Postcards from the Bleeding Edge
the Nubile Projectile gets no respect
What the heck is Deep Impact, anyway?National Geographic
Scientists, who know very little about the interior of comets, hope the trash can-size projectile will smash a hole deep enough in the comet's icy exterior to reveal what lies inside it.
Deep Impact is a trashcan. We're flinging trashcans
at 23,000 mph around the solar system?
No, actually - It's a table, and a washing machine!
JPL calls Deep Impact an "Impactor" - which is about as sexless a term that NASA could come up with, which much have been chosen with great deliberation and forethought.
So, anyway, as Deep Impact is a washer, a dryer, a trashcan, a table, and an impactor, I know what it is now.it's absolutely everything a 50s woman could use in space
It's a washing machine:
Great. And what 2050s woman would want to do laundry? Let's hurl our appliances at the stars. What if we actually did start - purposefully - flinging our malfunctioning gear to immolate itself against various comets, asteroids, and worlds?
"Little Magee Mae, of Chicago, Illinois, smashed her 1975 gremlin against Phobos today, to great scientific result and satisfaction. Magee, who is a grandmother of 3, clapped her hands and twirled with glee. 'That'll teach that old stinker', she said. 'I been afraid to drive that for 65 years'."
"Bill Smith, of East Clinton, Texas, hit Toutatis with his Xbox 780 today. 'It made a better explosion in space than it ever did on the TV', he said."
"A group of internet enthusasists coated asteroid MN2004 today with a full spread of AOL subscription CDs. They note that the dramatic increase in reflectivity will help in tracking it when it passes by again in 2029. Some scientists expressed concerns about the Yorp Effect, but a spokesman for the group, tapping lightly against a map of Washington, said 'oh, no - we calculated for that precisely...'"
At least Deep Impact spacecraft ready for climax of comet-busting mission
has a sexy title...
And 625,000 names on a mini-cd are getting smashed against it
We don’t know what level of satisfaction the 625,000 will get knowing their name is going to be vapourised in space hitting a traditional symbol of woe and misfortune. However it is nice to know that they are involved in the highest smashing of a record ever recorded. Now why didn’t they include some Boyzone singles and some Bulgarian Popfolk while they were at it?
Not one single
news article I've read talks about the potential material value
of mining comets or asteroids
... not one.
After the spectrographic analysis is performed (I have to stop reading these NASA press releases, it's making me overuse passive voice!), we'll be able to calculate the comet's value on earth, in dollars. It's liable to be a big number - but an even simpler number, if we could use the cometary materials IN space (in-situ), is easy to calculate. Launch costs from earth are well over 100,000.00 $/lb, and estimates for the comet's mass range from .1x10^14
kg, a kg is 2.2 lbs and thusly we could get a headline like:
Comet Tempel 1 worth 2.2 million trillion dollars in earth orbit!
Now look. That's a really big number. It's hard to cope with.
I wish it was possible to do a fantasy plot of this asset vs google's assets on some fictional stock exchange, and I remember how hard people tried to open new routes to India, Japan and the Americas.
It's easy to repeat this mission for other objects that are equally interesting
- and closer. I am so tired about endless talk of defending against asteroids
and never talk about using them. I'd go on - by I have written about it too many times before
Labels: comets, deep impact, humor, space, space sports, space05
Why do I get the persistent feeling that the july 4th impact is precisely timed for maximum political effect? If Tempel 1 is penetrated, pics will be out in time to make the front page throughout the US... why else would the following table be organized thusly around media centers?From the faq:
|Location||Local Time of Impact|
|New York City, New York||1:52 am EDT 4 July|
|Los Angeles, California||10:52 pm PDT 3 July|
For other time zones, visit http://www.timeanddate.com/.
is an impressive demonstration of our ability to navigate the solar system and hit things in the right place at the right time...
IF it hits. Me I have few doubts, there's only 3 places left in the countdown for things to go wrong
- the rest is physics.
Space Impacts as Sport
The Thrilla in the Chilla
"In this orbit, weighing in at Several Billion Tons, the great Comet, the Nubile Projectile, Tempel 1!, "
[audience hisses, roars]
"And in this orbit, the challenger: built by the most kick ass country on earth, and weighing in at eight hundred and twenty pounds: The Penetrator!
They're Closing in at twenty three thousand miles an hour! What will happen when they meet?
is my favorite space mission of this decade.
1) It's cheap, as such things go - only 333m/dollars - and much of that was spent on hardware that could be mass manufactured and used as a standard technique to figure out the true composition of the 1200+ near earth asteroids, dropping the cost per asteroid explored down below 20m/per.
The cost of today's space missions can be divided, nearly equally, into three parts - the cost of the hardware development, the cost of the launch itself, and the costs of creating and later maintaining the mission. Due to inexorable political factors, these costs tend to be roughly equal in modern probe design - and in (in the case of the jupiter/pluto lobby), oftentimes the hardware development and maintaining the mission far outweigh the launch costs.
Many proposed space missions seem to be nothing more than jobs programs for the people that design (and redesign) them - and I can't even bear to publish the costs of running Dawn
for example, or the ludicrously misnamed 17 year+ (30 years, if you included the design stage) "pluto express" mission...
The mission duration of Deep Impact is only 6 months.
I favor a pull-back from the edges of the solar system in order to focus on finding and then utilizing resources that could give us a better springboard to further exploration. More launches would lower launch costs. A shorter mission duration maximizes the gain of information and minimizes the cost of operation. Using impacts, rather than passive sensing, results in fast in-depth spectrographic results from a variety of sources (the big scopes - Hubble, Spitzer and Chandra will be watching) that we'd otherwise spend months teasing out of the system... and standardized hardware equals lower production costs.
Mining asteroids and comets to provide materials for future exploration should be a no brainer - it's not as if greenpeace was floating around the solar system in little rubber spaceships, or as if spending 100k/lb to haul things up from earth made any sense...
2) The results of Deep Impact promise to be spectacular. I'm far more an engineer than a scientist - blowing things up to learn about them is direct, and almost 2nd nature to me.
3) I like to think that a more frequent pace of exploration would get us a better story about these objects than the interminable - "Asteroid XXYY to not destroy earth" articles. Heck I'd like to see more betting pools spring up
... see space news covered on the sporting pages... and, hey, why couldn't they hire a sportswriter or two to add some friggen excitement to the event?
Stay tuned until 1.50AM July 4th for the Thrilla in the Chilla!Beeee Theree
Labels: comets, impactors, space, space sports, space05
Justice for Souter?
I just about keeled over laughing about Justice for Souter?
Justice Souter's vote in the "Kelo vs. City of New London" decision allows city governments to take land from one private owner and give it to another if the government will generate greater tax revenue or other economic benefits when the land is developed by the new owner.
On Monday June 27, Logan Darrow Clements, faxed a request to Chip Meany the code enforcement officer of the Towne of Weare, New Hampshire seeking to start the application process to build a hotel on 34 Cilley Hill Road. This is the present location of Mr. Souter's home.
Clements, CEO of Freestar Media, LLC, points out that the City of Weare will certainly gain greater tax revenue and economic benefits with a hotel on 34 Cilley Hill Road than allowing Mr. Souter to own the land.
The proposed development, called "The Lost Liberty Hotel" will feature the "Just Desserts Café" and include a museum, open to the public, featuring a permanent exhibit on the loss of freedom in America. Instead of a Gideon's Bible each guest will receive a free copy of Ayn Rand's novel "Atlas Shrugged."
talking to myself
Heh. Now that didn't take long
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