Re: I could have understood not mentioning it if it was a Starfighter
“B” variant actually.
300 publicly visible posts • joined 11 Sep 2008
The original planning for SSPS by Philip Glaser and Gerard K O’Neil in the 1970’s proposed building the satellites from materials mined on the moon and launched to geostationary Earth orbit by electromagnetic rail launcher. The argument was that it would be more economical and less disruptive than launching massive rockets from Earth. The concept still has merit.
Some rumblings were heard from Airbus recently that suggests that the A380 may not have had it’s day. Work is being done on the feasibility of restarting production on an updated version of the aircraft as a number of airlines are grabbing the laid up A380s quite quickly.
Hmm, I don’t think you’ve actually looked into this. The plan is to observe the movement of the asteroid after the impact has taken place with an object of precisely known mass and velocity. Observations will be done using telescopes and radar. There is an expected result but we don’t know if “real life” matches the prediction, hence doing the experiment.
Just for the record, it's looking like Beagle 2 actually made it to the surface intact, according to images made by one of the orbiting spacecraft recently. What seems to have occurred is that the craft failed to deploy properly and was not able to bring it's communications antenna online.
The telescope was designed to be serviceable and eventually retrievable by the Space Shuttle. That limited the altitude at which it was deployed to allow the shuttle to get to it.
One of the last things that was done on the final shuttle servicing mission was to attach a docking collar to the telescope base which would allow a future visiting space craft to attach itself to the scope. What this craft would be doing was not explained in too much detail, except to state that a rocket engine on the craft could change the telescope's orbit or de-orbit it in a controlled manner (important as much of the mirror would make it through re-entry and it's very massive). It's not a great stretch to conceive of a "service module" that could take over the navigation and pointing functions of the telescope and be attached to it when we see the gyros and momentum wheels on the telescope starting to fail again. This would also maintain the orbit. When the module is used up then it could be replaced with a second unit.
It's stories like these that give me hope for us as a species. Coming up with incredible missions of discovery and keeping them going and fixing things on the other side of the Solar System as problems happen in the most inhospitable environments possible, absolutely inspiring!
I remember seeing Dr Garry Hunt on the Sky at Night and Horizons and I always felt proud that we had a Brit on the project.
Thanks Dr Hunt for what you did, you kept a late teen/young twenty something fascinated for years and thanks El Reg for bring this interview to us, much appreciated.
Thanks for this article. I live just to the west of this in Derby. A thing that you might be interested to know is that Derby also has a good industrial museum as well as Nottingham. Situated in the old Silk Mill building, considered to be the first factory in the world! Well worth a visit.
A simple bit of astronomy and travel can show you the Earth has a curved surface. Spot the pole star in your sky, note where it is in relation to the northern horizon. Travel a fair distance south and make the same observation again and see if it changes. If you are in the northern hemisphere then the the pole star will get closer to the northern horizon and on the equator the pole star will be on the horizon and will disappear over the horizon as you travel further south. This can only happen if the surface of the planet is curved.
And before you ask, yes I have carried out this test when I went on holiday from the UK to Crete a few years ago ago and got a definite change in position of the star patterns. If you accurately measure the angles involved you would be able to calculate using some simple trig the actual diameter of the Earth.
Ah the natural gas conversion. That was help start me down the electronics path. The fitters doing the conversions had lots of cable and battery holders they were scrapping off, every lad (and it was lads) in the street ended up with boxes of kit which we used to cobble up all sorts of circuits. The shocker circuits using some of the old transformers were fun...