Y’know, only Doctor Who could celebrate its 50th anniversary, and then, two years later, it’s tenth. :-P
Now, hearken back to March 17, 2005, and the day we saw the Ninth Doctor appear in the life of Rose Tyler, and bring the series back to life again……it was a bit longer before we got to see it on this side of the pond (well, apart from those of us willing to download from, ahem, certain types of site), but it was all so worth the wait. I remember nervously sitting down to watch “Rose”, and then, with considerable satisfaction, thinking that yes, this is Doctor Who. It’s going to be fine.
The Doctor is back.
Today was a very busy day for the Soyuz rocket! First and certainly not least, the historic launch of Soyuz TMA-16M, a manned launch from Baikonur Cosmodrome carrying the first American heading for a yearlong mission (Scott Kelly) and the first Russian since the Mir program to do the same (Mikhail Kornienko), along with veteran Soyuz commander Gennady Padalka. At the time of this posting, they have rendezvoused with the ISS and will be docking soon.
And from Kourou, French Guiana, an unmanned Soyuz ST-B launched with the next two elements of the Galileo navigation satellite constellation, intended as a competitor to GPS, GLONASS, and Beidou:
After the successful upload of new software to allow Opportunity to resume use of its onboard flash memory (NVRAM), the rover was able to start rolling again and has now passed the marathon milestone of 26.219 miles, by about ten and a half feet. Congratulations, Opportunity!
Another successful flight for the Delta IV rocket!
NASA is looking for some names to use for yet-to-be-discovered features on Pluto and Charon in a few months. They won’t have time to linger, so they want a large preselected list of about 100 to be going with. They’re soliciting choices from three ballots (plus another shorter one for kids) covering the History of Exploration, the Literature of Exploration, and the Mythology of the Underworld. (Fittingly, since Pluto is the lord of the underworld.) They’re not all Greco-Roman, and not even all mythological — Literature of Exploration includes names like Han Solo, and my personal favorite is from Mythology of the Underworld: Z’ha’dum!
So go ahead. Vote on your favorites! They need your help before the pictures start coming back! The winners will be submitted to the IAU for pre-approval before being applied to actual surface features, which will ensure there will be no need for interim names. And you’ll help put a name on a map. ;-)
Our Pluto: Public campaign to name the surface features on Pluto and Charon
No, this isn’t a silhouette identification quiz (though maybe I’ll do one of those later….), this is an actual request from United Launch Alliance. The Atlas V and Delta IV rockets developed under the USAF’s Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle program are not very competitive anymore, and ULA is working on a vehicle that can replace them both. Currently designated the Next Generation Launch System and slated to be powered by Blue Origin’s methane-burning BE-4 engine, this rocket needs a name. And they’ve decided to drop the legacy of both Atlas and Delta. This will get a new name.
ULA has narrowed down the slate of contenders to three: Eagle, Freedom, or GalaxyOne. Click here to vote for your choice!
(Note: GalaxyOne? Seriously? Sounds like a Samsung smartphone, not one of the most powerful launch vehicles on the planet.)