Added 1 new A* page:A few days back I mentioned a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket having taken the first American robot commercial cargo module to the International Space Station, and that during launch one of its 9 engines failed, but the other 8 compensated.|
Well, it got the cargo module to the ISS all right, but it turns out that it had a secondary mission not mentioned earlier. See, after launch it got itself to its target 202 mile-high orbit, then it spent the next two days going up another 48 miles to meet the ISS and deliver the cargo module. That went fine, it seems. But after that, it had an Orbcomm "experimental communications satellite" to deliver to a 466 mile-high orbit--only, the engine malfunction during launch had forced it to burn a little more of its kerosene and oxygen fuel than planned, so it was calculated to have only a 95% chance of successfully reaching the higher orbit--sounds like pretty darn good odds, but since a 99% chance had been stipulated in SpaceX's agreement with NASA before such an operation would be allowed to take place, they were not given the go-ahead for that, and the satellite had to be allowed to fall back to Earth, burning up in the atmosphere. Hm!
Exoplanet "news" is pretty much all wildly speculative. How wild? Welllll....there is for instance a new article about a planet that's supposed to have been found around a star 40 light years away, weighing in about twice as massive as Earth, and that some scientists apparently think is about a third diamond. Yeah, diamond. The thing is, "exoplanet" stuff is all based on extremely small wobbles in little points of light or whatnot, and the claims built up on calculations made on those wobbles--which I think have a pretty high degree of error--get pretty wacky. But here's the article in case you want to check out the hype and see the silly cutaway drawing of the "diamond planet."