back to article South Korea's lunar orbiter launches and phones home happily

South Korea's first lunar orbiter, which is about to test disruption-tolerant, network-based space communications, successfully made contact with its Australian ground station after launching on Thursday. According to South Korea's Ministry of Science, Technology, Information and Communications, the Korea Pathfinder Lunar …

  1. Neil Barnes Silver badge
    Holmes

    If elements like oxygen and hydrogen can be found in lunar ice

    If hydrogen and oxygen *can't* be found in ice, no matter where it is, I'd be a little suspicious of either (a) the initial identification of the 'ice' as ice, or (b) the ability of the analyst.

    (yes, I know it doesn't actually specify 'water ice' but that is the normative form of the word...)

    1. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge
      Boffin

      Re: If elements like oxygen and hydrogen can be found in lunar ice

      The next goal for science - the search for I Can't Believe It's Not Ice.

      1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

        Re: If elements like oxygen and hydrogen can be found in lunar ice

        Followed by the Lidl and Aldi knockoffs, "Believe me, it's not ice", and "I can believe it's ice, but it's not"

    2. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: If elements like oxygen and hydrogen can be found in lunar ice

      Presumably from 100km the detection of ice is going to be spectral.

      So they ought to be able to get a fairly sure estimation of composition and grain size if the target is fairly pure water ice. If it's very dirty then other signatures might mask and make it more uncertain especially as there is already hydrogen in the moon's tenuous atmosphere.

      If the moon gets a lot of radiation, maybe during a solar event then radiolytic processing of ice can release oxygen molecules.

    3. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

      Re: If elements like oxygen and hydrogen can be found in lunar ice

      I'm wondering whether what they are talking about here is actually the detection of molecular hydrogen and/or oxygen within the matrix of the ice, in other words, tiny bubbles of H2 and O2. I'm guessing they're not looking for neutral atoms of H. or O. because those would be highly reactive, and therefore only likely to be found in interstellar space, and also because neutral hydrogen atoms have a tendency towards weird quantum effects like tunnelling (the reason chemists often refer to the H+ ion as a proton, because that's what it is).

    4. the spectacularly refined chap Silver badge

      Re: If elements like oxygen and hydrogen can be found in lunar ice

      (yes, I know it doesn't actually specify 'water ice' but that is the normative form of the word...)

      Bear in mind these are astrophysicists. To them carbon and oxygen are both "metals".

  2. StrangerHereMyself Bronze badge

    Nuke

    IMHO it would be more useful for South Korea to develop their own nuclear capability. Having a nuclear armed Northern neighbor who's intent on destroying you might be a good incentive.

    They're dancing on the volcano. All this technical wizardry isn't worth sh*t if you don't have safety and security.

    1. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge
      Mushroom

      Re: Nuke

      Yeah, 'cause that's exactly what the world needs right now. More nukes. Brilliant.

      </sarc> in case it's not obvious.

      If their nuclear armed northern neighbour were truly intent on destroying them, and not just talking it up to make themselves feel good, why haven't they already done so? Friendship with China and Russia mean no one is likely to nuke them back. So what's stopping them?

      The obvious answer is they just want a big stick so they can play with the big boys. They don't actually want to use it any more than we do.

      1. werdsmith Silver badge

        Re: Nuke

        I'd like less nukes. But more than that I'd like less emotionally immature adult infants in positions of power especially in super powers.

        1. Kane Silver badge
          Joke

          Re: Nuke

          "But more than that I'd like less emotionally immature adult infants in positions of power especially in super powers."

          Or in IT rags' comment threads.

          1. werdsmith Silver badge

            Re: Nuke

            @Kane

            Or in IT rags' comment threads.

            If you like, but I can't really do any harm here. If I decide to flex my military muscles I will just get laughed at.

            1. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge
              Joke

              Re: Nuke

              Go on, bring out the big guns!

            2. Kane Silver badge
              Thumb Up

              Re: Nuke

              "If you like, but I can't really do any harm here. If I decide to flex my military muscles I will just get laughed at."

              Flex away my friend, my comment was originally (snidely, admittedly) aimed at StrangerHereMyself and their odd "Everyone Should Have Nukes" fetish.

              Context is always relevant.

        2. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          Re: Nuke

          Completely agree.

      2. StrangerHereMyself Bronze badge

        Re: Nuke

        Their main intent is to prevent the U.S. from barging in and instigating a "regime change" (one of most U.S. Administrations' favorite word).

        However, using nukes to dissuade the U.S. from interfering when they invade the South is certainly in the cards. South Korea is already contemplating whether to develop its own nukes as they aren't entirely sure the U.S. will want to risk its cities becoming burning embers when Rocket Man invades.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: whether to develop its own nukes

          I would think that somewhere inside the security apparatus of SK lurks a plan - albeit perhaps not one that is actually written down - that could take their existing peaceful nuclear expertise to a weaponised one in a reasonably short time. But I also imagine that implementing such a thing is not something SK actually thinks would be necessarily helpful, ...

          1. StrangerHereMyself Bronze badge

            Re: whether to develop its own nukes

            "Reasonable short time" isn't sufficient considering the invading force is at less than 50km from your capital city.

            They need nukes NOW and quite a few of them, not some plan to cobble together a crude device. They need time to develop and to field these weapons and the means to deliver them.

            How about a hundred nuke warheads sitting on top of solid-fueled missiles ready to fire at a moment's notice? If Kim so much as twitches Pyongyang disappears in a mushroom cloud.

            1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge
              Facepalm

              Re: whether to develop its own nukes

              You are Brigadier General Jack D. Ripper AICMFP.

              The fact that they were making very successful farces based on the consequences of your sort of arguments in the 1960s might highlight a flaw or two in your otherwise excellent plans...

              1. StrangerHereMyself Bronze badge

                Re: whether to develop its own nukes

                Mind you North Korea already *has* nukes and missiles to deliver them.

                This is not about MAD as practiced in the Cold War. This is an one-upmanship where one side is betting the Big Power will not intervene if they threaten to incinerate some of its cities.

                I'm merely suggesting to even the odds by letting South Korea be in control of its own fate.

    2. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

      Re: Nuke

      Nuking your next-door-neighbour is the international-politics version of shitting on your own doorstep. Also, you don't need ICBMs to do what can be done with a truck.

      Oh, and South Korea are a signatory to the NPT as well, so if they broke that they'd get sanctioned which would bugger their domestic nuclear power programme, so your suggestion is all kinds of stupid.

      1. StrangerHereMyself Bronze badge

        Re: Nuke

        Who cares if they're a signatory to the NPT? They can always withdraw, and considering it's their existence at stake I suppose they wouldn't think twice about doing so.

        Also, they don't need to use their nukes, just have them as an insurance to dissuade the North from invading.

        If you don't have security you're left holding the bag.

        1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

          Re: Nuke

          Being a signatory to the NPT brings all sorts of benefits other than the obvious one of not having to handle and maintain nuclear warheads. I suggest you read up on the "demon core" for an example of how nasty they can be.

          For example, if they were to withdraw from the NPT, they would immediately stop getting assistance with their domestic nuclear power programme. They would almost certainly get embargoes on certain technologies associated with such, as well as the raw materials.

          Politically, it'd be a really stupid move as well, as it would estrange them from the US, which would directly lead to them being MORE likely to get attacked by The North.

      2. Cuddles Silver badge

        Re: Nuke

        "Nuking your next-door-neighbour is the international-politics version of shitting on your own doorstep."

        It's worse than that. As far as Korea (both of them) is concerned, it's not a next-door neighbour involved but rather a part of their own country. Nuclear annihilation is probably not a great way to implement reunification. I mean, war in general isn't the greatest either, but at least the winner tends to be left with a bit more than just an uninhabitable radioactive wasteland at the end.

  3. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

    Being Korean, the most important question is...

    ...what's the ping like for playing Starcraft?

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    BTS?

    OK, if we ever wanted an advanced alien civilization to come and wipe us off this sector of the galaxy, that looks like an amazingly effective way to summon them here.

  5. Joe Gurman

    Is there another kind of camera?

    "[M]ake images out of photons"

    I mean, there are electron "cameras" that produce images by scattering electrons off things, but by and large....

    1. Astarte1

      Re: Is there another kind of camera?

      My thoughts exactly.

      Meanwhile in pedants' corner I assume we must be talking about a polar or near polar orbit. if so which pole will they be photographing? The article refers to the pole's craters (pole's = singular possesive). Apparently there are two poles on the Moon so should it not refer to the poles' craters (plural possive)?

      I don't have a coat because it is too warm but I'm leaving anyway.

      1. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

        Re: Re: Is there another kind of camera?

        Yeah it's poles, not pole. And the ShadowCam is just a super sensitive camera:

        http://shadowcam.sese.asu.edu/about

        Don't forget to drop an email to corrections@theregister.co.uk, please, if you spot anything wrong or weird, so we can fix it right away.

        C.

    2. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: Is there another kind of camera?

      Yeah, you know what we mean: it's an extra sensitive camera, designed to pull images out of dark areas.

      C.

  6. Lordrobot

    THEM KOREANS STOLE USPS IP!

    "when latency or interruptions occur, the system advises network resources that packets are still being transmitted but have been delayed and will arrive as soon as possible"

    US Postal Service... your package is delayed and as soon as it is recovered it will arrive as soon as possible.

    1. Gene Cash Silver badge

      Re: THEM KOREANS STOLE USPS IP!

      Well our local USPS modus operandi is "we delivered it... but certainly not to you!"

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