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GRAIL-A Enters Lunar Orbit

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the holy-grail-moonman dept.

Moon 62
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62 comments

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Happy New Year (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38553346)

first

GRAIL huh? (4, Funny)

rueger (210566) | more than 2 years ago | (#38553358)

Beware the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch! [youtu.be]

Re:GRAIL huh? (1, Funny)

cultiv8 (1660093) | more than 2 years ago | (#38553392)

You're a little off, Grail-A is Canadian, not European.

Re:GRAIL huh? (2, Funny)

turbidostato (878842) | more than 2 years ago | (#38553432)

Will they be able to transport a coconut then?

Re:GRAIL huh? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38553646)

An african or european coconut?

Re:GRAIL huh? (1)

turbidostato (878842) | more than 2 years ago | (#38555336)

A aaaaaargh!

Re:GRAIL huh? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38554146)

Alright you fucking African Nigger! Coconuts are so yesteryear. These days its fried chicken and watermelon.

OH yeah speaking of tendencies! Ever see these really big fat sweaty heiffer women over 300lbs? Then you see somehow they actually are pushin around a baby carriage? You wonder how the fuck that happens ... who the fuck is desperete enough to knock up such a pile of lard? THen you see the baby is half black. Now you understand. No more question. Who else?

Re:GRAIL huh? (1)

Scarletdown (886459) | more than 2 years ago | (#38559502)

In other news, it has been discovered that this was not GRAIL-A after all. Instead, it was merely a beacon that just happened to be shaped like a GRAIL-A.

Operation Galahad has been initiated to investigate this situation.

Re:GRAIL huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38553530)

Huh? From wikipedia:

"The Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) is an American lunar science mission in NASA's...."

Re:GRAIL huh? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38553580)

> You're a little off, Grail-A is Canadian, not European.

How did you get modded up to +4 for that? Grail-A and B are American, not Canadian. Built by Lockheed Martin, a US company, in the US (Denver, specifically), and launched by NASA.

Nothing against Canada, I love the place, but Grail is very much a US spacecraft.

It's nuts that posts like that get modded up as "informative".

Re:GRAIL huh? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38553832)

Stick around. Space Nutter junk gets automatic +5, no matter how utterly insane or competely delusional. Something about space turns off geek's brains.

Re:GRAIL huh? (1)

cultiv8 (1660093) | more than 2 years ago | (#38553956)

+1, it was a flippant comment meant to be funny, I have no idea why someone would mark it as informative.

Re:GRAIL huh? (1)

Black.Shuck (704538) | more than 2 years ago | (#38555504)

I'm not your GRAIL-Buddeh!

Re:GRAIL huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38556802)

How did you get modded all the way from AC to +5 for missing an obvious joke?

Re:GRAIL huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38557926)

Lol. I think you missed the point. Eh? Take off to the great white north.

Re:GRAIL huh? (1)

Taty'sEyes (2373326) | more than 2 years ago | (#38558224)

I'm pretty sure you missed the joke. I'd explain, but a 'not so funny' joke would then be totally ruined. Smile.

Re:GRAIL huh? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38553652)

To the whooshes below, it's the grail, eh?

Re:GRAIL huh? (1)

sub67 (979309) | more than 2 years ago | (#38553748)

Grail eh?

Re:GRAIL huh? (1)

Baloroth (2370816) | more than 2 years ago | (#38553960)

+5 funny. That one actually took me a few seconds.

Re:GRAIL huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38554038)

We're Back! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38553428)

Happy New Moon!

More missions to the Moon!

Go NASA!

Here's to hoping they find TMA-1 (1)

wisebabo (638845) | more than 2 years ago | (#38553444)

I know, I know it is the "M" stands for Magnetic not "Mass" anomaly but maybe they'll find something that indicates an extraterrestrial (intelligence) origin!

Why should I care? (-1, Troll)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 2 years ago | (#38553458)

This is no doubt good news, but why should I care? Folks I know, even in the IT sector, need jobs, period!

In these hard times, I wonder why NASA felt the need to do all this.

Guys, we're broke as a nation, sad!. These missions can wait till our economy gets better. What's wrong with that?

Re:Why should I care? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38553572)

shut up

Re:Why should I care? (5, Insightful)

c6gunner (950153) | more than 2 years ago | (#38553584)

This is no doubt good news, but why should I care? Folks I know, even in the IT sector, need jobs, period! ....
These missions can wait till our economy gets better. What's wrong with that?

Yep, shut down NASA and cancel all future projects - that ought to create more jobs!

If you ever run for congress, I'm sure you'll have no problem getting elected.

Re:Why should I care? (-1, Troll)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 2 years ago | (#38553720)

Yep, shut down NASA and cancel all future projects - that ought to create more jobs!

That's not what I said. Read my missive please. Basically, I am saying that there are more pressing problems here on planet earth, and specifically in the US of A.

Some common sense would dictate that in times of financial crisis, one scales back spending. The crisis we find ourselves in was partly created by projects like these, which do not create value at all, save for pride.

As the English man says, "Pride comes before a fall."

Re:Why should I care? (4, Insightful)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 2 years ago | (#38553876)

The crisis we find ourselves in was partly created by projects like these

NASA's budget represents less than 1% of the Federal budget. It peaked at around 5% during the Apollo years and has declined almost every year for the last two decades. If every Federal agency worked like that we wouldn't be worrying about turning into Greece.

Re:Why should I care? (3, Informative)

Baloroth (2370816) | more than 2 years ago | (#38554354)

Just to clarify: NASA's budget itself hasn't declined much at all since ~1970, only as a percentage of the total Federal budget. It has remained fairly steady at around 15 billion (with a significant dip at the late 1970-early 1980 period to around 11 billion.) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Budget_of_NASA#Annual_budget.2C_1958-2011 [wikipedia.org]

Re:Why should I care? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38555064)

It's declined, if you dare take inflation into account. Declined probably by 20-30% since then? Way to go, Congress.

Re:Why should I care? (1)

Baloroth (2370816) | more than 2 years ago | (#38559682)

Ah, no, in constant 2007 dollars it hasn't declined (that is what the chart is in and what I was using as a metric). But feel free to continue being stupid!

Re:Why should I care? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38580552)

> But feel free to continue being stupid!

The rude remark was unnecessary. He may be ignorant, but at least he's not an asshole.

(No, I'm not the same Anonymous Coward as the parent.)

Re:Why should I care? (1)

c6gunner (950153) | more than 2 years ago | (#38553894)

The crisis we find ourselves in was partly created by projects like these, which do not create value at all, save for pride.

And now you've exposed yourself as a troll and a liar.

Well, either that, or you (in your original comment) meant to type "does not create any value" but accidentally slipped, fell, and while falling randomly hit a bunch of keys which just happened to spell out "this is no doubt good news". Personally, I'm going with the "liar" explanation.

Re:Why should I care? (0)

Nyeerrmm (940927) | more than 2 years ago | (#38553968)

The GRAIL mission costs ~$400B. The NASA budget is ~$17B/year.

If you could fix the economy/budget problems with that amount of money in a politically viable way, GO TELL SOMEONE! Seriously... thats chump change in terms of the federal budget.

Re:Why should I care? (3, Informative)

Nyeerrmm (940927) | more than 2 years ago | (#38553988)

Oops. $400M for GRAIL. If it were $400B you might have a better point.

Re:Why should I care? (0)

The Grim Reefer (1162755) | more than 2 years ago | (#38554032)

The GRAIL mission costs ~$400B. The NASA budget is ~$17B/year.

If you could fix the economy/budget problems with that amount of money in a politically viable way, GO TELL SOMEONE! Seriously... thats chump change in terms of the federal budget.

If you can explain how a $400B project can be done on a $17B/year budget along with all of the other NASA projects, please figure out a way to scale this up to the national budget. The USA should be able to eliminate the national debt in no time. Or perhaps it's math like this that has us in the mess we're currently in. Regardless, you are right, it's but a small fraction of the federal budget.

Re:Why should I care? (5, Insightful)

riverat1 (1048260) | more than 2 years ago | (#38554132)

If we listened to guys like you this would be a poorer world for it. Not all value in monetary. What is the value of information? It really is the source of all other value.

Anyway, the time to complain about the cost was at the start of the project in 2006. The project cost around $500 million. All that money was spent here on Earth paying the wages of the guys who built the satellites and rocket and the people who supplied them. If you're worried about the deficit the first thing to look at is the fact that we spend on much on the military as the next 15+ countries combined.and half of those are allies. The US spends 43% of all money spent on the military in the world.

Re:Why should I care? (2)

Bucc5062 (856482) | more than 2 years ago | (#38555886)

I love statements like this " we spend on much on the military as the next 15+ countries combined.and half of those are allies.". I need at least one mind boggler a day and this was the first. Now I may try to fact check, but my gut tells me you're correct...and how fucking sad is that.

I am all for a strong defense, I surely don't want my country invaded by 'fill in the blank evil people', but we seriously are over the top on our approach these days. We have enough nukes to ensure that any "major" country who tries to attack us will get melted, yet we still build airplanes (at mega-millions a pop) to fight against....who, what? China, blow them up. Russia? Blow them up, Yet these guys are not really an enemy, more like neutral antagonists. "Terrorists?", ignore them or if needed to do something, blow up a house or send them money. More people die driving our highways then what a dumb-ass with a bomb can do. Hell, even if North Korea was zany enough to attempt a nuke missile launch against us they would not last long (assuming we use all this crap we build). Today's enemy is not fought on the military battlefield, it is fought on the economic one.

Ah, here is where we see true power struggles. China owns more then half the US debt, talk about a strategic hill position. I wonder what senator will be willing to charge up "bond hill" against that type of economic position. The middle east controls oil prices (not oil per say, big difference). Want to bring the US to its knees, drive oil prices up by two in a week. This country cannot adapt to that type of economic attack, and it is this type of attack were we are most vulnerable too in this age.

Our leaders tell us to worry about Iraq having WMDs...because why? some idiot despot may use it against us? We got a lousy protection system (though we spend billions on it) if that's the case. We worry that Iran may have or will have a bomb...again so what? If they use it on Israel we have WWIII and the likes of China, Russia, and neighboring ME countries wont let that stand. All the major land is carved up, so now we rattle our very expensive swords, point fingers, and say "yo mamma can't touch this stuff". We have children running the show.

Were the United States to take all the Effin billions we spend in "defense" and begin translating it into defense of our economic and energy house then we would be stronger, and less likely for attack, both physical and economic. Take all those war dollars and begin investing back into education by providing more options for young minds to learn new things. Open space to commercial development and provide the framework to make it affordable. To paraphrase another poster "My God, there's jobs in space". Push hard on renewables (or nuke) and for God Sakes start changing the mind set that the only way to live is with two cars in the garage. Spend money on R&D. Instead of an enemy, find a goal that inspires people/inventors/scientists et al. (I could go on). I'll say it, because our most glorious leaders wont, We are a third world nation. We lag behind in education, in infrastructure, in care for our disadvantaged, and in economic growth. We lead in military spending, we open our doors to corporations for the exploitation of the land and its people, and our most exultant leaders are basically untouched by the laws they swear too. I love my country, I love the ideals written in our Constitution, so to see it crumble from within...a sad time indeed.

43% spent to "defend" against friends and a few foes...yep, boggles the mind.

Re:Why should I care? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38556234)

You are ill informed. PLease check your stats on Chinese ownership of US debt. Your entire argument fails on this point, plus has the added benefit of making you look like an idiot.

Re:Why should I care? (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 2 years ago | (#38557586)

If we listened to guys like you this would be a poorer world for it. Not all value in monetary. What is the value of information? It really is the source of all other value.

Economic innumeracy rears its ugly head again. All value can be expressed in monetary value for a very simple reason. Because you choose to pay for it. Paying for such projects only with Other Peoples' Money is a strong indication that the project doesn't have inherent value.

Re:Why should I care? (1)

riverat1 (1048260) | more than 2 years ago | (#38557918)

Another guy who knows the cost of everything and the value of nothing. I pay taxes so some of my money went into the GRAIL satellites and I have no problem with that.

Re:Why should I care? (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 2 years ago | (#38558038)

Another guy who knows the cost of everything and the value of nothing. I pay taxes so some of my money went into the GRAIL satellites and I have no problem with that.

Put your money where your mouth is. There are so many platitude-spouting layabouts who can tell us how important or valuable something is supposed to be, but can't be bothered to contribute to it with their own wealth and/or effort.

Re:Why should I care? (1)

riverat1 (1048260) | about 2 years ago | (#38560030)

Watch out who you're calling a layabout. I first payed federal income taxes in about 1965. I own my own home, paid for by myself. My wealth and effort helps support this country.

Re:Why should I care? (1)

khallow (566160) | about 2 years ago | (#38561534)

Ok, I'm watching who I call a layabout. So what if you've paid taxes since 1965? I doubt you've paid hundreds of millions (in today's dollars) in taxes. Meaning most of this "valuable" project isn't being paid by you.

Re:Why should I care? (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 2 years ago | (#38580958)

I was thinking of this particular phrase in an unrelated post [slashdot.org] . As I see it, a big part of the problem with the US's current space activities is the person who knows the value of everything and the cost of nothing. You have decided the GRAIL satellites have tremendous value, hence you support them, even though you have no idea how well that money is spent, whether it'll be spent to a useful purpose, or whether something better along these lines could be done.

To be blunt, US government space activities are remarkably wasteful even by the standards of the US government. There are documented cases (for example, SpaceShipOne vs. the X-15 program and SpaceX's development program) where a private business has spent at least an order of magnitude less than the US government would or did do for similar results.

Unmanned missions tend to be more efficient IMHO than manned, but there are still large inefficiencies in how things are done. The money spent on a GRAIL mission probably could have been spent on several GRAIL-class missions just by changing the conditions of the contract (say by removing the participation of the national NASA labs and not using cost plus contracts) and involving private enterprise.

Finally, it's near trivial to attach value to any government-based activity. Only those made stupid by greed can't manage that. The biggest problem with this is simply we can't have everything we want. We have to make these decisions on whether X justifies cost Y. Otherwise at some point we won't be able to pay for basic services because we don't get enough in taxes, present and future, to pay for everything we want.

Re:Why should I care? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38554632)

You can use the savings to feed the new population of homeless engineers!

Re:Why should I care? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38553676)

There are only two reliable ways for a government to create jobs - either pay for people to do work or provide stability.

If you rule out paying for work due to being broke, the only thing you can possibly do is try to avoid making major changes. Shutting down projects in the name of saving money is a major change.

Re:Why should I care? (-1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#38553870)

There are only two reliable ways for a government to create jobs - either pay for people to do work or provide stability

You forgot: massively cutting taxes and regulation... which is the only reliable way to create long-term jobs.

I don't really see how cutting a mission that cost $500,000,000 is supposed to make a big difference to a budget that's over-spending by more than $1,000,000,000,000 a year, particularly when most of the money was spent months to years ago, but ultimately if you want a viable economy you need to slash government spending so you can slash taxes and encourage new start-up companies.

I guess that's why (-1, Flamebait)

publiclurker (952615) | more than 2 years ago | (#38553962)

bush's handouts to your corporate masters created so many jobs. Unless you meant the jobs needed to clean up after the mess caused by morally bankrupt people like you once all of the regulations are eliminated.

Re:I guess that's why (-1, Troll)

The Grim Reefer (1162755) | more than 2 years ago | (#38554078)

bush's handouts to your corporate masters created so many jobs. Unless you meant the jobs needed to clean up after the mess caused by morally bankrupt people like you once all of the regulations are eliminated.

Urgh!!! Because Obama's handouts have done so much to fix everything. Why is it so hard to understand that, while for different reasons, having an R or a D following a persons name they are both equally corrupt and self serving these days? My biggest fear is that we've gone too far down the wrong path to fix this problem in a civil manner.

Re:I guess that's why (2)

Bucc5062 (856482) | more than 2 years ago | (#38556002)

"Urgh!!! Because Obama's handouts have done so much to fix everything."

I had a friend comment (more like complain) that "We" spent all these millions of dollars in 1999 to change software....and nothing happened on Jan 1, 2000. "Really?" I exclaimed. "Nothing happened? So, like, all that money spent to avert a potential mess...worked?"

Would you like to ponder what could have happened had we not spent millions on coding against problems resulting from Y2K? "Ah fuggitabout, let the system work it out". (sigh).

President Obama felt the need to put money into the economy to stop it from tumbling into depression. Many economists certainly were stating that outcome pre TARP, pre Stimulus. So what did President Obama buy, a recession instead of a depression. He slammed the throttles full forward to avoid a crash, even though there was not much left in the tanks. Those that complain the most about stimulus are those least effected by either negative economic condition.

Now I would be glad to see him pull back on the throttle a little more these days. I'd love to see him divert our "gas" from one tank to another , but it seems that he not only battles external issues, but internal as well causing this plane to stagger and wallow in recovery. The formula for recovery is basic...

1 - Increase tax revenue (equitable)
2 - put people to work either through works programs or commercial incentive
3 - Adjust spending where needed and reduce where prudent.
4 - Deregulate to encourage growth, but strengthen regulations (through enforcement) relating to risk

When there were moderate, sensible thinking leaders these things were presented, debated, adjusted and passed. Reagan, Bush (I), and even Nixon raised taxes when it was needed. Clinton helped change welfare and medicaid. Today we have yahoo's (mainly in congress) who pontificate, posture, and do nothing to find common ground while they pad their pockets with lucre from insider trading.

So please, cut the crap about Obama buying a recession to avoid something worse, unless you enjoy living in chaos. I don't.

Re:I guess that's why (1)

rgbatduke (1231380) | more than 2 years ago | (#38556468)

Well said, Sir! Or Madam, as the case may be! Obama has made a single mistake since he took office, and it's a mistake that has been made before. He tackled health care before midterm elections, instead of devoting all of his considerable energies towards fixing the economy. True, it looked like the economy was "fixed" rather rapidly -- if you look at the Dow (for example) since it bottomed, it has been a steady, predictable ascent back to roughly where it should be, given the fact that Bush looted and lost 1.5 trillion dollars over the course of the Iraq war. We've amortized the debt and worked through it to a "predictable" market again. However, the cost of pushing health care first was the loss of congress, and now he cannot control the needed tax increases equitably or otherwise to restore balance to the Federal budget. This puts the Republicans in position to sabotage the economy and push it into a second soft dip of recession, aided by the near-collapse of the Euro, which is the only thing that could conceivably cost him re-election.

It won't, I don't think. Europe appears to have stabilized its own debt problem, and this Christmas appears to have produced a huge surge in consumer spending, indicating a lot of confidence that things are more or less back to predictable/normal. I expect unemployment numbers will continue to drop and the spending spree will extend much further into January than usual, which may actually lead to a small increase in Federal revenues in 2011 (as well as a drop in e.g. unemployment liabilities) just from the continued improvement in the economy. 2012 will continue to be tight, but barring a serious and unexpected hit, the economy should improve slowly all year, leaving Obama in a nearly unassailable position come November.

The only hope for Romney (or whoever) is a serious second recession, and I'm not seeing that.

rgb

Re:Why should I care? (0)

riverat1 (1048260) | more than 2 years ago | (#38554150)

What encourages new start-up companies is demand. Taxes have nothing to do with it.

Re:Why should I care? (2)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 2 years ago | (#38554682)

You forgot: massively cutting taxes and regulation... which is the only reliable way to create long-term jobs.

That voodoo economics has been tried and failed. All it does is ensure the booms and busts are bigger. If you control the booms, you make billions more, if you are a regular person, you get screwed worse. Trickle up economics only benefits the 1%. The other 99% are screwed by the corporate handouts.

Holy Grail Batman... (2)

BenJCarter (902199) | more than 2 years ago | (#38554062)

...I've gone and confused my idioms.

Obligatory.... (2)

sconeu (64226) | more than 2 years ago | (#38554104)

That's no moon...

Why 3 months? (2)

macson_g (1551397) | more than 2 years ago | (#38554896)

Why it took them so long to reach the Moon? Lunar transfer takes 3 days. Does anyone know?

Re:Why 3 months? (4, Informative)

stjobe (78285) | more than 2 years ago | (#38555086)

Why it took them so long to reach the Moon? Lunar transfer takes 3 days. Does anyone know?

Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory [wikipedia.org] :

Unlike the Apollo program missions, which took three days to reach the Moon, GRAIL will make use of a three- to four-month low-energy trans-lunar cruise via the Sun-Earth Lagrange point L1 to reduce fuel requirements, protect instruments and reduce the velocity of the two spacecraft at lunar arrival to help achieve the extremely low 50 km (31 mi) orbits with separation between the spacecraft (arriving 24 hours apart) of 175 to 225 km (109 to 140 mi)

Re:Why 3 months? (1)

Trax3001BBS (2368736) | more than 2 years ago | (#38555154)

Ah beat me to it, I found the same link as you being the most informative.

Bottom of this page, is a movie that shows how they were released
http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/grail/launch/index.html [nasa.gov]
darn sure doesn't answer many questions though.

Re:Why 3 months? (4, Interesting)

macson_g (1551397) | more than 2 years ago | (#38555260)

This is the ultimate answer:
www.gg.caltech.edu/~mwl/publications/papers/lowEnergy.pdf

It's amazing; it forced me to dust my rusty maths. Wonder if one could use it to create plugin for Orbiter...

Another reason (1)

arcite (661011) | more than 2 years ago | (#38555340)

I read in another article that the slower approach allowed the team to better calibrate their craft for the orbit.

This was a good post (0)

NSN A392-99-964-5927 (1559367) | more than 2 years ago | (#38554916)

Until some people ruined it completely!

re: why should I care? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38556882)

Uhh.. because part of that several hundred million went to developing new technology to be able to make insanely difficult and precise measurements at the moon?
Because those measurements might tell us more about what's under the surface of the moon, which might be useful.
because I'd rather spend my tax dollars having engineers develop microwave equipment for peace, rather than war?

You DO know that the GPS in your smartphone comes from the same technology heritage (and by the work of a lot of the same people, over the years) that feeds into GRAIL? Oh, and that weather satellite that makes it possible to know the weather in California a few days before it happens? Or to evacuate people on the coast when a hurricane is coming? Yeah, NASA's non-human scientific missions don't really do much for your quality of life, do they?

Not all public works projects have to be shoveling money from one financial institution to another. Nor do they have to be ditch digging Hoover/Boulder dam projects, either. Overall, money that NASA spends is pretty evenly spread around the population... no 50% profit margins for shareholder value in the NASA space biz these days..

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