* Posts by Spherical Cow

312 posts • joined 10 Aug 2018


Northrop Grumman wins $13.3bn contract with US Air Force to kick off Minuteman III ICBM replacement

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They are also upgrading the launch password





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Re: A job for SpaceX?

Yes, but only briefly.

Like Uber, but for satellite launches: European Space Agency’s ride-sharing rocket slings 53 birds with one bang

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Re: ESAIL I'm confused

The article states a range of 74km, and if you think it's an oddly specific range that's because it has been converted from 40 nautical miles.

Worried about the Andromeda galaxy crashing into our Milky Way in four billion years? Too bad, it's quite possibly already happening

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Re: It is Eddie's fault

"Eddies in the space-time continuum"

Ah...is he. Is he.

Pew, pew, pew! Our galaxy is shooting cold, gaseous 'bullets' of high-speed matter. Boffins are baffled

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Re: Scavenger hunt

Faster than light? No. Just no.

Space station update: Mystery tiny but growing air leak sparks search for hole

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Re: Bow to your robot overlords

The leak started three months before the robot arrived... which means the dastardly automaton must be even more nefarious than we suspected!

Good news: NASA boffins spot closest near-Earth asteroid ever. Bad news: We never saw it coming. Good news: It's also really small

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Re: Arecibo is borked

"Given its age..."

The age of the dish is irrelevant. You can swap out the receiver for a new one any time you like, the dish will still work fine: it's just a big mirror.

America's largest radio telescope blind after falling cable slashes 100-foot gash in reflector dish

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Re: Not sure?

They are only three years apart. They are both old.

Geneticists throw hands in the air, change gene naming rules to finally stop Microsoft Excel eating their data

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Re: I have to use Excel at work

Not us, thank you.

Voyager 1 cracks yet another barrier: Now 150 Astronomical Units from Sol

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Re: Imagination and wishful thinking

Some of the lines on my street have worn away in the last 30 years, I expect the 4+ billion year old paint out there is pretty faded by now.

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Re: Let's hope

Windows 1.0 was released in 1985 (and MS-DOS in 1981) by which time Voyager 1 was long gone.

911, I wanna report a robbery. Hundreds of thousands of stars stolen from a cluster. I think it was the Milky Way

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"It would be somewhat hot on that planet, though."

Not necessarily. Neptune is a pretty chilly place, so adding more suns would be an improvement there.

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There's heavy-ish, and there's heavier.

"After the Big Bang, the universe contained only the simplest atoms, like hydrogen and helium. Heavier elements, like calcium, oxygen, and various metals are only found in later generations of stars."

That's not quite correct. The first generation of stars (Population III) quickly formed elements all the way up to iron by fusion, so yes calcium and oxygen did exist in the first stars. Elements heavier than iron could only exist after the first stars went supernova.

It's true that metals are more abundant in later generations (Population I) and less abundant in older stars (Population II), but even the older ones do have some.

Once considered lost, ESA and NASA's SOHO came back from the brink of death to work even better than it did before

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Nice idea but the ∆v required would be enormous. Not happening.

Virgin Galactic reveals giant mirror feature in cabin design for Beardy Branson's space bus

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That's as it should be.

It makes sense to provide a luxurious interior with a great colour scheme. When the passengers don't even get to go to real space (100km) they need to something nice to justify the enormous amount of money they've spent.

What goes up, Musk come down... and up and down and up and down: NASA details followup Dragon pod trips to orbiting station

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The additional seats will hopefully be useful in the near-ish future (and will bring down the price per seat), right now there's no need to launch seven people at the same time.

If you think you've got problems, pal, spare a thought for these boffins baffled by 'oddball' meteorites

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Wikipedia knows about ℵ1. Does that that mean Wikipedia is God?

p.s. Of course not: Wikipedia has verifiable citations ;-)

USA seeks Moon and Mars nuke power plant designs ready to fly in 2027

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Re: Why the 1Km cable?

Yes you can smelt metal from lunar regolith, so long as you already have a good source of power... oh.

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Re: Launch and landing

Launch sites are already selected for remoteness and a flight path over hundreds of kilometres of sea because hypergolic fuel is very nasty stuff and even if nicer fuels are used nobody wants a rocket landing on their house. So, launching a very small nuclear reactor isn't a problem. Many nuclear powered rovers have already been launched (yes I know the reactor type is very different but the potential contamination from a crashed and ruptured rocket is not so different).

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Re: Credibility

Finding a location for testing is easy: just bung a few mil at the government of a very poor country with a bit of spare wilderness, there's plenty of those. US regulations don't apply.

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Re: What are they going to do with the heat?

If you follow the "musings" link you'll find they are talking about enough power for eight houses on Earth which isn't much at all. I suspect the main reason enormous cooling towers aren't required is they are not producing enormous amounts (e.g. one million houses) of power like a typical Earth-based nuclear power station does.

SpaceX pulls off an incredible catch, netting both halves of its Falcon fairing as they fell Earthwards after latest launch

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Re: Whats Next?

To be fair to our Reg hack: the linked article starts by saying the second stage will be reusable and finishes with this quote from Musk:

“I’m actually quite confident that we’ll be able to achieve full reusability of the upper stage,” he said. “In fact, I’m certain we can achieve full reusability of the upper stage."

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Re: You Don't Fly Once

Yes they can, if there's one within range from the Florida launch site. Range will be dependant on payload and orbit.

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Yes of course, so long as the smallish asteroids have steerable parachutes.

'First ever' snap emerges of something vaguely resembling our solar system 300 ly away. We'll take 10 tickets

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Re: Are those numbers right???

Gravity is weird.

Mexican cave relics suggest humans were populating the Americas up to 17,000 years earlier than thought

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If humans cause megafauna to go extinct, how come we still have elephants?? There must be something else going on.

We've heard of littering but this is ridiculous: Asteroid dumps up to 50 quadrillion kg of space dirt on Earth, Moon

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The ice at the poles is nowhere near old enough. Antarctica started icing up about 45mya so it's of no use for stuff which happened 800mya.

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Re: A Recent Heavy Bombardment?

Recent ones are fine, just watch out for the Upcoming Heavy Bombardment =:-O

Anyone for a round of Ging Gang Goolie? Solar Orbiter probe snaps little 'campfires' flickering on Sun's surface

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What size are these camp-fires?

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's a charred white dwarf star blasted across our galaxy by an ancient semi-supernova

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The object was discovered after astronomers detected the following unusual signal:


Double helping of delays for SpaceX as Starlink, ANASIS-II missions cling to terra firma

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Metric tons?

The word you are looking for is tonnes.

Japanese probe to land asteroid rock sample in Australia on December 6th

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Re: I wonder

Starlink are so low they de-orbit after a few years due to atmospheric drag. There's no need for a plan to get them down, in fact there is no way to keep them up.

The world's nonsense keeping you awake in middle of the night? Good news. Go outside and see this two-tail comet

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"For the UK, the comet is circumpolar"

Which means two things:

1. I won't see it where I am (Australia) because it will be below the horizon.

2. You won't see it where you are (the UK) because it will be raining.

Road trip on Mars: Thrill as Curiosity rover races up to 0.06 miles per hour. Marvel as it takes a mile-long detour

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Re: Should have sent up a shopping trolley/cart

They will probably find one when they get there, and it too will have a wonky wheel.

Remember that black hole just 1,000 light years from Earth? Scientists queue up to say it may not exist after all

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Re: Who is stealing the stars?

You don't need to check EVERY iron, only one. The tricky part is knowing which one.

UK government shakes magic money tree, finds $500m to buy a stake in struggling satellite firm OneWeb

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Re: It Could Be Made to Work ???

LORAN? I'd prefer Decca if you don't mind.

Boffins baffled as supergiant star just vanishes – either it partially blew itself apart or quietly turned into a black hole

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Did they forget to take the lens cap off the telescope? I hate it when I do that.

Come glide with me: Virgin Galactic gives Unity some fresh air, looks forward to rocket-powered flight

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US starts sniffing around UK spaceports – though none capable of vertical launches actually exist right now

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Re: Why here?

Don't worry, British rocket scientists are working on plans to fit rockets with umbrellas.

No longer a planet and left out in the cold, Pluto, it turns out, may have had hot beginnings

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Exoplanets are not planets!

Of course they are. The IAU definition is stupid to exclude them just because they don't orbit the Sun. Exoplanets are planets.

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Re: It'll be a planet again

If Earth has cleared its orbit, what is Cruithne doing there???

NASA to send Perseverance, a new trundle bot, and Ingenuity, the first interplanetary helicopter, to sniff out life on Mars in July

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Re: World's largest supersonic-rated parachute

I think it's currently Earth's largest, then for about seven months* it will be space's largest, then it will become Mars's largest.

*Earth months

Looking for a home off-world? Take your pick: Astroboffins estimate there are nearly 6bn Earth-likes in the Milky Way

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The real Goldilocks zone

At last, an exoplanet hunter who is steering clear of those myriad pesky red dwarves with their tight planetary orbits and harsh tidal locking.

NASA shoves Astrobotic $199.5m to sling water-hunting VIPER trundlebot at Moon

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Re: Yes, there's ice on the moon.

How much ice? How is it distributed? Is it easy to get at? We need some way of answering these and other questions, maybe we should send a rover to explore.

What could possibly make a cranky crocodylomorph more terrifying? How about one that chases you on its hind legs?

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Re: Pretty obvious really...

The resident aliens would have made tentaclebags, Shirley.

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There is a lizard in Australia called the Eastern Water Dragon which can run on its back legs only. It runs so fast it can even run across water without sinking! It grows to 1m long, so not as big a a croc, thankfully.

Russia drags NASA: Enjoy your expensive SpaceX capsule, our Soyuz is the cheap Kalashnikov of rockets

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Re: Endeavour war the wrong name

Musk did mention the trampoline: https://www.wionews.com/world/trampoline-is-working-musk-taunts-russian-space-agency-chief-302172

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A couple of points:

There has been actual useful science done in space which has benefited us down here on the ground.

Having all humans on one planet is like putting all your eggs in one basket: if something goes wrong you can lose them all.

Japan to test self-destructing satellite to shrink space junk with string and an inanimate carbon blob

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Re: Just a bit late maybe

The SpaceX ones are low enough to deorbit in a few years just from atmospheric drag. In fact we have no way to _stop_ them from deorbiting.



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