* Posts by Spherical Cow

616 publicly visible posts • joined 10 Aug 2018


Six pack of sub-Neptune exoplanets hang tight around nearby star

Spherical Cow

Re: Music of the spheres

I wouldn't play down the amount of education involved.

p.s. emphasis

Dragonfly delayed – formal confirmation of journey to Saturn's moon slips into 2024

Spherical Cow

Re: It's a long way....

Ingenuity typically has a couple of weeks between flights, so an extra 65 minutes of transmission time doesn't really matter. Bandwidth is more likely to be an issue due to how the inverse square law affects signal strength. Actual flight should be pretty easy due to Titan's atmosphere being 45% more dense than Earth's atmosphere. One other thing: Titan is *cold*.

Europe's Ariane 6 rocket rated 'ready to rumble' after passing hot fire test

Spherical Cow

You got nerfed.

Long-term space missions may make liftoff harder for male astronauts

Spherical Cow

Sherlock's lube

"There is a potential solution, however, in the form of antioxidant treatments for erectile tissue."

So, we just need to rub some citrus on it?

Lemon-entry, my dear Watson!

NASA's Psyche spacecraft beams back a 'Hello' from 10 million miles away

Spherical Cow

Re: Great work!

Thank you for posting the link to the Wikipedia article which proves you are wrong: the 1975 law clearly says it is NOT mandatory to put both units on packaging.

SpaceX celebrates Starship launch as a success – even with the explosion

Spherical Cow

Re: Self destruct

"And dumping hundreds of tons of rubbish in the sea, where even throwing an empty baked bean tin off a yacht is illegal."

No, it is not illegal. You just have to be at least 12 miles offshore, then you can legally litter as much as you like.

Late Qualcomm cofounder teleports $200M into SETI to bankroll hunt for alien life

Spherical Cow


Uh-oh, amanfromMars has discovered the interrobang =:-O

Rocket Lab mission lost in the Paschen of the moment

Spherical Cow

> Yet another problem with the second stage is not a great look for reliability

OTOH it's now more reliable than ever before!

Corduroy is coming to the metaverse with touchy-feely robotic sensors

Spherical Cow

Ugh no!

Corduroy gives me the shivers.

Is it weird to have a strong aversion to the feel of a fabric?

India's lunar landing made a mess on the Moon

Spherical Cow

Re: over two tons of lunar epiregolith – the top layer of Moon dust – were ejected

How could it possibly end up in orbit? Any sub-escape-velocity trajectory starting from the surface will intersect with the surface again before one complete orbit.

Alien rock remains found not on but deep inside the Earth

Spherical Cow

What's in a name anyway?

What are baxis and why do you melt them?

Amazon unveils new drone design, plans liftoff of aerial delivery in UK, Italy

Spherical Cow

Re: New features of Mk30

This has already happened in Canberra, Australia, during a delivery drone trial.

Want a clean energy transition? Better start putting cash into electrical grid

Spherical Cow

Re: I would be willing to agree that ...

"It's a shame there is little information how people achieved the ice age last time."

Communities previously living north of the Thames faced a simple choice: either don't be north of the Thames, or don't be living. The reason: a huge ice sheet covering the land.

Astronomers spot collision between two exoplanets, both feared vaporized

Spherical Cow

"10^33 joules? What kind of unit is that? I would like to know how many tonnes of oats I need to ingest to obtain the same calorific value. You know, to put things in perspective."

The force of the explosion was equivalent to at least seven vindaloos.

Two Project Kuiper prototype satellites finally reach orbit

Spherical Cow

Launch, test, destroy

Amazon plans to actively de-orbit both satellites when this test mission is complete. I hope all their future sats will also be deorbitable (is that a word?).

ESA funds space weather satellite swarm to understand and combat orbital debris

Spherical Cow

Depends which meaning they meant:

Vacuum cleaner - cleans by using a vacuum

Vacuum cleaner - cleans a vacuum

NASA's Mars Sample Return mission is in danger of never launching

Spherical Cow

Re: Space X

The current MSR timeline is to return samples "in the early to mid 2030s". Do I think SpaceX can get there and back in 10 years or less? Absolutely! So yes, they can deliver on time (and it'll cost a lot less too).

Source for current MSR timeline: https://mars.nasa.gov/msr/#Overview

DoD hopes $30M BEACONS will light the way to next-gen American battery designs

Spherical Cow

Re: Eye Smell something ..

(Hopefully not a spherical one?)

US Defense Department enlists Google for AI-powered cancer-spotting kit

Spherical Cow

AI is already in use to detect skin cancer, and it's more accurate than humans.

World's most powerful free-electron laser upgraded to fire a million X-rays per second

Spherical Cow

Re: Avengers?

Which one depends on how appreciated they feel. That's usually how it seems to work, anyway.

UK civil servants – hopefully including those spending billions on tech – to skill up in STEM

Spherical Cow

Re: An amusing way to waste public money.

Public servants =/= politicians.

James Webb spies distant exoplanet that could be wet, wild, and Hycean

Spherical Cow


Good when looking for aliens, bad when in beer.

MOXIE microwaved Mars air into oxygen, but now it's time for a breather

Spherical Cow

Re: Chemisty is not my strong suit....

"Carbon is quite reactive. It'll grab something else, probably O2 and oxidise back to CO2 quite rapidly, releasing a lot of heat."

How come I can hold a lump of charcoal without going up in flames? Carbon doesn't seem all that reactive to me.

India's Chandrayaan-3 Moon mission hibernates to see out a long lunar night

Spherical Cow

Re: Moonquake or impact event

No, because Russia's craft crashed a few days *before* India's craft landed.

Concorde? Pffft. NASA wants a Mach 4 passenger jet

Spherical Cow

Re: This project must not be allowed to happen

The VIP lane saves time at the check in desk but not at passport control or security. Also, you might board first, but you won't take off sooner.

India lands Chandrayaan-3 spacecraft on Moon, is the first to lunar south pole

Spherical Cow

Re: Milestone moment

"I'm not too sure about all this. First they'll have to demonstrate that the Lunar ice is actually feasible to mine and process into potable water."

That's what this mission is for: to look for water to answer that question. That's why this mission is the first step.

Spherical Cow

Re: Milestone moment

"Any cows on the Moon?"

One did jump over...

Spherical Cow

Milestone moment

It feels like this is the start of a new era of moon missions: the search for *useable* water makes this the first step towards establishing a lunar base, something we've never done before. India have therefore joined the club in a very significant way. Exciting times!

Space junk targeted for cleanup mission was hit by different space junk, making more space junk

Spherical Cow

Re: Space trash

Is the hole odour-free because the cat missed the neat hole and crapped next to it instead? That's what my cat always did.

DARPA wants interoperability standard for Moon living

Spherical Cow

May I suggest

240V, not 110V.

Boffins reckon Mars colony could survive with fewer than two dozen people

Spherical Cow

Re: Why do people call a small outpost a colony ?

"On Earth (with air, water and food available) the minimum number for long term survival seems to be about 2000 - fewer than that and inbreeding becomes a problem (smaller groups have survived when there has been a trickle of new people arriving)."

The population of North Sentinel Island is estimated to be about 40, and no more than 400 at most. They actively prevent new people arriving (by killing anyone who tries). It is likely they have been isolated for a very long time as locals from neighbouring islands cannot understand their language.

Think International Space Station dust is obviously free of bad chemicals? Wrong

Spherical Cow

Re: Toxic Pollution..

"I am more concerned that Web Junk from El Reg doesn't contain AI-generated content"

Have you met amanfromMars 1 ?

Most distant observed star is blue – and it isn't alone

Spherical Cow

Re: Éalá Éarendel Engla Beorhtast

"Or is Middle-Earth actually to be found way, way out there?!"

I think it was a different place which existed a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.

We need to be first on the Moon, uh, again, says NASA

Spherical Cow

Re: There is a word missing

The missing word is subscribers.

Boeing abandons plans for crewed Starliner flight in 2023

Spherical Cow

Re: total losses on the project to $1.4 billion.

Square corners can also be good for aerodynamics, for example with a truncated tear-drop, as used at the rear end of many cars (and even the trailing edge of my roof-racks).

Spherical Cow

Re: Rather them than me

Fortunately the second one will be built with suitable tape. Assuming there is a second one...

NASA's ice-hunting cubesat lunar mission is over, thanks to a stuck valve

Spherical Cow

So what happens to it now? Does it just stay in orbit around the moon for millennia? Are we starting to fill lunar orbit with junk?

Airbus to help with International Space Station replacement

Spherical Cow

Re: Only 4 people?

Yes, the current ISS can officially take a crew of 7, and as I type this there are indeed 7 people on board.

Of course these things can be a bit flexible*: in 2009 the ISS briefly had 13 people on board.

*not in a Bigelow way

Satnav for the Moon could benefit from Fibonacci’s expertise

Spherical Cow

Re: Tidal Lock

Yes there is a bulge towards Earth (and a corresponding one on the other side).


Aliens crash landed on Earth – and Uncle Sam is covering it up, this guy tells Congress

Spherical Cow

Re: Millions of Parsecs


India takes second punt at soft lunar landing with launch of Chandrayaan-3 mission

Spherical Cow

Billions?? 75 million is peanuts by comparison. Please pay close attention to headlines saying "millions" and those saying "billions" as the difference is enormous.

The money spent on this launch, $75m, is certainly nowhere near enough to make a noticeable difference to living standards in a country with 1,429m people. 5 cents each? Pfft.

What this launch does do is advance technical capabilities, boost national pride, and (perhaps most importantly) position India as a genuine contender in the upcoming space race: this small investment has the potential to reap huge rewards.

Japan schedules August launch for 'Moon Sniper' lander

Spherical Cow

Good luck to both Japan and India!

Oh, now I'm craving Japanese/Indian fusion food. Which country's beer should I was it down with? (Both, obviously)

NASA humanoid robot to be tested as remote oil rig attendant

Spherical Cow


For those who would like to see what it looks like, NASA's article has photos: https://www.nasa.gov/feature/nasa-humanoid-robot-to-be-tested-in-australia

NASA 'quiet' supersonic jet is nearly ready for flight

Spherical Cow

Re: Is there a point to this?

It's not all about business. It will also make visiting distant relatives a lot more convenient (which could be an advantage or a disadvantage, depending on the relatives).

Spherical Cow

Re: As much political as technical

As a kid I watched the test flights of the BAe146 passing low over my house, a passenger "whisperjet" with a similar brief: to offer quiet short-haul flights to&from inner-city STOL airports. It operated successfully for many years from places such as London docklands.

India's space agency set to launch lunar lander, rover

Spherical Cow

Why not both?

Ariane 5 to take final flight, leaving Europe without its own heavy-lift rocket

Spherical Cow

Re: Susie

Yes that's correct, it can bring 7 tons back to earth gently. And then we can send it back to space to do it all over again.

I wonder if it can fit on some kind of reusable launcher? Not fussed which kind.

Spherical Cow
Thumb Up


Great acronym, great concept. 40m³ and 7 tons of payload, steered to a precision landing with no need for parachutes, and pulling only 2.5 g so it's a comfortable ride too.

Report reveals US Space Force unprepared to counter orbital threats

Spherical Cow

Re: Elon to the rescue!

Surely you can find other things to criticise Elon for?

MIT discovery suggests a new class of superconductors

Spherical Cow

Re: Knok-nock, Neo

How about so-called dark matter: the simulation's rendering engine crashed when it was only about 15% done, hence all the missing stuff.