Drill Baby Drill…Just Not For Oil.

After almost a year, Curiosity is once again putting holes into the Martian surface to find out what lies below.

It is almost a year since Curiosity last turned its drill on Mars

Most of the delay was because of the more than three miles (5km) journey the rover too to get closer to its primary target Aeolis Mons.

The path for the last few months has been very rocky and treacherous and the going has been slow.  Not to mention that the 400 or so scientists vying for time with the Curiosity keep stopping it to pick up whatever data they can.

Since 23 January, the rover has more or less stayed in one place, snuggled up next to a reddish rock nicknamed John Klein, in a region called Yellowknife Bay.  And it may stay there for a while longer, starting in April, Mars will be behind the Sun as seen from Earth, and no spacecraft on or around Mars will be able to radio home.

Selfie

Still, more exciting news from Mars should be coming from the rover after this month of radio silence. Of course no scientific journey of unmanned exploration would be complete without a selfie.

– 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

Wake Me Up Before You Go Go.

Ahhh a classic song for a classic satellite.

Almost as classic as those shorts!  Anyway, 36 years ago, on August 12, 1978, the International Cometary Explorer (ICE) spacecraft (originally known as International Sun/Earth Explorer 3[(ISEE-3)]) satellite, was launched.

It was part of the ISEE (International Sun-Earth Explorer) international cooperative program between NASA and ESRO/ESA to study the interaction between the Earth’s magnetic field and the solar wind.

There were three spacecraft, a mother/daughter pair (ISEE-1 and ISEE-2) and a Heliocentric orbit spacecraft (ISEE-3, later renamed ICE).

On a historical note, ISEE-3 was the first spacecraft to be placed in a halo orbit at one of Earth-Sun Lagrangian points (L1). It was later sent to visit Comet Giacobini-Zinner and Comet Halley, and became the first spacecraft to fly through a comet’s tail.  Unfortunately, ICE is not equipped with cameras, so no pretty pictures, but it did gather some great data.

Due to costs, NASA shut down the spacecraft On May 5, 1997, or did they.  It turns out that ICE has be fully functioning since the “shutdown” command was sent.

Now a group wants to retrieve the satellite, get it back into position and chase another comet.  NASA needs about $125,000 to bring ICE back to life and send it on another comet hunting mission.

So a crowdfunding campaign was started here and has gone passed the half way mark.  Most of the funds are from average people (a testament to how much people like space).  If they are successful, it would make me revisit my Let’ Buy A Space Station idea.   You should also check out the other projects on Rockethub.  You might find something that interests you.

Of course you know this post could have been titled ICE, ICE baby.

P.S. you knew this was coming so don’t blame me.

– 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

NASA Needs You To Play ‘Disk Detective’ And Search for New Planetary Nurseries.

NASA needs your help to discover embryonic planetary systems hidden among data from the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) mission through a new website, DiskDetective.org.

https://i0.wp.com/www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/dd_kuchner_garvin.jpg

Disk Detective is NASA’s largest crowdsourcing project.  Its goal is to produce publishable scientific results.  “Through Disk Detective, volunteers will help the astronomical community discover new planetary nurseries that will become future targets for NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope and its successor, the James Webb Space Telescope,” said James Garvin (on the right), the chief scientist for NASA Goddard’s Sciences and Exploration Directorate.

https://i1.wp.com/www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/fomalhaut_acs.jpg

WISE surveyed the entire sky twice at infrared wavelengths.  WISE measured more than 745 million objects.

Astronomers have searched the data for planet-forming environments and narrowed the field to about a half-million candidate. There may be thousands of solar systems in the WISE data, but the only way to know for sure is to inspect each one by eye.

So citizen sciences arise. Put on your Deerstalker hat and lend a hand.

Disk Detective incorporates images from WISE and other sky surveys in brief animations the website calls flip books. Volunteers view a flip book and classify the object based on simple criteria, such as whether the image is round or includes multiple objects. By collecting this information, astronomers will be able to assess which sources should be explored in greater detail, for example, to search for planets outside our solar system.

– 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

Obituary for the Jade Rabbit.

China’s state media made it official.  The jade rabbit rover is no more.

Lunar dust, which is probably more than even a Swifter(r) could handle, has been blamed.

china-national-space-administration-logo

However, the Chinese space agency has learned a lot about what it takes to go to the moon and to survive on the Lunar surface.  There are more missions planned and as I have said before space is dangerous.

– 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

And the Award Goes To…

Last night was the biggest night for movies and actors.  So today I am giving the award for best planet hunter to…..Kepler!

kepler

Kepler is like the gift that keeps on giving.  The Kepler team analyzing the data captured by the now disabled spacecraft have found another 715 exo-planets.

715!

That is almost as many planets  that have been identified in the past decade!  Kepler had previously identified 246 planets.  Over the past 20 years, Kepler is responsible for more than 1/2 of all exo-planets found.

Kepler_mission

I know that Kepler cannot be fixed, but for the $600M price-tag, and the continued discoveries, I think we should consider putting another Kepler up.  This time point it at a different part of the sky, with a wider field and a better camera.

File:James Webb Telescope Design.jpg

Considering the $8Billion dollar price tag of the James Webb space telescope, Kepler was a bargain.  Don’t get me wrong, I do want to see the results from the Webb telescope, but that is years away (if ever).

File:Mtv moon man.jpg

Although last night was the Academy Awards, I think the trophy for the MTV music awards is more appropriate for Kepler’s big win.

– 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

Space, Art And Music.

I am a fan of all three.

Who can forget the music from 2001 a space odyssey?  The images, technology, but the music made everything so real and visceral.

The Art Vinyl company created the award 2004 and lets the public vote for their favorite album art.

Big TV by White Lies

This past years award went to Michael Kagan for his 2010 work titled Pilot 2 that was used on the cover of White Lies’ Big TV album.

Surfing the Void by The Klaxons

Other space related album art has won in the past.  In 2010, the Klaxons’ album Surfing the Void won for its cat in an astronaut suit album cover.  I’m not sure if it really qualifies as space related, but hey, its a cat in a space suit.

PINUP Art by Paul Linsley

It could have been Catanauts and Dogonauts, just as long as everyone gets along.  Check out the Dogonauts kickstarter page here.

– 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