Landing on Mars in May of 2008, the NASA Mars Phoenix Lander worked remarkably well until November of the same year. It sent back hundreds of images and did soil testing that found calcium carbonate and perchlorate. The mission was only supposed to last for three months but like other NASA missions the service life of the lander exceeded expectations and only ended when the winter sun could no longer charge the probes batteries. When the Martian winter had passe it was hoped that the lander might have survived the deadly cold (-87C) and contact could once again be established. However it was not to be. The lander was no longer responding to commands issued from NASA’s Mars Odyssey orbiter as it did a number of passes over the landing site in multiple listening campaigns. Eventually an image was obtained from the HiRISE camera on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter the that confirmed the speculation that an estimated 100 pounds of icy buildup has damaged the delicate solar panels.
Phoenix Mars Lander is Silent, New Image Shows Damage.
I’ve been waiting a while for news of this. It’s fantastic that a demo has finally made it off the ground, please pardon the pun… Not too sure about the ‘play in the stands’ notion, that might be too much of a gmick for the spectators to handle.
A single rocket racer flew in front of the aviation crazed crowd at Oshkosh, Wisconsin, in 2008 with its short bursts of rocket power allowing the pilot to climb and maneuver unlike a traditional airplane. As one of the test pilots explains in the video after the jump, it’s full throttle or nothing at all, giving pilots a boost of power…
Spotted this real-world application of way cool technology today:
Airborne Laser Testbed Successful in Lethal Intercept ExperimentFeb. 11, 2010 – At 8:44 p.m. (PST)
A short-range threat-representative ballistic missile was launched from an at-sea mobile launch platform. Within seconds, the ALTB used onboard sensors to detect the boosting missile and used a low-energy laser to track the target. The ALTB then fired a second low-energy laser to measure and compensate for atmospheric disturbance. Finally, the ALTB fired its megawatt-class High Energy Laser, heating the boosting ballistic missile to critical structural failure. The entire engagement occurred within two minutes of the target missile launch, while its rocket motors were still thrusting.
Not that the proliferation of weapons in space (or other places for that matter) is something to ever wish for but you have to admit that the idea has a ‘Buck Rogers’ kind of coolness to it.
“…a massive satellite, the largest ever launched, equipped with a powerful laser to take out the American anti-missile shield in advance of a Soviet first strike. It was real, though—or at least the plan was… …[The Soviets] funded two massive R&D studies in the late 1970s and early 1980s to explore how to counter imaginary American missile defense ideas,” he says. Two concepts emerged: Skif—a laser “cannon” in orbit—and another weapon known as Kaskad (Cascade), designed to destroy an enemy’s satellites with missiles fired from another craft in orbit.”
If it wasn’t for the talents of Roger Dean, Chris Foss, Mobius, and countless others, where would our science fiction books get their amazing cover art? In ‘Sci-Fi-O-Rama’ you can take a leisurely jaunt through the countless dimensions of hyperspace and huge space ships and just soak in all those fantasy worlds.
Brighten up your desktop with stunning shot of science imagery. Over 80 to choose from at various dimensions to fit even the most ‘embiggened’ of monitors. There are even instructions on how to apply this as a desktop to your computer if you were wondering how that sort of thing was done. Space craft, planets, satellite pictures of Earth, there are enough pretty pictures to make most everyone happy.