Solar Eclipse

In just a few short days there will be a solar eclipse that is visible from the United States of America. It will cut right across this country. For some it will be a total solar eclipse lasting a little more than two minutes. For most of the country it will be partial eclipse. The moon will not block all of the sun.

Though I live where it will be a partial I am still looking forward to seeing it. Wether you are in the total or partial foot print it will be amazing to see. The next total eclipse to cross the U.S. is not due until April 8, 2024 but on October 14, 2023 there will a annular eclipse. That is where you see a ring of fire around the moon like the photo on this page.

If you are interested in the eclipse schedule click this link.

Surveyor 3

It has been fifty years since this lunar lander was sent to the moon. Launched on April 17, 1967, Surveyor 3 landed on April 20, 1967. Two and a half years later the crew of Apollo 12 visited Surveyor 3. They photographed the spacecraft and removed some of its instruments to bring back to Earth to study how instruments were affected by their time on the moon. This is the only space craft that we have launched that has been later visited by man.

You can read more about Surveyor 3 here.

China Rocket

Funny how the world turns. Today, China launched two astronauts on a 30 day mission to the Chinese space station. The United States has to buy seats on a Russian rockets to get astronauts to the International Space Station. It has been this way since NASA had to retire the Space Shuttles. The USA use to be the leader in technology. Now the world is a pretty even playing field.

That is the thing about technology. It spreads easily and rapidly. Rockets are incredibly complicated machines. Getting people into space requires a lot of people from many different trades and all of it is reproducible by any nation that desires.

Not just a nation, recently Elon Musk, an American entrepreneur, revealed his plans for a 2025 city on Mars. It is a very ambitious plan but if he succeeds he may find China already has a colon on Mars.

In 2025 I will be 58 years old. I would consider a mission to Mars even at that age. I think a technology astute pastor would be a useful thing in a Mars colony.

(Correction: The launch happened on Monday October 17, not Sunday 16th. Changed text from Yesterday to Today.)

Juno Spacecraft

On July 4th, in just a few days, the Juno spacecraft is schedule to make its insertion into a highly elliptical orbit around Jupiter. Juno has been on its way to Jupiter for 5 years. Though scientist will be watching it closely because of the time lag Juno will have to park itself in orbit on its own.

Juno missions differs from previous in that the elliptical orbit will bring it closer to Jupiter than any previous mission to make measurements. This is dangerous because Jupiter has a very high background radiation, powerful magnetic field and other dangers. If the mission is successful and I pray it will be, we will learn many new things about our gas giant neighbor.

You can find more at http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/juno/overview/index.html or follow this mission on twitter at https://twitter.com/NASAJuno like I did.

http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap160628.html has a nice video to get you excited about the mission and make you aware of the dangers Juno faces.