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Decades-Old Soviet Reflector Spotted On the Moon

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the always-in-the-last-place-you-look dept.

Moon 147

cremeglace writes "No one had seen a laser reflector that Soviet scientists had left on the moon almost 40 years ago, despite years of searching. Turns out searchers had been looking kilometers in the wrong direction. On 22 April, a team of physicists finally saw an incredibly faint flash from the reflector, which was ferried across the lunar surface by the Lunokhod 1 rover. The find comes thanks to NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, which last month imaged a large area where the rover was reported to have been left. Then the researchers, led by Tom Murphy of the University of California, San Diego, could search one football-field-size area at a time until they got a reflection."

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Turns out... (5, Funny)

Kell Bengal (711123) | more than 4 years ago | (#31989304)

... it was on the moon the whole time.

Re:Turns out... (1, Funny)

Cryacin (657549) | more than 4 years ago | (#31989496)

What, the film studio? :P

US left a corner reflector as well (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31989516)

American astronauts left a corner reflector as well for earth to moon distance measurements.

This I always felt was the best proof that humans were on the moon, as opposed to say that the whole thing was faked in a movie studio.

Neil and Buzz left it there
http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2004/21jul_llr/

Re:US left a corner reflector as well (5, Insightful)

EvanED (569694) | more than 4 years ago | (#31989696)

This I always felt was the best proof that humans were on the moon, as opposed to say that the whole thing was faked in a movie studio.

Eh, personally, I think that's not a very good argument. This soviet thing is as much a counterargument as anything -- the Soviets have one on the moon, but they didn't send anyone. Probes can place reflectors.

The best argument for the moon landing IMO is the scrutiny the Soviets would have had to put into it. They would have been able to pick up telemetry and the transmissions from the craft (hell, amateurs were able to see the Apollo ships through telescopes) during the flight.

Long story short: we sent something of the right size to the moon, landed it there, and brought it back, and it was transmitting what we said it was transmitting. You can concoct some half-baked explanation of us sending up a recording or something like that (actually a recording wouldn't work as they transmitted time-sensitive information, so you'd have to say that NASA was transmitting a hidden stream to the craft what they would transmit back), but IMO by the time you get to this point it seems like the hard parts of Apollo were basically done.

Re:US left a corner reflector as well (5, Funny)

Beardo the Bearded (321478) | more than 4 years ago | (#31990268)

The moon landing was a fake, but it was filmed on the moon. They didn't want you to know that we've had a moon base since 1964.

Re:US left a corner reflector as well (4, Funny)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#31990414)

No you dummy, it was a soundstage on mars.

Re:US left a corner reflector as well (1)

Beardo the Bearded (321478) | more than 4 years ago | (#31990884)

Don't be ridiculous. The sand would be the wrong colour...

... unless that's what they want us to think!

Re:US left a corner reflector as well (1)

Beardo the Bearded (321478) | more than 4 years ago | (#31990954)

No, that soundstage was used to film Capricorn One [imdb.com]

Re:US left a corner reflector as well (3, Funny)

RobTerrell (139316) | more than 4 years ago | (#31990728)

It's all true:

http://www.vgg.com/tr/tr_102201_moon.html

Re:US left a corner reflector as well (2, Funny)

Dishevel (1105119) | more than 4 years ago | (#31990958)

Thank God they were there too. If not for the film crew that day the nuclear waste dump on the far side of the moon would have gone supercritical and possibly launched the moon and all that was on it [wikipedia.org] deep into space.

Re:US left a corner reflector as well (1)

Thing 1 (178996) | more than 4 years ago | (#31992812)

A detonation on the far side of the moon would send it careening into us, would it not?

Re:US left a corner reflector as well (1)

baKanale (830108) | more than 4 years ago | (#31991268)

The crazy part is that someone actually believes that [wikipedia.org] . (Sorry about the Godwin, btw.)

Re:US left a corner reflector as well (1, Informative)

navyjeff (900138) | more than 4 years ago | (#31993322)

Merely mentioning Nazis or the Third Reich doesn't automatically Godwin a thread. One has to make a comparison of a particular post or person to the Nazis as a way of insulting them or an ad hominem.
Here's a reference. [faqs.org]

Re:US left a corner reflector as well (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31993544)

Nazis always say that..

Ignore the disinfo agents. Here's how it works out (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31991570)

The video footage is fake because they don't want to risk showing you actual technology of how they approached the moon. There is evidence that NASA got to the moon, only the evidence is not the publicized "Moon Landing" video. I keep telling everyone this, that it's all a counter-trap to keep everyone guessing to wear you all down from all the theories that will be planted later-on. There is the same evidence supporting that the video was shot in a State over in Arizona and there is unseen evidence that they also went to the moon. The reason is to keep you guessing, because these were two separate events.

For example, consider the recent video footage of actually being in transit to the moon but with the modified landing module viewport to make it appear that they are further away from Earth than they actually are; as though we are to think that traveling through the mid-channel at a constant pace is how they got there.

Another example, consider that only one News corporation employee video camera was allowed to indirectly record the unsyncronized projector'd moon walking video from a black-and-white projector screen in NASA Mission Control rather than get a direct video feed to show the actual video.

Another example, consider how those Hollywood Star "astronaughts" after their alleged landing were interviewed of non-classified information to reporters from around the world and with their "groomed" and alleged technical backgrounds they "can't recall" the most beautiful of regular atmospheric light conditions on the moon at the very event yet each one of those motherf*ckers wrote a 3-inch thick book in the prime of their Alzheimer Years describing with telescopic clarity better than a muslim stargazer of every light and color in the sky while they walked on the moon.

This whole thing stinks, and all you have to do is look at the money trail that John F. Kennedy alluded to as he funded the NASA moon-landing franchise. There were hundreds of millions being sent to private companies for undisclosed matters that simply didn't amount to any part in a civilian travel to the moon. There is more evidence that the military has been on the moon long before NASA ever thought of the idea. Hell, the military had wireless cameras installed in the heads of missiles and remotely steared, this all back even before the 1930's like a monopoly exhibition on technology that only trickles into the civilian markets once it has been bled of any military capacity it's former deployment might have alluded to.

Don't give up on the conclusion of one conspiracy theory, there is always more to the story. We actually think we are making progress. No, we are tamed by an unseen military power and people disappear all the time.

Re:Ignore the disinfo agents. Here's how it works (3, Funny)

oatworm (969674) | more than 4 years ago | (#31992786)

I'm going to ask my boss for a purchase order. The only item on that purchase order will be for a sufficient quantity of whatever this guy's smoking to get the rest of the office to stop asking me why Verizon blew up our office phone service again.

That is all.

Re:US left a corner reflector as well (1)

Princeofcups (150855) | more than 4 years ago | (#31990640)

The best argument for the moon landing IMO is the scrutiny the Soviets would have had to put into it. They would have been able to pick up telemetry and the transmissions from the craft (hell, amateurs were able to see the Apollo ships through telescopes) during the flight.

Long story short: we sent something of the right size to the moon, landed it there, and brought it back, and it was transmitting what we said it was transmitting. You can concoct some half-baked explanation of us sending up a recording or something like that (actually a recording wouldn't work as they transmitted time-sensitive information, so you'd have to say that NASA was transmitting a hidden stream to the craft what they would transmit back), but IMO by the time you get to this point it seems like the hard parts of Apollo were basically done.

The people who deny the moon landing don't understand even the rudiments of physics or electronics, and they would not be swayed by your "scientific trickery". Nothing short of writing your name in gigantic green letter large enough to read with the naked eye across the face of the moon would satisfy them.

Re:US left a corner reflector as well (1)

socsoc (1116769) | more than 4 years ago | (#31993598)

Nothing short of writing your name in gigantic green letter large enough to read with the naked eye across the face of the moon would satisfy them.

What if I was a brewery from Latrobe, PA and grafitti'd the Moon with our branded horse, in green. Would that satisfy them?

Re:US left a corner reflector as well (3, Interesting)

CohibaVancouver (864662) | more than 4 years ago | (#31990820)

The best argument for the moon landing IMO is the scrutiny the Soviets would have had to put into it

For me the best arguement is the fact that it's forty years later and no one has made a deathbed confession that they worked on faking the landing. To fake it you would have needed many many many people to keep a secret for 40 years. Impossible IMO.

Re:US left a corner reflector as well (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31991550)

Conspiracy theorists would argue that many people have attempted to come forward with the information, but have been rejected as kooks.

I still don't know why the fact that Soviets haven't said anything doesn't convince them. They were technologically in a position to absolutely and horribly shame the United States if no human beings actually travelled to the moon. But nothing of the sort was ever claimed by them.

Re:US left a corner reflector as well (4, Funny)

konohitowa (220547) | more than 4 years ago | (#31991696)

I still don't know why the fact that Soviets haven't said anything doesn't convince them. They were technologically in a position to absolutely and horribly shame the United States if no human beings actually travelled to the moon. But nothing of the sort was ever claimed by them.

That's because we game them Nikola Tesla and the location of Atlantis in exchange for their silence on the matter. I'm not sure what we gave them to keep quiet about 9/11; perhaps the location of Tesla's base on Mars after he escaped from Earth.

Re:US left a corner reflector as well (1)

R3d M3rcury (871886) | more than 4 years ago | (#31991306)

I always enjoy this...

Being able to send data to and from the Moon was achieved in the early 1960s. So I postulate this:

NASA transmitted to the Moon. The transmission was also sent to the astronauts working on the faked moon set in "real time." The astronauts' responses were sent to the Moon which echoed them back to Earth based upon who was doing the talking (ie, when the CSM pilot spoke, it came from the CSM, when the moon-based astronauts spoke, it was sent to the LEM).

At least the speech would appear to come from the Moon. Telemetry from instruments aboard the spacecraft would be received by NASA and sent to the appropriate instruments on the Earth-bound fake (or received directly--as you say, anybody could receive them) so that any conversations about what is being seen would be accurate.

The idea would be that you have to fake out NASA as well. In this scenario, you basically have to have somebody "tap" the voice transmissions from NASA to the astronauts and telemetry data received by NASA at the source and resend it to the fake moon set. You wouldn't need high-ranking NASA people, just somebody to install the tap and make sure it kept working.

The best argument for the moon landing, in my opinion, is that we brought back lots of interesting stuff.

Re:US left a corner reflector as well (1)

EvanED (569694) | more than 4 years ago | (#31992234)

The astronauts' responses were sent to the Moon which echoed them back to Earth based upon who was doing the talking (ie, when the CSM pilot spoke, it came from the CSM, when the moon-based astronauts spoke, it was sent to the LEM).

Well, not just to the moon per se, but to the actual (unmanned) Apollo craft they were sending to and from the moon at that time. And that stream would have to be undetectable. Regardless, it'd have had to be really well-done to fool the Soviets.

The idea would be that you have to fake out NASA as well. In this scenario, you basically have to have somebody "tap" the voice transmissions from NASA to the astronauts and telemetry data received by NASA at the source and resend it to the fake moon set. You wouldn't need high-ranking NASA people, just somebody to install the tap and make sure it kept working.

Incidentally, this is what I think is the most plausible way this conspiracy would have been accomplished: by keeping almost everyone in the dark. Satisfies that "deathbed confession" objection someone else had.

The best argument for the moon landing, in my opinion, is that we brought back lots of interesting stuff.

This is also a plenty good argument. (There's not exactly a dearth of good arguments here.) I just find it less compelling personally because I don't have a good answer to "the moon rocks are faked/from an asteroid/whatever".

Re:US left a corner reflector as well (1)

Mr. Freeman (933986) | more than 4 years ago | (#31989818)

We actually left several. I believe that every landing carried one. I can't be sure about that last point, but I do know there's more than one currently up there.

Re:US left a corner reflector as well (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#31990310)

There are only five apparently, at least among those which we can resolve - three from Apollo and, now, two from Lunokhods.

But the one from first Lunokhod is apparently a bit more valuable and interesting than the rest; placed in the most northerly location, can give more data about "wobble" of the Moon and hence its precise rotation.

Re:US left a corner reflector as well (1)

BradleyUffner (103496) | more than 4 years ago | (#31990690)

This I always felt was the best proof that humans were on the moon, as opposed to say that the whole thing was faked in a movie studio.

I tried that logic with someone who says it was faked. Their reaction was to say that "Ohh sure, we had rockets that could go to the moon, but they couldn't support human life. The reflectors were dropped there autonomously from lunar orbit".

I gave up trying shortly after that.

The moon landing was faked... (1)

RepelHistory (1082491) | more than 4 years ago | (#31990952)

...at a sound-stage on Mars.

Re:Turns out... (1)

azjeff (1798242) | more than 4 years ago | (#31989610)

You forgot "Technicians make them work".

Did you hear? (1)

CorporateSuit (1319461) | more than 4 years ago | (#31991240)

I hear that day was pretty crazy around the observatory. Imagine the surprise of the scientist who looked through the telescope at the moon, only to see someone looking through a telescope straight back at him! It was only after he crapped his pants did they figure out they were looking at a mirror!

Re:Turns out... (2, Funny)

jtownatpunk.net (245670) | more than 4 years ago | (#31991646)

It's always in the last place you look.

Why is this a surprise? (0)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#31989322)

It's not as if it would be covered up by a dust storm, or stolen by local delinquents. And one would think the scientists would have kept precise records of it's position, making it relatively easy to find.

Re:Why is this a surprise? (5, Funny)

Scarletdown (886459) | more than 4 years ago | (#31989352)

In Soviet Russia...

Nah, too obvious.

Re:Why is this a surprise? (0, Offtopic)

geekprime (969454) | more than 4 years ago | (#31990102)

If I had two mod points, I'd give you one.

Re:Why is this a surprise? (1)

egcagrac0 (1410377) | more than 4 years ago | (#31990592)

In Soviet Russia, Mod points You!

Re:Why is this a surprise? (1)

geekprime (969454) | more than 4 years ago | (#31991154)

/rats

Re:Why is this a surprise? (1)

poena.dare (306891) | more than 4 years ago | (#31990312)

How old is that defector? Someone should tell him Stalin is dead!

Re:Why is this a surprise? (2, Insightful)

MoonBuggy (611105) | more than 4 years ago | (#31989410)

Well if they'd been looking kilometres in the wrong direction, it implies that there wasn't a precise record of its position!

Re:Why is this a surprise? (3, Funny)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 4 years ago | (#31989474)

My god, your logic is impeccable!

I believe that this story is very informative and that we all will get very insightful comments from everyone involved, and some of the posts will be funny, while others may be somewhat redundant, however there always will be a few underrated and overrated commentators, but it is all good as long as it does not lead to any flamebait here. Of-course Trolls are welcome to join the conversation, just as per usual arrangement.

Oh, and the Anonymous Cowards... I see you, I see you and your reflections in the Moon.

Re:Why is this a surprise? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31989576)

Fuck! The Moon!!

Re:Why is this a surprise? (1)

adonoman (624929) | more than 4 years ago | (#31989686)

Oh, and the Anonymous Cowards... I see you, I see you and your reflections in the Moon.

Except that the mirror on the moon is a retroreflector, meaning you only see yourself. You've just outed yourself as Anonymous Coward!

Re:Why is this a surprise? (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 4 years ago | (#31989764)

And yet, I post under my nick here. Oh Your God! I am the ACTUAL Anonymous Coward but I am hiding behind a nick name. Wow, this is just mind shuttering! Am I hiding from myself I wonder?

Re:Why is this a surprise? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31990406)

Don't push it.

Re:Why is this a surprise? (0, Offtopic)

Thing 1 (178996) | more than 4 years ago | (#31992836)

I find it amusing that you did not mention Offtopic, and that's what your post got. In fact, I don't find it amusing or Funny, I actually find it somewhat Insightful -- into the minds of the mods.

Re:Why is this a surprise? (3, Interesting)

jandoedel (1149947) | more than 4 years ago | (#31989476)

or maybe they had a very precise, but inaccurate record of the position.

Re:Why is this a surprise? (5, Funny)

AstrumPreliator (708436) | more than 4 years ago | (#31991304)

To expand upon this a bit I can say that Pi = 5.981734819456272. As you can see I am very precise however, I am not at all accurate.

Re:Why is this a surprise? (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 4 years ago | (#31989886)

Hell, and whose fault is it? Whose fault is it, MoonBuggy 611105?

Re:Why is this a surprise? (1)

Chelloveck (14643) | more than 4 years ago | (#31989896)

Well if they'd been looking kilometres in the wrong direction, it implies that there wasn't a precise record of its position!

On the contrary, it was very precise. Inaccurate as hell, but very precise!

They should have just stuck a GPS receiver and a cell phone on it...

Re:Why is this a surprise? (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 4 years ago | (#31993424)

They were just using the wrong football field units.

Re:Why is this a surprise? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31989436)

It all seems so easy! And yet it's not. Finding a tiny object like that isn't easy at all. The Moon is a big place, really.

As for dust storms and delinquents... somehow the return from from the Lunokhod 2 reflector has degraded significantly over time. Who knows why? It may have tipped, or perhaps was hit my a small meteor. Nobody knows.

This find is nice because of the position. It allows for more precise measurements than were previously possible. It's pure win.

Re:Why is this a surprise? (2, Informative)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 4 years ago | (#31989710)

But it could have been damaged by the environment. The thermal cycling is pretty extreme on the moon.

Re:Why is this a surprise? (4, Funny)

Anomalyst (742352) | more than 4 years ago | (#31990650)

thermal cycling is pretty extreme on the moon.

Well, of course, with only 1/6 gravity, using an off the shelf standard velodrome construction, the banking on the track would be totally out of whack.

Re:Who said it was a surprise? (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 4 years ago | (#31990078)

Who said it was surprising? Why does "surprise" have to be involved? When you're searching for something for forty years, even though you know it must be there somewhere, actually finding it is noteworthy.

Headline: Deepest Part of Marianas Trench Discovered.

Locke2005: Why is that a surprise? You can't have a bottomless trench, so of course there has to be a deepest part!

Re:Why is this a surprise? (1)

segin (883667) | more than 4 years ago | (#31991374)

Hey, look, it's SlashTroll2005!

Re:Why is this a surprise? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31992384)

And one would think the scientists would have kept precise records of it's position, making it relatively easy to find.

It's possible that due to the technology available to the Soviets at the time, they were only able to narrow the exact location of the rover only down to a few kilometers. Or they might have simply miscalculated. Also, the secrecy surrounding the whole Soviet space exploration program probably didn't help in finding it, either.

In Soviet Russia (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31989348)

Their space program pretty much sucked.

Re:In Soviet Russia (0, Offtopic)

shentino (1139071) | more than 4 years ago | (#31989674)

Well space IS a vacuum...

look over here... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31989364)

It was a poor reflection on them that it took so long to find at the end of the set of tracks left by the rover carrying it.

why bother ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31989376)

There are other mirrors up there. why actually search for this one ?

Re:why bother ? (1)

ProdigyPuNk (614140) | more than 4 years ago | (#31989500)

There are other mirrors up there. why actually search for this one ?

FTFA: Now the team can eventually pin down the changing shape of the lunar orbit to the millimeter to help test Einstein’s theory of general relativity.

There might be other reflective things on the moon, but I assume that this one is somehow special. I at least *hope* that the people searching for it know what they are doing :p

Re:why bother ? (2, Interesting)

SgtAaron (181674) | more than 4 years ago | (#31990010)

There are other mirrors up there. why actually search for this one ?

FTFA: Now the team can eventually pin down the changing shape of the lunar orbit to the millimeter to help test Einstein’s theory of general relativity.

There might be other reflective things on the moon, but I assume that this one is somehow special. I at least *hope* that the people searching for it know what they are doing :p

There are certainly other reflectors out there on the moon, that could and have been used for measuring the moon's distance--and for some time now. I can't imagine what could be special about this one, except for the quality, perhaps? Nah. What if it's not kosher for others to shoot lasers at the reflectors that other scientists use? The article ends there and is skimpy on details.

Re:why bother ? (4, Informative)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#31990504)

Lunokhod 2 is in the most northerly position out of all available retroreflectors on the Moon, which will contribute to much more precise data about the Moon "wobble" (since the distance of Lunokhod 2 is greatly affected by it, in comparison to something near the center of the view from Earth)

PS. (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#31990710)

I mean, Lunokhod 1 in the above post...the one about which the story is ;/

oops (1)

Green Salad (705185) | more than 4 years ago | (#31993910)

wobble detector? um...Does that mean we're not supposed to huck moon rocks at it?

Da! (0, Redundant)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 4 years ago | (#31989392)

In Soviet Russia, tcheloviek shave with mirror on moon!

Re:Da! (0, Offtopic)

The_Wilschon (782534) | more than 4 years ago | (#31989618)

And the original would be "In America, tcheloviek shave with moon on mirror"? I don't think I get this one.

footbal-field sized (2, Funny)

doti (966971) | more than 4 years ago | (#31989446)

is this an imperial unit or what?

Re:footbal-field sized (2, Funny)

Nidi62 (1525137) | more than 4 years ago | (#31989494)

Well, metric would have been pitch, wouldn't it?

Re:footbal-field sized (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31989508)

It doesn't specify in the article, so I don't know if they're using Metric or Imperial football fields.

Re:footbal-field sized (1)

SEWilco (27983) | more than 4 years ago | (#31989790)

It doesn't specify in the article, so I don't know if they're using Metric or Imperial football fields.

That should be "Metric or New Republic football fields."

Re:footbal-field sized (1)

jandoedel (1149947) | more than 4 years ago | (#31989526)

only if the emperor plays on it.

why do you ask?

Re:footbal-field sized (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31989528)

is this an imperial unit or what?

Yup, it's an American football field. For the metric minded, this is about 1347.7 millisoccerfields.

Re:footbal-field sized (2, Interesting)

rickb928 (945187) | more than 4 years ago | (#31990444)

American Football is played on a field 360 by 160 feet, or 109.72m by 48.77m, or 5351.04sq.m. Some of the length is end zones.

IFBA declared a fixed size for a pitch of 105m long and 68m wide, which is 7140 sq.m, instead of instead of a minimum and maximum length - from 100m to 110m - and a minimum and a maximum width - from 64m to 75m. So the olde standard allowed fields from 6400 to 8250 sq.m.

So an American Football field would be from 750 millisoccerfields to 650 millisoccerfields.

Or a pitch would be from 1540 millisoccerfields to 1200 millisoccerfields.

American Football is always played on a narrower, but sometimes longer, field. However, we rarely think of the end zones as playable area, so think of a football field here as 100 yards long. And if you're playing soccer on an American Football field, it *is* about 100 yards long, as the goalposts rarely are moved, and you usually end up giving up most of the end zones. This and the narrow fields many U.S. high schools have available really stunts play, as width is so important in soccer. I would take a 90m field that was 60m wide over a 100m field that was 48m wide.

It immediately caught me that someone somewhere thought an American Football field was larger than a soccer pitch. this is just not so.

Now, hockey was even more interesting to me, where rink size varied greatly. The Montreal Forum had a huge sheet, and they preferred skaters such as Guy LeFler, who could drive you crazy trying to find them, much less check them. The old Boston garden had a small sheet, with tight radius corners. Going into the Bruins' corners with any of the old-style Bruins defensemen coming in pretty much guaranteed you were going to be squashed like a bug. Some old Bruins used to talk of Bobby Orr's stickhandling as playing ping-pong in a phone booth. In the Forum, this was still important, but trying to crash the boards in the Forum often got you nothing but boards.

In sports, for sure, size does matter.

Re:footbal-field sized (2, Funny)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 4 years ago | (#31989842)

African or European unit?

Re:footbal-field sized (1)

Beardo the Bearded (321478) | more than 4 years ago | (#31990306)

Canadian football fields are 110 meters.

At least, as far as I know. I don't think I've actually seen one.

Re:footbal-field sized (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#31990440)

This is correct. Not including Endzones of course, but yes, there is a 50 yard line on both sides, and 5 yards from both of them is the "C" center line.

Re:footbal-field sized (1)

AmigaHeretic (991368) | more than 4 years ago | (#31991344)

>>is this an imperial unit or what?

You mean soccer?

now we are six (4, Informative)

at10u8 (179705) | more than 4 years ago | (#31989478)

This means there are now six useable reflectors. See the list from the investigators [ucsd.edu] .

Re:now we are six (2, Insightful)

Spatial (1235392) | more than 4 years ago | (#31989822)

Those laser ranging retroreflectors were put on the Moon by aliens.

It's obvious really. If they weren't then my conspiracy theories about the Moon landings would be proven false. And that's physically impossible, because they're true!

Re:now we are six (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 4 years ago | (#31990746)

Sure. Moon aliens. From the Earth.

Re:now we are six (3, Informative)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#31990630)

The list to which you linked to includes Lunokhod 2. There are five, now all usable.

Re:now we are six (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#31990674)

...I mean, "includes two Lunokhods"

In Soviet Luna... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31990016)

...reflector dish spots YOU!!!

cool. (4, Interesting)

mirix (1649853) | more than 4 years ago | (#31990198)

Every time I see pictures of the soviet rovers, I can't help but think how bizarre the things look. Like a combination of a bathtub and a baby carriage.

wiki article [wikipedia.org] about one of the rovers.

I found it neat that it had some decaying isotope, and a lid, to close and keep the internals warm during lunar night. Too bad they didn't have lithium ion batteries back then eh? Not sure what they used, but 1970's era rechargeable batteries tend to suck period.

The wheels are especially weird looking, like something from a nightmare.
wheel closeup picture [wikimedia.org]

Re:cool. (1)

egcagrac0 (1410377) | more than 4 years ago | (#31990578)

Cold batteries suck, period.

Cold tends to slow down chemical reactions. Most batteries rely on chemical reactions to move electrons.

As Khan said so eloquently, "It is very cold in space".

Fun experiment: if you have an old tape player that runs on batteries, stick the batteries in a refrigerator for a few hours. Pop them back into the player, listen to the tape speed up as they get warmer.

Re:cool. (1)

mirix (1649853) | more than 4 years ago | (#31990736)

I live in central Canada, so I'm quite experienced with cold batteries being useless :-)

Re:cool. (-1, Troll)

CrashandDie (1114135) | more than 4 years ago | (#31991554)

I live in Canada, so I'm quite experienced with being useless :-)

There, fixed that for you.

-1 troll in 3, 2, 1...

Not weird. Antique. (1)

nuckfuts (690967) | more than 4 years ago | (#31991954)

If you'd ever seen old-fashioned farm equipment [faqs.org] , you wouldn't find the look of those wheels very unusual.

Re:Not weird. Antique. (1)

mirix (1649853) | more than 4 years ago | (#31992318)

I've seen old tractors before, I was thinking more of the holes in the paddles, and the drum being made from screen.

Re:cool. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31992066)

The Lunokhods had silver-cadmium batteries.

Re:cool. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31993024)

So that's how they came up with the design for Chernobyl. I thought I read somewhere it was using "Space Age" technology and design. Who knew that "some decaying isotope, and a lid, to close and keep the internals warm" wouldn't scale. Oh well. Live and learn.

Re:cool. (1)

mirix (1649853) | more than 4 years ago | (#31993644)

I know you are joking, but apparently a couple derivatives of these rovers helped in the Chernobyl cleanup. Odd coincidence I guess.

link [wikipedia.org]

Re:cool. (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 4 years ago | (#31993706)

Every time I see pictures of the soviet rovers, I can't help but think how bizarre the things look. Like a combination of a bathtub and a baby carriage.

In general most Soviet probes tended to be rounder than US counterparts, which are boxy or polygonal. It would be interesting to ask an experienced Russian probe designer why they are rounder.

They also tend to have more pipe-like tubes on the outside. US probes perhaps hide such behind metal foil, which is more common on US probes for some reason.

The Soviet probes almost have a steampunk [wikipedia.org] look to them.
 

SETI is HARD (5, Insightful)

renrutal (872592) | more than 4 years ago | (#31990334)

If you take decades to find a reflector in the nearest astral body, it quite puts in perspective the whole difficulty of searching for extraterrestrial life light-years away.

Sarah Palin is an Astronaut (0, Offtopic)

Vitriol+Angst (458300) | more than 4 years ago | (#31990610)

Since Sarah Palin can see the moon from her house... ... AND, since she can possibly see herself from the moon from her house with a strong enough Telescope....

It's obvious now that she can be an expert on herself and the moon. I know what you are thinking, and I'm not sure if a mirror in her house would suffice for the "Expert" conveyance, it has been shown to require a horizon and a distance "more than a stone's throw." If there is an upper limit to the "expert vision" phenomena, then that will require further study.

Re:Sarah Palin is an Astronaut (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 4 years ago | (#31990834)

Sure. Her house is on the moon.

She can't be from this planet.

Re:Sarah Palin is an Astronaut (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 4 years ago | (#31993742)

Is this your round-about way to say that you got mooned by Palin?

Zapped (3, Funny)

pgn674 (995941) | more than 4 years ago | (#31990914)

They find it, and what do they do first? Zap it with a laser. No wonder it was hiding!

How about mars? (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 4 years ago | (#31993030)

You know, it would be nice to have a reflector on mars. I wonder if it is possible to go that distance.

Re:How about mars? (1)

mbone (558574) | more than 4 years ago | (#31994086)

You know, it would be nice to have a reflector on mars. I wonder if it is possible to go that distance.

Distance is a problem (ranging sensitivity is proportional to 1/distance to the fourth power), but aberration makes this sort of passive Laser ranging to the planets impossible. (The retroreflector arrays return photons towards the direction they were received from, which is not the direction the Earth will be at one round-trip time later.)

There have been several proposals to do active laser ranging to spacecraft or to landers on the planets. Ranging accuracies in the tens of picoseconds should be available from this, and I regard this as inevitable in the long run as interplanetary communications moves from radio to optical lasers to get higher bandwidth.

Yeah ! Finally ! (2, Informative)

mbone (558574) | more than 4 years ago | (#31993946)

This is way cool. The LLR (Lunar Last Ranging) people have been looking for this for a long, long time.

This (by providing a new fiducial point on the Moon) will significantly help Lunar geodesy.

Note, by the way, that LLR returns are always exactly 1 photon per shot, so this flash was no fainter than any other LLR return.

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