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

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Where is Rosetta, and PRISMA? Want to build a Lunar Rover or play ‘Moonbase Alpha’?

The Planetary Society Blog
By Emily Lakdawalla

Three days to Lutetia for Rosetta!
Jul. 7, 2010 | 06:34 PDT | 13:34 UTC

On July 10, 2010, at 15:44:56 UTC, the Rosetta spacecraft will fly within 3,162 kilometers of the largest asteroid yet visited by a spacecraft. Named (21) Lutetia, the 132-by-101-by-76-kilometer-diameter body is a puzzle to astronomers, who have been unable to determine its composition. Both the Rosetta orbiter and its still-attached Philae lander have a full slate of science observations planned for the encounter, which will serve both as a test of its instruments and procedures to prepare for its eventual cometary mission and as an opportunity to observe a unique solar system body.

Call for Media: Rosetta flyby of asteroid Lutetia on 10 July

30 June 2010   ESA PR-14 2010: The media are invited to ESA's Space Operations Centre in Darmstadt, Germany, to follow Rosetta's encounter with asteroid Lutetia on 10 July, 18:00–23:00 CEST. The first images of the asteroid will be released before midnight, with experts available for interview.

Latest Rosetta navigation camera image of Lutetia is now live in the Rosetta blog

Closer to home a bit of Collision Avoidance called for.
- LRK -

Collision Avoidance Manoeuvre!
Camille Chasset

No no, TANGO is not yet separated, and we are not talking here about a possible collision between MANGO and TANGO, but between PRISMA and an object called “COSMOS 2251 DEB”, one of the numerous debris resulting from the collision between an Iridium satellite and the COSMOS satellite last year.

All of you who believed that the PRISMA satellite would nicely stay in “asleep” state for a few weeks were wrong, and the last 24 hours have been pretty exiting. Yesterday, we indeed received the following “Close Approach Message” from the Joint Space Operations Center (JSpOC) in California:


The United States Joint Space Operations Center (JSpOC) has identified a predicted conjunction between PRISMA (SCC# 36599) and SCC# 34544.

Primary Object: PRISMA (SCC# 36599)
Secondary Object: SCC# 34544
Time of Closest Approach: 06 JUL 2010 22:59 UTC

Overall miss distance: 144 meters
Radial (dU) miss distance: 76 meters
In-Track (dV) miss distance: -83 meters
Cross-track (dW) miss distance: -91 meters”

“Oj oj oj!” would say my Swedish colleagues! In short this was a warning informing us that tonight, 6th of July, at 22:59 UTC our satellite will get as close as 144m from the other object. It is difficult to get an idea of how “close” this is, but I can tell you that, compared to the immensity of Space, this is VERY close. Scary news!!!


Thank you Canadian Space Agency
- LRK -

Canadian Space Agency Issues RFP for Moon Rover Prototypes

   * By Marc Boucher
   * Posted July 7, 2010 7:07 AM

The Canadian Space Agency today issued a call for proposals to build two Lunar Exploration Light Rover (LELR) prototypes at maximum cost of $11 million per rover. Up to two contracts will be awarded with each contract requiring a prototype to be built. Only one contract will be awarded per bidder. Proposals are due by August 17th.

The winning bid(s) will have until December 31, 2012 to complete the contract. The winning contractor will design, development, produce, assemble and test the prototype, integrate payloads on the rover and conduct a field deployment.


Well at least we will be allowed to imagine what it would be like to go to the Moon.
- LRK -

Do you have what it takes ...

In ‘Moonbase Alpha’, players will step into the role of an exploration team member and will be immersed in a futuristic 3D lunar settlement. Their mission is to restore critical systems and oxygen flow after a nearby meteor strike cripples a solar array and life support equipment. Available resources include an interactive command center, a lunar rover, mobile robotic repair units and a fully stocked equipment shed.

This 'First Person Explorer' serious game includes both a single player capability and LAN or internet multiplayer gameplay for up to six active players on a team. Selectable maps will be available for specific player numbers (e.g., 2 player map, 4 player map, etc.).  Each of these maps is represented and tracked individually within the game’s leader boards.

Moonbase Alpha takes one small step, goes live
by Jef Reahard Jul 6th 2010 at 6:30PM

Ready for the federal government's first MMORPG? We're not either, but we're getting a taste of one possible future with today's release of Moonbase Alpha, a multiplayer simulation co-developed by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and Virtual Heroes.

While the game is not technically an MMO as of yet, it will eventually feature a massively multiplayer version, in much the same way that the forthcoming Torchlight MMO started life as a smaller dungeon-crawler.  Moonbase Alpha looks to immerse players in a "futuristic 3D lunar settlement. Their mission is to restore critical systems and oxygen flow after a nearby meteor strike cripples a solar array and life support equipment. Available resources include an interactive command center, a lunar rover, mobile robotic repair units and a fully stocked equipment shed," according to the game's website.


Thanks for looking up with me.
- LRK -

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Next DISH Network satellite on the pad
Posted: July 7, 2010

A Russian Proton rocket has been erected on the launch pad for Saturday's planned liftoff carrying a new broadcasting satellite for DISH Network and its millions of customers across the U.S.

International Launch Services is managing the commercial rocket flight for the EchoStar 15 spacecraft, which will originate from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan with a 1840 GMT (2:40 p.m. EDT) blastoff.

After its four stages, payload and nose cone were assembled together horizontally, the Proton was transported by rail to Baikonur's pad 39 early Wednesday. Ground equipment then rotated the 191-foot-tall rocket to stand vertically for the final days of pre-flight prep work.

This will be the 357th Proton launch dating back to 1965 and the seventh of 2010. For marketer ILS, the mission represents the 61st commercial mission since 1996 and fifth this year

Sorry, NASA: Discover Blogger Almost Destroyed Your Moon Colony

I spent some fifteen minutes on the moon yesterday. It wasn’t pretty. A meteor strike knocked out my base’s life support; I crashed a robot into a NASA supply shed; and, while I fiddled around with a welding torch, a gas line exploded.

Moonbase Alpha, the first of two commercial-quality online games that NASA has just developed, taught me a lot: how a solar panel-powered life-support system might work, what “regolith processing” really means, and the weird gait I’d have if I tried to sprint on the lunar surface. Perhaps it also taught me that I’m not cut out to be an astronaut, but maybe I’ll try multiplayer mode before making that decision.



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