Thursday, June 10, 2021

Astronomically Stupid

Oh, Louie Gohmert, you are a pistol.  Or a phaser.

During a Tuesday hearing of the House Natural Resources Committee, Rep. Louie Gohmert seemed to float a novel idea for solving the climate crisis: changing the orbits of the Earth and moon.

Gohmert, R-Texas, posed that highly speculative theory in the form of a question to Jennifer Eberlien, associate deputy chief of the National Forest System.

“I understand, from what’s been testified to the Forest Service and the BLM [Bureau of Land Management], you want very much to work on the issue of climate change,” Gohmert told Eberlien. “I was informed by the immediate past director of NASA that they’ve found that the moon’s orbit is changing slightly, and so is the Earth’s orbit around the sun. We know there’s been significant solar flare activities, and so, is there anything that the National Forest Service or BLM can do to change the course of the moon’s orbit or the Earth’s orbit around the sun? Obviously that would have profound effects on our climate.”

Taken a bit off guard, Eberlien responded, “I would have to follow up with you on that one, Mr. Gohmert.”

As video clips of the exchange began circulating, Gohmert lashed out at critics who mocked the idea that altering our planet’s orbit was a viable or wise solution to climate change. Specifically, he took issue with those he said had conflated the Bureau of Land Management and Black Lives Matter, which share the same initials.

Yahoo News reached out to the congressman’s office in Washington to ask whether Gohmert had meant his question sarcastically and if he now believed that climate change is a problem that lawmakers need to address, and was referred to a subsequent tweet.

While it is true that the moon’s orbit is changing slightly, that is a function of ocean tides on Earth, according to NASA. The Earth’s orbit around the sun is irregular and subject to wobbling, thanks to gravitational interactions with Jupiter and Saturn, NASA explains on its website.

It’s simple, really. All we do is change the gravitational constant of the universe. Problem solved.

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