The Big Space Exploration Topic [21-08-2017: Total Solar Eclipse in the USA!]

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  • DwayneDwayne New York City
    Posts: 2,489
    Happy Earth-Day (April 22nd) everyone. Its’ still our only home.
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    On December 16, 1992, 8 days after its encounter with Earth, the Galileo spacecraft looked back from a distance of about 6.2 million kilometers (3.9 million miles) to capture this remarkable view of the moon in orbit about Earth. The moon is in the foreground; its orbital path is from left to right. Brightly colored Earth contrasts strongly with the moon, which reacts only about one-third as much sunlight as our world.
  • DwayneDwayne New York City
    Posts: 2,489
    The Hubble Space Telescope was deployed from the Space Shuttle Discovery (mission STS-31), exactly thirty-two years ago (April 25, 1990). And despite a problem plagued beginning, the scientific discoveries that it has made possible are too numerous to list.

    Perhaps, more than any other NASA mission (not including the Apollo Moon Landings) it has also captured the attention of non-scientists. For example, this image was my PC screensaver for many years.
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    The Pillars of Creation

    For a summary: https://www.salon.com/2022/04/23/the-hubble-telescope-turns-32-here-are-some-of-its-greatest-hits/

    Long may it last. Thanks Hubble.
  • DwayneDwayne New York City
    edited July 2022 Posts: 2,489
    ‘Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.'” – Carl Sagan

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    My new laptop wall-paper!

    Since I was traveling on Tuesday, I missed the live release of the initial set of released images taken by the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST). Luckily, the New York Time’s space blog did a play-by-play and I was able to follow along on my smartphone. One word:

    WOW. Just WOW!!! (Per my impression at seeing actress Peggy Cummins in GUN CRAZY) 😊

    I think my favorite image is the so-called “Cosmic Cliffs.” Region NGC 3324 in the Carina Nebula is about 7,600 light years away from Earth and shows are region of space where suns are actually being born. Previous observatories like the Hubble Space Telescope could picture this region but couldn’t image what was happening beyond the gas and dust clouds. Since the JWST sees the universe in infrared now we can see the details of what is actually occurring here.

    https://webbtelescope.org/contents/media/images/2022/031/01G77PKB8NKR7S8Z6HBXMYATGJ

    A nice summary here:

    https://www.nytimes.com/2022/07/12/science/space/james-webb-telescope-photos.html

    A hardy thanks to the thousands of men and women who have dedicated (in many cases) most of their professional careers to this project.

    Top perspective of the week (from Spacenews.com 7/13):

    Scientists involved with JWST saw the space telescope as a symbol of not just what the agency is capable of doing but also humanity. “A lot of people sometimes see pictures of space and it makes them feel small. When I see these pictures, they make me feel powerful that a team of people can make this unbelievable instrument to find out things about the universe revealed here,” said Eric Smith, JWST program scientist at NASA Headquarters. “When we want to, we can do that.”
  • RichardTheBruceRichardTheBruce I'm motivated by my Duty.
    Posts: 12,480
    The American Patriot's Almanac, John T. E. Cribb, William Bennett, 2008.
    JULY 20 • "THE EAGLE HAS LANDED."

    ON JULY 20, 1969, Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin floated high above the lifeless surface of the moon in a boxy, four-legged landing vehicle named the Eagle. The radio hissed, and a voice called across space from Mission Control in Houston, a quarter of a million miles away: “You are go for powered descent.” An engine fired, and the fragile craft began its downward journey.

    It would not go exactly as planned.

    Alarm signals flashed inside the tiny cabin, warning that Eagle’s computer was overloaded.

    As the spacecraft hurtled toward the surface, engineers in Houston had seconds to decide whether to abort the mission.

    "Eagle, you are a go for landing," they directed.

    The astronauts continued their descent, but when Armstrong looked out the window to
    study the moon’s surface, he realized they were not where they should be. The computer was supposed to guide the Eagle to a smooth landing area. It had overshot the mark by four miles and was heading toward a crater of jagged boulders.

    Another warning light blinked. They were running out of landing fuel.

    Armstrong took command from the computer. The Eagle scooted over ridges and craters as he searched for a place to set down. The low-fuel signal flashed. There was no turning back now. A cloud of dust rose toward the Eagle. Silence ... and then Neil Armstrong's voice crackled to Earth across the gulf of space: “The Eagle has landed.”

    A few hours later, Armstrong and then Aldrin stepped onto the moon’s surface. Together
    they planted a U.S. flag. When they departed, they left behind a plaque bearing this message:

    HERE MEN FROM THE PLANET EARTH
    FIRST SET FOOT UPON THE MOON
    JULY 1969, A.D.
    WE CAME IN PEACE FOR ALL MANKIND
    AMERICAN HISTORY PARADE

    1969 Astronaut Neil Armstrong becomes the first man to walk on the moon.
    1976 The unmanned Viking I becomes the first spacecraft to land successfully on Mars.

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    Photograph of the Apollo 11 Crew.
    Left to Right, Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins, and Buzz Aldrin, 1969.
    (National Archives Identifier 4957611)



    1971
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  • DwayneDwayne New York City
    Posts: 2,489
    Thanks for posting that reminder (as if I don’t know what today is 😊) @RichardTheBruce . As a space crazy boy, I used to read the mission transcripts and dream about becoming an astronaut someday. Needless to say….that didn’t happen!!

    To celebrate I’m currently watching the 2019 documentary APOLLO 11.


    Also, a nice reminder of the “lunar set” from DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER. Interestingly, by the time DAF came out in December, 1971, a rover was actually used on an Apollo mission (Apollo 15 – July, 1971).

    Fiction
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    Fact
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    For the record, lunar rovers were used on each of the “J series” of Apollo missions (Apollo 15-17).
  • ThunderfingerThunderfinger Das Boot Hill
    Posts: 45,489
  • DwayneDwayne New York City
    Posts: 2,489
    The death of former Gemini (IV) and Apollo (9) astronaut Jim McDiviitt was announced last week. He was 93 years of age.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2022/10/17/science/space/james-a-mcdivitt-dead.html

    For those of you that are (way) too young to remember such things, McDivitt commanded the Gemini IV mission in 1965 on which fellow astronaut Edward White III performed the first US spacewalk in history. Three years later, he commanded Apollo 9 which performed the first crewed test of the Lunar Module (LM). For ten days in March of 1969, he – along with fellow astronauts David Scott and Rusty Schweickart – successfully put the lunar module through its paces in Earth Orbit. Apollo 10, would do the same in May of 1969 – but this time in lunar orbit – before Apollo 11 was given a greenlight for its’ appointment with history.

    His later career involved managing the Apollo Spacecraft program office at NASA from late 1969 to 1972 before retiring and going into business. Too many awards to note, he also was a former Air Force fighter pilot (during the Korean Conflict) and test pilot, before his selection as a NASA astronaut in 1962 (as part of the second group – sometimes referred to as “The New Nine”).

    And, oh yeah, he played a visiting NASA astronaut on an episode of The Brady Bunch.

    Growing up as a “child of Apollo” in the 1960s, my favorite image of Mr. McDivitt was taken just after the successful test of the LM during Apollo 9.
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    But this one – which serves as the cover for the upcoming book, “Apollo Remastered: The Ultimate Photographic Record” by author Andy Saunders may be my new number 1 (…and yes, I’ve already pre-ordered the book. A couple of planned purchases for Bond’s 60th will have to wait).

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    McDivitt, flying the lunar module (call name: Spider) back to the command module (call name: Gum Drop) for the first docking of two crewed spacecraft in history. In this photo you can clearly see him focusing on the optical alignment markings in the LM window to verify that the craft is in proper position.

    Note: The development of the Lunar Module (and the Apollo 9 mission) was nicely covered in episode 5 of the 1998 HBO miniseries “From the Earth to the Moon”, called Spider. In it, McDivitt was played by actor Conor O'Farrell. The heart of this self-titled “nerd” just soars with this.

  • DwayneDwayne New York City
    edited November 2022 Posts: 2,489
    I had planned to completely refrain from posting anything about the current ARTEMIS 1 mission until its’ completion (I don’t want to jink anything), but I have to make an exception for this.

    These images of the Earth being eclipsed by the Moon were captured on Monday, November 28th from a distance of over 430,000 km from Earth (and about 60,000 km beyond the Moon) from cameras located on the craft’s solar arrays. Hint: that little blue thing is “US”; all of 8 billion of US.

    Words fail me……
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    I'll have more to say in another two weeks.
  • CommanderRossCommanderRoss The bottom of a pitch lake in Eastern Trinidad, place called La Brea
    Posts: 7,787
    Dwayne wrote: »
    I had planned to completely refrain from posting anything about the current ARTEMIS 1 mission until its’ completion (I don’t want to jink anything), but I have to make an exception for this.

    These images of the Earth being eclipsed by the Moon were captured on Monday, November 28th from a distance of over 430,000 km from Earth (and about 60,000 km beyond the Moon) from cameras located on the craft’s solar arrays. Hint: that little blue thing is “US”; all of 8 billion of US.

    Words fail me……
    2146797.jpg
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    2146807.jpg


    I'll have more to say in another two weeks.

    Stunning pictures indeed.
  • DwayneDwayne New York City
    Posts: 2,489
    It may look like something out of a sci-fi film, but this view from Artemis 1/Orion as it completed its’ lunar departure burn on Monday is very real.
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    BTW: that “crescent thingy” in the photograph is Earth.
  • DwayneDwayne New York City
    Posts: 2,489
    For those of you that are too young to remember; it was 50 years ago this evening (12:33AM EST, December 7, 1972), that the final lunar landing mission of the Apollo program launched. On board were Commander Gene Cernan, Command Module Pilot (CMP) Ron Evans and Lunar Module Pilot (LMP) Harrison “Jack” Schmitt. Fifty years later, Cernan and Schmitt remain the last humans to ever walk on the Moon.

    For an eleven-year-old boy in Brooklyn, NY, it was hard to accept that Apollo 17 would be the final mission (just as we were really getting good at it, I might add). Although, I remember having “debates” with my second-grade teacher a few years earlier about the wisdom of spending money on space when there were so many problems on Earth (guess which camp I belonged to!), I really thought that this would be merely a pause in lunar exploration. Today, armed with far more knowledge about the unique global political and economic factors that gave rise to Apollo, I can better appreciate the lack of national will which ended the program, but it still makes me sad.

    That said, progress is rarely linear and after great spurts, there are often periods of retrenchment and consolidation. Now, hopefully (fingers crossed!), I may live to see us pick up the challenge of human deep space exploration again.


    The Night Launch of Apollo 17.

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    The Crew (from left to right): Harrison “Jack” Schmitt, Ron Evans, and Gene Cernan.

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    The Mission Patch. Still one of my favorites. “Apollo” and America, having touched the Moon (see the very top of the patch), look ahead to the planets and the universe beyond.

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    The “Blue Marble” photo taken by the Apollo 17 crew (outbound towards the Moon), from a distance 18,000 miles (29,000 km). This is probably the most reproduced image in human history.

    BTW: You can follow the mission in "real time" at https://apolloinrealtime.org/17/
  • RichardTheBruceRichardTheBruce I'm motivated by my Duty.
    Posts: 12,480
    @Dwayne I had business in Orlando this week now I'm taking a couple days off and didn't want to let you down.

    Finished my day driving toward Cape Canaveral and pulling off on the causeway about five miles out to witness the 5:26 pm launch for SPACEX Falcon 9. Pretty perfect weather and sun highlighting the rocket launch, the contrail, and eventually the two distant specs of light diverging as rocket and booster. Last was the booster falling back to earth and flaming up--about that time we got the sonic boom effect on our end.

    I took a few pictures on my phone, can share when I have the right devices to upload them. Thanks for the inspiration to search this out.


    Not my image, here's an animation of the rocket in action. That or SPECTRE-cam apparently.

    giphy.gif

  • DwayneDwayne New York City
    Posts: 2,489
    Thanks @RichardTheBruce. I heard that the launch was spectacular – as was the first stage flyback landing. Back in 1997, I visited KSC for a night shuttle launch (STS-86), but wound up watching from the beach as all of the on-site visitor passes had sold-out just prior to my arrival.

    Watching this reminds me of the SPECTRE Volcano Lair in You Only Live Twice. Except …. this is REAL!

    Fingers crossed for another successful launch on Sunday morning (w/ the Japanese Lunar Lander and JPL’s moon bound CubeSat), as well as Orion’s splashdown. Hopefully, after about noon or so, I can breathe again.
  • ThunderfingerThunderfinger Das Boot Hill
    Posts: 45,489
    @Dwayne I had business in Orlando this week now I'm taking a couple days off and didn't want to let you down.

    Finished my day driving toward Cape Canaveral and pulling off on the causeway about five miles out to witness the 5:26 pm launch for SPACEX Falcon 9. Pretty perfect weather and sun highlighting the rocket launch, the contrail, and eventually the two distant specs of light diverging as rocket and booster. Last was the booster falling back to earth and flaming up--about that time we got the sonic boom effect on our end.

    I took a few pictures on my phone, can share when I have the right devices to upload them. Thanks for the inspiration to search this out.


    Not my image, here's an animation of the rocket in action. That or SPECTRE-cam apparently.

    giphy.gif

    That sounds like quite an experience.
  • RichardTheBruceRichardTheBruce I'm motivated by my Duty.
    Posts: 12,480
    When I realized the launch time and where I happened to be that afternoon it all came together @Thunderfinger.

    Kind of a tradeoff, a co-worker witnessed a launch from Cape Canaveral about 10 years prior but it was nighttime. So a magnificent liftoff then not much else to see but the rocket flame.

    Me five miles distant, the last rays of Thursday's sunlight really caught the rocket and separation and still made them visible throughout. I hadn't considered the sequence of events for the booster de-connecting and flaming up on reentry I guess and the sonic boom capping it off.

    And since it was the SPACEX Falcon 9 I'm counting that as birdwatching, yes.

  • DwayneDwayne New York City
    Posts: 2,489
    Fifty years ago, today (December 14, 1972): the final human footsteps on another world.

    The photo below has haunted me for all of these decades, as has the final words spoken on the lunar surface.:
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    Apollo 17 Commander, Eugene Cernan rests in the LM after the third and final lunar EVA of the Apollo Program.

    "...This is Gene and I'm on the surface and as I take man's last step from the surface, back home for some time to come (but we believe not too long into the future), I'd like to just say what I believe history will record: That America's challenge of today has forged man's destiny of tomorrow. And, as we leave the Moon at Taurus-Littrow, we leave as we came and, God willing, as we shall return: with peace and hope for all mankind."
    - Eugene Cernan, December 14, 1972

    Now, God willing (and with a little luck), within this decade the late Mr. Cernan will no longer be "The Last Man" and a new generation of explorers will tread in his footsteps.
  • CommanderRossCommanderRoss The bottom of a pitch lake in Eastern Trinidad, place called La Brea
    Posts: 7,787
    Dwayne wrote: »
    Fifty years ago, today (December 14, 1972): the final human footsteps on another world.

    The photo below has haunted me for all of these decades, as has the final words spoken on the lunar surface.:
    vxvG8BKfV2OdqQ6bNbDzJMA0fQkSpqyT3LKCbLZGCoE.jpg?width=640&crop=smart&auto=webp&s=155da05f5dd2b66c87a7eab710ca23ef1906fc53
    Apollo 17 Commander, Eugene Cernan rests in the LM after the third and final lunar EVA of the Apollo Program.

    "...This is Gene and I'm on the surface and as I take man's last step from the surface, back home for some time to come (but we believe not too long into the future), I'd like to just say what I believe history will record: That America's challenge of today has forged man's destiny of tomorrow. And, as we leave the Moon at Taurus-Littrow, we leave as we came and, God willing, as we shall return: with peace and hope for all mankind."
    - Eugene Cernan, December 14, 1972

    Now, God willing (and with a little luck), within this decade the late Mr. Cernan will no longer be "The Last Man" and a new generation of explorers will tread in his footsteps.

    That 'peace for all mankind' would help. Pity the Russian Cosmonauts in the ISS found it necessary to put oil on the fire instead of seeking peace. We're further away from any of it than ever before. Still, I hope one of the companies will make it work, be it SpaceX, Virgin G or Blue Origin.
  • RichardTheBruceRichardTheBruce I'm motivated by my Duty.
    Posts: 12,480
    From my American Patriot's Almanac, John T. E. Cribb, Bill Bennett.

    MARCH 16 • THE FATHER OF MODERN ROCKETRY

    THE AGE OF ROCKETS BEGAN ON MARCH 16, 1926,
    when Robert H. Goddard launched the world's first liquid fuel
    rocket at a farm in Auburn, Massachusetts.

    Goddard had become fascinated with the idea of space
    travel as a boy when he read H. G. Wells’s science fiction
    classic War of the Worlds. As a student and then a physics
    professor) he experimented with different rocket designs. His
    work went virtually unnoticed. In fact, the most publicity he
    received was when the New York Times, hearing of his theory
    that someday a rocket might reach the moon printed a jeering
    editorial declaring that Dr. Goddard "seems to lack the
    knowledge ladled out daily in high schools.''

    Goddard kept at his work. For nearly twenty years he
    tried experiment after experiment. None of the rockets he
    built would fly. Then came the cold March day in 1926 when
    he drove to his aunt Effie's farm, set up a ten-foot-tall rocket
    he had dubbed Nell, and lit the fuse.

    For an instant the missile did nothing, then suddenly screeched off the pad, shot 41 feet
    into the air at 60 miles per hour, and thumped down in a cabbage patch 184 feet away. The flight lasted only two and a half seconds, but it was two and a half seconds that ultimately led human beings into outer space.

    In the following years Goddard kept developing his rockets, shooting them higher and faster. He continued to work in relative obscurity. Not until after his death in 1945 did the world realize his achievements. Rockets based on Goddard’s work eventually carried men to the moon.

    Today Robert Goddard is remembered as the father of modern rocketry. NASA's Goddard
    Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, is named in his honor.

    AMERICAN HISTORY PARADE

    1995 Astronaut Norman Thagard becomes the first American to visit the Russian space station Mir.

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  • DwayneDwayne New York City
    edited May 15 Posts: 2,489
    Fifty years ago, today – May 14th, 1973 – Skylab was launched.

    Skylab itself had a very long and tortuous road to the launch pad and it had issues once in flight. How those issues were overcome were critical in laying the foundations of future programs. Today, when we think of “space stations” the International Space Station (ISS) comes immediately to mind. The success of the ISS, however, would not have been possible without the earlier work done by Skylab – as well as the Russian Salyut and MIR stations.


    I really like this YouTube video of the ABC coverage of the launch for it really puts the era into perspective. By 1973, US POWs were returning home from Vietnam in large numbers and trying to catch-up with all that they had missed. Fittingly, the end of that particular chapter of US history also coincided with the end of the Apollo Program and the Saturn V – as Skylab’s launch would also mark the final use of the world’s largest rocket (until NASA’s SLS and SpaceX’s Starship came along).

    Born out of the Apollo Applications studies in the mid 1960’s, due to changing national priorities, a larger program of 50-man space and lunar bases eventually gave way to the Saturn Workshop concept which repurposed the Saturn V’s third stage as an interim station.
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    Saturn V/Skylab on the launch pad. (The Saturn 1B to launch the first crewed mission - "Skylab-2" is in the background).

    Unfortunately, about 63 seconds into the flight, the Orbital Workshop’s micrometeoroid shield – which was also designed to act as a critical part of the station’s thermal control system – suffered a structural failure and fell away. To complicate things further, the debris from this eventually led to the solar array No.2 solar array being ripped off and jamming the No.1 solar array which prevented it from being deployed. With the station staved of electrical power and overheating, the first crewed mission was postponed until a fix could be devised.

    The following article highlights five individuals that played a key role in Skylab’s operational history – specifically in designing and testing the daring in space fix that allowed the project to continue.
    https://medium.com/the-making-of-an-ex-nuke/five-for-fifty-unsung-heroes-of-skylab-e0f1ed68ac2f

    And this is one of my all-time favorite space history photos. Sometimes the “old ways are the best.” (Where have I heard that?) .
    :-?
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    Aylene Baker sewing a makeshift the Mylar sunshield to replace the micrometeoroid shield torn off about 63 seconds after launch.

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    This photo (taken by the first crewed mission to Skylab upon their arrival) shows the missing micrometeoroid shield and solar array as well as the station’s other array which was stuck.

    Once on orbit the deployment of the makeshift sunshield was success and the crew (especially Pete Conrad) was able to get the jammed solar array to fold-out. Thus began, the US’s first experience at living and working in space for long periods of time. Conducting experiments in life sciences, Earth resource observation and solar physics, the three crews manned the station for 28, 56 and 84 days, respectively during 1973 to 1974.

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    Skylab 2 (1st crewed mission/28 days: May, 1973 to June, 1973) left to right, Joseph P. Kerwin, science pilot; Charles Conrad Jr., commander; and Paul J. Weitz, pilot

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    Skylab 3 (2nd crewed mission/59 days: July, 1973 to September, 1973) left to right, Owen K. Garriott, science pilot; Jack R. Lousma, pilot; and Alan L. Bean commander

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    Skylab 4 (3rd and final crewed mission/84 days: November, 1973 to February, 1974) left to right, Gerald P. Carr, commander; Scientist-Astronaut Edward G. Gibson, science pilot; and Astronaut William R. Pogue, pilot.

    After Skylab 4 departed, it was hoped that the station would stay in orbit long enough for the Space Shuttle to move it into a higher orbit in the late 1970s. Plans were even laid out that would have had Skylab being reused as a space station in the 1980s until a more permanent facility was developed. But as it had at the start of the program, bad luck intervened and Skylab reentered in July,1979 – with parts coming down over the coast of Australia.

    Despite the station’s infamous end, Skylab did prove that humans could work in space for long periods of time and do productive work there. And the lessons were quickly applied to the long-delayed Space Shuttle Program (and it’s Spacelab mini-station) and eventually the ISS.

    PS: At some point in my life, I was gifted a Lucite paper weight with a piece of Skylab inside. Unfortunately, I no longer have it – Darn It! It looked like this:
    Skylab-in-Lucite-300x225.jpg

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