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Window(s) on the World

michael posted more than 13 years ago | from the portable-computing dept.

Space 118

We've gotten several submissions of this Wired story about life on space station Alpha. The story was written from these logs (which we linked to a few days ago) kept by the commander of the most recent ISS mission. So, let me recommend the logs once again - like the Wired reporter, I found them fascinating reading. For instance, the commander describes losing a washer because everyone's hands were full and they couldn't grab it - obviously letting go of dozens of washers to grab one, in zero-gravity, would not be a good idea - and they can't just "put them down" somewhere.

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118 comments

Re:Velcro (2)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 13 years ago | (#307885)

Velcro.

Exactly how would Velcro keep a washer from flying around?

Re:DVD onboard? (2)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 13 years ago | (#307886)

They do.

There was a bit on /. about it back in December, but I'm too lazy to look it up. The Shuttle took up some of those Panasonic mini-DVD players that had been hacked by a company in the UK to accept any region and bypass the FBI warning and all kinds of good stuff like that.

In the logs you;ll see a comment about how much better DVD is than the Video CDs they had been watching.

Sure... (1)

Karpe (1147) | more than 13 years ago | (#307887)

They could also use the magnets to protect their floppies, or other media. Solar flares must be really strong up there. At least that's what my BOfH told me to do.

Instead of Sun AIX... (3)

Karpe (1147) | more than 13 years ago | (#307888)

they really should use IBM Solaris.

Re:Security Issues? (1)

Zarquon (1778) | more than 13 years ago | (#307889)

You just _know_ the reds have one up there, just waiting for the chance to read the private.. oh, wait, they'll just look over your shoulder instead.. much cheaper.. never mind :)

Re:The Winner is the Russian OS (3)

Jonathan (5011) | more than 13 years ago | (#307890)

Oh, man. Solaris in the context of Russians on a space station. This is getting entirely too Tarkovskyian [imdb.com] for me. Did the dead wife of a cosmonaut show up there by any chance?

Admin for alpha? (1)

Gray (5042) | more than 13 years ago | (#307891)

I makes me feel good to know that the people on the space station spend a lot of time doing exactly the same crap I do.. Hell, I could actually help those guys out..

I wonder if Alpha needs a sysadmin? I promise I won't run warez servers off their bandwidth or anything..

Re:Magnets? (1)

HeghmoH (13204) | more than 13 years ago | (#307892)

Magnets don't give off electromagnetic radiation if they're not moving around.

Re:Magnets? (1)

HeghmoH (13204) | more than 13 years ago | (#307893)

It's an interesting question. Maybe all of the small metallic objects are made out of something like aluminum to save weight? The magnet idea would only work with steel or similar.

Re:Magnets? (1)

HeghmoH (13204) | more than 13 years ago | (#307894)

If you're in interstellar space, the thing you threw out will just float away. If you're in earth orbit, it'll fall back a little bit, into a lower orbit, which is faster, and eventually overtake you. Significantly different behavior. You'll learn about THIS if you ever decide you want to know something about orbital mechanics, as opposed to just sounding smart.

Re:Pockets? (1)

cronio (13526) | more than 13 years ago | (#307895)

that wouldn't have helped in this case tho...how would they have opened their pockets with their hands so full they can't grab another washer?

Re:NASA needs some new IT guys (2)

NMerriam (15122) | more than 13 years ago | (#307897)

I mean, if I'm preparing a server and some laptops for, like, a trade show or something, I'm making sure everything's setup, working, and that all that has to be done on site is plugging the buggers in

They're not going to a trade show -- they're in outer space. The pressure in the ISS is normalized to approximately 19,000 ft (WAY outside the specs for most harware), the atmospheric content is different, the heat buildup is much more substantial, etc.

Stuff just plain stops working, when it should by all measures be fine. This is part of the drawback of using off-the-shelf tech instead of building everything custom within NASA. Much cheaper, but also more likely to fail...

---------------------------------------------

Re:Doh! (1)

Unreal One (21453) | more than 13 years ago | (#307898)

They are dood. they're pucked!

Smart! (1)

Unreal One (21453) | more than 13 years ago | (#307899)

haha Hey that's pretty fuckin smart dood. why aren't you an astronaut? it just takes common sense! :o)

DVD onboard? (1)

mrzaph0d (25646) | more than 13 years ago | (#307900)

"Watched disk 1 of "Apocalypse Now". Shep tried to explain why Robert Duvall is always wearing the
black cavalry hat, but being a Navy guy, he's not sure he understands it either."


cool, wonder if they have Apollo 13 too..

Magnet (1)

SEWilco (27983) | more than 13 years ago | (#307901)

The magnet-on-a-wriststrap that I saw yesterday might have helped.

"Not only can I hold, I'm even floating." (1)

SEWilco (27983) | more than 13 years ago | (#307902)

Gee, what level of support is NASA purchasing from Microsoft? Can't they get a level of support which gets problems fixed within a reasonable period of time?

[Gee, MS Support uses someone else's mydomain.com [microsoft.com] instead of the reserved example.com...and won't give info on support options without a Passport account]

Am I in orbit? (1)

SEWilco (27983) | more than 13 years ago | (#307903)

Actually there are several ways to detect if you're in orbit. The most popular method in SF decades ago involved floating something, like marbles, in a pattern and watching for distortion. I believe a circle distorts into an ellipse, with shape and timing giving direction and orbit time.

$2M paperclip (1)

SEWilco (27983) | more than 13 years ago | (#307904)

Does the paperclip dance differently in microgravity?

Re:NASA needs some new IT guys (2)

SEWilco (27983) | more than 13 years ago | (#307905)

How much is the time of an ISS crew member worth, if NASA can afford to have them spending time fixing their computers?

Re:Magnets? (1)

t-money (32075) | more than 13 years ago | (#307906)

The washers and other hardware on the space station are most likely stainless steel (316), which makes them non-magnetic. So, I don't think magnets would help....

Re:The Winner is the Russian OS (1)

spudnic (32107) | more than 13 years ago | (#307907)

He tries to reboot, but the Sun application software won't load. Lots of messages on the screen noting data errors. Sergei thinks that it may be the hard drive. He boots up windows to see if the windows partition runs OK--it does. So at least some of the hardware is functional.

I wonder how often someone has to rely on Windows because their Sun OS failed? ;)

Re:Magnets? (1)

q[alex] (32151) | more than 13 years ago | (#307908)

My understanding of magnetic properties was that it's defined, created and controlled by the magnetic polarity of the earth. If you're not on the earth, do magnets still work the same way? Ie, if you're outside the Earth's magnetic field, do already magnetized materials still display magnetic properties? Also, is the space station outside of the Earth's magnetic field? Or if it's still within range of the Earth's magnetic field, is the magnetic force on the station less powerful because it's further from the Earth's core than we are?

Apologies if I'm asking stupid questions, but I'm curious.

-alex

Re:This was unavoidable (2)

SpinyNorman (33776) | more than 13 years ago | (#307909)

The Russians really have had minimal success in their space program. For example, they never made it to the moon like we did. Also, they had numerous disasters aboard the Mir space station, only to have it plummet out of orbit last month!

Huh? Even NASA said they had faith in the planned Mir deorbit since the Russians have more experience in space than they did!

The NASA web site also has full details of the Russian moon landings, including the Lunakhod moon rovers and the unmanned lunar rock retrieval.

I suppose your post was a troll anyway.

AIX who? (2)

chill (34294) | more than 13 years ago | (#307914)

So, should there be a comma in there (Sun, AIX) or did Sun just buy IBM?
--
Charles E. Hill

Magnets? (2)

chill (34294) | more than 13 years ago | (#307915)

Have they never heard of magnets? I'd think one or two of these on a shelf would be a great solution to this sort of problems. Then you COULD put down metallic items (like washers).
--
Charles E. Hill

Re:Security Issues? (1)

gimpboy (34912) | more than 13 years ago | (#307916)

well i would assume nasa has the "automatically execute scripts" thing turned off. plus they could easily strip all attachments at the mail server. at that point it's as safe as pine or elm.

use LaTeX? want an online reference manager that

Re:Doh! (2)

macpeep (36699) | more than 13 years ago | (#307917)

What blame are they placing on Microsoft products? The only thing I found was some font problems with the PDF reader, which isn't a Microsoft product but an Adobe product. I couldn't find *ANYTHING* that would have suggested that Microsoft's products were in any way responsible for any of the problems. If you find something, please, share it with us.

The Winner is the Russian OS (1)

Pingo (41908) | more than 13 years ago | (#307918)

Well, now I'm getting very excited about this Russian OS.

What OS are the Russians running?

This has to be investigated properly. Are there any Russian techies around that knows this and can give us a hint.

I'm am allready making wild guesses that this could be some hacked BSD or Linux running on their laptops.

//Pingo

Re:A point of view (1)

[PF] Lurch (47956) | more than 13 years ago | (#307919)

I believe the other operating system that Shep was indoctrinated by was Mac.

Re:This was unavoidable (2)

Hard_Code (49548) | more than 13 years ago | (#307920)

The Russians really have had minimal success in their space program. For example, they never made it to the moon like we did. Also, they had numerous disasters aboard the Mir space station, only to have it plummet out of orbit last month!


BS. The Russians were always the most advanced, and if it weren't for their current economic situation they'd probably continue to be. Mir lasted about three times it's initial lifespan. It's a testament to great engineering. It took an absolutely obscene amount of money for the US to make it to the moon, and we haven't been back since. With the same X billions of dollars, I'm sure Russia could have done the same.

Parts Pan (1)

RallyDriver (49641) | more than 13 years ago | (#307921)

What they need is a standard magnetic parts pan, available from any local car parts/tools shop - these are like a surgical kidney basin, but usually rectangular and have a couple of big bad magnets on the underside enclosed in rubber covers - they stick to any steel surface, parts stick to them. Of course, they may be so careful about weight that they are using aluminium / titanium for everything but I doubt if it would be worth extending to fasteners.

Re:Security Issues? (2)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 13 years ago | (#307922)

dude, it's email, if you can figure out their email addresses (hint: hack their families home computers first) you can take over the ISS and send it spiraling down after MIR or something.

Damn it! (3)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 13 years ago | (#307923)

They need to get a techy up there! "Bob, my email isn't working" "That's because you use outlook, if you would just telnet to the unix box and use pine I wouldn't have to reboot the exchange server every day" "So, umm, are you gunna fix my email?" "In a minute ok? I'm reading Slashdot." And to think, the Internet access was supposed to stop them from going insane up there in space.

Re:They lost a washer? (1)

Wire Tap (61370) | more than 13 years ago | (#307925)

They are refering to the loss of a washer, not a washing machine. IE: One component of a screw/washer combonation that is used to better secure things.

Of course, I could be wrong, and they could have actually lost a washing machine up there. :) Better call Maytag!

Re:Doh! (1)

Wire Tap (61370) | more than 13 years ago | (#307926)

Read the article. They ARE using Windows (NT) up there. Along with Microsoft Outlook for their mail applications, according to the article. And yes, they are placing a great deal of the blame for the glitches on the Microsoft products. Also noted in the article is that the Russian "unnamed" OS is doing very well; not to mention the star map software by the Russians that could "give the Enterprise a run", as they put it in the article.

Re:They lost a washer? (1)

Wire Tap (61370) | more than 13 years ago | (#307927)

Damn, man. Hey, I'm tired. Leave me alone.

Re:The Winner is the Russian OS (1)

starfoxmac (80314) | more than 13 years ago | (#307929)

Did anyone read the Wired article? "Most of the problems appear to be related to Microsoft's Windows NT, while Russian-made software seems to be more reliable." I can't hold down shift-1 enough to express how long I laughed at this simple statement, at the head of a Wired article no less. I mean ... man!

No oil (1)

beta21 (88000) | more than 13 years ago | (#307930)

I like the comment of how they lost an airconditioner becasue it ran out of oil. He asks Moscow where all the oil is going and they say we've known for some time. Its good to know the astronauts are up to date. Lets hope this one hits the taco sign

I think I understand (1)

Krokus (88121) | more than 13 years ago | (#307931)

"Sergei gets a run in on the TVIS, and it is making its clacking noise again. Yuri follows with a session, and a piece of slat breaks off and gets caught in the rear cover, and comes completely out of the tread. We take pictures and send them down. TVIS is out of commission until the long tread slat replacement procedure can be run."

One on't flay rods has gone out of skew on treddle.

Symantec Ghost used (2)

Chairboy (88841) | more than 13 years ago | (#307932)

One neat thing about the ISS is that whenever their system problems get really bad, the logs talk about them using Norton Ghost to restore a fresh image of the boot partition on one of their machines.

Their comments on the movies they watch are neat too. They watch 'Used Cars' and comment that they are definately getting into the kind of movies that Blockbuster doesn't carry.

network from hell? (1)

jacobcaz (91509) | more than 13 years ago | (#307933)

"The network appears to be a mix between Sun AIX (Unix) and Windows NT servers and Russian laptops running an unspecified operating system."

Good God! I have a hard enough time keeping my *nix and NT servers on my network here on Earth running happily.

If it's not bad enough, they toss an "unspecified" Russian OS into the mix.

(When they have to call MS for incident support, do they pay loooong distance ontop of the ungodly $$/per incident that MS charges?)


-----

One thing about the site that worries me.. (1)

Ikari Gendou (93109) | more than 13 years ago | (#307934)

Certain operational, debriefing material has been edited from the Expedition One ship's log. This material has been identified as "Redacted." (.....) To be effective, these communications require absolute candor in discussion that would not be available if parties to the exchange, including intended recipients on the ground and future crewmembers, thought the material might be released to the public.

Does anyone else find it sort of unsettling that NASA censors parts of these logs, and won't let anyone else see them?

Re:Windows isn't the only thing to blame up there (2)

Chanc_Gorkon (94133) | more than 13 years ago | (#307935)

Yeah they already had a name for a pesky server that kept going down. The Wiener server. I have done that too. I will be working with something at work, by remote, then someone, or something decides it's a nice time for a reboot and then I exclaim YOU WEINER! :) All computers get nicknames around me. Usually it's Weiner, screwy, honey, POS (Piece of $hit) or beast. Some nicks are not fit for Slashdot consumption (multiple expletive nicknames for different pieces of hardware when they either don't work as advertise, or do and I am a dumbass and can't figure out the problem.).

Re:Magnets? (1)

bonoboy (98001) | more than 13 years ago | (#307936)

I have the feeling he meant the magnets could be stuck to the walls with, ooh, I dunno.. glue?? And then put metal stuff on the magnets??

Re:IDIOT! MS Outlook Express mostly safe on MacOS! (1)

bonoboy (98001) | more than 13 years ago | (#307937)

Calm down, Steve!

Funny (1)

Steeltoe (98226) | more than 13 years ago | (#307939)

However, quite unbelievably satirical ;-)

- Steeltoe

Re:Magnets? (1)

rehannan (98364) | more than 13 years ago | (#307940)

The washers and other hardware on the space station are most likely stainless steel (316), which makes them non-magnetic. So, I don't think magnets would help....

I hate to burst your bubble, but stainless steel is composed of steel, chromium, and some other metals. Steel, in turn, is composed of iron, which is magnetic.

Bottom line: stainless steel is magnetic.

Re:Magnets? (1)

rehannan (98364) | more than 13 years ago | (#307941)

I stand corrected.

Didn't live up to the hype (1)

vanguard (102038) | more than 13 years ago | (#307943)

The headline made me want to check out the story. Now that I've read a couple of logs I'm ready to go to sleep.

Try Bleach! (1)

Cheshire Cat (105171) | more than 13 years ago | (#307944)

...obviously letting go of dozens of washers to grab one...

Dozens of washers? How many loads of dirty clothes did these guys do a day?!

Re:Magnets? (1)

thetbone (111767) | more than 13 years ago | (#307945)

Sorry wise guy, that doesn't prove anything, other than the fact that the ship and what you threw out the back are moving away from each other. When you get to grade 10 or 11 you'll learn about these things.

Pockets? (2)

Galvatron (115029) | more than 13 years ago | (#307947)

Okay, I'm no NASA engineer, but would attaching zipper pockets to their suits to allow people to "put things down" in zero g be so difficult?

The only "intuitive" interface is the nipple. After that, it's all learned.

UHIX problems (2)

Animats (122034) | more than 13 years ago | (#307948)

SHIP'S LOG 02 MAR [nasa.gov]

Up early. We were working late last night with the PCS configuration "patches", and wrestling with the UNIX commands. Laptops were reloaded and left shut down while other files were uploaded to the MDM's. The word from Houston this a.m. is to wait another rev to connect the first laptop so that we're sure the changes to the C&C computers are complete.

They really do have system administration problems.

Re:Magnets? (1)

FitzG2000 (134862) | more than 13 years ago | (#307949)

They are accelerating... things in orbit are accelerated downward by gravity, but go fast enough horizontally to keep missing the Earth.

Sounds Like... (1)

Perdo (151843) | more than 13 years ago | (#307950)

These guys really DO need some Geeks In Space(tm)!

Rotating Station Would Solve Many Problems (1)

PingXao (153057) | more than 13 years ago | (#307951)

OK, so it would be a LOT more expensive. But think of all the little things that wouldn't be such a PITA:

  • putting something "down" for a second
  • toilet activity
  • sleeping sanely
  • easier to excercise - no more $5M stationary bikes
  • smaller bone loss than zero-g

Re:Rotating Station Would Solve Many Problems (1)

Ig0r (154739) | more than 13 years ago | (#307952)

But a rotating, perfectly balanced station couldn't be built in modules as the ISS is.
It would also create many more problems that it would solve, and would have to be enormous to give the desired pseudo-gravity effect.

--

Re:This was unavoidable (2)

IronChef (164482) | more than 13 years ago | (#307953)

The Russians really have had minimal success in their space program. For example, they never made it to the moon like we did. Also, they had numerous disasters aboard the Mir space station, only to have it plummet out of orbit last month!

Give credit where credit is due. The Russians had some impressive "firsts" in space, and they have had a lot more people in space over the years than we have. Mir had a lot of problems, but it also outlived its design by many years. And plummeting out of orbit? That was planned, Buckwheat. It didn't take anyone by surprise except you, apparently.

...perhaps NASA should step aside from the ISS, and allow other space agencies to take over.

Other space agencies like...? Who, the ESA? We should just turn over a few billion worth of hardware to another country? Or maybe you mean one of the dozens of other American space agencies, like... Oh, wait. My memory is failing. Maybe you can name some for me.

Re:Security Issues? (1)

/dev/urandom (167536) | more than 13 years ago | (#307954)

No, the "HUGE problem" would be if the station's computer systems were compromised in such a way that could put the lives of the crew members at risk. I'm not saying it's bound to happen or terribly likely, but it is certainly possible, given the nature of the network technology they're using.

Security Issues? (2)

/dev/urandom (167536) | more than 13 years ago | (#307955)

One line from the article got me thinking...

> The log seems to indicate that the crew is using Microsoft Outlook as their e-mail client.

Ok, they're not only using Windows, but Outlook as well? What kind of security implications might this have? I'm sure the use of the e-mail to and from the space station is fairly well regulated, but then again, government web sites and e-mail servers have been compromised more times than anybody can count. One would figure, though, that such problems would be considerably more serious if they affected a station orbiting miles above the Earth...

Re:Magnets? (1)

hawkear (172947) | more than 13 years ago | (#307956)

I believe that when magnets are initially created, they are polarized with whatever magnetic field is currently the strongest nearby - this is usually the Earth's magnetic field. After that, if the magnet were to move around, its magnetic field would move around with it, not change to match the Earth. Compasses, on the other hand, have really weak magnets on a pin. Their north and south poles are attracted to the south and north poles of the strongest magnet around (usually the earth), and it moves around on the pin because it's easy to (not much friction or other forces holding it in place). If another magnet were near a compass, the compass would point towards that.

Apologies if I'm answering stupid questions, but I'm procrastinating.

Re:Security Issues? (1)

Sir_Real (179104) | more than 13 years ago | (#307957)

This is a HUGE problem when you consider the number of people that have orbital network sniffers! Their e-mail is there for the taking!!

Re:DVD onboard? (2)

Sir_Real (179104) | more than 13 years ago | (#307958)

There can't be dvd on board. The regional encoding doesn't extend to "space." :)

Re:network from hell? (1)

Suppafly (179830) | more than 13 years ago | (#307960)

I hope the russian software was the same stuff thats featured on "Red Planet" with the talking bear..

Re:Magnets? (1)

YKnot (181580) | more than 13 years ago | (#307961)

If they move, even unaccelerated, current is induced. A moving magnet would only fail to cause induced current if the magnet produced an ideal magnetic field moving in the exakt wrong direction, which is not likely to happen anytime soon with fridge magnets). This kind of stuff can be tested easily down here on earth in a cheap experiment: http://www.picotech.com/experiments/magnetic_induc tion/magnetic_induction.html (Note that in that experiment the magnet is accelerated, but it is explained that that is not what causes the current.) BTW: fridge magnets never give off electromagnetic radiation. They just have a magnetic field.

Re:A point of view (1)

YKnot (181580) | more than 13 years ago | (#307962)

Floppies in space. I do understand that NASA wants well tested stuff up there, but tested and FAILED?

Dedacted? (1)

//violentmac (186176) | more than 13 years ago | (#307963)

What's up with that dedacted shit?

A point of view (1)

bl968 (190792) | more than 13 years ago | (#307964)

"We were configuring SSC2 to run a CD when it decided to lock up. After repeated attempts to restart, Shep and Sergi went through a long attempt to extract files from the SSC's hard drive before reloading the SSC software. Used the startup disk in the onboard software suite, but could not find a particular file while hunting around with DOS. This would have been much easier with some bootable media (CDROM?) that could run Windows. (Or if Shep was not indoctrinated by that other operating system). We may need an emergency boot capibility again After 5+ attempts, finallygot the hard drive to take an image off the ghost CD. One of the Autoloader floppies went down but SSC 2 is now running normally. (3+ hours troubleshooting)."

(Or if Shep was not indoctrinated by that other operating system).

What I want to know is first what is that "Other operating system"

Second is it just me or is it scary they trust a 3.5" floppy to be reliable.

Nasa and measurements (1)

bl968 (190792) | more than 13 years ago | (#307965)

"Approx 0930--Put the CDMK analyzer out and measured CO2 levels for a while in the SM. CDMK put on panel 449 for now. Readings were steady at 0.38 (we think this is percent). Turned the CDMK off to save the batteries, but ready for more readings when requested."

The Mars global observer team must have thought something similar when conducting their measurements. Does Nasa have something against verification.

Redacted (1)

bl968 (190792) | more than 13 years ago | (#307966)

"Certain operational, debriefing material has been edited from the Expedition One ship's log. This material has been identified as "Redacted." This material is considered an integral and critically important element of the on-going, deliberative decisional process NASA is undertaking related to long-duration International Space Station missions. This process must include necessary give-and-take communications about all aspects of crew and station performance. To be effective, these communications require absolute candor in discussion that would not be available if parties to the exchange, including intended recipients on the ground and future crewmembers, thought the material might be released to the public."

Does anyone else after reading these logs believe that crap? The only material that seems to be missing is the personal comments about the station crewmembers. I agree candor is important but so is the ability of the public to decide for them selves if the station and crew is worth the massive amounts of money that our governments are spending on it. I am not asking for or expecting a soap opera however if something was serious enough to require removal from the logs it makes me wonder why. I would like to know if the US and Russian crewmembers get along. How well they work together and some information about their day not just about the mechanical problems that were encountered.

Windows isn't the only thing to blame up there (3)

dstone (191334) | more than 13 years ago | (#307967)

I really only see one specific reference to a Windows NT problem in the logs...

At about 2200, we were reconfiguring some mail files which, with a lot of help from Windows NT, got put in the wrong place during the backup procedure.

Beyond that, they seem to be complaining about a lot of hardware-relating things.

When we finished restoring the files, the network was down and would not come back up. We worked this for several hours. Finally, jiggling some cables brings just a part of the net back. (that really instills confidence in the stability of your network). And when they're not jiggling cables, they're bitching about the wireless nodes on the LAN.

They also run Unix, so where can we find more evidence of Wired's claim that "Most of the problems appear to be related to Microsoft's Windows NT"?

Okay, there is the Jan 21st entry: "We are continuing to see some strange things on our e-mail". But I see strange things on my e-mail every morning. They should just run a Inbox Rule to filter out references to "credit rating", "get out of debt" and "hot teens". That would eliminates much of the strange stuff.

Re:Windows NT on the ISS? (1)

kinnunen (197981) | more than 13 years ago | (#307968)

Yeah, now that saing is transformed in to "Not even rocket scientist are able to run Linux".

--

Re:Magnets? (1)

skadacl (199126) | more than 13 years ago | (#307969)

Well, as I understand, magnets would interrupt the wireless network. Or is that not a problem?

I could be wrong, but if I remember correctly, the electromagnetic radiation from appliances such as microwaves disrupts transmission on a wireless network, so I figure a normal magnet could do so too.

(Note: I could be REALLY wrong! Take that into consideration when moderating, please.)

Re:Magnets? (1)

skadacl (199126) | more than 13 years ago | (#307970)

Thanks for correcting me (and not being a jackass like some other people who happened to reply) :D

We're just now working on atomic bonding and stuff in my phys/chem course... sooo.. Blame my instructor :)

But yeah, So now I'm wondering why NASA doesn't use magnets to secure small metallic objects...

Re:Magnets? (1)

fudboy (199618) | more than 13 years ago | (#307972)

electromagnets still work, and I think normal passive magnets have their own magnetic field (that react with/to the Earth's magnetosphere), so they should work as well.

:)Fudboy

Re:network from hell? (2)

fudboy (199618) | more than 13 years ago | (#307973)

I bet NASA rates a copy of the NT source code. no incident support required, the NASA techs would have to okay any changes anyway, they might as well ferret out the problem as well.

:)Fudboy

Re:Windows isn't the only thing to blame up there (1)

ictatha (201773) | more than 13 years ago | (#307974)

Also noted here is another non-windows problem:

Sergei notices that the Russian PCS laptop has locked up. He tries to reboot, but the Sun application software won't load. Lots of messages on the screen noting data errors. Sergei thinks that it may be the hard drive. He boots up windows to see if the windows partition runs OK--it does.

-ictatha

Re:Magnets? (1)

qazxsw (207003) | more than 13 years ago | (#307975)

Austinetic stainless steel (eg, 316 or 304) is NOT magnetic because it has a FCC molecular composition. Non-austinetic steels are the ones that are magnetic and have a BCC molecular composition. Just try to stick a magnet to 304 or 316 if you don't believe me.

Radio Lan? (1)

DaneelGiskard (222145) | more than 13 years ago | (#307976)

When you read the logs you'll find out that they use radio lan onboard the ISS. As we all know how 'secure' this stuff is, I wonder if someone with a sensitive antenna could sniff some packets? *giggles*

I can see the headlines before me now:

"Nasa reported yesterday that the computer systems at ISS are down for good. They say that the computer screens display wierd messages like:

o "You got /.tted suckerz!"
o "All your station are belong to us!"

Nasa is still investigating on the matter. Meanwhile the astronauts on the station try to get their radio lan back online ...


:))

Read the Apollo reports (1)

kobotronic (240246) | more than 13 years ago | (#307980)

For anyone interested in first-hand accounts of the trivial chores and unique solutions applied to zero-G problems, Robert Godwin is compiling a terriffic set of volumes available from Amazon.com and elsewhere. Search for 'godwin nasa' and you'll find them.

Each of the thorougly researched Nasa Mission Reports books has massive amounts of data, diagrams and photos (CDs enclosed with each volume contains mpeg videos and low-rez scans of all the 70mm photos available from that mission.)

There's so many things you need to think about when you design a spacecraft cabin. How do people sleep? (in a bag), how do you fasten it to the cabin wall, (velcro?), how do you drink? Where do you put stuff to keep it from floating away? How do you go to the bathroom? (In the days before nice space shuttle zero G toilets) - you get to hear from the astronauts themselves exactly what it was like, the little things that pissed them off, the solutions they came up with to fix stuff when it broke. The latter Apollo missions each lasted about a week, which of course don't compare to the extended stays on board the ISS, Mir or even Skylab. But these books are still a great read. I particularly recommend the Apollo 11, 12 and 13 volumes. I just ordered the Apollo 14 book, I'm sure it will be as exciting and detailed as the rest.

Irresistable Simpsons reference (1)

ActMatrix (246577) | more than 13 years ago | (#307981)

As we learned from the Simpsons, flying debris can be deadly in a space shuttle: Homer: "Hey guys, look what I smuggled aboard!" [Shows a bag of chips] Buzz Aldrin: "Homer, no!" Race: "They'll clog the instruments!" [Homer opens the bag, chips float about] Buzz: "Careful, they're ruffled!" ... [after Homer's head smashes into the ant colony] Buzz: "You fool! Now we may never know if ants can be trained to sort tiny screws in space!"
---

Alpha software (1)

ryancooley (248760) | more than 13 years ago | (#307982)

You know, I'm weary of testing any "Alpha" software, let alone living on an "Alpha" space station. Perhaps I'll wait until it's at least considered "Beta" and then consider trying it out.

The usual windows problems, and solutions? (1)

Brandonr17 (304889) | more than 13 years ago | (#307986)

Everyone in a while network neighborhood decides it's going to throw a hissy fit and not work with Samba. Then suddenly, something like this happens. "We are having a hard time understanding the how and why, but everything is working," Amazing.. The space station's problems are just like those of the rest of the world. I do however enjoy the reboot until it's fixed part of troubleshooting windows. When linux mucks up, something really is wrong.

NASA needs some new IT guys (1)

mech9t8 (310197) | more than 13 years ago | (#307987)

They're having difficulties with the mail server, file server, configuring the laptops?

I mean, if I'm preparing a server and some laptops for, like, a trade show or something, I'm making sure everything's setup, working, and that all that has to be done on site is plugging the buggers in. I find it amazing that the space crews have to worry about reconfiguring the things. I guess they're getting software update, but programs with the mail and file servers? No matter what the OS, there's those no reason for those to be wonky.

I'm going to guess that a lot of the problems have to do with the lack of contact with the ground - for most of Expedition One, they only had sporatic contact with the Russian ground crew - now that the Destiny module is installed, they should have constant contact with the Houston. So hopefully the ground can log in and reconfigure the servers and whatnot remotely without the crew having to "wrestle with UNIX commands."


--
Convictions are more dangerous enemies of truth than lies.

Re:Redacted (1)

mech9t8 (310197) | more than 13 years ago | (#307988)

I think it's probably more related to the Russian ground crews... apparently there were significant problems with them. Partially because they only had limited windows to communicate with them, partially attitude and language differences.

The evidence points to the astronauts and cosmonauts getting along great. They're just too well-adjusted, smart and reasonable to have petty conflicts - or at least to write about them in the logs. ;)
--
Convictions are more dangerous enemies of truth than lies.

Re:NASA needs some new IT guys (1)

mech9t8 (310197) | more than 13 years ago | (#307989)

Hardware failures, I can certainly understand. But there seemed to be a lot of mucking around with software, which seems less acceptable.

--
Convictions are more dangerous enemies of truth than lies.

No wonder they're having mail problems... (2)

mech9t8 (310197) | more than 13 years ago | (#307990)

...they appear not to be using a mail server, but instead they seem to be sending/receiving it by transmitting .OST files (which is Outlook's internal binary storage format for all the e-mail messages), which presumeable get opened in Outlook on the ground, dealt with (send messages in Outbox, recieve new messages), and sent back up. That's what I've picked up from the logs, anyway.

Sounds like a hack to me - guess they didn't want to set up a real server. I really wish NASA would post details on how this whole network thing works so we could properly dis it. ;)

--
Convictions are more dangerous enemies of truth than lies.

Re:The Winner is the Russian OS (4)

mech9t8 (310197) | more than 13 years ago | (#307991)

My best guess is they're using Solaris.
From the Dec logs...

"Sergei swapped hard disks from Russian Laptop #2 to the operating laptop on the central post. It is back in working order. However, we do not have a backup for the Solaris/Unix OS which gave us the problem and we are operating on our only working load. We request that 4A bring at least one complete hard drive as a backup for the Russian laptop."
...
"Approx 1930 experienced a "crash" with the Russian PCS laptop. Attempting to reboot the PC gave indication that the Sun OS would not load. Boot s/w can not read root directory correctly. Even Sergei didn't understand this one. Talked with TsUP and decided to wait for specialist advice tomorrow."
--
Convictions are more dangerous enemies of truth than lies.

Velcro (1)

whanau (315267) | more than 13 years ago | (#307993)

They could have used NASAs brillant own invention velcro

Re:Velcro (1)

sagacious_gnostic (319793) | more than 13 years ago | (#307994)

Yeah, except Velcro was not invented by NASA. It was invented by some swiss guy called George de Mestral.

Re:Magnets? (1)

sagacious_gnostic (319793) | more than 13 years ago | (#307995)

They state they're nervous that the washer will end up somewhere critical. Can you imagine what would happen if you armed the astronauts with magnets rather than just washers? They'd have this magnet floating around inside the space station 'cause they lost it, and it'd end up stuck to the hard disk drive that contains their Outlook Expr... err wait. Give them magnets, good idea.

They lost a washer? (2)

sagacious_gnostic (319793) | more than 13 years ago | (#307996)

How does one lose a washing machine? I mean how big _is_ this International Space Station?

Windows NT on the ISS? (2)

emn-slashdot (322299) | more than 13 years ago | (#307997)

Aparently the old saying "You have to be a rocket scientist to run linux" isn't true after all...


-EvilMonkeyNinja
a.k.a. Joseph Nicholas Yarbrough
Security Grunt by Day
Programmer by Night

Re:No wonder they're having mail problems... (1)

thegoldenear (323630) | more than 13 years ago | (#307998)

> I really wish NASA would post details on how this whole network thing works they have, Slashdot featured it recently, checkout this page and loads around it: http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewnews.html?id=213

Re:Magnets? (1)

Professor J Frink (412307) | more than 13 years ago | (#307999)

The magnitude of magnetization in a magnetic material is not dependent on the Earth's magnetic field at all. In magnetic materials each atom can have a moment (think of it as a microscopic bar magnet). The level of magnetic field you then get from it then depends on how they line up (the magnetic ordering).

If they all line up in the same direction you get ferromagnetism ('strong magnet'), half up and half down gives you antiferromagnetism (doesn't appear to be magnetic cos all the moments cancel) or ferrimagnetism, some up and some down (varying levels of magnetic attraction). The type of ordering is influenced by the chemical and physical structure of the material (alloy/oxide/bulk/thin film etc).

The only effect the Earth's field has is perhaps the overall direction of the magnetization, not the ordering of the moments themselves. This is much more sensitive to things like temperature and applied external fields. The Earth's field is really quite weak compared to a permanent or electromagnet.

A magnet is a magnet on earth, in a space station or floating around in space because magnetism is inherent to certain materials (if they're below the ordering temperature obviously ;0). To be technical it's related to unpaired electrons in 3d(Transition metal)/4f(Rare Earth)/5d(Actinide) shells but that's already more than I wish to think about magnetic theory on a Sunday with a hangover ;).

(I also doubt that a small permanent magnet attached to the walls would affect wireless communications in any appreciable way, but I'm often wrong).

Re:Magnets? (1)

Genyin (415163) | more than 13 years ago | (#308000)

In other words, something in orbit is moving such that gravity is perpindicular to its direction of motion at all times, and is thus a circle (assuming its mass is the mass of whatever its orbiting) either that or I'm really confused... or perhaps even both :p
All your constitutional right are belong to us.

Re:Security Issues? (1)

Genyin (415163) | more than 13 years ago | (#308001)

Seems to me that they are being h4> either that or windows just sucks :)
or both

UnnamedRussianOS 7.3.1.2, more stable than linux, and more unreadable too, what with all that cyrillic...

All your constitutional right are belong to us.

Re:Security Issues? (1)

Shenzi (419928) | more than 13 years ago | (#308002)

It all depends on which system is being hacked, and as an anonymous person already mentioned, it's unlikely that any critical systems would be networked. It's like saying that someone could control the TV in my computer room by hacking my Win98 box, it just wouldn't happen.

Besides, if someone managed to hack their copy of Outlook Express, then what? Oh wait, I forgot, they might be able to send scary emails to people using the hacked address! ;) Seriously though, I doubt NASA would allow some huge security flaw like that.

But then, ya never know... :)

-- Shenzi

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