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New Close-Ups of Saturn's Geyser Moon

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the really-old-really-faithful dept.

NASA 89

sighted writes "Over the weekend, the robotic spacecraft Cassini buzzed Saturn's moon Enceladus and its intriguing geysers. Cassini flew just 62 miles above the moon's surface — and right through its jets of water vapor and ice — both capturing pictures and 'tasting' the geyser plumes. Cassini makes another pass by Enceladus later this month. Even more pictures can be seen in the stream of raw images sent by the probe."

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89 comments

I've got a geyser in my pants. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37593066)

I've got a geyser in my pants.

Re:I've got a geyser in my pants. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37593140)

Be carefull what you eat next time.

Re:I've got a geyser in my pants. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37596690)

liar liar pants on fire!

almost 100km (3)

condition-label-red (657497) | more than 2 years ago | (#37593134)

Wow! That is almost exactly 100km!

Re:almost 100km (1)

EdIII (1114411) | more than 2 years ago | (#37593436)

LOL.

No, it is 62 miles.

Pretty sure NASA learned its lesson about having consistent units of measurement throughout the entire software operating on their hardware in space.

However, if I remember correctly, Cassini was launched before the Mars Climate Orbiter. So who knows if there is conversion software changing between miles and kilometers.

At this point though, it hardly matters. Seems like we have all but closed up the space program anyways. Just monitoring and finishing up, and waiting for private corporations to take over space exploration and exploitation.

Re:almost 100km (1)

BisexualPuppy (914772) | more than 2 years ago | (#37594122)

Shut up, you are annoying.

Re:almost 100km (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37594158)

I believe the GP was referring to the phenomenon whereby someone makes a back of envelope estimate in one unit
(100 km). And then later someone converts that to a different unit (miles) and then releases that information in what seems to be a pretty accurate measurement ( 62 miles).

100 km has one significant digit, while 62 miles has 2.

Re:almost 100km (1)

ShavedOrangutan (1930630) | more than 2 years ago | (#37594404)

Like road signs that read "Elevation 1500 feet (457.2 meters)". People who don't understand significant figures are probably the main reason the U.S. has been so resistant to metric.

On the other hand, if we switched I'm sure they'd round down on speed limits.

Re:almost 100km (1)

EdIII (1114411) | more than 2 years ago | (#37594824)

I think the resistance is that it is too hard to relate our experiences in metric. The majority of people, even with just some college experience don't understand significant figures. Understanding of Math is at an all time low in the U.S, IMO. Way too many people have no grasp on statistics, and the (in)famous causation does not equal correlation. Yes, I deliberately messed that up for effect :)

For the record, I admit that I don't have as much of an understanding of statistics as I would like. Lately, I am finding it more important with what I do, so I am having to pick it up. For instance, I have found that the variance and standard deviation can be quite useful in exploring inefficiency in workloads generated by very large sets of data.

I also understand spatially, just how far away a mile is. It is 5,280 feet. Same thing with liquids. I have a much better idea how much liquid is in one gallon based on the container sizes, and an even better idea just what is 5 gallons. You tell me a liter and it is much harder for me to visualize it.

Of course, being a guy, I get 6 inches confused quite a bit as being the distance between my two hands outstretched.

We just have to switch to metric and make the gradual adjustment to thinking and experiencing life in terms of metric measurements. Personally, I am pretty entrenched in miles, gallons, feet, yards, etc. However, I am willing to attempt the adjustment because ultimately it is preventing us from interacting with the rest of the world and contributing to the idea that Americans are arrogant.

Language falls under the same problem as well. The whole world does not, nor does it need to, speak English. I think it is a shame that we have so few Americans that speak multiple languages. It does not have to be a matter of pride that everything is in English, and I have no problems with everything being in multiple languages. Being in IT, I already get 99% of all my documentation available in multiple languages and most, if not all, of my platforms and development are multilingual as well. Pretty much everything has made, or is starting to make the transition, to unicode support too.

Re:almost 100km (1)

anubi (640541) | more than 2 years ago | (#37594964)

The soft-drink people have helped our conversion to thinking-in-metric more than anyone else, I suppose.

I figure if we started selling beer and whiskey by the liter ( something you SEE on the shelf ), people will come around faster to have a "gut feel" of how much substance a liter represents.

Back to NASA, I am extremely impressed by the accuracy and reliability of their craft. With as much as America funds sports, rock stars, and teen idols, it is so saddening to me just how little respect NASA is getting for their work.

I can see the argument of how "useful" it is to see geysers on saturn, but this argument can be applied to sports, most of that stuff labeled "music", and gussying up for the camera.

NASA has given us a helluva lot of spinoff stuff that we use for other things ( like cellphones, laptops, superstrong materials, etc. ).

I have yet to see anything useful spun off from the other stuff.... uh, well, moonshining spun off some drastic improvements in automobiles (NASCAR).

Re:almost 100km (1)

EdIII (1114411) | more than 2 years ago | (#37595356)

Other than the infamous conversion problem with the Mars Climate Orbiter, NASA does deserve our respect for their contributions and hard work. If anything, a failure at NASA also has incredible value.

That problem was entirely man made and a project management fuckup. I am sure the hardware would have operated just fine within the mission parameters. It was a couple of managers that fucked the whole thing up by not talking enough with each other. It is inexcusable that one part of the system received input in metrics different than what it is expecting. Where was the testing? Where was the documentation?

I deal an awful lot with writing API and API documentation for a living right now, as well as integrating systems with other APIs from different vendors. If I can test it, correct problems, and get a working system, than NASA can do it.

I was tongue in cheek about it since we were talking about different units of measurement and it reminded me about the incident, but I sincerely question just what the software is doing on Cassini. It was built and launched around the same time.

Is it really 100km or 62 miles in the software?

As for the usefulness of the data, it is only useful in academic and scientific circles. How it applies to anything here on Earth remains to be questioned. Personally, I am all for NASA, but the funding levels are embarrassing.

I am genuinely ashamed as an American that we spent more money on paid mercenaries in Iraq to kill women and children instead of taking all of that money and giving it to NASA.

NASA does not get any respect right now, or funding, because education in this country has been a joke for decades and we are well on our way to Idiocracy. How can somebody respect NASA if they don't have the slightest understanding or appreciation of science in general?

There is a serious anti-intellectual and anti-science movement in the US right now, primarily lead by complete fucking nutbags that don't have the intelligence to allow Faith and Science to co-exist peacefully. There is nothing inherent about Faith and Science that put the two in conflict. People put them in conflict on both sides due to a failure to understand the nature of both of them. Once you understand that, then BOOM, no more conflict.

Re:almost 100km (1)

filthpickle (1199927) | more than 2 years ago | (#37595890)

we already do this...and we have for a long long time. We just keep the names....and we should.

Re:almost 100km (1)

mangu (126918) | more than 2 years ago | (#37597290)

I also understand spatially, just how far away a mile is. It is 5,280 feet. Same thing with liquids. I have a much better idea how much liquid is in one gallon based on the container sizes, and an even better idea just what is 5 gallons. You tell me a liter and it is much harder for me to visualize it.

I can't understand why Americans make so much of this "gut feeling" thing about their stupid measuring system. When I first went to the USA in a couple of days of driving I had a pretty good feeling of what a mile is, if you traveled abroad you'd have no problem in getting this "gut feeling" for the International System which is, after all, much easier to understand.

The biggest problem is not taking a look at a container and estimating its size. A liter is pretty much the same size as a quart, I don't think anyone could distinguish a liter from a quart just by looking at it.

The problem is estimating "how many X in one Y". For instance, I know that a drink shot is about 50 ml so a 750 ml bottle has 15 shots and one liter has 20 shots. I have no idea on how to do the same calculations in quarts, fifths, oz, or gallons without looking up the exact sizes of each.

You give me a number of measurements in meters and I can add them up to get a total in kilometers. Now try to add a bunch of measurements, some of them in feet, others in yards, some in fractions of miles, and get a total in miles.

In metric countries house numbers are in meters from the start of the street, the distance from one address to the other is easily calculated and measured from your driving distance.

If only you Americans did a small and short time effort to have a feeling for those basic distances, weights, and volumes, your life would become easier.

Re:almost 100km (1)

Stone2065 (717387) | more than 2 years ago | (#37597586)

As someone that has spent some time in Europe, and being American in the land of Metric, I just found myself converting in my head, even though I was looking at say a speed limit of 120kph, I did the quick and dirty math of 62.5mph+13(ish)mph=75mph... not perfect, but close enough to be wary of tickets. With other household type measurements, it was a similar situation. A touch less than 4 liters made a gallon (3.7 as memory serves), so when I saw prices per liter, I'd just average that times 4, and have an idea of the prices in what I was used to.

I'm not saying, by ANY means that I'm some sort of math whiz, but I'm not sure the majority of Americans would put in the little bit of time it takes to work out these simple conversions if we were to go metric. I know I wouldn't mind a bit, even though in my head, I'd still be thinking of "75mph" instead of "120kph", lol.

Re:almost 100km (1)

EdIII (1114411) | more than 2 years ago | (#37600580)

I hate to tell you this.... but your "quick math in your head" puts you ahead of most Americans.

Sure, I could get used to the metric system in a few months probably if I moved to the EU. Most Americans would not. There are quite a few people in my country that are just.... not that capable.

Just pointing out why the metric system would have a hard time catching on here. It's not the metric system. It's us.

Re:almost 100km (1)

Coren22 (1625475) | more than 2 years ago | (#37612154)

I find it much the same way converting money in my head. You get used to converting prices back to your native system, so you can tell if something is overpriced or underpriced.

Re:almost 100km (2)

jd (1658) | more than 2 years ago | (#37594606)

Nah, no private corps. Not with the ESA and Russian space industries eager for business, and Japan, India and a few other smaller players quite capable of launching anything into orbit around the Earth or the moon.

Re:almost 100km (1)

cavreader (1903280) | more than 2 years ago | (#37594800)

It doesn't look like US is closing the space program. Data collection with remote unmanned vehicles are still returning useful information. The US might have decommissioned the Space Shuttle but the X-37 program has already built, tested, and possibly even been used for classified missions. We are still committed to participating in the space station and are deploying the most powerful telescope built today in orbit. Until we develop the technology to make manned inter-system exploration viable we are pretty limited to orbital operations. Data collected by Cassini, Mars Orbital, and the exploration vehicle mentioned in this article is worthwhile so when we do decide to go somewhere else other than the Moon we will know what to expect.

Re:almost 100km (1)

EdIII (1114411) | more than 2 years ago | (#37595344)

I dunno.

There was a congressional hearing recently where one of the original astronauts to land on the Moon complained about what we are doing, and I think he was spot on.

I am bitter about it for sure, but not just about NASA. I am bitter and saddened about our entire approach and dedication to arts and science in general.

We can bail out Wall Street because a bunch of truly despicable assholes screwed up with other people's money due to shortsightedness and greed, but we cannot spend any money on the things that will keep us alive and prosperous.

I guess to be more specific, America has all but closed up shop. We are basically being provided palliative care and waiting to die. I don't think I am the only one that feels this way deep down.

Re:almost 100km (1)

cavreader (1903280) | more than 2 years ago | (#37599470)

"I guess to be more specific, America has all but closed up shop. We are basically being provided palliative care and waiting to die." This pessimistic view is not really warranted if you look at the actual history of both the US and the world at large. Everything is cyclical and true change takes longer than the average election cycle. The problems today are nothing new. Income disparity was much larger in the 1800's and early 1900's than it is today. Today's drug war stupidity doesn't hold a candle to the prohibition nonsense enacted due to religious fundamentalism. Environmental issues were hardly considered at all during the growth of the industrial age but today environmental issues are widely acknowledged and included in planning actions that are likely to effect the environment. The US has been involved in some kind of war ever since the American Revolution. The Great Depression in the 20's and its +35% unemployment makes today's economy look good. It took almost 200 years for equal rights for all citizens to become a reality. The protests happening today are minuscule and tame compared to those in that took place in the 60's. There were various violent activist groups in the late 60's and early 70's. Groups that used guns, bombs, kidnappings, banks robberies for finance, and radical revolutionary rhetoric to support whatever cause they were involved with at the time in the 70's. The economy in the 70's and the havoc created by the OPEC boycott was much worse than today by a wide margin. The sole reason the US went to the moon was driven by the cold war. Besides the technology development to make the trip the other scientific reasons for going placed a distant 2nd. Tight now we have very little reason to return to the moon because at the moment the available technologies are insufficient to maintain any thing other than a brief visit. How many moon rocks do we really need? If there happened to be an important enough reason to go back I have no doubt we could refocus our efforts on deploying the technology required for such a trip. We don't lack the basic technical knowledge to do this but there has never been a big enough reason to divert resources to that particular goal. If we were to discover oil or viable hydrogen resources we would probably drop whatever we are doing and fast track our way to exploit the discoveries. I also suspect that if China actually goes to the moon as they have promised the US will also turn their attention back to that particular goal to make sure no one gains the ultimate "high ground". We do face a new problem today that if not addressed will insure more chaos in the future and that is simply over population. We have known where babies come from a long time and have the means to control but it seems no one is wiling to step up to the plate and address this issue. If this problem is dealt with now it will be dealt with by the next world war that is already simmering in the middle east and North Africa.

Why don't the nutters think THIS is faked? (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 2 years ago | (#37593142)

All these nutters think the moon landings were faked. But it seems that not a one of them so much as adjusts their tinfoil hat when we hear about the latest accomplishment from some probe. Are all you "The shadows are in the wrong place!!" types only up for disproving the really sexy missions??!?

Re:Why don't the nutters think THIS is faked? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37593174)

You couldn't ignore the moon landings, they were as big a deal as the World Series - hell, all three networks pre-empted programming for them. This other stuff is just crazies out in California - you know, they got another group up in Big Sur that thinks they're travelling by Astral Projection too!

Re:Why don't the nutters think THIS is faked? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37593434)

they were as big a deal as the World Series

... wow ... just, wow.

Re:Why don't the nutters think THIS is faked? (1)

Thud457 (234763) | more than 2 years ago | (#37593852)

but not as big a deal as Mrs Universe!

Re:Why don't the nutters think THIS is faked? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37593466)

I dare to say that moon landins are as big as FIFA World Cups, that is taking into acount i dont know what in the world is "World Series"... but hey... may be the "world" is restricted to only one country for some competitions.

Re:Why don't the nutters think THIS is faked? (1)

trout007 (975317) | more than 2 years ago | (#37593648)

Canada plays in MLB.

Re:Why don't the nutters think THIS is faked? (1)

jd (1658) | more than 2 years ago | (#37594626)

The World Series is just what it says. A series of worlds. Why they don't connect them in parallel, though, is beyond me.

Re:Why don't the nutters think THIS is faked? (1)

mug funky (910186) | more than 2 years ago | (#37596440)

my parents never regale me with memories of world cups in the '60s.

YMMV.

Re:Why don't the nutters think THIS is faked? (2)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#37593552)

You couldn't ignore the moon landings, they were as big a deal as the World Series - hell, all three networks pre-empted programming for them. This other stuff is just crazies out in California - you know, they got another group up in Big Sur that thinks they're travelling by Astral Projection too!

Yeah, and a bunch of bozos in Washington DC who think they understand economics.

Crazy talk.

Re:Why don't the nutters think THIS is faked? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37593182)

They do think it's faked [911hoax.com] . Just like how the moon landing got more press than Cassini, moon landing hoax conspiracies get more press than Cassini hoax conspiracies.

Re:Why don't the nutters think THIS is faked? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37593602)

These images are all FAKE, FAKE, FAKE! Please look at them carefully!

I'm not sure what I'm supposed to see. Moomins? The words "This is a fake" in Saturns rings?

Re:Why don't the nutters think THIS is faked? (1)

thasmudyan (460603) | more than 2 years ago | (#37594376)

I'm curious: why do they think it's fake? Are they flat-earth creationists or something? Or do they simply believe it's too expensive to launch an actual probe into the outer solar system? What's their motivation?

Re:Why don't the nutters think THIS is faked? (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 2 years ago | (#37605636)

I'm curious: why do they think it's fake? Are they flat-earth creationists or something? Or do they simply believe it's too expensive to launch an actual probe into the outer solar system? What's their motivation?

Hypothesis:

Because being the only one to know the SECRET TRUTH makes them feel superior. Tearing down others' accomplishments as fakes makes up for the lack of accomplishment in their own life.

But it's probably something dumber than that, like the flat-earther thing.

Re:Why don't the nutters think THIS is faked? (1)

jd (1658) | more than 2 years ago | (#37594652)

This is why America needs more psychiatric hospitals. Having people like that out on the streets is dangerous - they could get elected, for a start.

Re:Why don't the nutters think THIS is faked? (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#37593262)

space probes: a stream of bits is present in a computer file... easy to fake, so they assume every knows they're fakes.

moon landings: Supposedly astronauts and rocks came back ... hard to fake, therefore they have to preach to us to reveal to us the gospel of the faked moon landings.

Re:Why don't the nutters think THIS is faked? (2)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 2 years ago | (#37593394)

What changed their mind was Buzz Aldrin [youtube.com] .

Re:Why don't the nutters think THIS is faked? (0)

jovius (974690) | more than 2 years ago | (#37593446)

No need to state the obvious.

Re:Why don't the nutters think THIS is faked? (1)

mj1856 (589031) | more than 2 years ago | (#37593450)

My WIFE has this problem. We argue about it all the time. She thinks that all the probes are real, but we've just never sent real people outside our own orbit. It's really hard to counter-act this kind of conspiracy, because anything you might see as proof, they can just say that robots did it. Retro-reflectors? Robots did it. Moon rocks? Robots brought them back. Until she can look in a telescope with her own eyes and see a guy standing there waiving back at her, she'll never believe it happened. Even then, she'll just say something like "well it's about time they finally did it!" I wonder how good a telescope we would need to actually see a human being on the surface of the moon anyway?

Why bother with humans? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37593616)

40 years ago, robots could not have done everything, and manned space flight was worthwhile. Today, not so much. Since robots can do so much in space, why are we wasting time on humans? Me thinks pork is why.

Re:Why don't the nutters think THIS is faked? (4, Informative)

JustinOpinion (1246824) | more than 2 years ago | (#37593844)

I wonder how good a telescope we would need to actually see a human being on the surface of the moon anyway?

It would have to be very good. For example, the Hubble space telescope couldn't do it. Not even close. (Despite the fact that it can image galaxies that are billions of light-years away.)

Let's say that seeing an astronaut convincingly requires a resolution of ~5 cm (at that resolution, their hand would be a bit of a blob, but at least you'd be able to tell that it was a person and not a rover...). Let's assume we're using the violet-end of the visible spectrum (wavelength lambda ~ 400 nm). Using the resolution equation [wikipedia.org] :
sin(theta) = 1.22 * lambda/D

theta is the angular difference we're interested in, D is the size of the aperture/optical system, the 1.22 factor can vary a bit between optical schemes but is close enough for our purposes. The distance to the moon is 384,000 km [wikipedia.org] , so the angle theta is [google.com] arctan(5 cm/384000 km) = 7.5E-9 degrees. So [google.com] :
D = (1.22 * 400 nm)/( sin(7.5E-9 degrees) ) = 3.7 km

So, we would need an optical telescope with an aperture/mirror that is 3.7 km in diameter. Needless to say, this is quite a bit bigger than any telescope that exists today (the best is about 12 m [wikipedia.org] ). If you want to be able to accurately see the astronaut's eyes, to confirm that he's really not a robot, then the telescope would have to be even bigger (like 40 km in diameter).

Re:Why don't the nutters think THIS is faked? (2)

Ruie (30480) | more than 2 years ago | (#37594478)

So, we would need an optical telescope with an aperture/mirror that is 3.7 km in diameter. Needless to say, this is quite a bit bigger than any telescope that exists today (the best is about 12 m [wikipedia.org]). If you want to be able to accurately see the astronaut's eyes, to confirm that he's really not a robot, then the telescope would have to be even bigger (like 40 km in diameter).

This is a large number but not too large - two telescopes spaced apart at 3.7km and connected to form an interferometer [wikipedia.org] would have the same resolution, but, of course, not the collecting area.

This is still quite a project, but doable and interesting for other purposes. Oh, and you since you were interested in features 5cm in size, you could use radio waves instead of light which would greatly simplify interferometer design.

Re:Why don't the nutters think THIS is faked? (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 2 years ago | (#37596102)

I believe Kech 1 and 2 have in combination an effective optical length of 100m and there's a similar interferometer either in development or operation in South America which supposedly has a similar effective aperture.

Re:Why don't the nutters think THIS is faked? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37593942)

Wait, I don't think we HAVE sent ream people outside our own orbit. everyone that we've sent up has had orbit as a destination, whether on something orbiting (ISS, Moon, the MIR RV that was in orbit) or orbiting themselves while on the spaceshuttle or other craft. HAVE we really sent somebody out of orbit besides when they are going up or coming down??

Re:Why don't the nutters think THIS is faked? (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 2 years ago | (#37594330)

An orbit is a free fall trajectory that is gravitationally bound to an object, which it doesn't hit. An object resting on the surface of an object is no longer in free fall and hence, not in orbit.

Are there any other jokes that need killing?

Re:Why don't the nutters think THIS is faked? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37594848)

Why the hell did you marry such a complete and total moron? Come to think of it, why the hell are you still married to such an idiot?

Re:Why don't the nutters think THIS is faked? (1)

mj1856 (589031) | more than 2 years ago | (#37598432)

Oh the many many things you find out years down the road.... There's one to add to your speed dating question list - "yes dear, you're beautifull, but look into my eyes and tell me how you feel about the manned moon landing missions".

Re:Why don't the nutters think THIS is faked? (1)

Mattsson (105422) | more than 2 years ago | (#37596462)

Even then, how could she be sure that it isn't a humanoid robot stuck in a spacesuit waving back, or a video projected onto the surface of the moon from hidden projectors. =-P

Same problem as when discussing religion and semi-religious stuff like "intelligent design"-crap with people who actually believes in it.

Re:Why don't the nutters think THIS is faked? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37593494)

The moon landings have been well proven, in my opinion, but let's play Devil's Advocate for a second, and presume that it's the human survivability and the triumph over the enourmous hazards and risks aginst significant odds that hoaxers refute. Thus, they believe that there was incentive to pre-emptively fake them, on the premise that human lives would have been placed at risk, and possibly irrevocably lost.

Hoaxers claim that human lives were not put at risk.

Re:Why don't the nutters think THIS is faked? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37593524)

I think it's not the idea that computers on satellites can be flung into space, but the fact that 3 men can be flung into space, break Earth orbit, orbit the moon, separate from the landing module, successfully land on the moon, walk around, lift back off, dock with the command module, break moon orbit, manage to navigate successfully back to Earth, and land successfully, all organs intact.

Quite a feat, really. And, we're honestly too dumb (not to even mention too cheap) to figure out how to repeat it. Not without Nazi scientists, anyway.

Cool that we can see the tracks on the moon now, though. Can't wait to see what GRAIL sends back. :)

Re:Why don't the nutters think THIS is faked? (2)

trout007 (975317) | more than 2 years ago | (#37593630)

We could have had a permanently manned moon base for the price of the Iraq war. And th money would of pretty much gone to the same contractors.

Re:Why don't the nutters think THIS is faked? (2)

cusco (717999) | more than 2 years ago | (#37597994)

And the technology would have been available to the general public to use, unlike military research which mostly disappears into the black hole of the Pentagon archives. I sometimes wonder what avenues of computing, materials science, cryptography, etc. are unavailable to the companies that developed them because the research is now classified and forever off limits. There's still scientific research from WWII that's under wraps.

Re:Why don't the nutters think THIS is faked? (2)

EdIII (1114411) | more than 2 years ago | (#37593658)

There are also people like me who truly just don't care one way or the other.

Don't get me wrong. I think the whole universe is beautiful, humbling, and awesome. I just leave the exploration to people who have passion for it.

It hardly matters if the data is being falsified to cover up alien interactions. At the end of the day, I still have to deal with the realities of life on the ground, and whatever information I obtain about the truth will never give me an edge to fight the people that are apparently dead set on owning and oppressing me.

That is what the "nutters" and "rational" people tend to overlook. That the whole exercise is meaningless. You are both in a room slowly being deprived of oxygen yelling the top of your lungs about whether there were two apples in the refrigerator, who put them there, and why.

Personally, I am staying quiet over in the corner thinking about the oxygen and how do I solve that problem. Same logic applies to all the divisive arguments in politics and religion, which are all too often mixed.

For the record, the moon landings being faked has some plausibility if you consider geopolitical motivations at the time. If I was in government at the time, I would have been all for faking the moon landings if it meant getting one up on the Commies. It is not about the truth, but about a propaganda war and who is thought to be wielding the biggest stick. From that perspective, the hoax is not only plausible, but a reasonable extrapolation of the situation. If we really could get to the moon, all the better. If we couldn't, fuck it, let's just fake it really really well and make the Soviets look like backwards idiots eating our techno dust.

Either way, it accomplished its purpose. It raised American morale, inspired countless people towards achievement, excellence, and the pursuit of the truth.

Once again, my concerns have always been a lot more domestic.

Re:Why don't the nutters think THIS is faked? (2)

tragedy (27079) | more than 2 years ago | (#37594210)

It seems to me that the effort to fake the moon landings than it would take to actually land men on the moon. That spacecraft were launched, orbited the moon, then came back to earth seems pretty incontrovertible. Too many independent observers to deny that. The only leg the moon landing conspiracy people seem to have to stand on is the idea that there were no people on the Apollo spacecraft and that landers did not descend to the surface and return. The video footage shot by the Apollo astronauts should put that to rest.

There's no way anyone is going to convince me that Nasa managed to find special effects guys better than any Hollywood has ever managed. Have you seen _Armageddon_? It cost $140,000,000 and featured astronauts walking around on a low gravity extra-terrestrial environment. Despite being a special effects heavy movie, being made about 30 years after Apollo 11, and having a huge budget, they just skipped anything close to an accurate depiction of people moving around in low gravity and vacuum and used some nonsense about gravity simulating jets in the suits (which doesn't explain why the astronauts moving around inside the shuttle were also experiencing what seemed to be normal earth gravity). In fact, no movie I've ever seen has had a depiction of astronauts walking around on a low gravity body in a vacuum anywhere near as realistic as the Apollo footage. To accomplish it in those days, they would have needed to use hidden wires. Look at the best wire based special effects we can manage today. What have we got? _Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon_? Wire effects can be neat, sure, but you can tell they're wire effects. So, if asked to believe either that a bunch of NASA scientists in the late 60's/early 70's managed flawless special effects that no-one can duplicate today (well, maybe with CGI and tremendous attention to detail) or that they sent men to the moon, I'm going to have to go with the less ludicrous proposition. Just to clarify that in case it's not crystal clear, that means I'm going with the proposition that they actually landed people on the moon.

Re:Why don't the nutters think THIS is faked? (1)

EdIII (1114411) | more than 2 years ago | (#37594700)

I am not disagreeing with you about how much evidence there is that we went, or about how hard it would have been to fake it.

Just pointing out that the motivations to do so are absolutely plausible and that the argument itself is a waste of time. It does not actually matter whether we did or did not go to the moon.

The goals were achieved, regardless of the means. That is the real point I am trying to make, which is that the argument itself is pointless.

It's like arguing about who killed JFK. Let's say the evidence comes out tomorrow and the organization responsible is still doing shit today. What then? We protest? Quit our jobs? Go crazy and starting looting and tearing shit up?

It makes no difference. I sincerely doubt that all of us as a whole could take any meaningful action. If we accepted the Patriot Act, the Bailouts, and all of the other bullshit with a bunch of people arguing on both sides but still allowing it to happen, how are we going to possibly have the strength and wherewithal to bring the people responsible to account?

We won't. Cynical? Maybe, I prefer to say it is just a realistic position.

Re:Why don't the nutters think THIS is faked? (1)

tragedy (27079) | more than 2 years ago | (#37623070)

Fair enough. There was a motive. There were no means or opportunity, however. And there's no credible body of evidence that any fraud took place, either. In the big picture, I suppose it doesn't really matter, but I just find it frightening how many of these people there are. If it were just one or two drooling idiots licking the walls in a mental health facility somewhere I could understand. Apparently it's actually something like 6% of the people in the US. It's just perplexing too. The credulousness required to believe most of the hoaxers theories is incredible. So, why is it that people who are so credulous don't simply believe that people were landed on the moon? Actually, it reminds me of some of the special ed kids from high school that I was friendly with. They were always being tricked into believing things by liars who thought it was funny and who were actually overtly mean to them most of the time. I was always nice and respectful and never lied to them about anything and there's a long list of things they wouldn't believe if I told them. They wouldn't believe me that I was a green-belt in karate, for example (I might be misremembering and this might have been when I was a blue belt). It wasn't a ridiculous claim, by any means, but my plain sincere honesty just wasn't very convincing. A liar, on the other hand, could have had them believing that he was a Navy SEAL on the weekends.

Re:Why don't the nutters think THIS is faked? (2)

EdIII (1114411) | more than 2 years ago | (#37634016)

Apparently it's actually something like 6% of the people in the US. It's just perplexing too. The credulousness required to believe most of the hoaxers theories is incredible.

Try to look at it another way.

If you were not that sophisticated and had average (or below average) intelligence and it was told, or proven, time and time and time again that all the "big", "powerful", and "smart" people, governments, and corporations were lying to you... how much of a leap is it to conclude that they would be lying about somebody/something else?

You mention credibility. Quite frankly, there is not a whole lot of it left in governments, corporations, and other organizations now.

In a way, the smartest thing they are doing is questioning the veracity of what they are being told in their lives. I find it a natural response to our environment that they would seek out conspiracy theory based explanations of why their world sucks as much as it does, when they truly lack the sophistication to do otherwise.

While I do believe we went to the moon, I also believe there is a heck of a lot of corruption, manipulation, and lies from corporations and government institutions that are supposed to be representing The People's interests, but clearly do not.

There are clearly some conspiracies at work, but it does not have to be aliens, ancient groups of men led by occult worship, etc. It is just powerful and greedy people seeking to maintain and increase their power base. That is a far more likely explanation.

It is greatly concerning that the percentage of people like this are increasing, but the only thing to counteract it is education. Specifically critical thinking skills.

Right now we are talking about faked moon landings, but what about California falling off into the Pacific Ocean and creating new beaches in Nevada? If you think it through rationally for just a minute, you will realize the energies and materials involved don't allow for such a radical event and it would affect Japan, China, South America, and large parts of Mexico. Not to mention the Mid-West. The easy immediate answer is akin to Star Trek science.... the aliens have some sort of technology that makes it just happen without affecting the surrounding environment with 10+ earthquakes and 100ft+ tidal waves.

Of course, they also completely ignore that the surface of the Earth simply cannot contain that much energy without releasing it in stages. It's like thinking that can blow up a balloon to 5,000 times its capacity without it exploding. California might disappear beneath the ocean, but it will be on a geological timescale and not within 24 hours, much less 24,000 years.

Re:Why don't the nutters think THIS is faked? (1)

tragedy (27079) | more than 2 years ago | (#37634444)

Sadly, I have to agree with you pretty much 100% on everything there (not sad that we agree, just sad what we agree about). Let's keep our fingers crossed for education.

Re:Why don't the nutters think THIS is faked? (2)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#37594782)

2001: A Space Odessey came out in 1968 - roughly the same time period as Apollo 11-17 (remember you have to fake them all). It represented the state of the art in special effects. It is no where near as visually arresting as the real on board and on-moon shots. Perhaps in 2011 James Cameron could come close to being visually and physically perfect. In 1968? No way.

Yes, NASA had lots of computers. IBM 360's and 370's with frigging punch cards (I wuz there). The MacPro that I'm typing on now wipes the entire NASA computing system, all eleven buildings, of that period, off the map.

Pics, it happened....

Re:Why don't the nutters think THIS is faked? (1)

Jason Levine (196982) | more than 2 years ago | (#37594978)

The only movie that springs to mind that had realistic zero-G effects was Apollo 13 and they went to great lengths to get those. They flew on the "vomit comet" and filmed in 23 second increments. (See: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0112384/trivia )

Re:Why don't the nutters think THIS is faked? (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 2 years ago | (#37594472)

The thing is, faking the moon landings runs into the problem that the truth will come out rather quickly. You can't keep a secret that big with that many people involved. Then your big propaganda coup massively backfires on you. And the Soviets would figure out who to bribe to get that information out in as embarrassing a fashion as possible.

For me, the real annoyance here are the people who assume that everyone else will feel as they do. For example, I frequently see complaints that NASA isn't popularizing space enough. These complaints often go on to claim that popularizing space is the only real obstacle to space exploration. So you only have to get a little more space propaganda knocked into you and you'll become a space nut. NASA just isn't trying hard enough or some such.

On the other side of the coin is the "You wouldn't like it" crowd who for some reason thinks that because they wouldn't like (or rather wouldn't be caught liking) going into space, that nobody else would either. I guess the idea is that I'll fly into space, blow my cookies all over the cabin, and then decide that space is a horrifying place. This ignores that NASA has never had any trouble finding people who retain their excitement about doing things in space even after they return from space.

My view is that like all human activities, some people are interested in the activity and some not. Some, like sex and sports games, have a large following, while others, like bottle cap collecting or industrial pump manufacture, do not. I would think it foolish to attempt to boost the industrial pumps fanclub through propaganda and popularizing industrial pumps to the masses. The public won't care no matter what you do (unless you're giving away lots of big cash prizes maybe).

Instead, industrial pumps stay with us because a variety of customers buy them and get great value for the money. That's what I want for space development. That it is a place where a lot of value is generated and hence, becomes a self-funding activity that doesn't need lots of fans in order to keep going on.

Re:Why don't the nutters think THIS is faked? (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#37594842)

That's a bit of a false dichotomy that misses the point anyway. Industrial pumps, as you say, are useful in an of themselves even though the vast majority of the planet couldn't tell the difference between a centrifugal and a diaphragm pump. It is not so clear what the economic advantage of space exploration actually is.

There ARE other valid endeavors besides making money. Art, Religion, Philosophy, Science - all those things that actually differentiate us from, say, a Myna bird. Economics, in fact, is really only one aspect of human civilization, albeit a rather important one.

I think, for now, Space exploration falls into that latter set of concepts. At some point, somebody will make money from it - aside from Boeing and Lockeed. But that isn 't the main point.

Re:Why don't the nutters think THIS is faked? (2)

khallow (566160) | more than 2 years ago | (#37595024)

It is not so clear what the economic advantage of space exploration actually is.

Well, we know it's tangible and significant. We have a lot of commercial and government applications up to geosynchronous orbit. That's current economic advantage. We know there are a variety of substances in space such as precious and platinum group metals that have significant value on Earth. We know people like to travel and they would spend some amount of money to see stuff in space. We can harvest solar energy in space and beam it to places on the Earth.

The point here is not that these activities are profitable, aside from the first group, they are not. But that with just a significant drop in cost, we know we'll have something up there worth doing. There's a big difference between not having anything you can do in space and having stuff that requires a massive drop in cost. It means that there is something to look forward to, if you can pass that hurdle.

What the ultimate economic advantage would be, I don't have a clue. But given there's a lot more stuff, energy, and space in space, I think in the long run we'll see an economy vastly larger by orders of magnitude than Earth alone.

Re:Why don't the nutters think THIS is faked? (1)

Jason Levine (196982) | more than 2 years ago | (#37594924)

The thing is, faking the moon landings runs into the problem that the truth will come out rather quickly. You can't keep a secret that big with that many people involved. Then your big propaganda coup massively backfires on you. And the Soviets would figure out who to bribe to get that information out in as embarrassing a fashion as possible.

Ah, but the conspiracy is so competent that they're able to hide all of the evidence from other scientists, competing nations, press (both at the time and in the future) and tons of onlookers. Still, they are so incompetent that they make rookie mistakes and lone conspiracy theorists are able to see through their charade where the other scientists, competing nations, press and onlookers weren't able to.

It's the ultimate pat-yourself-on-the-back attitude: "All these other people are idiots for buying into the 'Official Story', but I'm so smart because I figured out their ruse." *pat* *pat* *pat*

Re:Why don't the nutters think THIS is faked? (1)

EdIII (1114411) | more than 2 years ago | (#37595198)

Oh, look I don't think the moon landings were faked. As I said to other posters, I think the motivations to do so were there, but that ultimately it does not matter what happened. I don't think it would change where we are today. I think the argument itself is just silly and not productive at this point.

Not everybody feels the same way about space. Personally, I think the military budget needs to be trimmed by 75%. It is just one big bailout and continual money pump for the Military-Industrial Complex at the tax payers expense. Take some of that and fund NASA.

If we are not going to be pushing serious money into future programs, than just close up shop. I think NASA is embarrassing at this point, and is like that old swap meet that is run down and barely has anybody selling or buying anymore. You just feel weird even going.

The idea that you will "blow your cookies all over the cabin" is a pretty big concern. I have heard that over and over and over again that nausea and vertigo can be problems for a large number of people. Once you got over that though, the view would be hard to put into words. The lack of gravity makes that a real fucking bitch though. Not only the smell would give you problems, but it going everywhere in the cabin is not a trivial issue.

I am dead serious that there needs to be "puke holes". A place where you can literally hold on to some handle bars, stick your whole head in, and have a vacuum take care of you while you lose your lunch.

Just one person could ruin it for everyone. I know. I farted one time on a plane, and dammit, if it was not Krakatoa and Chernobyl's love child. It affected the whole plane. For the record, it was in the bathroom, but that did not save the rest of the passengers.

So I would not trivialize how bodily functions will affect space travel.

As for your other points, I absolutely agree with you. Science for Science's sake is also at an all time low. There has to be some awe factor and immediate value for the money for space exploration to become self-funding, because it certainly seems like we are more interested in giving it to fraudulent assholes on Wall Street, people promising the next super weapon, or doing basically anything other than what we need to be doing with it.

For the record, my position is that we start pumping money as fast as we can directly into education, infrastructure, arts, and science. Do it in the right way too, not just blow the money on somebody's uncle with a lucrative contract where we overpay and get very little back.

Re:Why don't the nutters think THIS is faked? (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 2 years ago | (#37595660)

For the record, my position is that we start pumping money as fast as we can directly into education, infrastructure, arts, and science. Do it in the right way too, not just blow the money on somebody's uncle with a lucrative contract where we overpay and get very little back.

I'm leery of your recommendation because I think we've already pushed these pretty far, in the US and elsewhere in the developed world. In the US, more than a third have a college degree. My guess is a similar number barely get by. So there doesn't seem to me a lot of room for improvement there, until K-12 is reformed so that a high school diploma means something again.

Similarly, we've built a lot of infrastructure. Much of that has been of the enrichment of somebody's uncle type. And the space-related stuff hasn't fared any better. Right now, the plans for a heavy launch vehicle are more likely to help make money for ATK (the maker of the Shuttle solid rocket motors) and less building useful infrastructure for space activities.

Science is another thing that's hit a wall IMHO. The problem there is that since it is fairly easy to get funding from the government (either directly or through a cooperative academician), most businesses don't do their own research any more. I think that has killed off or crippled most of the famous private labs (such as Bell Labs, Xerox, and Du Pont). Why do your own research at personal risk when government can pay you to do research?

Re:Why don't the nutters think THIS is faked? (1)

EdIII (1114411) | more than 2 years ago | (#37596164)

I'm leery of your recommendation because I think we've already pushed these pretty far, in the US and elsewhere in the developed world. In the US, more than a third have a college degree. My guess is a similar number barely get by. So there doesn't seem to me a lot of room for improvement there, until K-12 is reformed so that a high school diploma means something again.

Educational reform is desperately needed. A high school diploma is meaningless when the standards required to get it have been continually lowered so that quotas can be met. By that same logic, a college degree means less now too, as well as many certifications. I looked into a MS certification that my friend took years ago and they did not even teach any command line tools at all. Most of them find out that it pretty worthless and they will learn most of what they need hands on.

More money needs to be pumped in so that we can attract teachers back. We need more teachers per students, and we also need better teachers. I know quite a few teachers, and many of them pay out of their own pocket for supplies. That is shameful.

Getting rid of tenure would also be a start. No teacher should have that, and a few of them that did were so apathetic that they made my middle school typing teacher looked like he was hopped up on meth.

Whatever the cause, reform and funding have to be part of the answer. The end result is that we rank lower and lower each year compared to other developed countries.

Similarly, we've built a lot of infrastructure. Much of that has been of the enrichment of somebody's uncle type. And the space-related stuff hasn't fared any better. Right now, the plans for a heavy launch vehicle are more likely to help make money for ATK (the maker of the Shuttle solid rocket motors) and less building useful infrastructure for space activities.

Nothing lasts forever. This you happen to be dead wrong on. The US spends 50% less GDP on infrastructure than any other developed country. Assessments of our infrastructure are alarming and shocking to say the least. We need a major and immediate country wide overhaul of our entire infrastructure. Especially, the bridges. Just look in the news about the recent catastrophic bridge failures where over a hundred people have died.

Just as we created the interstate system, we need to create a new system with advanced technology that will serve our needs in the future. Not just patchwork on existing roads and inadequate maintenance on our bridges.

As a bonus, a serious push in our infrastructure will create quite a large number of jobs. Infrastructure could also rekindle our own industrial skills and capacities that has withered away since we outsourced our pollution and needs to China and other third world countries.

Science is another thing that's hit a wall IMHO. The problem there is that since it is fairly easy to get funding from the government (either directly or through a cooperative academician), most businesses don't do their own research any more. I think that has killed off or crippled most of the famous private labs (such as Bell Labs, Xerox, and Du Pont). Why do your own research at personal risk when government can pay you to do research?

Science can never really hit a wall. We have less and less people graduating with degrees each year, and many that do leave the US. Whether privately funded, or government funded hardly makes a difference if the research is being done domestically with US scientists.

Part of the problem here, that I did not mention, is that we need serious patent reform. We are killing innovation and pushing it outside of the US at a rapid pace and have been doing so for quite some time.

Why do your own research when whatever you create is just going to be tied up in a patent war, unusable, and cannon fodder for patent trolls? It's kind of hard to get excited about actually creating something when current patent law and the patent environment in general make it unsavory to say the least.

There have been recent articles on Slashdot about this too, and educational reform is not just needed at the K-12 level. We need educational reform in our colleges and universities.

Re:Why don't the nutters think THIS is faked? (2)

khallow (566160) | more than 2 years ago | (#37596262)

Nothing lasts forever. This you happen to be dead wrong on. The US spends 50% less GDP on infrastructure than any other developed country. Assessments of our infrastructure are alarming and shocking to say the least. We need a major and immediate country wide overhaul of our entire infrastructure. Especially, the bridges. Just look in the news about the recent catastrophic bridge failures where over a hundred people have died.

I'm aware of that. But I'm also aware that spending on infrastructure in the current US political environment almost invariably means spending on new infrastructure, not maintaining the old. That's why there's such a big problem in the first place. More than adequate funds are spent on bridges, they just get spent on building new ones rather than keeping the old ones from falling apart.

Re:Why don't the nutters think THIS is faked? (1)

quacking duck (607555) | more than 2 years ago | (#37594682)

To your point about geopolitics: ignoring all the other evidence, the mere fact that the Soviet Union (you know, the evil communists and the other country trying to land man on the moon first) did not immediately denounce the landings (choose from SIX of them, over 3 years) with "It's a FAAAAAAAAAKE!", should be more than enough evidence that the manned moon landings were real.

The nutters might then say "Well, the US and Soviets were obviously in cahoots then!" At that point it, it should be obvious to anyone that the nutters are not all there.

Re:Why don't the nutters think THIS is faked? (1)

EdIII (1114411) | more than 2 years ago | (#37595248)

Once again, my real points were that the argument itself is pointless. The only leg they have to stand on was the geopolitical stance. Now the Soviets had some risk by saying it was fake, because everybody would say, "of course you would say that". So I cannot say that alone is evidence that it was real.

The real compelling evidence is just how much money was spent and the fact there was an actual launch. I find it far more likely it actually happened.

Even if there was a grand conspiracy, who cares? You or I cannot do anything about it as apathy, bitterness, and the divisiveness of the American populace prevents us from doing anything meaningful. At the end of the day it does not change the fact that I still need to work for a living and pay bills.

Re:Why don't the nutters think THIS is faked? (1)

19061969 (939279) | more than 2 years ago | (#37597556)

Of course they are only up for disproving 'sexy' missions! It's only the *really* cool stuff that sells books / gets the public to give them attention etc.

Geyser moon? You can't fool me. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37593166)

This so-called "geyser-moon stream of raw images" sounds suspiciously like a goatse link.

Re:Geyser moon? You can't fool me. (0)

stealth_finger (1809752) | more than 2 years ago | (#37593826)

This so-called "geyser-moon stream of raw images" sounds suspiciously like a goatse link.

At least they're not of Uranus!

Careful with those flybys (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 2 years ago | (#37593172)

Fly through it enough time and you'll crash for sure. That's not exactly hard vacuum.

Re:Careful with those flybys (1)

jd (1658) | more than 2 years ago | (#37594680)

Travel fast enough in deep space and you'll find that that's not hard vaccuum either. (The entire premise of the Bussard ramjet relies on that. The problem is, the momentum from everything non-hydrogen in space would make such an engine almost totally useless.)

Am I the only one (3, Interesting)

Moheeheeko (1682914) | more than 2 years ago | (#37593214)

I think living on the moon of one of these gas giants would scare the hell out of me, just for the fact that you look up and pretty much all you would see is Saturn.

Re:Am I the only one (1)

nomorecwrd (1193329) | more than 2 years ago | (#37593266)

Is it getting closer? It didn't look THAT BIG yesterday!!
Sure that would be scary.

Re:Am I the only one (1)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 2 years ago | (#37593404)

An impact from Earth's moon on Earth would be just as deadly as hitting Saturn while on one of it's moons.

Re:Am I the only one (1)

jbeaupre (752124) | more than 2 years ago | (#37593704)

Almost the only one. Googled "Phobia of Saturn" and only got 2 hits. One suggesting you avoid the phobia. The other is someone claiming to have the phobia. So unless that's you, you're not alone.

Re:Am I the only one (1)

dotancohen (1015143) | more than 2 years ago | (#37593842)

The adjective for Saturn is Cronian [1], so you should have googled "croniaphobia".

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saturn [wikipedia.org]

See, this is the difference (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37593390)

Space enthusiast, science type, huge nerd, etc: Cool, we built a small machine with a camera and antenna and launched it into space, and we await its findings by radio while we wait right here on Earth

Space Nutter: We must build a space elevator so we can get off this rock and colonize Saturn's moons! It's completely realistic and feasible, and naturally scales out of unmanned probes!

Clear? One is rational, the other is a religion.

Re:See, this is the difference (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37593534)

OK, QA, I'll bite. What's the difference between levels I, II, and III?

Re:See, this is the difference (1)

Migraineman (632203) | more than 2 years ago | (#37593674)

That all depends on how many trans-uranic Vogons are stuck on you. [Note - they are exceedingly expensive to remove.]

Re:See, this is the difference (1)

Amouth (879122) | more than 2 years ago | (#37593768)

2 & 4 ?

Re:See, this is the difference (1)

Toonol (1057698) | more than 2 years ago | (#37593644)

Speaking of religion, your crusade on Slashdot to post about 'space nutters' on every space-related discussion seems to have no results, and yet you persist.

Tasting a space geyser? (1)

trout007 (975317) | more than 2 years ago | (#37593606)

You would think this should be a Japanese mission.

Sorry .... (0)

PPH (736903) | more than 2 years ago | (#37593632)

... I thought I was browsing RedTube there for a moment.

Even though I'm nearly 50 years old... (2)

Radical Moderate (563286) | more than 2 years ago | (#37593980)

the phrase (from TFA) "jets emanating from the moon's south polar region" made me giggle.

I love Saturn (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37595328)

I used to fly there all the time when playing Orbiter.

And I just love the imagery that flying through and "tasting" a delicious geyser plume conjures up!

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