A Chapter of the National Space Society

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May 2011 Meeting (NOTE DATE and LOCATION)

         Oklahoma Space Alliance will meet at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 14 at Panera Bread, 4401 W. Memorial Road in northern Oklahoma City.
         There are several routes to get there. From the south a simple one is to take I -35, continue on I-235 (aka 77) to Memorial, turn west. Alternatively, turn west on 240 or I-44, north on 74 (aka Portland Ave. and the Lake Hefner Parkway) and west when you reach Memorial. From the North, Highways 74, 77 and I-35 all intersect Memorial, with the first being closest to Panera Bread. Panera Bread is about halfway between the Lake Hefner Parkway (74) and N. MacArthur Blvd, and is a mile and a half west of Quail Springs Mall.

  1. Introductions (if necessary)
  2. Read and approve agenda
  3. Read and approve minutes and reports of activities
  4. Old Business
    1. Research funding
    2. A New OSA Logo
    3. Treasurer’s Report
    4. ISDC
    5. SoonerCon Programming
    6. Space Solar Power
    7. Distribution of Ad Astras.
    8. Marketing for Burns Flat
    9. What’s Happening in Space
    10. Movie Displays
  5. Read and discuss mail
  6. New Business
  7. Create New Agenda

Minutes of April Meeting

         The April meeting was actually our Yuri’s Night Celebration on April 9 at the Koszorus’ house. This attended by Tom and Heidi Koszoru and Tom’s mentee Jason, Tracey Claybon, Russ Davoren, Claire and Clifford McMurray and Syd Henderson. As this was a celebration, we didn’t conduct business. However, we did watch a couple of speeches from the 2010 International Space Development Conference in Chicago.
         Syd has renewed our mailbox for another year and is waiting to be reimbursed by Oklahoma Space Alliance.
         Leigh Perry, who has been assigned to redo our logo, was in the hospital awaiting surgery. She will also miss the May meeting after a second surgery.

ISDC and SoonerCon

         International Space Development Conference 2011 is at the Von Braun Center and Embassy Suites Hotel and Spa in Huntsville, Alabama, May 19 – 22, 2011. The web site is http://isdc.nss.org/2011/ (there is a link off the Oklahoma Space Alliance home page). In addition, there is a Space Investment Summit on May 18 that is available to members of the ISDC for $50, which is much better than the stand-alone price of $125.
         The ISDC is in the region of Alabama that was hard hit by tornadoes on April 27. There was a lot of damage around Huntsville, power was mostly out for several days and they put off the rate increase for a week because of the power outage and people needing to clean fallen trees. As of May 1, Ronnie Lajoie hadn’t heard of any injuries to HAL5 members, but some of them were still suffering loss of phone service. However, they expect the ISDC to go off as planned.
         The preliminary schedule is now up at the web site. Robert Bigelow, the Founder and President of Bigelow Aerospace, will be the keynote speaker at the Governors’ Dinner and Gala. He will be receiving the Space Pioneers Award for Space Development. The JAXA Hayabusa Team will be receiving the Wernher von Braun Award. The Hayabusa spacecraft retrieved a sample of the asteroid Itokawa and successfully returned it to Earth.

         SoonerCon 20 is June 3 – 5 at the Sheraton Oklahoma City.  This is NOT the hotel near the airport where other recent SoonerCons were held. The hotel is located at 1 North Broadway Avenue in Oklahoma City.
         Membership for SoonerCon is $35 in advance and $45 at the door. Membership forms can be downloaded from www.soonercon.com.
         Oklahoma Space Alliance will be hosting the con suite for a few hours, and also host a two-part panel on the first century of space travel. This year being the fiftieth anniversary of manned space flight, we are now at the halfway point.
         Guest of Honor for SoonerCon is Tim Powers, author of The Anubis Gate, Expiration Date, Last Call and Declare, the last two of which won the World Fantasy Award. His novel On Stranger Tides has been adapted into the fourth Pirates of the Caribbean movie.
         Parking is more complicated this time. The SoonerCon committee informs me:
            The closest available parking is Valet parking at the Sheraton hotel entrance. The Valet parking is $15 a day, and can be billed directly to your room if you are staying at the hotel.
            Alternatively, the Century Center provides event parking for $5 or 24 hour parking for $7. It is located attached to the Sheraton Hotel and Convention center, with the entrance on the South Side.
            Metered street parking is also available throughout downtown. Street parking is free after 6pm and on Sundays.
Free parking is also available in lower Bricktown, with a free trolley running between Bricktown and Downtown OKC (a stop is directly in front of the Sheraton). Trolley information is available here:  http://www.gometro.org/trolley
            For those looking for additional information about parking lot locations and rates, it is available here:

Viewing Opportunities for Satellites (May 13 – June 13, 2011)

         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 and all the planets other than Venus, although magnitude -2 to -3 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 next mission will be that of Endeavour beginning on May 16. Be sure to check Heavens Above or www.jsc.nasa.gov/sightings before going out to watch.
                  I have no data for the Hubble Space Telescope this  month

Station May 26, 2011
Time               Position          Elevation
Leaves Earth’s Shadow
5:15 a.m.             198°                17°
5:16                     183                  28
5:17                     134                  40
5:18                       85                  28
5:19                       67                  15

Station May 27, 2011
Time               Position          Elevation
5:37 a.m.             253°                16°
5:38                     270                  29
5:39                     322                  44*
5:40                       13                  29
5:41                       30                  16
*Passes very close to Polaris

Station June 12, 2011
Time               Position          Elevation
11:06 p.m.           269°                13°
11:07                   289                  21
11:08                   324                  27
11:09                       0                  22
11:10                     20                  13

Station June 13, 2011
Time               Position          Elevation
5:30 a.m.             324°                17
5:31                     337                  34
5:32                       47                  58
5:33                     107                  31
5:34                     118                  16

Station June 13, 2011
Time               Position          Elevation
9:52 p.m.             219°                17°
9:53                     211                  36
9:54                     135                  71*
9:55                       62                  36**
9:56                       54                  18
*Passes 3° below Arcturus
**Passes 1° west of Vega

Station June 16, 2011
Time               Position          Elevation
8:58 p.m.             213°                17°
8:59                     201                  34
9:00                     136                  59
9:01                       70                  34
9:02                       59                  17

         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 Space Station at 9:01 p.m. on June 16, measure two fist-widths north from due east, then about 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/.

Sky Viewing

 [Information from skyandtelescope.com and the May and June issues of both Astronomy and Sky & Telescope.]
         There are two partial solar eclipses and a total lunar eclipse between June 1 and July 1, none of which are visible in the lower 48. The June 1 solar eclipse is visible in the Arctic with the maximum eclipse crossing North Korea, Siberia, northern European Russia, far northern Scandinavia and the Atlantic east of Iceland and Newfoundland. The rest of Siberia, northern Canada, Greenland and the entire Arctic Ocean will also experience a partial eclipse.
         This is still a lot more accessible than the July 1 partial solar eclipse which will only be visible in a patch of ocean off the coast of Queen Maud Land in Antarctica. It’s possible the penguins on Bouvet Island may get to see this.
         The total lunar eclipse on June 15 will be visible over all of the Eastern Hemisphere except the northern half of Europe, Siberia and the eastern coast of Asia. Africa, Australia and most of Antarctica will see it in its entirety, and South America will see part of it.
         Having three eclipses close together like this is normal and occurs whenever the Moon is near one of the nodes of its orbit (the nodes are where the Moon’s orbit crosses the ecliptic, the apparent path of the Sun) at the time of the middle eclipse. The June set is for the descending node, and the December set is for the ascending node. The nodes move around the Moon’s orbit with a period of 18.6 years, so the eclipses move around a calendar. It is possible for there to be five solar eclipses in a year; similarly, there can be five lunar eclipses. If that happens, there are probably only two solar eclipses.

         The asteroid Vesta is about to make news with the arrival of the Dawn space probe in July. It also reaches opposition on August 5, at which point it will be magnitude 5.6. However, even in late June it should be just visible to the naked eye. It is located in the rather dim zodiacal constellation Capricornus in the vicinity of Iota, Gamma and Delta Capricorni. There is a finder chart on page 43 of the June issue of Astronomy and

         Mercury, Venus, Mars and Jupiter are all lost within the glow of the Sun just before dawn. It should be possible to see them through binoculars. On May 11, Venus and Jupiter will be half a degree apart, while Mercury will be a degree and a half to the south of Venus.
         By May 18, Venus and Mercury will be rising an hour before sunrise and still separated by about the same distance. Mercury was at greatest elongation on May 7, and is moving away from us. On June 12 it will reach superior conjunction with the Sun and won’t be visible until near the end of June.
         Venus is gradually approaching superior conjunction as well, which it will reach on August 16. (Coincidentally, Mercury is in inferior conjunction on the same day.) This means Venus is almost full, but since it is also on the far side of its orbit, it’s a little dimmer than usual. In addition, it’s twilight by the time Venus is well above the horizon.
         Jupiter, on the other hand, had its conjunction on April 6 and is moving away from the Sun. By June 1 it will be rising two hours before the Sun, and by July 1 it will be rising four hours before the Sun. It will also be magnitude -2.2, almost a full magnitude brighter than Sirius.
         Mars is still dim and lost in the twilight before sunrise. It will become much more visible in June, rising a couple of hours before the Sun by midmonth. However, it will still only be magnitude 1.4, which makes it only the second brightest object in Taurus.
         Saturn is the one planet that is easily visible at the moment. It is in the constellation Virgo, and at magnitude 0.8 is slightly brighter than Spica. On June 1, Saturn is within 18 minutes of arc of the third-magnitude star Gamma Virginis, and on June 15, it is 15 minutes of arc away. By comparison, the full Moon is about 30 minutes of arc across.
          Uranus was in conjunction with the Sun in March and is still in twilight at dawn. However, it will be rising earlier in June and a stellar configuration will make it relatively easy to find. The Great Square of Pegasus is pretty easy to find. If you take the two eastern stars of the square, and extend the line an equal distance south, you’ll find Uranus in a dim region of Pisces. Uranus is magnitude 5.9, making it just visible to sharp eyes under a very dark sky.
         Neptune is rising about ninety minutes before Uranus. Neptune can be found by locating the Water Jug in Aquarius, and going twelve degrees due south. Since Neptune is magnitude 7.9, this requires binoculars or a telescope.
         Pluto will be at opposition on June 28, at which time it will be shining at a sparkling magnitude 14. To put it another way, Pluto would have to reflect about 1600 times as much light to be as bright as Uranus. For the record, Pluto is in a fairly prominent area of Sagittarius and there is a finder chart on page 42 of the June 2011 issue of Astronomy.

Space News

         NASA’s Space Shuttle Endeavour will be launched on its final flight later this month after numerous delays. (At one point, this mission was scheduled for July 2010.) Among other problems engineers have been trying to fix are failed heaters that protect a power unit that is one of three such units that serve Endeavour’s hydraulic systems. Without the repairs, the power unit would probably freeze while in orbit which clearly would set up a potential disaster. The earliest launch date now is 7:56 a.m. Central Time on Monday, May 16.
         This is the penultimate mission of the Shuttle program. The final mission, that of Atlantis, is currently scheduled for June 29, but the continuing delays of the Endeavour launch are starting to threaten that date.

         NASA has made final determination of the fates of the three retiring space shuttles. Endeavour is going to the California Science Center in Los Angeles. Atlantis will be displayed in the Visitor’s Center at Kennedy Space Center. Discovery will replace the prototype shuttle Enterprise in the Air and Space Museum of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC, while Enterprise will be displayed at the Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum at Pier 86 on the west side of Manhattan Island in New York, New York. The name here doesn’t refer to the Museum’s fine qualities, but to the aircraft carrier USS Intrepid that is part of the exhibit. Intrepid was also the temporary field headquarters for FBI in the early days of the 9/11 investigation.
         April 12 was the thirtieth anniversary of the first launch of Space Shuttle Columbia, which was the first orbital launch of any space shuttle. Enterprise first flew on February18, 1977, but that was on the back of a Boeing 747. Enterprise itself was first launched on August 12, 1977 on a suborbital flight. Since Enterprise lacked engines or a heat shield, it never went into space. When constructed, it was anticipated that Enterprise would eventually be modified to become an orbital craft, but by 1981 specifications had been changed and it was decided to build a new shuttle. That became Challenger.
         People who were around in 1976 may remember Enterprise got its name after a letter-writing campaign by Star Trek fans.  President Ford approved because he served on the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise. Originally it was to have been named Constitution.

         Gravity Probe B has confirmed two predictions of Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity. The first is the warping of space and time around a massive object (the geodetic effect), the second “frame shifting,” by which a spinning massive object pulls space and time with it. The massive object for both observations is the planet Earth itself, around which Gravity Probe B is in a polar orbit.
         These effects had actually been observed earlier by the Cassini spacecraft and by observations of twin pulsars, but it’s nice to have a confirmation close to home, and a direct observation using Gravity Probe B’s gyroscopes.
         It’s also notable that reflectors left on the Moon by the Apollo asteroids had also detected these effects to considerably greater accuracy than the space probe.

         NASA has selected three potential Discovery Program missions among which it will select one for launch in 2016. The first, GEMS (Geophysical Monitoring Station), despite its name would study the interior of Mars, presumably by monitoring marsquakes. TIME (Titan Mars Explorer) would land in a sea on Saturn’s moon Titan. Comet Hopper would study comet evolution by following a comet around and landing on it multiple times as the comet orbits the Sun.
         NASA will make the final selection sometime in 2012.

         It seems that every few weeks now we get new superlatives in the search for exoplanets. This week it’s the strange case of 55 Cancri e. This was already known to be the closest to its sun of 55 Cancri’s five planets. But in late 2010, Rebekah Dawson analyzed the data and realized the planet’s orbital period was not the reported 2.8 days, but only 17 hours and 41 minutes. This made it more likely that the planet transits its star’s disk, and sure enough it does. This also gives the diameter of the planet, which is 1.6 times that of Earth’s. Combine this with the known mass of 8.6 times that of Earth, and 55 Cancri e has a density 11 times that of water, twice that of Earth. Indeed, that is pretty close to the density of lead
         Given that 55 Cancri is only slightly dimmer than the Sun, the day side of 55 Cancri e must be an inferno. The estimated temperature is close to 5,000º F, only a couple hundred degrees below the boiling point of iron (and above the boiling point of copper).
         Among the superlatives for 55 Cancri e are that it’s the densest and hottest known exoplanets, with the fastest orbital period.

         LISA, the Laser Interferometer Space Antenna, has fallen victim to belt-tightening by NASA. LISA was a joint project of NASA and the European Space Agency that was to be launched in 2015 to detect gravity waves. The existence of such waves is predicted by Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity, but they have never been detected. They should be emitted, for example, by closely orbiting binary hole binaries (and I would expect neutron stars as well).
         Funding by the European Space Agency doesn’t seem to be an issue, because they still want to go through with a scaled-down version of the project, possibly with some NASA participation.
         Under the new spending plan passed last month by Congress, NASA is receiving $240 million less than last year, and with the James Webb Space Telescope experiencing a $1.4 billion cost overrun, bringing the cost up to $6.5 billion, and being a higher-priority project, something had to give.

         Science News had an article on the Webb Telescope in their April 9 mission that details how the costs have ballooned. In 1996, Dan Goldin originally wanted a Hubble successor to cost $500 million, but the initial estimate was already $1 billion by 2001. By 2003, construction costs were set at $2.2 billion, which ballooned to $3.8 billion by 2005 and $5 billion in 2008 (including the cost of operating the telescope for five years). This of course eats away at any other projects NASA wants to do.
         Note that the Hubble Space Telescope cost about $3 billion, and the Webb Telescope will have a mirror with six times the collection areas of Hubble’s. Despite this, the weight of the Webb telescope will be less than 60% that of Hubble’s. Part of this is because the Webb Telescope’s mirrors are made of beryllium, which is a light element. (There are actually eighteen hexagonal mirrors arranged like a honeycomb. This allows the mirror to be folded before launch and open up in space.)
         Since the Webb Telescope is designed to operate at the Earth-Sun L2 point, 930,000 miles from the Earth on the opposite side from the Sun, it has to operate without maintenance by astronauts. Given the new technology that had to be developed and the need to develop a space telescope that needed no servicing, those early estimates were never realistic.    
Calendar of Events
         May 13: Oklahoma City Astronomy Club meets at Science Museum Oklahoma (formerly the Omniplex). There will be a novice session in the planetarium at 6:45 p.m., followed by a club meeting at 7:30 p.m.
         May 14: [Tentative] Oklahoma Space Alliance meeting at 3:00 p.m. Location to be announced.
         May 16: Earliest possible launch of Endeavour to the Space Station. This is the scheduled conclusion of the space shuttle program. Launch time is currently projected for no earlier than 7:56 a.m. [CDT].
         May 19: Mercury passes 2° south of Mars.
         June 1: Partial solar eclipse viewable in northern Canada, Alaska and northern and eastern Russia.
         June 8: [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
         June 10: Oklahoma City Astronomy Club meets at Science Museum Oklahoma (formerly the Omniplex). There will be a novice session in the planetarium at 6:45 p.m., followed by a club meeting at 7:30 p.m.
         June 11: [Tentative] Oklahoma Space Alliance meeting at 3:00 p.m. Location to be announced.
         June 12: Mercury is in superior conjunction with the Sun.
         June 15: Total eclipse of the Moon, visible in South America and most of Eastern Hemisphere.
         June 28: Pluto is at opposition.
         June 29: Launch of the Space Shuttle Atlantis on a 14-Day mission to the International Space Station. This is the final flight for Atlantis and the final flight of the Space Shuttle Program.
         July 2011 - May 2012: Dawn probe orbits Vesta. See dawn.jpl.nasa.gov/ or en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dawn_Mission for details.
         July 1: Partial solar eclipse, viewable in a small area off Queen Maud Land in Antarctica.
         July 7: Neptune completes its first orbit since discovery.
         July 8: [Tentative] Oklahoma Space Alliance meeting at 3:00 p.m. Location to be announced.
         July 20: Mercury is at greatest eastern elongation, 27° from the Sun (hence can be seen after sunset).
         July 20: 42nd anniversary of Apollo 11 moon landing.
         August 5: The asteroid Vesta is at opposition, and, at magnitude 5.6, is visible to the naked eye.
         August 5: Launch of the Juno mission to Jupiter. See en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Juno_(spacecraft) or http://juno.wisc.edu/ for details.
         August 13: [Tentative] Oklahoma Space Alliance meeting at 3:00 p.m. Location to be announced.
         August 16: Venus is in superior conjunction with the Sun, and Mercury is in inferior conjunction.
         August 22: Neptune is at opposition.
         September 3: Mercury is at greatest western elongation, 18° from the Sun (hence can be seen before sunrise).
         September 8: 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.
         September 10: [Tentative] Oklahoma Space Alliance meeting at 3:00 p.m. Location to be announced.
         September 25: Uranus is at opposition.
         October 8: [Tentative] Oklahoma Space Alliance meeting at 3:00 p.m. Location to be announced.
         October 13: Saturn is in conjunction with the Sun.
         October 28: Jupiter is at opposition.
         November 12: [Tentative] Oklahoma Space Alliance meeting at 3:00 p.m. Location to be announced.
         November 14: Mercury is at greatest eastern elongation, 23.7° from the Sun (hence can be seen after sunset).
         November 17: Peak of Leonid meteor shower.
         November 25: The Mars Science Laboratory (aka Curiosity) is launched. See marsprogram.jpl.nasa.gov/msl/ for details
         November 25: Partial solar eclipse viewable from all of Antarctica, and the Antarctic Ocean from Africa to Australia.
         December 10: 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.
         December 22: Mercury is at greatest western elongation, 22° from the Sun (hence can be seen before sunrise).
         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.
         February 3, 2012: 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.
         March 3, 2012: Mars is at opposition at magnitude -1.2. This is the worst opposition for the next twenty years.
         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.
         April 17, 2013: Mars is in conjunction with the Sun.
         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.
         April 14-15, 2014. Total eclipse of the Moon visible from North America.
         August 2014 - December 2015: The Rosetta space probe orbits comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko. In November 2014, it will release the Philae lander. Web page is www.esa.int/SPECIALS/Rosetta or visit en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rosetta_%28spacecraft%29
         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/.
         September 2015: Earliest date for the launch of the James Webb Space Telescope. [Moved from July 2014.]
         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

         “Move Over Einstein,” by Justin Mullins, New Scientist, 19 March 2011, pp. 40 – 43. This is a rather interesting article on using a form of computer-directed evolution to come up with natural laws. Essentially, you enter a bunch of data, and a lot of programs that can potentially achieve it, and the computer tests all of them, merges the ones that seem to work best, merge the second-generation programs, etc., until it produces a program that actually generate the data. Note that the aim is not simply coming up with a statistical approximation, but an actual formula like F = ma. The initial formula it came up with was for the energy of a double pendulum (that is, the top arm has a fixed hinge, while the second arm hangs from the first one). In the process, the computer rediscovered the law of conservation of energy.
         In fact, while doing an analysis of cell differentiation in the bacterium Bacillus subtilis (the idea being to find out when the anthrax-related bacterium decides to spore), it came upon what appears to be a biological law of invariance. The catch is that although the law seems to be true, nobody really knows what it describes. (A speculation is that it is some sort of feedback mechanism.)

            So we may have a program for producing physical laws that are way ahead of our understanding. Just wait till they start applying it to quantum mechanics.  

         Oklahoma Space Alliance Officers, 2011 (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. Executive Director is Gary Barnhard nsshq@nss.org. The Chapters Coordinator is Bennett Rutledge 720-529-8024. The address is: National Space Society, 1155 15th Street NW, Suite 500, Washington DC 20005 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 $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, 1155 15th Street NW, Suite 500, Washington, DC  20005, 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.
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