Thursday, March 26, 2009

Short Takes on Space

Things are happening in space! I need to pack and get some sleep so I can fly home from Taiwan tomorrow! Can I manage to be brief on anything? Maybe if I take on three or four topics?

No Fair! Charles Simonyi has already been to the Space Station and now he's launched in another Soyuz spacecraft with a Russian cosmonaut and an American astroanut for a second ISS visit. I haven't even been once! I knew I should have been a billionaire instead of an engineer. But wait, he's an engineer and a billionaire. No fair!

Hat trick! Tracking a car-sized Earth-approaching asteroid in space, figuring out where its fragments will land on Earth, and then recovering 47 meteorites from the object in northern Sudan. That's impressive!

Nice digs! The video above shows the newly expanded ISS as it looked after Discovery undocked and circled around to inspect their handiwork (30 minutes compressed into 90 seconds). That sort of time acceleration is easy to do in Orbiter, but the fly-around maneuver is not very easy (though it can be done by Shuttle Fleet experts I am sure).

Download this! If you'd like to learn more about our wonderful Moon, download Moon 101 - A Course in Lunar Science for non-specialists, ten PDF presentations by Dr. Paul Spudis and other lunar specialists. Great stuff!

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