Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Software upgrade for Mars Rover

NASA will give the rover currently gallivanting across Mars a software update. The upgrade, of which the agency will insert new algorithms to the robots' computers, will enable them to find and study clouds and dust devils. The new software will be uploaded by next month.
The Mars Odyssey orbiter will also get a software update next year.

In depth report by BBC here

Friday, May 26, 2006

An Engine for the Moon Rocket

NASA have chosen the engine for the rocket designed to launched a spacecraft to the Moon. The RS-68 engine from Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne will power the first stage of the new heavy-lift rocket being developed by the agency.

The liquid hydrogen/liquid oxygen RS-68 is capable of producing 650,000 pounds of thrust at sea level, compared to 420,000 lbs produced by the space shuttle engine.

Photo Credit: Pratt&Whitney Rocketdyne/NASA

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

On the Edge

Voyager's Puzzling Termination Shock Discovery

NASA announced that the Voyager 1 & 2 spacecrafts have discovered puzzling phenomena as the two have reached the termination shock, the region of the Solar System which delienates the solar wind from interstellar gas.
The findings of the two spacecrafts, launched in 1977, suggests that the heliosphere is irregular in shape, bulging in the north while compressed in the south. Voyager 1 detected charged particles at 85 AU while Voyager 2 detected charged particles at 76 AU.

Photo credit: NASA

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Malaysia Ties Space Flight to Arms Deal

Malaysia signed an agreement with Russia to send an astronaut to space next year, part of the deal that involves the purchase of SU-30 jets. The deal, which if pushed through will give Malaysia its first space flight in September 2007, is reportedly worth $ 1 billion.

That's an awfully large amount to spent for a space tourist, eh?