A look at Europe at night (London and Paris) from the ISS. Credit: Rick Mastracchio @AstroRM via Twitter
There’s a bit of a problem on the ISS involving a cooling pump system. Sounds like from the latest update below (as of this morning) it could be a valve issue. Mission control people are diagnosing the problem.
We should hear later today if the “fix” will involve a spacewalk in the immediate future. If the repair cannot be made with a spacewalk a replacement may be necessary. I don’t know if they have a spare on the shelf, and they could have, or whether a replacement will be need to be flown up.
The ISS will be getting a resupply flight from a Orbital 1 Commercial Resupply Services flight scheduled to launch on 18 December. Will the mission change to include a replacement pump if necessary if that is possible?
We will find out shortly.
This from the NASA website:
Earlier Wednesday, the pump module on one of the space station’s two external cooling loops automatically shut down when it reached pre-set temperature limits. These loops circulate ammonia outside the station to keep both internal and external equipment cool. The flight control teams worked to get the cooling loop back up and running, and they suspect a flow control valve actually inside the pump module itself might not be functioning correctly.
At no time was the crew or the station itself in any danger, but the ground teams did work to move certain electrical systems over to the second loop. Some non-critical systems have been powered down inside the Harmony node, the Kibo laboratory and the Columbus laboratory while the teams work to figure out what caused the valve to not function correctly and how to fix it. The crew is safe and preparing to begin a normal sleep shift while experts on the ground collect more data and consider what troubleshooting activities may be necessary.
On 08 October 2013 the Juno spacecraft did a flyby of Earth in order to boost its speed by 7.3 km/sec (8,000 mph) in order to reach Jupiter in July 2016.
During the flyby the spacecraft took a series of images which were put together into the movie here.
Read more about the flyby and see a Juno / ham radio video at the source page. I wanted to take part in the ham radio part but my antennas are in “dis-array” — sorry.
Mercury’s Nureyev crater as seen by MESSENGER. Click for larger. Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington
The MESSENGER spacecraft continues to send back images from the planet Mercury. One of the more than 150,000 images so far gives us this spectacular look at Nureyev Crater on Mercury.
Nureyev is 16 km / 10 miles in diameter. Usually seeing shades of gray I find the colors are interesting, explained by the MESSENGER website:
The bright, rayed crater Nureyev is at center stage in this dramatic view toward Mercury’s eastern limb. The crater’s namesake is the Soviet/British ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev, who died in 1993. This set of color images was obtained at a relatively small phase angle and consequently is dominated by variations in the inherent reflectance and color of the surface.
The “inherent reflectance” is pretty easy to believe since it is about nine times brighter on Mercury than it is here.
If you want to see the full-sized image check out the MESSENGER page.
LROC’s look at the area of Sinus Iridum. Click for larger. Credit: NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University
LROC gives us this view of the Sinus Iridum and the general area. China is planning on putting a lander in this region and have just successfully put the spacecraft carrying their rover in lunar orbit to do just that.
The Chang’e-3 entered a 100 km high circular orbit on Friday after a braking by a variable thrust engine of 361 seconds.
Speculation is the Chang’e 3 will be in the area of the crater Laplace A in the center of the picture. The area has been visitied by a rover before, the arrow in the lower left shows where the Soviet Lunokhod 1 landed. The Lunokhod 1 landed on 17 November 1970 and operated until contact was lost on 14 September 1971.
Moscow University Lunokhod 1 page
A “Dark nebula” taken in 1920 at Mt.Wilson. Credit: Hale via Bartleby.com
One of the worlds great observatories, Mt. Wilson is celebrating 105 years since “first-light” on December 8, 1908. The observatory was founded by George Hale, and was outfitted with the 60-inch Hale telescope first and followed in 1917 by the 100-in Hooker telescope which was the largest telescope in the world until 1948 when the 200-inch Hale telescope was built at the Palomar Observatory.
Happy Birthday Mt. Wilson!
Here’s the caption with the image at Bartleby.com:
Taken in 1920 with the aid of the largest telescope in the world. One of the first photographs taken by the Mount Wilson telescope. There are dark nebulæ and bright nebulæ. Prof. Henry Norris Russell, against the British theory, holds that the dark nebulæ preceded the bright nebulæ Photo: Prof. Hale
About Henry Norris Russell
A rare Polar Ring Galaxy called NGC 660 from Hubble. Credits: ESA/Hubble & NASA
Here’s a recent offering from Hubble showing NGC 660, which is described in the caption below from the ESA Week in Pictures.
NGC 660 is a polar ring galaxy, sadly the orientation doesn’t allow us to see that too well. APOD showed the excellent example years ago of NGC 4650A.
This new Hubble image shows a peculiar galaxy known as NGC 660, located around 45 million light-years away from us.
NGC 660 is classified as a “polar ring galaxy,” meaning that it has a belt of gas and stars around its center that it ripped from a near neighbor during a clash about one billion years ago.The first polar ring galaxy was observed in 1978 and only around a dozen more have been discovered since then, making them something of a cosmic rarity.
Finally the video hits YouTube. I watched this as it happened and kept saying “wow”. This is one of the better launch videos out there. No animation upon satellite separation here.
Do check it out.
Congrats to SpaceX on the first commercial mission, putting the SES-8 satellite in a geostationary orbit to provide HD communications to India and southeast Asia.
Also thanks to SpaceVids.tv for putting it up.
Saturn’s northern vortex – the hexagon. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SSI/Hampton University
WOW! Cassini took the best images yet of Saturn’s northern vortex we know as the hexagon. Be sure to check out the animated gif from the JPL page (linked below).
This colorful view from NASA’s Cassini mission is the highest-resolution view of the unique six-sided jet stream at Saturn’s north pole known as “the hexagon.” This movie, made from images obtained by Cassini’s imaging cameras, is the first to show the hexagon in color filters, and the first movie to show a complete view from the north pole down to about 70 degrees north latitude.
Scientists can see the motion of a wide variety of cloud structures that reside within the hexagon in this movie. There is a massive hurricane tightly centered on the north pole, with an eye about 50 times larger than the average hurricane eye on Earth. (More information about that Saturn hurricane is at Saturn Hurricane Movie.)
Titan’s Polar Vortex from Cassini. Click for larger. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute
It is probably just me but that vortex always looks like it sticks out a little, like a 3-D effect. Nice picture though.
BTW: There is a nice image of the Kliuchevskoi Volcano taken from the ISS on the wallpaper link above. Looks quite nice on my desktops.
The JPL caption released with the image:
The sunlit edge of Titan’s south polar vortex stands out distinctly against the darkness of the moon’s unilluminated hazy atmosphere. The Cassini spacecraft images of the vortex led scientists to conclude that its clouds form at a much higher altitude — where sunlight can still reach — than the surrounding haze.
The compact solar system. Click for larger. Credit: DLR
A very interesting system too. A group of astrophysicists have found a small solar system of seven planets around a sun-like star 2,700 light-years away in the direction of Draco.
The press release doesn’t talk too much about the star KOI-351; it is just a little bigger than our sun in terms of mass (sun * 1.13), and in radius (sun * 1.2). It’s a a little warmer too at just over 5900 K.
The outermost planet which is close to being as far from its sun as we are from ours. That’s the outermost. Instead of an Earth-sized planet this one Kepler-90 h is 11.3 times the radius of Earth. Don’t know what the density is, but being that big I would expect the atmosphere to contain more in the way of hydrogen, helium and methane than ours.
The really cool, but hot planets are the inner most. The inner two are both larger than Earth and speed around KOI-351 in 7 days for the inner most and 9 days for the next one out. By the time we get to the third planet we are nearly the same orbital time as Mercury.
Read the press release here.