Crashing moon probes, lost croc hunters and bouncing bombs

And we find out where our Da is

Letters Europe's first ever mission to the moon came to a smashing end on Sunday (bad punning, we know) as the mission scientists deliberately crashed the probe into the lunar surface. That's all very well, you said, but where are all the pictures?

Is it just me or has there been a distinct lack of sexy visual imagery? Where's the footage from the onboard cam as the probe plunges towards the moon at 5000 mph? Where's the realtime shots from ground-based telescopes that were supposed to have such a wonderful view of the event?

What the hell was Hubble doing?

ESA has made loud noises about what a great time all their boffins have been having at tax payers expense, and how successful the mission has been, yet we haven't seen so much as a blurry polaroid of the whole event.

Accuse me of dumbing down if you will, but the American's would have had a full colour panoramic on the NASA website within the hour, and stunning video sequences to loop endlessly on News 24 an hour later. Hardcore science is all very well, but if we're to interest a new generation in the subject, we need the WOW factor.


Colin, you've hit on one of our particular whinges about UK and European space exploration. The science is fascinating, the images (if you can find them) are often terrific, but where is the glitz? ESA presentations tend to be long on thanking bureaucrats and sponsors, but short on the fun stuff. Who knows why? Answers on a postcard, please.

An Oxford rector suggested that simple bribery might succeed in attracting more kids to study maths at A-level. She proposed a £500 reward for an A grade for any student from a state school. Let the fireworks commence:

Bribes could increase maths intake.

"kids ought to chose the right subjects for them" - those will be the ones that are easiest to pass, then? No doubt the link between teachers salaries and the grades their students achieve is purely coincidental.


Money for gaining qualifications? Isn't that called a salary?


Er, no. Where do you work?

Ivory tower syndrome or what - who is going to sign up for £500 unless thet already think they are in with a shout of getting it and have probably already decided to take the subject.

And as the parent of someone who starts their A levels (AS) today and had to do the rounds of local sixth forms & colleges, I have to say that 'Theatre Studies' aka Drama is probably the only subject that every kid should be made to take, focussing as it does on intelligent listening, critical thinking, report writing, original idea development, team working and confident public speaking.

Allegedly what every employer wants.


Along with the ability to be a tree, yes.

Shrunken Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson is to be let loose on a remake of The Dam Busters. As many gossip mongers have said, Hollywood is officially out of ideas, so this isn't too surprising, in and of itself.

But you had a couple of issues with this story beyond the ordinary concerns of the film critic:

It was not widely shown but one issue of the Dam Busters had B17s dubbed into it for the American market. It all but caused a diplomatic incident and was responsible for loads of Yank Airmen being chastised by my fellow members of the Royal Air Force in the vicinity of Lincoln. Altogether it indicated the inability of the USAAF to think up and execute such operations.


Child Support Agency notice ----------------------------

We notice that you have posted the pseudo-musical notation "Da, da, da, da-da-da, da daaaaa...." in order to simulate a popular rendition of the Dam Busters theme tune. However, this should actually be "Da, da, da, da, da-da-da, da daaaaa...."

This therefore implies that your Da is missing, and because your Da is missing (and therefore no longer supporting your Ma), the Child Support Agency has opened a file to investigate whether or not your Da should be making payments to the CSA to reimburse the Government for any benefits being paid to your Ma...


>Peter Jackson to remake The Dam Busters >Da, da, da, da-da-da, da daaaaa....

Excuse me, who wrote this subheading?

Everybody know the dam busters goes like: daaa, da, da, daa, da,da,da (etc).

Please get your facts right first...


Actually, it's

Daa, Da, Da, Da, Da da da, da daa, da, da, da, da da da, da, da, da, da, da, daa, da, da da, da, da da da, da, da, daa, etc.

I wonder if they'll remember to do the bit where they fly under a bridge.

Flying goggles are at the ready!


think you should write to Mr Jackson and tell him not to bother. That kiwi bastard has ruined many great stories - Lord of the Rings, for example, missed entire sections of the book out, and put in a load of other crap. King Kong was appalling, three hours of absolute cack.

He should stop doing this bollocks and go back to what he did best - low budget horror films.


Hi Just wondering what the dog will be called in the remake ? African-American? Canine of African Descent? Pooch of colour / color ?? N*****?

Just a thought ( only just ) regards


Lester, You missed out the most important question. Forget the submarines... what is Jackson going to call the dog??? Don't you guys watch The Office? Cheers


Legendary croc hunter, snake wrangler, and all round nutty-naturalist Steve Irwin died this week in a freak stingray attack:

This is tragic news. I live within a 100KM of where Steve died It has been a shock and a great loss to the nation.

I don't know where Steve was born, but his mannerisms were very classic local here. He does remind me of the more colorful local characters we have further up North, in the wilderness that he spent so much time in.

Here's to you Steve. I hope he made the right choice in the after life, where he can do as well.

Wayne Morellini.

The most bizarre thing about this letter is that it is the only one. We can only assume that you are all just too choked up to write to us about it.

And finally, pedant of the week award goes to (or would go to, if we actually had one) Blaise Egan, who writes:

In your article 'Indian satellite launch ends in disaster' you referred to a satellite weighing "2,000kg". May I draw your attention to the fact that this simple description contains at least two errors?

The rules for writing SI units are defined in the International Standards Organization documents ISO 31 and ISO 1000. ISO 31 states that there must be a space between a number and an SI unit symbol. (Note that the SI system uses *symbols*, not abbreviations, since symbols are language-independent and abbreviations are not.) Secondly, the comma is specifically prohibited as a digit grouping symbol, since it used in many countries as the decimal point symbol. The SI digit grouping symbol is the space character. Lastly, as a point of information, you do not have to use digit grouping symbol for numbers less than 10 000. It's OK to write 2000.

Regards, Blaise F Egan

Er, thanks, Blaise. If it makes you feel better, just consider us non-standard.

More from you, later in the week. ®

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