Is there anything they can't do...? :)
SpaceX nailed a second landing of a Falcon 9 first stage at its Vandenberg Landing Zone 4 today after punching through the Californian fog to send a trio of Canadian satellites into orbit. The booster used to launch RADARSAT had previously seen service in Florida, sending the Crew Dragon demonstrator to the International Space …
The eyewatering cost of the LHC suggests some can. Also in some areas of Biology which attract Big Pharma interest and funding things can be very flush. I was for a time employed on slush funding in just such a situation. I never enquired too deeply on where the funding had been found for the sake of my conscience.
My other employment was on penny pinching grants. So it depends what field you are in.
And bearing in mind that the 'science' of LHC didn't cost anything.
Like all these projects you get back in contracts roughly what you put in as grants. So except for on-site costs it's really a way of subsidising your own high tech industry.
It also keeps large numbers of physicists gainfully employed instead of trying to destroy the world by becoming quants.
SpaceX made that landing looks so easy, when easy it's not.
Cool images from a drone (assume it was drone/helicopter/plane above the fog) to film takeoff. The attention to detail is phenomenal. Not enough people get credit for the attention to detail here, there also seemed to be new nitrogen thrusters in an almost 360-degree direction alongside the titanium grid fins, i.e. downward direction too.
It is indeed. I used to think the old Forbidden Planet style landing on the fins was as unobtainable scifi as interstellar flight but SpaceX and modern tech have made that possible. For taller and slimmer rockets than those scifi artists depicted too.
The footage from the Starman launch was mighty impressive in the landings as well. Letting the engineers dream seems to have worked for Elon. I suppose he is also thinking that Mars colonists with scant resources might find reusing spacecraft to be very sensible as well. He thinks he is buying a ticket to Mars with SpaceX. If they can make the crew Dragon work he will be some way towards that.
Now for some clever radiation shielding for the jump and autonomous robots to build the hab before the colonists get there, with practice on the Moon. Building with regolith in a vacuum will make building on Mars look easy.
Assuming you can send a ship with sufficient shielding to allow for the exposure to months of hard radiation, the power to land safely on Mars (lack of atmosphere means little to slow the lander down but enough atmosphere to burn it up if it comes in just a bit too fast), and the power to provide what is needed to create and run an underground habitat (again not enough atmosphere and no magnetic planetary shield, you still have to deal with two other things.
1. Dust getting into everything and destroying seals needed to keep the oxygen in - imagine the finest talcum powder that will coat everything that comes in contact with it.
2. Said dust (and the rest of the surface) being saturated in perchlorates - highly toxic. A source of oxygen as well, but you can't grow food in it, breath it or be in extended contact with it.
Mars is not a nice place for human beings to live on. The moon would be much better and closer to boot.
Mars is a much nicer place than the Moon for humans to live. The Moon has no atmosphere. That means the radiation environment is much harsher. You can't use it to slow down when landing. You can't mine it for CO2 to make rocket fuel. There's less erosion, so Moon dust is more spikey. In addition, you have to cope with nightime lasting a fortnight, uncertain water reserves, and lower gravity.
Mars has enough atmosphere that you can use it to slow down on arrival (if you are big enough). While there it protects you from radiation, so exposure on Mars surface is similar to in ISS. And you can use it to make fuel to bring you home again. Day-night cycle is just over 24 hours, so you can use solar power and grow plants in natural light without needing 14-day batteries. Gravity is closer to what humans are used to. Mars has loads of water ice, and other minerals that we need. Perchlorates can be washed out easily enough.
The only advantages of the Moon are greater solar flux, and it's closer. Distance doesn't matter so much if you are staying a long time.
I saw Forbidden Planet when I was about 7 years old. The invisible monster gave me nightmares for years.
But it's fun to compare that Leslie Nielsen with the latter-life (police squad, airplane, etc.) Leslie Nielsen career wise in the types of movies he did.
Blame Dubya (GW Bush) and the congress. Somebody had been a bit sloppy with "technical data" and the congress decided to severely restrict technical data interchanges with foreign (friendly) partners, ie ITAR strikes again.
A spacecraft "bus" became a national security secret (it's a metal frame with batteries). And so it began. Go to Europe for the bus. Ooops the antenna vendor --- somebody forgot to mention they were a competitor and had slowed production to a standstill. Have to buy them out. Undersize the frame strength and discover far far too late that a smooth-as-butter Soviet rocket was the *only* option as the US Atlas (iirc) was too too rough and bumpy a ride.
I heard rumour from the away team at the launch site (Kaz.) the place was guarded with machine-gun wielding women in Soviet-era miniskirts: scary as heck. No photos allowed; therefore probably fake news.
I've watched a few SpaceX launches, and I have to say that this was some of their worst video yet.
Totally not their fault of course, it was all down to the weather, and if anything, it was quite amusing watching the presenter try and fill when the only image from the launchpad was just a grey blur of fog.
There's no fog icon so I'll use the 'polar bear in a blizzard' icon >>>>>>>>>>>
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