Archive for March, 2008

Mars Rover program is Continuing.

On Monday we’ve head that scientists plan to put one of the twin Mars rovers to sleep and limit the activities of the other robot to fulfill a NASA because their budget was being cut by $4 million.

But on the next day NASA says that it has absolutely no plan to turn off either of the Mars Rovers because of budget cuts. It has rescinded a letter that recommended budget cuts in the Mars Rover program to cover the cost of a next-generation rover on the Red Planet.

The agency’s administrator, Michael D. Griffin, says NASA needs the money to keep the space shuttle fleet aloft, complete the International Space Station and build a new crew exploration vehicle to replace the shuttle and but as was saying in a statement Tuesday neither of the rovers will be shut down.

Truly Wireless Battery Invention.

Konarka Technologies, Inc have demonstrated new light-activated Power Plastic Sun Battery, that is flexible, lightweight, lower in cost and much more versatile in application than traditional silicon-based solar cells.

These new materials are made from conducting polymers and nano-engineered materials that can be coated or printed onto a surface in a process similar to how photographic film is made.

Batteries can be useed with devices, systems and structures to have their own low-cost embedded sources of renewable power. By combining energy generation and power consumption within the same device, the battery is truly wireless applications.

Unexpected Anomalies

Mysteriously, five spacecraft that flew past the Earth have each displayed unexpected anomalies in their motions, SPACE.com reports. In five of the six flybys, the scientists have confirmed anomalies.

“I am feeling both humble and perplexed by this,” said Anderson, who is now working as a retiree. “There is something very strange going on with spacecraft motions. We have no convincing explanation for either the Pioneer anomaly or the flyby anomaly.”

In the one probe the researchers did not confirm a noticeable anomaly with, MESSENGER, the spacecraft approached the Earth at about latitude 31 degrees north and receded from the Earth at about latitude 32 degrees south. “This near-perfect symmetry about the equator seemed to result in a very small velocity change, in contrast to the five other flybys,” Anderson explained — so small no anomaly could be confirmed.

The five other flybys involved flights whose incoming and outgoing trajectories were asymmetrical with each other in terms of their orientation with Earth’s equator. The fact this effect seems most evident with flybys most asymmetrical with respect to Earth’s equator “suggests that the anomaly is related to Earth’s rotation,” Anderson said.

As to whether these new anomalies are linked with the Pioneer anomaly, “I would be very surprised if we have discovered two independent spacecraft anomalies,” Anderson told SPACE.com. “I suspect they are connected, but I really do not know.”

“Another thing in common between the Pioneer and these flybys is what you would call an unbound orbit around a central body,” Anderson said. “For instance, the Pioneers are flying out of the solar system — they’re not bound to their central body, the sun. For the other flybys, the Earth is the central body. These kinds of orbits just don’t occur very often in nature — it could be when you get into an unbound orbit around a central body, something goes on that’s not in our standard models.”

The researchers are now collaborating with German colleagues to search for possible anomalies in the Rosetta probe’s second flyby of the Earth on November 13.

“We should continue to monitor spacecraft during Earth flybys. We should look carefully at newly recovered Pioneer data for more evidence of the Pioneer anomaly,” Anderson added. “We should think about launching a dedicated mission on an escape trajectory from the solar system, just to look for anomalies in its motion.”