Thursday, January 13, 2005

Deep Impact

In a bizarre instance of life half-imitating Mr. Show's "America Blows Up the Moon" sketch, NASA launched the double entendre-baiting Deep Impact spacecraft yesterday.

On July 4th (!), the craft is scheduled to collide with Comet Tempel 1, leaving a stadium-sized crater and hopefully exposing the comet's icy core for long-distance scientific inquiry. If we're lucky, the resulting explosion of debris will be visible from earth, which would beat the hell out of Black Cats and sparklers. Folks smarter than me have concluded there's no chance that blowing a hole in the side of a comet 83 million miles away will somehow come back to bite our planet on the boo-boo.

NASA's spacecraft got its name from the 1998 big-budget comet disaster flick, "Deep Impact." My personal fascination with the idea of heaven raining death on us all started with a 1978 made-for-TV movie called "A Fire In the Sky" with Richard Crenna and Merlin Olsen. It was about a comet on a collision course with Phoenix. In a last-ditch effort to save Arizona's largest city, the military launches nukes to destroy the comet, but that big ol' booger of flaming ice just keeps coming. The city is evacuated, then destroyed. Great stuff for a nine-year-old to sleep on. This scenario seemed unspeakably horrific until I actually visited Phoenix.

1 comment:

Justin said...

But they did hit it, didn't they?

I saw the similarity with Mr Show too, actually that's how I found your blog. Good call.