Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Carnival of Space #384

Hello all! It is the holidays season, here in Israel we are celebrating Hanukkah and all over the world is X-mas and New year just soon! Best wishes for all of you my fellows. Hope you are all well and having great time.

Great things happen in space just as usual and without any further delay let's move on to the #384 edition of Carnival of Space

I am doing quite well with 3 dimensions, I can think about the 4th, but a A Universe of 10 Dimensions? Well, yes according to Universe Today which sends us the story of A Martian Blue Snake, Brought To You By Canadians And A Spacecraft as well. Mysterious? Just follow the link and see.

First findings from Rosetta: Rosetta mission results point to a non-cometary origin for Earth's water. (Space Writer) Great to know that the mission already gives important scientific data. 

EveryDaySpacer wants us to be happy so she offers From now until December 24, 2014, you have a chance to win The Year in Space Wall Calendar 2015. Way to go!! Thanks! 

And some more stories from NextBig Future:
 And from the Meridian Journal we hear about Curiosity finds new evidence Gale crater was once a large lake

I will finish with just a photo of sundials stamps which were issued TODAY in Israel, I was a consultant for this series and I will share the whole story soon, so far just enjoy the first day envelope with 3 great sundials from Israel (Here is an article about many sundials in Israel)

Sundials in Israel - First day envelope
Sundials in Israel - First day envelope

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Sundials in Salzburg

Probably when you head the word "Salzburg" you will either think about Mozart or the film "the sounds of Music", but will all due respect to those subject I looked for other things in this beautiful city, and mainly for sundials (And see my article about sundials in Israel as well).
Sundials are not very practical in Salzburg where the sun is mostly behind clouds, so most of them are used for aesthetic and artistic purposes. I found five different sundials in my last visit and If you know about mores, please add a comment.

The first sundial is in St Peter's abbey

Sundial in Salzburg
Sundial in Salzburg

The two following are in the yard of Hohensalzburg (Salzburg's castle). The first one is showing the hour only in the morning.

Sundial in Salzburg
Sundial in Salzburg

Sundial in Salzburg
Sundial in Salzburg
Back to the city, these two clock are near each other in the area surrendering Mozartplatz. The sun went out of the clouds for about twenty minutes which was enough to photograph both sundials with a shadow which shows the hour.
Sundial in Salzburg
Sundial in Salzburg

Sundial in Salzburg
Sundial in Salzburg

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Carnival of Space #370

Hi all! Here is a new edition of COS for you all to enjoy. Amazing things happen in the heavens above us all the time, so relax and find out a little about the newest stuff

From NextBigFuture

  • Aquarius a nuclear thermal rocket that uses water heated to over 3000 degrees celsius to solve many human interplanetary transportation issues.Attributes of a reusable interplanetary human spaceflight transport are proposed and applied to example transits between the Earth/Moon system and Deimos, the outer moon of Mars. Because the transport is 54% water by mass at an interplanetary departure, it is christened Aquarius. In addition to supporting crew hydration/hygiene, water aboard Aquarius serves as propellant and as enhanced crew habitat radiation shielding during interplanetary transit. Key infrastructure and technology supporting Aquarius operations include pre-emplaced consumables and subsurface habitat at Deimos with crew radiation shielding equivalent to sea level on Earth, resupply in a selenocentric distant retrograde orbit, and nuclear thermal propulsion.

    Advancing in-space nuclear thermal propulsion (NTP) technology to the point where fission reactor core temperatures exceeding 3000° C can be achieved during major translational maneuvers (burns). Under these conditions, water molecules pumped into the core will disassociate into hydrogen and oxygen atoms, and specific impulse ISP near 1000 s could be achieved. This level of efficiency, twice that attainable with chemical propulsion, dramatically reduces total mass for an interplanetary transport of specified payload mass.
  • An overview about SpaceX company
From Urban Astronomer 
From The Meridian Journal
 From UniverseToday
From CosmosQuest
That's everything for this week, enjoy reading and remember that we are all sharing the same skies!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

DSN celebrates fifty!

It really doesn't matter how good your spaceship is, where it is going or which great photos it took, if that information will not reach back to Earth, the entire effort will be in vain.
One of the greatest things that NASA did, if not the biggest wonder, is the Deep Space Network (DSN) which celebrates its fiftieth birthday.
The DSN is a marvelous engineering piece of work supporting spacecrafts as old as fifty with all different kinds of communications methods, bandwidths and protocols. The network supports  mission of close and extremely far from earth up to 19 Billion kilometers, as well as connecting with other networks which supports Low earth orbits satellites.
The network is the heart of all NASA's operations and one of the most critical assets of the planetary research.

The network has three bases spread over the entire globe. One center is in California, the second is in Spain and the third is in Australia. In those centers there are many dishes. The biggest ones are 70m in diameter and are used to receive the weak signals from Voyager 1 missions. It takes 18 hours to the signal to reach Earth. The download speed is awfully low, just 120 bits (yes bits, not Mbits) per second. In the beginning of Voyager mission and when it was closer to Earth the speed was much higher but the far distance and the need to conserve energy slowed it down.

אנטנת 70 מטר, גולדסטון קליפורניה
The 70 meter dish at Goldston California
But Voyager is not the only mission in the solar system. There are dozens of other missions and all need their communication time-slots. Each mission has different protocol, bands, frequencies and the antennas must be pointed very accurately. Managing the operation is a 24 hours job and not an easy one.
The network starts to work from a distance of 15000km from Earth. A spacecraft in this distance will always "see" at least one of the network's bases. The ISS and other satellites use different network system.
The antenna are always working and although they need maintenance there is currently no plan to do it. Such activities will bring down its networking abilities for long time and will prevent the normal operations of the missions. Keeping the DSN up and running is a major challenge for NASA in the coming years.

To celebrate the 50th birthday of the networks, NASA created a site -DSN Now- which will show you which antenna is "speaking" with which spaceship. I got addicted.

NASA's DSN site