Archive for the Space Exploration Category

Pink Floyd – “Moonhead”

Posted in Music, Space Exploration, Video on 2009/07/21 by iyokobat


July 20th and the 40th anniversary for landing on the moon are almost over. (It’s already July 21 in Greenwich.)

There have been numerous commemorations on the internet, in print, and on television (including an excellent presentation at NASA), but this one is interesting and unique.

Unbeknown to yours truly, the Pink Floyd played for BBC live coverage of the Apollo 11 event in 1969. Thanks to udor1962 for posting to youTube, and thanks to Robert Mackey of the New York Times for bringing this to my attention.

I don’t know how this will affect the debate for resuming manned missions to the moon, but maybe it will increase the demand for improvisational space-blues.

Pink Floyd Moonhead

Image credit:


Robot explorers in space

Posted in Space Exploration, Technology, The Future on 2009/06/02 by iyokobat

This is the kind of story that could either get you real excited about space science, or instead cause alarm to Luddites and Butlerian Jihadists (a concept from the Dune books). Autonomous robotic exploration has great potential for space programs and especially for planetary geology. It might provide a means to conduct complex searching and sample collection on another planet, say Mars, without requiring human guidance or intervention.

I think some form of this or at least the idea is already part of the hazard avoidance system on the Mars Exploration Rovers.

Intelligent Robots Will Explore Milky Way by 2020

Last mission to Hubble

Posted in Astronomy, Space Exploration, Technology on 2009/05/12 by iyokobat


The Hubble Space Telescope will be getting some much needed maintenance from the shuttle Atlantis and its crew. Equipped with over 100 specialized tools, the crew will be doing extensive work on Hubble, which includes replacing the Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2 with the new Wide Field Camera 3. They will also be adding a new instrument called the Cosmic Origins Spectrograph (COS). In order to make room for this device, they will be removing the Corrective Optics Space Telescope Axial Replacement (COSTAR) and returning COSTAR to Earth. COSTAR was installed to correct design problems with Hubble’s primary mirror, but is now obsolete due to previous Hubble upgrades.

Hubble was launched in 1990 and has been providing some of the best photographs of the universe as well as groundbreaking science and astronomy. This mission is scheduled to be the last shuttle mission to the Hubble and considered very risky. Hopefully the repairs will be successful and will give Hubble many more years of operation or at least until the next space telescope, the James Webb Telescope, is launched. The JWT is scheduled to launch in 2014, but has already had numerous delays.

I have the utmost respect for the courageous astronauts of Atlantis who are conducting this mission. I wish them success and a safe journey home.

For more on this ongoing story, check out NASA’s web site for the Hubble servicing mission.

JPL Open House

Posted in Astronomy, Physics, Space Exploration, Technology with tags , , , , on 2009/05/01 by iyokobat


If you have an interest in space, science, or engineering, and you’re near Pasadena, CA this weekend, (May 2 and May 3 2009) there’s a fantastic opportunity for you:

“One weekend a year, NASA’s JPL opens its doors to space exploration enthusiasts of all ages…”

“For two days, more than 200 scientists and engineers present live demonstrations of today’s most exciting space missions.”

For more information check out JPL’s website or a video of highlights from last year’s event.

JPL Open House

Video highlights of last year’s Open House

The Lost Cosmonauts

Posted in Space Exploration with tags , on 2009/04/26 by iyokobat


I found an article that has it all: Space exploration, cold war, black ops, accidental cryogenics, and morse code. Here are some excerpts:

“There are those who believe that somewhere in the vast blackness of space, about nine billion miles from the Sun, the first human is about to cross the boundary of our Solar System into interstellar space. His body, perfectly preserved, is frozen at –270 degrees C (–454ºF); his tiny capsule has been silently sailing away from the Earth at 18,000 mph (29,000km/h) for the last 45 years. He is the original lost cosmonaut, whose rocket went up and, instead of coming back down, just kept on going.”

“What really happened to Russia’s missing cosmonauts? An incredible tale of space hacking, espionage and death in the lonely reaches of space.”

The Fortean Times is not always the most reliable source of information, but they have a knack for writing thought provoking (if not always believable) articles about allegedly strange phenomenon. I wonder if this story deserves merit. What do you think?

Read the whole article here