Tune into Paranormal Radio with Captain Jack Tonight at 9pm (EST): 10 Mysteries of the Solar System

Paranormal Radio with Captain Jack logo
Paranormal Radio with Captain Jack logo

For my fourth appearance on Captain Jack’s Paranormal Radio show, I’ve been invited back to discuss a recent Universe Today article I wrote detailing some of my favourite Solar System mysteries. These mysteries include the coronal heating problem, the “Mars Curse” and Uranus’ tilt. I don’t have many answers, but there should be some surprises thrown in. Most likely Jack and I will meander into different topics, so it should be fun to listen in!

For more information on the show, see tonight’s profile. Remember, the show will be airing live over several US cities, satellite radio and the Internet. For more information on where it will be airing, check out the Paranormal Radio homepage. To listen to the live podcast, starting at 6pm (PST), 9pm (EST) or 2am (GMT), download the .pls file to activate your podcast-listening software, or use the popup Media Player (plugin needed).

Cheers! Ian

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Astroengine 2.0 Launches!

Astroengine v2.0
Astroengine v2.0

After much deliberation and planning, I made the decision to give Astroengine.com a complete facelift. Although the black-background/off-white text had served me well, I noticed that the dark colour scheme was ageing pretty quickly (and giving some of my readers eye strain!). As the traffic has increased 100-fold in the last six months, I thought it was a good time to launch a brand new image, using a professional template that I could easily customize…
Continue reading “Astroengine 2.0 Launches!”

GOCE Will be the Coolest Satellite to Orbit Earth, Ever

Solar panels have never looked so good. GOCE is the Porsche of orbital engineering (GOCE/ESA)
Solar panels have never looked so good. GOCE is the Porsche of orbital engineering (GOCE/ESA)

The European Space Agency is set to launch the Gravity field and steady-state Ocean Circulation Explorer (GOCE) Star Destroyer satellite on September 10th. This advanced mission will be the most sophisticated piece of kit ever to orbit the Earth, investigating the Earth’s gravitational field. It will perform a highly accurate mapping campaign, producing a high resolution reference shape of the geoid (i.e. the shape of our planet). The mission will be unprecedented, but that’s not the reason why I’m drawing attention to it…

Only last week I remarked on the coolness of the 2013 Mars rover mission in the shape of the dazzling Pasteur Rover (set to drill two-metres into Mars), and today with the announcement of the launch GOCE, it looks like ESA has done it again. They’ve encased their state-of-the-art instrumentation inside something that belongs in a science fiction movie, more reminiscent of the Imperial Star Destroyer from Star Wars than a tin box satellite…
Continue reading “GOCE Will be the Coolest Satellite to Orbit Earth, Ever”

Carnival of Space Week 68 – Crowlspace

Schematic showing Sagittarius A crossing the beam of Indlebe on 28 July 2008 (Stuart MacPherson)
Schematic showing Sagittarius A crossing the beam of Indlebe on 28 July 2008 (Stuart MacPherson)

For this week’s outing into the wild world of space blogging Carnival style, we dock at Crowlspace.com for a superb mix of space news, views and opinions. It’s entitled “…star travel won’t be easy,” and they’re not kidding! It seems this week has focused around the conventional, and sci-fi modes of transportation (although the question of energy in either case will be the limiting factor). For my part, I submitted my opinions about the recent misinterpretation of a radio signal from the centre of our galaxy. No, it isn’t aliens, it’s totally natural, I promise

ExoMars Rover Will be the Coolest Martian on Six Wheels

The ESA Pasteur Rover, the Mercedes Benz of Martian roving (ESA)
The ESA Pasteur Rover, the Mercedes Benz of Martian roving (ESA)

Preparations for the European ExoMars mission appear to be in full swing for a 2013 launch to the Red Planet. This will be a huge mission for ESA as they have yet to control a robot on another planet. Yes, us Europeans had control of the Huygens probe that drifted through the atmosphere of Titan (and had a few minutes to feel what it was like to sit on another planet before Huygens slipped into robot heaven), but it’s been NASA who has made all the strides in robotic roving technology. Although Russia gave the rover thing a blast back in 1971, the roads have been clear for the 1998 Mars Pathfinder Sojourner rover and the current NASA’s Mars Exploration Rovers. Spirit and Opportunity are still exploring the planet (regardless of the limping and stiff robotic arms), several years after their warranty expired. But the Exploration Rovers won’t be the most hi-tech robotic buggies to rove the Martian regolith for much longer.

Enter the ESA Pasteur Rover, possibly the meanest looking rover you will ever see, with the intent of probing Mars to its core…
Continue reading “ExoMars Rover Will be the Coolest Martian on Six Wheels”

Astroengine is Now Vibrating at a New Resonance: Upgrade to WordPress Version 2.6.1

Not a huge announcement this one. Not even news worthy. Just upgraded Astroengine to WordPress 2.6.1.

The only reason I mention it is because it took me three minutes to backup the database, all the files, switch off the plugins, display the “site under maintenance” page, upload all the new files, unpack them, install them, fire up all the plugins and verify the whole lot is ticking along as it should. I used to put aside a couple of hours to do an upgrade, catering for all unforeseen eventualities, sometimes crashing the whole site and bugging the WordPress forums for advice. But not today! WordPress 2.6 has a crispy-neat automatic upgrade function that does everything (and more), ensuring I had a trouble-free upgrade. It was like having a little electrician rewiring the house in record time with no fuss over getting paid.

Superb, thanks Keith Dsouza for developing the WordPress Automatic Upgrade! It made Astroengine.com very happy.

Anyhow, that’s me for the night, I’m off to see the huge lightning storm outside…

Carnival of Space Week 67 – Next Generation (Discovery)

The Apollo missions: A wasted opportunity? (NASA)
The Apollo missions: A wasted opportunity? (NASA)

David Chandler, veteran science journalist working at MIT, hosts this week’s superb Carnival over at Discovery Space: Next Generation. We have discussions about what should have been done with the Apollo missions, the recent Cassini observations of the moon Enceladus to my musings about the Higgs boson and all the fun we’ll have when the LHC goes online next month.

Go and check out Next Generation with David Chandler and enjoy the 67th week of the Carnival…

An Interview with Buzz Aldrin. What Would You Ask Him?

Beginning at the “Fly Me to the Moon” premier in Hollywood last week (which I attended and met the great man himself!), this video interview shows a relaxed Buzz answering some questions from the public on the New York streets. A nice (and rare) insight to the life of a 60’s astronaut…

Go to ScienCentral for the interview

Video Source: ScienCentral

Astroengine Data Gathering

Astroengine needs your input
Astroengine needs your input

Astroengine.com has been in operation for a few years now, but since I began doing some serious space writing in late 2007 the site underwent a major facelift and became what you see today: A space science news blog. As time goes on I will be increasing the frequency at which I update Astroengine – it might be a lot of writing but it will be worth it. During my time researching space articles for Astroengine and my science writing for the Universe Today, I try to find as much original stuff as possible, but often settle of interesting news that is already out there. This is where you can help. If you have anything you would like me to write about, feel free to drop me a line. I recently did this for a regular Astroengine reader who wanted something written about the Higgs boson, a topic I hadn’t thought about addressing. The article was then Dugg like crazy, killing the server more than once! So if you have an idea and want to have a chance at overwhelming Astroengine with traffic, contact me with your idea and I’ll see what can be done.

So, after eight months of space news, I’d like to get your feedback about how Astroengine is shaping up and how you think it could be improved. After all, Astroengine is driven by you, so your views are very important…
Continue reading “Astroengine Data Gathering”

Want to Keep Up with Astroengine Articles? Why not Sign Up for Regular Email Updates…

As Astroengine.com grows, I’ve noticed a lot of returning visitors. I update the site daily with new research from various institutions, popular space science news and stories that wouldn’t normally see the light of day on the Internet. With the help of Feedburner.com, Astroengine.com sends out daily emails (one per day) so you can have any updates delivered directly to your inbox. If you want to sign up (at no cost and free of spam), click on the following link and follow the instructions.

I’ll look forward to seeing you soon!

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Thank you for stopping by!

Ian (Astroengine editor)