space exploration

Cassini completes final -- and fateful -- Titan flyby: Dive to Saturn next

NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has had its last close brush with Saturn’s hazy moon Titan and is now beginning its final set of 22 orbits around the ringed planet.

The spacecraft made its 127th and final close approach to Titan on April 21 at 11:08 p.m. PDT (2:08 a.m. EDT on April 22), passing at an altitude of about 608 miles (979 kilometers) above the moon’s surface.

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Yes, sure its fun to see a lady spin around like that, but I had one of my friends ask me - “Where do you even use this mate?”

Here’s one application that I know very well off.


Spin Stabilization

If you have ever seen a rocket launch, you might know that sometimes the rockets are given a spin while launching. This is known as spin stabilization.

Basically, the rotational inertia of the rotating body will stabilize the rocket against any disturbances and help maintain its intended heading.

The same principle is used in rifling of firearms as well. **


YoYo DeSpin

Okay, now there is the question how to “De-spin” the rocket:

Well, you do what the lady does: stretch out your arms and you will slow down !

The rocket has weights connected to a cable that stretch out and almost immediately the rocket slows down. This maneuver is known as the YoYo DeSpin. ( Damn good name ! )

All thanks to the conservation of angular momentum !

Have a good one !


* Another method to stabilization : 3-axis stabilization

** Bullets spin stabilization - post

** Source rocket launch video

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Images of the cosmos from the late 1950s and early 60s. Most are from the Mount Wilson and Palomar Observatories. Don’t get me wrong, I love all the high definition and detailed images coming out of Hubble and similar telescopes today, but there is something about these old photos. What they lacked in detail and resolution they made up for with wonder and mystery. Can you imagination how mind blowing these pictures would have been when they first came out of the developing tank in the 50′s?

Check out my scifi music Spotify playlist

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The First Woman In Space Turns 80, And You Probably Never Heard Of Her

“Her flight into space, at age 26, is still the record for youngest female astronaut/cosmonaut. Aboard Vostok 6, her rendezvous with Vostok 5 cosmonaut Valery Bykovsky made them the first cosmonauts aboard different vessels to communicate in space. In cosmonaut history, only Yuri Gagarin and Alexey Leonov are more revered.”

Sally Ride was the first American woman in space, launched aboard the space shuttle Challenger in 1983 amidst controversy. At 32, she was the youngest astronaut in history, surrounded by questions such as “will it ruin her reproductive organs,” “what if she’s menstruating” and “will she weep if something goes wrong on the job?” But 20 years prior, cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova proved that women had every bit as much mettle and ability as the men. Tereshkova’s 1963 flight – which she piloted, orbited Earth 48 times in, and even had the first spacecraft-to-spacecraft communication in – demonstrated that women could withstand and function in space just as well as men. She was only 26 at the time, still a global record for women in space. Her incredible life in the military, in politics and as an ambassador for space exploration continues to this day, on which she celebrates her 80th birthday.

Come get the whole story – as much as fits in 200 words – on Valentina Tereshkova as part of today’s Mostly Mute Monday.

independent.co.uk
Nasa announces major press conference on a 'discovery beyond our solar system'
Attending the press conference will be astronomers and planetary scientists from across the world.

Nasa is to host a major press conference on a “discovery beyond our solar system”.

The event will see the revelation of major information about exoplanets, or planets that orbit stars other than our sun, according to a release. It made no further mention of the details of what would be revealed.

Exoplanets are the major hope for life elsewhere in the universe, since many have been found that resemble our own Earth and could have the building blocks of life. More of them are being discovered all the time.

The event will take place on 22 February at 1pm New York time, it said. It will be streamed live on Nasa’s television station and on its website.

Attending the press conference will be astronomers and planetary scientists from across the world.

Nasa said that the public will be able to ask questions using the hashtag #AskNasa during the conference. The agency will also hold a Reddit AMA, or ask me anything, session straight after the briefing.

So unreal to complete my first Mission Control shift!! (With a mentor)

Got to coordinate with people in Alabama and Japan, give one of the ISS GOs for the initial Dragon launch attempt (hopefully all goes well tomorrow!), and send commands to the International Space Station.

I love my job 🌎🚀🎉😍 #foreverfangirling

the Russians and the Moon

(as told by my astronomy prof, and I don’t bother to fact check because it’s too fucking great). My people are assholes and I am so proud. 

so. the Moon has seas, those splashes of the darker basalt rock. and as we had no problems seeing them, they all have nice sounding Latin names, Sea of Tranquility, Ocean of Cries, etc. 

the far side of the Moon, however, we haven’t seen much of. and the general consensus of the International Astronomical Union was that if someone were to fly over, take pictures and discover another sea, it has to be named after a state of mind, following the pattern.

and so it happened, that in 1959 a Soviet probe was the first one to fly over, take pictures and discover exactly one sea on the far side. and what do they do? they name it Mare fucking Moscoviense. the Sea of Moscow. (and all the possible landmarks - after Soviet cosmonauts). 

this is the closest one can get to drawing a dick among the stars in real life.

of course, there is a scandal. the IAU gets together for a yearly conference in Paris or wherenot and tries to figure out how to live on. 

and their solution is the most elegant ‘now go fuck yourself with that dick’ I ever came across.

they decided to acknowledge Moscow as a state of mind.

so if you were ever looking for a scientific justification to say “I feel so moscow” you now have it.