Daily Archives: January 21, 2011

Mars will pass behind sun, Rover operations affected

One of the complications of interplanetary research is that the probes you’ve placed on the other planet can’t be reached via radio while the planet they are on passes to the other side of the sun, which happens now and then. In fact, for the days before and after Mars is opposite the sun, communication is risky because it is remotely possible that something could be misunderstood if the signal is messed up by passing near the sun. So, from January 27th through February 11th there will be no talking to the Rovers on Mars (but some listening).

Conveniently, Opportunity Rover has arrived at a rock that happens to be of interest. The mass spec on Opportunity uses a radioactive source to elicit readings from rocks, but that source is rather old (half life of about a year, and it’s been a few years…) so the mass spec has to stare at a rock for a week or so to make sense of it. So, NASA will have Opportunity staring at this one rock for the entire time. Pity, because it might have been interesting to see if Opportunity could tell us what the other side of the sun looks like….

Read the rest of the story here.

Tears as a human female adaptation to limit rape

ResearchBlogging.orgThis came up a while ago and I assumed the idea would die the usual quick and painless death, but the idea seems to be either so fascinating or so irritating to people (mainly in various blog comment sections) that it still twitches and still has a heartbeat, but only as a result of the repeated flogging it is getting.

Continue reading Tears as a human female adaptation to limit rape

Oh. The NanoSail Popped Out


HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — Wednesday, Jan. 19 at 11:30 a.m. EST, engineers at Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., confirmed that the NanoSail-D nanosatellite ejected from Fast Affordable Scientific and Technology Satellite, FASTSAT. The ejection event occurred spontaneously and was identified this morning when engineers at the center analyzed onboard FASTSAT telemetry. The ejection of NanoSail-D also has been confirmed by ground-based satellite tracking assets

Now, NASA is asking HAMs to help:

Amateur ham operators are asked to listen for the signal to verify NanoSail-D is operating. This information should be sent to the NanoSail-D dashboard at: http://nanosaild.engr.scu.edu/dashboard.htm. The NanoSail-D beacon signal can be found at 437.270 MHz.

More details here.