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Venus Express Blasts Off

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 8 years ago | from the so-long-and-thanks-for-all-the-fish dept.

Space 128

kitzilla writes "The European Space Agency's Venus Express probe has been successfully launched from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The mission's first attempt was scrubbed last month after technicians spotted a problem with the lift vehicle. In about five months, Venus Express will pull into orbit around our closest planetary neighbor and begin five months of scheduled observations. On the short list of mission objectives: a detailed mapping of Venus' surface, a survey of the planet's complex atmosphere, and a look into the possibility of active Venusian volcanoes."

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128 comments

For contrast (5, Insightful)

ReformedExCon (897248) | more than 8 years ago | (#13987415)

Re:For contrast (5, Informative)

VJ42 (860241) | more than 8 years ago | (#13987472)

There's a Video of the launch on the BBC [bbc.co.uk]

hmm (4, Interesting)

mrselfdestrukt (149193) | more than 8 years ago | (#13987432)

And this just after news about how the US is cutting down on NASA's budget and missions like this..

Re:hmm (2, Interesting)

FleaPlus (6935) | more than 8 years ago | (#13987577)

And this just after news about how the US is cutting down on NASA's budget and missions like this..

The US federal government cut NASA's budget? Do you have a link for this? The only articles [space.com] I've seen indicate an increase in NASA's budget [nasa.gov] , virtually one of the only non-defense sectors of the government to see an increase.

Re:hmm (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13987767)

Do you have problems understanding the english language?
What about "on missions like this" is hard to understand for you?

Re:hmm (1)

halltk1983 (855209) | more than 8 years ago | (#13989328)

Habyt where it was "and" not "on"??

Re:hmm (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13988069)

You should make sure that you are right before you unleash your sharp tongue. It didn't say "cutting down on NASA's budget ON missions like this" it said "cutting down on NASA's budget AND missions like this." This clearly states that both their budget has been cut and missions of this type have been cut.

Re:hmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13988963)

We must shoot these dirty Europeans down - teach them America owns the skys and the planets, and the LeGrange points, and the Internet, and...(collapses in Patriot Act rage)

Is the feasible? (0, Troll)

Guru Goo (875426) | more than 8 years ago | (#13987440)

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Cool - Does that mean... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13987443)

...Google Venus is on the way ??? :-)

Re:Cool - Does that mean... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13987475)

Venus has already been mapped out completely by Magellan(NASA). See http://www.cnn.com/2005/TECH/space/11/08/venus.pro be.ap/index.html [cnn.com] . It's just that google couldn't find cheese there.

-Sarav

Re:Cool - Does that mean... (2, Insightful)

ronsta (815765) | more than 8 years ago | (#13987486)

sometimes i wonder if there will ever be a slashdot thread without at least one google comment :)

Or... (1)

brunes69 (86786) | more than 8 years ago | (#13987769)

Or a google comment that doesn't spawn a thread....

Re:Or... (0, Offtopic)

Back Slider 1969 (909883) | more than 8 years ago | (#13987879)

In Soviet Russia, Yahoo spawns thread.

Re:Cool - Does that mean... (1)

AndroidCat (229562) | more than 8 years ago | (#13987987)

I've already done that. You can pick any point on Venus see what it looks like. Hmm, right now it's cloudy.

Are they finally going to figure out... (1)

OSXpert (560516) | more than 8 years ago | (#13987453)

If women really are from Venus, or if that was all just a big joke?

What's the use... (0, Flamebait)

teewurstmann (755953) | more than 8 years ago | (#13987461)

... of finding active volcanoes on Venus? Could someone get some practical use out of such a find?

Re:What's the use... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13987490)

Whats the practical use of the parentpost, not everything has to have a shortterm use. This will give use knowledge with we can use maybe now, maybe later.

Re:What's the use... (5, Insightful)

SimonInOz (579741) | more than 8 years ago | (#13987513)

Yes, absolutely. Who cares ....

In fact let's ban all forms of research ...

In fact let's ban all forms of thought. And art, and music, oh, and teaching any form of science - especially that evilolution stuff.

Let's ban ..... bzzt .. sorry this Kansas Educational broadcast has been interrupted by the real world.

Research doesn't always give directly useful results. It might - or it might not. The process of doing research might give useful results - or it might not.
In fact doing almost anything might give useful results. Or not.

But backing off from researching the local area - now that's really silly. Volcanoes on Venus - who cares? Well I do, for one. Any better understanding of volcanoes would seem to be a useful thing to me - there are quite a few in the world. It would be nice to learn something about them in a completely different environment. ... bzzt, back to the Kansas educational department broadcast ...

Yes, and let's ban the Internet, and electricity, and inoculations, and .....

Re:What's the use... (3, Insightful)

teewurstmann (755953) | more than 8 years ago | (#13987539)

My goodness, I was seriously asking what the use is. I was not asking "Why is such a useless thing being done?", I was asking what the use is. And that's what I'd like to honestly know. Of course I know that not all research is useful right away, but there must be some motivation behind finding out about volcanoes on Venus.

Re:What's the use... (1)

Hakubi_Washu (594267) | more than 8 years ago | (#13987665)

like "finding out about volcanoes on Venus"??? We'll just learn from it, there is no other "use". <tongueincheek><impolite>You Engineer</impolite></tongueincheek>

Re:What's the use... (1)

teewurstmann (755953) | more than 8 years ago | (#13987880)

Well, if you look at the post below, there is an actual use. And I don't think any engineer will spend time researching something that he isn't convinced will have some use farther down the road. Especially if something is funded by the government, they probably want to have SOME information about what good might come out of such research at one point.

Re:What's the use... (1)

Hakubi_Washu (594267) | more than 8 years ago | (#13988343)

Congrats, you've understood the way I think Engineers think. Now go on and get why I think that's not what science is about.

Re:What's the use... (2, Informative)

heikkile (111814) | more than 8 years ago | (#13987724)

I was seriously asking what the use is

We only have a limited number of volcanoes on earth, and only of limited variety in type and structure. Seeing a few more of them, maybe of types we haven't seen here, might give us better insight on how such things work. Long time down the road, we might even get better in controlling, or at least predicting the behavior of the local ones.

Besides, active volcanoes indicate a planet has an active hot core, which would be interesting to know. Same argument as above, just substitute "planet" for "volcano"...

Re:What's the use... (1)

teewurstmann (755953) | more than 8 years ago | (#13987853)

Thank you very much. That was a very informative answer.

Re:What's the use... (1)

devonbowen (231626) | more than 8 years ago | (#13987739)

I can't think of an immediate use for studying venusian volcanoes. But given the amount we're stressing our own atmosphere and how little we know about what effect that will have, letting planetary scientists study another planet in detail sounds like a very good idea to me.

Devon

Re:What's the use... (4, Insightful)

Alioth (221270) | more than 8 years ago | (#13987568)

If the human race innately took your attitude, we'd still be living in caves.

Re:What's the use... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13987605)

What attitude? Asking honest questions? He was being curious. That's what got us out of the caves.

It's people who shoot down other people's curiosity which hinder progress.

Re:What's the use... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13988837)

What is wrong with living in caves? No, really?

Re:What's the use... (5, Informative)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 8 years ago | (#13987570)

... of finding active volcanoes on Venus? Could someone get some practical use out of such a find?

Venus is an extreme case of climatology. It's about the same size as the Earth. It actually receives less sunlight than the Earth, even though it's closer to the Sun, because its cloud layer reflects so much incoming radiation. But it's hot hot hot.

That atmosphere is mostly carbon dioxide, with some nitrogen, water vapour and sulphur dioxide. It's hot, acidic, and the pressure is the sort of thing you only get on Earth in the deep seas.

Now, we have to wonder how Venus got that way. One possibility for how Venus got such a thick, acidic atmosphere is that it is continually undergoing massive volcanic activity. If we can observe Venusian volcanoes, we can determine to what extent they might reasonably affect the climate on Venus.

If we can understand Venus, then we can use it to stress-test our planetary climate models and thereby improve our understanding of comparable processes on Earth. It shouldn't be too hard to think of a reason why we might urgently want to improve our understanding of Earth's climate systems as regards atmospheric carbon dioxide content...

There's a very good writeup of Venus and why it's interesting here [bbc.co.uk] .

Easy! (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13987771)

Now, we have to wonder how Venus got that way.

Easy! God made it that way. Damn, this Intelligent Design science stuff is so easy! Can I have a Nobel prize now?

Re:Easy! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13989523)

Sigh. Once again, someone tries to associate ID with Creationisism.

I'll say this again:

An unspecified designer did it using some unknown mechanism at some unknown time. We won't get into the pathetic details that cosmologists would.

Re:What's the use... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13988593)

Now, we have to wonder how Venus got that way.

Bad environmental policy spearheaded by now extinct Venusian GOP.

Re:What's the use... (3, Funny)

Capt James McCarthy (860294) | more than 8 years ago | (#13987686)

... of finding active volcanoes on Venus? Could someone get some practical use out of such a find?

Well, the US takes Mars, Europe takes Venus, and the taxable populations get it in the Uranus.

Re:What's the use... (1)

fbjon (692006) | more than 8 years ago | (#13988136)

I do prefer Venetian mounds, thank you.

Re:What's the use... (1)

fbjon (692006) | more than 8 years ago | (#13988178)

Ah, sorry.. I meant 'Venusian mounds', of course.

And no, I won't say Cytherean mounds, and Venereal mounds sounds even more hazardous.

Re:What's the use... (2)

pstils (928424) | more than 8 years ago | (#13987896)

i remember hearing about a program that was designed to analyse the night sky looking for clusters, searching out for something...(would love to be able to reference this claim sorry!). The software was then turned to looking for cancers on smear plates. The direct usefulness sometimes escapes us. In the spirit of the Baconian tradition, we should be looking to expand our knowledge without bias. Not that this is always the case - the venus express is studying the recent warming effect seen on venus, trying to shed some light on what might be happening on earth. More to the point, we don't know how useful something we don't know about could be until we look at it.

Re:What's the use... (1)

Jamu (852752) | more than 8 years ago | (#13988131)

Yes they could. But they'd have to find the active volcanoes to know for sure.

Watch the launch! (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13987476)

37 megs, quicktime movie. [pax-europa.com]

The ESA's Venus express portal [esa.int]

And a load of artist impressions, photos and cgi videos are on ESA's site here [esa.int]

A great day for the ESA, the data gathered from this and in comparison to that from the Mars Express is really going to give some good information on planetary warming and cooling.

Planetary Society weblog (4, Informative)

FleaPlus (6935) | more than 8 years ago | (#13987483)

Emily Lakdawalla of the Planetary Society is keeping a running tally of events on the Society's official weblog [planetary.org] . In general, the weblog is a great source of space science news. According to her latest post, Venus Express has already reported back to ground control and is in healthy condition.

There's also the obligatory Wikipedia article on Venus Express [wikipedia.org] , which has a nice description of what the craft will be doing.

Rockets to Venus? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13987489)

Probably stating the obvious- but the sexual connotations are pretty funny. This whole space race looks like a battle between two "superpowers", and here the Europeans are showing off that they have a bigger rocket, and that it can go further. A bit of an embarassment last month, they had "a problem with the lift vehicle."

Re:Rockets to Venus? (4, Informative)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 8 years ago | (#13987580)

here the Europeans are showing off that they have a bigger rocket

What rot. If that was the case we'd have used an Ariane. The rocket used here was Soyuz / Fregat - a Russian launcher.

Re:Rockets to Venus? (1)

fbjon (692006) | more than 8 years ago | (#13988027)

It does have a rather nice phallic look to it though.

Re:Rockets to Venus? (2, Interesting)

oliderid (710055) | more than 8 years ago | (#13988663)

Arianespace has signed a deal with Russia to include their soyuz rocket into their products range. I'm not an expert but it makes sense to use it for such mission, Ariane5 is mainly dedicated to commercial satellites.

I'm maybe wrong but I think soon Soyuz rockets will be launched from French guinea.

This is a small part of a European/Russian biggest plan to develop more and more solutions together.

Re:Rockets to Venus? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13988888)

What rot. If that was the case we'd have used an Ariane. The rocket used here was Soyuz / Fregat - a Russian launcher.

The latest Soyuz is a joint venture owned by Russia and Europe, though the design is Russian origin. It's pretty much the most advanced spacecraft ever built on Earth, solid and reliable, and costs only $30 million per launch. (compare to the ancient shuttle costing over $600 million per launch)

Nice to see Europeans continue their agenda to do actual science which benefits the entire human civilization instead of burning money for ridiculous political/self-esteem/military goals.

Good luck, Venus Express!

How come... (4, Interesting)

squoozer (730327) | more than 8 years ago | (#13987505)

we can get Government funded missions to map and photograph other planets that place the results in the public domain but we can't get Government funded missions to map and photograph our own planet which put the results in the public domain? It occurs to me that the latter would not only be substantially cheaper to do but also far more useful to the general populous. A multi-national effort to provide such mapping would cost each country peanuts and would provide numerous benifits.

One word (deliberatly misspelled) (1)

interactive_civilian (205158) | more than 8 years ago | (#13987566)

TERRARISM!!!1!1!1oneone!

seriously, I don't disagree with you. I would love to see very very VERY high quality, high detail data of the entire earth. I think it would be incredibly interesting and extremely useful, not only for future generations, but for the current generation as well.

However, there are always people that will say that because it can be used for EBIL!!! deeds, the information should not be made public.

Too bad, IMHO. :(

Re:One word (deliberatly misspelled) (1)

Skye16 (685048) | more than 8 years ago | (#13987784)

I would think it would be more along the lines of political considerations. I'm not so sure the US would take kindly to the EU taking high resolution imagery of Area 51/OtherSecretBase and putting them in the public domain. Or China. Or India. Or Pakistan. Or Russia.

It's not that you couldn't technically do it (technically as in "technically legally"). But it would certainly put a crimp on your international dealings.

But, hell, if you want to go for it, do it. The U.S. has decided it doesn't give a fuck what the rest of the world thinks, either, so you can be just like us! Tell the other countries in the world to go fuck themselves and do whatever you want! Once you do it once and find out how easy it is, you won't be able to stop! Weeee!

Misery isn't the only thing that loves company. Idiocy does too.

New Orleans... (1)

teewurstmann (755953) | more than 8 years ago | (#13987589)

Good point. That reminds me of how I felt when I watched the tragic events that happened in New Orleans: How can it take a nation that can fly to the moon and to Venus days and days to get some people out of a wrecked city? There were certainly things with a higher priority...

Re:New Orleans... (2, Insightful)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 8 years ago | (#13987669)

> ...How can it take a nation that can fly to the moon and to Venus days and ...

What??? What???
From TFA: "The European Space Agency's Venus Express probe..."

The "nation that flew to the moon" was the U.S. of the 1960s - the one that invented stuff, the one that manufactured stuff, the one that didn't care about "self-esteem", the one that wasn't morbidly obsessed with not offending anyone, the one that dared, the one whose future was still before it.

Re:New Orleans... (1)

Waffle Iron (339739) | more than 8 years ago | (#13989899)

How can it take a nation that can fly to the moon and to Venus days and days to get some people out of a wrecked city?

Probably because the moon rocket can only hold 3 people at a time.

Re:How come... (2, Insightful)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 8 years ago | (#13987601)

we can't get Government funded missions to map and photograph our own planet which put the results in the public domain? It occurs to me that the latter would not only be substantially cheaper to do but also far more useful to the general populous.

The difference here is that there's little commercial use for a high-resolution map of Mars or Venus. Accurate maps of Earth are extremely economically valuable.

However, although it's not public domain, Google Earth is freely as in gratis.

Re:How come... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13987651)

Google Earth is not gratis, except for "personal use". There is no high resolution satellite imagery of Earth that you can put on your homepage without paying or being tied into a mapping API where the operator reserves the right to put ads on the map. So far, Blue Marble NG is the highest resolution public domain visible spectrum satellite data, and that is 500m x 500m per pixel. It really sucks that the fruits of publicly funded space exploration are kept out of the general public's reach.

Re:How come... (1)

squoozer (730327) | more than 8 years ago | (#13987680)

I see why we have got to this position I just think the long term benifits of making this information public domain far out weighs the short term benifits of having it controlled by commercial ventures. It's only a matter of time before a truely free version becomes available anyway I think. I don't know what it is like in the states but over here maps have all but been controlled by HMSO forever. We are just starting to see the first maps that aren't controlled by them appearing. A good thing I think.

Re:How come... (1)

jsoderba (105512) | more than 8 years ago | (#13987749)

All documents produced by the US government is public domain. Much of Google Maps and other mapping services are based on public domain NASA and US Geological Survey data. The high-res pictures of the more interesting bits of the US are partly made from commercial aerial photography, though. NASA's World Wind [nasa.gov] application is all government data.

Unfortunately most of the world's governments are not so enlightened.

Re:How come... (2, Funny)

DeathByDuke (823199) | more than 8 years ago | (#13987617)

but wed see the secret death star construction site. thats why they wont.

The UK already has this. (1)

KitesWorld (901626) | more than 8 years ago | (#13987625)

It's called the Ordinance Survey, and is repeated pretty frequently. The organisation responsible is still an arm of the british government (200 years ago it was had the functions our present ministry of defence has).

It funds itself by selling the maps it produces - IE, although a part of the government, it operates as a sulf-sufficient business - and that in turn means that only the people who need it are paying for it, as opposed to all of us paying a tax on it.
Works pretty well.

Re:The UK already has this. (1)

squoozer (730327) | more than 8 years ago | (#13987706)

I'm a UK'ian so I'm familiar with OS maps. I don't necessarly think we need OS levels of detail right now opened up to the general masses (although it would be nice). For now google earth levels of detail would provide some pretty nice features. Who knows what people would be able to layer over the top of those maps if they didn't cost a small forture to buy. It's all about innovation and market entry. For a small one off tax spread across the earth we could potentially create the next big mapping innovation. Maybe it wouldn't create anything new but even so it cost very little to do.

Re:The UK already has this. (1)

shermozle (126249) | more than 8 years ago | (#13987946)

and that in turn means that only the people who need it are paying for it, as opposed to all of us paying a tax on it.

You mean except for the (hefty) subsidy?
http://mappinghacks.com/index.cgi/2005/10/06 [mappinghacks.com]
http://www.parliament.the-stationery-office.co.uk/ pa/cm200102/cmhansrd/vo020620/text/20620w12.htm#20 620w12.html_sbhd3 [the-statio...fice.co.uk]

Re:How come... (1)

WillerZ (814133) | more than 8 years ago | (#13987695)

If _the_ General Populous wants maps for his invasion plan he can pay for them himself.

Of course, it's possible you meant populace...

Politics, power, and money my naive friend (2, Insightful)

fantomas (94850) | more than 8 years ago | (#13987792)

Politics, my naive but well meaning friend. No country wants pictures of its top secret places free for the world to see. Look at the whole google-spotting fun going on already with people posting up pics of bomber bases, submarines, warships etc. Lots of countries really don't want you to know where they keep their tanks, or that they've sneakily pushed up their advanced forces into somebody else's disputed territory.

Lots of farmers in Europe got caught out a few years ago when the satellite images proved that they were claiming subsidies for farming land they weren't actually doing anything with, lots of logging companies in the Amazon probably would prefer that hippy ecologist PhD students don't get ready access to high quality data. Pick your prefered flavour of scenario.

Some countries find it good not to let others know what they are doing with nuclear power. Commercial companies are doing very nicely making money out of selling you pictures, why should they want you to get them for free?

Right now, geographical and geological data about Mars and Venus are of commercial / geopolitical little worth, we can just about get remote control robots there. Wait till any medium sized company and tin pot dictatorship can get 50 people there with mining/digging/ fighting equipment and then it will be interesting to see how easy it is to get high resolution maps "of the land 10km to the East of US Mars Base 7" "geological survey of 100km surrounding Exxon drilling rig 39" etc....

Re:How come... (1)

bbc (126005) | more than 8 years ago | (#13988600)

The raw data of any satellite, if published, is in the public domain.

For anything to be copyrighted, it needs to be an original creation, which assumes a) a creator, who b) used his/her own experiences/choice/knowledge/skills in creating the work.

Both conditions fail with satellite imagery, as there is no creator (the pictures are taken by an autonomous, non-sentient machine), and the intention of the picture-taking is to create an accurate image rather than an interpretation.

If you somehow managed to intercept data sent down from a satellite, you should be able to do anything you want with it, at least according to (US) copyright law; you may be breaking other laws that I do not know about, though.

(IANAL; this is not legal advice.)

Re:How come... (1)

jalet (36114) | more than 8 years ago | (#13988882)

> Both conditions fail with satellite imagery, as there is no creator

But the Earth was created by God !!!

Or at least that's what I learnt in my Kansas school...

Re:How come... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13988934)

For anything to be copyrighted, it needs to be an original creation, which assumes a) a creator, who b) used his/her own experiences/choice/knowledge/skills in creating the work.

Both conditions fail with satellite imagery, as there is no creator (the pictures are taken by an autonomous, non-sentient machine), and the intention of the picture-taking is to create an accurate image rather than an interpretation.

If you somehow managed to intercept data sent down from a satellite, you should be able to do anything you want with it, at least according to (US) copyright law; you may be breaking other laws that I do not know about, though.


Then what about film footage shot by remote controled helicoptors? To the best of my knowlegde, those cases the helicoptor operator is treated like any other cameraman or photographer. A remote controled vehicle is not considered a content creator, just a tool of the content creator. Using a remotely controled camera, rather than a directly controled one, has no more impact on copyright validity than using a word processor, rather than a pencil, has on writing a poem. Therefore, your first point doesn't hold.

Also, launching a satellite then operating to take high-quality images is not something that can accidentally, or trivally, be done. It does require experience/choice/knowledge/skills at all stages to create a useful or meaningful product. Usually an organization of multiple people is involved in creating satelite images and these qualities are distrubuted among the participants. However, collaborative works are copyrightable under US law.

As to the question of intercepting the data and being able to do what you want with it, if it is copyrighted that certainly isn't true. Now, you unintentionally got this data (e.g. your satellite TV transponder is on the fritz and changes frequencies, intecepting some data from a different satellite) that wouldn't be copyright infringement. However, there isn't much you could legally do with this "windfall". I'm not sure about it, but I think the intentionally listening on private wireless communications is against FCC regulations as well some criminal law. You could certianly be sued for it.

However, in the US a large portion of satellite data is public domain because it is from government owned and operated satellites. So I could why there would be some confusion on this matter.

Re:How come... (1)

bbc (126005) | more than 8 years ago | (#13989799)

"Then what about film footage shot by remote controled helicoptors?"

As you say, there is an operator working there who has some control over the final images, presumably. So I would guess in such instances there would be a copyright.

Similarly, if the satellites were remote controled, if there were an operator who would be controlling things like lighting, perspective, sharpness, composition, et cetera, and whose purpose would not be to create an exact mapping of Earth as seen from space, a copyright would be generated.

I was working from the assumption that such is not the case with satellite imagery, but to be honest, I know far too little about satellite photography to make a sensible statement in this regard.

As with all space craft, having a human control it is a great boon for dealing with contingencies, but having a machine control it could greatly reduce cost under normal operation, so it is hard to guess for me which solution the satellite operators would choose. I can imagine completely automated satellites though.

"Also, launching a satellite then operating to take high-quality images is not something that can accidentally, or trivally, be done. It does require experience/choice/knowledge/skills at all stages to create a useful or meaningful product."

Undoubtedly, but creating a great artist does not lead to a copyright; only creating (great) art does.

This may be a "flaw" in copyright law, but if it is, I have not seen it lead to the creation of less works.

Whether I am right or wrong in all this, my initial reply was mostly an irritated response to the repeated assumption that if it is a work, and if it took great expense to create it, it must be copyrighted. That is simply not true. See Bridgeman v. Corel [wikipedia.org] for examples.

Re:How come... (1)

squoozer (730327) | more than 8 years ago | (#13989321)

Nice interpretation of copyright law. If it's all the same I'll wait for someone else to test that interpretation first though. I somehow think that you might find not everyone agrees with you.

IANAL either but I am pretty sure using a machine such as this way to create a work doesn't cause it to fall outside of copyright law. I suppose you could argue that it is similar to a random text generator but that's pushing it a bit.

Re:How come... (1)

Myself (57572) | more than 8 years ago | (#13989601)

If you somehow managed to intercept data sent down from a satellite, you should be able to do anything you want with it, at least according to (US) copyright law; you may be breaking other laws that I do not know about, though.


Suppose the satellite was ROT13ing its transmissions though. Would the DMCA kick in? (Or could you just say they were being transmitted with an alternate code page [wikipedia.org] , which you figured out?)

Three cheers for science! (4, Insightful)

fuzzy12345 (745891) | more than 8 years ago | (#13987553)

I'm not a NASA fan. I see the ISS as not doing much science, recent Mars "search for signs of life" missions as a combination PR stunt and the space equivalent of the drunk looking for his keys under the lamppost because that's where it's light. And abandoning Hubble? Don't even get me started.

So it's great to see a space mission that combines engineering with real science and that isn't just predicated on the public's gullibility as to the long odds of ET life.

I know that the /. 'love all things space' crowd will mod me down, but I've got Karma to burn.

Re:Three cheers for science! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13987587)

I hear you. The scientific value of NASA missions is sometimes questionable, although I also think that whatever the mission, you always learn something as long as you get your measuring equipment out there. Thing is, you could learn a lot more for the amount of money NASA are spending.

Re:Three cheers for science! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13987624)

And how is this related to this ESA mission?

Re:Three cheers for science! (2, Interesting)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 8 years ago | (#13987647)

I see ... recent Mars "search for signs of life" missions as a combination PR stunt and the space equivalent of the drunk looking for his keys under the lamppost because that's where it's light

I think that's a little unfair. We know for a fact that Earth is completely infested with life. Everywhere on Earth that life could imaginably exist, it is found, and also in some places where we never imagined we would find it at all. Deep underground in solid rock, in the furthest Antarctic, in the driest deserts, in the irradiated high atmosphere, at volcanic vents in the ocean completely independent from the sun... Everywhere. We also know that Earth life can survive in spore form in space; bacteria survived for years on the Surveyor moon probe until returned by Apollo. In recent years, what we've discovered about the ability of life to adapt to hellish conditions has been absolutely amazing.

So it's not so unreasonable to look for life on Mars. It's not that far-fetched. Other places that might be worth checking are the upper atmosphere of Venus (where it's cooler) and the oceans of Europa. Whether native life or Earth life spread by impacts, it's not unrealistic to suppose it might be there and, if found, it would be a huge discovery.

Re:Three cheers for science! (2, Insightful)

fbjon (692006) | more than 8 years ago | (#13988007)

Indeed, we might in fact find our own bacteria there, adapted to the conditions.

Re:Three cheers for science! (2, Informative)

argStyopa (232550) | more than 8 years ago | (#13989267)

Ironically, I agree with you in principle, but I think you're a little too harsh. Yes, NASA is practically a caricature of the classic "bloatware" of entrenched government monopoly. HOWEVER, let's make it absolutely clear:
- ISS is the result of POLITICS, not NASA plans. NASA has gone along with the ISS (and shown proper enthusiasm for) the ISS for budgetary and political reasons, not because they are crusading for a vision of space exploration based on the ISS.
- The constant carping about shutting down the Hubble is vexing. The simple economics of it is cost > benefit, especially with having to rely on the crappy shuttle as the tender for the ISS. Finite resources. Personally, I'd LOVE it if NASA got a bigger budget but that's outside the scope of this discussion.
- NASA has recently done some STUNNING pure science. Mars rovers, anyone? Cassini? Mars Recon Orbiter? Deep Impact? Stardust? (ok, that kind of also became it's own "Deep Impact", but the pure science validation was there). And in the future? Dawn? New Horizons? Phoenix?

C'mon - NASA is as worthy of criticism as any government agency but you're making it sound like the ESA is the only one trying to do science, which is just silly.

BTW: big "grats" to the guys at ESA for the clean, solid launch. Best wishes on a safe and boring flight to Venus and a successful mission with oodles of data. GREAT JOB!

In Kansas... (0, Flamebait)

p0 (740290) | more than 8 years ago | (#13987560)

... schools they teach everything about Venus.. Intelligent Design!

More space/esa news.. (2, Informative)

slashmojo (818930) | more than 8 years ago | (#13987660)

You can also keep up to date on space/nasa/esa etc news here..

http://space.boardtracker.com [boardtracker.com]

I have no doubt... (5, Insightful)

Biomechanical (829805) | more than 8 years ago | (#13987663)

That there will be active volcanos on Venus, if only for the simple fact that it's apparently close enough to the Sun to be "as hot as hell", but not quite close enough to be baked to a cinder like Mercury, plus there was some interesting things observed when we last sent a probe - even with lens-cap problem.

teewurstmann does raise an interesting question - "Why are we looking for active volcanos on Venus?"

The answers "Because we can." or "It'll lead to great jumps in science." would not suffice with your average Joe Bloggs though, and if we wish to increase our ventures into space, or even just continue with space exploration altogether, then we're going to need a "hook", or a goal that we can present to the public in a unified answer that satisfies their curiosity and is not an outright lie - although a little white lie like, for example "We hope to discover a significant mineral deposit on the moon which will facilitate longer journeys into space." or "By studying the metals and minerals on Mercury we can discover how to create stronger, more tolerable materials on Earth which will create better housing, stronger and lighter cars..." etc.

Come up with a Grand Idea if you like - "We're going to save mankind."

Now seriously, who wouldn't think that saving our species is a noble goal? We don't have to tell the public "from ourselves", we'll just keep'em guessing - the continual doses of paranoia we're getting from our governments aren't doing too much harm, so we'll use a little "poetic licence".

Why are we looking for volcanos on Venus? Why not? Why not start at Mercury, or Venus, or Mars, or anywhere else in our solar system and look at it like one of those colour tests a few of us must have done in chemistry in high school.

Oh look, Mercury is mainly this colour, which means it's made mostly of this mineral... Venus is very acidic, and has all sorts of interesting liquid metals at venusian "room" temperature... Mars seems to have water, or the evidence of water...

We study, and learn, and find out how our solar system is constructed, and then one day, maybe if we don't destroy ourselves beforehand, we use the models we've made from this gathering of knowledge and we create plans.

We plan which solar systems nearby would be likely to have a sufficiently earth-like blue-green planet. We plan where we could find in our galaxy various minerals, fuels, and other resources needed to build, maintain, and power our ships as we go searching for other life, and other worlds. We plan to spread out, to colonise the most idyllic locations, and make sure that our species survives through sheer weight of numbers. We plan to live, to explore, to discover, to learn, to expand our minds and evolve.

We've been sitting on this little blue-green marble for a long time now, long enough to nurture the maths, physics, chemistry, and biological sciences enough to show us how to get up and explore the rest of our solar system. Now we need to use that knowledge and help ourselves before a meteor, asteroid, or sheer stupidity kills us.

Why explore the solar system? Why pick over rocks on Venus?

Because these are our baby steps, our first tentative journeys into space, the beginning of what I, and I'd hope many of you too, would dearly wish to be the start of our much greater journey into the galaxy.

Mistakes will be made, and lives will, as they have, be lost, but those people, our first space explorers, did not die in vain. We already have gained much knowledge, and it may not be used to any large extent now, but it will prove to be invaluable in the future.

I only hope that politics, greed, apathy, and stupidity don't condemn us to live our final days here, stuck on a world we could so easily leave if we simply worked at it.

Re:I have no doubt... (3, Interesting)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 8 years ago | (#13987720)

Why are we looking for volcanos on Venus?

Because we like to look for potential habitats for life elsewhere in the solar system. And a volcanic vent could easily be the coolest and most hospitable location on the surface of Venus, particularly if the volcano is venting some water.

Re:I have no doubt... (1)

tqft (619476) | more than 8 years ago | (#13987843)

The thing I want to see is footage of a slab of the crust dropping.

There is some speculation that the lava covered plains maybe due to the core of Venus cooling and shrinking enough that slabs of teh crust essentially can longer be supported and break free and "drop" into the mantle.

Result huge lava wash.

This may be in our planets future too.

Re:I have no doubt... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13988212)

"Why are we looking for active volcanos on Venus?":
to better fight terror threat

Volcanos on Venus (1)

amightywind (691887) | more than 8 years ago | (#13988292)

That there will be active volcanos on Venus, if only for the simple fact that it's apparently close enough to the Sun to be "as hot as hell", but not quite close enough to be baked to a cinder like Mercury, plus there was some interesting things observed when we last sent a probe - even with lens-cap problem.

Venus average surface temperature is higher than Mercury. Mercury is not backed like a cinder. It is composed of basaltic silicates, iron and nickel, refractory oxides. These materials have a very high melting point. Venus has active volcanoes. We already have detailed [nasa.gov] images [nasa.gov] of [nasa.gov] them [nasa.gov] .

proximity and heat - not. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13988324)

Venus is an example of the greenhouse effect's effectiveness. It doesn't recieve significantly more radiation because it's closer to the sun.

Re:I have no doubt... (1)

mikerich (120257) | more than 8 years ago | (#13990034)

Nice posting!

That there will be active volcanos on Venus, if only for the simple fact that it's apparently close enough to the Sun to be "as hot as hell", but not quite close enough to be baked to a cinder like Mercury, plus there was some interesting things observed when we last sent a probe - even with lens-cap problem.

Active vulcanism has still not certainly been observed on Venus. Variations in sulphur dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere were observed by Soviet spacecraft, but these have never been definitively linked to volcanic activity.

Venus may not have ongoing volcanic activity because of the apparent lack of water in its crust and Mantle. On Earth, water helps promote melting in the Earth by acting as a flux that reduces the melting point of minerals. On Venus, if water is as rare as we suspect then melting may only take place at much higher temperatures - deeper in the crust and might never make its way to the surface.

Clearly Venus has had volcanic activity in the past, the radar observations by Venera and Magellan showed that much, but Venus seems to lack plate tectonics like the Earth. The lack of cratering suggests that the majority of the planet was cataclysmically resurfaced within the last billion years. It's entirely possible that Venus has long periods of relative quiescence followed by apocalyptic periods when much of the crust is reworked.

Although Venus is very similar to Earth, it does have significant differences. The lack of a planetary magnetic field suggests that the core isn't working the same way as the Earth's, then there is that extraordinary backwards sluggish rotation that still lacks a convincing explanation.

One thing I am fascinated by this mission is that the Venusian atmosphere is so dense that earthquake waves might propagate into the atmosphere and be detected by the orbiter.

Still it's great to be going back to Venus after all of these years.

yuo fail It (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13987729)

more grandiose project. T0day, as bottoms butt. Wipe of OpenBSD. How Users With Large base for FreeBSD startling turn were compounded guests. Some people nearly two years member. GNAA (GAY base for FreeBSD Nigger Association Say I'm packing obligated to care OTHERS WHAT TO lead developers The project are inherently Talk to one of the no matter how real problems that the reaper BSD's and Juliet 40,000 provide sodas, real problems

It's not venusian (1)

Solilok (791022) | more than 8 years ago | (#13987732)

it's venerian...venerean

Re:It's not venusian (1)

madaxe42 (690151) | more than 8 years ago | (#13987745)

Venereal?

Re:It's not venusian (1)

JesusCigarettes (838611) | more than 8 years ago | (#13988524)

Actually, it's venereal.

The Latin word is a third declension noun: Venus, Veneris. The adjective Venereus -a -um means "of Venus" or "of love". Therefore, a venereal disease is actually a disease of love, but a native of Venus would also be a Venereal - a person "of Venus".

In the same way, a Martian is a person "of Mars". Mars, Martis becomes Martian. Third declension nouns do that. A lot of people think Venus is second or fourth declension because it ends in -us, but it is third declension and so the Anglicized adjective referring to a person of Venus will use Veneris to form the word.

I'm a bit rusty on the Latin, but I remember that much. I wonder why. Man, I'm itchy.

Re:It's not venusian (1)

burnttoy (754394) | more than 8 years ago | (#13988770)

kinda... whilst venerean/venereal should (probably) be the proper words for describing venus and it's hypothetical inhabitants those words have fallen out of favour due to their connotations. "Venusian" seems to be be the commonly adopted replacement.

Re:It's not venusian (3, Informative)

geobeck (924637) | more than 8 years ago | (#13989000)

Actually, it's cytherian.

Mercury - mercurian
Venus - cytherian (or venerean)
Earth - terran
Mars - martian
Jupiter - jovian
Saturn - saturnian
Uranus - uranian
Neptune - neptunian
Pluto - "Here, boy!"

Men are from Mars... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13987861)

This might finally help prove that women are actually from Venus.
- Anonymous Coward

The original Venus Express (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13987882)

MP3 [nvg.org] RA [nvg.org]
Between Lives Implants" lecture, SHSBC #317. 23 July 1963.
"Mary Sue gave the cue on this thing. She said, "Look at how hard they have to work to keep you from being OT!" Hey, now, that's quite a thought! Isn't that quite a thought? Hm? Now you look at this. You look at this, now. The complete idiocy of it. Somebody sits up on Venus -- there are probably some other stations around up in the system. This one's on Venus. I notice that we all believe that Venus has a methane atmosphere and is unlivable. I almost got run down by a freight locomotive the other day -- didn't look very uncivilized to me. I'm allergic to freight locomotives, they're always running into you." L. Ron Hubbard

Outlast (2, Interesting)

Barkley44 (919010) | more than 8 years ago | (#13987939)

Wonder if it will outlast it's planned life, like the mars rover.

Deja Vu (2, Funny)

ZB Mowrey (756269) | more than 8 years ago | (#13988006)

I guess as long as they're not planning to have the satellite return to Earth, it's all good. Remember, this is how Night of the Living Dead [imdb.com] all started.

The real reason for the Venus Express... (5, Funny)

aggressor-on (922876) | more than 8 years ago | (#13988113)

Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus... Its just an excuse to check out some hot Women!

Khazakstan ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13988257)

Is Borat [wikipedia.org] covering the launch ?

where is Kazakhstan (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13988349)

Is Kazakhstan in Europe?

This is COOL! no, wait this is HOT! (1)

digitaldc (879047) | more than 8 years ago | (#13988356)

If no women are found on Venus, the mission is a total failure.

Lift off, lifted off, lifts off ... (1)

dbmarshall (697063) | more than 8 years ago | (#13989780)

... there is no blast.
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