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Thursday, July 30, 2015

Okay. I Got A Good Spot.


The Falcon is on the plain at Hadley.

ntodd

July 30, 2015 in Mars, Bitches! | Permalink | Comments (0)

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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Happy Birthday, NASA!

The National Aeronautics and Space Act of 1958 established NASA to meet the following objectives:

  1. The expansion of human knowledge of phenomena in the atmosphere and space;
  2. The improvement of the usefulness, performance, speed, safety, and efficiency of aeronautical and space vehicles;
  3. The development and operation of vehicles capable of carrying instruments, equipment, supplies and living organisms through space;
  4. The establishment of long-range studies of the potential benefits to be gained from, the opportunities for, and the problems involved in the utilization of aeronautical and space activities for peaceful and scientific purposes.
  5. The preservation of the role of the United States as a leader in aeronautical and space science and technology and in the application thereof to the conduct of peaceful activities within and outside the atmosphere.
  6. The making available to agencies directly concerned with national defenses of discoveries that have military value or significance, and the furnishing by such agencies, to the civilian agency established to direct and control nonmilitary aeronautical and space activities, of information as to discoveries which have value or significance to that agency;
  7. Cooperation by the United States with other nations and groups of nations in work done pursuant to this Act and in the peaceful application of the results, thereof; and
  8. The most effective utilization of the scientific and engineering resources of the United States, with close cooperation among all interested agencies of the United States in order to avoid unnecessary duplication of effort, facilities, and equipment.

Good Ole NACA was absorbed by the new agency on October 1.  And our Constitution doesn't say a damned thing about either...

ntodd

July 29, 2015 in Constitution, Schmonstitution, Mars, Bitches! | Permalink | Comments (0)

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Sunday, July 26, 2015

Return To Flight


Jeebus, it's been 10 years.

ntodd

July 26, 2015 in Mars, Bitches! | Permalink | Comments (0)

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"Our building's shaking here again!"


Range zero at 13:34 UTC.

ntodd

July 26, 2015 in Mars, Bitches! | Permalink | Comments (0)

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Friday, July 24, 2015

"Our position 1330, 16915..."


One of the trippier vids of Apollo 11's return journey and splashdown.

ntodd

July 24, 2015 in Mars, Bitches! | Permalink | Comments (0)

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Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Lifeboat Earth

EPIC, indeed:

This color image of Earth was taken by NASA’s Earth Polychromatic Imaging Camera (EPIC), a four megapixel CCD camera and telescope. The image was generated by combining three separate images to create a photographic-quality image. The camera takes a series of 10 images using different narrowband filters -- from ultraviolet to near infrared -- to produce a variety of science products. The red, green and blue channel images are used in these color images.

The image was taken July 6, 2015, showing North and Central America. The central turquoise areas are shallow seas around the Caribbean islands. This Earth image shows the effects of sunlight scattered by air molecules, giving the image a characteristic bluish tint. The EPIC team is working to remove this atmospheric effect from subsequent images.

Compare and contrast to a similar photo taken over four decades ago.

ntodd

July 21, 2015 in Mars, Bitches! | Permalink | Comments (1)

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A Million Lights Above You Smile Down Upon Your Home

This is nice:

When Kyle Cassidy got a call Friday afternoon from his longtime collaborator Kate McKinnon to see if he wanted to photograph the scientists behind NASA’s New Horizons space probe, he didn’t think twice before he agreed. He threw a bunch of equipment in a suitcase, got in his car, and drove from Philadelphia to Laurel, Maryland. By the evening, he’d set up a small studio in the lobby of mission control at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory.

McKinnon is married to William B. McKinnon, one of the mission scientists, and so she already knew all the people who worked on the craft, whose flyby past Pluto last week captivated people around the world. As more than 40 of the scientists came in and out of briefings that night and the next day, she wrangled them for Cassidy to photograph for a minute or two. Some of the scientists came into the lab during their first days off in months just for the photograph. Others were still on the same hectic work schedule they’d been operating under for years.
...
For Cassidy, who’s loved science and space since he first watched Carl Sagan’sCosmos decades ago, photographing the team was the culmination of a lifelong passion. He was particularly excited to meet Yanping Guo, who calculated the entire trajectory of the spacecraft’s nine-and-a-half-year, three-billion-mile journey. He was also pleased to photograph Brian May, the Queen guitarist and astrophysicist who collaborated with the team. But while each individual’s contributions to the mission amazed Cassidy, he said he was most impressed by what they ultimately were able to make possible together. 

“The Pluto mission is not a spaceship that flew to Pluto and took pictures. The Pluto mission is an extension of the minds of these people. It's these people saying, ‘Here’s a question we don't know the answer to and we're going to figure it out.’ That's what the Pluto mission is.”

I'm more than a little tickled that Brian May worked on this mission a little.

ntodd

July 21, 2015 in Mars, Bitches! | Permalink | Comments (0)

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Monday, July 20, 2015

413 Is In

A couple videos:

Holy living fuck.

ntodd

July 20, 2015 in Mars, Bitches! | Permalink | Comments (0)

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Separation

Just over 100 hours into their flight, Command Module Pilot Michael Collings bid adieu to Eagle:

CMP I have 5 minutes and 15 seconds since we started. Attitude is holding very well.

LMP Roger, Mike. Just hold it a little bit longer.

CMP No sweat, I can hold it all day. Take your sweet time. How's the Czar over there? He's so quiet.

CDR Just hanging on - and punching.

CMP All I can say is, "Beware the revolution."

CMP You cats take it easy on the lunar surface; if I hear you huffing and puffing, I'm going to start bitching at you.

LMP Okay, Mike.

About 30 minutes later, Buzz reported: The Eagle has wings.

Then the fun really started...

ntodd

July 20, 2015 in Mars, Bitches! | Permalink | Comments (0)

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Sunday, July 19, 2015

Also Sprach Zarathustra


Houston piped this on air as wakeup music for 17, the last damned time we went to the Moon.

ntodd

July 19, 2015 in Mars, Bitches! | Permalink | Comments (0)

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Jupiter Rising (Again)

Yay, almost back to the Big Guy:

As the New Horizons probe leaves diminutive Pluto in its rearview mirror, another NASA spacecraft is closing on the solar system's biggest planet.

NASA's Juno probe is now less than one year away from its rendezvous with Jupiter. Juno, which launched in August 2011, is scheduled to slip into orbit around the gas giant on July 4, 2016.

The solar-powered Juno will study Jupiter's interior by precisely mapping the huge planet's gravitational and magnetic fields. The spacecraft's observations should reveal key insights about Jupiter's structure — including whether or not the planet has a solid core — and its formation and evolutionary history, mission team members have said.

I might have told all 3 of you readers before, but Jupiter's my favorite.

ntodd

July 19, 2015 in Mars, Bitches! | Permalink | Comments (0)

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Happy Gravitational Equality Day!

At GET 061:39:55 (03:11:55 UTC) on July 19, 1969, Apollo 11 crossed the equigravisphere:

Between the Moon and Earth, there came a point where the gravity of the approaching body became stronger than that of the receding body. When this point of gravitational equality was reached, it was customary for mission control, and especially those concerned with flight dynamics, to switch their frame of reference from one world to another.

However, because the Moon itself was in motion around Earth, the numbers representing the spacecraft‘s speed and position appeared to jump. Journalists, more used to figuring out the trajectories of political figures rather than those of spacecraft, found it difficult to make sense of this change in the velocity figures being fed to them by the NASA public affairs people, and some got the impression that a ‘barrier’ was being crossed and that this must surely be felt by the crew. 

Mike Collins later related how Phil Shaffer, one of the flight dynamics controllers in the MOCR struggled to explain the truth to reporters as Apollo 8 entered the lunar sphere of influence: “Never has the gulf between the non-technical journalist and the non-journalistic technician been more apparent. The harder Phil tried to dispel the notion, the more he convinced some of the reporters that the spacecraft actually would jiggle or jump as it passed into the lunar sphere. The rest of us smirked and tittered as poor Phil puffed and laboured, and thereafter we tried to discuss the lunar sphere of influence with Phil as often as we could, especially when outsiders were present.” 

As a homeward-bound Apollo 11 crossed the imaginary line between the gravitational spheres of influence of the two worlds, Capcom Bruce McCandless called the spacecraft to inform the crew: “Apollo 11, this is Houston. Stand by for a ‘mark’ leaving the lunar sphere of influence." He then indicated the moment’s passing, “Mark. You’re leaving the lunar sphere of influence. Over.”

Collins saw a chance for some mischief. “Roger. Is Phil Shaffer down there?“ The FIDO console was being manned by Dave Reed rather than Shaffer. “Negative.” said McCandless, “but we've got a highly qualified team on in his stead.”

“Roger. I wanted to hear him explain it again to the press conference," teased Collins. “Tell him the spacecraft [definitely] gave a little jump as it went through the [equigravisphere].“

“Okay. I'll pass it on to him. Thanks a lot," said McCandless, “and Dave Reed is sort of burying his head in his arms right now.”

Oh, those astronauts, always playing pranks!  Anyway, NASA defined the equigravisphere as 40,000 statute miles (64,374 kilometers) from the center of the Moon.  Almost there...

ntodd

July 19, 2015 in Mars, Bitches! | Permalink | Comments (1)

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Friday, July 17, 2015

The Value Of Exploration

Rosetta took a picture of Pluto (and New Horizons).  And New Horizons has returned some amazing stuff.

How much did this little excursion in the Kuiper Belt cost?  A lost less than a bunch of stupid shit we waste money on.  I'm reminded that Voyager was estimated by Carl Sagan (perhaps not precisely, but at least poetically) to have cost a penny a world for every person on Earth.  The economic multipliers are significant as our knowledge is also multiplied.

Not a bad investment.

ntodd

July 17, 2015 in Mars, Bitches! | Permalink | Comments (0)

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Thursday, July 16, 2015

Let's Light This Candle


Apollo 11 is go!

ntodd

July 16, 2015 in Mars, Bitches! | Permalink | Comments (1)

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Of Keen Gaze

This new image of an area on Pluto's largest moon Charon has a captivating feature -- a depression with a peak in the middle, shown here in the upper left corner of the inset. The image shows an area approximately 240 miles (390 kilometers) from top to bottom, including few visible craters. The image was taken at approximately 6:30 a.m. EDT on July 14, 2015, about 1.5 hours before closest approach to Pluto, from a range of 49,000 miles (79,000 kilometers).  Credits: NASA-JHUAPL-SwRI

I know it makes me a very old school fuddy duddy mired in my childhood nostalgia, but imma have to watch Uncle Carl's Traveller's Tales...

ntodd

July 16, 2015 in Mars, Bitches! | Permalink | Comments (0)

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Wednesday, July 15, 2015

The End Of Apollo


ASTP was the last flight of Apollo spacecraft, and the last manned American mission until the shuttle, but finally gave Deke a chance to fly.

ntodd

PS--This is the video I wanted, but can't embed.

July 15, 2015 in Mars, Bitches! | Permalink | Comments (0)

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It's Cold In Them Thar Hills


Pluto is cool.

ntodd

July 15, 2015 in Mars, Bitches! | Permalink | Comments (0)

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Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Pluto Day Kicks Of Apollonia Week

At 21:00 GMT on July 14, Apollo 11's 28-hour terminal countdown began (not 28 hours before launch due to scheduled holds).  Almost time to kick the tires and light the fires!

That will, of course, include 3 candles on a birthday cake next Monday for a very important little girl who should've been named Buzz if it weren't for tyranny.

ntodd

July 14, 2015 in Family Life, Mars, Bitches! | Permalink | Comments (1)

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Okay, A Real Intersection On Pluto

This is reasonably astonishing:

(h/t lea-p in comments)

ntodd

July 14, 2015 in Mars, Bitches! | Permalink | Comments (0)

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I'm just beginning to see, now I'm on my way...

This will be the more exciting part:

8:30 to 9:15 p.m. – NASA TV program, Phone Home, broadcast from APL Mission Control

NASA TV will share the suspenseful moments of this historic event with the public and museums around the world. The New Horizons spacecraft will send a preprogrammed signal after the closest approach. The mission team on Earth should receive the signal by about 9:02 p.m. When New Horizons “phones home,” there will be a celebration of its successful flyby and the anticipation of data to come in the days and months ahead.  

8:30 to 10 p.m. – Media Briefing: New Horizons Health and Mission Status; live on NASA TV

Now I'm really reminded of the heady Voyager days.

ntodd

July 14, 2015 in Mars, Bitches! | Permalink | Comments (1)