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NASA Space Science

Marooned Off Vesta 55

mcgrew writes with this quote from an AP report: "After four years sailing through space, the Dawn spacecraft was expected to slip into orbit late Friday around a giant asteroid to begin a yearlong investigation into the origins of the solar system. It is the first of two scheduled tour stops for the NASA probe that almost never made it to the launch pad. Because of its stunted growth, Vesta holds 'a record of the earliest history of the solar system,' said the mission's lead scientist Christopher Russell of the University of California, Los Angeles." Dawn's mission homepage has all the information and pictures collected so far. On July 9th, it snapped our best look to date at the ~530-kilometer-wide Vesta, from 40,000 kilometers away. When it arrives, it will take observations from successively lower orbits, the final one being only 460km above Vesta's surface. Next May, Dawn will break orbit and head to Ceres. (mcgrew adds, "The submission's title is a nod to Isaac Asimov. Lets hope Dawn doesn't get marooned!")
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Marooned Off Vesta

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    I read it and thought "Oh sh*t!" (including the "*", I tend to censor my thoughts that way.)

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Why is it that an artist rendition done in the name of science is so poorly done? You get the impression that there are big chunks of rock floating every couple of miles/kilometeres in space. This is one reason why we can't get kids straight about science... and this is approved by the scientists!

  • by joelsherrill ( 132624 ) on Friday July 15, 2011 @04:33PM (#36779782) Homepage
    The pictures that are being shown like this one (http://dawn.jpl.nasa.gov/multimedia/dawn_vesta_image_070911.asp) are from the Framing Camera. It is using the free RTOS RTEMS (http://www.rtems.org) and using a space hardened SPARC V7. It was launched in September 2007. Congratulations to all the people involved!!
  • by RCC42 ( 1457439 ) on Friday July 15, 2011 @04:37PM (#36779826)

    Just in case anyone wanted to know 'Marooned off Vesta' was the title of Isaac Isamov's first published (short) story. As I remember it was fairly good.

  • Past Tense (Score:4, Insightful)

    by c++0xFF ( 1758032 ) on Friday July 15, 2011 @04:39PM (#36779856)

    The combination of the submission title and the quote being in past tense ("After four years sailing through space, the Dawn spacecraft was expected to slip into orbit late Friday around a giant asteroid...") made me think something went wrong!

    Here's hoping all goes well!

  • I've often thought that if I were an alien intent on long-term observation of the solar system, I'd plant myself on either Vesta or (more likely) Ceres due to abundant construction material and (on Ceres) ice to crack to fuel, just enough gravity well to keep things from floating off, and just far enough away that you don't have to worry about the savages until they (hopefully) grow up.

    Yeah I know, it would be one of those one in a million sort of things, but a nerd can dream.

    • by mcgrew ( 92797 ) *

      Not sure about the ample gravity, a 200 pound man would weight four pounds. A sneeze might be enough to escape its gravity. Ceres, otoh, would be better (Dawn visits Ceres next).;

  • Get into a spacesuit, walk to the water tanks and shoot them with a raygun. That will give you enough trust to land on Vesta. Gravity there isn't strong enough to crush a cookie. Here. Was it that hard, loserboy nerd? As soon as we make landfall, I'll shove your head down the last working toilet on the Silver Queen.
  • by cosm ( 1072588 ) <thecosm3.gmail@com> on Friday July 15, 2011 @05:22PM (#36780312)
    Karma Whoring: http://www.polvoestelar.com.mx/babilonia/Libros/Isaac%20Asimov/English/Short%20Stories/Isaac%20Asimov%20-%20The%20Best%20of%20Isaac%20Asimov.pdf [polvoestelar.com.mx]

    First story in the PDF. I'd never read it until today--great stuff.
    • by mcgrew ( 92797 ) *

      Whoa! I just DLed that and it looks legit. Is it legal or a pirate copy? Karma whore or not, somebody mod parent up!

      • by cosm ( 1072588 )
        Just came up on Google when I searched for filetype:pdf. I guess ICE should seize Google's servers now :). Like your sig BTW. Stranger in a Strange land is one of my favorites of all time.
        • by mcgrew ( 92797 ) *

          Our Fair City is a really funny short silly story (fantasy more than sci-fi) lampooning political corruption. It's in his collection 6xH. Haven't read Stranger in decades, someone borrowed my copy and I never got it back. Heinlein was another of my all-time favorites, although I think I enjoyed his stuff a lot more when I was young. Asimov's still my favorite, but these days Pratchett's my 2nd favorite even though I'm not really into fantasy; the guy's books are hilarious.

  • by mcgrew ( 92797 ) * on Friday July 15, 2011 @05:30PM (#36780382) Homepage Journal

    /. editors get a lot of flak (and I'm guilty myself sometimes), but I have to point out that the summary is far superior to what I submitted. Soulskill not only added relevant copy, but he also added all the links except the one to TFA. He did more work than I on it, and I'm pleased with what he did. Good job, sir!

    The nod to Asimov was for two reasons. First, I've been a rabid Asimov fan for half a century, and second, the Dawn spacecraft is man's first visit to Vesta, and Marooned off Vesta was Asimov's first published story.

    I see only 27 comments have been posted, and I hope the title isn't the reason for the lack of commentary, with people thinking it's some of my bad sci-fi [slashdot.org].

    • I was afraid something went wrong with the orbit injection and we lost Dawn. I was very relieved when I went to the mission homepage and found that was not the case. The title and the word, "expected," in the summary almost ruined my Friday.
    • There's nothing wrong with the headline, it's not your fault that a bunch of slashdotters failed their poetic license test.
  • I give you our million-dollar NASA probe we used to have!

    • by mcgrew ( 92797 ) *

      Um, you might want to read more than the headline before posting. Dawn is alive and well; the title was a nod to my favorite writer, a science fiction writer who was also a scientist (PhD in biochemistry, did cancer research and taught at Boston University before dying of AIDS).

      Dawn's next stop - Ceres! [wikipedia.org] (the second story Asimov wrote and the oldest still existing).

      • by Dr Fro ( 169927 )

        The last line in "Marooned off Vesta" is "I give you the year's supply of water we used to have."

Research is what I'm doing when I don't know what I'm doing. -- Wernher von Braun