As you see from the post dates, this blog is no longer maintained.


Space Shutte Atlantis lands

The Space Shuttle Atlantis landed last week after a 13 day mission. One of the co-pilots ignited two small motors for 2.44 minutes to slow Atlantis down from 27,000 kilometers per hour to 250 kilometers per hour (km/h).

This made the Atlantis leave its orbit 340 km above the Earth, and begin its decent. It came down at 9000 meters per minute, landing at 9:07 AM at the Kenedy Space Center.

What kind of training do you think a pilot of a space shuttle needs? What kind of math do you need to understand to be able to make the calculations to get the space shuttle back to Earth?

Read more about the landing here, about the mission just ended (STS-122)here, and about the Atlantis in general here. You can read the blog from the mission here.


Hubble from a friend

House of Oddio:

Other people who work in our school are also interested in Space, and beautiful pictures. This post comes from Si, who many of you will know from class.

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Timeline view of Google search results

Google has some experimental views for exploring search results. One of them is called time line view:
"The graph across the top of the page summarizes how dates in your results are spread through time, with higher bars representing a larger number of unique dates. Click anywhere on the graph to zoom in to that particular period of time, and use the text box to the right to specify any range of years, months, or days. Much as in map view, the results below the graph emphasize the dates contained on each page."

See how it works by looking at the results for this search on "space exploration". Type "space exploration view:timeline" into the search bar. The results below the graph are listed by date, below the information source.

What an interesting way to see information about a subject which includes an element of time.


How far is Saturn from the Earth today?

This picture comes from this web page of Solar System Live, by John Walker, where you can "... lets you view the solar system in a variety of ways for any date between 4713 B.C. and A.D. 8000. An ephemeris can be displayed for any location on Earth and, given orbital elements in the form published in the IAU Circulars, the orbit and position of asteroids and comets can be plotted."

There are other interesting pages to visit on Mr. Walker's site: a direct link to the NASA image of Switzerland from Space,
where "Every day around 10 A.M. Universal Time a new planet is created using random parameters, and an image of it, as seen from the bridge from your approaching starship, is produced. Imagine yourself gazing down on another living world and wondering how its people had shaped their world, and the world her people.",
Your Sky
"the interactive planetarium of the Web. You can produce maps in the forms described below for any time and date, viewpoint, and observing location. If you enter the orbital elements of an asteroid or comet, Your Sky will compute its current position and plot it on the map. Each map is accompanied by an ephemeris for the Sun, Moon, planets, and any tracked asteroid or comet. A control panel permits customisation of which objects are plotted, limiting magnitudes, colour scheme, image size, and other parameters." and
Calendar Converter which "allows you to interconvert dates in a variety of calendars, both civil and computer-related. All calculations are done in JavaScript executed in your own browser; complete source code is embedded in or linked to this page, and you're free to download these files to your own computer and use them even when not connected to the Internet."