* Posts by Spherical Cow

103 posts • joined 10 Aug 2018


'Naut trio successfully dock at ISS after Soyuz rocket goes all the way

Spherical Cow


There was a bit too much separation going on, Shirley?

Yes! Pack your bags! Blossoming planetary system strikingly similar to ours found by boffins

Spherical Cow

Re: If you leave now,

Hijack the stereo and pump up the volume!

Brit rocket wranglers get Reaction they wanted after rattling SABRE

Spherical Cow

Re: Re-use the heat

Yes, but now they want to test the cooler, which means they need a heater to heat the air for the cooler to cool. Keep in mind that the cooler not only cools the hot air going in, it also heats the cool stuff being used to cool the hot air. I'm saying link the cooler and heater together so the hot stuff coming out of the cooler heats the heater to heat the air to be cooled in the cooler. Is that cool?

Spherical Cow

Re-use the heat

How about building two heat exchangers: the first heats & the second cools. They can be linked in a continuous loop for efficiency by re-using the heat. This is basically how many commercial flash-pasteurisation units work.

Never thought we'd ever utter these words, but... can anyone recommend a spin doctor for NASA?

Spherical Cow

Water would need to be liquid to soak in. Bennu's surface temperature ranges from -37C to +6C which sounds hopeful however the atmospheric pressure is basically zero: any water will boil off. Of course the outgassing steam might give the spin a push!

Spherical Cow

Re: Giant Space Wombat

Well yes you are obviously correct, by why is the turd's spin getting faster? Cosmic dung beetles?

Spherical Cow

A giant Aeolipile?

One or more jets of outgassing material directed at an angle from the surface could cause it to spin faster.

NASA admin: What if we switched one delayed SLS for two commercial launchers?

Spherical Cow

Re: What was good enough for Challenger...

I wonder if the managers would have the same attitude if they were the ones sitting on top of thousands of tons of explosives?

Boffins discover new dust clouds in the Solar System, Mercury has a surprisingly filthy ring

Spherical Cow

Re: Make Pluto great again @ Mad Mike


By the above definition, the whole orbit of the planet must be cleared and therefore none of Mercury, Venus or Earth are planets, as their orbits are not cleared."

There's more to the definition, size matters: "there are no other bodies of comparable size other than its natural satellites or those otherwise under its gravitational influence." Therefore dust & small rocks don't count and don't have to be cleared. By current terminology, Mercury, Venus and Earth are planets in dusty orbits.

Spherical Cow

1: household dust is dead skin cells. 2: monsters live under the bed. Conclusion: you have a quarter mile of monster skin.

Astroboffins spot hefty pair swinging together. What? Um, we're talking about record-breaking massive binary stars...

Spherical Cow

Re: massive young stellar objects (MYSOs)

Well that certainly explains your handle, MassiveBoob.

Spherical Cow

Re: Why binary?

Another thought: Earth+Moon might be considered a binary system which came about from a collision. Could something similar happen to stars as well as planets? Could binary star systems result from stellar collisions?

(I'm not an astronomer either)

Crew Dragon returns to dry land as NASA promises new space station for the Moon

Spherical Cow

Besides which it's not moon pie it's moon cheese (don't forget the crackers).

Spherical Cow

Re: And with this mission, USSR/Russia is consigned to be the Portugal of the Space Race.

That could all change with a single ego-burst from Putin.

Airlines in Asia, Africa ground Boeing 737 Max 8s after second death crash in four-ish months

Spherical Cow

Re: According to the BBC...

"possible impact with terrain"

Presumably the other possibility involves bathymetry?

Spherical Cow

And yet self-driving vehicles make far fewer mistakes than human-driven vehicles. Don't refuse major improvements just because they're not 100% perfect.

Spherical Cow

Just remember to look both ways before you cross ;-)

'It's like painting with atoms'... Watch how boffins form armies of simple micron-sized bots from a silicon wafer

Spherical Cow

Re: Nay robot

If I aim my blowtorch at an aluminium can until it deforms, have I made a robot? According to these guys I have! But no I haven't.

On the other hand the precision fabrication of nano-things is impressive and there's a good chance the technique will prove useful someday (even if not in actual robots).

Champagne corks undocked as SpaceX brings the Crew Dragon back to Earth

Spherical Cow

Re: Well done, SpaceX ...

Most V2s also missed London.

SpaceX Crew Dragon: Launched and docked. Now, about that splashdown...

Spherical Cow

Re: Ripley and a cuddly earth

Or some kind of cuddly large egg.

Spherical Cow

Re: Make them an offer?

“The other issue is: Where is the fuel coming from? If it's coming from Earth, what are you saving by sending the fuel & vehicle up separately?”

If you send fuel and ship up separately you aren’t saving anything per se. But you are sending up two loads instead of one, so now you have twice as much up there and you can now go further. How about sending three loads of fuel up? Or ten? The sky isn’t the limit!

Boffins put the FUN into fungus by rigging yeast to squirt out the active ingredients in cannabis

Spherical Cow

"out of the lab the THC yeast would be competing with wild-type yeast, and I'm pretty sure the wild-type yeast would win easily"

Absolutely. Ethanol is toxic to most microorganisms, so wild yeast has evolved a major advantage: it produces and tolerates ethanol.

Spherical Cow

Re: Cause and cure?

I bake sourdough at an initial oven temperature of 210 (then lower to 190) which is way above the required 130. But I suspect only the very surface of the crust actually gets that hot, because the bread is still moist when taken out of the oven.

Today's good news is that whoever has to clean up Solar System will have an easy job: Lack of small debris in Kuiper belt

Spherical Cow

Re: This Kuiper belt object is small, but that object is far far away

More like one thousandth of a light year, but even so I see what you are trying to say.

The thing is, we can see lots of large objects, we can see evidence of lots of large & medium object impacts, but the evidence of small object impacts is missing: not many small craters. So, not many small objects out there, relatively speaking.

Danger mouse! Potent rodents 'see' infrared after eyeballs injected with nanoparticles

Spherical Cow

“Some species of snakes, frogs, and fish can see in infrared. Mammals, however, can only see visible light”

Technically the snakes, frogs, and fish can also only see in visible light. Visible to them, anyway.

Lunar lander's brief jaunt will place Israel as fourth country to make soft landing on Moon

Spherical Cow

Re: My Turn My turn

Yes for enough money you too can participate in space stuff. That's not pathetic, it's awesome!

Eggheads want YOU to name Jupiter's five newly found moons ‒ and yeah, not so fast with Moony McMoonface

Spherical Cow

Zeus Juice

Within 16 characters, ends in e, definitely the product of the Greek god (eww), and it sounds good even if the spelling doesn't rhyme.

Visited the Grand Canyon since 2000? You'll have great photos – and maybe a teensy bit of unwanted radiation

Spherical Cow

Re: Another mountain, another huge hole in the ground

"Obviously you fill it in with rock you quarry from a new mine next to it."

That would be the Jabiluka mine. They tried, but it's not going to happen.

Spherical Cow

Another mountain, another huge hole in the ground

I remember flying over a mountain of the stuff heaped next to the Ranger mine in Kakadu. It's all been dug out now and the mine is closed. People are wondering what to do with this huge hole in the ground which used to contain radioactive ore. Nobody wants to put radioactive waste at the bottom but it's got to go somewhere and this would be as good a place as any, wouldn't it?

How do you solve a problem like Galileo? With a strap-on L-band payload, of course!

Spherical Cow

Re: Only 3 satelites?

Comms is different from positioning.

Surrey Uni mans the space harpoons, and NASA buys more seats on Russian rockets

Spherical Cow

Re: Buying seats from (gasp) Russians

I see it as a belt-and-braces approach. Who knows where the best crew launches will be happening a couple of years from now? Nobody knows, so NASA are hedging their bets.

Spherical Cow

Re: the dangers of the harpoon approach

The clean-up satellite can deploy double-sided Velcro so at least one side will stick to the satellite no matter which side the satellite has.

Spherical Cow

Re: brake

There's also solar wind... space is very very empty but even so it's not a total vacuum.

Earth's noggin took quite a clockin' back in the day: Now a second meteorite crater spotted under Greenland ice

Spherical Cow

Re: More mundane but obvious.

Pretty sure "skipping" doesn't happen with impact craters.

Spherical Cow

Re: The cratered Earth

If you want to get some idea how many times Earth has been hit, take a look at the moon then remember that Earth is a bigger target.

Fun fact: GPS uses 10 bits to store the week. That means it runs out... oh heck – April 6, 2019

Spherical Cow

We'll find out when the owners blindly follow their satnavs into rivers.

Spherical Cow

Amazon jungle?? It's unusual that you aren't talking about Uranus.

Spherical Cow

Re: Note to self:

But how will you know where Gatwick is??

Holy planetesimal formation, Batman! Ultima Thule's no snowman – it's a friggin' pancake

Spherical Cow

Re: Independence day? More like Shrove Tuesday

Is "smalled" the opposite of "embiggened"? If so I feel it must be a perfectly cromulent word.

Spherical Cow

Re: Maybe Freud could explain

@ The Nazz actually he really likes Uranus.

Tell NASA to grab the margarita mix – a sextillion-kg salty ring found floating in space

Spherical Cow


So long as there is a galaxy of beer to wash it all down.

Spherical Cow

You seem to mention that planet a lot. You must really like Uranus!

Pixaaaarrrrrrghh! Mars-snapping CubeSats Wall-E and Eve declared dead (for now) by NASA bods

Spherical Cow


It's amazing what you can fit in a briefcase these days, e.g.

- a Mars probe

- a nuclear weapon

- two bags of grass, seventy-five pellets of mescaline, five sheets of high powered blotter acid, a salt shaker half full of cocaine, and a whole galaxy of multi-colored uppers, downers, screamers, laughers...

Clever girl: SpaceX's Mars-bound Raptor engine looks like it works just fine

Spherical Cow

Ford Prefect was right

and the ISS crew are discovering how useful a towel can be in space.

Japanese astronomers find tiniest Kuiper Belt object yet – using cheap 'scopes and off-the-shelf CMOS cameras

Spherical Cow

Re: Crowded

Excellent point, and now they've shown how to do it there will be lots more people finding lots more small KBOs.

I studied hard, I trained for years. Yay, now I'm an astronaut in space. Argggh, leukemia!

Spherical Cow

"In space, no-one can hear you sneeze!"


Q. China just landed on its far side, the US woz there 50 years ago – now Europe wants to mine it? A. It's the Moon

Spherical Cow

"...not put barrier's in place where none are needed."

What about apostrophes?

The Large Hadron Collider is small beer. Give us billions more for bigger kit, say boffins

Spherical Cow

Re: The FCC, eh?

Ethanol and also hops. Hops are naturally antibacterial. If your beer is at least 2% ABV and also at least 20 IBU (International Bittering Units, a measure of isomerised alpha acids derived from hops) your beer is unlikely to spoil.

A long time ago in a monastery far far away (or possibly just down the road depending where you live) monks brewed ale (not beer in those days) for the local community. They did mash the grain more than once as mentioned above, they kept the very strongest ale for themselves, the normal strength was for evening consumption by adults, and the last runnings made small beer for kids and mornings.

Some modern breweries still get two runnings from one batch of grain: this is called parti-gyle brewing. Fullers is a good example of a brewery who use this method. The first runnings (strongest) goes into one kettle to be boiled, the second runnings (weakest) goes into a second kettle. They then blend different proportions of strong & weak to get different strength beers as desired. If the two kettles are boiled with different varieties of hops then the resulting stronger and less strong beers can taste very different, even though they were made with the same grain.

p.s. Brewing is my day job.

Spherical Cow

Re: One ring to rule them all?

My first thought was why not build one around the equator and be done with it. But... oceans are tricky and so are plate tectonics. OTOH there are no oceans on the moon (misleading Latin names notwithstanding) and it is geologically stable.

But only a lunatic would suggest that.

People say tabloid hacks are always looking for an angle. This time, they'd be right: Tilting disk of proto-planets spotted

Spherical Cow

Re: Venus has a weird spin.

And Pluto has a weird plane.


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