Thursday, October 26, 2006

STEREO launched yesterday


NASA's twin Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatories mission, known
as STEREO, successfully launched Wednesday at 8:52 p.m. EDT from Cape
Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla.

STEREO's nearly identical twin, golf cart-sized spacecraft will make
observations to help researchers construct the first-ever
three-dimensional views of the sun. The images will show the star's
stormy environment and its effects on the inner solar system, vital
data for understanding how the sun creates space weather.

STEREO website is here.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Loma Prieta Earthquake 17 years ago

I remember standing in line at Longs Drug in Ventura 17 years ago when I felt the ground sway back and forth. Good article on BBC on a Look back here.
On Tuesday, October 17, 1989 at 5:04 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time, a magnitude 7.1 earthquake occurred on the San Andreas fault 10 miles northeast of Santa Cruz. This earthquake was the largest earthquake to occur in the San Francisco Bay area since 1906, and the largest anywhere in California since 1952. The earthquake was responsible for 67 deaths and about 7 billion dollars worth of damage, making it the biggest dollar loss natural disaster in United States history. This article describes the seismological features of the earthquake, and briefly outlines a number of other geologic observations made during study of the earthquake, its aftershocks, and its effects. Much of the information in this article was provided by the U. S. Geological Survey (USGS).

Shuttle delays

The Shuttle launch planned for the beginning of the year will be delayed. The manufacturing of the external tanks have been effected by good ol' hurricane Katrina from last year.
NASA will likely delay by as much as a month some space shuttle launches scheduled for next year because of a backlog in processing the shuttles' external fuel tanks, an agency spokesman said Monday.

If approved, the revised schedule would push back the first launch of 2007 to March 16 from February 22; the launch of space shuttle Endeavour to June 28 from June 11; and the launch of Atlantis to September 7 from August 9. Two other flights carrying international space station parts constructed by the European and Japanese space agencies still are scheduled for later in 2007.

In the three years since the Columbia disaster, NASA's efforts to get the external fuel tanks ready for launch have been confounded by design changes and Hurricane Katrina, which damaged the tank assembly plant in New Orleans last year.

"The effects of Katrina are still being felt somewhat," NASA spokesman Kyle Herring said. "Getting back on track with the tank is obviously the biggest challenge there."

Monday, October 16, 2006

Hawaii shaking up

My parents live in Hilo and I havn't heard from them yet. Phones were busy when I tried to call. Here is the USGS Map of the 6.6 here.
Like most Hawaiian earthquakes, the temblor was related to the volcanic activity that built the Hawaiian Islands as the top of undersea mountains sprouting from the deep ocean. This quake happened when accumulated weight of layers of cooled magma became too heavy for the earth's crust to hold — so it simply gave way.

"Volcanoes grow over time," said Harley Benz of the U.S. Geological Survey. "They become so massive just the sheer weight of the volcano, of the solid rock that's been built up over thousands and millions of years, alone will cause earthquakes."

Good thing no one was killed in the quake. I'll hopefully get in touch with my parents today.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Give me a break!

Nurmeburg type Hearings for Us Non-Global Warming believers? GMAB Please!
Gore and Moyers have not yet commented on Grist's advocacy of prosecuting skeptics of global warming with a Nuremberg-style war crimes trial. Gore has used the phrase "global warming deniers" to describe scientists and others who don't share his view of the Earth's climate. It remains to be seen what Gore and Moyers will have to say about proposals to make skepticism a crime comparable to Holocaust atrocities.

Those who disbelieve will be tried for Crimes against the Global Warming Deniers! Let the court be held in the Hauge. Let Bill Hansen be the head Judge and the prosicuter will be Bill Clinton! Oh! Just a bad dream.
Rush and William Gray will be tried for sure.

Monday, October 09, 2006

NoKo nuke Test

From all the clamor this morning about the nuke test in North Korea, it was only about 550 tons. The Russians said it was like Hiroshima at 15,000 tons. Capt. Ed has more here.

Right now, it looks like the North Koreans failed. The seismic activity shows a much smaller explosion than anyone would have predicted. The White House won't even confirm a nuclear test has taken place with the evidence at hand; in fact, only the Russians have confirmed the event as a nuclear test. American officials told the AP that it looks like "more fizzle than pop", given that its force only amounts to 1/30th of Hiroshima. In fact, with a yield that small, it's questionable whether it could possibly have been a nuclear explosion.

I agree with Capt. that this is a fizzle. I'm glad President Bush did not call it an actual "Nuke" test. We need more information and I hope something is done about it.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Ad Astra article by OCSS

Larry Evans our OCSS president has an article on our August activity with the NASA Vision for Space Exploration trailer display here.
NASA’s Vision for Space Exploration trailer is a beautiful piece of public relations for the future of human spaceflight. When our organization, the Orange County Space Society, does educational outreach work, we are often asked why this information is not more readily available. Many people we come in contact with are surprised at all that is currently happening in space or planned for the near future. This is the reason OCSS does what it does, to make the public aware, and we have been very successful in what we have accomplished. It is great that NASA is also out there doing this sort of work, because, as we all know, you can never have too much positive attention when it comes to the space program.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Opportunity outshines Mars

Over at the Science Dude at OCRegister has a wonderful picture of a crater here.

This is a geologist's dream come true," said Dr. Steve Squyres of Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., principal investigator for Opportunity and Spirit. "Those layers of rock, if we can get to them, will tell us new stories about the environmental conditions long ago. We especially want to learn whether the wet era that we found recorded in the rocks closer to the landing site extended farther back in time. The way to find that out is to go deeper, and Victoria may let us do that."

Monday, October 02, 2006

Armstrong's words, "One small step for a man.....

Mr Armstrong has long insisted that he meant to say “one small step for a man . . .” — which would have been a more meaningful and grammatically correct version, free of tautology. But even the astronaut himself could not be sure.

“Damn, I really did it. I blew the first words on the Moon, didn’t I?” he is reported to have asked officials later, amid uncertainty as to whether he had blown the moment or simply been drowned out by static interference as his words were relayed 250,000 miles back to Earth.

Now, after almost four decades, the spaceman has been vindicated. Using high-tech sound analysis techniques, an Australian computer expert has rediscovered the missing “a” in Mr Armstrong’s famous quote. Peter Shann Ford ran the Nasa recording through sound-editing software and clearly picked up an acoustic wave from the word “a”, finding that Mr Armstrong spoke it at a rate of 35 milliseconds — ten times too fast for it to be audible.