I recently bemoaned the political correctness of the science community in regards to its lynch mob mentality. One of the things I cited was the over-reaction and sheer hysteria over drinking coffee when I was a kid. It would give you cancer. Now, we’re getting this:
I think science in general needs to study ALL the angles before making rash statements. Especially when there’s political pressure applied. I’d hate to think what I’d feel like right now if I had given up coffee in 1981 and now had colon cancer.
U.S. and European researchers are lauding the effectiveness of a network of ground-based telescopes that has apparently salvaged a wind experiment feared lost during a mission to the surface of Saturn’s moon Titan.
Astronomers were able to use a global group of radio telescopes and a simple signal tone bleated by Europe’s Huygens probe during its Jan. 14 Titan landing to determine the moon’s wind characteristics.
That is pretty dang cool. I’d still like to see more pictures than what we apparently got. Titan’s a pretty funky place apparently.
This is what someone in Quebec ( Jean Chiasson ) has been enjoying since September. Even with all the solar activity, we’ve gotten nothing here. They have some incredible aurora pics there. Definitely worth the visit.
The probe was to transmit data on two channels, A and B, Atkinson said. His Doppler wind experiment was to use Channel A, a very stable frequency.
But the order to activate the receiver, or oscillator, for Channel A was never sent, so the entire mission operated through Channel B, which is less stable, Atkinson said……..
That’s right. They forgot to turn it on. In the eight years Huygens/Cassini was in route, no one made a checklist of what all needed to be done when it got there. NASA is examining what went wrong. I think it’s simple. Find who was responsible for Channel A and fire them.
Wonder whatever happened to the guy who forgot to convert metric to feet on the lost Mars mission?
NASA needs money to send rovers to Titan. ( See above )
SpaceshipOne is wanting commercial business.
Put it all together, and you get this natural conclusion:
Sell the rights to methane on Titan to Branson/SpaceShipTwo, let them build freighters to bring it back and they can become filthy bazillionaires while the world weens itself of dependence on Earth’s limited resources. I mean think about it in a realistic way, it’s raining gasoline on Titan.
Hey Volokh guys, do I have to patent that as a concept?
Editor’s Update, 5/16/2017: More than a decade after writing this, nothing has landed on Titan. For that matter, nothing substantial has landed anywhere in the solar system while we’ve talked ourselves to death about getting man to Mars even though at this point, we can’t even put a man in orbit. We’re back to 1960 again realistically.
Now, this is the closest thing to travelling at the speed of light I have ever heard of. The problem with Einstein’s theory is that you can’t travel at, or faster than, the speed of light. The problem with intergalactic travel is that even if you were travelling at the speed of light, it would take four years to get to Alpha Centauri. Now, according to the story I’ve read, blazars travelling at that speed are being ejected from black holes. Problem presented with that is we don’t have any black holes handy to use here on Earth. And, the bottom line is that although these things are travelling super, super, super fast, they still don’t violate Einstein’s theory. So, the limit for mass is still slightly under the speed of light. If Einstein is correct, there is no way to observe something travelling faster than the speed of light, and therefore it is still impossible for man to re-create the circumstances. It would be cool to prove you can travel faster than the speed of light. That would allow us to ponder travelling to far away galaxies. But, it’s not going to happen in my lifetime, or my son’s. As cool as blazars are, they still follow the basic laws of physics.
October 10, 2006 update: This isn’t new, but it’s still extremely cool. It’s a montage of pics from the Huygens’ landing to show what it would have looked like during the landing. Very cool. One of the coolest things I’ve ever seen from space!