Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Asteroid named after ‘Hitchhiker’ humorist

Late British sci-fi author
honored after cosmic campaign


Douglas Adams, shown in this 1989 photo, was the author of "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy," a cult science-fiction comedy. He died suddenly after a heart attack in 2001 at the age of 49.

Asteroid Douglasadams was among the 71 newly named celestial objects announced Tuesday by the International Astronomical Union's Minor Planet Center in Cambridge, Mass.

(snip)

When Adams died of a heart attack in 2001, at the age of 49, tributes came in from around the world — but one of the biggest tributes was actually announced just days before his death: the naming of an asteroid after Arthur Dent, the Earthling at the center of the "Hitchhiker" story.

Through the years, about 12,000 asteroids have been given proper names by the IAU's Committee on Small Body Nomenclature — including fictional characters as well as mythological names (Ceres and Quaoar) and real-life personages (Lincoln and Elvis). The names are traditionally proposed by a particular asteroid's discoverer. For example, the "Arthurdent" asteroid was so named at the suggestion of the man who actually found it, German astronomer Felix Hormuth.

(snip)

One prospect stood out: an asteroid given the provisional designation 2001 DA42, discovered by the Lincoln Near Earth Asteroid Research project, or LINEAR. It's a relatively unremarkable space rock, orbiting 224 million miles (358 million kilometers) from the sun in the main asteroid belt, between Mars and Jupiter. But its name held triple significance.

Not only did it memorialize the year of Adams' death (2001) and his initials (DA), but it also referenced the number 42 — which is absurdly meaningful in the "Hitchhiker" saga as the "answer to the Ultimate Question." (The problem was, no one ever knew precisely what the Ultimate Question was.)

9 comments:

DewKid said...

I saw a movie recently, that had a preview for an upcoming Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy movie. No details. They just had a space shot of the Earth with the sound of children playing overlaid, and then suddenly the planet explodes. The camera pans out to a book floating in space with a hitchhiker's thumb on the cover, then black. I can't remember the date that was shown, but it seems like it was going to be this year...

I just checked imdb.com, and found this link.

Anyhoo....

DewKid said...

My memory of the preview was off a bit. imdb.com has links to the movie trailer, and there were no children voices. Maybe the voices were that of my own children who were there with us. I just don't know.

Anyway, looks like May 2005 is the projected release date. Could be good. Check out the home page.

Now what's this about an Asteroid? (NGYAAAAADDD!)

Don Snabulus said...

Well, the important thing is that there were plenty of percussive synth splashes and explosions followed by low-frequency rumbles...just like every other movie trailer out there. I think the trailer editors of the world are in a rut. Could have used some kids voices too...

Nonetheless, I look forward to the movie. If it sucks, everyone who reads this blog dies. If not, same thing happens. We're all mortal.

Vulgarius said...

I'm not eating any of your pudding! :(

DewKid said...

Not me. I am Immortal!

The Moody Minstrel said...

Maybe the reason movie trailers all seem to have the same sort of music is that they're all being done by Mutato Musica (i.e. DEVO sans Jerry Casale).


Wait a minute...what's up with this "we're mortal" noise?

That's just a flesh wound!

Vulgarius said...

I will not wear an assisted groin stretch t-shirt!

Anonymous said...

Queer Eye:

Aw, dang...

ElTigris said...

Well get prepared for the hypervelocity offramp thingie.. and keep an eye on that asteriod if it changes course.... could be a prime suspect for remodeling hereabouts..