13 Things That Do Not Make Sense

From New Scientist

8 The Pioneer anomaly

THIS is a tale of two spacecraft. Pioneer 10 was launched in 1972; Pioneer 11 a year later. By now both craft should be drifting off into deep space with no one watching. However, their trajectories have proved far too fascinating to ignore.

That’s because something has been pulling – or pushing – on them, causing them to speed up. The resulting acceleration is tiny, less than a nanometre per second per second. That’s equivalent to just one ten-billionth of the gravity at Earth’s surface, but it is enough to have shifted Pioneer 10 some 400,000 kilometres off track. NASA lost touch with Pioneer 11 in 1995, but up to that point it was experiencing exactly the same deviation as its sister probe. So what is causing it?

Nobody knows. Some possible explanations have already been ruled out, including software errors, the solar wind or a fuel leak. If the cause is some gravitational effect, it is not one we know anything about. In fact, physicists are so completely at a loss that some have resorted to linking this mystery with other inexplicable phenomena.

The 1.844 Billion Mile Webpage

Here is another webpage to show scale.

This page is 9 quadrillion pixels wide by 9 quadrillion pixels tall. Thus it contains a large number of pixels:


otherwise known as 8.1 nonillion. In scientific notation, that’s 8.1×10^30, hereafter shown in the form 8.1e30.

This means that the repeating background image has 5.4e28 stars on it– about as many as there would be if our universe was multiplied to a million times it’s current observable size.

Futhermore, at 77 pixels to the inch, this page takes up 3.4e18 square miles and is 1.844 billion miles on a side– an area roughly equivalent to a section of the plane of our Solar System with the sun at the center and the orbit of Saturn on the outside edge (a square 22 AU on a side). That’s about 17 billion times the surface area of the Earth.

Goering’s 1939 Mercedes-Benz for sale on eBay


This vehicle was a special order from Adolf Hitler´s Deputy, Field Marshall Hermann Goering in Berlin, (Leipzig Street No. 3), in January 1940.

At the time, this automobile represented ¨cutting edge¨ technology and design – However, with war spreading across Europe, only 34 examples were ever prodouced by the Mercedes Benz factory. After the Russian occupation, the car was taken to Poland where it remained until discovered during the early 1990´s. It was subsequently professionaly restored to the very highest standards, including all the mechanics, wood, leather and paintwork.

The Eleven Mile Webpage

And you thought there was a lot of empty space in the solar system. Well, there’s even more nothing inside an atom. A hydrogen atom is only about a ten millionth of a millimeter in diameter, but the proton in the middle is a hundred thousand times smaller, and the electron whizzing around the outside is a thousand times smaller than THAT. The rest of the atom is empty. I tried to picture it, and I couldn’t. So I put together this page – and I still can’t picture it.

The page is scaled so that the smallest thing on it, the electron, is one pixel. That makes the proton, this big ball right next to us, a thousand pixels across, and the distance between them is… yep, fifty million pixels (not a hundred million, because we’re only showing the radius of the atom. ie: from the middle to the edge). If your monitor displays 72 pixels to the inch, then that works out to eleven miles – making this possibly the biggest page you’ve ever seen.

(via Digg)