NASA & the Bible II
Reader 1: Shalom and Shana Tova. Thank you for the great job of creating your newsletter.
I received your recent article titled "NASA & the Bible". I am very interested in these sorts of article and information. I have a number of friends and family in the scientific community. Unfortunately, their scientific knowledge has caused them not believe in G-d or divinity of the Torah. Therefore, I am always looking for information and articles that proves the divinity of the Torah and shows the scientific knowledge of the Torah.
Unfortunately it appears that your article titled "NASA & the Bible" is an urban legend or a hoax.
I would appreciate if you can investigate this matter fully and inform me if this information is correct or not. After all, I do not want to present this article to my friends if it is not reliable.
Reader 2: Lichvod Harabbanim,
I have seen things that sound somewhat controversial to my religious Jewish upbringings but have decided not to comment since I felt overall the articles are well stated. But, something was brought to my attention that leads me to question a recent article as well as the general research into the Jewish Times articles. In the article "NASA & The Bible" you made some wonderful claims that I repeated a few times. Each time someone asked me how it is possible to do such research and I responded that we do not know as much as the scientists (being the trusting person I am) after a few times I decided to research it and discovered that EVEN NASA claims this is an Urban Legend and can't be done (see http://www.gsfc.nasa.gov/scienceques2002/20030502.htm). Please let me know how such an article can be inserted into the Jewish Times as it does put a major negative mark into the validation of the other articles printed.
Thank you very much and written with all due respect,
Mesora: After further researching the claim reprinted last week in “NASA & the Bible” that NASA could determine a “missing day” many years ago, we were referred to a NASA-authorized version reprinted from the Goddard Space Flight Center: http://www.gsfc.nasa.gov/scienceques2002/20030502.htm
We thank our readers for this referral:
“We, too, have heard an "urban legend" about scientists at NASA GSFC finding the "missing day" in computer calculations of the motions of the planets. The legend has been around for longer than NASA itself, but turned into a NASA "event" sometime in the 60's. The story goes that some scientists were doing orbital mechanics calculations to determine the positions of the planets in the future, for use in determining the trajectories of future satellite missions. They realized they were off by a day. A biblical scholar in the lot remembered the passage from Joshua and all was set right. But these events, in fact, never occurred. It is easy to understand why:
The "GSFC finds missing day" urban legend doesn't make sense for the following reason. If we want to know where the planets will be in the future, we use accurate knowledge of their initial positions and orbital speeds (which would be where they are located now), and solve for their positions for some time in the future. We solve a very well determined set of equations that describe their motions. The major dynamical component of any planet's orbital motion is determined by solving an equation (force is equal to the mass times the acceleration) which is the perhaps the most fundamental in classical physics. The validity and predictive power of this equation are well documented and can be seen every day: a recent example is the lunar eclipse that was visible to much of the world. This calculation would not cover any time before the present, so some missing day many centuries ago, if it had occurred, could not be uncovered with this method.”
- Goddard Space Flight Center