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  1. Well, it is really small. I wonder whether its related to the ring on iapetus, a larger moon who also has a ring on the equator (this one at least looks sorta equitorlial, judging by sun angle.)
  2. #the pretty-goods English (native) Esperanto Romanian #the kinda-okay Spanish Can get a bit of other romances, and have heard enough of a few russian family languages to get a tiny little bit of it.
  3. @InterCity has now made a wish for a fish, but it was supposed to have little legs and green spikes. I wish I did'nt only have a 600x480 monitor at the moment.
  4. well, @0111narwhalz , just because I never come here does'nt mean I never come here. Aaaaaaanyways. I figure the next poster is going to be. . .hmm. . . @Nicholander
  5. I don't come here often any more, but I remember the whole mess of the 'great coffee spill' where the forums were, sorta like, shredded. Much fun.
  6. Then the velocity of the final object will be different then either of the original ones, meaning that probably there will not be a collision with the Earth. Ideally, this is what would happen, not a messy break up.
  7. A lot of the biggest challenges seem micro-gravity related. You solve those challenges by not living in microgravity.
  8. Perhaps I should calrify that. Using things like checksums, you should be able to make a program that will copy itself, check the copy, and make so few mistakes that you can do it for billions of years without errors. I do not know the numbers for this off hand, but with current programs to do this it probably is acheivable. A 512 bit checksum has a fantastically small chance of being duped, and it is conceivable that you could be using a bigger one just because you can. However, it seems that you are wanting to make a thing that evolves, probably. Assuming that that is the case, your checksums will need to be not completley restrictive of all accidental changes, and those changes that they allow probably will be able to overide and mess up other stuff in the program, given time.
  9. This, would not really work. Not for ever at least. Not without very good engineering or luck. Think about a Von Neumann probe as being basically an animal, or a plant or whatever: a life form. It is subject to natural selection like the rest of us. Now, let's take an animal, say, a deer. Deer are not really programmed to climb steep mountains, rather they like relativley flat ground, hills, and not so steep mountains (at least the deer I know). If I were to take a sufficient population of these deer, and put them into an environment where it was distinctly advantageous to climb cliffs, they would likley eventually learn to do it. Generations would pass, and they might slowly learn to hop up rocks to evade predators, or reach otherwise inaccesible food sources. As time goes on, they would cease to be deer, but their ancestors would have been When and if we were to release self replicating probes into the Cosmos, we would be relinquishing control over them. I cannot say that it is advantageous to them to land on planets with life, but I cannot say that it is not, either. And, extrapolating across the practical infinity of space, it is, it would seem, possible that these spacecraft will have time to decide for themselves whether or not to do so. So many generations produce copying errors, and eventually, those safegaurd programs will errode.
  10. Well, in some cases there would be treaties that would be problematic, preventing the claiming of territory in 'Outer Space'. But that would not be a matter that the UN would have to deal with, simply the signers of the treaty (and those countries that did not sign would be presumably exempt, but the odds that they would succeed are vanishingly small). For companies, any action they would take would probably be supported by another government, which would complicate claiming territory. That does not mean that you could not colonize. But the rules that govern it are probably far more messy. Unless the UN agrees that the UN is in charge, the UN is not.
  11. Newt

    Best linux OS?

    It does not seem to really be a thing that you can answer. There are so many, and by far most of them are perfectly decent, and so similar that you can basically treat them as the same things merely with different default arrangements. I have yet to find one that has not been fun and easy to mess around with, though I certainly have not tried all of them.
  12. Rating a vehicle safe for astronauts and rating it safe for the common person are two very different things. Spacex seems so far to not be making a fantastically reliable vehicle, and though I have no doubt it will improve, it seems that the risk is somewhat high for prospective space tourists. The same goes for probably all of the CCDev'ers. To be honest, given the choice, I would go on a tiny cramped Soyuz before a more spacious Dragon. Not that I would be a space tourist anyway.
  13. Rearding the Raspberry Pi:We had indeed considered it, as it does appear a viable option. There was some suggestion that it may be overpowered for our needs, but currently it seems to be the reference computer. Radiation is another issue to consider.
  14. ==My original thought for this question was something sort of parallel to Viking on Mars. We have an idea of what is there, maps, but somewhat crude ones (I spent all this morning going through Viking and Mariner 9 images (there were a few earlier Mariners there too), and even the high resolution data is somewhat bad by modern standards. We therefore know that there is life on Earth, we probably have an idea of roughness and slope of areas, but we do not know too much. ==Our mission is an early lander mission. Unmanned, one way, and no sample return. The landers will have preference for a lower latitude region.==Forests are interesting, but very rough surfaced. It is possible that there are plants there, but also possible that there are boulders, quite the size and nature of these items is difficult to determine, so landing in them puts us at great risk of falling and tipping over, ending the mission. Consequently, We will avoid them. ==The Ocean, on the other hand, is pretty interesting. Spectroscopic images indicate that they are primarily water (H20), which likely plays an important role in the composition of terrestrial life. Furthermore, some have speculated that life on the planet may have arisen first in the oceans. Though this is questionable, it may suggest a higher diversity of life in those areas. ==Importantly, the oceans are big, flat, expanses that are easy to target for landing. They offer an interesting chance also to explore the planet with a lander, as ocean currents can take us to different climate zones, different latitudes, and perhaps even land.==Another good candidate may be the Sahara. This is another, large area that appears generally flat. Although it appears to be more empty than other areas, for a first lander mission there is an argument to be made that landing anywhere is probably highly instructive. The Sahara is near to the equator, and so there will be many opportunities to land there assuming an equitorial orbit for an orbiter. Other areas include the large plains of America, central Asia, or much of central Australia, and many other, smaller regions exist into which one could cram a landing ellipse. The poles could both be facinating, reachable destinations, but might be more difficult to reach.==In considering the possibility of contaminating the life of Earth with our on bacteria, it seems there really is no ideal destination. Life seems ubiquitous on the planet, and consequently wherever we go we can expect to both encounter, and be encountered by, it. There really is no point in trying to avoid this, and the only solution is to sanitize the spacecraft as best as possible prior to (and perhaps during) the flight.
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