Here's the latest on space, and my opinions on it...
This is the legacy site, with blog
entries from November, 2004 through June, 2011.
Updates after June 9, 2011 can be found at http://spacewhatnow.com/SWN
Tuesday, March 31, 2009
I Think I Heard this one
10:25 pm est
Apparently, a bolide exploded over the East Coast
on Sunday night. Given the time noted in the reports, I think I was in bed and heard it. We live near a substation, so
explosions aren't all that rare. Initial speculation
was that the object was the returning second stage from the Soyuz
launch that took a crew to the ISS. What creeped me out a bit was that the initial reports quoted someone from the Naval
Observatory, who claimed they used orbit analysis software to show that it was a rocket body. In the later article, this
person called a 'Mulligan' on that analysis.
Of course, this kind of activity just makes me want to build and operate one of these
even more. A few all-sky cameras around the area would be able to answer a lot of questions of where this item came from.
Sunday, March 29, 2009
Station in Sense-Around
5:49 am est
While I'm not a full supporter of the space station, this video
is pretty darn cool. Be sure to look for
the station in your local night sky, as it'll be brighter with the new solar arrays.
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Major Solar Storm Effects
9:23 pm est
Monday, March 23, 2009
4:21 pm est
It's one thing to know about an obscure character in the original Star Trek series, but it's quite another to hire a virtual
seamstress to make that character's dress
for your avatar in Second Life
Eco-Friendly use for GPS
4:14 pm est
Excellent idea here
: Using the Global Positioning System and a terrain map to throttle the cruise control on trucks to save 6% in gas.
Saturday, March 21, 2009
Virtually Browse the Air and Space Museum
10:00 pm est
is a web-based collection of images of items that are in the Air and Space Museum. Too much stuff to just glance through!
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
5:54 pm est
I'm not sure they have all their facts right, but these videos
explain a lot of things going on in the background as I grew up in the rapidly-developing world of computers and games.
Friday, March 13, 2009
My (Indirect) Role in the Space Station Debris Scare
4:52 pm est
Yesterday, the space station crew had to close up shop and retreat to their Soyuz taxi capsule. They kept the hatch open,
in case the Soyuz capsule was hit so the crew could retreat into the station. According to NASASpaceflight
, the debris in question came from a GPS satellite launch in 1993. I was in the Air Force in 1993, working on GPS satellites
in their early orbit. My job was to get them to their final orbit. Of course, if reports are correct, the debris came off
the Payload Assist Module (PAM) rocket that put the spacecraft into its transfer orbit, which was before my squadron would
make first contact.
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Space Station Comedy Hour
4:53 pm est
NASA's Name the Node
effort has taken a rather comic twist. Mock conservative pundit Steven Colbert has asked his audience to write in his name
for the node, and it's become the top vote getter (according to comments I've seen on other blogs...the contest website doesn't
show the count for write-in votes). The current status
can best be described as undetermined. Of course, it's ironic that more people are interested in a mock pundit than in the
ISS, or at least they're better connected. I'm not sure there's a good way out of this for NASA PR, but given previous gaffes,
my hopes aren't high.
Monday, March 9, 2009
Prettier from Space than from a Shovel...
5:15 pm est
Recent snowfalls on the Eastern Seaboard were imaged
by the Terra
spacecraft soon after. I like this view better than the view I had trying to get to work that day.
Friday, March 6, 2009
7:17 pm est
Thursday, March 5, 2009
Celebrities and Lifesaving Devices
6:27 pm est
Unfortunately, sometimes it takes the death of famous people to bring attention to something. One sample that comes to mind
is the ephedra-caused death of a baseball pitcher
which led to the eventual taking of the product off the shelves. It looks like something similar has happened in the recent
loss of football players, bringing to light how they could have had a satellite-based locator beacon
on their boat and brought rescue to them much quicker. The organization that runs the organization has information here
Ceres and Life
6:21 pm est
proposes an idea that life on Earth actually got its start on the largest asteroid, Ceres
. I like some of the thinking in the article and referenced paper, but agree with one of the commenters that it goes a little
too far in talking about Ceres still having a liquid ocean.
Space: Search Now! with Google
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