Engineers who designed the lander did not know what type of terrain they would find on the comet's surface. It is outfitted with twin harpoons laced with tethers that will be fired into the comet's surface to anchor Philae and keep it from bouncing back into space after touchdown.
In a bad Syfy movie, the Comet would be a living organism, and the harpoons would start it on a rampage to destroy those who attacked it.
Slightly off the topic above, but the idea that's been kicked around about exploring/mining asteroids or comets seems a bit far fetched to me. Accelerating to meet the target is hard enough, but these things usually have orbits that will take them out for many decades or longer. Wouldn't it take a huge amount of energy to change that orbit to get back home in any reasonable time frame? At best you might arrange a very short visit while it is close to the sun, but any visit long enough to do actual mining work just seems impractical. Has this been suggested by any serious scientists, or is this just pipe dream talk by politicians?
Asteroid orbits are all over, most in the belt between Mars & Jupiter. We usually only hear about the eccentric ones that cross Earth's orbit.
To Move an Asteroid would take Solar Sails and/or a mass driver. The solar sails can also be used to mine the rock, but the technology to make giant structures out of flimsy materials in Space is still in it's infancy.
With a Mass Driver you land on the rock, with a mining setup and start chewing it up and spitting it out, fast, for rocket propulsion. There's some environmental issues. If you throw pebbles, it's a giant machine gun. If you throw vapor, you have to consider it condensing into little spheres. You have to consider the trajectory of your exhaust. If you're heating rock to plasma and heaving it at above System escape velocity, you don't have to worry about it after it clears inhabited space.
There will be Traffic Control issues.
But.... one "typical" Nickel Iron rock can supply the planet with it's steel needs for quite a while. Once you start mining going you can close Terrestrial mines. No more strip mining for Iron. Eventually you move a lot of heavy industry into space and that cleans up the planet.
At least that's the Utopian idea.
It might not work, but it's be fun to try. I think we should start with solar power sats.
The big question is what do we need?
Gold? Sure, tons of it, for industrial purposes. Fissionables? (Uranium/Thorium) Sure, but Breeder tech can really stretch the easily available stuff for a while. Helium 3? Possibly. Energy? Yeah, that's the big need in the early 21st century. Energy independent of drilling holes and strip mining coal.
Moon mining, Asteroid mining, Solar power, a safe place to do stupid things, all possible.
All well and good about the benefits of mining asteroids. The problem is getting there and back. Typically we sling shot craft with the gravity of planets, often the earth itself, next time around the sun. It takes a very long time to get ANYWHERE. Anything else take enormous energy. Solar sails take forever to accelerate. I could be wrong, but I don't think they can reverse to slow down or come back. Keep in mind too, we are talking about moving heavy mining equipment. The return trip is even worse, with a heavy payload of materials. The energy requirements just seem ridiculous. The time involves seems ridiculous too, so you would be forced into pure robotics. I suppose that might be possible in years to come, but we are talking about some pretty smart robots to be able to do everything needed. Direct control is out of the question as close to us as Mars because of the delay. Even worse farther out in space.
The robotics, no doubt can eventually be worked out. The energy requirements just seem daunting though. Chemical rockets seem out of the question. Nuclear would violate current treaties, and I think there's good reason not to risk a huge nuclear accident in out atmosphere. I know there is a plasma drive of some sort, but last I heard was pretty low thrust, and still needs fuel, but much less than chemical rockets. I just wonder if the math really works out on all of this.
Check out the Atomic Rocket site. Lot's of good tech data.
They get into the reasons it might never happen, too.
Bulk mining of Asteroids has to be for really costly stuff. Thorium for example. Fuel costs to bring it back are high, but Ore doesn't rot so slow cheap orbits are fine. What difference does it make if it takes 5 years if the shipments come weekly? Bringing one back to, say, Lunar orbit may be better for some stuff.
In Situ processing may be the way to go after we've built the infrastructure. Lots and lots of mirrors for solar power. Melt the darn things and spin process them.
It's Daunting, sure, but as reasonable as moving whole mountains. We do that all the time.
You have to start somewhere, and Orbital stuff & Luna come first.
My suggestion for Asteroid mining stock is it probably won't make you rich. Your grandkids, maybe. Picking the winners this far in advance is hard. Buy Halide, you are golden, ( until the market crashed ) Buy Consolidated pickle, you lose. ( never heard of them either. just made 'em up )
There's also a Science fiction cliché that you don't want to be on the first interstellar ship. When it gets there the later, faster ships will have beaten you.
Orion is the only system that could be used to deflect asteroids that could be built in a reasonable time frame.
I'd have a prototype in a secret hanger, just in case.
As a warship, it's relative immunity to attack is impressive. "we fired 5 nuclear missiles at the Americanskis! 3 melted and the other 2 just slowed it down.. Now it's hovering over Murmansk! Hello.... hello....?"
Pity the bomb pumped laser program got dropped, as using bomb pumped lasers for propulsion would make for wicked special effects.
The downside on Orion is launching it on main drive from the surface means you can't look at it with being blinded. From quite a ways out. And downrange. So the solid fuel throw aways look like the best option.
What's amazing is that significant information on the project is still classified after 50 years. IIRC, the book intimates they developed things like hand grenade sized nucs as a part of the project. I'm with you on hoping they have at least one in a secret hangar some place.
Hughlysses, Great Book. Freeman Dyson, see last Monday, is quite the Genius, as is Ted Taylor and the rest of the Orion Project crew. ( Taylor once lit his cigarette with a nuclear bomb py putting it in a flashlight reflector. )
I can just see the Secret Hanger now, under an abandoned Drive In Theater. ( where they hid the "Prometheus" in Stargate SG-1 )
Best use of an Orion Drive ship in Fiction I've seen is in "Footfall" by Niven & Pournelle.
Sifo that is what the testimony before Congress showed. 1934, the warmest year on record keeps getting colder.
As to what you do? I'm going with telling the truth, often, always, and I won't be shut up by those who call me a neo-nazi.
When they finally openly tithe me for this religion I will refuse to pay and make a fuss. In court. So far they have been smart and the taxes are buried. But they are bold and Obama is a lame duck with "flexibility" so it's only a matter of time before you get a carbon footprint bill.
'There are times such as today when we can have snow even in a globally warmed world,' said Gavin Schmidt, deputy director of NASA's Goddard Institute of Space Studies in New York.
'But the long term trends are not going to disappear ... Quite frankly people have a very short memory when it comes to climate and weather.' Those longer trends show the world has seen "fairly dramatic warming" since the 1960s with "a smaller rate of warming over the last decade or so," said Thomas Karl, director of NOAA's National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C.
Well, let me tell the folks in charge of making Muslims feel better about their contributions to science, that the planet is damn cooler than it was in the year 1000 Anno Domini. The trend is unmistakable, and the tiny amount of warming he insists on is lost in the noise of the lies his Muslim Outreach center spouts.
See Sifo's link above.
About NASA's new job. I feel the Smithsonian would be a much better choice than NASA for this job. Why? Because the Smithsonian specializes in History, and it's important to see that The Muslim Contributions To Science ended in the 13th Century when the Mullahs complained that people had strayed from the One True Path, and dragged the entire culture back to the 8th Century, where it belonged. And still is, to this day.
Despite 600 years of stagnation and decay, it's worth noting the great contributions that the Northern African Islamic Culture gave the world.
There were some fine alchemists, that did good work. The Arab traders brought Europe the "Arabic" number system, and higher mathematics which revolutionized architecture, surveying and everything else that need precision and rapid calculations. Just try and do your taxes with Roman numbers. Seriously, try, I'd love to see the IRS computers and agents heads explode. Roman math is tedious.
The Arab traders also brought us a wealth of astronomical data, both from Observations of the Heavens, and the terminology to describe the universe around us. "Azimuth" for example, is Arabic. A lot of the Astronomy terms are Arabic. ( Just as most of the terms used to describe Armor are French.. like Greave. ( the shin guard ) Which terminology in part the French took from the Arabs. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greave )
The Chemistry, with practical applications, and the Heavenly Observations are due to hard working Arab scientists over many years of hard work. Far in advance of Europe.
The math and concepts of things like Azimuth, were carried to Africa from India, where they originated centuries before, but it was Arabs that brought them to the Europeans in their Dark Age after the Fall of Rome.
After the Europeans kicked them out of Western Europe. And couldn't figure out a fraction of the books and paperwork left behind.
Remember when you look at some picture from an Indian Slum, that India had higher math, Astronomy, "Arabic" numbers, and architecture that still astonishes engineers to this day. When my Northern European ancestors didn't have freaking Chimneys to let the smoke out of the dark and drafty house. In the more advanced lands, like England, Wattle & Daub was the high point of homebuilding technology.
p.s. I also love to annoy folk by using Anno Domini A.D. instead of Common Era C.E. dating because C.E. is the same freaking calender with the same numbers and the serial numbers were filed off by people that are way too easily offended. So screw them.
If you're too stupid to come up with a better calender than the Gregorian, I refuse to let you deny it's origins because Sky Gods scare you. Grow up.
The shift to a cleaner energy economy won’t happen overnight, and it will require tough choices along the way. But the debate is settled. Climate change is a fact.
I marvel at the skill and artistry behind the Prez's speech. My opinion on the rest of his campaign speech, I will not bore you with.
But please observe that, factually, taken out of any political context, each of the above sentences is true. Climate change is indeed a fact. The "debate" is settled as the Pravda has been "determined", and debate is not relevant to truth. And yes indeed, it will be a bitch transitioning from stored solar in fossil fuels to renewable energy.
IMHO, as with the rest of the speech, the rationalization is preprogrammed and rote.
"climate" is the excuse for the tax. Period. Tax = power. Prepare for the Carbon Pollution tax.
At the turn of the century, climatologist Dr. Don Easterbrook issued his own offbeat prediction. “[I]n 1999 … the PDO [Pacific Decadol Oscillation, a natural cycle that fluctuates between warm and cold phases] said we're due for a climate change,” he explained to CNSNews, “and so I said okay. It looks as though we're going to be entering a period of about three decades or so of global cooling.” Indeed, data reveals his prognostication was correct. “We have now had 17 years with no global warming and my original prediction was right so far,” Easterbrook points out. “For the next 20 years, I predict global cooling of about 3/10ths of a degree Fahrenheit.” And that's not necessarily a good thing: “Cold is way worse for humanity than warm is,” he correctly adds. So as alarmists continue with ostentatious rants about nonexistent warming, just remember that what we're actually seeing was foreseen long ago by someone with facts on their side.
The decision on whether to permit the construction of the Keystone XL crude oil pipeline is a political one and not one of that is scientific in nature, according to former US Energy Sec. Steven Chu.
Speaking at a news conference in Port of Spain Chu said, “I don’t have a position on whether the Keystone Pipeline should be built. That is for the secretary of State and the president. But I will say that the decision on whether the construction should happen was a political one and not a scientific one.”
Chu then told OGJ that he wanted to expand his statement to say that the studies commissioned by the administration were, in fact, scientific. Late last week, the US State Department said in its long-awaited final supplemental environmental impact statement that the 1,700-mile proposed construction and operations of the Keystone XL line would not have significant environmental impacts (OGJ Online, Feb. 2, 2014).
Chu said, “The entire statement should include that the studies looking into what are the long-term effects are in fact scientific and that is the only scientific part of the decision.”
The White House chief of staff is correct in that Obama will try and insulate his political decision from politics. I'm not sure what that really means, but my take is the Prez is going to use it to get what he wants. ( for the last 6 years that's been the case for everything else, why would it change now? )
Since Obama is on record saying your energy costs will skyrocket, I'm not betting the pipeline will get approved, ever.
Remember, you are supposed to live a more natural life, to save the Earth. If energy is more expensive, you will use less.
Your life will be less free. You will be poorer. Your taxes will rise. And you may lose your job. Win-win across the board for Obama.
If energy demand drops, there will be new taxes to prop up the companies that sell you energy. ( with the usual 78% of those taxes going to the collectors of the tax and the bureaucracy that gives it to the oil companies ) On top of the taxes you will pay to save the planet from the energy you use to heat or cool your home, and the energy you use to get to work, or the unemployment office.
Like the National Lampoon oil company ads used to say... "At Monolithic, we want you to....pay".