NToddcast RSS Feed

Friday, December 19, 2014

Space Is 3D

This is extremely cool:

[H]ow do you email a socket wrench into space?

The story starts back in November, when Wilmore put together the ISS's very first 3D printer, a collaboration between NASA and company Made In Space. About a month later, Wilmore noted to mission control that a socket wrench would be helpful to have. Instead of putting it on the supply, however, Made In Space mocked up a quick model on CAD on Earth and emailed the design to Wilmore, who ran the designs through the printer and assembled the 20 separate parts into the exact socket wrench he had requested.

What would be cooler is teleportation, but this is a nice application of current technology. 

ntodd

December 19, 2014 in Mars, Bitches! | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

NToddcast RSS Feed

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Another NASA Coverup

There's clearly life on Mars.  They're doing it to us again.

ntodd

December 16, 2014 in Mars, Bitches! | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

NToddcast RSS Feed

Sunday, December 14, 2014

What I Believe History Will Record


We leave as we came and, God willing, as we shall return, with peace and hope for all mankind. "Godspeed the crew of Apollo 17."

ntodd

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

NToddcast RSS Feed

Sunday, December 07, 2014

Kuiper? I Hardly...

A lot of work just to check out a dwarf planet named for a dog:

After a voyage of nearly nine years and three billion miles —the farthest any space mission has ever traveled to reach its primary target – NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft came out of hibernation today for its long-awaited 2015 encounter with the Pluto system. 

New Horizons flight controllers Sarah Bucior, Katie Bechtold and George Lawrence monitor data confirming that the Pluto-bound spacecraft had exited hibernation.

Operators at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Md., confirmed at 9:53 p.m. (EST) that New Horizons, operating on pre-programmed computer commands, had switched from hibernation to “active” mode. Moving at light speed, the radio signal from New Horizons – currently more than 2.9 billion miles from Earth, and just over 162 million miles from Pluto – needed four hours and 26 minutes to reach NASA’s Deep Space Network station in Canberra, Australia. 

“This is a watershed event that signals the end of New Horizons crossing of a vast ocean of space to the very frontier of our solar system, and the beginning of the mission’s primary objective: the exploration of Pluto and its many moons in 2015,” said Alan Stern, New Horizons principal investigator from Southwest Research Institute, Boulder, Colo. 

Since launching on January 19, 2006, New Horizons has spent 1,873 days — about two-thirds of its flight time — in hibernation. Its 18 separate hibernation periods, from mid-2007 to late 2014, ranged from 36 days to 202 days in length. The team used hibernation to save wear and tear on spacecraft components and reduce the risk of system failures.

I could use a couple thousand hibernation days.

ntodd

December 7, 2014 in Mars, Bitches! | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

NToddcast RSS Feed

The Last Time We Went High Before Orion


Pretty neat footage of the activity before and during Apollo 17's launch.

ntodd

December 7, 2014 in Mars, Bitches! | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

NToddcast RSS Feed

Friday, December 05, 2014

"It's a groovy trip, but there are more important things to do first."

Just thinking of Orion and injustice.  Here's a snip from the Apollo 11 post-flight press conference after the astronauts got out of quarantine in August:

REPORTER  Some people have criticized the space program as a "Misplaced item on a list of national priorities." I'd like to ask any of the astronauts how do you view space exploration as a relative priority compared with the present needs of the domestic society and the world community at large.

ARMSTRONG  Well, of course we all recognize that the world is continually faced with large number of varying kinds of problems, and that it's our view that all those problems have to be faced simultaneously. It's not possible to neglect any of those areas, and we certainly don't feel that it's our place to neglect space exploration.

It ain't a zero-sum game.  We can multitask our outrage about the bad things, and our pursuit of solutions and progress.

ntodd

December 5, 2014 in Mars, Bitches! | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

NToddcast RSS Feed

Get Your Ass Out Of LEO

3600 miles high is a nice step back out of the shallow waters:

Orion blazed into the morning sky at 7:05 a.m. EST, lifting off from Space Launch Complex 37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on a United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket. The Orion crew module splashed down approximately 4.5 hours later in the Pacific Ocean, 600 miles southwest of San Diego.

During the uncrewed test, Orion traveled twice through the Van Allen belt where it experienced high periods of radiation, and reached an altitude of 3,600 miles above Earth. Orion also hit speeds of 20,000 mph and weathered temperatures approaching 4,000 degrees Fahrenheit as it entered Earth’s atmosphere.

Orion will open the space between Earth and Mars for exploration by astronauts. This proving ground will be invaluable for testing capabilities future human Mars missions will need. The spacecraft was tested in space to allow engineers to collect critical data to evaluate its performance and improve its design. The flight tested Orion’s heat shield, avionics, parachutes, computers and key spacecraft separation events, exercising many of the systems critical to the safety of astronauts who will travel in Orion.

On future missions, Orion will launch on NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) heavy-lift rocket currently being developed at the agency’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. A 70 metric-ton (77 ton) SLS will send Orion to a distant retrograde orbit around the moon on Exploration Mission-1 in the first test of the fully integrated Orion and SLS system.

The 2yos and I watched the vehicle sit on the pad until it was finally scrubbed yesterday morning.  Though we missed the launch today, we did catch the NASA channel during 2nd stage burn, which was actually pretty cool (although Sam asked, "why isn't it moving?").  Not quite the same as the heady days leading up to Apollo 11, but it's still exciting to be making some visible progress toward becoming more than just a bunch of space-hitchhikers and robot drivers.  

ntodd

December 5, 2014 in Mars, Bitches! | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

NToddcast RSS Feed

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

The Heavens Declare The Glory Of God

Night unto night sheweth knowledge.

 - Psalm 19:2

 

On this date in 1904, the largest irregular moon of Jupiter, Himalia, was discovered by Charles Dillon Perrine at the Lick Observatory:

Himalia is the fifth largest moon orbiting Jupiter. With a mean radius of 85 km assuming an albedo of 0.04), it's only about 5% the size of the fourth largest moon, Europa. But it's by far the largest member of the Himalia group, a family of Jovian satellites which have similar orbits and appearance, and are therefore thought to have a common origin.

Himalia may be the largest remaining chunk of an asteroid (a C- or D-class asteroid, judging by the fact that it reflects only about 4% of the light it receives), which had several pieces broken off in a collision either before or after being captured by Jupiter's gravity. In this scenario, those pieces became the other moons in the Himalia group...

Himalia was named for a nymph of the island of Rhodes in Greek mythology who was one of the lovers of Zeus (the Greek equivalent of the Roman god Jupiter). She bore him three sons: Spartaeus, Cronios and Cytus.

And in 1973, Pioneer 10 made its closest approach to Jupiter, taking awesome pictures like the one above (taken about 1.5M miles away).  The sequence below taken on December 4 is pretty cool, too:

NASA's Pioneer 10 spacecraft sent back images of Jupiter of ever-increasing size. The most dramatic moment was after closest approach and after the spacecraft was hidden behind Jupiter. Here, images gradually build up into a very distorted crescent-shaped Jupiter. "Sunrise on Jupiter," a team member said. The giant planet crescent gradually decreased in size as the spacecraft sped away out of the Jovian system.

I might have mentioned before that Jupiter is my favorite planet (second to, you know, ours), and I would love to take a spaceship into the heart of the Red Spot to see what it's all about.  About as realistic as my dream of peace on Earth and goodwill toward humankind.

ntodd

December 3, 2014 in Mars, Bitches! | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

NToddcast RSS Feed

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Faith In Science

Via a monastic friend on FB:

Michigan-bred Vatican astronomer and Jesuit Brother Guy Consolmagno will become the first clergyman awarded one of planetary science's most prestigious awards, when on Thursday in Arizona he receives the Carl Sagan Medal.
...
Consolmagno, 62, a member of the Catholic Jesuit order of priests and brothers, is being recognized for his witty, wise and engaging explanations of the heavens. He has authored or co-authored several books, such as "Would You Baptize an Extraterrestrial?" and "Turn Left at Orion," has lectured around the world and even has an asteroid named after him.

The American Astronomical Society Division for Planetary Sciences annually honors individuals whose work has made scientific learning understandable and accessible to the public. The medal is named after astronomer Carl Sagan, who explained the heavens via the popular 1980s public TV series "Cosmos."

Consolmagno "occupies a unique position within our profession as a credible spokesperson for scientific honesty within the context of religious belief," read the announcement of his selection in July.

There's just so much awesome in this.

ntodd

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

NToddcast RSS Feed

Friday, November 21, 2014

Engineers On Mars

Hmm...

The rocks on Mars have become something of a Rorschach test: Those who believe the planet once held some form of life see signs of it everywhere; others, not so much.

The image below either shows a humanoid skull partially buried in the sands of Mars... or just another rock.

Although the photo was taken several years ago by the panoramic camera on the Spiritrover, the Paranormal Crucible website recently posted a video of the image on YouTube with digital alterations to make it look even more like a skull.

The photo above, however, is part of the original image from NASA (with a circle added by The Huffington Post).

UFO Sightings Daily claims there's an 80 percent chance it's a real skull...

Clearly it's a Ringworld Engineer:

Must've been looking for prospective solar systems to start a Ringworld project and was killed by a thoat.  Or maybe, you know, not.

ntodd

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

NToddcast RSS Feed

Monday, November 17, 2014

Ground Control To Major Sharon

Yup, I think PZ's right: men are just too emotional and weak to send on an expedition to Mars.

ntodd

November 17, 2014 in Mars, Bitches! | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

NToddcast RSS Feed

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Fly Me To Another World

Fitting that Philae lands on a comet on the same date that Voyager I began its historic flyby of Saturn in 1980.  Nice pictures from both spacecraft (Voyager II, too).

ntodd

November 12, 2014 in Mars, Bitches! | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

NToddcast RSS Feed

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

"We set sail on this new sea because there is new knowledge to be gained."

Why does Rice play Texas?

William Bradford, speaking in 1630 of the founding of the Plymouth Bay Colony, said that all great and honorable actions are accompanied with great difficulties, and both must be enterprised and overcome with answerable courage.

If this capsule history of our progress teaches us anything, it is that man, in his quest for knowledge and progress, is determined and cannot be deterred.

Why will Rosetta land on a comet?  This could be an interesting date in history...

ntodd

November 11, 2014 in Mars, Bitches! | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

NToddcast RSS Feed

How Do You Walk In Space?


Even after Leonov, White and several other Gemini flights, we still hadn't figured it out, so XII was launched on 11/11 with a well-trained Buzz Aldrin on board.

ntodd

November 11, 2014 in Mars, Bitches! | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

NToddcast RSS Feed

Saturday, November 01, 2014

Feathers And Balls

You would think that this would fall faster than this, wouldn't you?  And you'd be absolutely right.

Science, Shakespeare, Stoppard, astronauts, gravity.  The Cosmos is a wondrous place.

ntodd

November 1, 2014 in Mars, Bitches! | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

NToddcast RSS Feed

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Dance Partners In Space And Time

Via Phil Plait, this is an astonishingly gorgeous photo (larger version):

But really, once you've seen one Lunar/Terran picture you've seen them all, amirite?

ntodd

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

NToddcast RSS Feed

The Real Reason That Rocket Exploded


It's all a conspiracy.

ntodd

October 30, 2014 in Mars, Bitches! | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

NToddcast RSS Feed

Heads, Fox Wins; Tails, NASA Loses

These guys really are too much:

When Orbital Science’s latest launch of the Antares rocket was preparing to lift off of the pad for the ISS resupply mission, Fox News had a colorful title promoting how the launch vehicle was being managed by a private company.

When the rocket failed a few seconds after liftoff, they immediately turned on their heels, and called it a “NASA Cargo Rocket.”

Private industry cannot fail, it can only be failed.

ntodd

October 30, 2014 in Mars, Bitches! | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

NToddcast RSS Feed

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

"Discover the force of the heavens O Men."

I swear, this guy is Kepler and Galileo reincarnated:

“He gave autonomy to the beings of the universe at the same time at which he assured them of his continuous presence, giving being to every reality, and so creation continued for centuries and centuries, millennia and millennia, until it became which we know today, precisely because God is not a demiurge or a magician, but the creator who gives being to all things,” the pope said.
...
“God is not a divine being or a magician, but the Creator who brought everything to life,” the pope said. “Evolution in nature is not inconsistent with the notion of creation, because evolution requires the creation of beings that evolve.”

No shit.

ntodd

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

NToddcast RSS Feed

Monday, October 27, 2014

Platonic Ideals In Space!

This is a reasonably stunning piece of informationYou Can Fit Every Planet In The Solar System Between Earth And The Moon.

For some reason that reminded me of Kepler's solids.

ntodd

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