Nasa, perhaps this is a hint...

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Nasa, perhaps this is a hint...

Postby Technical Ben » Wed Aug 17, 2011 7:49 am UTC

http://www.physorg.com/news/2011-08-gia ... -moon.html

Giant arrow shaped cloud appears on Saturn's Moon.
I don't care if it's a natural formation, just for the giggles, NASA need to go there now.
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Re: Nasa, perhaps this is a hint...

Postby Glmclain » Wed Aug 17, 2011 8:15 am UTC

With the way US Politics are turning, I don't think NASA's going ANYWHERE anytime soon...
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Re: Nasa, perhaps this is a hint...

Postby Arancaytar » Wed Aug 17, 2011 11:11 am UTC

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Re: Nasa, perhaps this is a hint...

Postby Plasma Man » Wed Aug 17, 2011 11:36 am UTC

I'm thinking that just over the horizon, there is written "I'm with stupid".
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Re: Nasa, perhaps this is a hint...

Postby Gellert1984 » Wed Aug 17, 2011 11:41 am UTC

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Re: Nasa, perhaps this is a hint...

Postby existentialpanda » Wed Aug 17, 2011 4:48 pm UTC

"We apologize for the inconvenience."

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Re: Nasa, perhaps this is a hint...

Postby Weeks » Wed Aug 17, 2011 4:55 pm UTC

inb4 clouds shaped like Jesus's face
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Re: Nasa, perhaps this is a hint...

Postby phonon266737 » Wed Aug 17, 2011 6:01 pm UTC

Technical Ben wrote:Giant arrow shaped cloud appears on Saturn's Moon.
I don't care if it's a natural formation, just for the giggles, NASA need to go there now.


Umm..We have Cassini there..it took the photo to begin with. Is that not good enough!?

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Re: Nasa, perhaps this is a hint...

Postby Gelsamel » Wed Aug 17, 2011 7:57 pm UTC

And after that we should look for that face on the Moon and on Mars and all the other patterns people see in the sky.
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Re: Nasa, perhaps this is a hint...

Postby Technical Ben » Wed Aug 17, 2011 9:30 pm UTC

phonon266737 wrote:
Technical Ben wrote:Giant arrow shaped cloud appears on Saturn's Moon.
I don't care if it's a natural formation, just for the giggles, NASA need to go there now.


Umm..We have Cassini there..it took the photo to begin with. Is that not good enough!?


Well we are close. But it's like "come closer... closer!"
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Re: Nasa, perhaps this is a hint...

Postby Dauric » Wed Aug 17, 2011 9:36 pm UTC

Gelsamel wrote:And after that we should look for that face on the Moon and on Mars and all the other patterns people see in the sky.


It's called Tourism, and if that's the industry that advances space flight as a technology then I'm all for it.

Computers used to be effectively expensive toys. Gadgets for the wealthy and wanna-be rocket-scientists to play with in their dens. Now they're an integral part of our daily lives and a fundamental part of our infrastructure.

So sure, right now it may be frivolous to go hunting for the Man in the Moon or the Face on Mars, but it may be just the first step that manned spaceflight needs to move on to more practical applications.
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Re: Nasa, perhaps this is a hint...

Postby userxp » Wed Aug 17, 2011 10:23 pm UTC

Gelsamel wrote:And after that we should look for that face on the Moon and on Mars and all the other patterns people see in the sky.

Are you insinuating that they aren't alien signals? But look!
Spoiler:
Image

There are all sorts of angles and stuff in Mars! This can't be a coincidence!

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Re: Nasa, perhaps this is a hint...

Postby Glass Fractal » Wed Aug 17, 2011 10:36 pm UTC

Isn't Eureka sending a man mission to Titan, or is that still classified?

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Re: Nasa, perhaps this is a hint...

Postby Thesh » Thu Aug 18, 2011 12:46 am UTC

Glass Fractal wrote:Isn't Eureka sending a man mission to Titan, or is that still classified?


Yep, in a spaceship constructed out of tungsten... For some reason.
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Re: Nasa, perhaps this is a hint...

Postby The Reaper » Thu Aug 18, 2011 1:04 am UTC

Thesh wrote:
Glass Fractal wrote:Isn't Eureka sending a man mission to Titan, or is that still classified?

Yep, in a spaceship constructed out of tungsten... For some reason.

wiki wrote:Of all metals in pure form, tungsten has the highest melting point (3,422 °C, 6,192 °F), lowest vapor pressure (at temperatures above 1,650 °C, 3,000 °F) and the highest tensile strength.
A high melting point and tensile strength seems useful. high density possibly helps with making it rad-resistant. Also toxic to animal life, may be able to withstand being eaten by giant space amoeba.

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Re: Nasa, perhaps this is a hint...

Postby KittenKaboodle » Thu Aug 18, 2011 2:15 am UTC

Dauric wrote:
Gelsamel wrote:And after that we should look for that face on the Moon and on Mars and all the other patterns people see in the sky.


It's called Tourism, and if that's the industry that advances space flight as a technology then I'm all for it.

Computers used to be effectively expensive toys. Gadgets for the wealthy and wanna-be rocket-scientists to play with in their dens. Now they're an integral part of our daily lives and a fundamental part of our infrastructure.

So sure, right now it may be frivolous to go hunting for the Man in the Moon or the Face on Mars, but it may be just the first step that manned spaceflight needs to move on to more practical applications.


Maybe not the best possible example, computers got cheap/common because transistors got smaller, unless you know a bunch of very wealthy fleas who want to be space tourists, the cost of accelerating a tourist to orbital velocity (or higher) will never be affordable to any but a small minority. Of that small minority who could afford it, I suspect very few would actually want to engage is such an expensive and risky activity once the novelty/cachet of being the one of the first to do so is gone.

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Re: Nasa, perhaps this is a hint...

Postby PeterCai » Thu Aug 18, 2011 2:56 am UTC

I guess a more appropriate example is commercial planes then?

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Re: Nasa, perhaps this is a hint...

Postby Kulantan » Thu Aug 18, 2011 3:03 am UTC

KittenKaboodle wrote:Maybe not the best possible example, computers got cheap/common because transistors got smaller, unless you know a bunch of very wealthy fleas who want to be space tourists, the cost of accelerating a tourist to orbital velocity (or higher) will never be affordable to any but a small minority. Of that small minority who could afford it, I suspect very few would actually want to engage is such an expensive and risky activity once the novelty/cachet of being the one of the first to do so is gone.

I don't know any fleas, but there are proposals which could get us into orbit for $300ish/kg rather than the shuttle's $10,416/kg. What we really need to do is declare a War on Space so that we can spend hundreds of billions of dollars to build non-rocket launch systems.
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Re: Nasa, perhaps this is a hint...

Postby Jahoclave » Thu Aug 18, 2011 4:09 am UTC

Kulantan wrote:
KittenKaboodle wrote:Maybe not the best possible example, computers got cheap/common because transistors got smaller, unless you know a bunch of very wealthy fleas who want to be space tourists, the cost of accelerating a tourist to orbital velocity (or higher) will never be affordable to any but a small minority. Of that small minority who could afford it, I suspect very few would actually want to engage is such an expensive and risky activity once the novelty/cachet of being the one of the first to do so is gone.

I don't know any fleas, but there are proposals which could get us into orbit for $300ish/kg rather than the shuttle's $10,416/kg. What we really need to do is declare a War on Space so that we can spend hundreds of billions of dollars to build non-rocket launch systems.

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Re: Nasa, perhaps this is a hint...

Postby fuzzycuzzy » Thu Aug 18, 2011 5:21 am UTC

I love this:

humans:
How do we make them find us? Hmmm... let's try viewing incredibly narrow bands of radio for anything out of the ordinary

aliens:
let's draw an arrow in the clouds that points to us



now it's time for the galaxies favorite gameshow: "SPOT THAT INTELLIGENT SPECIES!" with our host, Caaaaaaaaaaaaaarl Sagan........'s friend's nephew's relative of some sort

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Re: Nasa, perhaps this is a hint...

Postby sourmìlk » Thu Aug 18, 2011 6:04 am UTC

I'm getting the impression that Niel Degrasse Tyson is the new Carl Sagan.

Anyways
What we really need to do is declare a War on Space

Wasn't this basically the 1960s? Whichever superpower could kill space the first was the winner or something. I want another cold war though, just for the space program. China's a bit risky: how about Liechtenstein?
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Re: Nasa, perhaps this is a hint...

Postby Kulantan » Thu Aug 18, 2011 8:48 am UTC

Nah, it should be like the war on terror. Asteroids are a threat to our society. We should invade the place that harbours them. The declare war on a nearby but unrelated target that we have a long time grudge against, say Mars, whilst implying that it is connected to the harbouring asteroids thing.

The only difference would be that the resources we want are more like to come from the first target rather than the second in this case.

The only problem with the plan is the lack of meteorite 9/11.
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Re: Nasa, perhaps this is a hint...

Postby Zamfir » Thu Aug 18, 2011 10:00 am UTC

Kulantan wrote:I don't know any fleas, but there are proposals which could get us into orbit for $300ish/kg rather than the shuttle's $10,416/kg. What we really need to do is declare a War on Space so that we can spend hundreds of billions of dollars to build non-rocket launch systems.

A launch loop is at the very least a 80 km high unsupported bridge across the Atlantic ocean, with its own built-in drive system (based on the well-proven technology of a 50,000 km/hr magnetic belt). That $300/kg estimate is based on the originators estimate that the loop will cost around $10 billion.

Back in the real world, the largest single-span bridge has a span of 2 km, 65 meters over the water. Cars on it have to drive themselves and are not pulled by a nice magnetic field. It took around 6 billion dollar to build, somewhat more in current dollars.

So at 10 billion for a cross-Atlantic connection, you'd expect it be profitable to build a 1/100 scale 'launch' loop just as a bridge over, say, the Channel. But for some reason, people still stick to those expensive suspension bridges and tunnels.

Perhaps that 10 billion estimate is a bit on the low side, made by someone who doesn't have a single clue what large scale projects actually cost, who just pulled a nice round number from his hat.

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Re: Nasa, perhaps this is a hint...

Postby Kulantan » Thu Aug 18, 2011 10:29 am UTC

Yeah, I'd expect it to cost more. Which is why I'm using the most expensive estimate I could find and I'm not mentioning that the estimate is the one for a one year pay back. It might be a guess but I'd rather trust the expert who has thought about it for awhile to give at least ballpark figure (and then presume it was going to cost x10 as much, but to be paid off over ten years rather than one).

The funny thing about your post is the first sentence talks of the technical difficulties yet to be overcome, primarily the 50,000 km/hr magnetic belt, yet you then you ask why we are using suspension bridges. Zamfir, why didn't the Romans just build a high speed rail network rather than those slow old roads? I'm sure they could have held the empire together better that way.

Also, it ain't exactly a bridge if it has a diameter of 30ish cm.
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Re: Nasa, perhaps this is a hint...

Postby AvatarIII » Thu Aug 18, 2011 10:46 am UTC

Kulantan wrote:The only problem with the plan is the lack of meteorite 9/11.


i'm sure that could be arranged. :twisted: [/conspiracytheorist]

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Re: Nasa, perhaps this is a hint...

Postby Soralin » Thu Aug 18, 2011 11:15 am UTC

Zamfir wrote:
Kulantan wrote:I don't know any fleas, but there are proposals which could get us into orbit for $300ish/kg rather than the shuttle's $10,416/kg. What we really need to do is declare a War on Space so that we can spend hundreds of billions of dollars to build non-rocket launch systems.

A launch loop is at the very least a 80 km high unsupported bridge across the Atlantic ocean, with its own built-in drive system (based on the well-proven technology of a 50,000 km/hr magnetic belt). That $300/kg estimate is based on the originators estimate that the loop will cost around $10 billion.

Back in the real world, the largest single-span bridge has a span of 2 km, 65 meters over the water. Cars on it have to drive themselves and are not pulled by a nice magnetic field. It took around 6 billion dollar to build, somewhat more in current dollars.

So at 10 billion for a cross-Atlantic connection, you'd expect it be profitable to build a 1/100 scale 'launch' loop just as a bridge over, say, the Channel. But for some reason, people still stick to those expensive suspension bridges and tunnels.

Perhaps that 10 billion estimate is a bit on the low side, made by someone who doesn't have a single clue what large scale projects actually cost, who just pulled a nice round number from his hat.

Well not really, a launch loop has some limitations that would prevent it from being scaled down like that, or being used like a bridge would.

One main limitation is that you can't slow down the speed of the cable/belt. It has to be moving at speeds greater than orbital velocity in order to not fall down, and in order to support the weight of non-moving components, like the sheath and cargo and such, it has to be moving faster still to support their weight. And how much faster it would have to be would be proportional to (mass of belt/mass of everything supported). So lots of additional non-belt weight on the system, would require the belt to move that much faster to support it.

So, the Channel, at it's narrowest, would be about 34km, but since the cable has to be moving at the same speed to support everything, the turnaround stations for the cable would still have to be the same size at about 28km in diameter or so, at each end. And with the turnaround stations needing to be the same size, with all the same requirements, that's likely what would take most of the costs right there. The length of the cable running between them would likely be a rather small amount in comparison, and so a Channel "bridge" would likely be close to the cost of a full launch loop.

On top of that, it would make a rather poor bridge for things like cars and standard cargo. It's well suited to moving small objects up to very high speeds, but it doesn't work very well for moving large objects at slower speeds. For one thing, the weight limitations that I mentioned above, the more weight you try to put on the system, the faster/more massive the cable needs to be, and correspondingly the turnaround stations to handle it. If you didn't mind moving one or two cars across at a time it might work well, although note that this would only accelerate things in one direction, if you wanted to slow down again, that might be a bit of a problem. I suppose you could use a platform supported on both cables, using electromagnets to accelerate first using one, and then decelerate again using the other. But then, since you'd be using both cables, you'd be limited to one platform, moving in one direction, back and forth, at any given time. And weight limitations would restrict how much you could place on it.

And that shorter 2km bridge is likely much much more massive than a 1000x longer loop itself would be, I mean, it's a 5cm diameter cable, or something similar, and that's basically it. It's not something that would be big enough to drive on, or even stand on really, although you could support a platform between both ends of the cable (although not along it's entire length, that would be far too heavy). Anything being launched would be supported electromagnetically by the same effect that accelerates it. The loop itself would have cables periodically to hold it down, and turnaround stations which would be the same size independent of the length of the cable.

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Re: Nasa, perhaps this is a hint...

Postby Zamfir » Thu Aug 18, 2011 12:17 pm UTC

Yeah, you're right, scaling it down doesn't work at all.

I don't see how the "one platform" thing works, though. The big launch limit on the launch loop is that the energy and momentum put into the vehicles leave the system and have to be made up for by the power stations. That's far less of a problem if the vehicles stay on the track and slow down again at the end, and if they don't have to reach orbital velocities themselves. Go up to a few thousand km/hour, cruise, slow down perhaps even by air resistance.

If really troublesome, it would still be a nice high-speed bridge if you needed normal aircraft or rocket engines to get to cruising speed, with loop only there for lift.

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Re: Nasa, perhaps this is a hint...

Postby Soralin » Thu Aug 18, 2011 9:28 pm UTC

Zamfir wrote:Yeah, you're right, scaling it down doesn't work at all.

I don't see how the "one platform" thing works, though. The big launch limit on the launch loop is that the energy and momentum put into the vehicles leave the system and have to be made up for by the power stations. That's far less of a problem if the vehicles stay on the track and slow down again at the end, and if they don't have to reach orbital velocities themselves. Go up to a few thousand km/hour, cruise, slow down perhaps even by air resistance.

If really troublesome, it would still be a nice high-speed bridge if you needed normal aircraft or rocket engines to get to cruising speed, with loop only there for lift.

The platform thing came out of thinking how you'd get it to work in practice. I was thinking of how you could use it like a normal bridge, with cars and such, which would mean that either every car would have to have an electromagnet to clamp around the cable, or they'd have to drive onto a platform or container, a ferry of sorts, that could attach to the cable. The problem is, one cable will only accelerate things in one direction, so you can use it to speed up, but you can't use it to slow down again at the other end, so I was thinking, if you strung that platform/ferry between both cables(the cable going one way, and the same cable coming back in the other direction), then you could use one to accelerate up to speed, and then use the other to accelerate back down to stationary with respect to the Earth.

Perhaps a bigger problem, is that I think the electromagnetically supported effect is tied to the acceleration effect. In other words, if you're electromagnetically supporting yourself on the cable, you're going to get accelerated along it at about 3g, whether you want to or not. And if you're not electromagnetically supported, you're going to be sliding, or scraping, directly on the outside of the cable sheath, at very high speeds. I think at least, not as sure on this point.

These aren't much of a problem for a spacecraft, because it doesn't particularly care about things like slowing down at the far end, or not going along at maximum acceleration, it simply detaches from the cable when it hits its desired speed, and sails off away from the planet.

Hmm, when I think about it, something like a glider might work well for this, it could be accelerated up to speed along the cable, and then scale back it's electromagnet, and be supported by the air, by it's wings, and just use the cable for some minor acceleration. And then it could simply detach at the far end, and land like a normal glider would. Although just putting an engine and some fuel tanks on your gliders instead would likely be much cheaper. :)

Or heck, you could even run the cable under the water, and have it accelerate a boat along. And if you did that, you wouldn't even need it to be moving very fast, since you could just have it float or something instead, although it would still likely be more expensive than just putting a normal engine on your ship. And if you were doing that, you wouldn't even need to bother with accelerating it magnetically(other than perhaps as a test run for a full loop), you could just mechanically pull it along, although you might have a bit of trouble attaching to it if it's moving very fast, or at a continous speed. A spacecraft on the other hand, actually needs all of that extra speed, and doing it at ground level means you have air resistance to deal with. And as long as you have that speed, might as well run it along at 80km where the air is thin, since it's all basically self-supporting anyway.

And leaving the fuel tanks behind becomes a lot more useful when your ship is already 95% fuel or so. I mean, for example:
Spoiler:
Saturn V
Image
Image
The Saturn V rocket, essentially, everything below that top black line is fuel, and rocket engines. Not to mention a good chunk of what's above that line is fuel as well. And all of the fuel tanks and rocket engines end up getting discarded, making them one-time use. If you had a launch loop, you could do a mission to land on the moon, and come back, with only that uppermost section alone. :) And get into earth orbit with even less still.

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Re: Nasa, perhaps this is a hint...

Postby Technical Ben » Fri Aug 19, 2011 10:51 am UTC

A launch loop makes a space elevator look like child's play.
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Re: Nasa, perhaps this is a hint...

Postby cephalopod9 » Sat Aug 20, 2011 10:46 am UTC

What this highlights for me, is that NASA is in dire need of a new PR department.
Shouldn't we get more mileage out of "Holy cow, Pictures of a whole other planet!" instead of "In this one picture, this natural occurrence vaguely resembles a very basic symbol at a specific angle"?
They could Social Network it up, remind people what spacecrafts are where and give 'em photo albums.
But I guess they're too busy drawing made up pictures to get people excited about stories that should be pretty damn interesting on their own.
Image

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Re: Nasa, perhaps this is a hint...

Postby Enokh » Sat Aug 20, 2011 4:44 pm UTC

Kulantan wrote:Nah, it should be like the war on terror. Asteroids are a threat to our society. We should invade the place that harbours them. The declare war on a nearby but unrelated target that we have a long time grudge against, say Mars, whilst implying that it is connected to the harbouring asteroids thing.


Say there . . .those two moons you have are awfully misshapen and lumpy, Mars. You sure they aren't actually asteroids in DISGUISE?!

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Re: Nasa, perhaps this is a hint...

Postby The Reaper » Sat Aug 20, 2011 5:12 pm UTC

Enokh wrote:
Kulantan wrote:Nah, it should be like the war on terror. Asteroids are a threat to our society. We should invade the place that harbours them. The declare war on a nearby but unrelated target that we have a long time grudge against, say Mars, whilst implying that it is connected to the harbouring asteroids thing.


Say there . . .those two moons you have are awfully misshapen and lumpy, Mars. You sure they aren't actually asteroids in DISGUISE?!

Obviously Jupiter and Saturn are the real culprits, sling shotting things into astable patterns towards us.

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Re: Nasa, perhaps this is a hint...

Postby Ibid » Sat Aug 20, 2011 5:29 pm UTC

The Reaper wrote:
Enokh wrote:
Kulantan wrote:Nah, it should be like the war on terror. Asteroids are a threat to our society. We should invade the place that harbours them. The declare war on a nearby but unrelated target that we have a long time grudge against, say Mars, whilst implying that it is connected to the harbouring asteroids thing.


Say there . . .those two moons you have are awfully misshapen and lumpy, Mars. You sure they aren't actually asteroids in DISGUISE?!

Obviously Jupiter and Saturn are the real culprits, sling shotting things into astable patterns towards us.

Yes, but they're much to large to attack directly, we need o contain them via a series of proxy wars on Mars, the asteroid belt, and maybe some long distance strikes on Neptune and Uranus.
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Re: Nasa, perhaps this is a hint...

Postby the_mean_marine » Mon Aug 22, 2011 11:31 am UTC

Ibid wrote:Yes, but they're much to large to attack directly, we need o contain them via a series of proxy wars on Mars, the asteroid belt, and maybe some long distance strikes on Neptune and Uranus.


Perhaps the best solution would be use undercover operatives to start a civil war between Jupiter and Saturn and once they have decimated each other swoop in for the taking.

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Re: Nasa, perhaps this is a hint...

Postby Kulantan » Mon Aug 22, 2011 11:46 am UTC

What undercover nuclear pulse propulsion drives strapped to one of the smaller moons to change its orbit to cause a chain reaction that ejects the other moons toward the other planet?
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phlip wrote:(Scholars believe it is lost to time exactly which search engine Columbus preferred... though they are reasonably sure that he was an avid user of Apple Maps.)

Blog.

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the_mean_marine
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Re: Nasa, perhaps this is a hint...

Postby the_mean_marine » Mon Aug 22, 2011 12:28 pm UTC

What undercover nuclear pulse propulsion drives strapped to one of the smaller moons to change its orbit to cause a chain reaction that ejects the other moons toward the other planet?

Sounds like a plan.

userxp
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Re: Nasa, perhaps this is a hint...

Postby userxp » Mon Aug 22, 2011 3:42 pm UTC

cephalopod9 wrote:Shouldn't we get more mileage out of "Holy cow, Pictures of a whole other planet!" instead of "In this one picture, this natural occurrence vaguely resembles a very basic symbol at a specific angle"?

This would be great. But humans don't work that way.

cephalopod9 wrote:They could Social Network it up, remind people what spacecrafts are where and give 'em photo albums.
But I guess they're too busy drawing made up pictures to get people excited about stories that should be pretty damn interesting on their own.

Ahem...
http://twitter.com/#!/nasa
http://twitter.com/#!/MarsRovers
http://twitter.com/#!/ISS_Research
http://www.flickr.com/photos/nasacommons/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/nasahqphoto/
http://www.facebook.com/NASA
And lots more.

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Re: Nasa, perhaps this is a hint...

Postby SWGlassPit » Mon Aug 22, 2011 3:53 pm UTC

not to mention http://www.twitter.com/NASATweetup <-- thanks to NASA's social media team, I got to see my first (the last) shuttle launch in person, from only three miles away. It is unREAL how loud it gets and how beautiful it is when it goes up.
Up in space is a laboratory the size of a football field zipping along at 7 km/s. It's my job to keep it safe.
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