Friday, 13 November 2009

Science in Buckets

Here's a story from NASA about discovering water on the moon:

In it, there is this quote:
One researcher described this as the equivalent of "a dozen two-gallon buckets" of water.
So, that's 24 gallons then, is it? Now, to me, that's not very helpful. For a start, who imagines quantities of water in terms of two-gallon buckets? Not me. I've no idea of the capacity of any of the buckets in our household. Even if I did, the chances are that they would be measure in Imperial gallons (~4.5 litres) as that's what we use in the UK. American buckets (as used by NASA when carrying rocket fuel to the space shuttle) are measured in US gallons, which at around 3.8 litres are around 15% smaller.

I would have thought that it would have been sensible to have released these figures using an internationally recognised and agreed scale of measurements. If only there was one which the scientific community had agreed on which NASA could have used...

3 comments:

Chris said...

Why do they carry the fuel in buckets? Doesn't it slop about and spill? Do they have to have a HUGE funnel for the transfer?

PT said...

I don't know why they do it. It's obviously very impractical and they have to climb an enormous ladder to pour it in the big funnel.

jomoore said...

Big brains but no common sense, them NASA folks.

What they should have said is 'about half a bathful'.