Nasa / Space optimize

Geek Trivia: How many Apollo Goodwill Moon Rocks have gone missing?

Precisely 270 prepared lunar rock samples were distributed as part of the Goodwill Moon Rocks program. Four decades later, no one can account for a significant number of those rocks.

This week's quibble comes from the Feb. 23, 2012 edition of Geek Trivia, which asked in what year is the current Gregorian leap year system expected to 'fail?'

Member AnsuGisalas threw in some bonus trivia, holding that the 'original' leap day wasn't Feb. 29:

From Wikipedia: "The leap day was introduced as part of the Julian reform. The day following the Terminalia (February 23) was doubled, forming the "bis sextum" literally 'double sixth', since February 24 was 'the sixth day before the Kalends of March' using Roman inclusive counting (March 1 was the 'first day'). Although exceptions exist, the first day of the bis sextum (February 24) was usually regarded as the intercalated or "bissextile" day since the third century. February 29 came to be regarded as the leap day when the Roman system of numbering days was replaced by sequential numbering in the late Middle Ages."

Grraaagh, but what a piece of geek trivia, eh? I look forward to saying at parties that "He was born on a leap day, Feb 24 1896..." just to see the WTH faces.

A word of advice, Ansu: Don't be that guy. I've been that guy. He doesn't get invited back to parties.

In any case, thanks for the bonus leap day minutia, and keep those quibbles coming!

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Jay Garmon has a vast and terrifying knowledge of all things obscure, obtuse, and irrelevant. One day, he hopes to write science fiction, but for now he'll settle for something stranger -- amusing and abusing IT pros. Read his full profile. You can a...

6 comments
dlrooky
dlrooky

Geology, strictly speaking, refers to the planet Earth (although it is becoming more common to use the term generically). The main beneficiary should really be selenology.

kpbarry
kpbarry

when thinking of creative ways to fund space exploration. Flooding the market with Moon rocks would drive the value down, but these days it would probably not cost nearly as much to send unmanned missions to the moon to collect rocks. A moon shot is much easier without worrying about keeping humans alive. Suppose there is a multi-billion dollar market out there. If a project could even reach break even revenues, it would be a win. More business for the space industry, economies of scale, research could be piggy backed on the rock collecting missions, etc.

tech
tech

Knowledge is priceless - if we did not go to the moon we would not have so many things we have today. We may one day be capable of deflecting an earth killer asteroid or solve complex environmental issues stemming from this knowledge. I generalize because if I begin to list items and knowledge gained I think the conversation could go off on a myriad of tangents.

victor.gutzler
victor.gutzler

I cringe whenever I hear about moon rocks, because it reminds me of the "lunacy" of the Apollo program's continual return to the moon and the only tangible profit being a box full of rocks (maybe if we had only found gold or diamonds or oil or something!). All of the effort, the heroism, the ingenuity, the money, just to bring back some old rocks. Moon rocks, a perfect testiment of the ultimate futility of man's vanity.

Robiisan
Robiisan

Almost every field of human endeavor benefitted from those rocks! But I have to admit, I'd probably sacrifice one testicle if someone could recover one of the Hasselblad cameras and lenses they left up there in exchange for the rocks' weight. All they brought back were the film magazines because the astronauts couldn't change rolls with those massive gloves on. :-)

HAL 9000
HAL 9000

With the low Atmosphere the Blads are going to be in perfect condition for a very long time to come. There should be no corrosion on any of them and they should be in very good condition. While the camera's may suffer from leaking batteries the lenses would last forever there. ;) Col