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Kromm

The (Outer) Space Topic

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My mind was blown today while watching a news segment about the Pluto mission. The spacecraft sends data back at a whopping one kilobit/second, which means that it's over an order of magnitude slower than my lousy dialup connection.

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Some brilliant Internet person superimposed a picture of Disney's Pluto over the "white" space in that last picture. If I can find it I'll post it here.

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Hmm, I didn't get a chance to go out and look until the middle of the night (like 2AM my time) but all I really saw was overcast and an overly bright glow behind the overcast. Oh well.

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For some on the East Coast, you'll see a show tonight - from Mental Floss:

 

East coasters should turn their gaze skywards this evening, as NASA performs a flight test that will provide a free show in the sky. Between 7 p.m. and 9 p.m., colorful vapors will be released 130 miles above Earth as a result of a rocket launch.

The sounding, or suborbital, rocket will take off from Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. The flight’s primary objective is to test the performance of a modified Black Brant motor, launch vehicle, spacecraft systems, and sub-payload ejection technologies. The sub-payload ejections will contain mixtures of barium and strontium, which will form colorful clouds of teal and red. Residents of the mid-Atlantic region—from Long Island, N.Y. to Morehead City, N.C.—will be able to get a glimpse of the technicolor vapors.

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All these are amazing pics. I do remember those days of checking the Appolo mission images from Nasa website

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It's SO indicative of our times that the current Jupiter Juno mission, due to reach a critical stage this holiday weekend, has a movie-like trailer virtually indistinguishable from some big budget Hollywood Sci-Fi epic movie.

This is not fan made or anything like that. This is from the JPL.

Edited by Kromm

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Weird. I just now loaded this thread, and the news show that's on the TV right now immediately started a segment about that exact video.

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It's okay, Maharincess.

 

 As long as I'm here, though, does anyone have thoughts re the idea of a two-year one-way flight to Mars with no return plan and the ultimate goal is for the astronauts to eventually DIE on the Red Planet? IMO, even if that deal gets off the ground, I have to wonder what payoff/benefit could there be re science/the world, etc. that would be worth cutting oneself off from all family and friends for the remainder of one's life.

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39 minutes ago, stewedsquash said:

 

Of course you are. We expect that on the regular with you. ;) It is a highlight for me to find you in the wrong thread around here. haha

Do I really do it a lot?  I've never noticed until this one. 

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8 hours ago, Maharincess said:

Do I really do it a lot?  I've never noticed until this one. 

On a positive note, this is the appropriate thread for spacing out...

Speaking of space: We still have a great big moon out there. 'Coz it is close to us.

ETA: Found a better link.

Edited by Sandman87

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9 hours ago, Blergh said:

As long as I'm here, though, does anyone have thoughts re the idea of a two-year one-way flight to Mars with no return plan and the ultimate goal is for the astronauts to eventually DIE on the Red Planet? IMO, even if that deal gets off the ground, I have to wonder what payoff/benefit could there be re science/the world, etc. that would be worth cutting oneself off from all family and friends for the remainder of one's life.

A typically shit idea from somebody who knows more about technology than about science.  We haven't even figured out how to live on the planet we all evolved to live on without fucking it up -and now we're going to expand to other planets?

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Putting my actual science degree to work for a change - before setting up indefinite duration habitats on Mars I'd want to see the following:

  • A successful, completely isolated, completely self-contained habitat, of similar size, shape, and technology to whatever they're proposing, located in the antarctic. I would want it continually occupied for 5 years, with an imposed two year delay on anything that needs to be delivered after occupancy starts. Emergency rescue missions or interventions would equal failure.
  • As above, but on the ocean floor under 200 feet of water.
  • As above, but in Furnace Creek, Death Valley.

After all of the above have proven successful (they can be done simultaneously), I'd want to see a similar habitat set up on the Moon for 5 years. I'd expect some problems with Lunar dust, btw. Nasty stuff.

Then, after 10 years of dry runs and improvements based on the results, we can talk about Mars.

Edited by Sandman87
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If you forgot to buy eclipse glasses -- finding a tree with sunlight shining through the leaves will project an image of the sun, and the eclipse, on the ground. Looking at the ground while holding up a colander can have the same effect.

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Is it OK to ask about fictional outer space? I have questions about the possibility of things like FTL travel, cloaking devices, travel by wormhole, and other scifi tropes. Well, not questionS, just the one: possible or not?

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The thing is, either our understanding of physics is correct, or it isn't. If Einstein is right, and nothing can exceed the speed of light, and if time and speed are indeed tied together, then it's the same for everybody. Aliens (UFO's) can't visit us unless they know something about physics that we don't. If it would take us 100 years to get to their planet, then it would take them 100 years to visit us.

Every sci-fi writer, whether for book or screen, has had to deal with this fact. You create a "warp field" or some kind of fiction that allows you to break the laws of physics, or you blithely ignore science. Author E.E. "Doc" Smith wrote the famous "Grey Lensmen" books, and in one, his character sneaks up on a planet by shutting down his space drive and approaching on diesel. Diesel, an internal combustion engine requiring oxygen, in the vacuum of space.

The best sci-fi acknowledges the limitations and makes an effort to try and explain why they can do what they do. Star Trek is famous for this. There's a reason that the transporters have "Heisenberg Compensators" and it's because Gene Roddenberry et al insisted on some token realism.

I would say that in my opinion, no, these things probably aren't possible, unless we have a big chunk of physics all wrong. An enormous breakthrough is required for any of our space dreams to become reality.

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14 hours ago, ABay said:

Is it OK to ask about fictional outer space? I have questions about the possibility of things like FTL travel, cloaking devices, travel by wormhole, and other scifi tropes. Well, not questionS, just the one: possible or not?

Let's not. There's all of the fiction-oriented forums for that.

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With all this talk of landing a crew on Mars in the next 10 or 20 years, I do wonder why NASA didn't consider a slightly more safer and familiar option of returning to the Moon once again?

I know there were 4 or 5 successful Apollo missions in the early 70s, so there isn't all that much that is new to know about. But with the latest technologies in space craft design along with much more sophisticated modular construction techniques, it seems a little more sensible to build a small lunar base, sit tight, learn a few things and then move onto Mars far better prepared.

But I guess the extra expense wouldn't go down well with Congress.

Edited by Zola
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12 hours ago, Zola said:

 

With all this talk of landing a crew on Mars in the next 10 or 20 years, I do wonder why NASA didn't consider a slightly more safer and familiar option of returning to the Moon once again?

 

We already checked, and there were no women on the moon. 

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3 hours ago, JTMacc99 said:

We already checked, and there were no women on the moon. 

 

True but both the moon and  the average human female's monthly cycles are 28 days (and, in fact, the words for month and menstruation pertain to the moon itself).

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Wednesday, January 31st will delight us with a Super Blue Blood Moon for the first time since 1866.  A supermoon, blue moon and lunar eclipse will coincide.  You can check when to see the eclipse in your area here.

Edited by walnutqueen
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On 29/01/2018 at 11:48 AM, walnutqueen said:

Wednesday, January 31st will delight us with a Super Blue Blood Moon for the first time since 1866.  A supermoon, blue moon and lunar eclipse will coincide.  You can check when to see the eclipse in your area here.

Well typically coverage here in the UK ended on a damp squib. Having a sky full of cloud in my neck of the woods killed any hope of seeing the moon in all its bloody glory was hugely disappointing. 

The next Super Blue Blood Moon event is due in 2037, roughly 20 years hence. I will hopefully have a better seat by then!

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5 minutes ago, Zola said:

Well typically coverage here in the UK ended on a damp squib. Having a sky full of cloud in my neck of the woods killed any hope of seeing the moon in all its bloody glory was hugely disappointing. 

The next Super Blue Blood Moon event is due in 2037, roughly 20 years hence. I will hopefully have a better seat by then!

Hey, don't feel so bad, Z.  You may just live long enough to try again.  Meanwhile, the ONLY cloud in the SoCal skies decided to obscure my moonscape, 

I almost dropped dead.

Then I treated my raccoons with some cheapo hot dogs, and The Universe righted itself.

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https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/03/14/professor-stephen-hawking-renowned-physicist-dies-aged-76/

Was somewhat surprised and saddened at the death of Professor Hawking yesterday.

I had the pleasure of meeting this great man during my tenure at university a few years back when he visited us for a lecture on the fundamentals of cosmology.

I still have his best-selling book "A Brief History Of Time." A book which, like most readers, remains unfinished, probably because you really do have to absorb yourself into it to truly understand what you can get out of it. Perhaps one day I will complete it.

A good man. 

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NASA has landed its InSight spacecraft on Mars today

Quote

According to the MarCO telemetry, InSight deployed its parachute, activated its radar, detached from its backshell, activated its 12 descent engines and landed on the planet — all, it seems, according to plan. "Flawless… flawless," said Rob Manning, chief engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, over the cheers of his colleagues. "This is what we really hoped and imagined in our mind's eye. Sometimes things work out in your favor." He added that InSight's engineers will spend the next hours and days reviewing the landing data, to see just how well it went. But as of right now, he said, InSight's landing was as close to perfect as his team could have expected.

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