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Rev. John Zuhlsdorf, a scrappy blogger popular with the Catholic right.
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[T]he even more mainline Catholic Fr. Z. blog.
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Sadly, it is true our space program is being destroyed. Once the talent NASA had assembled
is dispersed, it will take decades to reconstruct.
I’m proud to be Canadian. What with our inventing the space arm, and now this, we’re pretty cool.
Btw: I also found it amusing their tape of choice was Tuck Tape. I’ved used it for many autobody repairs and was amazed at its durability. The fact it can survive outer space, leaves me to firmly believe it is the ultimate all-purpose heavy duty utility tape.
I think the journalist needs a minor refresher in science: He said that neither teen intends to go into a science field? I hope he knows that airplanes don’t fly without scientific principles hard at work!
Our middle sons, ages 9 & 11, will love sharing this with the other boys on their Lego Robotics team!
Yes, very cool. However, this was first done a few years ago by someone else; the really new part of this launch seems to be the Lego man. And folks, you might want to check with the FAA before sending one of these up; it wouldn’t do for your experiment to float into the path of a jetliner.
I have mixed feelings about “Pres. Obama is destroying America’s space program.” My heart hates to see an end to the American manned space program, but my head says that we should concentrate on unmanned probes and set manned exploration aside until we have some idea what we’d be doing with it.
Let’s face it: the shuttle was a colossal disappointment. It was able to fix the Hubble, true, but it’s hard to think of anything else useful that it did. From the very beginning its “successes” tended to consist mostly of taking one underrepresented group after another into low Earth orbit, then bringing them back. Thus the highlight of the Challenger’s last launch was supposed to be “the first teacher in space”, and one of the highlights of the last Columbia missions (after most people had stopped watching) was the first Israeli in space. Such “records” begin to sound like “the first person with a Danish mother and a Serbian father to drive a yellow VW bug down the Pennsylvania Turnpike” — Neil Armstrong’s first steps on the Moon this ain’t.
Right now we’ve got a larger, slightly more sophisticated version of Mir. It’s not really clear if it can do anything Mir could not do.
How about building a base on the Moon, like Newt suggests? This would be both cooler and more expensive than the ISS, but again, what would we be doing there? Does it really make any more sense to build a colony on the Moon than to build a colony on the bottom of Lake Michigan? At least at the bottom of Lake Michigan you’d have all the water you’d need, it wouldn’t be as expensive, you’d be closer to help in case of an emergency, and you wouldn’t need to worry about a coronal mass ejection killing off the whole colony.
Mars? One day! But not soon. We need to understand the planet better, and that means more robotic missions. Also, it would probably cost at least $1 trillion, which is money we don’t have now.
It just goes to prove that space exploration needn’t be expensive and that you can get Lego men to do a lot of the dangerous stuff. I think we could learn a lot about how to run our affairs from Lego men. The trains are always on time and the police are not corrupt.
ContraMundum – – –
Yes, something like this was done a while back by a young man and his father in the United States. Their device, however, ran out of memory and did not record the landing and it sounds like the Canadian device did. The Canadian device may have been more sophisticated.
I remember clearly that with the previous U.S. flight the boy and his father contacted all (and there were many) agencies and received the necessary permissions and clearances including Air Traffic Control.
With the Canadian mission, I have not so far heard that there was any such attempt to receive the necessary permissions and clearances. Perhaps there is a more detailed news report that will fill in the missing information.
I wish both Canadian young men success in their endeavors.
I watched the local newscast about this and indeed they said they checked with all the proper authorities before launching. They had to calculate where it might possibly land.
Was on all the National news stations that day!
Was a great story to hear about and watch!
I think space exploration will come back 1.) in the private sector, and 2.) when the government is uncomfortable enough about the Chinese progress in this area. We wouldn’t have gotten to the moon in such a hurry if we weren’t afraid of the Soviets beating us and having an advantage in technology and bragging rights.
Glad to know they had the proper clearances. What a great project!
This story is rather common in recent years. Amateur radio/high altitude ballooning groups (some just father/son or school teams) have a long record of similar experiments, including one six weeks ago that traveled 6236 miles from California to the Mediteranian Sea at altitudes above 111,000 feet while sending a beacon signal copied by radio amateurs along the way. See:
A clearing house for such events is at http://www.arhab.org which indicates a new flight is scheduled for 11 February 2012 from Kansas City.
Wooooo! Score another one for Canada. Hey Fr. Z., can you add the tags “canada” and “Toronto” to the article too? Thanks.
so what will that lego man go for on e-bay do you think?
This is so cool. Thanks. And, I have two brothers out of three who are scientists. Both have had cuts because of Obama. One is now, because of POTUS cuts dropped from his research position at a university, creating a museum about telescopes. Here is the website. http://www.iowaspacescience.org/
The reason why the Erector Set is on the first page as that is how these men got interested in such things as kids. The other brother, a solid-state physicist, part of the team which developed the skin of the shuttle so that it would not burn up in re-entry, does not know whether his job is secure. I have strong feelings about the loss of our science research in the States. Does anyone care?
A lego story. When my son was five, I came into his room and there were thousands of legos on the floor. I said in my mummy tone, “You need to pick up your legos.” Young son replied, “What legos? These aren’t legos. This is a project.”
Legos and projects are very good things.
My sons were wondering why they didn’t use a Lego man in a spacesuit (which is available). My nine year old would like to try this but unfortunately with prevailing winds the weather balloon would only need to travel less than a few hundred yards and an it would be out over the open Atlantic.
I agree that space tourism will be around for decades. On the other hand, that’s something on par with the multiple assaults on Mt. Everest every year. I don’t think much for the public good will come of it; it will just be a very expensive way for the very rich to risk their lives.
China may make it to the moon, but they’ll have to pick up the pace to do it. The demographic inversion from their one-child policy will put the hurt on their economy sooner or later, and then they’ll find it too expensive, too.
I’m a physics professor, so yes, I obviously care about science. The ironic thing is that we are doing some of the best planetary science EVER right now. We still have the Opportunity rover on the surface of Mars and several probes in orbit; MESSENGER is in orbit around Mercury and giving us our first view of the whole planet; the Dawn mission is orbiting the large asteroid Vesta; Cassini is still bringing back information about Saturn and its moons; Juno is on its way to Jupiter; and the New Horizons probe is on its way to Pluto. Besides that we are detecting scads of planets around other stars, and we’re getting closer to the objective of finding Earth-like planets in Earth-like orbits around Sun-like stars. This is a golden age for astronomy!
I’m just skeptical of the proper role of manned space flight in this. The shuttle allowed us to fix the Hubble, yes, but it also caused a re-design of the Hubble to a smaller aperture; more importantly, it’s outrageously expensive to send up a whole shuttle and crew if all you want to do is launch satellites. We could (but we wouldn’t) have used the money to build a whole new Hubble when the first one was out of focus. We already know (from Mir) about how long a human can last in zero-g, and what it does to his system when he’s in orbit that long. Manned space flight is taking money away from the science projects.
That’s why the space shuttle specialized in carrying the first [American woman, black man, octogenarian, citizen of country X] into space. There have got to be better ways to “inspire our children”. Seriously, how many people know that ONLY ONCE have human beings descended into the Challenger Deep — in 1960?
I hope your brothers find good work. More disturbing to me than what’s happening to NASA is the fact that American industry is not investing in research. Ford had a metallurgy department a decade ago — it makes sense, after all, when you’re building engine blocks and automobile frames. No more; it’s gone.
I had a cousin at NASA as well. As to closing departments, that has a knock-on effect, as you know. Much of the money for research, such as at the Synchrotron Labs, see here-http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Synchrotron in the past came from the government. Why such research is not supported is, I think, part of the larger political policy of dumbing down education on purpose, one of my themes in writing for the last twenty years. POTUS has just popularized what has been happening for a long time-discourage the intelligent ones, encourage most to become dependent on the State. My brother who also works with his doctoral students has said over and over that the Asian students work harder and are more intelligent than the ones from the States. This is all part of the dumbing down of our society through years of the erosion of the educational system. Little lego man above is a symbol of a dying generation of thinkers who do research, as at least one of those young men does not want to do as an “entrepreneur”
I tried my own experiment the other day. I put my great-nephew’s tiny rollerblades on and tried to show him how to skate, in the house.
I confirmed Einstein’s theory because E=Mc squared.
The energy created by my mass hitting the floor was huge, especially because of the speed of descent. Some of the energy was lost when both my bum and the back of my head met the hardwood floor, which did offer quite a bit of resistance. For all I felt, the energy may have dissipated into my 160 year-old house foundation, cracking it even further, but this is speculation. We’ll find out at the next rain.
Conclusion: A 55 year-old putting on tiny skates will lead to minor headaches for a few weeks, due to the velocity of descent. It is recommended that one only rollerblade outdoors, due to slickness (and density) of hardwood flooring, which seemed to surpass prior experiments on concrete.
Some may doubt the veracity of this experiment, but I assure you, it is all too true. Onward Science!
In human history, there are many of us who consider the greatest achievement to be the lunar landings. In the entire history of any intelligent species on any planet, there will be only one time that species first leaves its planet and lands on another body. If the human race on Earth survives for the next four billion years, the first such event for this planet will remain the 20 July 1969 Apollo 11 landing.
I agree that since then, manned space flight has been far less substantial in advancement of science, though the Shuttle was useful in ways seldom remembered for the placement of intelligence/surveillance and other military-use satellites. In the late Cold War, that was of no small value.
With respect to ocean exploration, there’s a reason that there has been only one manned descent to the Challenger Deep, 52 years ago. The deep ocean environment is far more challenging to manned vehicles than the space environment. At the Challenger Deep, the pressure differential between outside and inside the vessel is almost 16,000 pounds per square inch (psi). At the depths that a large naval submarine routinely operates, the differential is about 500 psi. In a manned space craft, the pressure differential is less than 15 psi. The oceans will always be more difficult to explore in detail than space.