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New Mars Rover Missions Announced for 2003.
July 28, 2000
Wow, what a day for space news - I should whine about a lack of news more often. In addition to the stories below, there's a couple of other items you should be aware of.
Sea Launch is scheduled to launch the PAS-9 satellite on board a Zenit-3SL rocket today at 10:42pm GMT. They'll be webcasting the event live, so if you want to watch the launch, and cheer them on, just visit this link:
Second, it looks like NASA is seriously considering cancelling the Pluto Express mission, which was supposed to launch 2004. Pluto's the only planet in the solar system that hasn't been observed close up, and I really think it would be a shame to cancel this mission. The Planetary Society is organizing its members and friends to protest this decision, so if you want to get involved, visit their site, and take part:
I want to come clean, I've been pretty lazy recently in how I list time on the site. I've slipped into the nasty habit of using Pacific Time, where I happen to live here in Vancouver, Canada. Obviously, this is a big round world, and very few of you live in the same timezone as me. So, I'll be using nothing but Greenwich Mean time from now on... promise. You'll have to do the local calculation. Here's a site that I use:
New Mars Rover Missions Announced for 2003
Comet LINEAR Shredded
Sea Launch Ready for Launch
NEAR Backs Away from Eros
NEW MARS ROVER MISSIONS ANNOUNCED FOR 2003
NASA announced yesterday that it has decided to send up to two rover missions to Mars in 2003. The missions will be a similar design to the Mars Pathfinder, using an airbag cushion to land on the surface. The rover will be much larger than Pathfinder's Sojourner, capable of travelling 100 metres a day, and equipped with a range of scientific equipment, including several cameras and spectrometers - the primary objective will be to find recent evidence of liquid water on the surface. The launch is scheduled for June 4, 2003, and it should arrive at the Red planet January 20, 2004.
ftp://ftp.hq.nasa.gov/pub/pao/pressrel/2000/00-119.txt">NASA Press Release
COMET LINEAR SHREDDED
NASA recently decided to point two of its space observatories, Hubble and Chandra, at Comet LINEAR as it passed by the Earth, from July 5 to 7. They couldn't have picked a better moment; as they were watching, a house-sized chunk of rock and ice shredded off the comet. Another telescope pointed at the Comet from July 23 to 27 watched the Comet come completely apart, not even large chunks are remaining.
SEA LAUNCH READY FOR LAUNCH
The Odyssey Launch Platform and its Sea Launch Commander support vessel are in position at the equator, and ready to launch the PAS-9 satellite on board a Zenit-3SL rocket. The one hour launch window opens Friday, July 28 at 10:42pm GMT. This is an important launch for California-based Sea Launch after its previous failure back in March.
NEAR BACKS AWAY FROM EROS
Recently orbiting asteroid Eros at an altitude of only 35kms, the Near Earth asteroid Rendezvous (NEAR) spacecraft has shifted to a higher orbit of 50kms. The higher orbit will allow NEAR to gather additional data and global images of the asteroid, including the southern pole, which was in darkness earlier in the mission.
A few more astronomy clubs, web pages and space societies.
Central Pennsylvania Observers - http://www.cpo.homepad.com
headquartered in State College, Pa., near Penn State University. We were founded in 1997 and have about 35 regular members and serve counties in the Central Pennsylvania region. We held our first star party last year, which was very successful. This year we expect over 400 people at the Black Forest star Party (Sept. 1-4), at Cherry Springs, Pa., one of the darkest spots on the East Coast
House of Dave - http://www.frii.com/~dboll/
Dave dishes out a healthy dose of astronomical topics, with discussions on how to make telescopes, where NASA should focus their efforts, how to speed up the Moon's rotation, and star party trip reports.
Star Ware - http://www.philharrington.homepage.com
A page dedicated to helping stargazers get a little more out of amateur astronomy. The web site features information about buying and observing through binoculars and telescopes, details on upcoming solar and lunar eclipses, information about combating light pollution, as well as a nationwide directory of dark-sky observing sites.
Greater Hazleton Area Astronomical Society (GHAAS) - http://www.ccomm.com/ghaas/
Located in Hazleton, PA, USA. The purpose of the society is to advance the science of astronomy by stimulating interest and encouraging study thereby educating its members and the public through astronomical observation techniques and the use of astronomical equipment. We have Approximately 60 members.
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