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NASA Mission to Our Nearest Star

02/28/2017 10:26 AM

NASA is sending a probe to our nearest star.

Now this looks like an enormous engineering challenge.

And now for the obligatory musical reference:

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#1

Re: NASA mission to our nearest star

02/28/2017 10:56 AM

Haha, is Pink Floyd really that necessary?

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#2
In reply to #1

Re: NASA mission to our nearest star

02/28/2017 11:33 AM

...the Floyd..and yes.

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#5
In reply to #1

Re: NASA mission to our nearest star

02/28/2017 10:05 PM

Pink Floyd is always necessary. In fact, they wrote one just for you.

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#9
In reply to #5

Re: NASA mission to our nearest star

03/01/2017 11:47 AM

Seems like when you are spending a night on a roman catholic cathedral. Psychedelic and haunting.

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#11
In reply to #5

Re: NASA mission to our nearest star

03/01/2017 12:15 PM

I would rather listen to Ronan, your neighbor.

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#3

Re: NASA mission to our nearest star

02/28/2017 11:46 AM

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#4

Re: NASA mission to our nearest star

02/28/2017 12:27 PM

Thanks...appreciated the Pink Floyd--never heard that one before.

"We don't need no education / We don't need no thought control..."

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#6
In reply to #4

Re: NASA mission to our nearest star

03/01/2017 9:46 AM

...so (to those notes~ "...we don't need no thought control..."):

"...you_don't_need_no_MSN-BC"....(?)

<Mika Brzezinski>

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#7

Re: NASA Mission to Our Nearest Star

03/01/2017 11:07 AM

Can't wait to see what actually comes of this.....

"One recent study by the National Academy of Sciences estimated that without advance warning a Huge solar event could cause two trillion dollars in damage in the US alone, and the eastern seaboard of the US could be without power for a year."

Hmmmm.... so, what is the NEW definition of "Huge"... restricting it to, *what* level...? {not 2.7T, or 3T; "perhaps-maybe" 2 trillion; "at best"...(?)}

"In order to unlock the mysteries of the corona, ... we will send Solar Probe Plus to touch the sun."

So, they've finally unlocked the key to producing Urani-Tung-Bestos...?

"Solar Probe Plus will provide new data on solar activity and make critical contributions to our ability to forecast major space-weather events that impact life on Earth."

Hmmmm.... so, in spite of the fact that we cannot YET (with any absolute certain-accuracy) "predict" earthquake activity or volcanic activity here on earth... we will suddenly be "enabled" to predict a major event on our roiling, boiling, fulminating sun (@ 86% of a million-mile-diameter), eh...?

Dad was certainly right (decades ago), when he informed me that "in order to be a good engineer, one must FIRST succeed at good salesmanship".

Apparently, the same is just as certainly true for 'scientists'.... <wink>

Cad won't even render the "scale_diameter" of earth, here, at 1au ... the vertical (red) line {off the sun, at left} indicates the (4M mi) fly-by distance. At least we should get a realistic measurement of the solar-wind, "up close and personal"...

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#8
In reply to #7

Re: NASA Mission to Our Nearest Star

03/01/2017 11:38 AM

The proton stream of a coronal mass ejection at a velocity of ~2000 MPH will be far slower traversing the ~93,000,000 mile distance than the telemetry signal saying one has happened. Thus an early warning will be possible.

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#10
In reply to #8

Re: NASA Mission to Our Nearest Star

03/01/2017 11:47 AM

"My mistake" ... I thought the <craft> being sent was just a "probe", not a satellite being placed to send us an early-warning signal of future "ejection-events"...(my bad).

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#12
In reply to #10

Re: NASA Mission to Our Nearest Star

03/01/2017 12:46 PM

AFAIK It will hopefully do both.

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#13
In reply to #7

Re: NASA Mission to Our Nearest Star

03/01/2017 2:32 PM

Solar flares and CMEs are closely tied to poorly-understood magnetic reconnection events in the Sun's atmosphere, and so studying these up-close (or as close as we can safely get) will greatly contribute to our understanding of how the mechanism works.

And yes, we can't predict earthquake and volcanic activity with absolute certainly and so, in that same vein, would you argue against monitoring seismic activity because our predictions aren't spot-on? As in "We don't know how so let's not learn"?

The anti-science attitudes I've seen on here lately are absolutely astounding.

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#14
In reply to #13

Re: NASA Mission to Our Nearest Star

03/01/2017 3:58 PM

shame-on-you ... do NOT "put words in my mouth" ... (!)

As I opened:

"Can't wait to see what actually comes of this....."

I truly can't...!

On that same token, I do (humbly) pray that we aren't borrowing 80 gazillion dollars against our great-great-great-great grandchildren's futures to pay for a project that has been "overly-fluffed-up" (in importance, except to those making a payday from it)... only to learn what "common-sense-shoulda told us"...{as, I think...}

I believe as most do, that learning what we can from seismic monitoring, etc, might very likely prove "useful" one day. Heck!, I'd be happy to leave one of my Raspberry Pi/ Arduino combos hooked-up and "On" 24/7, à la "SETI Network" ((if somebody else pays the internet connection, which I do not have!))

There is a limit to "how deep my pockets go", in their willingness to fund any-and-all such ventures, "no questions asked". The United States, last I checked, had NOT yet deteriorated from a Republic, to a democracy, to a socialist state, to a communist "give us your money, your land and your children; you may keep the rest" state.

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#16
In reply to #14

Re: NASA Mission to Our Nearest Star

03/01/2017 4:18 PM

Hablahh, Hablahh, Hablahh. [Please do not take this alliusion to Seinfeld, the
Spanish language, and Dracula personally]

Think about it. "Science" is a virtually or even actually a religion now--refer to the post "Will Graphene Save Us?" et.al;.

The fact of the matter is: Proponents can sell the deluded masses all the propaganda, veiled in the comfort of scientific progress, they WANT to. Will it be a profitable venture? Proven techniques in advertising, and deductive reasoning pertaining to "social" interaction on website such as Twitter and Facebook, tends to lead one to the conclusion--Yes. You can feed the Eloi whatever....they'll eat it up---depends on whether it gets enough "likes" or, oppositionally, attracts a flock of "haters."

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#18
In reply to #14

Re: NASA Mission to Our Nearest Star

03/01/2017 4:57 PM

NASA's budget for 2016 was $19.3 billion. That looks like a lot of money, and it is, but let's put it into perspective, say, against few other things Americans spend money on.

Pizza, for instance: In 2016 Americans spent $32 billion just on pizza.

Americans spend a lot of money on some pretty ridiculous things. Consider:

Annually, Americans spend about $89 billion on tobacco products and another $97 billion on alcohol.

$313 billion is spent each year in America for treatment of tobacco and alcohol related medical problems.

Likewise, people in the US spent about $64 billion on illegal drugs, and $114 billion for health-related care of drug use.

Americans spend roughly $587 billion a year on gambling.

Total discretionary expenditure? 1 trillion 296 billion dollars.

NASA's budget meanwhile? Less than 1.5% of this figure. Less than two pennies for every dollar spent on pizza, booze, tobacco, illegal drugs, gambling, and health-related consequences.

Yet these people diss NASA for spending too much on 'worthless' endeavours like space exploration, calling it "a waste of money." If that isn't the very epitome of stoopid, I don't know what is.

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#15
In reply to #7

Re: NASA Mission to Our Nearest Star

03/01/2017 4:04 PM

The bigger question is, irregardless (regardless) of the magnitude of a solar event, what would be the steps taken to prevent a cataclysmic collapse of the electronic infrastructure. I assume they are referring to an EMP.

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#17
In reply to #15

Re: NASA Mission to Our Nearest Star

03/01/2017 4:49 PM

I'll admit to "some uncertainty", as to any similarities that might exist between a major (i.e, "huge") solar event and an EMP (/HEMP).

I have read thru a number of pages/sites over the past few years, and, it seems that much remains in the realm of "speculation", and, much is based on "good theory", but (effects in specific areas) still "depend on" a number of factors.

Given the (few) fundamentals from Maxwell with which I am relatively 'comfortable', it seems to make sense that large-scale equipments ("grid") might *certainly* suffer severely... while tiny electronics (unplugged/turned "off") might suffer no harm whatsoever...(?)

Too bad we didn't have a better/more intricate and thorough "test-plan" set-up in order to document those potential effects, during Starfish Prime (<wiki, and YouTube)

If anybody knows "The_Definitive_Exhaustive_Reference" on same, please post...

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#19
In reply to #17

Re: NASA Mission to Our Nearest Star

03/02/2017 1:16 AM

Interesting. I guess as long as their personal devices still operate, the public would be unconcerned. Why would there be a difference between large and small scale devices, however?

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#20
In reply to #19

Re: NASA Mission to Our Nearest Star

03/02/2017 1:52 AM

Solar flares and CMEs (coronal mass ejections) can have a huge impact on Earth's magnetic field, compressing it and causing it to change shape.

Now, when you mix rapidly-changing geomagnetic fields with tens of thousands of kilometres of transmission lines, they act like a giant transformer, inducing large currents to flow in the lines and in the ground, tripping subsystem breakers, blowing transformers, and so forth. Radio communications are also disrupted, satellites can be damaged to the point where some go completely offline. This has happened several times over the last few decades. The one in 1989 was pretty bad, but it wasn't the worst.

In 1859 there was a so-called Carrington Event, a monster CME and resulting major geomagnetic storm. The Sun was actually noticeably brighter for a short time as a result of the ejected mass. Overloaded telegraph wires caught on fire or burned through completely, along with equipment in telegraph stations. Operators received electric shocks, some quite severe. Some batteries powering the telegraph exploded. One telegraph operator reported that batteries weren't even necessary - the current induced in the wires from the storm was sufficient to power the system. Wire fences arced, starting brush fires. The solar storm of 2012 was of similar magnitude, but it passed Earth's orbit without striking the planet. Had it struck, the damage would mount in the hundreds of billions worldwide, maybe trillions.

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