Not signed in (Sign In)
    • CommentAuthor256
    • CommentTimeJun 5th 2012

    To be honest, a manned Mars mission would be so radically different to any of the unmanned probes sent so far that comparisons to their failure rate aren't terribly useful. By my count, 9 of the 21 failed missions went wrong before reaching orbit - something that's very unusual for manned missions. A mMm might be better compared to the Apollo programme (failure rate 1/10 or 1/7) but on such a greater scale that, again, who knows. More probably, a mMm would have a different profile to anything attempted so far - possibly launched in stages, assembled in orbit, then boosted for Mars - which means a thousand new problems and solutions.

    I think it would be a bonus to have humans on board for some in-flight contingencies. On arrival and for landings might be particularly useful (more likely to wrangle computers than to take the stick and set 'er down). But it would be foolish (not to mention morally reprehensible) to send people on a mission that was quite likely to fail en route in a way that they would be helpless to fix.

    On the plus side, the current state of flight control is pretty goddamn amazing. Check out some of the stuff that Cassini has been directed to do - flying through the ice-plumes of Enceladus' cryovolcanos, for instance - with a one-way time delay of 1.5 hours.
    • CommentTimeJun 5th 2012
  1.  (10678.123)
    The Mars One people plan a Mars orbiter (2016), followed by a lander (2018), followed by a robot misson to produce water, fuel etc on Mars (2020) followed by a human mission in 2022/2023.

    So, in theory, there will be three missions to Mars orbit and two to the surface befoe the attempted human landing.

    That's still an incredibly ambitious schedule. I'd have expected a Mars fly-by or a mission to one of the Martian moons before the first landing.

    I would also have hoped for a pretty extensive survey looking for indigenous life before they went and dumped fout humans there.
    • CommentAuthorWood
    • CommentTimeJun 5th 2012
    Do we have any source on that Mars One thing that isn't the Daily Mail ?
  2.  (10678.125)
    Take your pick.

    They're all pretty obviously based on the same press release.
    • CommentAuthorRenThing
    • CommentTimeJun 5th 2012
    • CommentAuthorRenThing
    • CommentTimeJun 5th 2012
  3.  (10678.128)
    Long Live The Goddam BaTboT: Prototype biomimetic bat drone. Can't do sustained flight yet, but...
    Video briefing.
  4.  (10678.129)
  5.  (10678.130)
    • CommentTimeJun 7th 2012
    • CommentAuthorflecky
    • CommentTimeJun 7th 2012
    @Fishelle: About cannabis, I guess what Purple Wyrm and kosmopolit said really sums-up what I would say.
    • CommentTimeJun 7th 2012
    Thanks, guys. It's nice to actually know what I'm talking about a little when conversations about legalization and stuff come up.
    • CommentAuthorKosmopolit
    • CommentTimeJun 7th 2012 edited
    Israeli researchers have found a way to produce polypropylene plastic that's as strong as steel - and lighter, cheaper and requiring less energy to manufacture.
  6.  (10678.135)
    "We have confirmed that Flame uses a yet unknown MD5 chosen-prefix collision attack," Marc Stevens and B.M.M. de Weger wrote in an e-mail posted to a cryptography discussion group earlier this week. "The collision attack itself is very interesting from a scientific viewpoint, and there are already some practical implications."

    Crypto breakthrough shows Flame was designed by world-class scientists
    • CommentAuthorFlabyo
    • CommentTimeJun 8th 2012
    • CommentAuthor256
    • CommentTimeJun 8th 2012
    @Kosmo - FINALLY something we can call plasteel, like in all those 1980s sci-fi novels.
    • CommentAuthorWood
    • CommentTimeJun 8th 2012
    So basically, now they'll be able to make knives that pass any metal detector? Will they show on the pornoscanner or ist it going to be strip searches for everyone?
    • CommentAuthorArgos
    • CommentTimeJun 8th 2012
    Ceramic knives don't trigger metal detectors. I know someone who bought a ceramic dog tag at Defcon that has one edge sharpened like a blade, and you can't tell when you look at it because the rubber silencer covers up the edges. Goes right past airport metal detectors.
    • CommentTimeJun 8th 2012
    @Fishelle- I feel obliged to respond in some way to your queries regarding cannabis.
    I must be clear up front that I am a professional cannabis salesman in the Amsterdam coffeeshop industry and also I am having to restrain my natural urge to be an unbearable weed bore.
    So with that in mind I will say that on the scale of potential harm, cannabis rates relatively low in comparison to most other recreational drugs. That said, it is certainly possible for people to become psychologically addicted to the detriment of their regular lives.
    As far as links with mental illness are concerned research is very unclear and often overblown by the conservative media. Some research has shown that some people with underlying, often undiagnosed, mental health issues, seem to choose to attempt to self medicate with cannabis often with disastrous results and leading to parents/media blaming the drug for the illness.
    Mental illness is sadly very common and cannabis is the most widely used illegal drug however there is no proven causation between these two facts.
    One last thing in regard to this idea of "GM super weed" and the evil new "SKUNK". For the most part this is nonsense peddled by scaremongers in the UK media. Skunk is one variety of thousands of marijuana strains and while it is true that cannabis tends to be stronger now than people were used to thirty years ago, this is the result of improved farming techniques and selective breeding rather than genetic modification.