Shaun of the Dead, coronavirus edition. :-D
Hey, fellow hoopy froods: _The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy_ is now 42. https://www.theregister.co.uk/2020/03/09/hhgttg_42/
A lot of the world sucks right now, but two private satellites docking for the first time ever is pretty cool.
We commonly think of space tech as cutting edge -- but the computers inside usually aren't. This is both because the missions have long lead times and because old parts have physically larger transistors that better resist radiation. The just-launched NASA/ESA Solar Orbiter's CPU is an ESA-designed chip based on a design from the late 1980s.
It's often observed that there's more computing power on your phone than on Apollo 11. It's worse than that: there's more computing power *in your USB-C charger* than on Apollo 11. :-O :-O :-O
"The panel has a larger concern with the rigor of Boeing's verification processes" is impressively diplomatic. I'd be more blunt: between this and the 737 MAX, do not trust Boeing for life-critical software.
So long, Spitzer. And thanks for all the planets (https://www.space.com/spitzer-space-telescope-greatest-exoplanet-discoveries.html).
Hubble's successor, the James Webb Space Telescope, is already a decade late to launch. And now they're almost certain to miss their next launch deadline as well. :-|
(Reminds me of Douglas Adams: "I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.")
There is exactly one correct name for JPL's 2020 Mars rover: "Vision." And you can vote for that name, here: https://mars.nasa.gov/mars2020/participate/name-the-rover/
I never interned at NASA, but if I had, I don't imagine I'd have discovered a planet in my first week. Congrats, Mr. Cukier!
Mars is even better at losing water than we thought it was. Poor thing.
It's just lovely of The New York Times to include Opportunity in their year-end "The Lives They Lived." Thanks for thinking of our beloved girl, y'all. That was classy.
Nifty-looking Mars clock uses Mars 24 time. Of course, if you want to know what time it is for each rover (+ InSight), you can use my Android app (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.scottmaxwell.android.marsclock).
It's not fair that robots get a hotel in space before I do.
Great, now there's food FUD. Look, the Impossible Burger tastes about as good as the real thing (I say as a confirmed carnivore) and is better for the planet -- and here the meat industry is tacitly admitting as much, or else they'd quietly let it fail. https://arstechnica.com/science/2019/12/plant-based-burgers-are-ultra-processed-like-dog-food-meat-backed-ads-say/
More fabulous news about the declining culture of safety at Boeing.
Now I can never make another recipe that hasn't been rapped, because I've seen
Dolio the Sleuth's sweet potato pie recipe: https://youtu.be/5ZUEFnas43Y
In Scotland, Orbex is 3D-printing rockets that use carbon emission-reducing bio-propane fuel. Do you want a sustainable rocket program? Because this is how you get a sustainable rocket program. https://techcrunch.com/2019/11/19/heres-the-first-look-inside-orbexs-scotland-rocket-factory/
At last, something we all have in common: there is broad bipartisan support for NASA, even though different sides have different reasons.
Here's a fun illustration of a surprising fact: Mercury (not Venus or Mars) is the closest planet to Earth, most of the time -- and Mercury is also the closest planet to *every other planet*, most of the time. https://blog.adafruit.com/2019/11/10/which-planet-is-closest/
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