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Thursday, March 14, 2019

Going To The Moon For The Second Time

mistermix has a nice post about the 737MAX, which you should read in its entirety, but this last graf from the post whose title I stole is my focus:

The post title is a reference to the fact that human beings take for granted that once a engineering challenge is solved, it should be trivially easy to solve it the second time, so it should take a fraction of the time and money to fix. The 737 MAX is a great example of why this isn’t true: Boeing engineers, under massive constraint, built a new plane and called it a 737. If their engineers had started with a blank slate, Boeing management would have been a lot more cautious about rolling it out. Instead, here we are.

I'm not sure they created a new plane, but rather made an engineering change that engineers typically hate.  As in what happened with the venerable STS:

Well-designed shuttle components have frequently developed complications, and small changes have created dramatic problems. On Columbia's second mission, in November 1981, a fuel cell became contaminated and stopped working. The particle causing the problem was tiny, but it forced three days to be cut from the five-day mission.

As soon as the shuttle landed, NASA engineers started working on a fix. They devised a filter to keep out contaminants and, as a safety measure, put in a second filter as well. There were no contaminants on the next mission, but hydrogen gas collected between the filters and seeped into a tank. A single spark would have caused an explosion aboard the shuttle.

Boeing engineers fixed one problem: efficiency of an aging vehicle.  That introduced a new problem, which required a fix, which caused more problems.

Fortunately, our Plane-Owner-in-Chief is on the case, so move aside, stupid engineers!

ntodd

March 14, 2019 in Mars, Bitches! | Permalink | Comments (0)

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Friday, March 08, 2019

Only at long last did she look back at him as she lay motionless

10 years ago yesterday the now-retired Kepler observatory was launched.  And today (as opposed to May 15th) marks the anniversary of Kepler's initial conceptual breakthrough on the 3rd law, as he wrote in Harmonicus Mundi (1619):

[I]f you want the exact moment in time, it was conceived mentally on 8th March in this year one thousand six hundred and eighteen, but submitted to calculation in an unlucky way, and therefore rejected as false, and finally returning on the 15th of May and adopting a new line of attack, stormed the darkness of my mind. So strong was the support from the combination of my labour of seventeen years on the observations of Brahe and the present study, which conspired together, that at first I believed I was dreaming, and assuming my conclusion among my basic premises.

While he passively admitted an error (what would he have done if he'd owned a modern computer?), in his introduction, Kepler bragged:

Now, eighteen months after the first light, three months after the true day, but a very few days after the pure Sun of that most wonderful study began to shine, nothing restrains me; it is my pleasure to taunt mortal men with the candid acknowledgment that I am stealing the golden vessels of the Egyptians to build a tabernacle to my God from them, far, far away from the boundaries of Egypt. If you forgive me, I shall rejoice; if you are enraged with me, I shall bear it. See, I cast the die, and I write the book. Whether it is to be read by the people of the present or of the future makes no difference: let it await its reader for a hundred years, if God Himself has stood ready for six thousand years for one to study Him.

And thank G-d for him, lest we still be chained to the Earth for want of understanding the Book of Creation...

ntodd

March 8, 2019 in Mars, Bitches! | Permalink | Comments (0)

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Wednesday, February 13, 2019

My battery is low and it's getting dark


Yes, I cried during WALL-E, too.

ntodd

February 13, 2019 in Mars, Bitches! | Permalink | Comments (0)

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Saturday, February 02, 2019

Joshua 1:9


Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed...

ntodd

February 2, 2019 in Mars, Bitches! | Permalink | Comments (0)

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Friday, January 25, 2019

Please Return It To The Lab


Really this is about a scene from Friends From College.

ntodd

January 25, 2019 in Mars, Bitches! | Permalink | Comments (0)

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Sunday, January 20, 2019

Whosoever abides in me will bring forth much fruit. Apart from me you can do nothing.


Happy birthday, Buzz, on Sadie Buzzina Pritsky's half birthday!

ntodd

January 20, 2019 in Family Life, Mars, Bitches! | Permalink | Comments (0)

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Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Amur and Baikal


Союз-4 и Союз-5.

ntodd

January 16, 2019 in Mars, Bitches! | Permalink | Comments (0)

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Thursday, January 10, 2019

After These Messages, We'll Be Right Back

Having experienced a major right-wing boycott of all our sponsors we went off the air for a while, as 3.5 people might have noticed.  But we're under new management, working on rebranding our branding, and expanding our infrastructure in exciting, innovative ways that would put Elon Musk to shame.  We will be back online very soon with erudite analysis of Trump's Wall's moral and legal morass, elucidation of the chinook salmon's breeding cycle, and probably some fart jokes.

In related news, our family has been through significant changes over the last couple years, some of which has been obliquely presented via social media, much of which has been less transparent than has been typical in this blog's extraordinarily long life.  The good, the bad, and the ugly will be revealed in tasty installments.  If all of you tell 3.5 friends, we'll get the readership up to historic levels--YUGE, even.

In the meantime, meet Luciana Vega, America's awesomest astronaut:

Luci's friend, Sadie, has requested a trip to Space Camp for her 7th birthday.  Tighter schedule than Kennedy's, but we'll make it happen by 7/20/2019.

ntodd

January 10, 2019 in Family Life, Mars, Bitches! | Permalink | Comments (4)

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Monday, October 08, 2018

Astros Nearing Interstellar Series

Second star to the right, and straight on till morning:

NASA's Voyager 2 probe, currently on a journey toward interstellar space, has detected an increase in cosmic rays that originate outside our solar system. Launched in 1977, Voyager 2 is a little less than 11 billion miles (about 17.7 billion kilometers) from Earth, or more than 118 times the distance from Earth to the Sun.

Since 2007 the probe has been traveling through the outermost layer of the heliosphere -- the vast bubble around the Sun and the planets dominated by solar material and magnetic fields. Voyager scientists have been watching for the spacecraft to reach the outer boundary of the heliosphere, known as the heliopause. Once Voyager 2 exits the heliosphere, it will become the second human-made object, after Voyager 1, to enter interstellar space.

Since late August, the Cosmic Ray Subsystem instrument on Voyager 2 has measured about a 5 percent increase in the rate of cosmic rays hitting the spacecraft compared to early August. The probe's Low-Energy Charged Particle instrument has detected a similar increase in higher-energy cosmic rays.

Cosmic rays are fast-moving particles that originate outside the solar system. Some of these cosmic rays are blocked by the heliosphere, so mission planners expect that Voyager 2 will measure an increase in the rate of cosmic rays as it approaches and crosses the boundary of the heliosphere.

In May 2012, Voyager 1 experienced an increase in the rate of cosmic rays similar to what Voyager 2 is now detecting. That was about three months before Voyager 1 crossed the heliopause and entered interstellar space.

Apropos of nothing, I am "watched all the Voyager shit on TV in gradeschool" years old...

ntodd

October 8, 2018 in Mars, Bitches! | Permalink | Comments (0)

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Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Fill my heart with song and let me sing for ever more

Why does Rice play Texas?

William Bradford, speaking in 1630 of the founding of the Plymouth Bay Colony, said that all great and honorable actions are accompanied with great difficulties, and both must be enterprised and overcome with answerable courage.

If this capsule history of our progress teaches us anything, it is that man, in his quest for knowledge and progress, is determined and cannot be deterred.

And away we went...

ntodd

September 12, 2018 in Mars, Bitches! | Permalink | Comments (0)

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Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Fire To New Worlds


Now a mere 10.9B miles away, 41 years on...

ntodd

August 21, 2018 in Mars, Bitches! | Permalink | Comments (0)

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Sunday, July 29, 2018

Devotion of Space Activities to Peaceful Purposes for Benefit of All Humankind


On NASA's 60th birfday, let's throw rocks from a highway overpass, or bones into space...

ntodd 

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July 29, 2018 in Mars, Bitches! | Permalink | Comments (0)

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Sunday, July 22, 2018

Beautiful burn. SPS, I love you! You are a jewel! Whoosh!


Heading back home from their lunar campsite...

ntodd 

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July 22, 2018 in Mars, Bitches! | Permalink | Comments (0)

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Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Cecil B. De Aldrin is standing by for instructions.


Away we go!

ntodd 

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July 17, 2018 in Mars, Bitches! | Permalink | Comments (0)

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Monday, July 16, 2018

Sadie 6 Launch Is A Go


Birfday week for the Almost-Six-Year-Old commences!

ntodd 

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July 16, 2018 in Mars, Bitches! | Permalink | Comments (0)

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Sunday, May 27, 2018

Set SCE to RIP


Al Bean. now painting moonscapes on another plane.

ntodd

May 27, 2018 in Mars, Bitches! | Permalink | Comments (0)

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Friday, April 20, 2018

Well, we ain't got any earthshine, old buddy.


That ain't bad for two-revs-late landing.

ntodd

April 20, 2018 in Mars, Bitches! | Permalink | Comments (0)

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Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Recovery, I Have A Clock


Splashdown at this time.  The three chutes are displaced. They're in the water.

ntodd

April 17, 2018 in Mars, Bitches! | Permalink | Comments (0)

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Friday, April 13, 2018

We'd Like You To Stir Up Your Cryo Tanks


I believe we've had a problem here.

ntodd

April 13, 2018 in Mars, Bitches! | Permalink | Comments (0)

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Wednesday, April 11, 2018

13, Houston. GO at 30 seconds.


Okay, you're right on, Jim. You're right on trajectory.

ntodd

April 11, 2018 in Mars, Bitches! | Permalink | Comments (0)