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Ep. 30, Page 18
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Comic 2267 - Ep. 30, Page 18

2nd Nov 2016, 9:24 PM in Episode 30 :: Save My Place | Load My Place
Average Rating: 5 (1 votes)

Author Notes:

smbhax 2nd Nov 2016, 9:24 PM edit delete
Finally got some blogging time! Let's do a BBC space news roundup! : D

- China's Shenzhou 11 docks at Tiangong 2 space station (10/19) - Two Chinese astronauts are spending 30 days at the country's somewhat scaled-down space station, which is a test bed for a full-sized station planned for 2020 or 2022, depending on which number in the article you go by. Their 30-day mission will be the longest space mission ever undertaken by Chinese astronauts; in the article, you can see their footage of the station interior and exterior.

- Saturn's weird hexagon changes colour (10/25) - The huge, hexagonal cloud area at Saturn's north pole has changed from a blue to a gold color over the past four years, a comparison of old and new photos of the area taken by NASA's Cassini probe reveals. "The change in colour is thought to be the result of seasonal changes on the planet. In particular, the amount of sunlight falling on the poles affects the production of suspended particles - aerosols - in the atmosphere. Scientists think the shift from a bluish colour to a golden one may be due to more aerosols being produced through reactions involving sunlight and the atmosphere." The hexagonal shape of the cloud formation has also been a mystery, but the article notes that computer simulations have been able to show that "small perturbations in winds flowing around the north pole can form a hexagon shape rotating at speeds close to those of the real one."

- Images reveal crashed Mars lander (10/27) - The ESA lost contact with their Mars lander Schiaparelli in the minute before it was due to touch down on The Red Planet; ESA mission control tried to remain optimistic about the probe's chances, but NASA's MRO satellite spotted what pretty much looked like a crash site near where the probe was supposed to land, and then confirmed it with high resolution photos of the site some days later. (The MRO is an old hand at this now; last year, it located the 12-year-old wreckage of the ESA's previous attempted Mars lander, Beagle 2—which did land, but its solar panels and communications instruments failed to deploy.) It isn't known exactly what went wrong for Schiaparelli, but for some reason its parachute deployed early, and its retro-rockets fired for only 3 or 4 seconds instead of the intended 30; this probably resulted in the probe falling from 2 to 4 kilometers up, hitting the surface at something like 300 kph (186 mph). The ESA can console themselves a little by having successfully placed Schiaparelli's mothership, the Trace Gas Orbiter, in Martian orbit, where it will for the presence of methane in the atmosphere, which would be a possible indicator of biological or geological activity on the planet.


cattservant 3rd Nov 2016, 2:52 AM edit delete reply
Seems to be a pattern here...
smbhax 3rd Nov 2016, 10:48 PM edit delete reply
Both blue! : o