Friday, March 6, 2009

NASA Night Launch Two-Fer

(That's real night launches from the real NASA.)

First, NASA's planet-hunting Kepler mission successfully lifted off in a blaze of night-launch glory this (Friday) evening from Cape Canaveral in Florida.  Once in position, the Kepler instrument will spend the next three-plus years staring intently at a very small patch of sky (containing tens of thousands of suns) looking for Earth-sized planets.  We've already found some 300 larger, gas-giant-sized planets using Hubble and ground-based telescopes.  Kepler increases the resolution of the search.

Second, space shuttle mission STS-119 was just cleared for a night launch next Wednesday, March 11, with a 9:20 PM EDT launch target.  STS-119 will deliver new solar panels and infrastructure to the International Space Station so it can support its full complement of six crewmembers. Be sure to watch an unrecognizable ten-second clip on your evening news, or catch the whole jaw-dropping thing live in HD on NASA TV.

No comments:

Post a Comment