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Solar Sail on Exhibit in New York.

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Solar Sail on Exhibit in New York

Jul 31, 2003 - A full-sized replica of a Cosmos 1 solar sail is now on display at the Rockefeller Center "Centennial of Flight" exhibit in New York City. The 14.3 metre blade is made of a silvery Mylar-like material and joins several other exhibits at the show. If all goes well, the real solar sail will be launched on board a refurbished Russian ICBM some time this fall. The sail will be on display until August 18, 2003.

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Image credit: Caltech
Palomar Begins a New Sky Survey

Jul 31, 2003 - The Palomar Observatory has begun a new survey of the sky, and will explore the universe from our solar system out to distant quasars, 10 billion light-years away. The survey will be done with the refurbished 48-inch Oschin telescope with a newly attached digital CCD camera - the largest ever built with 112 separate detectors. The researchers plan to publish images gathered by the telescope onto the web so that other Astronomers can search the data for near-earth asteroids, Kuiper belt objects, supernovae and other objects.

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Image credit: NASA/JPL
Ion Engine Shut Down After Almost Five Years

Jul 31, 2003 - NASA researchers finally shut down an ion engine that had been running continuously for 30,352 hours. The engine was a duplicate of the one that flew on Deep Space 1, NASA's mission to test out a range of experimental technologies, and was originally designed to work for 8,000 hours. The engine was finally turned off so that engineers could take it apart to examine the different engine components for wear. Deep Space 1's engine operated for 16,265 hours.

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