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Astronaut to Attempt Spacewalk Record

CmdrTaco posted more than 7 years ago | from the moonwalk-record-still-strong dept.

Space 116

MattSparkes writes "Two residents of the International Space Station will take a spacewalk tomorrow to try to jam a stuck antenna on a docked cargo ship back into place. The spacewalk will set a US record of over 65 hours spacewalk experience. During the spacewalk, the astronauts will "use a hammer and a chisel to try to pound the antenna into place". Precision engineering at its very best I'm sure you'll agree."

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A Hammer? (3, Funny)

Architect_sasyr (938685) | more than 7 years ago | (#18094914)

They're going to use a Hammer and a Chisel... I thought these pieces of equipment were highly delicate...

Apparantly they're more like IBM computers...

Re:A Hammer? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18094970)

well, at least it is not a hammer and a sickle, now that the MIR has gone the way of the dodo...

besides, it would be unamerican.

Re:A Hammer? (1)

badspyro (920162) | more than 7 years ago | (#18095674)

"Russian technology, American Tecnology, all come from same place. TIWAN!"
*hits engine and it starts*

Re:A Hammer? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18096912)

Damn right you better run away. I don't think anyone here cares that you insulted American or Russian technology. But your spelling mistake simply cannot stand!

Re:A Hammer? (1, Funny)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 7 years ago | (#18095318)

Well they cant be that delicate being in space where objects could hit them at hundreds of miles per hour. A persision hammer strike is probably nothing to it. (perhaps just enough to put the chizle in place.)

Re:A Hammer? (0, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18095510)

Better than a hammer and a sickle?

Re:A Hammer? (1)

sdpuppy (898535) | more than 7 years ago | (#18095756)

Hey those are the tools that I use to fix my computer - perfect when windows gives the blue screen of death

Re:A Hammer? (1)

vikenbauer (1066836) | more than 7 years ago | (#18095902)

Maybe they said "a Hummer".

Re:A Hammer? (1)

Phisbut (761268) | more than 7 years ago | (#18096198)

They're going to use a Hammer and a Chisel... I thought these pieces of equipment were highly delicate...

From what I understood of TFA, they're simply trying to get the antenna back into place before they can destroy the whole cargo ship by letting it burn in the atmosphere. Therefore, I guess they don't really care whether they break anything in the process.

Makes me wonder how much cheaper it really is to constantly build single-use cargo ships than to try and have them land intact and reuse the same ship more than once.

Re:A Hammer? (2, Interesting)

networkBoy (774728) | more than 7 years ago | (#18098080)

From what I understood of TFA, they're simply trying to get the antenna back into place before they can destroy the whole cargo ship by letting it burn in the atmosphere.
does anyone else think it odd that an antenna must be put back in place so it can burn up in the atmosphere? Reminds me about the guy on death row in California that got a heart transplant. Except at least I can see the astronauts wanting to get the "most spacewalking hours" record. I can't imagine the surgeon wanting the "most pointless and morally wasteful surgery ever"* award.
-nB

*While the merits of the death penalty are debatable, that's not the point. This guy failed his appeals and will be (was?) put to death. Giving him a heart that could save someone else not guilty of murdering another human is simply wrong.

Re:A Hammer? (1)

Phisbut (761268) | more than 7 years ago | (#18098620)

does anyone else think it odd that an antenna must be put back in place so it can burn up in the atmosphere?

My guess here is that they have a planned trajectory for the thing to burn up in space, but having an antenna stick out would change the wind resistance pattern, possibly making the ship go off course, with a slight risk that it would then crash in somebody's backyard instead.

Re:A Hammer? (1, Redundant)

fuse2k (1047490) | more than 7 years ago | (#18097442)

If this were a Soviet mission, they'd use a Hammer and Sickle

Re:A Hammer? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18099920)

I'm already a solid 30 posts in with no "IN SOVIET SPACE, HAMMER DRIVES YOU!"

Slashdot, what is up my friend?

Handy link for you (1)

p3d0 (42270) | more than 7 years ago | (#18098526)

Houston... (5, Funny)

Kalendraf (830012) | more than 7 years ago | (#18094938)

...we need a bigger hammer!

Please... (5, Funny)

FlyByPC (841016) | more than 7 years ago | (#18094998)

It's not a hammer.
It's a highly specialized kinetic-energy inertial impartion implement.

After all, it cost far more than a mere hammer...

Re:Please... (1)

karnal (22275) | more than 7 years ago | (#18095070)

Of course it costs more! It has to be radiation hardened! *groan*

Re:Please... (2)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 7 years ago | (#18095144)

Of course it costs more! It has to be radiation hardened! *groan*


      Not to mention the Inertialess Tethering Point and Coupling (ie a hole drilled in the handle and a bit of string, to tie it to the suit) and the Point Acceleration Minimization Device (velcro on the handle). Those technological leaps alone are worth at least $25k.

Re:Please... (1)

megastructure (1014587) | more than 7 years ago | (#18095602)

Seriously, now --

Can you really use a standard hammer in outer space? Won't our poor astronauts be flung back, courtesy of Newton Airlines?

We'll have to come up with some kind of double-reverse-action-hammer. Or, throw astronauts at the antenna until it gives in.

Re:Please... (1)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 7 years ago | (#18095870)

Can you really use a standard hammer in outer space? Won't our poor astronauts be flung back, courtesy of Newton Airlines?
the hammer is a much smaller mas than the astronout but yes hitting something will push them away and they will need to have some way to counter that (i'm guessing the ISS has handholds or something for this)

Re:Please... (3, Interesting)

Nf1nk (443791) | more than 7 years ago | (#18096384)

I know you are joking, but try to use a dead blow hammer sometime. its kind of creepy to have the hammer just sort of die on impact. It wouldn't surprise me if they were using dead blows for this job to minimize the bounceback.

Re:Please... (2)

bartyboy (99076) | more than 7 years ago | (#18095938)

After all, it cost far more than a mere hammer...

Of course it did - it's ambidextrous! Can't be sending left-handed hammers into space with right-handed astronauts...

Re:Please... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18096022)

You don't actually think they spend $20000 on a hammer, $30000 on a toilet seat do you?

Re:Please... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18096296)

It's a Russian component - it's just a hammer.

It better have cost more! (2, Insightful)

c6gunner (950153) | more than 7 years ago | (#18097842)

When you're paying about $20,000 to lift that hammer into orbit, I sure as hell hope that they'll splurge, instead of going for the $5 Walmart model. Ditto for their food. When each meal costs that much to lift to orbit, they may as well eat caviar, lobster, and Dom Perignon. The added cost is insignificant.

Re:Houston... (2, Funny)

MrFlibbs (945469) | more than 7 years ago | (#18095136)

This just reinforces an old mechanical engineering maxim:

      "If you have a large enough hammer, anything can be made to fit."

Re:Houston... (1)

Fishead (658061) | more than 7 years ago | (#18096642)

exactly.

That's how I got the CB antenna onto my 4X4! The inner fender had a funky little jog that prevented me from closing the hood if I just used a right angle mounting bracket.

All these comments about using a hammer on a space station makes me wonder how many people here (obviously not everyone) have ever worked on a car or anything.

I remember once working on a yacht with a price tag of about $65 million Euro's and seeing a tradesman use a hammer and chisel to cut a hole in the dash to fit my equipment. Once he got the leather back over it, cleaned up the mess and I dropped my panel in... everything looked appropriately bling.

Re:Houston... (1)

arivanov (12034) | more than 7 years ago | (#18096744)

me wonder how many people here (obviously not everyone) have ever worked on a car or anything

Been there, done that. The hammer is the easy bit. Especially if you have the right variety and size. Now, filling it, sanding it, painting it and polishing it are the parts that are really hard and are getting harder and harder as the car paints (and panels) get more advanced.

By the way, it is interesting what kind of hammer are they using (and what is the actual content of a space station toolkit).

Re:Houston... (1)

eclectro (227083) | more than 7 years ago | (#18095378)

...we need a porta-potty. oh...wait...

Hustin, we have a problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18094946)

And ... I'm hoping they have some kind of equally precise system for relieving themselves?

"Oh God! It burns! GET THAT TUBE FIXED I HAVE TO PEE GODDAMMIT!"

Re:Hustin, we have a problem (1)

ntufar (712060) | more than 7 years ago | (#18095010)

And ... I'm hoping they have some kind of equally precise system for relieving themselves?

We all know that hey wear diapers.

Re:Hustin, we have a problem (1)

Reverend528 (585549) | more than 7 years ago | (#18095306)

We all know that [t]hey wear diapers.

How do they dispose of the diapers afterwards? Do they send them out the airlock?

Re:Hustin, we have a problem (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18095350)

How do they dispose of the diapers afterwards? Do they send them out the airlock?

They send them to Uranus.

I'm so very sorry.

Re:Hustin, we have a problem (1)

whitehatlurker (867714) | more than 7 years ago | (#18099688)

Um. Put them on the Progress and toast them on re-entry? RTFA

Bah! (5, Funny)

Masa (74401) | more than 7 years ago | (#18094950)

64 hours should be enough for anyone.

Re:Bah! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18094994)

Well, it's total hours for one astronaut. The spacewalk described in the article is actually only 4 hours.

Get back to me when he does 65 hours in a week... (1)

mikelieman (35628) | more than 7 years ago | (#18095890)

THAT's an amount of work worth mentioning.

Re:Bah! (1)

Architect_sasyr (938685) | more than 7 years ago | (#18095086)

I am a being from the future who runs something commonly referred to as 98. I bid thee warning that your statement will one day proove to be incorrect. Yes, you may laugh now, but we shall see Mr G. we shall see...

Any more than that and he'll get a nasty rash... (1)

s-gen (890660) | more than 7 years ago | (#18095160)

Nappy or no nappy.

Yep, this one's gonna require a space diaper... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18096628)

Maybe even a double layer.

It's the Chisel part... (3, Funny)

kaysan (972266) | more than 7 years ago | (#18094964)

I can understand the practical applications of, and use for, packing a hammer aboard a space cargo flight, but i can't for the life of me imagine what they would do with a chisel?.. maybe they hid it inside of a cake?

Re:It's the Chisel part... (1)

Dr. Eggman (932300) | more than 7 years ago | (#18095128)

Dang it! We need to switch delivery companies! First they sent chainsaws to Mars, now chisels to the ISS.

Re:It's the Chisel part... (1)

ZOmegaZ (687142) | more than 7 years ago | (#18095650)

RTFA! The chisel is for installing antennas, n00b!

Canadian on crew? (-1, Flamebait)

zyl0x (987342) | more than 7 years ago | (#18094972)

Next thing we know, the whole station will be held together with duct tape.

Re:Canadian on crew? (1)

zyl0x (987342) | more than 7 years ago | (#18097294)

It's a joke. Laugh.

Re:Canadian on crew? (1)

GR8_GRM_RPR (1019770) | more than 7 years ago | (#18099284)

Next thing we know, the whole station will be held together with duct tape. "I'm already visualizing the duct tape over your mouth." "Errors have been made. Others will be blamed." We can't solve every simple problem with a hammer. Look what happened to the russian's sicle and hammer combo. Sliced oxygen lines and way too much vodka drifting near where MIR used to exist. Beware the American Chisel!

Kilroy was Here (1)

wooferhound (546132) | more than 7 years ago | (#18095022)

As long as I had the hammer and chisel
I would go ahead and carve my name in the side so other spacewalkers could see that I was there already.

Just A Hammer and Chisel? (5, Funny)

Zeek40 (1017978) | more than 7 years ago | (#18095034)

Did they forget about the BB gun, pepper spray, 6" knife and rubber tubing? Oh... Wrong astronaut...

Re:Just A Hammer and Chisel? (1)

MattSparkes (950531) | more than 7 years ago | (#18095076)

I knew that would be brought up eventually!

Wow great (1)

camila17pl (1066800) | more than 7 years ago | (#18095050)

i cant wait to see it, wonder if something new on nasa.gov

--------
Camila17
please visit http://radio.gsm-ok.pl/ [gsm-ok.pl]

What was that saying? (5, Funny)

Centurix (249778) | more than 7 years ago | (#18095052)

When all you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.

Imagine spending 65 hours playing whack-a-mole.

Re:What was that saying? (3, Funny)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 7 years ago | (#18095140)

The hammer in my house is helpfully labelled "Emergency Repair Procedure #1" in sharpie on the handle.

Re:What was that saying? (1)

Paulrothrock (685079) | more than 7 years ago | (#18095154)

Not just whack-a-mole, but whack-a-mole in microgravity.

Re:What was that saying? (2, Funny)

Centurix (249778) | more than 7 years ago | (#18095578)

haha, if I hadn't posted in here already this would've got a +1 funny. I get this picture of an eager astronaut waiting for the mole to appear, hitting it and flying away into orbit shouting "damn you Newton!"

Re:What was that saying? (1)

djasbestos (1035410) | more than 7 years ago | (#18096358)

This would be use of what my grandfather would call "finesse".

Replace Alpha Echo 35 unit prior to failure (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18095072)

Stuck Antenna? It's not the AE-35 unit that's failed, by any chance?

Re:Replace Alpha Echo 35 unit prior to failure (1)

FormOfActionBanana (966779) | more than 7 years ago | (#18095088)

That doesn't happen until later.

Spacewalk record? I'm unimpressed. (2, Funny)

EveryNickIsTaken (1054794) | more than 7 years ago | (#18095094)

Now if he was breaking the moonwalking record, that'd be more newsworthy.

Stop. (2, Funny)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 7 years ago | (#18095192)

Hammer Time.

LOL. nt (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18098488)

nt.

Re:Spacewalk record? I'm unimpressed. (1)

Chacham (981) | more than 7 years ago | (#18095232)

Now if he was breaking the moonwalking record, that'd be more newsworthy.

And here i thought Michael Jackson wasn't that popular anymore.

A US record? Yawn (5, Insightful)

Kell Bengal (711123) | more than 7 years ago | (#18095126)

Oh, a record for US astronaut spacewalks? Yawn. That Russian has 80+, you know? US triumphs are not so special as to be noteworthy compared to the superior exploits of other nations. This mind-set isn't new - I recall learning about the space race in grade school and god help you if you remembered who Yuri Gagarin was but forgot that first American guy in space, whoever he was.

Re:A US record? Yawn (1)

spazmolytic666 (549909) | more than 7 years ago | (#18095178)

In communist Russia, the space walks YOU!

Re:A US record? Yawn (1)

halivar (535827) | more than 7 years ago | (#18095250)

The next person to pull that one out is going to be taking a space-walk of their own.

Sans the suit.

Re:A US record? Yawn (0)

Phisbut (761268) | more than 7 years ago | (#18096228)

In Korea, only old people space-walk.

*ducks*

Re:A US record? Yawn (1)

connah0047 (850585) | more than 7 years ago | (#18097116)

In Korea, only old people space-walk.

In Soviet Russia, space walks on YOU!

Re:A US record? Yawn (2, Informative)

Chacham (981) | more than 7 years ago | (#18095260)

This mind-set isn't new - I recall learning about the space race in grade school and god help you if you remembered who Yuri Gagarin was but forgot that first American guy in space, whoever he was.

Of course. Because he went on to other things. His name was "Alan Shepard", which should ring a bell in most Americans. He also walked on the moon.

Re:A US record? Yawn (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 7 years ago | (#18095748)

US triumphs are not so special as to be noteworthy compared to the superior exploits of other nations.

Oh yeah? Well at least we knew to bring a chisel instead of a sickle!

Re:A US record? Yawn (4, Insightful)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 7 years ago | (#18095796)

Yes, because PR has absolutely no bearing whatsoever on the continuance of manned spaceflight.

You're right, the mind-set isn't new, sports records are also kept by country. In my high school, we even had state and local records! But God forbid that anyone else than America be chastised for it. I'm sure that my principal should have looked up the times of that Kenyan fellow who was faster than any of our track team.

Re:A US record? Yawn (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18095932)

Yeah, hey how about that Union of Soviet Socialist Republics!

Oh wait. . .

Never mind.

Re:A US record? Yawn (3, Funny)

GigG (887839) | more than 7 years ago | (#18095964)

Of course the Russians had more space walk experience. They had to keep in shape because there was always a pretty good chance they were going to have to walk home from the Mir.

Re:A US record? Yawn (1)

Kazrael (918535) | more than 7 years ago | (#18096542)

RTFA and you would see they mention him.

Lopez-Alegria has already spent more than 61 hours spacewalking during his astronaut career. This spacewalk, his 10th, should add about six more hours to his total - making him the US astronaut with the most spacewalks performed and the most total time spent walking in space. Only Russian cosmonaut Anatoly Solovyov has spent more time outside the hatch, racking up 82 hours of spacewalking time.

Re:A US record? Yawn (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18096660)

Some records are dubious.

You know, like record number of hours seated comfortably inside the spacecraft vs. record number of hours pounding things back into place.

Re:A US record? Yawn (1)

Ogive17 (691899) | more than 7 years ago | (#18097014)

If the article or summary had been mis-leading, then you would have a point. But it wasn't, so your "insightful" post is nothing more than a troll.

Life immitating Art. ( Armageddon (1998)) (2, Interesting)

arthurpaliden (939626) | more than 7 years ago | (#18095142)

When the Russian cosmonaught takes a hammer to the fuel systems saying "this is how we fix things in Russia". Or something to that effect.

Re:Life immitating Art. ( Armageddon (1998)) (1)

ThomsonsPier (988872) | more than 7 years ago | (#18097414)

One of my favourite quotes:

American components, Russian components. All made in Taiwan!

I know that hammer part SOUNDS funny.. (1)

jpellino (202698) | more than 7 years ago | (#18095230)

But you need to read up on the reality of fixing things to, from and on orbit and beyond - and the engineering that goes into a lot of it. Chariots for Apollo comes to mind, most of what happened on certain Gemini flights, lots of Skylab, and the ups and downs of cold and hot soaks to make things behave. So how do you make sure the radioactive thermocouple generators on board Galileo don't get cracked in manufacturing? They're plutonium ceramic encased in iridium - good luck x-raying that for defects.

Hammer Time (2, Insightful)

rodney dill (631059) | more than 7 years ago | (#18095296)

If it doesn't work, hit it with a Hammer.
If you break it, it didn't work anyway.
(usually as applied to delicate electronic equipment)

Alan Bean, Is that you? (1)

Ellis D. Tripp (755736) | more than 7 years ago | (#18095478)

Sounds like the technique used to try repairing the TV camera on Apollo 12.

Unfortunately, "percussive maintenance" was no match for a vidicon tube that got aimed into the sun...

Re:Hammer Time (1)

badspyro (920162) | more than 7 years ago | (#18095948)

Sticking magnets on the underside of an ipod works well with hdd faliures too... (for a month or two)

Hammer and chisel... (1)

192939495969798999 (58312) | more than 7 years ago | (#18095334)

We call that "percussive maintenance" (i.e. hit computer to fix).

remember before use that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18095342)

in Soviet Russian space stations hammers did use you!!!

well... (3, Informative)

jemminger (914046) | more than 7 years ago | (#18095660)

if anyone actually RTFA, you'd know that the ship with the faulty antenna is a trash barge that's going to burn up in the atmosphere as soon as they can hammer the antenna out of the way, or cut it off. i'm sure they wouldn't try to fix the ISS's communications antennae with a hammer and chisel.

Re:well... (1)

Valar (167606) | more than 7 years ago | (#18097074)

Bravo. I'm glad someone finally said something sensible in this discussion. I'm tired of all of the backseat-astronauts who don't know anything about the mission but go on and on about the million dollar space hammer or how the mission would have been better performed by the private sector (nevermind the total lack of manned orbital ability in the private sector). Look, if you don't work at NASA, in the manned flight group, you don't know the full details of the mission. Therefore, you should question whether things are really as absurd or simple as they seem (note-- I didn't say not criticize NASA; just re-evaluate whether you can really make worthwhile suggestions with your limited knowledge of the subject). This is quadrupley true is you don't even read the whole article.

Not what it sounds like (2, Informative)

slasho81 (455509) | more than 7 years ago | (#18095708)

It's not a continuous spacewalk record. And it's also not an accumulative spacewalk record. From the article:

Lopez-Alegria has already spent more than 61 hours spacewalking during his astronaut career. This spacewalk, his 10th, should add about six more hours to his total - making him the US astronaut with the most spacewalks performed and the most total time spent walking in space. Only Russian cosmonaut Anatoly Solovyov has spent more time outside the hatch, racking up 82 hours of spacewalking time.

Like the old saying goes (1)

giminy (94188) | more than 7 years ago | (#18095710)

When the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem starts to look like a nail. Or some such.

Related metalworking question- (2, Interesting)

mikeasu (1025283) | more than 7 years ago | (#18095736)

I'm not a metalworker, so I'll ask a stupid question here...

If you're chiselling a piece of metal, aren't pieces of the metal going to flake off? I'm just thinking of the orbiting debris issue - would the specks be too small to worry about?

Re:Related metalworking question- (2, Insightful)

multipartmixed (163409) | more than 7 years ago | (#18097624)

That depends on how you use the chisel.

If you use it to flake bits of metal off, then yes, there will be flakes. But chances are, they're just going to use the chisel as an impromtu guillotine to cut through the antenna legs. Chiselling away at them would serve no purpose.

Over kill (5, Funny)

GigG (887839) | more than 7 years ago | (#18095892)

The chisel is over kill. You only need to tools in aerospace. A hammer and a roll of duct tape. If it moves and it isn't supposed to use the duct tape, if it doesn't move and is supposed to use the hammer.

Re:Over kill (1)

slim-t (578136) | more than 7 years ago | (#18096128)

I've had problems with duct tape sticking at low temperatures (trying to cover a broken car window with plastic in a Minnesota winter). Doubt it would be much use in space.

Re:Over kill (1)

GigG (887839) | more than 7 years ago | (#18096832)

Well you are obviously using the wrong kind of duct tape.

http://www.octanecreative.com/ducttape/NASA/ [octanecreative.com]

It's no secret that duct tape is an important tool to the NASA program. In fact, a roll goes up on every flight that leaves the launchpad. Good thing, too... Duct Tape has actually saved lives and equipment in space.

It's not the size of the hammer.. (1)

Higman (83293) | more than 7 years ago | (#18096464)

..it's the fact that it's been to space.

Forget hammers! (1)

21st Century Peon (812997) | more than 7 years ago | (#18096596)

He needs the astronaut's best friend - the inanimate carbon rod! [wikipedia.org]

But what about the walking? (1)

Dasupalouie (1038538) | more than 7 years ago | (#18096858)

How can you walk in space? I am sure they don't have star trek boots on...

It's a trap! (1)

KlaymenDK (713149) | more than 7 years ago | (#18097006)

Whoa there, Dave, hold on a minute!

I once read about an American astronaut going outside his spacecraft to fix an antenna alignment problem, something happened and he didn't come back in again. I seem to recall some other stuff happened, too. I think they even made a movie about it.

When was that, anyway? About six years ago?

Re:It's a trap! (1)

rarel (697734) | more than 7 years ago | (#18097878)

Gemini IV had an issue at the end of the spacewalk but everything was fine. I think I recall reading that the astronaut inside was worried that he may have to leave his companion outside for reentry, but I'm not sure that's true.

Re:It's a trap! (1)

KlaymenDK (713149) | more than 7 years ago | (#18099752)

Gemini? Oh come on! :-P I'm referring to Clarke's Odyssey .........

(Note to self: Must hone Slashdot joking skills.)

Raspberry! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18097386)

... to try to jam a stuck antenna on a docked cargo ship back into place.


... Raspberry! There's only one man who would dare give me the raspberry.

(pulls down mask)

LONE STARR!!!

Brute Force... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18098242)

Brute force and ignorance will overcome engineering and planning every time.

Precision Engineering Indeed (1)

susano_otter (123650) | more than 7 years ago | (#18099674)

Precision engineering at its very best I'm sure you'll agree."

Actually, engineering a system to support a human operator allows for a much wider range of choices when it comes to solving problems. Engineering an automated system that accurately forsaw every possible failure mode would be prohibitively expensive to begin with, would proceed from there to introduce an increasing number of problem-solving subsystems that would bring their own vast array of possible failure modes in a cascading chain of prohibitive expenses, and end with the realization that predicting all possible failure modes is actually impossible anyway.

On the other hand, putting human ingenuity and adaptability right there at the scene is not only much cheaper in comparison, but it also provides capability for solving unexpected problems on the fly.

This spacewalk is actually in keeping with the finest traditions of aerospace engineering--the tradition of recognizing when "precision" engineering is a bad idea, and choosing an imprecise but adaptable engineering solution instead.
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