Friday, July 22, 2011

I Guess I Should Stop Being Lazy

I have been back home from my vacation since Monday, but haven't felt much like writing a post. First it was because I was a bit sad leaving the beach and my girlfriend. And then when trying to come up with something in the past few days, there has just been an overwhelming amount of astronomy news that it was hard to pick where to dig into.

Anyways, I am back. You can expect normal posting to resume Monday. I'll probably be checking out the blogs that I follow this weekend. I dunno how much I will get back into it though, I am still working on that job hunt.

But for some weekend reading, here are some of the big astronomy stories that I haven't taken the time to tackle:

The next Mars Rover, Curiosity, had its landing site chosen, Gale crater.

The Dawn probe entered orbit around asteroid Vesta on the 15th, our first close glimpse is amazing.

A fourth moon has been discovered around Pluto. Right now it seems like they are leaning towards naming it Cerberus, the 3-headed dog that guards the gates of The Underworld.

The House has proposed cancelling the James Webb Telescope, described as the Hubble successor (it doesn't really do the same thing, but it's still amazing). The telescope is over 50% done, probably closer to 75-80% and would be in orbit by 2015. Along with a 9% total cut to NASA's budget, with the shuttles winding down, this is like a sucker punch to NASA, an insult. Hopefully the Senate and President alter this course.

Yes, we are officially living in a post-space shuttle world right now. Atlantis landed safely at 5:56 AM EST on the morning of the 21st. Hopefully the post-space shuttle world is temporary and a replacement unveiled soon.

With the space shuttles grounded, the private space race has been heating up. This provides some optimism for the future. NASA can focus on pushing the boundaries that they have done so well while leaving the trucking to someone else.

Also, July 18th was former astronaut John Glenn's 90th birthday. The 20th was the 42nd anniversary of the Moon landing.

There might have been a few other interesting things I missed over, but the major focus has been on the winding down of the shuttle mission. I hope you all have a good weekend!