First `Video` of Asteroid 2005 YU55 [6-frames]

From Whats Up With That:

Scientists working with the 230-foot-wide (70-meter) Deep Space Network antenna at Goldstone, Calif., have generated a short movie clip of asteroid 2005 YU55. The images were generated from data collected at Goldstone on Nov. 7, 2011, between 11:24 a.m. and 1:35 p.m. PST (2:24 p.m. and 4:35 p.m. EST). They are the highest-resolution images ever generated by radar of a near-Earth object.

Each of the six frames required 20 minutes of data collection by the Goldstone radar. At the time, 2005 YU55 was approximately 860,000 miles (1.38 million kilometers) away from Earth. Resolution is 4 meters per pixel.

“The movie shows the small subset of images obtained at Goldstone on November 7 that have finished processing. By animating a sequence of radar images, we can see more surface detail than is visible otherwise,” said radar astronomer Lance Benner, the principal investigator for the 2005 YU55 observations, from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. “The animation reveals a number of puzzling structures on the surface that we don’t yet understand. To date, we’ve seen less than one half of the surface, so we expect more surprises.”

The trajectory of asteroid 2005 YU55 is well understood. At the point of closest approach today at 3:28 p.m. PST (6:28 p.m. EST/2328 UTC), it was no closer than 201,700 miles (324,600 kilometers), as measured from the center of Earth. The gravitational influence of the asteroid will have no detectable effect on anything here on Earth, including our planet’s tides or tectonic plates. Although 2005 YU55 is in an orbit that regularly brings it to the vicinity of Earth (and Venus and Mars), the 2011 encounter with Earth is the closest this space rock has come for at least the last 200 years.

…read more…

JPL Censors Speech, ADF Helps David Coppedge Draw a Line

I enjoy speaking with Mr. Coppedge on rare occasions when there are events in town about ID or creation.  I have always enjoyed his company and conversation when the opportunity is afforded. For him to be anything but gracious in conversation is a tough stretch for me. So his drawing a line in the sand is wonderful and may change the culture at JPL closer to the one thought of in the founding documents of our nation than the culture practiced by  [dialectical] Materialism found in the old Soviet Union, e.g., scientism. What Dr. Richard Lewontin, geneticist and past professor of biology at Harvard University, admitted was a metaphysical position, or, an a priori belief that interprets the evidence instead of allowing evidence to drive the interpretation:

…the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories; because we have a priori commitment, a commitment to materialism. It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is an absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.

Here is a recent article on the Coppedge flap:

Demoted Employee for NASA Mission Fights Discrimination

An amended complaint was filed Monday in a lawsuit against a NASA laboratory in California on behalf of an employee who was demoted for discussing his beliefs about intelligent design.

Since his demotion last year, David Coppedge, who had served as a “team lead” technical specialist on Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s Cassini mission to Saturn, has been “stigmatized in such a way that career advancement opportunities have been foreclosed to him,” the complaint reads.

Last March, Coppedge was accused of “pushing religion” on his co-workers after he began engaging colleagues in conversations about intelligent design – a theory that life and the existence of the universe derive not from undirected material processes but from an intelligent cause – and offering DVDs on the subject when the co-worker expressed interest.

His supervisor, Gregory Chin, allegedly received complaints from employees and threatened the long-time employee with termination if he persisted with his intelligent design discussions.

Coppedge said he would comply with the orders not to discuss the theory, politics or religion in the office but felt his constitutional rights were violated.

He later received a “written warning” which stated that his actions were harassing in nature and created a disruption in the workplace. Thereafter, he was removed from the team lead position in order to “lessen the strife” in the work area. His demotion was announced on a memo that was distributed on April 20, 2009.

According to the amended complaint, Coppedge said he was never told by a co-worker that his discussion of intelligent design was unwelcome or disruptive to their work. He was offered no specific details of the charges allegedly made by other co-workers.

Since the incident, Coppedge continues to suffer embarrassment, emotional distress, humiliation, indignity, apprehension, fear, ordeal and mental anguish, the complaint states. Specifically, he has remained constrained in his ability to express his personal views and has been “kept a prisoner of JPL’s systemic ideological culture.” The JPL employee also “endures each working day under a cloud of suspicion and a threat of termination lest he say anything by which someone might take offense.”

Coppedge’s attorney, William J. Becker, Jr., who is part of the Alliance Defense Fund, argues, “Discussing the origins of the universe with willing co-workers is not punishable just because it doesn’t fit a prevailing view at JPL.”

Becker further contends in the amended complaint that Coppedge suffered injustice and was deprived of his constitutional right to freely speak, write and publish his sentiments.

The written warning against Coppedge that was issued last April was expunged from his personnel file this year after his supervisors and manager revisited the matter. But he was not restored to the team lead position because the company continued to believe that his conduct in distributing the DVDs and advancing his views on intelligent design was inappropriate.

ADF Senior Counsel Joseph Infranco commented, “Mr. Coppedge has always maintained that ID is a scientific theory. Regardless, JPL has discriminated against him on the basis of what they deem is ‘religion.’ The only discussion allowed is what fits the agenda. Stray, and you are silenced and punished. It just doesn’t fit with JPL’s otherwise fine reputation in the industry.”