Tuesday, November 5, 2013



Apparently I am far from the only one who loves a good launch. NASA announced on Friday that live Wednesday at 11:14 pm on the New York Times Square’s giant screen much  like the New Year’s Eve ball NASA will broadcast a live video event.

Granted this is not the first time. There was the night time launch of the LADEE moon probe in Sept and back in 2012 there was the much heralded landing of Curiosity landing in the surface of Mars.

NASA launches were once carried on every network channel and perhaps the Networks might salvage some of their loses to cable if once again they were to carry these events. OF course now with the iPhone apps there are many apps that every space loving person should have but most importantly the NASA TV app as it covers everything from EVAs to Launches to Education Live and other shared media.

Back to the launch: The new crew – NASA astronaut Rick Mastracchio, Russian cosmonaut and Soyuz commander Mikhail Tyurin and Japan astronaut Koichi Wakata will launch from Kazakhstan, the Baikonur Cosmodrome in a Soyuz spacecraft. Look for the Times Square broadcast to begin at 10:15 pm and run until 11:45 pm on Wednesday November 6th, or download the app for your phone! 


Soon Mars is going to need a traffic controller! In the global running for space exploration is now India as it has already begun its final countdown and intends to launch with its sights set on Mars. 

On Tuesday afternoon the spacecraft called ‘Mangalvaan’ will launch from the small island of Chennai on the country’s southern coast. While no small feat, India has a space program that Is 50 years old and has in the past done things such as a lunar probe that detected (with the help of the US) water on the moon. 

Critics say that India is home to so many problems, poverty & more, that other worlds shouldn’t be a consideration. But others understand. That the development of satellite technology in India has benefited education, healthcare, mapped resources for water wells, should not go overlooked. 

But can they go the distance? Should the launch succeed then the craft faces an 11 month journey, travelling 140 million miles before reaching its intended destination. Hopefully next September will see India as the fourth nation to reach Mars following the US, Russia, and the ESA. Still, to put it in perspective, of 40 attempts, 16 have been successful. 

If it all works out; the more the merrier! There is so much we have yet to learn about Mars. Scientists are excited at the prospect of the India mission continuing to map the surface of Mars. They admit that we all have much to learn and welcome the addition of India to the club. 

Soon after the India launch comes the NASA launch of the MAVEN from Cape Canaveral on November 18th. MAVEN seeks to understand how the changes occurred to the Mars Atmosphere and hopes that the answers will lead to a better understanding of the climate shifts on earth. 

While the unmanned probes are a constant on Mars, 2030 hopes to see a manned expedition. 

An after-thought; the India spacecraft will have an instrument that can sniff out Methane if it is there. Apparently as scientists are positive of the past positives (even though Curiosity has had no luck finding any) and feel that Methane will offer the sign of life that they are hoping for. Methane as proof of life is indeed possible. There exist many extremophiles that either breath Methane OR exhale Methane.

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