February 8, 2019: Weekly Spatial Resolutions

Kepler’s FOR and FOV. Image from NASA. This site contains my opinions and ideas only, not the opinions or ideas of any organization I work for. It’s my idea playground, and I’m inviting you in. Welcome! 

Kepler’s Final Image Reveals A Galaxy Full Of Possibilities

The old planet-hunting satellite has been retired for a few months, but the imagery it collected remains for scientists and researchers to dig through. The last image the satellite took is posted on the site in the link above. It helped people discover a few more things about the universe, with the equivalent of peeking through a mail slot at it.

The new TESS planet hunting satellite has a greater field of regard of the universe. Based on Kepler’s successes, it’s a pretty good bet that TESS will find many new things out about the universe.

Kepler was doing some interesting things with solar wind in the past few years. You can read about that here.

Project A119: Inside the United States’ secret plan to blow up the Moon

Probably not the greatest idea ever conceived by the supposedly smart people working for the U.S. government. It seems that sanity prevailed in the end, though.

While the test wouldn’t have blown up the whole Moon, there is a book, “Seveneves,” by Neal Stephenson, about the Moon blowing up. It turns out that all the pieces of the Moon falling towards the Earth was bad for Earth’s inhabitants. The book is a fun read.

And if you want an even more fun read, then try one of his older books, “Snow Crash.” The book has nothing at all to do with space, but it is about a possible future. Samurai swords, robot dogs, mobster pizza, the Metaverse, and so much more–what’s not to like?

Thousands of NASA contractors still without pay after 5-week shutdown. Will Congress step in?

Congress didn’t step up for its own civil servants. It still hasn’t. Why would it step up for contractors? This whole thing has been ugly and the heart-breaking consequences in this story highlight the shutdown’s impacts. The possible consequences of the shutdown on this industry are yet to be determined.

But you can bet this is the sort of thing that might make a teenager decide that working for a Silicon Valley startup is less risky than working for America’s space program.

Oops… Britain Launched A Satellite, But Who Remembers It?

More importantly, was it made in the same way the British made their cars back then? If so, it’s probably good to look at…and not good for much else.

This latest rocket effort in the United Kingdom is definitely good to look at. Maybe it will be able to leave the garage under it’s own power, too.

top gear reliant robin GIF
British engineering at it’s most, um, creative? Image from Giphy.com (although, really, it comes from Top Gear).

Boeing’s Queen Of The Skies Marks 50th Anniversary Of First Flight

How is the above headline related to space? I ain’t gonna lie…the story isn’t at all. But it’s a good reminder of something that is: Virgin Orbit.

Virgin Orbit will be using a 747-400 to launch a rocket from under its wing while flying high. The Aviation Week article above is a good reminder of just how old this aircraft is. At the same time, it’s a proven aircraft, one in which all the “bugs” have been pretty much crushed. Theoretically, this jet can take off from any 747-friendly landing strip with the rocket underwing, get to the appropriate altitude, launch the rocket, and then come back safe and sound.

The company hasn’t done that yet, but plans to sometime this year.

The Wandering Earth is China’s biggest sci-fi blockbuster (and it’s coming to the US)

A Chinese movie blockbuster about space and the people who will be exploring it (while saving the Earth). I want to see this, if only to get another perspective about space. According to the article, no Americans were harmed in the making of this film…because no Americans were present in the film, even in space.

The film is coming to the U.S., but will probably face scrutiny from the current administration. I wouldn’t be surprised if there were to be some “advisory” to movie theater operators on the negative aspects of showing this film.

Thank goodness for the internet.

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