Author Topic: Well done, NASA  (Read 15726 times)

Offline mklotz

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Well done, NASA
« on: August 06, 2012, 05:26:50 PM »
Think about it.  NASA managed to deposit a pick-up truck sized spacecraft on another planet using a rocket levitated crane and this was all done autonomously!  What a masterpiece of engineering.

When I first saw the complicated deployment/landing sequence for LEM, the lunar lander, my first thought was "they'll never pull that off; there are just too many opportunities for something to go wrong."  I've never been happier to have been proved wrong.

But at least LEM had humans on board.  There was some possibility for them to make some real-time adjustments.  Mars is about half an hour away at the speed of light so any form of man-in-the-loop remote control is out of the question for this mission and rocket levitated crane scenario is a lot more complex than landing the lunar lander.

We have a lot of folks here who write/wrote code in their current/former day jobs.  Think about writing a control sequence for this mission.  You have to anticipate EVERYTHING that might go wrong and then write code to recognize and deal with those vagaries and you'll never have a chance to test your code in the actual application conditions.  Talk about sphincter tightening moments!  Oh, and if you screw up, you're going to destroy something that cost a couple billion dollars!
« Last Edit: August 06, 2012, 08:53:28 PM by mklotz »
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Re: Well done, NASA
« Reply #1 on: August 06, 2012, 05:42:23 PM »
I was thinking of you this morning!  I tried valiantly to stay up long enough to watch it but I didn't make it.
 :DrinkPint:
Dave
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Offline Woodguy

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Re: Well done, NASA
« Reply #2 on: August 06, 2012, 06:25:49 PM »
The 360-91 Apollo online system was at the time the most complex code ever written. I wonder what they used to pull this one off. Amazing stuff.


Offline Brass_Machine

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Re: Well done, NASA
« Reply #3 on: August 06, 2012, 06:59:09 PM »
I stayed up for it... very exciting stuff.

Eric

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Re: Well done, NASA
« Reply #4 on: August 06, 2012, 07:52:11 PM »
Check out the chute photo....in process

http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/msl/news/msl20120806b.html


Dave
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Offline mklotz

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Re: Well done, NASA
« Reply #5 on: August 06, 2012, 08:02:32 PM »
Check out the chute photo....in process
http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/msl/news/msl20120806b.html

Incredible.

It's also interesting to note that they missed their (moving) target impact zone by only two km after flying a distance of some 350 million miles.
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Offline gmac

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Re: Well done, NASA
« Reply #6 on: August 06, 2012, 08:12:11 PM »
I was a teenager in the sixties and all the space activity at the time was what motivated me to go into aerospace engineering. I've since worked in other fields but none were as exciting or challenging. And none seemed to be populated by so many people passionate about what they did, well except for this forum  :naughty:. Well done guys and gals!

Cheers  Garry

Offline Brass_Machine

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Re: Well done, NASA
« Reply #7 on: August 06, 2012, 08:29:36 PM »
Check out the chute photo....in process
http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/msl/news/msl20120806b.html

Incredible.

It's also interesting to note that they missed their (moving) target impact zone by only two km after flying a distance of some 350 million miles.

We need to be doing more of this stuff!!

Offline AdeV

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Re: Well done, NASA
« Reply #8 on: August 06, 2012, 09:15:04 PM »
Check out the chute photo....in process
http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/msl/news/msl20120806b.html

Incredible.

It's also interesting to note that they missed their (moving) target impact zone by only two km after flying a distance of some 350 million miles.

Pffff, that's nothing. I once drove 1000 miles, and parked within 5mm of the kerb.

 :pinkelephant:
Cheers,
Ade
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Re: Well done, NASA
« Reply #9 on: August 06, 2012, 09:15:53 PM »
NASA TV channel - gotta love it. Even my wife was mesmerized. I also thought there were just too many things that could go wrong with this landing scenario, on one hand it was logical, but on the other, crazy...

Looking forward to following the progress to satisfy my, um....curiosity.   :paranoia:

Offline mklotz

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Re: Well done, NASA
« Reply #10 on: August 06, 2012, 09:29:08 PM »
Check out the chute photo....in process
http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/msl/news/msl20120806b.html

Incredible.

It's also interesting to note that they missed their (moving) target impact zone by only two km after flying a distance of some 350 million miles.

Pffff, that's nothing. I once drove 1000 miles, and parked within 5mm of the kerb.

Wow, you're pilot material, no doubt.  I've phoned some of my cronies at Houston and they're scheduling you for the first manned mission to the sun. 
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Offline Raggle

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Re: Well done, NASA
« Reply #11 on: August 06, 2012, 09:49:35 PM »
Well I learned something today. NASA (and Ade) use the inferial system for large distances but as they get close, it goes metric.

So if Marv had said 1.24 miles instead of 2 Km it would have sounded impressive indeed.

Ray
All we're trying to do is combine a fuel and an oxidant in the combustion chamber and burn it in the hope of getting some useful thrust out of the back end. It's not rocket science.

Offline AdeV

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Re: Well done, NASA
« Reply #12 on: August 06, 2012, 09:53:56 PM »

Incredible.

It's also interesting to note that they missed their (moving) target impact zone by only two km after flying a distance of some 350 million miles.

Pffff, that's nothing. I once drove 1000 miles, and parked within 5mm of the kerb.

Wow, you're pilot material, no doubt.  I've phoned some of my cronies at Houston and they're scheduling you for the first manned mission to the sun.

Thanks Marv, appreciate the introduction. Can you make sure they know that I'll only go at night? Ta :)
Cheers,
Ade
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Offline Dean W

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Re: Well done, NASA
« Reply #13 on: August 06, 2012, 11:08:24 PM »
Pffff, that's nothing. I once drove 1000 miles, and parked within 5mm of the kerb.
5mm;  That's pretty close.
Was the curb (sic; kerb) constantly moving at 59,278.91 miles per hour? 
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Offline arnoldb

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Re: Well done, NASA
« Reply #14 on: August 07, 2012, 12:21:21 AM »
I'm quite proud of this mission and it's successful landing.  Japie van Zyl who is one of the more  senior members associated with this mission was born and raised here in Namibia  ;D - one for the "local" lads then  :cheers:



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Offline dsquire

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Re: Well done, NASA
« Reply #15 on: August 07, 2012, 02:25:38 AM »
Check out the chute photo....in process
http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/msl/news/msl20120806b.html

Incredible.

It's also interesting to note that they missed their (moving) target impact zone by only two km after flying a distance of some 350 million miles.

Pffff, that's nothing. I once drove 1000 miles, and parked within 5mm of the kerb.

 :pinkelephant:

But the kerb was stationary.  :mischief:

Cheers  :cheers:

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Re: Well done, NASA
« Reply #16 on: August 07, 2012, 02:50:23 AM »
Seems that chute photo was a real gem too!   If the photo was taken 1 second ahead or behind when it was actually taken...it would have missed the event all together!

This was also programed in the last 72 hours of the approach....to compensate for errors.

Dave
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Offline Pete49

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Re: Well done, NASA
« Reply #17 on: August 07, 2012, 03:50:05 AM »
but Adev going at night you won't be able to se where you are going and may miss it altogether. :stir:

Nice job NASA
Pete
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Offline IanR

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Re: Well done, NASA
« Reply #18 on: August 07, 2012, 12:48:46 PM »
I was surprised that a parachute would work, with an atmospheric density of something like 6 millibars at ground level. http://www.modelenginemaker.com/Smileys/default/LittleAngel.gif

Offline weldersmate

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Re: Well done, NASA
« Reply #19 on: August 07, 2012, 02:10:30 PM »
Excuse me for being thick but what purpose has been served by going to Mars? A lot of talented people have worked on this project, I would have thought they could have found something here on earth to do before they bugger another planet up. Just my thoughts Keith.

Offline Ian S C

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Re: Well done, NASA
« Reply #20 on: August 07, 2012, 02:21:42 PM »
There we are, powered by stirling engines!  Oops not quite (heard that on another forum), the power supply is a Thermoelectric generator, fueled with 4.8 kg of Plutonium-238, producing 2.4Kw per(earth)day  The Stirling Engine is for a trip to Saturn, must go and tell the bloke on the other forum.  Ian S C
« Last Edit: August 07, 2012, 03:12:04 PM by Ian S C »

Offline mklotz

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Re: Well done, NASA
« Reply #21 on: August 07, 2012, 04:14:32 PM »
Excuse me for being thick but what purpose has been served by going to Mars? A lot of talented people have worked on this project, I would have thought they could have found something here on earth to do before they bugger another planet up. Just my thoughts Keith.

Perhaps you would like to  see them work on something important like hosting the olympics?  Nineteen billion dollars to do nothing more than increase the entropy of the universe.
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Troutsqueezer

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Re: Well done, NASA
« Reply #22 on: August 07, 2012, 04:29:55 PM »
In reviewing "just a sample" of the federal budget during one year, the White House concluded that at least $90 billion was being burned on the altar of programs that were deemed either ineffective, marginally adequate, or operating under a flawed purpose or design.

Of course, we could always port some more money over to those folks at GSA for future conventions and parties.

Up to me, I'd quadruple the budget for NASA, or more.

Offline mklotz

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Re: Well done, NASA
« Reply #23 on: August 07, 2012, 04:39:08 PM »
Please, nobody tell Keith about the Large Hadron Collider.  He'd  have a meltdown.
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Offline arnoldb

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Re: Well done, NASA
« Reply #24 on: August 07, 2012, 04:48:01 PM »
Gents, please don't get personal or provocative.

Regards, Arnold
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Offline Raggle

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Re: Well done, NASA
« Reply #25 on: August 07, 2012, 05:06:43 PM »
But, but, but ...    The money didn't disappear, it got dissipated among all the people who worked on the project.

The money didn't go to Mars. If you're in a period of austerity one of the best actions you can take is a large capital project which can be seen by all. In this JM Keynes was right if his followers have made the wrong assumption that every large move must be tax funded.

If there is a downside to this it is in the fact that those who benefited from the employment the project brought have spent their bounty on foreign made consumer goods instead of being able to support home industry.

But this is no place for economic argument.

Well done NASA!

Ray
All we're trying to do is combine a fuel and an oxidant in the combustion chamber and burn it in the hope of getting some useful thrust out of the back end. It's not rocket science.

Offline weldersmate

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Re: Well done, NASA
« Reply #26 on: August 07, 2012, 05:12:45 PM »
I know theres a lot of money wasted on this earth that could be used to a better purpose. But no one has answered my question, what are we going to gain out of going to another planet. We can
't live there and we can't bring anything back in big enough quantity to benifit mankind. How things are going we won't be living on this one for much longer.  Keith.

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Re: Well done, NASA
« Reply #27 on: August 07, 2012, 05:29:40 PM »
Guys....

I'm not a mod and I'm not playing one....but its great if we all have a NICE debate.....those discussions are great!

Let's just all step gently.....

 :cheers:

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Re: Well done, NASA
« Reply #28 on: August 07, 2012, 05:36:29 PM »
Excuse me for being thick but what purpose has been served by going to Mars?

Space travel is absolutely essential to the survival of the species beyond the next 100 years or so. It is more important than almost anything else we can do.

Besides, your comment seems to imply that getting to mars is the mission; in fact, that's just the end of the beginning of the mission - now the real work, scientific work, begins. Even getting there has tried a number of new technologies and techniques. If we're ever to colonise another planet - and, lets face it, that's only the most important goal we can have as a species - then we need to be able to land spacecraft on said planets. Seems to  me NASA just proved that not only can they land a spaceship in such a way that it could be used again - but that they can do it from half a billion miles away. Despite my comments above, that's a damn impressive achievement.

I suppose the biggest problem with space exploration, and the technologies, medicines, etc. that it directly contributes, tend to take many years to come through, and most people (politicians especially) are unable to see past the end of their own noses.

...before they bugger another planet up.

A planet is an inert ball of rock and other substances. It's not possible to "bugger" it up. Even Planet Earth hasn't been "buggered up"  by us humans. It's been here for nearly 5bn years; I guarantee that if all humans disappeared now, within 1000 years or so (a fraction of an eyeblink in the lifespan of a planet) there'd be absolutely no evidence whatsoever that we'd ever been here at all.

I know theres a lot of money wasted on this earth that could be used to a better purpose. But no one has answered my question, what are we going to gain out of going to another planet. We can 't live there and we can't bring anything back in big enough quantity to benifit mankind. How things are going we won't be living on this one for much longer.  Keith.


OK, those weren't the questions you asked, but I'll have a go at answering them:

1) "what are we going to gain out of going to another planet."

A few years back, you could have asked "what are we going to gain by going into space". We now know there were thousands of benefits, from scientific advances, to medicines, to weather reporting, to earth-bound navigation, etc.  I'm not going to try to predict what the benefits of visiting Mars are, but I can safely predict that there WILL be significant benefits.

2) We can 't live there and we can't bring anything back in big enough quantity to benefit mankind.

Not this time, perhaps (except for knowledge - we can bring lots of that back). In future, it might be worth mining Mars for iron. Or finding an asteriod or comet and dragging it into earth orbit to mine it. There are more natural resources out there than the mind can comprehend. NASA just proved they can land a spaceship - and it's not much of a step to make it able to take off again. One day,  un-manned robot spaceships may well be bringing a steady stream of vital minerals and resources to planet Earth; and you could say it all started here...

As for not being able to live there? Again, not now; but how will we know if it's possible to terraform a planet without actually going there first? Earthlings need to start leaving earth, there's too damn many of us, and one well placed asteroid could wipe us all out tomorrow (forget global warming, asteriods are far more dangerous, and there's actual genuine incontrovertible proof of them).

3) How things are going we won't be living on this one for much longer.

All the more reason to get a bloody move on with the space programme, wouldn't you say?

AdeV

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Re: Well done, NASA
« Reply #29 on: August 07, 2012, 05:45:42 PM »
but Adev going at night you won't be able to se where you are going and may miss it altogether. :stir:

Nice job NASA
Pete

Silly, I'll be taking a torch with me of course!

Offline Farmboy

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Re: Well done, NASA
« Reply #30 on: August 07, 2012, 06:13:50 PM »
Excuse me for being thick but what purpose has been served by going to Mars? A lot of talented people have worked on this project, I would have thought they could have found something here on earth to do before they bugger another planet up. Just my thoughts Keith.

We must continue to explore, it's a part of being human. There is always something else that could have been done instead, but why not do that as well!

I'm sure many people wonder what purpose is served by making model engines, with all these highly talented people wasting their time when they could be doing something useful  ;) . . . . now where did I put that flak jacket?

Offline Raggle

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Re: Well done, NASA
« Reply #31 on: August 07, 2012, 11:27:39 PM »
There may have been little point in climbing Everest or going to the south pole in the last century. However these pointless endeavours required engineering and logistics on a scale never needed before. Now such trips are commonplace as extreme tourism capers. These serve a less useful purpose and, in the case of the mountain, there are commonly a couple of dozen teams in action, leaving litter in their wake.

This is the result of repeatability, surely the prime goal of any engineer. There were many disasters along the way both on Earth and in space and one of the overriding needs is safety, as the cost is even greater than any life (that may sound callous and contentious, but is nonetheless true).

The British Beagle2 expedition ended in a butterfingers moment when contact was lost on the home stretch. No doubt lessons for NASA were learned.

"Curiosity" is the pinnacle of engineering in space exploration so far. It will be the most completely documented mission to date, as every mission suggests a new feature for the next time.

To say that it is a waste of resources shows a lack of adventure and romance.

Ray
All we're trying to do is combine a fuel and an oxidant in the combustion chamber and burn it in the hope of getting some useful thrust out of the back end. It's not rocket science.

Offline metalmad

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Re: Well done, NASA
« Reply #32 on: August 08, 2012, 12:28:14 AM »
I agree that if the human race is to survive long term then it has to leave Earth, but I feel there has also been a short term benefit besides the obvious economic ones.
In a time where depression and disillusionment are the norm, people out there are still achieving great things, History has been made and somehow just a little bit of hope has been returned to us/me.
What pleased me less was my eight year old daughter came home from school a few minutes before the landing with no knowledge of the upcoming attempt.
As we watched the landing together I had to wonder at the quality of her teachers and just what they were doing all day!
Pete
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Re: Well done, NASA
« Reply #33 on: August 08, 2012, 03:36:59 AM »
Couldn't agree more Pete!

Dave
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Offline Pete49

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Re: Well done, NASA
« Reply #34 on: August 08, 2012, 04:42:56 AM »
I also wonder at what is the need for what passes for education nowdays. I vividly remember when the Russians put up the sputnik and our teacher telling us to watch the evening sky for it and explaining  where to see it and why it was sent up.Then the fascinating space race culminating with a landing on the moon by the US. I was watching it in townsville while filling the car and the servo had a tv for all to watch. Then the start of the shuttle program with its disasters and the highs and the things learnt then. expensive yes but a waste?? not on your Nellie
Pete
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Offline AussieJimG

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Re: Well done, NASA
« Reply #35 on: August 08, 2012, 07:47:59 AM »
Compare the money spent on the engineering and scientific effort with the money wasted on the Olympics and there is no contest (IMHO).

Jim

Offline weldersmate

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Re: Well done, NASA
« Reply #36 on: August 08, 2012, 09:33:18 AM »
Are you sure they ever went to the moon or landed on Mars? Keith.

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Re: Well done, NASA
« Reply #37 on: August 08, 2012, 09:51:24 AM »
Compare the money spent on the engineering and scientific effort with the money wasted on the Olympics and there is no contest (IMHO).

Jim

Don't knock All the Olympics, Jim ....

Some of it's grippng stuff...

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/culturepicturegalleries/9432597/London-2012-Olympics-Shaun-the-Sheep-Olympic-Championsheeps.html

Dave BC

Offline AdeV

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Re: Well done, NASA
« Reply #38 on: August 08, 2012, 10:18:46 AM »
Are you sure they ever went to the moon or landed on Mars? Keith.

Well, the moon landing was clearly fake, as ruthlessly exposed by this website: http://stuffucanuse.com/fake_moon_landings/moon_landings.htm
Cheers,
Ade
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Re: Well done, NASA
« Reply #39 on: August 08, 2012, 10:37:55 AM »
That's some nasty looking cheese! :Jester:

Dave
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Offline Lew Hartswick

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Re: Well done, NASA
« Reply #40 on: August 08, 2012, 03:46:43 PM »
Pffff, that's nothing. I once drove 1000 miles, and parked within 5mm of the kerb.
5mm;  That's pretty close.
Was the curb (sic; kerb) constantly moving at 59,278.91 miles per hour?
I think it was moving at something close to 1000 Mi. per hour.  As I remember that is about the
surface speed of the earth about the polar axis . ( I think that was at the equator) 
[ something like 25,000 mi in 24 hrs]
   ...lew...

Offline Ian S C

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Re: Well done, NASA
« Reply #41 on: August 08, 2012, 04:17:41 PM »
Better our scientific, and engineering developement comes from exploration, whether it be here on earth, or in space, than the other way that these things happen through war.
If at first we don't succeed, we must not stop, just think where we would be if for example man had decided after the first aeroplane fatality we should not continue developing aircraft.    Ian S C

Offline Dean W

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Re: Well done, NASA
« Reply #42 on: August 08, 2012, 06:48:56 PM »
Pffff, that's nothing. I once drove 1000 miles, and parked within 5mm of the kerb.
5mm;  That's pretty close.
Was the curb (sic; kerb) constantly moving at 59,278.91 miles per hour?
I think it was moving at something close to 1000 Mi. per hour.  As I remember that is about the
surface speed of the earth about the polar axis . ( I think that was at the equator) 
[ something like 25,000 mi in 24 hrs]
   ...lew...
No, that is how fast the planet is rotating on its axis.  However, it is moving through space in it's course around
the sun at a vastly higher speed.  NASA not only has to park their vehicle on a planet that is spinning on its own
axis, but also speeding through the solar system at the same time.  That's a pretty good parking job, especially
when you consider the scale of the "curb".
Dean
In beautiful N. Idaho, U.S.A.

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Online steamer

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Re: Well done, NASA
« Reply #43 on: August 09, 2012, 09:12:23 PM »
"Mister M'Andrew, don't you think steam spoils romance at sea?"
Damned ijjit!

Offline Dean W

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Re: Well done, NASA
« Reply #44 on: August 10, 2012, 12:42:40 AM »
Dean
In beautiful N. Idaho, U.S.A.

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Re: Well done, NASA
« Reply #45 on: August 10, 2012, 01:04:39 AM »
 :ROFL:
I was thinking the same thing!
"Mister M'Andrew, don't you think steam spoils romance at sea?"
Damned ijjit!

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Re: Well done, NASA
« Reply #46 on: August 10, 2012, 11:22:24 AM »
It's amazing that you can see the heads of bolts and wire ties....some cut back a little more than others!...and the rocks look like they'be been under flowing water....like it's an old river bed.......which jives with the story of the location....
They will be posting more HI DEF photo's in a bit....remember this is all 350 million miles away......I can only imagine some machinist looking at this in amazement ....."HEY!  I made THAT part!......"

Dave
"Mister M'Andrew, don't you think steam spoils romance at sea?"
Damned ijjit!