Just received confirmation that this Friday night, during the series finale of BSG, viewers will be treated to the sneakiest of sneak previews of Stargate: Universe. It’s a great-looking promo so, if you happen to be in the neighborhood, check it out.
You know, one of the great things about this job is the opportunity it presents to meet or connect with some very interesting people you may not normally have crossed paths with had you, say, opted for a career in law or gone and opened up that Detective Agency. I’m not necessarily talking about actors or producers or even writers, but the men and women who supply one half of the science fiction equation. Individuals like Bill Nye, Neil deGrasse Tyson, and astronomers David James Tholen and Roy Tucker, the co-discovers of 99942 Apophis. Now 99942 Apophis may sound familiar for a couple of reasons. One: It’s the near-Earth asteroid that had everyone abuzz when it was revealed that there was a 2.7% probability it would strike the Earth in 2029. Further observation quashed the likelihood but did suggest the asteroid would pass through a gravitational keyhole, thereby raising the specter of possible impact in 2036. Even further observation revealed the asteroid would probably miss the keyhole, drastically reducing the chances of an impact to a remote but nevertheless unnerving 1 in 12.3 million (last time anyone checked). And two: The asteroid happens to share a name with a certain SG-1 villain.
As it turns out, this wasn’t mere coincidence (The part about the asteroid headed towards us IS a coincidence. At least, all indications are it’s a coincidence. No, I’m referring to the naming of the asteroid.). Apparently, Dave and Roy are big Stargate fans. According to Bill Cooke’s article, “Asteroid Apophis set for a makeover” that appeared in the August 18, 2005 issue of Astronomy:
“However, mythology may not have been the only consideration in naming Apophis. Codiscoverers Dave Tholen and Roy Tucker are fans of the TV series Stargate SG-1. The show’s most persistent villain is Apophis, an alien also named for the Egyptian god. “We considered a number of names, but ‘Apophis’ kept floating to the top,” says Tucker. “Apophis was a very fitting name for 2004 MN4 not only because of its threatening nature, but also because of its evolution from an Aten asteroid to an Apollo asteroid during the 2029 encounter.”
How cool is that? Wait, I’ll answer for you: Very! Not only the fact that astronomers watch our show and enjoy it (rather than, presumably, screening it so that they can point and laugh at the ridiculous science which, in all fairness, they may well do anyway), but that they’d demonstrate their affection for SG-1 by naming a potentially catastrophic asteroid after one of its recurring villains. Of course the fact that it will miss us negates the possibility but I couldn’t help but think of the terrific amount of publicity the franchise would have received if, say, Apophis took out Australia. “Hey, did you hear? Australia was obliterated by an asteroid named after Apophis from the t.v. series Stargate: SG-1.” “SG-1? Really? I should go pick up the box set!”
Anyway, I remember reading about the asteroid many years ago and, when it came up in conversation the other day, I thought “What the hell.” and dropped Dave and Roy an email, thanking them for the tribute and petitioning them to name their next big discovery after me (preferably NOT a gas giant). We ended up trading emails in which they declared themselves free for guest cameos, offered to go 12 rounds onscreen with Neil deGrasse Tyson over Pluto’s planetary status, and promised to do their darndest to ensure that, if any future compositional analysis of the asteroid turned up a new mineral, they would name it “naquadah“. I suggested they should swing by the blog for a friendly Q&A. And they kindly agreed.
So, start gathering up your killer asteroid, astronomy, and plutoid-related questions. What kind of instruments are used to detect extrasolar planets? Why aren’t accretion disks around giant stars as hot as accretion disks around black holes? Who do you think would win in a fist fight, Teal’c or Ronon? Let’s ensure that, in addition to being a generally annoying time-waster, this blog can occasionally be interesting and informative.
Speaking of Q&A’s – I have more than enough questions for Kate in the Art Department to keep her busy for a while. In fact, I think she may have to quit her job at Stargate in order to fully dedicate herself to answering them all.
A good day today. I spent the entire morning sitting in Director Peter DeLuise’s office talking about past experiences on the Stargate franchise and looking ahead to Universe – and the episode he’ll be directing, Fire, in particular. To those of you asking – Yes, Peter has kindly agreed to do a fan Q&A as well BUT I will not be gathering questions for him until he has completed work on his episode. So file them away for now and I’ll let you know when.
After lunch, I read a script and made some significant progress on the short story. I may well make that June 2009 deadline after all!
Oh, and speaking of interesting aspects of my job – Paul called us into his office today and pointed out the window. Down below, a gathering was being treated to what looked like a falconry show-and-tell. No idea what the hell was going on, but it certainly looked like fun. So much so that I’m considering dropping my aspirations to become a reiki master so that I can pursue falconry whenever Stargate ends. What other job woudl allow me to enjoy the great outdoors, learn a unique new skill set, AND possess the means to claw out my enemy’s eyes. What fun!
And, finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t make mention of our new office assistant, Ashleigh, who has, in three short days, demonstrated impressive skill in her ability to address inter-office issues in a prompt and courteous manner, head off potential crisis situations, taste our lunches to make sure no one is trying to poison us, and track down and capture a ferret running loose in Stage 2 without a proper visitor’s badge. Despite the fact that she’s vegetarian, I like her a lot – although her attempts to make us more environmentally conscious may prove her undoing. I already miss those helicopter rides to the Destiny set.
Today’s entry is dedicated to Jedi43. Happy Birthday! or Get Well Soon! I can’t remember which.