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Wednesday, June 2, 2004


ESA to Join Russian Mars Study

Russian space capsule.
Russian space capsule.
Credit: Jane Keeler
The European Space Agency announced today that it is planning to join a Russian bid to simulate the conditions of a Mars trip in 2006 reported earlier on Red Colony. The participants in the experiment, at this point slated to be cosmonauts or astronauts, will stay for 500 days in a cramped space capsule, that will simulate many of the conditions found on the way to Mars. They will subsist on materials found within the capsule, and can only leave for extreme emergencies.

In other news, the Red Colony team believes that we have worked through the worst of the problems with the server change, and should be able to get back to doing regular updates.

(More info: Interfax)


- posted by Brian @ 23:36 EST

(permanent link)

Friday, June 4, 2004


Cassini's a Month Away

Cassini-Huygens Spacecraft.
Cassini-Huygens Spacecraft.
Credit: NASA/JPL
After 7 years of travel, the Cassini-Huygens Spacecraft set to visit Saturn is only 26 days away. Cassini represents the most scientifically capable craft ever flown, containing 12 instruments on Cassini and 6 on Huygen (a probe destined for Titian). It was build with $3 million dollars by the US and 17 European countries. In its four scheduled years around Saturn, it will make 76 orbits and 54 close encounters with Saturnís numerous moons. The craft-probe combo is going to make final preparations to be captured by Saturnís gravity in the next few days.

(More info: Universe Today)


- posted by Jim @ 19:42 EST

(permanent link)


Opportunity Meets Endurance

Endurance, from Opportunity.
Endurance, from Opportunity.
Credit: NASA/JPL
Even though Opportunity may not come out, the tantalizing hits in the crater proved too much for scientists. They are going to send Opportunity into Endurance to test exposed rocks and rock layers. "This is a crucial and careful decision for the Mars Exploration Rovers' extended mission," said Dr. Edward Weiler, NASA's Associate Administrator for Space Science. "Layered rock exposures inside Endurance Crater may add significantly to the story of a watery past environment that Opportunity has already begun telling us. The analysis just completed by the rover team shows likelihood that Opportunity will be able to drive to a diagnostic rock exposure, examine it, and then drive out of the crater. However, there's no guarantee of getting out again, so we also considered what science opportunities outside the crater would be forfeited if the rover spends its remaining operational life inside the crater." The rover can climb 25 degrees provided the soil is not too loose.

(More Info: Universe Today)


- posted by Jim @ 19:53 EST

(permanent link)

Monday, June 21, 2004


SpaceShipOne Makes First Private Spaceflight

SpaceShipOne.
SpaceShipOne.
Credit: Scaled Composites
The first private spacecraft flew out of a spaceport in the Mojave Desert today to reach out to the edge of space. The spacecraft, SpaceShipOne, was dropped by its carrier aircraft White Knight at an altitude of 47,000 feet, where it ignited its rocket engine and shot to a height of 62 miles. Although a loud bang was heard during the flight and damage could be seen on the spacecraft upon landing, the company, Scaled Composites, was very pleased and hopes to make another flight soon. Another flight would satisfy the requirements for the X Prize, a US $10 million prize designed to spur the development of space.

Scaled Composites was founded by Burt Rutan, the world-famous designer of the Voyager aircraft, and is heavily funded by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen.

(More info: Space.com)


- posted by Brian @ 18:36 EST

(permanent link)

Sunday, June 27, 2004


New Article: Two Paths

The beauty of space.
The beauty of space.
Credit: NASA
Matthew Davidson of the forum has written a very sharp and controversial article about the benefits of a privately funded space agency. Rather than rely on the government, which is often terribly inefficient, Matthew claims that we should allow the principles of economics to take over. Here's a snippet:

NASA isn't helping development in space, despite what they claim.

In fact, quite the opposite is true. By taking tax dollars away from private industry, they are slowing the progress and the growth of the companies that are actually serving the people. NASA isn't helping--they are hurting. Since all of their choices are arbitrary guesses, they fail to meet the demands of the people. Private industry also is taking guesses as to what the people want; however, if they guess incorrectly the people will withdraw their investments and move them to other companies. NASA is spending money on things people don't want. They are taking resources from productive areas and spending them elsewhere.


- posted by Alex @ 18:11 EST

(permanent link)

Monday, June 28, 2004


Evidence for Water

The nodular nuggets of the pot of gold rock. The observed area is 3cm tall
The nodular nuggets of the pot of gold rock. The observed area is 3cm tall
Credit: NASA/JPL/Cornell/USGS
Spirit and Opportunity are both finding evidence for water. Sprit has found an outcropping of hematite at Gusev crater and is finding evidence for water even further from its landing site. Opportunity is "diving" in Endurance crater and finding strata. This strata means that water was continuously flowing or flowed in regular intervals. This is all exciting News. "It felt to us in the last couple of weeks like the [five-month-long] mission has started all over again," Steve Squyres said.

(More info: New Scientist)


- posted by Jim @ 22:31 EST

(permanent link)

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