Spirit (Mars Exporation Rover-A, or MER-A), is the first of two rovers which are part of NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Mission. Today marks the 5-year anniversary of Spirit's successful landing on Mars. Of the hundreds of engineers and scientists who cheered at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA when Spirit landed safely on January 4th, 2004, - and 21 days later when its twin Opportunity (MER-B) followed suit - none predicted the team would still be operating both rovers in 2009.
Riki Ellison, Chairman of the Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance (MDAA) www.missiledefenseadvocacy.org
points out in an Alert to the membership of his organization that the situation in the Middle East between Israel and the Hamas is a real life example of the need for missile defense deployment by Israel. Ellison was in Israel a few months ago and toured many of the cities under attack by Hamas. He has a good understanding of the need for a missile defense system for Israel, and shares this with the MDAA membership. His remarks are as follows:
Lockheed Martin rolled out a conventional takeoff and landing (CTOL) variant of the F-35 Lightning II fighter, called F-35AF-1, which joins three weight-optimized F-35B short takeoff/vertical landing variants currently undergoing testing. The aircraft are structurally identical to the F-35s that will be delivered to armed services beginning in 2010.
The first F-35A, known as AA-1, has completed 69 flights, and has a production-representative external shape and internal systems. Unlike AF-1 and the other F-35 test aircraft, AA-1's internal structure was designed before a 2004 weight-savings program resulted in structural revisions to all three F-35 variants.
Does Variable Specific Impulse Magnetoplasma Rocket sound like science fiction to you?
NASA and Ad Astra Rocket Company of Webster, Texas, have signed a Space Act Agreement that could lead to the testing of their new plasma-based space propulsion technology, the VASIMR engine, on the International Space Station. The engine initially was studied by NASA and is being commercially developed by Ad Astra.
This is the first such agreement for a payload on the station’s exterior and represents an expansion of NASA’s plans to operate the U.S. portion of the space station as a national laboratory. This effort follows the success achieved by the agency last year in reaching multiple agreements to utilize internal station sites for this endeavor.
Thanks to NASA and the LCROSS satellite, I may soon know where the best place is to build my Moon Base. A new analysis of the data from the Lunar Prospector, launched in 1998, shows large concentrations of hydrogen around the lunar poles. If that hydrogen is in water form, then astronauts could potentially use it on a permanent outpost.
Certain lunar craters are permanently shadowed, never reaching temperatures above -170 C. Many of these areas also contain significant amounts of hydrogen. If that hydrogen is attached to oxygen in water ice form, it should be stable for millions of years. Astronauts deployed to a base near one of these sites could use this water since hauling it from Earth would be prohibitive.
Lockheed Martin has just delivered the most recent upgrade of the military's cargo backbone, the C-5M Super Galaxy, to the U.S. Air Force at Warner Robins Air Logistics Center, Robins AFB, Georgia. The aircraft contains a host of upgrades and modernizations intended to help its keep its status as the dominant cargo plane of the U.S. Military.
Registration is open for NASA's 16th annual Great Moonbuggy Race, taking place April 3-4, 2009, in Huntsville, Ala. The race was founded at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville in 1994. The U.S. Space and Rocket Center hosts the two-day event. The nationally renowned space museum and tourist attraction constructs a punishing course - a half-mile of hills and craters simulating the lunar surface - on the looping sidewalks and paths around its grounds.
A new small satellite about the size of a loaf of bread and called Firefly is designed to help solve the mystery of the most powerful natural particle accelerator in Earth's atmosphere - TGFs, or terrestrial gamma-ray flashes
- which likely result from thunderstorms.
The mission is the second project under the NSF CubeSat program
. A CubeSat satellite consists of three cubes attached end to end in a rectangular shape.
If every beachgoer could have one, we'd never need sunscreen again. The new sunshield for NASA's James Webb Space Telescope
, designed by Northrop Grummann in Redondo Beach, California, is capable of rejecting nearly all of the approximately 250,000 watts of energy the spacecraft will be receiving from the Sun while in orbit - the equivalent to applying sunscreen with an SPF of 1.2 million.
I had this video forwarded to me, and have to say that initially I was stunned.
"Man! This pilot is one lucky guy!"
But then I immediately began to wonder, why didn't I see this on the news - like a billion times? I mean, if a camera happens to capture a horse running loose on the highway, all the major networks seem to carry it on the 5:00 news. But this? I hadn't seen it on a single channel.