If we want to be on good terms with space agencies, we have to exterminate tinfoil hat theories ruthlessly.

  • $\begingroup$ Where is the line drawn? If it turns out they are true were they still nutcase theories? $\endgroup$
    – user106
    Jul 31, 2013 at 13:52
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    $\begingroup$ Why not use the momentum they create to our own advantage? I support @SF.'s answer here. We can gain visibility by such questions (I'm not thrilled, but that's how things are), and use great answers (such as the question that inspired this question, I presume) to "slingshot" the question in the vector of our interests. $\endgroup$
    – TildalWave
    Jul 31, 2013 at 14:17
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    $\begingroup$ @TildalWave - aye, I see your drift considering the question has already hit the Super Collider. But realistically, one has (as gerrit says) "to draw the line" somewhere. $\endgroup$ Jul 31, 2013 at 14:20
  • $\begingroup$ @RhysW - I suppose we'll have to risk and offer to eat our hats (not the tinfoil ones, though) if a nutcase theory is proven. $\endgroup$ Jul 31, 2013 at 14:21

2 Answers 2


Note: had the battery been Pu-239 - and a bunch of RTG batteries used in space missions are made from decommissioned nukes, so a person not informed on details of the mission could reasonably expect that was the case - the theory cited would have been quite viable. That wasn't the case, end of story, case closed, thank you.

My opinion is a short, quick and accurate debunking of such stories is more healthy than trying to sweep them under the rug and only give extra feeder to skeptics.

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    $\begingroup$ "debunking of such stories is more healthy" ... +1k for this, if I could ... $\endgroup$
    – s-m-e
    Aug 1, 2013 at 7:32
  • $\begingroup$ Note for future readers who (like me) are very confused by the first paragraph and what it has to do with the question: it's referring to this post, which apparently inspired the question. $\endgroup$ May 25, 2017 at 18:19

It can be hard to draw the line. Who determines what is a nutcase theory and what isn't?

If the source is notable enough, perhaps some of those would fit on Skeptics.

  • $\begingroup$ Theories migratable to Skeptics are OK (although we should migrate them ASAP). It is just that nobody wants the site degrade into one dedicated to the question: "Was Apollo program a hoax". See rules at UMSF and other like fora. $\endgroup$ Jul 31, 2013 at 12:54
  • $\begingroup$ I liked reading the NASA juking Jupiter one though! It's less nutcase than alien civilisations on Luna and Mars. $\endgroup$
    – gerrit
    Jul 31, 2013 at 12:57
  • $\begingroup$ Yeah, it may be fun for anybody but NASA folks. Remember, if they step out of line here, it is NASA's budget that they put at risk (meaning there are enough nutjobs on the Hill to grab any pretext). $\endgroup$ Jul 31, 2013 at 13:01
  • $\begingroup$ Why would it not be fun for NASA folks? I am most amused if I am accused of mind control through the satellites whose data I use. Of course we're not a humour site for amusement, but from a physics point of view, the question of the fate of Galileo's plutonium is, I think, still an interesting one. NASA did dump Plutonium into Jupiter. What are the consequences? $\endgroup$
    – gerrit
    Jul 31, 2013 at 13:11
  • $\begingroup$ It is very very easy: a good source is based on good peer reviews and references. It will also be cited often in other good sources, and be published in a well accepted journal. Finally a good theory is falsible and changes as little as possible to the currently accepted scientific solution. If the above is untrue the source is bad. $\endgroup$
    – paul23
    May 11, 2015 at 19:14

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