Normally, Mercury is Earth’s closest neighbor. To be completely sincere, this is not entirely useful information. The researchers finding doesn’t alter how astronomers and spaceflight planners work. In fact, it might even to be a case of information torture’: Assessing a large dataset in several approaches and locating one intriguing result – the statistical equivalent of a broken clock being right twice a day. One astrophysicist told The Wire, Any physical quantity is intriguing to the level to which it determines the solution of interesting questions. For planetary dynamics, some of the intriguing questions are about the evolution of the orbits of the planets, satellites, asteroids, comets along with other small bodies.
The actual Quantities of interest are the Keplerian orbital elements, whose longtime development is generally difficult to compute. In this image, the normal distance, the researchers have calculated – the astrophysicist said – may not be worthwhile. Further discussion on this topic might enliven casual conversation, but by writing more about it might be, in my view, a waste of time. These are sobering words. On the other hand, the researchers’ article does have one very important redeeming quality. Attempting to improve stargazing and distance journeying are excellent goals, but we frequently forget that pursuing and celebrating curiosities are precious, too. So knowing that Mercury is in a certain manner closer to Earth is to name that quality – wow. And wow should not be a waste of time.