Russian Astrologist Plans to Crash NASA’s Independence Day
Created: 19.04.2005 16:34 MSK (GMT +3), Updated: 16:55 MSK, 11 hours 23 seconds ago
Remember Deep Impact — that global disaster movie from the 1990’s when the world’s finest astronauts embarked on a suicide mission to save
mankind from a comet heading straight for Earth? Now, imagine if the producers introduced a new twist to the plot: besides the comet, NASA is pitted
against a Russian astrologist who sues the space agency because destroying a comet would irrevocably harm her “system of spiritual values”.
Well, we’re not in the direct trajectory of a comet (not yet anyway), but a Deep Impact mission is underway, with a NASA spacecraft loaded with
explosives scheduled to collide with the Tempel-1 comet on July 4 and blast it to smithereens. That’s right, it’s Independence Day.
Now, the last thing NASA expected was a lawsuit from Russia.
But Russian astrologist Marina Bai gave it a try, and, according to her lawyer Alexander Molokhov, it looks like she may just pull it off. In a
lawsuit she filed last month with the Presnensky district court in Moscow, Bai is demanding that NASA call off its $311 million operation, with the
spacecraft already in its cruise phase. She also wants 8.7 billion rubles (the ruble equivalent of the entire cost of the mission) in compensation for
“The actions of NASA infringe upon my system of spiritual and life values, in particular on the values of every element of creation, upon the
unacceptability of barbarically interfering with the natural life of the universe, and the violation of the natural balance of the Universe,” Bai
said in her claim.
NASA successfully launched its Deep Impact spacecraft — comprised of a “fly-by” spacecraft and a smaller “impactor” carrying some 350
kilograms of a copper-based explosive — on Jan. 12 with the aim of studying the nature of comets. The spacecraft’s “impactor” is expected to
form a large crater enabling scientists to look inside the comet. The scientific objectives of the mission, according to NASA, seem innocent enough:
just measure the crater and examine the composition of its interior. But then again, there’s always a larger agenda lurking in the background —
what would we do in the unlikely even of an emergency?
Bai is not the only astrologist worried about messing with the Universe.
“Imagine leaving Moscow, then returning to find everything’s changed,” says Vladimir Portnov, a physicist and a professional astrologist. “Of
course, everyday people will feel the implications of destroying a comet.”
According to Portnov, even something as “minor” as comets play a role in creating humanity’s psychic environment. By wantonly destroying a
comet, NASA will inevitably disrupt that environment — with the most likely result being mass anxiety.
But can anyone stop NASA on these grounds? Bai’s initial lawsuit was dismissed by the Presnensky court, but the Moscow City Court took up the appeal
and will rule following a hearing scheduled for May 6. And lawyer Alexander Molokhov is convinced the case will move further.
“I have no doubt that the Moscow City Court will cancel the [previous dismissal],” Molokhov told MosNews.
According to Russian law, a Russian citizen can file a claim with a Russian court against a foreign organization that has representation in Russia.
And NASA, with an office in Moscow, is certainly eligible as a plaintiff. “If a Houston court can examine a case involving a Russian company [Yukos
— MosNews], why can’t a Russian file a claim against an American agency with a Russian court?”
But is there any chance in calling off the mission and getting a hefty $311 million? Molokhov hopes the case will resonate widely in the media.
“There is a law against actions that can lead to damage or death,” and in Russia, the case is being filed on those grounds. Also, Molokhov plans
to take the claim to the United States. In fact, he says, there are a number of scientists there who would be glad to sue NASA.
Indeed, the consequences of destroying a comet may include anything from an asteroid shower to disruption to radio waves.
“I am not a scientist,” Molokhov says, “but experts say the impact could disrupt the comet’s plasma trail, which could have an effect on
So, what does NASA think of the challenge? So far, Molokhov says that the NASA Moscow Liaison Office has made no statements whatsoever regarding
Meanwhile, Dolores Beasley, at the Deep Impact mission headquarters in Washington, was very surprised to hear of the case. In a phone call, she said
she was not aware of any claims against NASA originating in the States, and that generally the mission was “very popular”.
The Russian Space Agency, meanwhile, has also kept quiet about the mission. A man who answered at the press office said he was “not competent to
answer any questions” regarding his agency’s position over the NASA mission. Molokhov said that isn’t surprising — the agency gets some
financing from NASA and is not keen on criticism.
Expert opinion ranges from comments saying the mission is an innocent endeavor, to outright lambasting. “I think such vandalism cannot be justified
even in the case of the asteroid-comet danger that people talk so much about,” Nikolai Bochkarev of the Russian Academy for Natural Science told the
So, what would an astrologist say about destroying a comet to save humanity?
“I think it’s acceptable to try,” Vladimir Portnov says. Then he smiles: “But I think it’s impossible.”
Found this interesting.