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Everything posted by Codraroll

  1. Russia's future ability to construct and operate a space station.
  2. As always, one can't fault Rogozin's optimism, at least.
  3. The theory was that the drone is pre-programmed with waypoint coordinates. Whoever input the coordinates didn't want to spend several minutes looking it up on paper maps, but pulled out their phone and simply googled "coordinates of _____", and didn't notice they had looked up the wrong Jarun by mistake.
  4. To quote somebody from another forum: Plausible? I don't know.
  5. Infinite energy from every atomic reaction, that is. Depending on whether the "infinite" value of c is to be taken literally or just that it's really, really high, your cell metabolism would burn you to a crisp or even totally destroy the planet. That is, the planet would probably be destroyed by any number of other chemical reactions anyway, so total barbecue would be on the agenda regardless.
  6. Trying not to break any forum rules, but let's just pretend there is a long-winded and colourfully worded rant below, saying how I don't really appreciate what's currently going on. Thanks for imagining.
  7. That'd be a great way to ensure that absolutely nobody will let them cooperate on its successor. He's just making the usual bluster due to politics.
  8. Back in the 1980s, nuclear power was becoming a serious competitor to fossil power. The fossil fuel companies poured millions into the anti-nuclear lobby and eagerly promoted a solar- and wind-powered future, because they knew this future would be decades away and fossil fuels would have free reign in the meantime. Now, solar and wind are here, so the pendulum swings the other way. The fossil companies have broken the nuclear lobby, to the point that they know it would take years of discussion, planning, and construction for nuclear plants to be built at a large scale again. Yet more years of uninterrupted, competition-free reign for fossil fuel power. So funding for nuclear enthusiasm is quietly raised a bit, while retaining some funds for the anti-nuclear crowd to slow things down to an appreciable pace. They will always try to promote the future that's 20 years away, because that gives them freedom to act with impunity in the meantime. It's a matter of dragging out the status quo for as long as possible.
  9. Gonna guess the combustion suddenly got very engine rich during those tests.
  10. The value of "it" has changed a bit, though. At first it was "achieving nuclear fusion", then it was "sustaining nuclear fusion", then it was "produce more energy than was used to start the reaction", and then "achieve a net energy production over time", and so on. The milestones seem to be always ten years away, but they also seem to arrive roughly every ten years as well. Granted, the number of steps between the next milestone and commercial utilization always seems to stay the same, though. And again, each step takes ten years.
  11. It looks a bit promising, but it also contains one of the most disheartening sentences I've ever seen in a purportedly optimistic report on fusion technology:
  12. Nah, the Richter scale goes all the way down to "can only be picked up by instruments", which isn't that awesome. Real rockets register on the Fujita scale, whose lowest point is F0: If I'm not entirely mistaken, some of SpaceX's activities have qualified for this already.
  13. I once heard an explanation that sort-of fixed the issue in my eyes: Han Solo is a smuggler and an opportunist, facing a prospective customer with several options (it's not like it would be difficult for Obi-Wan and Luke to find other smugglers to take them off-planet at Mos Eisley) but who are obviously in a hurry. He tests them, spouting some meaningless technobabble about his ship to see if they have any clue at all (it works, they are obviously confused by the figure), before asking a stupendous price. He wanted to see if he could get away with daylight robbery, or whether he had to bid low to get the job at all. Finding out that neither of them knew what a parsec was, he could easily name any price he wanted.
  14. At least it highlights the need for other telescopes to complement Webb. It's a good telescope, but not suitable for every use case, so preferably somebody should start work on another telescope for a slightly different use case pretty soon. If Starship works as advertised, it might not even be prohibitively expensive either. I have often wondered how expensive it would be to build a reasonably capable telescope if mass wasn't (as much of) an issue and launches were really cheap.
  15. Interesting. So they could potentially ask it to just photograph whatever it happens to be pointing at, and hope for it to be interesting. Chances are it will, given how Hubble took the Ultra-Deep Field photo by intentionally pointing into the darkest portion of the sky, and it still found lots of interesting stuff. Granted, they chose the darkest patch of sky not because it had nothing to look at but because it had the fewest obstructions, but chances still are that JWST would be able to find something science-worthy in every random direction if necessary. Decades in the future, I hope we have enough relays to bounce the signal off of if it doesn't go straight towards Earth.
  16. I guess it's nice to have aspirations, but I severely doubt any of this will ever leave the drawing board.
  17. On the other hand, from what I've seen, I'm pretty sure that's not the weakest point of the film from a scientific perspective.
  18. If you mean "Properly" in the sense of "Ensuring that the authoritarian regime is kept in place, or at least replaced with someone even more aligned with the interest of other dictators in the area", then yes. The last thing they want is for people to ask whether having a self-appointed dictator for life is actually in the best interests of the nation. I guess there are plenty of neighbouring countries ready to help "maintaining stability", though, so it will probably blow over.
  19. If we're being properly optimistic, we could hope that by the time JWST reaches the end of its lifespan, it will be a matter of a routine Starship flight to go out there and refurbish it. Popping in a new tank of hydrazine, inserting some new sensors, improving comms, all that jazz. Or maybe just installing a new telescope entirely and taking JWST down to be exhibited in a museum.
  20. I think it's not so much the delay, as disappointment over the fact that there are so many problems to be fixed after this many delays and inspections.
  21. I sometimes get the impression from these threads that it's possible to take both those options, though ...
  22. But even Verne made some simplifications and mistakes on the scientific front, without it getting in the way of the storytelling. In Five Weeks in a Balloon, the whole endeavour is based on a battery strong enough to provide continuous production of hydrogen from catalyzing water - for five weeks. And in From the Earth to the Moon, he somehow got the idea that landing in water dampens any acceleration to survivable levels - even that of being shot out of a cannon from a standstill to near Earth escape velocity in the span of a couple hundred meters. Just sit in a bathtub during launch and you'll be fine ... Sure, it reads a bit anachronistically if you know the science, but the story is well told so it really doesn't matter. That's what the whole point of fiction is.
  23. Not in the slightest. A bomb sends energy in every spherical direction, and the ship only gets to take advantage of the "ray" that hits its pusher plate. The rest dissipates uselessly to the sides and behind and diagonally and every other direction you can think of. A rocket engine directs all the energy in the desired direction, since the nozzle surrounds the combustion process and ensures the energy only has one way to travel - very roughly speaking. I believe you have been told this many, many times already.
  24. Long story short: If you want a ship to do what ordinary technology cannot do, don't try to do it with ordinary technology. Invent something vague and fancy-sounding that works without explaining how, or just handwave it. Or both: Introducing the Palm-and-Five-Fingers Cyclical Motion Engine. The P5F-CME is a super-efficient technology that allows practical SSTO capabilities and continuous acceleration for a very long time, without using a lot of reaction mass. That's the entire explanation of how it works.
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