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Sunday, December 30, 2007

Star Explosion In The Middle of Nowhere!!

When a shot is fired, one expects to see a person with a gun. In the same way, whenever a giant star explodes, astronomers expect to see a galaxy of stars surrounding the site of the blast. This comes right out of basic astronomy, since almost all stars in our universe belong to galaxies.

But a stellar explosion seen last January has shocked astronomers because when they looked for the star’s parent galaxy, they saw nothing at all. The explosion took place in the middle of nowhere, far away from any detectable galaxy. The astronomers saw no hint of a galaxy even though they looked for one with the world’s largest telescope: the giant Keck I telescope in Hawaii.

"Here we have this very bright burst, yet it's surrounded by darkness on all sides," says Brad Cenko, an astronomer at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in Pasadena, Calif. Cenko is the leader of the team that made this discovery. The team includes astronomers from both Caltech and Penn State University.

The explosion belongs to a class of events know as gamma-ray bursts, or GRBs for short. GRBs are triggered when a very heavy star can no longer produce energy. The core of the star implodes to form a black hole — a region of space where gravity is so strong that nothing, not even light, can escape. The black hole spins very fast, producing intense magnetic fields. As inrushing gas from the star spirals toward the black hole, the magnetic fields fling some of the material away from the black hole in two powerful jets. These jets produce the GRB.

Several spacecraft detected the explosion on January 25, 2007. Observations by NASA's Swift satellite pinpointed the explosion, named GRB 070125 for its detection date, to a region of sky in the constellation Gemini. It was one of the brightest bursts of the year, and the Caltech/Penn State team moved quickly to observe the burst’s location with large telescopes on the ground.

Using the team's robotic 60-inch telescope at Palomar Observatory in Calif., the astronomers discovered that the burst had a bright afterglow that was fading fast. They observed the afterglow in detail with two of the world's largest telescopes, the Gemini North telescope and the Keck I telescope, both near the summit of Hawaii's Mauna Kea.

This Hubble Space Telescope image shows the Tadpole Galaxy, also known as UGC 10214. A recent galaxy collision produced the long tail in the Tadpole Galaxy. If GRB 070125 exploded in a similar tail, only Hubble could detect the tail. C redit: NASA, H. Ford, et al.

What came next was a total surprise. Contrary to experience with more than a hundred previous GRBs, The Gemini and Keck observations saw no trace of a galaxy at the burst’s location. "A Keck image could have revealed a very small, faint galaxy at that distance," says team member Derek Fox of Penn State.

So why didn’t the team see a galaxy? One possibility is that the star formed in the outskirts of two galaxies that are colliding. Hubble Space Telescope images of colliding galaxies show that many of them have long star tails that are produced by the gravity of the two galaxies. These tails are very faint, and would not show up in Keck images at the burst’s measured distance from Earth. If this idea is correct, it should be possible to detect the tail by taking a long exposure with Hubble. "That's definitely our next stop," says Cenko.

"Many Swift discoveries have left astronomers scratching their heads in befuddlement," adds Swift lead scientist Neil Gehrels of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. "But this discovery of a long GRB with no host galaxy is one of the most perplexing of all."

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Monday, December 24, 2007

Mars Glows

WASHINGTON - Mars will be unusually bright this Christmas Eve and the moon will be shining full — a development that might make Santa Claus rethink his need for Rudolph's red nose.

That idea, from Miami Space Transit Planetarium director Jack Horkheimer, made us wonder if retooling a certain reindeer song is the best way to explain it to the kids:

Mars is a red-tinged planet

With a very shiny glow

And if you look to see it

You will find the moon in tow.

The red planet will shine brighter because it will be directly opposite the sun, reflecting the most light, and fairly close to Earth, only 55.5 million miles away. The full moon will appear nearby, rising about an hour later, said Horkheimer, host of the public television show "Star Gazer."

All of the other Yuletides

Santa would have at his side

The shiny nose of Rudolph

Acting as his big sleigh's guide

Mars will outshine the brightest star and won't be as noticeable in the sky for nine more years, Horkheimer said. The Hubble Space Telescope took a picture of Mars, which came closest to Earth on Dec. 18, but it will be brighter on Christmas Eve because of its position opposite the sun.

But this very Christmas Eve

Santa came to say:

"Rudolph, now with Mars so bright,

You can stay at home tonight."

"It will be a brilliant red light," Horkheimer said. "It is so bright it knocks your socks off." He added that this would allow Santa to give Rudolph a pink slip, albeit a temporary one.

Then all the reindeer teased him.

And they shouted out with glee:

"Rudolph, the red-nosed reindeer

Outsourced to astronomy."

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

About the Black Hole..!!

WASHINGTON - The latest act of senseless violence caught on tape is cosmic in scope: A black hole in a "death star galaxy" blasting a neighboring galaxy with a deadly jet of radiation and energy.A fleet of space and ground telescopes have captured images of this cosmic violence, which people have never witnessed before, according to a new study released Monday by NASA.

"It's like a bully, a black-hole bully punching the nose of a passing galaxy," said astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, director of the Hayden Planetarium in New York, who wasn't involved in the research.

But ultimately, this could be a deadly punch.

The telescope images show the bully galaxy shooting a stream of deadly radiation particles into the lower section of the other galaxy, which is about one-tenth its size. Both are about 8.2 billion trillion miles from here, orbiting around each other.

The larger galaxy has a multi-digit name but is called the "death star galaxy" by one of the researchers who discovered the galactic bullying, Daniel Evans of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.

Tens of millions of stars, including those with orbiting planets, are likely in the path of the deadly jet, said study co-author Martin Hardcastle of the University of Hertfordshire in the United Kingdom.

If Earth were in the way — and it's not — the high-energy particles and radiation of the jet would in a matter of months strip away the planet's protective ozone layer and compress the protective magnetosphere, said Evans. That would then allow the sun and the jet itself to bombard the planet with high-energy particles.

And what would that do life on the planet?

"Decompose it," Tyson said.

"Sterilize it," Evans piped in.

The jet attack is relatively new, in deep space time. Hardcastle estimates it's no more than 1 million years old and can stretch on for another 10 to 100 million years.

"A truly extraordinary act of violence," Evans said. "The jet violently slams into that lower half of the neighboring galaxy after which the jet dramatically twists and bends."

The good news is that eventually an area of hot gas that gets hit and compressed by this mysterious jet — astronomers are still baffled by what's in it and how it works — over millions and billions of years can form stars, Tyson said.

NASA, the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in United States and the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom used ground optical and radio telescopes, the Hubble Space Telescope, the Chandra X-ray Observatory, and the infrared Spitzer Space Telescope to get an image of the violence on various wavelengths, including invisible ones. The results will be published in The Astrophysical Journal next year.

The two galaxies are only 24,000 light-years apart and are in a slow merging process. The jet has already traveled 1 million light-years. A light-year is about 5.88 trillion miles.

Tyson said there are two main lessons to be learned from what the telescopes have found:

"This is a reminder that you are not alone in the universe. You are not isolated. You are not an island."

And "avoid black holes when you can."

source :

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Installing Testing Instrumnets

Engineers and technicians at NASA's Kennedy Space Center continue preparations to evaluate the hydrogen fuel sensor system on space shuttle Atlantis' external fuel tank during a procedure next week.

Working at Launch Pad 39A where Atlantis remains pointed to space, workers attached wiring to the cables that lead from the aft compartment of Atlantis to the external tank's engine cutoff sensor system.

Engineers will use the special instruments next Tuesday to send electrical pulses into the wiring and look for indications that will show the location of the issue that caused the sensors to return false readings last week.

The failed readings showed up during launch countdowns on Dec. 6 and Dec. 9. Launch controllers postponed the liftoff on both occasions to find out the problem and develop solutions.

Evaluations of the instruments themselves are also under way to show technicians what a normal reading on the external tank looks like. Those readings will be compared to the results from the test Tuesday during which the tank attached to Atlantis will be filled with super-cold liquid hydrogen.

NASA is targeting Jan. 10 as the next possible launch opportunity for Atlantis on mission STS-122. Atlantis will carry the European-built Columbus laboratory to the International Space Station.

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Journey To The Comet Halley

NASA has approved the retargeting of the Epoxi mission for a flyby of comet Hartley 2 on Oct. 11, 2010. Hartley 2 was chosen as Epoxi's destination after the initial target, comet Boethin, could not be found. Scientists theorize comet Boethin may have broken up into pieces too small for detection.

The Epoxi mission melds two compelling science investigations -- the Extrasolar Planet Observation and Characterization and the Deep Impact Extended Investigation. Both investigations will be performed using the Deep Impact spacecraft.

In addition to investigating comet Hartley 2, the spacecraft will point the larger of its two telescopes at nearby previously discovered extrasolar planetary systems in late January 2008. It will study the physical properties of giant planets and search for rings, moons and planets as small as three Earth masses. It also will look at Earth as though it were an extrasolar planet to provide data that could become the standard for characterizing these types of planets.

"The search for exosolar planetary systems is one of the most intriguing explorations of our time," said Drake Deming, Epoxi deputy principal investigator at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md. "With Epoxi we have the potential to discover new worlds and even analyze the light they emit to perhaps discover what atmospheres they possess."

The mission's closest approach to the small half-mile-wide comet will be about nearly a thousand kilometers (620 miles). The spacecraft will employ the same suite of two science instruments the Deep Impact spacecraft used during its prime mission to guide an impactor into comet Tempel 1 in July 2005.

If Epoxi's observations of Hartley 2 show it is similar to one of the other comets that have been observed, this new class of comets will be defined for the first time. If the comet displays different characteristics, it would deepen the mystery of cometary diversity.

"When comet Boethin could not be located, we went to our backup, which is every bit as interesting but about two years farther down the road," said Tom Duxbury, Epoxi project manager at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.

Mission controllers at JPL began directing Epoxi towards Hartley 2 on Nov. 1. They commanded the spacecraft to perform a three-minute rocket burn that changed the spacecraft's velocity. Epoxi's new trajectory sets the stage for three Earth flybys, the first on Dec. 31, 2007. This places the spacecraft into an orbital "holding pattern" until it's time for the optimal encounter of comet Hartley 2 in 2010.

"Hartley 2 is scientifically just as interesting as comet Boethin because both have relatively small, active nuclei," said Michael A'Hearn, principal investigator for Epoxi at the University of Maryland, College Park.

Epoxi's low mission cost of $40 million is achieved by taking advantage of the existing Deep Impact spacecraft.

JPL manages Epoxi for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington. The spacecraft was built for NASA by Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp., Boulder, Colo.

For information about Epoxi, visit .

Source :

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Meteor Shower on December 13!!

What could be the best meteor display of the year will reach its peak on the night of

Here is what astronomers David Levy and Stephen Edberg have written of the annual Geminid Meteor Shower: "If you have not seen a mighty Geminid fireball arcing gracefully across an expanse of sky, then you have not seen a meteor."

The Geminids get their name from the constellation of Gemini, the Twins, because the meteors appear to emanate from a spot in the sky near the bright star Castor in Gemini.

Also in Gemini this month is the planet Mars, nearing a close approach to the Earth later this month, and shining brilliantly with yellow-orange hue. To be sure, Mars is certain to attract the attention of prospective Geminid watchers this upcoming week.

Reliable shower

The Geminid Meteors are usually the most satisfying of all the annual showers, even surpassing the famous Perseids of August.

Studies of past find the "Gems" have a reputation for being rich both in slow, bright, graceful meteors and fireballs as well as faint meteors, with relatively fewer objects of medium brightness.

They are of medium speed, encountering Earth at 22 miles per second (35 kps). They are bright and white, but unlike the Perseids, they leave few visible trails or streaks. They are four times denser than most other meteors, and have been observed to form jagged or divided paths.

Geminids also stand apart from the other meteor showers in that they seem to have been spawned not by a comet, but by 3200 Phaethon, an Earth-crossing asteroid. Then again, the Geminids may be comet debris after all, for some astronomers consider Phaethon to really be the dead nucleus of a burned-out comet that somehow got trapped into an unusually tight orbit. Interestingly, on December 10, Phaethon will be passing about 11 million miles (18 million kilometers) from Earth, its closest approach since its discovery in 1983.

The prospects for this year

The Geminids perform excellently in any year, but British meteor astronomer, Alastair McBeath, has categorized 2007 as a "great year."

Last year's display was hindered somewhat by the moon, two days past last quarter phase. But this year, the moon will be at new phase on Dec. 9. On the peak night, the moon will be a fat crescent, in the south-southwest at dusk and setting soon after 8 p.m. That means that the sky will be dark and moonless for the balance of the night, making for perfect viewing conditions for the shower.

According to McBeath, the Geminids are predicted to reach peak activity on Dec. 14 at 16:45 GMT. That means those places from central Asia eastwards across the Pacific Ocean to Alaska are in the best position to catch the very crest of the shower, when the rates conceivably could exceed 120 per hour.

"But," he adds, "maximum rates persist at only marginally reduced levels for some 6 to 10 hours around the biggest ones, so other places (such as North America) should enjoy some fine Geminid activity as well.

Indeed, under normal conditions on the night of maximum activity, with ideal dark-sky conditions, at least 60 to 120 Geminid meteors can be expected to burst across the sky every hour on the average (Light pollution greatly cuts the numbers).

The Earth moves quickly through this meteor stream producing a somewhat broad, lopsided activity profile. Rates increase steadily for two or three days before maximum, reaching roughly above a quarter of its peak strength, then drop off more sharply afterward. Late Geminids, however, tend to be especially bright. Renegade forerunners and late stragglers might be seen for a week or more before and after maximum.

What to do

Generally speaking, depending on your location, Gemini begins to come up above the east-northeast horizon right around the time evening twilight is coming to an end. So you might catch sight of a few early Geminids as soon as the sky gets dark.

There is a fair chance of perhaps catching sight of some "Earth-grazing" meteors. Earth grazers are long, bright shooting stars that streak overhead from a point near to even just below the horizon. Such meteors are so distinctive because they follow long paths nearly parallel to our atmosphere.

The Geminids begin to appear noticeably more numerous in the hours after 10 p.m. local time, because the shower's radiant is already fairly high in the eastern sky by then. The best views, however, come around 2 a.m., when their radiant point will be passing very nearly overhead.

The higher a shower's radiant, the more meteors it produces all over the sky.

But keep this in mind: At this time of year, meteor watching can be a long, cold business. You wait and you wait for meteors to appear. When they don't appear right away, and if you're cold and uncomfortable, you're not going to be looking for meteors for very long! The late Henry Neely (1878-1963), who for many years served as a lecturer at New York's Hayden Planetarium, once had this to say about watching for the Geminids: "Take the advice of a man whose teeth have chattered on many a winter's night – wrap up much more warmly than you think is necessary!"

Hot cocoa or coffee can take the edge off the chill, as well as provide a slight stimulus. It's even better if you can observe with friends. That way, you can keep each other awake, as well as cover more sky. Give your eyes time to dark-adapt before starting.

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Space Shuttle Atlantis Launch On January 2008

Mission managers and engineers at NASA's Kennedy Space Center are evaluating an issue with fuel sensors in the liquid hydrogen tank before determining what step to take next. The team is finalizing a plan to present to space shuttle program management on Tuesday. Space shuttle Atlantis is targeted for launch no earlier than Jan. 2, 2008, on mission STS-122.

The seven astronauts who are to fly aboard Atlantis returned to Houston and will continue training at NASA's Johnson Space Center in preparation for the mission to the International Space Station.

The main objective of Atlantis' 11-day mission is to install and activate the European Space Agency's Columbus laboratory, which will provide scientists around the world the ability to conduct a variety of life, physical and materials science experiments.

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Saturday, December 8, 2007

About The Space Shuttle

Space Shuttle is made up from 3 components :
  • The 2 Solid Rocket Booster (SRBs)
  • External Tank (ET)
  • Orbiter

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Atlantis Launch On Sunday??

NASA is targeting the launch of space shuttle Atlantis no earlier than Sunday, Dec. 9, at 3:21 p.m. EST from the Kennedy Space Center, Fla. Shuttle program managers made the decision after a meeting Friday to review data on a problem with a fuel cutoff sensor system inside the shuttle and its external fuel tank.

Because of the length of the meeting, the managers agreed that targeting Sunday would allow the launch and management teams appropriate time to rest and prepare. The Mission Management Team will meet Saturday at 1 p.m. to decide whether to make a Sunday attempt. A news conference will be held after the meeting's conclusion.

Atlantis' scheduled launch Thursday was delayed after two ECO sensors gave false readings. A third sensor failed after the tank was drained of fuel. The fuel cutoff sensor system is one of several that protects the shuttle's main engines by triggering their shut down if fuel runs unexpectedly low

During Atlantis' 11-day mission to the International Space Station, the shuttle and station crews will work with ground teams to install and activate the European Space Agency's Columbus laboratory. The new lab will expand the station's scientific research capabilities.

source :

Friday, December 7, 2007

The Launch of Space Shuttle Atlantis Was Delayed!

Dec. 6 - 7:45 p.m. EST
At Thursday evening's press conference, NASA mission managers announced that the launch of space shuttle Atlantis would be delayed for 48 hours.

Liftoff of mission STS-122 from NASA's Kennedy Space Center is now scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 8 at 3:43 p.m. EST according to LeRoy Cain, Mission Management Team chairman.

Weather officer Captain Chris Lovett said the weather conditions are slightly less favorable for Saturday's launch with a 40 percent chance of weather prohibiting launch.

Thursday's launch was scrubbed when two of four LH2 Engine Cutoff (ECO) sensors failed to respond appropriately during tanking, which is a Launch Commit Violation.

source :

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Interesting Fact About The International Space Station

Fun Facts!!

• As of August 8, 2007 , the number of crewmembers and visitors who have traveled to the ISS included 177 different people representing 11 countries.

• Living and working on the ISS is like building one room of a house, moving in a family of three, and asking them to finish building the house while working full time from home.

• As of August 8, 2007 , there have been 64 launches to the ISS (42 Russian flights and 22 US Shuttle flights).

• At Assembly Complete, 80 space flights will have been scheduled to take place using five different types of launch vehicles.


• As of February 2007: there have been 81 Spacewalks (EVAs) (28 Shuttlebased, 53 ISS-based) totaling 498 hours and 3 minutes.


• The mass of the ISS currently is 213,843 kg (471,444 lb).

• At Assembly Complete, the ISS will be about four times as large as the Russian space station Mir and about five times as large as the U.S. Skylab.

• At Assembly Complete, the ISS will have a mass of almost 419,600 kg (925,000 lb). That’s the equivalent of more than 330 cars.

• The entire 16.4-m (55-ft) robot arm assembly will be able to lift 99,790 kg (220,000 lb), which is the mass of a Space Shuttle orbiter.

Habitable Volume

Water inside pipe at earth

Water inside the pipe in I.S.S(at microgravity)

• The ISS has about 425 m 3 (15,000 ft 3 ) of habitable volume—more room than a conventional three-bedroom house. There are 9 research racks on board plus 16 system racks and 10 stowage racks.

• At Assembly Complete, more than 120 telephone-booth-size rack facilities will be installed in the ISS for operating the spacecraft systems and research experiments.

• When completely assembled, the ISS will have an internal pressurized volume of 935 m 3 (33,023 ft 3 ), or about 1.5 Boeing 747s, and will be larger than a five-bedroom house.

Physical Dimensions

• A solar array’s wingspan of 73 m (240 ft) is longer than that of a Boeing 777, which is 65 m (212 ft).

• At Assembly Complete, the ISS will measure 110 m (361 ft) end to end.

Electrical Power

• The solar array surface area currently on orbit is 892 m 2 (9,600 ft 2 ).

• At Assembly Complete, 12.9 km (8 mi) of wire will connect the electrical power system.

• Currently, 26 kW of power is generated.

• At Assembly Complete, the solar array surface area is 2,500 m 2 (27,000 ft 2 ), an acre of solar panels.

• At Assembly Complete, there will be a total of 262,400 solar cells.

• At Assembly Complete, a maximum 110 kW of power, including 30 kW of long-term average power for applications, is/will be available.


• Approximately 3,630 kg of supplies are required to support a crew of three for about 6 months.

• Based on input from ISS crew members, the most popular on-orbit foods are shrimp cocktail, tortillas, barbecue beef brisket, breakfast sausage links, chicken fajitas, vegetable quiche,

macaroni and cheese, candy-coated chocolates, and cherry blueberry cobbler. The favorite beverage to wash it all down? Lemonade.

Crew Hours

• While a year of Space Shuttle operations (seven crew members, 11-day missions, five flights per year) results in 9,240 total crew hours, 1 year of ISS operations—26,280 total crew hours

(three crew, 365 days) — is almost three times that amount.

Environmental Control

• ISS systems recycle about 6.4 kg (14 lb) or 6.42 L (1.7 gal) of crew-expelled air each day. 2.7 kg (6 lb) of that comes from the U.S. segment. The processed water is then used for technical or drinking purposes.

• The ISS travels an equivalent distance to the Moon and back in about a day. That’s equivalent to crossing the North American continent about 135 times every day.

Data Management

• Fifty-two computers will control the systems on the ISS.

• The data transmission rate is 150 Mb per second downlink with simultaneous uplink.

• Currently, 2.8 million lines of software code on the ground will support 1.5 million lines of flight software code, which will double by Assembly Complete.

• In the International Space Station’s U.S. segment alone, 1.5 million lines of flight software code will run on 44 computers communicating via 100 data networks transferring 400,000 signals (e.g., pressure or temperature measurements, valve positions, etc.).

Sources :

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Lightning in Venus?

NASA Scientist Confirms Light Show on Venus..

Venus is a place of high crushing air pressure and temperature. It is not possible to have lightning at space because of the temperature and the air pressure.Scientist only know
three other planetary bodies in the entire universe that generate lightning -- Earth, Jupiter and Saturn.

Is an important discovery because the electrical discharges drive the chemistry of an atmosphere by breaking molecules into fragments that can then join with other fragments in unexpected ways. The lightning on Venus is unique from that found on Earth, Jupiter and Saturn in that it is the only lightning known that is not associated with water clouds. Instead, on Venus, the lightning is associated with clouds of sulfuric acid.

Any future missions to the second rock from the sun may have to take into account the electrical activity in the Venusian atmosphere.

The confirming measurements of the electrical discharges were made with data obtained by the Venus Express magnetometer instrument provided by the Space Research Institute in Graz, Austria. The measurements were taken once a day for two minutes, during a period when the spacecraft was closest to Venus. A Venusian day is about 117 days long.

With its primary mission completed, Venus Express will now embark upon its extended mission to watch Earth's nearest planetary neighbor for two more Venusian days. Among other things, it will look for the telltale infrared radiation from lava flows. In 2010, when a Japanese mission, Venus Climate Orbiter, also called Planet-C, arrives at Venus, scientists will be able to compare results from the two spacecraft.

More than 250 scientists and engineers across Europe are involved in the Venus Express mission, supported by their institutes and national space agencies. The mission also sees the contribution of scientists from Russia and Japan, as well as from NASA, which sponsors 15 American Venus Express scientists and provides support to the radio science investigation via its Deep Space Network antennas.

Source :

Monday, December 3, 2007

STS-122 ready to launch

Space shuttle Atlantis is set to begin its launch countdown for the STS-122 mission with a flurry of activities at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Atlantis is scheduled to launch at 4:31 p.m. EST on Thursday, Dec. 6.

Flight Day 1
  • Atlantis launches from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida
  • Open payloads bay doors
  • Power up shuttle's robot arm
Flight Day 2
  • Inspect orbiter's heat shield using robot arm with boom
  • Configure shuttle for docking to International Space Station
  • Check spacesuit

Flight Day 3
  • Atlantis perform backflip, or rendezvous pitch maneuver
  • Station crew autographs Atlantis
  • Atlantis docks at Space Station
Flight Day 4
  • Astronaut Walheim and Schlegel make first spacewalk
  • Columbus module attached to Harmony node of International Space Station
Flight Day 5

  • Focused inspection of Atlantis's heat shield (if necessary)
  • Astronaut enter Columbus module
Flight Day 6
  • Walheim and Schlegel make second spacewalk
  • Columbus module outfitting
Flight Day 7
  • Columbus module outfitting
  • Crew off-duty time
Flight Day 8
  • Walheim and Love make third spacewalk, install station components, remove faulty gyro
Flight Day 9
  • Cargo tranfers
  • Join news conference
  • Columbus module outfitting
Flight Day 10
  • Atlantis undocks and flies around International Space Station
  • Late inspection of Atlantis's heat shield
Flight Day 11
  • Crew prepares for landing
Flight Day 12
  • Deorbit burn
  • Atlantis lands at Kennedy Space Center, Florida

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Trip to the MARS!!

Can you believe? One day, human can go to Mars? The distance from Earth to the Mars is 490 million km. Its a long way from home. Thats why we should consider about the transport fuel, foods and drinks for the astronaut to live.However, for a trip which would take a minimum of 12 month travelling time plus perhaps a 1 1/2-year stay to wait for the next Earth-Mars alignment which would allow the crew to return home, this is not possible.

Resupply trips by unmanned vehicles, like those made for the ISS, are also not possible, because the necessary Earth-Mars alignment only happens every two years. The journey actually give big danger to the spacecraft crew because the radiation exposure become greater as we go far from our planet because of the total absence of Earth's magnetic field. On Mars itself, the effect of the radiation may be tempered by building habitation modules underground, but during the trip there and back, the spacecraft itself must be able to prevent dangerous radiation levels.

If ice exists, Martian water could be used for consumption, once purified. Also since water is made up of hydrogen and oxygen, it could be possible that decomposed water be used to fill up the tanks of the spacecraft once it arrive on the Red Planet.

Another suggestion given by John Hoffman, a physicist at the University of Texas at Dallas who is working on a 2007 Mars probe “is to send rockets up two years before people go, then robotically make water for an 18-month stay and fuel for the return journey.”

If it is possible to make water, fuel and air on-site, then it would be possible to grow food. If the chemical samples like those onboard the Spirit prove that Mars soil is not poisonous, it would be a relatively straightforward job to assemble a greenhouse on Mars and grow crops there. 13 crops have been identified to be able to thrive in a space habitat including wheat, potatoes, Soya beans and salad green by Donald Henninger, a NASA chief scientist.

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