Christian Lacroix Haute Couture Autumn/Winter 2005
If you were looking up at the Moon on March 17, 2013 at 03:50:55 UTC, you might have seen one of the brightest “lunar flashes” ever witnessed. And it would have been visible with just the naked eye.
“On March 17, 2013, an object about the size of a small boulder hit the lunar surface in Mare Imbrium,” says Bill Cooke of NASA’s Meteoroid Environment Office. “It exploded in a flash nearly 10 times as bright as anything we’ve ever seen before.”
The scientists estimate that the flash came from a 40 kg meteoroid measuring 0.3 to 0.4 meters wide hitting the Moon, likely traveling about 90,000 km/hr (56,000 mph.) The resulting explosion packed as much punch as 5 tons of TNT.
Lunar meteors hit the ground with so much kinetic energy that they don’t require an oxygen atmosphere to create a visible explosion. The flash of light comes not from combustion but rather from the thermal glow of molten rock and hot vapors at the impact site.
When researchers looked back at their records from March, they found that the moon meteor might not have been an isolated event.
“On the night of March 17, NASA and University of Western Ontario all-sky cameras picked up an unusual number of deep-penetrating meteors right here on Earth” said Cooke. “These fireballs were traveling along nearly identical orbits between Earth and the asteroid belt.”
Though Earth’s atmosphere protected our planet’s surface from being hit by these meteors, the moon has no such luck. Its lack of an atmosphere exposes it to all incoming space rocks, and the NASA monitoring program has spotted more than 300 meteor strikes that reached its surface since 2005.
Part of the motivation for the program is NASA’s eventual intent to send astronauts back to the moon. When they arrive, they’ll need to know how often meteors impact the surface, and whether certain parts of the year, coinciding with the moon’s passage through crowded bits of the solar system, pose special dangers.
“We’ll be keeping an eye out for signs of a repeat performance next year when the Earth-Moon system passes through the same region of space,” Cooke said. “Meanwhile, our analysis of the March 17th event continues.”
The scientists also hope to use NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter to photograph the impact site to learn more about how the crash occurred.
Decaying flower was shot by Billy Kidd.
Whether it be hedonism, pessimism, utilitarianism, or eudaemonism, all those modes of thinking which measure the worth of things according to pleasure and pain, that is, according to accompanying circumstances and secondary considerations, are plausible modes of thought and naivetés, which every one conscious of creative powers and an artist’s conscience will look down upon with scorn, though not without sympathy. Sympathy for you! To be sure, that is not sympathy as you understand it: it is not sympathy for social “distress,” for “society” with its sick and misfortuned, for the hereditarily vicious and defective who lie on the ground around us; still less is it sympathy for the grumbling, vexed, revolutionary slave-classes who strive after power—they call it “freedom.” Our sympathy is a loftier and further-sighted sympathy: we see how man dwarfs himself, how you dwarf him! And there are moments when we view your sympathy with an indescribable anguish, when we resist it, when we regard your seriousness as more dangerous than any kind of levity. You want, if possible—and there is not a more foolish “if possible”—to do away with suffering. And we? It really seems that we would rather have it increased and made worse than it has ever been! Well-being, as you understand it, is certainly not a goal; it seems to us an end; a condition which at once renders man ludicrous and contemptible—and makes his destruction desirable! The discipline of suffering, of great suffering—do you not know not that it is only this discipline that has produced all the elevations of humanity hitherto? The tension of soul in misfortune which communicates to it its energy, its shuddering in view of rack and ruin, its inventiveness and bravery in undergoing, enduring, interpreting, and exploiting misfortune, and whatever depth, mystery, disguise, spirit, artifice, or greatness has been bestowed upon the soul—has it not been bestowed through suffering, through the discipline of great suffering? In man creature and creator are united: in man there is not only matter, shred, excess, clay, mire, folly, chaos; but there is also the creator, the sculptor, the hardness of the hammer, the divinity of the spectator, and the seventh day. Do you understand this contrast? And that your sympathy for the “creature in man” applies to that which has to be fashioned, bruised, forged, stretched, roasted, annealed, refined—to that which must necessarily suffer and is meant to suffer? And our sympathy—do you not understand what our reverse sympathy applies to, when it resists your sympathy as the worst of all pampering and enervation? So it is sympathy against sympathy! But to repeat it once more, there are higher problems than the problems of pleasure and pain and sympathy; and all systems of philosophy which deal only with these are pieces of naiveté.
Givenchy by Alexander McQueen, Fall 1999.