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(NASA)   The coolest pic taken of the final descent of a spacecraft onto a planetary body taken by another spacecraft you'll see all day   (jpl.nasa.gov) divider line 157
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45204 clicks; posted to Main » on 27 May 2008 at 1:22 AM (6 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2008-05-27 07:04:33 PM  
dittybopper: Bad things happen when batteries get *VERY* cold and stay 'empty' for a long period.

The problems would be harder to overcome with the Phoenix, though. Not impossible, just highly unlikely.


Agreed. I hope they at least made an attempt to design it so there is a hope that it might work after the winter. If it doesn't, not the end of things, but it would still be cool.
 
2008-05-27 08:40:58 PM  
Neat photo.

And since I'm getting into web design, I really dig the Martian color scheme of the site.
 
2008-05-28 01:22:01 PM  
Crosshair: dittybopper: Bad things happen when batteries get *VERY* cold and stay 'empty' for a long period.

The problems would be harder to overcome with the Phoenix, though. Not impossible, just highly unlikely.

Agreed. I hope they at least made an attempt to design it so there is a hope that it might work after the winter. If it doesn't, not the end of things, but it would still be cool.


Um, I think someone said that by Northern winter the entire spacecraft will be encased in a block of carbon dioxide 10 feet deep - good luck surviving that, Phoenix...

// the pictures as the "snow"-line advances on it will be pretty f'ing cool, though
 
2008-05-28 06:21:09 PM  
KRSESQ: Isildur: For now, we can do a hell of a lot more science and exploration, with a hell of a lot less monetary cost and risk to human life, with robotic exploration.

It isn't all about science and exploration. It's also about pushing back the frontier


Uh, that's called exploration, and like I said it's done better by robots.


and testing human endurance to its limit.

You can test the limits of human endurance by climbing Everest or through any of a thousand other ways that don't involve diverting money away from projects that do science and exploration far more effectively. And in any case, we've already tested that aspect of human endurance ad nauseum. Do we really need to test the effect of space on the human body for umpteen-millionth time? "Physician's log, 7/12/08: Astonishingly, test subject #31958 has experienced bone-loss, elevated radiation levels, just like the previous 31957 subjects tested following re-entry."


If someone offered me a one-way ticket, you couldn't keep me on this rock at gunpoint.

The fact that you think that that personal fantasy is relevant to the argument shows just how little you're thinking about this on a mature level. I agree that would be an amazing experience... but it would be justifiable to make everyone else in the country pay for your thrill ride... why? Meanwhile, back in reality, NASA isn't funded in order to give a few guys a really cool experience and to provide them with some neat stories to tell at their next family barbecues. It's funded because its work is supposed to be of benefit to everyone and advance our understanding of the universe.
(Well, if you want to be cynical, you could claim that it's funded partly because like many other government programs, it provides jobs to constituents of influential politicians, but I'm speaking of the ideal reasons).

The recent manned missions may succeed at being an awesome experience for a handful of people, but they fail miserably at achieving much of greater value.

/Hmm, the whole justification of "testing human endurance" in exactly the same manner over and over... the not minding billions of dollars being wasted on a select few because in your fantasies, you're one of them... the opinion that science is relatively unimportant compared to feats of strength... are you a pro sports fan by any chance?
//just kidding
///sort of
 
2008-05-28 07:07:23 PM  
<1495> Why does Queen Isabella keep throwing away our money on that asshole Columbus just so he can play "explorers" sending his crappy little boats to some crappy little islands out in the middle of nowhere? We've got nothing to show for our money except a few baskets of dried-up fruit, and some tall tales about brown people dressed in feathers. We should be spending that money on important stuff, like tax cuts for cloth merchants and some new gilded balls on top of the royal palace! </1495>
 
2008-05-29 09:44:46 PM  
syrtis: <1495> Why does Queen Isabella keep throwing away our money on that asshole Columbus just so he can play "explorers" sending his crappy little boats to some crappy little islands out in the middle of nowhere? We've got nothing to show for our money except a few baskets of dried-up fruit, and some tall tales about brown people dressed in feathers. We should be spending that money on important stuff, like tax cuts for cloth merchants and some new gilded balls on top of the royal palace! </1495>

*facepalm*
Way to utterly miss the point.

Unless I missed a post somewhere in the thread, nobody here is saying we shouldn't explore. My point is we should do it intelligently, favoring the means that are working best. Take a look at the results achieved by unmanned probes versus manned space programs in recent years:

Unmanned mission: Relatively cheap, ENORMOUSLY successful at providing us with new discoveries. (Even with the occasional probe crash or malfunction, they've been far more effective on average, plus, when something goes wrong, no one gets killed.)

Manned programs:
-We're cooperating with other nations on a chronically behind schedule, incredibly expensive space station that's done little of value other than let our governments pat themselves on their backs for embarking on such a great example of international cooperation-- that is, when they're not getting defensive or angry at each other about falling behind schedule.
-Since 2004 Bush has had NASA planning to return to the Moon as a stepping stone to Mars despite the fact that that's pointless, because the stepping stone metaphor doesn't work; going to the Moon is unlikely to help us much with getting to Mars.

The correct analogy would not be to someone complaining that Columbus shouldn't be funded. A far more appropriate analogy would be the following plans for post-1492 expeditions to Central America:

"Let's staff each of our conquistadors' boats with a crew composed entirely of scores of cabin-boys instead of a normal complement of experienced sailors. Sure, using a rationally-selected crew has been shown to be a pretty good idea for ocean voyages, and many more things are likely to go tragically wrong if we fill those ships with a bunch of frail kids, but hell, it'll be more exciting this way! Oh, and let's stop off in Norway along the way as a stepping stone! Sure, our sailors have been there already, and it's not more like our destination than our own shores are, so it wouldn't make a good training spot, and hell it wouldn't even make a good re-provisioning port because it's in the wrong direction, but I'm sure it'll help us get to the New World somehow!

While we're at it, let's cooperate with some other nations to make a floating platform. We could carry out some great maritime research aboard it-- oh wait, that's pretty difficult to integrate with it, so let's just study the effects of living year-round on a floating platform (despite the fact that we already know well how the sea affects people), and pretend than we're learning a lot."

I'm not saying there's no role for manned spaceflight-- servicing the Hubble was useful, but for many other purposes, it only makes sense to use what at the moment are the most effective space-faring tools at our disposal: robotic probes. At some level we should keep researching ways to make manned spaceflight more practical, since there could be advantages to being able to send actual people (though as AI improves those advantages might narrow), but for the moment we should not be planning manned missions to the Moon, Mars, or elsewhere for the near future.

Yes, many of the current programs and plans for manned spaceflight are indeed wasteful, given that robots can do the exploration faster, more cheaply, and more safely.
 
2008-05-30 12:09:23 AM  
indenture [Mars Daily News...]

Lol, nice.


yellekc: No, this is the coolest picture of the decent of a lander taken by an orbiting spacecraft.

Whoah, *whistles softly*, spectacular.
 
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