Next time you make a commit some written faux pas in social media, just know that you aren’t alone. Some of the best and brightest minds have done the same thing. Last week, a few individuals had the distinct and unique opportunity to actually correct an astronaut on something astronomical after International Space Station (ISS).
As Emily Lakdawalla, planetary scientist and senior editor of The Planetary Society, told Mashable in a direct message on Twitter, “Well, seeing as how stars and city lights at night are both visible in the field of view with the bright light source, it cannot possibly be the sun.” Oops.
The extraterrestrial body in question certainly could not be our very good source of light and heat, in spite of its impressively bright appearance. That odd lunar brightness, by the way, has since been attributed to the long exposure time of the photograph, which made the moon, well, sunnier than usual.
The mistake was quickly corrected and Kelly’s tweet deleted because you do not want that living on in eternity, but regrettably, the wiles of the Internet have already commemorated the rather amusing case of mistaken identity. After all, even the scientists at NASA mess up every once in awhile.
Other space enthusiasts were quick to chime in as well, with one user noting that “unless [NASA] invented a completely new kind of camera.Surprisingly enough, this actually isn’t the first time that NASA has been a bit careless in identifying bodies in space.
Just a few months ago, scientists made the exact same mistake, similarly calling the moon the sun in another tweet. If you can see stars, it isn’t the sun. In any case, the slight slip just goes to show that even rocket scientists are humans, which is good news for the rest of us.