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  • Paul Hurst 2:18 pm on August 6, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: america, budget, church, curiosity, curious, life, mars, mission, , , pope, purpose, science, , space   

    Just Curious… 

     

    It was another huge leap for mankind today when NASA’s latest space mission to Mars touched down safely.

    The one-tonne vehicle, known as ‘Curiosity’ also managed to find time to send a tweet out to all its followers: “I’m safely on the surface of Mars. GALE CRATER I AM IN YOU!!!”. Its mision to look for the evidences of life greatly helped, no doubt by a strong Wi-Fi signal on the Martian surface…

    There is no doubting the technical excellence that saw the rover safely make its 154.4 million mile journey however I am slightly confused as to its purpose.

    One of NASA’s mission goals is to determine whether Mars ‘has ever had the conditions to support life’, but to me, a mere mortal, this seems a little strange. Almost like trying to prove the possibility that the Pope could visit my house for lunch. Proving a ‘possibility’ isn’t worth much, I would have thought it better to try to answer the much bigger question of ‘is there, or has there ever been life on Mars?’. I presume that Curiosity may get the best of the NASA scientists and results permitting, they may turn their attention to those questions further down the line.

    In the meantime, the two-year mission costing an estimated $2,500,000,000 ($2.5bn), certainly goes where no man has been before but even if the mission goal is successful, we may still never know if it’s gone where life itself has ever been before…

    In any case, I’d like to pass on my congratulations to everyone who’s been involved with this so far, and also wish the team every success for the rest of the mission.

    PS… For the record, although the possibility exists for His Holiness to visit my home for cucumber sandwiches, He has never done so, and I am relatively confident that he has not made any specific plans for the immediate future…

     
  • Paul Hurst 9:53 pm on April 23, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: hst, hubble, massimino, mike, , space, telescope,   

    To boldly go… 

    Twitter’s world domination shows no sign of abating so what’s next?  Outer-space?  Well yes actually!

    Well, let’s keep this strictly accurate, its inner-space (only 200 miles or so up) and although mission STS 125 may mean little to most people its an important mission for NASA and the space shuttle for a number of reasons.

    Firstly, it will be the last mission to service the Hubble Space Telescope (HST).  Hubble has been sending incredible images from the depths of the universe since 1994 (thanks to STS-61), and although it has lasted longer than planned, it is due to be replaced, presumably when the credit-crunch has stopped causing so many problems for us earthlings.

    Secondly,  this will be the first shuttle flight which will carry a tweeting astronaut!  Yes thats right!  Twitter is boldly going where no other social networking app has gone before!  @Astro_Mike (Mike Massimino) is keeping us in the loop with updates such as ‘just got out of the motion simulator after a morning of shuttle re-entry simulations, we are 19 days from launch’ and Getting ready to put on my white spacesuit, get in the big pool, and practice my first spacewalk with my crewmate Mike Good (nickname Bueno)

    I’m quite sure that he’ll have enough buttons to press without having to tap away on his BlackBerry to keep us up to speed, however Mike’s detailed and frequent updates do allow us a real-time peak at one of the most exciting jobs in the world. Godspeed to Mike and all the crew of STS-125.

    Mike Massimino (@Astro_Mike) is a NASA astronaut who will be visiting Hubble for the second time, previously flying on board STS-109 in 2002.


     
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