Space & Planetary Science: September 2008 Archives

Planet Definition Update

Scientists Debate Planet Definition and Agree to Disagree

"Two years ago the International Astronomical Union (IAU) elected to define the term planet, restricting it to the eight largest bodies orbiting the Sun, and deleting Pluto from the list. The demotion of Pluto sparked considerable public controversy. Numerous planetary scientists and astronomers protested the IAU's definition as not useful, while numerous other planetary scientists and astronomers supported the outcome."

Planet Debate Gets Greater, MSNBC

"So just how many planets are there in our solar system anyway? Eight? Nine? Thirteen? Or thousands? Far from settling the question, the "Great Planet Debate" has revealed just how complex and interesting the question is."

Some Old Spacecraft Never Die

NASA's ISEE-3/ICE Spacecraft Is Still Operating After 30 Years in Space

Editor's note: I just got this note from Robert Farquhar: "At 2049 UTC on September 18, 2008, DSS-14 locked onto the carrier signal of the ISEE-3/ICE spacecraft. The remainder of the 3-hour track was then used to gather Doppler data for future use...

... Old spacecraft never die, and so far the former Flight Director has not expired either. Let's return ISEE-3/ICE to the halo orbit, and go on to another comet!"

Reader note: "I reviewed a presentation given by Professor Nilton O. Renno as part of the Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences division at MIT's Department Lecture Series on September 10th. It was called "Physical and Thermodynamical Evidence of Deliquescence and Liquid Water on Mars." During this presentation many students and professors in the room asked Dr. Renno about the long delay for releasing the science data from the Phoenix lander mission. He responded that when NASA found out he was giving this talk they sent him a multitude of warning emails telling him of consequences if he revealed the embarrassing problems the science team have been having ... "

NASA Selects Mission to Study Mars Atmosphere

NASA awards $485M Mars project delayed by conflict, AP

"NASA chose a University of Colorado proposal for a $485 million Mars mission on Monday after a nine-month delay caused by a conflict of interest in the selection process. The delay cost the space agency time, money and science. The price of the probe increased by $10 million, its launch was postponed by two years, and the science-gathering mission will be cut in half to one year, an official said."

"Last week New Horizons kicked off its annual checkout, a busy three monthsthat will include system checks, instrument workouts, software uploads and other activities. Follow the progress of the "ACO" on the New HorizonsTwitter site."

Rosetta Steins fly-by timeline

"The Rosetta spacecraft control room is buzzing with anticipation as Rosetta closes in on asteroid 2867 Steins. The fly-by timeline includes a series of critical events, culminating with closest approach - expected at 20:58 CEST, 5 September 2008. At the time of closest approach, Rosetta is planned to be 800 km from the asteroid, passing by at a speed of 8.6 km/s relative to Steins. Both Rosetta and Steins will be illuminated by the Sun, providing an excellent opportunity for science observations."


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This page is an archive of entries in the Space & Planetary Science category from September 2008.

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