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What-If 0137: "New Horizons"

Posted: Tue Jul 14, 2015 12:30 pm UTC
by speising
New Horizons

Image

So, the long awaited Event is here! (i mean the new what-if, of course)

Re: What-If 0137: New Horizons

Posted: Tue Jul 14, 2015 12:39 pm UTC
by mathmannix
Eh. The What-If seems anticlimactic, but I guess that's what happens when you let expectations build up for almost three months.

I do wonder if the question was inspired by the New Horizons comic, or if it was the other way around?

Re: What-If 0137: New Horizons

Posted: Tue Jul 14, 2015 12:59 pm UTC
by brenok
mathmannix wrote:I do wonder if the question was inspired by the New Horizons comic, or if it was the other way around?

If Randall went back in time and retroactively made a comic about Robin's question? I find it unlikely, but it could have happened[1]

[1] It really, really couldn't

Re: What-If 0137: New Horizons

Posted: Tue Jul 14, 2015 1:58 pm UTC
by Moose Anus
Most close up picture of Pluto so far:
Spoiler:
Image

Re: What-If 0137: New Horizons

Posted: Tue Jul 14, 2015 2:07 pm UTC
by mathmannix
brenok wrote:
mathmannix wrote:I do wonder if the question was inspired by the New Horizons comic, or if it was the other way around?

If Randall went back in time and retroactively made a comic about Robin's question? I find it unlikely, but it could have happened[1]

[1] It really, really couldn't

Well, it's not like we know how long he's had the question. (Unless you know something I don't.) I don't know what his comic-creation schedule is like, but I consider it likely that he's had the What-If question for several months. After all, it was announced (...what, two months ago? At least...) that the next What-if would come out today, New Horizons Day. So he probably planned all along to do a NH-themed What If.

Re: What-If 0137: New Horizons

Posted: Tue Jul 14, 2015 2:59 pm UTC
by rmsgrey
It feels like the interesting part of the answer was glossed over - the hypervelocity impact and scattering of Pu - in favour of talking about Pluto.

The other obvious question is what speed would your car have to be traveling at in order to make this collision happen?

Re: What-If 0137: New Horizons

Posted: Tue Jul 14, 2015 8:53 pm UTC
by tomsing
New Horizons is going 14 km/s. 1 yard is about 1 m, and a football field is 100 yd long. So New Horizons travels the length of a football field in 100 m / 14000 m/s, so something more than 5 ms. 60 mph, or 100 km/h, is a typical highway speed, certainly not what I would call speeding without any context. That's 30ish m/s. So a car at a reasonable velocity travels 15 cm in the time it takes New Horizons to travel the length of a football field. That's like 6 inches. I think Randall might have meant to say a speeding car would travel about 1 foot, not 1 inch.

Re: What-If 0137: New Horizons

Posted: Tue Jul 14, 2015 9:23 pm UTC
by Pfhorrest
I think "speeding" in this context just means "traveling at speed", not "at excessive speed". Like the way that Superman can move "faster than a speeding bullet", and I don't think there are speed limits on bullets.

Re: What-If 0137: New Horizons

Posted: Tue Jul 14, 2015 9:50 pm UTC
by Tub
After the impact, would we need to reclassify robin's car as a "dwarf car"?

Re: What-If 0137: New Horizons

Posted: Tue Jul 14, 2015 10:54 pm UTC
by speising
Tub wrote:After the impact, would we need to reclassify robin's car as a "dwarf car"?

More like "rapidly expanding cloud of molten metal"

Edit: hey, the second "NASA tv" link led to a dropbox url when i was at work and couldn't access it. Did anybody catch what that was?

Re: What-If 0137: New Horizons

Posted: Wed Jul 15, 2015 2:10 am UTC
by gmalivuk
Pfhorrest wrote:I think "speeding" in this context just means "traveling at speed", not "at excessive speed". Like the way that Superman can move "faster than a speeding bullet", and I don't think there are speed limits on bullets.
Yeah, but as written the car would only be going 4m/s to make it one inch while New Horizons went the length of the field. I don't think 9mph is worthy of being called "speeding" even in your context.

Re: What-If 0137: New Horizons

Posted: Wed Jul 15, 2015 4:18 pm UTC
by scalziand
I'm surprised Randal missed the chance to link to the Mythbusters' 650 mph (0.29 kmps) rocket sled car crash, as a slow motion version.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-2KdwdMzxBg

...

NEW HORIZONS HAS DISCOVERED ANOTHER MOON ORBITING YOUR CAR.


DAMMIT MOON MOON, STOP CHASING MY CAR.

Re: What-If 0137: New Horizons

Posted: Thu Jul 16, 2015 4:47 am UTC
by Caffeine
tomsing wrote:New Horizons is going 14 km/s. 1 yard is about 1 m, and a football field is 100 yd long. So New Horizons travels the length of a football field in 100 m / 14000 m/s, so something more than 5 ms. 60 mph, or 100 km/h, is a typical highway speed, certainly not what I would call speeding without any context. That's 30ish m/s. So a car at a reasonable velocity travels 15 cm in the time it takes New Horizons to travel the length of a football field. That's like 6 inches. I think Randall might have meant to say a speeding car would travel about 1 foot, not 1 inch.


Indeed, closer to 8 inches

Re: What-If 0137: New Horizons

Posted: Thu Jul 16, 2015 7:09 am UTC
by KittenKaboodle
Caffeine wrote:Indeed, closer to 8 inches


That's not what she said :P

Remember we are talking about "what If" here, where a mole weighs a pound because Randal can pick one up and throw it, and a pound is a kilogram, never mind that a typical mole is more like 75 grams.

Also, the owner of the football field may well consider driving a car at 9mph on their expensive turf "speeding" (that is supposing there is anything left after the fireball that was New Horizons has passed)

Re: What-If 0137: New Horizons

Posted: Thu Jul 16, 2015 11:02 am UTC
by SPACKlick
scalziand wrote:I'm surprised Randal missed the chance to link to the Mythbusters' 650 mph (0.29 kmps) rocket sled car crash, as a slow motion version.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-2KdwdMzxBg

Was that meant to link to a slo-mo video of snow melting?

Re: What-If 0137: New Horizons

Posted: Thu Jul 16, 2015 3:44 pm UTC
by tomsing
KittenKaboodle wrote:Remember we are talking about "what If" here, where a mole weighs a pound because Randal can pick one up and throw it, and a pound is a kilogram, never mind that a typical mole is more like 75 grams.


Right, but there's no reason to do anything like that here. It's trivial to get an exact solution (for a given value for "speeding") by typing things into a google search. Or, if you'd prefer an estimate, there's not a lot of uncertainty here, like there might be if you're unfamiliar with the size of moles. It's just arithmetic. He's off by an order of magnitude. So I think it's just a case where he got mixed up and typed inch instead of foot.

KittenKaboodle wrote:Also, the owner of the football field may well consider driving a car at 9mph on their expensive turf "speeding" (that is supposing there is anything left after the fireball that was New Horizons has passed)


I mean, if we're going to try to shoehorn 10 mph into the set of reasonable values for a speeding car, then sure. But Randall is a guy who throws baseballs at 0.99c. He's clearly not concerned about the integrity of a playing surface.

Re: What-If 0137: New Horizons

Posted: Fri Jul 17, 2015 4:15 am UTC
by rhomboidal
If it went that far off course, it'd be fitting if New Horizons hit a Saturn Astra.

Re: What-If 0137: New Horizons

Posted: Fri Jul 17, 2015 4:43 am UTC
by kodiac
rhomboidal wrote:If it went that far off course, it'd be fitting if New Horizons hit a Saturn Astra.

The impact would change the car model to a Nova.

Here in Australia, "Astra" and "Nova" are both Holden-branded models. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holden_Astra

Re: What-If 0137: New Horizons

Posted: Fri Jul 17, 2015 6:33 am UTC
by Neil_Boekend
Here in the Netherlands they are sold as Opel Astra.

Re: What-If 0137: New Horizons

Posted: Fri Jul 17, 2015 2:50 pm UTC
by HES
Vauxhall Astra here. Marketing is weird.

Re: What-If 0137: New Horizons

Posted: Fri Jul 17, 2015 5:04 pm UTC
by scalziand
SPACKlick wrote:
scalziand wrote:I'm surprised Randal missed the chance to link to the Mythbusters' 650 mph (0.29 kmps) rocket sled car crash, as a slow motion version.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-2KdwdMzxBg

Was that meant to link to a slo-mo video of snow melting?



Oops, that's some irony. :oops:

Here's the intended video
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nl8xTqTUGCY

Re: What-If 0137: New Horizons

Posted: Mon Jul 20, 2015 9:08 am UTC
by Girl-With-A-Math-Fetish
I hate it when New Horizons crashes into my car! Dammit, New Horizons, watch where you're going!

IDK sentient New Horizons isn't as cute as sentient Philae. Although it's still my second favorite probe after Philae and gets me all excited over SPAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAACE!

Re: What-If 0137: New Horizons

Posted: Tue Jul 21, 2015 6:41 pm UTC
by sevenperforce
Girl-With-A-Math-Fetish wrote:I hate it when New Horizons crashes into my car! Dammit, New Horizons, watch where you're going!

IDK sentient New Horizons isn't as cute as sentient Philae. Although it's still my second favorite probe after Philae and gets me all excited over SPAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAACE!

Serves you right for putting your car into orbit around Pluto at Charon's L3 Lagrange point! What were you thinking? That orbit is nearly 470 mph...reckless driving by any standard.

Re: What-If 0137: New Horizons

Posted: Tue Jul 21, 2015 7:48 pm UTC
by Echo244
Seriously impressive driving in my book. Just take some pictures next time you park there.

Re: What-If 0137: New Horizons

Posted: Tue Jul 21, 2015 8:06 pm UTC
by sevenperforce
Echo244 wrote:Seriously impressive driving in my book. Just take some pictures next time you park there.

Thankfully it's out of range of radar, so she should be able to get away without a speeding ticket.

From that location, Pluto appears 174 times larger (in area) than the Moon does from Earth. So she should be able to get some pretty good pictures...moreso if she manages to land on Charon.

Once she's there, though, she might have a little trouble getting off. Off the moon, I mean. It's -220 C, too cold for any car engine to start.

Re: What-If 0137: New Horizons

Posted: Tue Jul 21, 2015 9:51 pm UTC
by Sableagle
They couldn't sell the Nova (Italian or Latin or Greek or some such for "star") as a Nova in some places, because "no va" is Spanish for "doesn't go."


I was annoyed that Randall failed to specify what kind of gun. There's a lot of difference between a 250m/s .177 air rifle pellet or .25ACP or .45ACP pistol bullet, a 390m/s 9x19mm, a 450 m/s .357 Magnum, a 730 m/s 7.62x39mm and a 970m/s 5.56x45mm ...

... so I looked up American football field dimensions and did some maths.

14 km/s going 360 feet, from the back of one end-zone to the back of the other end-zone, takes long enough for the L86's 970m/s bullet to go 24.9 feet, 7603mm, not quite the depth of one end zone, and the M1911's 250m/s bullet to go 6.43 feet, 1959mm, not quite the length of a queen-size bed (except in Japan and Singapore, where they presumably had shorter queens).

15310.586 yards per second, a unit useful only in working out how long you've got between the "300 yds" sign and the junction.

1/127.588s of travel. Not even half a frame on a 60fps camera. At a brisk walk, 15.7mm of travel. 10.863 megaseconds from Earth to Sun in early July. Wait, no. There aren't 10 megaseconds in July. 10.863 megaseconds from where the Earth was in early July to the Sun. 125.73 days. 675752028571 seconds to go 1 light year. 90,858.6 years to proxima centauri.

"By 90,000 years ago

Modern humans make special tools for fishing"

Re: What-If 0137: New Horizons

Posted: Tue Jul 21, 2015 11:26 pm UTC
by gmalivuk
Sableagle wrote:They couldn't sell the Nova (Italian or Latin or Greek or some such for "star") as a Nova in some places, because "no va" is Spanish for "doesn't go."
You know Spanish comes from Latin, right? As a result, "nova" means the same thing in Spanish that it does in English.

"Nova" no more means "no go" in Spanish than "notable" means "without tables" in English.

Re: What-If 0137: New Horizons

Posted: Wed Jul 22, 2015 4:41 am UTC
by Esquire42
No va - "no go"
Knowing Spanish "estrella nueva" would probably be a more accurate translation for nova since it literally means "new star". And either way nova would get confused with no va. Especially speaking quickly.

Re: What-If 0137: New Horizons

Posted: Wed Jul 22, 2015 11:32 am UTC
by kodiac
gmalivuk wrote:"Nova" no more means "no go" in Spanish than "notable" means "without tables" in English.

I don't know Spanish, but I expect "no va" could have a different meaning to "nova".
Google Translate agrees with Sableagle, and says that Spanish "no va" = English "doesn't go".

Re: What-If 0137: New Horizons

Posted: Wed Jul 22, 2015 12:19 pm UTC
by gmalivuk
And "no table" means "without tables" in English, but that isn't what "notable" means. (And the difference in how Spanish pronounces 1 word vs. 2 words is similar to the difference in English, so "confusion" is just as likely in either language.)

Edit: In addition to the linguistic fact that Spanish speakers are as capable of distinguishing not-really-homophony as English speakers are, there's the simple historical fact that the "Nova doesn't go" story is a myth: http://www.snopes.com/business/misxlate/nova.asp

And despite the nonsense Esquire42 typed after "knowing Spanish", the word for a stellar nova in Spanish is the same as it is in English: https://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nova

(Think about it: "estrella nueva" might be a literal translation in Spanish, sure, but then so would "new star" in English, and yet that's not what we call them, either.)

Re: What-If 0137: New Horizons

Posted: Wed Jul 22, 2015 1:22 pm UTC
by speising
gmalivuk wrote:And "no table" means "without tables" in English, but that isn't what "notable" means. (And the difference in how Spanish pronounces 1 word vs. 2 words is similar to the difference in English, so "confusion" is just as likely in either language.)

Edit: In addition to the linguistic fact that Spanish speakers are as capable of distinguishing not-really-homophony as English speakers are, there's the simple historical fact that the "Nova doesn't go" story is a myth: http://www.snopes.com/business/misxlate/nova.asp

And despite the nonsense Esquire42 typed after "knowing Spanish", the word for a stellar nova in Spanish is the same as it is in English: https://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nova

(Think about it: "estrella nueva" might be a literal translation in Spanish, sure, but then so would "new star" in English, and yet that's not what we call them, either.)

all of this doesn't account for mischievous spaniards, who might misunderstand "nova" on purpose.

(a bank here had the slogan "in jeder beziehung zählen die menschen", which was immediately read as "..zahlen.." ("the people matter" vs. "the people pay"))

Re: What-If 0137: New Horizons

Posted: Wed Jul 22, 2015 4:34 pm UTC
by sevenperforce
gmalivuk wrote:"No table" means "without tables" in English, but that isn't what "notable" means. (And the difference in how Spanish pronounces 1 word vs. 2 words is similar to the difference in English, so "confusion" is just as likely in either language.)

Edit: In addition to the linguistic fact that Spanish speakers are as capable of distinguishing not-really-homophony as English speakers are, there's the simple historical fact that the "Nova doesn't go" story is a myth: http://www.snopes.com/business/misxlate/nova.asp.

Exactly. "Notable" doesn't mean "without tables", "carpet" is not a pet car, "notice" is not the opposite of frozen, "championship" is not the hip of a champion, "discontent" is not brought about by placing discs on tents, "magnets" are not nets intended for collecting discarded magazines, "catalogs" have nothing to do with cats or logs, and "solid" is never mistaken for the pairing of "so" and "lid".

Humorous though this old anecdote may be, it reflects something that's a bit less pleasant. Americans are pandemically monolingual and, as such, often lack appreciation for the complexities of other languages. Immigrants are often discriminated against and treated as less intelligent merely because they are less fluent in English, even when the person doing the discrimination hasn't the foggiest idea how to speak the immigrant's language at all. In jokes like "nova = no va" there's a subtle implication that native Spanish speakers, particularly of Hispanic descent have trouble distinguishing between words the way "we" can. You'll notice that the story never involves the Nova being sold in Spain, just in Hispanic countries; that's because Americans associate Spanish-speaking immigrants with Mexico and South/Central America. Best to retire this one.

But if you like that kind of joke, you can always go with Coca-Cola in China. Before Coca-Cola actually distributed to China, coke was sold by Chinese retailers with American labeling. Some retailers tried to render the American name in Chinese, which led to humorous translations like "bite the wax tadpole". Not a blunder by Coca-Cola, per se, but still funny.

Another interesting thing is how Japanese marketing often uses Roman characters as decorations on their signage because kanji cannot easily be stylized, which reflects a larger trend in the assimilation of Western culture within the post-war Japanese society.

Re: What-If 0137: New Horizons

Posted: Wed Jul 22, 2015 4:51 pm UTC
by Sableagle
Wrong Nova, wrong continent. Vauxhall Nova, and actual Spain itself, although the world's least reliable source not owned by Rupert Murdoch lists the Nova as the UK name for the Corsa (due to them not wanting a name that sounds like "less refined"), rather than the other way round.

Re: What-If 0137: New Horizons

Posted: Wed Jul 22, 2015 4:59 pm UTC
by HES
Sableagle wrote:not wanting a name that sounds like "less refined"
Which clearly hasn't mattered for the last 15 years

Re: What-If 0137: New Horizons

Posted: Wed Jul 22, 2015 5:26 pm UTC
by rmsgrey
sevenperforce wrote:
gmalivuk wrote:"No table" means "without tables" in English, but that isn't what "notable" means. (And the difference in how Spanish pronounces 1 word vs. 2 words is similar to the difference in English, so "confusion" is just as likely in either language.)

Edit: In addition to the linguistic fact that Spanish speakers are as capable of distinguishing not-really-homophony as English speakers are, there's the simple historical fact that the "Nova doesn't go" story is a myth: http://www.snopes.com/business/misxlate/nova.asp.

Exactly. "Notable" doesn't mean "without tables", "carpet" is not a pet car, "notice" is not the opposite of frozen, "championship" is not the hip of a champion, "discontent" is not brought about by placing discs on tents, "magnets" are not nets intended for collecting discarded magazines, "catalogs" have nothing to do with cats or logs, and "solid" is never mistaken for the pairing of "so" and "lid".


And psychotherapist is someone you do want to talk to, rather than someone to stay well clear of...

Re: What-If 0137: New Horizons

Posted: Wed Jul 22, 2015 5:57 pm UTC
by keithl
The New Horizon spacecraft weighs about half a ton, and has gone 3 billion miles. Assuming that launch costs were half of the $700M mission cost, we put New Horizons out there for about 20 cents per ton-mile. Ocean container shipping is about one cent per ton-mile, IIRC.

The cost savings message is clear. For the next Pluto mission, we should use ocean container shipping. At 15 knots, that mission will arrive at Pluto in 20,000 years.

Or else hit Robin's car.

Re: What-If 0137: New Horizons

Posted: Wed Jul 22, 2015 11:58 pm UTC
by Sableagle
HES wrote:
Sableagle wrote:not wanting a name that sounds like "less refined"
Which clearly hasn't mattered for the last 15 years

Fair one.

Now I wonder what "corsa" actually means, and whether it's related to "hare coursing" in some way.

They had a serious design flaw back in '97 or so. The driver's footwell, instead of the usual "clutch ... brake accelerator," went: "C-B-A-wheeeeeeelllaaarrrch," so one had to drive with both feet on the left side. Bad for the back if your knees fit under the wheel, murder on your right knee if they didn't.

Re: What-If 0137: New Horizons

Posted: Thu Jul 23, 2015 2:06 pm UTC
by tomsing
sevenperforce wrote:Exactly. "Notable" doesn't mean "without tables", "carpet" is not a pet car, "notice" is not the opposite of frozen, "championship" is not the hip of a champion, "discontent" is not brought about by placing discs on tents, "magnets" are not nets intended for collecting discarded magazines, "catalogs" have nothing to do with cats or logs, and "solid" is never mistaken for the pairing of "so" and "lid".

Humorous though this old anecdote may be, it reflects something that's a bit less pleasant.


It's really no different than the various backronyms that people come up with for cars, like the joke that Ford stands for Fix Or Repair Daily, or Found On Road Dead. I don't think anybody that tells this story intends to convey that people in Mexico or wherever really believed the car was named "doesn't go". They're just saying that the name was bad branding, an easy target for a joke - it's a jab at GM/Chevy, not at Spanish speakers. Much the same as people said that the iPad brought to mind a feminine hygiene product. If you were in the furniture business, and you named your company Notable Tables, well, you're going to have fun poked at you. (And you're probably making a joke yourself, and if that's your intent, great.)

Re: What-If 0137: New Horizons

Posted: Thu Jul 23, 2015 3:40 pm UTC
by sevenperforce
tomsing wrote:I don't think anybody that tells this story intends to convey that people in Mexico or wherever really believed the car was named "doesn't go".

Yet that's what everyone I've ever heard tell the story seems to insist.

Re: What-If 0137: New Horizons

Posted: Thu Jul 23, 2015 5:04 pm UTC
by gmalivuk
I haven't heard anyone tell the story as though Mexicans truly believed that was intended as the name, though everyone who tells it certainly seems to think they couldn't help but read it that way nonetheless.

However, I think it's more in line with the JFK German "I am a jelly doughnut" myth, where the butt of the joke is the alleged person who was in charge of translating (or not, as in the case of the Nova).