Spaaaaace!

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Re: Spaaaaace!

Postby stargazer » Jan 27, 2014 12:36 pm

starkat wrote:We're coming up on three anniversaries for NASA.

Jan 27, 1967 - Apollo 1
Jan 28, 1986 - Challenger
Feb 1, 2003 - Columbia


For some reason I don't remember Apollo 1, though I remember some other big historical events from either before (JFK) or after (MLK and Bobby Kennedy).

Challenger and Columbia, though, I remember vividly. I didn't see either one live. I was at work for Challenger, with a local music radio station on in the background, and they broke in with the news. By the time I got home from work it was all over the TV stations, but all they could really do was show replays and speculate as to cause.

Incidentally, the 1986 calendar is identical to the 2014 one, so both years the State of the Union address would come on the 28th. As I recall there was some brief discussion in 1986 that President Reagan should give the Address to show the country continued on despite the morning's tragedy, but this quickly changed once people realized the impact seeing the shuttle explode had on Americans. So the State of the Union was delayed, and that evening President Reagan instead honored the Challenger Seven in this speech, which ended with a quotation from ‘High Flight’ by John Gillespie Magee: "We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them this morning as they prepared for their journey and waved goodbye and 'slipped the surly bonds of earth to touch the face of God.'"
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Re: Spaaaaace!

Postby stargazer » Mar 08, 2014 1:16 pm

Scientists have used the Hubble Space Telescope to record the apparently-spontaneous disintegration of a main-belt asteroid - there is no apparent collision or other reason for it to fall apart. The leading explanation is from something called the YORP effect, which has been observed previously but less dramatically. (Incoming solar energy is radiated back into space not only as heat but momentum. With small irregular objects this can increase their spin rate until they break apart).

More details (including more on the YORP effect) are available here and here.
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Re: Spaaaaace!

Postby Shadowlander » Mar 08, 2014 6:25 pm

I'm just glad Hubble is still in use. They were supposed to bring it down in the early 2000's but it continues to work like a champ. You could make a mega-post based entirely upon Hubble pictures and have pages of mind blowing photographs.
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Re: Spaaaaace!

Postby Puddleglum » Mar 15, 2014 8:37 pm

Interesting article stargazer. I am often suprised by the content of some bits, and pieces I find, whether in magazines, or internet sites. If I read it right, this YORP effect may explain the dust rings observed around some stars. Which would indicate those systems being older, and falling apart, instead of actually young, and in the process of forming.
Is it not the second law of thermodynamics that says something about everything working toward decay?
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Re: Spaaaaace!

Postby stargazer » Jul 21, 2014 12:19 pm

That's right, Puddleglum.

It was 45 years ago yesterday that Neil Armstrong took his "giant leap for mankind" onto the Sea of Tranquility.

I remember all of us huddled around the TV on a warm summer evening, glued to the grainy black and white images coming from the Moon (yeah, I'm that old. ;)) )
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Re: Spaaaaace!

Postby fantasia_kitty » Sep 16, 2014 1:53 pm

Just saw trending on FB that NASA has awarded SpaceX (yay!!) and Boeing contracts to carry Americans into space from American soil. :D
Here's one of many copies of the story.
http://fox6now.com/2014/09/16/return-of ... ttle-deal/

And my husband tells me that NASA's Orion capsule will be ready for testing this December.
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Re: Spaaaaace!

Postby Shadowlander » Sep 16, 2014 5:09 pm

One step closer to a Lunar colony then. :D
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Re: Spaaaaace!

Postby Gymfan15 » Sep 16, 2014 11:45 pm

Isn't China planning on having people on the moon in a few years? I seem to recall that being discussed AGES ago, as in, ten years ago. Didn't know if the economy or whatnot had affected that plan or not.
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Re: Spaaaaace!

Postby stargazer » Sep 17, 2014 8:53 am

Nice to see these next steps toward a return to space by this country.

Gymfan, China is planning on manned lunar missions but that might be a decade away:

This article on space.com indicates that the Yutu (Jade Rabbit) rover is the second phase in China's unmanned lunar exploration (the third being to return lunar samples to earth by 2020). The Washington Post reports that while China intends to put a man on the moon, no date has been set for that - but it will certainly be later than that 2020 date.

Edit: In other news, NASA's Maven spacecraft arrives at Mars this weekend (the name is an acronym for Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution). It, along with other spacecraft in the area of Mars, will have ringside seats for the close passage of Comet Siding Spring next month (it is expected to pass within 82,000 miles/138,000 km). Read more here.
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Re: Spaaaaace!

Postby stargazer » Nov 12, 2014 1:13 pm

Here's something that was unimaginable even 20 years ago: after a decade in space the European Space Agency's Philae lander has arrived at the surface of comet 67P (its full name is quite a mouthful: 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko). Pretty amazing! (I can recall the day when it was a big deal to have a spacecraft fly by the nucleus of Comet Halley almost 3 decades ago).

And in a sign of the times, apparently the lander tweeted its status: "Touchdown! My new address: 67P!" Later, it tweeted again: "I'm on the surface but my harpoons did not fire."

Read more here.
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Re: Spaaaaace!

Postby fantasia_kitty » Nov 16, 2014 1:22 pm

So last I heard, Philea bounced a couple times and then landed in a shadow, which isn't good as it's solar powered. I heard they might try to move it, but that was the last I heard. As I don't have time to keep up with the news on this, could anybody give me an update?
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Re: Spaaaaace!

Postby stargazer » Nov 16, 2014 11:40 pm

The lander does have a battery, but with a short life as it was hoped the solar panels would be able to recharge it. But it bounced on landing and ended up in a shadow. This article mentions that a lot of data was transmitted before the battery died. They can't move the lander enough to get it into the sun, but were able to reposition its facing slightly. The hope now is that as the comet nears the sun, its rotation may allow enough power to recharge the battery and return it to operation.
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Re: Spaaaaace!

Postby starkat » Dec 05, 2014 6:15 am

I saw the replay of the Orion launch this morning. Oh wow. If that's what it looks like in high def... the Saturn V launches must have been a sight to behold. I do hope the flight goes well. It's one of those stepping stones to get NASA back into manned spaceflight.
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Re: Spaaaaace!

Postby stargazer » Dec 08, 2014 6:03 pm

The Orion launch really did remind me a lot of the old Saturn V. So slow-rising and majestic. Glad to see everything went so well.
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Re: Spaaaaace!

Postby stargazer » Jun 06, 2015 4:56 pm

Scientists and space buffs are getting excited about the New Horizons probe approaching Pluto after over 9 years in space - even with it being the fastest spacecraft ever launched from earth.

It will pass through the area July 14 (lots of details here). It was developed and built before Pluto's demotion from planet status, and when it was launched we only knew about Pluto's largest moon Charon, and now there are 4 other small known ones that posed brief challenges to navigation and may provide new targets for short glimpses.

If all goes well New Horizons may also be maneuvered to check out one or two additional Kuiper Belt objects on its way out of the solar system.
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Re: Spaaaaace!

Postby starkat » Jun 08, 2015 11:16 am

You know you're a NASA history geek when you can correct documentaries and radio talk show hosts.

I've a Apollo 11 "documentary" playing and they are making it out that the astronauts chosen where chosen for their bravery and skill. When Actually, Deke Slayton had a rotation set up and they were on that list. Only time the rotation got changed was when Alan Shepard was cleared to fly again. Good grief people... research.

A local radio talk show host kept saying he saw a Titan, three stage rocket, in a building at Johnson Space Center. Ummm... That's a Saturn V not a Titan II rocket. The Titan II was used for Gemini not Apollo and JSC doesn't have one on display.
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