Has ten more moons, for a new total of seventy nine. I’m old enough to remember when there were only four.
A weekly link roundup from Judith Curry.
I saw an interesting postulation on Twitter that the reason the dinosaurs could grow so large was that there was less gravity during the Mesozoic. My response:
All I know is that, if earth’s gravity was really less for the dinosaurs, it’s one less excuse for them to have not had a space program that could have prevented them being wiped out.
— Rand Simberg (@Rand_Simberg) July 4, 2018
An appeals court is compelling the University of Arizona to (finally) release them.
The sixth anniversary of the blog post that launched Michael Mann’s lawsuit against me and Mark Steyn is coming up next week.
We expected this yesterday, but here it is:
Following an Independent Review Board report on the James Webb Space Telescope project, NASA has announced a further delay to the telescope’s anticipated launch. Coming just three months after a year-long delay to 2020, NASA now says the telescope will not be ready to launch until 2021 at the earliest and that the project will breach its $8.8 billion USD cost cap.
The cited mismanagement at NG and NASA is just staggering. The new overrun is about the amount that it was supposed to cost, in total, originally. What a programmatic disaster.
I hereby rename JWST the Jeebus Wept Sunkcost Trap
— SafeNotAnOption (@SafeNotAnOption) June 27, 2018
[Update after noon]
Here’s the story from Jeff Foust.
[Update a while later]
This can never be allowed to happen again…. The good news is that it does not have to. On Orbit Assembly transcends the limitations around building a big telescope on the ground, shaking the hell out of it for 10 minutes, then deploying it autonomously without fail. https://t.co/lPmq4UgdVi
— Dennis Wingo (@wingod) June 27, 2018
Here‘s Marina Koren’s take:
A wiring error caused workers to apply too much voltage to the spacecraft’s pressure transducers, severely damaging them. And during an acoustics test, which examines whether hardware can survive the loud sounds of launch, the fasteners designed to hold the sun shield together came loose. The incident scattered 70 bolts, and engineers scrambled to find them. They’re still looking for a few. “We’re really close to finding every one of the pieces,” Zerbuchen said.
These three errors alone resulted in a schedule delay of about 1.5 years and $600 million, Young said.
I think that’s about Northrop Grumman’s annual net income. If I were NASA, I’d tell them that if they ever want another NASA contract, they’ll eat it themselves.
[Update a while later]
Alex Witze has more, over at Nature.
For people interested in non-terrestrial life, this should be a higher priority than Europa. It’s farther away, but a much more benign radiation environment.
An interesting paper at Judith Curry’s site (which is a go-to place for people following the climate follies).
Once again, for the record, I find literally incredible the notion that we have either the understanding of the physical interactions or the computer power to predict future climate with any useful confidence.
A new paper assessing spaceflight mortality. Not sure how useful it is, given the admitted paucity of data.
[Update a few minutes later]
When a Mars simulation goes wrong. Yes, we have a lot to learn before we go to other planets, and even then, people will die, often in terrible ways. Part of the answer is that we have to be more ambitious about how many we send. Six simply isn’t enough.
Tanya Harrison has the story. As always, a reminder that people who want to settle Mars should hope that we don’t find life there.