Archive for March 21st, 2011

Totally Rad


Things be looking good…

Spacecraft Data Confirm MESSENGER Orbit and Operation

Data from its first three days in orbit about Mercury have confirmed the initial assessment of the spacecraft team that MESSENGER is in its intended orbit and operating nominally.

“The team is relieved that things have gone so well, but they remain busy as they continue to configure the spacecraft for orbital operations and monitor its health and safety in the new environment,” says MESSENGER Project Manager Peter Bedini, of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Md.

Today the navigation team delivered an orbit determination that will span MESSENGER’s first four weeks in orbit. Starting on March 23, 2011, the team will begin commissioning the science instruments. That day the Energetic Particle and Plasma Spectrometer, Magnetometer, Mercury Atmospheric and Surface Composition Spectrometer, Mercury Laser Altimeter, Neutron Spectrometer, and X-Ray Spectrometer will be turned on.

Interesting ground track – it’s a high-inclination highly elliptical orbit that seems to have it’s major axis sort of parallel to the equatorial plane so I guess it looks right.  I guess I expected more dwell at one pole over the other but that would seem to be counter to the stated goal, wouldn’t it?.

XKCD has a great diagram to compare relative radiation doses.

Everything I’ve heard from folks says that the Sievert isn’t really a good measure for acute doses but you gotta start comparing apples to orangutans at some point, right?   It’s a guideline or rather, an illustrative guide.

It’s also been fuzzed to prove to the venerable XKCD God (Randall) that I don’t want to blatantly steal a whole body of work.  It’s enough to whet your appetite.  Go here for the original over at XKCD.  (h/t to The Dude)


Oh, bra-VO, you idiots.

Now, if it were an enemy sniper and one of our snipers got the guy before he could kill some of our soldiers, I can see it.  But, assuming that these are actually innocent civilians… the idea of killing innocent civilians and posing with them goes beyond the pale, and a long cruel sentence is warranted.

Why?  Because if this is true, the people who already want to kill us won’t want to kill us any worse, but it sure swells the ranks.  If it’s true, I can’t see as how I would blame the muslim world for being angry.

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