Geek Space: Shuttle Enterprise October 26, 1977

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enterprise_102677

From Science is a verb‘s Facebook:

On October 26, 1977, NASA’s Space Shuttle Enterprise completed its fifth and final Approach and Landing Test free flight. Enterprise was released from the back of a modified NASA 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft and had a two-minute glide back to the runway at Edwards Air Force Base.

The Approach and Landing Test program demonstrated the orbiter’s capability for safe approach and landing after an orbital flight from space. It also validated crucial onboard control systems necessary for the Shuttle Program’s next step: the launch of Shuttle Columbia into orbit on April 12, 1981.

To learn more about Space Shuttle Approach and Landing Tests , visit:
http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/shuttle/flyout/approach_landing.html

Space Cadet Jimmiejoe is a happy boy – Curiosity safely on Mars

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Photo illustration by NASA

Here’s what it might look like if you were there right now.  Curiosity is safely on the surface of Mars!  After a 7 minute landing program that took the lander from 13,000 MPH to a soft landing, the first pictures have been downloaded.  Science starts soon!

 

Photo: Mars Curiosity/NASA

The parachute popped exactly right.  The retro-rockets fired perfectly, bringing it to a hover over the ground, then dropped it to the ground on a sky crane system that has never before been attempted.  Now the rover begins at least two years of science work.

Space Cadet Jimmiejoe is jumping up and down like crazy.  I’m glad to see he’s still around.

Asteroid Geek – In Space, Nobody Can Hear You Coming

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But they can sometimes see you…

On Wednesday, September 8, 2010, asteroid 2010 RX30 sailed past Earth at a mere 154,600 miles away.  That’s just over half the distance to the Moon!

The images above were taken at the Mayhill, New Mexico Observatory’s 0.25 meter telescope at 12:45 am by Italian amateur astronomers using the Global Remote Astronomy Telescope Network.  Details at Wired Astronomy.

Whoosh! I thought I felt something brush past me this morning!
(well, drat. The image is supposed to be an animated gif, but for some reason it’s not animating! Go to the Wired Astronomy page to see the asteroid actually moving across the image)

UPDATE: 9/09/2010 1330 hrs PT
A couple of people have asked about the size of the asteroid, so after a bit of Google work, the results are in. 2010 RX30 is 10 to 20 meters across (32 to 65 feet). In comparison, the rock that hit Arizona 50,000 years ago was about 45 meters (150 feet) across.
2010 RF12, an asteroid 6-14 meters (19 to 45 feet) across slipped past us later the same day (5:12 pm EDT) at a mere 49,000 miles. The Goa’uld may be practicing!

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