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  • Writer's pictureMatt Russell

#121 - David Baker - LOFAR SO GOOD

“Every one of us is, in the cosmic perspective, precious. If a human disagrees with you, let him live. In a hundred billion galaxies, you will not find another.”

Carl Sagan.

Happy 70th Birthday Joseph Jean-Pierre Marc Garneau, born February 23, 1949 Canadian politician and the Minister of Transport in the Government of Canada. He is a retired military officer, former astronaut, and engineer;

Quick News​

The Soyuz TMA-19M capsule, which carried Major Tim Peake to and from the International Space Station (ISS), has gone on display in the Ulster Transport Museum on the outskirts of Belfast.

Malaysia’s Federal Territories Mufti Datuk Zulkifli Mohamad al-Bakri said that his office had been “bombarded with queries” from the public about Earth’s shape, and criticised the “Cancerous” spread of the Flat Earth conspiracy theory over mass media, the Malay Mail reported. The mufti also quoted a number of Muslim scholars who agreed that the Earth was round, and added that these theories had been confirmed by Malaysia’s first astronaut, Datuk Dr Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor Sheikh Mustapha, who went to space in 2007

“Groups work best when they have somebody who takes on the role of class clown,” said Dr Jeffrey Johnson, a researcher at the University of Florida “A Mars mission will need somebody who can break the tension, can bring people together,”

Europe’s Columbus laboratory enters its eleventh year in space

SpaceX has filed an official protest after NASA awarded competitor United Launch Alliance a launch contract for Lucy,

New moon discovered around Neptune

Hipppocamp 21 miles accross ...amazing we can see it. Tracking the 7th and smallest inner moon since it was spotted in pictures form 2013 hubble telescope. Mark Showalter, from the SETI Institute, wrote up the results in Nature, including observations of Naiad, Neptune’s innermost moon, which was last seen in 1989

Hippocamp orbits close to Proteus, the outermost and largest of the inner moons, and the orbital semimajor axes of the two moons differ by only ten per cent. Proteus has migrated outwards because of tidal interactions with Neptune. The results suggest that Hippocamp is probably an ancient fragment of Proteus, providing further support for the hypothesis that the inner Neptune system has been shaped by numerous impacts.

Elon Musk to be on Pewdie Pie.

RemoveDEBRIS: The harpoon a 3rd successful experiment

The harpoon was fired on 8th February 2018 and penetrated a target made of satellite panel material.

300,000 new galaxies discovered by LOFAR a telescope based in Netherlands.

Data gathered equivalent to 10 million DVDs

Spaceword of the Week


This is an almost counter intuitive effect of rotating frames of reference. As a body spins the centre is spinning faster at the equator than at the poles.

When you launch a rocket directly north from the equator (not that you would) then it will maintain it’s rotational speed and will appear to bend to the right as the objects to the north are going slower, so the rocket will start moving ahead of them, and bend very rapidly to the right at the poles as they are effectively stationary.

This cause storms to rotate and become cyclone. Wind rushing into a area of low pressure, if the wind is coming from the south it will be bent to the right and the wind coming from the north will bend left causing the spin. In the northern hemisphere they spin anticlockwise, and clockwise in the sounthern hemisphere. And storms are pulled away from the equator by the same affect.

Similar affect is the related Eötvös effect

Westward-travelling objects feel heavier, while Eastward-travelling objects feel lighter due the inertial speed or centrifugal force, The object when travelling westward is travelling with a slower speed relative to the center it’s going in a different direction to the equator, so it’s wanting to go in a straight line (inertia) is reduced, so it feels heavier. So Launching rockets east from the equator is a very good idea.

Doreen Boyd (Director of data program ‘Rights Lab’) helping work to track down slave labour camps in asia. Another company called Planet has 150 low earth orbit satellites that gather thousands of earth images daily.

Israel's privately funded Beresheet to launch to the Moon on a Falcon 9, ride-sharing with a couple of telecomms sats, from Cape Canaveral

  • The washing machine sized 1.5m-high, 585kg Beresheet lander aims to land and hop across the lunar surface.

  • Only government space agencies from the US, Russia and China have previously managed soft touchdowns, (Japan, India, and Europe have crashed probes into the lunar surface but not gently set down any robots.)

  • The beresheet will orbit the earth, over about 6 weeks, several times slowly enlarging it’s eleptical orbit, until it intecepts the moon, about 4th april, then it will circulriase and shrink it’s orbit around the moon. And landing about 11th April, totally automounously onto 3d printed landing legs

  • Total jourey about 5.6 million miles, despite the moon only bing ¼ million miles away, this journey massively saves fuel.

  • All of this with the british built Leros engine made by Nammo in Wescott. (the team leader is also called WEstcott, rob wescott? Usually designed for long burns then long shut downs. However Nammo have adapted this one giving it a shorter Nozzle and larger thrust.

  • Leros will do the whole shebang, from orbits to landing and a planned 500m hop excursion across the Mare Serenitatis, so unusually the engine will make plenty of hot restarts.

  • Beresheet grew out of the Google Lunar XPRIZE, until that finished without a winner early last year

  • $100m Beresheet will take photos and make magnetic investigations using instrument supplied by the University of California

  • Morris Kahn, a South African-born entrepreneur and billionaire who lives in Israel, is the 43% funder. "I don't want to be the richest man in the cemetery”

  • Launch at least 5 million, but probably 22.5 mill

  • Research budget about 8 million

  • 2 million given by government.

  • $100 million compared to the $3.5 billion in today’s money NASA spent in the 1960s on the seven Surveyor lunar landers. about 5 times as much per mission.

  • landing site is in a northern-hemisphere lava plain called Mare Serenitatis, to the left of the man in the moon, where magnetic anomalies are known to exist.

  • robot to keep operating for only about two days on the lunar surface, until it overheats?

  • Isreal has a population smaller than London!! (less than 8 million), but it massively punches above it’s weight in technology thanks to it’s fantastic educational programmes and embrassing of science.

David Baker

Space Fact

From Richard Gott’s The Cosmic Web: “If our galaxy were the size of a standard dinner plate (10 inches across), the Andromeda Galaxy (M31) would be another dinner plate 21 feet away.”

Light takes 2.5 million years to reach us from Andromeda.

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