Monday, August 30, 2010

Large fireball observed after object strikes Jupiter

A large object, possibly an asteroid or a meteor, hit the planet Jupiter Thursday, resulting in a large fireball.

The fireball was seen on June 3 at 2031 UTC by two independent amateur astronomers, Christopher Go in the Philippines and Anthony Wesley in Australia. Wesley, who posted the news onto an Internet forum, is known for having also spotted last July's Jupiter impact event. Go caught Thursday's impact on video, which showed a fireball the size of Earth after the object hit. It could be the first time someone has recorded a meteor crashing into a planet.

NASA chooses Woomera, South Australia for rocket launch site

NASA has announced that rockets will be launched from Woomera in outback South Australia to service the International Space Station (ISS) - starting in 2008. NASA has selected two American companies to launch rockets from the Woomera base. Rocket Plane Kistler and Space-X will conduct orbital flight tests and commercial operations. The Woomera site would also be used to launch cargo such as fuel and food to the ISS as often as every two weeks.

China successfully launches Shenzhou VI manned rocket

BBC News is reporting that the People's Republic of China has successfully launched its second manned space flight, Shenzhou VI.

The mission is more ambitious than the previous Shenzhou V, which made China only the third nation to launch a manned space mission. Shenzhou VI will carry two astronauts, Nie Haisheng and Fei Junlong, compared to the previous mission which only carried a single astronaut, Yang Liwei. The newest astronauts will also stay in orbit longer, five days compared to the 21 hour, 14 orbit flight of Shenzhou V.

The director of the Chinese Space Crew Training program, Chen Shanguang, explained to the media that the country would send a woman to Space within five years. "Women are more patient compared with male astronauts, their psychological qualities are more stable and they face isolation better," according to Chen.