A mass meditation today by telekinesis buffs worldwide that their organizers said numbered in the millions failed to push the huge Skylab satellite into a safe orbit, NASA officials said.
"Our timing on the orbit showed absolutely no change, and we don't expect to see any," said Bill Peters, a Skylab team leader tracking the plummeting 85ton satellite from NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston.
Page Bryant, a self-described psychic who led the live 7 1/2-minute meditation on a 42-station international hook-up originating in a Florida radio station this afternoon, remarked gravely, "I have a feeling of failure."
"Well, it looks like Chicken Little, one, psychokinesis, noting," said Massachusetts Institute of Technology gravity researcher Robert Reasenberg, reaffirming his faith in orthodox physics.
The test in the age-old belief in mind over matter was staged by the Brookline Psychoenergetics Institute, which represents "phychoenergetics Institute, which represents "phychic energy" and serves as a holistic health center.
"We were intrigued with the idea of creating a world project to see if the power of all those minds workings together was strong enough to raise Skylab in its orbit," said Porter Thomson, an astrology counselor at the institute here.
By a coincidence of cosmic vibrations, the same idea, at about the same time, struck Mike Harvey, an award-winning program director and promotional wizard at WFTL-AM in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and his psychic announcer, Bryant, who has broadcast live above the Bermuda Triangle.
The two forces docked, and an instant meditation network was created with radio stations in the United States, Canada, Great Britain and Australia Receiving their "Skylift for Skylab" programs-a potential audience of over 12 million.
Meanwhile, up in space, Skylab's vibrations were off kilter.
The spacecraft, sent aloft May 14, 1973, was supposed to remain in orbit until the early 1980s. However, unanticipated atmospheric turbulence, triggered by solar activity, boosted its "drag," pulling it back to earth.
It is expected to fall in hundreds of pieces around July 2, National Aeronautics and Spcae Administration officials say. Most of the chunks are expected to burn up during the plunge through the atmosphere. But NASA says about 400 will reach earth, pelting a path 4,000 miles long and 100 miles wide.
It was the kind of bad space karman that could only be reversed by the force of millions of brainwaves acting in harmony, members of the institute here said.
NASA spokesman Charles Harlan said, with some trepidation, "I hope they can help us out."
"We're dealing with energy. Relax the mind, relax the body," Bryant said, beginning the meditation that the might want to pull off the road during the mental exercise.
"We are going to use our energy so Skylab will not fall, so our space program will not be interruped," she droned.
Psychic Uri Geller, of silverwarebending fame, picked it up: "You have to believe. Don't think this is a ridiculous experiment - it's not, it's serious. Help us to push Skylab higher and higher."
Then Dr. Buryl Payne of the Psychoenergetics Institute chimed in: "In your consciousness, move out to space. See the clouds of earth whirling and swirling below you. Get the idea of Skylab going faster and faster and higher."
As a flute played hypnotic music in the background, he directed the many minds to "tune into the sun and the universe."
Back in Houston, Jim Saultz, another Skylab team leader, was doubtful: "I'm from Missouri; you've got to show me that it works. I've got to see it to believe it."
The adherents of the Jiminy Cricket philosophy of physics - "wishing will make it so"-had enlisted some scientific support to temper the skeptics.
Dan Baer, of the psychology department of Boston College, was quoted before the experiment as saying, "I will try to make contact with the object and get a sense of it and try to heal it and bring it into balance."
Countered MIT's Reasenberg: "They can do it if it makes them happy, but it will not have any discernible effect on the spacecraft."
NASA's Harlan was so sure the experiment wouldn't work that he entered into a side bet with the psychic Bryant. However, his colleague Peters noted, Harlan couldn't have been too sure of himself - the wager was only $5.