Sonntag, 11. Februar 2018 - 22:00 Uhr

Raumfahrt-History - 1969: WHY WE´RE GOING BACK TO THE MOON

Aus dem CENAP-Archiv:





Quelle: CENAP-Archiv

Tags: Raumfahrt-History - 1969: WHY WE´RE GOING BACK TO THE MOON 


Sonntag, 11. Februar 2018 - 21:30 Uhr

Raumfahrt - Latest Data From IMAGE Indicates Spacecraft’s Power Functional


Current information from the IMAGE spacecraft shows that the battery is fully charged, and that overall, the satellite itself seems to be in good shape.  The next step is to attempt to turn on the science instruments – but this could take some time as the 12-year-old software to do so must be recreated.  Additionally, as computers have evolved greatly in that time, work is being done to find a machine that can run the instrument commanding software.


During this process of inspecting the spacecraft, there are several puzzles that the team is investigating to better understand the spacecraft’s health and how best to communicate with it, including:


  • What caused the spacecraft to reboot and begin sending signal again?
  • Why is one side of the on-board electronics working and not the other? We are currently communicating with IMAGE through the original A side of the on-board electronics.  The A side was thought to have failed in 2004, when the communications were switched to the redundant B side.  How and why the A side is now working is something we are looking at.


As we move forward, NASA is starting to recreate a small control center that can generate the commanding needed to better understand and control the satellite.  This will then allow us to gain insights into the state of various science instruments, and see whether any are still functional.  Should any of the instruments be functional, NASA will convene a panel of external scientists to assess the science potential in the context of constrained budgets for operating spacecraft.

Feb. 2, 2018, Update




New data regarding IMAGE provides some additional — though not yet complete — information on how the spacecraft began to transmit signals again.


On Thanksgiving Day in 2004, the IMAGE spacecraft — at that time still fully functioning — underwent an unexpected power distribution reboot, after which the power returned only on one side — labeled the B side — of the unit. (Satellites are usually built with redundant hardware, often called “A sides” and “B sides.” In the event one half fails, operators can switch to the other with minimal effect to the mission.) Scientists involved in the mission concluded that the A side had failed, and proceeded for the rest of the mission exclusively with the B side.


However, data from today’s telemetry with IMAGE indicate that the spacecraft’s power unit is now operating back on its A side. The ultimate cause of the reboot is still not known, but these recent findings suggest that a reboot in some form has, in fact, occurred.


By Miles Hatfield
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.


Jan. 30, 2018, Update


The identity of the satellite re-discovered on Jan. 20, 2018, has been confirmed as NASA’s IMAGE satellite. 


On the afternoon of Jan. 30, the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab in Laurel, Maryland, successfully collected telemetry data from the satellite. The signal showed that the space craft ID was 166 —  the ID for IMAGE.


The NASA team has been able to read some basic housekeeping data from the spacecraft, suggesting that at least the main control system is operational.


Scientists and engineers at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, will continue to try to analyze the data from the spacecraft to learn more about the state of the spacecraft. This process will take a week or two to complete as it requires attempting to adapt old software and databases of information to more modern systems.

Jan. 29, 2018, Update

After an amateur astronomer recorded observations of a satellite in high Earth orbit on Jan. 20, 2018, his initial research suggested it was the Imager for Magnetopause-to-Aurora Global Exploration (IMAGE) — a NASA mission launched into orbit around Earth on March 25, 2000.


Seeking to ascertain whether the signal indeed came from IMAGE, NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, coordinated the use of five separate antennas to acquire radio frequency signals from the object.


As of Monday, Jan. 29, observations from all five sites were consistent with the radio frequency characteristics expected of IMAGE. Specifically, the radio frequency showed a spike at the expected center frequency, as well as side bands where they should be for IMAGE. Oscillation of the signal was also consistent with the last known spin rate for IMAGE.


To confirm beyond doubt that the satellite is IMAGE, NASA will next attempt to capture and analyze data from the signal. The challenge to decoding the signal is primarily technical. The types of hardware and operating systems used in the IMAGE Mission Operations Center no longer exist, and other systems have been updated several versions beyond what they were at the time, requiring significant reverse-engineering.


If data decoding is successful, NASA will seek to turn on the science payload — currently turned off — to understand the status of the various science instruments.  Pending the outcome of these activities, NASA will decide on how to proceed. 


IMAGE was designed to image Earth’s magnetosphere and produce the first comprehensive global images of the plasma populations in this region. After successfully completing and extending its initial two-year mission in 2002, the satellite unexpectedly failed to make contact on a routine pass on Dec. 18, 2005. After a 2007 eclipse failed to induce a reboot, the mission was declared over.



Original Story - Jan. 26, 2018: Attempting to Contact NASA’s IMAGE

In mid-January, an amateur astronomer reported they believed they had made contact with a NASA satellite called Imager for Magnetopause-to-Aurora Global Exploration (IMAGE). IMAGE launched on March 25, 2000, and contact was unexpectedly lost on Dec. 18, 2005. NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, has acquired time on the Deep Space Network (DSN) to focus on the source and determine whether the signal is indeed IMAGE. This process must take into consideration the vintage nature of the spacecraft, and includes locating appropriate software and commands to potentially operate the mission. We will share more information as it becomes available.



Quelle: NASA

Tags: Raumfahrt - Latest Data From IMAGE Indicates Spacecraft’s Power Functional 


Sonntag, 11. Februar 2018 - 21:00 Uhr

Raumfahrt - Hawai‘i Telescope Spots SpaceX Tesla Roadster in Flight



The University of Hawaiʻi ATLAS (Asteroid Terrestrial-impact Last Alert System) telescope on Mauna Loa captured images on Thursday, Feb. 8, 2018 of the Tesla Roadster launched into space as part of SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy test.

ATLAS is an asteroid impact early warning system being developed by the UH Institute for Astronomy (IfA) and funded by NASA. It consists of two telescopes, 100 miles apart, which automatically scan the whole sky several times every night looking for moving objects. ATLAS was not looking for the Roadster – it was found during routine observations and automatically identified as a near-Earth object.

The Tesla Roadster was seen as a moving object in four separate observations. After it was detected by the automatic software system, the object’s positions were submitted to the International Astronomical Union Minor Planet Center, which is responsible for determining the orbits of asteroids and other small solar system objects. It was immediately identified as the recently launched Tesla Roadster. ATLAS’ orbit determination software pinned down the orbit from the four observations, measuring it about 0.005 astronomical units (about 500,000 miles) from Earth, speeding away at about 3.6 km/sec (8,000 mph).


ATLAS photo of Tesla Roadster

“We were lucky to catch the Roadster before sunrise during our regular observing,” said IfA’s principal investigator for the ATLAS project Larry Denneau. “This really demonstrates the power of our system to find small objects that could hit Earth, and accurately measure their orbits to see if they’re dangerous. Their mission is designed to look for things coming toward Earth, but this time investigators found something going away from Earth. As a fan of what SpaceX is doing, it is fun to be a part of advances in science.”


Falcon Heavy, billed as the most powerful rocket in the world, lifted off from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Tuesday, Feb. 6. Falcon Heavy’s payload was a midnight-cherry-colored Tesla Roadster owned by SpaceX CEO and lead designer Elon Musk.


Tags: Raumfahrt - Hawai‘i Telescope Spots SpaceX Tesla Roadster in Flight 


Sonntag, 11. Februar 2018 - 15:30 Uhr

Raumfahrt - ISRO plant zweite Mission zum Mond mit Chandrayaan II-Mission 2018 -Update1



ISRO chief signals India's readiness for Chandrayaan II mission

MANGALURU: Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) chairman A S Kiran Kumar on Sunday signaled country's readiness for Chandrayaan II mission, which will be India's second mission to the moon. Chandrayaan II is an advanced version of the previous Chandrayaan-1 mission. It consists of an Orbiter, Lander and Rover configuration. It is planned to be launched as a composite stack into the Earth Parking Orbit (EPO) of 170 X 18,500 km by GSLV-Mk II.
Kiran Kumar, who was in the city in connection with the international conference on startups, incubators and entrepreneurship and National Science Day at Yenepoya University, said the orbiter carries the combined stack up to moon till the Lunar Orbit Insertion (LOI). The combined stack is then inserted into a lunar orbit of 100 km x 100 km. The Lander is separated from the Orbiter in this orbit. The Orbiter with scientific payloads will orbit around the moon.
The Lander will soft land on the moon at a specified site and deploy the Rover. The scientific payloads onboard the Orbiter, Lander and Rover are expected to perform mineralogical and elemental studies of the lunar surface. During 2010, it was agreed that Russian Space Agency ROSCOSMOS will be responsible for lunar Lander and ISRO will be responsible for Orbiter and Rover as well as Launch by GSLV, a note on Chandrayaan II on ISRO website says.
Later, due to a shift in the programmatic alignment of this mission, it was decided that the Lunar Lander development would be done by ISRO and Chandrayaan-2 will be totally an Indian mission. Kiran Kumar, who is credited with development of key scientific instruments aboard the Chandrayaan I and Mangalyaan space crafts, gave an insight on achievements and contributions made by the scientists at ISRO including the Chandrayaan I and Mangalyaan.
ISRO chief told students that ISRO makes available the data collected by them to the students for research work at their website. Students had an inquisitive interactive session with Kiran Kumar after his address. Yenepoya Abdulla Kunhi, Chancellor, Yenepoya University graced the occasion. Shree Kumar Menon, director, Yenepoya University proposed vote of thanks. Earlier, Dr Akhter Hussein, secretary of Islamic Academy of Education, welcomed the gathering.
Quelle: The Times of India
Chandrayaan 2 update : Mission pushed back , India to go alone
Preparations are in full swing for India's second moon mission Chandrayaan-2, as potential landing spots on the lunar surface for the spacecraft have been identified. The spots for landing the craft were zeroed in on the basis of photographs taken by Chandrayaan-1, launched by the Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) in 2008.
Chandrayaan-2 is an advanced version of Chandrayaan-1, and it aims to demonstrate Isro's capability to soft-land on the lunar surface. Minister of state for PMO V Narayanaswamy recently announced in the Parliament that the mission, which is likely to take place in 2016-17, is progressing well with Isro having identified landing spots on the lunar surface.
The two scientific payloads onboard the Chandrayaan-1 terrain mapping camera had captured a number of images of the lunar surface, which have been used for zeroing in on the designated spots. Chandrayaan-2 is configured as a two module system comprising an orbiter craft module and a lander craft module carrying the rover.
According to Isro, the orbiter craft with payloads onboard will orbit around the moon and perform the objectives of remote sensing the moon. The payloads on the orbiter will conduct mineralogical and elemental studies of the Moon's surface.
The lander craft with scientific payloads will soft land on the lunar surface. A rover released by the lander craft will perform mobility activities on low gravity and vacuum of the Moon's surface with semi-autonomous navigation and hazard avoidance capability. The spacecraft will be launched onboard the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV).
Posting herewith some old and some new pictures , slides collected from variety of sources ...for information
At a Glance
Launch Date 2016-17
Launcher GSLV-Mk II
Total Weight 2,660 kg
Orbiter Weight 1,400 kg
Lander Weight 1,260 kg (35 kg scientific instruments)
Rover 15kg 

Quelle: Pakistan Defence

Update: 9.08.2016
‘Chandrayaan-II to be almost fully indigenous’
Nagpur: Indian Space and Research Organization's (ISRO) Chandrayaan-II mission will be almost fully indigenous project and its launch, though delayed, is expected to be by 2017 end or 2018 beginning. Earlier, the mission was planned in association with Russian Space Agency ROSCOSMOS.
This information was revealed by Suresh Naik, former group director at ISRO, while speaking to TOI on Monday. Naik was in the city for the 10the Late Prof VG Bhide memorial lecture at the Visvesvaraya National Institute of Technology (VNIT) titled 'Chandrayaan, Mangalyaan and beyond'.
In contrast to the Chandrayaan-I which crash-landed on the moon, Chandrayaan-II will have soft landing on the moon and it will deploy a rover there. The rover would collect samples from the moon, process it in the inbuilt laboratory and will transfer the data to earth through orbiter. "Chandrayaan-II is a much advanced version. It is being completely designed and developed by ISRO. It is made of three components — an orbiter, a lander and rover configuration. It is expected to be launched by 2017 end using GSLV-Mk II," Naik said. India will get some minor support from the USA, he added.-

"With this mission, India takes a shot at converting fiction into reality. Three decades from now, ISRO plans to set up a human base on the moon and also try to produce pollution-free electricity by mining helium-3 which is abundantly available there," Naik said, adding to get to the moon under the 'man mission' and have a habitation there would require a lot of technological development.
"An Indian astronaut training facility should form an integral part of the missions. By this year end, ISRO is also planning to launch satellites developed by students. As part of this, the premier space research organization has cleared a project by students of College of Engineering, Pune, for developing micro-satellites using photonic propulsion instead of conventional chemical propulsions," Naik said. He also informed that ISRO is also working towards developing a spacecraft — Aditya — by 2020 which will study the corona of the sun.
"Apart from these activities, other plans of launching various communication, remote sensing satellites and GSATs will continue," added Naik.
Stay updated on the go with Times of India News App. Click here to download it for your device.
Update: 27.10.2016

ISRO begins series of tests for Chandrayaan-2

Chandrayaan-1 was successfully launched in 2008.— file photo: isro
Chandrayaan-1 was successfully launched in 2008.— file photo: isro

Last Friday, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) started the first set of a series of ground and aerial tests related to the critical moon landing of Chandrayaan-2.

The latest aerial tests took place at ISRO’s new site at Challakere in Chitradurga district, some 400 km from Bengaluru.

ISRO Satellite Centre or ISAC, which is the lead centre for the country’s second moon mission, has artificially created eight to ten craters to make the terrain resemble the lunar surface. This terrain is now the test bed for the lunar Lander’s sensors.

Sensors tested

Between Friday and Monday, a small ISRO-owned aircraft carrying equipment with the sensors flew a few times over these craters to see how well they performed. The space agency, along with other scientific and strategic agencies, owns vast acres of land for its future missions at Challakere, in what is called Science City.


ISAC Director M. Annadurai told The Hindu , “The campaign for the Lander tests of Chandrayaan-2 has started. The tests are conducted over the craters simulated at Chitradurga. We are using an aircraft to assess whether the numerous sensors on the Lander will do their job [later] of identifying the landing spot on Moon.”

Chandrayaan-2 is tentatively marked for late 2017 or early 2018 launch and includes a soft-landing on moon and operating a rover on its surface.

Complicated process

Landing on an alien surface is a very complicated activity, said Dr. Annadurai, who was also the Project Director for the successful Chandrayaan-1 of 2008. The success of the Lander hinges on the sensors. As the Lander descends from the mother ship or Orbiter, its sensors must judge the distance to the lunar surface.

Quelle: The Hindu


Update: 7.11.2016


ISRO starts landing tests for Chandrayaan-2 mission


Simulated lunar craters created in Chitradurga to plan lander’s descent

The Indian Space Research Organsiation started a series of ground and aerial tests linked to the critical Moon landing of Chandrayaan-2 on Friday, at its new site at Challakere in Chitradurga district, 400 km from Bengaluru.

ISRO Satellite Centre or ISAC, the lead centre for the second Moon mission, has artificially created close to ten craters to simulate the lunar terrain and test the Lander’s sensors.


A small ISRO aircraft has been carrying equipment with sensors over these craters to plan the tasks ahead. 

ISRO, along with a host of other scientific and strategic agencies, owns vast land for its future missions at Challakere, in a ‘Science City.’

ISAC Director M.Annadurai told The Hindu, “The campaign for the Lander tests of Chandrayaan-2 has started. Tests are conducted over the simulated craters at Chitradurga. We are using an aircraft to assess whether the sensors on the Lander will do their job [later] of identifying the landing spot on the Moon.”

Chandrayaan-2 is tentatively set for late 2017 or early 2018 and includes soft-landing on Moon and moving a rover on its surface.

Landing on an alien surface is very complicated, said Dr. Annadurai, who was also the Project Director for the successful Chandrayaan-1 lunar exploration mission of 2008. The Lander’s success hinges on sensors. As it descends from the mother ship or Orbiter, they must correctly judge the distance to the lunar surface, the required speed and the time to hover over the location, for a few seconds. The terrain should enable a smooth landing and steady movement of the Rover when it is released from the Lander.

Battery of tests

In the coming months up to March, ISAC would conduct many tests: on avionics and electronics; testing the Lander’s legs; and its eight throttlable engines, followed by a combined full test, at Bengaluru and Chitradurga.

The mission includes an Orbiter, a Lander and a Rover, all being readied at ISAC in Bengaluru. The Orbiter spacecraft when launched from Sriharikota will travel to the Moon and release the Lander, which will in turn deploy a tiny Rover to roam the lunar surface - all three sending data and pictures to Earth. 

Last week, the European Space Agency’s Mars lander, the Schiaparelli craft, crashed while parachuting to the Martian surface. Asked what lessons could be drawn from this, Dr. Annadurai said they were different in nature. The Chandrayaan-2 Lander does not use parachutes; the configurations and gravity issues of the two missions are different. “It still calls for a good amount of testing” for Chandrayaan-2, he said.

Quelle: The Hindu


Update: 14.11.2016


Chandrayan II launch by 2017 end’

ISRO Director Mayilsamy Annadurai unveils a plaque to mark inauguration of new building at Erode Sengunthar Primary School on Sunday.–PHOTO: M. GOVARTHAN
ISRO Director Mayilsamy Annadurai unveils a plaque to mark inauguration of new building at Erode Sengunthar Primary School on Sunday.–PHOTO: M. GOVARTHAN

Launch of Chandrayaan II as a precursor to manned mission to moon will take place in the end of 2017 or early in 2018, said Mayilsamy Annadurai, Director of ISRO Satellite Centre, Bengaluru, here on Sunday.

While Chandrayan I could confirm presence of water on moon, the second satellite in the series with orbiter and rover would explore the nature of surface, he told media persons. Testing was being carried out at Bengaluru with a simulator, he said.

Mr. Annadurai, who was here to inaugurate new buildings of Erode Sengunthar Primary School, said the plan of launching one satellite a month was progressing well. Similar to tele medicine, utility of satellites could be optimised for educational development, he said. The life of Mangalyan orbiting now beyond the planned six month duration, would be extended further. The embossing of Mangalyan image on the newly released currency of Rs. 2,000 denomination was a unique recognition for his ISRO team, Mr. Annadurai said.

Quelle: The Hindu


Update: 15.11.2016


Isro creates a ‘Moon’ in Challakere to simulate Chandrayaan-2 landing

The Chandrayaan-2 lander and rover that are being tested for sift landing at Isro's Challakere facility.
The Chandrayaan-2 lander and rover that are being tested for sift landing at Isro's Challakere facility.
BENGALURU: Ground tests for soft-landing Chandrayaan-2 on the Moon have begun. Isro has created Moon-like conditions by creating lunar craters in Challakere, Chitradurgha district, to conduct the tests.

Once the mission lands on the Moon, the lander and the rover will remain active for just a day.

The mission, unlike Chandrayaan-1, which only orbited the Moon, is aimed at placing an orbiter around the satellite and sending a lander and rover to the lunar surface. It's likely to be launched in 2018 using the GSLV-MKII, which Isro is still testing. This is the first time India is using indigenous lander and rover technology.

"We should have sufficient time to get good results. The life expectancy of the lander and the orbiter as estimated now is one (Earth) day, which means 14 lunar days. The orbiter will also do rounds of the Moon," said a senior Isro official.

The project is estimated to cost Rs 600 crore.

Explaining the day-long life expectancy, Isro Satellite Centre (ISAC) director M Annadurai, who was project director of Chandrayaan-1, said: "We will not get enough sun. We will have a long night, and that is why it will work only for a day."

During the one-day outing on the Moon, the indigenous rover will be able to move at a speed of 1 centimetre per minute, which means the rover can only cover 1 km of the Moon's surface.

"The objective is to achieve two things. One, land the lander successfully and deploy the rover; two, study the surface using payloads on the rover. I think we'll be able to achieve both with the current plan," Annadurai said, adding that the rover will be controlled from the ground stations here.
While another senior official said the study will also be supplemented by the orbiter, which too will go around the moon for a day, Annadurai said, "The orbiter, I think, will have a longer life. We may be able to get information for about six months."
Challakere craters simulate lunar surface
While the initial launch of Chandrayaan-2 was scheduled much earlier, the failure of the Russian space agency Roscosmos to supply the lander has not only delayed the project but also given India an opportunity to make and send its own lander. This is why the space agency has created artificial craters in Challakere, about 200 km from Bengaluru. An officer familiar with the preparations said: "We've created craters measuring 10 in diameter and 3 metres deep. These artificial craters have been created to simulate the lunar terrain. The lander, rover and related electronics will be tested there. The artificial terrain is similar to the terrain where Chandrayaan-2 lander will land."
Among the tests that are pending are testing of the lander's legs, tests on avionics and electronics and a complete test which will happen next year. "Right now, the first phase of testing is over and a silent period is on in Challakere. It will be sometime before we begin the second phase of testing," said Annadurai
Update: 23.07.2017

Chandrayaan 2 will be launched next year: official


Director of Indian Space Research Organisation, Satellite Centre, Mylswamy Annadurai (second from right), called on APJM Maraikayar, elder brother of former President APJ Abdul Kalam, in Rameswaram on Friday.   

Exhorts students to fulfill Kalam’s Vision 2020 

Students must commit themselves to realising former President and renowned scientist Abdul Kalam’s Vision 2020 and work towards transforming the country into a developed nation, Director of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Satellite Centre Mylswamy Annadurai said on Friday.

Addressing students at Mohamed Sathak Engineering College, Kilakarai, near here, on Friday, he said the former President had great hopes for the student community and it should live up to his expectations and help the country to transform in five areas of its core competence identified by him.

Kalam had been a shining example to students that they could achieve anything if they had the perseverance and worked hard, he said adding the late leader had also been a great source of inspiration for him and scores of other scientists in ISRO to scale greater heights. Paying glowing tributes to Kalam, he said when the whole world congratulated him and his colleagues after ISRO’s successful launch of Chandrayaan 1, India’s first lunar probe mission, Kalam simply asked ‘what next’ and suggested that they achieve something bigger. Thanks to the late President’s inspiration, they developed Chandrayaan 2, India’s second lunar exploration mission, which was slated for launch next year, he said. After every achievement, Kalam would ask for more and the unique quality should be emulated by the students, he said.

Earlier, Mr.Mylswamy, in a brief chat with reporters, after calling on Kalam’s elder brother APJM Muthu Meera Maraikayar at House of Kalam in Rameswaram, said if India was in top four or five places in the world in space technology, credit should go to Kalam. Since June last year, ISRO had launched as many as 14 satellites. While 10 satellites were designed and developed as per his suggestions, four were designed by students, again, his dream. The development of Chandrayaan 2 was in the final stages and it would be ready for launch early next year. It would be launched using GSLV launch vehicle. Mangalyaan 1, the Mars Orbiter Mission, was performing satisfactorily and preliminary work on developing Mangalyaan 2 has begun. “The second mission will be at a different level and we are working towards that,” he said. ISRO was also developing Adiya L1 spacecraft to study the sun.

Quelle: The Hindu


Update: 28.09.2017

India’s date with moon set for March 2018, Isro ready to launch Chandrayaan 2 

India’s second unmanned lunar mission will lift off from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota. 


Isro's heaviest rocket GSLV Mk 3 takes off from Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota . Chandrayaan 2 will be launched on GSLV Mk 2.(PTI fiIe photo)

India is aiming for the moon, again. 

Indian Space Research Organisation’s second unmanned moon mission, Chandrayaan 2, will lift off in March 2018, a decade after Chandrayaan 1 was launched, Isro sources told Hindustan Times on Tuesday. 

Chandrayaan 2 would be launched on a Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark 2 (GSLV Mk 2) that will blast off from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh, sources said, refusing to disclose the exact lift-off date. 

GSLV Mk 2 is the largest launch vehicle developed by India and has several successful missions to its credit, Isro website says.

Weighing 3,250kg, Chandrayaan (moon vehicle) 2 would have an orbiter, lander and rover. 

The orbiter would be launched into a lunar orbit where the lander will separate, make a soft landing on the moon and deploy the rover, sources said.

It would be an advanced version of Chandrayaan 1 that was a landmark mission for Isro, with India becoming only the fourth country to plant its flag on the moon after the US, erstwhile USSR and Japan.

Chandrayaan 1 was launched on October 22, 2008, and included a probe, impactor and orbiter. Its moon impact probe crash-landed on the lunar surface on November 14, 2008.

The mission was lauded for costing a fraction -- about $80 million -- of similar missions. The Japanese’s SELENE cost $480 million. 

Chandrayaan 2 is expected to cost $91 million, yet another example of Isro’s “frugal engineering” — the ability to produce high-end technology at eye-poppingly low costs.

Quelle: hindustantimes


Update: 26.10.2017


India's 2nd Moon trip will analyze atmosphere for colonization


A thick trail of smoke is seen in the sky soon after the launch of Chandrayaan-1, India's maiden lunar mission at the Satish Dhawan Space Center in Sriharikota. Photo: Aijaz Rahi / AP

The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) is conducting a series of tests to prepare for India's second trip to the moon since 2008, Nature reports. The organization is only operating on a $93 million budget, which Nature notes is relatively low for these kinds of missions. 

The motivation: Preparing for the possibility of human colonization on the Moon. By exploring the planet, India's researchers can better understand the Moon's atmosphere and suitable living conditions for humans. The country's first mission there discovered the presence of water, but the ISRO's next mission hopes to analyze floating lunar dust — particles that penetrate everything from astronauts' suits to space machinery, potentially causing significant damage. 


The spacecraft for the Chandrayaan-2 mission will include a rover, a lander that will attempt to touch down near the Moon's south pole, and an orbiter that will travel around the Moon.

What's different this time: The Chandrayaan-2 mission will test whether India's space technology is capable of pulling off a controlled landing (the original mission ended after 10 months when India's Space Organization lost contact with the orbiter). ISRO developed new systems to assist with the soft landing this time around, per Nature.

ISRO's tests in preparation for its second mission mimic the Moon's atmosphere and environment: rovers navigate over rocky surfaces in Bangalore. One of the spacecraft's final tests will begin in three to four weeks. 

Quelle: AXIOS


Update: 1.12.2017


India's Chandrayaan-2 mission preparing for March 2018 launch

The launch of the next Moon mission could be just four months away. India plans to return to the Moon in a big way with the ambitious Chandrayaan-2, which includes an orbiter, lander, and a small rover. If it all succeeds, it will be India's first soft landing on another world, and only the second such landing since the end of the Apollo and Luna era. For India, landing success would be "a stepping stone for future exploration missions to other planets," according to Indian Space Research Organisation Satellite Centre (ISAC) director M. Annadurai.


ISRO via

Picture found at this article at

The orbiter is a capable one, planned to carry eight instruments into a 100-kilometer, circular, polar lunar orbit, following on the work of India's previous orbiter, Chandrayaan-1. It has a nominal mission lifetime of one year. The lander and rover payloads are more limited, as befits the first demonstration of a soft lander. The lander and rover have nominal lifetimes of one lunar daytime (14 Earth days). I was unable to find any information on whether there is any possibility that the lander or rover could wake up again after the long lunar night, as China's Chang'e 3 lander has done for years. It's enough to hope that India can follow its first and only lunar orbiter with its first lunar lander.

Mission Profile

Chandrayaan-2 is planned to launch in March from ISRO's Sriharikota launch center aboard a Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark 2 (GSLV Mk 2) rocket, making it ISRO's first deep-space launch on its newer, heavier launch vehicle. The combined mass of the three component spacecraft is 3250 kilograms, dramatically larger than the approximately 1300-kilogram mass of both Chandrayaan-1 and Mars Orbiter Mission, both of which launched on smaller Polar Satellite Launch Vehicles (PSLVs). (For fun, you can download and build a paper model of the GSLV Mk 2 spacecraft here.)

The GSLV will place Chandrayaan-2 into an elliptical Earth parking orbit, enlarging it over days or weeks with periapsis burns to raise the orbit apogee. Eventually, the apogee will be high enough that a burn can send the spacecraft on to a lunar transfer trajectory. A lunar orbit insertion burn will place Chandrayaan-2 into an elliptical orbit and the spacecraft will begin braking at periapsis to reduce its orbit to a 100-kilometer circle. I haven't found a reference that says how long this process is expected to take from launch to final orbit, but a similar process took Chandrayaan-1 three weeks, from October 22 to November 12, 2008.


Modified from a presentation given by ISRO director M. Annadurai to the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space in June 2017.

Once the spacecraft is in its science orbit at the Moon, the lander mission can begin. While the orbiter doesn't care much about what phase the Moon is in, the lander and rover need sunlight for warmth and power, so the timing of launch will be dictated by the necessity to get the lander on the ground at its landing site very soon after local dawn. However, the concept of dawn is a bit tricky, because the landing site is planned to be near the south pole. I haven't seen any recent information on the specific landing site choice. As of 2012, an earlier concept that involved Russian collaboration had proposed landing sites that were quite near the South Pole indeed, at 87.2 and 88.5 degrees south.  

The landing will happen entirely autonomously. The lander will separate from the orbiter and immediately perform a deboost maneuver, changing its orbit around the Moon to one with an 18-kilometer periapsis. When it reaches periapsis, the lander will begin the "rough braking phase," braking to reduce its orbit altitude to 7 kilometers.

At an altitude of 7 kilometers, the lander will use a camera to take photos of the lunar surface and determine its relative position and velocity compared to its onboard map of the landing region. The lander will autonomously determine the trajectory necessary to bring it to its desired landing site, and steer itself to a location 100 meters above the site, where it will come to a hover. It will use a hazard avoidance sensor to map the surface for potential hazards and select a safe location for touchdown. The lander will slowly descend until it reaches 2 meters above that location. Then it will cut its engines. The lander will fall to the surface, its four lander legs absorbing the shock of landing. The rover will roll out of the lander shortly after the landing in order to make the most of its brief, two-week primary mission.


From M. Annadurai et al. presentation to the 10th IAA Symposium on the Future of Space Exploration, Torino, Italy, 27-29 June, 2017.


The orbiter is physically similar to Chandrayaan-1. It is three-axis stabilized with reaction wheels. The orbiter carries five science instruments and two supporting instruments.

  • Terrain Mapping Camera 2 (TMC-2) is based upon TMC (a predecessor on Chandrayaan-1) and will perform 3D mapping of the lunar surface using two cameras.
  • Collimated Large Array Soft X-ray Spectrometer (CLASS) is based upon C1XS (a predecessor on Chandrayaan-1) and will map abundance of major rock-forming elements on the Moon including Mg, Al, Si, Ca, Ti, and Fe. Assisting it is the Solar X-ray Monitor (XSM), which measures solar x-ray emission.
  • Chandra's Atmospheric Composition Explorer(ChACE-2) is a neutral mass spectrometer that is based upon CHACE (a predecessor on Chandrayaan-1's Moon Impact Probe).
  • Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) will perform radar mapping of the surface in both L and S bands of the radio spectrum. It has heritage from MiniSAR on Chandrayaan-1 but will be the first L-band radar mapper to orbit the Moon.
  • Imaging Infra-Red Spectrometer (IIRS) is sensitive to light with wavelengths between 0.8 and 5 microns and has the specific goal of mapping the abundance of hydroxl ions and molecular water.
  • Finally, the Orbiter High Resolution Camera (OHRC) will perform high-resolution imaging of the landing site prior to the lander mission.


Chandrayaan-2 consists of an orbiter, lander, and small rover. Here, the spacecraft is shown in its launch configuration.


Physically, the lander is shaped like a truncated square-based pyramid, built around a cylinder that houses the substantial propellant tank. It will perform inertial navigation throughout the descent using its Laser-gyro-based inertial reference unit and accelerometer package, LIRAP. The propulsion system includes four throttleable engines that can each provide 800 newtons of thrust, and 8 attitude rockets of 50 newtons each. The lander will communicate direct to Earth using a steerable, dual-gimbal, S-band radio antenna.

The lander has multiple cameras in its Hazard Detection and Avoidance (HDA) system, which it will use to determine horizontal velocity from feature tracking and identify the landing site using pattern matching. HDA also contains microwave and laser altimeters and a laser Doppler velocimiter. The HDA system collects data and instructs the rockets to fire to steer the lander to the landing site. I didn't find any reference that indicated whether the lander has the ability to photograph the landscape it's sitting on. Surely it must, but I don't know.

Once on the ground, the lander will deploy its science payload:

  • Instrument for Lunar Seismic Activity (ILSA) will study moonquakes. Large enough quakes could allow it to study the Moon's deep interior, potentially from a polar position not accessible to the Apollo seismometers, which would be cool. This experiment will be a lot cooler if the lander is capable of surviving multiple lunar days.
  • Chandra’s Surface Thermophysical Experiment (ChaSTE) will measure thermal properties of the lunar surface.
  • Radio Anatomy of Moon Bound Hypersensitive ionosphere and Atmosphere (RAMBHA-Langmuir Probe) will measure near surface plasma density and how it changes over the course of the lunar daytime. According to a recent Nature article, lunar plasma is thought to participate in the levitation of lunar dust, a problem for future human exploration.

And, of course, the lander will carry a rover. The rover is very small, roughly Sojourner-sized, at 20 kilograms. Like NASA's Mars rovers, the Chandrayaan-2 rover uses a rocker-bogie suspension system supporting six independently motorized wheels, but unlike NASA's rovers its corner wheels do not steer. Therefore, it steers by rotating the wheels at different rates, like a tank. This is a perfectly fine method for a lightweight rover as long as the net effect of steering isn't to sink the rover into the soil.

To make sure the rover could move and steer on the Moon without embedding, ISRO developed a big sandbox filled with crushed anorthosite to test rover mobility in. When NASA does this with Mars rovers, they build full-size mobility system mockups with tiny bodies so the whole vehicle weighs on Earth what the real rover weighs on Mars, where gravity is a third of Earth's. But that wouldn't work for the already-small Chandrayaan-2 rover trying to simulate lunar gravity at a sixth of Earth's. So ISRO developed a different solution that I just love: attaching a giant helium-filled balloon to a duplicate test rover to counterbalance 5/6 of its weight. These tests succeeded, evidently.


ISRO employs a balloon to counteract 5/6 of the weight of a duplicate of the Chandrayaan-2 rover in order to test its mobility on simulated lunar soil at lunar gravity. From M. Annadurai et al. presentation to the 10th IAA Symposium on the Future of Space Exploration, Torino, Italy, 27-29 June, 2017.

Because of its small size, the rover instrumentation is fairly limited, much like Sojourner's was. It has two navigation cameras for stereo path planning and an inclinometer for safety (drives will stop if the rover's inclination or motor current gets too high). It has no rear-facing cameras. It will use a small radio antenna for communication with the lander, which will relay rover data to Earth. The radio antenna is atop its vertically-mounted solar panel. Its solar panel is mounted vertically because of the near-polar landing site. That suggests the rover will need to turn in place after traverses to align the panel for good power production.

The rover is equipped with two science instruments for elemental composition, both of which point downward, beneath the rover: a Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscope (LIBS) and an Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer. In general, LIBS will get you lower-mass elements and APXS will get you higher-mass elements, with substantial overlap between them. LIBS is faster, APXS more sensitive to trace elements if you can give it long enough integration time. Perhaps they will be using LIBS along traverses, and APXS at stops.

Interestingly, a paper I read about the LIBS instrument suggested it was designed for a one-year primary mission. Officially, the lander mission has an expected lifetime of 14 days, but maybe there is hope that it will survive a lunar night to do science on a second lunar day. That would be awesome. But any successful landing at all would be an enormous accomplishment for India; I don't want to get greedy.


Found on the website of Daniel Marín

Looking Ahead

Originally, Chandrayaan-2 was supposed to be a collaboration with the Russian space agency, but budget problems made Russia drop out, and India decided to go it alone. If Chandrayaan-2 succeeds, India's next step will be lunar sample return. They'd be following exactly the same path China has at the Moon, going quickly from a successful orbiter, to a lander/rover, to autonomous sample return. Unlike China, however, India is using international collaboration to increase its chances for success; Indian prime minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe signed an agreement a couple of weeks ago to collaborate on a future joint lunar sample return mission.

A lot of people are trying to make the separate Chinese and Japanese/Indian lunar efforts into a race. To be sure, there is some national pride riding on successes in space, and reaching milestones first. But races have only one winner. We all win when more organizations launch scientific missions into space. All of these countries have shared the data they gathered during past missions with scientists and the public. India's mission landing near the south pole, and China's landing on farside, will only enhance global understanding of the Moon, regardless of who gets there first. India or China may yet be defeated by physics -- deep-space exploration is challenging -- but they won't be defeated by each other's success.

Good luck, saubhaagy to ISRO and India on the upcoming launch of Chandrayaan-2!


Many thanks to Sriram Bhiravarasu for providing me some papers I used as sources for this article.

Annadurai M (2017) "Future Exploration Missions of ISRO" presentation to the 60th session of the United Nations Committee on Peaceful Exploration of Outer Space, 7-16 June 2017, Vienna, Austria

Annadurai M et al (2017) "Chandrayaan-2 lunar orbiter & lander mission" abstract presented to the 10th IAA Symposium on the Future of Space Exploration: Towards the Moon Village and Beyond, 27-29 June 2017, Torino, Italy

Quelle: The Planetary Society


Update: 31.12.2017


Isro’s 2nd Moon mission set for March-April 2018

‘Chandrayaan-II’ would be launched during March-April 2018, by using a Geosynchronous Satellite launch vehicle.


Chandrayaan-II’ would be launched during March-April 2018, by using a Geosynchronous Satellite launch vehicle.

The country’s second mission to the Moon, ‘Chandrayaan-II’ would be launched during March-April 2018, by using a Geosynchronous Satellite launch vehicle (GSLV MK II). This prestigious mission will include a lunar, Orbiter, lander and rover, said Dr. Mylswamy Annadurai, director, ISRO Satellite Centre, Bengaluru.

Addressing a press conference at Tiruchy on Saturday, he said that they were preparing three unmanned vehicles for the mission developed in India including an orbiter craft, to hover above the moon’s surface, a rover, and a lander to facilitate the landing of the rover safely on the moon. This lunar mission will use and test various new technologies and conduct further experiments. The wheeled rover will move on the lunar surface and will perform a chemical analysis on site, he said.

Dr Annadurai said the orbiter will orbit the moon at an attitude of 100-km and create a detailed three-dimensional map of the lunar surface.  The mission will carry five instruments on the orbiter namely, a large area soft X-ray spectrometer for mapping significant elements there on the lunar surface, L and S band synthetic aperture radar for probing the first few tens of metres on the surface of the moon for presence of constituents like water.

Quelle: Deccan Chronicle


Update: 13.01.2017


Chandrayaan-2 mission on schedule: ISRO...




Quelle: onmanorama


Update: 1.02.2018


India plans tricky and unprecedented landing near moon’s south pole


A model of Chandrayaan-2’s rover undergoing tests to prepare for operating in the moon’s anemic gravity.


BENGALURU, INDIA—Sometime this summer, a spacecraft orbiting over the moon's far side, out of contact with controllers on Earth, will release a lander. The craft will ease to a soft landing just after lunar sunrise on an ancient, table-flat plain about 600 kilometers from the south pole. There, it will unleash a rover into territory never before explored at the surface; all previous lunar craft have set down near the equator.

That's the ambitious vision for India's second voyage to the moon in a decade, due to launch in the coming weeks. If Chandrayaan-2 is successful, it will pave the way for even more ambitious Indian missions, such as landings on Mars and an asteroid, as well a Venus probe, says Kailasavadivoo Sivan, chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) here. Chandrayaan-2, he says, is meant to show that India has the technological prowess "to soft land on other heavenly bodies."

But lunar scientists have much at stake, too. "There has been a rebirth of lunar exploration across the globe, and India can't be left behind," says Mylswamy Annadurai, director of the ISRO Satellite Centre. Instruments aboard the lander and rover will collect data on the moon's thin envelope of plasma, as well as isotopes such as helium-3, a potential fuel for future fusion energy reactors. The orbiter itself will follow up on a stunning discovery by India's first lunar foray, the Chandrayaan-1 orbiter, which found water molecules on the moon in 2009. Before that, "It was kind of a kooky science to think that you'd find water" there, says James Greenwood, a cosmochemist at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut. "Now, we're arguing about how much water, and not whether it has water or not." Cameras and a spectrometer aboard the Chandrayaan-2 orbiter could help settle that question.

Quelle: Science


Update: 8.02.2018


India Prepares For Second Lunar Mission with Chandrayaan-2


India's space agency, the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), is prepping for its second mission to the moon, which is scheduled for blast off around April 2018.

The objective for the venture is to explore the lunar south pole.

Dubbed Chandrayaan-2, the spacecraft is expected to take an estimated one to two months to reach lunar orbit. Once the craft is in position, a lander will then detach itself and navigate toward the Earth's moon. After touching down on the rocky surface, a rover will depart the lander and begin its exploration of the southern region.

"Chandrayaan-2 is a challenging mission as for the first time we will carry an orbiter, a lander and a rover to the moon," K. Sivan, chairman of the ISRO, told the Times of India.

"The rover has been designed in such a way that it will have power to spend a lunar day or 14 Earth days on the moon's surface and walk up to 150-200 metres. It will do several experiments and on-site chemical analysis of the surface."

"The rover will then send data and images of the lunar surface back to the Earth through the orbiter within 15 minutes," the chairman added.

Since the rover can only store up to 14 days' worth of power, Sivan indicated that until it is able to collect enough sunlight and recharge itself, it will remain in sleep mode.

"We are hoping the rover will again come alive whenever that part of the moon gets sunlight and recharges the rover's solar cells," Sivan said.

"Besides the rover, the orbiter will also capture images of the moon while orbiting it."

When asked about a more concrete launch date, Sivan told the publication that it depends on several different factors.

"All three components of the lunar module are almost ready. Currently, their integration is going on," he said.

"Once the module is ready, it will have to go through rigorous tests. The launch date will depend on various factors like the moon's relative position with respect to the Earth."

The spacecraft, which will be launched using a Geostationary Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark II rocket, is set to take off from the Satish Dhawan Space Center in Sriharikota, in the southeastern state of Andhra Pradesh.

Prior to the Chandrayaan-2, the agency launched the Chandrayaan-1 in October 2008. Though the mission was expected to last for two years, it only lasted roughly 10 months after the orbiter stopped communicating with the station in August 2009.

Quelle: SD



Tags: Raumfahrt - ISRO plant zweite Mission zum Mond mit Chandrayaan II-Mission 2018 -Update1 Chandrayaan II-Mission 2018 


Sonntag, 11. Februar 2018 - 12:00 Uhr

Planet Erde - Himmelsphänomene Teil-32

Spektakuläre Sonnenuntergänge sowie Wolken sind in unserer Atmosphäre immer wieder zu sehen

und oft sind es nur Minuten welche ein Farbenspiel am Himmel zaubern. 

Nachfolgende Timeline Aufnahmen wurden bei Gewitterfront im Mai 2007 über dem Odenwald aufgenommen:



Gewitterfront beim Überzug auf Anhöhe bei Vielbrunn, Odenwald









Foto: ©-hjkc

Tags: Planet Erde - Himmelsphänomene Teil-32 


Sonntag, 11. Februar 2018 - 10:00 Uhr

Astronomie - Creating a hotspot for understanding Venus – the Planetary Spectroscopy Laboratory



Dr Helbert testing the Venus chamber at the Planetary Spectroscopy Laboratory (PSL) at DLR’s Institute for Planetary Research in Berlin. Credit: J. Helbert/DLR/Europlanet


Dr Helbert testing the Venus chamber at the Planetary Spectroscopy Laboratory (PSL) at DLR’s Institute for Planetary Research in Berlin. Credit: J. Helbert/DLR/Europlanet


The Spectroscopy of the surface of Venus. J. Helbert et al, 15th Meeting of the Venus Exploration Analysis Group (VEXAG) (2017):


A new simulation facility at the Planetary Spectroscopy Laboratory of the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) could help revolutionise our understanding of the hot, hidden surface of Venus. The Planetary Spectroscopy Laboratory (PSL) can analyse rock samples similar to those found on the surface of Venus at temperatures up to 1000 degrees Celsius, enabling researchers to interpret accurately data acquired by space missions and ground-based observations.

Although Venus is a similar size to Earth and sometimes called its twin planet, it is surrounded by a thick atmosphere of mainly carbon dioxide and clouds of sulphuric acid that make it very difficult to study the planet’s surface. Until recently, it was thought that a lander was needed to analyse the chemical composition of rocks on the ground.

“Landing on Venus is very challenging and no missions to the surface are currently planned,” said Dr Jörn Helbert, who has led the development of the chamber. “Lately, planetary scientists have taken advantage of ‘spectral windows’ in Venus’s atmosphere that are transparent to certain wavelengths of infrared light to gather data on the surface remotely. However, there have been challenges in interpreting this data, as we haven’t had the lab-based measurements needed to validate the results.”

Because different chemical compounds emit radiation at specific electromagnetic wavelengths, every mineral has a unique ‘spectral fingerprint’ of emission lines. To interpret remote detections of these spectral fingerprints and determine which rocks are present, planetary scientists need reference catalogues showing emission lines acquired under conditions matching those on the surfaces being studied. For more than 40 years, scientists have attempted to take measurements under Venusian conditions to build up these libraries but, until now, with very little success.

The PSL, funded through the Europlanet 2020 Research Infrastructure, is located in a temperature-controlled room in the Institute for Planetary Research in Berlin. The new Venus chamber uses state-of-the art detectors and electronics, and innovative ceramic enclosures to block out background radiation that can drown out the spectral signals from samples at high temperatures.

Earth analogues for rocks on Venus include volcanic rocks, such as basalt from Spain and rhyolite from Italy, rocks that have undergone intense heating, such as granite from Norway, and iron-rich rocks such as haematite and magnetite.

The new facility has been used to analyse spectroscopic emissions by analogue rocks across the range of temperatures found on Venus, which average 462 degrees Celsius, and at all known atmospheric windows of Venus. Observations in six spectral windows using Venus Express’s Venus Monitoring Camera (VMC) and Visible and Infrared Thermal Imaging Spectrometer (VIRTIS) instruments have revealed chemical variations that can be related to geological features on the surface of Venus. The measurements from PSL are now being used to validate and improve understanding of these Venus Express observations.

“The spectral databases that we are compiling with the PSL facility will enable researchers to revisit data from past missions, help plan for future missions and make new ground-based observations that will give us a much more accurate understanding of the surface of Venus,” said Dr Helbert. “Earth’s twin planet is a fascinating place that we still know relatively little about. This chamber will enable to study surface of Venus remotely in a way that so far we thought was only possible with a lander.”

A call for applications is now open for researchers to obtain up to a week’s free access to the PSL and other Europlanet laboratory and field facilities, funded by the European Commission European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 654208. The closing date for applications is 1st March 2018.

Quelle: This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 654208.

Tags: Astronomie - Creating a hotspot for understanding Venus – the Planetary Spectroscopy Laboratory 


Sonntag, 11. Februar 2018 - 09:45 Uhr

Astronomie - Fossilized feature records moons slow retreat from Earth



A study led by CU Boulder researchers provides new insight into the moon’s excessive equatorial bulge, a feature that solidified in place over four billion years ago as the moon gradually distanced itself from the Earth.

The research sets parameters on how quickly the moon could have receded from the Earth and suggests that the nascent planet’s hydrosphere was either non-existent or still frozen at the time, indirectly supporting the theory of a fainter, weaker sun that at the time radiated around 30 percent less energy than it does today.

The moon currently recedes from the Earth at a rate of about 4 cm per year according to lunar laser ranging observations from the Apollo missions. The recession is believed to result from gravitational or tidal interaction between the Earth and its moon. The same process also causes Earth’s rotation to slow down and the length of day to increase. However, the recession rate for the early moon is largely unconstrained.  

“The moon’s fossil bulge may contain secrets of Earth’s early evolution that were not recorded anywhere else,” said Shijie Zhong, a professor in CU Boulder’s Department of Physics and the co-lead author of the new research. “Our model captures two time-dependent processes and this is the first time that anyone has been able to put timescale constraints on early lunar recession.”

The moon's rotation makes it flattened at its poles and bulge at its equator. About two hundred years ago, French mathematician and physicist Pierre-Simon Laplace determined that the moon’s equatorial bulge was too large (by twenty times) for its one-revolution-per-month rotational rate. Scientists have theorized that the moon, born hot, rotated fast after its formation and possessed an equatorial bulge much greater in size than it does today. The bulge tended to shrink in adjustment to reduced rotational force as the moon moved farther from the Earth and reduced its rotational rate, until the moon cooled and stiffened enough to have solidified a permanent bulge in its crust, creating the feature known as the fossil bulge.

The timing and necessary conditions of this fossil bulge formation, however, have remained largely unknown given that no physical models have ever been formulated for this process. Using a first-of-its-kind dynamic model, Zhong and his colleagues determined that the process was not sudden but rather quite slow, lasting several hundred million years as the moon moved away from the Earth during the Hadean time or around 4 billion years ago. But for that to have been the case, Earth’s energy dissipation in response to tidal forces—which for the present-day Earth and its recent past is largely controlled by the oceans—would have to have been greatly reduced at the time.

“Earth’s hydrosphere, if it even existed at the Hadean time, may have been frozen all the way down, which would have all but eliminated tidal dissipation or friction,” Zhong said, adding that a weaker, fainter young sun could have made such conditions possible in theory.

The “snowball Earth” hypothesis has been suggested previously for the Neoproterozoic around 600 million years ago based on geological record. Similar ideas were also hinted for the early Earth on the basis of the fainter young sun, but direct observational evidence in the geological record is currently lacking, making it the subject of debate among scientists.

The researchers plan to continue optimizing their model and will attempt to fill in other knowledge gaps about the moon and Earth’s early days between 3.8 and 4.5 billion years ago.

The study was recently published online in Geophysical Research Letters, a journal of the American Geophysical Union. Co-authors of the research include Chuan Qin (formerly of CU Boulder and now with Harvard University) and Roger Phillips of Washington University in St. Louis (formerly at the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado). NASA and the National Science Foundation provided funding for the research.

Tags: Astronomie - Fossilized feature records moon's slow retreat from Earth 


Samstag, 10. Februar 2018 - 22:20 Uhr

Raumfahrt - Its a Bird! Its an Angel! No, Its Falcon Heavy!



The plume from Falcon Heavy's second stage engine created an unusual show in the skies above the Southwest, Feb. 6, 2018. (PHOTO: Jeremy David/@JDavidPhotos)


Just after 7:30 Tuesday night, people across the Southwest saw anunusual glow appear to bloom in the sky for a few minutes and then fade away.

Several immediately took to Twitter to ask about the source of the mystery shape. Some users thought a missile had launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. Vandenberg had been scheduled to launch a test of an intercontinental ballistic missile, but the test was cancelled on short notice.

Tucson photographer Jeremy David took one of the clearest images, and also correctly guessed its source.

"That moment when you are out testing gear and realize what is happening right in front of your lens!! I think this might belong to @elonmusk," he tweeted.


The Falcon Heavy rocket, built by Elon Musk's SpaceX company, launched from Cape Canaveral six hours earlier. People across the southwest saw the rocket's second stage firing to boost its payload, a red Tesla Roadster with a space-suited mannequin in the driver's seat, out of earth orbit.

Musk said the rocket performed better than expected, sending the sports car on a path that will take it beyond Mars, and partway to the asteroid belt.

Quelle: Arizona Public Media


Tags: Raumfahrt - It's a Bird! It's an Angel! No, It's Falcon Heavy! 


Samstag, 10. Februar 2018 - 22:10 Uhr

Raumfahrt - NASA scientist accused of terrorism awaits verdict in Turkish trial


Early next month, Serkan Golge will learn whether his nightmare will continue. In July 2016, he and his family were in southern Turkey wrapping up a visit to relatives and preparing to return home to Houston, Texas, where the Turkish-American space scientist studies the effects of radiation on astronauts. But before his wife, Kubra, could finish strapping their two young sons into car seats, police arrived and took Golge away.

The police accused him of spying for the Central Intelligence Agency, and last April they charged the dual citizen with terrorism. "We were all stunned. It didn't make any sense," says computer scientist Alicia Hofler, a former colleague of Golge's at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia. A verdict is expected on 8 February; if convicted, Golge faces up to 15 years in prison.

He is one of several U.S. citizens and thousands of Turkish academics caught up in a crackdown following a July 2016 coup attempt. Scores of scientists are in prison, and many more have lost their jobs. Most academics now need permission to travel abroad. Turkey's president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, asserts the measures are necessary for national security: to root out allies or sympathizers of Fethullah Gülen, a cleric living in exile in Pennsylvania whom Erdoğan has accused of masterminding the coup. But the crackdown quickly widened and has swept up even leftist and liberal opponents. 

Harsh measures under an ongoing state of emergency could threaten the future of Turkish science, observers say. As long as a travel ban persists and "scientists currently jailed are not released, people won't be able to maintain their relations abroad," says Eugene Chudnovsky, a physicist at the City University of New York's Lehman College and co-chair of the Committee of Concerned Scientists, a nonprofit dedicated to protecting scientists' human rights. Ironically, before the coup Erdoğan was widely regarded as a patron of science, Chudnovsky says. "Many Turkish scientists will say that their situation had improved tremendously in terms of their economic situation, their ability to travel internationally," he says. "Now, of course, scientists are worried."

Soon after the failed coup, authorities raided the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey, the government research funding agency known by its Turkish acronym TÜBİTAK, arresting dozens. The purge reached the higher education system, where some 5000 academics accused of ties to Gülen have been dismissed, suspended, or forced to resign.

That frenzy ensnared Golge. According to Kubra, an estranged family member who held a grudge over an inheritance dispute told authorities Golge was a terrorist and a spy. He has denied the charges; in court months later, the relative who tipped off police stated he was only 1% sure the accusations he leveled were actually true, says Kubra, who has attended the trial. As evidence of Golge's guilt, prosecutors pointed to the fact that he, like many Turks, holds an account in a bank owned by Gülen followers, and he studied at a university with ties to Gülen.

Another Turkish-American scientist caught in the dragnet is Ismail Kul, a chemist at Widener University in Chester, Pennsylvania. According to Turkish media reports, Kul and his brother were arrested on a visit to Turkey in 2016 and accused of participating in the attempted coup. In court, Kul denied the charges, though he acknowledged having met Gülen several times since 2010, when he was introduced to the cleric by a Turkish legislator in Erdoğan's ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party. (AK and the Gülen movement were allies with similar ideologies until a conflict between the two erupted in 2013.) Kul is out on bail while his trial continues.

Those Turkish scientists spared persecution have seen international collaborations wither. Academics now must obtain permission from university administrators to travel abroad, and TÜBİTAK has reportedly curtailed travel scholarships for students and researchers. Many who manage to get out have not come back, accelerating Turkey's brain drain, according to İlker Birbil, a Turkish data scientist at Erasmus University in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

Birbil, who left Turkey in January 2017, faced difficulties after signing a petition in 2016 calling on the government to resume peace talks with Kurdish militants. Taking a stand had repercussions, he says. "We suddenly realized that it was impossible for us to get funding from TÜBİTAK," he says. "In a nutshell, they don't really go after merit anymore." After signing the petition, Izge Günal says he was forced to resign from the orthopedics department at Dokuz Eylül University in İzmir, Turkey. Günal, who remains in Turkey, foresees a steady decline of Turkish science, "replacing Enlightenment thought with superstitions." In public comments, Turkey's science minister, Faruk Özlü, has denied that the government is pressuring scholars or interfering in TÜBİTAK's reviews.

What happens to Kul and Golge could hinge on tensions between Turkey and the United States, which has supported Kurdish rebels in Syria and has balked at extraditing Gülen. In a televised speech last September, Erdoğan said Andrew Brunson, a pastor and U.S. citizen jailed in Turkey, would not be returned until the United States extradited Gülen. The comments left Golge's family fearful that he, too, could effectively be used as a bargaining chip.

The uncertainty is excruciating, Kubra says. For the first 3 months after her husband was arrested, "Every cell in my body was aching because of the pain in my soul," she says. "My life turned upside down and I felt like my family was falling apart."

Hers is only one of many families in limbo.

Quelle: Science


Update: 10.02.2018


Turkish-American NASA scientist sentenced to 7.5 years in prison


Kubra Golge, holding one of her sons, has fought for the release of her husband, Serkan Golge, an American citizen and NASA scientist held by Turkey on terrorism charges. He was sentenced to more than 7 years in prison yesterday.


ISTANBUL, TURKEY—Serkan Golge, a Turkish-American research scientist at NASA in Houston, Texas, was sentenced to 7.5 years in a Turkish prison Thursday on terrorism charges. The verdict, which has been condemned by the U.S. government, has put his career on hold and left his family and friends reeling. “I feel like this cannot be real,” his wife Kubra Golge, who was inside the courtroom when her husband’s verdict was read, tells Science.

At a press briefing in Washington, D.C., on Thursday, a spokesperson for the U.S. Department of State said the United States is “deeply concerned” by Golge’s conviction, which came “without credible evidence.” The spokesperson said the U.S. government would continue to follow his case closely. A spokesperson for Turkey’s foreign ministry dismissed the criticism in a statement posted to its website and said the court’s decision must be respected.

Golge, a dual citizen who had been studying the effects of radiation on astronauts, was swept up in a crackdown that followed Turkey’s 2016 failed military coup. While visiting family in southern Turkey weeks after the putsch attempt, police showed up to his parents’ home and arrested him in front of his wife and children. According to Golge’s wife, a distant relative who was angered over an inheritance dispute told police Golge was a spy and supporter of Fethullah Gülen, the Islamic cleric who Turkey accuses of masterminding the coup.

Tags: Raumfahrt - NASA scientist accused of terrorism awaits verdict in Turkish trial 


Samstag, 10. Februar 2018 - 13:00 Uhr

UFO-Forschung - The Pentagon’s Mysterious U.F.O. Program -Update-17


PENTAGON UFO BOMBSHELL: SETI experts break silence over 'world changing alien evidence'

EXPERTS from the Search For Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) Institute have finally given their verdict on the UFO disclosures that shocked the world last month.



In December, a New York Times article revealed the existence of a top-secret US Department of Defense department which investigated the UFO phenomenon for five years from 2007 to 2012.

The Advanced Aerial Threat Identification program (AATIP) had a £16million budget to investigate any threat posed by unidentified objects observed by the military.

It was headed by Luis Elizondo, who resigned from the DoD last October to help set up the To The Stars Academy with former Blink 182 singer Tom DeLonge to further UFO research privately.

The article also revealed radar camera footage from a US Navy aircraft flying off the coast of San Diego in November 2004, which was said to show a UFO that "defied physics."

This footage was part of the so-called Nimitz UFO incident, in which several US Navy personnel reported seeing several tic-tac shaped UFOs over the sea, a case that was investigated by the AATIP.

Mr Elizondo later went on record to say the case, and others looked at by the AATIP, showed "there was very compelling evidence that we are not alone”.

The US-based SETI Institute is a collective of scientists looking for evidence of alien life in the cosmos.

Now, in a radio podcast of the Big Picture Science Skeptic Check, produced at the SETI Institute, a panel of experts looked at the shocking radar video footage.

James McGaha, is a retired US Air Force pilot, astronomer and director of the Grasslands Observatory, who was part of the panel.

He was not convinced the video is proof of anything, let alone aliens.

Quelle: Express


Update: 10.02.2018


NYT: GIMBAL Video of U.S. Navy Jet Encounter with Unknown Object

Just noticed that a video we've looked at before has a rotating jet-engine lens flare...


Bang! This isn't just an example of a rotating lens flare, but from jet engines. Only too obvious! It's from this video, and I inverted from white=hot to black=hot (perfectly reasonable to do) to compare.

Doing some background research on the Su-27 on ATFLIR footage I found an earlier posting of it (posted here on Sep 21, 2017 versus the youtube copy posted on Sep 24), and the resolution of this earlier posting is better, suggesting the youtube posting may be a copy of this:

That footage of the Su-27 was taken during events over Syria that ended in a Russian Su-22 being shot down by a U.S. F-18 on June 18, 2017. The Su-27 footage is cited in this Drive article about the Su-22 shoot down, and another Drive articledescribes the Su-27's involvement thus:

Most media accounts do no mention the presence of the Su-27, but there it is. I wanted to shore that up in case the description alongside the youtube copy of the footage might be wrong, as it cites the same date the Su-22 was shot down. That youtube account hosting the copy is associated with a Russian blog that, according to Google Translation, has this to say about the Su-27:
The Su-27 video is a clip from the VFA-31 Cruise Video, mirrored below. I think the initial front view is of a Su-34 with its canards. A little bit earlier, around 12:40, there's footage of a couple of drones, and the Su-22 shootdown at 6:11. Can you tell what's going on at 13:25?

Here's the pilots' account of the shootdown.

I assumed the 2X zoom is digital. It's instant and is treated differently from the FOV changes. The vrsimulations source says, "Each field of view can be further narrowed by up to 2x in 10 discrete steps." It also says that NAR is 1.5˚, but doesn't cite any references. Jane's said NAR is 1˚, but it skipped Medium FOV. There's another old reference that says, "ATFLIR’s magnification is 30X versus previous FLIR capability at 4X," which suggests 1.4˚.
Marine Corps Warfighting Publication (MCWP) 3-26, Air Reconnaissance, 2001

Near the end of the Nimitz "tic tac" video, the camera was panning at about 0.2˚/sec to track the target, and when it lost lock, the target moved a quarter of the FOV in about a second, so if the velocity was the same, then the FOV would be around 0.2*4=0.8˚. But the display may crop the 640x480 image to 480x480. That's why knowing the IFOV would help.
Hay, I just made a possibly important observation... the flare rotation seen in the Su-27 video occurs as the view of the Su-27 becomes directly rear-on, ie, ostensibly also as LOS sweeps across 0˚.
For what it's worth, in the latest Big Picture Science episode, retired Air Force pilot and astronomer James McGaha agreed that the video shows an airplane from behind, and that its apparent rotation was a camera artifact.
In this video, hopefully I’ve consolidated the best explanations into a concise argument for the terrestrial origin of the so-called “Gimbal UFO.” Although it seems overly generous to call it a “UFO.” If I see headlights in the street, it’s an automobile, not an ET cruiser. If you see the “Gimbal UFO” in a FLIR screen, it’s unremarkably an ordinary jet. That’s what the Su-27 footage demonstrates, the un-remarkability or ordinariness of the Gimbal footage.

The best explanation for a flying object that looks just like a jet, is that it's a jet. The Gimbal object looks just like the hot exhaust of a jet, so that’s it, that's the best explanation. If a tree looks like a tree, it’s not reasonably an ET disguised as a tree. Grainy-footage analyses largely reduce to “looks like.” So if it looks like something ordinary, there’s no reason to introduce an extraordinary explanation. And the Su-27 footage with its rotating flare makes the Gimbal footage ordinary, not extraordinary.

So the Gimbal footage is just ordinary evidence for an ordinary phenomenon.
Quelle: Mick West / Metabunk


Tags: UFO-Forschung - The Pentagon’s Mysterious U.F.O. Program -Update-17 


Weitere 10 Nachrichten nachladen...