Weblog Commenting and Trackback by HaloScan.com The Barnyard: Cool Space News

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Cool Space News

The NASA Phoenix Lander has made a successful landing on Mars in a mission to explore for signs of life and water in one of the polar regions. My uncle worked for NASA's Huntsville, Al. installation for years before, during and after the Apollo program and visiting there with the exclusive guided tours was a big thrill as a kid during that time so I have long followed NASA space news. This is from the article linked above since NASA's site seems to be down at the moment.

NASA's Phoenix spacecraft appeared Sunday to have made a safe, flawless landing on Mars.

In the mission support room during the final, tense minutes before the landing, long stretches of quiet were punctuated by cheers and clapping as confirmation of crucial events like the deployment of the parachute were confirmed.

Then, at 7:53 p.m. Eastern time, Richard Kornfeld, the lead communications officer for entry, descent and landing, announced: "Touchdown signal detected." The mission controllers erupted in cheers and began hugging one another in congratulations.

Because the signal was relayed via the Mars Odyssey orbiter, the controllers would have to wait a couple of hours, until Odyssey's next pass over the landing site, for additional word of the Phoenix's condition, including whether it had successfully unfolded its solar panels, and possibly for the first photographs of its landing site in the frigid plains above the arctic circle of Mars.

If all is operating properly, the next few days will be spent checking out the lander's instruments. Then it will begin the first up-close investigation of Mars's northern polar regions. That area became a prime area of interest for planetary scientists after Odyssey discovered in 2002 vast quantities of water ice lying a few inches beneath the surface in Mars's polar regions.

I remember reading all the cool articles about future space stations on the moon and dreaming about being an astronaut as I am sure many kids of my generation did. What I want to know is why the heck we are doing spending all this time and effort with the current space station when we could be basing on the moon by now? Want to get kids into math and science then get them interested in the great unknown of space. I will try to keep an eye on the future deveopments of this program.

1 comment:

shoprat said...

I agree with you.

It's depressing to watch 2001 A Space Oddessy and compare where we really are today to back when this country had a space vision.