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Saturday, October 18, 2014

Fox News On Mars: WE'RE ALL GONNA DIE FROM THE COMET!!!

This should be fun:

On Sunday, Oct. 19, 2014, at about 18:30 UTC (14:30 Eastern), Mars will experience a very close encounter with a comet.

The comet C/2013 A1 (Siding Spring) will pass just about 130,000 km (80,000 miles) from the surface of Mars. There is no danger of an impact, but the planet will pass through part of the comet's tail (which is composed of gas molecules and dust).

NASA and other space agencies have taken precautions to make sure the spacecraft at Mars won't be hurt, but they're also hoping to capitalize on this unprecedented opportunity to see a comet VERY up close and personal. I'm not sure just when we'll start seeing data from them, but I highly recommend keeping an eye on Emily Lakdawalla's blog page and her Twitter feed. She is really great about staying up to date and relaying accurate information as soon as she has it.

SL-9 was so interesting a couple decades ago.  This won't have atmospheric explosions, but I'm sure we'll get some neat pictures and a little bit more knowledge all the same...

ntodd

October 18, 2014 in Mars, Bitches! | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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Saturday, October 04, 2014

I Could Not Be An Astronaut

Finally got a manned Apollo mission off the ground, but it wasn't much fun:

By the second day in space, all three men were congested with the same head cold. And they were miserable. The Earth’s gravitational environment mean that any fluid accumulating in the sinuses with a cold drains. But in a pressurized cabin in a microgravity environment, that natural drainage doesn’t happen. The only relief the crew had was blowing their noses, hard, which led to a painful pressure in their ears and increased their risk of a burst ear drum.

The three men took aspirin and decongestant, but there was otherwise little they could do. They were stuck being uncomfortable. In short order, discomfort led to bad moods. As the mission wore on, conversations with mission control became increasingly terse. And Schirra as commander of his craft, began arguing with and defying mission control.

The crew argued with mission control about the TV transmissions seeking to cancel the first broadcast scheduled for their second day in orbit. They fought back against changes and additions to their flight plan, be it an additional engine burn or a test of the TV circuit. They berated “the man” who had designed a particularly clunky piece of equipment over an open line. Everyone in NASA could hear their complaints, and no one appreciating the astronauts they were working so hard to keep safe insinuating they were idiots.
...
Exhausted, uncomfortable, and frustrated, the crux of the crew’s arguments with mission control came at the end of the flight. Procedures stipulated that the crew wear pressure suits and helmets throughout reentry as a defense against sudden loss of cabin pressure. But Schirra didn’t like the idea of wearing a pressurized helmet with a cold, fearing the inability to blow his nose might result in a burst eardrum. It had happened before when he’d flown with a cold years previously. Schirra won the fight. Each astronaut took a decongestant pill and, cushioning their heads with whatever they could find, settled their unhelmet heads on headrests for reentry.

Unfortunately for the crew, Apollo 7 was the last mission for all three of them. Schirra and Eisele left NASA shortly after, though Cunningham did stay with NASA long enough to work on the Skylab program. Lead Flight Director Chris Kraft is said to have vowed that none of the men would ever fly again, and Deke Slayton, head of the astronaut office and flight assignments, seems to have obliged. He couldn’t assign anyone to a crew that Kraft’s people wouldn’t work with, not when there were other astronauts waiting for flights of their own.

Not sure the whole gravity-drainage thing is working very well down here on Earth...

ntodd

October 4, 2014 in Mars, Bitches! | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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Thursday, September 25, 2014

You Didn't Think Martians Would Use Lasers, Did You?

Curiosity apparently found a cannonball fired by sand ships.  And NASA keeps lying about it, like they do about everything.  Hopefully the Indian space program will expose all the deceptions.

ntodd

September 25, 2014 in Mars, Bitches! | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Speaking Of Space Travel

A couple interesting short items:

  • Burka - Indian Mission to Mars Outsourced to U.S.
  • Engadget - NVIDIA's new GPU proves moon landing truthers wrong.

(via FB)

ntodd

September 24, 2014 in Mars, Bitches! | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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Welcome To The Club

Go, go, Mangalyaan!

India's Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) probe was captured by the Red Planet's gravity around 10:11 p.m. EDT Tuesday (Sept. 23; 0211 GMT and 7:41 a.m. Indian Standard Time on Wednesday, Sept. 24), making India's space agency just the fourth entity — after the United States, the European Space Agency and the former Soviet Union — to successfully place a spacecraft in Mars orbit. 

The MOM probe, which is named Mangalyaan (Sanskrit for "Mars Craft"), executed a 24-minute orbital insertion burn Tuesday night, ending a 10-month space journey that began with the spacecraft's launch on Nov. 5, 2013.

It's been a groovy trip.  Glad to have India in the interplanetary exploration club.

ntodd

September 24, 2014 in Mars, Bitches! | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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Monday, September 22, 2014

Lovin' It Up 'Til I Hit The Ground

MAVEN got to Mars (I didn't stay up).  But what's cooler is the possibility that we might finally get a space elevator thanks to nanotech.

ntodd

September 22, 2014 in Mars, Bitches! | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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Sunday, September 21, 2014

Heh, They Said 'Insertion'

NASA:

After a 10-month, 442 million mile journey, NASA’s Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) is set to enter Martian orbit at approximately 9:50 p.m. EDT tonight. NASA TV coverage begins at 9:30 p.m.

It is the first spacecraft dedicated to exploring the upper atmosphere of Mars, answering important questions about the planet's history and climate.

Hope they didn't fuck up the metric-English units this time.  Wonder if I'll be able to stay up--there are no bodies in this house that are clear on precisely what time it is.

ntodd

September 21, 2014 in Mars, Bitches! | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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Friday, August 29, 2014

I'm Starting To Miss That Old Bird

The Shuttle was a deadly jalopy, but I find myself waxing nostalgiac:

"If Discovery could talk, it would surely express happiness at seeing so many people coming to visit and saying how awesome it looks," said Valerie Neal, Discovery's curator at the National Air and Space Museum's Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center and the author of the recently released book, "Discovery:Champion of the Space Shuttle Fleet."

Discovery launched on the first of its 39 missions, STS-41D, on August 30, 1984. The flight logged the first week of the orbiter's ultimate total of 365 days in space (spread out over 27 years). Discovery retired with the shuttle fleet in 2011 and became part of the Smithsonian's collection a year later at the Udvar-Hazy Center in northern Virginia.

Dare the impossible...

ntodd

August 29, 2014 in Mars, Bitches! | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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Thursday, August 28, 2014

It Ain't No Saturn V, But...

Yay, a new rocket!

NASA officials Wednesday announced they have completed a rigorous review of the Space Launch System (SLS) -- the heavy-lift, exploration class rocket under development to take humans beyond Earth orbit and to Mars -- and approved the program's progression from formulation to development, something no other exploration class vehicle has achieved since the agency built the space shuttle.

"We are on a journey of scientific and human exploration that leads to Mars," said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden. "And we’re firmly committed to building the launch vehicle and other supporting systems that will take us on that journey."

For its first flight test, SLS will be configured for a 70-metric-ton (77-ton) lift capacity and carry an uncrewed Orion spacecraft beyond low-Earth orbit. In its most powerful configuration, SLS will provide an unprecedented lift capability of 130 metric tons (143 tons), which will enable missions even farther into our solar system, including such destinations as an asteroid and Mars.

This decision comes after a thorough review known as Key Decision Point C (KDP-C), which provides a development cost baseline for the 70-metric ton version of the SLS of $7.021 billion from February 2014 through the first launch and a launch readiness schedule based on an initial SLS flight no later than November 2018.

Let's get our asses to Mars, bitches.

ntodd

August 28, 2014 in Mars, Bitches! | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Illegal Aliens

Yes, ETs do exist.  Let's just hope they don't deport Vger.

ntodd

August 27, 2014 in Mars, Bitches! | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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Saturday, August 23, 2014

KFC On Mars

Sometimes we see what we want to see on other worlds.  Sometimes it's actually there, though maybe after some mistakes.  But I'm sure there's no thigh bone--of a chicken or little green man--on Mars.

ntodd

August 23, 2014 in Mars, Bitches! | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Aliens

Quick, interesting look at when humans started speculating about life on other worlds.  Well before Huygens and Kepler, it appears.

ntodd

August 20, 2014 in Mars, Bitches! | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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Thursday, August 14, 2014

If You Believe There's Nothing Up His Sleeve, Then Nothing Is Cool

Is there a man on the moon?  No, of course not.

ntodd

August 14, 2014 in Mars, Bitches! | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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Thursday, July 31, 2014

Speaking Of Human Spaceflight

Testing continues on the Orion vehicle, which will have wicked cool Star Trek helm controls.

ntodd

July 31, 2014 in Mars, Bitches! | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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Driving In Dirt Dirt


Takes a while to get your lunar rover out of the garage.

ntodd

PS--This really needs an old-timey silent film piano score.

PPS--I still hate when people disable embeds.

July 31, 2014 in Mars, Bitches! | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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When The Moon Hits Your Spacecraft


Or just before it does, you get the first lunar pictures by a US spacecraft.

ntodd

July 31, 2014 in Mars, Bitches! | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Hadley Rille, My Kind Of Place


Okay, Houston. The Falcon is on the plain at Hadley.

ntodd

July 30, 2014 in Mars, Bitches! | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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Monday, July 28, 2014

Sunday Driving On Mars

Apparently its tires haven't gotten slashed:

"Opportunity has driven farther than any other wheeled vehicle on another world," said Mars Exploration Rover Project Manager John Callas, of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California. "This is so remarkable considering Opportunity was intended to drive about one kilometer and was never designed for distance. But what is really important is not how many miles the rover has racked up, but how much exploration and discovery we have accomplished over that distance."

A drive of 157 feet (48 meters) on July 27 put Opportunity's total odometry at 25.01 miles (40.25 kilometers).This month's driving brought the rover southward along the western rim of Endeavour Crater. The rover had driven more than 20 miles (32 kilometers) before arriving at Endeavour Crater in 2011, where it has examined outcrops on the crater’s rim containing clay and sulfate-bearing minerals. The sites are yielding evidence of ancient environments with less acidic water than those examined at Opportunity’s landing site.

If the rover can continue to operate the distance of a marathon -- 26.2 miles (about 42.2 kilometers) -- it will approach the next major investigation site mission scientists have dubbed "Marathon Valley." Observations from spacecraft orbiting Mars suggest several clay minerals are exposed close together at this valley site, surrounded by steep slopes where the relationships among different layers may be evident.

The Russian Lunokhod 2 rover, a successor to the first Lunokhod mission in 1970, landed on Earth's moon on Jan. 15, 1973, where it drove about 24.2 miles (39 kilometers) in less than five months, according to calculations recently made using images from NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) cameras that reveal Lunokhod 2's tracks.

I was gonna say Opportunity isn't even old enough to drive, but it's 18 Martian years old, so it's all cool.

ntodd

July 28, 2014 in Mars, Bitches! | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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Saturday, July 26, 2014

Winter Is Here Again, Oh, Lord

It appears that Curiosity's all-seasons are getting dinged up a bit.  Martian municipal government really ought to raise property taxes to fix the roads.

ntodd

July 26, 2014 in Mars, Bitches! | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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Collision Avoidance

Sometimes it's crowded in space:

NASA is taking steps to protect its Mars orbiters, while preserving opportunities to gather valuable scientific data, as Comet C/2013 A1 Siding Spring heads toward a close flyby of Mars on Oct. 19.

The comet’s nucleus will miss Mars by about 82,000 miles (132,000 kilometers), shedding material hurtling at about 35 miles (56 kilometers) per second, relative to Mars and Mars-orbiting spacecraft. At that velocity, even the smallest particle -- estimated to be about one-fiftieth of an inch (half a millimeter) across -- could cause significant damage to a spacecraft.
...
NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) made one orbit-adjustment maneuver on July 2 as part of the process of repositioning the spacecraft for the Oct. 19 event. An additional maneuver is planned for Aug. 27. The team operating NASA's Mars Odyssey orbiter is planning a similar maneuver on Aug. 5 to put that spacecraft on track to be in the right place at the right time, as well.

NASA's Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) spacecraft is on its way to the Red Planet and will enter orbit on Sept. 21. The MAVEN team is planning to conduct a precautionary maneuver on Oct. 9, prior to the start of the mission's main science phase in early November.

In the days before and after the comet's flyby, NASA will study the comet by taking advantage of how close it comes to Mars. Researchers plan to use several instruments on the Mars orbiters to study the nucleus, the coma surrounding the nucleus, and the tail of Siding Spring, as well as the possible effects on the Martian atmosphere. This particular comet has never before entered the inner solar system, so it will provide a fresh source of clues to our solar system's earliest days.

MAVEN will study gases coming off the comet's nucleus into its coma as it is warmed by the sun. MAVEN also will look for effects the comet flyby may have on the planet’s upper atmosphere and observe the comet as it travels through the solar wind.

Odyssey will study thermal and spectral properties of the comet's coma and tail. MRO will monitor Mars’ atmosphere for possible temperature increases and cloud formation, as well as changes in electron density at high altitudes. The MRO team also plans to study gases in the comet’s coma. Along with other MRO observations, the team anticipates this event will yield detailed views of the comet’s nucleus and potentially reveal its rotation rate and surface features.

Hope they remembered which system of measurement to use this time...

ntodd

July 26, 2014 in Mars, Bitches! | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack