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NASA BUDGET COMMENTS

Rich put the 2011 NASA Budget on our blog yesterday and I have had time to read and mull this over. I must say that I have mixed feelings since there are good and not so good dynamics involving this budget. What follows is my own PERSONAL reflections and thoughts.

The second man on the Moon, Buzz Aldrin, the 1st US woman in space, Sally Ride, have come out in support of the proposed budget and issued statements claiming such. Other blog/web sites have commented extensively as well.

One especially poignant comment is by lunar scientist Chuck Wood at www.lpod.org….I highly recommend that you read it.

For me it comes down to the supposed fact that America cannot afford $3 billion a year, or just $10 for every man, woman, child per year to fund going to the Moon and beyond. That is what it would take according to the Augustine Commission to keep the Constellation Program moving forward. We can’t afford that?????
Once again we have the lack of political and National will keeping us from the Moon. This happened back in the 1970′s when Apollo was axed just as the J missions were getting scientifically interesting and we had paid for the hardware and everything else to get us there and just literally threw it all out.

I am FOR commercial space exploration and their development of manned spaceflight capabilities. But I am also FOR going to the Moon via Constellation or some functional form of it.

We will watch other Nations go and stake their claims on the Moon and see potential advesaries once again gain the high ground over us just as happened in the 1950′s. All for the lack of a very, very small amount of money in terms of the overal budget.

Congress will not let this go as is without fighting it tooth and nail in some NASA oriented states. We will follow this as the story – and budget develops.

Solar Activity at LAST!

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Hey Fellow Astrocasters!

The Sun is FINALLY showing signs of activity that MAY signal the end of this historic solar minimum….historic in the length of time that solar sunspots and related activity have been absent.

STEREO A & B twin spacecraft caught the view of an active region that has delighted solar observers since rotating into our face on view of the Sun.

In our current episode I talk about Solar Tsunamis on the Sun. With perhaps the beginnings of Solar Maximum and associated solar activity not far away, we may get more Solar Tsunamis on the Sun.

For more info check out NASA/SOHO: http://sohowww.nascom.nasa.gov/pickoftheweek/

Greg

LCROSS UPDATE

I am sure by now that everyone has seen or read about the LCROSS impacts that occurred on October 9th.

I watched the event live on NASA TV and watched the live press conference. I also saw the MAGNIFICENT Palomar Observatory photos taken right after impact – I truly believe that if there was an ejecta plume visible the Palomar Observatory images would have shown it. The 200-inch telescope was using its adoptive optics system that cancels out atmospheric seeing effects and just about allows for full resolution.

Data from a myriad of ground and space based instruments is still being reviewed and it will take some time for the final results to be known. I am quite sure that LCROSS will yield data that will tell us whether Cabeus Crater has water in its permanently shadowed region.

Stay tuned as there will be more to this story.

Greg

Augustine Summary Report

Hey Fellow Astrocast.TV’ers!

Here is the link to the Augustine Summary Report:

 http://www.nasa.gov/offices/hsf/related_documents/summary_report.html

Greg

NEW LCROSS TARGET CRATER

Hey Astrocast.TV’ers!

NASA has changed the target crater for LCROSS. The new crater is Cabeus (proper) instead of the adjacent Cabeus A. The change was made due to updated information. As stated by NASA: “The decision was based on continued evaluation of all available data and consultation/input from members of the LCROSS Science Team and the scientific community, including impact experts, ground and space based observers, and observations from Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), Lunar Prospector (LP), Chandrayaan-1 and JAXA’s Kaguya spacecraft. This decision was prompted by the current best understanding of hydrogen concentrations in the Cabeus region, including cross-correlation between the latest LRO results and LP data sets.”
See more at :

http://www.nasa.gov/centers/ames/news/features/2009/LCROSS_new_crater.html.

Greg

National Academy of Sciences Asteroid Report

Hey Fellow Astrocasters!

Here is the link to read the report I reference in our latest episode. It makes for good, thought-provoking reading. Tell us what you think.
http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/asteroidwatch/download/NRC-Aug12InterimReport.pdf

Greg

Double Trouble for Moon Probes

Hey Fellow Astrocast.TV’ers!

NASA’s Lunar Crater Observation Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) developed a problem that consumed a large amount of its propellant…..NASA says there is enough fuel left for completing its October 9th impact into the Moon.

See: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/LCROSS/main/index.html

India has lost radio contact with its Chandrayaan-1 lunar spacecraft. Odds are long that recontact can be established. The following story also has an update on LCROSS.

See: http://www.skyandtelescope.com/news/home/56130137.html

That leaves Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) as the only working spacecraft in lunar orbit. Chandrayaan-1 and LRO had just completed a joint experiment recently to try and determine the presence of water at the north pole – see my recent blog.

See: http://lunar.gsfc.nasa.gov/

Greg

Perpetual Night

Look into the depths of perpetual night – full story http://lroc.sese.asu.edu/news/index.php?/archives/95-Eternal-Darkness-Near-the-North-Pole.html#extended

Greg

Pause and Ponder…….

Hey Fellow Astrocast.tv’ers!

Take a look at this picture closely. http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap090823.html

See ALL OF THOSE GALAXIES? Each contains hundreds of billions of stars and who knows how many mysteries, planets and life forms. And all of them are under the influence of dark matter, gravity and who knows what else just as we are.

Many of the blue objects you see are images of the SAME distant blue galaxy but are formed by the gravitational influence of the foreground galaxy cluster – a gravitational lens.

I just want to remind everyone that beyond our speck of dust we call home there is an incredible and mysterious Universe.

Greg

Moon Probe

Hey Fellow Astrocast.tv’ers!

 Check out this link to see how India and the US are cooperating on the determining whether there is ice at the north pole of the Moon. Both the Chanrayaan-1 and Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) have advanced on board radar that is probing the lunar soil within permanently shadowed regions(PSRs) -craters - to see if the radar return can yield some clues.

http://lpod.wikispaces.com/August+22%2C+2009

I’ll post the results as soon as I hear of them.

Greg

December 2014
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