To Boldly Go Where Only the Moronic Have Gone Before

Houston (BIO) - Scientists at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory announced the discovery of a new solar system today. They described it as a new type of star system, previously theorized to be capable of sustaining itself only for a very limited period of time. Scientists said this system appears to be slightly more than mid-way through its expected life and defies the known laws of physics for its ability withstand the mammoth gravitational pulls at its center.

Robert Stevens, project manager for the lab's Planetary Search Team, said it is comprised of several small planets orbiting what appears to be a "super black hole" at its center.

"This system is unbelievably unique," Stevens said. "At its center is what we call a super black hole, made entirely of buckshot, discarded whisky bottles, and old heart pacemakers. We've named the black hole Chenovia," he said.

"Chenovia is composed of the densest material we've ever found. It's approximately 1,600 times the density of a normal black hole and exerts an extraordinarily large gravitational pull. That massive sucking power is what normally destroys systems like this. Eventually the planets surrounding it are sucked deeply into its grasp, beginning a period of transition leading to an ultimately spectacular flame-out," Stevens said.

"It's quite extraordinary really," he said.

While there are numerous small planetoids orbiting the hole, there appears to be only a single major planet orbiting it.

"We've started the long project to name all of the orbiting planetoids, but there are so many. It may take years to chose names for them all," Stevens said. "So far we've named only two. Rummyton orbits the hole in a strangely eccentric orbit that sometimes takes it so close to the center it appears to merge with it, while at other points it actually appears to leave its parent solar system," Stevens said.

"A second small planetoid, which we've named Condillium, is being sucked so close to Chenovia it has actually disappeared from our radio-telescopic scans. We only know that it exists by the shrill screaming noise it makes as it enters its path to an inevitable crash into Chenovia's surface," Stevens said.

The major planet orbiting Chenovia, named Dubya Minor by the scientists, appears unique because it orbits its moon rather than the usual arrangement where a moon orbits a planet.

Scientists have named the moon, Rovius. "The interesting thing about Rovius is that it exerts an inordinate amount of pull for a moon. As a consequence, Dubya Minor is trapped in an orbit around Rovius," Stevens said. "It also appears that Dubya Minor loses its orbital path frequently. When that happens, Rovius emits a stronger gravitational pull designed to bring the moon and planet back into close alignment," Stevens said. "When this phenomena occurs, Dubya Minor sometimes emits a low pitched radio signal that can best be described as 'uuuuuuuhhhhhhhhhh'."

"It's almost like Dubya Minor has no predetermined path. If I didn't know better, I'd say it behaves almost as if it has no brain and depends on Rovius to keep it on course," Stevens said. "It is a very strange arrangement."

Meanwhile, scientists say Chenovia appears to be pulling more material into it black, dense core and fear that a cataclysmic explosion may occur in as little as two years. Stevens and his team discovered rapid breakup of the system by listening to radio signatures emitted from the hole. A tiny planetoid - known as Libinium - has already come close to crashing into Chenovia, but Chenovia emitted an extremely strong and rare reverse-gravitational field that cast Libinium off into an aimless, courseless orbit that is leaving the Chenovian system far in its wake. Eventually they expect Libinium to enter another system altogether, perhaps one where its movements will be more restricted than there are now.

Stevens and his team have booked speaking engagements around the country to discuss their find. They also plan to publish their findings in Hardballian, a scientific magazine run by media mogul Chris Matthews. "We hope the proceeds from this discovery will fund projects I and the team find worthwhile," Stevens said when announcing the PR junket.

"In fact, we hope to exceed the money raised by our former director, Jack Abramoff," Stevens said. "I'll say this for Jack, he wasn't a very competent scientist, but he sure knew how to raise money for worthy projects. Snappy dresser too," Stevens added. "I always loved his hats."

Abramoff, and close associate David Sefavian, were unavailable for comment. Some sources have speculated Safavian is currently on an extended vacation at a Federal facility.

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Truth Told by Omnipotent Poobah, Wednesday, June 21, 2006

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