250 posts • joined 28 May 2008
Randall Munroe, the *Hugo winning and* much-loved creator of awesome science webcomic XKCD
Time (http://xkcd.com/1190/) got him the Best Graphic Story award a couple of weeks ago.
Re: Sharon T. Pokeworthy...
0208 811 8181 was W12 8QT, though 01 811 8055 was the one true number for there...
Internally at TV Centre 4050 was the extension everyone called.
Rather than mugs with the same version of the patch on each side, one version one side and the other on the other?
Next time you see a Lanc, remember its wingspan is a gnats over 100ft so when flying a dam buster attack run the height above water was about the same as the distance from one wingtip to the inboard engine the other side...
Re: Possessing an image likely to cause injury
It's the act of creating the image potentially causing injury I believe. Posession of the image counts as encouragement to make more.
Re: Questions for rocket scientists:
The Dawn spacecraft, currently in transit twixt Vesta and Ceres has two 18 sq. metre solar arrays which combined produce 10kW at 1AU and 1300W 3AU out in the Asteroid Belt. Inverse square and that's about what you'd need for 2.5kW at Mars distance.
Earth to Mars takes around 9 or 10 months on the cheapest ballistic transfer orbit depending on exactly when in the launch window they're sent, the Indian and Nasa probes launched back in November are due to arrive this September. Even quite modest continuous thrust can cut that by a lot, but it also greatly extends the launch window so you don't need to wait until the planets are exactly aligned and can launch at almost any time.
Re: "(aka kaboom)"
Although now a later tweet says "Detailed review of rocket telemetry needed to tell if due to initial splashdown or subsequent tip over and body slam" so maybe not so much KaBoom! as Tim-berrrrr!
Rotors v. Rockets
For an actual Mars landing you'd use Rockets instead of Rotors. ElReg SPB already has experience of things like ArduPilot which can handle a wide variety of motors in its quadcopter guise, rotors to rockets might be a bit beyond the usual parameters that need tweaking but not hugely so. They can also use a wide variety of positioning systems, get a fix from existing Mars probes on the way in and an inertial system will get you close enough to your desired boulder-strewn landing spot.
At least it's not a serious Mallard'y.
It's a nice day, I won't need my coat...
Car mechanics. They know *where* to hit a vehicle to make it work again, they just need a range of suitable hitting implements to suit the fault.
If you have a look at the animation there's usually a cover over the connector panel. You need to have a lot of connections to the trunk (power from the solar cells, data connections, etc) as well as to the rocket telemetry on launch. Easier to go round the side of the heatshield than try and run the wires through it. If you look at a picture of the Apollo CSM (eg http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Apollo_CSM_lunar_orbit.jpg ) you'll see exactly the same setup with the cover over the cables and panel being the lump at the bottom of that picture.
No, insUlation. The solar panels are supposed to fold back over the body during the night to help keep the internals warm enough. The mechanical problem appears to have been that one of them didn't.
As mentioned in the bit about Zinnwaldite, spoil heaps can be useful sources of stuff that was originally uneconomic to extract. Devon Great Consols mine was once the biggest copper producer in the world, then the largest arsenic (The extraction methods for the arsenic can make you shudder) producer. Since the mines closed at the start of the 20th century the spoil has been reworked for Tin, Tungsten, more Copper and more Arsenic as prices and technologies changed.
Re: It looks suspiciously like an AE-35 unit
Actually the computers do like having atmosphere, it's a real bugger keeping them cool without. The ones outside usually have to be hooked in to the ammonia cooling system which also needs regular EVA maintenance.
And Ariadne gets to keep the banner after the flight?
First stage status posted around 22:00 BST on their webcast "Last known state for rocket boost stage is 360 m/s, Mach 1.1, 8.5 km altitude and roll rate close to zero (very important!)" and a few minutes earlier "Falcon reentry burn also good. Waiting for landing data from tracking plane."
It's OK. They'll be using a version old enough to be unaffected...
The Norwegians have previous...
"The film that is so funny that it was banned in Norway!"
Which was of course Life of Brian...
Previous out of the ecliptic missions (eg Ulysses) have used Jupiter to do the perpendicular bit. You aim your craft to go over one of Jupiters poles instead of round its equator. Cassini has used Titan in the same way to swap between orbits in the ring-plane of Sautrn and inclined orbits.
Shades of the Cambridge guided busway. When it started there were five bus companies going to use it, but by the time it opened that had reduced to two via mergers and takeovers. Some of the documents had apparently been updated by search and replace as it was eventually announced that "Whippet, Stagecoach and Whippet" would be running services from day one...
Re: Must be a techie...
The original phrasing used though implied it was eight track carts, not reel to reel on which the number of tracks would have been invisible to a journo of Mr Robinsons calibre. He would (probably) however have recognised the more common eight track due to their widespread use in radio studios where, with the tape being an endless loop, they were favoured for not needing to be rewound after every use. And I first encountered them professionally 35 years ago...
Re: Must be a techie...
"At least Robinson got the number of reels on the tape machine correct."
No he didn't. Eight track used an endless loop and only one reel...
Re: Pliers cause pain
The maintenance department at the ITV station I was employed by contemplated getting a calibrated mat so they could measure EHT voltage by how far their summer student jumped every time he got a shock...
Re: 2014 DX110
Usually means that after it was discovered and its orbit worked out, they've gone back to old photographs of the relevant area of sky and found a previously overlooked trace.
A law firm with the name Selachii?
I'd be inclined to use them just for their sense of humour.
It's enough to pay for a team of around a dozen people for 7 or 8 years to work out the detail of what will be needed and what instruments can be fitted in to various launch configurations. Once they've got the plans worked out it will start needing real money to build and launch the spacecraft.
Re: Mi aerodeslizador está lleno de anguilas
¿Hay un eco aquí?
Re: There is a chance of a major win ......
Ah, finally a reason why they took Play School off the air. Betting on which window it would be today...
Mind you, it got harder to get BBC Presentation to take the bets when they realised VT were putting cryptic notes on the paperwork during the tech review...
Spherical cows obviously.
Re: a bit on the steep side
It would pay basic salary for that many. You still need to find Employers NI, pension contributions, uniform allowance, space for desks, lockers, changing areas, vehicles and associated running costs, etc...
Re: Connect me!
"An upvote to the commentard who can work out the riddle of the last one"
Probably related to the occasion at an ITV station where I was employed when the emergency standby generator fired up and cut in around 3pm due to loss of external power, then promptly shut down due to excessive load taking the region off the air.
Later that afternoon a missive went round suggesting it would be detrimental to peoples career prospects if kettles were ever found plugged in to the technical mains again...
Re: Will it blend?
Or all be standing around the edge of the pools after lunch on Friday...
Re: Profit Margin?
There's a difference between "UK sales" and "Sales in the UK". The other 7 billion of your figure will mostly be Luxembourg sales.
Re: A lot of risk was taken for the Moon landings
The pilot of the lifting body that featured in the Six Million Dollar Man titles actually walked away from that crash, although he subsequently lost an eye due to an infection picked up in hospital.
The Apollo 11 landing had around fifty seconds of fuel remaining at touchdown, if it got down to 30 seconds then an abort was required as the remaining fuel was needed to get enough altitude for a safe stage separation and ascent engine start. They were 20 seconds to that point, not to dry tanks, and as has been mentioned already the stages did not share fuel or engines.
Re: This was a resurrection of a failed proposal...
Antares is unlikely to get man-rating in its current form as the second stage is a solid rocket. Solids running in parallel with a liquid first stage are allowed, especially if the designer is NASA, as a capsule LES can get the crew away in an abort but there's no sensible way to get off a malfunctioning solid second stage.
The first stage is not hugely different to the Ukrainian Zenit, hardly surprising as it is designed and partly built by the same company under contract.
Re: COTS is about commercial competition...
http://spaceflightnow.com/tracking/ is a handy list and generally stays current. That lists a Falcon launch for the 3rd, but no sign of a webcast on the SpaceX site yet...
As I remember from discussions years ago, yes. The problem back then was there was nothing on The Shelf, Cheap or not, to take Off. The acronym stuck but the words changed...
Postponed, not aborted
The Dec 19 launch was postponed due to the ISS cooling problem so the focus could be on the repair spacewalks. It was the demo launch back in April that was aborted when a cable detatched early.
The actual legislation probably won't specify the connector, just requiring a standard one is used and leaving the choice to be determined by whatever the EU equivalent of a Ministerial Order is.
That's OK then, the SLS and Orion *are* subsidies to corporations...
Re: How about a little perspective here?
"But right now both FH and SLS are paper rockets"
Actually the stages for the first Falcon Heavy are mostly assembled. The engine clusters ought to be test fired on the static stand in Texas early in the new year with an actual launch from Vandenberg lightly pencilled in for around April, though that will probably slip.
From today, http://xkcd.com/1297/
Re: 80,000km > 35,786km
Missed the edit window...
The fuel saving is mostly in the plane change manouevre, the higher that is done the less fuel it takes. A launch from Kourou will generally go straight to GEO altitude as it's almost on the Equator anyway. From Cape Canaveral they need to lose 28.5 degrees of inclination so it takes less fuel to go higher, change plane and drop back, and from Baikonour you need to change by about 56 degrees which makes the Lunar fly-by option tempting.
Re: Launch Window?
Partly sun angle in the transfer bit of the orbit, and partly how long the launch team have been working. You do not want a tired ground control team, or have to try and manage a shift change part way through.
Re: 80,000km > 35,786km
It actually takes less fuel that way, although it needs two engine burns to get to the final orbit rather than one. A burn at apogee (the 80,000km point) raises the perigee to GEO altitude, then half an orbit later a second burn drops the apogee and circularises the orbit.
There have been trajectories involving a trip round the moon calculated, although so far the only taker was a Russian launch that had a stage restart failure and used some of its manouvering fuel to do the loop and circularisation. It wasn't carrying enough fuel for a direct insertion. Satellite operators are very conservative and no-one wants to be the first to use a lunar fly-by for real, they all want someone else to demonstrate it works.
"The Five-ish Doctors" that followed on the Red Button (and is no doubt available via other channels by now) is well worth a watch too, and makes me think a lot of the 'news' in the lead up was dis-information...
Re: Let SpaceX launch it!
It's just inside the capability of a Falcon 9 v1.1. Not sure where you're getting the 6,500kg figure from but the SpaceX site gives around 4,850 to GTO for a non-R and you generally get two thirds of that to Mars, and two thirds again for the F9R.
If "Dalek" had been called something like "Last of his kind" (by then we knew there were no other Timelords) and not had the big reveal trailed heavily beforehand, you could have spotted the moment the Dalek spoke its first words on a seismograph as everybody dived over the back of the sofa.
"The Girl In The Fireplace" was helped by David Tennant and Sophia Myles being involved at the time.
In "Human Nature/Family of Blood" there's a nice line where the human Doctor gives his parents names as Sidney and Verity.
But "Blink" is pretty much the perfect time travel story, and bears repeated rewatching for the small details like where Sally Sparrow walks between an Angel and the camera, and the Angel changes position in the fraction of a second while it can't be seen.
In the days of models they were quite often filmed upside down. Turns out the human eye is quite good at spotting strings above a model spacecraft wooshing across the screen, but not when the shot has been inverted so the string appears to be at the bottom.
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