November 15, 2014

"With its batteries depleted and not enough sunlight available to recharge, Philae has fallen into 'idle mode' for a potentially long silence."

"In this mode, all instruments and most systems on board are shut down.... From now on, no contact would be possible unless sufficient sunlight falls on the solar panels to generate enough power to wake it up."

Let's just array these flight controllers... randomly:


Photo credit: Steven Young/Astronomy Now.

50 comments:

The Drill SGT said...

I give up, it's not the array where you put the short folks up front (e.g. the women)

Psota said...

I don't like her shoes.

CStanley said...

She looks a little frightened by the hostile environment. I think she put herself out in front as a defense against viewing potentially offensive shirts of her coworkers.

Mingus Jerry said...

But but...there is only one woman...and it's an article about a failure not a success...and we don't know if she has to pay for her own birth control. What does her uterus want?!?!

CStanley said...

I'm sure they want the controversy to die down, but it actually would have been quite funny if she had dressed up like a pin up girl.

EDH said...

This is a scientific expedition, right? About science.

Will a lesson be learned that a plutonium battery, not solar panels, is the way to go with deep space probes?

Likely to be the wrong kind of "science", given the advance eco-hoopla.

How Solar Energy Beats Nuclear Power on Earth and in Space

"Now all satellites are solar-powered as is the International Space Station. But there has been a push to continue to use nuclear power on space probes with NASA and formerly Soviet and now Russian space authorities insisting that solar power cannot be harvested far from the Sun.

However, the European Space Agency (ESA) declares on its website:

The solar cells in Rosetta’s solar panels are based on a completely new technology, so-called Low-intensity Low Temperature Cells. Thanks to them, Rosetta is the first space mission to journey beyond the main asteroid belt relying solely on solar cells for power generation. Previous deep-space missions used nuclear RTGs, radioisotope thermal generators. The new solar cells allow Rosetta to operate over 800 million kilometres from the Sun, where levels of sunlight are only 4% those on Earth. The technology will be available for future deep-space, such as ESA’s upcoming Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer.

Meade said...

"Let's just array these flight controllers... randomly"

I don't know what you're talking about. Obviously, they're all lumbersexuals.

William said...

I just discovered that I dress like a rocket scientist. I do notice, however, that most of those guys wear work boots. Have they never heard of New Balance running shoes, which are much lighter and far more comfortable than work boots? I try to be tolerant but that workplace looks like it is hostile to people with plantar fasciitis.

Diogenes of Sinope said...

Piss away $1.4 B Euros by not powering the mission with nuclear radioisotope thermal generators. Why, to protect space from radiation? Politics over ruling proven science.

tim in vermont said...

Ha ha ha! The politically correct battery fails.

I am sure that this was the contribution of the likes of the ankle-biting troll who did the tweet attack.

We knew he would break down in tears when he gave in to PC to not put the right battery on the probe.

If these batteries were for dildos, you can bet that it would have been assured that they wouldn't fail.

I am really starting to hate feminists, in a misogynistic way.

Grackle said...

OH MY GOD! All white men and one poor girl, stuck there among the dweebish! IF ONLY THERE HAD BEEN MORE WOMEN ON THE TEAM! With their experience using vibrators, they would surely have known to pack extra batteries.

William said...

Princeton payed Einstein a decent salary, certainly enough to patronize a competent barber, if a man can't find a decent barber, what are his chances of discovering the Grand Unified Theory. Men who wear Armani suits and Prada loafers are not the type to overlook radioisotope thermal generators.

tim in vermont said...

There was a woman in my engineering mechanics class lo these many years ago. Just before she flunked out she explained that her father had always helped her with her math. It was sad, not funny, to me anyway, knowing her personally.

But if the woman they put front and center has the chops, and she is the one leading the effort, than by all means put her front and center.

Somehow, however, I doubt it.

exhelodrvr1 said...

Thank God there were no offensive T-shirts there. Emotionally I couldn't have handled that.

richlb said...

I was wondering why they used solar panels and not nuclear power. If I recall it goes back to some probe that exploded during liftoff years ago. The paranoid fear was that this would rain down unnecessary radiation on the ground. So now we get solar panels which, just like here on Terra Firma, are useless when the sun doesn't hit them. Can we go back to nuclear, please?

tim in vermont said...

Einstein didn't want to waste the brain space to learn his own phone number, it was in an easily available book after all. But this rocket scientist is supposed to waste space with PC nonsense to please a coven of harridans on twitter or with widely read blogs?

Anonymous said...

That guy front left in the flannel...is he really wearing that! Lesbians everywhere are outraged! I am sure we will hear from them lickety-split

Original Mike said...

I think they got all their data before shutting down!

April Apple said...

Are they wearing feminist approved clothing? If not, off with their heads!

Grackle said...

The mission outcome does make the Voyagers look all the better. I guess they don't build them like they used to.

Deirdre Mundy said...

Grackle, the Voyagers didn't have to land, they just had to get sling-shot into deep space.

Landing is really hard. Shooting something off from earth 10 years ago and then landing in on a tiny, weird shaped (comet isn't close to round!' hunk of space detritis? Pretty darn awesome.

Though, I would like to point out that this is the team in their "Looking really good, we need to take pictures for international media" outfits.

It's not that ugly shirt guy lacked respect for women, he just lacked a woman to dress him in 'business casual.'

Michael K said...

They never should have made him take off that lucky shirt. Simple !

Larry J said...

The type of plutonium used for those RTGs is in short supply. From what I've read, there's only enough for a few more missions. Also, for the power requirements of this particular mission, an RTG likely would've been to large and too heavy. The lander only has a mass of 100 kg. With improvements in space-rated solar panels, you don't need RTGs until you get past the orbit of Jupiter or there about.

Fritz said...

"I was wondering why they used solar panels and not nuclear power. If I recall it goes back to some probe that exploded during liftoff years ago. The paranoid fear was that this would rain down unnecessary radiation on the ground. . ."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Systems_for_Nuclear_Auxiliary_Power

"On April 24, 1964 a SNAP-9A failed to achieve orbit and disintegrated, dispersing roughly 1 kilogram (2.2 lb) of plutonium-238 over all continents,"

I knew a guy who studied that. It was detectable basically everywhere. It wasn't the only one, just the worst.

Deirdre Mundy said...

Fritz- Huh. I wonder if there's a way to see what it would have done to Cancer rates, and how it fell out...

Tim said...

should be wearing white short sleeve shirts w/ white t-shirts and a pocket protecter to projet that "real" rocket scientist effect.

Anonymous said...

Is that token woman a secretary who brings coffee to the real scientists, or a girl friend?

RecChief said...

but hey, I see they are all wearing appropriate shirts

David said...

Once again, the effect of feminism is to distract from race.

Goju said...

From the Heading, I thought this was a prediction of Europe's future

tim in vermont said...

With improvements in space-rated solar panels, you don't need RTGs until you get past the orbit of Jupiter or there about.

Reality says NO!

When a wise man points at the moon, the idiot looks at his finger.

grackle said...

Grackle said...
OH MY GOD! All white men and one poor girl, stuck there among the dweebish! IF ONLY THERE HAD BEEN MORE WOMEN ON THE TEAM! With their experience using vibrators, they would surely have known to pack extra batteries

Grackle said...
The mission outcome does make the Voyagers look all the better. I guess they don't build them like they used to.


The above comments are not by me. Apparently someone else has respect for this bird and has also taken the name as a pseudonym. The real grackle, me, spells the name with all lower case. I've been posting comments on this blog since at least 2009 but this is the first time I've ever seen another grackle.

Meade said...

The fake grackle needs to change his pseudonym to starling.

Terry said...

It is possible to use large solar arrays in space missions to planets far from the sun. I don't know how costs compare to an RTG.
But you have to budget your sunlight. If you plan your orbits and transitions between orbits correctly you can control how much sunlight the panels receive.
But on the unknown surface of dynamically rotating body? What if landing or firing the harpoons had coated the panels in dust? What the hell were they thinking?

Owen said...

Meade said: "The fake grackle needs to change his pseudonym to starling. 11/15/14, 11:20 AM"

Not cowbird or cuckoo?

Original Mike said...

I think Larry J makes a good point about weight. I'd be surprised if an RTG was an option for the lander.

Anonymous said...

Is that Bill Clinton standing behind the woman, or does my monitor need fixing?

rcocean said...

Perfect example of why dress code is needed at work. These guys would be happier wearing a work-place uniform and would look a lot better.

Khaki pants, blue/brown shirt - doesn't cost that much and looks better.

J2 said...

Jessica Valenti but for Science.

Greg Hlatky said...

Oh noes! Is there a Grievance Studies graduate who can solve this?

Oso Negro said...

Grackles are the starlings of the South, Meade. An interesting enough bird, but irritating when there are too many of them.

John Woycheese said...

I can't figure out if some of you are serious. While at UC Berkley in the 90's, the smartest person I knew in grad school was a woman developing a multidimensional computational fluid dynamics model for blood flow in bifurcating arteries (requiring step-wise changes to the grid), while writing a series of novels that told a story from multiple perspectives. I have a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from one of the top schools in the country, and I'm doubt I'm qualified to hold her coat.
As a (former) professor at an
East-Coast school, I had a number of solid students, with women well represented.
Those of you talking about secretaries and coffee need to get out more and see how the world is today.
And, frankly, I had to read the comments to even figure out what Althouse meant by her gibe about random orientation. Much like the talk in other threads about not focusing on race, I find that Althouse is far too focused on perceiving gender bias.

Just Mike said...

I think it heard the raging "shirtroversy" and committed suicide

n.n said...

Traditionally, it's women and children first. Today, that sentiment is exploited and perverted to create political, economic, and social leverage. That said, these are Euros. They are less insular and petty than their American liberal counterparts.

Ann Althouse said...

"And, frankly, I had to read the comments to even figure out what Althouse meant by her gibe about random orientation. Much like the talk in other threads about not focusing on race, I find that Althouse is far too focused on perceiving gender bias."

It's an allusion to a famous old post of mine.

Google Althouse and the key phrase.

Ann Althouse said...

the key phrase is: array randomly

Unknown said...

you bothered to post on this twice to advertise your brilliant past and you couldn't be arsed to just post the Damned link? I doubt it was that important.

John Lynch said...

I got it.

She's not in a three-quarter pose with a tight t-shirt. I noticed immediately.

John Lynch said...

Wow. No one else got it. It's the most famous Althouse post ever.

Ann Althouse said...

This post was for the people who would get it, like John Lynch.

Here at home, it made Meade laugh a lot.