Category Archives: Points of Information

Docking at ISS of Progress freighter fails

The arrival of a new unmanned Progress freighter at ISS has gone wrong, with the freighter drifting past the station by several miles. What happened is not yet clear, but as far as I know from my research into the Russian space station program, this is the first time the automatic docking of a Progress freighter has failed this wildly. There have been some near collisions, but to miss by miles is unprecedented.

Whether they can redirect the freighter back to the station also remains as yet unknown.


why I remain skeptical about global warming

Here is another example of why I remain skeptical of any claims that the science of global warming is settled. Ken Stewart, a retired school teacher in Australia, decided to make a very detailed comparison between the raw data and adjusted data of all thirteen weather stations in the state of Victoria, and found that, for unknown reasons, the adjusted “data [has] been arbitrarily adjusted to cool earlier years,” thereby creating the illusion that the region’s climate has been warming since the 1930s.

Take a look at the many graphs on his webpage. It will make you wonder.


why I never use Wikipedia

Why I never use Wikipedia. Key quote:

The larger moral of this story is that Wikipedia itself is a fundamentally flawed and unreliable source. In fact, it is wrong even to describe — much less to use — Wikipedia as a source. Wikipedia is merely a platform. Since anyone and everyone can edit Wikipedia entries and since they can do so anonymously, Wikipedia is, by its very nature, susceptible to constant manipulation.


More images of Ikaros

A new picture of the Japanese solar sail Ikaros has been released, showing the sail in operation. By turning power on and off to different sections along the sail’s rim, engineers can change the way light reflects off those sections to control the sail’s attitude in space without using fuel. Note also that the power comes from sunlight, not from batteries. The picture below illustrates this, with different parts of the rim either bright or dark, depending on whether they are powered or not.

Ikaros as seen on June 19, 2010


Hayabusa, Deep Impact, India/TMT

Japanese scientists have taken their first look inside the Hayabusa capsule. So far, they’ve detected some unidentified gas, but no particles bigger than 1 millimeter.

On Sunday, Deep Impact flies past Earth to give it a boost so that it can rendezvous with another comet on Nov 4, 2010.

India has joined the Thirty Meter Telescope Project. This is important as it shows how much India is becoming a first world nation. It also indicates that nation’s continuing passion for all things space-related. Also, the Thirty Meter Telescope (with a mirror the size of a football field!) is cool on its own.

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