Monday, March 24, 2008

"NASA cut means no roving for Mars rover"

Too bad.

LOS ANGELES - Scientists plan to put one of the twin Mars rovers to sleep and limit the activities of the other robot to fulfill a NASA order to cut $4 million from the program's budget, mission team members said Monday.


Both rovers were originally planned for three-month missions at a cost of $820 million, but are now in their fourth year of exploration. It costs NASA about $20 million annually to keep the rovers running.

I hate to see them limited or shut down now, especially since they've performed well beyond expectations. They are truly one of NASA's triumphs.

UPDATE: NASA has changed its mind.

LOS ANGELES - NASA has no plans to turn off either of the healthy twin Mars rovers to make up for cost overruns faced by a big new rover slated to fly to the Red Planet next year, the space agency said Tuesday.

In a rare move, NASA said it rescinded a letter sent last week to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena that directed budget cuts to the Mars exploration program, including a $4 million reduction from the rovers project.

Good move.

Evening moon

Nothing but a picture of the moon rising over a verdant ridge.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

R.I.P. Arthur C. Clarke

The famed author of 2001: A Space Odyssey has died.

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - Arthur C. Clarke, a visionary science fiction writer who won worldwide acclaim with more than 100 books on space, science and the future, died Wednesday in his adopted home of Sri Lanka, an aide said. He was 90.

Clarke, who had battled debilitating post-polio syndrome since the 1960s and sometimes used a wheelchair, died at 1:30 a.m. local time after suffering breathing problems, aide Rohan De Silva told The Associated Press.

Clarke was regarded as a technological seer as well as a science-fiction writer, and was known as "the godfather of the telecommunications satellite."

Not only do we have him to thank for some great science fiction, but we also have him to thank for modern communications.

Requiescat in pace, old visionary.

Monday, March 10, 2008

"South Korea changes first astronaut"

Well, gee, how old is she? Five months?

Seriously, though, it seems that the first South Korean astronaut was disqualified by the Russians for--


The wrong stuff.

SEOUL, South Korea - South Korea said Monday a female engineer would become the country's first person in space by going aboard a Russian spacecraft, after Moscow rejected Seoul's first choice because he violated reading rules during training.

The Ministry of Education, Science and Technology said at a news conference that Yi So-yeon will replace Ko San as the country's choice to fly on a Russian Soyuz capsule to the International Space Station in early April.


The Russian authorities said Ko took a book out of the [space training] center without permission and sent it to his home in South Korea in September, Lee [Sang-mok, a senior ministry official] said. Ko later returned the book, explaining he accidently sent it home together with other personal belongings, Lee added.

In February, Ko again violated a regulation by getting a book from the center through a Russian colleague — material he was not supposed to read, Lee said. Officials did not give details about the book's contents, but South Korean officials portrayed both of his infractions as minor. [emphasis added]

I wonder what that book was about.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Looking back at home

Have you ever wondered what the Earth looks like from Mars?

Wonder no more.

Image taken by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera and courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona. Find out more about it here.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Passing away

A guitarist has died.

TORONTO - Blind rock and jazz musician Jeff Healey has died after a lifelong battle against cancer. He was 41.

Healey died Sunday evening in a Toronto hospital, said bandmate Colin Bray, who was in the room with Healey's family when the guitarist died.

The Grammy-nominated Healey rose to stardom as the leader of the Jeff Healey Band, a rock-oriented trio that gained international acclaim and platinum record sales with the 1988 album "See the Light." The album included the hit single "Angel Eyes."

Healey had battled cancer since age 1, when a rare form of retinal cancer known as Retinoblastoma claimed his eyesight.

Too bad. He was a good guitarist.