Why didn’t the Russians land a man on the moon – answered

In doing research for THE CLEARSKY CHRONICLES trilogy, I keep running across space facts and history that I think are just neat. Most of the details of what happened to Russia’s quest to land a man on the moon came out after Glasnost, but by then not a whole lot of Americans cared.

The video below has a nice summary, but I’ll summarize that. The Russians had some personnel problems, but it was the rocket design that really did them in. Having multiple rockets can simply ruin your launch when one of the engines or fuel pumps shuts down.

The upshot given at the end about what happened to the Russian engines made my jaw drop a little, but it’s a geeky thing. I’m just weird that way about space.

Giant chamber on the moon

Yes, it is true, there is a giant sink-hole on the moon that was recently discoverer by the Indian Space Research Organization. This massive underground chamber exists near the moon’s equator. Apparently they seem to believe that it would be perfect for housing a moon base, or perhaps a giant Space Wyrm!

Discovered by the Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft, this chamber is more than one mile long and 393 feet wide. There would be lots of benefits of building a moon base in there, mainly for protection from the nastiness of the surface of the moon. It’d provide a nearly constant temperature of -4 degrees Fahrenheit, unlike the surface, which fluctuates between 266 degrees and -292 degrees. And it would provide protection from radiation, micro-meteor impacts and dust.

Yeah, that’s what we thought too!

The Perfessor

Bomb the Moon!

No, really, Bomb the Moon

Quite frankly, given this country’s previous administration penchant for randomly bombing foreign countries, you would have think that this was something that they would have developed. Still, you’d be wrong, because it is not that kind of bombing.

Astronomers and space enthusiasts around the world watched as Nasa sent a rocket into the lunar surface.

The 2.2tonne rocket that launched the Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) created ‘a dimple’ a third the size of a football pitch on the Moon at 12.31pm (BST).

The LCROSS probe followed four minutes later. It detected the heat signature from the first crash although no flash was immediately evident. It searched for ice and water before colliding with the surface.

It will have relayed this data back to Earth including pictures from the onboard cameras. Anyone can watch analysis of the event online through the Nasa TV website.

You can read a long, dry and probably boring article here (and Walt probably will), or you can just watch this vid and get the highlights. Still, it is worth at least scanning the article, as it does have some cook images attached to it.

The Perfessor

Somewhere on the planet, the first piece…

Somewhere on the planet, the first piece of cheese launched into space has come back down to earth.


More news from space

closer to the sunNo, no, I’m not talking about the area between Walt’s ears, but rather the area that is not on the Green Hills of Earth. We are once again returning to out in space. Today we bring you a couple of interesting (well, interesting to us) unEarthly stories. The first one is a story regarding a 30-year-old mystery regarding Mercury, the planet nearest to the Sun. Apparently to people who think about this sort of stuff, volcanism has long been thought to be a major force in shaping the rocky, terrestrial planets.

Obviously, there are still volcanoes that run hot here on Earth, while on Mars, there is more of a subdued volcanism that may or may not still be alive. Then there is Venus which is riddled with old volcanoes. Well, scientists may now have more info on the subject, due to MESSENGER (short for MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging) which made its debut flyby of Mercury on Jan. 14, passing about 124 miles (200 kilometers) over the planet’s surface.

Images of Mercury from the Mariner 10 mission showed areas of smooth plains covering parts of the planet’s surface. Scientists speculated that these could be volcanic deposits, similar to the basaltic maria (seas) on the Moon. But unlike the maria, these plains were lighter, not darker, than the surrounding landscape, and Apollo 16 astronauts had just discovered that similarly light plains on the Moon were actually impact breccia, or rock that was smashed apart and then re-welded together again.

(via Space.com)

moon rocksNext up; ever wonder what has become of all of those moon rock that came back from all of those Apollo missions. Well, truth to tell, neither have we, but apparently they are still around, and are revealing something of our celestial past:

HOUSTON — In the lab, the Moon rocks look nondescript — dark gray basalt, a whitish mineral called anorthosite and mixtures of the two with crystals thrown in. Yet nearly 40 years after the Apollo astronauts brought the first rocks back to Earth, these pieces of the Moon are still providing scientists with new secrets from another world.

(via NY Times)

Well, that’s it for now, perhaps tomorrow we’ll be able to find something interesting here on Earth.

The Perfessor