Space topic


Ancient Mariner
This topic serves for anything that has to do with space (research and missions).

Starting with a pretty special event, especially in my country:

Today, André Kuipers, physician and ESA astronaut, will be become the first Dutch astronaut to return to space (launched to space today and return to earth by June, 2012). He was on the DELTA mission in 2004 before this.

Kuipers is only the 2nd person with Dutch nationality (after Wubbo Ockels in 1985) to have been in space.

Today's mission:
Soyuz TMA-03M is planned to fly to the International Space Station. It will transport three members of the Expedition 30 crew to the International Space Station. TMA-03M will be the 112th flight of a Soyuz spacecraft, the first flight launching in 1967, and the third flight of the modernised Soyuz-TMA-M version. The Soyuz will most likely remain on board the space station for the Expedition 30 increment to serve as an emergency escape vehicle.

Commander Oleg Kononenko
Second spaceflight

Flight Engineer 1 André Kuipers, ESA
Second spaceflight

Flight Engineer 2 Donald Pettit, NASA
Third spaceflight

The launch can be witnessed here or 
(hopefully outside my country as well)

Program starts now. Launch is 14.16 pm, less than an hour.
These missions are routine. Soyuz is an old and proven spacecraft. So, no good luck, but great fun up there for your astronaut.  :)

And thanks for opening this topic, we should keep it running.
Yeah this was the 1700 or something-th flight but on TV they told not to applause before 9 minutes after countdown.
Next transmissions:

All times are in Central European Time (CET)
Friday 23 December, 2011
Time: 10:00
Earth from Space - Arid Arabia

Friday 23 December, 2011
Time: 16:00
ESA TV Live coverage of docking planned to start at 16:00. At the moment docking to ISS is scheduled Dec 23 at 16:20 followed by hatch-opening/welcome ceremony at approximately 19:00.
Thank you Perun, this paper is very interesting.
The sentence "The occasional excitement at the discovery of seemingly “Earth-like” exoplanets is understandable, but the fact is we have no idea what we’re looking for, unless it is for ourselves." summarizes the main message... and it makes me want to reread some SF stuff... :innocent:
Probe makes historic comet landing

European robot probe Philae has made the first, historic landing on a comet, after descending from its mothership. The landing on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko was confirmed at about 1605 GMT. There were cheers and hugs at the control room in Darmstadt, Germany, after the signal was confirmed. It was designed to shine a light on some of the mysteries of these icy relics from the formation of the Solar System.

But there remains some lack of clarity over whether the harpoons designed to fasten the spacecraft to the ball of ice and dust fired as intended.
The landing caps a 6.4 billion-kilometre journey that was begun a decade ago. The lander sank about 4cm into the surface, suggesting a relatively soft surface.

"This is a big step for human civilisation," said Jean-Jacques Dordain, the director-general of the European Space Agency (Esa).

(More in the link)
This is very cool, they should get some great information off of this.

Of course one of the big headlines was one of the mission specialists was wearing a "sexist" shirt. Way to see the bigger picture news morons :)
Some cool pics:

So, it looks like we may hear no more from Philae, or it may reboot itself as the comet 67P gets closer to the sun. 25 years' planning and a cost of 1.4 billion euros. Is it/was it worth it? Some would argue that the money would always be better spent on healthcare, education, etc. Another view is that it's 1.4 billion euros that haven't been spent on guns and missiles. Both false assumptions, but what do you think?
There is no greater cause than the exploration of space. The technology the ESA built to talk to Philae and to make Rosetta work has been at work for over a decade on earth. In addition, even if we only learn little things, we learn more. That's put smart people to work doing smart things.
I'd argue with your first point, but not the rest. Seeing how far we can reach out is important, but whilst there are still things to discover on Earth I'd say exploration of our home planet is just as important. Especially if it finally leads to doing what is necessary to keep the planet breathing. But any cause that furthers human knowledge in some way is priceless.