Google+ SpaceTravelFoundation: 2013-05-19

May 24, 2013

Busy incoming month for ISS

Dear follower,

as we said you, yesterday, that the next launch of ATV is coming. However, this event is one of a series during this next month for the International Space Station.

- May 28th:  Soyuz 35 TMA-09M launch which will carry on 3 astronauts, Karen Nyberg from +NASA, Luca Parmitano from +European Space Agency, ESA and Fyodor Yurchikhin from the Russian space agency.

- June 5th: ATV-4 launch with Ariane 5.
- June 11th: Progess 51 undocking from the International Space Station
- June 15th: ATV-4 docking on the International Space Station
- June 26th: Russian EVA

We will propose dedicated article for each event so stay tune.

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May 23, 2013

Docking sensor still to be fixed on ISS before next ATV approach

Dear follower,

on June 5th, the European ATV should take off withe Ariane 5 to the International Space Station. However, the engineers are still working on a potential problem with a Laser Radar Reflector (LRR) which allows the spacecraft’s autonomous approach to the station. On April 26, Progress M-19M cargo docked at the ISS with one of its KURS (docking system) folded, due to a failure in the deployment mechanism.

The +European Space Agency, ESA didn't communicated about the possible issue or the solutions to fix the problem. However, Josh Byerly from +NASA  revealed that the Progress’ stowed antenna that may have caused the damage in the vicinity of the docking area, where are located the ATV’s navigation aids.

Engineers were not able to assess the potential damage on ISS because the area where the reflector is located is not visible from inside the station. Only external cameras of departing spacecraft could take a look to the critical area.  In the worst case scenario, ATV carries a backup docking system using telegoniometers that emit laser light at a different wavelength.
Although it is still to be confirmed, it is likely that the next crewed Soyuz set to launch on May 28 would be used to fly a replacement of the device.

We should get more news soon, so stay tune.

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May 22, 2013

Same Water on Earth and Moon

Dear follower,

the water inside the Moon’s mantle came from primitive meteoritesThe Moon is thought to have formed from a disc of debris left when a giant object hit the Earth 4.5 billion years ago, very early in Earth’s history. Scientists have long assumed that the heat from an impact of that size would cause hydrogen and other volatile elements to boil off into space, meaning the Moon must have started off completely dry as depicted on the following video .... or not finally ...

However, new research finds, the same source thought to have supplied most of the water on Earth. The findings raise new questions and lead to rethink the models about the forming of the Moon. 
Actually, +NASA  spacecraft and new research based on samples from the Apollo missions have revealed that the Moon has water both on its surface and below. In order to find the origin of the Moon’s water, scientists looked at melt inclusions found in samples brought back from the Apollo missions. Melt inclusions are tiny dots of volcanic glass trapped within crystals called olivine. The crystals prevent water escaping during an eruption and enable researchers to get an idea of what the inside of the Moon is like. 

The researches were performed by Erik Hauri of the Carnegie Institution of Washington, James Van Orman of Case Western Reserve University, and Malcolm Rutherford from Brown and have been published.
The researchers say, that there are some important processes we don’t yet understand about how planets and satellites are formed: “Our work suggests that even highly volatile elements may not be lost completely during a giant impact,” . “We need to go back to the drawing board and discover more about what giant impacts do, and we also need a better handle on volatile inventories in the Moon.”

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May 21, 2013

ISS switches from Windows to Linux to improve reliability

Dear follower,

the United Space Alliance, which handles the computers boarded on the International Space Station in association with +NASA , has announced that the Windows XP computers aboard the ISS have been switched to +Linux . “We migrated key functions from Windows to Linux because we needed an operating system that was stable and reliable.”
This changing, it's not a surprise. +Linux  is the scientific community’s operating system of choice. The +CERN Large Hadron Collider is controlled by Linux. +NASA and +SpaceX ground stations use Linux. Actually, for critical applications that require absolute stability, which most scientific experiments are, Linux is the obvious choice. The fact that the entire OS is open source and can be easily customized for each experiment is obviously a very big draw, too.
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May 19, 2013

Bright explosion ever observed on the Moon

Dear followers,

+NASA astronomers have been monitoring the Moon for signs of explosions due to meteorites hitting the lunar surface. This phenomenon is called "Lunar meteor showers"; and it have turned out to be more common than anyone expected. Actually hundreds of impacts are detected every year.

Credit: Nasa

"On March 17, 2013, an object about the size of a small boulder hit the lunar surface in Mare Imbrium," says Bill Cooke of NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office. "It exploded in a flash nearly 10 times as bright as anything we've ever seen before."

Dear follower, you should know that anyone looking at the Moon at the moment of impact could have seen the explosion; no telescope required.

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