Episode 178 Show notes for December 16, 2013
Hosts: Hugh, Lianne, Paul
Title: Chris Hadfield Inspires the World (and beyond)
This week in space/astronomy history:
1. December 17 1903: First sustained powered airplane flight, by Orville Wright at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.
2. December 14th 1972 — Humankind leaves the moon for the last(?) time.
3. Sir Joseph John “J. J.” Thomson, OM, FRS (18 December 1856 – 30 August 1940) Born in Manchester England. Credited with the detection of the electron (1897)
1. ISS update. Coolant loop may require a space walk (or 2) to repair. Cygnus launch remains on track for December 20.
OOH this is actually super interesting! See since July 16th when ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano suffered a very dangerous and unusual near drowning experience due to a spacesuit malfunction 1 and a half hours into his space walk the ISS has banned all space walks until a replacement suit is delivered by the Space X Dragon capsule in february, BUT ISS rules also dictate that they can’t dock the module until the coolant problem is fixed! Suit’s water cooler is the main suspect which runs about a gallon of water through the astronaut’s long underwear.
2. Hubble observes water vapour venting from Europa
Plumes erupt from the south pole and extend about 200km into space–that’s taller than mount everest! (Not confirmed by imagery, only by modeling)
If they are indeed there then that adds yet another voice in support of Europa’s possession of subsurface oceans–which we all hope will eventually be demonstrated to contain life! Since Europa is about half the distance to Enceladus this adds support to a proposed “Europa Clipper probe” that would essentially do for Jupiter’s moon what Cassini has done for Saturn (Unfortunately, it’s a flagship mission and it is estimated that it will cost around $2billion dollars–so I can’t imagine that it would be too too likely, but we can always hope!) Nasa Press Release
3. Chris Hadfield Talk (Lianne went to see Chris Hadfield last week!)
Topic: He has an awesome new book coming out! — An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth
Summary: He spoke on all aspects of his life from his family life to how he was accepted into the space program. Fantastic motivational speaker. (Swoon* And personal hero – Hugh)
4. Comnet ISON final words. Hardly the Comet of the Century but certainly an object that captivated the public. For the comet lovers, check out Lovejoy in the early morning sky prior to dawn north of Bootes.
Major Topics Discussed:
1. China Scores Historic Success asCh-3 Rover Lands on the Moon — Very excited to talk about this (Hugh)
-Touched down at 8:11AM EST on Saturday (also my birthday, so thanks for the birthday present, China)
– At 1,200 kg it’s heavier than MSL! (but obviously the moon is smaller than mars, but then it has no atmosphere so you can’t use parachutes!) Rover is only 120kg
-Rover is heated by radioactive decay!
-3 Month mission, to explore an area of around 3km^2, max linear distance 10km
-First soft moon landing in 37 years! For an explanation of soft vs hard landing see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exploration_of_the_Moon Which is a great article detailing, well, the exploration of the moon. The main thrust is that after the first flyby of the moon in on 2 January 1959 By the russian craft Luna 1 (which in true Russian tradition was not in fact intended to be a flyby but was intended to be an “Impactor” or hard landing craft), the first landing on the moon was a successful “Impactor” (a phrase here which means ‘cannonball with a radio’ which struck the lunar surface on 13 September 1959 What then followed was a long string of orbiters, impactors and landers (3 February 1966 Luna 9 was first, Luna 24, an unmanned sample return which landed on 18 August 1976 was last) Another little touch of history provided by James Rice, science team member of the Mars Exploration Rover Project is that the day of the landing was in fact the same day in history that the last human foot ever touched the lunar surface (The foot belonged to Gene Cernan, it’s an even bet whether it was the right or the left).
“…I’m on the surface; and, as I take man’s last step from the surface, back home for some time to come – but we believe not too long into the future – I’d like to just [say] what I believe history will record. That America’s challenge of today has forged man’s destiny of tomorrow. And, as we leave the Moon at Taurus-Littrow, we leave as we came and, God willing, as we shall return, with peace and hope for all mankind. “Godspeed the crew of Apollo 17.” — Gene Cernan as he left the moon.
ESA provided some tracking assistance although, NASA was of course unable to cooperate with the Chinese space agency, but has been quick to point out that perhaps possibly by accidentally-on-purpose telling each other what they’re doing up there, NASA’s LADEE and China’s Chang’e 3 might be able to work together to produce some scientific data.
We’ll also have a video up on YorkUniverse.com featuring some of our other hosts talking about this story on TV! (Rob and Harrison)
Read more: http://www.universetoday.com/#ixzz2nZaS63y5
Thanks for listening!
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