Space & Planetary Science: August 2017 Archives

NASA's Next Mars Mission to Investigate Interior of Red Planet, Lockheed Martin

"More information about InSight is online at:"

Keith's note: Here we go again. NASA has deliberately created - and pays to maintain - two official mission websites - this time, for Mars InSight. NASA is paying twice for this. I'd ve willing to bet that a FOIA request would show that the duplication costs in terms of website contractor personnel would amount to several hundred thousand dollars over the course of the mission. This is not new wastefulness on NASA's part: the Mars 2020 Rover already has three official BASA mission websites:,, and Every few years I ask NASA SMD about this. Someone says that they'll look into it. Tick tock - nothing changes. The real answer is stove piping: NASA cannot really tell its field centers (or JPL) what to do and they go off and do their own thing regardless of whether someone else is already dong it. The field centers and JPL want people to think of them when it comes to NASA - instead of But NASA HQ wants a unified way for people to find mission information so they set up a duplicate set of mission websites. Try as they may, these dueling sites are never totally in synch - and one is almost always out of sate with respect to the other. Let's #MakeNASAConfusingAgain

NASA's Inability To Speak With One Voice Online, earlier post (2011)

"Probably the most blatant example whereby NASA simply cannot make its mind up as to where an official mission website is has to do with Hubble - here are the official websites:,,,,, and And NASA Hubble press releases typically offer 3 links - on three different official Hubble websites - for the same image."

- Why Does NASA Maintain Three (Four) Different MSL Websites?, earlier post (2013)
- Why does NASA need multiple websites for the same mission?, earlier post
- NASA's Tangled Human Spaceflight Web Presence, earlier post
- NASA's Sprawling Web Presence, earlier post

Review of "The Farthest: Voyager In Space" - Becoming Interstellar

"In 1977 the twin Voyager spacecraft left planet Earth bound for the outer reaches of our solar system - and beyond. What they discovered changed our way of thinking about how worlds are built and broadened our notions of where life might be found. The story of this audacious project is told in the captivating new documentary "The Farthest" which is airing on PBS this week. The film itself is weaved together rather artfully - not unlike the sounds and images that were placed on the now-famous "Golden Records" that each spacecraft carried. The story is narrated mostly by people who were there. Indeed its like listening to the crew of a ship of discovery recount the days of wonder that they experienced."

Cameras on NASA exoplanet spacecraft slightly out of focus, Space News

"NASA confirmed July 26 that the focus of the four cameras on the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) spacecraft will drift when the spacecraft cools to operating temperatures after launch next March. The problem was noticed in recent tests when the cameras were chilled to approximately -75 degrees Celsius. "Recent tests show the cameras on TESS are slightly out of focus when placed in the cold temperatures of space where it will be operating," NASA spokesperson Felicia Chou said in response to a SpaceNews inquiry. "After a thorough engineering evaluation, NASA has concluded TESS can fully accomplish its science mission with the cameras as they are, and will proceed with current integration activities." ... "The question is how much science degradation will there be in the results," Boss said. "The TESS team thinks there will be a 10 percent cut in terms of the number of planets that they expect to be able to detect."

Keith's 27 July note: Strange that NASA will fly a flawed spacecraft that can only accomplish 90% of what it is supposed to do. Maybe NASA will explain this in a little more detail.

Keith's 4 August update: NASA Just posted this update about TESS "NASA's Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite Passes Critical Review" This is what NASA says: "Recent measurements revealed the TESS cameras to have slightly reduced focus and image quality near the outer edge of the image when placed in the cold temperatures of space, and better camera focus and image quality towards the center of the image. The difference between the designed and measured focus and image quality will not affect the mission's science goals." Last week this was a 10% decrease in capability. Now its no big deal, right NASA?



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This page is an archive of entries in the Space & Planetary Science category from August 2017.

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