Exposing PseudoAstronomy

July 14, 2015

#NewHorizons – The Pseudoscience Flows, Part 2

“Of course, I have no proof of this …”

Thus just said Keith Laney on Richard C. Hoagland’s internet radio program on Art Bell’s Dark Matter radio network. He was shocked an hour ago at the incredible details being revealed in the publicly released images this morning. Then, about 10 minutes ago, we had a NASA guy come into our geology room and tell us that we were so popular that we crashed NASA’s website. I knew that it was a matter of moments before the conspiracy folks would spin something.

And so, they did: NASA was releasing such good stuff and such “revealing” images of Pluto (despite them being lossy JPGs of lossy JPGs — the lossless version of this image will be downloaded probably the first week of August), that their website was shut down by Those In Control.


Also, two misconceptions: Richard spent quite a bit of time complaining and being mystified that there was no live radio signal from the craft. New Horizons has one moving part, the door to the Alice instrument. That’s it. Other craft usually have a science platform that can be rotated. New Horizons doesn’t. So we can either take data of Pluto and its system, or talk to Earth. Guess which we’re going to do when we’re closest?

It was another moment of arrogance, actually, on Richard’s part. He was astounded that no news media were asking this question during the NASA press conference. He remarked that the reason that HE thought of the question as opposed to the news media was that he has a lot more experience in this sort of thing. No … it’s because they know how to read Wikipedia.

The other misconception is not just Richard’s but is being played across many different media: The signal tonight is a “phone home” of the spacecraft health. Data won’t be until many, many hours later.


  1. Thank you for an educated comment on how Richard Hoagland interjects “opinion” as scientific fact.

    Odd that he didn’t have a “friend” that was intimately involved with the Pluto mission or even that it was his idea to launch it.

    His show on Dark Matter is gonna flop big time.

    Comment by kevinn Gardiner — July 15, 2015 @ 6:31 am | Reply

  2. Don’t worry about the pseudoscience, just think of it as a new episode for 2016!

    Been trying to see you in the photographs of cheering NASA employees.

    Congratulations on the successful flyby, lets hope the orbiter gets there in my lifetime, I’ve seen Jupiter (Pioneer/Voyager), Saturn (Pioneer/Voyager), Uranus (Voyager), Neptune (Voyager) and now Pluto (New Horizons), I’m old enough to remember when Pathfinders landing on Mars took NASA off the internet but I suspect that a Pluto Orbiter will be a mission too far into the future for me to see.

    Comment by Graham — July 15, 2015 @ 7:12 pm | Reply

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