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mars navigation history

The most accurate navigation in history. "We had to know everything from how the iron molten lava in the center of the Earth was churning to how plate tectonic movements were affecting the wobble of the Earth to how the plasma in the atmosphere delayed the radio signals to and from the Deep Space Network stations". ..even the seemingly insignificant solar radiation pressure and thermal radiation forces acting on the spacecraft to a level equal to less than a billionth of the acceleration of gravity one feels on the Earth needed to be taken into account. This mission set a new standard for navigation accuracy for all future interplanetary missions.
posted by stbalbach on Jan 4, 2004 - 2 comments

Brace yourself for immediate disintegration

Mars, take II - Still no word from Beagle 2 (discussed here), unfortunately, as Mars maintains its tough reputation. However, the first of two rovers much larger than 1997's very successful Pathfinder is expected to hit the Martian surface with a giant bounce tonight at 8:35 p.m. PST. Check out the realistic simulation videos of how it will land and get to work, then watch Nasa TV (RealVideo) for live coverage.
posted by planetkyoto on Jan 3, 2004 - 51 comments

European Space Agency's webpage about the Mars Express / Beagle 2 project.

Mars ho! In about 24 hours, the Beagle 2 lander will descend to the surface of Mars, courtesy of the European Space Agency. After a few mighty bounces, encased in a giant rubber ball, the lander will open up and allow its instrument payload to start sampling the surface. This is the first in a trifecta of landers destined for Mars during the next month. NASA's landers, Spirit and Opportunity, land on January 3rd and January 24th.
posted by warhol on Dec 23, 2003 - 25 comments

Spitzer Space Telescope

The first images from the Spitzer Space Telescope, formerly known as the Space Infrared Telescope Facility and renamed after astrophysicist Lyman Spitzer, Jr., were released on Thursday. Launched on August 25, it obtains images by detecting the infrared energy radiated by objects in space, and it will drift behind the Earth as the planet orbits the sun.
posted by homunculus on Dec 20, 2003 - 3 comments

The Best of Hubble

The Best of Hubble Its mission will end in 2010. Four years later it will re-enter the atmosphere and burn up. Many astronomers are calling for Hubble to be refurbished and its mission extended to 2020. Here are some of it's best pictures.
posted by reverendX on Dec 10, 2003 - 14 comments

There (really :) goes the budget!

We may have avoided a trade war, but it looks like a space race is on.
posted by kliuless on Dec 3, 2003 - 52 comments

ET Could Hack SETI.

ET Could Hack SETI. SETI, which uses down time on the computers of thousands of volunteers to search for intelligent signals from space, has a potential problem—besides information, a broadcast to us from an alien intelligence could also carry a computer virus. Leonard David writes in the main link's space.com article that physicist Richard Carrigan (who works here) takes it seriously. He thinks SETI should figure out how to decontaminate any signals it receives.
posted by jasonspaceman on Nov 24, 2003 - 35 comments

solar system

solar system [note: requires anark plugin]
posted by crunchland on Nov 15, 2003 - 14 comments

Voyager at 90 AU

Far, far away. Today, Voyager 1 will reach 90 AU from the sun, around which distance it is expected to cross the "termination shock," finally crossing into the fuzzy boundary between the heliosphere and true interstellar space. (Yes, it's taken that long to get there.) Some even think that the termination shock has already been reached, but then re-expanded past the spacecraft. Tears need not be shed yet for these distant explorers: both Voyagers have juice till about 2020, and the mission remains very much alive. (No word, however, on a possible return to the Creator.)
posted by brownpau on Nov 5, 2003 - 25 comments

Another urban legend debunked

ESA astronaut, Pedro Duque writes "I am writing these notes in the Soyuz with a cheap ballpoint pen. Why is that important? As it happens, I've been working in space programmes for seventeen years, eleven of these as an astronaut, and I've always believed, because that is what I've always been told, that normal ballpoint pens don't work in space... and here I am, it doesn't stop working and it doesn't 'spit' or anything. Sometimes being too cautious keeps you from trying, and therefore things are built more complex than necessary." From Snopes: Fisher spent over one million dollars in trying to perfect the ball point pen before he made his first successful pressurized pens in 1965, which NASA uses. [via GearBits]
posted by riffola on Nov 4, 2003 - 23 comments

Eating The Galaxy Next Door

Nearer, My Galaxy, to Thee. The only thing I find more surprising than the discovery of a galactic collision-in-progress is the fact that a similar nearby galaxy had already been found last decade. I need to get up to date and throw out all my astronomy books which still cite the Magellanic Clouds as being our closest neighbors.
posted by brownpau on Nov 4, 2003 - 9 comments

Intense Solar Flare

The largest solar flare of the current solar cycle shot off the sun earlier today. After the media latched on to what was predicted to be mostly a non-event last week (probably due to a NASA article released around the same time about a super spacestorm) , it's not making as much news this time. But you should pay attention this time. This could be the best and last chance for a lot of us farther south to see some auroras before the sun dives into solar minimum, assuming all the variables line up correctly this time. I recommend watching the Solar Terrestrial Dispatch, as it is a great all around resource for solar activity and auroras that includes live data and sightings reports by the general public. Unfortunately though, no doubt as word IS spreading, that site is being hammered again and may be quite slow.
posted by yupislyr on Oct 28, 2003 - 21 comments

China Launches Manned Space Mission

China Launches Manned Space Mission

Godspeed, Yang Liwei.
posted by Argyle on Oct 14, 2003 - 50 comments

The universe as a football

The shape of the universe may well be a dodecahedron. New research from the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe suggests a finite universe with a definite shape. One up for Plato, who, following Pythagoras, maintained that “God used this solid for the whole universe, embroidering figures on it.”. So it appears. .. all expressed much more lucidly by the Economist.
posted by grahamwell on Oct 11, 2003 - 14 comments

My God, it's full of stars!

Breathtaking Hubble picture of the Sombrero Galaxy (also identified as M104). The Hubble Heritage team took the original images during May and June of this year using the Advanced Camera for Surveys and multiple color filters. They then stitched 6 images together to make the final composite image.
posted by Irontom on Oct 10, 2003 - 39 comments

Space art in children's books

Let's go on a rocket trip to the Moon! A collection of space art in children's books, 1883 to 1974. These books, and their evocative art, instilled in a generation the romance and wonder of space flight. I grew up in the 1950's, and as a kid I could pour over this book and its illustrations for hours, dreaming.
via A Voyage to Arcturus
posted by Slithy_Tove on Sep 26, 2003 - 8 comments

Stairway to Heaven

An Elevator to the Stars. The paper of record claims this isn't science fiction, but do we really believe that in ten years we'll be able to build a 60,000 mile long cable capable of supporting 13 ton cargo loads? Would you trust this to take you into asynchronous orbit? (Or maybe you just want to make like Joe Kittinger and jump out at 100,000 feet.)
posted by alms on Sep 23, 2003 - 24 comments

Galileo Dies.

NASA's Official 'Galileo Dies' Page. Galileo is set to crash into Jupiter on Sunday. Responsible for many great images and tons of information, Galileo served well. Find a complete history of the Galileo mission here. Also, don't forget to watch the End of Mission webcast this Sunday at approx. 2 PM EST here.
posted by Ufez Jones on Sep 16, 2003 - 7 comments

The biggest subwoofer in the universe

Listening through a telescope the Chandra X-ray observatory hears a black hole.
posted by wobh on Sep 11, 2003 - 12 comments

Talk about Johnny One-Note

In space, you can hear a black hole sing (WaPo link). Using the Chandra X-Ray Observatory, astrophysicists have detected a supermassive black hole in the Perseus Cluster which has been "playing" a B-flat for 3 billion years.

Fascinating as this seemingly counterintuitive discovery (sound carrying through space) is, the real significance lies in that these "sound waves" may explain why the superhot gases in such regions aren't cooling down and forming more stars.
posted by GreyWingnut on Sep 10, 2003 - 19 comments

Oh, the humanity!

Asteroid orbits Enter the designation or name of any asteroid or comet, and a 3D orbit visualization tool will appear for that object. If Chicken Little had this link he might have calmed down a little. Or not...Find out if your favorite asteroid is about to rock your world.
posted by konolia on Sep 2, 2003 - 5 comments

The Columbia Accident Investigation Board

"These are good people"...but changes must be made. The Columbia Accident Investigation Board final report was released on Tuesday. Putting technical answers aside for the moment, the report targets the organizational and behavioral issues that led to a breakdown in communication, safety and responsibility. While acknowledging the good will at NASA, the report holds no illusions that changing this culture will be very difficult and very necessary in order to return to flight. What types of management/behavioral obstacles have you encountered in home, work, school or social organizations? How did you try to effect change and what obstacles did you encounter in an effort to make it more effective, safe, productive or enjoyable?
posted by tgrundke on Aug 28, 2003 - 11 comments

http://planetquest.jpl.nasa.gov/TPF/tpf_what_is.html

NASA thinks we can find another Earth in another nearby star. When we do, how can we possibly travel light-years to get there? It might not be as hard as you'd think . . .
posted by stbalbach on Aug 17, 2003 - 31 comments

Ionospheric luminescence

Ionospheric luminescence. Tonight. US East-coast skywatchers, look out for high, glowing clouds tonight between 9:30pm and 5:30am, as NASA fires rockets carrying combustible chemicals into the sky to study our planet's ionosphere. (Thank you, Spaceweather.) This reminds me, just a bit, of Projects Argus and Starfish.
posted by brownpau on Jun 23, 2003 - 10 comments

Lego Astrobots Blog From Mars Rovers

Lego Astrobots Blog From Mars Rovers - The Planetary Society has teamed with NASA to "man" it's two Mars Exploration Rover spacecraft with Lego "Astrobots." The bots, Biff Starling and Sandy Moondust, are blogging their adventure "to allow kids to vicariously experience life in space, from launch, through the six-month space cruise, to landing and roving on the Martian surface."
posted by tpl1212 on Jun 13, 2003 - 4 comments

Video from Mars rocket launch

Video of Nasa's Delta II rocket launch (RealVideo) The camera was mounted on the rocket facing down towards earth and the resulting footage is amazing. There's a Windows Media version at MSNBC.
posted by stevengarrity on Jun 11, 2003 - 21 comments

mars express

The European Space Agency's Mars Express blasted off from Russia's Baikonur base today carrying the British-built Beagle 2 space probe atop a modified version of Russia's Soyuz rocket (a modified ICBM) tasked with finding water and life on Mars. Will it overcome the curse of Mars? Of 30 missions to Mars, 8 have gone as planed, a %74 Martian mission failure rate.
posted by stbalbach on Jun 2, 2003 - 13 comments

3-D Maps of Nearby Space

3-D Maps of Nearby Space "The first detailed map of space within about 1,000 light years of Earth places the solar system in the middle of a large hole that pierces the plane of the galaxy...The new map, produced by University of California, Berkeley, and French astronomers, alters the reigning view of the solar neighborhood." (one view|another view|links to bigger images)
posted by kirkaracha on May 30, 2003 - 5 comments

Lunar Eclipse

Just a reminder that the lunar eclipse occurs tonight, starting at 7:00pm Pacific Daylight Time (and lasting about three hours). Various webcasts have been set up for the darkness-impaired. Apologies for the double-post, and I am aware that I'll probably get like 5 comments that say "SpaceFilter".
posted by hammurderer on May 15, 2003 - 41 comments

Deep impact

Deep impact. NASA scientists want to know what the pristine inside of a comet looks like. What better way, then, than by blowing a 25-meter crater in one? Comet Tempel 1, to be specific. Even better, send them your name and they'll put it on a disc attached to the impactor spacecraft, which will be launched on December 30, 2004. It'll hit on the 4th of July, 2005.
posted by gottabefunky on May 13, 2003 - 9 comments

retro-future

Designing a Space Colony? Start Here. Some light Reading. Be sure to check out the artwork (more space art by Don Davis).
posted by wobh on May 3, 2003 - 4 comments

Celestial spheres

This guy can build an orrery for you. Or you can make your own armillary sphere. These two devices are quite possibly the most elegant and beautiful scientific instruments ever created.
posted by WolfDaddy on May 2, 2003 - 10 comments

Space Law.

Space Law. It hadn't even occurred to me that there was some, so I was interested to find the "Outer Space Treaty", which has also been generously translated for thickies and teachers .
posted by biffa on Apr 28, 2003 - 7 comments

Has Burt Rutan done it again?

Scaled Composites unveils a privately built spacecraft Could this be the leapfrog event that all of us sci-fi fans have been waiting for? If successful he will open up space for organizations other than the worlds most wealthy governments. Warp speed Mr. Sulu! (sorry getting a little carried away).
posted by canucklehead on Apr 20, 2003 - 11 comments

Disneyland's New PR Rep

Corporate PR and an obvious parallel? Yesterday, Space Mountain at Disneyland unexpectedly closed for a two year rehab. This was planned for September but a severe maintenance issue seems to have forced their hand. This is a huge things in certain circles, and this guy sees a parallel in the official version of events.
posted by obfusciatrist on Apr 11, 2003 - 18 comments

Really High Tea

I drink my tea with chopsticks. At least, I would if I lived in outer space. Cool movie (achtung: Quicktime) from the international space station showing the effects of surface tension in the absence of gravity. I wonder if any of us will ever live long enough to experience this in person?
posted by jonson on Apr 9, 2003 - 13 comments

Earth as Art

Step above it all for a moment, and take a look at stunning images of the planet as seen through the eyes of the Landsat-7 satellite. Select an area of the globe, or view an index of the images.
posted by dejah420 on Apr 2, 2003 - 18 comments

Orbiter

Orbiter - A Free Space Flight Simulator Starving for a high realism space simulator ever since Microsoft's Space Simulator was discontinued? Look no further than Orbiter, a free realistic space simulator written and maintained by Dr. Martin Schweiger. How realistic? You might want to start off by consulting NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory's Basics Of Space Flight to get you grounded so to speak. This is a free, non-commercial simulator that uses accurate math and orbital physics (more or less) to try to model space flight. However hard it may appear, after orbiting Earth with the high-res (8192x4096) mod-pack installed, or sitting on the launch pad with the seamless OrbiterSound 2.1b sound environment installed, you will be well rewarded for reading the manual and participating in the dance of the heavens. (Even if all you want to do is fly around the solar system!)
posted by Tystnaden on Mar 22, 2003 - 10 comments

Massive explosion rocks NASA

Massive explosion rocks NASA And Pasadena, and a few other places, too. It's not every day you get to watch a black hole form. Includes cool animation (.mov file). Seems the gamma ray burst detector picks up two or three significant events every month or so.
posted by kewms on Mar 20, 2003 - 13 comments

Then there were two

Seattle PI have picked up the news that there's now competition in the race to build a space elevator. Liftport are the new kids on the block, with a website that only went online about 24 hours ago. I'm watching them build the message board as I type. Nothing like a bit of uplifting science news (pun unavoidable).
posted by krisjohn on Mar 18, 2003 - 14 comments

Apollo Lunar Surface Journal

The Apollo Lunar Surface Journal. Journals, records and some images from the Apollo lunar missions.
posted by plep on Mar 10, 2003 - 13 comments

Space elevator one step closer.

Highlift Systems may have found a better location for their space elevator in Perth, Australia. Calm waters, few thunderstorms, not too far from the equator, international airport. (Slashdot discussion) I live in Perth, so I'm excited about the prospect, but our current premier may need a little prod.
posted by krisjohn on Feb 16, 2003 - 8 comments

Soviet

Phantom Cosmonauts On November 28, 1960, a morse code transmission reading "SOS to the whole world" from an orbiting spaceship was picked up by the Judica-Cordiglia brothers with their home-made radio tracking station in San Maurizio Canavese, Italy. Sometime between February 2-4, they picked up telemetry of a dying cosmonauts heartbeat and breathing. Yuri Gagarin, the universally acknowledged first man in space, did not make his flight until April 12, 1961. These brothers claimed that they intercepted radio transmissions of other secret flights as well. Were there secret Soviet spaceflights that ended in the death of Cosmonauts? Most tend to disagree, and offer an excellent debunking. I started reading about this several weeks before the Columbia, but it now has a new poignancy. I agree that it is exceedingly unlikely that these alleged flights took, but the claims of these brothers, mingled with various other rumor and various Soviet urban legends, (along with the fact of Russian/Soviet general secrecy about most everything,) create an alternate history that is exceedingly disturbing.
posted by Snyder on Feb 7, 2003 - 18 comments

Martian Law

Martian Law: From the Cato Institute comes this paper exploring the best choices for law on the red planet when colonization occurs.

Mars is a case of what political theorists would call a perfect state of nature. No one lives on Mars. No one currently has legal title to any part of Mars. On what basis then can Mars be exploited by individuals or consortia?

Of course, Kim Stanley Robinson has already explored this subject in his ground-breaking Martian trilogy.
posted by jdroth on Feb 7, 2003 - 10 comments

Cosmic bolt probed in shuttle disaster

Cosmic bolt probed in shuttle disaster - Scientists poring over 'infrasonic' sound waves Federal scientists are looking for evidence that a bolt of electricity in the upper atmosphere might have doomed the space shuttle Columbia as it streaked over California, The Chronicle has learned.
posted by y2karl on Feb 7, 2003 - 29 comments

Celestia: A free real time space simulation

Celestia is the most beautiful toy. It's a free (open source) simulator of the universe, including breathtaking models of known planets. Watch Jupiter rise over Io or follow the course of a solar eclipse. [more inside]
posted by grahamwell on Feb 4, 2003 - 21 comments

Fire in the Sky

Fire in the Sky.
Perhaps you saw moonwalk veteran astronaut Buzz Aldrin attempt on NBC to read a poem he received in e-mail Saturday, and falter in tears. It was actually lyrics to the Jordin Kare song "Fire in the Sky," a tribute to manned space exploration:
Prometheus, they say, brought God's fire down to man.
And we've caught it, tamed it, trained it since our history began.
Now we're going back to heaven just to look him in the eye,
and there's a thunder 'cross the land, and a fire in the sky

[via Space.com]
posted by Tubes on Feb 3, 2003 - 7 comments

Trophy Boys

It's kind of weird how people in East Texas seem to have to "pose" with the debris, like it's a dead deer or a fishing trophy...
posted by sparky on Feb 3, 2003 - 53 comments

Challenger Nuclear Prometheus rockets

Perhaps after the Challenger tragedy Nasa will rethink Project Prometheus.
posted by thedailygrowl on Feb 3, 2003 - 23 comments

History of (Failed) Shuttle Replacements

So, why hasn't the Shuttle been replaced? Because it hasn't been easy. In the late 80's and early '90s, the cold-war-fantasy-cum-shuttle-replacement was the X-30 National Aerospace Plane (NASP) that was supposed to take off and land like a plane flying on super-fast Scramjet engines that, alas, were never really successful... In the late '90s, the New Economy, space-exploration-on-VC-money shuttle replacement was the X-33 VentureStar program which was eventually cancelled, after a long and turbulent history. The X-33/VentureStar was one of the most technologically daring machines ever built --albeit too daring. I cannot mention the X-33 without mentioning the ingenious-but-untested linear aerospike engine that was going to take it to orbit. If the US is now (again) considering a Shuttle replacement, maybe the Delta Clipper is worth a second look. The DC-X was a competitor for the X-33 program that was eventually scrapped, for technological and other reasons. At least the Russians and Europeans liked it so much better than the other New Shuttle options that they copied it.
posted by costas on Feb 2, 2003 - 35 comments

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