[Marxism] capital and the new gold (ice) rush
schaffer at optonline.net
Mon Oct 10 12:08:36 MDT 2005
Les Schaffer wrote:
> The Big Melt
> As Polar Ice Turns to Water, Dreams of Treasure Abound
and now this:
Published in Nature online: 10 October 2005; | doi:10.1038/news051010-3
CryoSat mission lost
Rocket failure dumps ice-monitoring satellite into Arctic Ocean.
A European Space Agency satellite that was designed to measure receding
ice at the Earth's poles was destroyed shortly after it launched on 8
October, due to an unusual launch rocket malfunction.
Scientists hoped that CryoSat, which cost euro dollar135 million (US$160
million), would be able to measure the thickness of polar ice to within
a few centimetres. This would give scientists their first
three-dimensional view of the extent of ice loss at the poles. But two
hours after the launch from the Plesetsk spaceport in northern Russia,
mission controllers had failed to make scheduled contact with the probe.
A first look at data from the flight has revealed that the fault
occurred because of a missing computer command in the onboard launch
system. The main engines in the second section of the three-stage rocket
continued to burn until they had completely run out of fuel, rather than
cutting out so that the third stage could be released and carry the
probe into orbit.
CryoSat was launched on top of a converted Russian SS-19
intercontinental ballistic missile. Formerly part of the USSR's nuclear
arsenal, these missiles have been retooled as Rockot launch vehicles to
loft satellites into space by the company Eurockot Launch Services GmbH.
The system has previously delivered 15 satellites into orbit with no
Volker Liebig, ESA's Director of Earth Observation Programmes, notes
that a 'clone' of CryoSat should be less expensive than the original. He
estimates it might take another three years to rebuild.
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