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Elementary School Kids Explore the Moon At Close Range42

sighted writes "The twin robotic spacecraft that make up the new GRAIL mission to map the moon's gravity include small cameras in addition to their primary scientific instruments. The first images from those cameras, as selected by school kids, were downlinked to Earth on March 20. 'MoonKAM is based on the premise that if your average picture is worth a thousand words, then a picture from lunar orbit may be worth a classroom full of engineering and science degrees,' said Maria Zuber, GRAIL mission principal investigator."
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Elementary School Kids Explore the Moon At Close Range

• Darn (Score:2, Funny)

by Anonymous Coward

Given the summary title, I was hoping that we'd actually sent some kids into lunar orbit... as an elementary school teacher, I know a few I wouldn't mind sending.

• A thousand words (Score:3, Funny)

on Thursday March 22, 2012 @07:56PM (#39446439)
Every time I see a picture is worth a thousand words I ask myself which takes up more disc space?
• Re: (Score:2, Funny)

A .txt document with 1000 random words gave me a 5.17 KB file. This value is an estimate since not all words are equal in the eyes of storage.

For comparison here is a 5.17 KB image: http://www.dreslough.com/main/bandw/cutedrg3.gif [dreslough.com].

I've always been a fan of my personal variant of the saying; "A picture is worth a thousand words, but a word can inspire a thousand pictures."

• Re: (Score:2)

Depends on the resolution, compression scheme and color depth of the picture, doesn't it? Certainly a small enough picture could take up the same space, but a decent sized photo is going to take more space than 1000 words, for sure.

• Re: (Score:2)

not to mention the potential compression of the text file...

• Looking at these pictures, 1000 words weighs more (Score:1)

These pictures are terrible. My phone takes better pictures than these.

• Re: (Score:1)

If a picture is 1000 words, a 30-minute video would be 1000x24x1800=43.2 million words. I dunno about disk space, but that's a LOT of shelf space.

• How they gettin' back? (Score:3, Funny)

by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 22, 2012 @08:02PM (#39446493)

Come on.

Everyone knows a kid or ten they'd like to put into lunar orbit.

• Can you see evidence of the moon landings... (Score:1)

To hush the anti-moon-landing conspiracists once and for all.
• The kids get to choose? (Score:1)

How many pictures are chosen because some kid "sees a bunny"?
• Yet another sensationalist headline (Score:2)

"if your average picture is worth a thousand words, then a picture from lunar orbit may be worth a classroom full of engineering and science degrees"

This is the dumbest thing I've heard in my life. And I don't say that lightly, this is, quite literally, the dumbest thing I have heard anyone say, ever.
• Re: (Score:2)

"This is the dumbest thing I've heard in my life. And I don't say that lightly, this is, quite literally, the dumbest thing I have heard anyone say, ever.

From which one is tempted to infer that you are:

* Deaf;
* Raised by wolves until yesterday, just got back to civilization;
* A space alien from a planet where people never say foolish things;
* All of the above

because the rest us hear things that dumb every day at least once.

rgb

• Surprisingly poor quality images (Score:1)

I don't get it.
Why spend \$375 million sending a camera to the moon only to return such poor quality images?

I looked a dozens of them, they all seem small, grainy, out of focus and black and white. (of course the moon being mostly grey might explain this last point)

Couldn't they afford a better camera? My smartphone would have done a better job.

• Re: (Score:2)

Couldn't they afford a better camera? My smartphone would have done a better job.

Can your smartphone stand the rigors of launch and lunar environment? Looks like you need to send something specifically designed for such difficult requirements.

Now that can't be cheap. And the camera is not the focus of the mission. It already adds pointless weight without giving any scientific results. Add to that how NASA's funding is being cut at every opportunity in all areas, I am shocked that the camera was included at all! So yes, I would imagine that they couldn't afford a better camera.

• Re: (Score:1)

Can your smartphone stand the rigors of launch and lunar environment?

Yes, in all probability.

The \$150 Edge-of-Space Camera: MIT Students Beat NASA On Beer-Money Budget.