Letter | A Letter Approximately 4 by 16 Centimeters

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On page 8 of the Oct. 14 issue, we learn that Juno’s solar arrays are “tractor-trailer size” [“NASA’s Jupiter Probe in Safe Mode After Earth Flyby”].

On page 17, we learn that while some GPS jammers are “about the size of a Frisbee,” others are “about the size of a hockey puck” [“Companies See Market for Systems To Counter GPS Jamming Devices”].

But the best was on page 11, where, in a flight of poetic license rarely found in trade magazines, we are told that Skybox Imaging’s satellites are “slightly larger than the miniature refrigerators often found in college dormitory rooms” [“Skybox Imaging’s Hopes High as Launch of First Satellites Draws Near”].

While scrambling around for my hockey puck to figure it out, I could not help but wonder what’s about next on this slide into infantilizing approximation. A rocket “as big as about a dozen mature female giraffes”? A satellite “nearly as heavy as those locomotives sometimes observed in Iowa”? 

Did someone at SpaceNews resolve that the readers have all slept in a college dorm to the hum of those fridges “often” found there? Or that we can’t handle actual numbers?

 

Stephane Chenard

Paris