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Comment Enough of Mars! (Score 5, Interesting) 307

Here we go again... NASA is doomed to keep a single course to Mars.

I think only reason they talk about Mars is if talk about the Moon, then need to put up some real money now to build transfer stage and lander. But talk about Mars because you can always defer those costs of hardware 20 years into the future for some other smucks to deal with. Also why colonize Mars? I don't see a huge land rush to Gobi Desert even though that place is 1000 times easier to settle. Reason is that place is a terrible place to live, we only fantasize about Mars because it is so far away.

Matula posted this on NASAwatch:

I blame most of the destination argument on the creation of the Mars underground in the 1980's. Prior to that NASA was focused on using the Shuttle for industrialization in LEO with projects like demonstrating the repair and return of satellites, building structural items in orbit, tethers, etc., all logical starting points for building a Cislunar industrial capability that would have given us the Solar System. NASA didn't even have plans to send robots to Mars. By advocating that we needed to skip the Moon and go rushing off to Mars they started this entire useless destination debate that has paralyzed space policy ever since.

Although their arguments made no rational or economic sense, falling back on outdated ideas like "manifest destiny" and painting Mars like a second Earth, they struck some cord among a very vocal hard core group that has shouted down any rational space strategy ever since. We see it now with Senators force feeding the SLS with money it doesn't need while starving commercial crew because the SLS would, in theory, be able to take astronauts to Mars. As a result the ISS is only one Soyuz failure away from being abandoned.

We need to give Mars a rest and once again spend the limited budget on building capabilities in space, space tugs, orbital refueling, lunar LOX, that would serve for going to all the interesting destinations beyond Earth, not keep wasting money on plans to go to a single one that is already well mapped and explored.

end quote

Comment Re:Very good imaging (Score 2) 56

Gag. Another lame imitation of more advanced US missions.

Well, yes and no. Chinese have the best high res surface images from a rover, US has rovers on Mars, none on the Moon. US has excellent photos from manned missions but those are more than 40 years old. US has high res images from orbit but when considering surface images from a rover, the US has none and will not have any for years to come. First step is to dump the lunar phobia. Imagine something of Mars rover technology that can visit and analyze soils from places like craters that never receive sunlight. I want to have a rover visit the Apollo landing sites to observe how materials have degraded from more than 40 years of sunlight exposure. And to see if which flags are still standing.

It is interesting to see these lunar surface images, they don't circulate around the internet that much. Again, it seems a lunar phobia among Americans to avoid taking about the Moon with exception of the grand Apollo missions (which this country can no longer do).

Comment Re:Musk needs to get a grip (Score 1) 101

Plus anyone that writes something critical of Musk is downgraded. Like others gave you negative marks for pointing out how media treats him like the second coming.

In the space forums there was one guy who criticized Musk and his "hobby rockets" that will go nowhere beyond LEO. His reasoning is to go BEO need pressure fed rocket engines, requiring powerful turbopumps and liquid hydrogen for fuel because that high of ISP is needed. Though many can argue over the numbers, hardware, rocket equation, etc., this one person was the only one to question Musk's intentions and he was banned from the forums.

Elon Musk has created some neat stuff, but like Steve Jobs and Howard Hughes they made their share of mistakes and bad projects.

Comment one thing certain the CRT is dead (Score 1) 406

Though it seems those big clunkers had better contrast than many flat screens, but I'm not the strong-back/weak-mind 20-something that can easily lug those 32" monsters around (especially at work there was always moving monitors around).

Configuring those things was sometimes a tedious exercise. I heard if set refresh rate at 85 hz, the monitor will burn itself out. Getting back to VGA and these days of automatic configuration, I have been wondering what is the framerate from the computer, and the refresh rate of the monitor. I hear they are 60 Hz (I think it really is 59.94hz) but looking for actual technical specs, I keep finding sales/marketing generalities. But what is the usual framerate of a VGA output?

Comment Re:Then how about a real connector locking mechani (Score 1) 406

Good point about locking connectors. I would say non-locking connector of S-video is what killed that mode (even though it was only 25% better than composite video). And old school composite video (renamed as CVS or some other silly acronym) continue to live on because solid BNC locking connector. But for consumer gear the RCA connector that has reasonable snugness.

Comment Re:I'll stick with VGA and SDI as long as possible (Score 2) 406

I want my video port to send the video signal to my monitor without hand-shaking, asking for permissions and assuming I'm a pirate and kitten-murderer.

I notice ***all*** broadcasters and serious videographers use SDI because it is uncompressed unencrypted HD video that includes audio all in a single coax with a locking BNC connector. None of this DRM baggage, and those big boys on a video shoot need to connect cameras to switchers and recorders need them to promptly feed the video instead of spending time on WTF this ain't displaying (but you probably already know that). I'm surveying camera equipment, and these days it is all HD, and to feed signals to multiple displays. Talking with someone said keep it all baseband until maybe the monitor if it doesn't have SDI.

I also notice that all SDI gear has loop out which is nice when installing switchers, recorders, or whatever in the food chain but I can continue the signal on to another destination. And like VGA, there are boxes of one input to four outputs (there's always more than one that wants that same video feed). So when I look into different modes, I clearly saw HDMI problematic and so not waste time surveying equipment with that mode. I also learned DVI is the same as HDMI but no audio, but I guess it still has DRM baggage as well. I hear of DisplayPort, I don't see it around that much. I read someplace DisplayPort is going nowhere as the "standard" for monitors because it is royalty free and companies don't like that as they can't do their control freakery like they do with HDMI. I imagine SDI is immune to all that as it remains in the world of professional video (who are also the content creators).

Anyway during equipment survey and selection, I have cameras with HD-SDI (I call it simply SDI, why would anyone take an old SD camera and feed SDI?). Then route to data inserters (all SDI), to HDD recorders. I then ask for SDI to VGA converters, the vendors give me this weird look of "why do you go through all this expense and squalsh it to VGA?" Our rooms have several monitors that are all VGA, we have lots of computers that do VGA, that's just how it has evolved over time. I'm sure not going to mix and match different monitors as many times same monitor may either view a PC output or a camera output.

Yep, all those converter boxes from BlackMagic to convert the SDI at the monitor (actually it looks pretty good and these things have SDI loop out for auxiliary feeds if needed). Looking to take resolution to the next level, I tried using SDI to DVI converter box but monitor displays nothing. It's gotta be that DRM handshake nonsense. VGA forever!

Comment Re:On the Morton-Thiokol test range (Score 1) 320

if talking about Thiokol, need to mention Roger Boisjoly who argued to not proceed with launch. I remember shortly after he became well known for being the engineer who objected to proceeding with launch. A manager told him "Take your engineering hat off and put on your management hat" or something like that. I read back then Roger tended to be type of guy that many people just wanted to slug him in the mouth. He had his reasons but unfortunately lacked the tact skills, but maybe it didn't really matter as the entire STS program was a machine set on launching that day overriding human common sense. A movie was made about 51L with Peter Boyle portraying Boisjoly, one part where he argued they should raise lower limit for no flight of 50 deg F to 55 (something like that). A management class I took said that part of the movie used actual transcripts of that MT launch review meeting for the movie script, and showed that clip as part of the class. Important take is while Boisjoly and managers argued over 55 vs. 50, the pad temperature was 32. Which brings up why are they having that discussion? Note that all these guys haven't slept in 24 hours, that much lack of sleep decreases the IQ level.

Comment Re:Working on the Space Shuttle team (Score 1) 320

Yes, after 51L, that was the end of Vandenberg Shuttle flights. Would have been cool for all those in Los Angeles that were major builders of it being able to watch it go into space if that pad became operational. Speaking of getting up and watching it on TV, reminds me when I woke up and turn on the TV to see replays of Columbia landing, but only to see all this stuff streaking across the sky. I knew something was terribly wrong before hearing reporters talking.

Comment "That's not true!" (Score 1) 320

My knee jerk reaction while at work concentrating at a particular task, someone ran in "the Challenger just blew up!" As I remember the day before when launch was scrubbed because they couldn't remove the door mechanism off side hatch. A handle assembly is attached to side hatch on Orbiter for crew entry, hatch is closed, and White Room techs remove this assembly. However, some bolts were stuck, they couldn't remove the assembly (was taking too long) so the launch was scrubbed. Meanwhile media people were criticizing NASA for continual delays of this flight particularly the first teacher in space. I remember many people saying "well back in the days NASA was able to do a launch one after another without all these delays." Hmm, they must have forgotten the 1960s launches had lots of delays and lots of exploding launch vehicles.

Shortly after I knew the Challenger did explode. I also remembered some of the guys play back on their VHS decks in slow-mo and pause to do their own analysis. Another remarkable thing because only few years before only crash investigators had those tools. Of course everyone can to wrong conclusions. Rest of day and the week was really sad, like it was night time even in the middle of the day.

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