Daily Archives: July 24, 2012

Mars Orbiter Adjusts, Rover Gets Twitter Account

Curiosity Rover is now tweeting its stuff. Things are going to get pretty exciting over the next few days as the space ship comes in for a landing on the Planet Mars. Meanwhile, the Mars Orbiter has made positional adjustments that will facilitate sending information back about the 15 minutes of terror.

NASA’s Mars Odyssey spacecraft has successfully adjusted its orbital location to be in a better position to provide prompt confirmation of the August landing of the Curiosity rover.

NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory spacecraft carrying Curiosity can send limited information directly to Earth as it enters Mars’ atmosphere. Before the landing, Earth will set below the Martian horizon from the descending spacecraft’s perspective, ending that direct route of communication. Odyssey will help to speed up the indirect communication process.

NASA reported during a July 16 news conference that Odyssey, which originally was planned to provide a near-real-time communication link with Curiosity, had entered safe mode July 11. This situation would have affected communication operations, but not the rover’s landing. Without a repositioning maneuver, Odyssey would have arrived over the landing area about two minutes after Curiosity landed.

A spacecraft thruster burn Tuesday, July 24, lasting about six seconds has nudged Odyssey about six minutes ahead in its orbit. Odyssey is now operating normally, and confirmation of Curiosity’s landing is expected to reach Earth at about 10:31 p.m. PDT on Aug. 5 (early Aug. 6, EDT and Universal Time), as originally planned.

“Information we are receiving indicates the maneuver has completed as planned,” said Mars Odyssey Project Manager Gaylon McSmith of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. “Odyssey has been working at Mars longer than any other spacecraft, so it is appropriate that it has a special role in supporting the newest arrival.”

More here.

Sea Level Rise & Greenland Ice Melt: Ruh Roh.

I have always felt that sea level rise would be quicker and higher than my colleagues in climate science have suggested. My reasoning for that is simple. Sea level rise has in the past not followed overall climate change in a perfectly simple manner such that the present era has lower sea levels than it should. When this was noticed in the mid 20th century up through the 1970s, in the form of high wave cut benches along various rocky shore lines, the explanations usually invoked moving land masses, such as a continent buoying upwards as it eroded, so the same sea level would cut benches that were higher and higher the farther back in time you go. And, that probably happens to some extent. But it turns out that the amount of ice trapped in continental glaciers in the northern and southern hemispheres is probably more than it “should” be given current conditions.

(I should note that paleontologist colleagues that I’ve discussed this with tend to think similarly.) Continue reading Sea Level Rise & Greenland Ice Melt: Ruh Roh.

Sensible Jim Sensenbrenner

This is a town-hall meeting with Jim Sensenbrenner’s constintuents, at which one of the voters from Wisconsin’s 5th district goes to bat for Michele Bachmann. He doesn’t exactly Barny Frank her, but he’s firm and reasonable and, interestingly, strongly supports a secular government.

He totally out-tea-partied the lady who co-founded the Tea Party.

Hat tip: Steve Benen, at TMB

Two items of possible interest

Just to let you know, I’ve got a couple of new posts up in the “weblogue” series on The X Blog:

My career in music: The Early Years


blockquote>We put a chair there, and we would take turns sitting in the chair and listening to the sound effects record.

A train coming from one side to another. A pin dropping on one side then the other. A voice coming right from the middle even though there was not a speaker right there. The voice was saying “Hey, there’s no speaker right here, but you hear my voice like there is a speaker there. Isn’t stereo amazing!”</em



OK, I didn’t really have a career in music

The big fear among high school administrators was that the band members would wander around among the students snorting coke and shooting up heroin during the breaks.

Strangest AGW Denialist Story So Far This Year?

In 2008, John O’Sullivan wrote a novel called “Vanilla Girl,” which is actually a big giant blog post on blogger.com, about “A teacher’s struggle to control his erotic obsession with a schoolgirl.”

Blogger "About" Page of John O'Sullivan, "Vanilla Girl" author and climate change denialist. O'Sullivan was acquitted of sex related charges with exculpatory testimony supplied by his 17 year old step-daughter.

A few years earlier, it appears, the same John O’Sullivan, who was a teacher, was cleared of charges that he had sent 36 “sex txts” to a 16 year old girl within a three week period, some soliciting sex for money, using an Internet account under the name “Sexy Hunk.” Continue reading Strangest AGW Denialist Story So Far This Year?

OK, I didn’t really have a career in music

[D]uring my personal musical eclipse, after the novelty of the stereo and before I ever met Carl, my brother had a band. This was eventually to become a sort of secret band. He and at least some of the other band members had regular jobs, like working for the state, etc., and I’m not sure whether everybody they worked with knew that on weekends they would go home, dress in shiny white lamé suits, and play rock and roll at one or two high schools.

I remember the early days, when they were just learning to play together and they’d practice in my house, piping their guitars through that old stereo. They would listen to popular songs and try to figure out which notes were which so they could play them. (Apparently, sheet music was invented some time later.) I remember them learning to play “Wipe Out” by the Ventures (originally recorded by The Sufaris). As a little kid, I heard them play it over and over again so many times that I learned it. I can still play it on a guitar. Continue reading OK, I didn’t really have a career in music