Out With the Old

"Earth has captured an asteroid that's spending time in space acting as a mini-moon, or baby moon, to our planet.  "Orbit integrations...indicate that this object is temporarily bound to the Earth," the IAU filing reads. "No evidence of perturbations due to solar radiation pressure is seen, and no link to a known artificial object has been found. Further observations and dynamical studies are strongly encouraged."

"You read that right: no link to artificial objects has been found meaning this is likely a straggler space rock hurtling through the solar system, and not a gift from aliens or smugglers in space."

"They had long thought there was something strange about Ophiuchus galaxy cluster, which is a giant aggregation containing thousands of individual galaxies intermingled with hot gas and dark matter. X-ray telescopes had spied a curious curved edge to it."

"Black holes are famous for gorging on infalling matter, but they will also expel prodigious amounts of material and energy in the form of jets.  Scientists at first doubted their explanation however, because the cavity was so big; you could fit 15 of our own Milky Way galaxies in a row into the hole. And that meant any black hole explosion would have to have been unimaginably prodigious."

"In some ways, this blast is similar to how the eruption of Mount St Helens (volcano) in 1980 ripped off the top of the mountain," said Simona Giacintucci of the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, DC, and lead author of the study."


“It’s the kind of behaviour that’s more often associated with domesticated animals or those kept in captivity.”

 "The orbit isn’t stable, so eventually 2020 CD3 will be flung away from Earth. “It is heading away from the Earth-moon system as we speak,” says Grigori Fedorets at Queen’s University Belfast in the UK, and it looks likely it will escape in April."


"However, there are several different simulations of its trajectory and they don’t all agree – we will need more observations to accurately predict the fate of our mini-moon and even to confirm that it is definitely a temporary moon and not a piece of artificial space debris. “Our international team is continuously working to constrain a better solution,” says Fedorets."


There Will Be More.


A Dent in Space

"On April 29, at 4.56 am Earth Time an asteroid estimated to be between 1.1 and 2.5 miles wide will fly by Earth. But it's not expected to collide with our planet, thankfully. If it did, the asteroid is "large enough to cause global effects," according to NASA, Near Earth Object Studies

The asteroid is called 527 68 (1998 OR2) and it was first spotted in 1998.
It will pass within 3,908,791 miles of Earth, moving at 19,461 miles per hour."


"The new show will lampoon famous figures including Vladimir Putin, Prince Andrew, Adele, Beyoncé, the Tesla founder, Elon Musk, Kim Kardashian, James Corden and the US presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders. The climate change activist Greta Thunberg will be satirised as a “roving reporter giving regular weather updates”."



Knit One, Pearl One

'Scientific Serendipity.'

""Why does Soyuz still fly?"

That was a question about Russia's workhorse spacecraft posed by Spaace X founder and CEO Elon Musk at this year's Satellite 2020 conference here. In a keynote conversation yesterday (March 9), Musk wondered aloud about the dangers of spaceflight stagnating in low Earth orbit, which he called the "local maximum."

"I think we need to be very careful of getting stuck keeping a local maximum," Musk said. 

Low Earth orbit, which stretches about 300 to 1,200 miles above Earth's surface, already holds the  (ISS), as well as many satellites. He noted that NASA's space shuttle program, which operated from 1981 to 2011 and launched 135 missions, was "something that was really stuck in a local maximum for a long time," and never progressed past low Earth orbit.





"“Limitless is a story of perseverance. Nineteen years old, finished with school and working full-time as a barman, I never dreamt that one day I would be looking down on Earth from space..."



Baked Beans

Nom Nom Nom.. ;-0

"I've already ordered some much larger trousers in anticipation. See you in the tent!"


Oh, OK:



13:22 Sunday ..


"Starlink satellites are on the leading edge of on-orbit debris mitigation, meeting or exceeding all regulatory and industry standards. At end of their life cycle, the satellites will utilize their on-board propulsion system to deorbit over the course of a few months. In the unlikely event their propulsion system becomes inoperable, the satellites will burn up in Earth’s atmosphere within 1-5 years, significantly less than the hundreds or thousands of years required at higher altitudes. Further, Starlink components are designed for full demisability."





Ah, So ...


Darn it. ... nothing pink n fluffy.

Baldrick !!!

I'll be Bach.


"What’s the weather like in Earth’s upper atmosphere today? Most of us only care about how the weather feels on the Earth’s surface, but understanding “space weather” is becoming increasingly important. That’s because small changes in space weather can buffet satellites around, increasing the chances of a satellite pile-up.

Currently there are nearly 5,000 satellites revolving around our planet, of which some 2,000 are operational and the remainder are space debris. With orbits between 100 and 1,000km above sea level, the upper atmosphere is now a crowded place. Both the weather down below and changes in the sun’s output influence the upper atmosphere, changing the density of the air. As satellites move through “thicker” and “thinner” air, the change in drag forces alters their orbital track, potentially putting them on a collision path.

At the moment we don't have good forecasts of space weather, and consequently it’s hard to estimate satellite orbits accurately. This uncertainty results in large numbers of warnings being issued, like on 2 September 2019, when the European Space Agency had to raise the orbit of the Aeolus satellite to avoid collision with Starlink44. A new paper in Space Weather calls for better forecasting so that space traffic can be managed with more confidence."


"The ExoMars "Rosalind Franklin" vehicle was due to launch to the Red Planet in July/August but engineers aren't able to get the vehicle ready in time.

Because an Earth-Mars journey is only attempted when the planets are favourably aligned, the robot's next opportunity won't occur until 2022."


I am very proud I got to tell the UK space Agency not to pollute space.

One Day Rodders ;-0


Thank You.


Point Taken

"The National and Commercial Space Program Act requires a commercial remote sensing license for companies having the capacity to take an image of Earth while on orbit.

Now that launch companies are putting video cameras on stage 2 rockets that reach an on-orbit status, all such launches will be held to the requirements of the law and its conditions.    

SpaceX applied and received a license from NOAA that included conditions on their capability to live-stream from space. Conditions on Earth imaging to protect national security are common to all licenses for launches with on-orbit capabilities."




"Where do you go to get away from it all? When the stress of everyday life pushes you to search for the most remote point on Earth, you might be surprised to learn there are actually a few to choose from.

But if you have decent sea legs, nothing beats the furthest point from land, also known as the "oceanic pole of inaccessibility"...

"It is a rather peculiar place..."

"the nearest humans are often astronauts. The International Space Station orbits the Earth at a maximum of 258 miles (416km). Meanwhile the nearest inhabited landmass to Point Nemo is over 1,670 miles (2,700km) away."


"Apart from the occasional round-the-world yacht race, there are hardly any visitors. That means it is unlikely to pop up on your social media, so you have to use your imagination to picture it.

"On a calm day, the sea surface in the heart of the South Pacific Gyre is simply beautiful – clear cornflower blue, with a violet tone – because it contains so little particulate matter and so little living material," says D'Hondt.

Or it would be, if it were not for littering..."


"Even in the most remote spot on the planet, it seems there is no escaping humanity's wasteful habits."

Ah, So:


"Focus only on what you can control and don’t waste energy worrying about things that are outside your control. We are bombarded with information via the media and we do need to take news onboard. However, if you find that listening or reading the news is increasing your anxiety or stress levels then limit your exposure to it."


A Dual Focus

"BODIES managing two national parks are set to bid to join a family of landscapes, including those of the Alpes Azur Mercantour in France and Aoraki Mount Cook National Park, in New Zealand, as among the best places on the planet for star-gazing...."


“Protecting Dark Skies has multiple benefits that touch many functions of the national park and our objectives. Astro tourism is the obvious one with associated out of season benefit. Added to this, lighting improvements also help climate change through energy reduction, improve feelings of tranquillity, deliver ecological benefits by reducing impact on wildlife and even help protect human health.”

"Whilst there is a special dispensation for military zones to be excluded from the core Dark Skies Zone, this has been discussed with RAF Fylingdales at this year’s liaison meeting and as a result the RAF have agreed to look at what they could do to reduce lighting around the base (much of which is not related to the security element, but the living accommodation)."

Jim Bailey, chairman of the park authority, said: “As society gets more and more cluttered, the value of darkness is something that is quite easily lost, so it is good to be able to do something about it. It is about raising awareness too.

“When I was a kid the preciousness of darkness was never really considered. Now we have become so thick on the ground the special quality of darkness that the North Yorks Moors has become much more obvious.”"





"We consider the proposal for the existing duty to ‘seek to foster social and economic wellbeing’ to become a third National Park purpose unnecessary and worrying. ..

The population has not declined since designation and the National Park economy is varied and vibrant. If you have a socio-economic purpose the world changes. It’s the reason you exist. It’s what you are funded for. You have to do it.Thus you will spend money on it. Less money will be spent on other things. You will be challenged to do more for the new purpose. You will have to try to achieve it even if it is inherently contradictory, which it sometimes is...

"We consider that giving one of the few parts of government that has a primarily environmental role an additional economic one is really unhelpful andcuriously backwards looking.

"One of the consequences of having this proposed third purpose, is that it would fundamentally influence not just the Management Plan, but the Local Plan, Section 62 and become an equal planning consideration on key developments. It would cloud every public inquiry. It would be positively counterproductive if public bodies had a duty to further a third purpose. It might be argued that the proposed purpose is circumscribed by the Sandford principle and defined as in support of the other two purposes. But Sandford would be argued over at every turn. Even without this purpose, it is routine for developers to say that a development is needed because without jobs or houses there will be no-one to look after the National Park. Even the biggest developments are claimed to benefit tourism. This purpose would be heavily misquoted, as has already happened.It would moreover be more difficult to insist on stringent planning conditions, harder to require mitigation for harm under 106 agreements. The protection in the NPPF would be weakened."


The Light Sensitive


"The March equinox marks the moment the Sun crosses the celestial equator – the imaginary line in the sky above the Earth’s equator – from south to north and vice versa in September."

"The earliest Spring in more than a Century, or 124 years, with the last one ocurring in 1896."

The March equinox marks the moment the Sun crosses the celestial equator – the imaginary line in the sky above the Earth’s equator – from south to north and vice versa in September."


"But "rare" doesn't mean "never." It's thought that billions — even trillions — of dark matter particles are swimming through you right now. But since the dark matter hardly notices normal matter, and vice versa, you simply don't feel it. You have to go out to big scales before you start to see its gravitational effects.

Still, rarely (exactly how rarely is not known yet), a dark matter particle goes rogue and interacts with a particle of normal matter through the week nuclear force. This involves a transfer of energy (i.e., the dark matter particle kicks the normal particle), sending the normal matter flying, something that we can, in principle at least, detect."

I sense a Curfew coming on.


"And it's right under our feet."

"There is one catch, however. Earth rocks naturally contain some radioactive elements, and radioactive decays will give rise to similar features. To solve this, the researchers suggest digging into oceanic crust, which is much more pure than the stuff that builds continents. With this in hand, the researchers predict that we could have a super-detector within easy reach: even a mere kilogram of rock would beat the sensitivity of the world's current best detectors. 

We just have to dig in."

A Promontory

"We might be living in a bubble.

"Now, astronomers think that our new minimoon has been flung out yet again and is back on a journey to enter an orbit around the sun.

The end of our days with two moons is no surprise. Being what's known as a "temporarily captured object," astronomers knew that 2020 CD3 wouldn't be staying for long. The minimoon was originally estimated to leave Earth's orbit sometime in April, so this isn't too far off."

"At first, astronomers weren't quite sure if the minimoon was really a space rock or if it might be a defunct satellite or some other space junk. But, following some observations, they are fairly certain it is a small rock, though they're not sure exactly what type of rock it might be."

"Given clear skies, you simply can’t miss Venus beaming away at evening dusk."


"The last good opportunity happened on April 3, 2012, and will next take place on April 4, 2028."


"Why don't our measurements of the speed of the universe's expansion make sense?"


"Unbeknownst to the entire space physics community, 34 years ago Voyager 2 flew through a plasmoid, a giant magnetic bubble that may have been whisking Uranus’s atmosphere out to space."


"The effects are tiny on human timescales, but given long enough, atmospheric escape can fundamentally alter a planet’s fate. For a case in point, look at Mars."

Radio Spectrum

"Rumours of a collapse had been swirling around OneWeb this past week. It had raised £2.6bn to implement its project but experts in the space industry speculated that double this sum would probably be needed to complete the system...

CEO Adrian Steckel added: "Today is a difficult day for us at OneWeb. So many people have dedicated so much energy, effort, and passion to this company and our mission. Our hope is that this process will allow us to carve a path forward that leads to the completion of our mission, building on the years of effort and the billions of invested capital."


"If no buyer for OneWeb or its assets can be found, the UK government is ultimately responsible for the 74 spacecraft in orbit.

As the licensing state, it will carry the liability if these satellites are involved in a collision."

Oh, OK:




Slightly awkward moments ..


Autonomous Collision Avoidence


Zoom, moi? Don't be silly...

Ah, So ...  next years 'family gathering'.. I feel a 'Bond & Bingo' theme coming on...

Hmmm ...


Never, Say Never...

"Starlink is the first Krypton propelled spacecraft  ever flown "

Always read the small print ;-0


The Iron Planet

"The mission needs to make sure it isn't travelling too fast when it arrives at Mercury in 2025 or it won't be able to go into orbit around the diminutive world.

"It would be so nice if we could take an express transfer and then we'd be there in a few months, but that doesn't work for this mission," Elsa Montagnon, the flight controller in charge of BepiColombo at the European Space Agency (Esa), told BBC News..."




Fact checkin.. ;-0




"The journey of the 15-year-old Russian space station ended March 23, 2001, as Mir re-entered the Earth's atmosphere near Nadi, Fiji, and fell into the South Pacific. Its downfall - planned and controlled - began around 8 a.m. Moscow time. Engines of a cargo ship docked to Mir were fired causing the station's orbit to brake, starting the Mir's descent. The computer generated images below illustrate the breakup of the 143-ton station as it descended to Earth."


"Deputy director of New Zealand's Maritime Safety Authority, Tony Martin, said that the chances of debris hitting ships would be very small....The location of Mir announced after re-entry was 40s 160w in the South Pacific Ocean."



Dot to Dot...

"“Once again, on a matter of national security of some importance, the public is basically left in the dark,” he said.

“In fact, the politicians by and large are left in the dark. We’re having no debate about this in parliament. We’re allied for all intents and purposes with our Five Eyes partners across a range of intelligence gathering and war related things. Where do we want to go with this?""

Good Question.


A Change of Command

"NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy will assume command and control of the orbiting lab today at 4:55 p.m. EDT (9.55pm BST)  during the Change of Command ceremony live on NASA TV."


"NASA astronaut Andrew Morgan, who has spent nine months living and working on the International Space Station, will join fellow NASA astronaut Jessica Meir and Oleg Skripochka of the Russian space agency Roscosmos for a scheduled return to Earth on Friday, April 17.

Live coverage of their Soyuz MS-15 spacecraft’s undocking and station departure will begin at 6 p.m. EDT Thursday, April 16, on NASA Television and the agency’s website. Coverage of the deorbit burn and landing will begin at 12 a.m. Friday, April 17."




"This newly revealed world is only 1.06 times larger than our own planet. Also, the amount of starlight it receives from its host star is 75% of the amount of light Earth receives from our Sun – meaning the exoplanet's temperature may be similar to our planet’s, as well. But unlike Earth, it orbits a red dwarf. Though none have been observed in this system, this type of star is known for stellar flare-ups that may make a planet's environment challenging for any potential life."

Twenty minutes to landing ...

Plasma Regime:


Vehicle in sight ...

(here's one they made earlier ;-)




Captain Black's picture


"SpaceX chief executive Elon Musk said the company was "fixing" the brightness of his company's satellites.

Stargazers around the world and including many Britons have witnessed unusual constellations made up of the low earth orbit spacecraft.

SpaceX has been launching large batches of satellites as part of its Starlink project to improve global internet coverage.

The most recent launch took place on Wednesday.

Responding to a question about the brightness of the Starlink satellites on Twitter, Mr Musk said it was due to the angle of the satellites solar panels and the company was "fixing it now".

A fix could make them less visible from Earth."


"But this robot broke communications with the expedition research vessel, SA Agulhas II, some 20 hours into its mapping operation and was never seen again.

What it might have detected, we'll never know. Encroaching sea-ice forced the team to abandon its AUV and to vacate the area."






Cough ..


Captain Black's picture

The Red Planet

The United Arab Emirates is on its way to Mars ...

"Two previous attempts in the past week have been thwarted by the weather, but conditions now look settled for the new scheduled lift-off time of 06:58 Japan time, Monday (22:58 BST, Sunday).

The mission aims to study the weather and climate of the Red Planet.

Its 500-million-km journey should see the robotic craft arrive in February 2021 - in time for the 50th anniversary of the UAE's formation."


"The satellite is one of a number of projects the UAE government says signals its intention to move the country away from a dependence on oil and gas and towards a future based on a knowledge economy.

But as ever when it comes to Mars, the risks are high. A half of all missions sent to the Red Planet have ended in failure. Hope project director, Omran Sharaf, recognises the dangers but insists his country is right to try.

"This is a research and development mission and, yes, failure is an option," he told BBC News.

"However, failure to progress as a nation is not an option. And what matters the most here is the capacity and the capability that the UAE gained out of this mission, and the knowledge it brought into the country.""

live link via Twitter



It's the night before a new dawn...


"The first signal from the Hope Probe has been transmitted..."

Solar panels to deploy ...


"It has two solar panel wings affixed to the top platform that will provide 600 watts to charge batteries of the spacecraft.

It has a 1.5 metre high-gain directional dish antenna to allow communication rates of 1.6Mbps at the minimum, Earth-Mars distance to 250 kbps at its furthest point. There are also three low-gain antennas.

It will reach a speed of 126,000kph on its 495-million km journey to Mars, which will take around 200 days.

Propulsion is provided by four to six 120-N thrusters mounted on the bottom of the spacecraft while positional and orientation knowledge is provided by star trackers and coarse Sun sensors."




"It all began in 1953 when the IFSB sent a bulletin to its members encouraging them to join the first, “World Contact Day”. Members were urged at a specific time on a given day to collectively send out a telepathic message to visitors from outer space. The message began with the words…”Calling occupants of interplanetary craft”.

In 1967 Jay David published a book called The Flying Saucer Reader that was read by John Woloschuk one of the founding members of a Canadian group named Klaatu. The band was named after the extra-terrestrial, Klaatu, portrayed by Michael Rennie in the film, The Day The Earth Stood Still."

Captain Black's picture

Pink Brocade

"The water is essential for life support and can be split into hydrogen and oxygen for use as rocket fuel. Each lunar night is equivalent to 14 Earthdays and so reliable batteries will be needed, along with power distribution and control systems that can work well in the moon’s harsh radiation environment. Such power systems will also be needed to extract the water, much of which is thought to exist in permanently shadowed craters near the moon’s south pole."






Phew ...

'Radio Pinocchio'

"Two items of space junk expected to pass close to one another have avoided collision, said a company which uses radar to track objects in orbit.

LeoLabs had said a defunct Russian satellite and a discarded Chinese rocket segment were likely to come within 25m of each other.

It said there were no signs of debris over Antarctica on Friday morning..."


"“We accept the science around climate change and we support the Paris goals,” MacKenzie said. “The reality is that all current plausible scenarios show that fossil fuels will be part of the energy mix for decades.”

Henry said the company saw oil and gas as “something to invest in for the short to medium term”.

On Juukan Gorge, MacKenzie said the destruction of the rock shelters “was a tragedy”. “It was a loss of a unique cultural heritage, but it was also a loss of trust,” he said. “It’s had an impact across the industry as a whole.”"



Darn it


Oh, OK:


Never Mind.




Dib Dab Dob

"Two items of space junk expected to pass close to one another have avoided collision, said a company which uses radar to track objects in orbit.

LeoLabs had said a defunct Russian satellite and a discarded Chinese rocket segment were likely to come within 25m of each other.

It said there were no signs of debris over Antarctica on Friday morning..."


"“We accept the science around climate change and we support the Paris goals,” MacKenzie said. “The reality is that all current plausible scenarios show that fossil fuels will be part of the energy mix for decades.”

Henry said the company saw oil and gas as “something to invest in for the short to medium term”.

On Juukan Gorge, MacKenzie said the destruction of the rock shelters “was a tragedy”. “It was a loss of a unique cultural heritage, but it was also a loss of trust,” he said. “It’s had an impact across the industry as a whole.”"




"The president spent much of the town hall arguing with the moderator, who disputed many of his statements.

But he beamed when one female voter prefaced her question by saying: "You're so handsome when you smile!""



"The drinks ban, he added, would last for the "foreseeable future"."

"NASA is about to grab its first-ever taste of an asteroid. On 20 October, some 334 million kilometres from Earth, the agency’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft will approach a dark-coloured, diamond-shaped asteroid named Bennu, with the aim of touching its surface for a few seconds — long enough to hoover up a collection of dust and pebbles. If successful, the spacecraft will then fly this carbon-rich rubble back to Earth, where scientists can probe it for clues to the history of the Solar System...

The journey to Bennu’s surface won’t be easy. The spacecraft will have to navigate its way past a towering boulder nicknamed Mount Doom, then onto a sampling area no larger than a few car-parking spaces. “We may not be successful on our first attempt,” says Dante Lauretta, the mission’s principal investigator and a planetary scientist at the University of Arizona in Tucson. But if it does work, he says, “I hope the world looks at this as a piece of good news — something we can be proud of with all the insanity that’s going on this year.”"



""That is not going to be a picnic," he said on this scenario. "The key thing is we are taking the steps alongside business to be ready for that outcome.""