Thursday, June 29, 2017

An Algorithm Helps Protect Mars Curiosity's Wheels

An Algorithm Helps Protect Mars Curiosity's Wheels: A new software program reduces wear and tear on the Curiosity Mars rover wheels.

Mars Society Poster 2017

Four Major Science Fiction Authors To Hold A Panel At The Mars Society Convention

Updated] Mars Society Hosting Sci-Fi Panel on Human Future in Space at 2017 Convention

As part of 
the 20th Annual International Mars Society Convention, scheduled to take place at the University of California Irvine (September 7-10), a panel discussion involving four major science fiction authors has been organized to examine the human future in space and the role science fiction plays in its planning and direction.

The four scheduled participants, all award-winning writers, include:   
  • Gregory Benford, a science fiction author, professor emeritus at UC Irvine in the field of physics and contributing editor to Reason magazine,
  • David Brin, an author of science fiction and non-fiction and a member of NASA’s advisory board on Innovative and Advanced Concepts group,
  • Jerry Pournelle, a science fiction writer, essayist and journalist, as well as former President of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America,
  • Larry Niven, a science fiction author and script writer for several science fiction-based television series. 
The 90-minute panel discussion is set to take place on Thursdayevening, September 7th on the UC Irvine campus.

“This is going to be a gathering of some of the greatest contemporary science fiction writers of our time to discuss how humanity will plan and reach its goal of exploring and expanding into the solar system and beyond, ” declared Mars Society President Dr. Robert Zubrin.

For more details about the 2017 Mars Society Convention, including the confirmed speaker list, please visit our web site ( Registration for the four-day convention and Saturday evening banquet is available online (please note that discounts for early bird ticket sales end on Friday, June 30th at 5:00 pm MST).


Curiosity Detects What Looks Like Bones On The Surface Of Mars

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Reproduction On Mars Needs More Study!

Mars Rover Opportunity on Walkabout Near Rim

Mars Rover Opportunity on Walkabout Near Rim: NASA's senior Mars rover, Opportunity, is examining rocks at the edge of Endeavour Crater for signs that they may have been either transported by a flood or eroded in place by wind.

Why No One Under 20 Has Experienced a Day Without NASA at Mars

Why No One Under 20 Has Experienced a Day Without NASA at Mars: As the Mars Pathfinder spacecraft approached its destination on July 4, 1997, no NASA mission had successfully reached the Red Planet in more than 20 years.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Laser-Targeting A.I. Yields More Mars Science

NASA JPL latest news release
Laser-targeting A.I. Yields More Mars ScienceArtificial intelligence is changing how we study Mars.
A.I. software on NASA's Curiosity Mars rover has helped it zap dozens of laser targets on the Red Planet this past year, becoming a frequent science tool when the ground team was out of contact with the spacecraft. This same software has proven useful enough that it's already scheduled for NASA's upcoming mission, Mars 2020.
A new paper in Science: Robotics looks at how the software has performed since rolling out to Curiosity's science team in May 2016. The AEGIS software, or Autonomous Exploration for Gathering Increased Science, has been used to direct Curiosity's ChemCam instrument 54 times since then. It's used on almost every drive when the power resources are available for it, according to the paper's authors.
The vast majority of those uses involved selecting targets to zap with ChemCam's laser, which vaporizes small amounts of rock or soil and studies the gas that burns off. Spectrographic analysis of this gas can reveal the elements that make up each laser target.
AEGIS allows the rover to get more science done while Curiosity's human controllers are out of contact. Each day, they program a list of commands for it to execute based on the previous day's images and data. If those commands include a drive, the rover may reach new surroundings several hours before it is able to receive new instructions. AEGIS allows it to autonomously zap rocks that scientists may want to investigate later.
"Time is precious on Mars," said lead author Raymond Francis of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. Francis is the lead system engineer for AEGIS' deployment on the Curiosity rover. "AEGIS allows us to make use of time that otherwise wasn't available because we were waiting for someone on Earth to make a decision."
AEGIS has helped the science team discover a number of interesting minerals. On separate occasions, higher quantities of chlorine and silica were discovered in nearby rocks -- information that helped direct science planning the following day.
"The goal is to provide more information for the science team," said Tara Estlin of JPL, co-author and team lead for AEGIS. "AEGIS has increased the total data coming from ChemCam by operating during times when the rover would otherwise just be waiting for a command."
Before AEGIS was implemented, this downtime was so valuable that the rover was instructed to carry out "blind" targeting of ChemCam. As it was carrying out commands, it would also fire the laser, just to see if it would gather interesting data. But the targeting was limited to a pre-programmed angle, since there was no onboard ability to search for a target.
"Half the time it would just hit soil -- which was also useful, but rock measurements are much more interesting to our scientists," Francis said.
With the intelligent targeting AEGIS affords, Curiosity can be given parameters for very specific kinds of rocks, defined by color, shape and size. The software uses computer vision to search out edges in the landscape; if it detects enough edges, there's a good chance it has found a distinct object, Francis said.
Then the software can rank, filter and prioritize those objects based on the characteristics the science team is looking for.
AEGIS can also be used for fine-scale pointing -- what Francis calls "pointing insurance." When Curiosity's operators aren't quite confident they'll hit a very narrow vein in a rock on the first try, they sometimes use this ability to fine-tune the pointing, though it only came up twice in the past year.
The upcoming Mars 2020 rover will also include AEGIS, which will be included in the next-generation version of ChemCam, called SuperCam. That instrument will also be able to use AEGIS for a remote RAMAN spectrometer that can study the crystal structures of rocks, as well as a visible and infrared spectrometer.
The U.S. Department of Energy's Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico leads the U.S. and French team that jointly developed and operates ChemCam. IRAP is a co-developer and shares operation of the instrument with France's national space agency (CNES), NASA and Los Alamos. JPL, a division of Caltech in Pasadena, California, manages the Curiosity mission for NASA.

Is It Time To Rethink How We Search For Alien Life?

Is It Time to Rethink How We Search for Alien Life?

Is It Time to Rethink How We Search for Alien Life?
This artist’s impression shows an imagined view from the surface of a planet that was part of a star system found recently using the TRAPPIST telescope at the European Space Observatory's La Silla Observatory in Chile. These worlds' sizes and temperatures are similar to those of Venus and Earth, and are the best targets found so far in the search for life outside our solar system.
WASHINGTON — From the lovable, candy-munching E.T. to the deadly Xenomorphs from the "Alien" movies, science-fiction stories are bursting with all kinds of alien encounters. But in reality, we've yet to achieve contact — though not for lack of trying.
Plenty of scientists are looking for signs of extraterrestrial life — intelligent or not — using a variety of methods, Seth Shostak, senior astronomer at the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) Institute, told an audience here on June 18 during a talk at Future Con, a festival that highlights the intersection between science, technology and science fiction.
But the more our own technology moves forward and the more humans explore the rapidly evolving concept of synthetic intelligence (smart machines), the more experts suspect that intelligent extraterrestrial life could be advanced in ways that would stymie current efforts to find them, Shostak said.
However, perhaps the first question to ask is why people are so fascinated by the idea of alien life — particularly alien invaders, Shostak suggested. This preoccupation with an unseen extraterrestrial threat may be an echo from our distant past, when early humans learned that survival frequently depended on being able to imagine and prepare for attacks from predators or enemies that you couldn't see, he said.  
What we now know about the universe suggests that it's very unlikely that humanity is the only form of life in it.
"Work from the last 20 years shows that there are planets all over the place," Shostak said. In fact, NASA announced yesterday (June 19) that the Kepler Space Telescope mission has discovered 219 more exoplanets (planets orbiting stars other than our sun), bringing the total of planets discovered by Kepler to 4,034, reported.
Most stars — 70 to 80 percent of them, by some estimates — probably host planets, Shostak added. With an estimated 100 billion stars in our galaxy, that gives us around 1 trillion planets in the Milky Way galaxy alone. Data from Kepler suggests that about one in five of these planets is Earth-like — rocky and capable of supporting liquid water and possibly life, "so now you have 100 billion planets in our galaxy that are sort of like Earth," Shostak said.
And with recent studies hinting that there may be as many as 2 trillion galaxies in the observable universe, that adds up to a lot of planets that might host some form of life.
When you look at it that way, "saying, 'I don't believe in aliens' is a daring position to take," Shostak said.
There are three methods most commonly used by scientists to search for alien life, according to Shostak. The first is straightforward enough — and is also the one that's most popular with sci-fi writers: "Just go out and find it," he said. This includes missions to send spacecraft to destinations such as Saturn's moon Enceladus, where probes would sample water vapor from surface plumes to see if they hold anything interesting. 

The final method — and the one practiced by Shostak and his SETI Institute colleagues — is eavesdropping on radio signals that an alien civilization might broadcast.Another method is to image distant planets with very large space telescopes capable of detecting enough detail to provide scientists with data about their atmospheres. Big telescopes — such as the James Webb Space Telescope, expected to launch in October 2018 — could allow astronomers to analyze the spectrum of light surrounding a far-off planet for evidence of atmospheric oxygen or methane, both of which are known to sustain life on Earth.
"That's how you find intelligent life," Shostak said.
All of these parameters offer scientists a reasonable range of variables for discovering life — but only as long as that life is "the soft, squishy kind, like us," Shostak said. However, a sophisticated extraterrestrial civilization could theoretically have advanced far beyond that, creating forms of artificial intelligence housed in machinery, which simply don't have the same requirements as organic life.
"Machines live forever, and they can go anywhere — they don't care about oceans and atmospheres," Shostak said.
With that view, many of the factors that are currently thought to be indicators of life on other worlds, such as liquid water and a breathable atmosphere, are rendered irrelevant. As such, researchers would need to identify other signals to pinpoint which planets might harbor aliens, Shostak said.
But Shostak also offered reassurances, telling the Future Con attendees that at least they won't need to worry about scientists or the government concealing the news when alien life finally does appear — the story would be too big for them to hide it for long, he said.
"Will we all start singing 'Kumbaya' and just get along when that happens? I don't think so," Shostak said at Future Con. "But it'll change things. Forever after, you will know — as amazing as you are — that you're not the only miracle, you're not the only kid on the block. And I think that'll be very interesting to learn."

Explore Mars Sponsors Rock Opera-One-Way Trip To Mars

Space-X's Plan For Sending Humans To Mars

Massive Collection Of Nazi Artifacts Found In A Buenos Aires Home

Massive Collection Of Suspected Nazi Artifacts Found In Argentina

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — In a hidden room in a house near Argentina's capital, police believe they have found the biggest collection of Nazi artifacts in the country's history, including a bust relief of Adolf Hitler, magnifying glasses inside elegant boxes with swastikas and even a macabre medical device used to measure head size.
Some 75 objects were found in a collector's home in Beccar, a suburb north of Buenos Aires, and authorities say they suspect they are originals that belonged to high-ranking Nazis in Germany during World War II.
"Our first investigations indicate that these are original pieces,'' Argentine Security Minister Patricia Bullrich told The Associated Press on Monday, saying that some pieces were accompanied by old photographs. "This is a way to commercialize them, showing that they were used by the horror, by the Fuhrer. There are photos of him with the objects.''
patricia bullrich
Argentine Security Minister Patricia Bullrich speaks during a ceremony at the headquarters of the Delegation of Argentinean Israeli Associations (DAIA) in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Monday
Among the disturbing items were toys that Bullrich said would have been used to indoctrinate children, a large statue of the Nazi Eagle above a swastika, a Nazi hourglass and a box of harmonicas.
Police say one of the most-compelling pieces of evidence of the historical importance of the find is a photo negative of Hitler holding a magnifying glass similar to those found in the boxes.
"We have turned to historians and they've told us it is the original magnifying glass'' that Hitler was using, said Nestor Roncaglia, head of Argentina's federal police. "We are reaching out to international experts to deepen'' the investigation.
The photograph was not released to the public, but was shown to The Associated Press on the condition that it not be published.
The investigation that culminated in the discovery of the collection began when authorities found artworks of illicit origin in a gallery in north Buenos Aires.
nazi artifacts argentina
Members of the federal police show a bust relief portrait of Nazi leader Adolf Hitler at the Interpol headquarters in Buenos Aires on Friday.
Agents with the international police force Interpol began following the collector and with a judicial order raided the house on June 8. A large bookshelf caught their attention and behind it agents found a hidden passageway to a room filled with Nazi imagery.
Authorities did not identify the collector who remains free but under investigation by a federal judge.
"There are no precedents for a find like this. Pieces are stolen or are imitations. But this is original and we have to get to the bottom of it,'' said Roncaglia.
Police are trying to determine how the artifacts entered Argentina.
nazi artifacts argentina
A member of the federal police holds an hourglass with Nazi markings at the Interpol headquarters in Buenos Aires on Friday. (Photo: AP via CP)
The main hypothesis among investigators and member of Argentina's Jewish community is that they were brought to Argentina by a high-ranking Nazi or Nazis after World War II, when the South American country became a refuge for fleeing war criminals, including some of the best known.
As leading members of Hitler's Third Reich were put on trial for war crimes, Josef Mengele fled to Argentina and lived in Buenos Aires for a decade. He moved to Paraguay after Israeli Mossad agents captured Holocaust mastermind Adolf Eichmann, who was also living in Buenos Aires. Mengele later died in Brazil in 1979 while swimming in a beach in the town of Bertioga.
While police in Argentina did not name any high-ranking Nazis to whom the objects might have originally belonged, Bullrich noted there were medical devices.
nazi artifacts argentina
Detail of artifacts bearing Nazi symbols that were recovered by the Argentine Federal Police (PFA), displayed during an event at the DAIA headquarters in Buenos Aires. (Photo: EPA via CP)
"There are objects to measure heads that was the logic of the Aryan race,'' she said.
Ariel Cohen Sabban, president of the DAIA, a political umbrella for Argentina's Jewish institutes, called the find "unheard of'' in Argentina.
"Finding 75 original pieces is historic and could offer irrefutable proof of the presence of top leaders who escaped from Nazi Germany,'' Cohen told the AP.

23.2 GB (22%) of 101 GB used

Monday, June 19, 2017

21 Facts You Should Know About the August 21,2017 Total Solar Ecclipse

25 facts you should know about the August 21, 2017

total solar eclipse

This chart shows the paths of totality for 15 solar eclipses through 2028. // Astronomy: Roen Kelly after Fred Espenak, NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
When I first wrote this blog, the event was more than three years away. Not anymore! Each day now seems to bring a new announcement of a talk, a workshop, or an event related to the eclipse. With tens of millions of people headed for the zone of totality, it’s going to be the biggest science event in history. In this blog I list 25 of the eclipse's important details for our readership, the general public, and the media. Read them, and learn about the event. But for sure plan to experience totality. You'll remember it for the rest of your life as the greatest thing you ever saw!
1. This will be the first total solar eclipse in the continental U.S. in 38 years. The last one occurred February 26, 1979. Unfortunately, not many people saw it because it clipped just five states in the Northwest and the weather for the most part was bleak. Before that one, you have to go back to March 7, 1970.
2. A solar eclipse is a lineup of the Sun, the Moon, and Earth. The Moon, directly between the Sun and Earth, casts a shadow on our planet. If you’re in the dark part of that shadow (the umbra), you’ll see a total eclipse. If you’re in the light part (the penumbra), you’ll see a partial eclipse.
3. A solar eclipse happens at New Moon. The Moon has to be between the Sun and Earth for a solar eclipse to occur. The only lunar phase when that happens is New Moon.
4. Solar eclipses don’t happen at every New Moon. The reason is that the Moon’s orbit tilts 5° to Earth’s orbit around the Sun. Astronomers call the two intersections of these paths nodes. Eclipses only occur when the Sun lies at one node and the Moon is at its New (for solar eclipses) or Full (for lunar eclipses) phase. During most (lunar) months, the Sun lies either above or below one of the nodes, and no eclipse happens.
5. Eclipse totalities are different lengths. The reason the total phases of solar eclipses vary in time is because Earth is not always at the same distance from the Sun and the Moon is not always the same distance from Earth. The Earth-Sun distance varies by 3 percent and the Moon-Earth distance by 12 percent. The result is that the Moon’s apparent diameter can range from 7 percent larger to 10 percent smaller than the Sun.
6. It's all about magnitude and obscuration. Astronomers categorize each solar eclipse in terms of its magnitude and obscuration, and I don’t want you to be confused when you encounter these terms. The magnitude of a solar eclipse is the percent of the Sun’s diameter that the Moon covers during maximum eclipse. The obscuration is the percent of the Sun’s total surface area covered at maximum. Here's an example: If the Moon covers half the Sun's diameter (in this case the magnitude equals 50 percent), the amount of obscuration (the area of the Sun's disk the Moon blots out) will be 39.1 percent.
7. Solar eclipses occur between Saros cycles. Similar solar and lunar eclipses recur every 6,585.3 days (18 years, 11 days, 8 hours). Scientists call this length of time a Saros cycle. Two eclipses separated by one Saros cycle are similar. They occur at the same node, the Moon’s distance from Earth is nearly the same, and they happen at the same time of year.
8. Everyone in the continental U.S. will see at least a partial eclipse. In fact, if you have clear skies on eclipse day, the Moon will cover at least 48 percent of the Sun’s surface. And that’s from the northern tip of Maine.
9. It’s all about totality. Not to cast a shadow on things, but likening a partial eclipse to a total eclipse is like comparing almost dying to dying. I know that 48 percent sounds like a lot. It isn’t. You won’t even notice your surroundings getting dark. And it doesn’t matter whether the partial eclipse above your location is 48, 58, or 98 percent. Only totality reveals the true celestial spectacle: the diamond ring, the Sun’s glorious corona, strange colors in our sky, and seeing stars in the daytime.
Only being on the center line will allow viewers to see the diamond rings and the interval of totality between them. // Ian Wardlaw
10. You want to be on the center line. This probably isn’t a revelation, but the Moon’s shadow is round. If it were square, it wouldn’t matter where you viewed totality. People across its width would experience the same duration of darkness. The shadow is round, however, so the longest eclipse occurs at its center line because that’s where you’ll experience the Moon’s shadow’s full width.
11. First contact is in Oregon. If you want to be the first person to experience totality in the continental U.S., be on the waterfront at Government Point, Oregon, at 10:15:56.5 a.m. PDT. There, the total phase lasts 1 minute, 58.5 seconds.
12. The center line crosses through 12 states. After a great west-to-east path across Oregon, the center line takes roughly nine minutes to cross a wide swath of Idaho, entering the western part of the state just before 11:25 a.m. MDT and leaving just before 11:37 a.m. MDT. Next up is Wyoming, where the umbral center line dwells until just past 11:49 a.m. MDT. From 11:47 a.m. MDT until 1:07 CDT (note the time zone change!), the dark part of the Moon's shadow lies in Nebraska. The center line hits the very northeastern part of Kansas at 1:04 p.m. CDTand enters Missouri a scant two minutes later. At 1:19, the shadow’s midpoint crosses the Mississippi River, which at that location is the state border with Illinois. The center line leaves Illinois at its Ohio River border with Kentucky just past 1:24 p.m. CDT. Totality for that state starts there two minutes earlier and lasts until nearly 1:29 p.m. CDT. The center line crosses the border into Tennessee around 1:26 p.m. CDT. Then, just past the midpoint of that state, the time zone changes to Eastern. North Carolina has the midpoint of the eclipse from 2:34 p.m. EDT until just past 2:38 p.m. EDT. The very northeastern tip of Georgia encounters the center line from just past 2:35 p.m. EDTuntil not quite 2:39 p.m. EDT. Finally, it’s South Carolina’s turn. The last of the states the center line crosses sees its duration from 2:36 p.m. EDT to 2:39 p.m. EDT.
13. Totality lasts a maximum of 2 minutes and 40.2 seconds. That’s it. To experience that length, you’ll need to be slightly south of Carbondale, Illinois, in Giant City State Park. You might think about getting there early.
14. The end of the eclipse for the U.S. is not on land. The center line’s last contact with the U.S. occurs at the Atlantic Ocean’s edge just southeast of Key Bay, South Carolina. I’m pretty sure the crowd won’t be huge there.
15. Cool things are afoot before and after totality. Although the big payoff is the exact lineup of the Sun, the Moon, and your location, keep your eyes open during the partial phases that lead up to and follow it. As you view the beginning through a safe solar filter, the universe will set your mind at ease when you see the Moon take the first notch out of the Sun’s disk. Around the three-quarters mark, you’ll start to notice that shadows are getting sharper. The reason is that the Sun’s disk is shrinking, literally approaching a point, and a smaller light source produces better-defined shadows. At about 85 percent coverage, someone you’re with will see Venus 34° west-northwest of the Sun. If any trees live at your site, you may see their leaves act like pinhole cameras as hundreds of crescent Suns appear in their shadows.
16. This eclipse will be the most-viewed ever. I base this proclamation on four factors: 1) the attention it will get from the media; 2) the superb coverage of the highway system in our country; 3) the typical weather on that date; and 4) the vast number of people who will have access to it from nearby large cities.
17. Only one large city has a great view. Congratulations if you’re one of the 609,000 people lucky enough to live in Nashville. The city center and parts north of it will experience 2+ minutes of totality. Unfortunately, that’s the only large city with a great view. In the tally below, column 1 lists 25 other large metropolitan areas. The second column shows the amount of the Sun’s surface the Moon will cover as seen by viewers in each city.
Atlanta97 percent
Boston63 percent
Chicago87 percent
Cincinnati91 percent
Dallas76 percent
Denver92 percent
Detroit79 percent
Houston67 percent
Indianapolis91 percent
Las Vegas72 percent
Los Angeles62 percent
Memphis93 percent
Miami78 percent
Milwaukee83 percent
Minneapolis83 percent
New Orleans75 percent
New York City72 percent
Oklahoma City84 percent
Philadelphia75 percent
Phoenix63 percent
Pittsburgh81 percent
Portland99 percent
Salt Lake City91 percent
Seattle92 percent
Washington, D.C.81 percent
Now a brief follow-up: about half of both Kansas City (pop. = 464,000) and Saint Louis (pop. = 318,000) lie within the path of totality. Unfortunately, the center line doesn’t pass through either of them. An educated guess then, tells me that most residents interested in the eclipse will drive 30 minutes or so for an extra two minutes of totality.
18. A few small cities are well-placed. Here’s a list of smaller municipalities either on the center line or near it with their approximate populations.
Carbondale, Illinois26,000
Casper, Wyoming58,000
Columbia, Missouri113,000
Columbia, South Carolina132,000
Grand Island, Nebraska50,000
Greenville, South Carolina61,000
Hopkinsville, Kentucky33,000
Idaho Falls, Idaho58,000
Jefferson City, Missouri43,000
Paducah, Kentucky25,000
Saint Joseph, Missouri77,000
Salem, Oregon157,000
19. Totality is safe to look at. During the time the Moon’s disk covers that of the Sun, it’s safe to look at the eclipse. In fact, to experience the awesomeness of the event, you must look at the Sun without a filter during totality.
20. Yes, the Sun’s a lot bigger. Our daytime star’s diameter is approximately 400 times larger than that of the Moon. What a coincidence that it also lies roughly 400 times farther away. This means both disks appear to be the same size.
21. You won’t need a telescope. One of the great things about the total phase of a solar eclipse is that it looks best to naked eyes. The sight of the corona surrounding the Moon’s black disk in a darkened sky is unforgettable. That said, binoculars give you a close-up view — but still at relatively low power — that you should take advantage of several times during the event.
22. Nature will take heed. Depending on your surroundings, as totality nears you may experience strange things. Look. You’ll notice a resemblance to the onset of night, though not exactly. Areas much lighter than the sky near the Sun lie all around the horizon. Shadows look different. Listen. Usually, any breeze will dissipate and birds (many of whom will come in to roost) will stop chirping. It is quiet. Feel. A 10°–15° F drop in temperature is not unusual.
23. Maximum totality is not the longest possible in 2017. The longest possible duration of the total phase of a solar eclipse is 7 minutes and 32 seconds. Unfortunately, the next solar eclipse whose totality approaches 7 minutes won’t occur until June 13, 2132. Its 6 minutes and 55 seconds of totality will be the longest since the 7 minutes and 4 seconds of totality June 30, 1973.
24. The future is bright but long. The next total solar eclipse over the continental U.S. occurs April 8, 2024. It’s a good one, too. Depending on where you are (on the center line), the duration of totality lasts at least 3 minutes and 22 seconds on the east coast of Maine and stretches to 4 minutes and 27 seconds in southwestern Texas. After that eclipse, it’s a 20-year wait until August 23, 2044 (and, similar to the 1979 event, that one is visible only in Montana and North Dakota). Total solar eclipses follow in 2045 and 2078.
25. This event will happen! As astronomers (professional or amateur), some of the problems we have are due to the uncertainty and limited visibility of some celestial events. Comets may appear bright if their compositions are just so. Meteor showers might reach storm levels if we pass through a thick part of the stream. (Oh, and the best views are after midnight.) A supernova as bright as a whole galaxy is visible now, but you need a telescope to view it. In contrast, this solar eclipse will occur when we say, where we say, for how long we say, and in the daytime, no less. Guaranteed!

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Sex In Space

US Air Force REthinks Military Space Plan After Bezos Rocket Component Blows Up.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Mike Eisperman To Address 2017 Mars Society Convention

Mike Elsperman to Discuss Boeing Mars Plans at 2017 Mars Society Convention

The Mars Society is pleased to announce that Mike Elsperman, Director of Boeing’s Space Science & Advanced Space Utilization division, will give a plenary address about the company’s role in Mars mission planning at 
the 20th Annual International Mars Society Convention, scheduled for September 7-10 at the University of California Irvine.

In addition to being involved in the development of NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS), 
Boeing announced concept plans in April for the Deep Space Gateway, a habitat in cislunar orbit intended to serve as a research spaceport and help achieve the goal of having human space exploration and transportation from the Moon to Mars.

Prior to assuming his current position at Boeing in 2008, Mr. Elsperman served over a six year period as Deputy Program Manager and Chief of Staff of the Space Shuttle program, as well as Director of Space Shuttle Systems Engineering and Integration.

For more details about the 2017 Mars Society Convention, including the 
confirmed speaker list, visit our web site ( Registration for the convention and evening banquet is available online (please note that discounts for early bird ticket sales end on June 30th). A public debate over the concept of Boeing’s Deep Space Gateway is being planned as part of the Mars Society Convention in September (details to follow).

Mike Elsperman
The Mars Society
11111 West 8th Avenue, unit A
Lakewood, CO 80215 U.S.A.

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All rights reserved.