Tuesday, January 9, 2007

How Many Lunar Hectares in a Square Kilometer?

NASA, for reasons known only to NASA, had decided to use the metric system for its future lunar explorations and settlements.
The rest of the world uses the metric system, but not the United States. We've just never seen the point.
Instead, we use miles, feet, yards, inches, pounds and a bunch of other arbitrary units.
The meter, on the other hand, was invented by the French in 18th century.
Christian Huygens suggested that a meter be defined as the length of a pendulum with a period of one second, but that didn't happen.
It was instead defined as one ten-millionth of the distance from the North Pole to the equator along a line running between Dunkirk in France and Barcelona in Spain.
So the meter was a removed reflection of Earth, as were the units for volume, and weight. The original meter was a platinum bar kept in Paris. (The bar was 0.2 millimeters short, but what the heck.)
Scientists have since redefined the meter as 1/299,792,458 the distance traveled by light in a vacuum in one second.
Either way, using meters on the moon makes no more sense than miles, yards, and feet. Isn't NASA the agency that confused metric and British units on the $125 million Mars Orbiter, causing it to crash?
Maybe NASA should just use what we're used to.

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