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Comment Re:Get to the planets? (Score 1) 145

How about NASA figure out how to get to _orbit_ first? They've been fucking that part up for the past 30 years, and I don't understand why it needs to be pointed out to them that it is the first and most critical step to getting anywhere else.

Good point - the US Navy test fired a railgun projectile at Mach 5 speeds at a target 110 nautical miles away utilising 33 megajoules of energy.

NASA is looking at the possibility of using a railgun to launch craft into space at Mach 10 speeds. A rail launcher study using gas propulsion already is under way, but maybe using electromagnetic acceleration is more feasible?

Comment Re:Develop spacefaring technology first (Score 3, Interesting) 145

Although the defense spending is huge, it's still less than that for health care.

I'd far rather see a country spent more money on healthcare than on killing people. If the US Government really wants to save money, they should build less aircraft carriers - the incoming Gerald R. Ford class aircraft carrier, will cost $14 billion including research and development, and the actual cost of the carrier itself would be $9 billion each - nearly $100 billion in total for a like-for-like replacement of the eleven Nimitz and Enterprise class carriers in active service.

By comparison, the UK spends two and a half times as much on Health as it does on Defence.

Comment Re:Develop spacefaring technology first (Score 1) 145

What permanently dark side of the planet? Contrary to beliefs in the '60s, Mercury is not tidelocked. It's rotational period is 59 days, making three complete rotations in two orbits.

You could get around this by having a mobile operating base for any manned mission to Mercury that stays out of direct sunlight to avoid frying its occupants. Its 3:2 spin-orbit resonance means that a single day on Mercury last exactly two Mercury years, or about 176 Earth days - so a single fixed point on the surface would be in daylight continuously for 88 days. Given that its radius is 2,439.7 ± 1.0 km, it has a circumference of 7667.6 km, so you'd only need to be able to move 87.1 km/day, or 3.63km/h.

Comment Re:priorities (Score 1) 58

As I recall, the latest Linux Skype client has been version Skype 2.1 Beta 2 for Linux for well over a year now, with no sign whatsoever of it progressing any further. Then again, I'm not too bothered about that, as newer Windows versions I have used have all been more bloated then previous ones with no appreciable additional functionality worth speaking of.

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