The GeekDad Space Report for January 18, 2010

Geek Culture

Cosmonaut Oleg Kotov participating in the first spacewalk of 2010. (Image: NASA)Cosmonaut Oleg Kotov participating in the first spacewalk of 2010. (Image: NASA)

Cosmonaut Oleg Kotov participating in the first spacewalk of 2010. (Image: NASA)

Greetings all and welcome to another edition of the GeekDad Space Report. Coming off a quiet week for launches and going into another quiet week so lets dive into some other space news.


New images were released this week of the star Betelgeuse. As reported by, these images show a resolved disk of the Red Supergiant star, which is about 600 light-years away, in infrared and were taken with a group of ground-based observatories in Arizona. The telescopes were linked together using a method known as interferometry. The images show areas of convection, similar to our own sun, and provide a great insight into the life of Red Supergiants.

A solar eclipse this past Friday was observed by a set of rockets launched by India, as reported by an article on CNN. The rockets are designed to study the effects of the eclipse on the lower and middle parts of our atmosphere.

Wired Science had a report this week of a small astroid that passed by the earth at just one-third the distance to the moon. There were no worries about the astroid hitting the Earth as it was only 30 to 50 feet across and likely would have burned up entering the atmosphere.

Interesting Hubble Observations

Here are some interesting observations scheduled for Hubble. A more complete list can be found at the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) This Week On HST Website.

A SNAPSHOT Survey of the Local Interstellar Medium: New NUV Observations of Stars with Archived FUV Observations

Narrowing in on the Hubble Constant and Dark Energy

Mapping the Interaction between High-Redshift Galaxies and the Intergalactic Environment

This is a small list of the overall observations. You may also see some of these observations popping up in other weeks as many observation programs consist of several observations over time.

Other Science

A group of scientists are getting ready for the opportunities that are expected to come from upcoming sub-orbital flights. The group is in training to be ready to fly with their experiments on sub-orbital flights according to MSNBC. They are undergoing training at the NASTAR Center, previously discussed as the location used by Virgin Galactic for pre-flight checkouts and for supporting the training regiment of Santa Claus.

Manned Spaceflight

Moving along the path towards the Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV), Aviation Week is reporting that three new spacesuit designs are undergoing tests at the Johnson Space Center (JSC) in Houston, TX. The suits are to be pressurized to better understand the mobility they provide and how they will work with elements of the Orion module.

This past week on the International Space Station, the first spacewalk of 2010 took place to prepare a docking module on a new Russian element of the station according to the Florida Today’s Flame Trench blog.

Have a great week everyone!

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