pinksideofthemoon / Blog

spaceblog ~ songs about space ~ add your favorite

1. "Spaceman," Harry Nilsson 2. "Mothership Connection (Starchild)," Parliament 3. "Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun," Pink Floyd 4. "Rocket Man," Elton John 5. "8 Miles High," The Byrds 6. "Space Oddity," David Bowie 7. "Subterranean Homesick Alien," Radiohead 8. "Walking on the Moon," The Police 9. "Starship," MC5 10. "Venus and Mars," Wings 11. "Lost in Space" pinksideofthemoon


Among the gas giants of the outer Solar System, Uranus has the least mass, though it is bigger in volume than Neptune as it is less dense. One of the most distinguishing features of Uranus is its unusual spin direction - whereas most planets spin perpendicular to their orbital plane, Uranus' horizontal axis is almost parallel. Therefore, in simple terms, the planet, its rings and all its moons are tilted by over 90°, travelling around the Sun on their 'side'.

The exact reason for this peculiar spin is unknown, though it is hypothesised that it may have been caused by a collision with a large planet-like body at some time in the distant past. When Voyager 2 passed by the planet, Uranus' South pole was found to be facing the Sun. As a consequence of this peculiar setup, the planet's poles end up recieving more energy from the Sun than its equatorial regions, though at a distance of over 2,800 million km from the Sun, the differences are tiny.

Uranus' magnetic field is tilted at about 60° to the planet's axis of rotation and is offset from the planet's centre by about 17,260 km or 1/3 of its radius. Furthermore, Uranus' 'sideways orbiting position' also has ramifications on the planet's magnetic field. Specifically, it causes the magnetic field's tail to be twisted by the planet's rotation in the direction facing away from the Sun.


An experimental, arrowhead-shaped aircraft that could reach blistering speeds of 13,000 mph above the Pacific Ocean is set to blast off on a test flight Wednesday from Vandenberg Air Force Base, northwest of Santa Barbara.

The flight is scheduled to test new technology that would provide the Pentagon with a vehicle capable of delivering a military strike anywhere in the world in less than an hour.

The unmanned aircraft, dubbed Falcon Hypersonic Technology Vehicle 2, is scheduled to be launched at 7 a.m. PDT into the upper reaches of the Earth's atmosphere aboard an eight-story Minotaur IV rocket made by Orbital Sciences Corp.

The aircraft will separate from the booster, dive back toward Earth, level out and glide above the Pacific at 20 times the speed of sound, or Mach 20.

To demonstrate how fast that is: an aircraft at that speed would zip from Los Angeles to New York in less than 12 minutes.

The aircraft is expected to splash down about half an hour later and sink near Kwajalein Atoll, about 4,000 miles from Vandenberg.

The launch Wednesday will be the second flight of the Falcon. The first flight, which took place in April 2010, ended prematurely with only 9 minutes of flight time.

The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, which is funding the program, said the first flight was "used to improve aerodynamic models and to optimize the vehicle design and trajectory for flight 2."

Sustaining hypersonic flight, or speeds beyond Mach 5, has been extremely difficult for aeronautical engineers to perfect over the years.

In June, the U.S. Air Force had to prematurely end a test flight of its experimental X-51 WaveRider plane when a lapse in airflow to the jet engine caused a shutdown.

The second flight of the Falcon Hypersonic Technology Vehicle 2, which is built by Lockheed Martin Corp., is set to be its last — unless the government provides more funding. And unlike many rocket launches these days, it is not set to be webcast.


Fact: The light hitting the earth right now is 30 thousand years old The energy in the sunlight we see today started out in the core of the Sun 30,000 years ago – it spent most of this time passing through the dense atoms that make the sun and just 8 minutes to reach us once it had left the Sun! The temperature at the core of the sun is 13,600,000 kelvins. All of the energy produced by fusion in the core must travel through many successive layers to the solar photosphere before it escapes into space as sunlight or kinetic energy of particles



Fact: Sunspot activity may be the primary reason for the beautiful sound of Stradivarius violins Antonio Stradivari is considered to be the greatest violin maker ever. He lived in Italy in the 17th and 18th centuries. Scientists have been unable to work out what it is about his violins that makes them so incredible, but they do know that the timber used to make them is a very important contributing factor. From the 1500s to 1800s, the earth underwent a little ice age mostly due to increased volcanic activity and decreased solar activity (this is called the Maunder Minimum). As a result of this cooling, the types of trees that Stradivari used for his violins were particularly hard (due to slow growth). Hard timber is especially good when making violins. It is very probable that had Stradivari lived in a different age, his violins would not be prized as they are today.


3-D printers that could crank out parts for spacecraft and space stations from wrenches to screws all while in orbit is becoming one step closer to reality. A company called Made in Space has completed a successful testing period of two 3-D printers on multiple NASA flights, with a scaled-down wrench becoming the first-ever tool printed in partial zero gravity. Printing out parts in space could eventually be transplanted to other worlds such as the moon, where it could help human colonies gain a foothold by printing out robot parts or buildings, piece by piece. The test printing took place on multiple zero-gravity flights provided by NASA�s Flight Opportunities Program, which offers opportunities for space technologies to be tested in a relevant environment.Two modified off-the-shelf 3-D printers were tested one provided by their partner 3-D Systems and another custom-made printer designed to manufacture structures in space. Made in Space �We had a fairly good idea that the technology would work in microgravity, but we wanted to know how well it would work, said Made in Space CEO Aaron Kemmer. The tests focused on building parts that could be analyzed postflight and compared to similar parts built on Earth.Three-dimensional printers allow items to be built layer by layer, similar to how a conventional printer lays ink on paper. The objects are made with thin layers of "feedstock," which can be metal, plastic or a variety of other materials. Made in Space believes this technology will eventually enable satellites, spacecraft and other large structures to be built in space one day. Now that Made in Space has a proof of concept, the next step is refining the 3-D printer for use in the constant zero-gravity environment of space. Future flights will serve as a test bed for more advanced analysis on the printing process in zero-gravity, as well as learning how to control other issues that may arise in space, such as radiation, temperature control and material processes,� Kemmer told TechNewsDaily. The company said it plans to have a functional 3-D printer in space within three years. �Early next year, we will fly the first 3-D printer to space on board a suborbital rocket through NASA's CRuSR program, Kemmer said. This test will space-qualify many of the components that we will use on the actual 3-D printer we fly to space.

BlackHill Pioneers
BlackHill Pioneers  (over 5 years ago)

Ive seen a part made by these printers(i work in the robotics industry) its pretty amazing they just do it layer by layer,its takes a long time though.

solar flares

Skywatchers as far south as Pennsylvania should be on the lookout for auroras in the night sky sparked by a powerful geomagnetic storm, space weather experts say. The auroras are triggered by charged solar particles that blew outward from the sun in an intense eruption on Thursday (Aug. 4). The particles are typically funneled along Earth's magnetic field to the polar regions, where they can spark stunning displays of the northern lights in the Northern Hemisphere, and southern lights in the south. "Sky watchers at all latitudes should be alert for auroras after nightfall. Tip: the best hours for aurora sightings are usually around local midnight," advised Spaceweather.com, a website that monitors space weather and skywatching events. Scientists with NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) said the solar storm lasted about four hours and was expected to "likely generate bright auroras as far south as Pennsylvania and could possibly upset electronic equipment, especially in space." Predicting the effects and time of arrival of solar flares is difficult, so while the light show is expected to reach Earth tonight (Aug. 5) it is not completely certain it will be visible so far south. Dark skies unhindered by city lights are required for skywatchers outside polar regions to view aurora displays. The solar eruption that set off the geomagnetic storm was what astronomers call a coronal mass ejection, or CME. Several NASA space observatories, like the SDO, spotted the eruption as it occurred. "The lopsided but fast-moving cloud of particles headed off in the general direction of Earth and may generate some aurora activity when it arrives," scientists with the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory, a joint mission by NASA and the European Space Agency, said in a statement.

pinksideofthemoon spaceblog ~ JUPITER

The $1.1 billion Juno mission will arrive at Jupiter in 2016, where the solar-powered spacecraft will have to hit a precise orbit over the planet's poles. Mission controllers at NASA's Kennedy Space Center on Wednesday approved the launch for 11:34 a.m. ET today, though there was a 30% chance of rain that would force a delay.

"All systems are ready to go," Jan Chodas of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., said at a briefing.

After its launch aboard an Atlas V, the most powerful rocket in NASA's inventory following the retirement of the space shuttle, the 8,000-pound spacecraft will unfurl three 29-foot long solar panels to provide power to Jupiter, five times farther from the sun than Earth is. "We're getting closer to Jupiter than any other spacecraft has gone," says mission chief scientist Scott Bolton of the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio.

Juno will travel over Jupiter's poles only 3,100 miles above its clouds and beneath its radiation belts. "We're skimming right over those clouds," Bolton says.

A NASA probe has not orbited Jupiter since the Galileo mission ended in 2003, a journey that focused as much on the Jovian moons as the planet itself. Juno instead will seek answers to the origin of Jupiter and whether the cloud-swirled world has a solid core, Bolton says, "or whether it is just gas all the way down."

Juno also will try to measure the depth of Jupiter's famed "Red Spot," a massive hurricane-like storm more than 15,000 miles wide.

To pierce Jupiter's veil, the spacecraft will circle the poles of the planet 30 times on 11-day observations in a year-long mission, Chodas says. Because of Jupiter's very strong magnetic field, 14 times stronger than Earth's, the planet possesses radiation belts that would fry most spacecraft electronics, requiring heavy titanium shielding of Juno's computers. "We're basically an armored tank going to Jupiter," Bolton says.

Jupiter is a "gas giant," mostly composed of hydrogen and helium swept up at the dawn of the solar system about 4.6 billion years ago. It out-hefts all the other planets in the solar system combined by about 3 to 1, and it weighs 318 times more than Earth. Astronomers want to know more about its origins because of its dominant role in our solar system and because most of the 500 or so planets detected orbiting nearby stars since 1995 are thought to be similar gas giants.

pinksideofthemoon ~ spaceblog

The evidence of possible liquid water on Mars, announced today (Aug. 4), has scientists newly excited about the Red Planet's potential to host some form of primitive life, scientists say. The discovery comes from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO), which spotted slopes carved into the Martian surface that appear to most likely have been created by the flow of liquid salt water, NASA announced today (Aug. 4). The slopes appear to change over the course of different seasons on Mars, suggesting that liquid water, if it exists at all, is only present in the Martian spring.