jdray writes: "Noted space guy and founder of The Mars Society, Robert Zubrin has posted an essay lambasting NASA's plans for returning samples from Mars via a space station constructed at L2:
In recent weeks, NASA has put forth two remarkable new plans for its proposed next major initiatives. Both bear careful examination.
As the centerpiece for its future human spaceflight program, NASA proposes to build another space station, this one located not in low Earth orbit but at the L2 Lagrange point just above the far side of the Moon. This plan is indeed remarkable in as much as an L2 space station would serve no useful purpose whatsoever. We don’t need an L2 space station to go back to the Moon. We don’t need an L2 space station to go to near-Earth asteroids. We don’t need an L2 space station to go to Mars. We don’t need an L2 space station for anything.
The other initiative is a new plan for Mars sample return, which is now held to be the primary mission of the robotic Mars exploration program. This plan is remarkable for its unprecedented and utterly unnecessary complexity.
jdray writes: "My wife and I own a mid-sized restaurant with a couple of Point of Sale (POS) terminals. The software, which runs on Windows and.NET, uses SQL Server on the back end. With an upgrade to the next major release of the software imminent, I'm considering upgrading the infrastructure it runs on to better ensure uptime (we're open seven days a week). We can't afford several thousand dollars' worth of server infrastructure (two cluster nodes and some shared storage, or somesuch), so I thought I'd ask Slashdot for some suggestions on enabling maximum uptime. I considered a single server node running VMWare with a limp-mode failover to a VMWare instance on a desktop, but I'm not sure how to set up a monitoring infrastructure to automate that, and manual failover isn't much of an option with non-tech staff. What suggestions do you have?"