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  • Writer's pictureMatt Russell

#129 - David Baker - Beresheet

"It speaks to the nature of how space really brings people and nations and different religions together. We all look up at the night sky, and the Moon, and all of our boundaries are blurred."

Anousheh Ansari,


Dr. Kimberly A. Weaver (born April 19, 1964 in Morgantown, West Virginia) is an American astrophysics astronomer and professor. She has worked with NASA on several research projects. She is often seen on television programs about astronomy. She is an expert in the area of x-ray astronomy

  • She credits the Apollo 11 lunar mission as the inspiration to become a career scientist at NASA

  • Ph.D. in astronomy from University of Maryland at College Park graduated in 1993 Her doctoral thesis was in complex broad-band x-ray spectra of Seyfert Galaxies

  • During her tenure at Goddard high energy astrophysics lab, she worked extensively with the Chandra X-ray Telescope among others, making important observations with respect to starburst galaxies, black holes and other astronomical phenomena

  • Currently Weaver, in addition to working with NASA, is also an adjunct professor at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland

  • Weaver has been published in over 60 scientific journals,[4] including:[1]

  • "On the Evidence of Extreme Gravity Effects in MCG-6-30-15", Weaver,K.A., and Yaqoob, T. 1998, ApJ, 502, L139

  • "An X-Ray Minisurvey of Nearby Edge-On Starburst Galaxies. II. The Question of Metal Abundance.", Weaver, K.A., Heckman, T.M., Dahlem, M. 2000 ApJ 534, 684

  • She is also the author of the book, The Violent Universe: Joyrides Through the X-Ray Cosmos,

  • Her main hobby is community theater; acting, singing, and dancing as well as directing, producing, and designing (sets and costumes).all-time favorite roles? The ghost Elvira in Noel Coward's Blithe Spirit.

Sad Passing this week

Owen Kay Garriott (November 22, 1930 – April 15, 2019)

American electrical engineer and NASA astronaut, who spent 60 days aboard the Skylab space station in 1973 during the Skylab 3 mission, and 10 days aboard Spacelab-1 on a Space Shuttle mission in 1983.

He later earned Master of Science and Ph.D. degrees from Stanford University in electrical engineering in 1957 and 1960, respectively The first atronaunt to pass a PhD.

After serving in the United States Navy, Garriott was an engineering professor at Stanford He performed research and led graduate studies in ionospheric physics after obtaining his doctorate, and authored or co-authored more than 45 scientific papersUniversity before

Then U.S. Air Force Pilot Training Program flying jets and later joining NASA.

Father of Richard Garriot one of the 7 brutish born astronauts in space.

See episode 102 - astronaut of the week.

Beresheet amazingly succesful failure.

USA and Russia fail with their first attempts to.

Well, we didn't make it but we definitely tried and I think the achievement of getting to where we got is really tremendous. I think we can be proud.

Morris Kahn

On 11 April 2019, the lander unsuccessfully attempted a landing on the lunar surface.

The Lander was originally conceived a bar situated in Halon near Tel Aviv by SpaceIL members Yonatan Winetraub, Yariv Bash and Kfir Damari

It looks like a software command uploaded to fix a sensor problem started a chain reaction that shut down the main engines, dooming the lander.

Sent due to a faulty inertial measurement unit (IMU) , an electronic device that measures and reports a body's specific force, angular rate, and sometimes the magnetic field surroundings the body, using a combination of accelerators and gyroscopes, sometimes also magnetometers.

SpaceIL is still investigating how the command caused the failure cascade, and hopes to issue a final report in the coming weeks

It's highly likely an IMU failure on its own would not have caused Beresheet to crash, as the spacecraft has redundant units

The craft's main engine is a british built Leros by Nammo a Norwegian/Finnish aerospace and defence group. had already stopped working for an extended period. The engine was brought back online following a system-wide reset; however, the craft had already lost too much altitude to slow its descent sufficiently. The engine was not the problem. The problem was something with the electronics.

It arrived at the surface of the moon at a speed and angle that did not permit a smooth landing, resulting in a total loss.

Prior to impact, the probe had been able to take two last photographs: a view of itself against the moon, and a closer shot of the moon's surface

Nasa LRO may actually be able to check in the next couple of week.

On 13 April 2019, Morris Kahn announced that a new mission, named Beresheet-2, would attempt a second time to land on the moon

Rob on the Discord server alerted us to this beauty paper at Cornell university

Amir Siraj, Abraham Loeb (the same person of the oumoumau is an aliean light sail epidode 106 and and who pointed out the chemcal soup might not be favourable on Europa for life episode 116

  • The first interstellar object, `Oumuamua, was discovered in the Solar System by Pan-STARRS in 2017, allowing for a calibration of the abundance of interstellar objects of its size ∼100 m.

  • One would expect a much higher abundance of smaller interstellar objects, with some of them colliding with Earth frequently enough to be noticeable.

  • Based on the CNEOS catalog of bolide events, we identify the ∼0.45m meteor detected at 2014-01-08 17:05:34 UTC as originating from an unbound hyperbolic orbit with an asymptotic speed of v∞∼43.8kms−1 outside of the solar system.

  • Its origin is approximately towards R.A. 3h24m and declination +10.4∘, implying that its initial velocity vector was ∼60kms−1 away from the velocity of the Local Standard of Rest (LSR). Its high LSR speed implies a possible origin from the deep interior of a planetary system or a star in the thick disk of the Milky Way galaxy.

  • The local number density of its population is 106+0.75−1.5AU−3 or 9×1021+0.75−1.5pc−3 (necessitating 0.2 - 20 Earth masses of material to be ejected per local star).

  • This discovery enables a new method for studying the composition of interstellar objects, based on spectroscopy of their gaseous debris as they burn up in the Earth's atmosphere.

Falcon Heavy!

First commercial mission for Space X. Three boosters landed perfectly!

Called Arabsat after the coms sat on board. And Air France have also paid 130 mill for next Falcon Heavy is essentially 3 x Falcon 9’s in one rocket. In addition to the added thrust, the Block 5 Falcon 9 now features a plethora of upgrades, all of which are designed to facilitate re-usability. Previous versions of the Falcon 9 were meant to fly only two to three times; however, Musk says the Block 5 is capable of flying as many as 10 times with virtually no refurbishment between flights. Woah!! Go Musk! Drinkkkkk.

British artist Antony Gormley, who has placed sculptures based on his own body on beaches across the UK and atop buildings worldwide, is heading to the Moon. Sort of. Gormley has collaborated with the Yale astrophysicist Priyamvada Natarajan to create his first virtual reality work, called Lunatick, which aims to recreate the sensation of walking on the Moon’s surface.

“My work has always tried to explore the dialectic between the body as an object in space and the body as a place containing the infinitude of space,” Gormley said in a statement. “Our nearest neighbor is the Moon, and this project allows us to experience it as a found object in space, to explore its vast open spaces and swoop the ridges and valleys of its craters.

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