Friday, July 21, 2006

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Great way to celebrate first man on the moon day

On July 20th the Moon will pass in front of the Pleiades on the East coast of North America.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Mars Rover Update

It's getting cold on Mars. Spirit's battery heater had to to turn on.

Only 705 meters to Victoria Crater for Opportunity! I could run that in about 4 minutes! It will take Opportunity weeks to get there.
http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov/mission/status.html

Spirit Pictures (Zinc found):
http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov/gallery/press/spirit/20060628a.html

Opportunity Pictures (Beagle Crater):
http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov/gallery/press/opportunity/20060628a.html

China Moon Probe Update

http://www.space.com/news/060621_china_probe.html

Pluto News

I love Pluto!

Pluto's newly discovered moons have names:
http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/060621_nix_hydra.html
Awww. Aren't they cute... little Hydra and Nix...

Picture of an asteriod taken by New Horizons probe going to Pluto:
http://www.space.com/imageoftheday/image_of_day_060622.html

*** UPDATE ***
Another article about Pluto's moons:
http://skyandtelescope.com/news/article_1744_1.asp

Sunday, July 02, 2006

House OKs funding for Mars mission

WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Bush's plan to send man to Mars in coming decades received a green light Thursday as the House passed a bill funding the annual budgets of NASA and the departments of Commerce, Justice and State.

The bill passed after a meandering three-day debate that touched on everything from medical marijuana laws to the Pacific Northwest's troubled salmon fishery. Along the way, House lawmakers endorsed the Supreme Court's ruling to permit evidence seized in violation of long-standing "knock and announce" rules and endorsed bilingual ballots for citizens whose native language isn't English.

The bill, which covers the annual budgets of the departments of Commerce, State and Justice and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, is the 10th of 11 annual spending bills to pass the House in a tight budget climate that has lawmakers bemoaning cuts across a wide spectrum of programs. This comes even as GOP core voters worry that Congress is being too fast and loose with taxpayers' money.

Senate yet to take up measures

The Senate is just getting started in advancing its versions of the annual spending bills, the core job of Congress each year. On Thursday, the Appropriations Committee approved a $30.7 billion measure funding the Energy Department's budget as well as flood control projects cherished by lawmakers.

All signs point to a post-election lame duck session, however, as Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tennessee, has yet to award floor time for any of the bills.

On Bush's plan to eventually send man to Mars, the House on Wednesday rejected by a 259-163 vote a move by Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., to stop early stage preparatory work to send U.S. astronauts to Mars as the House debated a $59.8 billion measure funding .

Frank contended the Mars initiative is unaffordable at a time when agencies, including NASA, are struggling with a clampdown on their budgets.

"Sending human beings to Mars ... is a luxury that this country cannot now afford," Frank said. "The justification for sending people to Mars is political. It is psychological. It is cultural. It is not scientific."

The underlying Commerce, Justice and State bill passed Thursday by a 393-23 vote and contains $700 million for Mars exploration, the bulk of which would go to several unmanned missions. Bush in January 2004 pledged that the United States would return humans to the moon by 2020 and ultimately launch manned flights to Mars and beyond.

"This is the United States of America. We are a nation of pioneers and explorers," said Rep. Dave Weldon, R-Florida. "We are destined to explore not just Mars but go on to other stars. It's in our nature as human beings."
The underlying bill gives Bush's moon and Mars plan full funding, while grants to state and local law enforcement agencies would be cut for the sixth consecutive year.