A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘moon

[NEWS] Some Friday links

  • io9 shares wonderful illustrations of Titan’s methane showlines.
  • The Atlantic Cities notes that the coastline of Louisiana is receding so quickly mapmakers are hard-pressed to keep up.
  • BusinessWeek wonders how great cities, like New York City or Rome, reconcile change and tradition.
  • Christianity Today features a Philip Jenkins article noting that the origins and alliances of the Crimean crisis can be traced back at least as far as the Crimean War.
  • Ha’aretz notes that Israelis are moving to Tel Aviv, abandoning peripheral areas (with large Arab population) like Galilee and the Negev.
  • MacLean’s notes that condo construction is set to boom in Toronto.
  • Tablet Magazine notes that Crimea, immediately after the Second World War, was positioned as a potential homeland for Soviet Jews.
  • According to Time, changes in Canadian immigration law may be discouraging rich Chinese immigrants.
  • Universe Today notes that China’s Yutu moon rover can’t properly move its solar panels.

[LINK] “China’s Yutu Moon Rover Alive and Awake for 3rd Lunar Day of Exploration despite Malfunction”

Universe Today’s Ken Kremer shared the good news. (What, I wonder, is the current state of affairs?)

Yutu Lives!

The little ‘rabbit’ beloved worldwide has now phoned home and actually survived the perils of the long lunar night and is alive and awake to start a 3rd day of scientific exploration despite suffering a serious malfunction as it entered the latest hibernation period two weeks ago.

“Yutu has come back to life!” said Pei Zhaoyu, the spokesperson for China’s lunar probe program, according to a breaking news report by the state owned Xinhua news agency.

[. . .]

Yutu’s new lease on life also comes after Monday’s (Feb. 11) premature report of the robots demise by the state owned China News Service, reported here.

However, “Yutu failed to power-up Monday [Feb 11] and data about its current condition and repair progress is still being collected and analyzed,” Xinhua and CCTV (China state run television) reported.

This indicates that Yutu was in fact feared lost for some time by the mission team, until further efforts finally resulted in the detection of a signal from the spacecraft – and a welcome reversal of yesterdays news!

The robot “has now been restored to its normal signal reception function,” says Pei.

[. . ]

But much technical work remains ahead for the engineering and science teams to ascertain why it malfunctioned and whether the six wheeled rover can be restored to partial or full functionality.

Written by Randy McDonald

February 13, 2014 at 8:27 pm

Posted in Science

Tagged with , , , ,

[BLOG] Some Friday links

  • The Broadside Blog’s Caitlin Kelly points writers to evidence that editing can be a harsh and thorough process: a photograph of one of her own drafts.
  • Centauri Dreams notes that a recent study of the distribution of different sorts of asteroids in the asteroid belt suggests that the planets in the early solar system were exceptionally mobile, with Jupiter’s inward migrations perhaps tossing enough icy bodies our way to give Earth oceans.
  • Discover‘s The Crux points out alleged photographic evidence of an alien base on the Moon is no such thing.
  • The Dragon’s Tales links to Stephen Hawking’s paper on black holes, which apparently argues they don’t destroy information so much as garble it.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze links to a recent study suggesting that the Alpha Centauri system is quite full of dust.
  • The Financial Times‘ World blog notes that the dustup over Oxfam and Scarlett Johansson’s involvement as spokesperson for an Israeli company making use of West Bank resources highlights Israel’s growing issues.
  • Joe. My. God. notes a recent Washington Post-ABC poll suggesting that Hillary Clinton is far and away the Democratic Party’s favourite for the 2016 presidential election.
  • Dave Brockington of Lawyers, Guns and Money takes issue with Niall Ferguson’s argument that Britain should have stayed out of the First World War.
  • Marginal Revolution notes a recent paper suggesting how Catalonia might progress to independence from Spain, in the context of shared debt.
  • Thought Catalog’s Shawn Binder writes about how homophobia can intrude even within same-sex relationships.
  • Torontoist notes a major billion-dollar development at Spadina and Front that would literally create a new neighbourhood.
  • Towleroad observes that billionaire Cecil Chao has withdrawn the dowry he offered to potential suitors of his lesbian and coupled daughter Gigi, without acknowledging her actual relationship.

[BLOG] Some Tuesday links

  • BlogTO notes that the old Carnegie library at Queen and Lisgar, in my old neighbourhood of West Queen West or Parkdale, is going to become a theatre centre.
  • Bad Astronomy’s Phil Plait is glad there isn’t a star as spectacularly unstable as EZ Canis Majoris in our neighbourhood.
  • Patrick Cain links to his Global News debunking of the myth that American citizens living in Canada are often wealthy expatriates.
  • Centauri Dreams examines the concept of superhabitable planets, noting among other things that K-class orange dwarfs like Alpha Centauri B would be great.
  • D-Brief notes the sad mechanical problems of China’s Yutu moon rover.
  • The Dragon’s Tales observes evidence that the migratory Sea Peoples of ancient Egypt came from Europe.
  • At Halfway Down the Danube, Douglas Muir writes about his experiences hiking in Kosovo, with the Prizren mountaineers club.
  • Joe. My. God., Lawyers, Guns and Money, and the New APPS Blog all mourn the death of politically active folk singer Peter Seeger.
  • Language Log’s Victor Mair analyzes the evocative Chinese-language name of a Vancouver restaurant.
  • The Numerati’s Stephen Baker responds to Godwin’s Law as evoking the thoughts of people who can’t express themselves.
  • Registan links to anthropologist Sarah Kendzior’s argument that Central Asia studies, once dynamic and vital, have gone into decay as people have stopped paying attention to the region.
  • Savage Minds shares Haitian-American anthropologist Gina Athena Ulysse’s writing about her creative process.
  • Window on Eurasia notes a report that Tajikistan’s government is unhappy with Tajiks who add Russian endings (“ov”, et cetera) to their names.

[BLOG] Some Monday links

  • BlogTO and Steve Munro both comment on the proposal to introduce time-based transfers to the TTC.
  • Crooked Timber links to an Alan Moore interview that touches upon the rivalry with Grant Morrison.
  • The Dragon’s Tales notes a paper suggesting that the Mars Express probe underestimated the rate of Mars’ atmospheric loss.
  • Language Log takes another look at the paper claiming Facebook would go away and notes the potential for ambiguity in Chinese sentences.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money observes the success of China in adopting solar power.
  • Marginal Revolution’s Tyler Cowen argues that, between good weather and plenty of attractions, Los Angeles is a great city for walkers.
  • The News APPS Blog is one blog of many to note on the Ukrainian government’s Orwellian dispatching of text messages to protesters.
  • The Planetary Society’s Emily Lakdawalla notes the sad issues of China’s Yutu moon rover, perhaps doomed to an early failure.
  • Savage Minds reports on two anthropologists who have written interesting things about the writing process.
  • Supernova Condensate observes, in relation to blogging, the important difference between a pseudonym (an alternate identity) and anonymity (no identity).
  • Towleroad notes a Nigerian woman who has disowned her allegedly gay cat.
  • Window on Eurasia reports the arguments of a Russian clergyman that the Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church has been promoting gay clerics on the grounds that they can be easily manipulated by threats of blackmail.

[NEWS] Some Saturday links

  • First off, congratulations to friend of the blog Jonathan Edelstein for his role in setting an unjustly imprisoned man free in New York State.
  • The National Post repots on calls to send a mission to Europa.
  • Der Spiegel‘s English-language edition reports on the continuing ethnic divisions in Bosnia and Herzegovina, specifically in relationship to the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand by Serb nationalists in 1914 that started the First World War.
  • Business Week notes that the ongoing crisis in Thailand is hampering the country’s economy, observes the ongoing issues with accumulating space junk, documents a Russian HIV/AIDS pandemic made worse by Russia’s non-constructive dealings with the causes of HIV’s spread, and notes that mass immigration from the European Union–especially Germany–is a major political concern in Switzerland.
  • CBC notes that the recent ice storm hurting spending at growing Canadian chain Dollarama, reports that an immunity deal has been struck with an ex-Tory worker charged with involvement in the robocalls scandal, and observes that the so-called IKEA monkey man has been ordered to pay 83 thousand dollars in legal costs to the sanctuary that took in her pet monkey Darwin.
  • National Geographic explores the question of whether or not there might be planets better-suited to life than the Earth, and whether these planets should be the subject of searchers.
  • The Advocate reports on the case of a transgendered woman in Louisiana, Pamela Raintree, who helped save a local anti-discrimination ordinance by offering the ordinance’s opponent the first stone to throw at her, in keeping with the Bible’s mandating of death.
  • MacLean’s argues that Turkey is set for an inevitable crash as its economic and political and social contradictions come to a knot.
  • Universe Today notes that, after the success of the Chang’e 3 moon rover, China now wants to land astronauts on the moon and set up a crewed facility.

[LINK] “NASA Announces Brightest Lunar Explosion Ever Recorded”

Andrew Fazekas of National Geographic‘s Starstruck blog notes this somewhat alarming news.

A boulder-sized meteor slammed into the moon in March, igniting an explosion so bright that anyone looking up at the right moment might have spotted it, NASA announced Friday.

NASA’s Meteoroid Environment Office is reporting the discovery of the brightest impact seen on the moon in the eight year history of the monitoring program.

Some 300 lunar impact events have been logged over the years but this latest impact, from March 17, is considered many orders of magnitude brighter than anything else observed.

“We have seen a couple of others in the ‘wow’ category but not this bright,” said Robert Suggs, manager of NASA’s Lunar Impact Monitoring Program at Marshall Spaceflight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.

The blast lasted only about a single second and shone like a 4th magnitude star—making it bright enough to see with just the unaided eye.

The NASA monitoring program’s 14-inch telescope was the first to snag an image of the lunar explosion. Analyzing the images, researchers estimate that the object probably weighed in at 40 kg (88 pounds) and was about 0.4 meters (1.4 feet) wide. It crashed into the moon at speeds of 56,000 miles (90,000 km) per hour, releasing as much energy as five tons of TNT.

Written by Randy McDonald

May 18, 2013 at 1:06 am

Posted in Science

Tagged with , , , ,

[LINK] “Official Confirms NASA Plan to Capture an Asteroid”

Ooh. From Universe Today’s Nancy Atkinson.

Rumors have been leaking out for over a week, but now according to Alan Boyle at NBC News’ Cosmic Log, a senior Obama administration official has confirmed that $100 million is being sought for NASA’s budget request for the coming fiscal year for work to allow a robotic spaceship to capture a small asteroid and park it near the Moon for astronauts to explore. The spacecraft would capture a 500-ton, 7- meter (25-foot) asteroid in 2019. Then using an Orion space capsule, a crew of about four astronauts would station-keep with the space rock in 2021 to allow for EVAs for exploration. This plan would accelerate NASA’s deep space missions with Orion and prepare crews for going to Mars.

NBC news quoted the official — who spoke on condition of anonymity because there was no authorization to discuss the plan publicly — as saying the mission would “accomplish the president’s challenge of sending humans to visit an asteroid by 2025 in a more cost-effective and potentially quicker time frame than under other scenarios.”

[. . .]

Donald Yeomans, who heads NASA’s Near Earth Object program, was quoted that while there are thousands of asteroids around 25-feet, finding the right one that comes by Earth at just the right time to be captured will not be easy. And once a suitable rock is found it would be captured with the space equivalent of “a baggie with a drawstring. You bag it. You attach the solar propulsion module to de-spin it and bring it back to where you want it.”

A 7- meter (25-foot) asteroid is not a threat to Earth because asteroids of that size would burn up in Earth’s atmosphere.

The official quoted by NBC said the plan has been under discussion for months, but after February’s meteor blast over Russia, the plan gained traction. The asteroid’s entry into Earth’s atmosphere and subsequent airblast injured more than 1,000 people, and sparked discussions about asteroid threats, including a series of congressional hearings. Congressional officials said they would support more funding to counter asteroid threats.

Written by Randy McDonald

April 9, 2013 at 7:00 pm

[BLOG] Some Tuesday links

  • Centauri Dreams’ Paul Gilster writes about the likely abundance of Earth-like planets in Earth-like orbits.
  • Daniel Drezner writes (1, 2) about how ad hoc coalitions of world powers are able to deal relatively decisively in some matters of global affairs.
  • At The Dragon’s Tales, Will Baird notes that Titan’s hydrocarbon lakes appear to have floating ice.
  • Eastern Approaches notes the toxicity that disputes over war memorials in the Balkans, noting an Albanian memorial in southern Serbia.
  • False Steps’ Paul Drye notes one rocket technology that, if adequately developed, could have let the Soviet Union reach the moon.
  • At A Fistful of Euros, Alexander Harrowell notes that the United States does not want the United Kingdom to leave the European Union.
  • Marginal Revolution asks questions about the geographical, historical, and other factors that let free cities survive.
  • The Signal’s Bill LeFurgy compares digital archivists’ work to that of paleontologists. Nice analogy.
  • Yorkshire Ranter Alexander Harrowell notes that conservative British pundits in the United States are a much smaller and more unrepresentative minority than is often believed.
  • Window on Eurasia notes that Soviet-era apologia for the deadly assault on the Vilnius radio station in 1991 is being used in modern Russia.

[BLOG] Some Friday links

  • James Bow comes out in support of today’s strike by Ontario teachers.
  • Beyond the Beyond’s Bruce Sterling links to an article describing how NASA archivists tried to recover data from a 1960s lunar orbiter.
  • Centauri Dreams has two posts on habitable exomoons, the first on gas giants in the habitable zones of other stars and the second on the requirements for moons to be habitable. (They would need to be roughly a quarter the mass of the Earth.)
  • Daniel Drezner likes the idea of a United States-European Union transatlantic free trade agreement.
  • Eastern Approaches notes the directions of Slovakia’s foreign policy.
  • Norman Geras links to a blogger who suggests that, if Saddam Hussein stayed in power in Iraq, the Arab Spring in that country could have been bloody. (Look at Syria.)
  • Understanding Society’s Daniel Little takes a look at the idea that different generations have different experiences.
  • Window on Eurasia reports on a Russian writer who notes that the North Caucasus and its population cotninues to identify as Russian, and shares in Russian experiences. No separatism there.
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