Australian ASLI rockets to carry student payloads

A reader points me to the Australian advanced rocketry group  Academic Space Launch Initiative (ASLI), which was profiled in an Moreton Bay newpaper: Candles and chemicals mixed to launch rockets into space in Academic Space Launch Initiative project – The Courier-Mail – Jan.19.13.

The organization, formed by Wayne Tayor and Jamie Anderson, seeks to provide rides to high altitudes for payloads designed and built by university students .

Here’s a blog post about one of the recent ASLI rocket tests: ASLI Completes First Demonstration Flight Of Educational Payload Rocket. – ASLI 2010 – Dec.5.12

Citizen science – recent activity at four projects

I often talk here about the proliferation of citizen science projects. I thought I would scan the blogs of four space related projects at Zooniverse and see what their blogs are talking about these days.

* Planet Hunters –  In this project, participants scan data from the Kepler  space observatory to look for a drop in the brightness of a star when a planet orbits in front of it as seen from our point of view.

What factors impact transit shape – Planet Hunters blog – This post discusses an effort to make simulated transits look more like the real ones.

2012_Transit_of_Venus_from_SFTransit of Venus – Image credit Wikipedia

* Galaxy Zoo – With millions of galaxies to classify, this project takes advantage of the human powers of pattern recognition and lets participants decide into which category a galaxy should go according to its shape and features.

Spiral Galaxies and the Future of Citizen Science: a Live Chat – Galaxy Zoo blog – An online chat show brings “Some of the Galaxy Zoo Science Team” together to “talk about a recent paper on measuring spiral arm features via a computer algorithm, including how it compares to human classifications and what this means for the future of volunteer-driven citizen science.” The “also introduce — and have a bit of fun with — the jargon gong.”

* Moon Zoo – With the thousands of images from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera, participants classify the myriad types of lunar surface features.

Flying over Taurus-Littrow – Moon Zoo blog – This post points to dramatically lit images of the Taurus-Littrow site where Apollo 17 landed.



* Planet Four – In this project, participants help “find and mark ‘fans’ and ‘blotches’ on the Martian surface. Scientists believe that these features indicate wind direction and speed. By tracking ‘fans’ and ‘blotches’ over the course of several Martian years to see how they form, evolve, disappear and reform, we can help planetary scientists better understand Mars’ climate.”

to the North! – Planet Four Blog –  The project currently only has image data for the Martian southern hemisphere but they will eventually get northern imagery. A JPL video discusses the features in the north that the project wants to investigate

Sci-Tech: The SailRocket goes where no sail boat has gone before

Here’s a fascinating article about the Vestas Sailrocket, which broke what was considered a hard limit on sail boat speed:  How a Boat-Plane Hybrid Shattered the Sound Barrier of Sailing – Autopia/

When I traveled to Namibia a year before, I had met a daredevil yachtsman with his eyes on a big prize. But now that he has it, all Larsen can talk about is the hydrodynamic frontier. “What we are discovering is that things are not as black-and-white going through this barrier as we thought they were,” he says. The mixture of air, vapor, and very high speed water wrapping itself around a boat at the limit is dynamic and extremely hard to model by computer or even simulate in a high-speed flow tank. To understand it, you must explore it directly, through experimentation. You need SailRocket.

Space on the John Batchelor Show for Jan.29-30

On the latest “Hotel Mars” segment of the John Batchelor show, Batechelor and David Livingston talked with Dr. Caleb Scharf about “Vostok, water ice, Lake Whillans, Antarctica, extremophiles”: The John Batchelor Show Hotel Mars, Wednesday, 1-30-13 – Thespaceshow’s Blog.


This week Bob Zimmerman gave his space news update only on the  Tuesday, 01/29/13  show. He spoke about the following topics:

The robotic refueling demo on ISS successfully did a simulated refueling of a satellite on Friday. Iran today claimed it has successfully flown a monkey on a suborbital rocket flight.  The only sources for this story come from Iranian sources, so I remain unsure whether it actually happened. Salvage in space: DARPA’s project to harvest parts from abandoned geosynchronous satellites.

See the iTunes free Podcast for links to the latest John Batchelor shows.

Colliers Magazine space series reproduction – issue number 3

In case you missed it, the AIAA Houston Section released the  Horizons Newsletter issue for Nov/Dec 2012 (pdf, 49MB) with the third installment of their planned full reproduction of all eight issues of Colliers magazine published between March 1952 and April 1954 with articles on space. The writers included Wernher von Braun, Willy Ley and other space notables of the time. The wonderful illustrations were created by Chesley Bonestell, Fred Freeman and Rolf Klep.

The covers of the space issues:

Colliers space issues

In addition to the Horizons team, the project includes Scott Lowther.

The third issue is described as follows:

October 25, 1952: More About Man on the Moon
The Exploration, pp. 38-40, 44-48, Dr. Fred Whipple & Dr. Wernher von Braun
Inside the Lunar Base, pg. 46, Willy Ley

A sample of the art:

Colliers Magazine, Oct. 25, 1952, pp.38-39
Colliers Magazine, Oct. 25, 1952, pp.44-45

The two Horizons issues with the first two installments of the Colliers series can be found here.

Everyone can participate in space