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3 new stories for 2012/03/18

Weekly SkyWatcher’s Forecast – March 19-25, 2012

NGC 2539 - Credit: Palomar Observatory Courtesy of Caltech

Greetings, fellow SkyWatchers! The week starts off with new Moon and the perfect opportunity to do a Messier Marathon. The planets continue to dazzle as we not only celebrate the Vernal Equinox, but the March Geminid meteor shower as well! If that doesn’t get your pulsar racing – nothing will. It’s time to get out your binoculars and telescopes and meet me in the backyard! (...)
Read the rest of Weekly SkyWatcher’s Forecast – March 19-25, 2012 (2,310 words)


© tammy for Universe Today, 2012. | Permalink | No comment |
Post tags: geminid meteor shower, Herschel Objects, Jupiter, March Meteor Showers, Mars, Messier Marathon, Moon, Saturn, Venus, vernal equinox

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SpaceX’s Dragon, Now With Seating for Seven

Inside the SpaceX Dragon capsule, testing out the seating arrangement for a crew of seven. Test crew included (from top left): NASA Crew Survival Engineering Team Lead Dustin Gohmert, NASA Astronaut Tony Antonelli, NASA Astronaut Lee Archambault, SpaceX Mission Operations Engineer Laura Crabtree, SpaceX Thermal Engineer Brenda Hernandez, NASA Astronaut Rex Walheim, and NASA Astronaut Tim Kopra. Photo: Roger Gilbertson / SpaceX

So much for the idea that space capsules are cramped and can only carry a limited crew. SpaceX revealed a prototype for their new crew cabin design, as they conducted a joint daylong review with NASA of the Dragon crew vehicle layout. In this configuration, the Dragon will be able to carry a crew of seven, the same number the space shuttle could carry. Using a Dragon engineering model equipped with seats and representations of crew systems, they were able to get assessments and feedback from engineers and four NASA astronauts on interior amenities such as lighting, environmental control and life support systems, displays, cargo racks, and the all important seating system. The evaluators participated in human factors assessments which covered entering and exiting Dragon under both normal and contingency cases, as well as reach and visibility evaluations. . Photo: SpaceXwhich they say will work well for astronauts in both regular and emergency (that’s ‘off-nominal’ in NASA-speak) scenarios.

See more images from the review, below, along with a video from the initial tests of the SuperDraco engines that will power the launch escape system.

Plus, as a heads-up, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk will be on the US television show “60 Minutes” on Sunday, March 18, 2012. You can see a preview here, (which includes a touching scene of Musk talking about his heros) and check your local listings here.

(...)
Read the rest of SpaceX’s Dragon, Now With Seating for Seven (152 words)


© nancy for Universe Today, 2012. | Permalink | 5 comments |
Post tags: Commercial Crew, commercial spaceflight, SpaceX

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Astrophoto: Conjunction Symmetry by Rick Ellis

Multiple images of the Venus-Jupiter conjuction on Mar. 13, 2012 from Toronto, Canada. Credit: Rick Ellis.

It’s poetry in motion! Rick Ellis from Toronto, Canada created this 27 frame-composite of the conjunction between Venus and Jupiter on March 13, 2012, with 6 second exposures five minutes apart. Rick used a Canon A460, ISO 80.

Beautiful!

Check out Rick’s website for more poetry — seriously — and more images.

See our previous gallery of Venus-Jupiter conjunction images from around the world.

Want to get your astrophoto featured on Universe Today? Join our Flickr group, post in our Forum or send us your images by email (this means you’re giving us permission to post them). Please explain what’s in the picture, when you took it, the equipment you used, etc.


© nancy for Universe Today, 2012. | Permalink | One comment |
Post tags: Astrophotos, Jupiter, Venus, Venus-Jupiter Conjuction

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