Show notes for episode 185, February 10, 2014 Hosts: Paul, Hugh Title: Meteors, Mars and beyond (to Tantooine!)
From the far flung visions of Galileo and Jules Verne, stopping off briefly to check up on Curiosity (and the latest “hole” on Mars), we finished the show by discussing the exciting research about circumbinary stars and the ability for exoplanets to survive amidst such ravaging gravitational influences.
This week in space/astronomy history:
1. Gerald A. Soffen (February 7, 1926 – November 22, 2000) Viking (Mars) mission manager, he moved from a successful NASA project scientists to NASA educator. He now has a crater on Mars named after him.
2. Luna 9 (3 February 1966) made the first soft landing on the Moon (or first soft landing on any other object in the Solar System). 12th attempt. Operations lasted for about 3 days. Part of the Soviet Union’s Luna programme, it was another first for the Russians… so would they get the “ultimate” first and put the first human on the Moon? Interesting side story: the Russians initially delayed releasing images from the surface – but apparently used the internationally-agreed system for transmitting newspaper images. Jodrell Bank picked up on these signals, and so British newspapers picked up the images and distributed them worldwide! Motivations? Russians wanted higher quality pictures from Jodrell Bank but wouldn’t admit to asking for them… or Russian scientists didn’t want Russian politicians to politicize the event???
3. STS 41B, Space Shuttle Challenger, launched February 3 1984, saw the debut of the Manned Maneuvering Unit (MMU). Astronaut Bruce McCandless flew the MMU. The MMU flew only 3 flights before being retired.