Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Carnival of Space 158

[GEO Code personal Welcome]

Its been a while since I hosted the Carnival - No, I haven't been hiding away on a tidally split blue-green planet held together by carbon nano-fibre tree roots. Not wanting to open a "Pandora's box" ;-), I've just been busy. So thanks Fraser for appointing an Australian host for the Carnival in the week Hayabusa touches down in the Australian Desert.
[Image: Flight path of NASA DC-8 Hayabusa re-entry observation mission.]

If you are new here, a “Blog Carnival” is a whistle stop tour of Blogs around a particular community of interest – in this case Astronomy and Space. It features the best and most interesting highlights of this week’s blog posts from the contributors to the carnival. The purpose is to share, develop, encourage and network with those of a similar interest. For back-issues of earlier carnivals click here. If you’ve got a space-related blog, you should really join the carnival. Just email an entry to, and the next host will link to it.

Its been a big week for Japan with "three from three" in as many days. Ikaros deployed its solar sails, Hayabusa made it all the way to home base and to top things off - Japan had a great win over the powerful Cameroon football team in the World Cup.

This week AARTScope ran a live blog of the Hayabusa return with over 200 visitors dropping by to check-out the live action. So lets start this week with Space Missions.

Space Missions!
Cheap Astronomy among other things, produces high quality Podcasts, and this week Steve Nerlich gives an extensive preview to the return of Hayabusa covering the full seven years of the mission.

Brian Wang from Next Big Future Blog covers the
"inverse origami" of unfolding and deploying the IKAROS solar sail as thin as spider silk.

[Youtube Video from the JAXA Channel]

Bruce Cordell's 21st Century Waves doesn't "drop the ball" by asking "Can the UK Lead the New Space Age?" [For those who hate Football - my last world cup gag].

Aron Sora seeks to create a paradox on Habitation Intention by suggesting we need a reverse doomsday clock tracking how far away we are getting from being a Space fareing society. A bit of thinly veiled activism. I love it!!!

Adam Crowl at Crowlspace does the math on the business case for Space Based Solar Power. The thinking seems to be gather the power in space then transfer and distribute on the ground.

Every organization/industry needs to learn and develop. Part of that journey is having a strong organizational memory. David Portree editor of Beyond Apollo and Beyond Shuttle makes a strong contribution to our organizational memory of space missions by carefully documenting the historical evolution of various space programs. David meticulously traces the decision points and tension between politics and science through out the journey. Some of those decisions sound vaguely familiar and relevent today. This week David covers the evolution of space station design throughout the 60s and 70s, the roadblocks and decision points and challenges along the way. Can you spot how many of the McDonnell concepts have made it through to today's Space Station.

Finally in Weird Sciences, Bruce Leeeowe known for his "theoretical approach to the space dimension and extraterrestrial life", discusses what every mission planner needs to know - the best contingency plan if you should encounter the scenario where your Spaceship's warp drive core is declared irretrievable. Bruce uses known science to push the boundaries of what just, might, be day! Bruce also has a post that asks the question - "How old could entities be?"

[Youtube Video: NASA's video of Hayabusa "mothership" and landing pod re-entering the atmosphere]
Hayabusa was the highlight of the week and actualy lived up to the expectation, which now brings us to Hard Science.

Hard Science!
Nancy Atkinson, Senior Editor of Universe Today, continues the Japanese theme, discussing some of Shimizu's mega space projects. The Japanese Space community have clearly demonstrated their ability to achieve amazing results......what are they thinking of next?

Paul Gilster's Centauri Dreams Blog covers the amazing latest research on β Pictoris produced by the ESO team. Not sure what is more exciting - the findings or the capabilities of ESO's Very large telescope and the Adonis instrument.

David Bigwood presents a a collection of images from the Lunar Planetary Imager....some great potential screensavers and desktop backgrounds among them.

The Chandra X-Ray team at Harvard celebrate the life and research of Geoffrey Burbidge and the legacy of his research on the enormous energies involved in violent events in gallactic nuclei. They also present a new image of CH Cyg that is fascinating, as it maps color data from three different telescopes to RGB creating an amazing insight into the behavior of CH Cyg.

Social Scene!
Robert Pearlman, Editor of CollectSPACE, puts on a Tuxedo to cover awards ceremony that appointed four new inductees to the US Astronaut's Hall of Fame.

Thanks for joining us for Carnival of Space #158. June 16 2010.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Desktop Guide to Hayabusa Re-Entry

I'm sure you have all seen those massive rooms with walls of electronic displays like the NASA Flight Control Room. Ever dreamed of being a mission controller and having all that data at your finger tips?

This weekend is a long weekend in Australia and a very special event is occurring! The Hayabusa Spacecraft is returning to its home planet with samples from Asteroid Itokawa. Keeping it all in AsiaPac, JAXA, the emerging Japanese powerhouse of space projects, has selected the Woomera Restricted Area for a landing and recovery zone.

I am watching the whole thing with extra interest as if it overshoots it might land on my telescope! ;-)

Anyway I digress (as usual).

Today I thought I would share with you how to set up your own mission control room so you can watch all the action unfold. TV is boring anyway as its largely re-runs of shows and terrible ads, whereas the internet is a seething mish-mash of live breaking news, particularly since the advent of social networking. So here, step by step, I'll describe how you can set up your own Mission Control Centre.

Special Equipment:
1) Leather recliner
2) 46 " Plasma
3) PC/Computer
4) Wireless Mouse in the USB port

[Seriously, I have actually done a full test plan on this]

What to do with above Equipment:
1) Open 5 windows
2) Window #1: Open Url and search on #Hayabusa and or follow @Hayabusa_JAXA for live updates in Twitter. Trendmaps will enable you to see what everyone else is saying in the twitter feeds that include #Hayabusa.
3) Window #2: Open Google Translator for Japanese to english translations (The Aussies are not the only ones excited about Hayabusa).
4) Window #3 Of course you will need the latest updates from my blog (I am hoping for a live reporter, if I can find one).
5) Window #4 You may want to have the Mission Page up for any updates
6) Window #5 Nasa has flown an entire flight crew to man a DC-8 and attempt to film the re-entry and stream it live Here: Knowing how carefully NASA plan things I'd say the chances are "better than average" there will be something to see.
7) Plug Laptop PC into your large screen/Plasma/LCD/ Brand spanking new LED TV with 3D (Ok now we are going a bit too far).
8) Arrange Windows on screen so you can see them all - re-size the windows to suit.
9) Use wireless mouse to refresh screens that don't feed.
10) Pour glass of preferred beverage and relax and watch the show!!!!!

Re-Entry is at Sun 13th around 23:22 local time (around 1300 UT to 1400 UT should cover most of the action) when the tiny spacecraft will glow at an estimated magnitude of -5 (brighter than Venus) as it passes through about 100Klms up. If you are fortunate enough to be at least 500 kilometers away from the nearest Port Adelaide AFL game, then you may well be in the vicinity of Glendambo, SthAus where it is expected be briefly visible about 30 degrees above the NW Horizion.

Details on the descent can be found here:

So there you have it, get yourself a an anime thumbnail photo for your Social Networking Profile, brush up on your Japanese, set up your "Mission Control" screen and enjoy what should be a historic occasion.

LIVE BLOGGING and TWITTER UPDATES from Astroswanny from 1200UT.

Update: 12/6 09:34am
Hayabusa_JAXA have posted a lovely photo of the dark australian night (presumably from Woomera) Looks like they are ready to go.

Update: 13/6 09:08 PM
T -3 Hrs and counting. This afternoon the JAXA Team announced that Hayabusa would be faintly visible after sunset before the Satellite entered the earths shadow in the Maldives about 6 minutes before re-entry. Satellites are visible in early evening and before sunrise when they are light by the sunlight whilst still being visible in the "night". Details of the observation details in the Maldives -

Update: 13/6 09:27
Welcome everyone to tonight's coverage. In the last hours I have noticed a number of visitors from the US East coast, Japan, Europe (looks like somewhere near France or Spain) and Australian visitors in Melbourne, Perth and possibly the Woomera restricted area, or some really keen nearby desert dwellers ;-)
You can see the visitor on the "Revolvermap" one of my favourite webtools at the top of the page. NASA are yet to open up the server to their live broadcast.

Update: 13/6 09:39 (Local AEST UT +10 - in case you were wondering) Welcome Jakata!
OK then I'm all set - Laptop, iPad and a glass of Verdello and the Soccer on the TV Algeria and Slovenia has just started.

If you want to join the conversation RT @Astroswanny on twitter with #hayabusa_jaxa and #hayabusa

UPDATE: 13/6 09:55 pm
- Cool must see Geo a way only Google can!!!

UPDATE: 13/6 10:00
Hourly update. JAXA reported at 9pm that the lander successfully seperated from the mother ship. Twitter feeds following the action with heavy traffic are #hayabusa and #hayabusa_jaxa. About 1Hr 20mins now till anticipated touchdown.

UPDATE: 13/6 10:21
One hour to go. The Tweetsphere is roaring and there are over 20 concurrent visitors - A special welcome to the folks in a boat off the west coast of Africa!!! (or perhaps there's a tiny island there I can't see) - Just trying to get a fix on the NASA DC-8 You can flight track it here in Google Earth :

UPDATE: 13/6 10:52PM
NASA DC-8 has been airborne for a few hours and is now approaching the observation area.

UPDATE 13/6 11:13PM Hayabusa should be over Indian ocean and visible over Maldives about now. NASA DC-8 making good progress to target area:

UPDATE 13/6 11:22pm Local Any minute now we should see announcement from:

UPDATE: 13/6 11:42pm
Servers all running seriously slowly, can't raise the NASA feed, no offical news yet. Intrepid reporters in Japan having their own Hayabusa parties and streaming via Ustream:

UPDATE: 11:50pm Looks like the NASA DC-8 made it into position, I couldn't contact the server for the feed, let hope they got what they came for!!!

Update: 11:53pm My Japanese is not good but there is lots of cheering and an photo from the NASA DC-8 it appears, lots of cheering!

UPDATE: 12:04am Our Japanese friends have cracked the champagne and are looking very excited. Thanks for everyone who has visited the blog. Join me early next week when I will be hosting Carnival of Space.

UPDATE: 12:08am <6月13日 22時57分(日本時間)発信>地上からカプセルの発光(火球)を確認しました。これにより、カプセルが大気圏に再突入したことを確認しました。Which if you followed the steps mention above ;-) you would instantly recognize as Re-entry fire ball confirmed!

UPDATE: 12:25am
JAXA broadcasting via Ustream and the Live Universe channel have captured the re-entry in spectacular video.

Observer reports starting to come in PWB described it as a long slow shooting star in Alice Springs.

12:46 am -SIGNING OFF
- Well, no news on the science yet but that is about all we'll hear tonight I guess. First photos of the landing are in and show the spectacular fireball. Thanks to all the new visitors to AARTScope where our mission is to "help create the sense of anticipation and discovery that keeps scientists asking questions". I'll do another round-up when I host Carnival of Space tomorrow. The re-entry was observed as far away as Alice Springs by one of our guests at tonight's Live Blog. Please leave you comments and subscribe to the Blog and the Astroswanny TWITTER feed. Australia opens is world cup campaign in 4 hours so I better get some shut eye. CLEAR SKIES!!!!!


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