SpaceX has succesfully launched another Dragon capsule ferrying cargo to the International Space Station (Spaceflight Now). The launch was also a test of the company’s goal of landing the first stage of their Falcon 9 rocket aboard a seagoing barge to be recovered and reused. Like the first attempt, unfortunately, this second try as not entirely successful. As before, the rocket’s first stage did make it back to the barge and—in an improvement from the first attempt—the rocket stage touched down, but, according to SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, “residual lateral motion” toppled the rocket over after landing. This is not yet a success, but it is a step on the way. An excess of caution did not get spaceflight off the ground to begin with, and it won’t improve it either.
Image, video: SpaceX
Pluto: the New Horizons probe is approaching its target, still scheduled to make its flyby this summer. Now, en route, it relays this image, its first color photograph of the Pluto–Charon system. More from NASA.
Brontosaurus is back, they say. Popular Mechanics reports:
A team of paleontologists led by Emanuel Tschopp at the New University of Lisbon in Portugal has just completed a massive computer analysis of fossils in a group of dinosaurs called Diplodocids that includes ol’ thunder lizard (or whatever it really is). And to their surprise, they say they found that Brontosaurus really is in its own group. Its fossils share distinct, incomparable bone features—enough for it to reclaim its iconic genus name.
These attempts to pin down God’s existence mathematically or scientifically don’t do much for me. Over at First Things, Joe Carter discusses a new book by physicist Stephen Unwin applying Bayesian probability to the question of God’s existence (or, more accurately, to our judgment about God’s existence.) Aside from the fact that the judgments plugged into Unwin’s equation are “admittedly subjective”, which seems to defeat the purpose, I have trouble getting past the fact that the analysis relies on judging whether any particular piece of evidence is more likely if God does, or does not, exist.
But given a classical conception of God, and the classical arguments for Him, the very existence of any piece of evidence at all points inevitably to God. We cannot draw a chart, outline the various axes of evidence, and shade in the portion covered by God’s existence, leaving some portion left over that could possibly be explained in His absence. Classically, then, either God exists and the probability of his doing so is 1, or He doesn’t and the probability of anything existing at all is zero. Which, you may have noticed, isn’t the case.