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Dienstag, 31. Dezember 2013 - 14:30 Uhr

UFO-Forschung - Kosmos-1068 Re-Entry an Silvester 1978/1979

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1978 December 26 - . 15:30 GMT - . Launch Site: Plesetsk. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Soyuz 11A511U.

  • Cosmos 1068 - . Mass: 6,300 kg (13,800 lb). Nation: USSR. Agency: MOM. Class: Surveillance. Type: Military surveillance satellite. Spacecraft: Zenit-4MKM. Duration: 13.00 days. Decay Date: 1979-01-08 . USAF Sat Cat: 11169 . COSPAR: 1978-123A. Apogee: 389 km (241 mi). Perigee: 191 km (118 mi). Inclination: 62.8000 deg. Period: 90.40 min. Summary: High resolution photo reconnaissance satellite; returned film capsule; maneuverable..

Exploded view-Zenit
Exploded View of Typical Components of a Zenit-class reconnaissance satellite:. 1 - Power module; 2 - Solar panels; 3 - SA re-entry capsule, which returns film and camera to earth; 4 - Command radio antenna; 5 - Cold gas tanks of the pressurisation/thermal control system; 6 - Radar altimeter; 7 - Equipment module; 8 - Orientation system engine; 9 - Solid rocket motor deorbit engine; 10 - Thermoregulation system radiators; 11 - Equipment frame; 12 - Infrared horizon scanner; 13 - Electrical system umbilical; 14 - Mayak system antennae

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The sheer number of witnesses is another likely indicator of the meteoric origin of the fireball. But in other cases the re-entry into earth’s atmosphere of space debris, such as rocket bodies and satellites, have led people to believe they were seeing UFOs. Possibly the best known example from the UK happened on New Year’s Eve 1978, as this extract from my book The UFO Files explains:

“….The night of 31 December 1978 was cold and clear, and across the British Isles people were out of doors bringing in the New Year. A few minutes after 7.00 pm many hundreds were amazed to see a bright light with a long trail behind it streaking across the heavens on a northwest to southeast path. In the space of just a couple of hours the MoD received a total of 120 separate sighting reports and civilian UFO groups received hundreds more. The source of this spectacular flap was quickly identified by the RAF’s early warning base at Fylingdales in North Yorkshire as the re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere of a booster rocket that had launched a Russian satellite, Cosmos 1068, into orbit on Boxing Day. The rocket burned up over northern Europe, with pieces falling to the ground in Germany.

“Although most observers gave a sound description of the New Year’s Eve UFO a few provided wildly inaccurate details, particularly of its size and altitude. Exact estimation of the height of an object in the dark sky is extremely difficult, if not impossible. For example, some observers believed the object was as low as 1,000 ft, when in reality it was many miles above the Earth. Others gave a time for their sighting that was one hour or more in error.

“Several described what they had seen in imaginative terms, for example ‘cigar-shaped, very bright, with lighted windows’ (Manchester), ‘similar to a German V-2 rocket’ (Bradford) and ‘train-shaped, 120 ft long tapering at the front with 40 plus bright lights all along the side’ (Newmarket). A few refused to believe the UFO was a Russian rocket at all. One, who served five years in the RAF, said he was familiar ‘with meteors and re-entry of space debris [and] found it difficult to accept the [MoD’s] explanation for this occurrence.’

Quelle: Dr David Clarke

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Am 4.Januar 1979 dann in der Klagenfurter ´Kleinen Zeitung´: "Britisches UFO wahrscheinlich Überreste einer sowjetischen Rakete" - Bei dem am Silvesterabend von zahlreichen Personen über der Ostküste Großbritanniens beobachteten unbekannten Flugobjekten (UFO) handelt es sich wahrscheinlich um Überreste einer sowjetischen Rakete, die in der Atmosphäre verglühgten. Diese Ansicht vertrat am Dienstagabend das britische Verteidigungsministerium. In einem Kommunique wies das Ministerium darauf hin, dass die UdSSR am 26.Dezember den Satelliten Kosmos 1068 startete.

Quelle: CENAP-Newsticker 5.01.2009

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"Teil eines unbekannten Flugkörpers abgestürzt - Kegelförmiger Metallgegenstand schlug in Bruchhagen auf" hieß es aus Steyerberg am 9.Januar 1979 in ´Die Harke´: Nun ist es also doch geschehen: Sicherlich waren es noch keine Besucher unbekannter Welten, die am Vorabend des gerade beendeten Jahres über dem Kreis Nienburg schwebten ("Die Harke" berichtete), doch müssen die zahlreichen Beobachtungen aufmerksamer Bürger am klaren winterlichen Nachthimmel andere, handfestere Hintergründe gehabt haben. jedenfalls schlug in der Nacht vom 31.Dezember zum 1.Januar auf einem Feld des Bruchhagener Landwirts Friedhelm Schumacher ein bisher nicht identifiziertes Teil eines Flugkörpers ein, um den sich zunächst die Polizei und jetzt andere zuständige Stellen den Kopf zerbrechen. Und so soll es sich zugetragen haben: Hilde und Friedhelm Schumacher befanden sich am Silvesterabend kurz nach 20 h auf dem Fußweg von ihrem recht einsam gelegenen Gehöft zu einer Silvesterfeier, als sie am Himmel mehrere leuchtende, still und langsam in großer Höhe vorüberziehende Objekte beobachteten. "Im ersten Moment dachten wir an Silvesterraketen, doch waren diese viel zu hoch und zudem etwa zwei Minuten lang am Himmel", erklärte Hilde Schumacher, die auch beobachtet haben will, daß die leuchtenden Himmelskörper einen leichten Bogen beschrieben. Dabei soll es sich um einen größeren und einige kleinere gelb leuchtende Körper mit rötlichem Schweif gehandelt haben. "Ich hatte Sorge, daß die Dinger auf den Hof fallen", meinte die junge Landwirtsfrau, doch sie war erleichtert, als die sich nach ihren Angaben von Nord nach Süd bewegenden Punkte das Gehöft überflogen hatten. Am anderen Morgen stutzte Hilde Schumacher, als sie etwa 200 Meter entfernt auf freiem Feld einen im Boden steckenden Metallkörper ausmachte, den sie allein kaum schleppen konnte. Gedanken über den teilweise verglühten Metall-Kegel machte man sich indes erst nach der UFO-Glosse in der "Harke", nach deren Lektüre umgehend die Polizei benachrichtigt wurde.

Schwiegermutter Else Schumacher dagegen konnte sich erinnern, in der Neujahrsnacht durch ein undefinierbares Geräusch erwacht zu sein: "Ich habe irgend etwas gehört und konnte daraufhin sehr schlecht wieder einschlafen." Nach der im gefrorenen Boden steckenden Metall-Kapsel muß der Gegenstand von Nordwest nach Südost geflogen sein, doch kann er sich auf dem Boden nach dem Aufschlag auch gedreht haben, meinten die Entdecker, die den etwa zehn Kilomgramm schweren, aus dunkelgrauem Metall in einem Stück gegossenen und am oberen Ende stark geschmolzenen Kugel zeurst sahen. Der an beiden Seiten offene Kegel hat eine Höhe von etwa 110 Zentimetern, unten einen Durchmesser von 77 und oben von 30 Zentimetern. Die doppelt geriffelte Wandung hat einen Durchmesser von etwa fünf Millimetern. Nach Bekanntwerden des Fundes sicherte die Polizei die Absturzstelle. Spezialisten der nahen niederländischen Luftwaffe nahmen danach eine Strahlenmessung vor, die dem Vernehmen nach negtaiv verlief. Wie berichtet, haben auch zahlreiche andere Mitbürger die leuchtenden Erscheinungen am klaren Silvesterhimmel gegen 20 h beobachtet, die zudem von einer Reihe von Anrufen in der Redaktion bestätigt wurden. Der Erichshagener Peter Rautenberg hatte sogar zur Uhr geschaut, als die ungewöhnlichen Himmelskörper auftauchten: "Es war genau 20:05 h, als die leuchtenden Punkte geräuschlos und recht langsam in großer Höhe in Richtung Estorf flogen." Zur gleichen Zeit stand der Steyerberger Geschäftsmann Fritz Dolle auf der dortigen Bahnhofstraße, um auf Silvestergäste zu warten. Er berichtet: "Die Himmelskörper kam aus nordwestlicher Richtung und togen nach Südost ab. Da mich das Geschehen am Firmament interessierte, sah ich genauer hin und stellte fest, daß es zwischen den Flugkörpern irgendwie funkte." Das Ganze habe etwa zehn Sekunden gedauert; dann sei alles vorbei gewesen. Der Nienburger Siegfried Wender war mit zwei Bekannten per Auto auf dem Weg nach Marklohe, als man das Leuchten am Himmel wahrnahm. "Es waren drei untereinander fliegende Leuchtpunkte, die sich ganz langsam über die B 6 in Richtung des Waldes über Wohlenhausen bewegten", sagte er. Die drei Autoinsassen hatten auf dem Lemker Berg gehalten und sahen, wie die Objekte zur Erde gingen. Ihnen war allerdings der Blick durch einen Wald verstellt. Auch in Nienburg, Haßbergen, Hassel, Stöckse, in Liebenau, Mehlbergen und weiter im Südkreis war das unbekannte Himmelstreiben auszumachen. Eine Uchterin berichtete, daß sie gegen 20 h "etwa 25 UFOs" gesehen habe. Obwohl Spekulationen über das Ereignis derzeit wie UFOs aus dem Winterhimmel schießen, wird die Möglichkeit eines nach Eintritt in die Erdatmosphäre verglühenden oder explodierenden Satelliten von vielen Beobachtern in betracht gezogen. Möglicherweise könnte es bereits die amerikanische Raumstation Skylab sein, deren Verglühen vor einiger Zeit bekanntgegeben wurde. Um was für ein Objekt -ob militärisch oder zivil- es sich wirklich handelt, wollen jetzt zuständige Stellen klären.

 

+ Der lange Artikel wurde von zwei Fotos begleitet, eines ist mit folgendem Text begleitet: "So hat der Metallkegel im Boden gesteckt", erklärte der 13jährige Cord Schumacher, der zusammen mit seinem gleichaltrigen Freund Karsten Windler die Absturzstelle auch bei Dunkelheit wiederfand. Das vom Firmament gefallene unbekannte Objekt wurde sofort nach Bekanntwerden von der Polizei in Sicherheit gebracht." Die zweite Aufnahme zeigt den UFO-Kegel als solches recht gut, der Text hierzu: "Dieser etwa 10 kg schwere kegelförmige, zum Teil geschmolzene Metallkörper ging nachts auf dem Acker des Bruchhagener Landwirts Schumacher nieder. Ob es sich dabei um einen Teil des US-Himmelskörpers SKYLAB oder um ein anderes Objekt handelt, wollen zuständige Stellen jetzt klären." Tatsächlich handelte es sich um einen russischen Re-Entry-Körper.

Quelle: CENAP-Newsticker 5.01.2009

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"Schubdüse einer Rakete stürzte auf einen Acker" meldete die ´Hannoversche Allgemeine Zeitung´ am 13.Januar 1979: Bei dem etwa 1,10 Meter langen und zehn Kilogramm schweren, teilweise verglühten Metallkegel, der in der Neujahrsnacht in Bruchhagen bei Nienburg auf einem Acker gestürzt ist, handelt es sich nach Angaben des Luftfahrtbundesamtes in Braunschweig um einen Teil einer Schubdüse. Derartige Düsen befinden sich - so das B raunschweiger Amt - an "jeder normalen Rakete". Deshalb könnte über den Typ der Rakete und ihre Herkunft noch nichts gesagt werden. Der Metallkegel war zunächst als Teil eines unbekannten Flugobjekts (UFO) angesehen worden. Er befindet sich gegenwärtig im Bundesverteidigungsministerium, wo er genau analysiert wird. In Nienburg und Umgebung wird damit gerechnet, dass nach der Schneeschmelze weitere Raketenteile im südlichen Kreisgebiet und im angrenzenden Nordrhein-Westfalen gefunden werden.

Quelle: CENAP-Newsticker 5.01.2009

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Quelle: Die Harke


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Dienstag, 31. Dezember 2013 - 10:00 Uhr

Raumfahrt - MARS EXPRESS vor Flyby von Phobos am 29.Dezember 2013

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23.12.2013

Mars Express HRSC image of Phobos, taken on 7 March 2010

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Late this month, ESA’s Mars Express will make the closest flyby yet of the Red Planet’s largest moon Phobos, skimming past at only 45 km above its surface.

The flyby on 29 December will be so close and fast that Mars Express will not be able to take any images, but instead it will yield the most accurate details yet of the moon’s gravitational field and, in turn, provide new details of its internal structure.

As the spacecraft passes close to Phobos, it will be pulled slightly off course by the moon’s gravity, changing the spacecraft’s velocity by no more than a few centimetres per second. These small deviations will be reflected in the spacecraft’s radio signals as they are beamed back to Earth, and scientists can then translate them into measurements of the mass and density structure inside the moon.

Earlier flybys, including the previous closest approach of 67 km in March 2010, have already suggested that the moon could be between a quarter and a third empty space – essentially a rubble pile with large spaces between the rocky blocks that make up the moon’s interior.

Knowing the structure of the roughly 27 x 22 x 18 km Phobos will help to solve a big mystery concerning its origin and that of its more distant sibling, Deimos, which orbits Mars at approximately three times greater distance.

The leading theories propose that the duo are either asteroids captured by Mars, or that they were born from debris thrown up from giant impacts on Mars.

“By making close flybys of Phobos with Mars Express in this way, we can help to put constraints on the origin of these mysterious moons,” says Olivier Witasse, ESA’s Mars Express project scientist.

In addition to probing the gravitational field of Phobos during its close approach, Mars Express will be making measurements of how the solar wind influences the moon’s surface.

“At just 45 km from the surface, our spacecraft is passing almost within touching distance of Phobos,” says Michel Denis, Mars Express Operations Manager.

“We’ve been carrying out manoeuvres every few months to put the spacecraft on track and, together with the ground stations that will be monitoring it on its close approach, we are ready to make some extremely accurate measurements at Phobos.”

Both the position of the spacecraft and the moon must be known to high precision in order to make the most accurate calculations of the moon’s internal characteristics. To improve the positional data, the spacecraft’s high-resolution stereo camera has been capturing images of Phobos set against the background star field in the weeks leading up to closest approach and will continue to do so afterwards.

Furthermore, ground stations around the world will track the spacecraft for a total of 35 hours in the lead up to, during, and after the flyby to ensure that the position of Mars Express is precisely known.

“Mars Express entered orbit around the Red Planet exactly ten years ago this week – this close flyby of Phobos is certainly an exciting way to celebrate!” adds Olivier.

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Phobos in 3D

Mars Express HRSC (High Resolution Stereo Camera) image of Phobos taken on 9 January 2011 at a distance of 100 km with a resolution of 8.1 m/pixel. Use red-blue glasses to fully appreciate this image.

Phobos is approximately 27 × 22 × 18 km and orbits Mars at a distance of 6000 km above the planet’s surface, or 9400 km from the centre of the planet.

Quelle: ESA

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Update: 28.12.2013

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MARS EXPRESS AUF DEM WEG ZU WAGHALSIGEM MANÖVER BEI PHOBOS

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Am 29. Dezember wird Europas Mars Mission den kürzesten, je versuchten Vorbeiflug am Mars-Mond Phobos durchführen, nur 45 km an der Oberfläche vorbei. Das Vorbeiflugmanöver wird so nahe und schnell sein, dass die ESA-Sonde keine Bilder aufzeichnen, sondern stattdessen das Schwerefeld des Mondes sehr genau untersuchen wird. Dies soll wiederum neue Erkenntnisse zur inneren Struktur des seit langem von der Wissenschaft anvisierten Himmelskörpers liefern. Gesteuert wird Mars Express vom Europäischen Satellitenkontrollzentrum ESA/ESOC in Darmstadt.

Quelle: ESA

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Update: 29.12.2013

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Phobos flyby now

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Update at 05:00GMT

We are now transmitting from NASA's 70m deep-space station in Madrid, DSS-63, and have released ESA's 35m station at New Norcia.

The hand-over between the two networks was very smooth with both DSN [NASA] and ESTRACK [ESA] performing their duties exactly on time despite an unusually tight schedule and a hand-over method that is not routinely used.

The telemetry modulation was switched off again at 03:46GMT (04:46CET) and will remain off until shortly after we begin tracking with NASA's 70m station at Goldstone, California, DSS-14, at 11:23GMT (12:32CET). Until then we will be relying on a system that the NASA tracking stationcolleagues have very helpfully provided for us, in which we can monitor directly their spectrum analysers and check on the quality of the signal.

Everything is currently running as planned and the next event will be the fly-by itself!

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Phobos-Maps

As you read this, at 08:09 CET, Mars Express will be making its closest-ever flyby of Phobos!

MEX is transmitting a continuous radio signal across 208 million km of space, which is being tracked and received by NASA's 70m station at Madrid. The recording will enable scientists to precisely reconstruct the spacecraft's trajectory and, hence, know the gravitational influence of Phobos.

The one-way signal time is 11 minutes, 35.4 seconds right now.

If you were standing on the (lumpy) surface of Phobos and looked up, the animation below shows more or less what you would see: ESA's spacecraft as a pinpoint of light slowly but steadily advancing across the sky.

A few minutes ago, I got an update from the Mars Express Dedicated Control Room at ESOC: everything is going as planned!

The tracking today will continue through until this evening; NASA Goldstone takes over tracking at 11:02 GMT (12:02 CET) until 19:00 GMT (20:00 CET). ESA's New Norcia station will also shadow track starting at 17:06 GMT (18:06 CET). The MEX transmitter will remain on until tomorrow at 01:12 GMT (02:12 CET).

Months of preparation have culminated in a successful and – As hoped for! – relatively quiet tracking and flyby operation. Best wishes and well done to the ESA and NASA pros who made this work.

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Phobos flyby timeline

13-362T 17:40:00Z New Norcia (NNO) station starts tracking Mars Express
13-363T 01:30:00Z DSS-63 acquires the signal from MEX
13-363T 03:21:52Z DSS-63 takes over as primary station
13-363T 03:44:05Z NNO stops tracking MEX
13-363T 07:09:00Z Mars Express – closest approach to Phobos (45km from surface)
13-363T 07:20:35Z Signals from closest approach reach Earth (due to the one-way light time)
13-363T 08:55:00Z DSS-14 begins tracking MEX
13-363T 11:02:50Z DSS-14 takes over as primary station
13-363T 11:25:00Z DSS-63 stops tracking MEX
13-363T 17:06:02Z NNO begins tracking MEX
13-363T 18:37:53Z NNO takes over as primary station
13-363T 19:00:00Z DSS-14 stops tracking MEX
13-364T 01:12:30Z The transmitters on MEX start switching off; flyby 'mission' ends

Quelle: ESA

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Update: 31.12.2013

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Mars Express Orbiter Buzzes Martian Moon Phobos

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Phobos photographed by the ESA's Mars Express orbiter with Mars' limb in the background in 2010.

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On Sunday, at 5:17 p.m. GMT (12:17 p.m. EST), Europe’s Mars Express orbiter successfully completed a daring low-pass of Mars’ largest moon Phobos.

In an effort to precisely measure the gravitational field of the moon, the 10 year-old mission was sent on a trajectory that took it only 45 kilometers (28 miles) from the dusty surface, the closest any spacecraft has ever come to the natural satellite.

At the time of flyby, Mars Express was transmitting a “continuous radio signal across 208 million km of space” to NASA’s radio antennae near Madrid, Spain, wrote Daniel Scuka at ESA’s European Space Operations Centre, Darmstadt, Germany, in a blog update. The 70 meter radio antenna is part of NASA’s Deep Space Network (DSN), which precisely tracked the spacecraft’s signal. Post-flyby, NASA’s 70 meter Goldstone DSN antenna in the Mojave Desert, Calif., and ESA’s 35 meter antenna at New Norcia in Australia continued to track the mission.

During the flyby, DSN operators reported “a slight effect in the Doppler residuals,” meaning that, as expected, Phobos’ gravity had accelerated Mars Express’ orbital velocity very slightly. Through careful analysis of the Doppler shifting of the radio signal, Phobos’ gravity can be measured, allowing scientists to discern its mass and density — the most precise measurement to date.

All focus was on the spacecraft’s ability to send a continuous stream of data back to Earth, so close-up snapshots were not a possibility.

“In order to perform the Phobos flyby radio science measurements, the spacecraft needed to have its high gain antenna dish pointed at Earth for the entire duration of the flyby operations,” said Scuka. “This meant that we were not able to conduct observations with any of the other instruments (which would need to be pointed at Mars).”

However, the operation allowed the spacecraft to beam back an extra 200 Gigabits of observational data, including imagery of Phobos during an earlier 500 kilometer pass of the moon.

The successful flyby marks the end of months of planning by the ESA team managing Mars Express that, as of last week, has been in Mars orbit for 10 years. This flyby opportunity will hopefully provide further clues to the origin of the knobbly 13.4 kilometer (8.3 mile) wide moon that orbits Mars only 6,000 kilometers (3,700 miles) from the planet’s surface.

By precisely measuring the gravitational influence on a spacecraft during flyby, planetary scientists will better understand the moon’s composition. During previous flybys, scientists calculated that the moon must be one-third empty space, which means the object may be a “rubble pile” — an agglomeration of smaller rocks hold together under a mutual gravity. But did the material come from a cataclysmic Mars impact? Or was Phobos, and its smaller satellite sibling Deimos, once an asteroid that got captured by Mars’ gravity?

Those answers may not come until we can carry out a dedicated sample return mission of the moon’s regolith, but the flyby will certainly aid our understanding of Phobos’ internal structure.

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Quelle: D-News


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Montag, 30. Dezember 2013 - 09:49 Uhr

Raumfahrt - ISS Mikrometeoriten und Orbital Debris (MMOD) Schutz

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Quelle: NASA


2801 Views

Montag, 30. Dezember 2013 - 09:05 Uhr

Astronomie - Die Jagd nach Meteoriten beginnt in der Antarktis

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The Antarctic Search for Meteorites didn't glean as many meteorites as hoped during the , but still came back with hundreds of specimens — and photos.

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Antarctica is one of the best places on Earth to spot these fallen stars.

Each winter — which is summer in down south — camps out on an Antarctic glacier in the middle of nowhere, often where no human has ever tread. It's kind of like a space voyage, but a lot cheaper.

And it's the meteorite that's done most of the traveling.

"It's an amazing journey to think about, and a very precious rock," says Jani Radebaugh, a planetary scientist at Brigham Young University, from a tent about 500 miles from the South Pole. She's one of eight in an expedition group funded by NASA and based out of Case Western Reserve University.

Each day, she and her team members set out on snowmobiles, scanning the horizon for black specks — samples that will eventually make it to NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston.

Most of the meteorites have been since they landed on Earth millions of years ago. The glacier keeps them fairly sterile, preserving the specimens almost as a deep freezer would. And the white-and-blue expanse gives a good backdrop for the search, which is a little like looking for an ant on a white tablecloth — if the tablecloth were million-year-old, mile-thick blue ice.

"As soon as you see that dark black fusion crust on the outside, you just get so excited," Radebaugh says. "Everyone jumps up and just starts waving their hands."

Then, they drop to their knees to measure, photograph and collect the meteorite. They get excited because these rocks can offer precious information — like clues about the early solar system, and whether there was ever life on Mars.

The meteorite hunters are a hardy crew. Sleeping on a creaky slab of ice hundreds of feet thick can be a bit unnerving.

"The only thing I can hear is the popping of the glacier underneath me," Radebaugh says. "You're sitting on a giant, moving body of ice. And sometimes you forget that, until you hear the pops and groans. It's really magical."

Radebaugh and her colleagues will spend close to two months out on the ice, one group of a long line that has collected more than 20,000 meteorites in the last few decades.

This year's expedition is a little different from past years. It's a lot shorter — delayed by about a month because of the . Bad weather has prevented the other half of the eight-person crew from landing, despite efforts to smooth a landing strip on the ice for the ski-equipped planes.

The team that is on the ground is doing its best, enjoying 24 hours of daylight and the thrill of finding chunks of other worlds.

They'll celebrate New Year's Eve under the midnight sun, listening to the popping glacier, and perhaps dreaming about popping a cork.

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Quelle: npr


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Sonntag, 29. Dezember 2013 - 22:30 Uhr

Raumfahrt - Mondlandung von China´s Change3-Mond-Rover Update Teil-4

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Frams von Mondlande-Video von Change-3

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Quelle: Beijing Aerospace Flight Control Center

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Update:

ANALYSIS: Lunar success marks China's rise as next space power

BEIJING--China took one giant leap toward becoming a space power, boosting national prestige and possibly securing rare energy resources by successfully soft-landing its first lunar probe.
It also leapfrogged Japan, whose commitment to lunar exploration has not been as steadfast as China’s.
China became the third nation to land a probe on the moon after the former Soviet Union and the United States on Dec. 14, when the unmanned Chang’e 3 touched down. It was the first probe to land on the moon since 1976. The Yutu rover descended down a ladder the following day to the lunar surface.
At the Beijing Aerospace Command and Control Center, Chinese President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang applauded Dec. 15, when the probe and rover, both bearing Chinese flags, took photos of each other.
Chang’e is a fairy living on the moon in a Chinese legend, and Yutu is a rabbit beside her.
The Xi administration aims to show off advances in science and technology and boost national prestige. It also hopes to stir nationalistic fervor and consolidate public support.
China has been trying to rival the United States and other major powers not only in politics and economy but in space development.
The country plans to build its own space station around 2020 and land a manned probe on the moon by around 2025.
Analysts say China is also trying to secure a greater claim on lunar resources, such as helium 3, a rare potential fuel for nuclear fusion power generation.
The Dec. 15 edition of the Beijing Youth Daily newspaper said, “China can obtain a certificate to sharing lunar interests only by carrying out exploration and gaining actual results.” It also said, “How to protect China’s interest in outer space has become an inevitable question.”
Many people praised the probe’s successful landing on China’s Weibo microblogging sites, but some asked, “Is there a meaning in spending a lot of money when children in poor areas cannot eat sufficiently?” and “What does the landing matter? Will poor people become rich?”
Japan, which has a similar space program, has lagged substantially behind China in technology development.
Its Kaguya probe, launched in September 2007, a month before China’s Chang’e 1, orbited 100 kilometers above the moon and collected detailed surface data. Japan planned to land a successor probe on the moon and release a rover around 2013.
But the importance of a lunar mission has become ambiguous in Japan after the United States, its key partner in space development, shifted its focus from the moon to Mars and other planets under the Obama administration.
Japan had a plan to explore the moon's interior, but it has not been realized due partly to delays in equipment development. China, meanwhile, has proceeded steadily with its lunar program.
China’s lunar probe is tasked with exploring the moon’s surface and observing the Earth and other planets. It is expected to provide geological data that sheds light on the moon’s origins and detailed observational data of the planets.
According to Science, a U.S. research journal, the Yutu rover, equipped with radar, can investigate geological structures 100 meters below the surface. The Chang’e 3 probe can observe the terrestrial plasmasphere with a special wide-angle camera.
Teruhisa Tsujino of the Japan Science and Technology Agency said he is closely watching to see if the mission will survive the moon's harsh environment for three months, which are equivalent to three lunar days.
On the moon, temperatures can plummet to 180 degrees below zero at night and, depending on the location, soar to more than 100 degrees during the day.
Hiroo Hieda, a director of the Institute for Future Engineering, said the mission will be a good chance for China to show off its high technological levels to the international community.
(This article was compiled from reports by Kim Soon-hi in Beijing and Yuki Takayama and Shiho Tomioka in Tokyo.)
Quelle: The Asahi Shimbun Company

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Frams von 1.Foto von Change-3 von Yutu

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Quelle: CNTV

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Update: 

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"Bemerkenswert" Felsen in der Reichweite von Jade Kaninchen Rover

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Some of the youngest lava flows on the Moon are within reach of China's Jade Rabbit rover, says a leading US lunar scientist.
The Chang'e-3 mission touched down on Saturday at the eastern edge of its designated landing box.
Dr Paul Spudis said the landing area was more interesting than its original destination and could fill in gaps in our knowledge of lunar history.
Meanwhile, officials have said that the rover's instruments are now working.
Five of the eight pieces of scientific equipment on Chang'e-3 had begun their observations, state-run Xinhua news agency said.
Continue reading the main story
Whether by design or fortuitous accident, this site is actually more interesting geologically than the spacecraft's original destination”
Paul Spudis
Lunar and Planetary Institute (LPI)
The telescopes and cameras are producing clear images, Zou Yongliao, a scientist with the Chinese Academy of Sciences, said at a press conference.
The lander and rover photographed each other on Sunday evening.
The Chinese craft performed the first "soft" landing (non-crash landing) on the Moon since 1976. And Jade Rabbit, or Yutu, is the first rover mission since the Soviet Union's Lunokhod-2 trundled through the grey soil 40 years ago.
A touch down had been planned in the Moon's Sinus Iridum (Bay of Rainbows). But the spacecraft actually landed on the northern edge of Mare Imbrium (the Sea of Rains) - visible on Earth as the right eye of the "Man in the Moon".
In a blog entry for the Smithsonian's Air and Space magazine, Dr Spudis, from the Lunar and Planetary Insitute in Houston, said: "Whether by design or fortuitous accident, this site is actually more interesting geologically than the spacecraft's original destination."
Chang'e 3 landed at the extreme northern end of a sequence of lava flows, which are estimated - by counting the number of impact craters on them - to be very young in lunar terms.
Dr Spudis said two major terrain types dominated lunar geology: the bright rugged highlands dating from the Moon's formation 4.5 billion years ago, and the younger "maria", dark volcanic plains made up of iron-rich lava flows.
The lavas began to erupt around 3.9 billion years ago, but it is unclear when this volcanic activity ended. The Mare Imbrium lavas appear to be between one and 2.5 billion years old, making them much younger than any of the rock samples returned from the Moon thus far.
Dr Spudis said the Imbrium lavas were "not only remarkable for their physical properties but are also compositionally interesting".
"Because the rover will examine several different individual areas during its traverse, we will obtain new "ground truth" data to better understand the meaning of data obtained remotely from orbit," he explained.
"At a minimum, Yutu will examine the composition of the surface lava flow."
Data gathered from orbit show the lavas to be high in the metal titanium. Volcanic flows to the north of the landing site seem have a lower titanium content and appear to underlie the ones that Chang'e-3 sits on.
But some of these underlying rocks may have been excavated by impacts, allowing Jade Rabbit to look for them among the debris around craters.
"With data from the rover, we might be able to reconstruct the volcanic stratigraphy of this region of the Moon," said Dr Spudis.
"The Chang'e-3 lander and Yutu rover can provide many answers to our questions regarding the geological history of this region of the Moon and about lunar history in general."
China said it would launch Chang'e-5, a mission to return samples of rock and soil from the Moon, in 2017.
Quelle: BBC

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Update: 17.12.2013

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Steuer+Bremsdüsen von Change-3

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Quelle: CNTV

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Most Chang'e-3 science tools activated

 

18.12.2013 - Students learn about the ongoing Chang'e-3 mission at a primary school in Ganyu, Jiangsu province, on Tuesday. Designers are pleased with the mission's success so far, as experiments have gone more smoothly than expected.  (Photo: China Daily)

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Six out of the eight pieces of scientific equipment deployed to the moon with the Chang'e-3 lunar mission have been activated by scientists and are functioning properly, according to scientists working on the mission.

 

Speaking at a news conference on Tuesday, scientists said that the equipment aboard the Yutu lunar rover and the Chang'e-3 lander had so far been functioning as hoped, despite the unexpectedly rigorous conditions of the lunar environment.

 

"Except for the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer and the visible and near-infrared imaging spectrometer, the instruments have all been activated and are undergoing tests and adjustments," said Su Yan, deputy designer of the Chang'e-3 ground applications system.

 

Zhang He, deputy designer of the probe, said though the temperature disparity is greater than scientists had anticipated, all the equipment on the moon is in "perfect" condition, and optical and ultraviolet-imaging experiments are under way.

 

Scientists with the ground applications system are expecting to receive a colossal quantity of original data from the rover and lander, which have independent channels to send signals, Su said. The earlier Chang'e-1 and Chang'e-2 craft only had one channel each, he said.

 

The mission's success so far has been a relief to Wu Weiren, chief designer of China's lunar probe program. He said the whole process, including the launch, the soft landing, the separation of the rover and lander and the ongoing experiments, have gone "much smoother" than he had expected.

 

"We made more than 200 plans to respond to any possible emergencies, and they cover each step of the mission," he said. "I am proud that we haven't needed to use them so far."

 

On Saturday, China became the third nation in the world, after the United States and the former Soviet Union, to soft-land a probe on the moon when the unmanned Chang'e-3 successfully set down.

 

The 140-kilogram, six-wheeled Yutu rover separated from the lander and touched the lunar surface early on Sunday, leaving deep tracks in the loose soil.

 

The mission is the second phase of China's current moon exploration program, which includes orbiting, landing and returning to Earth. It follows the success of the Chang'e-1 and Chang'e-2 missions in 2007 and 2010.

 

The next steps for Chinese scientists and engineers, Wu said, are to guarantee that the program's goals are achieved and to make full use of data obtained by the probe.

 

Given the success of Chang'e-3, the Chang'e-4, a backup probe, will be upgraded and serve as a prototype for the technologies being used in the Chang'e-5.

 

The job of Chang'e-5 will be to land on the moon and return to Earth with lunar soil samples.

 

Development of the Long March-5 rocket series and the construction of the new launch center in Wenchang, on the island province of Hainan, are going well, said Liu Jianzhong, deputy designer of the rocket system.

 

"Among other advantages, the latitude of Wenchang is lower than that of Xichang, enabling the rocket to use less fuel to send satellites or probes into orbit," Liu said.

 

"In addition, launching from the Wenchang facility means the rocket's wreckage will fall into the sea rather than onto inhabited areas, saving us many problems we would have to handle."

 

Responding to questions on whether China will send probes to Mars, which has become a key goal for many foreign space organizations, Wu said China has the potential to go there in the wake of the successes of the Chang'e-1 and Chang'e-2 missions.

 

"We follow our own approach that respects stable progress and dislikes rash and reckless moves," he said. "We don't want to compete with any country in this regard. Moreover, the final decision is up to the government."
Quelle: China Daily

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Update: 21.12.2013

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China's moon rover, Yutu (Jade Rabbit), continued exploring after a "nap", according to the State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defence on Friday.

At about 8:00 p.m. Beijing Time, the six-wheeled rover started moving again after shutting down its subsystems on Dec. 16.

Yutu has had to deal with direct solar radiation raising the temperature to over 100 degrees centigrade on his sunny side, while his shaded side simultaneously fell below zero.

"The break had been planned to last until Dec. 23, but the scientists decided to restart Yutu now for more research time, based on the recent observations and telemetry parameters," said Pei Zhaoyu, spokesman for the lunar program.

Yutu separated from the lander on Dec. 15, several hours after Chang'e-3 soft-landed on Dec. 14. It moved to a spot about 9 meters to the north where Yutu and the lander took photos of each other.

Yutu will survey the moon's geological structure and surface substances and look for natural resources for three months, while the lander will conduct in-situ exploration at the landing site for one year.

Quelle: Xinhua

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Update: 22.12.2013

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China's moon rover, Yutu (Jade Rabbit), worked in stable condition following its restart after a "nap" on Friday night, according to the Beijing Aerospace Control Center (BACC).

The six-wheeled rover started moving again after shutting down its subsystems on Dec. 16, and has traveled about 21 meters as of 8:05 p.m. Beijing Time on Saturday, according to the BACC.

Xinhua reporters observed at the center that the rover is moving slowly and tracks of the wheels can be seen clearly at around 5:00 p.m..

Real-time telemetry updates showed that all subsystems of the rover and lander are working stably, and the rover has sent more than 500 instructions to the lander within the 24 hours after the "nap".

Yutu separated from the lander on Dec. 15, several hours after Chang'e-3 soft-landed on Dec. 14. It moved to a spot about 9 meters to the north where Yutu and the lander took photos of each other.

Yutu will survey the moon's geological structure and surface substances and look for natural resources for three months, while the lander will conduct in-situ exploration at the landing site for one year.

Quelle: Xinhua

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Update: 25.12.2013

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China's moon rover "sleeps" through lunar night

BEIJING, The moon rover and lander of China's Chang'e 3 lunar probe mission will "sleep" during the lunar night, enduring extreme low temperatures on the lunar surface.

According to Wu Fenglei of the Beijing Aerospace Control Center, the lander will "go to sleep" at about 7 a.m. on Christmas Day and the moon rover, Jade Rabbit, will fall asleep at about 1 a.m. on Boxing Day.

The forthcoming lunar night, expected to begin on Dec. 26, will last for about two weeks, experts with the center estimated. During their "sleep", both lander and rover will have to tolerate minus 180 degrees Celsius. Scientists tested the lander early Tuesday to ensure it can stand the temperature drop.

Both lander and rover are stable, said Wu, adding they have completed a series of scientific tasks in the past two days.

Chang'e-3 soft-landed on the moon's Sinus Iridum, or the Bay of Rainbows, on Dec. 14, establishing China as the third country to carry out such a mission after the United States and Soviet Union.

Yutu, the rover, will survey the moon's geological structure and surface substances and look for natural resources for three months, while the lander will conduct in-situ exploration at the landing site for one year.

Quelle: Xinhua

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Update: 29.12.2013

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1st Chang’e-3 Lunar Panorama
Portion of 1st panorama around Chang’e-3 landing site showing China’s Yutu rover leaving tracks in the lunar soil as it drives across the Moon’s surface on Dec. 15, 2013. Images taken by Chang’e-3 lander following Dec. 14 touchdown. Panoramic view was created from screen shots of a news video assembled into a mosaic.
Credit: CNSA/CCTV/screenshot mosaics & processing by Marco Di Lorenzo/Ken Kremer


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As night fell on the Earth’s Moon, China’s Yutu rover and mothership lander have both entered a state of hibernation determined to survive the frigidly harsh lunar night upon the magnificently desolate gray plains.

Yutu went to sleep at 5:23 a.m. Dec. 26, Beijing time, upon a command sent by mission control at the Beijing Aerospace Control Center (BACC), according to China’s State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defence (SASTIND).

The Chang’e-3 lander began its long nap hours earlier at 11:00 a.m. Beijing time on Christmas Day, Dec. 25.

The vehicles must now endure the lunar night, which spans 14 Earth days in length, as well as the utterly low temperatures which plunge to below minus 180 degrees Celsius.

Yutu rover points mast with cameras and high gain antenna downwards to inspect lunar soil around landing site in this photo taken by Chang’e-3 lander. Credit: CNSA

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Scientists completed a series of engineering tests on the probes to ensure they were ready to withstand the steep temperature drop, said Wu Fenglei of the Beijing Aerospace Control Center, to the Xinhua state news agency.

Since there is no sunlight, the solar panels can’t provide any power and have been folded back.

So they face a massive engineering challenge to endure the extremely cold lunar night.

Therefore in order to survive the frigid lunar environment, a radioisotopic heat source is onboard to provide heat to safeguard the rovers and landers delicate computer and electronics subsystems via the thermal control system.

They are situated inside a warmed box below the deck that must be maintained at a minimum temperature of about minus 40 degrees Celsius to prevent debilitating damage.

So the two spacecraft still have to prove they can hibernate and eventually emerge intact from the unforgiving lunar night.

Just prior to going to sleep, the 140 kg Yutu rover flexed its robotic arm and Chinese space engineers at BACC completed an initial assessment testing its joints and control mechanisms.

The short robotic arm appears similar in form and function to the one on NASA’s famous Spirit and Opportunity Mars rovers.

It is equipped with an alpha particle X-ray instrument (APXS) – on the terminus – to determine the composition of lunar rocks and soil.

The robotic pair of spacecraft safely soft landed on the Moon on Dec. 14 at Mare Imbrium, nearby the Bay of Rainbows, or Sinus Iridum region. It is located in the upper left portion of the moon as seen from Earth. You can easily see the landing site with your own eyes.

Barely seven hours after the history making touchdown, ‘Yutu’ was painstakingly lowered from its perch atop the lander and then successfully drove all six wheels onto the moon’s surface on Dec. 15.

Yutu left noticeable tracks behind, several centimeters deep, as the wheels cut into the loose lunar regolith.

The Chang’e-3 lander and rover then conducted an initial survey of the stark lunar landing site, pockmarked with craters and small boulders.

‘Jade Rabbit’ will resume the lunar trek upon awakening, along with the stationary lander, from their extended two week slumber around Jan 12, 2014.

Yutu will depart the Chang’e-3 landing zone forever and rove the moon’s surface for investigations expected to last at least 3 months – and perhaps longer depending on its robustness in the unforgiving space environment.

The robotic rover will use its suite of four science instruments to survey the moon’s geological structure and composition to locate the moon’s natural resources for use by potential future Chinese astronauts, perhaps a decade from now.

NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) imaged the Chang’e-3 landing site in western Mare Imbrium around Christmas time on 24 and 25 December with its high resolution LROC camera and we’ll feature them here when available.

China is only the 3rd country in the world to successfully soft land a spacecraft on Earth’s nearest neighbor after the United States and the Soviet Union.

The best is surely yet to come!


Quelle:universetoday











Tags: China´s Change3-Mond-Rover Yutu 

2616 Views

Sonntag, 29. Dezember 2013 - 22:15 Uhr

Astronomie - Meteor über Iowa als Weihnachtsstern

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Am zweiten Weihnachtstag verzauberte vermutlich ein Meteor vielen Amerikanern den Abend: Sie wurden Zeuge, wie dessen funkelnde Fragmente den Himmel erleuchteten. Eine Überwachungskamera machte den besten Film.

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Einige haben das Himmelsspektakel gefilmt. Die beste, wenn auch kurze Aufnahme, stammt von einer Überwachungskamera aus North Liberty im an Minnesota angrenzenden Bundesstaat Iowa. Zu sehen ist die grell leuchtende Erscheinung, wie sie in einem eleganten Lauf das Firmament durchquert.

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Quelle: NASA


Tags: Meteor over Iowa 

2767 Views

Sonntag, 29. Dezember 2013 - 16:30 Uhr

Raumfahrt - Spektakuläre Bilder von Juno-Flyby an Erde bei Kurs zu Jupiter

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11.12.2013

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Quelle: Frams NASA-Video

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Update: 29.12.2013

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Frams: NASA-Video


Tags: Juno´s Earth-Moon-Flyby 

2672 Views

Sonntag, 29. Dezember 2013 - 13:14 Uhr

Astronomie - Kleinerer Sonnen-Flare am 28.12.2013

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MINOR RADIATION STORM IN PROGRESS: Energetic protons are swarming around Earth on Dec. 29th following a magnetic eruption near the western limb of the sun: movie. The ongoing radiation storm ranks S1 on NOAA storm scales, which means it is a relatively minor storm with little effect on spacecraft and high-altitude aviation.

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Quelle: NASA


2688 Views

Samstag, 28. Dezember 2013 - 18:30 Uhr

Raumfahrt - Buchungen von $100.000-Space-Flügen mit Lynx Mark II

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13.11.2013

UAE bookings for space trip open: $100,000 a seat on Lynx Mark II

250 bookings already made as race to space takes off


2617 Views

Samstag, 28. Dezember 2013 - 18:00 Uhr

Raumfahrt - Mondstaub:Fein wie Mehl , aber so rau wie Sandpapier

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25.12.2013

If we ever go back to the moon, how are we going to cope with its hidden hazard?

Fine as flour, but as rough as sandpaper, lunar dust was the bane of Apollo astronauts who visited the moon. It caused problems with spacesuits. It gave them hay fever. It permeated the cabin of the lunar landers.

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Gene Cernan, in the lunar module, after battling the dusty lunar surface during Apollo 17. (NASA)

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Worse than these nuisances, there’s evidence that moon dust may in fact be toxic to humans.

So what are we going to do if NASA ever sends astronauts back to the surface of the moon?

Believe it or not, even though NASA doesn’t have current plans to return astronauts to the moon — or any other planets, dwarf planets or moons in the solar system, but that’s another story — engineers at Johnson Space Center have been thinking about this problem.

And their solution is as brilliant as it is simple. Put the spacesuits outside.

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NASA’s space exploration vehicle, from behind. (moi)

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I had a chance recently to visit Building 9 at Johnson Space Center, where they keep all the cool stuff, including prototype rovers like the Space Exploration Vehicle shown above. It’s designed the operate on the moon.

Here’s a look at the vehicle from the front:

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The Space Exploration Vehicle. (moi)

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The vehicle is pressurized, with two seats  inside. It’s designed to require little or no maintenance, be able to travel thousands of miles climbing over rocks and up 40 degree slopes during its ten year life.

So how does the astronaut get into the spacesuit? Here’s what it looks like in the interior of the rover.

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Inside the space exploration vehicle. (moi)

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To get to the spacesuit, you open this door. And when you do, you see this:

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Step into your spacesuit. (moi)

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All you have to do is step into the suit, and then put your arms into the blue holes. Then your fellow astronaut closes the pressurized hatch, and off you go.

When your moonwalk is done, all you have to do is reconnect to the rover, open the hatch, and climb back inside. Cool eh?

So is all this in vain? Hopefully not. The engineers at Johnson Space Center told me they’re working to be get in a position such that, if NASA gets the green light to do an extended lunar mission, they’ll be able to develop a final rover with two exterior spacesuits within three years.

Quelle: Chron

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Update: 28.12.2013

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USA kann immer noch China schlagen auf dem Weg zurück zum Mond

Beijing's recent lunar landing shows its advances. U.S. public-private ventures way to go.

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The Chang'e-3 mission that landed a rover called Yutu on the Bay of Rainbows on the lunar surface proves China's space exploration program has one thing that America's does not -- a clear direction. Its piloted space program has featured missions of increasing complexity, with the latest being two visits to the Tiangong-1 space module, a predecessor of a planned Chinese space station.

In the meantime America's space exploration is fraught with confusion, controversy and a conspicuous lack of funding and direction. Ever since President Obama cancelled President George W. Bush's Constellation program that would have returned Americans to the moon, NASA has been headed for an asteroid in the near term. Which asteroid and how Americans will get there are still open questions.

After China's successful series of robotic landings on the moon, many space experts agree the Chinese will probably execute a moon walk sometime in the 2020s. If and when that happens and if Americans are not on the moon to greet them, China becomes the world's space exploration leader and all that implies.

All is not lost:

  • NASA currently has the robotic Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter and the LADEE (Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer) in lunar orbit.
  • A private-sector contest, the Google Lunar X Prize, might result in another lunar landing or landings likely by at least one American team, by the end of 2015. This depends on one or more of these private groups raising enough money to pay for both their own lunar rover and lander and a rocket launch to the moon.
  • Bigelow Aerospace, which proposes to build its own space station made of inflatable modules, recently produced a report calling for a commercial lunar base. The base would be established using a model in which NASA provides financing and resupply contracts for private space craft to service the International Space Station.

In one scenario, NASA could provide the manned Orion deep space craft which would be launched with the heavy-lift rocket, Space Launch System, while the private sector could provide lunar landing vehicles and the habitats that would comprise a lunar base. The lunar base would be established and owned by a commercial enterprise and NASA would be a core customer leasing space.

The Bigelow plan also calls for establishing a regime respecting private property rights on the moon, necessary if any commercial entity plans to start mining operations and other money making enterprises. This would likely require some kind of international agreement on the scale of the Outer Space Treaty of 1967 that prohibited claims of sovereignty on other worlds.

With Chang'e-3 moon landing on Dec. 14, China is doing a great job pursuing the Apollo model of space exploration. NASA could do the same. And if NASA were to partner with commercial entities it would do even better. The strength, experience and resources of NASA would be married to the flexibility and imagination of the commercial sector. If that is made to happen, America would be able to leave China in the lunar dust in the new space race.

Mark Whittington writes about space for Yahoo and other venues. He is the author of The Man from Mars: The Asteroid Mining Caper.

Quelle: USA TODAY


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