rain’s musings – february 1, 2015

I’ve finally decided to do something I’ve been thinking about for years – adding a blog to the website. Now I don’t really think of this as a ‘blog’ in the traditional sense. It’s more of my occasional musings on anything and everything related to space. It might be my excited ramblings regarding some to announcement or finding or maybe me venting about something that ticked me off in the space community. It’s just whatever strikes me at a whim enough to bring me to the keyboard. I will warn any of you that have come across these words – I’m never going to win any awards for my writing prowess! lol

Yes, as I write this Space Track and DragonCon is only 214 days away!!! For many of you that may seem like forever. For me, it already means ‘Yikes! I’m behind schedule!’

Planning for Space Track 2015 is already a little chaotic. There is SO MUCH happening this year and a number of things that have already happened since the end of DragonCon 2014, that I want/NEED to have on the 2015 program. There is no way I can adequately accommodate all of them but it is my job (and passion) to try. I thought I would give you all a peek of some of what has happened space-wise just since DragonCon 2014, some of which MIGHT be talked about on Space Track 2015. Just a small peak at the craziness of having to decide what to program!

September 8, 2014 – Evidence of plate tectonics on Europa discovered.
September 9, 2014 – 1st evidence of water ice clouds on an object outside of our own Solar System discovered.
September 11, 2014 Curiosity rover reaches Mount Sharp, a mountain at the center of Gale Crater & the rover mission’s long-term prime destination.
September 21, 2014 – 1) MAVEN probe reaches MARS & successfully orbits; 2) water vapor detected on the exo-planet HAT-P-11b, the 1st molecules of any kind have been found on such a relatively small exo-planet.
September 24, 2014 – India’s first probe to Mars – the Mars Orbiter Mission, Mangalyaan, successfully enters Mars orbit.
September 25, 2014 – A complex organic molecule, Iso-propyl cyanide, has been discovered near the galactic core in abundance.
October 1, 2014 – GRAIL detects ancient rift valleys surrounding the “Ocean of Storms” region of the Moon.
October 15, 2014 – Several Kuiper belt objects identified as possible new targets for New Horizons spacecraft.
October 16, 2014 – What appears to be a signature of ‘axions’ are detected, which are predicted to be dark matter particle candidates. If confirmed, this would be 1st direct detection & identification of the elusive substance.
October 19, 2014 – Comet Siding Spring flies by of Mars; comet dust includes: magnesium, iron, sodium, potassium, manganese, nickel, chromium and zinc.
October 28, 2014 – Antares rocket explodes just after launch, completely destroying the vehicle and badly damaging launch pad 0 at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport.
October 31, 2014 – Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo experiences an in-flight anomaly followed by an explosion and crash in the Mojave desert, killing one pilot and injuring another.
November 5, 2014 – ALMA telescope reveals a protoplanetary disk in never-before-seen detail; series of concentric rings are visible, showing the likely orbits of young planets in the process of being formed.
November 12, 2014 – Philae lands on Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko after bouncing off surface and re-landing.
December 1, 2014 – More precise measurement of universe shows it is 13.8 billion years old and is composed of 4.9 percent atomic matter, 26.6 percent dark matter and 68.5 percent dark energy.
December 5, 2014 – 1st successful unmanned test flight of Orion, NASA’s future manned spacecraft.
December 10, 2014 – Scientists decide it’s very unlikely that water found on Earth came from comets such as comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, according to the composition of water vapor (ratio of deuterium to hydrogen in the water from the comet was 3x that found for terrestrial water) which is substantially different from that found on Earth.
December 18, 2014 – Newly configured Kepler, detected its first confirmed exoplanet, HIP 116454 b, a Super-Earth.


So Space Fans, that’s JUST from the end of Con to the end of 2014! Anything interesting that you want to hear more of? Let me know; send an email to ‘space@dragoncon.org’. Remember, Space Track is for all of YOU. YOU make it successful by your attendance and your attendance is dependent on me programming talks you want to hear.

Hope to see you all at Space Track 2015!