This morning, NASA crashed a probe into the moon in order to stir up debris to figure out what that part of the moon is made of. The best (or worse, based on your perspective) case scenario of the impact was for the probe to be slightly less powerful than the usual meteors that crash into the moon dozens of times per year. The result was not the giant plume of debris the scientists had expected or hoped for, but it still yielded a lot of useful information.
So, this afternoon, a coworker of mine absolutely went batshit crazy on this issue. "What right do we have to crash a rocket into the moon?" he cried. "What if there was some underground gas that was flammable and it caused some sort of explosion?!"
Wow. Just, wow. This is a perfect example of why the USA needs massive science education reform. I argued with him for a little while, but he just kept throwing logical fallacies at me. In particular, he seemed to favor arguments from personal incredulity. When I confronted him with the fact that the moon gets battered worse than that regularly nearly every week, he actually exclaimed, "but that's nature! This wasn't!"
If there was some sort of explosive gas trapped under the moon that could actually cause harm to the moon or the earth by an impact that small, our little planet would have been wiped out billions of years ago! On second thought -- I didn't ask -- but maybe he doesn't believe the earth is that old.
I had no idea this was a controversial issue with anybody in the entire world. I can't believe I have to say this, but the moon was in absolutely no danger and neither were we, as occupants of the moon's closest celestial neighbor. I really geek out at stuff like this. I love science! I love reading about new discoveries, particularly in astronomy and physics! It really burns me up that there are people so ignorant about science that they just want to stop it whenever they don't understand something. I probably shouldn't tell him about the overblown hype of potential microscopic black holes that might be created at CERN's LHC.
So anyway, I want to end this blog post on a light hearted note, so here's a visit back to the world's greatest skit show, where they dealt head on with the controversial issue of blowing up the moon!