back to article SpaceX Falcon 9 meets watery end, and NASA needs someone to go to Mars and whack its mole

SpaceX gets its feet wet, digging for victory with Mars InSight and a changing of the ISS guard await rocket fanciers in this week's summary of space news. SpaceX splashes down after Starlink launch SpaceX's postponed Starlink mission finally got off the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station SLC-40 launchpad last week, the lift-off …

  1. FrogsAndChips Silver badge

    Mars Insight

    time is running short for the instrument

    What time constraints do they actually have? We've seen Martian rovers extend their initial lifespans by several factors, so why would this one come to an end of life soon?

    1. Stevie

      Re: Mars Insight

      Public Ridicule:Awesomeness ratio climbing rapidly?

    2. MachDiamond Silver badge

      Re: Mars Insight

      It's hard to say. It could be that the lander isn't going to do well through a Martian winter or that all of the other science is done and keeping a staff and facilities dedicated to this one last experiment isn't a good use of funds. I'm sure they've learned a bunch of lessons on how to get it to work the next time. You don't get a hit every time you go to bat and doing stuff on Mars is tough.

      The MER rovers were awesome and just kept going and going. Since they were mobile, they could do the same science over and over, just in different places. In their case it was useful to keep funding the program until they finally wore out.

    3. iron Silver badge

      Re: Mars Insight

      Planned lifetime for InSight was two years. It may continue past that but you don't bet multi-million dollar experiments on 'may'. They are currently on Sol 444 so they have about 286 days left.

  2. Anonymous Coward

    Whack its mole

    First rule of IT - turn it off and on again.

    Second rule of IT - if that doesn't work, hit it.

    1. bombastic bob Silver badge

      Re: Whack its mole

      Third rule: 'float test' it. If it sinks, it needed replacing. OK that's a Navy thing but still...

      (strangely appropriate in this particular case)

    2. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

      Re: Whack its mole

      If all else fails... read the instructions.

    3. Muscleguy

      Re: Whack its mole

      I recall the partly borked comet lander which managed to measure the hardness of the ice as 'harder than concrete' after the testing hammer broke as they ramped it up. Yup, they hit it with a hammer. So ice on some comets is harder than concrete. Which also explained why the tethering barbs bounced of it so the lander bounced about before coming to rest.

      The next comet landers therefore cannot rely on grapples. Suckers don't work in a vacuum do they? It might therefore have to land at a pace so slow it just, lands.

  3. bombastic bob Silver badge

    Going to Outer Space is HARD

    just thought I'd put this as a reminder...

    stupid bugs. Fix one, grow two more...

  4. KarMann Silver badge

    You say 'duricrust (cemented soil)'…

    …but anyone on the team from U of Arizona or ASU should know it's Martian caliche.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    It's clearly stuck on the roof of the Martian's subterranean city.

  6. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

    A challenge which will need to be overcome by a company with a business model that would really like first stages to get more than four flights.
    Since the first successful drone ship landing, it looks like they're running at a success rate of about 85% for landing attempts in that mode, or just about a 50% chance of surviving four attempts.

    Room for improvement perhaps but they will no doubt have learned a lot from this failure. I'm pretty curious to know what went wrong.

  7. dlwiii


    "The company's social media *orifice*..." Was this a typo, or is this what we're calling social media these days?

    1. Scroticus Canis

      Re: Typo?


    2. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

      Re: Typo?

      Welcome to The Register!

  8. Conundrum1885

    Re. Mole

    Can they not just get Andy Weir to go out and "Science the S**T out of this" ?

    Also a thought. Could the problem be that Mars soil is too wet? What are the odds.

    1. Muscleguy

      Re: Re. Mole

      Probably more that the subsoil was once wet and has set dry and hard. The soil covering it being windblown in effect so looser. Imagine those pictures of hard packed drought stricken fields overlaid in a dust storm.

  9. Donkey69

    People don't respect our own planet what give us the right to explore outside or dump rubbish in space , this is wrong and letting Americans go gun first is not right if there is life out side this planet it probably hiding as we are nature's worst enemy and no doubt kill the first thing that moves. This planet is about crack because of selfish people we have not the rights to explore outside this planet let alone let the rich dump rubbish out in space or in our seas, space would be great if we respected our own living planet and the living things here.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Other stories you might like