I like the fact that, in Minecraft, kids take basic rules and do things the game’s authors never envisoned.
Take a look at this article in The Atlantic Monthly where, a 46-year-old father who is anti everything online tries the game to see what attracts his son to it. As you might expect, it surprises him:
Can it be true that in Minecraft, to apply a line of Philip Larkin’s, how we live measures our own nature? An octopus’s garden, a whirling hall of knives … Choose, minecrafter. Build. It’s all you. My son, to my astonishment, is building an international airport. Me, I’ve killed a couple of cows.
Apparently, the decision has been made at NASA that supersonic heavy load parachutes just won’t work. So instead, a rocket to Mars will enter the Mars atmosphere at supersonic speeds using the shockwave from a blasting “retro” rocket to plow through the air instead of the old fashioned heat shield (“retro” here meaning opposite the direction of travel, not old fashioned)
Given this decision it’s interesting that SpaceX’s last booster reentry intentionally started it’s reentry burn high to simulate supersonic reentry burn conditions in the Mars atmosphere. And NASA mobilized special thermal cameras to record this experiment (that otherwise would’ve cost NASA hundreds of millions to test/simulate)
Development of Supersonic Retro-Propulsion for Future Mars Entry, Descent, and Landing Systems (PDF)
And a video at:
Supersonic Retropropulsion (wind tunnel) Test, Mach 4.6 Schlieren Video (youtube)
I like saying “Supersonic Retro-Propulsion”
This TED talk actually sounds sort of reasonable. Ie., not cold fusion. I like the sound name of the company: “General Fusion”.