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Official Space Exploration Coolness Thread
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Dorian Gray
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2014-11-12, 11:25

Looks like it stuck.
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Mugge
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2014-11-12, 11:26

Stuck yeah!
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709
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2014-11-12, 23:34

Landing on a Comet, 317 Million Miles From Home

Great stuff. Very Boston Globe-ish, which is fine.
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curiousuburb
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2014-11-13, 03:52

Not so smooth landing after all... in fact, three landings!

First time apparently sunk down 4 centimetres (implying soft surface, not something hard the ice screws could grab), then it bounced up to 450 metres (auto-sequence landing harpoons didn't fire and cold gas thruster on top designed to push it back down was borked ).

That sounds like 0 for 3 on the redundant auto-attachment systems. (Although to be fair, the ice screws may have functioned correctly, just failed to grip a softer than expected surface.)

The CIVA panoramic cameras also seemed wonky, as they returned black frames or gibberish rather than surface images, despite returning images on the way down to the surface. Rather than just attempt some *ahem* percussive maintenance on the boxes at mission control to see if that fixes things, they can apparently get Philae to resend that data in parallel while it is doing other science.

Fortunately, physics still works, and (feeble or not) gravity pulled Philae back down slowly... and it bounced again about 5 metres... then touched at least twice more before Rosetta orbited around the comet and lost signal for the night.

Happily, they reestablished contact and they're waiting for news today on final orientation and position. Apparently all science instruments are working and getting data.
This series of images indicates the location of the first touchdown of the Philae lander on comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko. A NavCam image, on the left, provides global context. The next two images, from the OSIRIS science camera, give regional context. The final two images, from the ROLIS descent camera, localize the landing site. However, indications are that the spacecraft bounced, so the final landing site is likely in a different location.
ESA / Rosetta / Navcam / Philae / ROLIS / MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS / UPD / LAM / IAA / SSO / INTA / UPM / DASP / IDA Click for huge

If it's upright and stable on the surface they can try and manually fire the harpoons.

Otherwise they may just crack on with primary science as best they can... and hope the sampling drill helps pull them down rather than push them away, and that no outgassing or other events interrupt what was planned to be a whirlwind 2.5 day experiment sequence.

If they accomplish the full slate of activities on the priority list, everything after that is a bonus. And even if Philae were to get blasted off the surface, they ought to be able to characterize that event with multiple instruments, "sniffing" the jets and getting groovy science then, too.

**UPDATE: 09:45 GMT ** Project Scientist Matt Taylor on BBC just confirmed Philae is stable and sending data (2 more hours this pass before LOS as Rosetta drops below the horizon)

More details from Emily Lakdawalla's blog at Planetary Society.

Next major briefing will stream online at 13:00 GMT

All those who believe in telekinesis, raise my hand.

Last edited by curiousuburb : 2014-11-13 at 04:49. Reason: BBC interview with Project Scientist adds info
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Dorian Gray
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2014-11-13, 04:35

Thanks for the updates, 709 and curiousuburb. Good old physics to the rescue then. Does anyone know how much gravitational force a 4 km rock exerts, relative to earth’s gravity?

The photos are wild. To think that this rock is spinning through space, billions of kilometres away, and they’ve managed to put a machine on it. The cheek of it! When Philae left earth in early 2004, Macs still used PowerPC chips and Facebook hadn’t yet conquered our species.

… engrossed in such factional acts as dreaming different dreams.
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curiousuburb
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2014-11-13, 04:54

The OSIRIS camera (arguably Rosetta's best) is a whopping 4 MegaPixels.

Whippersnappers may laugh, but that would have been pretty impressive back then... and traditionally space missions stick with tried and tested hardware for reliability sake.

All those who believe in telekinesis, raise my hand.
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Dorian Gray
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2014-11-13, 05:24

Quote:
Originally Posted by curiousuburb View Post
The OSIRIS camera (arguably Rosetta's best) is a whopping 4 MegaPixels.

Whippersnappers may laugh, but that would have been pretty impressive back then... and traditionally space missions stick with tried and tested hardware for reliability sake.
So why, then, does hardware so often fail? I mean, it doesn’t surprise me because I see it happening all the time – it seems most ambitious missions have some failure or another (often multiple failures!). To the uninitiated, the hard part would seem to be escaping earth’s gravity, navigating in massive arcs through the solar system with unbelievable precision, and transmitting info back and forth over billions of kilometres. After all that, to have the bloody harpoons fail is a bit of a downer.

… engrossed in such factional acts as dreaming different dreams.
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drewprops
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2014-11-13, 09:46

Ah... good old Mister Newton's Gravity.

Baffling, still.



...
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drewprops
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2014-11-13, 22:46

The latest article that I've read about Philae's position..... just so we can have that documented here, realizing that most of the space nuts have already read this and more.


Esa still does not know the exact location of the Philae lander on the comet, but has narrowed the area down considerably. Rosetta, the unmanned spacecraft that dropped the lander, will help triangulate Philae’s location with a special sensor system.

The lander bounced twice upon landing and is not exactly parallel to the surface, with one leg seemingly stretching out into open space, possibly over the rim of a crater.

Some experiments have begun, but scientists are wary of using instruments such as drills to collect samples, in case the movement launches the lander back into the air, tips it over or spins it off kilter.

In the shadow of a rocky outcropping, Esa will attempt to adjust Philae’s solar panels to get as much sunlight as possible, having so far generated just 90 minutes of power out of a hoped for 6-7 hours. Philae’s battery is predicted to run out some time on Saturday.

Esa has received the first photos from the surface of a comet, as well as data from Philae and Rosetta, which has come through intermittently and at a relatively slow rate.








...

Steve Jobs ate my cat's watermelon.
Captain Drew on Twitter
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Mugge
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2014-11-14, 11:22

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dorian Gray View Post
So why, then, does hardware so often fail? I mean, it doesn’t surprise me because I see it happening all the time – it seems most ambitious missions have some failure or another (often multiple failures!). To the uninitiated, the hard part would seem to be escaping earth’s gravity, navigating in massive arcs through the solar system with unbelievable precision, and transmitting info back and forth over billions of kilometres. After all that, to have the bloody harpoons fail is a bit of a downer.
The is an article in the Danish newspaper Ingeniøren (the Engineer) that reports that the harpoons on Philae used nitrocellulose as propellant and this substance has problems igniting in low pressure environments. Space is pretty much as low pressure as it gets, so that explanation seems fair enough.

Apparently an ESA scientist called up someone from Copenhagen Suborbitals and wanted to know about their experiences with nitrocellulose because CS also had suffered a failure with this at one of their rocket tests. The charge was supposed to deploy a parachute at 8 km altitude and apparently even that was too low pressure for it to ignite.

I'm kinda wondering why nobody knew about this beforehand as nitrocellulose is not exactly a new substance. But maybe using it in spacecrafts is?
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Moogs
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2014-11-15, 15:01

This mission, while still impressive in several facets, has turned out ot be a bit of a bummer, however yet another good reminder for everyone that technology does not conquer everything and space is still hard just as it was back in the 60s.

It's pretty cool though how the thing was teetering on one side and we could still manage to get it to send us data before the battery died. I like that scrappy attitude space scientists have about salvaging small wins from a bad situation.

...into the light of a dark black night.
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Dorian Gray
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2014-11-16, 14:07

I also like the scrappy attitude of space scientists. They never give up. But I think this little lander did pretty well for itself. There must have been a real chance it would never land on the comet, for an infinite variety of reasons, and yet it did and transmitted something like 80–90 % of planned science data.

And perhaps it’s not done yet. My understanding is that it’s getting too little sunshine to heat up its battery in order to charge it (otherwise it could just trickle-charge with whatever light its solar panels are getting and do something useful every few weeks). But the comet has an orbital period around the sun of something like six years. And it will get much closer to the sun during that orbit. At its closest point the solar panels would receive about 6 × more sunlight than they’re getting now. Maybe that would provide enough power to warm the battery, charge it, and jab the drill at the surface to bounce the little guy to another, brighter landing spot.

… engrossed in such factional acts as dreaming different dreams.
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drewprops
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2014-11-16, 14:27

Or it might get jetted into a tight orbit around the sun, at which point it could become a solar orbiter



...
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Moogs
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2014-11-16, 14:29

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dorian Gray View Post
I also like the scrappy attitude of space scientists. They never give up. But I think this little lander did pretty well for itself. There must have been a real chance it would never land on the comet, for an infinite variety of reasons, and yet it did and transmitted something like 80–90 % of planned science data.

And perhaps it’s not done yet. My understanding is that it’s getting too little sunshine to heat up its battery in order to charge it (otherwise it could just trickle-charge with whatever light its solar panels are getting and do something useful every few weeks). But the comet has an orbital period around the sun of something like six years. And it will get much closer to the sun during that orbit. At its closest point the solar panels would receive about 6 × more sunlight than they’re getting now. Maybe that would provide enough power to warm the battery, charge it, and jab the drill at the surface to bounce the little guy to another, brighter landing spot.
Yah wouldn't that be something, to end up in a perfectly flat orienation and some battery life left with more light to boot. Never say never. Although I think like any battery tech these days, if you leave it discharged long enough, the cells die and cannot hold a charge later.

...into the light of a dark black night.
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Dave
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2014-11-16, 18:49

Quote:
Originally Posted by Moogs View Post
Yah wouldn't that be something, to end up in a perfectly flat orienation and some battery life left with more light to boot. Never say never. Although I think like any battery tech these days, if you leave it discharged long enough, the cells die and cannot hold a charge later.
In the scenario you're proposing, the solar cells would always be in sunlight, so there wouldn't be any need for batteries. I think.
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Moogs
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2014-11-16, 22:15

Quote:
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In the scenario you're proposing, the solar cells would always be in sunlight, so there wouldn't be any need for batteries. I think.
Are the panels capable of generating enough "live voltage" to run the equipment? I assume for now whatever light is hitting the comet is very low intensity but maybe when it gets close who knows. I would guess a sufficient charge would have to be strored up over time, then could be used in relatively short bursts from the battery to run the gear. Not sure how these types of batteries work, if different from normal battery tech used in laptops, etc.

...into the light of a dark black night.
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Dave
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2014-11-16, 22:52

Quote:
Originally Posted by Moogs View Post
Are the panels capable of generating enough "live voltage" to run the equipment?
My understanding is that they were supposed to put out enough power to keep the probe running 24hrs/day with only 12hrs/day of sunlight (and at its current position), but maybe that's not the case.

When I was a kid, people who did wrong were punished, restricted, and forbidden. Now, when someone does wrong, all of the rest of us are punished, restricted, and forbidden... and the one who did the wrong is counselled and "understood" and fed ice cream.
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drewprops
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2014-11-18, 00:56

Stunning New Photos Show Philae Bouncing Off Comet's Surface

Cool.

And sad.



...
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curiousuburb
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2014-11-25, 15:53

Who says Space nerds don't have a sense of humour...

Behold the Mission Poster for ISS Expedition Crew 42

The crew of Expedition 42 poses in a parody shoot of "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy." From left: Terry Virts, Anton Shkaplerov, Alexander Samokutyaev, Barry Wilmore, Elena Serova, Samantha Cristoforetti.
Credit: NASA ^ Click for link to huge version
Douglas Adams would approve, I'm sure.

All those who believe in telekinesis, raise my hand.

Last edited by curiousuburb : 2014-11-25 at 16:15.
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curiousuburb
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2014-12-05, 07:15

Orion launch success!!

Hayabusa 2 off to its asteroid rendezvous in 2018 earlier this week, and now we've finally got some progress towards the human / asteroid retrieve-and-explore mission plan. Even if it was arguably more Lockheed (Delta IV) than NASA (SLS... eventually... maybe).

Go Orion!

All those who believe in telekinesis, raise my hand.

Last edited by curiousuburb : 2014-12-05 at 07:57.
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Moogs
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2014-12-07, 19:51

Check the scale graphic... all I can say is "wow that is one big fucking telescope mirror!"

http://www.extremetech.com/extreme/1...ght-years-away

Chile set to become the undisputed telescope capital of the world over the next decade.

...into the light of a dark black night.
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Quagmire
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2014-12-07, 22:35

Quote:
Originally Posted by curiousuburb View Post
Orion launch success!!

Hayabusa 2 off to its asteroid rendezvous in 2018 earlier this week, and now we've finally got some progress towards the human / asteroid retrieve-and-explore mission plan. Even if it was arguably more Lockheed (Delta IV) than NASA (SLS... eventually... maybe).

Go Orion!
Delta IV is Boeing, Atlas V is Lockheed.
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curiousuburb
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2015-01-19, 04:36

Name the ExoPlanets!¡!

... and some Stars.

Groups, societies, organizations can propose names for thousands of new and old (yet unnamed) objects to the IAU. There's a separate call for proposals to name craters on Mercury.

And yes, I'm pretty sure that at least one Group will propose one of the planets around Epsilon Eridani be named "Vulcan"... in spite of the revisionist efforts of JJ Abrams.

All those who believe in telekinesis, raise my hand.
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curiousuburb
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2015-02-11, 06:45

Hubble spots Galactic Smiley



The eyes are individual galaxies and the smile is due to gravitational lensing... but still awesome.
(Click image for bigger sizes)

In the centre of this image, taken with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, are two faint galaxies that seem to be smiling.

You can make out two orange eyes and a white button nose. In the case of this “happy face”, the two eyes are the galaxies SDSSCGB 8842.3 and SDSSCGB 8842.4 and the misleading smile lines are actually arcs caused by an effect known as strong gravitational lensing.

Massive structures in the Universe exert such a powerful gravitational pull that they can warp the spacetime around them and act as cosmic lenses which can magnify, distort and bend the light behind them. This phenomenon, crucial to many of Hubble’s discoveries, can be explained by Einstein’s theory of general relativity.

In this special case of gravitational lensing, a ring — known as an Einstein Ring — is produced from this bending of light, a consequence of the exact and symmetrical alignment of the source, lens and observer and resulting in the ring-like structure we see here.

Hubble has provided astronomers with the tools to probe these massive galaxies and model their lensing effects, allowing us to peer further into the early Universe than ever before. This object was studied by Hubble’s Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2 (WFPC2) and Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3) as part of a survey of strong lenses.

A version of this image was entered into the Hubble’s Hidden Treasures image processing competition by contestant Judy Schmidt.

Credit:

NASA & ESA

Acknowledgement: Judy Schmidt (geckzilla.org)

All those who believe in telekinesis, raise my hand.
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Moogs
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2015-02-11, 10:25

Winning ™ (think of how much more winning NASA could do with an extra penny).


Lately, I've been reading this on my iPad at night instead of watching crap TV (oops, that's a redundant phrase).



Good stuff. A little dated at this point I think but still good.

...into the light of a dark black night.
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curiousuburb
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2015-02-11, 18:02

Space X is about to launch the Falcon9 with the DSCOVR Spacecraft heading for the Earth-Sun L1 Lagrange point.

Sadly, weather conditions mean they won't be landing the first stage on a robotic barge as planned... still cool though

See NASA TV or UStream now.

T minus 2 minutes...
..

W0Ot!¡ Perfect launch so far.

All those who believe in telekinesis, raise my hand.

Last edited by curiousuburb : 2015-02-11 at 18:15.
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Moogs
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2015-02-12, 23:32

JWST will be stationed at L2, I believe. Floors me... 3x farther out than the moon, basically. Scary too cuz, ain't no servicing mission option for that puppy if the panels unfold incorrectly or whatnot. Will literally be praying to the maker for a successful launch and deployment of that one.

http://www.nasa.gov/topics/universe/...s/webb-l2.html

...into the light of a dark black night.
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turtle
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2015-03-06, 13:20

Ceres getting a fly-by right now.

http://live.slooh.com/stadium/live/d...rive-for-ceres
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Moogs
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2015-03-07, 13:02

Eager to find out what those "shimmering objects" are in that crater.

Maybe it's a giant space deer peering back at our probe.


...into the light of a dark black night.
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turtle
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2015-03-07, 17:58

Yeah, that is really interesting to look at. I'm looking forward to a better idea of what it is too.
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