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Author Topic: EP353: Talking to the Enemy  (Read 9195 times)

CryptoMe

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Reply #25 on: August 07, 2012, 03:58:24 AM
I'm an engineer, and as a result I'm pretty skeptical when someone "invents" something that has never been made and it works completely perfectly the first time.

You mean like the Mars Science Laboratory sky-crane landing system?  ;)
http://www.nasa.gov/mp4/673828main_curiosity.mp4
Sorry, I couldn't resist.

I actually don't disagree with you, in principal, but that is not what I got out of the story. My take was that the MC was chosen because his job made his brain more maliable -something about getting reprogrammed on a daily basis or something like that. So, my assumption was that this was not just a "trial" with disposable test subjects, but a genuine attempt to solve their communication problems.



Max e^{i pi}

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Reply #26 on: August 07, 2012, 06:20:48 AM
I'm an engineer, and as a result I'm pretty skeptical when someone "invents" something that has never been made and it works completely perfectly the first time.

You mean like the Mars Science Laboratory sky-crane landing system?  ;)
http://www.nasa.gov/mp4/673828main_curiosity.mp4
Sorry, I couldn't resist.
That doesn't count.
They ran countless tests in the laboratories, had been building it for years, and undoubtedly ran into some serious hardware and software bugs along the way.

Cogito ergo surf - I think therefore I network

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CryptoMe

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Reply #27 on: August 07, 2012, 07:21:59 AM
I'm an engineer, and as a result I'm pretty skeptical when someone "invents" something that has never been made and it works completely perfectly the first time.

You mean like the Mars Science Laboratory sky-crane landing system?  ;)
http://www.nasa.gov/mp4/673828main_curiosity.mp4
Sorry, I couldn't resist.
That doesn't count.
They ran countless tests in the laboratories, had been building it for years, and undoubtedly ran into some serious hardware and software bugs along the way.

I'm sure they ran tonnes of tests and simulations, but the MSL landing was the first time it was tested under real-world conditions, since you can't simulate Mars atmosphere and gravity at the scale necessary in a lab. So, I think it was pretty spectacular that it worked the first time they tried it live.



Max e^{i pi}

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Reply #28 on: August 07, 2012, 08:22:40 AM
I'm an engineer, and as a result I'm pretty skeptical when someone "invents" something that has never been made and it works completely perfectly the first time.

You mean like the Mars Science Laboratory sky-crane landing system?  ;)
http://www.nasa.gov/mp4/673828main_curiosity.mp4
Sorry, I couldn't resist.
That doesn't count.
They ran countless tests in the laboratories, had been building it for years, and undoubtedly ran into some serious hardware and software bugs along the way.

I'm sure they ran tonnes of tests and simulations, but the MSL landing was the first time it was tested under real-world conditions, since you can't simulate Mars atmosphere and gravity at the scale necessary in a lab. So, I think it was pretty spectacular that it worked the first time they tried it live.
If you take into account several other landers that failed to land safely, several Mars orbiters that never made it out of our atmosphere, and the occasional mixup of imperial and metric units, then the track record is pretty bad.
Of course, an interplanetary sky-crane is still very impressive. No matter how you slice the data.

Cogito ergo surf - I think therefore I network

Registered Linux user #481826 Get Counted!



CryptoMe

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Reply #29 on: August 10, 2012, 07:41:56 AM
If you take into account several other landers that failed to land safely, several Mars orbiters that never made it out of our atmosphere, and the occasional mixup of imperial and metric units, then the track record is pretty bad.
Of course, an interplanetary sky-crane is still very impressive. No matter how you slice the data.

I will not argue that the Mars track record is pretty bad....
 
But none of the failed landers used sky-crane technology, so their failures were not a test of that particular landing system. MSL is the first time the sky-crane system is being used. To get that right the first time is some Awesome engineering.

Modified to fix typo
« Last Edit: October 16, 2012, 05:17:39 PM by CryptoMe »



Unblinking

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Reply #30 on: August 10, 2012, 02:13:04 PM
If you take into account several other landers that failed to land safely, several Mars orbiters that never made it out of our atmosphere, and the occasional mixup of imperial and metric units, then the track record is pretty bad.
Of course, an interplanetary sky-crane is still very impressive. No matter how you slice the data.

I will not argue that the Mars track record is pretty bad....
 
But none of the filed landers used sky-crane technology, so their failures were not a test of that particular landing system. MSL is the first time the sky-crane system is being used. To get that right the first time is some Awesome engineering.

It really is!  So it's certainly possible to have something work right out of the box if you understand the systems well enough and design it well.  But the reason everyone is making such a big deal about it is because it's a rarity.



Myrealana

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Reply #31 on: August 20, 2012, 01:48:43 PM

"You don't fix faith. Faith fixes you." - Shepherd Book


hardware

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Reply #32 on: October 15, 2012, 09:04:21 AM
This was what I would call a solid SF yarn. The world felt well thought out and was sufficiently 'other' to tickle my imagination in the right way (I could imagine reading a full-length book set there). The loss of language, although not the most original concept, was well handled, and I liked the open ending.