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Elementary School Kids Explore the Moon At Close Range

samzenpus posted about 2 years ago | from the permission-and-release-form dept.

Moon 42

sighted writes "The twin robotic spacecraft that make up the new GRAIL mission to map the moon's gravity include small cameras in addition to their primary scientific instruments. The first images from those cameras, as selected by school kids, were downlinked to Earth on March 20. 'MoonKAM is based on the premise that if your average picture is worth a thousand words, then a picture from lunar orbit may be worth a classroom full of engineering and science degrees,' said Maria Zuber, GRAIL mission principal investigator."

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42 comments

Some background material (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39446383)

Some background material can be found in the article, "Far Side of the Moon." [tikalon.com]

Re:Some background material (4, Insightful)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | about 2 years ago | (#39446451)

In TFA, it was stated that

"based on the premise that if your average picture is worth a thousand words, then a picture from lunar orbit may be worth a classroom full of engineering and science degrees,' said Maria Zuber, GRAIL mission principal investigator"

I am trying not to rain on their parade, but ...

Based on the societal structure now, wall street bankers, stock brokers and all those who work in financial industries are raking in multi-Giga-bucks

On the other hand, how much are engineers, principal investigators, scientists making?

And based on the social pecking order --- the engineers, scientists, principal investigators have to kow tow to those with $$$

Let's face it: Science and Engineering aren't hot anymore

Re:Some background material (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39446561)

A whole classroom of willing future cubicle serfs to do the graft that will pay for some executives new boat a in couple of decades or so! Keep up the good work, state education/propaganda machine!

Re:Some background material (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39446599)

I am trying not to rain on their parade, but ...

That's ok - I'll happily rain it it for you ;-). Any elementary school kid (interestingly the abbreviation MoonKAM suggests it was aimed at middle school kids) who is likely to pursue a science or engineering degree will doubtless have heard of Google and will have figured out that typing "dark side of moon" into Google and selecting the image option turns up far higher resolutions of the moon than a Logitech WebCAM mounted on a lunar satellite and also provides the exact same degree of interactivity (they too can select which image to download!).

Re:Some background material (2)

Lotana (842533) | more than 2 years ago | (#39447821)

Let's face it: Science and Engineering aren't hot anymore

On the contrary: Science and Engineering are very hot... in Asia.

US is still famous for their technical schools. Asians are going there in droves for a degree before comming back and getting excellent jobs. Engineers are highly respected there.

If a kid is passionate about science/engineering let him do it along with Chinese language on the side. Once he gets his qualifications, emmigrate to Asia and rake in the money/enjoy his career.

Re:Some background material (1)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | more than 2 years ago | (#39448377)

If a kid is passionate about science/engineering let him do it along with Chinese language on the side. Once he gets his qualifications, emmigrate to Asia and rake in the money/enjoy his career

As I am typing this, I am in Asia

Engineers in Asia, like their peers in the States / Europe, aren't exactly "raking in money"

In fact, my company is employing very qualified engineers - all having more than 15 years of experience in their respective field - in Asia and their wages are actually _lower_ than those who assembler cars for GM in the States

Their income can't even begin to compare to bankers in Tokyo, Hong Kong, or Singapore

Re:Some background material (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 2 years ago | (#39448499)

We need to teach them the power of solidarity as well. That way, once they're all busily being exploited by the basically worthless but mysteriously rich 1%, they can shut off Wall Street's routers all at once. The 1%'s deep seated sense of entitlement combined with raw animal panic will drive their blood pressure to record highs. One by one their aneurysms will pop like a string of firecrackers and the problem will be solved.

Re:Some background material (1)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | more than 2 years ago | (#39448747)

We need to teach them the power of solidarity as well. That way, once they're all busily being exploited by the basically worthless but mysteriously rich 1%, they can shut off Wall Street's routers all at once. The 1%'s deep seated sense of entitlement combined with raw animal panic will drive their blood pressure to record highs. One by one their aneurysms will pop like a string of firecrackers and the problem will be solved.

Ahhhh... you have pinpointed the biggest weakness of the techies/nerds

We are not "snake" enough

We do whatever we are told, and we will try our very best to carry out our duty

We even set impossible standards for ourselves

99% is not enough

99.9% is not enough

We strive for 99.999% (Five 9's) or even 99.9999% (Six 9's)

On the other hands, those who are in Wall Street - the "1%" - are snakes

They know our weakpoint and they exploit us

For the pittance that they paid us, we award them with wonderful devices, from servers with multiple redundancies to iPads

For all our hard work, what do we get?

On the other hand, the hundreds of billions of profits from the many amazing devices that the engineers/scientists all gone to line the pockets of those 1%

Darn (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39446393)

Given the summary title, I was hoping that we'd actually sent some kids into lunar orbit... as an elementary school teacher, I know a few I wouldn't mind sending.

Re:Darn (1)

rgbatduke (1231380) | more than 2 years ago | (#39449413)

sadly, no mod points today...

A thousand words (3, Funny)

ringman8567 (895757) | about 2 years ago | (#39446439)

Every time I see a picture is worth a thousand words I ask myself which takes up more disc space?

Re:A thousand words (1, Funny)

Nationless (2123580) | more than 2 years ago | (#39446655)

A .txt document with 1000 random words gave me a 5.17 KB file. This value is an estimate since not all words are equal in the eyes of storage.

For comparison here is a 5.17 KB image: http://www.dreslough.com/main/bandw/cutedrg3.gif [dreslough.com] .

I've always been a fan of my personal variant of the saying; "A picture is worth a thousand words, but a word can inspire a thousand pictures."

Re:A thousand words (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39446843)

I've always been a fan of my personal variant of the saying; "A picture is worth a thousand words, but a word can inspire a thousand pictures."

Apparently that word is Gone...

Gone

The requested resource
/main/bandw/cutedrg3.gif
is no longer available on this server and there is no forwarding address. Please remove all references to this resource.

Re:A thousand words (0)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | more than 2 years ago | (#39447013)

5.17 KB image: http://www.dreslough.com/main/bandw/cutedrg3.gif [dreslough.com]

As the AC above me has stated, that file is gone

However, there is another file with 5.4K filesize on the same server

http://www.dreslough.com/main/bandw/LYNX.GIF [dreslough.com]

Re:A thousand words (0)

Nationless (2123580) | more than 2 years ago | (#39447747)

Hah! You fell into the same trap as me. It's just hotlinking protection. Refresh the page and it appears.

Hindsight 20-20.

Re:A thousand words (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39449635)

"A picture is worth a thousand words, but a word can inspire a thousand pictures."

And that word is "porn".

Re:A thousand words (1)

treeves (963993) | more than 2 years ago | (#39446741)

Depends on the resolution, compression scheme and color depth of the picture, doesn't it? Certainly a small enough picture could take up the same space, but a decent sized photo is going to take more space than 1000 words, for sure.

Re:A thousand words (1)

neonsignal (890658) | more than 2 years ago | (#39446897)

not to mention the potential compression of the text file...

Looking at these pictures, 1000 words weighs more (1)

Sean (422) | more than 2 years ago | (#39447207)

These pictures are terrible. My phone takes better pictures than these.

Re:Looking at these pictures, 1000 words weighs mo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39448065)

Hello, my name is Mr. ThePoint, it seems that you have missed me, so I am just calling back to try and get in touch with you.

Re:A thousand words (0)

hackertourist (2202674) | more than 2 years ago | (#39448603)

If a picture is 1000 words, a 30-minute video would be 1000x24x1800=43.2 million words. I dunno about disk space, but that's a LOT of shelf space.

How they gettin' back? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39446493)

Come on.

Everyone knows a kid or ten they'd like to put into lunar orbit.

Can you see evidence of the moon landings... (1)

djnanite (1979686) | more than 2 years ago | (#39446505)

...with that onboard camera? Please?

To hush the anti-moon-landing conspiracists once and for all.

Re:Can you see evidence of the moon landings... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39446543)

Of course you can't - they happened in a hangar in Arizona.

Re:Can you see evidence of the moon landings... (2)

CohibaVancouver (864662) | more than 2 years ago | (#39446639)

Can you see evidence of the moon landings...

Here you go:

http://cache.gawkerassets.com/assets/images/8/2011/09/lunarphotostop.jpg [gawkerassets.com]

Of course there's no way you can convince those conspiracy theorist morons... They'd just tell you those pictures are faked too.

Re:Can you see evidence of the moon landings... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39453499)

Of course there's no way you can convince those conspiracy theorist morons... They'd just tell you those pictures are faked too.

That's because of the Conspiracy Theory Catch 22. You either aren't "in the know" like the conspirators and apparently the conspiracy theorist, or you are a conspirator and trying to cover it up.

Re:Can you see evidence of the moon landings... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39448515)

Well, I can almost guarantee that the footprints aren't there anymore but the flag is and so are old components. Also it's 2012 and they are still using low-res black and white cameras...

Re:Can you see evidence of the moon landings... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39452987)

... wanna bet who's gonna be first to Van Allen belts? First to burst in flames I mean ...

Praise Jebus! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39446555)

"What might seem like just a cool activity for these kids may very well have a profound impact on their futures," Ride said. "The students really are excited about MoonKAM, and that translates into an excitement about science and engineering."

Praise the Lord! There's nothing specific about the M-O-O-N - that spells Jesus - in the Bible!

I think I'll think I'll study science some more - M-O-O-N -that spells science.

Yes, I'm being a jerk towards the Fundamentalist-Christian loonie-toonies, but they deserve it.

Up next, I'm gonna sue the "controversy" that Evil-u-tion doesn't teech Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny creating mankind 6,000 years ago.My lawyer tells me to sign my name as M-O-O-N. That spells my name - praise Jejus!

Yep, I am intentionally being an ass. I want to shame those motherfucking superstitious religious assholes - ya know - the Christian Taliban here in the goddamn US of Christian Fuck me up the ass Us of A.

There's a point where tolerance gets ridiculous.

Disagree with me? Fine.

I'm a Santa Claus Fundie HE knows when you're naughty or nice and unlike Jesus, actually gives you presents. Fucking Jesus! All he says is carry guns, keep loving people from marrying (No homos marrying), fuck the poor, make all the money you can, kill Muslims and Jews, and vote Republican. Oh, and dump all of your shit into the environment.

Yesseree! Praise hebus!

Hey! Why the fuck are people names jerimiha gimmnme all their money?!?

OK Fine, Praise Hebus! Hebus saves!!

Smoke Pot and save the Lord! or whatever the fuck I'm supposed to say.

Re:Praise Jebus! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39453367)

Troll

Dear Sagan, deGrasse Tyson, Cox.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39446559)

Where were you when I was a kid? :(

Generational Thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39446833)

It must be because I'm old, but all I have to say is, "Hey you kids, get off my lunar (surface)!"

The kids get to choose? (1)

Reasonable Facsimile (2478544) | more than 2 years ago | (#39447357)

How many pictures are chosen because some kid "sees a bunny"?

Yet another sensationalist headline (1)

Mr. Freeman (933986) | more than 2 years ago | (#39447669)

"if your average picture is worth a thousand words, then a picture from lunar orbit may be worth a classroom full of engineering and science degrees"

This is the dumbest thing I've heard in my life. And I don't say that lightly, this is, quite literally, the dumbest thing I have heard anyone say, ever.

Re:Yet another sensationalist headline (1)

rgbatduke (1231380) | more than 2 years ago | (#39449469)

"This is the dumbest thing I've heard in my life. And I don't say that lightly, this is, quite literally, the dumbest thing I have heard anyone say, ever.

From which one is tempted to infer that you are:

* Deaf;
* Raised by wolves until yesterday, just got back to civilization;
* A space alien from a planet where people never say foolish things;
* All of the above

because the rest us hear things that dumb every day at least once.

rgb

Surprisingly poor quality images (1)

PassMark (967298) | more than 2 years ago | (#39448119)

I don't get it.
Why spend $375 million sending a camera to the moon only to return such poor quality images?

I looked a dozens of them, they all seem small, grainy, out of focus and black and white. (of course the moon being mostly grey might explain this last point)

Couldn't they afford a better camera? My smartphone would have done a better job.

Re:Surprisingly poor quality images (1)

Lotana (842533) | more than 2 years ago | (#39448209)

Couldn't they afford a better camera? My smartphone would have done a better job.

Can your smartphone stand the rigors of launch and lunar environment? Looks like you need to send something specifically designed for such difficult requirements.

Now that can't be cheap. And the camera is not the focus of the mission. It already adds pointless weight without giving any scientific results. Add to that how NASA's funding is being cut at every opportunity in all areas, I am shocked that the camera was included at all! So yes, I would imagine that they couldn't afford a better camera.

Re:Surprisingly poor quality images (1)

PassMark (967298) | more than 2 years ago | (#39448297)

Can your smartphone stand the rigors of launch and lunar environment?

Yes, in all probability.

The $150 Edge-of-Space Camera: MIT Students Beat NASA On Beer-Money Budget.
http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2009/09/the-150-space-camera-mit-students-beat-nasa-on-beer-money-budget/ [wired.com]

Re:Surprisingly poor quality images (1)

Nyeerrmm (940927) | more than 2 years ago | (#39455133)

'Edge of space' is well below the Van Allen belts. The cost of space-electronics comes from having to harden them against radiation. Cosmic rays can and will cause bits to flip at random, so you need to harden them against all but the most energetic particles -- something in the upper atmosphere (which is where these high-altitude balloon cameras are), is protected by the same magnetic fields that protect us on the ground.

The other option is to stick your electronics in a lead box (see Juno), but a camera won't work very well that way.

And if imaging were the primary purpose of the mission (such as on LRO), then the camera would be much better, and much more expensive. GRAIL is intended to map the gravity of the moon, and the MoonKAMs are attached for the sake of reaching out to schoolchildren, not for science, since LRO is doing a fine job of that, so they went with something cheaper.

Re:Surprisingly poor quality images (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39456577)

These cameras are a secondary, cheap, educational payload. The prime mission of the two GRAIL spacecraft is to map the lunar gravity field. These cameras are secondary to that - the project saw the opportunity to take an EPO payload - and with the budget available, managed to fit 4 cameras to each spacecraft. It is totally false to say that $375m was spend sending 'a' camera to the moon 'only' to return such poor quality images. $375m was spent to send two spacecraft to the moon. The 8 cameras are secondary to the prime science mission.

One point worth making - the educational value of an image - even of 'poor quality' - in the hands of a middle schooler, that THEY targeted - is infinitely higher than no image at all.

You smartphone, by the way, would have been very rapidly friend by the radiation that lies beyond the Van Allan belts. Moreover, the filesize of its images would likely swamp the quite modest downlink rate from the two spacecraft ( which varies between about 8 and 128kbps)

So do i... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39449049)

"Elementary School Kids Explore the Moon At Close Range"

Yep, so do I when I get drunk enough...the size of the moon just keeps getting bigger and bigger and....

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