An international team of scientists, engineers and designers is offering mere mortals the chance to fly to the Moon for as little as £19 via the Pocket Spacecraft: Mission to the Moon initiative. The boffins have come up with a cunning plan to launch a rack of slimline "Scout" spacecraft, specifically "flexible hybrid printed …
Part of me is thinking Yay for shiny space stuff! Part of me is thinking Boo for moon litter! On balance I think the Yay part of me is winning.
Serious questions: How long do these things stay alive and transmitting after landing? Does it make a difference whether it lands upside-down on the moon (i.e. solar cells against the ground)?
I doubt very much if they will land intact on the Moon. There is no atmosphere to slow them down and they are moving at orbital speeds. The ones that are released in Earth orbit might land OK, although there's a four-fifths chance they'll be under water.
Now I understand...
All those AOL discs that landed on my doormat at the turn of the millennium weren't some attempt to sell me a piss-poor internet service, but scouts forming the vanguard of an alien invasion!
paranoia is really total awareness ..
@SImon Harris - It wasn't aliens, it was the NSA.
Although the earth re-entry ones will "attempt" to re-enter. I guess with no form of shielding they will burn up? they do not seem to mention that, otherwise good luck to them!
Also Laser Tag in space i think the Dr Who writers are pissed now as that was on there episode list (sharks in space, victorians in space, spitfires in space etc)
The reason that the Scouts are so thin is so that they do not burn up during reentry and should therefore survive.
I always thought the idea of scouts was that to light a camp-fire, you had to rub two of them vigourously together until they did burn up!
My first thought was "litter" but my second thought was that putting eg your avatar from a MMORPG on it rather devalued the science.
So I'm out.
This is a low impact form of space exploration - the total mission mass will be less than 1% of the total mass of the traditional way of doing things so it is a test of a minimising the impact of space exploration. The cosmetic customisation actually has a serious technical purpose as the mission wants to see how well these devices work as solar sails and want each one to have slightly different (but known) reflectivity to see and measure if they behave as expected.
I liked the 'Reward If Found' printed on the mock-up!
Should it not involve most of the human race?
So could it be a model of a cat licking its arse in an amusing way?
A friend of mine used to be a North Sea maintenance diver, he used to on occasion use a hard suit to go right down to the sea bed, I asked him one day what the North Sea looked like at the bottom.
His reply was 'Oh those polystyrene MacDonalds containers mixed with crisp packets mostly!'
That is the mental image that came up as I read this article.
That's not so bad as I remember...
My first proper job, some 26 years ago, involved me spending a few days on a trawler in the North Sea one February.
What came back in the nets usually consisted of a mixture of fish and old sanitary products.
Polystyrene is much less dense than water. How did those containers ever sink?
But the point is taken. Had the Glomar Challenger really been after what it was said to be after in my OU textbook "Understanding the Earth" instead of Russian nuclear submarine wrecks, it is interesting to speculate what would have come up with the manganese nodules.
Re-entry might be more survivable than you think.
Following Challenger some of the internal tanks were found intact in Texas.
Yes they are about orbital velocity of 7950,/s but it's how fast they lose velocity that matters and a lot of that is down to mass per unit area. Very light gives a longer reentry (10s of minutes to hours). Depending on thermal conductivity and emission properties they might survive to ground level.
Of course wheather their RF and solar cell would be in any state to send out a signal so people would know is another matter...
Thumbs up for a bit of lateral thinking.
Re: Re-entry might be more survivable than you think.
Do you mean Columbia?
Otherwise how did the tanks get from the Atlantic to Texas?
The Lunar Scouts perform their mission in low lunar orbit and then end of life dispose of themselves to the surface of the moon like other lunar exploration missions so do not have to survive landing and are not expected to. As their mass is less than a gram rather than the 100's kg of traditional missions they are leaving a lot less on the moon than the traditional way of doing things so this is a low impact exploration method. There are also Earth Scouts that are released to demonstrate landing from orbit to the surface of the Earth that do have to worry about the 'butter side up' issue. The approach there is stochastic (I.e. drop several and assume that at least 50% will land solar cell side up) but it is also expected that some Hardware Development Scouts will implement a mixture of top facing and bottom facing cells so they will operate both ways up albeit with the bottom facing cells having slightly less efficiency due to the polyamide substrate the light will first have to pass through.
Why bother? There's still a few square miles of Earth not yet buried under all our crap. Not many though.
The man who sold the moon
One of the arguments about space exploration is that it is exceptionally expensive; that's why most work was carried out by governmental organisations. But they tend to be very bureacratic, so the costs escalate almost as fast as the rockets ascend. Most people then complain about the costs, even if they don't actually know what it is really costing them, as they don't understand the benefits that might come from such projects.
When private business gets involved, they tend to try to go for more cost effective methods, which is why it gets a lot cheaper (sometimes not so safe, but any exploration work is risky). Robert Heinlein proposed the idea of "selling" the various things to raise money; he knew that there would be people that would be prepared to back such an undertaking even if they could not be certain of a return.
I saw some stats a few years ago that highlighted the entire cost of space exploration has cost each US citizen approx. 5 c per day since the start back in the late 1950s. Roughly the cost of a cup of coffee back then; not sure that there is anything available for that price these days.
Re: The man who sold the moon
The public sector is bureaucratic because the public demand it and politicians need all that padding for when things go wrong. It wasn't me; there were twelve people between me and that decision. Honest.
Worth it! just to get your name on the moon,
but did i read it right? itsONLY £290k to get a cubesat to the moon? i say that is a bargin..
message direct from their favourite social media...
Oh yes, let us cover the moon with crap.
Re: message direct from their favourite social media...
Lunar environmentalists must be the silliest form of life anywhere ...
Fine for Littering...
Yes, we've scattered our crap throughout practically every square mile of the Earth, by all means lets begin polluting the moon as well. And wow, you can personalize these with social media or crap from your favorite game as well... As though the physical garbage wasn't enough, you can also add pointless content. How profound. As if instead of the "golden record" on Voyagers I and II you had a scratched CD with Rick Astley tunes.
So what is on offer here ?
It sounds like I can pay money to put my image on a little disc with hundreds of others, then they are going to fire my disc in to space and crash it in to the moon. Where it probably will be ripped to shreds ?
And that the best possible outcome ?
Re: Flogging is too good for 'em
Re: Dennis Hope
How can it incur any legal action from someone who sells novelty deeds? Deeds that have no legal standing, and are just framed and stuck on the wall as a conversation piece over dinner.
Dennis Hope, (just like everyone else) has no legal claim to any of the land on the Moon (or anywhere else in space) in the first place, therefore he cannot sell what he doesn't own.
... sound a bit Borg to me!
I just hope they remember to attach the LED to pin 13...
Yes! Let us litter the moon with robots auto-tweeting phrases from those first person shooters or whatever else the fuckwits who will buy into this scheme think is cool. What a legacy for The Great Race to find when they colonize the Moon in the year twenty billion.
Where do I sign up?
Littering the Moon
NASA uses a variety of methods to measure, control and reduce spacecraft microbial contamination for planetary protection purposes. http://planetaryprotection.nasa.gov/methods
I am afraid that the PocketSpacecaft project as proposed will upset the delicate microbial balance on the Moon.
Return to Mars
Do we want Space Tourists?
Technology is not there so every tom, dick and harry can have the opportunity to pollute the moon's surface with their litter, just because they had a spare few quid and were a bit bored with their life. This is an extra-terrestrial extension of the pollution of the internet with Facebook and Twitter inanity - for those people who feel the need to have their existence perpetuated for eternity, at everyone else's expense for generations to come.
Do you really think that in 500 years time this population's descendants are going to be really pleased that the moon was fouled up with scrap plastic and anonymous egos?
I wonder if in 500 years time some cleanup robot might achieve consciousness and wreak revenge by showing us early 21C disney movies
So how long before MC Ds places an emblem on the Moon?
This doesn't sound like a good idea.
This sounds a little too much like littering.
I always thought it would be cool if it wasn't so hard to send spacecraft to the Moon, so I could send one myself.
But then I realized that it's actually a good thing that it's so difficult, otherwise a bunch of idiots would be doing gawd knows what and probably screwing things up completely in too many ways.
It sounds like that's what these people are planning on doing.
Do we REALLY want to send thousands of pieces of paper-like objects to Mars and scatter them all over the planet? Or Venus? Or the Moon?
"Someone" should probably put a stop to this.
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