DailyDirt: Space Shuttle Stories

from the urls-we-dig-up dept

For some people, NASA's Space Shuttle program was almost a complete boondoggle. The shuttles never fully lived up to their original promises, and they were far more expensive than planned. But the design of a reusable space plane captures the imagination in a way that an acorn-shaped capsule doesn't. Here are just a few stories about the Space Shuttle that you might have missed. By the way, StumbleUpon can also recommend some good Techdirt articles, too.


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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 12th, 2012 @ 6:21pm

    cockroaches and worms will outlive us all

    It's a wonder that higher organisms have evolved at all when worms and insects seem to be virtually un-kill-able. let's flood MArs with worms and insects to terreform that planet for us.

     

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      LDoBe (profile), Jun 12th, 2012 @ 8:27pm

      Re: cockroaches and worms will outlive us all

      There's actually an ongoing ethical debate about terraforming.

      Basically, since we really don't whether there is life of some kind on Mars, we may have an ethical obligation to prevent any kind of biological contamination to the planet, since it might destroy native microbes. And while there has been no evidence of extant life found on Mars, it's foolish to assume there isn't any, since we haven't looked at even 1% of the planet. And even if it does turn out there's no life on Mars at all now, there might have been in the past, and there might be inestimably valuable remains left on the planet that could be damaged irreparably by earth biology.

      The long and the short of it is: We don't know what might happen if we contaminate Mars, so our best option is to not do anything biologically to the planet until we have a much more complete picture of the planet.

      Besides, we've f**ked up the planet we live on pretty badly. Why would we do any better with Mars?

       

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    Wally (profile), Jun 12th, 2012 @ 8:13pm

    RAM

    One of the least known facts about the shuttle's entire computer system ran on 1 Megabyte of RAM.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jun 12th, 2012 @ 8:19pm

      Re: RAM

      Damn, I guess no Crisis on the trip to orbit.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Jun 13th, 2012 @ 5:55am

      Re: RAM

      One of the least known facts about the shuttle's entire computer system ran on 1 Megabyte of RAM.

      Boondoggle, indeed!

      Microsoft could learn a thing or two from NASA software engineers apparently.

       

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      Violated (profile), Jun 13th, 2012 @ 10:37am

      Re: RAM

      Yes and all their computer systems used to launch these Shuttles on the ground were designed and installed back in the 60s. They never once updated these ancient computers when it would have been vastly too expensive.

      Those computer went at the same time the Shuttles did. Compare that to modern launches using laptops or the latest touch-screen.

       

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        Wally (profile), Jun 13th, 2012 @ 1:29pm

        Re: Re: RAM

        If I recall, the specific type was magnetic core memory so the flight computer could track where they were in case of an emergency where it got shut off :-)

         

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