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SIM PlanetQuest September 5, 2006

Posted by dr. gonzo in Space.
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Artists conception of a rocky planet circling a Sun-like star. (Courtesy JPL/SIM PlanetQuest/NASA).Well, we have talked about Kepler, way back, now we have left the only space-based NASA mission in the search for extrasolar planets to survive the chopping block, or at least, the delay block.

SIM PlanetQuest is one of the NASA extrasolar planet missions to suffer under the FY 07 budget.

From the FY 07 NASA budget request:

“As reported in the May 2005 operating plan, SIM is being replanned, to be completed in spring 2006. A launch of no earlier than 2015-16, a change of approximately 3 years, is assumed in this budget.”

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Now I know what a planet is August 25, 2006

Posted by dr. gonzo in Science, Space.
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The astronomical community chose to downgrade Pluto to a dwarf planet instead of going with their original draft proposal. Clyde Tombaugh is rolling in his grave and millions of school children worldwide will now recite an incomplete sentence trying to remember the name of the nine–ahem–eight planets. (more…)

Planet defined August 16, 2006

Posted by dr. gonzo in Science, Space.
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The International Astronomical Union, currently holding its General Assembly in Prague has come up with a draft resolution defining a planet. (more…)

Perseids August 12, 2006

Posted by dr. gonzo in Space.
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Went out to a dark country road just outside of Rochelle, well not at first. First, on my mission to take in what is generally one of the more spectacular meteor showers, the journey led me down a dark road, one that stretched forever into seeming oblivion. (more…)

Space volcanoes July 31, 2006

Posted by dr. gonzo in Science, Space.
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I haven’t written much about space or astronomy lately. Since I wrote about volcanoes and other natural disasters here I will continue that discussion on a system-wide scale. (more…)

Strings July 12, 2006

Posted by dr. gonzo in Science, Space.
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After watching the latest Nova on PBS I have been surrounding myself with musings on String Theory. It’s a complex topic that I, unfortunately, lack the expertise to fully explain. (more…)

Shuttle mission extended July 7, 2006

Posted by dr. gonzo in Space.
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The crew of the space shuttle Discovery has been granted an extra day in space as well as an extra spacewalk (extra vehicular activity [EVA]). (more…)

Space shuttles, blogs and stupidity July 4, 2006

Posted by dr. gonzo in Miscellaneous, Politics, Space.
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It’s July 4, I am bored as hell. The Sox are on, lame game though, 11 to 0 in the 4th? Go Sox I guess. Perhaps a post will soothe. (more…)

Foam troubles, a near-miss and ‘The New Crack’ July 3, 2006

Posted by dr. gonzo in Asteroids, Space.
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The astronomical community is abuzz with manned space flight. A twice scrubbed shuttle mission is set to lift off tomorrow, in a first ever Independence Day launch, despite concerns over a recently formed and discovered crack in the foam insulation. (BugMeNot). In fact they aren’t going to let the problem delay the launch. (more…)

Moon man’s right hook June 28, 2006

Posted by dr. gonzo in Space.
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Former astronaut and second man to walk on the moon Buzz Aldrin opened up a can of whoop ass on the forces of antiscience recently a couple of years ago. Check it out. It’s haha funny, really. (more…)

Doomsday will have to wait June 23, 2006

Posted by dr. gonzo in Asteroids, Space.
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As is generally the case with Near Earth Asteroids both Apophis and 2004 VD17 have had their chances of impacting Earth drastically decreased. (more…)

Moon bashing June 23, 2006

Posted by dr. gonzo in Asteroids, Space.
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This is a little old but check out this cool video of a metoroid hitting the moon.

Discovery go for launch June 22, 2006

Posted by dr. gonzo in Space.
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The Space Shuttle Discovery is go for a July 1 launch. This decision is far from routine, the last launch, about a year ago was shrouded in controversy, resulting in unscheduled EVA (Extra Vehicular Activity) to repair a problem with the ship’s heat shield. (more…)

Some space notes June 11, 2006

Posted by dr. gonzo in Asteroids, Space.
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I found this new link to the NASA TV Channel. This way you can avoid all the rigamarole of the NASA site trying to find the NASA TV channel, if you actually ever felt like it. (more…)

Planemos, the reigniton of semantics arguments June 5, 2006

Posted by dr. gonzo in Space.
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There is a number of things I could say, Pennsylvania was excellent, Iraq is screwed, Bush is an idiot but instead I think I will talk about planets. (more…)

Censored for impact May 21, 2006

Posted by dr. gonzo in Space.
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Censored in cyberspace by antiscience, we have been.

A former French air traffic controller, Eric Julien, who has erroneously predicted that on Thursday May 25 a fragment of comet will slam into the Atlantic Ocean and cause a tsunami is now engaging in censorship of anyone who opposes his “cause” to save lives on May 25. (more…)

The cometary split at Exopolitics May 16, 2006

Posted by dr. gonzo in Space.
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If you read my blog you might remember a Frenchman named Eric Julien, who predicts that on May 25 fragments of Comet 73P/Schwassman-Wachmann 3 will slam into the Earth causing a massive Atlantic tsunami.

This, of course, is ridiculous, at least in this instance it is.

NASA has publicly stated, numerous times that, “All of the observed fragments in 2006 will pass relatively close to the Earth during the interval May 12 through May 28 but none will pass closer than 5.5 million miles.”

“Bad Astronomer,” Phil Plait has debunked this prediction as well.

But it seems that the story doesn’t end there. (more…)

Spaceports and commercial space travel May 15, 2006

Posted by dr. gonzo in Space.
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Browsing through some of the AP stories on space I found this, via MSNBC, ‘States rush to build spaceports–again,’ not a bad story, actually. This, despite the fact that it is woefully incomplete.

The story only really talks about three commercial spaceport sites that the FAA is reviewing, but the FAA tells us far more, here (more…)

Asteroid impact effects May 12, 2006

Posted by dr. gonzo in Asteroids, Space.
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If you saw my last post, Asteroids and comets, and actually read it, you may have noticed that the two small objects I listed were also the two objects, out of the four, which were most likely to impact Earth, albeit that still represents a small chance.

I was interested in what types of effects the impact of a 7 meter wide object (such as 2006 JY26) or a 40 m wide object (such as 2003 SG344) would have on planet Earth. To that end the Department of Planetary Sciences Lunar and Planetary Lab at the University of Arizona has developed an interesting web based impact effects calculator. (more…)

Asteroids and comets May 12, 2006

Posted by dr. gonzo in Asteroids, Space.
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Some Near Earth Asteroid updates:

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