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Comment Re:PR (Score 1) 236

I had a quick look around, it seems that the European JIME mission is still on, Japan and Russia are interested in joining to provide magnetospheric study and a Europa lander, respectively. So it's not a total loss. I'd still rather see the US research community contributing though, saying that as a European myself. There's some serious expertise there.

Those missions were initially sold as being cooperative with the NASA Europa mission. Without the NASA mission it's going to be much harder to sell those missions to their respective national governments.

Comment Re: I had no idea they'd shit-canned Europa (Score 1) 236

It's worse, it looks like they want to shut down Cassini early: http://futureplanets.blogspot.com/2011/10/updates.html

The plan was to have Cassini end its mission by flying between the planet and the rings to do essentially the Juno mission at Saturn. NASA's already paid for Cassini, it's a waste to shut it down early... Juno was $1B, and Cassini could do the same thing at Saturn for pennies on that dollar.

Comment Re:Acronym (Score 1) 236

It would have been nice if the summary had stated what OMB stands for somewhere (Office of Management and Budget). I was trying to figure out if it was some wacky new term for Obama or his administration.

This has been modded "funny", but seriously, no-one outside the US is going to know this.

You could google, or maybe read the article

Comment Re:Blaming the wrong people (Score 1) 236

It's not the administration's fault, it's Congress. NASA HQ and the administration didn't even want to build SLS -- they wanted to bolster the commercial launch market instead -- and were forced to do it by the Congressional committee.

If there's someone Lou Friedman should be complaining about, it's Senators Nelson and Shelby and their fixation on providing pork to large aerospace contractors in return for bribes, I mean campaign donations.

I would have hoped that someone in his position would be better informed, frankly.

Congress shares the blame, but OMB is part of the White House, and they are the ones trying to scrap the Mars program to pay for the big rocket. NASA is unable to get the cost of the rocket down, so the White House had three choices: 1) ask Congress to send more money to pay for their rocket or remove the mandate, 2) tell NASA to change its ways and built the rocket more cheaply, or 3) through the robotic missions under the bus. #1 probably would have worked because it's asking the powerful Senators who designed the rocket to send more money to their home states, but it would require Obama sticking his neck out for NASA, and what President is going to do that in an election year? #2 makes the most fiscal sense, but would have made enemies in the Senate and Congress (they don't care if NASA goes anywhere, they just want the money spent in their home states). So they chose #3.

Comment Re:PR (Score 1) 236

NASA uses a lot of tax money and, with a population whose general impression of resemasearch is that it just giving money to boring nerds in labcoats (ignoring the economy generated by products of past research), they must do regular "America #1, Yihaaaa!" performances in order to keep the population from objecting too much against NASA funding.

I want to do Apollo Again! Apollo was very exciting. Everyone was excited.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A4J9uvhJQM0
(youtube video about how exciting Apollo was)

Mars

Submission + - Is OMB wiping out planetary exploration? (thespacereview.com)

EccentricAnomaly writes: Lou Friedman (former head of the Planetary Society) has written a provocative article over at Space Policy Review where he accuses the Obama administration of working on plans to gut the robotic Mars program in order to pay for NASA's exciting new rocket. This is after NASA's already killed the Europa mission that was to have been the next outer planet mission after Cassini.

Comment Re:As a Mac admin, I agree. (Score 1) 341

I always hated OS X Server because I was brought up on the old UNIX boxes and I liked to do everything on the command line... but the #@$@#$ GUIs in OS X Server would clobber all of my config files (and they were not well documented either). I'm very glad to see OS X server go back to the command line and be more like Linux.

Comment Re:Here's what I'd do (Score 1) 396

If I were you, I'd put the year-end bonus in a 6-mo CD, and get the tablet when the CD's term is up

Waiting 6 months might well be sensible. But the average CD yield is 0.63% (APR). So... $1000 in a 6 month CD will net him under $3.50.

Put the money into Apple or Google stock and buy a tablet when the profits are enough to cover it. That's how I paid for my first iPhone (and then some).

Check out this link on how much money could be made by buying Apple stock instead of Apple products: http://www.kyleconroy.com/apple-stock.php

Comment Re:Hydrochloric acid? (Score 3, Informative) 121

LH2/LOX engines will perform better than this new compound no matter what. The only way to get better performance than LH2/LOX (for a chemical rocket) is to change the oxidizer.... maybe liquid ozone... or Fluorine. Fluorine is the best oxidizer you can get. Problem is that it tends to oxidize its container and then oxidize you.... nasty, nasty stuff.

Comment Shuttle SRBs are neither cheap nor reliable (Score 4, Interesting) 121

Most modern solid-fuel rockets use pretty much the same fuel as the shuttle SRBs. It's cheap, stable and reliable but it does produce a lot of goop and the ISP could be better. If this stuff is stable it might make an excellent replacement for ammonium perchlorate oxidizer.

Shuttle SRBs are more expensive and less reliable than equivalent liquid boosters. This is the main reason why SpaceX is only using liquid engines in the Falcon-9. ULA uses solid boosters for extra thrust on the Atlas V, but these solids are cheaper and more reliable than Shuttle SRBs. In addition, based on recent conference papers, I think they want to get away from solids in their next generation of rockets.

So why is NASA planning on using boosters based on the lower performing, more expensive, and less reliable Shuttle SRBs in their new Heavy lift rocket? This is because the Utah Congressional delegation is lobbying heavily for the company that makes the SRBs. The Utah senators inserted text into the continuing resolution that NASA is currently operating under that they claim prevents NASA from even doing trade studies to consider any alternatives to using the Shuttle SRBs.

Solids might have made sense in the 60s, but with current technology they are no longer needed except in a few specialized applications for robotic planetary exploration spacecraft.

Comment Re:In Other Words... (Score 1) 342

Obviously NASA was supposed to be a technical organization, but now its just a MBA stepping stone.

There still is some good technical stuff... check this out: http://www.whitepapers.org/docs/show/2067

Human missions to asteroids without heavy lift... costs less per year than shuttle did.

Interesting, but it will never work... it wouldn't cost enough to pay for the lobbyists

Comment Re:Banks, for one simple reason... (Score 1) 548

Also, I would strongly suggest you don't make purchases, transfers, or write checks on deposited money until after the check clears.

HTH.

When I had WAMU they once took a week to clear a Cashiers Check from another bank. They would routinely take 3 days to clear a WIRE transfer.

We also once had to send a canceled check into a company to prove a bill was paid... and WAMU let that company re-cash the canceled check, and it was very difficult to get our money back.

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