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Kepler Raises Privacy Concerns

 

Kepler Privacy?

 

QSDWire – Houston, Texas

Today NASA issued a press release promoting NASA’s new exoplanet-hunting Kepler space telescope.  With just ten days’ worth of test data collected, Kepler has already discovered one exoplanet.  According to Jon Morse, director of the Science Mission Directorate’s Astrophysics Division at NASA Headquarters in Washington, “detecting this planet’s atmosphere in just the first 10 days of data is only a taste of things to come. The planet hunt is on!”

The news of Kepler’s startling viewing abilities was met with swift concern, however, by the many citizens of neighboring Gliese star systems.

What An Angry Gliesen May Look Like
What a citizen from a Gliese star system may look like. Look how angry he is. Or she is. Or it is. How can you tell? We mean about the he/she thing…it’s obviously angry about something…

“Hmphf,” exclaimed one concerned Gliesen citizen, “typical of of Earth-bound scientists, especially those NASA types…all science, and no concerns at all about individual privacy.”

“Oh where is the decency of these people, these NASA/Kepler folks?” asked another concerned citizen from Gliese 581 system.  “Don’t they give a hoot about privacy any more?  Can’t you be by yourself anymore, without anyone watching?  What have these worlds come to?”

Do Not Disturb Out System
Some people are really concerned about privacy rights.

“There is a reasonable expectation of privacy in this Universe today,” according to Dr. Eseilg, an expert on interstellar privacy and practicing galactic attorney.  “Before Kepler all we had to worry about was a light reading or two from the Hubble, or maybe even the Keck telescopes.  No big deal.”  Dr. Eseilg straightens his glasses.  All 6 of them.  “Now I am advising ALL of my clients to appropriately label their planets, so as to advise these NASA no-gooders that we expect privacy, and we shall have it!”

This Is Certainly Going To Help Science Isnt It
This can’t be good for Earth-bound astronomy, can it?

“The people, man, the people of this galaxy just don’t like it, man,” explains a concerned citizen from Gliese 876.  “When we say ‘keep out’ we mean…uh, you know…don’t look, or something like that.”  Three of his eyes blink.  “Privacy is important to us, you know, and I’m getting really upset about Kepler invading my privacy!”

Do You Really Want To Make Him Upset
Do you really want to upset him? Hurt him? Make him cry?

While in an age of Facebook and social networking nobody dares make light of privacy concerns, we here at QSDWire must note a bit of irony on the part of the concerned Gliesens.  Certainly the Kepler telescope raises huge privacy concerns (which NASA has utterly failed to address in Kepler’s Terms of Use, as printed on the outside of the telescope itself, visible to all), but interstellar peeking is not unknown, especially from the very Gliesens surveyed here.

Heres Looking At You Kid
When Kepler gets REALLY good, here’s what we’ll see. And only $.25 for three minutes of viewing.

And, yes, Kepler is all for the purpose of science.  But the Gliesens?  They’re usually looking for other things.

What Aliens Are REALLY Looking At
What aliens are REALLY looking at. We should have guessed…

WAIT! I DON’T GET IT!

Ok, here’s the deal…the Kepler telescope is billed as the “planet hunter” telescope.  The one that’s supposed to find planets.  Get it?  Get it?  Oh.

Ok, let’s go at this a different way.

Exoplanets (planets outside of our solar system) are hard to see.  They don’t give out much radiation themselves, and what they give out pales by comparison to the star they’re likely near.  So, most telescopes have a tough time finding them.  Sure, some smarty-pants astronomers (and you know who you are) get around this by measuring dimming/brightening of a star as a planet passes in front of it (or is it as the astronomers themselves pass in front of the telescope lens?  GET OUT OF THE WAY!  BACK OFF MAN, I’M A SCIENTIST!), but what fun is that?  Especially when you can spend ungodly millions of dollars on a special “planet hunting” telescope?

So, now humanity has the Kepler telescope.  And it’s gonna find lots and lots of planets.

But did anyone give a moment’s thought to how this affects the aliens living on these planets that are yet to be found?  Nooooooooooooooo.  Of course not…we mean, nobody cares about privacy rights in this day and age, right?

Anyway, the joke is that the Kepler telescope won’t really be able to see that much.  Of the aliens, that is.  If there are any aliens.  If they even care if anyone’s looking.

See, the Gliese Catalogue of Nearby Stars lists all of the stars within 25 parsecs of good ‘ol Sol.  These are the folks who are going to be spied upon!  Well, not really.  But in writing an awful story like this, that’s the twist.  Kepler’s looking, and those nearest to Kepler are the most concerned.  But in reality the Kepler telescope wouldn’t be able to see them, even if they exist, because that’s well beyond the capabilities of any telescope.

Get it?  Get it?  Oh.

13 COMMENTS

ETA CARINAE

January 29, 2012

Yeah, this is “Historical” for a reason. Historically bad!

MAGNETIC MONOPOLE

January 29, 2012

NOeow!

V838 MON

January 29, 2012

I’m going with Monopoly on this one…not bad for an article over, what, three years in the making?

MAL

January 29, 2012

Dr. Eseilg?

SERENITY

January 29, 2012

“Gliese” backwards…

ETA CARINAE

January 29, 2012

 

Yeah, backwards, like so many other things on this site.

MAL

January 29, 2012

So, what took so long to write this?

V838 MON

January 29, 2012

I’m thinking maybe the authors had to graduate from grade school first…

ETA CARINAE

January 29, 2012

 

You know, I recognize that green, three-eyed guy.

V838 MON

January 29, 2012

Do you really want to hurt him? Do you really want to make him cry? Hmmmm, this sounds familiar…could it be
Boy George
Nah, too alien

SERENITY

January 29, 2012

C’mon guys, I highly doubt he’s staring at Angelina Jolie.

V838 MON

January 29, 2012

Cough. I’m thinkin’ maybe he’s staring at Tyler Durden?

ETA CARINAE

January 29, 2012

 

I’m looking at the telescope he’s using…looks higher tech than Kepler…