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

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Let's mine the blamed thing.

Contra The Times' Paul Thornton, returning to the moon is a very
worthwhile expenditure of tax money, argues the author of "Rocket
By Homer Hickam
August 28, 2007

I read the La Times opinion by Homer Hickam and the comments that followed.
If you have opinions on the subject you might like to read as well.
- LRK -

NSS gets an endorsement from "Rocket Boys/October Sky" author Homer
Posted by: "" jimspellman
Tue Aug 28, 2007 7:32 pm (PST)
Go to:,0,4502531.story?coll=la

and scroll down to the comments section, or go directly to:,0,3020443.graffitiboard?

BTW -- Feel free to pass these links along to others?and ask?them to
contribute their viewpoints?to help sustain this discussion (Hey, it's
not?often?the L.A. Times?gives us a forum -- therefore, we need to
take advantage of it, NOW!).


Jim Spellman

Should you care to read Paul Thorton's opinion article to go along
with the contra opinions.
- LRK -

Opinion Daily
Space program lunacy

How the shuttle program and pipe dreams of the moon bleed research for
this planet.
By Paul Thornton
August 22, 2007
Hurricane Dean's march toward the Gulf Coast couldn't have provided a
more ironic backdrop for Space Shuttle Endeavour's early touchdown
Tuesday afternoon. Endeavour, originally scheduled to return to Earth
today, landed in Florida a day early in anticipation of Dean's
possible landfall over Houston, where NASA's Johnson Space Center
handles the orbiter's reentry into the atmosphere. In the event of a
Houston landfall, NASA would have had to close the space center for
the storm's duration.

The original version of this article incorrectly laid responsibility
for replacing the QuikSCAT satellite on NASA. The National Oceaning
and Atmospheric Administration, which is under the U.S. Department of
Commerce, operates QuikSCAT and is responsible for replacing the

Neither NASA nor anyone else could have so thoroughly observed Dean
and altered the shuttle's flight plan without the help of QuikSCAT, a
low-Earth-orbit satellite operated by the National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration that observes wind speed and direction over
the planet's oceans. But thanks to the Bush administration's focus on
manned spaceflight � including the costly maintenance required to
launch aging shuttles like Endeavour into space just a few times a
year, and the even more science-fictional development of a program to
put humans back on the moon more than a decade from now � the future
of the network of aging weather satellites that monitor weather
patterns such as hurricanes is in serious jeopardy.

Well just thought I would liven up your day since I have been busy
with two grandchildren getting started in fifth and sixth grades here
in California away from their folks who are in the process of
deploying to Iraq.

And one talks about budget costs. hmmmm, best not go there.
- LRK -

Larry Kellogg

Web Site:
RSS link:
Spirits having blown back
Posted: Mon, 27 Aug 2007 17:35:51 -0700

Our relatively newish Blowback feature -- or, as Jeff Jarvis describes
it, a "lame" and "very controlling effort to add just a little bit of
interactivity" to L.A. Times content -- has its latest installment up
now: Rocket Boys author Homer Hickam giving our beleaguered Paul
Thornton a what-for about the wisdom of NASA re-conquering the moon.
This Hickam passage is well worth the price of admission:

When I was a West Virginia lad of 17, I met a Massachusetts lad of
42 by the name of John F. Kennedy. At the time, I was in a bright
orange suit that I had just purchased to wear to the 1960 National
Science Fair, where I hoped my home-built rockets would win a medal.
Kennedy was in West Virginia trying to win the state's presidential
primary. We met just as he finished a speech designed to convince a
crowd of less-than-enthusiastic coal miners to give him their vote.
When he asked for questions, I raised my hand and, for some reason, he
noticed me right off. Because I was a rocket boy, I asked him what he
thought we should do in space. He turned it around and asked me what I
thought we should do, and I said we should go to the moon. When he
asked me why, I looked around at all those coal miners and said, well,
we ought to go up there and just mine the blamed thing! The miners all
laughed, and so did Kennedy, and when he agreed with me, he secured
all their votes that day. For the longest time, I took credit for the
Apollo moon program and, though I'd been shipped off to Vietnam when
we got there, I followed the moon flights with a certain personal

Other recent highlights from the Blowback archive -- Diane von
Furstenberg disagrees with our editorial against fashion copyrights,
Riverside professor R. Stephen White rebuts our "No to nukes"
editorial, and dog-lover Robert Hotckiss challenges Joel Stein to
pistols at dawn.
And more opinions, should you care to read. - LRK -
-------------------------------------------------------------- Opinion LA blog

� DHS objections, and paternity horror stories | Main | When you let
kids write about education.... �
Paul, this mission is too important for me to allow you to jeopardize it

Not since Frank Gorshin and some other guy played the black/white,
white/black haters on Star Trek have space people been as fired-up as
they are over Paul Thornton's Opinion Daily "Space program lunacy."
And some of the rage is warranted: Our gaffe in the original story
about the connections and lack thereof between NOAA, NASA and the
QuikSCAT satellite has been corrected, and we apologize for the error.
Paul knows he's made some very poor decisions recently, but he can
give you his complete assurance that his work will be back to normal.
He's still got the greatest enthusiasm and confidence in the mission.

Wendy Dunham gives Paul a Gopher State whuppin':

Yeah, and I can write an article that reports what NASA actually
HAS done for the Earth that would blow this article out of the water.
Obviously, a good word smith can spin a story like this any way you
like, talk about the million dollar toilet, etc, focus on the seeming
wastes, but if you dug down into the facts and saw all the stuff that
HAS come from NASA that is improving the real world (and it's a lot
more than pens that write upside down or Tang), that list that would
eclipse any further "what have they done" articles. Dig, people, dig,
The truth is out there.

Wendy Dunham
Minneapolis, MN


Monday, August 27, 2007

Exploding Lunar Eclipse

There is a Lunar Eclipse tonight/morning.
One of those times that the Sun, Earth, and Moon form a straight
line letting Earth's shadow fall on the Moon.

It also happens to be at a time when the Moon may be pelted by a bunch
of baseball size objects. These objects are coming from the Sun sided
and are normally hard to see when impacting a lit Moon but in the shadow
of the Earth the flash of light given off by the impacts may be captured
with a telescope and video camera.

One would like to get some data on how many objects may be hitting the
Moon especially if you want to set up a base camp and stay around for

How do you go about protecting yourself when the sky is falling?
Here on Earth we have an atmosphere that does a nice job of burning them up.
Makes for falling star parties.

On the Moon one may not like to have your party disrupted by the
equivalent of 100 kg of TNT exploding next to you.

Have fun looking ulp.

Larry Kellogg

Web Site:
RSS link:
Earth to put the moon in the shade

What we will see.,2.jpg
Source: NASA;; Sky and Space magazine.
Graphic: /Jo Gay

Chee Chee Leung
August 27, 2007

AS A sky show, it has kept Australian star-gazers waiting for seven years.

A spectacular total lunar eclipse will be visible across the country
tomorrow at full moon, when the sun, Earth and moon are in perfect

The Earth casts a shadow across the moon and blocks out the sunlight,
causing the moon to become dark, almost disappearing.

Although it is a total eclipse, the moon will not completely black out.
Some sunlight will reach it, bent by the Earth's atmosphere.

NASA Science News for August 27, 2007

On Tuesday morning, Aug. 28th, a team of astronomers and engineers at
the Marshall Space Flight Center will attempt something never done
before--to observe meteoroids hitting the Moon and exploding during a
lunar eclipse. This will allow them to explore an elusive and mysterious
population of "Helion" meteoroids coming from the direction of the sun.


Check out our RSS feed at


Dreamy Lunar Eclipse

*August 3, 2007:* Close your eyes, breathe deeply, let your mind wander
to a distant seashore: It's late in the day, and the western sun is
sinking into the glittering waves. At your feet, damp sand reflects the
twilight, while overhead, the deep blue sky fades into a cloudy mélange
of sunset copper and gold, so vivid it almost takes your breath away.

A breeze touches the back of your neck, and you turn to see a pale full
Moon rising into the night. Hmmm. The Moon could use a dash more color.
You reach out, grab a handful of sunset, and drape the Moon with
phantasmic light. Much better.

Too bad it's only a dream...

Early Tuesday morning, August 28th, the dream will come true. There's
going to be a colorful lunar eclipse visible from five continents
including most of North America: map.
Photos of the March 3, 2007, lunar eclipse. Credit: Antonio Finazzi and
Michele Festa of Lago di Garda, Italy. [Larger image.]

The event begins 54 minutes past midnight PDT (0754 UT) on August 28th
when the Moon enters Earth's shadow. At first, there's little change.
The outskirts of Earth's shadow are as pale as the Moon itself; an
onlooker might not even realize anything is happening. But as the Moon
penetrates deeper, a startling metamorphosis occurs. Around 2:52 am PDT
(0952 UT), the color of the Moon changes from moondust-gray to
sunset-red. This is totality, and it lasts for 90 minutes.

Total Lunar Eclipse: August 28, 2007
Path of the Moon through Earth's umbral and penumbral shadows
during the Total Lunar Eclipse of Aug. 28, 2007.
(Pacific Daylight Time)


A total eclipse of the Moon occurs during the early morning of Tuesday,
August 28, 2007. The event is widely visible from the United States and
Canada as well as South America, the Pacific Ocean, western Asia and
Australia. During a total lunar eclipse, the Moon's disk can take on a
dramatically colorful appearance from bright orange to blood red to dark
brown and (rarely) very dark gray.

An eclipse of the Moon can only take place at Full Moon, and only if the
Moon passes through some portion of Earth's shadow. The shadow is
actually composed of two cone-shaped parts, one nested inside the other.
The outer shadow or /penumbra/ is a zone where Earth blocks some (but
not all) of the Sun's rays. In contrast, the inner shadow or /umbra/ is
a region where Earth blocks all direct sunlight from reaching the Moon.

If only part of the Moon passes through the umbra, a partial eclipse is
seen. However, if the entire Moon passes through the umbral shadow, then
a total eclipse of the Moon occurs. For more information on how, what,
why, where and when of lunar eclipses, see the special web page lunar
eclipses for beginners.


Lunar Eclipse Diagrams

The following diagrams show the Moon's path through Earth's shadows
(higher resolution versions of the above figure). The times of major
stages of the eclipse are given for a number of time zones in North
America. Please choose the diagram for your own time zone. Each diagram
is a GIF file with a size of about 100k.

* Eclipse Diagram for ADT (Atlantic Daylight Time)

* Eclipse Diagram for EDT (Eastern Daylight Time)

* Eclipse Diagram for CDT (Central Daylight Time)

* Eclipse Diagram for MDT (Mountain Daylight Time)

* Eclipse Diagram for PDT (Pacific Daylight Time)

* Eclipse Diagram for ADT (Alaska Daylight Time)

* Eclipse Diagram for HST (Hawaiian Standard Time)


* Eclipse Diagram for GMT (Greenwich Mean Time)


* Eclipse Diagram (without times)


Daylight Saving Time
<> is in
effect for most of the United States and Canada during the eclipse.
However, *Arizona* remains on Mountain Standard Time year-round and does
not use Daylight Saving Time. Eclipse times for Arizona are the same as
those for Pacific Daylight Time (The Navajo Nation in northeastern
Arizona is currently on Mountain Daylight Time).

Some people may be puzzled that the Moon's motion is from west to east
(right to left) in these diagrams, instead of its daily east to west
(left to right) motion in the sky. However, the Moon actually moves WEST
to EAST (right to left in the Northern Hemisphere) with respect to the
Earth's shadow and the stars.

[See more information on phases and times. - LRK -]


Monday, August 20, 2007

Pioneering NASA Spacecraft Mark Thirty Years of Flight

Gene Nelson reminded me of the above NASA Bulletin. I have been so busy with 5th and 6th graders and their school requirements that I almost missed it. My thanks to Gene for reminding me. (Laptop display quit too, so used that as an excuse to buy a new one for the kids/me to use so learning how to navigate the HP Pavilian Entertainment PC that has more memory, disk space, and speed than the two year old laptop that should be back from repair in three weeks or so.)
- LRK -

Pioneering NASA Spacecraft Mark 30 Years of Flight
08.20.07 -- NASA's two venerable Voyager spacecraft are celebrating three decades of flight as they head toward interstellar space. Their ongoing odysseys mark an unprecedented and historic accomplishment.
+ Full story
+ NASA Blog: What would you put on Voyager's Golden Record?
+ Voyager's Many Discoveries+ Audio clips for media

As I mentioned to Gene, it was always interesting when both Pioneer 10/11 and the Voyagers were competing for furthest out that either Ames (Pioneers) or JPL (Voyagers) would miss mentioning that the others spacecraft existed. Now the Pioneers are silent and the Voyagers are still talking.

We almost lost that too when NASA didn't seem to have the money to continue funding. The Voyagers are the furthest out of any spacecraft we have sent and it would be a shame to lose the information of what is out there just because there was no money to get the data and look at it.

I can think of places we could save a LOT of money but then someone would tell me to get off the soap box.
- LRK -

Thanks for looking up and or down, if need be.
- LRK -

Larry Kellogg

Web Site:
RSS link:
NASA - Pioneering NASA Spacecraft Mark Thirty Years of FlightPioneering

NASA Spacecraft Mark Thirty Years of Flight
WASHINGTON - NASA's two venerable Voyager spacecraft are celebrating three decades of flight as they ... -

Passed on the NASA News list. - LRK -
Aug. 20, 2007

Dwayne Brown
Headquarters, Washington

Carolina Martinez/Jane Platt
Jet Propulsion Laboratory,
Pasadena, Calif.

RELEASE: 07-205

WASHINGTON - NASA's two venerable Voyager spacecraft are celebrating three decades of flight as they head toward interstellar space. Their ongoing odysseys mark an unprecedented and historic accomplishment.

Voyager 2 launched on Aug. 20, 1977, and Voyager 1 launched on Sept.5, 1977. They continue to return information from distances more than three times farther away than Pluto.

"The Voyager mission is a legend in the annals of space exploration. It opened our eyes to the scientific richness of the outer solarsystem, and it has pioneered the deepest exploration of the sun's domain ever conducted," said Alan Stern, associate administrator for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington. "It's a testament to Voyager's designers, builders and operators that both spacecraft continue to deliver important findings more than 25 years after their primary mission to Jupiter and Saturn concluded."

During their first dozen years of flight, the spacecraft made detailed explorations of Jupiter, Saturn, and their moons, and conducted the first explorations of Uranus and Neptune. These planets were previously unknown worlds. The Voyagers returned never-before-seen images and scientific data, making fundamental discoveries about the outer planets and their moons. The spacecraft revealed Jupiter's turbulent atmosphere, which includes dozens of interacting hurricane-like storm systems, and erupting volcanoes on Jupiter's moon Io. They also showed waves and fine structure in Saturn's icy rings from the tugs of nearby moons.

For the past 19 years, the twin Voyagers have been probing the sun's outer heliosphere and its boundary with interstellar space. BothVoyagers remain healthy and are returning scientific data 30 years after their launches.

Voyager 1 currently is the farthest human-made object at a distance from the sun of about 9.7 billion miles. Voyager 2 is about 7.8 billion miles from the sun. Originally designed as a four-year mission to Jupiter and Saturn, the Voyager tours were extended because of their successful achievements and a rare planetary alignment. The two-planet mission eventually became a four-planet grand tour. After completing that extended mission, the two spacecraft began the task of exploring the outer heliosphere."

The Voyager mission has opened up our solar system in a way not possible before the Space Age," said Edward Stone, Voyager project scientist at the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, Calif. "It revealed our neighbors in the outer solar system and showed us how much there is to learn and how diverse the bodies are that share the solar system with our own planet Earth."In December 2004, Voyager 1 began crossing the solar system's final frontier. Called the heliosheath, this turbulent area, approximately 8.7 billion miles from the sun, is where the solar wind slows as it crashes into the thin gas that fills the space between stars. Voyager 2 could reach this boundary later this year, putting both Voyagers on their final leg toward interstellar space.

Each spacecraft carries five fully functioning science instruments that study the solar wind, energetic particles, magnetic fields and radio waves as they cruise through this unexplored region of deepspace. The spacecraft are too far from the sun to use solar power. They run on less than 300 watts, the amount of power needed to lightup a bright light bulb. Their long-lived radioisotope thermoelectric generators provide the power.

"The continued operation of these spacecraft and the flow of data to the scientists is a testament to the skills and dedication of the small operations team," said Ed Massey, Voyager project manager at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. Massey oversees a team of nearly a dozen people in the day-to-day Voyager spacecraft operations.

The Voyagers call home via NASA's Deep Space Network, a system of antennas around the world. The spacecraft are so distant thatcommands from Earth, traveling at light speed, take 14 hours one-wayto reach Voyager 1 and 12 hours to reach Voyager 2. Each Voyager logsapproximately 1 million miles per day.

Each of the Voyagers carries a golden record that is a time capsule with greetings, images and sounds from Earth. The records also have directions on how to find Earth if the spacecraft is recovered bysomething or someone.

NASA's next outer planet exploration mission is New Horizons, which is now well past Jupiter and headed for a historic exploration of thePluto system in July 2015.

For a complete listing of Voyager discoveries and mission information,visit the Internet at:


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Friday, August 17, 2007

[JAXA:0132] Total area of sea ice in Arctic Ocean smallest since observations started

Alright, maybe a stretch for a MOON, MARS, and BEYOND topic, BUT in
planning for long term operations it may be prudent to consider what
impact, if any, your operations will have on the local environment or a
global environment.

I know that there has been finger pointing as to who or what may be
affecting the loss of the Arctic ice, but a second, or third, or
more eyes looking at the data can be informative. Here we have some
information from Japan and their satellites and sensors with several
ways of looking at our biosphere.

Since they plan on going to the Moon next month it may be of interest to
this list to see what else they are doing in the field of launching
spacecraft. To that end I copied their latest press release post below.

Where you live and the surrounding environment are always of interest
whether that may be on an island nation that is concerned about
shorelines and food sources, or whether you are on the Moon and are
contending with temperature extremes and looking for possible sources of

You build instruments to assist in reading the variables that will then
help you predict what the effects will be.
- LRK -

When do you start to consider if there might also be other places to put
your living quarters, say even towards the stars.

Thanks for looking up and or down, if need be.
- LRK -

Larry Kellogg

Web Site:
RSS link:

Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency
Total area of sea ice in Arctic Ocean smallest
since observations started
- Much faster pace of ice melting than forecasted -

August 16, 2007 (JST)
Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC)
Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)

The Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC, led
by President Yasuhiro Kato) and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency
(JAXA, led by President Keiji Tachikawa) cooperatively analyzed
oceanic and atmospheric observation data and sea ice data acquired by
satellites, and found that the sea ice area in the Arctic Ocean has
been decreasing at a much faster pace than expected compared to the
previous worst record in the summer of 2005. After satellite
observations started in 1978, the observed area shrunk to its lowest
level on August 15, 2007. Ice melting normally continues until mid
September, thus further shrinkage of the sea ice area is expected. The
observed phenomenon significantly exceeded the forecasted model
submitted in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)
fourth Assessment Report, and the big difference tells us that the
model may not precisely reflect the actual situation in the Arctic

The following are findings as a result of analyses of observation data
acquired by the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer (AMSR-E)*1. The
AMSR-E acquires observation data and visible images of sea ice density.

(1) Since July, the smallest record of sea ice area in the Arctic
Ocean has been broken every day.
(2) Since the beginning of August, the shrinkage of sea ice has been
accelerated by a low pressure system generated and lingering off
(3) On August 15, the total sea ice area in the Arctic Ocean reached
a new low.
(4) If this pace of melting continues, the sea ice area reduction
pace may significantly exceed the IPCC forecast, and it may
actually reach the forecasted values for 2040 to 2050
(Figure 2 and 3.)

Estimated causes
The following are estimated causes of accelerated sea ice reduction
this year as a result of the comprehensive analysis of the observation
data acquired by JAMSTEC including observation data by ships,
continued observation by drifting buoys (JCAD, POPS*2) and
atmospherics data. (Please refer to Figure 4)

(1) Sea ice reduction has been observed not only along the coast of
Alaska but also along the Arctic Ocean shore of Canada this year.
Accordingly, the impact of friction from coastal areas is
smaller than usual thus sea ice tends to move in a large scale.
Therefore, fragile and easy-to-melt ice that has just formed in
coastal areas moves over a north latitude of 80 degrees and
spreads into the Arctic Ocean.
(2) As the fragile ice spreading into the Arctic Ocean melted
quickly and that facilitates the ocean water to absorb more
sunshine, ocean warming and sea ice melting have accelerated.
(3) More sea ice has been drifting toward the Atlantic Ocean from
the Arctic Ocean, thus the volume of sea ice in the Arctic Ocean
has been decreasing.

You can find the latest image of sea ice density in the Arctic Ocean
and past observation images on the website of the International Arctic
Research Center (IARC, Alaska Fairbanks.) The image data is updated
using the IARC-JAXA information system (IJIS), which JAXA places at
the IARC.

The Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer (AMSR-E) is one of the
onboard sensors of the American earth observation satellite Aqua,
which was launched in May 2002. By observing weak radio frequencies
emitted from Earth, the AMSR-E can measure sea ice, ocean temperature,
water vapor, and precipitation, day and night regardless of weather
conditions. The successor of the AMSR-E, the AMSR2 (which will be
installed into the GCOM-W1 satellite) is under development and is
scheduled for launch in Japan Fiscal Year 2011.

J-CAD (JAMSTEC Compact Arctic Drifter):
The JAMSTEC Compact Arctic Drifter (J-CAD) is a buoy that can
automatically observe ocean temperature, salt content, and ocean
current up to 250 meters in depth, as well as surface temperature and
atmospheric pressure in sea ice in the Arctic Ocean. By placing it on
drifting sea ice in the Arctic Ocean, the J-CAD can observe broader
areas. Developed by JAMSTEC, it was used between 2000 and 2005. Since
2006, the new generation buoy, POPS, has been in operation.

POPS (Polar Ocean Profiling System):
The Polar Ocean Profiling System is an observation system that enabled
multi-year observations of sea ice in the Arctic Ocean using an
argofloat. A platform is attached to sea ice, and an argofloat is
suspended with a cable from the platform. The argofloat bobs up and
down along the cable to measure water temperature and salt content
between 10 and 1,000 meters deep in the ocean.

Related Links
Arctic Ocean Climate System Group Website,
Institute of Observational Research for Global Change, JAMSTEC

AMSR-E Site, Earth Observation and Research Center, JAXA

Figure 1: The status of ice in the Arctic Ocean as observed
from the ship "Louis S. St-laurent" on August 6, 2007.

Figure 2: Data observed by AMSR-E.
The status of sea ice in the Arctic Ocean at its lowest level
in 2005 and 2006 (above) and that on August 15, 2007, (below).
The area encircled by a red frame shows the sea ice melting area.
Please also see Figure 4.

Figure 3: Change in the sea ice area in the Arctic Ocean as acquired
by the AMSR-E (2002-2007)

Figure 4: Change of ocean surface temperature
and salt content over years in sea ice melting areas
(Coastal areas of Alaska: North latitude 73.5-76 degrees and
West longitude 145-155 degrees [Red framed area in Figure 2])

This page URL:
Publisher : Public Affairs Department
Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)
Marunouchi Kitaguchi Building,
1-6-5, Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8260


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Wednesday, August 15, 2007

New Launch Day of the KAGUYA (SELENE) by H-IIA Launch Vehicle No. 13

Thanks to Larry Klaes for passing the below post from "JAXA Press
Release Mail Service".
- LRK -

Date: Wed, 15 Aug 2007 10:55:53 +0900
Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency
New Launch Day of the KAGUYA (SELENE)
by H-IIA Launch Vehicle No. 13

August 15, 2007 (JST)
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd.
Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. and the Japan Aerospace Exploration
Agency would like to announce that the launch of the Lunar Orbit
Explorer "KAGUYA" (SELENE) by H-IIA Launch Vehicle No. 13 (H-IIA F13)
was rescheduled as follows.

Scheduled date of launch :
September 13 (Thursday), 2007 (Japan Standard Time, JST)

Launch time :
10:35:47 a.m. (JST)

Launch windows :
September 14 (Fri) through September 21 (Fri) 2007 (JST)
(Launch time will be set for each day.)

The original launch date was postponed due to the replacement work of
parts in the two onboard baby satellites of the "KAGUYA" as announced
on July 20, 2007. The replacement was successfully completed thus the
new launch date was set.

This page URL:
Publisher : Public Affairs Department
Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)
Marunouchi Kitaguchi Building,
1-6-5, Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8260


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September is just around the corner.
Here is to looking up.
- LRK -

Larry Kellogg

Web Site:
RSS link:

New Launch Day of the KAGUYA (SELENE)
by H-IIA Launch Vehicle No. 13

Scheduled date of launch: September 13 (Thursday), 2007 (Japan
Standard Time, JST)
Launch time: 10:35:47 a.m. (JST)
Launch windows: September 14 (Fri) through September 21 (Fri)
2007 (JST)
(Launch time will be set for each day.)

Mission website:

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. (MHI) H-IIA Launch Services
SELenological and ENgineering Explorer "KAGUYA" (SELENE)
H-IIA Launch Vehicle <>
Launch of KAGUYA/H-IIAF13 Special Site

Index for 2007/8 <>


Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Why Progressives Should Care About Human Destiny in Space

* By Tad Daley, AlterNet. Posted August 11, 2007

*Barbara Morgan's journey into the cosmos sheds light on the importance
of the space program.

Ross W. Sargent sent me a note alerting me to the article below.
He thought it was good stuff and I think you will enjoy checking it out
as well.
- LRK -

*A few clips from the 3 page Internet article.
- LRK -

Everybody knows that whether it's lavish Broadway spectacle or humble
community theater, the lead actors have understudies. If Hamlet, Sky
Masterson or Galinda the Good Witch come down with laryngitis a couple
of hours before curtain, some brave soul needs to be ready, at a
moment's notice, to step into the breach.

But perhaps not everybody knows that astronauts, too, have
"understudies." If Mission Specialist No. 4 comes down with laryngitis a
couple of days before launch, NASA doesn't want to scrub a flight after
years of training by the crew and all the preparation that goes into
every mission by thousands more on the ground.

The crew of the Challenger, which perished on Jan. 28, 1986, when the
space shuttle disintegrated over the Atlantic Ocean 73 seconds after
liftoff, had backups. Christa McAuliffe, who was selected to be the
first "schoolteacher in space," was herself backed up by another
schoolteacher. Her name was Barbara Radding Morgan, who taught
elementary school in Fresno, Calif., and was then 34 years old.

On Wednesday evening, more than 21 years later, Ms. Morgan, now 55, went
up on the space shuttle Endeavor as NASA's first "educator in space" to
continue the mission that Ms. McAuliffe began two long decades ago. And
she's doing it from the same place where McAuliffe sat -- in the middle
of the lower deck.

But why go to all the trouble to launch a now 55-year-old woman into the
cosmos? What is the meaning of Barbara Morgan? As we approach our 50th
anniversary as a spacefaring civilization (Sputnik was launched into
orbit by the late USSR on Oct. 4, 1957), what is the space program for?

And why should progressives, with a full menu of more immediate causes
on our activist plates, care about this one?

I heard one answer last month, in Kansas City, at the commemoration of
the centennial, on 7/7/7, of the birth of perhaps the greatest apostle
of human destiny in space that humanity has yet produced -- Robert A.
Heinlein <>. His majestic /Time Enough
for Love/ told the life story of Lazarus Long, one of the most
charismatic characters in 20th century literature. Setting the scene in
the year 4272, Heinlein wrote, "We are no longer able to make a reasoned
guess at the numbers of the Human Race, nor do we have even an
approximate count of the colonized planets. The most we can say is that
there must be in excess of two thousand colonized planets, in excess of
five hundred billion people. The colonized planets may be twice that
number, the Human Race could be four times that numerous. ... Pioneers
care little about sending records to the home office; they are busy
staying alive ..."


A second core progressive value beckons to us from space as well.
Progressives believe that our national citizenship must be accompanied
by a global citizenship, that our allegiance to our nation stands
alongside an allegiance to humanity, that our national patriotism must
in the end be transcended by a planetary patriotism. We stand in the
tradition of what the great psychologist Erik Erikson called an
"all-human solidarity." We see the first glimmerings of what the
political scientist Robert C. Tucker calls an "ethic of specieshood." We
are the vanguard of what Voltaire called "the party of humanity."

And space has already shown that it can serve as perhaps the single
greatest engine of human unity.

On July 20, 1979, on the tenth anniversary of humanity's first footsteps
on the moon, Neil Armstrong was asked how he had felt as he saluted the
flag up there. "I suppose you're thinking about pride and patriotism,"
he replied. "But we didn't have a strong nationalistic feeling at that
time. We felt more that it was a venture of all mankind." (One wonders
if any consideration was given, in the high councils of the Johnson and
Nixon administrations, to having Armstrong and Aldrin plant not a flag
of the United States on the moon, but a flag of Planet Earth.)

Many of the fortunate souls who have made it into Earth orbit (and the
infinitesimal 27 who have left Earth orbit and ventured to the moon)
have expressed remarkably similar sentiments.

"The first day or so we all pointed to our countries," said the Saudi
astronaut Sultan bin Salman Al-Saud. "The third or fourth day we were
pointing to our continents. By the fifth day, we were aware of only one
Earth." "The Earth was small, light blue, and so touchingly alone," said
the Russian astronaut Aleksei Leonov, "our home that must be defended
like a holy relic." "From out there on the moon, international politics
look so petty," said Edgar Mitchell, one of only 12 humans to have
walked on the surface of another world. "You want to grab a politician
by the scruff of the neck and drag him a quarter million miles out and
say, 'Look at that, you son of a bitch.'"

This is why the late Carl Sagan claimed that spaceflight was actually
subversive. Although governments have ventured into space, Sagan
observed, largely for nationalistic reasons, "it was a small irony that
almost everyone who entered space received a startling glimpse of a
transnational perspective, of the Earth as one world."


Perhaps the single best line of the Heinlein Centennial was uttered to
us on an enormous video screen, from Sri Lanka, by 90-year-old Arthur C.
Clarke, when he said, "Robert Heinlein will be revered by future
generations. If any."

Stephen Hawking, similarly, in remarks just before boarding his widely
publicized zero-gravity airplane flight in April, said, "Life on Earth
is at risk of being wiped out by a disaster, such as sudden global
warming, nuclear war, a genetically engineered virus. ... I think the
human race has no future if it doesn't go into space."

And the Royal Astronomer Martin Rees, of Cambridge University, in his
chilling 2003 book /Our Final Hour/, surveyed the litany of
macro-dangers facing humanity (some natural but most of our own making)
-- asteroid impact, climate change, nuclear apocalypse, bioterror,
nanotechnology spinning out of control, the enormous destructive
potentials that can be unleashed today by just a few malevolent
individuals. Then he delivered this astonishing verdict: "I think the
odds are no better than 50-50 that our present civilization on Earth
will survive to the end of the present century."


OK, maybe too many clips. Just wanted you to get a flavor for what was
written in hopes you might read the whole article.
- LRK -

/Tad Daley is a veteran progressive political adviser and nuclear
disarmament policy analyst. He has served as a policy aide for the late
U.S. Sen. Alan Cranston, as national issues director for Rep. Dennis
Kucinich's 2004 presidential campaign and as a co-founder of Progressive
Democrats of America,

One never knows where one may find support for going to the Moon, Mars,
and Beyond.
- LRK -

*Thanks for looking up with me.
- LRK -

Larry Kellogg

Web Site:
RSS link:
A note from Ross W Sargent. Thanks much. - LRK -

Hi Larry

I found this human space advocacy article in an unlikely place - and
good stuff it is too!

all the best

Absurdity, n.: A statement or belief manifestly inconsistent with one's
own opinion. Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary
*Welcome to Heavens-Above
If you're interested in satellites or astronomy, you've come to the
right place! Our aim is to provide you with all the information you need
to observe satellites such as the *International Space Station* and the
*Space Shuttle*, spectacular events such as the dazzlingly bright
*flares from Iridium satellites* as well as a wealth of other
spaceflight and astronomical information.

We not only provide the times of visibility, but also detailed star
charts showing the satellite's track through the heavens. All our pages,
including the graphics, are *generated in real-time* and *customized*
for your location and time zone.

Before we can generate the predictions for you, we need to know where
you are, and there are several ways you can do this, depending on
whether you are a registered user, want to become one, or prefer to use
the site anonymously. For a discussion of the merits of registering,
please here <>. For
some tips on how to get the best out of the site as an anonymous user,
here <>.

As posted on NASA News and also found at
Aug. 13, 2007

Sonja Alexander
Headquarters, Washington

Emily Sturgill
Langley Research Center, Hampton, Va.

Rita Karl
Challenger Center for Space Science Education, Alexandria, Va.



ALEXANDRIA, Va. -- How do you brush your teeth in space? What is your
favorite space food? How would you compare flying in space to flying
on an airplane? Select elementary and middle school students from
across the country will have the chance to ask these questions during
a live conversation with the day's most famous teacher, educator
astronaut Barbara R. Morgan.

NASA's Teaching From Space Office, at the Johnson Space Center,
Houston, and the Challenger Center for Space Science Education in
Alexandria, Va., will host a 20-minute live conversation with STS-118
mission specialists Barbara R. Morgan and Rick Mastracchio. From
their perch aboard the International Space Station, Morgan and
Mastracchio will answer 20 questions from student winners of a
national poster contest held by the Challenger Center.

The downlinked conversation with the students at the center will take
place on Thursday, Aug. 16, at 8:51 a.m. EDT. The center is located
at 1250 North Pitt Street, Alexandria, Va. It will be carried live on
NASA TV and will be available on the Internet at:

Morgan was selected to become the first educator mission specialist in
1998. Her primary duty is the same as it is for the entire crew --
accomplish the planned objectives of station assembly. She also will
take part in several education-related activities, including the
upcoming downlink.

The Challenger Center for Space Science Education was founded in 1986
by the families of the astronauts of the space shuttle Challenger
51-L mission. It is dedicated to the educational spirit of that
mission. Challenger Learning Center programs at 48 centers across the
country continue the crew's mission of engaging teachers and students
in science, mathematics and technology and foster in them an interest
to pursue careers in those fields. Over 25,000 teachers and 400,000
students attend workshops and fly simulated missions annually at
Challenger Learning Centers.

As part of NASA's commitment to investing in the nation's education
programs, NASA allows the shuttle and space station crew members to
perform standard-based activities in space to demonstrate basic
principles of science, math, engineering and geography. Many of these
activities involve video recording and/or still photographic
documentation of a crewmember performing demonstrations. Other
activities involve crewmembers on board the space station answering
questions from students on Earth. NASA is focused on engaging and
retaining students in education efforts that encourage their pursuit
of disciplines critical to NASA's future engineering, scientific and
technical missions.

For more information about the Challenger Center for Space Science
Education and all the Challenger Centers, visit:

For more information on NASA, visit:


Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Next Best Thing to Being There

The shuttle Endeavour is scheduled to launch August 8. 2007 at 6:36 p.m.

Tice F. DeYoung alerted me to a post that has the following blog and
suggested that the lunar-update list might be interested
It contains the NASA News post which I copied below as well.
- LRK -

Next best thing to Being There ...

Monday, August 06, 2007 at 1:08 PM EDT

Google Alerts also located a number of news alerts and blogs for the
You might also be interested in seeing what others are saying.
- LRK -

Thanks for looking up with me.
- LRK -

Larry Kellogg

Web Site:
RSS link:
As posted in NASA News. - LRK -

Aug. 6, 2007

Allard Beutel
Headquarters, Washington

Jonas Dino
Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif.

Kathy Gill
Microsoft Live Labs, Redmond, Wash.

RELEASE: 07-170


WASHINGTON - On Monday, NASA and Microsoft Corporation of Redmond,
Wash., released an interactive, 3-D photographic collection of the
space shuttle Endeavour preparing for its upcoming mission to the
International Space Station. Endeavour is scheduled to launch from
NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Wednesday, Aug. 8 at 6:36
p.m. EDT.

For the first time, people around the world can view hundreds of high
resolution photographs of Endeavour, Launch Pad 39A, and the Vehicle
Assembly Building at Kennedy in a unique 3-D viewer. NASA and
Microsoft's Live Labs team developed the online experience using
hundreds of photographs and a photo imaging technology called
Photosynth. Using a click-and-drag interface, viewers can zoom in to
see intimate details of the shuttle booster rockets or zoom out for a
more global view of the launch facility. The software uses
photographs from standard digital cameras to construct a 3-D view
that can be navigated and explored online. The NASA images can be
viewed at Microsoft's Live Labs at:

"This collaboration with Microsoft gives the public a new way to
explore and participate in America's space program," said William
Gerstenmaier, NASA's associate administrator for Space Operations,
Washington. "We're also looking into using this new technology to
support future missions."

"With Photosynth, we take pictures of an environment and knit them
together into an experience that people can move through like a 3-D
video game," said Microsoft Live Labs Architect Blaise Aguera y
Arcas. "NASA provided us with some outstanding images, and the result
is an experience that will wow anyone wanting to get a closer look at
NASA's missions."

The NASA collections were created in collaboration between Microsoft's
Live Lab, Kennedy and NASA's Ames Research Center, Moffett Field,

"We see potential to use Photosynth for a variety of future mission
activities, from inspecting the International Space Station and the
Hubble Space Telescope to viewing landing sites on the moon and
Mars," said Chris C. Kemp, director of Strategic Business Development
at Ames.

Photosynth was created in collaboration between Microsoft and the
University of Washington. The software combines hundreds or thousands
of regular digital photos of a scene to present a detailed 3-D model
of a subject, giving viewers the sensation of smoothly gliding around
the scene from every angle. A collection can be constructed using
photos from a single source or multiple sources. The NASA Photosynth
collection also includes the return of the space shuttle Atlantis to
the Kennedy Shuttle Landing Facility from Edwards Air Force Base,
Calif., in July.

Microsoft Live Labs is an applied research organization focused on the
incubation of innovative, Internet technologies to improve and
accelerate the next evolution of Microsoft's Internet products and

For more information about space shuttle Endeavour's STS-118 mission,


Google News Alert for: *NASA Shuttle*

Blanco, Olivier guests at *shuttle* launch
The Daily Advertiser - Lafayette,LA,USA
Michoud manufactures the external fuel tank for *NASA's shuttle* program
and a top *NASA* official told the Legislature earlier this year that
the facility will *...*
See all stories on this topic

Company Helps Teachers to 'Spice Up' Science Curriculum *...*
PR Newswire (press release) - New York,NY,USA
*NASA's Shuttle* Mission, scheduled to launch August 8th, is the initial
flight of the first educator trained as a Mission Specialist, Barbara
Morgan. *...*
See all stories on this topic

Mission Endeavour: *Shuttle* Commander, Pilot Aim for Orbit
<> - USA
By Tariq Malik *NASA's shuttle* Endeavour will have a pair of seasoned
astronauts at the helm when it rockets towards the International Space
Station (ISS) *...*
See all stories on this topic

*NASA* Announces Web Coverage of Next Space *Shuttle* Mission
NewsBlaze - Folsom,CA,USA
Visitors to *NASA's shuttle* Web site can read about the crew's progress
and watch the spacewalks, which will be broadcast live from the space
station. *...*
See all stories on this topic

Space *Shuttle* Endeavour is scheduled to launch its latest mission
*...* <>
ABC News - USA
My understanding and that of the rest of my crew with regard to *NASA's*
policy on alcohol and flying aircraft, or spacecraft, was no different
before this *...*
See all stories on this topic

Microsoft, *NASA* Allow For 3D *Shuttle* View
E-pressen - Frederiksberg,Sjælland,Denmark
Its much like a 3D video game--people can explore, walk around or fly
around the *shuttle*, said Adam Sheppard, group product manager for
Microsoft Live Labs, *...*
See all stories on this topic

Microsoft Teams Up With *NASA* To Offer 3-D *Shuttle* Views
InformationWeek - Manhasset,NY,USA
By Paul McDougall Microsoft has joined forces with *NASA* to give
Internet users a three-dimensional tour of the space *shuttle* Endeavour
as it sits on the *...*
See all stories on this topic

Google Blogs Alert for: *NASA Shuttle*

Microsoft, *NASA* Allow For 3D *Shuttle* View
C|Net reports that a 3D software version of the space *shuttle* Endeavor
is in the works, thanks to a collaboration project between Microsoft and
*NASA*. The Photosynth viewer will allow fans of the space program an
unprecedented level of *...*
Slashdot -

Countdown begins for new *NASA shuttle*
*NASA* on Monday forecast a 70 percent chance of good weather for
Wednesday's space *shuttle* launch, an event the US space agency hopes
will help the public forget the recent stories of drunk and lovesick
astronauts. *...* Headlines -

Microsoft Teams Up With *NASA* To Offer 3-D *Shuttle* Views
By Sean
Microsoft has joined forces with *NASA* to give Internet users a
three-dimensional tour of the space *shuttle* Endeavour as it sits on
the launch pad at Florida's Kennedy Space Center. Thanks to a technology
called Photosynth that Microsoft *...*
Geek With Laptop -

Microsoft, *NASA* Team on *Shuttle* Photos
By jeremytoday
To highlight the launch of the US Space *Shuttle* Endeavour Tuesday,
Microsoft has teamed up with *NASA* to provide exclusive 3D views of the
craft and a look at how the space agency prepares it for launch using
Microsoft's Photosynth *...* Gadgets & Tech Stories -

Microsoft, *NASA* Partner to Visualize *Shuttle*
By (Adena Schutzberg)
*NASA* and Microsoft are teaming to use Photosynth (Microsoft's
stitching technology to make 2D images 3D visuals) to privide anyone a
downloadable viewer to explore the *Shuttle* Endeavor before its launch
later this week. *...*
All Points Blog -

This once a day Google Alert is brought to you by Google.


Monday, August 06, 2007

Diversifying our planetary portfolio
by Nader Elhefnawy
Monday, August 6, 2007

If you subscribe to Jeff Foust's "The Space Review" you probably read the
article at the link and some of those I posted below.
- LRK -
Whether on the surface of a planetary body or in free space,
a self-sufficient space colony will need a different set of
industrial technologies and systems than in common terrestrial
use today. (credit: NASA/Ames)

Nader Elhefnawy's first paragraph mentions an article that predicts we
only have 46 years left to colonize Mars if we are toensure long term
- LRK -

A rather provocative headline appeared in the July 17, 2007 edition of
the /New York Times/: "A Survival Imperative For Space Colonization."

The claim, which could not but concentrate the mind, was that "To ensure
our long-term survival, we need to get a colony up and running on Mars
within 46 years."

I don't think the rest of the World read the Times article as I don't
see a stampede to launch a Mars Direct mission.

Both the Times article and Nader Elhefnawy's commentary are worth
reading and considering as we see ourselves plodding along while we wait
for an asteroid to hit or the climate to change or the oil to run out,
or someone blows a chunk of this Blue Marble into space in the name of .....

How do you sell a set of encyclopedias to someone that doesn't read?
Do you teach him to read or just go next door and hope there is someone
there that knows how to read?

How do you interest investors in going to the Moon, Mars, and Beyond if
they don't know how to look up?
Do you tell them to wait until some foreign government goes and hope
they will open a way for you?
Phobos in 2009

How do you get the cost of launch down when the launch companies are
happy with government cost plus arrangements?
Do you launch from a ship at sea if you can get contracts that don't
conflict with one of you parent companies?

On an earlier post I said == One would like to just be able to propose a
mission and see it happen within your lifetime.

And from deepest, darkest SE GA came this assurance, "Fear not,
Larry!...keep taking your vitamins, drink 2 ounces of red wine a day,
and hang in just little while longer...just don't be surprised when it
happens, the logos won't say "NASA" or "USA", it'll be "Virgin",
"Bigelow", "Scaled Composites", et al....

Sooooh, maybe some of you know of some other logos that might make it
Maybe you have an idea for a logo of your own and will just go yourself
as you are tired of waiting.
If you do, let me know so I can share.

It is one thing to launch personnel to the ISS or even to the Moon for
brief periods.
It is more complicated to say you will become self sufficient and won't
need care packages from mother Earth.

How self sufficient are you at home here on Earth?

What if garbage strike?
What if power out?
What if water shut off?
What if grocery store closed?
What if an airline strike?
What if the trucks stop?
What if a cold snap?
What if a heat wave?
What if a flood?
What if the sirens sound?

And that is just where you don't have your neighbors shooting at you or
setting booby traps or blowing themselves up.

Can you live on a small island, in the jungle, under a bridge, or in a

Do you have the necessary medical supplies?

Could you make alcohol from your cardboard boxes?

Can you drive your car on several types of fuel, whichever is cheaper?

Well, sometimes thinking outside the box is learning to think, how would
I live in a box. :-)

Thanks for looking up with me.
- LRK -

Larry Kellogg

Web Site:
RSS link:
China to launch moon probe next April
By Liu Dan (
Updated: 2006-05-17 16:37

China's first lunar satellite may be launched during a fly-by mission in
April in 2007, said Luan Enjie, director of the China National Space
Administration on Tuesday, May 16.

[Ooops - didn't happen, did it. - LRK -]
China to Launch Moon Probe This Year

By VOA News
/20 May 2007/

China's media say Beijing plans to launch a lunar orbiter later this year.

The Xinhua news agency quotes China's space agency chief, Sun Laiyan, as
saying the launch is the first step towards a lunar probe. Sun said the
lunar exploration program has been divided into three steps: orbiting
the moon, landing on the lunar surface and coming back to Earth with
moon samples.

Xinhua says a moon rover mission is scheduled for around 2012.

Sun, who spoke at Beijing Jiaotong University, says China will also
continue research on manned space missions, including a space walk and
experiments tp link passing spacecraft.

In 2003, China became the third country - after the former Soviet Union
and the United States - to launch a man into space.

/Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters./

[Would August be later in the year? Maybe later, later.- LRK -]
Next manned launch slips some too. - LRK -
China to Postpone Launch of Shenzhou VII to 2008

China will postpone the launch of its third manned space mission
Shenzhou VII spacecraft for about half a year to 2008, a senior
consultant to the country's space program said yesterday.

"There is nothing wrong. We just need more time to prepare for the
mission," Huang Chunping, chief consultant for China's manned launching
vehicle system, said in an interview with Xinhua News Agency.

As noted in ---

Welcome to this week's issue of The Space Review:

Diversifying our planetary portfolio
A recent article suggests that humanity has less than a half-century
to establish a permanent presence beyond Earth. Nader Elhefnawy
argues that a truly self-sufficient space colony will require
revisiting the industrial technologies and techniques in common use

From Russians to Berserkers
Not every idea in the space field is grand enough to be worthy of its
own full-length article. Dwayne Day combines several of these,
including updates on past reports on Russia and famous helicopters,
into a single report.

The state of the RLV industry, 2007 (part two)
Last month's accident at Scaled Composites will have an effect on the
entrepreneurial space industry, although how significant remains to
be seen. Taylor Dinerman examines the evolution of this industry and
the need for openness by some of its participants.

The fragility and resilience of NASA
Recent problems have illustrated both the technical challenges facing
NASA projects as well as the agency's public perception. Eric Hedman
discusses why this makes NASA's new strategic communications efforts
all the more important.

Review: the voice of von Braun
Wernher von Braun had the rare combination of technical expertise and
the ability to communicate effectively with the public at large.
Jeff Foust reviews a book that compiles a number of von Braun's
speeches over the years where he described his visions of spaceflight.


Sunday, August 05, 2007

*Phoenix Heads for Mars, Spacecraft Healthy
*Image above: (08/04/2007) A Delta II rocket lit up the early morning sky
over Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida as it carried the Phoenix
spacecraft on the first leg of its journey to Mars. The powerful three-stage
rocket with nine solid rocket motors lifted off at 5:26 a.m. EDT.
Image Credit: NASA
+ View larger image

The Phoenix spacecraft has separated from the Delta II rocket and ground
controllers at NASA's Deep Space Network have acquired its signal and
begun assessing its health. The solar panels that will power the
mission's cruise phase will be deployed and Phoenix will be pointed to
best receive solar power and communicate with Earth.

The spacecraft has oriented itself to the sun as it was programmed to
do. It will use solar panels to generate electricity during the
nine-month coast to Mars. A separate set of solar arrays is attached to
the lander itself.

The Phoenix Mars lander's assignment is to dig through the Martian soil
and ice in the arctic region and use its onboard scientific instruments
to analyze the samples it retrieves.

*Media Resources*
+ Audio clips from Aug. 2, 2007, briefing
+ Launch Press Kit (6.5Mb-PDF)
+ Phoenix Fact Sheet (244Kb - PDF)
+ Spacecraft and rocket processing images
+ Planned Mars landing site for Phoenix (high resolution image)

+ Listen to Journey to the Martian North Pole
+ View Phoenix Webcast

I listen and read about our slowness to go back to the Moon. It wasn't
politically correct.
One would like to just be able to propose a mission and see it happen
within your lifetime.

Sometimes it just seems like time stands still.
Other missions catch the ear of those that control the purse strings,
and they get funded.
There just are not enough gold coins in the purse for everyone and
some go hungry.

Then again, some with a vision find ways to use what is left from
missions failed or left behind in the scramble for the purse strings.
As you look behind the curtains and see the workings of the stage hands,
you get an appreciation for just not giving up.

Do take a look at the Phoenix Mission. Here we have the University of
Arizona, a public university leading a mission to Mars.
- LRK -

Phoenix Has Launched!
by Jesse Cornia & Sara Hammond
August 4, 2007

At 5:26 EDT the Delta II Rocket carrying the Phoenix Mars Lander lifted
off from its launch pad at Cape Canaveral Air Force Base.
In less than 90 minutes the spacecraft had left Earth's orbit headed for
the Red Planet. This marks the beginning of Phoenix's 10 month cruise to
Phoenix will land on the northern plains of Mars and will dig into the
soil and water-ice looking for evidence of past habitability.


Alright, it has launched and it will take some time to get to Mars.
Turn around and look up. There is a lunar eclipse happening this month.
See Science @ NASA info below.
- LRK -

Thanks for looking up with me.
- LRK -

Larry Kellogg

Web Site:
RSS link:
NASA Science News for August 3, 2007

Mark your calendar: On Tuesday, August 28th, there's going to be a
dreamy, colorful, total eclipse of the Moon.


The Science@NASA Podcast feed is available at

/Launch:/ August, 2007
/Arrival:/ May 25, 2008


The Phoenix mission is the first chosen for NASA's Scout program, an
initiative for smaller, lower-cost, competed spacecraft. Named for the
resilient mythological bird, Phoenix uses a lander that was intended for
use by 2001's Mars Surveyor lander prior to its cancellation. It also
carries a complex suite of instruments that are improved variations of
those that flew on the lost Mars Polar Lander.

In the continuing pursuit of water on Mars, the poles are a good place
to probe, as water ice is found there. Phoenix will land on the icy
northern pole of Mars between 65 and 75-north latitude. During the
course of the 150 Martian day mission, Phoenix will deploy its robotic
arm and dig trenches up to half a meter (1.6 feet) into the layers of
water ice. These layers, thought to be affected by seasonal climate
changes, could contain organic compounds that are necessary for life.

To analyze soil samples collected by the robotic arm, Phoenix will carry
an "oven" and a "portable laboratory." Selected samples will be heated
to release volatiles that can be examined for their chemical composition
and other characteristics.

Imaging technology inherited from both the Pathfinder and Mars
Exploration Rover missions will also be implemented in Phoenix's stereo
camera, located on its 2-meter (6.6-foot) mast. The camera's two "eyes"
will reveal a high-resolution perspective of the landing site's geology,
and will also provide range maps that will enable the team to choose
ideal digging locations. Multi-spectral capability will enable the
identification of local minerals.

To update our understanding of martian atmospheric processes, Phoenix
will also scan the martian atmosphere up to 20 kilometers (12.4 miles)
in altitude, obtaining data about the formation, duration and movement
of clouds, fog, and dust plumes. It will also carry temperature and
pressure sensors.

For more information on the Phoenix mission, visit:


Moon and Mars - Videos