Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Mariner 1 and the DO Loop

I stumbled upon this interesting fact about the Mariner 1 spacecraft while browsing Wikipedia today (I was researching about loops in programming):

The Fortran DO loop caused an orbit computation error in a Mercury flight, and was long suspected to have caused the crash of the Mariner 1 space rocket on 22 July 1962 .

According to the NASA site, it was actually an omitted hyphen in the spacecraft's program that actually did Mariner 1 in.

Mariner 1 was supposed to explore Venus but was destroyed shortly after takeoff. Its backup, Mariner 2, was successfully launched however.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Send your Name to Mars

You can also send your name to Mars through the Phoenix spacecraft, on this site. The names will be burned onto a silica mini-DVD that will be put inside the spacecraft. Deadline for signups is February 12, 2007.

The Phoenix lander is part of NASA's Scout program, and will be launched on August 2007.

Send Your Name to the Moon

You can now send your name to the Moon for posterity, courtesy of the Planetary Society and the SELENE spacecraft. Just point your browsers to the Planetary Society here, and add your name to the list. You can also print the PDF certificate so that you can have a hard copy that you can brag about to your friends.

SELENE, which stands for Selenological and Engineering Explorer, will be launched by the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency in July or August this year.

You have until February 28, 2007 to submit your names.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Mars Rover Opportunity

A video of Mars rover Opportunity maneuvering itself out of a sandtrap

NASA to Screen out the Lunatics

NASA may add psychological screening for incoming astronauts, in light with the attempted-murder drama involving Lisa Nowak, a space shuttle astronaut. Nowak was charged with attempted murder over the week after she confronted a supposedly romantic rival armed with deadly weapons.