Space & Planetary Science: December 2005 Archives

Editor's note: If you go to this link on Time magazine's website you can vote for the #1 image among Time's Top Ten Editor's Choice Images for 2005. So far, this image of Saturn is in first place with 28% of the votes. Please visit - and vote early - and often! Update: a few hours after this note was posted the image jumped ahead by an additional 2 points. Now, 24 hours later it is up to 40%

Original image: "Speeding toward pale, icy Dione, Cassini's view is enriched by the tranquil gold and blue hues of Saturn in the distance. The horizontal stripes near the bottom of the image are Saturn's rings."

Wreckage of Beagle found scattered in Mars crater, Times Online

British Mars probe found just a metre off its target, The Independent

"And if the probe had landed only one metre to the north, they say it would have survived and would be functioning today."

Beagle 2 probe 'spotted' on Mars, BBC

"The scientist behind the British Beagle 2 mission to the Red Planet says the craft may have been found in pictures of the Martian surface. Colin Pillinger says the images suggest the mission very nearly worked, but Beagle somehow failed to contact Earth." ... "Professor Pillinger accepts the sceptics will say Beagle 2 is too small to be seen from space"

Science Cut Update

NASA Starts Squeezing to Fit Missions Into Tight Budget, Science (subscription)

"Although Cleave is an ecologist by training, she has no oversight of NASA's biological and physical sciences. That portfolio belongs to Horowitz, who is drastically reducing funding for a host of experiments designed for the space station. He's already canceled at least half of NASA's current life sciences grants and contracts. Much of the research planned for the station has little connection with Bush's plan to return astronauts to the moon and continue to Mars, Horowitz told Science."

Review of NASA Strategic Roadmaps: Space Station Panel, National Research Council

"The panel saw no evidence of an integrated resource utilization plan for use of the ISS in support of the Exploration Missions. Presentations that covered some elements of criteria and processes for determining priorities for utilization of ISS for different exploration missions demonstrated poor definition of those criteria and processes."

IFPTE Raises Strong Objections to NASA Science Cuts

"In a November 17th letter sent by Administrator Griffin to Office of Management & Budget (OMB) Director Joshua Bolton, Dr. Griffin states that, "the budget allocation provided to NASA is insufficient."

NASA Starts Squeezing to Fit Missions Into Tight Budget, Science (subscription)

"Although Cleave is an ecologist by training, she has no oversight of NASA's biological and physical sciences. That portfolio belongs to Horowitz, who is drastically reducing funding for a host of experiments designed for the space station. He's already canceled at least half of NASA's current life sciences grants and contracts. Much of the research planned for the station has little connection with Bush's plan to return astronauts to the moon and continue to Mars, Horowitz told Science."

Microbial origin of excess methane in glacial ice and implications for life on Mars, PNAS

"Equating the loss rate of methane recently discovered in the Martian atmosphere to the production rate by possible methanogens, we estimate that a possible Martian habitat would be at a temperature of 0C and that the concentration, if uniformly distributed in a 10-m-thick layer, would be 1 cell per ml."

Griffin Addresses AGU

Science and Exploration; Speech by Michael Griffin to the American Geophysical Union

"I am aware that many in the science community have questioned NASA's commitment to science, and believe their own work to be gravely threatened by the Vision for Space Exploration. Let me speak directly to this point."

Landsat 5 is Fading

Landsat 5 Experiencing Technical Difficulties, USGS

"On November 26, 2005, the back-up solar array drive on Landsat 5 began exhibiting unusual behavior. The solar array drive maintains the proper pointing angle between the solar array and the sun. The rotation of the solar array drive became sporadic and the solar array was not able to provide the power needed to charge the batteries."

Extending the Effective Lifetimes of Earth Observing Research Missions, Committee on Extending the Effectiveness Lifetimes of Earth Observing Research Missions, National Research Council

"NASA has recently begun using the Senior Review process, developed for the space sciences, to make decisions on extensions for Earth science missions. Previously, these decisions had been made ad hoc. This report by the National Research Council's Committee on Extending the Effective Lifetimes of Earth Observing Research Missions reviews the current process and provides recommendations for adapting this process to the specific needs of NASA's Earth science missions."


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This page is an archive of entries in the Space & Planetary Science category from December 2005.

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