Saturday, August 28, 2010
Anyone get a mars hoax e-mail?
I used to be an e-mail forwarder, but well... the nineties are over, right? I was wandering around the Internets today and I stumbled on this e-mail story that none of my friends who still forward e-mails sent to me. This is a good thing because I would have a hard time staying polite at something with this level of Rock F*#king Stupidity.
There is an e-mail that says Mars will look as large as the Moon some time in August. Tell your friends, tell your children and grandchildren, tattoo the dog, burn an offering and give it to the gods, big big party and you are all invited.
Of course it isn't true, not even close. The math is easy. The radius of Mars is about twice the radius of the Moon, which means if they were the same distance away from the earth, Mars would look to be four times the surface area because the area is proportional to the square of the radius. If Mars was twice as far away, then the two would look to be the same size.
Mars isn't twice as far away as the moon, it's much, much farther away even at its closest. The Moon is about a quarter million miles away. At its closest, Mars is about 60 million miles away. So even when Mars is really close, the Moon is more than 200 times closer.
If someone sends this to you, you have my permission to call bullshit on it. This e-mail has been sent every August for the past six or seven years and scientists are trying to get the word out. It's not working very well. We have these small weak levees of education trying to hold back an angry and rising sea of stupidity.