Saturday, December 31, 2011

Grail A and Grail B on Moon's orbit insertion

PASADENA, Calif. – NASA's Gravity Recovery And Interior Laboratory (GRAIL)-A spacecraft is within 24 hours of its insertion burn that will place it into lunar orbit. At the time the spacecraft crossed the milestone at 1:21 p.m. PST today (4:21 p.m. EST), the spacecraft was 30,758 miles (49,500 kilometers) from the moon.

Launched aboard the same rocket on Sept. 10, 2011, GRAIL-A's mirror twin, GRAIL-B, is also closing the gap between itself and the moon. GRAIL-B is scheduled to perform its lunar orbit insertion burn on New Year's Day (Jan. 1) at 2:05 p.m. PST (5:05 p.m. EST).

As they close in on the moon, both orbiters move toward the moon from the south, flying nearly directly over the lunar south pole. The lunar orbit insertion burn for GRAIL-A will take approximately 40 minutes to complete and change the spacecraft's velocity by about 427 mph (687 kph). GRAIL-B's insertion burn – occurring 25 hours later -- will last about 39 minutes and is expected to change its velocity by 430 mph (692 kph).

The insertion maneuvers will place each orbiter into a near-polar, elliptical orbit with an orbital period of 11.5 hours. Over the following weeks, the GRAIL team will execute a series of burns with each spacecraft to reduce their period down to just under two hours. At the start of the science phase in March 2012, the two GRAILs will be in a near-polar, near-circular orbit with an altitude of about 34 miles (55 kilometers).

During the science phase, the moon will rotate three times underneath the GRAIL orbit. The collection of gravity data over one complete rotation (27.3 days) is referred to as a Mapping Cycle. When science collection begins, the spacecraft will transmit radio signals precisely defining the distance between them as they orbit the moon in formation. Regional gravitational differences on the moon are expected to expand and contract that distance. GRAIL scientists will use these accurate measurements to define the moon's gravity field. The data will allow mission scientists to understand what goes on below the surface of our natural satellite. This information will help us learn more about how the moon, Earth and other terrestrial planets formed.

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., manages the GRAIL mission. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, is home to the mission's principal investigator, Maria Zuber. The GRAIL mission is part of the Discovery Program managed at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Denver, built the spacecraft. JPL is a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.

More information about GRAIL is online at: and .

The GRAIL press kit can be found online at: .

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Comet Lovejoy

Comet Lovejoy above the Andes from St├ęphane Guisard on Vimeo.

The Grails A & B will arrive and enter Moon's orbit on New Years

The Twin will Grails will arrive to Lunar Orbit this New Years Weekend.
Grail-A and Grail-B won't be ready to start their science campaign immediately upon arriving at the moon. Rather, they'll spend another two months circling lower and lower, eventually settling into orbits just 34 miles (55 kilometers) above the lunar surface, researchers said.

The twin probes will begin taking measurements in March. They'll chase each other around the moon for 82 days, staying 75 to 225 miles (121 to 362 km) apart.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Winter Solstice And why we have cold winter weather

For those of us in the north, the days may begin to grow longer, but the coldest days are still to come. This is because ocean temperatures drive much of the weather on the continents, and they continue to cool in the relative lack of sunlight this time of year.

Read more:

Re-post: Genesis and Apollo 8

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Happy Winter Soltace!

U.S. Naval Observatory
Astronomical Applications Department

Sun and Moon Data for One Day

The following information is provided for Fullerton, Orange County, California (longitude W117.9, latitude N33.9):
        21 December 2011      Pacific Standard Time          

        Begin civil twilight       6:25 a.m.                 
        Sunrise                    6:53 a.m.                 
        Sun transit               11:50 a.m.                 
        Sunset                     4:47 p.m.                 
        End civil twilight         5:15 p.m.                 

        Moonset                    1:20 p.m. on preceding day
        Moonrise                   3:34 a.m.                 
        Moon transit               8:53 a.m.                 
        Moonset                    2:08 p.m.                 
        Moonrise                   4:43 a.m. on following day

Phase of the Moon on 21 December:   waning crescent with 11% of the Moon's visible disk illuminated.
New Moon on 24 December 2011 at 10:07 a.m. Pacific Standard Time.

The Star of Bethlehem

Story found here at Accuweather

Star Trek One Trek Mind #6: 'Twas the Night...

Star Trek One Trek Mind #6: 'Twas the Night...

A Visit From St. Neelix (with apologies to Clement Clarke Moore)

'Twas the night before Christmas when all near the wormhole
Not a creature was stirring, not even a Cardassian Vole;
The gravity boots were hung by the replicator with care,
In hopes that St. Neelix soon would be there;

The children were nestled all snug in their biobeds,
While visions of moba fruit danced in their heads;
And mamma in her 'kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled down for a long aphelion orbit's nap,

Saturday, October 29, 2011 - Home of the Daily and Sunday Express | UK News :: Climate change is natural: 100 reasons why - Home of the Daily and Sunday Express | UK News :: Climate change is natural: 100 reasons why

89) It is a myth that CO2 is a pollutant, because nitrogen forms 80% of our atmosphere and human beings could not live in 100% nitrogen either: CO2 is no more a pollutant than nitrogen is and CO2 is essential to life.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Office of the Governor Rick Perry - [Press Release] Statement by Gov. Rick Perry on Final Landing of Shuttle Atlantis

Office of the Governor Rick Perry - [Press Release] Statement by Gov. Rick Perry on Final Landing of Shuttle Atlantis

Gov. Rick Perry issued the following statement on the final landing of NASA's Shuttle Atlantis:

"Forty-two years ago yesterday, America captured the world's imagination by putting a man on the moon, highlighting an era of excellence in space exploration. Unfortunately, with the final landing of the Shuttle Atlantis and no indication of plans for future missions, this administration has set a significantly different milestone by shutting down our nation's legacy of leadership in human spaceflight and exploration, leaving American astronauts with no alternative but to hitchhike into space.

Friday, July 08, 2011

An Era ends and what will we do now?

Today was a sad day in an Era of Space travel ends. The Last Shuttle launch and into retirement. The United States does not have a space vehicle to replace the shuttle. The Constellation would not be ready until 2015 (but is not funded!)The "Orion Lite" that the current Administration proposes is just a rescue vehicle on the ISS. So NASA is left with the Russian program to transport our Astronauts to and from the ISS. Space X and other private compaines are not ready for Human Flight but are getting there. But when?

And it comes down to what we were doing for 30 years? LEO. Did we explore? Yes, we did explore with probes to the far planets and rovers on Mars. But Man has been stuck in Lower Earth Orbit for a long time. We need to come back with a vision that will lead to a plan of exploring the unknown. Our future depends on it.

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Planes may increase snowfall at times

Planes may increase snowfall at times
Some jets and propeller planes flying through certain kinds of clouds can seed ice crystals and create additional snowfall, scientists find.

Friday, July 01, 2011

Final Shuttle Mission Set for July 8th

Spaceflight Now | STS-135 Shuttle Report | NASA formally sets July 8 for final space shuttle launch
Atlantis will deliver a year's worth of provisions to proactively stock the shelves of the International Space Station while NASA awaits commercial firms SpaceX and Orbital Sciences to begin routinely servicing the outpost with resupply missions.

"This flight is incredibly important to space station. The cargo that is coming up on this flight is really mandatory for the space station," Gerstenmaier said.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Minotaur I Launch

A Minotaur rocket roared into orbit from the Virginia coast Wednesday night, successfully deploying a small spacecraft to make the benefits of satellite technology more accessible to deployed U.S. military forces in Afghanistan and other war zones in the Middle East.

From Spaceflightnow here.

Asteroid streaks by earth

From here.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Iranian test Monkey

I wonder what Alan B Shepard would think?

Iran says it plans to send a monkey into space next month as the next step in a space program that Western leaders worry could also bring major advances in Iran's missile arsenal.
The state-run news agency IRNA quotes the head of Iran's space agency as saying Monday that five monkeys are undergoing tests and one will be selected for the flight on a Kavoshgar-5 — or Explorer-5 — rocket.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Alan B. Shepard gets a piece of a Moon Rock!

Published 04/20/2011 - 9:11 a.m. CST
WASHINGTON -- NASA will posthumously honor Alan B. Shepard Jr., the first American astronaut in space who later walked on the moon, with an Ambassador of Exploration Award for his contributions to the U.S. space program.

Shepard's family members will accept the award on his behalf during a ceremony at 5:30 p.m. EDT on Thursday, April 28, at the U.S. Naval Academy Museum, located at 74 Greenbury Point Road in Annapolis, Md. His family will present the award to the museum for permanent display. NASA's Chief Historian Bill Barry will represent the agency at the event, which will include a video message from NASA Administrator Charles Bolden.

Shepard, a 1945 graduate of the Naval Academy, was one of NASA's original seven Mercury astronauts selected in April 1959. On May 5, 1961, he was launched from Cape Canaveral, Fla., aboard the Freedom 7 spacecraft on a suborbital flight that carried him to an altitude of 116 miles.

Shepard made his second spaceflight as the commander of Apollo 14 from Jan. 31 to Feb. 9, 1971. He was accompanied on the third lunar landing by astronauts Stuart Roosa and Edgar Mitchell. Maneuvering the lunar module "Antares" to a landing in the hilly upland Fra Mauro region of the moon, Shepard and Mitchell deployed and activated a number of scientific instruments and collected almost 100 pounds of lunar samples for return to Earth.

NASA is giving the Ambassador of Exploration Award to the first generation of explorers in the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo space programs for realizing America's goal of going to the moon. The award is a moon rock encased in Lucite, mounted for public display.

The rock is part of the 842 pounds of lunar samples collected during six Apollo missions from 1969 to 1972. The astronauts or family members receiving the award present it to a museum of their choice, where the moon rock is placed on public display.

From Cypress Times here.

Monday, April 11, 2011

STS-1 4/12/1981

Yuri's Night 4/12/2011

It is the 50th anniversary of Men and Women in space and 30 anniversary of the Space Shuttle in Space. To quote a dear friend who passed away just today, "Space is the place for the new human race!" Rest in Peace JGM!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

earthhour.pdf (application/pdf Object)

earthhour.pdf (application/pdf Object)

Please remember to leave all your lights on tonight from 8:30 to 9:30 PM. Technology is good! Humans need electricity! Think about washing your clothes by hand.(No washing machine) And then hanging them up to air dry. (No dryer) How about your dinner being cooked on an open fire? (No electric stove/oven) And then drying your left over meat. (no refrigerator) Get the point. Without electricity Humans would go back to the cave man days.

Happy Birthday Spock!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Flame Trench: Work resumes at shuttle launch pad

The Flame Trench: Work resumes at shuttle launch pad: "Kennedy Space Center teams have resumed work at launch pad 39A to prepare Endeavour for an April 19 flight, a day after colleague died ..."

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Science and Politics from The Conservative Dispatch

The issue of Human activity causing Global Warming:

It’s impossible to do experiments to validate that human activity is causing global warming. You can’t experiment on the climate. Instead scientists look at measurements and try and develop models that can predict what’s going on. If scientists could develop models and prove that those models were capable of accurately predicting future climate then that would be an experiment.

If a computer model predicts climate for the next 40 years and after 40 years it turns out to be correct you have good reason to believe that it will accurately predict the climate. Of course we haven’t had time for that sort of validation. Therefore scientists look to see if models can model what happened in the past without essentially building the past results into their model.

Interestingly enough scientists haven’t been able to accurately model the climate in the past or predict the future climate. Climate models didn’t predict the current global cooling phase they’ve now declared is occurring until after it started.

There is a difference between climate and weather but a 10 year cooling period is climate. That none of the models that supposedly show that mankind is causing global warming predicted that 10 year event before it started makes it pretty clear that those models aren’t accurate. Hopefully that will improve but until it does it’s irrelevant if “most” scientists believe that mankind is causing global warming. Just as it would be irrelevant if “most” scientists believed that the Mets were going to win the next World Series.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Joe Bastardi no longer at Accuweather!

I'm bummed that Joe is no longer at Accuweather! He resigned yesterday and all his videos on Accuweather are gone. Good bye and Good Luck. Hope to hear from you soon!

Story at Watts here.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Challenger Memorial Ceremony

Challenger 25 years ago

Here is what I posted 5 years ago on the 20th.

Here is the Challenger STS 51L Accident History site by NASA.

The Space Shuttle Challenger Accident page (Davinder Mahal)here.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Apollo 1 Fire 44 years ago

Picture gallery from here.

There are three parks in the city of Fullerton named after the three Astronauts that died in the fire, Edward H. White II, Virgil I. "Gus" Grissom, and Roger B. Chaffee.

Apollo 1 Memorial site here.

NASA Apollo photo site here.

My post from five years ago here.

My post the same day about Gus Grissom here.

NASA Day of Remembrance

NASA Link here.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

USGS records and documents wildlife die offs

From the USGS web site here:
In 2010, the USGS NWHC documented eight die-off events of 1,000 or more birds. The causes: starvation, avian cholera, Newcastle disease and parasites, according to Sleeman. Such records show that, while the causes of death may vary, events like the red-winged blackbird die-off in Beebe, Ark., and the smaller one near Baton Rouge, La., are more common than people may realize.

And Sleeman should know – he directs a staff of scientists whose primary purpose is to investigate the nation's wildlife diseases from avian influenza to plague and white-nose syndrome in bats.

"The USGS NWHC provides information, technical assistance, research, education, and leadership on national and international wildlife health issues," Sleeman added.

(HT from Beyond the Black)

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Good article on all the fish and bird kills

Thousands of dead turtle doves rained down on roofs and cars in an Italian town in the latest in a growing spate of mass animal deaths across the globe.

Residents in Faenza described the birds falling to the ground like 'little Christmas balls' with strange blue stains on their beaks.

Initial tests on up to 8,000 of the doves indicated that the blue stain could have been caused by poisoning or hypoxia.
Hypoxia, a lack of oxygen, is known to cause confusion and illness in animals. It is also a common precursor to altitude sickness.

Experts said results from tests on the doves will not be available for at least a week.

They said that cold weather could have caused the birds' deaths as the flock was swept into a high-altitude wind storm before falling to the earth.

Read more:

Monday, January 03, 2011

RIP Altaira

Now Ann Francis has passed away. Rest in peace Altaira.