A Chapter of the National Space Society

Oklahoma Space Alliance Home 

OUTREACH July 2009


         Oklahoma Space Alliance will meet at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, July 18 at the Koszorus' house in Norman. Prospective members are also welcome. Their house is at 514 Fenwick Court in Norman.
         To get the meeting either: (1) Take the Robinson Street west exit off I-35. Proceed west to 36th Street where you will turn left, and go south until you turn left on Rambling Oaks (about half a mile north of Main Street). Fenwick Court is the third street on the left. Tom's house is the last on the left side, or (2) Take the Main Street west exit off I-35, proceed west past the Sooner Fashion Mall, and turn right at 36th Street, and go north until you turn right on Rambling Oaks (about half a mile north of Main Street). Fenwick Court is the third street on the left. Tom's house is the last on the left side.


  1. Introductions (if necessary)
  2. Read and approve agenda
  3. Read and approve minutes and reports of activities
    1. Moon Landing Display at Norman Public Library
    2. Report on ISDC
  4. Read and discuss mail
  5. Old Business
    1. Space Week Project for Second Life
    2. Start Up Kit for Chapters in Second Life
    3. Governors proclamation of Space Week
    4. Research funding
    5. Space Solar Power
  6. New Business
  7. Create New Agenda

Minutes of June Meeting

         Claire, Syd, Tom and John Northcutt met at the McMurrays' on June 20 to work on the Norman Public Library exhibit. This was a work meeting so the agenda was suspended. We continued working on the panels for the exhibit and began to organize a large number of clippings under various subjects, such as Mars and International Space.
         We trimmed and organized the panels of “50 years in Space.” There were a considerable number of gaps in the series, including some major ones such as nearly all the Russian Luna Missions, the Gemini Program, and the Columbia and Challenger disasters. This is because the series ran for sixty issues and had only one article per week. The Columbia and Challenger disasters occurred during the same calendar week as the Apollo 1 fire, which is the one that was covered. Syd and Clifford McMurray identified gaps in the series to fill in and Syd agreed to create articles for those weeks.
         Syd looked up the history of international space organizations such as the British Interplanetary Society and Group for the Study of Reactive Motion and brought articles on those. [See below for more meetings on the exhibit.]

Between Meetings Activities

         Claire and Clifford McMurray went to Florida in mid-May to see the launch of the Shuttle mission to the Hubble Space Telescope.
         Oklahoma Space Alliance hosted the con suite at the SoonerCon Science fiction convention in Oklahoma City. We set up at 7:00 p.m. and stayed open past 11:00 p.m. We had 39 people on our sign-up sheet, of whom about 30 were new people. Our party was opposite the Sinnercon costume party, the Art Auction and the Charity Auction.
         Claire and Clifford McMurray and Syd Henderson participated on a panel introducing Oklahoma Space Alliance and private space flight. Clifford McMurray and Tom Koszoru participated on a panel on Benefits of the Space Program, along with Christopher Carson and William Ledbetter. Finally, Clifford and Claire McMurray, Tom Koszoru and William Ledbetter formed a panel on Space Exploration and the Obama Administration.
         Claire, Syd, and Tom, and briefly Tim Scott, met at the McMurrays' on June 13 to work on the Norman Public Library exhibit. We took a field trip to inspect the site. We have a wall space 44 feet wide and about 81 inches high; however, we will mostly be using the top part of this because of furniture. [Correction: we move the furniture.] We also have two display cases. We spent much of the meeting putting together a space timeline from Space News's 50 years in Space articles. We're dividing this into "How Did We Get There" (1915 -1969), "What Have We Done Since" (1969 - 2009), and What Could Come in the Future. Syd suggested that we also have a section "What's Happening Now?" Claire favors separating commercial operations and governmental. Syd and Tom both brought books to display. Tom wants to display his wooden model of a Space Shuttle, probably on top of one of the display cases since it won't fit inside. The exhibit will be in an octagonal-shaped reading room between the main stacks and the children's library.
         After the display we had dinner with hot dogs, fruit, and potato salad brought by the members.

         On June 27, Claire McMurray, Syd Henderson and John Northcutt got together and continued to put together the exhibit. Syd had located pictures for nineteen important events that were not covered in the 50 Years in Space Series. There were: Ham the Chimp, Luna 1, 2, 3, 9 and 10, Mariner 2, 4 and 10,  Alexey Leonov’s space walk, the first space rendezvous, the first space docking, the first space fatality (Vladimir Komarov), Apollo 8, the first Space Shuttle launch, the Challenger and Columbia disasters, and the first crew of the Space Station. [I’ll try to put these articles on the web site.] Syd had written articles for about half of these, and intended to bring the rest on Sunday and Monday. Syd discovered he had erroneously written that Luna 1, which had emitted a sodium vapor trial, was the first manmade object in space visible to the naked eye; that honor actually belongs to the rocket booster of Sputnik 1, [Sputnik itself was barely visible as well.] Syd and Claire worked on the exhibit on Sunday night and Monday daytime [at which time Syd brought the rest of the completed articles], and John and Claire on Monday Night. The exhibit was put up by John, Syd and Claire on July 1, except for a couple of panels which Claire put up on July 2.

Minutes of May Meeting

[These should have been in the June Update, but I didn’t alert Claire they were already on the web. My apologies: SFH]

         Oklahoma Space Alliance met at the McMurray house on May 16. Attending were Claire and Clifford McMurray, Syd Henderson and Tom Koszoru.
         We have lost the big display at the Norman Public Library to their Summer Reading Campaign. There are two flat display cases in the main reading room. Claire will check to see if we can use them. There is a whole wall there we can put stuff on. We should be looking for book covers to put in the cases around the rovers. We need to put together a book and video list.
Kip wants to do a cookout in early June.
         We had a total of eight people on Yuri’s Night. Syd needs to put notes for Yuri’s Night on our web site.
         The Planetary Society needs to be in the contact information in the back of the newsletters. The Air Space Museum at Science Museum Oklahoma should be eliminated. [I’ve replaced it with a generic contact for the Science Museum.—SFH]
         Can we get Kim Vowell to send us minutes for the May 27 OSIDA meeting?
         Syd will pay the $54 fee for the Post Office Box and be reimbursed.
David Baxter wants governors of all fifty states to designate July 16-24 (the 40th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission) as a space observance. July 20 would be Space Exploration Day.
         The ISDC preliminary schedule is now on-line.
         Check Virgin Galactic for updates on their web site.
         The most visible thing we will be doing at SoonerCon will be covering the con suite. Tom has videos and equipment. We need to see about getting stomp rockets. Tom has a large cooler. We discussed refreshments. Since we are covering the con suite, we will need to bring refreshments for that period; Cookies, chips, queso, corn balls, candy, carrots, ranch dressing. We can make our own veggie tray. Dotson has 7-grain chips.
         We need to talk to Leonard about panels at SoonerCon.
         Find a way to fund a business school project at OU on marketing the Oklahoma Spaceport.
         We need to bring cameras to SoonerCon.
         Tom wants to request a deadline on our startup kit.
         We can do a scale model of the Solar System.
         Take Space Solar Power off agenda for May and add for June.
         We can do a quiz at SoonerCon. We need prizes for a quiz panel.

Apollo 11 Anniversary Library Exhibit

         Oklahoma Space Alliance chapter of the National Space Society has put together an exhibit commemorating the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing. The display runs from July 1 until the end of the month.
         We have two display cases full of books contributed by Oklahoma Space Alliance members. The first hosts several books on the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo programs, including The Right Stuff and books by Buzz Aldrin and Eugene Cernan (The Last Man on the Moon). The second includes more deep-space books, including Robert Zubrin’s books on Mars, and The Grand Tour.
         Above these, we have a globe of the Earth, and a Moon scaled to the size of the Earth globe. These are hung from the ceiling with a cord between them corresponding to the distance between the Earth and the Moon, and labels corresponding to the heights of the Space Station and geosynchronous orbit. (We probably need a label for the Earth-Moon L-1 point, but available space wouldn’t allow for L-2, L-4, or L-5. L-3’s on the far side of the Earth from the Moon and about the same distance from Earth, and is useless anyway.)
         Tom contributed his wooden model of the Space Shuttle. This is displayed beside the entranceway from the children’s stacks at the Library.
         The remainder of the display consists of posters and articles on poster board. Instead of taping the articles to the poster board, we used a spray adhesive which allows for the repositioning of articles. This turned out to work very well, and when I checked back on July 11, everything was still sticking where it was supposed to. I highly recommend using this kind of spray adhesive in our future exhibits.
         The posters all together cover a forty-foot by six foot series of wall panels to which the poster board is attached by tacks. To the far left is a poster to inform people that Oklahoma Space Alliance put up the display and who we are. Next are three posters. Two of these are the front and back of a poster of 100 defining moments of the first fifty years in space. The back explains what the pictures on the front represent. (Unfortunately the explanations are listed at right angles to the pictures, so you have to search to get the one you want.) The third poster displays the major rockets that have taken things into orbit.
         Next to this is the 50 years in Space display, which consists of sixty articles from Space News which originally gave an event a week. (Since there are sixty articles, some weeks get double treatment.) We arranged them in chronological order going from the formation of the United States’ first aeronautics research agency (NACA, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, the parent of NASA) on March 3, 1915, to the thirtieth anniversary of the Voyager probes. Under the beginning of this is the NSS display board.
         A series of articles covering one event a week doesn’t allow for those calendar weeks during which more than one event occurred, so Syd did a series of nineteen articles to fill in the gaps. These are:
         Luna 1, the first deep space probe that (unintentionally) flew by the Moon and went into solar orbit. [The Luna probes are also called Lunik.]
         Luna 2, the first probe to crash into the Moon
         Luna 3, the first probe to photograph (very grainily) the dark side of the moon.
         Ham the Chimp, the first ape in space.
         Mariner 2, the first successful Venus probe.
         Alexey Leonov doing the first space walk.
         Mariner 4, the first successful Mars probe.
         Vladimir Komarov, the first man to die on a space mission. (Apollo 1 is covered in a weekly report.)
         The first space rendezvous (Gemini 6 and Gemini 7)
         Luna 9, the first soft landing on the Moon
         The first space docking (Gemini 8 and the Agena Target Vehicle)
         Luna 10, the spacecraft to orbit the Moon
         The Apollo 8 mission, the first manned mission to orbit the Moon
         Mariner 10, the first Mercury probe.
         The first launch of Space Shuttle Columbia
         The destruction of the Space Shuttle Challenger
         The first Space Station crew.
         The destruction of the Space Shuttle Columbia
         All of these, including the 50 Years in Space Articles, had relevant pictures and information on related missions where appropriate.
         The historical articles are divided into sections, “How Did We Get There” and “What Has Happened Since.” Below the end of the 50 years in Space are articles on the Space Station and current space policy, and beside it are the 2008 space report, articles on commercial space, “New Space,” and “Many Nations Enter Space,” handling major international space programs from China, India, the European Space Agency, and Japan, and smaller programs such as Israel, Iran, Sweden, Dubai and Nigeria.
         The next section is “You Too Can Participate,” which includes sections on what you can do if you are a student, a millionaire, just want to watch, etc.
         Next is “What May Come Next,” which includes Return to the Moon, Mars missions, and Constellation.
         Finally we have a 3-D poster of Mars, with two pairs of 3-D glasses to view them.

         Syd went by on July 11 to take pictures of the exhibit, These will shortly be appearing on the web. (Currently he’s trying to upload a series of three megabyte pictures.) The exhibit should be up until at least July 29.

Viewing Opportunities for Satellites (July 16 – August 25)

         You can get sighting information at www.heavens-above.com/. Heavens Above allows you to get Station data for 10 day periods, and gives you a constellation map showing the trajectory of the satellite. If you go to the bottom of the map page, it will give you a really detailed map with the location at 10 or 15-second intervals, depending on detail. In fact, the detailed charts will even show you the tracks against maps of the constellations, which should help you if you are familiar with the night sky.
         Sky Online (the Sky & Telescope web site) carries station observation times for the next few nights at skyandtelescope.com/observing/almanac. Note that with the addition of the solar panels, the magnitude of the Space Station can be as bright as magnitude -2.7, making it brighter than all the stars other than the Sun, although magnitude -1 to -2 is more likely. The Hubble Space Telescope can get up to magnitude 1.5, which is brighter than the stars in the Big Dipper, although, since it is lower in the sky, it is a bit more difficult to see. 
         Missions to the Space Station may change its orbit. The Endeavour Mission to the Space Station is currently to launch on Wednesday, July 15, after five delays. Be sure to check Heavens Above or www.jsc.nasa.gov/sightings/ before going out to watch.  The last mission to the Hubble Telescope has already occurred so its information should be reliable.

Station   July 26, 2009
Time          Position   Elevation
  9:56 p.m.    298°           17°
  9:57            285            32
  9:58            228            52
  9:59            166            32
Vanishes into Earth’s shadow

Station   July 27, 2009
Time          Position   Elevation
  8:45 p.m.    335°           16°
  8:46            354            27
  8:47              38            36
  8:48              83            26
  8:49            100            15

Station   July 28, 2009
Time          Position   Elevation
9:09 p.m.      297°           17°
9:10              282            32
9:11              226            50
9:12              169            32
9:13              153            17

HST   July 31, 2009
Time          Position   Elevation
8:54 p.m.      213°           19°
8:55              195            25
8:56              171            28*
8:57              147            25
8:58              129            19
* Passes over face of Moon

HST   August 1, 2009
Time          Position   Elevation
8:52 p.m.      219°           20°
8:53              201            27
8:54              175            30
8:55              149            27
8:56              130            20

Station   August 15, 2009
Time          Position   Elevation
6:05 a.m.      213°           18°
6:06              220            36
6:07              124            60
6:08                68            32
6:09                58            16

         Pass times are from Heavens Above
         Key: Position is measured in degrees clockwise from north. That is, 0° is due north, 90° is due east, 180° is due south, and 270° is due west.  Your fist held at arm's length is about ten degrees wide. "Elevation" is elevation above the horizon in degrees. Thus, to find the Hubble Space Telescope at 8:56 p.m. on August 1, look four fist-widths south of east and two fist-widths above the horizon.
         All times are rounded off to the nearest minute except for times when the satellite enters or leaves the shadow of the Earth. The highest elevation shown for each viewing opportunity is the actual maximum elevation for that appearance.
         J-Pass provides a service called J-Pass Generator, which will e‑mail you sighting information for the next three days for up to ten satellites. For more information, go to science.nasa.gov/Realtime/JPass/PassGenerator/.

 Sky Viewing

         That bright “star” you’ve been seeing in the eastern sky around midnight is Jupiter, which is currently magnitude -2.7 and rising around 9:30 p.m. That is startlingly bright and getting brighter into August, with Jupiter reaching magnitude -2.9 at its August 14 opposition. At that time it will be visible all night long.
         Mercury was in superior conjunction with the Sun on July 14 and is not visible. It will be visible about a half hour after sunset in early and mid-August, peaking at magnitude -.4, on August 2 but will be a challenge to see because it will only be about five degrees above the horizon. On August 16, Mercury will be three degrees below Saturn. Greatest elongation is on August 24, but this is one of the worst of the year.
         Venus is magnitude -4.2 and visible in the eastern sky three hours before dawn. It will actually reach its highest point in the sky in early August, although it is also growing slightly dimmer.
         Mars is higher in the morning sky than Venus, but is only magnitude 1.1. Look for it between Venus and the Pleiades. In August, it will be rising earlier, but still after midnight, and will only be at magnitude 1.0.
         Saturn is getting lower in the western sky at sunset, and will be getting hard to see in September, and not just because it is approaching its September 17 conjunction with the Sun. On August 10, the rings will be edge-on to the Sun and appear black. On September 4, the rings will be edge-on with respect to the Earth, but Saturn will be too close to the Sun to be visible.
         Uranus is currently in a nondescript region of Pisces about four degrees below lambda Piscium, which is the bottom star on the neck end of the Circlet. It won’t move much from this spot during August. Magnitude is 5.7.
         Neptune is ¾° above Jupiter, but the two planets are gradually moving away from each other. Neptune is only magnitude 7.8.
         http://media.skyandtelescope.com/documents/Uranus_Neptune09.pdf has a locator map for Neptune and Uranus.

Calendar of Events

         July 18: Oklahoma Space Alliance meeting at 3:30 p.m. at the Koszorus'.
         July 20: 40th Anniversary of first manned landing on the Moon.
         July 22 (July 21 in America): Total solar eclipse visible in central and eastern India, Bhutan and China. This eclipse will be visible to more people than any other in history (provided the sky is clear, of course).
         August 6: Launch of Atlantis to the Space Station
         August 10: Saturn’s rings are edge-on with respect to the Sun.
         August 12: Peak of Perseid meteor shower.
         August 12: [Tentative] Oklahoma Space Industry Development Authority Meeting, 1:30 p.m., Commission Room at the Oklahoma Department of Transportation Building, 200 NE. 21st. Street, Oklahoma City
         August 14: Jupiter is at opposition.
         August 15: [Tentative] Oklahoma Space Alliance meeting at 3:00 p.m. Location to be announced.
         August 17: Neptune is at opposition.
         August 24: Mercury is at greatest eastern elongation, 27° from the Sun (hence can be seen after sunset).
         Late August: Ares I-X flight test at Kennedy Space Center. This will be the first flight test for the Constellation launch vehicle.
         September 4: Saturn’s rings appear edge-on.
         September 9: [Tentative] Oklahoma Space Industry Development Authority Meeting, 1:30 p.m., Commission Room at the Oklahoma Department of Transportation Building, 200 NE. 21st. Street, Oklahoma City
         September 16: Uranus is at opposition.
         September 17: Saturn is in conjunction with the Sun.
         September 19: [Tentative] Oklahoma Space Alliance meeting at 3:00 p.m. Location to be announced.
         September 20: Mercury is in inferior conjunction with the Sun.
         September 30: MESSENGER's third flyby of Mercury.
         October: Russia launches Phobos-Grunt, a sample return mission to Martian moon Phobos. A Chinese Mars Orbiter will be part of the mission. For more information, visit en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phobos-Grunt.
         October 5: Mercury is at greatest western elongation, 18° from the Sun (hence can be seen before sunrise).
         October 8: Mercury is 0.3° south of Saturn.
         October 13: Venus is 0.6° south of Saturn.
         October 14: [Tentative] Oklahoma Space Industry Development Authority Meeting, 1:30 p.m., Commission Room at the Oklahoma Department of Transportation Building, 200 NE. 21st. Street, Oklahoma City
         October 17: [Tentative] Oklahoma Space Alliance meeting at 3:00 p.m. Location to be announced.
         October 21: Peak of Orionid meteor shower.
         October 29: Venus is in inferior conjunction with the Sun.
         November 1: Launch of WISE, the Wide-Field Infrared Survey Satellite. This satellite is 500 times as sensitive at IRAS. For more information, see en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wide‑field_Infrared_Survey_Explorer 
         November 5: Mercury is in superior conjunction with the Sun
         November 12: [Tentative] Oklahoma Space Industry Development Authority Meeting, 1:30 p.m., Commission Room at the Oklahoma Department of Transportation Building, 200 NE. 21st. Street, Oklahoma City
         November 12: Launch of Atlantis to the Space Station
         November 17: Peak of Leonid meteor shower.
         November 21: [Tentative] Oklahoma Space Alliance meeting at 3:00 p.m. Location to be announced.
         December 9: [Tentative] Oklahoma Space Industry Development Authority Meeting, 1:30 p.m., Commission Room at the Oklahoma Department of Transportation Building, 200 NE. 21st. Street, Oklahoma City
         December 14: Peak of Geminid meteor shower.
         December 18: Mercury is at greatest eastern elongation, 20° from the Sun (hence can be seen after sunset).
         December 19: [Tentative] Oklahoma Space Alliance meeting at 3:00 p.m. Location to be announced.
         December 21: the eclipsing binary Epsilon Aurigae begins its total eclipse. This will last until March 12, 2011. This is the longest known eclipse of any eclipsing binary.
         January 2010: Annular solar eclipse visible in central Africa.
         January 11, 2010: Venus is in superior conjunction with the Sun.
         January 27, 2009: Mercury is at greatest western elongation, 25° from the Sun (hence can be seen before sunrise).
         January 29, 2010: Mars is at opposition with magnitude -1.3.
         February 2010: Launch of Endeavour to the Space Station
         February 11, 2010: Launch of Atlantis to the Space Station. This is last scheduled mission for Atlantis.
         April 8, 2010: Launch of Discovery to the Space Station. This is the last scheduled launch for Discovery.
         May 31, 2010: Launch of Endeavour to the Space Station. This is the last scheduled mission for any space shuttle.
         May 2010: Japan launches the Venus Climate Orbiter (aka Planet‑C) to Venus. Web page is www.jaxa.jp/projects/sat/planet_c/index_e.html.
         June 2010: Hayabusa returns to Earth with a sample of asteroid Itokawa.  This will be the first asteroid sample returned to Earth. Web site is www.isas.jaxa.jp/e/enterp/missions/hayabusa/index.shtml.
         July 10, 2010: The Rosetta comet probe passes asteroid 21 Lutetia.
         July 11, 2010: Total solar eclipse in southern Chile and Argentina.
         August 20, 2010: Venus is at greatest eastern elongation, 46° from the Sun (hence can be seen after sunset).
         September 21, 2010: Jupiter is at opposition. This is the closest Jupiter will come to Earth in the next 20 years, about 370 million miles.
         October 29, 2010: Venus in inferior conjunction with the Sun.
         December 2010: Japan’s Venus Climate Orbiter arrives at Venus.
         December 21, 2010: Total eclipse of the Moon, visible just after midnight in North and South America.
         January 8, 2011: Venus is at greatest western elongation, 47° from the Sun (hence can be seen before sunrise).
         March 18, 2011: MESSENGER goes into orbit around Mercury.
         June, 2011: Total eclipse of the Moon, visible in South America and most of Eastern Hemisphere.
         August 2011: Launch of the Juno mission to Jupiter. See en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Juno_(spacecraft) or http://juno.wisc.edu/ for details.
         October 2011: Dawn probe orbits Vesta. See dawn.jpl.nasa.gov/  or en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dawn_Mission for details.
         October -December 2011: The Mars Science Laboratory is launched. See marsprogram.jpl.nasa.gov/msl/ for details. [Moved from October 2009]
         October 2011 – April 2012: Dawn probe orbits Vesta.
         December 10, 2011: Total eclipse of the Moon. This one is at its best in Russia, eastern Asia, Australia, Alaska and the Yukon, but the early part of the eclipse will be visible in the rest of North America.
         Sometime in 2012: Russia launches the “Luna-Glob” mission which will deploy 13 mini-probes upon the lunar surface.
         March 3, 2012: Mars is at opposition at magnitude -1.2. This is the worst opposition for the next twenty years.
         April 2012: Dawn probe leaves orbit around Vesta for Ceres.
         June 6, 2012: Venus transits the Sun's disk.  The early part of this will be visible from the United States, but the full transit will only be visible from the western Pacific Ocean, eastern Asia, eastern Australia, and eastern Indonesia including New Guinea.
         Fall 2012: The Mars Science Laboratory rover lands on Mars. See marsprogram.jpl.nasa.gov/msl/ for details.
         June 2013: Earliest date for the launch of the James Webb Space Telescope.
         August 2013 (approximate): The European Space Agency/JAXA BepiColombo Mercury Orbiter is launched. Home page is sci.esa.int/science-e/www/area/index.cfm?fareaid=30.
         August 2014 - December 2015: The Rosetta space probe orbits comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko. In November, 2014, it will release the Philae lander. See September 5, 2008 for website information.
         Sometime in 2015 or 2016: Launch of SIM PlanetQuest (aka the Space Interferometry Mission). This mission was originally supposed to have been launched in 2005 and has been delayed at least five times. It was recently moved from 2012. For more information, visit en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_Interferometry_Mission.
         February 2015: Dawn space probe arrives at Ceres. Operations are scheduled to continue through July. Dawn may continue on to other asteroids if it is still operational.
         July 14, 2015: The New Horizons probe passes through the Pluto-Charon system. The New Horizons web site is pluto.jhuapl.edu/.
         Sometime in 2016: ESA launches the ExoMars Mars Rover. For more information, visit en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exomars.
         July 2016-2020:  The New Horizons probe visits the Kuiper Belt.
         August 21, 2017: The next total solar eclipse visible in the United States, on a pretty straight path from Portland, Oregon to Charleston, South Carolina.  St. Louis is the biggest city in-between.
         August 2019 (approximate) BepiColombo arrives at Mercury orbit.
         April 8, 2024: A total solar eclipse crosses the US from the middle of the Mexico-Texas border, crosses Arkansas, southern Missouri, Louisville, Cleveland, Buffalo and northern New England.
         August 12, 2045: The next total solar eclipse visible in Oklahoma.  This one is also visible in Salt Lake City, Denver, Little Rock (again), Tampa Bay and New Orleans.

Space-Related Articles

         The July 3 issue of Science had thirteen pages of results from the Phoenix Mars Lander.

         “Decay for All Seasons,” by Justin Mullins, New Scientist, 27 June 2009, pp. 42 – 45. One of the basic principles of radioactive decay is that the process is random: that the probability that a particular nucleus will decay is the same for each equal interval of time until it does decay. There are special cases where this is not true; for instance, for a nucleus of U-235 in a nuclear bomb. Some kinds of radioactive decay (electron capture, for instance), can be influenced by strong electromagnetic field, but in general they go their own way without outside interference.
         So it was a surprise in 1986 when Dave Alburger discovered that the rate of decay of a sample of silicon-32 seemed to vary periodically with a period of a year, peaking in February and at a minimum in August. Similarly, in 1998 a team at the Federal Physical and Technical in Braunschweig, Germany, detected an annual variation in the decay rate of radium-226.
         This presented a puzzle, especially since both labs are highly regarded, so would be unlikely to make a simple mistake like not taking into account the temperature of the building. Alburger’s team also compared the ratio of decay of silicon-32 to chlorine-36 and ruled out environmental effects. There also seems to be a similar periodic effect for plutonium-238.
         One theory is that the periodic effect is caused by variations on Earth’s distance from the Sun. Silicon-32 and chlorine-32 both decay by beta-decay, which means a neutron is transformed into a proton, electron, and antineutrino. The Sun constantly emits neutrinos, which, when they collide with a nucleus, can produce the reaction neutrino+neutron->proton+electron. When Earth is closest from the Sun, in January, the neutrino flux from the Sun would be higher and there would be more of the second kind of reaction, which would look just like regular beta decay since antineutrinos and neutrinos are close to undetectable. However, this would have to mean that neutrinos interact with neutrons much more often than has ever been observed. [It also doesn’t explain the observations for radium and plutonium, which decay through alpha decay, which should not be influenced by neutrinos at all.]
         One intriguing possibility is that variation in solar output on neutrinos might explain a cyclical variation in the accuracy of carbon-14 dating. The carbon-14 variation has a cycle of about 200 years, which is the same as that of the deVries/Suess sunspot cycle. [But then, wouldn’t there be an eleven-year cycle as well?]

         “How We’ll Return to the Moon,” by James Oberg, Astronomy, August 2009, pp 24 – 29.  Oddly, the plan calls for the Orion Command Module to be launched separately, Orion on an Ares 1, and the Altair Lunar Lander and Earth Departure Stage on the larger Ares V, which resembles the Saturn V. Consequences of this is that the Altair lander can be much larger than the Apollo Lunar Module, and use liquid hydrogen as its fuel. This allows it to carry four astronauts (none remain on Orion) and a lot of cargo. There will even be leftover fuel to power fuel cells. Since the fuel tanks didn’t hold toxic chemical, they can be used as part of a lunar base. Because Altair is so large, it can carry supplies for a larger mission, and because Orion will not be carrying an astronaut while in lunar orbit, it does not need to carry supplies except for the trip back and forth. It’s obscure to me what happens to the Earth Departure Stage; I think it’s discarded after sending Orion and Altair to the Moon. If Orion malfunctions, NASA will have a resupply capacity so the astronauts can stay on the lunar surface until a new Orion arrives.
         Oberg also goes into the new space suits, which will be made of stronger and lighter composites. They will be modular, so that they can be easily repaired and spare suits can be cannibalized.

Oklahoma Space Alliance Officers, 2009 (Area Code 405)

Tom Koszoru, President                                        366-1797 (H)
Claire McMurray, Vice-President/Update Editor   329-4326 (H) 863-6173 (C)
Syd Henderson, Secretary & Outreach Editor       321-4027 (H)
Tim Scott, Treasurer                                              740-7549 (H)

OSA E-mail Addresses and Web Site:

claire.mcmurray at sbcglobal.net (Claire McMurray)
T_Koszoru at cox.net (Heidi and Tom Koszoru)
sydh at ou.edu (Syd Henderson)
ctscott at mac.com (Tim Scott)
lensman13 at aol.com  (Steve Galpin)
dmcraig at earthlink.net (Nancy and David Craig).
         E-mail for OSA should be sent to sydh@ou.edu.  Members who wish  their e-mail addresses printed in Outreach, and people wishing space-related materials e-mailed to them should contact Syd.  Oklahoma Space Alliance website is chapters.nss.org/ok/osanss.html. Webmaster is Syd Henderson.

Other Information
          Oklahoma Space Industrial Development Authority (OSIDA), 401 Sooner Drive/PO Box 689, Burns Flat, OK 73624, 580-562-3500.  Web site www.state.ok.us/~okspaceport.
          Science Museum Oklahoma (former Omniplex) website is www.sciencemuseumok.org. Main number is 602-6664.
          Tulsa Air and Space Museum, 7130 E. Apache, Tulsa, OK  74115.
Web Site is www.tulsaairandspacemuseum.com.  Phone (918)834-9900.
          The Mars Society address is Mars Society, Box 273, Indian Hills CO 80454. Their web address is www.marsociety.org.
          The National Space Society's Headquarters phone is 202-429-1600.  The Chapters Coordinator is Bennett Rutledge 720-529-8024.  The address is:  National Space Society, 1620 I (Eye) Street NW Ste. 615, Washington, DC 20006.    Web page is www.nss.org.  
          The Planetary Society phone 626-793-5100. The address is 65 North Catalina, Avenue, Pasadena, California, 91106-2301 and the website is www.planetary.org. E-mail is tps@planetary.org.
          NASA Spacelink BBS  205-895-0028.  Or try www.nasa.gov.  .
          Congressional Switchboard 202/224-3121.
           Write to any U. S. Senator or Representative at [name]/ Washington DC, 20510 (Senate) or 20515 [House].


 A Chapter of the National Space Society

Please enroll me as a member of Oklahoma Space Alliance.  Enclosed is:
                                    $10.00 for Mem­bership.  (This allows full voting privileges, but covers only your own newsletter expense.)
__________________ $15.00 for family membership

                                     TOTAL  amount enclosed

          National Space Society has a special $20 introductory rate for new members ($35 for new international members).  Regular membership rates are $45, international $60.  Student memberships are $20.  Part of the cost is for the magazine, Ad Astra.  Mail to: National Space Society, 1620 I (Eye) Street NW, Washington DC 20006, or join at www.nss.org/membership. (Brochures are at the bottom with the special rate.) Be sure to ask them to credit your membership to Oklahoma Space Alliance.
          To join the Mars Society, visit.  One-year memberships are $50.00; student and senior memberships are $25, and Family memberships are $100.00.    Their address is Mars Society, Box 273, Indian Hills CO 80454.

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OSA Memberships are for 1 year, and include a subscription to our monthly newsletters, Outreach and Update.  Send check & form to Oklahoma Space Alliance, 102 W. Linn, #1, Norman, OK 73071.


To contact Oklahoma Space Alliance, e-mail Syd Henderson.
102 W. Linn St. #1
Norman OK 73069
Copyright ©2007 Oklahoma Space Alliance.