Tag Archives: Russia

Phobos Grunt crashes in the Pacific

Well, the expected destination (the Indian Ocean) was wrong, but the timing was just about right.  The star-crossed journey of Phobos Grunt, the Russian probe designed to collect and return samples from the Martian moon Phobos, has finally ended in a fiery re-entry over the Pacific.  It seems to have mostly burnt up in the process, so unless there’s a very unlucky ship underneath one of the larger pieces, nothing’s been harmed except for Russia’s pride.

Space.com  The Register  PhysOrg



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CES continues(!), sunflower-inspired solar-thermal systems, and many other things



  • The US military’s drone war in Pakistan is back online, despite the tensions created by “friendly” fire incidents.
  • Stealth tech keeps getting more and more elaborate.  This article in PopSci talks about a fluid cloak for submarines, and this one about low-heat-signature tanks.





  • A new photovoltaic solar system is being tested, in combination with a greenhouse, that will allow light through the panels in the winter, when the plants need it, and convert some of it to energy in the summer, when they don’t.
  • I mentioned incentives yesterday, here’s another example:  Conservationists are getting increasingly agitated about the increased rate of whaling these days; legal processes don’t seem to work, and illegal ones (Sea Shepherd, for example) don’t have much effect either.  So one bright fellow suggested that whaling be governed by quotas like the ones that some countries have set up for catching fish – whalers would have to bid for the right to catch whales, except that in this idea, conservationists would be able to bid as well in order to keep the whalers from catching so many whales.


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Space links, 12/23/11

NASA ‘Smart SPHERES’ Tested on ISS:  little spherical robots, with smartphones for brains, that are designed to move around in zero-G conditions and help out astronauts.  So cool.

Yet another reason why many exo-planets aren’t going to be habitable: not even a strong magnetic field can save you from irradiation if your sun’s solar wind is strong enough.

How do you weigh something in zero-G, when they’re weightless?  By using a Kinect, apparently.

/facepalm.  Russia had another space-launch fail Friday, as a rocket with a satellite payload crashed after launch.  Many articles on it, understandably.

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