What's happening in space (that's interesting)


#2028

Guys, can we keep the arguments and P&R out of this thread? It was a perfectly nice “space stuff is cool” thread, but it’s getting kind of rowdy in here.

I asked @Klaatu to tone it down. He agreed. Can we leave it at that?


#2029

Thank you for that then Nick and Klaatu.


#2030

And I thought Musk’s pronouncements on SpaceX’s future were hubristic.


#2031

Why is this hubris? Last year Bezos sold a million shares of Amazon for $750 million. This year if sells a million share he will make $900 million. He has 80 million shares. Now I suppose once rockets start getting up to the speed of light and he starts riding in the may last long enough to run out of shares. But you have to believe sometime in the next 20 or 30 years Blue Origins will start generating revenue and maybe even profits some day.

Fortunately for Musk SpaceX is already making money, although probably not enough to fund a Mars Colony (yet).


#2033

Because “billionaire owner funds all of it” isn’t a business model, it’s the world’s most expensive hobby. I’m sure he was saying that somewhat in jest, but it doesn’t suggest it’s going to be profitable for the foreseeable future.


#2034

Jesus. I had no idea just how much he was worth. That is insane.


#2035

"At that rate, I’ll have to close this place in… 60 years."


#2036


[All the jokes here]


#2037

@jpinard! NASA finds more evidence that the ocean on Enceladus could support alien life - The Verge


#2038

This is what NASA should be spending most of its money on. Looking for life here and on Europa.


#2039

Super cool video of today’s SpaceX launch. Liftoff is 12 minutes in. The new camera view on the decent/landing burn is spectacular:


#2040

I was just about to pop in to say the same thing. Not only do you get amazing tracking camera views for basically the entire flight, you also get the onboard camera footage from just after stage separation all the way down.


#2041

Pretty amazing stuff.


#2042

Truly remarkable. I can’t help but wonder what happens if those rockets or one of the steering fins fails to work on the way down - what is the contingency plan? Do they blow it up or is there sufficient clearance on its trajectory to avoid any populated areas?


#2043

Contingency plans are for losers.


#2044

That’s a good question. The Cape being right on the ocean I’d think have enough excess fuel to burn a little longer which would cause their trajectory to enter the ocean. Also the Kennedy Space center isn’t densely populated there is a lot of swamp land and all small number of buildings.


#2045

All rockets have self-destruct charges in case they head towards populated areas. They don’t publicize it, but even manned rockets like the Space Shuttle do.


#2046

I knew that but I’m not really sure that having a rocket blow up at 5,000 or 10,000 feet and have the debries scattered over a big area is better than just have it hit the ground and crater. Almost all US launches are from locations on the coast and spend the vast majority of their time over the water.


#2047

The thing about rockets is there’s usually not just 1 engine. So even though power redistribution and redundancy is available in the case of engine failure, there’s no guarantee a damaged rocket will be able to maintain a waterly course. So a bang at a thousand feet and suddenly you have a course change that sends it on a 45 degree arc over land. Things get scary fast not just for launch control but populated areas. And of course there’s often a lot of toxicity in rocket fuel.


#2048

Plus it’s not just a matter of mass. It’s a giant tower of high explosives.

Better to shower the area with small chunks than have a massive bomb land someplace.

Also pieces tend to have poor aerodynamics. It’s not like they’re slamming into the ground like meteors for the most part. Rockets however, are very aerodynamic and have a giant engine in the back.