Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Moon-like object is actually Moon itself

In a discovery that has shaken the scientific community to its very core and is likely to impact millions of people across the country, a scientist who has been studying a Moon-like object in the sky for over 20 years has found that it is, in fact, the Moon itself.

Dr. Vaikom Mohammad Bashir, at the Thiruvananthapuram Institute for Pharmaceutical Studies(TIPS), said on Thursday that his research had revealed what was never thought of as plausible and had only been speculated about in the wildest flights of fancy of scientists or wished fervently for by them(since it would make calculations so much simpler). "Only science fiction writers, the more extreme and hardcore ones at that, would have considered such a situation," said Dr Bashir. Indeed, such a story has only once been attempted, by the cult underground pulp-noir-sci-fi Oriya writer, John Mohanty, in his story 'A tale of two Moons.' In that story, the protagonist, Thos Delacroix, observes an object in the sky that resembles the Moon to a greatly startling extent. He undertakes an ill-fated expedition to the new heavenly body, only to find that the original Moon was destroyed by aliens(who were the sowers of the seeds of life on earth) and the new object is but a poor replacement and the memories of every organism on earth was modified by the aliens so that they could never tell that this new Moon was a fake. After this painstaking operation, when Delacroix discovers the truth, the aliens destroy his ship and then the entire earth. The plot hole about why they did not do this in the first place and waited for so long for somebody to come along and find out the truth was never quite explained by the author, leaving critics and audiences stunned at the ambiguous ending.

"The ending of that story is stunning!" exclaims Srijit Mookherjee, president of the Ambiguous Endings Admirers Society(AEAS). "I have never quite understood that gaping plot hole, but I love it!! Leaves it open to interpretation."

John Mohanty stories apart, Dr Bashir's discovery comes at a crucial time for Indian space exploration. When India is planning to send out a lunar mission, the removal of the ambiguity surrounding which Moon to send the new state-of-the-art SPLVs(Steeply Priced Launch Vehicles) to provides quite the breather for the Indian Space Research Organization(ISRO).
"Kudos to Dr Bashir," said ISRO chairman, Dr Kasturirangan. "We were not sure whether to send the Dr SPLV to the Dr. Moon or the Dr. Moon. We had despaired so much, we even thought of sending it to the sun, via Saturn. Now, he has resolved the issue for us. Thanks!"

Dr Bashir's discovery followed years of painstaking research and study of the 'new Moon-like object.' Spotted one evening in 1987 by his then 2-year old daughter Nisha, who now works for a top database management firm, the newly manifested heavenly body dealt a stunning blow to all hitherto known theories of our solar system and the universe we live in. Top scientists and astronomers met at international conferences to decide on further courses of action. Scientists decided to keep the new Moon, and even the old Moon, out of astronomical calculations till the status of the mysterious stranger was unequivocally determined. Dr. Bashir was entrusted with the task of determining what the new Moon really was. Nisha, meanwhile, was presented the Most Promising Newcomer award by the International Society for Awarding Newcomers(ISAN) and the Least Known Astronomer medal by Princeton University.

Dr. Bashir's research over the next twenty years was one of tremendous stress, ingenuity and tea. Consuming a record number of cups of tea(the most for any scientist), and promptly falling asleep as a result, he worked through the day on many occasions, burning the midday oil(or turpentine. Or whatever was available for burning, in the middle of the day.) and sweating over pages after pages of calculations and diagrams and theories. His great break came after 19 years when, frustrated, he was on vacation with his family in Kovalam. He observed that the mysterious new heavenly body(pointed out to him again by his daughter, who is now 22 and quite fetching, reports say.) had the same effect on earthly seas and oceans in terms of tidal phenomena as the Moon. Sparks flew in his head and he quickly setup a laboratory on a lonely strip along the Malabar coast. Studying the orbital period of the stranger and carefully performing his calculations, he arrived at the startling conclusion that it had the exact same orbital period, cycles and phases as Earth's good friend, the Moon. Following Conan Doyle's principle that "after eliminating the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth," Dr. Bashir could only gasp in shock, awe and amazement as the truth dawned on him.

The mysterious stranger was the Moon itself.

Pandemonium followed as Dr. Bashir made his announcement at the 20th International Quasi-Lunar Conference. Scientists could scarcely believe their ears as Dr. Bashir made his solemn proclamation. After a moment's deathly silence following his undefeatably logical arguments and conclusions(with tidal data), the hall broke into thunderous applause, bringing to an end one of the most controversial periods in astronomy.

Dr Bashir will be rewarded by the Indian government for his invaluable contribution to science by being awarded the Bharat Ratna posthumously.


Sandeep said...


Olle hasya. Madidira.


Harish said...

Dr. Bashir, indeed, is one of the shining examples of how India has thrived because of her pluralistic traditions. A Moslem born in Kerala researching a moon shows how inclusive we have been. And a discerning reader like me of your blog, could not but notice the fact that you have grossly ignored to mention this fact.
I was deeply pained to know that such a great Moslem, oh sorry Indian(See I am communal, that's why I keep 'labeling' him as Moslem), is no more. May his soul rest in peace.
Also, a notable aspect in this post was its strong respect for Malayali story telling tradition. This is a continuation from your previous post. This is indeed commendable for no apparent reason.

Harish said...


Olle hasya. Madidira.

Madi.' - Sandeep is at a loss of words. Adakke bari ishtanne matte-matte heLtirtaane. See, writing long comments is also an art. Ellrigoo baralla.

Anonymous said...

Love your sense of humor!!!Please write more!! Can't wait to read more.

Unknown said...


Ashtagi ilde iddru...

[Harish]Adentha fact-u? Eneno facts-na neen obbne discern maadbittu mention maadbidu illige bandu.

Adoo ondu art-u. Maadi.

[A fan]Somehow, one(this being me) can't help but discern a strong undercurrent of sarcasm here.

swaroop said...

Pondicherry - Ee hosa blog post maadiddanna tegdidya. Idu sari alla.