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* Posts by MajorTom

76 posts • joined 22 Aug 2009

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Cave pits, ideal for human bases, FOUND ON MOON

MajorTom

KSP Angle

Squad ought to update the Mun to include caves and pits. As if driving on the Mun (or landing) isn't difficult enough already.

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Sensation: Chinese Jade Rabbit FOUND ON MOON

MajorTom

Re: A bit of perspective needed

The point is, they're training a new generation of rocket scientists / program managers / engineers how to fly spacecraft. Doesn't matter that this has been done before, you need to start with a smaller scale project.

They're being very methodical, more tortoise than hare ("Rabbit" notwithstanding).

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OHM MY GOD! Move over graphene, here comes '100% PERFECT' stanene

MajorTom

Stanene...nice woody sound.

Tin*...too tinny.

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Bold Bezos aims skywards with liquid hydrogen and SPACE ROCKET engine

MajorTom

Re: LOX no bagel

Yes, L iquid OX ygen.

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India's Martian MOM leaves the nest

MajorTom

Re: A 22-minute burn?

If they could burn all that fuel quickly and be on their way in one go, I'm sure they'd do it.

But, a bigger engine might not have been available, or they chose a small one (that burns fuel more slowly) to save weight. With advance planning, it's really no big deal to make many small burns to increase the size of your orbit.

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Falkland Islands almost BLITZED from space by plunging European ion-rocket craft

MajorTom

Re: OK, so...

Exactly, it's like predicting the weather. A commenter above mentioned "120km" as the altitude of doom. True. But sometimes it's a bit higher, say, 130km, depending on atmospheric conditions. Which we don't know exactly at all points of the atmosphere at all times. Hence, you just can't know where a gradually decaying, circular orbit will come down.

Far better to do a big burn at the end of the sat's life, to target the orbit to intersect the Earth at a safe spot.

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Who here needs to explain things to ELEPHANTS?

MajorTom

Pointy

My retriever not only points her nose at things she wants us to know about, she uses her eyes to point to what she wants. Look at the food item she wants, look at us, roll her eyes back at the snack... until we get the point.

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NASA: Humanity has finally reached into INTERSTELLAR SPACE

MajorTom

Re: Doing really well according to the news bulletin I just heard on the radio

>>They said it had left the galaxy.

I just can't stop chuckling at that.

>> Actual speed is about 80 kips, or about 2.5x faster than a pocket calculator.

If it left the galaxy, then its actual speed is in excess of Warp 6.

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Flying in the US? Remember to leave your hand grenades at home

MajorTom

Reminds me...

In 1999, leaving Seattle in late November, I remember seeing a bunch of dodgy-looking people stepping off the little subway train on their way into the exit of the airport while I was boarding the same train to get to the terminal. One young lady was very clearly carrying a (probably dummy) metal grenade, and she had just stepped off an airplane. I suppose she was one of the WTO protesters gathering for the "battle in Seattle."

What stuck in my mind was that she had apparently been allowed to carry this on an airplane.

Interestingly, on my way from Japan to the US in about 1990, I had nearly had an iron bell (more a windchime) confiscated because it was about the same size and color as a grenade. I had to beg the security guy to let me keep my souvenir.

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Swiss space plane to launch robotic orbital debris destroyer

MajorTom

Two thoughts

If there's a risk of colliding the cleaner sat with the target, then just setup the approach direction so this collision would at least slow down the target...and contribute to its de-orbiting.

Alternative technology idea for the Swiss: orbit a large, yellow rectangular bit of material to get in the way of orbiting satellite targets. The target sat would hit the material and slow down, leaving a hole in the material. After a while it would resemble...

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The Solar System's second-largest volcano found hiding on Earth

MajorTom

Re: East?

It's west of Hawaii.

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Myst: 20 years of point-and-click adventuring

MajorTom

I remember it well

I enjoyed Myst. It ran well on my PC, and I remember many pleasant hours spent solving the puzzles, with help from my brother (who in turn learned clues from his friends).

Fast-forward about 6 years, after my move to the Seattle area I learned the design team (Cyan) was from Washington State, and their Myst island had been inspired by one of the San Juan islands.

I've visited the spot by boat a few times (it's wonderful) and think about Myst when I do. The pictures here don't do it adequate credit:

http://www.sailingthesanjuans.com/2013/07/cypress-head-campground.html

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Silicon daddy: Moore's Law about to be repealed, but don't blame physics

MajorTom

Re: Human Brain 1000000x more powerful than a computer

Yes, but it took me just a few seconds to squint at your math problem and come up with 3.8, which is within 1/2 of 1% of the correct answer. Human brain does well with comparing sizes of things.

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Highway from HELL: Volcano tears through 35km of crust in WEEKS

MajorTom

Re: I have one comment.

What time? 6.29AM EST or 7.29AM EDT? We're on daylight savings time don't you know.

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Confirmed: Bezos' salvaged Saturn rocket belonged to Apollo 11

MajorTom

@Al - fuel toxicity

The F1 engines in the Saturn V burned Liquid oxygen and RP-1 aka kerosene...basically jet fuel. So the exhaust was no more toxic than what you breathe at an airport.

LOX/RP-1 is nowhere near as toxic as the hypergolic fuel combos used by the Gemini's Titan II (pre-Apollo but only just), and by the Chinese space program even today for their Shenzhou manned missions. But after 44 years in the sea, I can't imagine any traces of the fuel would be left regardless of what type it was.

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US Marine Corps misses target, finds and bombs Nemo

MajorTom

Re: Related information - German tourists

Would you be taking your boxed lunch before or after the war?

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Snowden: US and Israel did create Stuxnet attack code

MajorTom

Dates

John Smith 19:

"9/11/01 was thirteen years ago."

12 years ago?

Steve Davies 3:

"Don't you mean 11th September 2001

Using the proper date format."

Interesting, I always though the attackers on that day chose the date "9/11" because it's the phone number Americans dial to get emergency services, 9-1-1, so that the date would be more memorable. So in this case the "correction" wouldn't be needed. Or I just missed the joke.

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MSX: The Japanese are coming! The Japanese are coming!

MajorTom

Girl in the Sony ad

Seiko Matsuda, really popular Japanese celebrity in the 80s. Haven't seen her face since about 1988, thanks for the face from the past.

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Interview: Steve Jackson, role-playing game titan

MajorTom

Digital dice

When Steve mentioned that die-rolling in video games just didn't have the psychological impact of real dice, I figured digital dice...with accelerometers and bluetooth...could be a great addition to such games.

Looks like someone already made a patent for it though:

http://www.google.com/patents/US20090210101

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Cisco and iRobot build videoconferencing robot for remote workers

MajorTom

Everyone should remote in

Have your avatar sit at your desk, go to meetings, visit the toilet...

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Feds use Instagram pic of delicious steak dinner to nab ID thieves

MajorTom

Re: hmm

She made a mis-steak.

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Penguins in spa-a-a-ce! ISS dumps Windows for Linux on laptops

MajorTom

Re: Come in Major Eadon!

Nice song.

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Lego fan constructs Bletchley Park Colossus

MajorTom

Love it

Where can I get an Alan Turing minifigure?

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Tesla earns first profit, Model S wins '99% perfect' rating

MajorTom

Re: Musk...

I feel this way too. His career--running his own space program and developing awesome, new-tech cars--is straight from an 11 year old's dream about their own future. And damn it, he's succeeding. He is my inspiration.

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Google's Schmidt calls for 'DELETE from INTERWEBS' button

MajorTom

That's already happening...you wouldn't believe how many kids in my son's elementary school are named "Aiden" and "Preston."

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Scramjet X-51 finally goes to HYPER SPEED above Pacific

MajorTom

Re: Hold on to your hats or better duck altogether

Amazing thread.

We've got erudite rocket science professors giving lectures on how this works and why it matters.

Also a few retards weighing in too.

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Outback geothermal plant goes live

MajorTom

But geothermal also works at night.

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NASA boffins: Space 'scope JUST missed dead Cold War spy sat

MajorTom

Re: Looking at the ion drive and solar sail options

See the recent article in this website about using ground-based lasers to help de-orbit space junk. Perhaps one could use the same system to nudge satellites out of the way of an impending collision. As you say, it takes just a small nudge a few days in advance to do the trick.

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One of the world's oldest experiments crawls towards a fall

MajorTom

Citations please!

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ANCIENT CURSED RING known to TOLKIEN goes on display

MajorTom

Re: Alternatively you could name your servers

>Here they used Pallas, Zeus, and Poseidon. I got some blank stares from the CIT crowd (Philistines, the lot of them ;-) ) when I suggested Offler, Om, and Nuggan

>I'll get me coat!

Ahem, Quezovercoatl. As in, "I'll get me overcoatl."

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Vietnamese high school kids can pass Google interview

MajorTom

Feynman lecturing on Newton's Laws

Regardless of whether I already knew about Newton's Laws before going into university, I would rather learn those laws from Feynman than anyone else. I'd love to hear his take on them, and how they connect to everything (physics, history, etc.). And you don't get Feynman at most high schools.

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Amazon boss salvages Apollo engines from watery grave

MajorTom

Ahem, numbers...

"Nearly 50 years ago" -- Sorry, I was born days after Apollo 11 and I'm not that close to 50...the date range for Saturn V flights was more like 40-45 years ago.

"Plummeted into the sea at 5000 mph" -- The terminal velocity for a spent stage 1 booster would be much closer to 500 mph than 5000.

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Starlight-sifting boffins can now spot ALIEN LIFE LIGHT YEARS AWAY

MajorTom

Like something Sagan wrote about

Seeing the colors and composition of life on a planet, from a great distance...if this technique works, it will be the next best thing to actually hearing aliens with the SETI program. What could be more inspirational to would-be space explorers?

We're opening up a whole new chapter of science, one that astronomers and planetary scientists have been dying to read for as long as those sciences existed.

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Schoolgirl's Hello Kitty catonaut soars to 93,000ft

MajorTom
Thumb Up

Re: beep beep beep beep beep

This is a good idea from the world of high-powered rocketry (engine class H and up). No radios, GPS or other fancy gadgets needed...just start hiking in the direction you saw the parachute descending, and listen for the beeps. Cheap, light, and simple.

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Iran develops working ICBM: Intercontinental Ballistic Monkey

MajorTom

" at an altitude of 120kms" -- Huh?

Yes, right. Assuming they did orbit at that altitude, that's hardly a stable orbit. Not sure it would even complete one full orbit at that altitude. A proper LEO needs to be 150km or higher, preferably 200km+

And even for a suborbital flight, an adequate heat shield would be needed for the very sharp and intense decel, maybe up to 12 g's?

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SPUDS ON A PLANE! Boeing boosts in-flight Wi-Fi with tater tech

MajorTom

Umm

If the testing period is now just 10 hours, why not use real people instead of potatoes? Just grab 200 loafers from around the halls of Boeing for an extra long meeting, offer donuts and unlimited coffee, no need for taters.

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Curious robot rover Curiosity chews a second mouthful of Mars dirt

MajorTom

Staggering photos

I keep getting bowled over by the stunning quality of this rover's photos. It's as if they set it loose in New Mexico or something. You can easily imagine being there.

Studying the images from dozens of past space exploration missions, I've come to appreciate the haziness / graininess / lack of contrast as being par for the course, given where the image was taken, i.e., deep space or some far-out planet or moon. But now I've learned the truth: those earlier images mostly just suck. (Well, for human eyes anyway.)

I'd love to send newer rovers and probes back to our old stomping grounds...the moon, Venus, etc. What a difference the newer cameras would make.

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Earth-sized planet found at Alpha Centauri B

MajorTom
Go

If only we could...

Within my lifetime I would love to see the results of an interstellar probe on NASA TV...

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Stars spotted dancing superfast tango around black hole handbag

MajorTom
Devil

Spaghetti of gas

Sounds like what happens when you eat high fiber spaghetti.

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SpaceX confirms Falcon rocket suffered engine flame-out

MajorTom

Good and bad news

Wonderful that they had one engine out and carried on. But I'd be very concerned at the in-flight failure rate of the Merlin. Which is, with 4 flights and one engine out (of 36) , standing at just under 3%. I'd be much happier with that figure down well under 1%.

Another inflight failure, if it were to come soon after this one...and NASA may begin to lose confidence?

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Astroboffins to search for mega-massive alien power plants

MajorTom
Thumb Up

Best. Job. Ever.

That is all.

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Democratic congresswomen 'less feminine in appearance' than Republicans

MajorTom
Happy

Where the women look masculine, and the men look even more masculine.

Sounds kinda like Prairie Home Companion to me.

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Now Space Station forced to DODGE flying Japanese junk

MajorTom

solar sail

That's a pretty good solution...IIRC solar wind causes the orbit to wander to one side, long term, so eventually the perigee will dip low enough to pick up drag, which will circularize the orbit then, very soon, the item will deorbit. Nice, passive thing, a solar sail. No fiddling with fuel, boosters, or giving the item a big quick push. Just a bigger solar wind effect (over years) to hasten the deorbit time.

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Swedes are best at using the internet, says Berners-Lee

MajorTom

Re: Languages???

I thought it was "Pr0n" in all languages.

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Robot rover Curiosity sets out on first long Mars trip

MajorTom

Re: Why so slow?

They're exploring, not commuting.

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First, Google goggles - now the world gets self-censoring specs

MajorTom

>>"prevent the calamity of inadvertently watching an in-flight movie".

Just put on an eyepatch, like Captain Hook. Then put a patch on the other eye.

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Curiosity snapped mid-flight by Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter

MajorTom

Re: Why on Mars didn't they...

The skycrane/rocket flew off 400 km before crashing, which indicates to me that it DID use up all the hydrazine. But there would probably be excess fuel or oxidizer, both of which are nasty stuff, so the drivers are staying away from the crash site.

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NASA hands out $millions to wannabe spaceship builders

MajorTom

$440 Million

It had to be noted. The same figure appears twice in today's news...

1. Wall street firm loses $440 Million thanks to bad software.

2. SpaceX receives $440 Million from NASA.

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Asteroid zips past Earth

MajorTom

Big Hole

My very sketchy research gives me the idea that a 500 m PHO such as this, if it were to strike earth, may yield an energy release equivalent to 3 Gigatons, or 60 Tsar Bombas. Or a "9" on the Torino Scale. Not a civilization-ender, but certainly a city-killer.

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SpaceX signs deal to put its giant rocket to good use

MajorTom

Re: Vandenberg?

Vandenberg is often used for polar orbit launches (think spy sats etc.). Heavy lifter can lift a very large spy sat. Having a polar launch facility in CA (near their main factory in LA) makes sense.

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