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Comment: Re:missed the best bit: plan to orbit inside rings (Score 1) 116

by sinewalker (#31919126) Attached to: Cassini's Elaborate Orbital Mechanics

Yes, it is cool. And you don't have to wait 7 years. Cassini already completed a trans-ring intersection on it's breaking maneuver when it arrived at Saturn. You can probably find videos on the Net. There are some awesome high-res shots available. Go and find them.

The fear then was that a mis-calculation might be the cause of the worst man-made environmental impact in the solar system -- crashing into the rings and disrupting their delicate balance, causing them to collapse into the planet. Of course with it's tiny mass the most likely outcome would have been just losing the probe as some chunk of ice smashed into it, even with the high velocity it had on it's way from Jupiter. Now presumably the probe's velocity is even lower, so it should be okay.

Comment: Support Okudarams and audio icons (Score 1) 553

by sinewalker (#31556542) Attached to: 5 Reasons Tablets Suck, and You Won't Buy One

Forget Microsoft or Apple trying to get get a full OS to work. The Big Company that really could make a killing on these would be Paramount. Get Mike Okuda to design a touch interface similar to the Star Trek PADD -- pannel based, not multiple overlapping windows, customisable layout with generic controls. Voice would be a bonus but shouldn't be necessary. Audio Icons (a la Emacspeak / LCARS) would be a bonus for visually impared (or fully visual enabled but distracted people). Then make it support Apple / Java app store applications and I'd buy one. Oh, and all that the iPad really misses at the moment is a built-in SD card reader -(yes I know the doc has one, but it's not portable, is it?) - that alone would make it much more useful.

Comment: Re:17,000 mph (Score 1) 132

by sinewalker (#27945859) Attached to: Atlantis Links Up To Hubble For Repairs

I agree, it is actually impressive.

I find 17,200mph (27,680km/h) rather difficult to imagine though (I'm not disputing the figure, I just can't imagine how fast that is). So I converted it to every-day units I can think in (metres per second). This figure I can sort-of imagine: 17,200 miles per hour = about 7,739m/s (or about 4 3/4 miles per second for Americans), relative to the launch pad.

Yes, relative speed between Hubble and Atlantis during grappling was probably under one metre/sec. But it was still very impressive to match those two objects up on the orbitals at ground control!

In the sciences, we are now uniquely priviledged to sit side by side with the giants on whose shoulders we stand. -- Gerald Holton