The Space Review 8 Sep 2009, 12:59 UTC Many people in the space field are happy to talk about scientific and technical issues, but rarely discuss the interaction with, and relevance of, art. Jeff Foust looks at some recent examples of the role of art in space and space art, and how it could help generate interest in space among the public.
Space Fellowship 8 Sep 2009, 09:15 UTC Written by Nancy AtkinsonAs the crew of the STS-128 mission pack up and prepare to get ready to undock from the International Space Station on Tuesday, it’s time to look back at the very successful mission that worked on space station construction. Here’s some of the best images of the mission.(...)Read the rest of Top [...]
Sky and Telescope 8 Sep 2009, 02:18 UTC McNaught has just discovered his 50th comet. He spotted it, as he does most often these days, on images taken with the 20-inch (0.5-meter) Uppsala Schmidt telescope at Siding Spring Observatory in Australia. The discovery, now known formally as P/2009 Q5, came early on the morning of September 1st in Australia (late on August 31st Universal Time). It appeared as a fuzzy 17th-magnitude blip in a stack of five 30-second exposures taken in northern Cetus after the nearly full Moon had set.
Systemic - Characterizing Extrasolar Planetary Systems 7 Sep 2009, 22:58 UTC A recent article in Nature reports that WASP-18b has emerged victorious in the ongoing exoplanetary limbo competition. WASP-18b is also a strong contender in the least-habitable-planet-yet-detected competition. It has a mass roughly ten times Jupiter’s and skims 2.6 stellar radii above the surface of the parent star. The orbital period is a mere 22 hours 36 minutes. A year in less than a day.To the offhand glance, even the simple presence of the planet seems puzzling. It’s so close to its parent star that tidal orbital decay should haul it in for destruction on a timescale that’s alarmingly short in comparison to the ~1 billion year age of the parent star. Either WASP-18b has been found on the very cusp of its dénouement (which seems unlikely) or tidal dissipation in the parent star is much lower than in a star like the Sun.Darin Ragozzine pointed me to to a recent article by Barker and Ogilvie that indicates that WASP-18 may indeed very poor at dissipating tidal energy. It’s an F-type star, somewhat more massive than the sun, with a negligible convective envelope, and no good recourse to turning tidal waves into heat. It’s like a bell that can ring and ...
Cosmic Ray: Discovery Space 7 Sep 2009, 17:39 UTC This is the coolest picture to date from LRO that captures the activities of Apollo astronauts at a moon-landing site. It is littered with hardware! Last month a reader left a comment on this site wonderingwhere the “Apollo artifacts” were that I said NASA’s Lunar ReconnaissanceOrbiter would photograph. Well this is the coolest picture to date from LRO thatcaptures the activities of Apollo astronauts at a moon-landing site. It islittered with hardware! LRO flew over the flat lava plain in western OceanusProcellarum where Apollo 12 landed on November 14, 1969. The unmanned Surveyor3 landed there two years earlier. Astronauts Pete Conrad and Alan Bean navigated the LunarModule to a touchdown just 300 feet from Surveyor 3. The astronauts performed two moonwalks. In the picture wecan trace their steps on the first moonwalk where they deployed an Apollo LunarSurface Experiment Package (ALSEP). Their footprints continue to the northwestto collect soil and rock samples. The next day Conrad and Bean skirted around Head crater,then south to Bench crater and finally met up with Surveyor 3 and removed itscamera and other parts for return to Earth. In public talks I often use the iconic Apollo 14 image of ahuman explorer meeting robot explorer. ...
SciBuff 7 Sep 2009, 13:54 UTC Ireland has received hundreds of reports of a brilliant exploding fireball in the sky at around 20:00 UTC on Thursday, September 3, 2009. Witnesses said that the bolide lit up the sky for several seconds. Shortly afterward, when the slower traveling sound waves reached the stunned observers, a huge explosion was heard. Astronomy Ireland chairman David Moore said: "So far, reports have been registered by residents in west Cork, Kerry, Cavan and as far north as Donegal, thus suggesting that this spectacular event may have been witnessed by people all over the country".
Lunar Networks 7 Sep 2009, 12:48 UTC Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Science Targeting MeetingTempe, ArizonaJune 2009Dr. Barbara A. CohenNASA Marshall Space Flight CenterOne of the important outstanding goals of lunar science is understanding the bombardment history of the Moon and calibrating the impact flux curve for extrapolation to the Earth and other terrestrial planets. The "terminal lunar cataclysm," a brief but intense period of bombardment about 3.9 billion years ago, is of particular scientific interest.Radiometric dating of lunar impact-melt rocks forms the backbone of the lunar cataclysm hypothesis. A histogram of precise age determinations of impact-melt rocks shows the characteristics of the classic formulation of the lunar cataclysm hypothesis: a sharp peak at 3.9 billion years, a steep decline after 3.9 billion years and perhaps only 20-200 million year long, and few rocks of impact origin prior to 4 billion years.Download the .pdf presentation HERE.Lunar Pioneer, LLP The Lunar CenturyGroup News Traffic via Lunar Networkshttp://lunarnetworks.blogspot.com
Space Fellowship 7 Sep 2009, 12:31 UTC Of course, the human body is not made of dust; it comprises mainly water, proteins, fats and mineral nutrients. These substances are in turn made up of chemical elements, or different ‘atom types’, which are primarily hydrogen, oxygen, carbon and nitrogen. But where did these chemical elements come from – how were they created?(...)Read the [...]