Thunderpig’s Mirror

Archive for the ‘Exploration’ Category

July 20, 1969 "The Eagle Has Landed"

Posted by Thunder Pig on July 20, 2008

Apollo 11 was the first manned mission to land on the Moon. The first steps by humans on another planetary body were taken by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on July 20, 1969. The astronauts also returned to Earth the first samples from another planetary body. Apollo 11 achieved its primary mission – to perform a manned lunar landing and return the mission safely to Earth – and paved the way for the Apollo lunar landing missions to follow.
Find out more at Apollo 11.

Here’s how we’ll return to the Moon, this time to stay!

Posted in Exploration, history, Human Spacefilght, NASA, science | Leave a Comment »

Ashes To Ice

Posted by Thunder Pig on July 3, 2008

Here is a movie about the effort to reach Mars, culminating with the recent Phoenix Mission:

For more information, please visit the following websites:

Home page of the Phoenix Mars Mission

NASA’s Phoenix
page

And here is the live coverage of the Phoenix Landing as broadcast by space enthusiasts at Space Vid Cast:

Posted in Exploration, NASA, Online Media, science, space | Leave a Comment »

MRO Takes Photo Of Phoenix With Parachute Deployed

Posted by Thunder Pig on May 26, 2008

Holy Photographic Feats, Batman!!!

The image faintly detects the chords attaching the backshell and parachute. The surroundings look dark, but correspond to the fully illuminated Martian surface, which is much darker than the parachute and backshell.

Phoenix released its parachute at an altitude of about 12.6 kilometers (7.8 miles) and a velocity of 1.7 times the speed of sound.

The HiRISE acquired this image on May 25, 2008, at 7:36 p.m. Eastern Time. It is a highly oblique view of the Martian surface, 26 degrees above the horizon, or 64 degrees from the normal straight-down imaging of Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. The image has a scale of 0.76 meters per pixel.

Check out the rest of the story at Universe Today.

Is that not truly an awesome photo?

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Seven Minutes Of Terror: Live Coverage Of Phoenix Landing On Mars Update—Phoenix Has Landed!

Posted by Thunder Pig on May 25, 2008

**update** 8.02 pm The Phoenix Has Landed, and so far, all is well. When Ben makes the recording available, I will post it in place of the live stream player so you can relive the event.

Replay of event:

Free Videos by Ustream.TV

Here is my preferred viewing for all things NASA, Space Vid Cast:

Phoenix is scheduled to touch down on the northern icy plains of Mars tonight. Confirmation of the landing could come as early as 7:53 p.m. EDT (4:53 p.m. PDT). Follow along on here during landing, the live coverage is expected to begin at 6pm. Until then, I have a few websites for you to peruse. Remember that Mars is about 15 Light Minutes away, so we won’t know what happens on Mars until 15 minutes later.

Phoenix Website

University of Arizona Website

**update** 5.21pm Phoenix is even on “Twitter“. Gag me with a spoon!

Time table (All Times pm Eastern)

7.16.00 Propulsion System Pressurization
7.39.17 Cruise Stage Separation
7.46.17 Enter Martian Atmosphere
7.49.57 Parachute Deploy
7.50.12 Heat Shield Jettison
7.52.50 Lander Separation
7.52.53 Descent thrusters Increase
7.53.33 Touchdown

Just remember, that we will have to wait for the radio signals to get from Mars to the Earth, and that will take several minutes.

Today’s snapshot of the Solar System as viewed from above:

Mars is red, and the Earth is blue Venus is white, Mercury is green, and the Sun is yellow in this picture. Photo courtesy Solar System Live.

Mars is about 171,400,000 miles from Earth, and since light travels at just over 186,000 miles per second…it will take the messages 921 seconds, or 15 and a third minutes to get here. This is also why most everything taking place on the lander is automated. There is no way we could course correct in time. If there were astronauts on this lander…they would have to wait over 30 minutes for a reply! That should give you an idea of how truly vast space is, and how tiny we are, and how far we have to go in the exploration of the universe.
Other places with live coverage on the internet may be found at NASA TV, Green Banks Telescope, and CNN Live w/ Miles O’Brien.

Here is a quick video update via youtube:


Here is a video of the launch of Phoenix, nine months ago:

Posted in Exploration, Live Event, NASA, science | Leave a Comment »