After 23 years of wind and ants brazenly entering our home, Joe and I decide to replace the back door. We make the long-awaited decision over breakfast and map out the route we will take around Frederick County to scope out stores.
In between, we discuss energy efficiency, which leads to a discussion of UV light. (I’ve just purchased a light box, which is to ward off winter malaise, or so the box promises.) This, in turn, leads to a discussion of sunrays, which in turn leads to a discussion of the Rosetta satellite, aka the Rosetta Orbiter Spectrometer for Ion and Neutral Analysis. (Say that five times fast, Einstein!)
The Rosetta has been chasing the comet Churmyumov-Gerasimenko which itself is racing toward the sun. (Say that name five times fast — anyone!) Apparently, the satellite’s been on the comet’s tail for about 10 years, trying to determine what happens to the tail when it starts to sizzle. (Shouldn’t we care more about unattended steaks sizzling on a grill than a comet sizzling some 400 million kilometers from the sun?)
Turns out, it’s a good thing that the comet is far, far away; way past Mars, in fact. Through its sophisticated instruments, Rosetta has discovered that Churmyumov-Gerasimenko has a stench no cosmic deodorant could mask. Imagine a mix of rotten eggs, urine and vinegar, seasoned with formaldehyde, hydrogen cyanide and methanol. No wonder there is no life on Mars!
For reasons as baffling as sizzling tails, this part of our celestial discussion leads Joe and I back to door replacement. It is getting late. Off we go. Read more