Archive for the ‘Science’ Category

New life for the Hubble Space Telescope

Apparently, rumors of the Hubble’s demise have been greatly exaggerated, as NASA announces Hubble repair mission (via CNN.com):

“We are going to add a shuttle servicing mission to the Hubble Space Telescope to the shuttle’s manifest to be flown before it retires,” Griffin told workers at Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland on Tuesday.Griffin’s announcement was greeted eagerly by astronomers who feared Hubble would deteriorate before the end of the decade without a mission to add new camera instruments, sensors and replace aging batteries.

Huzzah!  While it is sad that we are still going to end up losing one of our greatest telescopes due to budgetary/transportation concerns, at least the Hubble will now have a fighting chance. The last mission will hopefully get the Hubble back to functioning 100%, and allow the Hubble to keep functioning until something replaces the Shuttles.

New Scientist 13 things that do not make sense

There’s an awesome article on New Scientist (posted in April) titled 13 things that do not make sense. There are some very interesting tidbits in this article, including:

THIS is a tale of two spacecraft. Pioneer 10 was launched in 1972; Pioneer 11 a year later. By now both craft should be drifting off into deep space with no one watching. However, their trajectories have proved far too fascinating to ignore.

That’s because something has been pulling – or pushing – on them, causing them to speed up. The resulting acceleration is tiny, less than a nanometre per second per second. That’s equivalent to just one ten-billionth of the gravity at Earth’s surface, but it is enough to have shifted Pioneer 10 some 400,000 kilometres off track. NASA lost touch with Pioneer 11 in 1995, but up to that point it was experiencing exactly the same deviation as its sister probe. So what is causing it?

Xena has a moon!

Our solar system’s probably 10th planet, Xena, has a moon!

Xena, the possible 10th planet in our solar system, has its own moon, a dim little satellite called Gabrielle, its discoverers reported.

Astronomers who reported Xena’s discovery in July said they detected Xena’s sidekick on September 10 using the Keck Observatory on Mauna Kea in Hawaii. Their findings will be submitted to the Astrophysical Journal Letters on Monday.

Pity the name is so silly.

Profile picI am a 40-ish uber-geek, Daoist and family man. Blessed to have one incredible wife and three wonderful kiddos. Dao has been kind to me.

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