Welcome !

Varun's Blog - At the Speed of Light !

A fact is a simple statement that everyone believes. It is innocent, unless found guilty. A hypothesis is a novel suggestion that no one wants to believe. It is guilty, until found effective. ~Edward Teller

A very warm welcome to my th reader.Why speed of light ? Well, the aim of this blog is to reach the impossible by exploration and scientific fervor. Exploration never ends, knowledge never dies but Speed of Light can be achieved ....

Subscribe now

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Blue Angels Airshow 2008 Video


Saturday, November 08, 2008

First Indian 'moon craft' ready to enter lunar orbit

The car-sized spacecraft will fire its liquid-fueled engine at about 1227 GMT (7:27 a.m. EST) Saturday to place Chandrayaan 1 in an oval-shaped parking orbit around the moon. That orbit will eventually be lowered to a circular path about 62 miles above the lunar surface.

A view of Earth at an altitude of 9,000 km was taken by Chandrayaan 1's terrain mapping camera. Credit: ISRO
See larger image here

Engineers will monitor the critical maneuver from the Indian Space Research Organization's Spacecraft Control Center in Bangalore.

The probe has fired its engine five times since its Oct. 22 launch aboard a Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle dispatched from the Satish Dhawan Space Center on India's east coast.

The burns gradually raised the high point of Chandrayaan 1's orbit from about 14,200 miles to more than 235,000 miles, according to ISRO.

Controllers also turned on the probe's main camera at the end of October. The black-and-white stereo terrain mapping camera took pictures of Earth while zooming away from the planet.

Plans call for Chandrayaan 1 to release a 64-pound impactor around Nov. 15 for a suicidal nosedive into the moon. The trip from orbit to the lunar surface will take about a half-hour, and the small craft will relay imagery, altitude information and spectral data back to Earth through the Chandrayaan mother ship.

Chandrayaan means "moon craft" in Sanskrit, the ancient language of India.

The $80 million mission is India's answer to a pair of lunar missions launched last year by Japan and China. Both countries' moon orbiters are still collecting imagery and scientific data.

But unlike the Japanese and Chinese missions, India invited large contributions from other nations to put instruments on Chandrayaan 1. Scientists from Europe and the United States answered the call.

More than half of the probe's 11 instruments come from outside India. The European Space Agency spent $8 million to fund three payloads, while NASA provided two more sensors. Bulgarian scientists also contributed a radiation monitor to the mission.

Scientists expect data from Chandrayaan 1 to help create the most detailed global chemical map of the moon showing mineral concentrations across the lunar surface. Researchers will also make a three-dimensional terrain map of the moon based on information yielded by the mission.

The ESA-funded X-ray and near-infrared imaging spectrometers, called C1XS and SIR 2, will detect mineral signatures in soil on and just below the lunar surface. Both instruments are based on similar sensors that flew aboard Europe's SMART 1 spacecraft, which was deliberately crashed into the moon in 2006.

"The Apollo missions went down to the surface, but only in a limited number of spots, whereas Chandrayaan tries to do detailed imaging of the entire sphere of the moon," said Christian Erd, ESA's Chandrayaan 1 project manager.

"The opportunity to fly NASA instruments on Chandrayaan 1 undoubtedly will lead to important scientific discoveries," said Michael Griffin, NASA administrator. "This exciting collaboration represents an important next step in what we hope to be a long and mutually beneficial relationship with India in future civil space exploration."

The Moon Mineralogy Mapper, nicknamed M3, is a visual and near-infrared imaging spectrometer designed to plot mineral resources at higher resolutions than any instrument before. M3 scientists from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory hope the device will help them create mineral maps to find science-rich landing sites for future missions.

India's indigenous suite of science payloads include a terrain camera designed to take detailed black-and-white pictures of the whole lunar surface. The stereo camera will be able to spot features as small as about 16 feet, according to ISRO.

ISRO scientists also built two spectral imagers, one focusing on near-infrared and another in the X-ray range, to help produce precise global maps of the minerals and soil contents on the moon's surface.

A laser system was also bolted to the spacecraft to determine its altitude above the moon and chart lunar surface topography.

Indian engineers also constructed the moon impact probe.

"It has been the dream of Indian scientists to send a satellite around the moon and then collect more data about the surface features, minerals and so on," Nair said. "That dream is going to come true through this mission."

Source: Spaceflightnow.com


Monday, September 01, 2008

Colorful Sunsets

Sky watchers across the USA and Europe are reporting unusually colorful sunsets and sunrises. The cause appears to be the August 7th eruption of the Kasatochi volcano in Alaska's Aleutian islands. The volcano hurled a massive cloud of ash and sulfur dioxide into the stratosphere; high winds have since carried the aerosols over parts of the USA and Europe. "Violet domes," long pink rays crossing the sky, campfire-red aureoles around Venus--these are just a few of the sights documented on Spaceweather.com in recent days. When the sun goes down tonight, look west. You may be in for a treat.


Friday, August 15, 2008

Lunar Eclipse Weekend

LUNAR ECLIPSE: This Saturday, August 16th, people on every continent *except* North America can see a lunar eclipse. At maximum, around 2110 UT (5:10 pm EDT), more than 81% of the Moon will be inside Earth's shadow, producing a vivid red orb in the night sky visible to the naked eye even from light-polluted cities. The entire eclipse lasts more than 3 hours, so there's plenty of time for gazing, drinking coffee, and taking pictures.

North Americans can watch the eclipse via live webcast beginning 3:30 pm EDT on Saturday afternoon. Eclipse-cam links may be found, along with time tables, visibility maps, and eclipse photo galleries, at http://spaceweather.com .


Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Reliable and Cheap Shopping Cart Software

If you have a great merchandise and collection of fast selling products, you definitely need a shopping cart software that is reliable and easy to manage. One of my dad's friend needed a fully automated website through which he could sell his products. After a rigorous search, AshopCommerce was found to be the cheapest and most efficient ecommerce software.

AshopCommerce is specially designed not only to provide customizable designs but also search engine optimization for your shopping cart software. This company is also the winner of my-business awards - 06. AshopCommerce's 10 day trial allows you to test their amazing service without putting in your credit cards details. Yes ! You can try their service free of charge.

Never before was selling online that easy ! Their software is designed keeping in mind the ease of use and setup. A lot of professional business websites are already using this awesome ecommerce cart service by AshopCommerce. Go for it !


Get paid to blog @ Smorty !

I have personally experienced the service of Smorty. Their website's simple and easy steps would like you to sign up under either of the two categories - Bloggers or Advertisers. If you have a personal blog or a company blog with good ranking, it becomes easier for you to grab more and more opportunities in the campaign and earn higher. It’s easy – blog for money.

Smorty's service is unique and different from others. It pays you on a weekly basis instead of monthly. We just have to express your opinions on various products or services in our posts. The biggest advantage is that this does not distract our users from our website because these posts are informative. Moreover, Smorty allows you to add multiple blogs which makes you flexible in terms of writing the posts over 2 or more blogs. Their easy service lets you earn at home if you are ready to blog for money.

On the other hand, it is an excellent chance for the advertisers to achieve a high page ranking in search engines like google, msn, altavista etc. Smorty can create a lot of quality inbound links reaching more and more customers. This service is surely better than joining a spamming list and adding your company's website link on such pages. Start to blog for money now. This awesome service is just a click away.


Friday, April 04, 2008

Pay less for your domains

Everyone is trying to establish their place on the internet. Due to this there is a lot of competition between different companies to provide the domains for cheap price. Domain name registration has made been comparatively less by PayLessDomains.

They also provide their customers with discount when domain name registration is done in bulk or for more than a year. Every domain name registration involves free services like free email hosting, URL forwarding, domain parking, management tools and 24/7 customer support.

Paylessdomains is one of the Australia's top site allowing to create your own online store. They are Australia's largest shopping cart provider. Paylessdomains are known for their cheap domain registration, domain transfers, renewals and e-commerce facilities. Registration on their website is totally free of cost. The company's unique features include competitive prices, personalized service and free WHOIS lookup.

Never before, domain name registration was so easy, fast and cheap. Give your business or personal site a name on the internet with Paylessdomains quality service.


Quality flashing lights - cheap price

One of our dad's friend is an interior designer. We were looking for cheap and stylish lightings for the house. KK-Lite was recommended by him for the same. Indeed the electrical supplies that their company provides are high quality.

The flashing lights provided by KK-Lite are unique in design and catch everyone's attention visiting the house. They have a whole list of products under the category of wall plates, HID lights, tritium lights etc. Hosting a big party at home? In need of really cool Residential Fluorescent Lighting? KK-Lite company is the right place for your purchase. They also excel in providing a wide range of smoke detectors, wire connectors, electrical tapes etc. Payments can easily be made online with the help of credit card. They also accept wire transfers and checks making the shopping process easy for their customers. All their products are tested and UL certified. Moreover, KK-Lite has volume discounts for you ! Their list of products is huge and almost has everything that you need to make your house or commercial place look nice.

KK-Lite is the ultimate place to make a selection for your house's lighting. Ranging from a small house lighting setup to a industrial lighting products and electrical supplies. Their quality products are indeed offered at cheap prices. Go for a purchase !


Best Web Hosting Guide

Selecting a hosting company is one of difficult tasks today. It requires a lot of knowledge and wise judgment. Looking over reliability issues, server quality and customer support are some of the basic things when planning quality hosting service. The guy who designed so many wordpress themes has ended his research on selecting the best web hosting company.

Kaushal Sheth's best web hosting guide is quite impressive and helpful for people searching for hosting solutions. He has actually put in effort to browse through all the hosting companies on the internet. Kaushal has come out with a list of hosting companies which are reliable and affordable.

Overall, the website is really helpful to decide and review your host providers by following the specified guidelines. The three best web hosting companies ranked by Kaushal Sheth's page are quality oriented.

His best web hosting page is outstanding and is just a click away. Browse through his content and learn about the website hosting selection technique. Also, Keep checking Kaushal's best webhosting guide page for updates !


Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Mac Poker Online

What is Maconlinepoker ?

It is a popular website featuring casino and card games in which players, each holding one or more cards whose face value is concealed, place wagers into a central pot. The pot is awarded to the player or players with the best combination of cards or to the player who makes an uncalled bet.

Macpokeronline is a very appealing website sharing great content and relevant information on poker sites around the globe. It allows its users to rate and review other poker sites so that the users get an idea and easily shortlist best sites. It provides the lists of sites where users don't need to download any software to play Bingo ! It also gives links to download those rare Mac Poker Softwares which are not available with just a mouse's click. You are also not going to miss those mac poker strategy tricks and tips provided by this website. You can earn $$$ with its poker affiliate program. Best of all, it provides special codes for acquiring Poker Bonuses from various sites. Check out their Fulltilt Poker !

So hurry and join the maconlinepoker website today ! Don't forget to sign up for its newsletter which has interesting news, tips, and tricks about Mac Poker. Also, do sign up for poker forum to indulge in active discussions about poker and casino games. The forum has experts, beginners, moderators and over thousands of registered users.

It is an excellent website which can train you from a beginner level to a professional in poker and casino gaming. If you are a webmaster of a poker website, it is one of the best website to have an affiliation or link exchange. Search for a tournament and get pokering ... !


Friday, March 28, 2008

Lightning and the Runaway Breakdown Theory

What is Lightning?

Ever since the first humans walked on Earth, we have been fascinated with lightning. It’s the greatest mystery and phenomena on earth. What is lightning? Where does it come from? How is lightning initiated? Unfortunately, as fascinated as we are about lightning, we are still unable to answer our own questions. Lightning strikes the Earth as least 4 million times worldwide each day. One strike of lightning is the brightest light we see, the loudest noise we hear, and has as much energy as a nuclear bomb. Despite these facts, we know more about distant cosmos that are millions of light years away, than how lightning propagates 6 miles above our heads. However, we are aware of the fact that lightning does occur inside thunderclouds. What we don’t know is how lightning is initiated. Several ideas and theories have been suggested, including colliding raindrops, localized regions of concentrated charge, and avalanches of high-energy electrons initiated by cosmic rays from outer space. At least for now, no one knows how lightning is triggered. This is why at Florida Tech, with the help of the University of Florida and New Mexico Tech, we’re currently performing experiments and research to answer these questions.

Different Types of Lightning

In order to better understand lightning, one must know the similarities and difference between the different types of lightning. Although there are nine types of lightning, we’ll take a look at the more common forms of lightning for the sake of convenience and understanding.

One type of lightning is called cloud discharge. This type of lightning, also called heat lightning, occurs within a thunder cloud, between two thunder clouds, or from a thunder to the air. As scientists, we believe that most cloud discharges take place within an individual cloud. However, we have collected very few data to confirm this belief. Cloud discharges are far more common than cloud-to-ground lightning; 10 or more cloud flashes may occur before the first one that strikes earth.

Perhaps the most noticeable and fascinating phenomena on earth is cloud-to-ground lightning. This is the archetypical lightning bolt that arcs out of the sky and smites the ground with a great, flickering flash of light. Cloud-to-ground lightning is the sudden release of built-up charge stored in an electric field. However, what triggers this type of lightning remains a mystery. Hence the following form of lightning.

In order to learn what exactly triggers cloud-to-ground lightning, participants of the Florida Tech Lightning Research Team have created triggered lightning. Lightning expert Pierre Hubert writes, “Triggering lightning at will, at a predetermined place and time, is the old Promethean dream which seems more related to legend than to science.” The technique used at Florida Tech has taught scientists much about processes and effects of lightning. We launch rockets using a strong enough propellant to launch them 700 yards into the atmosphere in two seconds. The rockets are attached with long copper wires to conduct electricity (much like what Benjamin Franklin did) to create cloud-to-ground lightning. From 2000 feet up, the wires trigger lightning with a cloud-to-ground distance larger than the Empire State building. When the lightning strikes the ground, it creates over 100 million volts that zap the array of test equipment on the ground. This allows us to study the data collected and form new hypothesizes about Lightning.

Benjamin Franklin and a Early Theory of Lightning

Now with the idea of the different forms of lightning fresh in our head, let’s take a look at the experiment performed by Benjamin Franklin and the early theories of lightning. Franklin’s kite and key experiment performed in 1752 is arguably the most famous in scientific history. He wanted to prove that lightning was a form of electricity and not a form of punishment given by God. In his experiment, he tied a copper key to the bottom of the string attached to a kite. Then, he flew his kite during a thunder storm. Lightning struck the kite and caused the copper key to create a spark. The spark was generated because electricity has a negative charge and the key has a positive charge. Assuming that enough energy is present, two objects of different charges that interact with each other will create a spark. As a result, lightning is a form of electricity.

In more modern terms, a spark is generated when positive and negative charges build up enough energy so that they leap through the air to reach other. Take for example, a negatively charged ball and a positively charged rod. When the charge between the ball and the rod become strong enough, a spark is generated and cuts a pathway through the air.

Early scientists such as Thomas- Francois of France, and George Richmann of Russia, were able to take advantage of the results yielded by Franklin’s famous experiment. They proposed a new theory of how lightning is generated through the process of particle discharge. As ice and water particles within clouds collide with each other, the positively charged particles move to the top of the cloud, and the negatively charged particles move to the bottom of a cloud. When the charge above and the charge become strong enough, the particles leap through the air as a bolt of lightning.

Problems Concerning the Early Theory of Lightning

The theory of particle discharge has remained an acceptable explanation for Lightning until recent years. As already noted, there must be enough energy present in order for the different charges to leap through the air and create a spark. This is the problem with the particle discharge theory. After examination of a storm cloud, the strength of the positive and negative charges, and the electric field around them, isn’t enough to create a spark or a bolt of lightning. Dr. Joe Dwyer of Florida Tech has addressed this issue by saying: “The problem is after decades and decades of measurements up in thunderstorms, nobody has ever managed to find an electric field anywhere near that big (to create an electric spark).” If this is the case, where does the extra energy come from needed to create an electric spark or a bolt of lightning?

A New Theory: Runaway Theory

As previously explained, the triggered lightning created at Florida Tech allows physicists to test new hypothesizes. One such theory called runaway breakdown, explains how a thundercloud gains extra energy needed in order to create an electric spark or a lightning bolt. Using the runaway breakdown theory, scientists can make a new model of how lightning is initiated. This model states that the energy inside of a thundercloud, that force of the positive and negative particles, is too weak to generate a spark to initiate lightning. Therefore, the thundercloud must be struck by outside particles. These outside particles are burst of electrons that carry very high energy. With this added energy, a spark can be generated to initiate lightning. Dr. Joe Dwyer describes this process by saying, “You end up with an avalanche of electrons moving near the speed of light. This model will work as long as you have one fast electron to start it off. Similar to the finger that pushes the first domino to get the whole thing started.”

Where on Earth are the Outside Particles?

Through the theory of runaway breakdown, we now know that thunderclouds are struck by outside particles to generate the energy needed to initiate lightning. However, what we don’t know is where these outside particles of a thunderstorm come from. This is where things become interesting. Do they come from molecules splitting apart in our atmosphere? Or do they come from free electrons floating around in the air that collide with a thundercloud? Scientist and researches like Dr. Joe Dwyer, believe that these outsides particles don’t come from the clouds above, or anywhere else on earth for that matter; but from cosmic rays. These cosmic rays are tiny, sub-atomic particles that are ejected from dying stars millions of years ago, and billions of years ago. However, the origin of these cosmic rays is just an idea. How do we test such an idea?

A Unique Signature

We now understand that the idea of lightning is triggered when cosmic rays strike a thundercloud and provides enough energy needed in order to initiate lightning. But how can we prove that cosmic rays, and not some phenomena on earth, provide that energy boost needed to initiate lightning? It turns out that when cosmic rays strike the Earth’s atmosphere, they leave a unique signature in the form of x-rays and gamma rays. Much like how we can test two signatures to find forgery, we can test for the unique signature of x-rays and gamma rays.

At the lightning research center, there are ten sodium iodide detectors strategically positioned so that the triggered lightning will strike them. Once lightning strikes one of these detectors, a crystal inside of it absorbs the x-rays and gamma rays. From there, it’s just a matter of the detector’s instruments measuring the cosmic rays.


After the instruments measure the x-rays and gamma rays, the data is transferred to a computer where it can be viewed. After collecting and viewing the first data results a detector, Dr. Dwyer recalled his first thoughts:

“I actually didn’t think that we were going to see x-rays. The first plot we brought up, there was a nice, little pulse that looked just like an x-ray (figure 1), right at the time the lightning occurred. Well, that’s interesting. That’s probably just a coincidence. What’s the chance of that? So we looked at the next lightning strike, and there was even a bigger pulse (figure 2) , and the next one (figure 3), and the next one (figure 4). Every one had these pulses that looked exactly like x-rays.”

NOTE: Figures and Graphs will be posted as soon as possible

The data is plotted on a graph with the time (measured in microseconds) on the x-axis, and the signal strength (measured in volts) on the y-axis. The red line indicates the amount and magnitude of an x-ray. If a big negative voltage pulse is shown on the graph, it means that a big burst of electrons were absorbed in the detector. With a big burst of electrons detected, it concludes that cosmic rays are in the form of x-rays and gamma rays from outer space.

For instance, in figure 1 the red line has a very small pulse. This indicates that this particular lightning strike had a very low level of x-ray emission. Thus, suggesting that x-rays do not coincide with lightning. However, in figure two, the red line slightly dips and then jumps off of the graph. This strongly suggests that x-rays might coincide with lightning. In figures 3 and 4, the red line dips even more and jumps toward the top of the graph. A greater change in magnitude of the red line indicates that there are x-rays present in lightning. The results measured in figures 2,3, and 4, indicate that figure 1 was just a fluke and that x-rays are linked to the triggering of lightning.

To this date, every strike of lightning that has been measured has shown the presence of x-rays. Therefore, proving that the cosmic rays that provide the energy needed to initiate lightning, are in the form of x-rays and gamma rays from dying stars in space.


As you can see, our knowledge of distant cosmos, millions of miles away, has certainly helped us answer questions about lightning that propagates 6 miles above our heads. Even though they’re far apart from each other, lightning and space might be related to each other. In fact, Dr. Dwyer said, “These cosmic rays might be the link which will connect a dying star, halfway across the galaxy, with lightning.”

Hopefully, when future generations of humans walk on earth, they’ll ponder about the beauty of lightning like the first humans did. But thanks to Florida Tech, the University of Florida, and New Mexico Tech, they’ll be able to answer the question of how lightning is initiated with one phrase: runaway breakdown.

Through the Runaway Breakdown theory, we can conclude that lightning isn’t initiated by the particle discharge within a thundercloud or some strange phenomena on earth. Lightning is initiated by cosmic rays from space that strike a thundercloud and provides enough energy to generate an electric spark, which in effect creates a bolt of lightning.


Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Future and Vision for Space Exploration

What if we were no longer limited only to what we can lift from Earth's surface? Suppose we could live off of the land in space, what would the advent of this scenario mean for future exploration and use of space? Here, I take an inside approach to the future and vision for space exploration to the Moon, Mars, and Beyond...

The human part of the space program has been trapped in stasis for the last 20 years with precious little exploration being accomplished. Worse, we have been locked in low-Earth orbit with no plans to go beyond, even though robotic space exploration passed that horizon years ago. The International Space Station (ISS) could have served as a test bed for farther destination, but didn't largely due to a result of conscious policy decisions. The tragic loss of the space shuttle Columbia in 2003 only drew attention to the hollowness and lack of direction of our space policy.

The President's new vision proposes that the space shuttle be returned to flight to complete the construction of the ISS and then be retired prior to a costly and risky recertification. A new vehicle will be designed and built for human spaceflight, one which can adapt to different kinds of missions going to various destinations. We will conduct robotic exploration of the Moon in preparation for the resumption of human exploration by the middle of the next decade and use the knowledge and capabilities created from these activities to venture beyond, including human missions to Mars.

New Missions and the Vision: A Return to the Moon

The initial steps in our return to the Moon involve a robotic orbiter, the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), which will be launched in 2008 and will orbit the Moon for at least 2 years. The purpose of this mission is to collect critical information that will pave the way for human return to the Moon. To that end, the LRO will collect detailed data on the Moon's topography in addition to characterizing exotic environments such as the lunar polar regions.

The experiments and others will provide key strategic data to help plan for habitation on and use of the Moon. We have reason to believe that water ice deposits may exist in the permanently dark regions near the lunar poles. However, we do not know the physical state of these deposits, nor do we have a good idea of their quantity.

Before LRO flies, India plans to send a spacecraft, Chandrayaan-1, to the Moon in early 2008. Mini-SAR (synthetic aperture radar) is an imaging radar experiment that will fly on this spacecraft in order to map the dark regions of both poles of the Moon. Along with other topographic and morphologic data, these missions will allow us to map the ice deposits of the poles, determine their physical setting, and estimate their abundance.

Lunar ice is valuable both to human life and to develop spacing-faring infrastructure. Water can be purified and used as an outpost and broken down into its component hydrogen and oxygen and as rocket propellant. The ability to make rocket propellant on the Moon has potential to completely alter the current model of spaceflight.

The LRO mission will be followed by other robotic missions to the Moon that can include both orbiters and landers. A series of small spacecraft, or microsats, in lunar orbit can create a communications and navigations infrastructure for the Moon. These microsats can provide continuous communications with areas out of sight from Earth and positional information for both orbital and surface navigation around the Moon. For landers, we can explore the surface using rovers and deliver robotic payloads to begin developing the surface infrastructure near a future outpost. Rovers can access the dark floors of polar craters, gathering detailed information on the ice deposits.

In parallel with this program of annual robotic exploration, the Crew Exploration Vehicle, a replacement for the shuttle, will be developed and tested. No later than the year 2020, humans will return to the Moon using the knowledge gained and the equipment placed by the robotic precursors. Returning to use the Moon's resources will enable us to build a space transportation infrastructure in lunar space. Such a system that allows routine access to the Moon and all points in between is a fundamental step forward in creating a true space-faring capability. A system that can routinely land on the Moon, refuel, and return to Earth orbit while bringing with it fuel and consumables produced on the lunar surface will give us the ability to journey to Mars and beyond.

Paving the Way to Human Exploration on Mars

Although the presidential vision did not set a deadline for the first human mission to Mars, it did affirm the continuation and extension of the existing robotic exploration program. Over the past decade, a robotic exploration strategy has been developed for Mars that emphasizes the characterization and history of water on the planet. A series of orbital and lander missions will offer increasingly sophisticated opportunities to trace the evolution and fate of water in martian geological history. Ground-penetrating radar can map the distribution of ground ice many yards below the surface. Drill holes can allow us access to the subsurface into which sensitive instruments can be lowered to measure and characterize the volatiles present. Spectrometers and other devices can determine surface and subsurface mineralogy, including the state and concentration of water-bearing objects.

Long-range rovers, martian aircraft, balloons, and other vehicles can all return critical information on martian history and processes. Beyond the purely scientific areas of interest, we need to collect data on the surface conditions and environment of Mars in addition to possible toxicological hazards of the surface materials before any human landings. As with the robotic mission series that precedes human arrival on the Moon, the martian precursors will map the surface in detail, document landing hazards, measure the chemistry and physical properties of the surface, and determine the nature of potential chemical or biological hazards to human explorers.


Monday, March 10, 2008

Shuttle Launch on Tuesday

Launch Date: Mar. 11
Launch Time: 2:28 a.m. EDT


Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Total Lunar Eclipse

On Wednesday night, February 20th, the full Moon will turn a delightful shade of red and possibly turquoise, too. It's a total lunar eclipse—the last one until Dec. 2010. Sky watchers in Europe, the Americas, parts of the Middle East and Africa are favored for good views of the two-hour event.


Sunday, February 03, 2008

Space Station Drops paper plane to the ground

The Japanese Space Agency intends to launch a paper aeroplane from orbit, and they expect it to reach the ground intact.

The plane - about 20 cm in length - weighs less than 30 grams and is folded in the shape of a Space Shuttle. While searing re-entry temperatures can burn up large vehicles, Suzuki believes the small paper aircraft is well-suited for the descent.

If it sounds a bit daft; they already tested it at Mach 7!

Locating the plane after reentry could be a bit of a challenge. Read more about it.


Sunday, January 27, 2008

Farreys Home Products

Designing or furnishing your home or office from scratch? Then Farrey is for you! The company was established in 1924 and since then it has marked its growth in providing quality services and excellent customer support.

Now it is a leading international company providing Ceiling Fans, Lighting, Bath, Door Hardware, Kitchen and Ventilation Products.Local people can browse through Farrey's Showrooms in North Miami, Florida. Be amazed at the sights at their Decor Theme Parks. Their facilities include a cafe where you can relax and consider a thousand options for any decorating assignment.Also, don’t forget to go through there special offers. Avail them today ! Their brands include -Ambience, Crystorama, Fine Art Lamps, Flos, Fontana Arte, Forecast, George Kovacs and many more. You name the brand and its there on the list. Volume purchase discounts are also available!

Farrey promises you a safe online shopping experience. Farreys.com is currently only accepting orders for delivery to the United States and Canada. The vast payment options make the shopping experience easier and secure. They accept Visa, Mastercard, Discover and American Express through their online store. Discover the new amazing products at competitive prices only at Farreys !


Monday, January 07, 2008

Enjoy Coffee with Krups

Yes. WIZE is a huge website providing reviews and ratings by various users all around the globe based on their likings and product experience.

This section of the website features Krups coffee makers. Users have the option to sort the products by relevance, price and wizerank. The different coffe makers include FMF5 10-Cup Coffee Maker, 888 Centro, DuoThek 324 20-Cup Coffee Maker etc. and many more.

Customers can filter their results by price, type and capacity of the coffee maker. Buyers also have the facility of asking questions related to the product and see previous questions asked by other customers. You can also find stuff by searching the brand and compare different products. It seems an excellent place to read about various products and make a good and wise decision before you make a purchase.


Thursday, January 03, 2008

Quadrantid meteor shower

METEOR SHOWER: Earth is about to pass through a stream of dusty debris from near-Earth asteroid 2003 EH1, producing the annual Quadrantid meteor shower. Forecasters expect a brief but intense peak of 50+ meteors per hour over Earth's northern hemisphere sometime between 0200 UTC and 0700 UTC on Friday morning, Jan. 4th. (Subtract 5 hours to convert UTC to EST.) The timing favors observers in the eastern USA, Europe and western parts of Asia. Winter storms frequently hide this shower from observers on the ground. To avoid such problems, a team of astronomers led by Peter Jenniskens of the SETI Institute plan to fly a plane above the clouds where they can train their cameras on the Quadrantids. Their data may reveal whether asteroid 2003 EH1 is the fragment of a broken-apart comet.


Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Atlantis launch delayed

  • After removing foam protection technicians were scheduled to remove a suspect connector from Atlantis' external tank.
  • The failed connector sent away for testing. It provides readings from redundant low-fuel sensors in the bottom of the external tank and instruments that would shut down the shuttle's main engines before the turbopumps ran dry and flew apart.
  • NASA has proposed soldering the connector in the spots where only friction was used to maintain an electrical connection.
  • NASA has announced that a Jan. 10 launch date is not possible, but the agency has set no other target for launch. Mating of the solid rocket boosters and the external tank for Endeavour's Feb. 14 mission has been put on hold, raising concerns about further delays to other missions in 2008.
Source : Floridatoday.com


This is science !

When you are speaking to technically illiterate people you must resort to the plausible falsehood instead of the difficult truth.

Photos of Comet Mcnaught !
Astro-photographer? Send your photos to pics@exploreuniverse.com and have them featured on this blog with your name. Comet Mcnaught : Pictures taken with Nikon D100 on 19/1/07 from Manning Point, northern NSW, Australia by Mr. Peter Enright.
Picture 1
Picture 2
Picture 3
Picture 4

Space News

Astronomy Picture of the Day