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Monthly archive December, 2010

Your Favorite Space/Sci/Tech Applications!

How many folks have asked the question, “What are the best mobile Apps?”

Smartphones, tablets, notebooks of all kinds- so much power, so many choices.

This is your chance to help build a list of the best.

Please comment with the name of the application, platform or device it runs on, a description of what it does and any information you think would help a new user.

Look forward to hearing from EVERYONE!

-Todd

Total Lunar Eclipse from Nicaragua

One of the most wonderful astronomical events available without the need
of any particular artificial optical instrument, and shared almost
instantaneously in a whole hemisphere is without doubts a Lunar Eclipse.

And the Eclipse from December 21st, 2010 was no exception to the
previous statement, with so many good astro-friend in may Countries that
were as expectant as I was for this event.

This particular eclipse coincided with the Winter Solstice for the
Northern Hemisphere and happened to be one of the most “darkest”
(meaning that: one where the shadow of our planet fell almost perfectly
over the lunar disc) in the recent times.

With so many expectation and nerves, a small group from ANASA
gathered at the fields of the Pierre & Marie Curie elementary
school, in the outskirts of Managua; battling against mosquitoes and the
late hour of the event. For Nicaragua, the Penumbral part of the
eclipse began on Dec. 20th, 23:30 hours.

Around some 40 people joined us, mostly kids; willing to observe
their first Lunar Eclipse. Weather forecast were reserved for us,
talking about heavy clouds and strong winds.

We were able to enjoy the eclipse just until a few minutes past the
initial part of Totality, where those dreaded forecasts became true:
clouds rapidly covered our sky and stayed there for a very long time,
whilst a dark-reddened Moon hovered above us, hidden from our sight.

I had the chance to peek at the Moon for a brief time, using my small
telescope, in a window among the clouds, and I was amazed how really
dark it was! I was able to hint some blue and purple tint on the less
darker areas, something I had never saw before during a total eclipse.

I was glad to spent this time with my wife and several friends from
ANASA: Ricardo Ruiz, Sergio Melendez and Nohelia Ocampo. Also it was fun
to receive updates via SMS from Adelmo Sandino and Javier Ramirez,
while a diligent Luis Arguello kept an open line by phone, reporting
several times.

Sergio was so kind to bring with him the smallest telescope I have
ever seen: it resemble pretty much to a can of potatoes chips. The
resulting end: kids love it!

I invite you to share with the us the experience, by watching the pictures already posted in my Picasa web album.

Clear skies!

My Martian Me!

There are many days that I feel his presence; a yearning
itch to “call or go home.” No, I am not hallucinating. All of us are stardust
people. By this I mean the fundamental threads that helped produce all life and
eventually human life are from the universe. Being part Martian could be a
given in our DNA profiles. We could also be part of a life-form from a far
distant planet. This possibility could also mean, a little bit of ET could
reside in all of us.

Is this cosmic itch universal for Earth’s humankind? I am
inclined to say yes, despite any current scientific evidence that supports it.
In this regard, is the very large and extended interest by many people in both
learning about the planet Mars, and maybe visiting it unusual or inborn? I will
take the easy way out, and say it is both unusual and inborn. Regardless the
growing urge to visit Mars and to even colonize Mars persists whether it is a
genetic urge or just human curiosity and adventurism.

Greek and Roman mythology and even philosophy links Mars to
aggressive warfare. Could they have already known that we had a genetic Martian
link and that the link induced warlike societies? Would an expedition to Mars
and the inhaling of Martian dust increase our warlike demeanor? Well, this
could all be just a SciFi brainstorm and have no real relevance, but are we
sure? The Greeks named Mars, Ares (their word for the god of War), and the
Romans did the same using the name Mars to label the planet. What remains a
deep puzzle is why this red planet, rolling across the solar system got tagged
as warlike. Was it the redness of its color and the conclusion that it was a
blood filled planet ; thus lethal and warlike?

Science Fiction (SciFi) has also endowed us with a deep
interest in Mars and outer space in general. Imaginative descriptions such as
the following from Ray Bradbury’s “Martian Chronicles” always enlivened our
mystified interest in life on Mars.

..”They had a house of crystal pillars on the planet Mars by the edge of
the empty sea, and every morning you could see Mrs. K eating the golden fruits
that grew from the crystal walls, or cleaning house with handfuls of magnetic
dust which, taking all dirt with it blew away on the hot wind,”  From Ylla – The Martian Chronicles – by Ray
Bradbury

In their landmark publication “The Exploration of Mars”
rocket maestro Wernher von Braun and his colleague, Willy Ley clearly state the
non-fiction appeal of the exploration of outer space.  Were both of these great instigators of our
present day space exploration focus endowed with Martian dust? Wernher Von
Braun’s family history is filled with many family members who had influential
military careers.  So here we have a
member of a warrior family who strives to put the lie to the Greek and Roman
myths and to show Mars and space exploration as a good thing, a safe thing, and
as an exciting and inspiring venture. Considering our advances in the space
sciences it appears Wernher von Braun was on the right track.

Well, back to my Martian me. It actually should be called a
space exploration itch. Yes, I want to go to Mars, maybe even live there for
awhile, but I also wan’t to go as far and as deep in space as I can. I want to
live for real that glorious moment of going “where no [human] has
gone before.” For me, it is a Martian imperative.

Help keep the Space Tweep Society Operating

The Space Tweep Society has always been about sharing enthusiasm for space, and it operates on a very small budget. I never wanted it to be about fundraising, but we do have a few expenses to keep the website going. Tweeps, if you can donate a little it would really help out. It doesn’t have to be much; every contribution will be greatly appreciated!


ITAR Free

As seen on FB@Sean Casey

This FAA Launch Report includes an article, “Special Report: “ITAR-Free” Satellites and Their Impact on the U.S. Launch Industry” 

“Rocket Science” and a Successful Falcon 9 Launch

“Rocket Science” and a Successful Falcon 9 Launch

SpaceX added a very positive event to a line of problems and mishaps that occurred recently, from the failed Russian three-satellite launch to more delays in Discovery STS-133 launch, originally set for the end of October, now scheduled for Febuary.

All in all, these recent events show us that even after a space access system has been working for 30 years and more than 60 years after launching the first satellite, getting complex systems or people to space is still, as the saying goes, rocket science.
 

Read the rest on 

http://www.spacepirations.com/2010/12/rocket-science-and-successful-falcon-9.html

Congratulations SpaceX!