NASA announced yesterday that engineers have finally completely restored its Mars orbiter MAVEN, after a three month period when the spacecraft was in safe mode due to an attitude control problem.
To fix the problem engineers uploaded new software that allowed the spacecraft to determine its orientation in space not from its onboard inertial units, but from locking onto stars in the sky.
All instruments were healthy and successfully resumed observations; however, the spacecraft was constrained to pointing at the Earth until testing of all-stellar mode was completed, so the instruments were not oriented as they normally would be during science operations. Nevertheless, some limited science was still possible, and MAVEN even observed a coronal mass ejection impact Mars less than two days after the instruments were powered on.
Moreover, for some parts of the year it will still need its inertial units, so a fix for those time periods is still required.
Regardless, MAVEN can now resume acting as a communications relay between the Earth and the rovers on Mars, which for the past year has become its prime mission. While both rovers can communication without that relay, it is often necessary depending on a number of factors, and it also provides redundancy and a greater communications capacity.
Now available in hardback and paperback as well as ebook!
From the press release: In this ground-breaking new history of early America, historian Robert Zimmerman not only exposes the lie behind The New York Times 1619 Project that falsely claims slavery is central to the history of the United States, he also provides profound lessons about the nature of human societies, lessons important for Americans today as well as for all future settlers on Mars and elsewhere in space.
Conscious Choice: The origins of slavery in America and why it matters today and for our future in outer space
, is a riveting page-turning story that documents how slavery slowly became pervasive in the southern British colonies of North America, colonies founded by a people and culture that not only did not allow slavery but in every way were hostile to the practice.
does more however. In telling the tragic history of the Virginia colony and the rise of slavery there, Zimmerman lays out the proper path for creating healthy societies in places like the Moon and Mars.
“Zimmerman’s ground-breaking history provides every future generation the basic framework for establishing new societies on other worlds. We would be wise to heed what he says.” —Robert Zubrin, founder of founder of the Mars Society.
All editions are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and all book vendors, with the ebook priced at $5.99 before discount. The ebook can also be purchased direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit, in which case you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.
Autographed printed copies are also available at discount directly from me (hardback $24.95; paperback $14.95; Shipping cost for either: $5.00). Just email me at zimmerman @ nasw dot org.