1402: "Harpoons"

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1402: "Harpoons"

Postby Neil_Boekend » Fri Aug 01, 2014 11:35 am UTC

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To motivate it to fire its harpoons hard enough, Rosetta's Philae lander has been programmed to believe it is trying to kill the comet.

This graph does not represent all the harpoons the spacewhalers of zlorblach use.
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Re: 1402: "Harpoons"

Postby pkcommando » Fri Aug 01, 2014 11:48 am UTC

What about the Whalers on the Moon? They carry a harpoon.

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Re: 1402: "Harpoons"

Postby FrobozzWizard » Fri Aug 01, 2014 11:49 am UTC

There will be a significant uptick in the not-too-distant future (next Sunday, A.D.), though:

"We're whalers on the moon
We carry a harpoon
But there ain't no whales
So we tell tall tales
And sing our whaling tune."

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Re: 1402: "Harpoons"

Postby thermopile » Fri Aug 01, 2014 12:05 pm UTC

OK, I'll bite. What is the "Apollo 12 Rum Incident"?? The Google does not explain.

Those on the moon were Alan Bean and Pete Conrad, with Richard Gordon circling in the Command Module. But no mention of rum, or of any incidents...

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Re: 1402: "Harpoons"

Postby HES » Fri Aug 01, 2014 12:07 pm UTC

Do we have the capacity to fire harpoons from the ground to (some definition of) space?
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Re: 1402: "Harpoons"

Postby Xenomortis » Fri Aug 01, 2014 12:09 pm UTC

We could probably build a suitably powerful coil gun (or railgun) - would be pretty expensive though.
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Re: 1402: "Harpoons"

Postby ShuRugal » Fri Aug 01, 2014 12:42 pm UTC

HES wrote:Do we have the capacity to fire harpoons from the ground to (some definition of) space?



The problem with firing things from the ground is that you do all the acceleration where the atmosphere is the most dense: Your harpoon would have to have enough velocity to overcome the ridiculous aerodynamic drag experienced by a projectile with enough velocity to overcome gravity long enough to reach space (which it is going to need in addition to the drag-overcoming velocity), all on its own momentum.

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Re: 1402: "Harpoons"

Postby Mutex » Fri Aug 01, 2014 12:43 pm UTC

And the velocity to which the harpoon would have to be accelerated by the gun (around 11km/s) would vaporise the harpoon before it left the atmosphere.

(EDIT: Posted this before I saw ShuRugal's post but it works surprisingly well as a follow on.)
Last edited by Mutex on Fri Aug 01, 2014 12:46 pm UTC, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: 1402: "Harpoons"

Postby keithl » Fri Aug 01, 2014 12:45 pm UTC

thermopile wrote:OK, I'll bite. What is the "Apollo 12 Rum Incident"?? The Google does not explain.

Those on the moon were Alan Bean and Pete Conrad, with Richard Gordon circling in the Command Module. But no mention of rum, or of any incidents...

Oh, the things we don't hear about. Someday, the Apollo 10 Second Stage Hydrogen Tank Compressed Air Incident will become public knowledge, after an aging friend gains the protection of the Next World Statute of Limitations. Read "Wheels Stop" by Rick Houston for similar WTF incidents during shuttle. The Apollo 12 Rum Incident may be xkcd humor, but Randal no doubt heard much wilder stories at NASA. Space is conquered by outrageous, disciplined rule breaking.

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Re: 1402: "Harpoons"

Postby cellocgw » Fri Aug 01, 2014 1:05 pm UTC

My initial thought was 'Any other microbrews in space?'

But as long as I'm here, anyone know the origin of Mr. Yupychil?
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Re: 1402: "Harpoons"

Postby keithl » Fri Aug 01, 2014 1:29 pm UTC

HES wrote:Do we have the capacity to fire harpoons from the ground to (some definition of) space?

Well, there's the famous Ariane 5 "spool of wire to space" launch.

Rocketspool1.jpg
Real actual historical picture, slightly enhanced.
Seriously, harpoons can be deployed by rockets, not guns, and harpoons don't pull tether, they unroll static tether behind them. Also google "wire guided missile". To reach space at 100 km (as opposed to orbit) you only need 1500 m/s of velocity, and you don't need to apply it impulsively, instead you accelerate where the air gets thin.

The biggest worry is lightning. The red pointy lightning towers are designed to keep the bad electrical mojo away from avionics. The ionized exhaust plume of the rocket couples efficiently to the ionosphere, and a conductive wire to the ground would attract mega-amp discharges, and vaporize for that reason. So the tether must be both strong and nonconductive and tolerate high volts per meter.

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Re: 1402: "Harpoons"

Postby cct » Fri Aug 01, 2014 1:51 pm UTC

keithl wrote:This graph does not represent all the harpoons the spacewhalers of zlorblach use.


I think he meant "Number of human-created harpoons in space," unless he knows that no non-human space-faring creatures take harpoons into space (to comply with the Interstellar Strategic Harpoons Limitations Treaty, which prohibits non-nuclear armaments). I wish I had that degree of trust in other creatures.

Do weeven know that other countries (Nauru, for example) are not stockpiling harpoons in secret caches on their so-called "communications" satellites?

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Re: 1402: "Harpoons"

Postby Paul A. Clayton » Fri Aug 01, 2014 1:59 pm UTC

HES wrote:Do we have the capacity to fire harpoons from the ground to (some definition of) space?


The Wikipedia article on the Super High Altitude Research Project might be of interest: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Super_High_Altitude_Research_Project (Sorry about not making this a link; with a true url the post is flagged as spam.)

SHARP was a follow-on from HARP (no "oon"☺).

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Re: 1402: "Harpoons"

Postby richP » Fri Aug 01, 2014 2:37 pm UTC

Apollo 12 Rum incident? According to teh intertubes, a Harpoon contains vodka:

http://www.mr-booze.com/2010/03/17/harpoon/

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Re: 1402: "Harpoons"

Postby Whizbang » Fri Aug 01, 2014 2:42 pm UTC

richP wrote:Apollo 12 Rum incident? According to teh intertubes, a Harpoon contains vodka:

http://www.mr-booze.com/2010/03/17/harpoon/



Which is why it was an incident. They fully planned to make harpoons, but someone accidentally packed the rum instead. A fight broke out and they did not go to space that day.

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Re: 1402: "Harpoons"

Postby sla29970 » Fri Aug 01, 2014 2:46 pm UTC

In my opinion the stinger used on STS-51-A counts as a harpoon, but perhaps considerations about how it was used prevent such acknowledgement.

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Re: 1402: "Harpoons"

Postby Vir4030 » Fri Aug 01, 2014 2:49 pm UTC

Harpoon is a brand of Jamaican Rum which contains 73% alcohol by volume.

I think Apollo 12 would be the crew most likely to take risks and party. If any crew were going to smuggle some alcohol on board, it would have been them. I think it's likely that Randall simply picked Apollo 12 to make this double-meaning of "Harpoon" joke because they were the most likely crew to do such a thing.

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Re: 1402: "Harpoons"

Postby Angry_B8 » Fri Aug 01, 2014 3:05 pm UTC

At SpaceUp Paris last year Mark Bentley (Who works on one of the instruments on Rosetta) gave an awesome five minute presentation about just how cool the harpoons and everything else on the Philae lander are.

I have a link, but can't share it due to the 5 posts rule, but you can find it on the spaceup france site, in the recap from spaceup Paris 2013, day 2 part 1, starting at about 29 minutes. It's really well worth a watch. It's also on the ESA youtube channel, using the right search words will probably find it.

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Re: 1402: "Harpoons"

Postby San Fran Sam » Fri Aug 01, 2014 3:43 pm UTC

So did the Rosetta Comet take a leg off the lander or something?

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Re: 1402: "Harpoons"

Postby CapCouillon » Fri Aug 01, 2014 4:02 pm UTC

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Re: 1402: "Harpoons"

Postby Canonical » Fri Aug 01, 2014 4:07 pm UTC

thermopile wrote:OK, I'll bite. What is the "Apollo 12 Rum Incident"?? The Google does not explain.

Those on the moon were Alan Bean and Pete Conrad, with Richard Gordon circling in the Command Module. But no mention of rum, or of any incidents...


This refers to the little-known incident involving Dick Gordon and the cask of rum carried on all lunar missions; the rum was carried in case any specimens needed to be preserved for transport (think Admiral Horatio Nelson's body). In any case, Gordon was lonely and bored during the mission, accessed the rum and fired one of the ship's harpoons at a passing Soviet probe believing it to be one of the "sky whales" the Apollo crews had been warned about (NASA engineers do like to kid around). The crew had a good laugh about the incident later, but NASA, fearing possible political and/or diplomatic fall-out from the incident, hushed it up. The incident only came to light years later in a footnote in Alan Bean's My Life as an Astronaut.**

**The foregoing is, of course, total tosh. As a total aside, I've enjoyed XKCD cartoons for a couple of years, but have only now found the courage to post to the forums, so greetings.

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Re: 1402: "Harpoons"

Postby ClassicEeets » Fri Aug 01, 2014 5:29 pm UTC

CapCouillon,
Today you win the internets, sir.

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Re: 1402: "Harpoons"

Postby da Doctah » Fri Aug 01, 2014 8:19 pm UTC

I can't believe that not one of the many people who have been in space in the last 55 years have brought along a harmonica, called a "harpoon" in the classic tune "Me and Bobby McGee".

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Re: 1402: "Harpoons"

Postby BlitzGirl » Fri Aug 01, 2014 11:35 pm UTC

A harmonica was actually one of the first two instruments played in space (along with bells), on Gemini 6:

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Re: 1402: "Harpoons"

Postby Wooloomooloo » Sat Aug 02, 2014 12:10 am UTC

"To motivate it to fire its harpoons hard enough, Rosetta's Philae lander has been programmed to believe it is trying to kill the comet."

Horrible, horrible idea! What if it decides to throw a scuba tank at it instead, then try to shoot it with a shotgun?!?

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Re: 1402: "Harpoons"

Postby CapCouillon » Sat Aug 02, 2014 2:51 am UTC

ClassicEeets wrote:CapCouillon,
Today you win the internets, sir.


Thanks so much.... Now just to figure out where to keep it.

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Re: 1402: "Harpoons"

Postby RogueCynic » Sat Aug 02, 2014 3:39 am UTC

CapCouillon wrote:
ClassicEeets wrote:CapCouillon,
Today you win the internets, sir.


Thanks so much.... Now just to figure out where to keep it.

You can leave it on a flash drive. People erroneously believe it is huge, but it is only a couple of megs big. A vestigial file called kernel32.exe or kernel64.exe horribly boats it. If you delete it and reboot, you should be okay.
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Re: 1402: "Harpoons"

Postby Tova » Sat Aug 02, 2014 4:22 am UTC

It's a graph joke with two references. Glory be.

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Re: 1402: "Harpoons"

Postby nobleham » Sat Aug 02, 2014 6:58 am UTC

I don't get it. Is the comet some kind of metaphor for the futility of revenge or is it a real comet?

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Re: 1402: "Harpoons"

Postby orthogon » Sat Aug 02, 2014 7:43 am UTC

Some info on the history of alcohol in space. Seems NASA experimented with sherry before abandoning the idea for a number of technical and PR reasons. The USSR had a more liberal approach, apparently.

Meanwhile, research reveals a massive cloud of alcohol in space. If this is the result of unauthorized activity by the Apollo 12 crew, there's much more than one bottle, and it's mainly methanol. I suspect an illicit still constructed onboard, probably driven by solar radiation. In other words, not so much moonshine, as sunshine...
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Re: 1402: "Harpoons"

Postby Casey » Sat Aug 02, 2014 7:46 am UTC

Wooloomooloo wrote:
"To motivate it to fire its harpoons hard enough, Rosetta's Philae lander has been programmed to believe it is trying to kill the comet."

Horrible, horrible idea! What if it decides to throw a scuba tank at it instead, then try to shoot it with a shotgun?!?

You're gonna need a bigger probe.

-c.

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Re: 1402: "Harpoons"

Postby Meneth » Sat Aug 02, 2014 9:01 am UTC

From Roxette's The First Girl on the Moon: "She brought a ray gun and her old harpoon, just in case of accidents"

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Re: 1402: "Harpoons"

Postby bjowen » Sat Aug 02, 2014 3:49 pm UTC

The graph only goes up to 2020... the Whalers on the Moon might show up somewhere between then and 3000-ish.

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Re: 1402: "Harpoons"

Postby El gato » Sat Aug 02, 2014 7:08 pm UTC

Dear Lord. Funny. Mental note, don't get on stage. Barely escaped with my pants. Surprisingly aggressive.

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Re: 1402: "Harpoons"

Postby The Moomin » Sat Aug 02, 2014 9:46 pm UTC

FrobozzWizard wrote:There will be a significant uptick in the not-too-distant future (next Sunday, A.D.), though:

"We're whalers on the moon
We carry a harpoon
But there ain't no whales
So we tell tall tales
And sing our whaling tune."


What if possession of harpoons is one of their tall tales?

Also, it sounds as if they carry just the one harpoon between all of them?
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Re: 1402: "Harpoons"

Postby geodesy99 » Sun Aug 03, 2014 4:49 pm UTC

From Apollo 12 Preliminary Science Report NASA SP-235

"The Apollo 12 core-tube bit is far from optimal in design, but results in a smaller range of uncertainty. On the other hand, hammering a core into the soil is known to cause more disturbance to the sample than if the core is PUSHED into the soil at a HIGH, CONSTANT SPEED." ... ( S.P. rum NASA misspelling, they really meant 'rhumb, for horizontal or any of the 32 points of the compass ) for the sampling pattern.
Last edited by geodesy99 on Mon Aug 04, 2014 12:25 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 1402: "Harpoons"

Postby Ae7flux » Sun Aug 03, 2014 6:33 pm UTC

CapCouillon wrote:
ClassicEeets wrote:CapCouillon,
Today you win the internets, sir.


Thanks so much.... Now just to figure out where to keep it.


I hear this new-fangled cloud thingy is a good place to store stuff.
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Re: 1402: "Harpoons"

Postby Neil_Boekend » Mon Aug 04, 2014 5:41 am UTC

bjowen wrote:The graph only goes up to 2020... the Whalers on the Moon might show up somewhere between then and 3000-ish.

According to The Infosphere they will be believed to be the first people on the moon. According to Wikipedia the first people on the moon landed in 1969.
That means the people who will become to be known as the whalers on the moon have already been there. However, they did not sing their whaling tune.
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*gives up*
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Re: 1402: "Harpoons"

Postby jpvlsmv » Wed Aug 06, 2014 2:35 pm UTC

In space, nobody can hear you whale. Nor wail. Norwhal.

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Re: 1402: "Harpoons"

Postby rick.s » Thu Aug 07, 2014 3:40 pm UTC

jpvlsmv wrote:In space, nobody can hear you whale. Nor wail. Norwhal.


Narwhal, a guided, self-propelled space-harpoon. The whalers of the moon must be great defenders.


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