OKLAHOMA SPACE ALLIANCE
A Chapter of the National Space Society

Oklahoma Space Alliance Home 

OUTREACH May 2010

May 2010 Meeting

         Oklahoma Space Alliance will meet at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 15 at Claire and Clifford McMurray’s house. Prospective members are also welcome. Their house is at 2715 Aspen Circle in Norman.
         To get to the meeting either: (1) Take the Lindsey Street east exit from I-35, turn right at Berry, and proceed to Imhoff Road. Turn right at Imhoff, right at Poplar Lane, left at Aspen Lane, and right at Aspen Circle. The turns at Poplar, Aspen Lane and Aspen Circle are the first you can take, or (2) Take the Highway 9 east off I-35, turn left at Imhoff Road, left at Poplar, left at Aspen Lane, and right at Aspen Circle.

Agenda:

  1. Introductions (if necessary)
  2. Read and approve agenda
  3. Read and approve minutes and reports of activities
  4. Old Business
    1. Start Up Kit for Chapters in Second Life
    2. Research funding
    3. A New OSA Logo
    4. Treasurer’s Report
    5. 50th Anniversary of Manned Space Flight (Yuri's Night 2011)
    6. Space Solar Power
    7. President Obama’s Proposed  Space Budget
    8. Marketing for Burns Flat
    9. International Space Development Conference 2010.
  5. Read and discuss mail
  6. New Business
    1. Con Suite at Soonercon? The last two years Oklahoma Space Alliance has hosted the Con Suite at Soonercon for a couple of hours and has been asked to do it again. The most available time would be the evening of Saturday, June 5.
  7. Create New Agenda

Minutes of March Meeting

         Oklahoma Space Alliance met at the Koszoru house on March 20. Tom and Heidi Koszoru, John Northcutt, Claire McMurray and Syd Henderson were also there.
         Tom talked about virtual training as an alternative method (as part of promoting the Great Space Race).
         Claire collected money and leftover coupon books. The total came to $171.
         Add John back to the e-mail list. Fix typos in minutes.
         Yuri’s Night is April 12 and we’ve volunteered to help OU-SEDS put it on. We should meet at Tom’s at 6:00 on Sunday, March 28, to plan our part. We can donate money for food, drinks, speaker and star party. [Note: SEDS was content with a $150 donation, which went for a video and pizza.]
         Put the 50th Anniversary Yuri’s Night in the calendar of space-related events.
          April 17 is the 40th Anniversary of the Apollo 13 mission, which is being celebrated on April 16 and 17 in Hutchinson, Kansas. That conflicts with our usual meeting time. `If we wish to have a meeting in April, it will have to be at the Conestoga Science Fiction convention the next meeting.

--Minutes by Oklahoma Space Alliance Secretary Syd Henderson

April Activities

         Oklahoma Space Alliance didn’t have a meeting in April due to other activities going on that month. On April 17, Claire and Cliff McMurray and Syd Henderson went to the Cosmosphere in Hutchinson, Kansas for the 40th Anniversary of Apollo 13. Most of the events for the weekend were premium events even for Cosmosphere members, and we missed the launch of the scale model of the Saturn 5. We did get to see the Apollo 13 Mission Control reunion, which included Gene Kranz, Sy Liebergot (who was at the 2004 ISDC) and eight other panelists. Kranz was critical of Obama’s shift in NASA’s priorities,* but the moderator from the Cosmosphere mentioned that we hadn’t been spending the money needed to return to the Moon. Apollo 13 astronaut Fred Haise made a cameo appearance. Jim Lovett was also at the reunion but not at the panel.
*[There seems to be a split on that among astronauts as well as the space community at large, with many of the Apollo and earlier astronauts being critical, and many of the younger, shuttle-era astronauts being favorable. Buzz Aldrin favors the plan, Neil Armstrong doesn’t.]

         Oklahoma Space Alliance threw a room party at the Conestoga Science Fiction in Tulsa. This year’s party wasn’t as successful as in some previous years, with no more than a half dozen people appearing at one time, but we did collect some information from people interested in receiving information on Oklahoma Space Alliance. We did have a considerable amount of literature and about three hours of conversation. Since Syd Henderson was the only officer present at Conestoga, Oklahoma Space Alliance didn’t have a meeting; however, we did get visits from Rosemary Swift and Tony Garcia whom we hadn’t seen for a while. Conestoga looked to have a considerably smaller attendance than in previous years, and may not have had a film room (although it did have a Dr. Who video room.)

Notes on April 14 OSIDA Meeting

         Syd Henderson attended the April 14 Oklahoma Space Industry Development Authority meeting at the Oklahoma Department of Transportation Building in Oklahoma City. Board members Chairman Joe King, former state Rep. Jack Bonny, former state Sen. Gilmer Capps, Gen. Ken McGill, Darryl Murphy, and Lou Sims were present, as well as an audience of six people, OSIDA Executive Director Bill Khourie and Secretary Kim Vowell.
         OSIDA is still facing a budget reduction of 10 - 15%; the situation is the same as in March.
         PAPI (Precision Approach Path Indicators) lights have been installed. OSIDA is now waiting for the electrician or someone like him to power them up. In this case, the company that does that is PSO (and I don't know what that stands for.)
         The Security fence is progressing rapidly due to fine weather.
         The Rocket Racing League conducted tests last week at the Oklahoma Spaceport. Miles O'Brien of CNN was there to do interviews.
         Aviation Day is 1:00 - 4:30 p.m. on April 21 at the State Capitol. A reception follows at 5:00 p.m. at the Department of Commerce.
         The OSIDA board voted to allocate funding for the Operations and Control Center at the Oklahoma Spaceport. This will cost close to a million dollars.

--Notes by Oklahoma Space Alliance Secretary Syd Henderson

Note: The May OSIDA meeting has been moved to May 19 and any notes thereof will have to appear in next month’s Update.


Yuri's Night Events

         The OU Chapter of SEDS (the Students for the Exploration and Development of Space) celebrated Yuri's night this year with a video Journey to the Edge of the Universe on April 10, and a lecture by Dr. Melchor J. Antuñano, Director of the FAA's Civil Aerospace Medical Institute in Oklahoma City, on the "Physiological, Environmental and Operational Risk Factors for Commercial Spaceflight Participants" on Yuri's Night itself. SEDS had earlier planned to do a telescope night on the South Oval but didn’t have enough participants with telescopes to make it worthwhile. (Perhaps they should do something with the Oklahoma City Astronomy Club?) Oklahoma Space Alliance funded the refreshments (which turned out to be pizza) and the video. Syd Henderson attended both events and Tom Koszoru attended the lecture.
          The video was a National Geographic special which takes you progressively outward, beginning with the Moon, planets, nearby stars, forming planetary systems, etc., until you reach quasars and the Big Bang. The narrator delights in all the different things in outer space that can kill you.
         Dr. Antuñano distributed disks about CAMI and a booklet with information on the physical effects of space.

Viewing Opportunities for Satellites (May 15 – June 17, 2010)

         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. With the addition of the solar panels, the Space Station can be as bright as magnitude -3.5, 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. Atlantis is set to launch to the Space Station at 1:20 p.m. CDT on May 14, delivering an Integrated Cargo Carrier and Mini Research Module to the Station. [This, by the way, is the last mission for Atlantis.] 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.

HST  May 15, 2010
Time               Position     Elevation
 8:52 p.m.          216°             20°
 8:53                  197               26
 8:54                  172               29
 8:55                  147               26
 8:56                  129               19

ISS  May 15, 2010
Time               Position     Elevation
10:07 p.m.         303°             19°
10:08                 292               38
10:09                 216               65
Vanishes into Earth’s Shadow

HST  May 16, 2010
Time               Position     Elevation
 8:50 p.m.          221°             21°
 8:51                  203               28
 8:52                  176               31
 8:53                  149               28
 8:54                  130               20

ISS  May 17, 2010
Time               Position     Elevation
 9:21 p.m.          301°            18°
 9:22                  292              38
 9:23                  222              61*
 9:24                  158              34
 9:25                  147              17
*Passes 2° above Mars

ISS  May 19, 2010
Time               Position     Elevation
 8:35 p.m.          300°             17°
 8:36                  287               34
 8:57                  224               56
 8:58                  162               34
 8:59                  146               17

ISS  June 6, 2010
Time               Position     Elevation
 5:35 a.m.          212°             18°
 5:36                  199               35
 5:37                  128               59
 5:38                    69               32
 5:39                    58               16

ISS  June 8, 2010
Time               Position     Elevation
Appears from Earth’s Shadow
 4:48 a.m.           199°             38°
 4:49                  124               60
 4:50                    67               32
 4:51                    57               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 International Space Station at 5:36 a.m. on June 6, measure just under two fist-widths west from due south, then three and a half 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/.

Space News

         On April 15, President Barack Obama delivered a major speech on space policy at Kennedy Space Center. This followed the release last February of the proposed future NASA budget and the cancellation of the Constellation Program which included the establishment of a lunar base and extensive investment in commercial space companies. The NASA budget actually increases by a total of six billion dollars over five years (apparently a total increase over previous projections, not an annual increase), with most of the Constellation budget being switched to other research and technology. Robotic missions will continue to the outer solar system. The budget is subject to congressional approval.
         One part of Constellation that has not been cancelled is the Orion capsule, which will be modified as an escape capsule (which means it would be launched unmanned.) Obama didn’t specify what it will be launched on, but since he also intends to use launch vehicles designed and operated by private companies, I assume he intends to rely on SpaceX’s Falcon 9 Heavy rocket. This is already designed to carry the Dragon Crew capsule, which will carry seven astronauts at one time, possibly as soon as 2013. Obama mentioned the upcoming Falcon 9 test flight in his speech and had earlier toured with Elon Musk the SpaceX facility at Cape Canaveral.
         Much of the research and technology money will be devoted to a plan to send astronauts to a near-Earth asteroid in 2025 and to orbit Mars a decade later, with a landing following. I don’t know if there’s a plan to land on Phobos preceding the Mars landing, but that would make sense. (See “Space-Related Articles” in the March Outreach.) Three billion dollars over five years are being devoted to the development of a heavy lift launcher, with design to be finalized by 2015.
         Obama also extended the funding of the International Space Station through 2020. Under earlier plans, the ISS was to be deorbited around 2015, only a few years after it had been completed.
         A complete video of President Obama’s speech may be seen at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:President_Barack_Obama_speaks_at_Kennedy_Space_Center.ogg.
         Reaction has been mixed, with Buzz Aldrin, Elon Musk (understandably), and Mae Jemison and many Shuttle astronauts in favor, while Neil Armstrong and Gene Kranz were critical. Robert Zubrin claims we could get to an asteroid in 2016 using Ares V, but I’m not sure how he’d do it.
 
         The first flight test of the Space Exploration Technologies Corporation (SpaceX) Falcon 9 rocket now has a target date of May 23 (moved from May 8, though neither date was all that firm). In addition to the usual delays in first test of a rocket, the launch time was converging of that on Atlantis on May 14 and had to be moved safely past that. This first launch will be carrying a mockup of the Dragon payload capsule. If successful, the second Falcon 9 will carry a cargo to the Space Station.

         Ice has been confirmed to exist on the asteroid 24 Themis; indeed the entire surface appears to be covered with ice. Themis is about 120 miles in diameter and orbits at about 300,000,000 miles from the Sun; in other words, twice as distance as Mars and a little more than halfway to Jupiter.
         It’s not really unexpected that some of the asteroids are covered with water, since, after all, most of the major moons of Jupiter are, but it’s of interest with respect to the theory that the water on the surface of the Earth originated with asteroids and comets. Themis had been thought to be too close to the Sun to keep its ice. It also has organic compounds on its surface.

         The star 30 Doradus 016 in the Large Magellanic Cloud has a mass ninety times that of the Sun, and now has been measured (by the the Hubble Space Telescope’s brand new Cosmic Origins Spectrograph to be emitting gas at 3450 km/sec (or 1.15% of the speed of light). Further observations, at the Anglo-American Observatory in Epping Australia, reveal that the star has been expelled from the nebula 30 Doradus (better known as the Tarantula Nebula) at a velocity of 85 km/sec.
         Although it’s possible that the star may have been expelled if it was part of a double star where the other member went supernova, this is considered unlikely due to the youth of the star’s nursery. A more exotic possibility considered more likely by Nolan Walborn and Chris Evans is that it was expelled from a triple star system. What’s really interesting about this is that its other two associates must have been several times massive than 30 Doradus 016, which challenges the calculation that stars in the modern universe cannot have more than 150 times the Sun’s mass. They would have to be more like the low-metal stars from the first galaxies, perhaps as massive as 300 suns. [Ron Cowen at Science News web edition, May 7, 2010.]

         Speaking of expulsions, Marianne Heida of the University of Utrecht has found what appears to be a supermassive black hole being expelled from its home galaxy.

         On April 19, the asteroid 2005 YU55 approached within 1.5 million miles of Earth. The Aricebo Telescope discovered that it is about 1300 feet long, which is twice as long as had been estimated. The asteroid’s orbit has been refined to show that in 2011, it will pass Earth within 80% of the distance to the Moon.

Sky Viewing

         Comet 2009  R1 (McNaught) should be visible to the naked eye in mid-June. It will become visible as it passes through Andromeda on June 7, it will pass between Mirfak and Algol (alpha and beta Persei) on June 13, and close to Capella in Auriga on June 21. Comet McNaught will be about magnitude 4 or 5, so it should be visible in a reasonably dark sky, and very visible from a place like the Cheddar Ranch Observatory. This Comet McNaught is not the same as the one that was so brilliant (and which I missed) in 2007. Robert H. McNaught discovers a lot of comets.
         There will be a Partial Eclipse of the Moon on the morning of June 26. Part of this will be visible from Oklahoma beginning at 5:17 a.m., with the Moon setting around the middle of the eclipse. However, you’re better off waiting until December 21 when there will be a total lunar eclipse visible shortly after midnight from all of North and Central America and northwestern South America. The rest of South America will get most of that eclipse but miss the rest of it. On the other hand, Hawaii should get a perfect view.
         There is a Total Eclipse of the Sun in parts of the world on July 11. Unfortunately almost all of that eclipse is within the southern Pacific Ocean. Landfalls are Easter Island, Tuatomo, some smaller south Pacific islands, and the southern tips of Argentina and Chile north of Tierra del Fuego.
         Mercury was in inferior conjunction with the Sun on April 28 and is still hidden in the morning twilight. Although Mercury reaches greatest elongation on May 25, this is a particularly bad one and you’d be better off looking for it in early June when it reaches magnitude -0.06. It will still only be 5° above the horizon a half-hour before sunrise.
         Venus is the bright “star” in the western sky at sunset. It is moving through the constellation Taurus the Bull, and will pass between the “horns” on May 15. Later in May, Venus will move into Gemini and make a line with Castor and Pollux on June 11. Late in June it will be near the Beehive Cluster in Cancer, then pass into Leo.
         Mars is only magnitude 0.9 and is growing dimmer in the western sky at sunset. Currently it is the constellation Cancer moving toward Leo. On June 6, Mars will be only a degree north of Regulus, the first magnitude star in the Sickle asterism.
         Saturn is magnitude 0.9 in Virgo, in the south during the evening. Since the rings are still almost edge-on, Saturn is dimmer than it would otherwise be.
         You may have noticed Mars and Venus are both in Leo. They are indeed approaching a conjunction, but it won’t be until August 23, when they will be 2 ½ degrees apart. Before that, on August 1, Mars will be two degrees south of Saturn, and, on August 10, Venus will be four degrees south of Saturn.
         Jupiter is currently a morning star, located low in the eastern sky at sunset. It is in the constellation Pisces. Actually, since Jupiter is magnitude ‑2.2, it is a lot more useful for locating Pisces than the other way around.
         Uranus is also in Pisces. Indeed, during the first part of June, Uranus will be less than a degree from Jupiter, which gives you a golden opportunity to find it, and on June 6 Uranus will be only a half-degree north of Jupiter.  Since Uranus is magnitude 5.9, you’ll need binoculars. There will actually be three conjunctions between Uranus and Jupiter in the next eight months due to retrograde motion of one or both of the planets. Finder charts for Uranus are at www.skyandtelescope.com/observing/highlights/85530917.html; they also have charts for Neptune at the same location.
         Neptune is rising around 2:00 in the morning in the constellation Aquarius. It is currently within a degree of the point where it was first discovered in September 1846, and will complete its first orbit since discovery within months.
         The Boötid meteor shower peaks in the hours before midnight on June 23. This shower got up to a hundred meteors/hour in 1998 and was also good in 2004. Since the meteor shower is associated with a comet that has a six-year period, there’s a chance this year’s shower will also be very good.

Calendar of Events
           
         May 14: Launch of Atlantis to the Space Station. This is the last scheduled mission for Atlantis. Launch time is projected to be 1:20 p.m. [CDT]
         May 15: [Tentative] Oklahoma Space Alliance meeting at 3:00 p.m. Location to be announced.
         May 15: Oklahoma City Astronomy Club Member Night at the Cheddar Ranch Observatory. For more information and directions, visit www.okcastroclub.com.
         May 18: Japan launches Akatsuki (formerly called the Venus Climate Orbiter or Planet‑C; “Akatsuki” means “Dawn”) to Venus. Web page is www.jaxa.jp/projects/sat/planet_c/index_e.html.
         May 23: Target date for the first flight of SpaceX’s Falcon 9.
         May 25: Mercury is at greatest western elongation, 25° from the Sun (hence can be seen before sunrise).
         May 27 – 31: 29th International Space Development Conference in Chicago, Illinois
         June: 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.
         June 5: Oklahoma City Astronomy Club Member Night at the Cheddar Ranch Observatory. For more information and directions, visit www.okcastroclub.com.
         June 6: Jupiter is 0.5° south of Uranus.
         June 11: Oklahoma City Astronomy Club Meeting, 7:30 p.m., Science Museum Oklahoma (formerly Omniplex). There is a novice session at 6:45 in the planetarium. Web site is www.okcastroclub.com.
         June 12: Oklahoma City Astronomy Club Member Night at the Cheddar Ranch Observatory. For more information and directions, visit www.okcastroclub.com.
         June 18: Public Star Party in Piedmont, Oklahoma, starting at sunset north of the Piedmont High School parking lot. For more information, visit www.okcastroclub.com.
         June 19: [Tentative] Oklahoma Space Alliance meeting at 3:00 p.m. Location to be announced.
         June 25: Pluto is at opposition.
         July 9: Oklahoma City Astronomy Club Meeting, 7:30 p.m., Science Museum Oklahoma (formerly Omniplex). There is a novice session at 6:45 in the planetarium. Web site is www.okcastroclub.com.
         July 10: The Rosetta comet probe passes asteroid 21 Lutetia.
         July 11: Total solar eclipse in southern Chile and Argentina. This eclipse is also total on Easter Island.
         July 13: Oklahoma City Astronomy Club Meeting, 7:30 p.m., Science Museum Oklahoma (formerly Omniplex). There is a novice session at 6:45 in the planetarium. Web site is www.okcastroclub.com.
         July 17: [Tentative] Oklahoma Space Alliance meeting at 3:00 p.m. Location to be announced.
         July 29: Launch of Endeavour to the Space Station. This is the last scheduled mission for Endeavour. Launch time is currently projected for 6:51 a.m. [CDT]
         August 6: Mercury is at greatest eastern elongation, 27° from the Sun (hence can be seen after sunset).
         August 12-13: Perseid meteor shower peaks. This shower takes place just after new moon and should produce about three meteors per minute.
         August 20: Venus is at greatest eastern elongation, 46° from the Sun (hence can be seen after sunset).
         August 20: Neptune is at opposition.
         August 21: [Tentative] Oklahoma Space Alliance meeting at 3:00 p.m. Location to be announced.
         September 16: Launch of Discovery to the Space Station. This is the scheduled conclusion of the space shuttle program. Launch time is currently projected for 10:57 a.m. [CDT]
         September 18: [Tentative] Oklahoma Space Alliance meeting at 3:00 p.m. Location to be announced.
         September 19: Mercury is at greatest western elongation, 18° from the Sun (hence can be seen before sunrise).
         September 20: Jupiter and Uranus are both at opposition and less than a degree apart. This will be Jupiter’s closest opposition in eleven years.
         September 21: Jupiter is at opposition. This is the closest Jupiter will come to Earth in the next 20 years, about 370 million miles.
         September 30: Saturn is in conjunction with the Sun.
         October 16: [Tentative] Oklahoma Space Alliance meeting at 3:00 p.m. Location to be announced.
         October 28: Venus in inferior conjunction with the Sun.
         November 20: [Tentative] Oklahoma Space Alliance meeting at 3:00 p.m. Location to be announced.
         December: Japan’s Akatsuki (aka Venus Climate Orbiter and Planet C) arrives at Venus.
         December 1: Mercury is at greatest eastern elongation, 21° from the Sun (hence can be seen after sunset).
         December 18: [Tentative] Oklahoma Space Alliance Christmas Party. Location and time to be announced.
         December 21: Total eclipse of the Moon, visible just after midnight in North and South America.
         December 26: Pluto is in conjunction with the Sun.
         Sometime in 2011: China will launch two missions to the Tiangong 1 space station. The first will be an unmanned mission and the second a manned docking mission.
         January 2. 2011: Jupiter is 0.6° south of Uranus.
         January 8, 2011: Venus is at greatest western elongation, 47° from the Sun (hence can be seen before sunrise).
         January 9, 2010: Mercury is at greatest western elongation, 23° from the Sun (hence can be seen before sunrise).
         March 18, 2011: MESSENGER goes into orbit around Mercury.
         June 15, 2011: Total eclipse of the Moon, visible in South America and most of Eastern Hemisphere.
         August 5, 2011: Launch of the Juno mission to Jupiter. See en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Juno_(spacecraft) or http://juno.wisc.edu/ for details.
         August 15, 2011: Launch of NuSTAR space probe from Kwajalein via a Pegasus rocket. NuSTAR will search for black holes, supernova remnants and active galaxies. For more details, visit www.nustar.caltech.edu/ or en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_Spectroscopic_Telescope_Array.
         September 8, 2011: Launch of GRAIL, the Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory, to orbit the Moon. This is actually a dual probe mission. For more information, visit http://moon.mit.edu/index.html.
         October 2011: Dawn probe orbits Vesta. See dawn.jpl.nasa.gov/  or en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dawn_Mission for details.
         October 14, 2011: The Mars Science Laboratory (aka Curiosity) 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.
         Late 2011 or early 2012: Launch of the Phobos-Grunt sample return mission to the Martian moon Phobos. For more information, go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phobos-Grunt. The orbiter will remain to study Mars while the soil sample will arrive on Earth in late 2012 or early in 2013.
         Sometime in 2012: Russia launches the “Luna-Glob” mission which will deploy 13 mini-probes upon the lunar surface. For more information, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luna-Glob.
         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 (Curiosity) rover lands on Mars. See marsprogram.jpl.nasa.gov/msl/ for details.
         December 30, 2013: Earliest launch date for India’s Chandrayaan II. This mission will include a lunar rover. For more information, visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chandrayaan-2.
         Sometime in 2014: The European Space Agency/JAXA BepiColombo Mercury Orbiter is launched. Home page is sci.esa.int/science-e/www/area/index.cfm?fareaid=30.
         June 2014: Earliest date for the launch of the James Webb Space Telescope.
         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.
         Summer of 2020 (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

         “Though Neutrino Eyes,” by Graciela B. Gelmini, Alexander Kusenko and Thomas J. Weiler. Scientific American, May 2010, pp 38 – 45. Neutrinos are almost massless subatomic particles that rarely interact with other particles. In fact, they easily pass right from the core of the Sun straight through the outer layers, thus potentially giving us a view of the inside of the Sun. The trick is to stop enough neutrinos to do this. This is possible because there are a lot of neutrinos and even with their standoffishness, one of them will occasionally interact with matter through the weak nuclear reaction. Thus the neutrino telescope, the IceCube Observatory, which is only partially completed, but is already starting to map the sky.

         “Is the Sun an Oddball Star?” by Bruce Dorminey, Astronomy, June 2010, pp. 24 – 29. Astronomers are always looking for G-type stars similar to the Sun but are having a fiendish time finding them. What they want is a star with a mass, composition and temperature similar to the Sun. Alpha Centauri A fits the bill, but it is about 10% more massive than the Sun and about 1.5 billion years older, and is, of course, part of a double star system. If you want a solar analog of the right age, the closest is HIP 56948, which is 217 light-years away.
         A star doesn’t have to be that close a match to have habitable planets. In fact Edward Guinan thinks K-type stars might be even better candidates than type G, since they are more common and have longer lives. The closest star of type K, coincidentally, is Alpha Centauri B.
         A major reason for looking for really close matches is irregularities in the sunspot cycle. We’ve been going though an unusually weak period for sunspots, which makes astronomers wonder if we may be approaching a period like the Maunder Minimum (1645-1717) or Dalton Minimum (1790 – 1830) when sunspots were rare. During these periods, the amount of sunlight reaching the Earth decreases; indeed, both these minima took place during what is known as the Little Ice age, so it would be nice to know if we are about to experience another one.

Oklahoma Space Alliance Officers, 2010 (Area Code 405)

Tom Koszoru, President                                                       366-1797 (H)
John Northcutt, Vice-President                                             390-3476 (H)
Syd Henderson, Secretary & Outreach Editor                      321-4027 (H)
Tim Scott, Treasurer                                                            740-7549 (H)
Claire McMurray, Correspondence Secretary/Update Editor
                329-4326 (H) 863-6173 (C)

OSA E-mail Addresses and Web Site:

claire.mcmurray at sbcglobal.net (Claire McMurray)
T_Koszoru at cox.net (Heidi and Tom Koszoru)
john.d.northcutt1 at tds.net (John Northcutt)
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].


 OKLAHOMA SPACE ALLIANCE
 A Chapter of the National Space Society

 MEMBERSHIP ORDER FORM
                                                                     
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 $30 introductory rate for new members ($35 for new international members).  Regular membership rates are $55, international $65.  Student memberships are $25.  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.

Contact person for Oklahoma Space Alliance is Claire McMurray
PO Box 1003
Norman, OK 73070
Webmaster is Syd Henderson.
Copyright ©2010 Oklahoma Space Alliance.