|August 03, 2012||Curiosity Landing.||2 comments|
|August 03, 2012||The Flying Fickle Finger Of Fate Award.||3 comments|
|August 02, 2012||Tropical Storm Ernesto.||4 comments|
|August 02, 2012||Tea Party: Thank You for Your Insanity.||6 comments|
|August 02, 2012||Random Poll.||2 comments|
|July 31, 2012||Mitt's Trip.||3 comments|
|July 31, 2012||You Were Always On My Mind.||2 comments|
|July 31, 2012||Blue Moon.||2 comments|
|July 29, 2012||Republican Trolls 100% Anal Retentive.||no comments|
|July 29, 2012||The Real Reason Rural Republican Conservatives Support Romney.||3 comments|
- From The Washington Post by Emi Kolawole
The Mars rover Curiosity is scheduled to land in the early morning hours of Monday, Aug. 6.
If you’re wondering just how big a deal the Curiosity mission is, The Post’s Marc Kaufman captures the significance and drama of the anticipated landing.
First, the takeaway superlative for the landing: It “will be the most complex and hair-raising in planetary history.” And for the mission? It is, writes Kaufman, “the most ambitious, the most costly ($2.5 billion) and the most high-stakes mission ever to another planet.”
Other superlatives include the fact that Curiosity is the largest and heaviest human-made object to land on Mars, a critical step if humans are ever to visit the planet. Curiosity is also the first rover to search for the building blocks of life on the Red Planet — the first since the Viking Missions of the ’70s.
As you’ve probably gleaned by now, for NASA followers and fans, to say nothing of the casual observer, the mission is a must-see event. You may be thinking, “That’s great, but where can I watch it?”
NASA’s coverage of the event is scheduled to begin at 11:30 p.m. Sunday night and go until 4 a.m. Monday morning. The landing itself is scheduled for 1:31 a.m. Monday. Unlike the hour-by-hour video coverage of SpaceX’s historic docking with the international space station, don’t expect gorgeous panorama shots of the planet surface immediately after landing. Curiosity will not feed back video as it goes through its “seven minutes of terror” landing sequence. Instead, NASA’s live coverage will center around non-video telemetry. The first images to reach Earth will be low-resolution black and white images after the rover has landed. The high-resolution, color images are expected to be beamed back 48 hours later, after the main mast deploys.
Patience may be the name of the game when it comes to photos and video, but it’s not for social media, on which NASA is very active. The agency’s Twitter account has over 2.5 million followers. And the Curiosity landing has its own twitter account, @MarsCuriosity, hashtag, #MSL and Facebook page. NASA also has a number of live-streaming channels on U Stream. For those looking for breaking news, NASA plans to broadcast news of the landing across platforms, with watch parties happening at a number of NASA locations. If you can’t make it to any of those and you live in New York, however, NASA’s live coverage will be broadcast on the Toshiba screen on the main Jumbotron in Times Square.
Yes, folks, this is that big of a deal.
Of all the coverage of Curiosity, however, my favorite outline comes from NASA lead scientist John Grunsfeld during an Aug. 1 interview on Comedy Central’s The Colbert Report. Colbert’s joke that Curiosity’s 14-minute communication delay is shorter than NBC’s tape-delayed Olympics coverage aside, the interview is a nice summation of what to expect from Curiosity.
During the interview, Grunsfeld walks through the “seven minutes of terror” and makes a “bold prediction,” saying, “the Curiosity rover is going to discover nothing on Mars. ... It’s not going to discover a thing.” But, continued Grunsfeld, “people on Earth, the scientists on Earth are going to discover all kinds of incredible things. We’re just going to love it. It’s going to be two years of amazing science.”
And those two years all start Sunday night and hinge on seven critical minutes.
Updated August 3, 2012 10:45AM CST
000 WTNT45 KNHC 031454 TCDAT5
TROPICAL STORM ERNESTO DISCUSSION NUMBER 8 NWS NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL AL052012 1100 AM AST FRI AUG 03 2012
DATA FROM A RECONNAISSANCE PLANE AND RADAR FROM MARTINIQUE SHOWED THE SMALL BUT WELL-DEFINED CENTER OF ERNESTO MOVED WESTWARD JUST SOUTH OF OR OVER ST. LUCIA EARLY THIS MORNING. BASED ON THE AIRCRAFT AND SURFACE OBSERVATIONS...THE INITIAL INTENSITY IS SET AT 45 KNOTS. THESE WINDS ARE CONFINED TO A SMALL AREA NORTH OF THE CENTER. FAST-MOVING TROPICAL CYCLONES TYPICALLY DO NOT STRENGTHEN MUCH AND IN FACT...LATEST SATELLITE IMAGES INDICATE LITTLE CHANGE IN THE STRUCTURE OF THE CYCLONE.
ERNESTO IS MOVING TOWARD THE WEST OR 275 DEGREES AT 18 KNOTS EMBEDDED WITHIN A FAST EASTERLY FLOW SOUTH OF THE SUBTROPICAL RIDGE. THIS STEERING PATTERN SHOULD KEEP THE CYCLONE ON A GENERAL WESTWARD TRACK FOR THE NEXT 2 TO 3 DAYS. BY THE TIME ERNESTO REACHES THE WESTERN CARIBBEAN...THE STEERING FLOW IS EXPECTED TO WEAKEN AND ERNESTO IS FORECAST TO SLOW DOWN. THE COMBINATION OF LOW SHEAR AND HIGH UPPER-OCEAN HEAT CONTENT IN THE WESTERN CARIBBEAN SEA WOULD FAVOR SOME INTENSIFICATION...AND ERNESTO IS FORECAST TO BECOME A HURRICANE IN THE NORTHWESTERN CARIBBEAN SEA. THE OFFICIAL FORECAST FOLLOWS THE INTENSITY CONSENSUS...BUT ONE SHOULD NOTE THAT BOTH THE SHIPS AND LGEM INTENSITY MODELS ARE FORECASTING A STRONGER HURRICANE.
MOST OF THE TRACK GUIDANCE IS IN PRETTY GOOD AGREEMENT THAT ERNESTO WILL BE RACING WESTWARD ACROSS THE EASTERN AND CENTRAL CARIBBEAN DURING THE NEXT 2 TO 3 DAYS. AFTER THAT...TRACK MODELS DIVERGE CONSIDERABLY AND SOME MODELS KEEP ERNESTO ON A MORE WESTWARD TRACK...WHILE ANOTHER GROUP TURN THE CYCLONE MORE TO THE NORTHWEST...DEPENDING UPON HOW THE MODELS DEPICT THE STRENGTH OF RIDGE TO THE NORTH. NEVERTHELESS...ALL INDICATIONS ARE THAT ERNESTO WILL BE MOVING ACROSS THE NORTHWESTERN CARIBBEAN SEA IN 4 TO 5 DAYS.
FORECAST POSITIONS AND MAX WINDS
INIT 03/1500Z 13.7N 62.3W 45 KT 50 MPH 12H 04/0000Z 13.9N 64.9W 45 KT 50 MPH 24H 04/1200Z 14.4N 68.1W 50 KT 60 MPH 36H 05/0000Z 15.0N 71.2W 55 KT 65 MPH 48H 05/1200Z 15.5N 74.5W 60 KT 70 MPH 72H 06/1200Z 17.0N 80.0W 65 KT 75 MPH 96H 07/1200Z 18.5N 83.5W 75 KT 85 MPH 120H 08/1200Z 20.5N 87.0W 80 KT 90 MPH
$$ FORECASTER AVILA
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