Tag Archives: voyager

NASA Press Conference Will Announce Voyager Captured by Alien Craft!

I’m kidding, I’m kidding, NASA did not say that. But I do think people need to take it down a notch with this whole blaming NASA for doing their press conferences wrong. As far as I know, the Curiosity Martian Laboratory Robot recently approached a non nondescript pile of dirt, analyzed the bejesus out of it as a test of the fancy dancy instruments on board, and everything worked. The pile of dirt was not interesting but they did to that pile of dirt what would have required 3,000 feet of laboratory floor space full of expensive equipment and a dozen technicians working for two months back in the day. But they did it with a Robot. On Mars. In a few days. And everything worked.

If you don’t think that is overwhelmingly exciting than you are either dead or have no idea how science works. That is incredibly amazing wonderful news.

So, when a NASA scientist became exuberant over the news that would be reported in the upcoming press conference and said he was really excited, science reporters and bloggers, jaded by the Mono Lake affair no doubt, assumed that only one thing could be that exciting: Martians. Nothing else. And then, when “rumors” went around suggesting that it was probably not Martians, it became time to crucify NASA again. That is not good science reporting, people. Don’t think you’re doing it right and NASA is doing it wrong.

I also think that the spoof site reporting that a blue plastic necklace had been found on the Angry Red Planet was pretty funny, and I think that NASA having that site killed was unnecessary. Those details are here.

Take it down a notch, people.

OK, there really will be a V-ger press conference and a Curiosity press conference in the near future.


Actually, NASA has press conference all the time. All the time. They’ve been doing this for years. The sudden concern that NASA is doing science by press conference, if it is a real concern, should have been brought up a long time ago. But really, there should not be a concern. The data that are collected on these various NASA Big Science Missions are studied by real live scientists who publish the results in peer reviewed journals. But they also have the press conferences.

Think about this for one minute. What if NASA had the rule that nothing they did would be reported to the press, but rather, only released via peer reviewed journals, often years after the actual mission activities were carried out, but they’d also let you stand a few miles away and watch launches. That’s it. No press conferences keeping people updated on the various missions as they reach various milestones. What would the people who watch this science and report on it and blog about it do then? They’d whinge about the lack of transparency, the lack of information, they’d say things like “Sure, sure, peer reviewed papers are great, but with this kind of science, with the huge public funding, and given the importance of the public interest, and the various milestones and stuff … well, they should have press conferences now and then, dammit!”

Yes, that is what would be said.

So, here, I will present the information on the upcoming press conferences, as provided by NASA, so you can see what it is all about.

Source: Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Update Set In San Francisco About Curiosity Mars Rover

PASADENA, Calif. — The next news conference about the NASA Mars rover Curiosity will be held at 9 a.m. Monday, Dec. 3, in San Francisco at the Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical Union (AGU).
Rumors and speculation that there are major new findings from the mission at this early stage are incorrect. The news conference will be an update about first use of the rover’s full array of analytical instruments to investigate a drift of sandy soil. One class of substances Curiosity is checking for is organic compounds — carbon-containing chemicals that can be ingredients for life. At this point in the mission, the instruments on the rover have not detected any definitive evidence of Martian organics.

The Mars Science Laboratory Project and its Curiosity rover are less than four months into a two-year prime mission to investigate whether conditions in Mars’ Gale Crater may have been favorable for microbial life. Curiosity is exceeding all expectations for a new mission with all of the instruments and measurement systems performing well. This is spectacular for such a complex system, and one that is operated so far away on Mars by people here on planet Earth. The mission already has found an ancient riverbed on the Red Planet, and there is every expectation for remarkable discoveries still to come.

Audio and visuals from the briefing also will be streamed online at: http://www.ustream.tv/nasajpl .

For more information about the mission, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/mars and http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl .


Veronica McGregor/Guy Webster 818-354-9452/ 818-354-6278
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
veronica.c.mcgregor@jpl.nasa.gov/ guy.webster@jpl.nasa.gov

Dwayne Brown 202-358-1726
NASA Headquarters, Washington

NASA to Host Dec. 3 Teleconference About Voyager Mission

November 29, 2012

PASADENA, Calif. — NASA will host a media teleconference at 11 a.m. PST (2 p.m. EST) on Monday, Dec. 3, to discuss the latest findings and travels of NASA’s Voyager 1 spacecraft.

Voyager 1 and its twin, Voyager 2, have been speeding through the outer reaches of our solar system and sending back unprecedented data about the bubble of charged particles around our sun. They were launched in 1977 and have traveled farther from Earth than any other spacecraft.

Audio and visuals of the event will be streamed live online at: http://www.ustream.tv/nasajpl2 .

For more information about the Voyager mission, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/voyager and http://voyager.jpl.nasa.gov .

Jia-Rui C. Cook 818-354-0850
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.

Dwayne Brown 202-358-1726
NASA Headquarters, Washington


Photograph of Alien Spacecraft by Flickr user Markusram

Important, some scary, comparisons across data 4 ur amusement

This morning, my inbox had a handful of interesting data that are totally unconnected to each other, each interesting in its own right, and together, a veritable potpourri of bloggyness. So, here goes:

First, Don Prothero at Skeptiblog has written one of those posts you want to keep handy next time you need to refer to Noah’s Ark. The title of his post is “Ship of Foolishness” but I’m going to catalog it under Noah’s Ark compared to the Titanic. Here’s the embedded data comparison:

I gotta get me some of that Gopher Wood.

Ok, I said these different data comparisons were not related to each other, but I guess maybe some of them are a little. The next item comes from Pew and it is the latest study showing the frequency of “none” people in the US population. Nones are those who are atheists, not-religious, etc. You know, the people who are not represented by having a copy of the ten commandments on the courtroom wall or a benediction at the start of an official public ceremony or a candidate say “god bless ‘merica” at the end of every speech, that sort of thing. Here’s the graph from pew forum:

This is a graph of "nones," not "nuns," just to be clear.

So, if “none” is at about 20%, then there are more “nones” than Hindus, Muslims, Jews, Orthodox Christians, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons, and eve, yes, Mainline Protestant (which means Protestants who are not black, apparently). Yes. There may be (just barely) more Protestants than there are Nones. And, I suspect that this is largely because of the spawn of Protestants growing up and saying “no” to their religion, more than any other source, but that is just a suspicion.

The next item is the scary one. It turns out, Mitt Romney really really did win the debate with President Obama. All the polls that collect data from after the debate show Romney increasing, with the latest poll showing him on the edge of statistically AHEAD of Obama. There are no current polls that show Obama winning. That part of the election, where Obama was winning, is over. Here’s the graph of averages from Real Clear Politics;

Ruh Roh.

The thing about that graph is that it shows an average across time and while that is nice for many interpretations, it tends to not indicate the dynamic of short term events. Here is a different graph showing the number of points Obama is ahead (positive numbers) or behind (negative numbers) across time expressed as days before and after the debate. That latter number is fudged because the polls take several days to do…I used the midpoint of the days indicated for the polling period as an estimate. This does not look good:

After the first debate, Obama is losing the election to Romney

And now let’s move on to what might be a happier note. Voyager 1 has left the building. And by building, I mean solar system.

Strangely it is reported that NASA is mum on the issue. But there is this graph going around that shows that the number of loose protons ands tuff that Vger-one runs into on a regular basis has gone from a whopping 25 or so a second to almost none, and that this happened in late August. Here’s the graph:

I suppose it is nice to not be whacked by random particles any more.

Actually, when I look at that graph, I see an instrument sputtering out a couple of times then failing, not the edge of the solar system. But that’s just me. Maybe.