Roamy's roundup

A little bit of this and that for your Thursday morning. Holiday weekends throw me off; I went through most of yesterday thinking *it* was Thursday.

There will be a memorial service for Neil Armstrong in the National Cathedral in Washington, DC, next Thursday, Sept. 13th. The service will begin at 10 AM and will be carried live on NASA TV and streamed on the NASA website. There is the stained glass Space Window in the cathedral with a chunk of moon rock in it, brought back by the crew of Apollo 11.

The moon rock is the black dot in the white disc inside the red disc.

Yesterday, Suni Williams and Akihiko Hoshide were successful in their second spacewalk in repairing part of the ISS electrical system. A faulty power-switching unit was taken out in the first spacewalk on Aug. 30, but they couldn’t get the replacement bolted in, even after extending the spacewalk to 8 hours and 17 minutes. Without the switching unit, the ISS could not use electricity from two of the eight solar arrays. The astronauts used some improvised tools, including a spare toothbrush, to clear out some metal shavings that were jamming the bolts.

Speaking of Suni Williams, she will become ISS commander when astronaut Joe Acaba and cosmonauts Gennady Padalka (the current commander) and Sergei Revin return to Earth later this month.


Voyager 1 just had its 35th birthday. It is now about 11 billion miles from the Sun, and it takes 17 hours to phone home. This article says there are no full-time scientists left, but there are 20 part-timers looking at the data still being sent back from the five working instruments, using the 68 kilobytes of memory. Yes, kilobytes.

The Dawn spacecraft finished its mission at the asteroid Vesta. It has left orbit and is now headed to Ceres. Dawn should reach that asteroid/dwarf planet in February 2015.

There is a Google+ “Hasta la Vesta” party, which doesn’t seem to have too many people signed up for it. Maybe it’s the bad pun, maybe it’s that Mars is more interesting than an asteroid, or maybe they need @SarcasticDawn on Twitter. One interesting discovery from the Dawn mission is the variety of bright and dark features – the bright ejecta from the craters, darker deposits around the craters, and the possibility that the dark material is from smaller asteroids impacting with enough energy to melt rock.

That’s all I have for now, hope you have a great day.