3550 posts • joined Wednesday 28th February 2007 21:13 GMT
@ Jeff 10
'Wasn't this called Apollo about 40 years ago?'
No, Apollo was a get-to-the-Moon-first-no-matter-what project. There was no coherent idea of what to do after the lunar landing, especially after NASA started getting its budget cut by Congress. The original plan had been to proceed with a space station and the Space Shuttle before moving on to Mars by the mid 1908s.
However, as we all know, the only bit that survived was the Space Shuttle, but that really only in name only after the US Air Force started laying down requirements which effectively crippled the project. By the time the Shuttle project was approved there wasn't enough money to build a station for it to visit; leaving NASA trapped in low orbit for a long time.
Constellation is better thought through than that, the rockets are designed for more than one purpose and can support a variety of missions. It's just a shame that it has taken 40 years for NASA to effectively copy the Soviet missions planned for the N1 rocket. Let's just hope Ares 1 and 5 are more reliable than the N1.
Made of brass...
Awesome. Not nearly enough scientific equipment has been made of brass since the 19th Century.
'What's the 4 hour window'
They have to close a huge area of ocean so that shipping doesn't have spent rocket stages falling on it. Four hours is the maximum the Air Force who run the Canaveral range is prepared to allocate.
'It's less capable than the shuttle, and it has serious pogo problems! Upgrade the shuttle ffs, or am I wrong about this???'
The problem with the Shuttle was it did lots of things not very well. Ares I does at least have a clear mission without all the compromises that so ruined the Shuttle by the time it flew. The Shuttle could have its life extended, but the people who designed it and built it are all now long retired or dead, the production lines and jigs are all long scrapped. There's no going back. And the Soviet Shuttle has long since been broken up (admittedly after a building fell on it).
As for pogo, yes it *could* be a problem. Firstly, to correct the article, the thing wouldn't shake itself to pieces on the pad, pogo is a flight problem.
Secondly, pogo is fixable. Apollo 6, the second flight of the Saturn V nearly ended in disaster because of pogo. There was a violent first stage pogo well beyond what had been seen in Apollo 4. The CSM/LM actually began to disintegrate with quite large chunks coming free. Had the mission been manned the automatic abort would have been invoked. NASA got to work detuning the first stage and had that resolved by the time of Apollo 10's flight.
Second stage pogo nearly destroyed Apollo 13 before its SM oxygen tank had a chance to kill the crew. There was an undiagnosed turbo-pump resonance that caused massive shaking in the central J2 engine. Fortunately the engine's computer noticed an ongoing deviation from preset parameters and initiated a shutdown before pogo tore the engine from its mounts.
Saturn V was never thoroughly de-pogoed, and yet its probably the most successful rocket NASA ever built.
And I never got the chance to see one fired.
This is awesome
The War Against Terror versus the record labels with shiny little Ben Bradshaw caught in the middle.
Has anyone got the popcorn in?
@ Ian Braithwaite
'Just for completeness - to those of you listing the constituent parts of North America - you might want to add Greenland. Even though it's a part of the Kingdom of Denmark, it's also a sizeable part of North America..'
And the left-hand quarter of Iceland; which (depending on your definition) is also (or indeed is not) part of Scandinavia.
'6) Iceland is also a country and its natural timezone is GMT, which it uses.'
Very sensibly they also just accept they're on the edge of the Arctic Circle and stick with GMT all year round. Yes the winters suck, but there's a: the incredible summers to look forward to, and b: the brennevin.
'As the ISP's have basically refused to cooperate with this, due factors like, the massive cost of DPI,'
Oh please, that's easy for New Labour to find their way round. They'll simply impose a £1 per month per account 'Internet Security Tax' on the country; then make sure it gets railroaded through the Commons thanks to the invertebrate nature of their backbenchers and a suitably Mandelsonian smear campaign against its opponents.
'Why always those displays?'
Simple - they look astonishing out of doors. Whereas LCD screens get washed out unless you crank the backlight to 11, or they just become reflective messes, the eInk displays get crisper and brighter the more light there is.
There's also no flicker which makes prolonged reading much more pleasant than on an LCD.
To Dr. Fox
"There's a very strong case to look at the assets of the MoD and say do these deliver anything for the front line?"
A quick flip through some history books (you can claim them on expenses) suggests that knowing the weather forecast does have some influence on military campaigns.
Radio times to Mars
"...the time taken for messages to travel back and forth - already some hours when Earth and Mars are far apart."
No they don't - trip times to Mars vary from just over 3 minutes when Earth is closest to the planet to about 22 minutes when they're on opposite sides of the Sun. Double that for a round trip. If you're being put on hold for 'some hours' when calling Mars you should consider changing your operator.
@ Led boot
'If you're going to the trouble of sending a nuke powered ship all the way out there, why not attach some sort of satelite you can fling into orbit so we can get data back all the time?'
You'd have to slow it from interplanetary velocity which would either need an enormous amount of fuel, or you could try aerobraking in Titan's atmosphere which would be nerve wracking.
As for probes doing more than just sitting there; in 1986 the Soviets put balloons on Vegas 1 and 2 to take readings of the Venusian atmosphere. They confirmed it was pretty bloody nasty.
"Our only interest is in making sure all passengers get on the plane safely."
Bollocks - your only interest is forcing people to arrive at the terminal three hours before departure and delaying gate announcements to the last minute to maximise the time passengers spend in the shops* and restaurants.
* Anyone else noticed that airport branches of Dixons are even crappier than the ones in the High Street?
Why people stuck with 2004
Was because the latest version of Office for the Mac ignored ALL of the goodness that went into Office 2007 for Windows in favour of releasing an even more lethargic bugtastic product.
@ Anonymous Coward
'It's just like when John Selwyn Gummer wanted to convince people that beef infected with BSE didn't cause the brain disease CJD in people, and so offered the burger.... to his daughter.'
To be fair to John Selwyn Gummer (and when was the last time you read that combination of words?), eating a BSE-laden burger only resulted in a very slight chance of contracting the disease; whereas getting an ID card guarantees your life will be fucked shortly afterwards.
'Wow! The OMGPEDOSAREEVERYWHERE crowd finally comes to clash with the OMGTERRORISTSAREEVERYWHERE crowd. Both have proven able to legislate absurd restrictions of freedom for no actual benefit, based on irrational fear alone. One can only wish they'd kill each other over this issue.'
Of course the real joy of this story is that both groups are running the Home Office. Any chance of getting the Home Secretary to explain the situation? If so, can we have warning, I'll want to set TiVo so that I can enjoy it time and time again.
'The first 4 have or are very close to Nuclear technology.'
Just to let you know, France has a tantalising selection of appalling powerful yet stylish hydrogen warheads that could reduce most of the Lower 48* to a desolate wasteland inhabited solely by cockroaches and a giant mutated Chuck Norris.
* Hawaii's too nice to nuke and Alaska's got polar bears.
@ Sean Timarco Baggaley
'Iceland generates more electricity than it can possibly use using geothermal;'
Actually most Icelandic power comes from hydro power; only about 25% is geothermal. But you're right, they have stupid amounts of power to tap and it is insanely cheap (the average Reykjaviker pays about 1/4 as much as a Britain for all the electricity and hot water they can possibly use).
The Icelandic government in association with Shell and Norsk Hydro already done extensive trials of running buses on hydrogen in Reykjavik, but have decided not to proceed further. Instead they are switching to biogas from sewage - you can recognise the biogas buses by their green roofs. The hydrogen filling station is still visible on Miklabraut as you leave the city for Hveragerði (if you're going that way, do stop off en-route at the entirely awesome geothermal plant at Hellisheiðivirkjun - it's like an Apple store has been dropped on the Moon)
There were plans to start experimenting with converting the Icelandic fishing fleet to hydrogen, but AFAIK they have been put on hold thanks to a few Icelandic billionaires running off with everyone's money.
A more economic prospect for Iceland would be to string a DC cable to the UK and pump their cheap electricity into the National Grid. The current plan by the main power company is to start offering cheap power to companies wanting to run server farms and manufacture solar silicon and to diversify away from the country's dependence on aluminium smelting which has got a bad environmental reputation of late.
'A common goal of global-warming reduction efforts is to limit temperature rises to 2 degrees, though some say this is unachievable and a rise of at least 4 degrees is inevitable. The well-known Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report of 2007 predicted a rise of 3 degrees by 2100.'
Errrr what's that got to do with the fossil record? No climatologist would tell you that present global temperatures are the highest ever. They would say they are amongst the highest in the current interglacial; but that's it. What they *would* tell you is that the current rate of change is anomalously high and that is likely to cause problems for us in the short term. Like it or not, a good part of the World' population is sensitive to climate change if only because rising sea levels put large amounts of the planet's fertile land under salt water.
And to follow on from 'Anonymous Coward''s excellent points about never extrapolating directly from deep climate records. The biggest reason the late Paleocene was almost unfeasibly warm by modern standards was that both polar regions received large amounts of equatorial heat from oceanic currents. F'rcrissakes, parts of Antarctica had a subtropical climate as late as the Eocene! It was only when Antarctica and Australia separated from one another that the circumpolar currents deprived Antarctica of warmth and it began to accumulate a huge ice cap that helped drive down ocean floor temperatures across the globe. This was made worse as the Arctic became a semi-enclosed region with little or no equatorial currents.
In short, the Eocene was a nice time to live in Greenland so long as you didn't mind the crocodile infestations.
'Many on their earth monitoring programs are redundant since we have the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)'
Just a thought to shoot down your thought balloon...
...but if NASA is planning missions to look for life on Europa or giant telescopes to look for earthlike planets, wouldn't it help to have an idea what sort of thing they should be looking for? The bugs in the salt ponds around 'Frisco might be detectable in spectra captured by the aircraft. If that's the case, NASA can program their spaceborne sensors to look for similar patterns.
BTW if you haven't seen these salt ponds, they really do look like something from another planet:
@ Adam Salisbury
'Now the folk at NASA have successfully lobbed a couple of spacecraft at the moon can they please lob a coupld at the Home Office in search of any intelligent life whatsoever??'
Bugger that - can't they just crash something into the Home Office?
@ kain preacher
'I DON'T WANT TO SEE RIB CAGES OR SPINE'
To be fair there is no way that woman has a spine.
Probability and @ Richard 81
'the probability of an Earth encounter on April 13, 2036, for Apophis has dropped from one-in-45,000 to about four-in-a million'
When I was at school (in the early Mesozoic), I was taught that probabilities were always to be expressed as fractions.
'You wait 'till they name one Anubis.'
You've already been screwed, it's out there in the Main Asteroid Belt:
Now I know how we can sneak into that mythical lesbian city in Northern Sweden.
Although only Geordies will be able to wear the mandatory boob tubes in the midst of a Swedish winter.
Make or break
Will be the store - the Sony store in the US is superb, their one in the UK through Waterstones is woeful. If Amazon can bring their entire catalogue to the UK then they win the battle even though the hardware is inferior to the competition.
However, I suspect the book companies will force them to restrict the choice just as they have with Sony.
'The excuse given is that this is an effort to find water deep under lunar surface.'
In which case you'll be horrified to know that we've been smashing things into the Moon since Luna 2 in 1959, including some pretty huge piece of metal such as the 15 tonne final stages of the Saturn V Moon rocket. You'd be amazed to know what you can learn by hitting the Moon hard enough.
Reducing crime, disorder and fear
Perhaps Britain's streets would be safer if all towns were to have undercover cage fighters in boob tubes and stilettos patrolling after dark?
Craig 12 said: 'I'm not a fan of the PS3 as a gaming system, but just as a blu ray/network/media player it's definitely worth the price.'
It makes an excellent Blu-Ray player, but for some unfathomable reason, the PS3 sucks as an upscaling DVD player - the fan runs continuously and there are some weird artifacts on screen when images are moving rapidly or the camera is panning or zooming. I tried watching 'The Illusionist' on the PS3 and had to stop as it was making me nauseous. Put it in a bottom-of-the-market upscaling DVD player and it ran fine.
Now where are the region free Blu-Ray players?
So far so m'eh
Just one request.
Can they turn the incidental music down from the current setting of 11 and boost the level of the dialogue? I thought my surround sound system had blown up when I tried to listen to DW - then I heard what RTD had written and wished the music could be ever so slightly louder.
Also from the Home Office
There's the e-phrenology scheme which works out an individual's prospective criminality based on mobile phone photos of the bumps on people's heads; citizen's juries where a mob of 'Sun' readers get to pass judgement on petty criminals using a ducking school and a lexicon of very short words; and literally bleeding-edge trials where small animals are sacrificed in front of a mad woman on an unstable platform who goes on to shriek gibberish about the crime. The last one is rumoured to be in trouble - though to be fair Jackie Smith hasn't been quite the same since her husband's ham-fisted exposure with the porn stash.
I want one...
...I don't care what it does, anything with 'exciton' on the label does it for me.
And as Big, tattooed Fred pointed out - it's just Kelvin, no degrees, nothing.
Ofsted have no problems with schools run by religious maniacs and the shocking standard of [pick any or all of the following] literacy, numeracy, basic science, physical education, history, geography or languages; but woe betide anyone trying to do some babysitting.
Is it possible to pin down the actual date this country became a dystopian joke?
@ Dennis Healey
'When will some overpaid consultant come up with the bleeding obvious - put these things in cold parts of the world rather than the Arizona desert.
'At a stroke we could save the Icelandic economy'
Already being done: http://www.verneglobal.com/
And they get points for extra smugness because all their power is renewable.
I hope you haven't spent all that consultancy money ;)
...quite possibly the most awesome page on the website.
As for the flag (hell it took me ages to realise there *was* a flag - I was distracted)... US soldiers can be seen wearing 'backwards flags' on the right arms of their uniforms. Army regulations say that the stars always face forwards as if the flag is flying in the breeze.
Went to the Post Office last week to send a parcel, took forever to get to the head of the queue and when I was being served the guy behind the desk was clearly following a script - did I want any holiday money? how about one of their low interest credit cards? did I need insurance on my home/car/life/cat? had I heard about their wide range of competitive savings schemes...? I guess 'do you want to have your eyeballs scanned?' is next.
Goodness knows how long it will be served if this becomes commonplace, it'll be quicker to walk a letter to the Orkneys than post it.
Ah the BBC
'The Indian Moon mission was launched late last year but has already stopped working due to a fault'
It worked for 312 days in lunar orbit which is considerably longer than the majority of American and Soviet probes. There's nothing 'only' about the probe's performance.
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