Monthly Archives: November 2011

If I’m on Mars, I want a Nuke

Reading up on Curiosity’s power source reinforced my idea that landing on Mars with humans will require a nuclear power source.  For example, the nuclear power supply on Curiosity will provide about 2.5kW of electrical power per day at landing.  … Continue reading

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Landing big Things on Mars

According to this article, our bag of tricks is empty for landing anything larger than MSL on Mars.  The big factor is not being able to bring the landing vehicle below supersonic speeds before starting to fire engines. It strikes … Continue reading

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Another Day, Another Mars Rover

Was away from serious news coverage and most internet access in the final run up to Curiosity‘s launch.  So far, it looks like all is going well.  In the meantime, Russia’s latest Mars effort, while there are some promising signs, … Continue reading

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ISS Nightlights Video

I’m not sure this video makes the cost of the ISS worth it, but it’s pretty cool.  A couple ‘watch fors’: Lightning in the clouds Auroras Slewing solar arrays (they move to track the sun, and have to move at … Continue reading

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Rooting for Phobos-Grunt for Many Reasons

It’s a real bummer that the Russian Mars curse struck again and stranded Phobos-Grunt (really bad PR translation… supposed to mean ‘dirt’ or ‘soil’) in low Earth orbit.  There’s talk of them trying to get control of the spacecraft and … Continue reading

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An Uneventful Pass

Asteroid 2005 YU55 passed by last night with nary a whisper.  Those with good telescopes and/or big radar dishes got some pretty impressive views.

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In Other Asteroid News

Here are a couple of fun articles about asteroids: You don’t need to worry about someone using an asteroid as a weapon (except every 200-300 years or so) The 7 Strangest Asteroids in the Solar System

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Not Related!

I got asked this last night at my high school reunion, but the asteroid close approach on the 8th of November and the new emergency broadcast system test on the 9th of November are not related to each other at … Continue reading

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For Those who Dabble in Orbit Mechanics

I’ve been very impressed with the program and user community surrounding the Orbiter Spaceflight Simulator.  It kind of reminds me of amateur radio, where the amateur deals strictly in the fact that people aren’t getting paid, not that they lack … Continue reading

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The What Prepatory Project?

Most of my Air Force Reserve career dealt with headquarters’ concerns about the National Polar-Orbiting Environmental Satellite System or NPOESS.  The program was meant to combine civil and military weather needs into a satellite that would handle both realtime and … Continue reading

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