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NASA Probe Blasts 461 Gigabytes of Moon Data Daily

CmdrTaco posted more than 5 years ago | from the thats-a-lotta-bits dept.

NASA 203

coondoggie writes "On its current space scouting mission, NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) is using a pumped up communications device to deliver 461 gigabytes of data and images per day, at a rate of up to 100 Mbps. As the first high data rate K-band transmitter to fly on a NASA spacecraft, the 13-inch-long tube, called a Traveling Wave Tube Amplifier, is making it possible for NASA scientists to receive massive amounts of images and data about the moon's surface and environment. The amplifier was built by L-3 Communications Electron Technologies in conjunction with NASA's Glenn Research Center. The device uses electrodes in a vacuum tube to amplify microwave signals to high power. It's ideal for sending large amounts of data over a long distance because it provides more power and more efficiency than its alternative, the transistor amplifier, NASA stated." It kills me that the moon has better bandwidth than my house.

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Insane (5, Funny)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 5 years ago | (#29132069)

Their Cingular bill is going to suck.

Re:Insane (3, Funny)

Drakkenmensch (1255800) | more than 5 years ago | (#29132321)

But they're going to get their speed throttled pretty soon because of stupid traffic shaping policies.

Re:Insane (1)

ctetc007 (875050) | more than 5 years ago | (#29132679)

Don't you mean their Verizon [blogspot.com] bill is going to suck?

Re:Insane (1)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 5 years ago | (#29132831)

Don't you mean their Verizon [blogspot.com] bill is going to suck?

I thought about making a Verizon joke, but since that also offer fiber service, which doesn't charge you per transferred byte, I was afraid the joke would be too confusing.

Re:Insane (1)

Darth_brooks (180756) | more than 5 years ago | (#29133151)

NASA has a contract with Cingularity, not Cingular. Perhaps you've heard their marketing slogan? "All Bars in All Places..."

Re:Insane (4, Funny)

rjstanford (69735) | more than 5 years ago | (#29133339)

That was my slogan for a while, too. Pity my liver couldn't take the strain.

Sure, it can blast huge amounts of data (4, Funny)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 5 years ago | (#29132073)

But can it learn to love?

Re:Sure, it can blast huge amounts of data (5, Funny)

shadowblaster (1565487) | more than 5 years ago | (#29132163)

Sure it can, after all it's got a 13 inch "tube".

Re:Sure, it can blast huge amounts of data (2, Funny)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 5 years ago | (#29132269)

Travelling wave tubes are often encased in a long, cuboid enclosure [vertmarkets.com] coupled to a waveguide or other transmission line 90 degrees at the end. That would make it very unpleasant, though you could stick it in her ass and run burn-in if it gets too "gassy" :)

Re:Sure, it can blast huge amounts of data (1)

GerardAtJob (1245980) | more than 5 years ago | (#29132355)

But can it run Crysis?

Fixed it for you

Don't feel bad, CmdrTaco (5, Funny)

Shin-LaC (1333529) | more than 5 years ago | (#29132075)

I'm sure you can still beat the moon in latency.

Re:Don't feel bad, CmdrTaco (4, Insightful)

fastest fascist (1086001) | more than 5 years ago | (#29132589)

Also, I'm almost sure he could get a 100 Mbps link to his house if he was willing to pay what NASA is paying for theirs. At least I don't think it would be much more expensive.

Re:Don't feel bad, CmdrTaco (3, Funny)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 5 years ago | (#29132813)

At the very least, he could buy a new house near somewhere that has 100mbps connections.

Don't try this in Space (1, Funny)

Pikoro (844299) | more than 5 years ago | (#29132081)

Hope they don't try anything over bittorrent.. that could add a bit of latency

Re:Don't try this in Space (5, Funny)

wbren (682133) | more than 5 years ago | (#29132489)

Tomorrow's headline: "RIAA Lobbies Congress to Shut Down NASA"

Bandwidth, sure, but the Ping? (3, Funny)

corsec67 (627446) | more than 5 years ago | (#29132101)

It may have better BW than your house, but the ping is going to suck.

Or would you like your internet connection to be served by a SUV carrying hard drives?

Re:Bandwidth, sure, but the Ping? (1)

psychicsword (1036852) | more than 5 years ago | (#29132189)

How many hard drives are we talking about here?

Re:Bandwidth, sure, but the Ping? (1)

the_humeister (922869) | more than 5 years ago | (#29132583)

And can I keep the hard disks???

Re:Bandwidth, sure, but the Ping? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29132785)

How many hard drives are we talking about here?

Hard drives? Dude, we're talking USENETs. About 0.3 USENETs, but hey, it's coming from the moon.

Re:Bandwidth, sure, but the Ping? (4, Insightful)

dissy (172727) | more than 5 years ago | (#29132317)

Or would you like your internet connection to be served by a SUV carrying hard drives?

Never underestimate the bandwidth of a fedex truck packed with 250 lbs of hard disks!

Depending on the file size of what you would be downloading and with what technology, overnight shipping might STILL be better latency too!

better bandwidth? (2, Informative)

erbbysam (964606) | more than 5 years ago | (#29132125)

It may have better bandwidth, but I hope you have less latency then the 1.25 sec on the moon(1).

1 - http://www.vendian.org/envelope/dir0/light_delay.html [vendian.org]

Re:better bandwidth? (3, Informative)

timeOday (582209) | more than 5 years ago | (#29132419)

Plus people usually refer to latency in round-trip times (e.g. ping) so it would be 2.5s latency.

Spam (3, Funny)

tsdguy (991042) | more than 5 years ago | (#29132127)

But of course, "In Space, No One Can Hear You Spam"...

Re:Spam (1)

RazzleDazzle (442937) | more than 5 years ago | (#29132605)

"In space, no one can eat ice cream"? (One of the not best b grade movies)

And what the hell? Vacuum tubes over transistors? Seriously? Are they super vacuum-ized because they are used in the vacuum of space? Makes me think of one of those medical shows where a surgeon is like "we need more suction". Vacuums FTW!

Re:Spam (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29132749)

Vacuum tubes have always had higher frequency limits than transistors, since WWII in fact. Take a look at THz radiation sources, all tubes. No tranny is going to touch that for a while. And then tubes will have gotten better too.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Backward_wave_oscillator
Tubes just have more geometric freedoms to create bizarre fields and strange structures to do whatever you need.

So wait... (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29132129)

Now the internet is a series of vacuum tubes?

Re:So wait... (1)

noundi (1044080) | more than 5 years ago | (#29132203)

No but the interplanet is.

Re:So wait... (1)

xs650 (741277) | more than 5 years ago | (#29132955)

That sucks

This is not exactly a new device... (5, Informative)

Manuka (4415) | more than 5 years ago | (#29132135)

Traveling Wave Tubes have been a mainstay of microwave communications and radar systems for the better part of a century. They're a very efficient way of amplifying microwave signals to the very high power levels needed to cross long distances.

Re:This is not exactly a new device... (1, Informative)

kaiser423 (828989) | more than 5 years ago | (#29132235)

Exactly. Why the hell does the summary go into depth on TWT's? They've been around since WWII, and have been extensively forever.

I mean, TWT's were used on the VERY FIRST COMMUNICATION SATELLITE, and they have been used on virtually every single communication satellite since!

Gah! This is like saying that a space-based computer might use what is known as "RAM", and then explaining RAM.

I understand that a lot of /.'ers might not know what a TWT is, but spending the entire summary talking about it makes it seem like something special, when it's not.

Re:This is not exactly a new device... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29132993)

I understand that a lot of /.'ers might not know what a TWAT is

Fixed that for ya.

Re:This is not exactly a new device... (5, Interesting)

aicrules (819392) | more than 5 years ago | (#29132243)

The article admits that the Traveling Wave Tubes are not new, but it also lists several points that make this implementation better and very much noteworthy compared to its predecessors. You seem to have an interest in/knowledge of these communication devices, so I would say that the article is actually a worthwhile read for you.

Re:This is not exactly a new device... (1)

kaiser423 (828989) | more than 5 years ago | (#29132747)

Yea, I read the article before posting my other comment in this thread.

Thea article mentions waveguide inputs and outputs. I'm not sure what the big deal with that is. It's a traveling wave tube, and typically you have waveguides on the end. Maybe there's something special about their particular setup, but it doesn't seem novel. I understand that lots of TWT's have other interfaces, but I'm pretty sure that I've worked with TWT's in the past that are direct waveguide interfaces.

Then they also made it more light weight and a bit more efficient. That's great, but not ground-breaking. They used some new material, and some more modern components which shrank the size, and made it more efficient. Something that happens in most industries every day.

There are no numbers in the article, so I can't say that their efficiencies aren't "groundbreaking" but I haven't seen this particular piece of technology make waves in any of the standard EE publications, so my initial thought is that it is just technology marching along getting better every day.

Re:This is not exactly a new device... (5, Funny)

MiniMike (234881) | more than 5 years ago | (#29133521)

That is the most eloquent "RTFA" I've ever seen...

Re:This is not exactly a new device... (1)

jonr (1130) | more than 5 years ago | (#29132255)

Can you build your own?

Re:This is not exactly a new device... (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29132575)

Yes. But it's not easy. A TWT is, in many ways, very similar to a linear acclerator, except that instead of using RF to put energy into an electron beam to make it faster, it takes energy out of a fast electron beam to amplify an RF signal. So whip out those books on linear accelerator design and construction, and have at it. You need an electron gun and some electron optics to make the beam, and then the section where the RF interacts with the beam, either a helix or a series of coupled resonant cavities. A helix would probably be easier for homebrew. You'll need all the usual stuff: vacuum pumps, HV power supplies, etc. I also wouldn't start with K band, because it's so small. Do something easier like 2.45 GHz.

Amplifiers like the one on LRO run about a million bucks a pop, but a lot of that is because it has to work in space and survive the test campaign. Kind of difficult to make a service call to replace it if it fails.

Re:This is not exactly a new device... (4, Informative)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 5 years ago | (#29133343)

You need an electron gun and some electron optics to make the beam,

Check, old 19" TV tube... all the parts are there.

and then the section where the RF interacts with the beam, either a helix or a series of coupled resonant cavities.

Again, can be found in other surplus tech.

but screw it, just buy one....

http://cgi.ebay.com/NEC-LD7306A-B61-Travelling-Wave-Tube-TWT_W0QQitemZ200255211587QQcmdZViewItemQQptZLH_DefaultDomain_0?hash=item2ea0240843&_trksid=p3286.c0.m14 [ebay.com]

Re:This is not exactly a new device... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29132739)

I just wish the L-3 engineers could have explain the magnetron in the microwave oven in their cafeteria.

Re:This is not exactly a new device... (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 5 years ago | (#29133119)

Yes it is old tech but frankly that makes it all the more interesting in a way.
It is a tube and not solid state.
And now here is the joke that I know must come.
If we used these for wireless internet then it really would be a bunch of tubes.
Sorry but it had to be done..

Re:This is not exactly a new device... (2, Informative)

Brett Buck (811747) | more than 5 years ago | (#29133209)

And these have been used in space applications since the early 60's. In fact every satellite program that I have worked on used TWTA amplifiers. People are always looking for alternatives because they are very squirrely devices, but it's pretty difficult to generate much power at microwave frequencies with solid-state alternatives.

          Brett

Re:This is not exactly a new device... (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 5 years ago | (#29133287)

Exactly...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Traveling-wave_tube [wikipedia.org]

They have been in use on Comms satellites in GeoSync for a very long time.

nothing really new here.

Yeah, but the latency's a bitch (2, Funny)

Trailer Trash (60756) | more than 5 years ago | (#29132175)

It kills me that the moon has better bandwidth than my house.

More Importantly (1, Redundant)

quatin (1589389) | more than 5 years ago | (#29132201)

Does torrent work on it?

Bandwidth isn't everything. (0, Redundant)

Ihlosi (895663) | more than 5 years ago | (#29132207)

It kills me that the moon has better bandwidth than my house.

Oh, but the latency sucks. Try playing WoW with over a second of lag.

Re:Bandwidth isn't everything. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29132641)

I do... every day. Sucks to live in South Africa.

Re:Bandwidth isn't everything. (2, Insightful)

gapagos (1264716) | more than 5 years ago | (#29132703)

Try playing WoW with over a second of lag.

You know what's ironic?
I HAVE played WoW with over a second of lag.
Fuck, sometimes WoW servers were having up to fucking three seconds lag. It's rare, but it always happens at the worst possible moment, often during a boss fight.

If I was stuck on the moon with absolutely nothing to do, I wouldn't complain about 1 second of lag if WoW was my only source of daily fun.

Re:Bandwidth isn't everything. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29133345)

If I was stuck on the moon with absolutely nothing to do, I wouldn't complain about 1 second of lag if WoW was my only source of daily fun.

How do you play WoW without hands?

Radar (3, Interesting)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 5 years ago | (#29132215)

They are using a radar set as a data link. I'm wondering whether they are still using it as a radar to map the moon too, by using a different set of antennas.

Re:Radar (1)

PeterBrett (780946) | more than 5 years ago | (#29132961)

Well, as it happens, yes, the LRO does have a Synthetic Aperture Radar payload (called MiniRF).

But it's separate.

tubes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29132247)

Tag vacuumtube

Vacuum Tube? (4, Funny)

dunelin (111356) | more than 5 years ago | (#29132271)

Anybody else think it's funny that in this case, a vacuum tube is a step up from a transistor?

Re:Vacuum Tube? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29132385)

And why do you need a vacuum tube in space?

Re:Vacuum Tube? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29132401)

May be funny, but for high power high bandwidth applications like this, vacuum tubes are still better though they do suffer a bit more in longevity.

Re:Vacuum Tube? (1)

Pikoro (844299) | more than 5 years ago | (#29132595)

I think he was referring to the "vacuum" of space. Why not just take the glass off the outside and save some weight?

Re:Vacuum Tube? (1)

Arlet (29997) | more than 5 years ago | (#29133203)

With the glass on you can test your transmitter on the ground.

Re:Vacuum Tube? (3, Informative)

confused one (671304) | more than 5 years ago | (#29132635)

vacuum tubes are common in high power applications

Re:Vacuum Tube? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29133515)

vacuum tubes are common in high power applications
-
More specifically, high-voltage applications. Tubes are fantastic voltage amplifiers but need mating transformers to generate much current. Transistors, on the other hand, easily provide current but are difficult to manufacture for high-voltage applications.

Re:Vacuum Tube? (5, Informative)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 5 years ago | (#29132705)

When you need to make serious power, tubes are still the way to go. Transistors have a significant reliability benefit.

Also, for 99% of applications, transistors are better. For the other 1%, you have very application-specific tube designs such as TWTs and magnetrons, which rearrange the tubes in such a manner as to negate its usual disadvantage (large size USUALLY translates to nasty frequency limits - TWTs and magnetrons are exceptions that use various Neat Tricks to allow microwave operation from a large device.)

BTW, one of the other common microwave tubes (magnetrons), while it is a "niche" device, it is a VERY widely deployed niche - basically all microwave ovens use magnetron tubes.

Re:Vacuum Tube? (2, Insightful)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 5 years ago | (#29133371)

no because they always have kicked the arse of a transistor.

Show me a 10,000 watt transistor.. Oh wait, you haveto use a Tube for that kind of power....

Tubes have kicked the Transistors butt forever when you need high power comms.

Vacuum (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29132281)

Did they even bother to seal the tube, or are they using the vacuum of space?

Future wireless applications? (1)

fibrewire (1132953) | more than 5 years ago | (#29132283)

Maybe this technology could be used to further enhance wireless communication here on earth? How about 100 gigabit wireless backhauls - or even better, 100mbit wireless to your phone? I dunno, anybody have any data on these devices?
http://www.l-3com.com/products-services/ [l-3com.com]

Traveling Wave Tube Amplifier? (5, Funny)

Spazholio (314843) | more than 5 years ago | (#29132285)

You just KNOW that the original name for the device was "Traveling Wave Amplified Tube" until some NASA jackass noticed the acronym and ruined it for everyone.

TWT was the acronym in 1971, no matter twat you sa (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29132497)

It was not new technology then.

Re:TWT was the acronym in 1971, no matter twat you (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29132695)

Of course not, twats have been around for millions of years.

Re:Traveling Wave Tube Amplifier? (1)

goodmanj (234846) | more than 5 years ago | (#29133259)

Dammit, you stole my joke. :(

More details on TWTAs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29132291)

With slight googling: http://www.grc.nasa.gov/WWW/RT/2007/Comm/04-RCE-force.html

Vacuum tubes are a dying tech, ehhhh? (1)

25thCenturyQuaker (739040) | more than 5 years ago | (#29132309)

I attended a 2 year electronics engineering college (shout out to Electronic Institutes in Highspire PA!!) in the early '90s with the aim of learning enough about vacuum tube circuitry to design and build best-in-class guitar and audiophile amplifiers. My instructors looked at me like I was insane, insisting that solid state and digital was poised to take over everything in the industry.

Funny how those old-fangled tubes are providing data transfer this fast over nearly 400,000km distance.

Re:Vacuum tubes are a dying tech, ehhhh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29133399)

Those old-fangled tubes are very special-purpose applications of devices that have, in well over 99% of cases, been replaced by transistors. There *are* uses for tubes, particularly in high-power applications, but in the vast majority of cases transistors are either better (high-frequency use), more reliable (low/med-power applications), or cheaper (essentially always), and often all three.

More proof of failure! (1)

Yaos (804128) | more than 5 years ago | (#29132391)

Just more proof that we have regressed since the last moon landing. As long as you ignore all of the probes that are shooting around planets and the solar system, and landing on things, absolutely nothing has changed.

that's why their images are so good (1)

zome (546331) | more than 5 years ago | (#29132399)

no wonder the images NASA shows us are sweet, warm, smooth, full, and very detailed. Must be a NOS tube they are using

Re:that's why their images are so good (1)

dangitman (862676) | more than 5 years ago | (#29132469)

no wonder the images NASA shows us are sweet, warm, smooth, full, and very detailed. Must be a NOS tube they are using

No, it's because the probe uses Monster Cable interconnects!

Re:that's why their images are so good (1)

socialhack (890471) | more than 5 years ago | (#29133167)

no wonder the images NASA shows us are sweet, warm, smooth, full, and very detailed. Must be a NOS tube they are using

No, it's because the probe uses Monster Cable interconnects!

That's a myth. It's totally the tubes.

Re:that's why their images are so good (1)

pHus10n (1443071) | more than 5 years ago | (#29132493)

You're that guy that buys Monster cables because they give your music a "warm" sound, right? :)

Re:that's why their images are so good (1)

orkybash (1013349) | more than 5 years ago | (#29132795)

Warm? Monster Cables are downright danceable!

Re:that's why their images are so good (1)

xs650 (741277) | more than 5 years ago | (#29132995)

NOS

Nasty Old Stuff

Shopping pictures (1)

Copernicus1234 (1613137) | more than 5 years ago | (#29132441)

Its gonna be a bitch to filter out the aliens from all those pictures.

What the hell? (0, Redundant)

mc1138 (718275) | more than 5 years ago | (#29132443)

You mean to tell me the Internet really is a series of tubes?!

Big waste of money (0, Offtopic)

dangitman (862676) | more than 5 years ago | (#29132447)

As the first high data rate K-band transmitter to fly on a NASA spacecraft, the 13-inch-long tube, called a Traveling Wave Tube Amplifier, is making it possible for NASA scientists to receive massive amounts of images

Why don't they just use bittorrent if they want high transfer speeds?

I hope Nasa has the right ISP (4, Funny)

kurt555gs (309278) | more than 5 years ago | (#29132467)

That much data and Comcast would throttle it no matter what the scientists said. If AT&T had it going through their "unlimited" 3G connection, NASA would be hosed and we would be increasing the national debt by trillions.

One last thing, I m wondering if the **AA doesn't want access to the data stream to make sure it isn't a bittorrent containing their precious copyrighted work. After all, we all know there is no legitimate use for that much bandwidth.

i see what they did there. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29132499)

so ...they've spent billions of dollars on a supersized pringles cantenna?

Silly name (2, Funny)

nsebban (513339) | more than 5 years ago | (#29132537)

"Traveling Wave Tube Amplifier" is the most silly name I have ever heard for a can of Pringles :)

Slow news day from what it sounds like... (3, Informative)

TheHawke (237817) | more than 5 years ago | (#29132549)

TWT amps have been used in microwave systems since the 2nd world war. The use of TWT in satellites are recent, as in 25-30 years ago. The NSA's LACROSSE and the new ONYX satellites use TWT amps in the finals on their radar systems. The Soviet ROARSAT's probably use them as well, or something similar, they love to overbuild their stuff.

Hell, the YF-12a used 2 TWT's in tandem in its Hughes AN/ASG-18 radar, putting out over 10MW of raw power.

But they are power gobblers, The YF-12A's ate over 40KVA of juice to operate.

Re:Slow news day from what it sounds like... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29133137)

Slow news day from what it sounds like...

TWT amps have been used in microwave systems since the 2nd world war. The use of TWT in satellites are recent, as in 25-30 years ago. The NSA's LACROSSE and the new ONYX satellites use TWT amps in the finals on their radar systems. The Soviet ROARSAT's probably use them as well, or something similar, they love to overbuild their stuff.

You're right. All those people and places ever since the 2nd world war have been using this technology to communicate with stuff on the moon, so NASA is too late to the game here to be worth mentioning...

Wait, you mean they didn't?
Why do you hate the space surrounding our planet? :(

Re:Slow news day from what it sounds like... (1)

stefanb (21140) | more than 5 years ago | (#29133491)

The use of TWT in satellites are recent, as in 25-30 years ago.

Huh?! Traveling-wave tube [wikipedia.org] :

On July 10, 1962, the first communications satellite, Telstar 1, was launched with a 2 W, 4 GHz RCA-designed TWT transponder used for transmitting RF signals back to the earth. Syncom 2, the first synchronous satellite (Syncom 1 did not reach its final orbit), launched on July 26, 1963 with two 2 W, 1850 MHz Hughes-designed TWT transponders (one active and one spare).

Microwaves (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29132615)

The device uses electrodes in a vacuum tube to amplify microwave signals to high power.

Shooting high power microwaves at us eh? Guess we've solved the mystery of global warming...

about time... (1)

arock99 (612650) | more than 5 years ago | (#29132617)

I'd like to see a REAL color photograph at some point and not something they recolored after... and real video footage as opposed to footage put together from still images

Re:about time... (1)

lxs (131946) | more than 5 years ago | (#29132881)

"and real video footage as opposed to footage put together from still images"

We tried to get real video footage but all we got was a message that said "buffering"

Re:about time... (1)

bsdphx (987649) | more than 5 years ago | (#29133049)

I'd like to see a REAL color photograph at some point and not something they recolored after...
and real video footage as opposed to footage put together from still images

There's no such thing as "real color photography" actually. Any color camera only approximates the color you see with your eyes, even old film cameras. Pick up any decent book and photography and you'll see mention of using filters to make things look more natural. With CCD cameras you're only counting photons. The detector itself can't tell a red photon from a blue photon, and it relies on an arrangement of band pass filters so that individual cells collect only a certain color range. So your point and shoot color CCD camera is like multiple black & white cameras with different color filters. The Wide Angle Camera (WAC) on LRO has 5 visual band filters and 2 ultraviolet band filters. They bands can be put together to give a "color" image. Even when you look at one of these color images you'll still see the gray Moon, so it's not very exciting visually. However, the response at different frequencies is very useful to scientists in determining properties of the imaged area.

As for video footage... egads! Nevermind that "real video" actually IS a series of still images, we have a firehose of data to deal with right now!

The moon vs. your house (1)

orkybash (1013349) | more than 5 years ago | (#29132775)

I'm sure you could get that kind of bandwidth at your house, too, if you paid enough for it.

Re:The moon vs. your house (3, Interesting)

lwsimon (724555) | more than 5 years ago | (#29133183)

The best available at my house is 512Kbs DSL. I offered to lay the fiber myself for the final 2 1/2 miles or so, or pay them to do it, but they insist that there are legal reasons they can't serve me.

So, in typical geek fashion, I set up a P2P wifi link for that distance. It works, and I get about 50 Mbs on a good day. I get terrible packet loss when it rains hard, though.

Cantenna (1)

DoubleParadoxx (928992) | more than 5 years ago | (#29132913)

So they're using a high-tech cantenna?!? I bet they'll be getting a call from the FCC any minute now....

Yeah, but.... (1)

asicsolutions (1481269) | more than 5 years ago | (#29132915)

Everyone up there has to share the same 100Mbps link..... Oh, wait

little known fact... (1)

nimbius (983462) | more than 5 years ago | (#29133013)

not only does the moon have faster data transfer rates than your house, but often times its transmitting far more interesting and pertanent data than the connection at your house.

unless 4chan has a section for materials science and physics now?

How Much Are you Willing to Pay? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29133077)

"It kills me that the moon has better bandwidth than my house."

How much is NASA paying for their connection vs. how much are you paying?

Of course the moon will have better bandwidth (3, Insightful)

pz (113803) | more than 5 years ago | (#29133079)

CmdTaco comments in the original posting:

It kills me that the moon has better bandwidth than my house.

I know that Taco's trying to be funny here, but, seriously, the moon should most certainly have better bandwidth. That is to say, a research project that is able to afford a custom solution to a highly specialized problem with plenty of money to throw at had damned well better have better performance than what is available to commodity markets. I expect this to be true just as nearly every other bit of the hardware they send up will be better, faster, stronger, lighter, and more able to withstand ionizing radiation than the equivalent, when available, from K-Mart. There's a good reason these projects cost hundreds of millions of dollars for a probe to be sent somewhere. The Mars rovers, as another example, are using a 256 kbps channel -- deployed five years ago when DSL was still considered fast -- over a distance that ranges 55 to 400 million miles. Now *that's* performance.

It actually rather amazes me that Taco's or anyone else's house has close to the bandwidth available from the moon.

Re:Of course the moon will have better bandwidth (1)

brusk (135896) | more than 5 years ago | (#29133193)

Also, it kills me that the rocket that took the LRO up there goes faster than my car.

Rocket Science (1)

Fujisawa Sensei (207127) | more than 5 years ago | (#29133173)

It kills me that the moon has better bandwidth than my house.

That why its called "Rocket Science".

Obligatory FPS... (1)

Torn8-R (1190051) | more than 5 years ago | (#29133249)

I, for one, would like to welcome our new FPS overlord - 133tM00nK1LL3r

Does the math work? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29133309)

Or is this an example of someone not knowing bits versus bytes?

461 GB of data is 461*1024*1024*1024 bytes (yes, I do it right because unlike so many I understand storage) = 494,994,980,860 bytes. Times 8 for bits = 3,959,959,846,900 bits.

A day is 60*60*24 = 86,400 seconds.

# of bits claimed/# of seconds in day = 45,832,869 bps or 45,833 Kbps or 46 Mbps.

Yep, better than I get at home, too.

100 Mbps --> 8,640,000 Mbits/day, or 1,080,000 MB per day or about 1 TB/day possible bandwidth.

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