Thursday, February 28, 2019

Post 2
February 28, 2019
     This Friday and Saturday, March 1 and 2, there will be plenty of opportunities(another space pun...looking at you, Mars) to view planetary movements. In the early morning of March 1 when the crescent moon will be in conjunction with Saturn, and on March 2, Venus will be in conjunction with the moon. If you wake up before dawn, you will be rewarded with a spectacular sight, with Saturn, Venus, and Jupiter all very visible in the sky. View a map of how to find the planets in the predawn sky here

     As the news of the robot 'mole' on Mars is about to start its Martian dig, a revealing and promising discovery was made in the Atacama Desert in Chile. A similar rover to the Mars mole was able to dig up subsurface microbial life in the desert. This desert's climate and atmosphere is the closest we can come on Earth to replicating the cold, dry Martian land. Since any life on Mars is probably below the surface to avoid the lack of water, harsh radiation and low temperatures, this news that the rover has the ability to dig up and identify microbial life raises hopes of the people working on the mission. The adaptive microbes and their inherent patchiness, which is areas with microbes and areas without, gives hope that some sort of adaptive, patchily-spread microbe could exist on Mars. We shall see eventually.

     The launch of SpaceX's Crew Dragon spacecraft has an 80% chance to happen on March 2. This launch will be the first launch of the uncrewed spacecraft, which is designed to fly astronauts to and from the space station. This craft is the first crew-capable spacecraft to launch from the US since 2011. SpaceX, along with Boeing, under the Commercial Crew program, could be the return of US led missions to the ISS. Stay up to date on the action here.

     On February 27, a Russian Soyuz rocket carrying six satellites that could become part of a set of nearly 2,000 was successfully launched from French Guiana. The satellites are owned by the British start-up OneWeb, which seeks to bring low-cost internet to all. Read more about OneWeb here.

     Thank you for your time and please leave any thoughts in the comments.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

February 26, 2019 Post #1
     Upcoming Lunar Events: In the early morning hours of February 27th, Northern Hemisphere inhabitants will have the rare chance to see both the huge gaseous planet Jupiter in conjunction with the moon as well as Venus and Saturn. You can look at a map of how to view them here. The actual conjunction of the moon and Jupiter will occur at 9:17 EST during the day. This means most people in the Northern Hemisphere will not be able to see the actual conjunction, but you can still watch the close approach during the sunrise. Venus and Saturn will be positioned to the left of the Moon and Jupiter and will be visible during the same time frame. Also, at sunset, Mercury will be visible during its greatest elongation from the sun, meaning it is as far away as it can get from the sun in its lunar path. Above Mercury, Mars will also be visible as a pale orange dot(see what I did there, Carl Sagan?)and will be in the visible area for 5 hours after sunset. 

     In Mars news, the robot 'mole' that was landed on Mars as a part of Nasa's InSight Mission will begin its digging tonight, February 26th, with the goal of measuring how heat flows through the planet. With this knowledge, scientists can begin to find out how Mars formed and how it has come to its current state. Read more here

My take on NASA's announcement that they will let commercial companies bid to fly to the ISS

As you have probably heard, NASA recently announced that they will allow private companies to send individuals to the ISS to conduct science...