Shuttle, Ham and AiGs

By Phil Plait | May 29, 2008 3:19 pm

BABloggee Heather Steingruebl pointed out to me that the pilot for the upcoming Shuttle mission STS 124 is… Ken Ham!

[Looks furtively at calendar. Hmmm… not April 1. So this isn’t a joke. Looks at picture of Ken Ham… phew!]

Yeah, it’s not the Ken Ham goofball head of Answers in Genesis, it’s astronaut Ken Ham, who apparently understands science. Or at least enough to steer the Shuttle.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: NASA, Religion, Space
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Comments (46)

  1. I would change my name if I was Ken Ham the Astronaut.

  2. I’d make the other guy change his name.

  3. Hugo

    Besides, how could Ken Ham (the not-an-astronaut Ken Ham) fly a space shuttle?

    a) Space shuttles aren’t in the bible and
    b) You can’t orbit a flat earth.

  4. “b) You can’t orbit a flat earth.”

    Um, I think you can, it just needs to have gravity. Of course, gravity is just a theory.

  5. Of course you can orbit a flat earth. You can read all about it the highly scientific manual: “The last hero”.

  6. Howie

    Well, at least it’s Ken Ham, Astronaut who will pilot the Shuttle and not Buzz Lightyear who is going up as part of the ‘crew’

  7. JackC

    At least he’s a Ham

    de N4FFD

    73

  8. Dan

    Actually, I wonder what effect space would have on a young earth creationist. Would it be similar to monkeys?

  9. So, if the earth is flat, what does the bottom look like? Are there roots everywhere?

  10. Maybe it’s clear like a fishbowl!

  11. Actually, orbiting a flat Earth would be interesting. From far enough away it acts like a point source, so the orbit is stable over the long term. But closer in, the fact that it’s not a sphere would mess up the orbit. Around a sphere, a circular orbit is stable because the distribution of mass of the sphere is symmetric. Around a disk or a square the distribution of mass you see changes with time; sometimes a corner or an edge is closer, sometimes farther, so the gravity you feel changes.

    This would make a good grad school homework problem. :-)

  12. Um, I think you can, it just needs to have gravity. Of course, gravity is just a theory.

    Gravity is just a faith-based view foisted upon the population by cranky, Godless “scientists”

    Things try to stick to the earth because the earth sucks.

    It is fallout from original sin. Before the original sin, there was no gravity. Everything was in peace and harmony with the universe, floating freely, content, happy.

  13. Robert Madewell

    I don’t think that the AiG Ken Ham thinks the earth is flat, though he does have some goofy ace beliefs. Maybe he woild find evidence of the firmament up there. I know! We really should send AiG Ken Ham to space. We should actually send him to the moon. With a yard stick, so he can measure how deep the regolith is. Maybe he can measure how many micrometeorite are hitting an area per time period. Then he can do the math and figure out once and for all how old the moon is. Then when someone asks him how he knows that the moon is that old he can say, “I was there”.

  14. Alan

    BA: “This would make a good grad school homework problem.”

    Yay, Discworld homework! Do you have to account for the gravity from the turtle that’s holding up the world?

  15. OtherRob

    Wasn’t the first “American” in space a chimp named Ham? :-)

  16. themadlolscientist

    LOL @ OtherRob…. Wouldn’t the Creation Museum folks be surprised to find out that its founder’s great-grandpappy had been in outer space?! Now the secret comes out…….. he really is descended from an ape!

  17. jrkeller

    Ken Ham used to be married to Linda Ham who was the lead flight director during the Columbia accident.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linda_Ham

  18. Kevin Conod

    Interestingly STS 124 is a Garden State Trifecta:
    Ken Ham, Mark Kelly and Garrett Reisman are all from New Jersey! Yay us!

  19. Crux Australis

    Phil, I just showed my Physics class your Journey to the Center of the Sun video from Q & BA; they loved it! Will there be any more in the future?

  20. Kol

    Wait wait.

    I’ve actually clicked on some of the provided links to get up to speed. Everyone wants to be in on the inside joke, after all.

    So, while I’m looking at the two Allens, I see something at the top of a post about Sannon Malloy and contributing to her fund. I see the comments, retractions, appologies, her blog and its amputation via legal counsel.

    So, I come back here with a bit of perspective. I’m proud of the responses and am stoked for the next mission.

    “it’s astronaut Ken Ham, who apparently understands science. Or at least enough to steer the Shuttle.”

    See, I get it. Two men, same name, each diametrically opposed to the other.

    On the surface I read, “well, at least the guy can drive a spaceship (insert banjo music here)”.

    Look. I’m just a reader. My opinion only counts for as much worth as you give it.

    Just seems like you linked to a past mistake and repeated it.

    BTW, nothing like that has ever happened to me in my entire life. /snark

  21. Buzz Parsec

    I’ve noticed when I meet up with people with the same name, one of them is always the evil twin of the other one, so if you say “the good Ken Ham” and “the evil Ken Ham”, everyone will always know which you mean. There is probably an evil Buzz Parsec floating around in space somewhere, and an evil Bad Astronomer… Ooh, wait, wouldn’t the opposite of a Bad Astronomer be a Good Astronomer?

    Also I don’t think anyone here actually believes the evil Ken Ham thinks the earth is flat. We’re just enjoying some trash-talk. As to sending him to the Moon with a ruler to measure the regolith, wasn’t that all deposited by the flood?

    On a totally unrelated topic, I just bought some old computer components on Ebay (an old VAX CPU and some memory) which arrived in a box with about 50 postage stamps on it. (Aren’t you supposed to soak such boxes in a bucket of water before opening them?) Most of the stamps were 30 year old 8 cent stamps in blocks of 4 stamps, all different! Pretty bizarre. One set was about the centennial of the National Parks, and featured Old Faithful erupting. In the middle of the steam cloud (and this was verified by a coworker) is Homer Simpson. , 2nd stamp. Homer is much more obvious on the actual stamp than on the picture on the web. I think Mark Twain, Snake, and maybe a bunch of other Simpsons characters are also in the cloud. A fount of paradeiola.

  22. Buzz Parsec

    That ate my link to a picture of the stamp… trying again:

    http://www.johnstonsarchive.net/geysers/geyserstamp.html

  23. Ken

    Bah. Here I came all the way to BA HQ for more info on these magnestar thingies and maybe a passionate gushing about the new Phoenix picture (with the crater in it) and nothing! NOTHING!

    /will wait patiently
    //Tired of waiting, maybe wiki..no…Hungry Hungry Hippos!

  24. Dorfl

    “Yay, Discworld homework! Do you have to account for the gravity from the turtle that’s holding up the world?”

    Oh, that’s too easy. I will just ask the Librarian to get me the answer from L-Space….

    Shouldn’t gravity on the disk change at certain times since one of the elephants has to lift a leg to let the sun pass by?

  25. Around a disk or a square the distribution of mass you see changes with time; sometimes a corner or an edge is closer, sometimes farther, so the gravity you feel changes.

    But you could orbit a disk in the same plane as the disk, as long as the disk was more-or-less circular…

  26. JB of Brisbane

    @Jewel – I don’t know if it was in Phil’s book or Michael Shermer’s, but the old lady who said “It’s turtles all the way down!” said it best.

  27. DingoDave

    Buzz Parsec wrote: “I’ve noticed when I meet up with people with the same name, one of them is always the evil twin of the other one, so if you say “the good Ken Ham” and “the evil Ken Ham”, everyone will always know which you mean.”

    They could call this mission ‘Operation Nemesis’.

  28. OtherRob

    JB, I think it was in one of Stephen Hawking’s books. A Brief History of Time?

  29. Hugo

    The Flat Earth I was thinking of is a cartoonish, rectangular 2D map of the world – not something awesome like Pratchett’s Discworld.

    Like if I stetched out a map of the world from an atlas onto a sheet of A4 paper, so that it’s a rectangle. I don’t go for that whole ‘platter’ thing. In fact, I think I got this idea out off of a cartoon.

    Meh. Orbit this!

  30. Phil, I’m disapointed. You could have had a “Ham it up” pun for the title of this post.

    I forgive you this time.

  31. “@Jewel – I don’t know if it was in Phil’s book or Michael Shermer’s, but the old lady who said “It’s turtles all the way down!” said it best.”

    But if it were turtles all the way down, wouldn’t the infinite gravity of the infinite mass of the turtles create a black hole? Or does there have to be a critical density of infinite turtles?

    Now my brain hurts.

  32. Ronn Blankenship

    Dorfl asked:

    “Yay, Discworld homework! Do you have to account for the gravity from the turtle that’s holding up the world?”

    Oh, that’s too easy. I will just ask the Librarian to get me the answer from L-Space….

    Shouldn’t gravity on the disk change at certain times since one of the elephants has to lift a leg to let the sun pass by?

    You better hope that the elephant isn’t lifting its leg for some other purpose when the sun passes by, or it will be getting awfully dark and cold soon . . .

  33. spokelig

    That homework assignment is easy – there is no gravity, it’s all intelligent falling. Therefore, astronauts stay in orbit around a circular earth because it’s the will of a higher intelligence!

    http://www.theonion.com/content/node/39512

  34. KaiYves

    Reminds me of Mik Kanrokitoff from Tintin.

  35. Doc

    Don’t you people know anything about *real* astronomy? There is no such thing as gravity. The reason that things orbit the discworld, and the force that holds the disc to the elephants and the elephants to the turtle, is *animal magnatism*.

    Sheesh!

  36. slang

    “Evil Ken Ham” is the person most responsible for popularizing piglet-raping, as a simple search in the most popular search engine will show. OtherRob already had the other Ham reference.. the brave little chimp (*tips hat*).

  37. Kevin Conod:

    Ken Ham, Mark Kelly and Garrett Reisman are all from New Jersey!

    Uh oh, we’re all in trouble now! I’ve seen how people from New Jersey drive!

  38. @2 “I’d make the other guy change his name.”

    Unfortunately, if the two of them come in contact, they would annihilate each other, resulting in a fantastic release of energy (dark energy from you-know-who), possibly destroying a city. Now, if the meeting could be arranged at that craptastic museum for the scientifically challenged, then perhaps the building could be destroyed. But we would lose an astronaut. Decisions, decisions…

  39. Steven Charles Raine

    Off topic sorry – & posted elsewhere too – so apologies agian –
    but I’d like to spread this news quickly to amateur and professional astronomers juston the chance that something spectacular could be happening here :


    Is something up with Theta Scorpii (or Sargas) tonight??

    It strikes me as having become noticeably brighter – maybe brightened by about half a magnitude … & its not listed as a variable star either! Mind you, I could be wrong .. but it does look very different to me.

    See details in my (again off-topic – sorry) post on the GLAST thread …

    Anyone care to confirm / refute / explain .. ?

  40. Steven Charles Raine

    Arghh . Threbolds was supposed to stop at the end of :

    What’s happened to Theta Scorpii tonight?

    D’oh! Sorry folks – yet again. :-(

  41. Ronn Blankenship

    [Steven Charles Raine asks about Theta Scorpii.]

    If it had brightened enough to be seen through the clouds here tonight we might all be in trouble. 😉

    That said, I haven’t seen any other reports yet about anything unusual.

  42. Howie
    Well, at least it’s Ken Ham, Astronaut who will pilot the Shuttle and not Buzz Lightyear who is going up as part of the ‘crew’

    Did you see this article?
    http://news.cnet.com/8301-13772_3-9956563-52.html?part=rss&subj=news&tag=2547-1_3-0-5

    hmmmm…

    J/P=?

  43. Steven Charles Raine

    THX Ronn Blankenship

    Hmm .. nothing more reported yet that I’ve seen either. Hmm .. maybe I was mistaken – sorry.

    *Shuffles feet. Looks down – tail between legs. *

    THX too Ronn Blankenship again for this one :

    You better hope that the elephant isn’t lifting its leg for some other purpose when the sun passes by, or it will be getting awfully dark and cold soon . . .

    Honest to the cosmos, I really did laugh aloud at that! Classic! 😉

  44. joker

    Headlkined the BA :

    Shuttle, Ham and AiGs

    So that must be ham (plus pork & bacon?) are going to be made in outer space aboard the shuttle by AiG ..

    …. AI – G *creases brow * … AIG ..?

    Hmm.. Now does that stand for Articifically Intelligent Girls? Must be! Robot girls a la the female terminator only nicer .. wait for it, wait a sec They’re shooting ‘Porkies’ in space!

    Must be! 8)

    —————-

    Or .. erm .. not as the case may be. 😉

  45. joker

    Actually, I’m all for taking that evil Creation “science” museum / theme park Ken Ham guy up into Near-Earth orbit ….

    …. I’m just not so keen on them bringing him back! 😉

    __________________________________________________

    Well the bad ken Ham’s started togo into space already as at least Ken Ham’s little brain is already off the planet! 😉

    _____________________________________________________

    With a name like Ken Ham its just a pity the fool ain’t Jewish!
    Then that’d be ironically in-apt 😉

    Okay I’m out, next up to the plate in the “Ridicule the bad ken Ham” contest is …

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