Downsize the Solar System

Oct 21, 2019
249
107
260
Bob Riddle, Director
KCMSD Planetarium
Kansas City, MO
(WASHINGTON D.C.)

The US Congress today, in an effort to rectify the current stalemate with the President over the continuing resolution has made a dramatic announcement. In an effort to reduce the NASA budget, a resolution was passed today to downsize the solar system. According to an unnamed congressional staffer, House Congressmen felt there has been "too much redundancy in the solar system" and that streamlining the 4.5 billion year old planetary system is long overdue. Such action would give NASA fewer places to go and this would allow the agency to carry out its space exploration goals within the funding profile that the House proposed earlier this summer.

"Look, we have three terrestrial planets" said Congressman Rip U. Apart , "and only one of them really works! So why not get rid of the other two and clean up the neighborhood?" Most subcommittee members felt that while downsizing was definitely in the cards, eliminating both Mars and Venus was going too far. "We have too many international commitments to Mars." said Rush N. Hater. "So I think we should keep Mars and dump Venus. Its too hot to live on, and environmentalists keep using it as an example of what global warming can do. So from a political and practical point of view, Venus has got to go."

Also at risk is the planet Mercury which lacks support because of its small size and poor visibility from Earth. "Who needs it?" asked Congressman Newt Onian . "Have you ever seen it? I haven't. So what good is it? We just don't need useless planets. And speaking of useless planets, what about the asteroids? If you've seen one, you've seen them all. So I say we ought to get rid of the little boogers once and for all."

However, the downsizing recommendations do not stop with the terrestrial planets. The resolution also calls for a reduction in the number of gas giants which contain most of the planetary mass in the solar system. Most subcommittee members favor retaining Jupiter and Saturn, and eliminating Uranus and Neptune. "Jupiter employs the most molecules, and Saturn has those pretty little rings everyone likes." said Rep. Con Mann. "On the other hand, Uranus is a bore and its rings are dirty. And Neptune, for God's sake, is just too far away. So begone with those ugly bruisers."

But the influential Wright I.M. Fornow from South Carolina has publicly announced he will fight to eliminate Saturn. Fornow is especially miffed by NASA's success thus far in keeping Cassini, the next mission to Saturn, alive which he feels is waste of taxpayers’ money. "If there ain't no Saturn, then there ain't no Cassini" he exclaimed. The congressman also expressed concern about sending back-to-back spacecraft bearing Italian surnames to the outer planets (The Galileo spacecraft arrives at Jupiter this December).

The subcommittee was unanimous in its views towards Pluto which they deemed a moral misfit. "Now here's a planet we can definitely do without." continued Fornow. "A few years ago, it was farthest from the sun. Now its not. Its just too confusing. And now they tell me its really two planets instead of one. What the hell is going on here?"

The resolution must now be presented to the entire House, where it is expected to pass easily since only a minority of Representatives have constituents on the affected planets. NASA Administrators have vowed to resist any further reductions to the solar system, saying that "NASA has expended considerable effort to make the planets cheaper, faster, and better. Much of this work would be wasted if the solar system were downsized."

Critics say, however, that reducing the number of planets will not produce the expected savings to taxpayers. Textbooks, they note, would have to be revised to reflect the new arrangement, and facilities would need to be constructed to remove the planets themselves. The resolution is also likely to draw strong opposition from religious fundamentalists who have long opposed the elimination of any of the biblical planets. Thus, the matter is still far from resolved.

From: https://www.aps.org/publications/apsnews/199510/downsize.cfm 1995.

Edited to remove political references.
 
  • Like
Reactions: rod
Oct 23, 2019
47
23
35
While we are downsizing the solar system, a little rearranging might be in order too. Let's face it, Saturn is just too far away. Without a telescope you can't see those wonderful rings. Let move it nearer, put it where Mars is now so everybody can go out on a clear night and see the rings. Then move Mars closer to earth where it will be warmer and easier and cheaper to get to.
 

rod

Oct 22, 2019
2,223
865
2,560
Okay, this is a fun discussion on downsizing the solar system. I enjoy the views presently using my 90-mm refractor and 10-inch Newtonian telescopes, no need to downsize here :)
 
Oct 23, 2019
47
23
35
Perhaps we should eliminate asteroids and comets too. They are just cluttering up space. If we merge them all with Mars we might get a halfway respectable planet out of it.
 
  • Like
Reactions: rod

rod

Oct 22, 2019
2,223
865
2,560
EjmMissouri, I enjoy viewing asteroids like 4 Vesta or 2 Pallas this year with my binoculars and telescopes, also comets. However, if the asteroid or comet shows up like the movies Armageddon or Deep Impact - not an enjoyable view :)
 

ASK THE COMMUNITY