Many folks would like to see us back on the Moon and developing its resources.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Russia plans to mine the Moon
January 27, 2006

Good evening,

“Russia plans to mine the Moon”

Feed that phrase to GOOGLE and get 104 matches (if you leave the quotes off you get
“Results 11 - 20 of about 2,260,000 for Russia plans to mine the Moon. (0.34 seconds)”

Bob sent me the note below and if you notice the web site link is for an English version of the Arab Aljazeera web site.
(ABOUT - )


It seems that another space race to the moon is developing between the USA and Russia/China.

Bob MacBird
Conroe, Texas


I copied the text below. I looked at a number of the web sites that GOOGLE found and they are basically the same so I thought I would see what I could find for Nikolay Sevastyanov, Head of the Rocket and Space Corporation Energia. See a post from 11/02/2005.

Will be interesting to see who actually comes up with the money to launch to the Moon and then what comes of it. – LRK -

Thanks for looking up with me.

Larry Kellogg

Web Site:
RSS link:
News ltr:

Russia plans to mine the Moon
Wednesday 25 January 2006 4:21 PM GMT

Russia is planning to mine a rare fuel on the Moon by 2020 with a permanent base and a heavy-cargo transport link, a Russian space official has said.

"We are planning to build a permanent base on the Moon by 2015 and by 2020 we can begin the industrial-scale delivery ... of the rare isotope Helium-3," Nikolai Sevastyanov, head of the Energia space corporation, was quoted by ITAR-TASS news agency as saying at an academic conference on Wednesday.

The International Space Station (ISS) would play a key role in the project and a regular transport relay to the Moon would be established with the help of the planned Kliper spaceship and the Parom, a space capsule intended to tug heavy cargo containers around space, Sevastyanov said.

Helium-3 is a non-radioactive isotope of helium that can be used in nuclear fusion.

Rare on earth but plentiful on the Moon, it is seen by some experts as an ideal fuel because it is powerful, non-polluting and generates almost no radioactive by-product.

Details of the Parom orbital tug are available on the Parom page of

There is an extensive Wikipedia entry on the Kliper programme and related developments here
You can find this article at:

Astronauts will land the Moon with spades to dig for helium-3
11/02/2005 17:02

A few kilograms of the lunar substance will be enough to start a thermonuclear electric power station

Head of the Rocket and Space Corporation Energia, Nikolay Sevastyanov, said the other day that the International Space Station was getting its second wind and it got new objectives. The ISS is supposed to be used as a platform to assemble complexes sent to the Moon.

"One of the station docks can wonderfully do for receiving carriers with lunar blocks. This may be a lateral dock of Zvezda and Zarya modules or additional platforms on the propulsion modules," representatives of the corporation said.

Ordinary booster rockets like Progress or Soyuz are supposed to deliver components of a lunar ship from the surface to the ISS. A flight to the Moon will require one or several stages to pull the complex to the Moon, and one spaceship for astronauts. Primarily, three pioneers will be enough to reach the Moon, circle the satellite and then get back to the surface. Subsequently, the number of astronauts may considerably increase depending upon the results of the test flight. It is not ruled out that astronauts will even have a chance to land on the Moon during the second flight.

Today, experts consider opportunities of mining helium-3, the key mineral which can be found on the Moon. The Rocket and Space Corporation Energia states that this new fuel may be even more effective than traditional ones. A few kilograms of the lunar substance will be enough to start a thermonuclear electric power station. Delivery of helium-3 from the Moon to the surface will return great profits. To begin the mining of helium-3 on the Moon, astronauts must first of all build a base for miners to live and work in. Experts already know the exact location of helium-3 fields on the Moon. A special machine will be going about the lunar surface; it will dig, warm the lunar soil, regolith, and then extract helium-3. It is planned to build such a base in one of the lunar seas.

Europeans, Americans and even Chinese also want to participate in the project. November 1, head of Russia's Roskosmos, Anatoly Perminov, came to China to conduct talks about the future of Russian-Chinese space cooperation.




Tuesday, January 24, 2006

January 24, 2006
Voyager - like other deep space probes - out there with a message from Earth - who remembers?

Good day,

Larry Klaes posted a note about the twentieth anniversary of Voyager 2 passing Uranus and a Wall Street Journal story about our sending notes in bottles to potential reader out there in space.
- LRK -

Today, January 24, is the twentieth anniversary of Voyager 2's flyby of the planet Uranus, the first probe to that world.

Four days later, nearly everyone forgot about this mission and its images of a bland blue ball.


Message in a Bottle

by Jason Fry of the Wall Street Journal

Sending Messages Into Outer Space Has Changed Since Voyager's Day

January 23, 2006

To quote:

"In all likelihood, space probes will be the only things of ours that endure after our species is gone and our planet utterly changed -- a few inert, pitted machines will be the sole clues that we ever existed, and the ancient messages they carry our only chance to explain who we were. It's vanishingly unlikely that any being will ever find the Pioneers, Voyagers or the New Horizons probe in the billion-odd years during which their messages will remain readable. But though imagining such a discovery borders on an act of faith, it's not impossible. And since it isn't, shouldn't the only trace of ourselves be something more substantive than an unbelievably ancient PR campaign? Don't we owe ourselves a final testament that's something more than space spam?"


Hard to believe that it is already January 24, 2006. See other items around this day from JPL Space Calendar clip below. There are a lot of links in the Wall Street Journal story as well so I will leave it to you to check that out as well.

My thanks to Larry Klaes for his posts, which I stole. :-)

Thanks for looking up with me.

Larry Kellogg

Web Site:
Bog Spot:
RSS link:
News ltr:
Space Calendar

Jan 23 -[Jan 24] ALOS 1 H-2A Launch (Japan)
Jan 23 - Asteroid 4 Vesta Occults TYC 1893-00450-1 (10.7 Magnitude Star)
Jan 23 - Asteroid 3267 Glo Closest Approach To Earth (1.066 AU)
Jan 23 - Asteroid 5203 Pavarotti Closest Approach To Earth (1.662 AU)
Jan 23 - Asteroid 5281 Lindstrom Closest Approach To Earth (2.080 AU)
Jan 23 - 20th Anniversary (1986), Brad Smith's Discovery of Uranus Moon Bianca
Jan 23 - Glenn Research Center's 65th Birthday (1941)
Jan 23 - 100th Anniversary (1906), August Kopff's Discovery of Asteroid 582 Olympia
Jan 24 - Asteroid 1807 Slovakia Occults HIP 49530 (6.2 Magnitude Star)
Jan 24 - Asteroid 18725 Atacama Closest Approach To Earth (1.511 AU)
Jan 24 - 20th Anniversary (1986), Voyager 2, Uranus Flyby
Jan 25 - Saturn Occults PPM 125631 (8.0 Magnitude Star)
Jan 25 - Asteroid 4150 Starr Closest Approach To Earth (1.604 AU)
Jan 25 - Joseph Lagrange's 270th Birthday (1736)
Jan 25-26 - EARA Workshop 2006: Galactic Bulges, Padova, Italy


Anothr snip for one of Larry Klaes’ posts. Thanks Larry. – LRK -
>Tuesday, 24-Jan-2006 - Latest from ESA Science and Technology web site
>Cosmic Vision 2015-2025 is the roadmap by which the ESA Science
>Directorate is planing its future missions. In the first of four
>articles one of the key themes is presented.
>Updated mission status reports are available for the Venus Express and
>SMART-1 missions.
>Subscribe to SciTech's RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feeds to get the
>latest updates delivered directly to your desktop.
>Don't forget to download the SciTech Screensaver a multi-facetted
>application that allows you to keep abreast of status reports, news and
>announcements of events taking place at ESA Science.

>Please contact us through the Scitech Website:




Saturday, January 21, 2006

NASA Postpones Mission to Visit Asteroids
January 21, 2006

Good evening,

ALICIA CHANG, Associated Press, has an article that is being picked up by
the news papers.

Looks like the DAWN mission is not going to launch this year.
- LRK -
Posted on Sat, Jan. 21, 2006
NASA postpones mission to visit two asteroids
Associated Press

LOS ANGELES - An unmanned NASA spacecraft intended to visit two of the solar
system's largest asteroids will not launch this year, as the space agency
deals with cost overruns and technical issues.

The planned summer launch of the Dawn spacecraft has been indefinitely
postponed, said Andrew Dantzler, director of NASA's solar system division.

Mission managers were ordered to halt work on Dawn last fall while an
independent review team led by the space agency's Marshall Space Flight
Center assessed the project. The team is expected to present its findings to
NASA on Jan. 27.

Read the articles. Looks like not enough money. Problems encountered,
tanks that would hold the xenon for the ion engine not meeting specks and
rupturing during tests.

A DISCOVERY mission, capped at $371 and asking for another $40 million, got
put on hold to look at the books. Doesn't look like it is going to come out
of hold.

This would have been a nine year spiral out to the asteroids.
- LRK -

Dawn's goal is to characterize the conditions and processes of the solar
system's earliest epoch by investigating in detail two of the largest
protoplanets remaining intact since their formations. Ceres and Vesta reside
in the extensive zone between Mars and Jupiter together with many other
smaller bodies, called the asteroid belt. Each has followed a very different
evolutionary path constrained by the diversity of processes that operated
during the first few million years of solar system evolution.

Dawn has much to offer the general public. It brings images of varied
landscapes on previously unseen worlds to the public including mountains,
canyons, craters, lava flows, polar caps and, possibly ancient lakebeds,
streambeds and gullies. Students can follow the mission over an entire K-12
experience as the mission is built, cruises to Vesta and Ceres and returns
data. The public will be able to participate through the Solar System
Ambassadors and through participation on the web.

Well forget the outreach, forget going to the asteroids. Tanks burst, need
another $40 million.

Seems like we could just do a safety stand down for a day or two in IRAQ and
give them what they need.
- LRK -


A billboard in Times Sqaure counts the cost of the Iraq war starting at
$134.5B and increases at a rate of $177M per day, $7.4M per hour and
$122,820 per minute.

By Anders Krusberg, AP

Thanks for looking up with me. (even if it is a future event horizon)
Larry Kellogg

Web Site
Bog Spot
RSS link
News ltr
Your suggestions could show up here. :-) - LRK -

NASA Postpones Mission to Visit Asteroids
By ALICIA CHANG AP Science Writer

LOS ANGELES Jan 21, 2006 — A NASA spacecraft built to explore two of the
solar system's largest asteroids won't launch this year because the space
agency is dealing with cost overruns and technical issues in the project.
The planned summer launch of the Dawn spacecraft has been indefinitely
postponed, said Andrew Dantzler, director of NASA's solar system division.
Mission managers had been ordered to halt work on Dawn last fall while the
project was assessed by an independent review team, which is expected to
present its findings to NASA on Jan. 27.


NASA Dawn Mission Status November 2005

Date Released: Sunday, November 20, 2005
Source: University of California Los Angeles
Christopher T. Russell
Dawn Principal Investigator, UCLA

In mid-October, the Dawn mission team was asked by NASA Headquarters to
cease all work except that which was critical to maintaining the viability
of the Dawn mission to launch on a delayed schedule, still achieving all of
its scientific objectives. This action was taken in response to concerns
about the availability of funding in FY2006 to cover any problems that might
arise during environmental and performance testing, particularly with regard
to several pieces of subsystem hardware perceived to have experienced
significant problems. The chief items of concern are the Power Processing
Units (PPUs) that provide the high voltage power to the thrusters in the ion
propulsion system, one of the redundant Attitude Control Electronics (ACE)
boxes, and the xenon tank.

Concern regarding the flight xenon tank arose because two qualification
tanks ruptured at lower than expected pressure during testing, instigating a
thorough review of the integrity of the flight tank. The Dawn team chose to
reduce the xenon load in the flight tank from 450 to 425 kg to increase the
safety margin (reducing a generous fuel load margin but not affecting the
science return). A recommendation from the group charged with reviewing the
Dawn tank, chartered by the NASA independent Technical Authority guidelines,
is expected in early December.



NASA’s asteroid-visiting probe put on hold
17:28 08 November 2005 news service
Kelly Young

An ambitious NASA mission to visit two of the solar system's largest
asteroids has been placed on hold while investigators assess budget and
technical problems.

The mission, called Dawn, was scheduled to launch in June 2006 to study
asteroids Vesta and Ceres. But mission controllers have been told to stop
their preparations while the investigation is conducted. This process is
expected to take several months but the mission's launch window lasts over a
year, so the delay should not affect the spacecrafts chance of reaching its

"Rather than just continue and hope for the best […] we at headquarters
thought it would be a good idea to stand down," says Andrew Dantzler, the
director of the Solar System Division at NASA headquarters in Washington DC,

Dantzler says the project has experienced more technical failures than
normal and mission managers are working to determine if there is a problem
with the way the programme is being run. In addition, the project is already
running 10% to 16% over its projected budget of $373 million.

The mission has also begun falling behind schedule. The spacecraft is still
officially scheduled to launch as early as 17 June 2006 but, before the
stand down, the launch date was already expected to slip to August 2006. "It
wasn’t clear that we were even going to make August," Dantzler admits.


Dawn Mission
>From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

The Dawn Mission is a NASA unmanned space mission that will send an orbiting
space probe to examine the asteroids Ceres and Vesta. Dawn will be the first
mission to enter into orbit around two different planetary bodies other than
the Earth and Moon.


The mission's goal is to characterize the conditions and processes of the
solar system's earliest epoch by investigating in detail two of the largest
protoplanets remaining intact since their formation. Ceres and Vesta have
many contrasting characteristics that are thought to have resulted from them
forming in two different regions of the early solar system; Ceres is
theorized to have experienced a "cool and wet" formation that may have left
it with subsurface water, and Vesta is theorized to have experienced a "hot
and dry" formation that resulted in a differentiated interior and surface

Dawn will be launched on a Delta 7925H rocket. To cruise from Earth to its
targets it will use three DS1 heritage Xenon ion thrusters (firing only one
at a time) to take it in a long outward spiral. The planned chronology is:

Launch on June 17, 2006
Vesta arrival October, 2011
Vesta departure May, 2012
Ceres arrival August, 2015
End of operations January, 2016

An extended mission in which Dawn explores other asteroids after Ceres is
also possible.

The Dawn mission team is led by UCLA space scientist Christopher T. Russell.
Orbital Sciences Corporation will construct the spacecraft, and NASA's Jet
Propulsion Laboratory will provide the ion engines and management of the
overall flight system development. The German Aerospace Center will provide
the framing camera, and the Institute for Space Astrophysics in Rome will
provide the mapping spectrometer. A laser altimeter will be provided by the
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, a gamma ray spectrometer from the DOE Los
Alamos National Laboratory, and a magnetometer will be provided by UCLA.


Walk or Ride on the Moon? - Who designs the nextLunar Rovers?
January 20, 2006

Good evening,

I asked how did you watch the launch of the New Horizons and Daniel Fischer
in Germany said he watched the BBC World TV and listened to the audio from
NASA TV via telephone.

I commented to him that I thought the BBC had some good reporters during the
Apollo missions and that I enjoyed reading "The Moonlandings: An Eyewitness
Account" by Reginald Turnill.

Was just reflecting on the quality of our reporting today.

The Moonlandings An eyewitness Account - Foreword by Buzz Aldrin

And when we go back with humans again, how will we get around?
- LRK -

The Great Moonbuggy Race will be held in April and looks like you are too
late to register.

Press Releases and Photographs from years past. - LRK -

Real Rovers

Will the Moonbuggy racers be designing our next rovers?


Lunar rovers past and future

by Anthony Young
Monday, April 5, 2004

In his January 14, 2004 speech at NASA Headquarters proclaiming a new vision
of United States space exploration, President Bush announced a return to the
Moon by 2020 with a renewed commitment of lunar exploration. Notwithstanding
the political (read: funding) minefields that await, future astronauts
returning to the moon will most certainly have a lunar rover to fulfill
their tasks. How different would it really be from the 1972 model? To get
the answer, a bit of history is in order first.


When we go back, and we better, what will the next movers look like? How
will you climb down into a dark crater or climb a mountain? How will you
sift the fines for minerals or dig into a lava tube? What will excavate
your trench for you lunar lab?

What will be the power source for your motivators?

What will your driving clothes look like?

Just think what could be accomplished if we put down our battle axes and
started designing tools to develop the Moon, asteroids, and other planets.
A lot of ideas on napkins and discussions around the kitchen table.

Wouldn't it be fun!!!

Thanks for looking up with me.

Larry Kellogg

Web Site
Bog Spot
RSS link
News ltr
Your suggestions could show up here. :-) - LRK -

NASA Announces 13th Annual Great Moonbuggy Race

Date Released: Wednesday, January 18, 2006
Source: Marshall Space Flight Center

What: NASA's 13th Annual Great Moonbuggy Race

Who: High school students race Friday, April 7; college students race
Saturday, April 8. Prizes awarded for the fastest vehicles and to the teams
with the best technical solutions.

When: Friday and Saturday, April 7-8, 2006

Where: U.S. Space and Rocket Center, One Tranquility Base, Huntsville, Ala.
To attend: To attend, media should contact the Marshall Public and Employee
Communications Office at: (256) 544-0034 no later than 4 p.m. EST Friday,
March 31.

NASA gives students from around the world an opportunity to design, build
and race their own human-powered "moonbuggies." The event was inspired by
the NASA designers of the Lunar Roving Vehicle used by Apollo astronauts.
Students race their own buggies over a half-mile course. For supporting
materials and photographs from the 2005 event, visit:

For more information about NASA and agency programs on the Web, visit:
The Apollo Lunar Roving Vehicle

The Lunar Roving Vehicle (LRV) was an electric vehicle designed to operate
in the low-gravity vacuum of the Moon and to be capable of traversing the
lunar surface, allowing the Apollo astronauts to extend the range of their
surface extravehicular activities. Three LRVs were driven on the Moon, one
on Apollo 15 by astronauts David Scott and Jim Irwin, one on Apollo 16 by
John Young and Charles Duke, and one on Apollo 17 by Gene Cernan and
Harrison Schmitt. Each rover was used on three traverses, one per day over
the three day course of each mission. On Apollo 15 the LRV was driven a
total of 27.8 km in 3 hours, 2 minutes of driving time. The longest single
traverse was 12.5 km and the maximum range from the LM was 5.0 km. On Apollo
16 the vehicle traversed 26.7 km in 3 hours 26 minutes of driving. The
longest traverse was 11.6 km and the LRV reached a distance of 4.5 km from
the LM. On Apollo 17 the rover went 35.9 km in 4 hours 26 minutes total
drive time. The longest traverse was 20.1 km and the greatest range from the
LM was 7.6 km.

Apollo, 737 part of Roger Koch's career
Boeing official always took family to moon launches

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Times Staff Writer
Among the memorabilia Roger Koch saved from his career in public relations
at Boeing Co. is a bag of press passes from several moon launches.

Koch, who was 83 when he died Jan. 2, would attend the launches to report
Boeing's role in the space industry, which included building the lunar

He would always take his family to the launches, and his son, Eric, can
still remember the hot blast from the massive Saturn rockets as an Apollo
flight lifted off.

Boeing Celebrates Apollo 11 30th Anniversary (back in 1999 - LRK -)

Working together before we were working together. One of the threads of
common heritage that ties together the people of Boeing is also one of the
watershed events of the 20th century: landing a human on the moon. More than
30 years before the people of Boeing, Boeing North American (the former
Rockwell aerospace units) and McDonnell Douglas came together as The Boeing
Company, they worked together to make possible Neil Armstrong's first step
on the moon on July 20, 1969. Just as the International Space Station is
doing today at Boeing, Apollo 11 brought together the great energy, grand
visions and strong passion of Boeing people working on a U.S. space program
that was going full tilt. These people took great pride in being part of
this adventure of a lifetime.

>From October 1968 through July 1969, the United States launched five Apollo
missions: Apollo 7 made the first flight to Earth orbit; Apollo 8 made the
first orbit of the moon; Apollo 9 and 10 tested the Lunar Module; Apollo 11
landed men on the moon. In 10 months, the great team of more than 300,000
workers from 20,000 companies in 50 states focused their innovation, daring
and speed on the unprecedented history-making effort.

Boeing built the first stage of the Saturn V launch vehicle, integrated the
overall 363-foot rocket, and designed the Lunar Roving Vehicle. North
American Rockwell designed and built the Saturn V second stage, the Command
& Service Modules, and its Rocketdyne division built all the main engines
used on the Saturn V. McDonnell Douglas built the Saturn V's third stage.


July 16, 1969

"We Came In Peace For All Mankind... "

The people of Boeing continue to work at the forefront of space achievement
by imagining and planning for amazing exploits of the next century.
We work toward the commercial development of space, which will be driven by
low-cost access to orbit.

We dare to dream of further exploration of our solar system and the far
reaches of the universe. Today as one company, Boeing employees lead the way
in space, based on more than 50 years of building the very foundation that
has pioneered America's space efforts.

01/20/06 12:10 PST

The director of NASA Ames Research Center has announced his resignation in a
memorandum sent to center employees earlier this week.

G. Scott Hubbard has been director of the Moffett Field facility since 2002,
managing 4,000 employees and a budget of approximately $775 million. He has
worked for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration since 1987 and
was the originator of the 1997 Mars Pathfinder mission in which the robotic
vehicle Sojourner transmitted new images of the Earth's closest planetary

In his memo, Hubbard said that new NASA Administrator Michael Griffin wants
to name his own director at Ames.

"As is often the case when there is any change of administration, the new
leader wants his own team. In discussions with Mike Griffin before the
holidays, we agreed that the future of Ames should be set by a center
director of the administrator's choosing,'' Hubbard said.

Ames spokesman Mike Mewhinney would not comment on Hubbard's departure
beyond confirming the authenticity of his memo, which was posted on the
unofficial NASA watchdog Web site at .
Ames plans to issue a news release next week about Hubbard. The naming of
the new Ames director will be announced by NASA headquarters in Washington,
D.C., according to Mewhinney.


Thursday, January 19, 2006

New Horizons on its way - how did you watch?
January 19, 2006

Good afternoon,

The New Horizons launch was successful after a few delays for cloud cover. - LRK -

Interesting how one may need to multi-task between doing the dishes, washing the clothes, flipping through TV Channels and looking on the laptop with Windows Media and RealPlayer for the launch of New Horizons.

Add to that, Sangad (wife) wanting to cut my hair. :-)
(She did that after the launch and I looked out of the corner of my eye at the continuing tracking of the in orbit sequences and final kick and separation of spacecraft. )

I viewed NASA TV with Windows Media and RealPlayer and on a html page with a web cam at JHU/APL.

The Windows Media was about 30 seconds behind the RealPlayer video but had better audio on my laptop.
- LRK -

I managed to find a few news stations on cable that caught the launch just as it was finally ready to happen and here again the in studio announcers had stupid questions of their launch side reporters. :-(
- LRK -


I think we have our work cut out to educate the general public about space exploration and the benefits it has.

The NASA web sites are trying to add content for the students coming up through the ranks. We will need new scientists and engineers and some potential politicians that favor space, if it is all going to happen. IMHO

Jack Skis the Moon
Education News and Event Features

It will be interesting to see what improvements are made. NASA Watch had the following comments back in January 2005. Hope we do better this year.
- LRK -

NASA Education and PAO: Asleep at The Wheel (again)
NASA Ames to Host Thousands of Students for Annual Jason Event

"Starting Monday, Jan. 31, and continuing through Friday, Feb. 4, 2005, the main auditorium at NASA Ames Research Center, located in California's Silicon Valley, will be 'transformed' into the Mississippi River Delta and Louisiana's Cajun country to host 5,200 Bay area students and teachers scheduled to participate in the 2005 JASON Expedition: Disappearing Wetlands."

Editor's note: You'd think ARC PAO would want to drum up maximum visibility for this event. Apparently not: They only sent this media advisory out with 4 days advance notice (2 of which are on a weekend). Also, with 5,200 students participating in a NASA event, you'd think that NASA's Education Office would be heavily promoting this event. Again, the answer is no. The last "news" on the Education website at NASA HQ is dated 15 Jan 2005. No mention is made of this event.

Oh yes, then there is this new solicitation:

NASA Solicitation: Seeking Collaboration to Conduct Student Competition to Name the Node 2 Element of the International Space Station

"NASA seeks an unfunded collaboration with a commercial or non-profit organization to define, organize and execute a nationwide project-oriented competition for K-12 students in U.S. schools to select a name for the Node 2 element of the International Space Station (ISS) to be launched on a future Space Shuttle flight."

There is no mention of this national education project on the Education website either.

And then there are these College-level education awards announced today as well:

NASA Funds Work-Force Development Projects to Support Vision

"NASA has selected 32 consortia in the National Space Grant College and Fellowship Program. They will receive $3 million in awards this year for aerospace work force development to support the Vision for Space Exploration."

No mention of this announcement either. It is hard to imagine how you are going to excite students - and educators - when so many people at NASA PAO and its Education office are asleep at the wheel.


Thanks for looking up with me.

Larry Kellogg

Web Site
Bog Spot
RSS link
News ltr
Your suggestions could show up here. :-) - LRK -
New Horizons will be a one-way journey to the Kuiper Belt and beyond; unlike some missions that return back to the Earth.


New Horizons launch press conference in progress:
+ Watch NASA TV
After launch aboard a Lockheed-Martin Atlas V rocket, the New Horizons spacecraft set out on a journey to the edge of the solar system. Liftoff occurred Jan. 19, 2006 at 2:00:00 p.m. EST from Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. New Horizons is headed for a distant rendezvous with the mysterious planet Pluto almost a decade from now.
As the first spacecraft to visit Pluto and its moon Charon, New Horizons looks to unlock one of the solar system's last, great planetary secrets. The New Horizons spacecraft will cross the entire span of the solar system and conduct flyby studies of Pluto and Charon in 2015. The seven science instruments on the piano-sized probe will shed light on the bodies' surface properties, geology, interior makeup and atmospheres.

Primary Launch Window:
January 17 - February 14, 2006

Launch Vehicle:
Atlas V 551 first stage; Centaur second stage; STAR 48B solid rocket third stage

Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida

• To Pluto via Jupiter Gravity Assist (first 17 days of window)
• Direct to Pluto (last 12 days of window)


The Voyage
Early Cruise: Assuming liftoff during the primary launch window in January 2006, the first 13 months include spacecraft and instrument checkouts, instrument calibrations, trajectory correction maneuvers, and rehearsals for the Jupiter encounter.
Jupiter Encounter: Closest approach scheduled to occur between Feb. 25- March 2, 2007. Moving about 47,000 miles per hour (about 21 kilometers per second), New Horizons would fly 3 to 4 times closer to Jupiter than the Cassini spacecraft, coming within 31.7-32.4 Jupiter radii of the large planet.

Interplanetary Cruise: activities during the approximately 8-year cruise to Pluto include annual spacecraft and instrument checkouts, trajectory corrections, instrument calibrations and Pluto encounter rehearsals.


Link to Reuters RSS feeds if your interested. - LRK -

NASA probe blasts off for Pluto
Thu Jan 19, 2006 2:52 PM ET

By Irene Klotz
CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida (Reuters) - The world's first mission to Pluto blasted into space on Thursday on an Atlas 5 unmanned rocket to begin a 9 1/2-year journey to the only unexplored planet in the solar system.

After two days of delays due to poor weather and a power outage, the 197-foot tall (60-meter) rocket, built by Lockheed Martin Corp., lifted off at 2 p.m. EST (1900 GMT) from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

High winds at the Florida launch site forced the first scrub of the launch of the New Horizons spacecraft on Tuesday, followed on Wednesday by a storm-triggered power outage at the mission control center in Laurel, Maryland.

With an unprecedented five solid-fuel strap-on boosters, the rocket sent the relatively tiny spacecraft into space faster than any object launched by man before. It sprinted into the sky and quickly disappeared over the Atlantic Ocean.

"The five solid rocket boosters are burning just fine, sending the New Horizons spacecraft on its way to the very edge of our solar system," said launch commentator Bruce Buckingham, shortly after the liftoff.

The launch sparked a small protest and was overseen by the Department of Energy because the spacecraft carried 24 pounds (10.9 kg) of radioactive plutonium that will decay over time, providing heat that the probe's generator can turn into electricity to power instruments and systems.

NASA has used the non-weapons grade plutonium, processed into ceramic pellets, for 24 previous science missions which, like New Horizons, travel too far to tap the sun's energy for solar power.

NASA chose the largest expendable rocket in the U.S. fleet to get the New Horizons spacecraft moving as quickly as possible on its 3 billion mile (4.9 billion-km) journey to Pluto. After additional boosts by two upper-stage motors, the probe was expected to move at 36,000 mph (57,934 kph).

Next year, the spacecraft is expected to pick up an additional 9,000 mph (14,483 kph) by bouncing off Jupiter's massive gravity field for a slingshot maneuver toward Pluto. Even so, it will take New Horizons until July 2015 to reach Pluto and its largest moon, Charon.

Pluto is the largest and best known of a relatively new type of planetary body called a Kuiper Belt object. The Kuiper Belt is located beyond Neptune's orbit, which is 30 times farther away from the sun than Earth. It contains frozen objects believed to be leftover remains from the formation of the solar system 4.6 billion years ago.

While not much is known about Pluto, by the time the probe arrives, scientists may have a better idea of what to look for. A capsule containing samples of a Kuiper Belt-formed comet were returned to Earth on Sunday.

"For all the ideas and theories that people might have, we have some real ground truth," said University of Washington's Donald Brownlee, the principal investigator for the so-called Stardust mission.

"We have some actual samples of the material that the solar system was formed from," he said.


© Reuters 2006. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Reuters content, including by caching, framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters. Reuters and the Reuters sphere logo are registered trademarks and trademarks of the Reuters group of companies around the world.

Ooops - LRK - but they said I could send you an e-mail link.
RSS source for Science news

Press Release Source: NASA

NASA Awards Scientific Support Services Contract
Thursday January 19, 2:30 pm ET

WASHINGTON, Jan. 19 /PRNewswire/ -- NASA has selected SGT, Inc., Greenbelt, Md., for award of the Geophysics, Geodynamics and Space Geodesy Support contract.
The contractor provides support for ongoing missions such as the Laser Geodynamic Satellite and new missions like the Mercury Messenger and Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter.

The work includes but is not limited to instrument and software development and maintenance; scientific data analysis; associated technical and administrative work. This contract supports NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Science Mission Directorate, Greenbelt, Md.

SGT will receive a cost-plus award fee, indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity task order contract with a minimum value of $1 million and a maximum value of $39 million. The contract has a five-year ordering period; however, individual efforts may extend beyond five years.
The principal work will be performed at Goddard, Wallops Flight Facility, Wallops Island, Va., and at the contractor's facility.

For information about NASA and agency programs on the Web, visit:

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

January 18, 2006
Say What! - New Horizons delayed

Good day,

The New Horizons launch scrubbed, again. - LRK -

NASA's Pluto flight delayed again due to power outage
Wed Jan 18, 2006 10:57 AM ET

CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida (Reuters) - NASA canceled Wednesday's launch of the
U.S. space agency's first probe to Pluto after the mission control
headquarters in Maryland lost power, officials said.

The launch of the piano-sized New Horizons spacecraft on a massive Atlas 5
rocket had been postponed from Tuesday due to high winds at the launch pad
at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

NASA officials said it was not immediately clear why mission control at
Johns Hopkins University's Applied Physics Laboratory nearly 1,000 miles
away in Maryland lost power.

The agency hoped the problem would be resolved in time for the next launch
window between 1:08 p.m. and 3:07 p.m. on Thursday. NASA has until February
14 to launch the probe, but postponements could add up to 5 years to its

The earliest that New Horizons can reach Pluto, if it launches in time to
slingshot itself off the gravity field of Jupiter, is July 2015.

Folks on the InsideKSC group said that CNN reported the scrub, but FOX news
was reporting that "NASA will try again this afternoon..."

I wonder how connected the news reporters are.

Yesterday MSNBC reporter said that New Horizons had nuclear generators like
the ones that powered the LASER Reflector the Apollo Astronauts used to beam
LASERs to Earth.

Come on. The RETROREFLECTOR is just that, a reflector for LASER beams sent
from Earth and bounced back.
Apollo 11 Laser Ranging Retroreflector Experiment

The Laser Ranging Retroreflector experiment was deployed on Apollo 11, 14,
and 15. It consists of a series of corner-cube reflectors, which are a
special type of mirror with the property of always reflecting an incoming
light beam back in the direction it came from. A similar device was also
included on the Soviet Union's Lunakhod 2 spacecraft. These reflectors can
be illuminated by laser beams aimed through large telescopes on Earth. The
reflected laser beam is also observed with the telescope, providing a
measurement of the round-trip distance between Earth and the Moon. This is
the only Apollo experiment that is still returning data from the Moon. Many
of these measurements have been made by McDonald Observatory in Texas. From
1969 to 1985, they were made on a part-time basis using the McDonald
Observatory 107-inch telescope. Since 1985, these observations have been
made using a dedicated 30-inch telescope. Additional measurements have been
made by observatories in Hawaii, California, France, Australia, and Germany.

What chance do we have of getting to the Moon if we don't even know what we
did while we were there?

Need your help in clueing in the clueless.

Thanks for looking up with me.

Larry Kellogg

Web Site
Bog Spot
RSS link
News ltr
Your suggestions could show up here. :-) - LRK -
January 17, 2006

Good evening,

The New Horizons launch scrubbed.
Waiting for the New Horizons launch. Several delays due to winds. Will see
if it gets off while writing this.
Now delay because of DSN network at Antigua.
New time 19:50 Z (2:50 PM EST)
New time 20:05 Z
New time 20:23 Z
Red line monitor - launch scrubbed today. :-(

Well that was earlier today while writing another e-mail.

Window opens eight minutes earlier tomorrow and weather will still be a

So a small wait to get to Pluto, 2015.

Will we be on the Moon by then?

If you put together a spacecraft in orbit around Earth, one module at a
time, will the winds in Florida be a problem? Will a day or two wait for
the next module be a problem? Will the suspense be something the 6:00 PM
news pick up on?

Was the count down on your TV?

Did you have to compete with a game station using the TV or was it even on?

How do we get the rest of the World excited about going to space?

Times have changed. When I was young, and listened to the RADIO, I used my
imagination to fly with Sky King and sent in for my decoder ring.

Now you have High Definition TV, digital cameras, and cell phones in every

You can listen on your iPod or Mp3 player to your favorite music or Podcast.

What do we fill these mediums with?

The Science@NASA Podcast feed at

The Huygens landing: one year on

The Space Show® is now podcasting!

To listen please subscribe to the RSS feed

By using an RSS reader to subscribe to any of the feeds, you will receive
the latest news, information and weekly radio programs directly from the
Planetary Society web site.

I watched the history of the Barbie Doll and the making of Mattel. How do
you compete with two dolls a second being sold around the World?
There are some empty space holders below.

What information or entertainment writings would you fill them with?

What would help your neighbors get there kids into science classes to
prepare them for a lunar enterprise?

What written word will grip your gut and cause you to dream about the stars?
(If I was drawing a cartoon they would be made up of incomplete lines that
your brain would be caught up in completing. How do I paint a word picture
that catches your imagination and takes you to the Moon?)

In its day, Pioneer 10 was the fastest manmade object to leave Earth.
Pioneer 10 was launched on 2 March 1972 on top of an Atlas/Centaur/TE364-4
launch vehicle. The launch marked the first use of the Atlas-Centaur as a
three-stage launch vehicle. The third stage was required to rocket Pioneer
10 to the speed of 51,810 kilometers per hour (32,400 mph) needed for the
flight to Jupiter. This made Pioneer the fastest manmade object to leave the
Earth, fast enough to pass the Moon in 11 hours and to cross the Mars orbit,
about 80 million kilometers (50 million miles) away, in just 12 weeks.

Hopefully tomorrow you will see a new record set.

KSC-06PD-0076 (01/16/2006) --- KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FLA. – On Complex 41 at
Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, the Atlas V expendable launch vehicle with
the New Horizons spacecraft settles into position with the launcher
umbilical tower on the pad. The liftoff is scheduled for 1:24 p.m. EST Jan.
17. After its launch aboard the Atlas V, the compact, 1,050-pound
piano-sized probe will get a boost from a kick-stage solid propellant motor
for its journey to Pluto. New Horizons will be the fastest spacecraft ever
launched, reaching lunar orbit distance in just nine hours and passing
Jupiter 13 months later.


The Planetary Report

Thanks for looking up with me.

Larry Kellogg

Web Site
Bog Spot
RSS link
News ltr
Your suggestions could show up here. :-) - LRK -

Monday, January 16, 2006

January 16, 2006
Space - What do you want to know? - Where do we go from here?

Good day,

Stardust capsule drop successful. - LRK -

Our local Tracy paper is thin. Only 28 pages today with 6 pages dedicated to
our local sports. The Stardust success is on page 15 just before the 6
pages of classified ads and is a slim 4 inch high column.

The Sacramento Bee is the big paper with a five different sections. The
caption "Space capsule comes bearing comet dust" is on page A4 in the middle
of a big page sandwiched between "Rep. Ney to temporarily step aside as
panel chief", (in large bold type) and "Sego Mine victims remembered as
service" in normal bold type. The only thing that catches your eye is the
flare, streak in the sky of the entering capsule.

Maybe would have gotten more notice if it had smashed.

Well your viewing may vary.
- LRK -

The Boston Globe has a more encouraging article about an exciting year
coming up. Copied that below as well.
- LRK -

In 2006, space odysseys across the solar system

By David L. Chandler, Globe Correspondent January 16, 2006
snip - see below - LRK -

The local PBS KQED9 is playing a nice clip of the Stardust arrival on the
- LRK -

Philip Sloss on InsidKSC sends appology for not going to be able to have
pictures of the launch tomorrow of the New Horizons mission.

Will you care if you missed the launch, 9 years from now?
- LRK -

Planetary News: New Horizons (2006) New Horizons Set to Launch on 9 Year
Voyage to Pluto and the Kuiper BeltBy Amir Alexander
16 January 2006

A towering giant of a rocket sits quietly at Launch Complex 41 at the
Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. It is 60 meters (200 feet)
tall and, with five solid fuel booster rockets attached at its base, weighs
575,000 kilograms (1.26 million pounds). It is an Atlas V, NASA's mightiest
launcher. At 1:24 p.m. Eastern Standard Time tomorrow, if all goes well,
the sleeping giant will come to life in a deafening roar of fire and smoke.
Slowly at first, and then faster and faster, it will rise into the sky,
shedding its solid boosters and then its first, second, and third stages in
succession. By the time the sound and fury subside, only a small spacecraft
will remain, streaking silently through the emptiness of interstellar space.

So will begin the 9-year voyage of New Horizons, the first space craft
destined to visit Pluto and the Kuiper belt.

Once again I have copied the links from "The Space Review" post edited by
Jeff Foust. If you subscribe, I apologize for overloading your senses but
we have been talking about Helium-3 and the article about the interview with
Gerald Kulcinski caught my eye. Other subjects we have commented on are
there as well. You may want to look at some of them.
- LRK -

See if this catches your eye.
- LRK -
Welcome to this week's issue of The Space Review:
A fascinating hour with Gerald Kulcinski
Gerald Kulcinski has spent the last two decades at the University of
Wisconsin exploring the potential for fusion using helium-3 mined
from the Moon. Eric Hedman talks with him about his fusion research
as well as his new position on the NASA Advisory Council.

I have copied one paragarph here from what Eric R. Hedman wrote about the
talk with Kulcinski.
- LRK -

I recently received an email response to one of my articles from a teacher
that was dead set against human spaceflight. He told me that he had never
had a student tell him they were inspired by any of the manned spaceflights.
He didn’t believe that inspiring children was a valid argument for the space
program. When I related this to Professor Kulcinski he put it in context
with what he is seeing among incoming students. Many of the nuclear
engineering students have a clear vision of why they want to be nuclear
engineers. Some of the students have a desire to help provide clean safe
power. Others are interested in nuclear power systems for space
applications, including propulsion. In nuclear engineering there are more
students that want to be in the program than there are slots for them. By
comparison, in mechanical and electrical engineering there are fewer
qualified applicants than available slots. One of the ideas Professor
Kulcinski thinks may work to bring more students into engineering and the
sciences is to get better math teachers by paying them significantly more
than teachers of other subjects. The best engineers I know are not motivated
primarily by money, but by what they want to do with their lives.
Nevertheless, they still do like money. I believe the same is true about
teachers, so I don’t know if this would work. I haven’t as of yet heard of
anything better to try.

I would like to see a future that will be worth being excited about. Having
some goals that will benefit all seems like something to strive for.

Learning how to open up our minds to the expanse of space just seems like
something I can support so we will continue to see what we can find of
interest. Suggestions appreciated.

Take a look at what Jeff Foust is doing.
- LRK -
What is The Space Review?
The Space Review is an online publication devoted to in-depth articles,
commentary, and reviews regarding all aspects of space exploration: science,
technology, policy, business, and more. more info

Write for us!
Interested in contributing an article to The Space Review? Please read our
submission guidelines.

In contrast, if you have feelings about what direction you would like to see
this lunar-update list go, let me know on that too.

Thanks for looking up with me.

Larry Kellogg

Web Site
Bog Spot
RSS link
News ltr
Philip Sloss writes - LRK -
I've been forced to go with cable since I moved to the Atlanta area and the
NASA TV reception via Comcast has been screwed up since at least last

For some reason, they have been unable or unwilling to troubleshoot the
problem, which means I'm stuck with this crappy reception for however long
it takes them to pull their collective finger out. I'm definitely going to
be looking into some way to get satellite again, but there's no way that's
happening for several days. Barring a miracle, I won't be getting anything
here tomorrow.

Sorry in advance,
Philip Sloss

Make sure to visit the Flagship website:
Yahoo! Groups Links
<*> To visit your group on the web, go to:


Welcome to this week's issue of The Space Review:
A fascinating hour with Gerald Kulcinski
Gerald Kulcinski has spent the last two decades at the University of
Wisconsin exploring the potential for fusion using helium-3 mined
from the Moon. Eric Hedman talks with him about his fusion research
as well as his new position on the NASA Advisory Council.

Negative symbolism, or why America will continue to fly astronauts
The political costs associated with ending human spaceflight played a
major role in the Nixon Administration's decision to fly the final
Apollo missions and approve the shuttle program Dwayne Day examines
this decision to explain why it is unlikely a future president would
terminate a manned space program.

EU-US chronowar
Europe is billing Galileo as a more accurate satellite navigation
system than the existing American GPS system. Taylor Dinerman
discusses how one particular technology decision could give Galileo
the upper hand.

The effects of export control on the space industry
Since the enactment of more stringent export controls for commercial
spacecraft, satellite manufacturers in the US have lost considerable
business. Ryan Zelnio measures how big of an effect those export
controls have had on the US space industry.

A peek behind the scenes of The Space Show (part 2)
Dr. David Livingston combined expertise in business and a passion for
space into a popular radio show. In the conclusion of his two-part
interview, Mark Trulson asks Livingston how The Space Show came into
being and his plans for the future.


We appreciate any feedback you may have about these articles as well as
any other questions, comments, or suggestions about The Space Review.
We're also actively soliciting articles to publish in future issues, so
if you have an article or article idea that you think would be of
interest, please email me.

Until next week,
Jeff Foust
Editor, The Space Review
For more information please visit



In 2006, space odysseys across the solar system
By David L. Chandler, Globe Correspondent January 16, 2006

When it comes to exploring the solar system around us, there's never been a
year like the one that is beginning to unfold. A dozen different planets,
moons, comets, and asteroids will be coming under close scrutiny by new or
continuing missions or will have spacecraft sent their way over the course
of this year -- more than in any previous year.

''It's a golden age of planetary exploration," said Charles Elachi, director
of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, where most US planetary
missions are planned and run.

''Things have turned around" after a long dry spell in exploration during
the '80s and early '90s, said Maria Zuber, head of the Massachusetts
Institute of Technology's department of earth, atmospheric, and planetary
sciences. ''I can't remember any time in the past when we've had so many
things going on simultaneously."

This year's missions will study the smallest and the largest objects in the
solar system, as well as the closest and the most distant from the sun, the
hottest and coldest, the youngest and the most ancient.

The first step in this planetary odyssey took place yesterday in the Utah
desert, where a capsule full of particles from a comet and from the depths
of space parachuted back to earth -- an event made more suspenseful by the
crash-landing last year of the Genesis capsule using a similar reentry

The capsule, called Stardust, plunged through the dusty bright tail of comet
Wild 2 last year and collected bits of the matter that comets spew out as
the sun's heat boils away their volatile surface materials. But it also
collected bits of interstellar dust, perhaps the most ancient samples humans
will ever see without leaving the solar system altogether.

Step two of this banner year may happen as soon as tomorrow: the launch of
New Horizons, a probe headed to the outermost part of the solar system. The
spacecraft will be NASA's fastest ever -- it will whiz past the moon just
nine hours after launch.

It will be the first probe ever sent to Pluto, the only planet never
explored by spacecraft, and also the first to fly by the Kuiper Belt
Objects, the icy worlds that orbit out beyond Pluto. These objects are so
far from our sun that from their vantage point, the sun looks like any other

Along the way, New Horizons will use the gravity of Jupiter to speed its
path to Pluto -- and in the process will get the closest views of the planet
since the Galileo mission in the '90s. New Horizons will be able to beam
data back much faster from Jupiter than Pluto because it will be so much
closer to Earth -- so the mission will actually deliver more scientific data
about Jupiter in 2007 than it will about its primary targets in 2015 and
beyond, said the mission's chief scientist, Alan Stern of the Southwest
Research Institute in Colorado.

And because Jupiter's weather system is always changing, with storms that
can last centuries, observing its changes over time is expected to provide
important new information about our solar system's largest planet.

Meanwhile, nearly every other part of the solar system will come under
scrutiny, too.

''It's like 16th-century Europe with ships going to different lands and
coming back with great stories and great adventures," said Louis Friedman,
director of the nonprofit Planetary Society, an advocacy group for

Working outward from the center of the solar system, here are the year's

Our sun will get some new attention as a pair of US probes called STEREO
will be launched to provide constant 3-D imaging of our own star. The images
will offer an early-warning system of solar flares that could disrupt radio
communications and power grids and endanger astronauts in space.

NASA's Messenger probe, now en route to Mercury, will make a close flyby of
Venus this year. At around the same time, the European Space Agency's Venus
Express mission will also reach the second planet and go into orbit for the
most detailed long-term observation ever attempted.

The craft, a near-replica of the European Space Agency's highly successful
Mars Express orbiter, will begin a 486-day mapping mission of Venus in
April, using a whole suite of cameras and instruments to study the
perpetually cloud-shrouded world. Venus is nearly Earth's twin in size but
is hellishly hot because of its thick atmosphere, which traps heat.

The moon is also coming under scrutiny, with Japan's Lunar-A mission set for
a possible launch this year and Europe's SMART-1 continuing its close-up
observations in lunar orbit.

The solar system's most intensively explored planet will get even more
firepower aimed its way this year. The Mars rovers are still plugging away
nearly two years after their warranties ran out, and two ongoing NASA and
one European orbiters are constantly photographing the details of the fourth
planet's surface; these will be joined by yet another craft in March.

NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter will provide more detail than ever about
surface composition and topography, allowing for a much more accurate
understanding of potential landing sites for future missions and ultimately
human visits. This orbiter ''will send back more data from Mars than all the
other Mars missions put together," Zuber said.

NASA is scheduled to send off a probe in July, called Dawn, which will orbit
two different large asteroids, Vesta and Ceres, to study them in detail.
Asteroids exist in several different types, and understanding their
differences could be crucial if one is ever discovered on a collision course
with Earth.

The Cassini probe will continue to provide detailed scrutiny of Saturn and
its system of rings and moons. This year Cassini will focus more intensely
on the solar system's second-largest and most interesting moon, Titan -- the
only body other than Earth known to have an ongoing cycle of evaporation,
rainfall, and flowing rivers. Scientists are hoping these fly-bys will
finally reveal signs of actual liquid seas on the surface, which have been
expected but so far not detected.

Planetary scientists agree that this will be a banner year. But some also
sound a note of caution, having seen early years of active exploration
followed by a long dry spell of inactivity.

Friedman of the Planetary Society says that the release in a few weeks of
the federal budget for the next fiscal year could set the tone for future
exploration. One key issue for him is whether a mission to Jupiter's moon
Europa will be funded.

Europa, which scientists believe has a frozen-over ocean, is the likeliest
place in the solar system -- besides Earth and Mars -- where life could have

That mission is ''like a watershed," Friedman said. ''I view that as a
litmus test for the future of planetary exploration."

To learn more

Stardust mission to comet Wild 2:

New Horizons mission to Pluto and Kuiper Belt:

STEREO mission to better understand solar flares:

Messenger mission to Mercury via Venus:

Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency's Lunar-A mission to the moon:

European Space Agency's SMART-1 mission to the moon:

Mars Reconnaissance Rover:

Dawn mission to study asteroids:

Cassini mission to Saturn:

Also, the MIT Museum will hold a forum Thursday at 7:30 p.m. about the
landing system on the Mars Exploration Rovers at the museum, 265
Massachusetts Ave. in Cambridge. Call 617-253-4444 or go to for more information.

© Copyright 2005 The New York Times Company

Sunday, January 15, 2006

January 15, 2006

Good day, sunshine here in Tracy CA USA.

Stardust capsule drop successful. - LRK -
01.15.06 -- NASA's Stardust sample return mission returned safely to Earth
when the capsule carrying cometary and interstellar particles successfully
touched down at 5:10 a.m. Eastern time (3:10 a.m. Mountain time) in the
desert salt flats of the U.S. Air Force Utah Test and Training Range.
+ Full story
+ Audio clips for media: post-recovery briefing
NASA's Stardust sample return mission returned safely to Earth when the
capsule carrying cometary and interstellar particles successfully touched
down at 2:10 a.m. Pacific time (3:10 a.m. Mountain time) in the desert salt
flats of the U.S. Air Force Utah Test

Now the search begins. The 'aerogel' will have to be checked for the comet
samples. - LRK -

NASA - Aerogel Helps Scientists Unravel Mysteries of Comets
Aerogel Helps Scientists Unravel Mysteries of Comets 1.10.06 Strange stuff
called 'aerogel' that looks like a semi-transparent, blue cloud, but that is
solid, is carrying captured comet dust to Earth for a Jan. 15, 2006,
12 Jan 06

Looks like you could participate. - LRK -

Public Tapped to Hunt for Stardust
By Tracy Staedter, Discovery News

Jan. 12, 2006 — In a new project called Stardust@home, University of
California, Berkeley, researchers will invite Internet users to help them
search for grains of interstellar dust captured by NASA's Stardust
spacecraft, scheduled to drop its light load of dust to Earth on Sunday.

The project takes its inspiration from SETI@home, another U.C. Berkeley
program that combines the idle processing power of millions of
Internet-connected PCs into a huge supercomputer that is used to crunch data
in the search for extraterrestrial life.

Unlike the passive search for ETs, however, Stardust@home aims to enlist
thousands of volunteers to help sift through the microscopic pictures the
scientists will take of the spacecraft's cosmic payload.
Public to look for dust grains in Stardust detectors
By Robert Sanders, Media Relations 10 January 2006

BERKELEY – Astronomy buffs who jumped at the chance to use their home
computers in the SETI@home search for intelligent life in the universe will
soon be able to join an Internet-based search for dust grains originating
from stars millions of light years away.

In a new project called Stardust@home, University of California, Berkeley,
researchers will invite Internet users to help them search for a few dozen
submicroscopic grains of interstellar dust captured by NASA's Stardust
spacecraft and due to return to Earth in January 2006.

We went to a comet to catch some grains from long, long ago. In the
book/movie Andromeda Strain some
biologists speculate that if we ever make contact with extraterrestrials,
those life forms are likely to be--like most life on earth--one-celled or
smaller creatures, more comparable to bacteria than little green men. -LRK -

Wonder what we might find in the cold traps at the Moon's polar regions? -LRK -
Hope comet dust doesn't germinate while in the Berkeley lab. :-)

Well don't worry, we have been pelted by many tons of cosmic dust each day
or so I am told.

Many tons of dust grains, including samples of asteroids and comets, fall
from space onto the Earth's atmosphere each day. An even larger amount of
spacecraft debris particulates reenter the Earth's atmosphere every day.
Once in the stratosphere this "cosmic dust" and spacecraft debris joins
terrestrial particles such as volcanic ash, windborne desert dust and pollen
grains. High flying aircraft with special sticky collectors capture this
dust as it falls through the stratosphere, before it becomes mixed with
Earth dust. The ultra-clean Cosmic Dust Laboratory, established in 1981 to
handle particles one-tenth the diameter of a human hair, curates over 2000
cosmic dust particles and distributes samples to over 30 investigators.

The Cosmic Dust Lab is currently closed while they receive and process the
Stardust Mission samples. - LRK -

Maybe the next Moon walkers will take along a roll of sticky fly paper to
catch some Solar Wind samples and any comet dust we might be flying through
during those meteor shower days. - LRK -

November 30, 2001: Vivid, colorful streaks of light. A ghostly flash.
Strange crackling noises and twisting smoky trails. Add to those a cup of
hot cocoa, and you have all the ingredients for a delightful meteor shower
... on Earth.

The recent Leonids were a good example. On Nov. 18th our planet plunged into
a debris cloud shed by comet Tempel-Tuttle. Sky watchers saw thousands of
meteors -- each streak of light a tiny bit of comet dust disintegrating in
the atmosphere.

You wouldn't have to put up with Terrestrial Dust. - LRK -

for 'gunpowder')

Thanks for looking up with me.

Larry Kellogg

Web Site
Bog Spot
RSS link
News ltr
Full Story
PASADENA, CALIF. 91109 TELEPHONE (818) 354-5011
D.C. Agle (818) 354-9011
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
Erica Hupp/Merrilee Fellows (202) 358-1237/(818) 393-0754
NASA Headquarters, Washington
NEWS RELEASE: 2006-009
January 15, 2006

NASA's Comet Tale Draws to a Successful Close in Utah Desert
NASA's Stardust sample return mission returned safely to Earth when the
capsule carrying cometary and interstellar particles successfully touched
down at 2:10 a.m. Pacific time (3:10 a.m. Mountain time) in the desert salt
flats of the U.S. Air Force Utah Test and Training Range.

Ten years of planning and seven years of flight operations were realized
early this morning when we successfully picked up our return capsule off of
the desert floor in Utah," said Tom Duxbury, Stardust project manager at
NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. "The Stardust project has
delivered to the international science community material that has been
unaltered since the formation of our solar system."

Stardust released its sample return capsule at 9:57 p.m. Pacific time (10:57
p.m. Mountain time) last night. The capsule entered the atmosphere four
hours later at 1:57 a.m. Pacific time (2:57 a.m. Mountain time). The drogue
and main parachutes deployed at 2:00 and 2:05 a.m. Pacific time,
respectively (3:00 and 3:05 a.m. Mountain time).

"I have been waiting for this day since the early 1980s when Deputy
Principal Investigator Dr. Peter Tsou of JPL and I designed a mission to
collect comet dust," said Dr. Don Brownlee, Stardust principal investigator
from the University of Washington, Seattle. "To see the capsule safely back
on its home planet is a thrilling accomplishment."

The sample return capsule's science canister and its cargo of comet and
interstellar dust particles will be stowed inside a special aluminum
carrying case to await transfer to the Johnson Space Center, Houston, where
it will be opened. NASA's Stardust mission traveled 2.88 billion miles
during its seven-year round-trip odyssey. Scientists believe these precious
samples will help provide answers to fundamental questions about comets and
the origins of the solar system.

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., manages the Stardust
mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington. Lockheed Martin
Space Systems, Denver, developed and operated the spacecraft.

For information about the Stardust mission on the Web, visit .
Stardust Return Podcast
+ Listen Now (MP3)

NASA's comet cargo is home!

This is a Stardust news capsule from JPL -- NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory
in Pasadena, Calif. I'm Jane Platt.

SOUND FROM CONTROL ROOM: All stations, we have touchdown … (cheers)

Some awfully happy team members in the control room at JPL watched the
sample return capsule from NASA's Stardust mission glide down for a soft
landing at the Utah Test and Training Range. It happened at 2:10 a.m.
Mountain time on Sunday, Jan. 15.

Tucked inside the capsule: particles from comet Wild 2 and from interstellar
dust -- the stuff that streams between the stars. Since comets are believed
to be the frozen leftovers from our solar system's formation, scientists
think this precious space cargo will help answer a lot of questions about
comets and our solar system.

The spacecraft's 7-year, 2.88 billion mile journey to a comet and back again
began winding down at 10:57 p.m. Mountain time on Saturday night, when the
craft released its capsule for final descent to Earth. The capsule's two
parachutes opened and helped to deposit the capsule gently on the ground in
the Utah desert.

Helicopters then swooped down to pick up the capsule. It was carried to a
temporary cleanroom nearby at the US Army Dugway Proving Ground. Those
eagerly-awaited samples inside will go to NASA's Johnson Space Center in
Houston. The tiny particles will then be tested in labs around the world,
using ultra state-of-the-art equipment.

More information on Stardust is online at .
Thanks for joining us for this Stardust news capsule.

+ Listen Now (MP3)
Aerogel Helps Scientists Unravel Mysteries of Comets

Strange stuff called 'aerogel' that looks like a semi-transparent, blue
cloud, but that is solid, is carrying captured comet dust to Earth for a
Jan. 15, 2006, landing in a Utah desert.

In January 2004, the Stardust spacecraft flew within 147 miles (236
kilometers) of the comet Wild 2 (VILT-TWO) and survived the high-speed
impact of millions of dust particles and small rocks up to nearly two-tenths
of an inch (one-half centimeter) across. With its tennis-racket-shaped
collector extended, Stardust captured thousands of comet particles in the
see-through aerogel, which includes silica and oxygen.

Aerogel samples: effects of light scattering off the microstructure + View
Larger Image

"It's a little bit like collecting BBs by shooting them into Styrofoam,"
said Scott Sandford, an astrophysicist and Stardust mission co-investigator
based at NASA Ames Research Center in California's Silicon Valley. "Some of
the grains are likely to have exotic isotopic ratios that will give us an
indication that we're looking at materials that aren't as old as the solar
system, but that are, in fact, older than the solar system," Sandford

Another mission objective was to expose the spacecraft to the interstellar
dust stream for 150 days to grab particles. After collecting them, the
aerogel collector retracted into the spacecraft's capsule. Stardust will be
the first mission to capture and return a substantial sample from outside
Earth's moon system.

Making sure that precious comet and interstellar particles imbedded in the
aerogel are not affected by earthly contaminants was an important task to
complete before the Stardust spacecraft was launched on Feb. 7, 1999, from
Cape Canaveral Air Station, Florida. aboard a Delta II rocket.

"Under Dr. Sandford's guidance, I performed the lab analysis of the aerogel
using infrared (IR) light to determine the level of organic contamination,"
said Max Bernstein, a scientist at NASA Ames. "These and other preliminary lab tests ultimately led the Stardust aerogel development team to devise a bake-vacuum-bake cycle to reduce the carbon content in aerogel," Bernstein said.

"Aerogel is made mostly of sand (silica), and what we're interested in is
the organic material in the cometary samples," Bernstein said. "We measured
organic contamination in aerogel early on. We raised a concern, and Peter
Tsou and the aerogel team at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena,
Calif., devised a method to reduce carbon content in aerogel by a factor of

Infrared light that astronomers use to detect organic molecules in space
also can be used to measure organic molecules in the laboratory. In their
laboratory, Ames scientists shined IR light though a piece of an early batch
of test aerogel, and they saw organic contamination. Because infrared is
light that is not visible to the human eye, scientists use special detectors
to 'see' IR. If scientists detect a specific IR color scheme, they can tell
that a specific molecular fragment is moving and is present in the sample of
material they are examining.

"If you understand that color scheme, then when you make the measurement,
you can say, 'ah hah, I spotted colors corresponding to a carbon-hydrogen
motion, so there must be carbons and hydrogen in the aerogel, not just
silicon and oxygen,'" Bernstein explained. "Thanks in part to our
measurements, we now have cleaner aerogel, which is flying on the Stardust

In cooperation with Bernstein, graduate student Maegan K. Spencer of
Stanford University, Stanford, Calif., is conducting more sophisticated
aerogel organic contamination tests in the laboratories of Stanford
Professor Richard Zare.

The returning Stardust capsule will strike Earth's atmosphere at eight miles
(12.8 kilometers) per second - more than 10 times faster than a speeding
bullet. That is fast enough to go from San Francisco to Los Angeles in only
one minute. The 101-pound (45.7 kilogram) conical object will hurtle through
the atmosphere and slow before the spacecraft finally parachutes down to
Earth in a Utah dry lake. The landing will occur on Sunday, Jan. 15, 2006,
at about 3 a.m. MST, in a restricted area - the Utah Test and Training
Range, located southwest of Salt Lake City.

"There will be a team of scientists at Johnson Space Center who will assess
what we actually got back from the comet so we can verify we did get a
useful sample," Sandford said. "A small portion of the samples will then be
used to make a preliminary study of the returned material. After the
preliminary examination is complete, all the samples will be made available
to the general scientific community for more detailed study. My guess is
people will be asking for and working on these samples for decades to come."

John Bluck
NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif.
Phone: 650/604-5026

Stardust flight safely home

p2p news / p2pnet: The first vehicle to scoop particles from the tail of
comet Wild 2 and collect interstellar dust has safely returned to earth
after a 4.7 billion kilometer (3 billion-mile) journey.

Touch-down was in Utah's Salt Lake Desert at 10:12 GMT.

This aerogel array was mounted on top of the Stardust spacecraft to collect
the samples and now the Stardust space ship is back home, scientists want
people with computers to help them search for a few dozen submicroscopic
grains of interstellar dust.

Project Stardust@home is being organized by the University of California,
Berkeley, and under it, volunteer surfers will be asked to help find the
infinitesimally tiny particles with a web-based virtual microscope developed
by computer scientist David Anderson, director of the SETI@home project, and
physics graduate student Joshua Von Korff.

Stardust's main mission was to capture dust from the tail of comet Wild 2
but in the process, it also, "captured a sprinkling of dust from distant
stars, perhaps created in supernova explosions less than 10 million years
ago," says UC Berkeley News.

Andrew Westphal, a UC Berkeley senior fellow and associate director of the
campus's Space Sciences Laboratory, developed the technique NASA will use to
digitally scan the aerogel in which the interstellar dust grains are

"Like SETI@home, which is the world's largest computer, we hope
Stardust@home will also be a large computer, though more of a neural
network, using brains together to find these grains," Bryan Mendez of the
Center for Science Education at the Space Sciences Laboratory is quoted as

Mendez and Nahide Craig, assistant research astronomer at the laboratory,
plan to create K-12 curricula around the Stardust@home project and to get
local astronomy groups to boost participation.

In an experiment using a special air gun, particles shot into aerogel at
high velocities leave carrot-shaped trails in the substance, says the story,
going on:

"Based on previous measurements of interstellar dust by both the Ulysses and
Galileo spacecrafts, Westphal expects to find approximately 45 grains of
submicroscopic dust in the collector, a mosaic of tiles of lightweight
aerogel forming a disk about 16 inches in diameter - nearly a square foot in
area - and half an inch thick. Though those searching for pieces of Wild 2's
tail will easily be able to pick out the thousands of cometary dust grains
embedded in the front of the detector, finding the 45 or so grains of
interstellar dust stuck in the back of the detector won't be so easy."

But the virtual microscope will allow anyone with an Internet connection to
scan some of the 1.5 million pictures of the aerogel for tracks left by the
tiny bits of speeding dust.

Each picture will cover an area smaller than a grain of salt.

The web-based virtual microscope will be made available in mid-March, even
before all the scans have been completed in a cleanroom at Houston's Johnson
Space Center, says UC Berkeley News.

"In all, Westphal expects to need some 30,000 person hours to look through
the scanned images at least four times," it states. "Searching each picture
should take just a few seconds, but the close attention required as the
viewer repeatedly focuses up and down through image after image will
probably limit the number a person can scan in one sitting."

Each volunteer will have to pass a test where he or she is asked to find the
track in a few test samples.

If at least two of the four examining each image report a track, it'll be
passed to 100 more volunteers for verification and if at least 20 of these
report a track, "UC Berkeley undergraduates who are expert at spotting dust
grain tracks will confirm the identification," the story continues.
"Eventually, the grain will be extracted for analysis.

"Discoverers will get to name their dust grains."

Once the grains are identified and analyzed, Westphal hopes the information
will tell about the internal processes of distant stars such as supernovas,
flaring red giants or neutron stars that produce interstellar dust and also
generate the heavy elements like carbon, nitrogen and oxygen necessary for

Craig and Mendez are now creating a teacher's lesson guide that uses the
Stardust@home Virtual Microscope to teach students about the origins of the
solar system.

A section of the Stardust@home web site also will be aimed at the general

Also See:
UC Berkeley News - Public to look for dust grains in Stardust detectors,
January 10, 2006


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