Doomed To Fail?

The ESA and Russia’s Roscosmos space agency have joined forces to land a rover on Mars.

The ExoMars project is similar to the Mars Curiosity rover that NASA successfully landed.

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The ExoMars mission has several stages.  The ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) and a EDM stationary lander called ‘Schiaparelli’ are planned for 2016.

The TGO would deliver the ESA-built stationary lander and then proceed to map the sources of methane on Mars and other gases.

That mapping will be used to help select the landing site for the ExoMars rover to be launched on 2018 on a Russian heavy lift Proton launch vehicle.

This of course is provided that the EU and Russia are still talking to one another.  The political issues between Russia and the West don’t show any signs of lessening.  This could jeopardize the launch and several other projects.

Perhaps it is time that the international community come together an designate a neutral site for all the launching and retrieval missions for space that is away from any political upheavals.  A dream, I’m sure, but it would make me feel better about the future of space exploration.

– Ex astris, scientia –

I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney in Pasadena, California and I am a Rising Star as rated by Super Lawyers Magazine.  As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities. Connect with me on Google +

Norman

How the Crisis in the Ukraine Affects Space Science.

I normally do get involved with politics, but this is a special case.  Without a reasonable resolution to the situation in the Ukraine, space could be adversely affected.

If the trouble between Russia and the rest of the world doesn’t work itself out soon, there could be dire consequences for the International Space Station.

Without a viable transport to the ISS, we and the other nations that have an interest in the space station rely on Russia to get personnel back and forth.

Although there are alternative supply transports, the only way that scientists and other crew member, Russia is currently the only human space taxi available.  Without the Soyuz spacecraft, the ISS is effectively dead.

Although the crisis in the Ukraine has had its dramatic moment, I believe (and hope) that it stabilizes quickly.  However, this should give all the other ISS member countries pause to think about alternative transportation to and from the station.

– Ex astris, scientia –

I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney in Pasadena, California and I am a Rising Star as rated by Super Lawyers Magazine.  As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities. Connect with me on Google +

Norman

Can The Space Olympic Games Be Far Behind?

The 2014 Winter Olympics will be held in Sochi, Russia.

Olympic torch to make first-ever spacewalk

This past Thursday, a Russian Soyuz rocket carrying an unlit Olympic torch along side the astronauts blasted off to the International Space Station (ISS).  Although this isn’t the first Olympic Torch launched into space (two others made the trip in 1996 and 2000), it will be the first one ever IN space.

Saturday the ISS crew took the torch for a spacewalk. For over an hour the Olympic torch floated with astronauts (or cosmonauts) in open space.

The torch will remain unlit for obvious safety reasons and when it is returned to earth the torch will have finished another leg of the longest Olympic torch journey ever.

The Winter Games begin Feb 7, 2014.

So with this milestone, how long will we have to wait for synchronized space gymnastics?

– Ex astris, scientia –

I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney in Pasadena, California and I am a Rising Star as rated by Super Lawyers Magazine.  As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities. Connect with me on Google +

Norman

Trailer Parks and Siberia.

It is an ongoing joke in the United States that trailer parks are tornado magnets.  There was even a scientific study done, but the real cause was the fact that F1 and F2 tornadoes will destroy a trailer, but not homes.

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This has actually led to the improvement in the building standards required for trailers, but there are still many around that are not up to tornado code.  Heck, there are many houses that are still in danger and most people in affected areas don’t have a tornado shelter.  Even though my favorite show “Rocket City Rednecks,” had an episode of how anyone could build a cheap, effective tornado shelter.

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Now it seems that Siberia is a meteorite magnet.  I am sure you all heard about the meteor that streaked across the sky today causing panic, damage and injuries.  This meteor may have been pulled along with the asteroid that passed Earth today.  Kind of a tag along gravity hitchhiker.  The meteor was a bolide.  Although there is no official definition, yes another word the science community can’t define, the word bolide comes from the Greek βολίς (bolis) [1] which can mean a missile or to flash.

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Usually the ones I see are a lovely green explosion, from all the copper in the core of the meteorite.  Sometimes they are bright read, from the iron in the core.

The damage that was done today came mostly from the explosion.  When meteors enter the atmosphere, they get hot.  Really hot.  So any water, or even metal, can go very quickly from a solid to gaseous state, causing the meteor to explode.  Much like putting an egg in your microwave without puncturing the yolk, you will have an explosive mess to clean up.

These occurrences of actual damage from a meteorite are rare.  Most burn up in the atmosphere and make lovely firework shows.  The fact is that millions of meteorites enter and burn up in Earth’s atmosphere every day.

But this does prove Bill Nye’s (the Science Guy, and head of the Planetary Society) point that we need more and better technology to detect this type of event.

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As it stands today, we can see the very large meteors and asteroids that pass by or even impact the Earth, but not the smaller ones like today’s event.  We are better protected than we were a few years ago, but we are still very much blindfolded in a shooting gallery.

I hope that everyone in the area is alright and that no one was killed from falling glass.

– Ex astris, scientia –

I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney.  As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities.  Connect with me on Google +

Norman

 

 

Russia to Explore the Moon Again.

Back in the space race days between the Soviet Union and the United State, the Soviet government secretly pursued two lunar programs in the 1960s.  The Soviet’s had planned a manned lunar flyby mission and a manned lunar landing.  However, before due to several program failures and the successful American lunar landing, both programs were canceled.

Now Russia will resume the previous programs by sending an unmanned probe to the Moon in 2015.

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Russia plans to launch a new spacecraft, called the Luna-Glob (Moon-Globe) from the new Roskosmos facility in the Amur region.

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Russian space officials have said the Luna-Glob will be an orbital module that will launch a probe to the surface of the Moon and beam back information about samples it takes from the surface.

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The Soviet Union got a jump on the United States in the Cold War space race, sending a probe to the moon in 1959 and putting the first person into space in 1961. But the United States first put a man on the moon in 1969 and Russia has not done so.

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev approved a plan last month to spend 2.1 trillion roubles ($70 billion USD) for space projects in the next 7 years.  The Russian’s hope to explore the Moon and Mars, among other things.

I love me a good space race.  Between the Russians, Chinese, Europeans, Indians, Japanese and the Americans (not to mention all the commercial ventures) we should have warp drive in no time.

– Ex astris, scientia –

I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney.  As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities.  Connect with me on Google +

Norman