24 JAN 2015 by ideonexus


The basic idea of Astrochicken is that the spacecraft will be small and quick. I do not believe that a fruitful future for space science lies along the path we are now following, with space missions growing larger and larger and fewer and fewer and slower and slower as the decades go by. I propose a radical step in the direction of smallness and quickness. Astrochicken will weigh a kilogram instead of Voyager's ton, and it will travel from Earth into orbit around Uranus in two years instead ...
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03 MAR 2014 by ideonexus

 The Scientific Bias Against Promotion

I agree that a dreary comprehensive litany of who made what suggestion and which project official rejected it would be tedious (although me fact that the same idea arose in the minds of many different people - both in the science and the engineering teams - is worth noting), while at least some indication of the resistance to "nonscientific" data might be quite interesting. The battle is, of course, being played out again with regard to the two Galileo Earth encounters, where there was partic...
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Carl Sagan recounting the resistance to having Voyager take a photo of Earth from deep space because it had no scientific value.

13 MAY 2013 by ideonexus

 Look for the Improbable in Extraterrestrial Life

To land a spacecraft on Europa, with the heavy equipment needed to penetrate the ice and explore the ocean directly, would be a formidable undertaking. A direct search for life in Europa's ocean would today be prohibitively expensive. But just as asteroid and comet impacts on Mars have given us an easier way to look for evidence of life on that planet, impacts on Europa give us an easier way to look for evidence of life there. Every time a major impact occurs on Europa, a vast quantity of wat...
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We should look for freeze-dried live ejected from impacts with Europa rather than trying to send probes into the ice.

07 MAY 2012 by ideonexus

 Why the Pioneer Anomaly is Worth Investigating

In the short run, knowing the gravitational constant to one more decimal digit of precision or placing even tighter limits on any deviation from Einstein's gravitational theory may seem like painfully nitpicking detail. Yet one must not lose sight of the "big picture." When researchers were measuring the properties of electricity with ever more refined instruments over two hundred years ago, they did not envision continent-spanning power grids, an information economy, or tiny electrical signa...
Folksonomies: investigation purpose study
Folksonomies: investigation purpose study
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The effect is tiny, but magnified over great distances, and if we are meticulous now, we make it possible for future generations to traverse the solar system.

01 JAN 2012 by ideonexus

 The Pioneer 10 Plaque

On the title page of this chapter is shown the message. It is etched on a 6-inch by 9-inch gold-anodized aluminum plate, attached to the antenna support struts of Pioneer 10. The expected erosion rate in interstellar space is sufficiently small that this message should remain intact for hundreds of millions of years, and probably for a much longer period of time. It is, thus, the artifact of mankind with the longest expected lifetime. The message itself intends to communicate the locale, ep...
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Carl Sagan describes everything that went into the symbolism of this message sent to the stars.