Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Play Dead Rover

Spirit rover is stuck in the Martian dirt:

Well! Duh! you'd be stuck too if a Martian was beating on you.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Roll Over Rover

NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Spirit is back in working order, sort of. The robotic rover crawled last week for the first time in two weeks after its recent struggle with amnesia and rebooting. It plodded 5.6 feet toward its goal of about 500 feet away.

Three times in the past two weeks, Spirit has failed to record data from a day's activity period into 128 megabytes of flash memory, (why so small, I carry a 1 gig in my pocket). That is where information is preserved even when power is off, such as when the rover naps to conserve power.

Spirit has also suffered from failing to wake up for three consecutive communication sessions (I have the same problem). Engineers have not found any links among the three types of events.

Spirit was given commands from NASA engineers who are still investigating the cause behind its recent glitches. The rover has moved its high-gain dish antenna and its camera mast, diagnostic activities used to check for any mechanical problems. Both components may be related to the reboots, the amnesia events, or the failure to wake up for three consecutive communication sessions weeks ago.

Spirit's daily routine was changed in order to assist the diagnostic work if the rover experiences another failure to record data into flash memory.

To conserve energy, Spirit has typically included a nap between its main activities for the day and the day's main downlink transmission of data to Earth. Data stored only in the rover's random-access memory (RAM), instead of in flash memory, is lost during the nap, so when Spirit has flash amnesia on that schedule, Spirit gives up no data from the activity interval. The new schedule puts the nap before the activity period (you couldn’t do that to kids). Even if there is a flash amnesia event, data from the activity would likely be available from RAM during the downlink.

On the other side of Mars, Opportunity completed a drive of more than 1000 feet in the last week in its long distance trek toward a crater more than 20 times larger than the biggest it has visited so far.

Spirit, and its twin Opportunity, finished their three-month prime mission on Mars five years ago and have kept operating through multiple mission extensions. They have already operated more than 20 times longer than their original primary task on Mars.

Monday, April 6, 2009

And Now I Shaw Take Over the Word

North Korea thumbed their nose at the United States, Japan, South Korea and a plethora of United Nations resolutions, by launching a rocket on Sunday 10:30 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time. North Korea said the Taepodong-2 was designed to hurl a satellite into space. The world views it as an effort to substantiate that NK can launch a nuclear warhead on a longer-range missile.

The first stage fell into the Sea of Japan and the second stage into the Pacific. The third stage was most likely a big Fail. The North Korean satellite is now in a subaquatic orbit in the Pacific Ocean :)

Kim Jong-il should not be underestimated though. North Korea’s missiles marketed in the international black market, are one of its few profitable exports. Iran, Syria, Pakistan and maybe even terrorists, have all been among North Korea's leading customers, not to mention the possibility of nuclear weapon propagation.

Kind of creepy and reminds me of the sci-fi movie ‘Battle Beneath the Earth’ (1967). Rogue communist leaders use digging machines under major US cities where they plan to detonate nuclear bombs.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Asteroid to Strike Bay Area

University of Raleigh-Orlando FL- Asteroid AF-60012, due to strike the earth Wednesday somewhere near the San Francisco Bay area at about 4:30PM Pacific time. The asteroid measuring approximately 22 meters along its long axis, will have catastrophic results say astronomers at the UR Dome 2 Observatory. If the asteroid hits land, it will leave a crater as big as a football stadium. If it hits water, the resulting tsunami could be as high as 40 meters, causing much damage in the coastal regions. Citizens are urged to spend the day in fallout shelters on high ground or leave the area. It may strike hard enough to cause a chain reaction on the San Andreas fault line resulting in earthquakes along a 200-mile stretch.
“If you’re lucky enough to survive the impact and the tsunami, you may not survive the resulting earthquake,” stated Dr. Dumas of the observatory.
Dr. Dumas was asked if the asteroid might break up upon entering the atmosphere. “Not very likely, as this is one of the most dense asteroids in the solar system.”
Further details are forth coming.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

One Man's Trash is Another Man's Trash

Space News
The crew of the space station had to take shelter in the emergency Soyuz TMA-13 lifeboat spacecraft to duck from a piece of trash. The piece, as big around as your baby finger was part of a spent motor used to send satellites into a higher geosynchronous orbit. It's only going to get worse as old space junk and new junk from the recent satellite collision spreads all around.

Virgin Galactic has been making test flights of their WhiteKnightTwo mothership, which will take SpaceShipTwo to a high altitude, where they will separate and SpaceShipTwo will go even higher to a suborbital altitude. There are so many people wanting to go into space that if they could only turn an economy flight into a garbage collection run. Imagine paying to ride the back of the garbage truck.

The Discovery space shuttle was delayed again, new date of launch is set for March 15. The shuttle has a badly needed part for the station urine recycler which keeps breaking. You don't suppose that one of the crew members is sabotaging it on purpose. A future French astronaut was quoted as saying, "I bring my own Perrier.” I am reminded of the movie 'Dark Star' where all the recycled food started tasting like chicken salad sandwich.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Satellite My Fire

The Kepler space telescope mission was finally launched on March 6, 2009, which had been delayed for more than two years. It is designed to search for earth-like planets in other solar systems with its giant digital camera, which also measures intensity of light and can detect a shadow from an earth sized planet passing in front of another star. Unlike most satellites which orbit around the earth, it will orbit in a solar orbit lagging 950 miles behind the earth.

North Korea is slated to launch a satellite sometime near the ides of March or in April for Kim's birthday, a direct violation of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1718. I knew that cockroach would try to get back in space.

Iran launched its second satellite on February 2, 2009, the Omid communications satellite, which consisted of a walkie-talkie and a set of bongo drums wired directly to a 60's decoder ring.

Meanwhile, the Chinese crashed one of their satellites on the surface of the moon, claiming to get experience in lunar landings. Chinese astronauts have also been going through drop conditioning at higher and higher heights.

India has also entered the space race with a few of their own satellites, one of which is orbiting the moon.

There is even a rumor of Jamaica putting up their own satellite with magnificent dreadlocks dangling from the heavens. Yeah mon.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Obama Fiddles, Rome Burns

Nero plays with his health care system while Rome burns. Is health care going to pull us out of this bad economy? It’s only going to pull us further down. Why doesn’t Obama go on another vacation everything does much better when he's on one? Old mother Hubbord has health care, but no cupboard to even put a bone in. And the required senior citizen center she is made to live in won’t allow dogs.
Meanwhile, back in space, the launch windows are getting smaller because of satellite space junk. Launching into space is like carrying an open can of tuna fish down a flight of stairs in a house full of cats.
The space shuttle Discovery and Glory (a solar radiation and airborne particles satellite, which measures reflected and trapped sunlight) were delayed not only for space junk, but also because of the Carbon-waste-of-money satellite crashing. What kind of carbon footprint did that make?
Archeology magazine March/April 2009 had copious quantities of articles about the bad effects of global warming on archeology sites. Since when are archeologists weather scientists? One article in particular really eroded my epidermis, was one called ‘World Roundup’ by Samir S. Patel. It stated that man had created the Little Ice Age by bringing smallpox to the new world and killing the inhabitants, thus allowing forest growth to encroach on cultivated land, sucking the carbon out of the air. The Little Ice Age started earlier than Sam’s time period (1550-1750), it was about 1315-1850. In all honesty does he really think man caused the Little Ice Age? On the protective mailing cover of the magazine it said ‘This is your Last Issue’, well, I certainly hope so.
Global warming isn’t here and never happened, get over it.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Sky is Falling

Space junk is colliding over our heads. Two satellites smashed into each other, a Russian (Kosmos-2251) and an Iridium communications satellite. They broke into thousands of pieces, only 600 pieces are trackable. The debris field is spreading and may have a cascade affect on other satellites including the Hubble telescope. I’m waiting with stooped shoulders for the impact on the ground, “Please, not my head.”
Suppose the Russians were conducting a test to determine if an old satellite could be used to knock out another satellite, or maybe wipe out communications to a certain area in order to perform some covert ops. Not only am I afraid of space junk, but evil ex-KGB spies. The satellite Iridium-33, is also used as backbone communications by big banks and other financial institutions. Bailout coincidence? It could be as simple as the satellite driver was merely texting.
There was a TV series back in 1977 called ‘Quark’, where the job of the astronauts was to collect space garbage in a large ‘United Galaxy Sanitation Patrol’ spacecraft. It was canceled after the first season. Maybe we should bring it back in reality. Send a garbage collector astronaut up with two beautiful double mint twins, Betty 1 and Betty 2 (clones). Where they could be driving around in orbit, picking up the trash and fighting the evil Gorgons.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Mosquitoes Release Billionaires

So, we have Bill Gates releasing a jar of mosquitoes at a meeting to promote the awareness of Malaria. We are told that the mosquitoes did not carry Malaria; that’s like releasing a bag of rattlesnakes that have their poison sacks removed. They still bite and breed. I hope that the mosquitoes were native to the area, otherwise, he might be introducing a sub species into a different environment. Wouldn't it have been better to release a few hummingbirds or a mosquito eating fish?

Friday, February 6, 2009

Horse Feathers and Oats

Oatmeal is for horses. When I was a kid, we ate hot cereal or mush as we called it. Cream of Rice, Corn Meal, Ralston, Cream of Wheat, Malto Meal and my favorite Wheat Hearts (which General Mills decided to drop when nobody took the time to cook anymore). No one really had time for breakfast anymore. Or was it that the real reason was that gluten was worth more on the market as a commodity and instant was suddenly born and some cereals like Wheat Hearts just didn’t taste good without gluten. Once in awhile we ate oatmeal, it was mainly for horses, cows and prisoners of war. Currently if you go to the cereal section of the grocery store, it consists mainly of oatmeal products, hot cereal and cold Cheerios this, Fruit Loops that, even Yogurt flavored Cheerios, Blech!
More than sixty percent of cereal on the shelves is oatmeal related. One of the most disgusting flavors is Muslix, who in their right mind would eat something called Muslix. Before buying check the expiration date, it’s been there awhile.
While we are on the subject of gluten, there’s a disease called Celiac, which has all the bad symptoms of IBS. Apparently people with Celiac are lactose intolerant and have bad reactions with gluten. Take all the gluten out of the cereals for IBS, why are these people even eating cereal with milk anyway?
What is the real reason for removing gluten from cereal and bread? Ever notice how Wonder Bread isn’t so wonderful anymore? Because, gluten as a commodity is worth more than the wheat that it is extracted from. It’s used in cosmetics, pet food, dog chews, vegan meat, biodegradable packaging, paper whitener, inks and oh, did I forget to mention bug insecticide.
Put the gluten back in food and take your IBS pills.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Down and Out in Wal-Mart Cheap Shoe Heels

Last week’s post was a bit on the Norman Bates side of things. When I was a kid, I was a little bit of an ant bully and I studied a lot of Mad magazines. I mostly grew out of it and I like animals, they taste good. I apologize for my bad behavior. I guess I am feeling just a bit down.....OK, I’ll admit it, I’m a REPUBLICAN! I’ll just whine slightly and tuck in my lower lip.

There once was a man named Obama
Who ran for election and won a
Presidential bid
Is what he did
And now his chair is in the sauna
A donkey once had much to hold,
all laden down with shiny gold.
As he’d voted for change.
The donkey spoke strange,
“The world looks so much brighter,
for now my load will be lighter.”

Friday, January 23, 2009

Bad Breath and Beyond

There was a couple holding hands at a department store. She wanted to shop for new clothes, while he wanted to browse the sporting goods section. They tugged and tugged at each other till they pulled each others arms right off. Now they both spend their shopping time together in the prosthetics department.

I chanced upon a man who was trying to put a square peg in a round hole. I told him, “It couldn’t be done.” He responded angrily, “buzz off!” Luckily I had a wooden mallet in my back pack. I took the square peg from his hand and hammered it into his round head.