spectral readings which will 'tell the tale?'"
A'Hearn was actually quoted, for the first time since Monday, July 4th, in Friday's July 8th "update": in a VERY carefully-worded NASA press release (which accompanied "the one new image" on the website).
His statement, however, only raised more enigmas over this increasingly peculiar Mission ....
"The major surprise was the opacity of the plume the impactor created and the light it gave off," said Deep Impact Principal Investigator Dr. Michael A'Hearn of the University of Maryland, College Park. "That suggests the dust excavated from the comet's surface was extremely fine, more like talcum powder than beach sand. And the surface is definitely not what most people think of when they think of comets -- an ice cube [emphasis added] ...."
Now, where in the world would A'Hearn get the crazy idea that any of us would even be thinking "beach sand" -- and, in association with a comet ...?!
Ah ... maybe it was that other press release on Deep Impact -- the one that came out before Dr. A'Hearn's "non-statement" Friday--
The one from a non-NASA Deep Impact team, using one of the largest telescopes on Earth (the Gemini North on Hawaii) to also observe the rapidly changing effects of Deep Impact's "Grand Experiment." The release which pointedly stated:
"... We are possibly seeing crystalline silicates which might even be similar to the beach sand here in Hawaii [emphasis added] ...!
Now, isn't this interesting: two different NASA scientific teams ... two different major scientific instruments ... one Event ... two different, diametrically opposed conclusions--
Both amazingly enough ... involving "beach sand!"
Didn't we mention something last week about "the time needed by NASA to develop the right spin ..." in association with these remarkable (and now remarkably delayed ...) Deep Impact results ...?
Also officially admitted in the Friday JPL Release were these little "gems"--
"The data review process is not overlooking a single frame of approximately 4,500 images from the spacecraft's three imaging cameras taken during the encounter.
"'We are looking at everything from the last moments of the impactor to the final look-back images taken hours later, and everything in between,' added A'Hearn. 'Watching the last moments of the impactor's life is remarkable. We can pick up such fine surface detail that objects that are only four meters in diameter can be made out. That is nearly a factor of 10 better than any previous comet mission ....'"
So-- why can't you show us even one NEW frame ... out of those "4500" images?!
Where's the spectra?!
The only data which can tell us what the physical and chemical conditions were -- on and inside Tempel 1 -- at the moment of Impact?! The "what," you and NASA kept telling us for YEARS, this Mission was truly ALL ABOUT ...!
* * *
If A'Hearn seems bewilderingly reticent to show off his latest images ... or, "to bore us" with his actual Deep Impact spectra ... other scientists have been far less reticent. And their results, like those of the Gemini North Team, also seem wildly contradictory to A'Hearn's curious conclusions.
Remember the Swift Satellite Team's preliminary report?--
"... one of its most important observations from the impact is a quick rise in ultraviolet light. This means that the impactor struck a hard surface, as opposed to something soft and snowy [emphasis added] ..."
Contrast that directly with A'Hearn's statement:
"... the dust excavated from the comet's surface was extremely fine, more like talcum powder than beach sand. And the surface is definitely not what most people think of when they think of comets -- an ice cube."
NOT "an ice cube" is A'Hearn's way of saying (among other things ...) "NOT a hard, frozen cometary surface!"
Yet, the sharp rise in UV recorded by the Swift satellite at Impact, measured by a very sophisticated spacecraft -- and in the vacuum of Earth orbit (so, there's no possibility of atmospheric distortion of the data) -- is definitely showing us that Deep Impact hit a high-strength surface, not just a lot of "fluffy dust" -- diametrically opposite what A'hearn is trying to "spin" re the Deep Impact measurements.
OK, so what is the surface of Tempel 1: hard ... or soft?
One major political difference: the Swift team published their actual data (below), immediately; A'Hearn is simply telling us what the Deep impact instruments saw ... but without showing us any of the measurements.
One way to reconcile these seemingly opposite conclusions is that, indeed, Tempel 1 is covered in a deep and "fluffy layer" of such dust -- which Deep Impact instantly "punched through" ... until it hit the "much harder, actual surface of the object" ... at which point it produced that tell-tale "UV flash of its destruction" that the Swift measurements recorded.
But this does not explain A'Hearn's specific "knocking down" of the very telling Hawaii comparison with "beach sand" ... unless, of course, A'Hearn is not-so-subtly trying to steer the rapidly developing "new comet model" away from any association with former "exploded planets" ... and the remnants of real live "beaches" ....
But then, in the very next sentence, he is admitting -- albeit, "between the lines" -- that a "new comet model," strikingly different from the "standard NASA model," is definitely necessary now ....
"... And the surface is definitely not what most people think of when they think of comets -- an ice cube [emphasis added] ...."
This last statement seems pregnant with potential, multiple interpretations ... and is amply confirmed by another NASA team -- which just announced their first results from looking at the Comet.
These (also NASA) scientists, located at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, were operating the "reawakened" NASA SWAS spacecraft ("Sub-Millimeter Wave Astronomy Satellite") -- specifically "turned back on" just to observe the Deep Impact Comet Experiment. The unique capabilities of SWAS were that, unlike all the other teams looking for critical composition measurements from Tempel 1 -- in the UV, visible, or infrared ... -- SWAS could detect the clear, unambiguous "millimeter radio waves" being emitted by a variety of molecules ... including water.
(SWAS was placed in "hibernation" on July 21, 2004, after successfully completing a five and a half year Galactic Survey Mission of these same molecues in Deep Space. It was "revived" last month -- to focus solely now on Tempel 1.)
This is what the Harvard-Smithsonian Team "saw" at Impact:
"It's pretty clear that this event did not produce a gusher," said SWAS principal investigator Gary Melnick of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA). "The more optimistic predictions for water output from the impact haven't materialized, at least not yet." Astronomer Charlie Qi (CfA) expressed surprise at these results. He explained that short-period comets like Tempel 1 have been baked repeatedly by the sun during their passages through the inner solar system. The effects of that heat are estimated to extend more than three feet beneath the surface of the nucleus. But the Deep Impact indicates that these effects could be much deeper.
"Theories about the volatile layers below the surface of short-period comets are going to have to be revised," Qi said ....
The SWAS team measured about 730 pounds of water per second being released from Tempel 1 before Impact (below). And about 550 pounds per second after ... indicating that the collision actually slowed the water release rate!
Not exactly a "stunning confirmation" of the "dirty snowball" model ....
So, the obvious scientific concensus from this early data is that Tempel 1 did NOT produce a "gyser of new water" when hit by Deep Impact the other night (the SWAS results), but DID produce an immense cloud of fine silicate particles (the Gemini North results, and A'Hearn's own curious confirmation) -- the exact size (and origin) of said sand particles now being in MAJOR disagreement ....
Ah ... but there is more.
A few hundred feet from the Gemini North Telescope, also high on Mauna Kea, sits another pair of even larger telescopes -- in fact, the largest in the world -- the twin Keck instruments, 1 and 2 (below). With primary (light-gathering) mirrors each 10 meters across (33 feet!), both Keck telescopic observations of Comet Tempel 1 the other night were unsurpassed by any other instrument on Earth. On the official Keck website, the caption boasts that "... the Near Infrared Camera for the Keck I telescope is so sensitive it could detect the equivalent of a single candle flame on the Moon [emphasis added] ...."
So, what did the Keck Teams learn from this faint Comet, utilizing the awesome power of the worlds's two largest -- and most sensitive -- telescopes on Earth?
Shortly after Deep Impact's Grande Finale, Linda Moulton Howe was able to get a phone interview with a member of the Science Team recording data with Keck 1 -- Anita Cochran, Assistant Director of the McDonald Observatory and Senior Research Scientist, University of Texas (Linda's complete interview with Cochran is posted at Earthfils.com).
Cochran reported a number of intriguing observations about what the Keck 1 Team observed that night, perhaps the most interesting being her comments of what occured just at Impact ... and immediately after .....
"At the Kech I [sic] post in Hawaii, what we saw was the comet brighten, not exactly at the time of impact, but a little bit later. What it looks like from the spectra is that the dust was the predominant trigger for the increase in brightness ...."
OK, so far so good.
Cochran's report agrees with both the Gemini North observations (from, literally, just a few hundred feet away on the same 14,000 foot-high mountain), and the Deep Impact Mission's own results 83 million miles away ... as seen in its spectacular close-up imagery and "interpretated" by A'hearn.
The impact -- everyone agrees -- produced a LOT of "dust"... exactly what size being the major sticking point.
But, what else happened?
Cochran again ....
"... So, what we saw was a large increase in the light because of the increase in the surface area of the dust. And in the spectrum, it was a lot more subtle ....
"We did see a change in the amounts of various species [of gases] that we were seeing, and we saw some new lines that appeared the first night in our spectrum that are telling us about 'something' that came [out of Tempel 1] short-term.
"But as far as the Keck spectra are concerned, we still haven't identified what feature it is we were seeing. We did see it go away the next night. So, we are seeing a very short-lived 'something' that came about because of the impact. But I can't give you any more definitive answer of what it is, because WE haven't figured it out yet [emphasis added] ...!"
And that, several days ago, was our whole point.
As long as A'Hearn and NASA do NOT release the post-collision spectra from Deep Impact, from its superb spectragraph that night -- which was only ~5000 miles away, as opposed to 83 million for Earth's instruments -- we will have no clear idea of what "came out" from inside Tempel 1 in that amazing plume ....
In terms of "the standard NASA model" versus "Tom Van Flandern's" -- the wide variety of Deep Impact data we've just surveyed, both from the Spacecraft and the ground, is increasingly supporting Tom Van Flandern: that asteroids and comets are essentially the same type of shattered objects ... surviving fragments of a former "Planet V," which literally blew up millions of years ago in the location of the current "asteroid belt."
Based on these now widely circulating Earth-based scientific observations of Tempel 1 the other night, this new data has already put the whammy on the "dirty snowball" model. Since it's out there now (and NASA had to know that this would happen, since they encouraged these simultaneous ground-based observations in the first place...), what is NASA still "freaking out" about (judging from their continued, profound SILENCE) ... that they won't simply show us what they really found at Tempel 1?
Unless ... Deep Impact stumbeled over "something else" last Sunday night ... something totally amazing ... something totally beyond even Tom Van Flandern's "catastrophic destruction of whole planets."
Stay tuned ....
Well, I want to know what Linda Moulton-Howe thinks.
Where are his pics with arrows drawn on them to show us what he so 'clearly' sees?
Gotta love him though.
It's still 'kind'a' funny... but God is it dated!
It took me a minute to "produce the evidence".
Maybe they won't show close-ups because of the emergence of the Heaven's Gate cultists from the great dearth it had created!
It was rather amusing to see the arrows and octagons he scribbled on the one set of NASA images from Saturn.
Reminded me of that one 'artist' who drew these elaborate flowcharts that purported to show illicit links between just about everyone and some famous 'crime' or 'scandal'.
Are they indicating it have the consistency of a dropped lemon slushy?
And the point is...
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