Google+ SpaceTravelFoundation: 2014-02-09

February 13, 2014

Yutu, the Chinese lunar rover is still alive after its abnormality

Dear readers,

Last night, China announced that the Yutu rover is still alive after its abnormality. “Yutu has come back to life!” said Pei Zhaoyu, the spokesperson for China’s lunar probe program, according to a breaking news report by the state owned Xinhua news agency.

 Credit : CNSA/CCTV

The rover landed on the Moon on December 14th, however, the January 25th an abnormality emerged before the rover entered its second dormancy at dawn on Saturday as the lunar night fell, according to SASTIND. The equipment failure may block the solar panel. If the panels cannot be closed, the rover will almost certainly freeze during the two week span. As said, the moon environment is really critical. 
Actually, one night on the Moon is about 14 days on Earth, during which the temperature falls below minus 180 Celsius. During the lunar night, there is no sunlight to provide power to Yutu's solar panel.
Today all the China people are so glad to heard that the first spacecraft Yutu sent on the Moon ground is still continuing its exploration of the lunar surface. Yutu can be translate as "Jade Rabbit" which corresponds to the rabbit in Chinese mythology that lives on the Moon as a pet of the Moon goddess Chang’e.
For the moment the space engineer of the China lunar program are still working on the identification of the abnormality. "Yutu failed to power-up Monday, February 11th, and data about its current condition and repair progress is still being collected and analyzed,” Xinhua reported.

Stay tuned

February 11, 2014

Amateur photography of the Flame and Horsehead Nebulae

Credit image: +Chris Sinclair 

The picture has been done with Celestron CG5 GoTo mount, Skywatcher ED80 Refractor and Canon 1100D. This was 50 images at ISO 6400 and 50 seconds, then another 15 images at ISO1600 and 50 seconds. All stacked with Deepskystacker

February 10, 2014

Progress M-22M docks with ISS 6 hours after its launch

Dear followers,

last Wednesday, February 5, the Progress M-22M spacecraft was launched by a Soyuz-U rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 4:23pm UTC. The Russian Progress M-22M, has successfully docked to ISS just 6 hours after launching from Baikonur. 
The space launch happened Less than 24 hours since its Progress M-20M cargo craft undocked from the International Space Station (ISS), following six months in residence.

Credit: +Roscosmos press service

The craft is full of cargo and supplies for the 6 membered Expedition 38 crew. Docking occurred at 22:22 UTC. With around 750 flights, the Soyuz-U is the most-flown orbital launch system ever developed.
Live the docking to the International Space Station in video :