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The Next US Moonshot Will Launch From Virginia

timothy posted about a year ago | from the george-washington-was-in-a-cult-and-the-cult-was-into-aliens dept.

NASA 92

As reported by the Washington Post, a U.S. spacecraft headed for the moon (to circle it, though, not to land) is to be launched for the first time from the facility at Virginia's Wallops Island. If you'll be in the D.C. area on the night of September 6 and the weather cooperates enough for a launch, it should be worth staying up for. "The robotic mission is to collect detailed information about the moon's thin atmosphere. Sometimes thought to be nonexistent, the lunar atmosphere has been described as extremely tenuous and fragile, but present. According to the space agency, the launch will record many firsts. One will be the first launch beyond Earth orbit from the Virginia facility. It also will be the first flight for the Minotaur V rocket, NASA said. NASA said the five-stage Air Force rocket is an excess ballistic missile that was transformed into a space-launch vehicle. It will boost the space probe into position for it to reach lunar orbit." Though the satellite is NASA's, the launch will be controlled by Orbital Sciences.

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92 comments

It's not a moonshot (0, Troll)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about a year ago | (#44675549)

A moonshot is a manned mission that lands on the moon. Apollo 8 wasn't a moonshot, Apollo 11 was. I suppose this is just people hearing words rattling around in the culture and just blurting out whatever comes to mind. Eh, I'd say "I expect better" but I know better than to expect better from this website.

Re:It's not a moonshot (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44675579)

Moonshot is also the name of an (illegal) alcoholic drink people made and consumed during Prohibition.

Re:It's not a moonshot (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44675633)

Ah, that explains the new HP product better.

Re:It's not a moonshot (2)

pahles (701275) | about a year ago | (#44675713)

That was moonSHINE, not moonshot...

Re:It's not a moonshot (4, Funny)

TheSkepticalOptimist (898384) | about a year ago | (#44675771)

Forgive him, he is a product of modern education. He got 66.7% of the correct letters in the right order and that is clearly a pass these days.

Re:It's not a moonshot (1)

TheSkepticalOptimist (898384) | about a year ago | (#44675779)

I also enjoyed the bit where he singled out that this was an illegal alcoholic drink during Prohibition.

Re:It's not a moonshot (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44676015)

There was also a move by Stanley Kubrick starring Jack Nicholson called Moonshine. Great stuff.

Re:It's not a moonshot (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44676115)

Indeed, he is educationally handicapped with an obvious learning disability, AND SO ARE THE RETARDED MODERATORS! This is the fifth completely wrong comment I've seen that's been modded up (ACs start at Zero, sometimes -1 if you're posting from the wrong IP address). Slashdot, PLEASE bring the old metamoderation back, the new one is NOT working.

It was indeeed moonSHINE (and they still make it and it's still illegal) and the dictionary (Websters) says it was coined in 1957, a quarter century after prohibition ended.

Re:It's not a moonshot (1)

RMingin (985478) | about a year ago | (#44676641)

Indeed, the terms from the time period were generally "bathtub gin" or "hooch".

Re:It's not a moonshot (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a year ago | (#44679175)

That was moonSHINE, not moonshot...

What? The next things you'll say will be that the pale light from that orb we see at knight is called moon rock and that the minerals collected from the Moon are called moonwalks.

Re:It's not a moonshot (5, Informative)

SirGarlon (845873) | about a year ago | (#44675613)

A moonshot is a manned mission that lands on the moon.

Says who? According to Mirriam-Webster, a moon shot (TWO WORDS) is "a spacecraft mission to the moon" [merriam-webster.com] . Dictionary.com [reference.com] says the same.

Yeah, Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] says a moon shot is specifically a manned mission, but it says that on a short disambiguation page without any citations. Wikipedia is pretty reliable -- most of the time. Not when the article is without citations and has a short edit history.

Re:It's not a moonshot (-1, Flamebait)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about a year ago | (#44675669)

Go look at some newspapers from the 60s when the word was in use. It's clear what moonshot means. Are we really defending timothy's editing and English language skills?

Re:It's not a moonshot (5, Informative)

Mr. Slippery (47854) | about a year ago | (#44675997)

Go look at some newspapers from the 60s when the word was in use.

The word is still in use. And it took me only a few minutes to find this 1958 citation [google.com] where "moon shot" refers to a potential Russian mission to set a small payload to the moon, and this 1959 one where it's used to refer to Lunik II [google.com] . And this [google.com] . And this [google.com] .

I'm sorry, but you're incorrect. Since the 1950s, "moon shot" means shooting a rocket at the moon. Nothing is implied in the term about what's on or inside the rocket.

Re:It's not a moonshot (4, Funny)

rimcrazy (146022) | about a year ago | (#44676105)

Na, your all wrong. A moonshot is what me and my frat buddies did on the front lawn of the Pi-Phi's after a nights drinking........

Re:It's not a moonshot (1)

Megane (129182) | about a year ago | (#44677423)

Shoot the Moon [google.com] is also a game with two steel rods and a steel ball.

So if they made a Star-Wars themed version, would they call it "Shoot the That's No Moon"?

Re:It's not a moonshot (1)

kermidge (2221646) | about a year ago | (#44683423)

It's also a move in Euchre where one players attempts all the tricks.

Re:It's not a moonshot (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a year ago | (#44679271)

Says who? According to Mirriam-Webster, a moon shot (TWO WORDS) is "a spacecraft mission to the moon"

Perhaps Merriam-Webster would have been more authoritative? ;-)

Yeah, Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] says a moon shot is specifically a manned mission, but it says that on a short disambiguation page without any citations.

Apparently (as per a quote in the OED), the (failed) Thor-Able launch of a (unmanned) Pioneer probe to the Moon on 1958/8/17 was heralded by Washington Post as "a moon shot" (in the sentence "Yesterday's *moon shot blew up 50,000 feet and 77 seconds after the launching at Cape Canaveral.") So it seems that it had already been established even for unmanned vehicles when the Apollo project finally came to fruition.

Re:It's not a moonshot (1)

Joining Yet Again (2992179) | about a year ago | (#44675643)

A rose by any other name.

and ... it's beyond Earth orbit? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44675663)

Huh, I always thought of the Moon being in Earth orbit.

So, it's really in a spiraling orbit around the Sun and it happens to spiral around the Earth?

Re:and ... it's beyond Earth orbit? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44675731)

Well, spiralling is the wrong word, but yeah, that's one argument people use for why Earth should be considered a double planet rather than a planet/satellite system: The moon's path is at all points convex about the sun.

Re:and ... it's beyond Earth orbit? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44675873)

That isn't really relevant... [discovermagazine.com] , you can get such a shape with a much smaller moon further away from the planet too.

Re:and ... it's beyond Earth orbit? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44676383)

that's one argument people use for why Earth should be considered a double planet rather than a planet/satellite system: The moon's path is at all points convex about the sun.

The moon is a satellite rather than a double planet because the center of attraction is inside the Earth. The moon is slowly moving away from the Earth, so some day it will indeed be a double planet.

These "some people" you speak of are not astrophysicists. Look "orbit" up for a better explanation.

Re: and ... it's beyond Earth orbit? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44678791)

OK, GP here, clearly I should have put in big bold letters DISCLAIMER: I DON'T AGREE WITH SILLY PEOPLE ADVANCING SILLY ARGUMENTS, I JUST THOUGHT I'D POINT OUT HOW YOUR SARCASM RESEMBLES AN INTERESTING FACT. For some reason I thought saying "some people" instead of "me" would indicate I wasn't one of them, especially in light of the silliness of the argument; I just find the fact that the moon's trajectory is rounder than a dodecagon to be curious.

Since the barycenter-based definition (which is. physically, as arbitrary as one could ask for) already has majority acceptance, it's just silly to campaign for an equally arbitrary redefinition. At this point, even if we could come up with a non-arbitrary definition, it'd probably be better to choose a new term for it.

Anyway, an astrophysicist's answer to the question of whether the Earth-Moon system should be called a "double planet" should be "Fuck off and stop wasting my time with your silly semantic bickering. It doesn't matter what you call it, it still orbits the same way." I've never heard one reason a relatively distant -- say, separated by more than 5 times the larger body's diameter -- double planet would be particularly interesting. Of course near-contact double planets (they're only "double planets" if the masses are almost identical, which in turn means the nearest points' local gravitational acceleration approaches zero as the separation approaches zero) are an interesting idea, and particularly large-and-close satellites have tidal implications, but none of that directly correlates to "barycenter outside both bodies". To choose a convenient example, the Earth-Moon system certainly gets no more interesting if you move the moon farther away to satisfy the barycenter definition. Large and close is interesting, but the accepted definition favors large and distant!

Re:and ... it's beyond Earth orbit? (1)

Megane (129182) | about a year ago | (#44677339)

The barycenter is still inside Earth's surface, so while there would be some wobble, it's hardly a binary system.

Re:It's not a moonshot (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about a year ago | (#44675933)

Personally, I would not call it a moonshot unless they landed at least a single chicken on the moon.

Re:It's not a moonshot (4, Funny)

JustOK (667959) | about a year ago | (#44676269)

What do you have against married chickens?

Re:It's not a moonshot (1)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about a year ago | (#44676783)

The Defense of Farmage Act.

Re:It's not a moonshot (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44675973)

Webster's Dictionary [merriam-webster.com] says you're wrong. WTF, mods, complete innacuracy is now interesting? Websters:

1: a spacecraft mission to the moon
2: a hit or thrown ball with a very high trajectory
First Known Use of MOON SHOT
1957

Someone please correct that horrible moderation. "Moon Shot", according to the fucking DICTIONARY, dos NOT have to be a manned landing. Apollo 8 was, indeed, a moon shot.

Re:It's not a moonshot (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44682817)

He's wrong about the manned part, but not about the landing part. If you are just orbiting the moon, then you haven't actually gone *to* it.

Re:It's not a moonshot (1)

kermidge (2221646) | about a year ago | (#44683471)

No, you've gone to it and beyond it, which by most common usage would qualify for going to the Moon. Crashing, landing, orbiting, and fly-by all qualify.

Re:It's not a moonshot (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44693003)

No, it doesn't. If I go for a walk around the outer perimeter of Disneyland and then go back home, I haven't actually gone TO Disneyland. If I were to drive around the outside of a city, I haven't actually gone to that city.

Re:It's not a moonshot (1)

kermidge (2221646) | about a year ago | (#44693997)

So if you got a ride along on a Moon orbit trip, you wouldn't tell people that you'd been to the Moon. That's cool.

Re:It's not a moonshot (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44677417)

It's the mooneyshot.

At first glance... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44677847)

I thought the summary said "will launch from Vagina".

Re:It's not a moonshot (1)

SleazyRidr (1563649) | about a year ago | (#44678095)

Similar to the fact that in various first person shooter games, you will not be credited with a headshot unless there is a live pilot within your bullet.

Uhm... why? (4, Interesting)

CaptSlaq (1491233) | about a year ago | (#44675611)

I thought the physics of this kind of stuff favored being closer to the equator? Why would you move north of Canaveral?

Re:Uhm... why? (4, Insightful)

SirGarlon (845873) | about a year ago | (#44675621)

Because the senator from Virginia wants you to.

Re:Uhm... why? (2)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about a year ago | (#44676251)

Its hillarious that you got modded +5 for a statement that is, according to all subsequent comments, horribly off base: apparently this facility has long been in use, well before the terms of the current slate of senators.

Re:Uhm... why? (2)

SirGarlon (845873) | about a year ago | (#44676699)

Unlike others, I never wrote that the Wallop's Island facility was new. That was you, reading into my post text a message I never put in. All I said, in a pithy way, was that I suspect political factors could explain the choice of launch site. A launch operation is a big, expensive endeavor, that provides {pork, jobs} for the state where it occurs.

Re:Uhm... why? (1)

Megane (129182) | about a year ago | (#44677273)

Or maybe KSC is just getting too busy. I think SpaceX has the right idea with Boca Chica.

Re:Uhm... why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44677895)

Of course it has nothing to do with different sites having different specializations for different rockets, and this one being launched from a re-purposed military missile.

Re:Uhm... why? (1)

jellomizer (103300) | about a year ago | (#44676431)

Of course they want it close to DC. Because NASA has a problem with management. So we will have it lead by People who got their jobs in a Big Popularity Contest, and their job is dependent on winning the next one. That will lead to good management.

Re:Uhm... why? (1)

happy_place (632005) | about a year ago | (#44675631)

I wondered the same thing. further there's a whole cadre of instrumentation that needs to be built up to create a valid launch range, and we already have that, so why spend all that money on something closer to D.C.? Is it the country's vision that every state needs its own launch pad?

Re:Uhm... why? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44675677)

Since there have been 16,000 launches since 1945 from the facility, I would imagine they are already pretty well instrumented.

Re:Uhm... why? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44675699)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wallops_Flight_Facility

Wallops has been in operations since well before the 60's and is fully equipped and staffed launch facility.

Re:Uhm... why? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44675707)

Wallops Island [nasa.gov] is where the US rocket program started [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Uhm... why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44675737)

That facility has been in use since 1947, by the US Navy as well as NASA. It is used more frequently than Canaveral. The instrumentation started before some of the readers here were born. Google and Wikipedia info is thin, but NASA has a page about it. Also see Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport, which was on paper in 2003.

Why not? (4, Informative)

sjbe (173966) | about a year ago | (#44675769)

I wondered the same thing. further there's a whole cadre of instrumentation that needs to be built up to create a valid launch range, and we already have that, so why spend all that money on something closer to D.C.?

Wallops Flight Facility is already heavily instrumented and has been in operation for over 50 years. There have been 16,000 launches from that facility including orbital launches.

Now as for why they are doing this particular mission at WFF instead of Canaveral, I have no idea. Could be an effort by NASA to cater to a wider swath of congress. Could be military related in some way. Might be that the resources for that particular mission were more conveniently located there. I'm sure there is a reason but it isn't obvious what that reason might be.

Re:Why not? (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44675947)

Cape canaveral air station is rented property owned by the Air Force. Kodiac, Wallops, and White Sands are all owned by NASA, additionally it is located much closer to Orbital's headquarters in Baltimore.

Re:Why not? (4, Insightful)

PhloppyPhallus (250291) | about a year ago | (#44677115)

Orbital Sciences is running the mission--for whatever reason, they've set up shop just outside Wallops and have been spending quite a bit of time and money getting one of the pads at Wallops set up for Minotaur and Antares launches. It could be because it's closer to their manufacturing facilities, because they've been launch at WFF with smaller rockets many years, because the costs of using the pad and facilities at WFF are cheaper than the big pads at KSC, or whatever; but the point is that Orbital is running the mission and almost certainly chose to use WFF themselves. While it's true they might get better performance launching from KSC, it would shock me if WFF wasn't much cheaper to run out of. But even if it weren't, Orbital has invested in their operations at Wallops and is very unlikely move everything down to Florida now. I don't know what the deal is here, but in this case I suspect it's just a business decision by Orbital and nothing more sinister.

Re:Why not? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44680097)

Because WFF is a major facility for OSC. OSC has a ground station with the latest equipment there, as it's their goto station for development (since OSC is also HQ-ed in VA).

OSC support/facility at Kennedy is pretty much nothing compared to WFF. And KSC would need some modifications for a Minotaur launch.

Now why they didn't launch at Vandenberg, which is way better (maybe cause it's military, hmmm)? Now that says a senator from VA chimed in.

Re:Why not? (1)

kermidge (2221646) | about a year ago | (#44683549)

Your last para is for shit and too cute by half.

Vandenberg is not better for a trip to the Moon unless you've got a fuckton extra delta-v in your pocket. It's used for polar launches; the boost phase is all or mostly all over water. Launching equatorial missions over land is a no-no. Doesn't have a fucking thing to do with military or a VA senator. It's mechanics, fuel, and liability (and that's part of not wanting to unnecessarily endanger people under the boost portion of flight path.)

Re:Uhm... why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44675777)

Also look up Wallops Flight Facility. 16,000 launches from the range at Wallops since its founding in 1945. Admittedly that number probably includes a bunch of aircraft.

Re:Uhm... why? (0)

dkleinsc (563838) | about a year ago | (#44675651)

Why would you move north of Canaveral?

Wild guess: Congressman Scott Rigell (R VA-02) needed to shore up votes in his district, and won the political battle with Bill Posey (R FL-08).

Re:Uhm... why? (-1)

wbr1 (2538558) | about a year ago | (#44675671)

IIRC, attaining orbit is mostly about escape velocity, which is measured from the center of mass. The equator would be handier for a space elevator, but for launch anywhere will do. The key considerations are infrastructure, weather, and having a sufficiently sparse population down range that an accident will not cause much/any damage, hence a coastline or the middle of bum fuck egypt (or russia).

Re:Uhm... why? (5, Informative)

McBeth (1724) | about a year ago | (#44675805)

It is all about escape velocity, and for equatorial orbits and trajectories, going with the rotation of the earth does help. A lot. To the point that many of the standard rockets, it'll boost your launchable mass by 20%. That is why the EU launches from French Guiana, Russia rents back its Baikonur Cosmodrome from Kazakhstan, and Boeing et al. have a mobile oil rig looking thing that'll take your rockets down to the equatorial Pacific to launch it (Sea Launch)

Re:Uhm... why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44675829)

"attaining orbit is mostly about escape velocity"

Kind of, but there is a very good reason why most launch sites are closer to the equator. The earth of course spins, and at the equator that spin is close to 1,000 MPH. That is 1,000 MPH less delta-V your spacecraft has to have if you launch in the right direction. Sure its not massive amount of assistance (about 6% if my calcs are correct), but every little bit of savings helps with rocket design.

Re:Uhm... why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44675941)

IIRC, attaining orbit is mostly about escape velocity

Or orbital velocity, maybe.

And at the equator, the Earth's spin gives you about 500 m/s head start on that, whereas points off the equator scale with cos(latitude) -- you lose about 10% going as far north as Cape Canaveral (~28 N), and Wallops Island (~38 N) costs another 10%.

Now needing an extra ~50 m/s may not sound like much, but if you're familiar with the rocket equation...

Re:Uhm... why? (1)

MightyYar (622222) | about a year ago | (#44676095)

Of course if you already happen to have an extra rocket laying around that might be bigger than what you need, the extra fuel and mass might not be that big of a deal compared with hauling everything down to Florida.

Re:Uhm... why? (1)

Chris Mattern (191822) | about a year ago | (#44676073)

IIRC, attaining orbit is mostly about escape velocity, which is measured from the center of mass.

Yes, moving towards the equator doesn't do much to cut your escape velocity (it does do some, since the Earth bulges at the equator). The big advantage, however, is the Earth's rotational velocity. If you lanch eastwards, you get to add that velocity to your own in trying to make escape velocity. This increases from zero at the pole to 1670 km/h at the equator. 1670 km/h is better than 4% of escape velocity. Getting closer to the equator is significant boost to any launch.

Re:Uhm... why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44675787)

Why? Because Wallops has been a NASA (and predecessor agency NACA) rocket launch site since 1945, with over 16,000 launches. Ever hear of the Goddard Space Flight Center? Wallops is associated with GSFC. Also in Virginia is NASA's Langley center, the oldest of the NASA field centers.

Wallops' downrange area is all water, and extends to the southeast from the island. On the issue of needing to be on the equator for a decent launch, I suggest you check a map of the world and notice the location of Russia and the former Soviet republics. Downrange safety is a much greater launch location concern than proximity to the equator-- fuel/weight considerations are trumped by the possibility of killing innocents downrange.

Re:Uhm... why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44675801)

By a very small amount... the advantage of being close to the equator usually has more to do with choice of orbits.

Re:Uhm... why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44675945)

Getting to low Earth orbital velocity with no help from Earth's spin and using high end of specific impulse for chemical rockets would require that ~83% of your craft's mass be fuel, while with the equator's full help it would be 81%. Seems small, but for a give craft mass, that is 12% more payload, which isn't insignificant.

Re:Uhm... why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44676891)

In this hypothetical orbit, okay, but latitude of Wallops Island = 38 N... cos(38 deg) = 0.79, so it's not 100% and 0%... so it would make a difference of what, 2% more payload versus equator...? Or versus Cape Canaveral, 1.5%? And it's going for the moon, not low-orbit, so it's not a critical thing. Plus the Russians launch from 46 N, and the Israelis launch in freaking retrograde.

Re:Uhm... why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44677983)

It would be more critical for going to the moon, not less. And just because other countries take a harder route doesn't mean that is the best idea for use here. People aren't saying it is impossible to launch from such places, only less efficient.

Re:Uhm... why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44678189)

You win! Clearly the 1.5% efficiency gain to be had from using Cape Canaveral means that the US government is corrupt and the entire project is congressional pork. Dear god, let's obliterate the project and start over with someone else in charge!

Re:Uhm... why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44680875)

Because any of the parents of the posts you replied to said anything about the US government being corrupt or not? One asked why not, someone said the difference was too small, another points out the difference is large enough to make a potential difference, and now you are assuming this is a basis for some anti-government tirade. Some sister post seemed to bring up that stupid idea and I remember pointing out that maybe it had more to do with some sites being better equipped for a particular type of rocket...

And the difference between the sites is more on the order of 2-5% depending on how much reliance they have on solid vs. liquid boosters.

Re:Uhm... why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44677691)

It's closer to Langley.

Re:Uhm... why? (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a year ago | (#44679337)

I thought the physics of this kind of stuff favored being closer to the equator? Why would you move north of Canaveral?

Hmm. I thought that translunar injection is more favorable from higher-inclined orbits, since you avoid the worst parts of the radiation belts. The non-need to launch to an orbit close to equatorial then gives you other launch sites as alternatives to Florida.

You have to wonder how much that atmosphere... (2)

tlambert (566799) | about a year ago | (#44675619)

You have to wonder how much that atmosphere was effected by debris still up there from Deep Impact, Chandrayaan-1's Moon Impact Probe, and the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter's centaur upper stage impacts.

Too bad they didn't do a before-and-after of this particular mission.

Re:You have to wonder how much that atmosphere... (3, Interesting)

Virtucon (127420) | about a year ago | (#44675763)

Even though there's a thin atmosphere on the Moon it is constantly hammered by Solar Heating and the Solar Winds. It's really an exosphere rather than an atmosphere. [space.com] I doubt any dust raised by impacts would last there very long at all but also remember that it's constantly pelted by all kinds of cosmic detritus hence all the craters so it would be difficult to discern if any debris co-mingling with the gases was man-made or a natural occurrence. [nasa.gov]

That picture (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44676409)

That picture on Space.com makes no sense. If the Moon is back-lit by the Sun, I expect to see an almost totally black disk. The Surveyor pictures on this page [thelivingmoon.com] (scroll down) look more like what I expect. Can anybody explain why the Space.com picture looks like it does? Long exposure with Earth shine, or did they 'shop it because they thought it would look better?

Re:You have to wonder how much that atmosphere... (1)

mu51c10rd (187182) | about a year ago | (#44680017)

Or even bobbleheads [bobbleheadinspace.com] laying around..

And after that... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44675659)

... the world will be a better place. No more wars, no more cancer and AIDS, no more corruption.

Very useful, as they say in America: "One small step for men, blah blah blah fuck you mankind."

You can see this from a distance (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44675715)

I've seen launches from Wallops from the observatory I go to (Wagman Observatory) just north of Pittsburgh. It's not much to see from that distance but the fact I can see anything is impressive.

Re:You can see this from a distance (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44675949)

Makes Perfect Sense... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44675781)

Why use a multibillion dollar tried and tested launch facility, like the ones in Florida and Califorinia, when you can build a new one in a poor location? And people wonder why the U.S. no longer have a manned space flight program.

Re:Makes Perfect Sense... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44675815)

Wallops has an excellent track record for launches. If you're not familiar with them maybe you shouldn't be making such sweeping statements.

Re:Makes Perfect Sense... (2)

Mr. Slippery (47854) | about a year ago | (#44676123)

Why use a multibillion dollar tried and tested launch facility, like the ones in Florida and Califorinia, when you can build a new one in a poor location?

Dude, they've been lighting off the big fireworks from Wallops since 1945 [nasa.gov] .

Re:Makes Perfect Sense... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44676151)

Bull fucking shit. Best have your mom change your diaper. Quit spewing trash dumb ass.

What new one? (4, Informative)

sjbe (173966) | about a year ago | (#44676265)

Why use a multibillion dollar tried and tested launch facility, like the ones in Florida and Califorinia, when you can build a new one in a poor location?

Wallops Flight Facility has been in operation for over 50 years and has launched over 16,000 rockets including orbital missions. But don't let those actual facts get in the way of your prejudiced rant.

Re:Makes Perfect Sense... (1)

andy1307 (656570) | about a year ago | (#44676321)

This post is insightful?

Re:Makes Perfect Sense... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44679183)

This is Slashdot. The home of knee jerk reactions and underrating posts that have actual information instead of snide remarks with no basis in reality.

Dayum! (1)

taiwanjohn (103839) | about a year ago | (#44675821)

Did they say it was a FIVE-stage rocket? Yes, apparently the Minotaur V [wikipedia.org] has five stages. Makes sense, I guess, if you want to get a 600kg payload the moon, but it's the first time I've heard that phrase, at least not from NASA. Just strikes me as weird.

Re:Dayum! (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44676013)

Minotaur V is a very Kerbal design. Jury-rigging multiple solid stages together. Normally this kind of flight would use a high performance liquid upper stage capable of multiple restarts and the design makes very little sense, except when you have some never-needed and phased-out ICBMs hanging around waiting for disposal AND you have a long-running relationship with the company that makes solid rockets (ATK) for ICBMs and for small upper stages.... Then the total cost of doing it like this becomes quite economical and, well, better use the ICBMs like this than to just scrap 'em.

First three stages = LGM-118A Peacekeeper ICBM. And since those three stages won't get you there just yet (Peacekeeper being designed for lobbing nukes to other side of the world rather than orbiting stuff), you need an upper stage on top of the three stages... and because ATK's biggest one can't do the trick, you stack two of them in slightly different sizes... So, bam, 5 stages.

Re:Dayum! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44679103)

Still, great "peace time"* use of arms race parts. :)

Plus, a Kerbal design would have had way more struts, unnecessary lights, and maybe a recycled nuke (for low, long burning thrust) in there too. ;)

Tweeks
* - I use the term loosely.. and tongue firmly in cheek.

LADEE Launch Visibility (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44675903)

For those of you on the east coast of the US.

LADEE Launch Visibility [nasa.gov]

That's a huge change!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44675913)

Considering, most moon launches originated in Hollywood.

Knock, Knock! Who's there? (1)

Iridium_Hack (931607) | about a year ago | (#44675995)

Suits: Hello. We're from the EPA. Afraid your spaceflight launch will need to be cancelled indefinitely. Apparently it will be coming in contact with the moon's atmosphere and our public sources from Slashdot and elsewhere have identified it as being, "extremely tenuous and fragile".

NASA: But it's the moon! It's not earth!

Suits: [smiles] Now. Now. You knew this was going to happen. Just because it's the moon doesn't mean that the regulatory arms of the US government can't reach. If your rockets can reach it - why so can we. And since the atmosphere is fragile and tenuous, it may also harbor a similarly fragile and tenuous ecosystem.

NASA: Ecosystem?

Suits: Yes! Ecosystem. You engineers need to show a little more imagination. Think a little more outside the box. But we're quite certain that with the small number of atmospheric molecules around the moon, the percent pollution from a few rockets would be horrendous! Anything that might possibly be living would be affected. Eventually, it would get Maia upset.

NASA: Who is Maia? Someone in your office?

Suits: Uh, Maia is a half finished idea. We thought it would be nice to have a Gaia for the moon, so we changed the 'G' to an 'M' for the moon, see? Now we have Maia.

NASA: So when can we launch?

Suits: Now you're getting it.

Re:Knock, Knock! Who's there? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44676039)

le edgy 2k. The EPA is to blame for us not posting from Pluto amirite! It's totally the environmentalists' fault that the space program is in shambles.

Let me guess, you're one of those Global climate change deniers too, eh, mr. Strawman?

Re:Knock, Knock! Who's there? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44676465)

Yes yes environmentalists are behind all the worlds problems. Its ok. Calm down. You can QQ now.
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