back to article What does the Moon 4bn years ago and Yahoo! towers this week have in common? Both had an awful atmosphere

Our Moon had an atmosphere visible from space almost four billion years ago – thanks to volcanic eruptions on its surface spewing a concoction of gases at a rate faster than they could escape the heavenly body. A NASA study published in Earth and Planetary Science Letters this week describes our ancient rocky companion in a …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    NASA’s administrator Robert Lightfood said the agency “has been directed to develop a plan for an innovative and sustainable program of exploration with commercial and international partners to enable human expansion across the solar system, returning humans to the Moon ...

    Let me guess: the plan is to outsource the exploration to China.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What a delicious typo

    NASA’s administrator Robert Lightfood

    Robert M Lightfoot is the current Acting Administrator of NASA.

    1. Alister Silver badge

      Re: What a delicious typo

      NASA’s administrator Robert Lightfood

      Well, he's on a diet.

      1. LaeMing Silver badge
        Go

        Re: What a delicious typo

        That's how they are going to save money on fuel - reduce lift weight with anorexic astronauts.

  3. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken Silver badge

    1 kPa, that's like, what, about 10 Norris?

  4. Ben Trabetere

    Is anyone else bothered about a scientist saying the moon "was nearly three times closer to Earth than it is today”?

    Wouldn't 'the moon was approximately 1/3rd the distance to Earth than it is today' be a better choice of words for a scientist?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Is anyone else bothered about a scientist saying the moon "was nearly three times closer to Earth than it is today”?

      Wouldn't 'the moon was approximately 1/3rd the distance to Earth than it is today' be a better choice of words for a scientist?

      Would you care to explain why do you think the original phrasing was inaproppriate? While that statement is somewhat colloquial, it conveys exactly the same information as your rewritten version. Depending on the circumstances (e.g. a scientific publication vs a public lecture or briefing), either may be preferable. Just because one is a scientist does not mean one has to sound like a pompous ass or a cop all the time.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        It, closer & larger

        "When the Moon had that atmosphere, it was nearly three times closer to Earth than it is today and would have appeared nearly three times larger in the sky.”

        I think it is a bit poorly worded. Strictly speaking, the 'it' refers to 'that atmosphere' and not the Moon, 'three times' something is usually parsed as three times greater and, for the size of the Moon in the sky, 'larger' could refer to either its area or its diameter.

        I think we all knew what he meant though.

        1. Another User

          Re: It, closer & larger

          Diameter is meant. It is also a property which can be easily observed. Area would be nine times larger.

      2. Commswonk Silver badge

        Would you care to explain why do you think the original phrasing was inaproppriate?

        Muphry's Law (or one of its variants) strikes again...

    2. VictimMildew

      > Is anyone else bothered about a scientist saying the moon "was nearly three times closer to Earth than it is today”?

      Two nations, divided by a single language.

  5. Florida1920 Silver badge

    Fly me to the Moon

    Mike Pence is just looking for a way out of the toxic atmosphere in the White House.

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: Fly me to the Moon

      No way out for him... he volunteered for that job.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Fly me to the Moon

        well, to be fair, he volunteered to be the VP *candidate*. Nobody expected Trump to win, so being the loosing VP candidate was the best way to be the 2020 GOP presidential nominee. After all, prior to Trump, the GOP succession plan was more predictable than that of the House of Windsor.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Fly me to the Moon

          > "Nobody expected Trump to win, so being the loosing VP candidate was the best way to be the 2020 GOP presidential nominee."

          The best way to become president for a Republican is to lose as the VP candidate?

          That's not how Trump did it. Or Bush. Or the other Bush. Or Reagan. Or Ford. Or Nixon. Or Eisenhower.

          So, perhaps it's not actually a thing? ;-/

        2. Fizzle
          Headmaster

          Re: Fly me to the Moon

          Sorry, down-voted for "loosing" when I am sure you meant "losing".

      2. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

        Re: Fly me to the Moon

        Pence is toxic.

    2. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Megaphone

      Re: Fly me to the Moon

      well, since you're already "gone political" consider this: We stopped going to the moon in the 70's due to budget problems, CAUSED by LBJ's "Great Society". If it hadn't been for THAT, we'd be colonizing MARS by now!!!

      1. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

        Re: Fly me to the Moon

        "We stopped going to the moon in the 70's due to budget problems, CAUSED by LBJ's "Great Society"."

        Hard decision: try to reduce inequality in society or keep putting small numbers of people on the Moon with very inefficient and somewhat unreliable vehicles.

      2. Gene Cash Silver badge

        Re: Fly me to the Moon

        Actually no, LBJ fought for the space program... he was kind of disgusted it was being abandoned. His quote:

        "It's unfortunate, but the way the American people are, now that they have developed all this capability, instead of taking advantage of it, they'll probably just piss it all away."

      3. MD Rackham

        Re: Fly me to the Moon

        Had much more to do with the cost of the Vietnam war than the "Great Society" programs.

        Nixon was the one that killed Apollo, killed the Mars follow-on, and settled on the flawed and under-funded STS development.

        He also cut back many of the Great Society program while escalating the Vietnam war.

        So it was politics, but as practiced by Nixon and his "southern strategy" (i.e., promoting racism).

        1. Mark 85 Silver badge

          Re: Fly me to the Moon

          So it was politics, but as practiced by Nixon and his "southern strategy" (i.e., promoting racism).

          But, but.. Nixon had a "secret plan" to end the war. Turned out the plan was just to pull out after he got re-elected. IMHO, as one those who went there, it would have been a better plan to have just pulled out early in his first term.

          1. John H Woods Silver badge

            Re: Nixon

            If only his dad had pulled out early

        2. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: Fly me to the Moon

          "Nixon was the one that killed Apollo, killed the Mars follow-on, and settled on the flawed and under-funded STS development."

          He also killed MSR R&D, mostly because it didn't create jobs for his friends in SoCal (who were working on sodium cooled breeder reactors - using sodum works well as long as you don't expose it to air and _every_ single liquid sodium system has ended up doing that) but also because most of the military were opposed to it due to the fact that you can't extract weapons material from the fuelling/defuelling processes.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Fly me to the Moon

        The budget crisis of the 1970s was brought about by a number of factors. Interestingly it played into the hand of the extremely wealthy who had and continue to buy enough politicians to get their way over the needs of society. So, cutting corporate and wealth taxes helped the budget, somehow. It certainly hasn't put more money into the hands of the shrinking middle class. A growing middle class is the economic driver of any economically healthy nation. The US spending hundreds of billions on the military budget whilst starving education and other social services certainly hasn't helped the economy, overall; especially, apparent boondoggles like the F-35. What that going to cost to make functional? A trillion? More than that? Will it be the game changer that it was touted to be?

        1. cray74

          Re: Fly me to the Moon

          The US spending hundreds of billions on the military budget whilst starving education and other social services certainly hasn't helped the economy, overall;

          Please note that the US Department of Defense ($700 billion/year) is only the third largest department in the US federal government. It is smaller than two social service departments, Department of Health and Human Services ($1 trillion per year) and the Social Security Administration ($900 billion per year).

          Overall, defense and security spending in the US amount to 17-18% of the federal budget (the total budget, not that "discretionary spending" pie chart circling teh interwebs). If you think that taking every penny out of defense for social services is going to fix the US's social problems, then you haven't looked at the shambolic state of the US's social services and what they're doing with more than $2 trillion a year, currently.

      5. macjules Silver badge

        Re: Fly me to the Moon

        ..we'd be colonizing MARS by now!!!

        Well, obviously not if Yahoo was in charge.

        1. mics39
          Trollface

          Re: Fly me to the Moon

          Yahoo! needs new market.

  6. Dave 32
    Coat

    Party at the Pole

    "NASA’s administrator Robert Lightfoot said the agency “has been directed to develop a plan for an innovative and sustainable program of exploration with commercial and international partners to enable human expansion across the solar system, returning humans to the Moon ..." "

    What this project needs is a good code-name. Since it appears that they may be planning a base near the Moon's polar regions, to take advantage of the water which may be there, I'll propose the code-name: Party at the Pole.

    Dave

    P.S. I'll get my coat. It's the one with the lunar map in the pocket.

  7. TeeCee Gold badge

    On the bright side for Yahoo!

    It doesn't seem that it's going to take them anywhere near 3.5 billion years to get rid of the bad atmosphere and become a barren, lifeless wasteland.

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