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University of Sao Paulo targets the Moon for 2020

Wednesday, November 30th 2016 - 11:08 UTC
Full article 17 comments

According to a project announced Tuesday by the University of São Paulo, Brazil plans to launch its first mission to the moon in December 2020 with a nanosatellite to orbit the star to the effects of the space environment on different life forms. Read full article


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  • ChrisR

    They need to get the terminology correct about the Moon, it's a satellite, NOT a star!

    Or is this yet another jibber-jabber (Portuguese based) error?

    So basically they are attempting to put a titchy-tiny satellite in orbit around a bigger satellite that has already had man walking on the surface?

    WTF for? Because it's there or it's the silly season in Brazil?

    Nov 30th, 2016 - 06:41 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • DemonTree

    @ ChrisR
    There have been a lot of errors lately, but I don't think the two words are similar in Portuguese so I doubt it's that.

    As for why, why do we do any kind of exploration or science? Because we hope to learn something new, and possibly useful. It would be so cool if we can find life on other planets; it might be totally different to ours. And if there isn't perhaps we can put it there. The solar system contains loads of useful resources, and we really ought to get off this planet before we blow ourselves up.

    Besides that, it's good for science in Brazil and hopefully will inspire some children.

    Nov 30th, 2016 - 08:31 pm - Link - Report abuse +2
  • Jack Bauer

    Saying the moon is a star is not correct....however, as far as the Portuguese language (original language of the article) is concerned, with regards to astrology ('astronomia'), they use the word “astro” to designate any celestial body orbiting in space..the sun, the moon, the planets....and stars...and the common translation for 'star' can be 'astro' in Portuguese....and vice-versa. Hence the confusion.

    Nov 30th, 2016 - 11:29 pm - Link - Report abuse +3
  • DemonTree

    Ah, that makes sense, especially since it was probably translated by a Spanish speaker. I don't think there is such a word in English, other than what you said 'celestial body', which would sound weird.

    Nov 30th, 2016 - 11:56 pm - Link - Report abuse +1
  • ChrisR

    Both of you.

    So, as I thought, it's the language that cannot cope with the reality.

    DT! You told me, in response to me saying science needs to be done in English (or perhaps German) to prevent confusion due to the multiple meanings for each word that it was perhaps easier to understand science in Jibber-jabber, yet here we are! Are you actually a scientist and do you hold a scientific degree such as mathematics, electronic engineering, electrical engineering, physics or anything?

    (FYI) I am presently doing a degree in Astro-physics by distance learning from MIT for a way to keep my brain functioning. Perhaps you could try it, it's fun and you get to Skype young people who are enthused with science.

    Children in Brazil, it seems to me, need a house (a proper one) with potable water, safe electricity, safe food to eat, clean clothes and a good EDUCATION.

    I think there is only one meaningful use for this effort and that is the Nano technology for industrial applications. I bet they haven't managed that yet and it is something that would make a real difference to people.

    I make a little bet as to the outcome. Even if they manage to get the thing in orbit around the moon it won't function.

    Dec 01st, 2016 - 11:32 am - Link - Report abuse -1
  • DemonTree

    @ ChrisR
    How does a translation error show the language cannot cope with reality? Portuguese does have different words for satellite and star, I just looked them up. It just also has a word that covers both. Not sure why that is supposed to be bad thing.

    Words in English have multiple meanings, especially those used in science, which often have an everyday meaning distinct from their more specialised meaning when used in a scientific context.

    Just look at all the idiots in the US proclaiming that 'Evolution is just a theory', because they don't understand what a theory is in science. In physics there is accelerate, attraction, power, mass, relativity, conservation, indeterminacy, describing weather patterns as 'chaotic', or 'climate', which most people think is the same thing as weather

    In maths differentiate and integrate, normalise, positive feedback. Compare 'organic' in chemistry vs in a super market. 'Drug' in medicine vs normal usage. And common terms like estimate, model, proof, scale, sensitivity, significant, trial, 'uncertainty' on a graph vs its normal meaning

    And I didn't say science is easier to understand in Spanish than in English. I said in Spanish it's easier to read about science compared to, say, reading a novel, because of the number of similar words. Obviously this is only true for certain areas though.

    Also I'm pretty sure the nanosatellite has nothing to do with nanotechnology. It sounds like it's just a very small and cheap satellite with the job of communicating outsourced to a 'mothership'. It's only supposed to cost US$10.3 and they are planning to try to raise money privately to cover some of the cost. Besides, more R&D is generally good for a country and pays for itself in the long term.

    What are you covering in your degree at the moment? Mine was in Maths and Physics but I don't work in that area so I am afraid I have forgotten a lot.

    Dec 01st, 2016 - 12:59 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • ChrisR

    @ DT

    You must have heard of nano aluminium, it is used as a carrier in deodorant sprays? :o)

    At present we are looking at the effect gravity has on the distant universe and what it might mean for the future of mankind.

    I had to do physics 101 because of not having any educational records in the US. That was so funny when it came to ballistics! The prof brought a 0.22rf lr bolt action single shot rifle into the lecture theatre in order to demonstrate simple ballistics (none of the real world forces such as drag, corollas effect, offset climb or drop due to the rifling on the bullet and the rotational speed were addressed).

    Gravity was of course the main component occurring on the system. Starting with measuring the mean bullet velocity over the 30 yard range on the stage of the theatre then gave way to calculating the bullet drop due to the time it took to travel the same range.

    The technician then mounted the rifle on a zeroing rest and fitted a bullet detector on the tip of the muzzle to provide the 'start' signal. A frame was placed across the range at the 30 yard distance, the cross bar of which was well above the bullet path.

    Then the prof dropped the bombshell: he announced that he had a monkey whose job it would be to 'catch' the bullet as it dropped across the trajectory. The monkey would be wearing a circular brass breastplate to stop it getting hurt by the bullet.

    The audience consisted of mainly young people split equally more or males and females. The females were deadly quite and then the furore started. You could hear “stop him, call the security” and it was chaos.

    The prof then walked on carrying the monkey complete with breastplate. A stunned silence ensued: it was a STUFFED MONKEY!

    Anyway the rifle went 'bang' and the monkey fell and the bullet struck dead centre to the plate.

    I was PMSL at all the girls crying! I don't think he did that demo again. :o)

    Dec 01st, 2016 - 07:12 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • DemonTree

    @ ChrisR
    Do you mean the current theory that the accelerating expansion of the universe will eventually make distant galaxies unreachable and unviewable as they pass over the 'event horizon'? And I think there is a possibility the universe will end in a 'big rip' as everything, including atoms, is torn apart by the expansion?

    You won't be surprised to hear that we never had any demonstrations that dramatic in my lectures. I'm pretty sure we'd already covered that stuff at A level anyway. If we had though, I'm sure no one would have believed for a moment that the Lecturer would bring in a real monkey. Was this in Uruguay or something recorded in the US that you watched? Actually you said 30 yards so I'm guessing US, although you'd think even Americans would prefer to use SI units for physics.

    Dec 01st, 2016 - 09:20 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • ChrisR

    @ DT

    My bad: it was a toy stuffed monkey and looked more like a teddy bear. :o(

    It was a videotape of Physics 101 at MIT (the one in Massachusetts :o) )

    The girls had already started organizing a protest, don't forget they were about 18 / 19 and probably the first time they had left home.

    The yanks were still working in feet back in 2012, like they do now for ballistics.

    Dec 02nd, 2016 - 10:55 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • ElaineB

    Just a general warning. This is an infamous video available to anyone online. It also has a reputation for carrying trojan horses.

    Since it is so infamous and been around for so long one would question that there were 'screaming girls' and protests about it. Maybe, I will check with friends who attended MIT in recent years.

    Dec 02nd, 2016 - 01:38 pm - Link - Report abuse -2
  • ChrisR

    @ EB

    You don't understand MIT, that much is clear from the nonsense about the video.

    It isn't a video by some of your idiot friends studying film and photography, it's part of the course for distance learning, in this case for Physics 101 and was available from 2011 onwards.

    Ask your 'professionals', if they are as good as you with the internet the result will be hilarious.

    I see your hatred is still burning. Keep taking the Prozac.

    Dec 02nd, 2016 - 06:24 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • ElaineB


    I was warning people about this very well-known virus-carrying video available to anyone who knows how to use a search engine. You don't have to join a course to view it.

    I know MIT and Harvard well. Have you been to either of them?

    I don't hate you at all. Pity is the word I would choose.

    In general:

    MIT distance learning courses don't carry any value beyond exercising the brain a little. Many universities offer such courses and anyone can sign up. There is no qualification needed to do so for the courses that carry no accreditation or certification. If a course requires educational qualification and the student studied overseas it is simply a matter of submitting the qualification for verification and equivalency confirmation. It is a simple process.

    Dec 02nd, 2016 - 06:50 pm - Link - Report abuse -3
  • DemonTree

    I found an example on YouTube, hopefully trojan free. It wasn't a rifle though, but a golf ball gun, and it was done in an empty lecture theatre. Using a rifle sounds more than a tad dangerous to me.

    The monkey was mounted on a pole and the gun pointed at it, and then the monkey is dropped at the same moment the gun is fired. The golf ball hits the monkey as it is falling, irrespective of the speed it is fired or the actual distances involved (or of g, but obviously they couldn't change that!) I did the calculation - which showed me how rusty I am :( - and it does work out.

    I think the easiest way to understand it intuitively is to realise that if there was no gravity, the ball would obviously hit the monkey, since the gun is pointing at it. With gravity turned on, both are acted on by the same force of acceleration, producing the same vertical displacement on each relative to the no-gravity scenario, so the ball still hits the monkey.

    I never saw it before anyway; I do remember a video where one golf ball is fired horizontally from a gun and another one dropped, and they both move downwards at the same speed, demonstrating that the vertical movement is the same for the both, independent of the horizontal motion. That is a much simpler demonstration than the monkey shooting.

    Dec 02nd, 2016 - 07:44 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • RICO

    So why are the Brazilians firing a monkey to the moon again. And what will it eat when it gets there, most monkeys can't digest cheese.

    Dec 03rd, 2016 - 10:33 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • ChrisR

    @ PLEB
    “don't carry any value beyond exercising the brain a little.”

    Ha, ha! A little, now that IS funny.

    Try doing an MIT Physics 101 then, all the way through the work book and ALL the elements (subjects), not just reading the front page.

    But you won't, will you?

    'Reading' the pictures in 'Film Journal International' is about your limit I would imagine.

    Dec 03rd, 2016 - 12:52 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • ElaineB

    @ DT

    QED. He is still name-calling and insulting.

    Dec 03rd, 2016 - 01:00 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • DemonTree

    @ ChrisR
    You said yourself you're only doing it to keep your brain functioning, and it's not like you need the qualification. What course is it? It must be listed on their website.

    Judging by what you described so far, and the way education works differently in the US, I'd guess MIT Physics 101 would correspond to A-Level topics in the UK. So it's not going to be impossible for anyone, although I'm sure no one would dedicate the time to do it unless they were interested.

    It's a shame that most people are so scared of technical subjects really; I remember back when I was a student, people would ask what my degree was and look at me like I had two heads when I told them. Then they'd quickly change the subject.

    It's a pity as well that no one is interested in the nanosatellites. Apparently any satellite under 10 kg is considered a nano, they are much cheaper than traditional ones, and they could be quite revolutionary when it comes to Earth imaging. They don't take as high resolution images, but because you can launch lots of them at once, you get updates much faster. This could be especially useful for things like disaster relief during earthquakes and hurricanes.

    Dec 03rd, 2016 - 06:09 pm - Link - Report abuse +2

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