ACTUAL Space Force Will Land On The Sun!


Well, maybe not "land," but tomorrow at 3:11 am NASA is sending the Parker Solar Probe on a mission to the Sun. Why? Don't we know everything about our provider of heat, life and melanoma already? No, silly rabbit. We don't. Why does the corona reach millions of degrees but only thousands of degrees on the surface? It's a mystery! Can we better predict sunspot cycles? It's a mystery! Will a giant floating Windex bottle clean them up? It's a mystery! So, while not landing on the actual surface, the little spaceship will get closer than any other to the Sun. We're talking 3.8 million miles from the sun and while that SEEMS far away, the Earth is 93 million miles away (on average) and that Arizona of the Solar System, Mercury, is still 36 million miles away (yes, on average!). The Parker Solar Probe will be ten times closer to the Sun than Mercury, baking itself at a balmy 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit. And you thought YOUR summer has been hot!

Let's come back to all the cool details on the mission in a bit. First, though, a quick primer on our closest star:

The Sun is made of plasma, which is a damn weird state of matter. Usually we think of the more typical three states: solid, liquid and gas. Plasma is the weirdo fourth kid that Hyperion and Theia created. It's a bunch of ionized (stuff with charges) gas that becomes extremely electrically conductive with some crazy giant electric and magnetic fields. You might think all plasma is super hot, because most people that know of it first did so because of the Sun and other stars. Nope. There's also "nonthermal" plasmas that can exist at room temperature.

But back to the subject at hand! In terms of stars, our amigo is considered middle-aged and should remain stable for another 5 billion years. Don't worry about life ending because of the Sun turning into a red giant and burning us all to death. We'll kill ourselves off first via some man-made stupidity that Trump and his Orange Brigade are accelerating. I'm sure you kids know that the sun generates energy via nuclear fusion, our dream approach to limitless, clean energy. However, did you know that while it converts 4 million tons of matter in its core into energy every SECOND, it can take 10,000 to 170,000 years for that energy to be released? I hope you appreciate that sunburn a bit more. It's been thousands of years in the making!

Back to the space ship! Here is the official quote from NASA on the mission goals:

"The primary science goals for the mission are to trace how energy and heat move through the solar corona and to explore what accelerates the solar wind as well as solar energetic particles…Today, this is finally possible with cutting-edge thermal engineering advances that can protect the mission on its dangerous journey. Parker Solar Probe will carry four instrument suites designed to study magnetic fields, plasma and energetic particles, and image the solar wind."

The journey will be pretty wild, with speeds of 430,000 mph. How fast is that, really? Little known Carlos Fact©: I commute from Boston to San Diego every week. If I could borrow the Parker, I'd have a 22 second commute. Of course, my windblown hair would need some fixing before going into the office. Now, you don't want to go straight at the Sun at that speed, so to slow down, NASA peeps will have Parker do seven loops around Venus and use the gravitational pull to slow down. I'm sure it will gather some pics for its InstaChatBook thing. Can't pass Venus and not do a space selfie.

Discerning Wonkette readers may have noticed that I wrote that the temperature of the Sun's corona reaches MILLIONS of degrees, but I also wrote that Parker will only be baked at a temp of 2500 degrees. Did I err? No, pendejos! Both are correct. While it flies through the corona, it will pass through areas of million degree heat, but because the DENSITY of the matter it flies through will be so low, it will only heat up to about 2500. Science! Think about it another way. Water boils at 212 degrees Fahrenheit. Boil some. Now turn your oven on to 212 degrees F. Stick your left hand in the oven for two seconds and your right one in the water for two seconds. One will be in rather bad shape. You tell me which one. Of course, thousands of degrees is still muuuuuy caliente, but Parker has a pretty chill heat shield to deal with it.

It's too late now, but up until late April you could have had your name added to some sort of list on the space ship and have yourself virtually disintegrated along with Parker after it plummets to its fiery end, sometime in 2025 after the mission is complete. William Shatner himself invited you to add your name! The deadline passed but maybe you could just write your name on a piece of paper and light that on fire while you watch the launch live (you may want a double espresso) right HERE.

So that's our Science Friday version of your Carlos story of the week, but since I have you here at the end, I just want to recommend one of my favorite Danny Boyle movies, Sunshine. Really fantastic sci-fi story that has a controversial third act I won't give away but will say that I actually love the end. See you amigos next week! Oh yeah, and it is now your OPEN THREAD!

Carlos Sagan

I am a biochemist MexiCAN. I also write screenplays, ever hoping to get one made.

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follow me at: @RealCarlosSagan

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Republicans are devouring each other's carcasses, and we are here for it! Especially when one of those Republicans is King Kris of the Kansas Votefucker Klan ... errr, Clan! It's been a week since Kansans cast their votes in the gubernatorial primary, and the GOP looks to be rolling up its sleeves for a slugfest.

As we type, Kobach leads by 298 votes out of more than 314,000 cast -- a whopping 0.00095 percent, if you round up! The Kansas GOP begged Donald Trump to stay out of the race and leave the field clear for sitting governor Jeff Colyer, who took over when Sam Brownback wandered off to bring Jesus to the Hottentots on behalf of the US government. Safe bet that Colyer would be gearing up for the general election now if President Twitterthumbs hadn't flapped his yap. So thanks for that, Donny!

No, really, THANKS!

Remember the hanging chad debacle in Florida? Now picture it in a landlocked state with more cows than people. It's like fantasy island for Devin Nunes, ALLEGEDLY.

Oh, but we are to kid!

After first insisting he wasn't going to recuse from the counting, Secretary of State Kris Kobach (one and the same!) wrote Colyer a fabulously bitchy letter agreeing to hand off the tabulation to his deputy, Eric Rucker. Colyer had made the shocking suggestion that Kobach delegate responsibility to the Kansas attorney general, rather than his own political appointee, and Kobach was stretched out on the settee with a fit of the vapors at the gross impropriety of it all!

I will not breach the public trust and arbitrarily assign my responsibilities to another office that is not granted such authority by the laws of Kansas.

After several anguished paragraphs, Kobach closed by remonstrating that Colyer was betraying his office by destroying the faith of Kansans in the sacred integrity of their electoral process.

As governor of Kansas, your unrestrained rhetoric has the potential to undermine the public's confidence in the election process. May I suggest that you trust the people of Kansas have made the right decision at the polls and that our election officials will properly determine the result as they do in every election.

Said the guy whose entire adult life has been dedicated to whipping up panic about millions of imaginary illegal alien voters.

So now these two princes can kick the crap out of each other WITH VOTES, specifically, provisional ballots cast by unaffiliated voters under the supervision of poorly trained poll workers. Kansas holds closed primaries, meaning only registered Republicans can vote to select the GOP candidate, BUT an unaffiliated voter can cast a vote by checking a box identifying as a Democrat or a Republican at the polling place. This was news to some poll workers, who mistakenly directed over one thousand unaffiliated voters to use provisional ballots without checking the box indicating party preference. Whoops!

So, will those provisional ballots be counted based on voter intent? Or tossed based on strict interpretation of the statute? And does Kansas law mandate tossing mail-in ballots that arrive without a postmark on Wednesday, since there's no forensic proof that they were mailed before midnight on Tuesday? And how disgusted will the Kansas electorate be when one of these assholes emerges from the melée holding the other one's scalp? And how many millions of dollars are going to be spent on litigating the Republican primary while this nice lady Laura Kelly, the Democratic minority whip of the Kansas Senate, is out campaigning for November?

Even before this debacle, Kobach looked significantly weaker against Kelly than Colyer, with self-funded Libertarian Jeff Orman threatening to throw a wrench in the works. The Wichita Eagle reports on a Remington Research Poll conducted in July:

In a Kelly-Orman-Kobach race, the poll puts Kelly and Kobach effectively in a dead heat — 36 percent for Kelly and 35 percent for Kobach, with Kelly's lead within the margin of error. Orman has 12 percent.

Colyer leads in a three-way race with Kelly and Orman, according to the poll. In that scenario, Colyer receives 38 percent of the vote, while Kelly gets 28 percent and Orman receives 10 percent.

Which is ONE POLL, in a deeply red state, but ... Kobach is a crap candidate who's likely to emerge from this fight with two black eyes and a pissed off base. If there's anyone who can blow this election, it's Kris Kobach.

Keep fighting, Kris! You can do it! (And now we need a shower.)

And YOU need an OPEN THREAD!

Follow your FDF on Twitter!

Money us, PLEASE! Throw a tip in the jar, or click here to keep your Wonkette snarking forever.

[Kobach letter / Wichita Eagle / Mother Jones / Kansas City Star]

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While most people spent this weekend telling Nazi punks to fuck off, a couple 11-year-olds were in Las Vegas hacking into voting machines. Why? BECAUSE IT'S FUN!

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