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NASA STEREO Spacecraft Set to Launch 82

An anonymous reader writes "As first reported on last year, NASA's STEREO mission is set to launch tonight at 8:38pm EST. The two near-identical spacecraft will give us unprecedented stereoscopic views of the Sun-Earth system, hopefully leading to the creation of the first 3-D movies of the Sun! Launch can be watched live on NASA TV with coverage starting at 6:30pm EST."
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NASA STEREO Spacecraft Set to Launch

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  • by techmuse ( 160085 ) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @06:41PM (#16585776)
    I thought that when I look at the sun, since I see it with two eyes, I see it in 3D.

    Oh! My eyes! Well, so much for that...
    • by 4D6963 ( 933028 )

      I thought that when I look at the sun, since I see it with two eyes, I see it in 3D.

      Your eyes only allow you to see details on the Sun bigger than 20,000 kilometers. Since the parallax between your two eyes is considerably less than that, your eyes only allow you to see the exact same image of the sun, and thus you see the sun as if it was in 2D.

    • I wonder...I hear that often, but is it really true that we see in 3D? I reckon what we see is 3D space projected onto 2D. Perspective, for example, does not exist in 3D space, but is an artifact of translating it onto a plain.
  • Who says there is no sound in space?
  • by aarku ( 151823 ) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @06:43PM (#16585802) Journal
    They do realize there isn't sound in space, right?
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by egeorge ( 547281 )
      There is plenty of sound in space, it just doesn't move.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        That's just not true. No air means no transfer of energy therefore no sound is generated.
        • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward
          If a tree falls in space.... .. never mind. It sounded funnier before I posted it.
        • by egeorge ( 547281 )
          My comment was mostly intended to be humorous. However, if you define sound as kinetic vibration, then there most certainly is sound in space. Everything out there can have internal vibrations. There is sound within the space station. The difference is that those acoustic vibrations just doesn't "move" from one thing to another through space. They are trapped within whatever generated them.
          • You just contradicted yourself. "...those acoustic vibrations just doesn't "move" from one thing to another through space." If sound can't move in space, then there is no sound in space, only in the object that are in space, and those objects are not space.
    • by SeaFox ( 739806 )
      They do realize there isn't sound in space, right?

      Not yet, but wait till after we secure an orbit for those babies!
    • by ExFCER ( 1001188 ) kholesounds.htm [] Oh wait I've been trolled...damn.
    • by Cyberax ( 705495 )
      You are very wrong. There IS sound in space, it's just VERY quiet but it's definitely measureable, see [] for an example.

      Actually, space sound is so quiet that you won't be able to measure it using common microphones because of very low matter density and very large wave lengths.
      • by aarku ( 151823 )
        Yeah buddy, I know. The context here is listening to Brittney Spears over your Space Stereo. Take a breath.
  • NASA could upgrade from stereo to the googlephonic system with the moonrock needle - it'll still sound like shit but this is basically a car stereo right?
  • by pandrijeczko ( 588093 ) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @06:48PM (#16585836) great inventions discovered while making pornography are now carried on space missions?
  • by StefanJ ( 88986 ) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @06:49PM (#16585850) Homepage Journal
    . . . for those who haven't figured out the trick of fusing images by crossing their eyes.

    * * *

    Funky fictional anecdote.

    Olaf Stapledon's science fiction "novel" (more like a future history) Last and First Men covers the evolution of humanity from us poor demi-apes to a hyper-evolved species living on a terraformed Neptune two billion years from now.

    These "last men" are not only telepathic (and have 96 genders and look like anthropomorphic animals), but they can communicate with themselves across time.

    Stapledon describes the "last men" astronomers staring at the sky, sending a telepathic impression of the sight one-half of a Neptune year in the future, where their future selves integrate it with their own observation of the sky to create a wide-baseline 3D parallax image of the heavens.

    No. I don't know what Stapledon smoked.

    • . . . for those who haven't figured out the trick of fusing images by crossing their eyes.

      My eyes got stuck that way. Sigh. Mom warned me...

    • These "last men" are not only telepathic (and have 96 genders ..)


      96 genders, eh? He was definitely on crack. Just because they get 512-bit address spaces doesn't mean you get to have more genders. I mean, dude ..think of their Myspace profiles. I can't picture it. What happened to the 2 item combo box, you know? Does having more 7 dicks make you more macho than if you had 5? And what happens when you get a mix up with 10 pussies and only 8 dicks? Or do they use telepathy to avoid this kind of situation?


  • by subl33t ( 739983 ) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @07:00PM (#16585972)
    Which one uses metric?
  • I'll bask in its spherical glory.

    I can literally feel the vitamin D oozing from my pores, all I need now is a virtual sun burn.
    • by RKBA ( 622932 )
      Bah Humbug. It's easier to get vitamin D from a pill, and a pill doesn't cut into my computer time or damage my eyes with all that blinding light. ;-)
  • Launch time... (Score:2, Informative)

    by NMThor ( 949485 )
    Hate to be pedantic, but the launch time is 8:38 p.m. EDT (Eastern Daylight Time), not EST (Eastern Standard Time).
  • CLICK! [dalwmle009...gid1369080]
  • Is a 3-D movie of the sun really a good idea? Could someone name a single "3-D movie" that wasn't a catastrophic failure at the box office?

    Let's stick with other fancy acronyms for this thing. HDR's a good choice... it'll be blindingly good. *rimshot*
    • Oh, the movie will be great. The problem is you can't look directly at it. Thank you, I'll be here all week, try the veal.
  • planned holds (Score:2, Insightful)

    by slarabee ( 184347 )
    Can anyone explain the purpose of a preplanned hold of a predetermined time not being added into the 'T minus' countdown?

    Here I am, minutes before I have to head out to work listening to the webcast and being happy that the T minus time for launch is less than my T minus time for work. Then their talking head mentions being a couple minutes away from a planned twenty minute hold. If they are planning on pausing for twenty minutes, why not just add twenty minutes to the clock and keep it counting?

    • There isn't much information on the NASA website about built-in holds (that I could find) but a bit of an explanation can be found here: Countdown Clock & Time to Liftoff []

      "Sometime built-in holds are included to allow synchronization with other countdown clocks (for example, a payload countdown). Other built-in holds allow people to take a break. The built-in holds vary significantly from day-launch missions to night-launch missions."
      "The shuttle countdown clock typically starts counting at about 43

    • Allow for Checks (Score:2, Informative)

      by rwade ( 131726 )
      The planned holds allow launch personnel an opportunity to ensure that the vehicle's status is nominal. NASA does not expect staff to evaluate information as complex as rocket science with a time contstraint; that is, scientists cannot work with a ticking clock in front of them as would be required if it were kept running.

      At the end of holds often comes the "Go, no-go" sequence immortalized by Apollo 13. Or at least an implicit "Go, no-go" indication.
    • I believe that a planned hold is usually expected to take a certian amount of time, but the launch controllers can't be sure of that. So a hold can run for an arbitrary amount of time and thus you can't add it to the countdown.

      I can't find any webpages that explain this explicitly, but looking at NASA's Countdown 101 [], this explanation seems to make sense.
    • Re:planned holds (Score:5, Informative)

      by scapermoya ( 769847 ) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @08:46PM (#16586924) Homepage
      google [] is your friend:

      From ission_leinbach_transcript.html [] :
      "Barrett: Why are there holds in the countdown and what is happening in the firing room during those holds?

      Leinbach: Well the holds were put in -- designed in the countdowns from the very beginning of the manned spaceflight program. And they are intended to be points in the countdown where the team can take a breather, essentially. There's not supposed to be much work going on during a hold. Again, it's a point where if work leading up to that built-in hold has run behind schedule for some reason, we can continue to work into the hold and then take the hold itself and then when we pick up the clock again, get back into work. So, really they are points in the timeline that allow catch-up time and also time for the team to take a breather and think about what's coming up next in the count. The last built-in hold we have is at T minus 9 minutes and for the current missions those are 40 minute long holds so that we can make sure that the vehicle is ready to pick up the clock at T minus 9 minutes and counting, because for 9 minutes on down is when the vehicle really starts to come to life. And so we want the team to be focused having just taken a short break as it were. We don't leave the control room, but we look forward to what's about to happen and we concentrate on our jobs. And so, it's really a time of reflection. It's a time to catch your breath and to think about what we're about to go do."
      • by mattkime ( 8466 )
        >>"It's a time to catch your breath and to think about what we're about to go do."

        Think anyone has panicked and screamed "NOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!"?
      • Cool. Built-in Slashdot breaks!
      • I guess its just a psychological thing. If the clock is ticking down there's a lot of pressure to get your stuff done quickly. If the clock is stopped you'll take a little more time and make sure things are done right. People just think better if they got about 20 minutes to do a five minute job than "if I don't get this done the rocket is going to blow up in 29:00 .. 28:59 .. 28:58 .. 28:57 ... "
  • Is there a better quality web-based video available than 320x240?
    • by rwade ( 131726 ) offers NASA TV on its channel 230. It's one of the channels on the service that is free.
  • In space, no one can hear you rocking out...
  • Went up without a hitch, the satellites are separating from the spacecraft and all is well.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      Not entirely hitch less, they had a delay while they moved some people out of harms way of potential poisonous chemical release upon a mishap. Also had an under temperature condition in one of the fueling components. The delay allowed them to straighten both issues out and then it was hitch less.
  • Very clear skies tonight over Florida so looked great, could see the boosters dropping off as well. Thanks for the fireworks show, NASA!
  • Its good to see that NASA is still one organisation that believes in fighting the man. Rock on boys, rock on.
  • Dolby 5.1 surround is the way to go these days.
  • It sounds a lot like Triana to me, except for a somewhat different view.

"If it's not loud, it doesn't work!" -- Blank Reg, from "Max Headroom"