Category Archives: Uncategorized

A Year on the ISS

Expedition 46 Commander Scott Kelly of NASA and Flight Engineer Mikhail Kornienko of Roscosmos will be ending a year-long mission aboard the ISS.

How they adapted to the weightless environment after a  the year in space will be of great interest as well as how they re-adjust to gravity.  The findings will assist with any future long duration missions, say to Mars.



Cryovolcanos On Pluto

Glad to see Pluto In a Minute videos are back! Thanks New Horizon’s team.

From the YouTube description:

Recent detailed surface images from New Horizons show an interesting surface feature on Pluto. The mountain feature informally named Wright Mons is about 100 miles wide and 13,000 feet high. There are two interesting things about this feature. One is the deep depression on top that team members estimate to be about 35 miles across. The other is the distinctive rippled texture on its sides. It all suggests that Wright Mons, along with another feature called Piccard Mons, is a cryovolcano.

Read the rest here


I am hearing there is a nice display of the aurora.  Cloudy here so I can’t tell.

Edit: Yes a CME is interacting with us so there should be a very nice display.

Stay safe and enjoy the night!

Internet Outage?

I am in the midst of a nasty storm.  The same storm system that wreaked havoc in the Texas region  is paying me a visit.

No danger of tornado’s thankfully.  We are expecting about 18 cm of snow topped off by a good deal of freezing rain all being pushed along by rather strong  and gusty winds.

We have been warned to expect power failures. So if you don’t hear from me you’ll know why and I’ll be back sooner or later.  Oh, the power failures could run into “days” in length.

I’ll try and check in a little later.

UPDATE:  Never had a power problem, not even a blink.  Did get the snow and ice, I have it all cleaned up and I’m ready for the next one.

Orbital Launch

Scroll down for coverage (or click here), if there is a launch, only a 40 percent change of getting it off the ground due to weather.

Coverage is scheduled to begin at 21:30 UT / 16:30 EST) for a 22:33 UT / 17:33 EST launch.

There was a hold at T minus 03:09, issue was quickly resolved.  New launch time if 17:48 EST / 22:48:12.  

Another hold, waiting for resolution. They are going to try again.  New time is 23:03.12 (?)  The hold is due to ground wind exceeding the limit – so much for weather not being an issue.

This last attempt at 23:03:12 is at the end of today’s launch window. It’s now or wait for another day.

Will the third try be a charm? We will soon know.

Here we go. . we have a NO GO again because of wind.



ANGEL Balloon Flight

It turns out you can guide a high altitude balloon back to a predetermined location with a controlled descent. At least that’s what NASA Glenn’s Rocket University team did on 04 November when they brought a balloon down from an altitude of 36.5 km / 22.7 miles over the New Mexico desert.

The ANGEL experiment demonstrated how the Airborne Systems, Inc. Guided Precision Aerial Delivery System (GPADS) can benefit planetary science balloon missions through a risk-reduction flight test for high altitude balloon operations allowing for faster and cheaper recovery. Additionally, the impact forces experienced on landing are reduced with GPADS versus conventional parachutes. ANGEL shows a greater range of space science able to be performed with more sensitive equipment, as payload survivability is increased due to the system’s unique ability to perform a flared, into-the-wind landing.

Good job! Hopefully this will lead to more frequent balloon science missions.

Curious Travels


Here is a map of Curiosity trek on its first 1,165 sols.  How time does fly by hardly seems like the rover has been on Mars since 2012.

The press release:

This map shows the route driven by NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover from the location where it landed in August 2012 to its location in mid-November 2015, approaching examples of dunes in the “Bagnold Dunes” dune field.

The traverse line covers drives completed through the 1,165rd Martian day, or sol, of Curiosity’s work on Mars (Nov. 15, 2015).

The base image for this map is from the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. North is up. The dark ground south of the rover’s route is the Bagnold Dunes of dark, wind-blown material at the foot of Mount Sharp.

The scale bar at lower right represents two kilometers (1.2 miles). For broader-context images of the area, see PIA17355,PIA16064 and PIA16058.

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, manages the Mars Science Laboratory Project and Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Project for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, Washington. For more information about the Mars Science Laboratory mission and the mission’s Curiosity rover, visit and

Image Credit:NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona


Pluto’s Spinning Moons


New Horizons / NASA – The New Horizons mission also is shedding new light on Pluto’s fascinating system of moons, and their unusual properties. For example, nearly every other moon in the solar system — including Earth’s moon — is in synchronous rotation, keeping one face toward the planet. This is not the case for Pluto’s small moons.

Pluto’s small lunar satellites are spinning much faster, with Hydra — its most distant moon — rotating an unprecedented 89 times during a single lap around the planet. Scientists believe these spin rates may be variable because Charon exerts a strong torque that prevents each small moon from settling down into synchronous rotation.

Another oddity of Pluto’s moons: scientists expected the satellites would wobble, but not to such a degree.