Re: Launch Rails..Was:Re: Orbital Towers.

From: Spike Jones (
Date: Sun Apr 23 2000 - 21:44:12 MDT

> (Amara Graps: just learned that 1 nautical
> mile = 1852 meters, more strange units for us astronomers!)

GBurch wrote:

>Oh damn! So that's why I got the bends the last time I dived with my
>metric-thinking British friends? A meter IS ten feet, right? I mean,
>why they call it the metric system, right?

Ok now now you guys get to see why we 'muricans lose space
probes. {8-[

Just a couple comments on units please. The nautical mile is the
one non-metic unit that kinda makes sense. It is one arc minute
at the equator. Since you know that originally the meter was
proposed as one 10 millionth the distance from the pole to the
equator, take 1E7 then divide by 5400 minutes in a quarter of
a circle and you get 1852 meters per arc minute or nautical mile.
If you want to estimate your latitude, this is a handy bit of wisdom.
memorize the latitude of your favorite state line or landmark,
then you just estimate the distance north or south and you know
a nautical mile is a little over a statute mile or almost 2 km, so
a degree of latitude is close enough to 70 miles or about 110 km,
and so you can impress your friends by accurately estimating your
latitude that way.

Secondly, those of you who know we lost a Mars probe by a
little metric/english units goof, the final outcome of that was this:
the Lockheed Martin engineers were exonerated, for they delivered
exactly what they had contracted to deliver. It was NASAs
responsibility to convert the units, by contract. It was done
incorrectly, so we all lose. {8-[ spike

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