Our galactic cousin, the seventh planet from the sun, is a fascinating ice giant full of wonder. But no one really pays attention to that, because they're too busy debating whether to call it "Urine-us" or "Your Anus," and then falling into violent fits of giggles either way. So the folks at Futurism finally decided to get to the center of Uranus, and asked a bunch of Uranus scientists (Uranusologists? Ologists of Uranus?) how they feel about the fact that you keep laughing about Uranus and won't take Uranus seriously. They spoke with Chris Arridge, a researcher at Lancaster University; Heidi Hammel, a top astronomer at the Space Science Institute and Planetary Society; Mark Hosfstadter of the NASA Jet Propulsion Lab; Deniz Soyeur, an astrophysics PhD candidate at the University of Zurich; and Ned Molter, an astronomy PhD candidate at the University of California.
Some of them are annoyed, and also worried that Uranus humor could end up harming funding for Uranus:
"I think at first I found it quite frustrating," Lancaster University researcher Chris Arridge told Futurism. "There was a little bit of that 'We're doing serious stuff here,' and we're trying to push for a mission to a really scientifically interesting place.
"The public is invested and the public is a major stakeholder. If your stakeholder thinks it's a big joke, I think that can be a concern for some people."
"I truly do worry that it will make it difficult to actually get a mission to study this planet because I think that NASA would be sensitive to these headlines," Hammel told Futurism, "and sensitive to all the ridicule that they would get if they wanted to get a mission to this planet. We do want to send atmospheric probes, and we do call them probes, and it's impossible to separate that from the whole aliens probing humans thing."
Others are … less concerned, and even embrace the absurdity of Uranus:
For the most part, Hofstadter said, it's all in good fun. His wife, he said, once bought him a t-shirt emblazoned with the claim that "63 Earths can fit inside Uranus. 64 if you relax."
The correct number, Hofstadter explained, is actually 63.5.
Some people embrace the ridiculousness of Uranus, because at least it means people are paying attention to Uranus:
"If that's the clickbait that people want, they learn something!" Molter said. "Ninety percent of people might be 'Ha ha, that's hilarious' and ten percent will go 'Oh that's really interesting.' I think it can only help, really."
And even the people who get the most annoyed with Uranus jokes still occasionally secretly enjoy them a little bit:
"It would be quite a boring world if it was all fairly dull and bland and factual," Arridge said. "I do see these articles about Uranus and leaking fluids and it gives me a chuckle from time to time."
There's much, much more at the link — including some fascinating information about your Uranus itself! Who knows, it might even change the way you think about Uranus.
Here's What Uranus Scientists Think About Your Disgusting Jokes [Dan Robitzski / Futurism]
Image: Jacofin / Wikimedia Commons (CC-BY-SA 4.0)