India’s MOM spacecraft reaches Mars

India’s Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) probe successfully  entered into orbit around the Red Planet tonight. (See earlier post about the project.)  Launched on November 5th, 2013, the probe (also called Mangalyaan) needed to fire its engine for nearly 24 minutes to slow down sufficiently to be captured by Mars’ gravity.

The rocket and the spacecraft use Indian technology. Previously, only NASA, the European Space Agency,  and the former space program of the former Soviet Union succeeded in sending a spacecraft to Mars. And India is the first to succeed on its first try.

This follows by just two days the successful arrival of NASA’s MAVEN orbiter (see post here).

There are now five spacecraft (NASA’s Mars Odyssey and Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and ESA’s Mars Express) in orbit around Mars and two rovers (Curiosity and Opportunity) in action on the surface of Mars.


Early asteroid impacts provided metals for today’s mines

The famous nickel mine at Sudbury in Ontario, Canada was created by a huge asteroid that hit the spot over 1.8 billions ago. It left an impact crater known as the Sudbury Basin. Such asteroid impacts provided most of the heavy metals accessible to mines because most of the metals in the earth settled into the core of the planet: Rare Earth – Brian Koberlein –

… fortunately Earth was also bombarded by meteors in its early history, and this made mining practical in two ways. The first is that asteroids and meteors themselves contain vast quantities of heavy metals. By some estimates, a single mile-wide asteroid could contain twenty trillion dollars worth of precious metals. Since most of the asteroid bombardments occurred after Earth’s crust formed, these metals were deposited near Earth’s surface, making them easier to obtain. There is some evidence that most of accessible heavy metals are extraterrestrial in origin due to this process.

The second is due to large impacts such as Sudbury. With large impacts, part of the Earth’s crust are melted. As a result, deposited material then settles in layers as it re-cools. Heavier elements settle at the bottom of the crater, while lighter ones settle near the top. As a result, heavy metals are concentrated at the bottom layer of the crater, producing rich veins of ore. Impacts can also create other useful byproducts, such as impact diamonds and pockets of oil. Chicxulub crater (caused by the famous dinosaur extinction asteroid) near the Gulf of Mexico is a region with plentiful oil deposits, for example.

Here’s a nicely made video describing the formation of the Sudbury basin:

The Space Show this week

The guests and the topics on The Space Show this week:

1. SPECIAL PROGRAM:: Monday, 22, 2014: 9:30-10 AM PDT (12:30 -1:30 PM EDT, 10:30-11:30 AM CDT): We welcome back DR. PAT HYNES to discuss this year’s Personal & Commercial Spaceflight Symposium in Las Cruces, NM on Oc.t. 15-16, 2014. For more information, go to their website

2. SPECIAL WEBINAR: Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2014, 7 PM PDT (10 PM EDT, 9 PM CDT): Welcome to our SWF sponsored webinar regarding “The role of satellites in Earth disaster management“. Our guests are Laura Delgardo Lopez who is the Project Manager at Secure World Foundation, Yana Gevorgyan, the Senior International Relations Exers at the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and Yusuke Murakki who is the Space Technology Specialist at the Asian Development Bank. You can listen to this show as a regular Space Show audio program or watch the live webinar broadcast at

3. Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2014,7–8:30 PM PDT (10-11:30 PM EDT, 9-10:30 PM CDT): We welcomed. FRANK MARTIN to discuss the recent NRC Pathways Human Spaceflight study. You can freely download the study at

4. Friday, Sept. 26, 2014, 9:30 -11 AM PDT (12;30-2 PM EDT; 11:30-1 PM CDT): We welcome back author ROD PYLE regarding his new book, Curiosity: An Inside look at the Mars Rover Mission and the People Who Made It Happen.

See also:
/– The Space Show on Vimeo – webinar videos
/– The Space Show’s Blog – summaries of interviews.
/– The Space Show Classroom Blog – tutorial programs

The Space Show is a project of the One Giant Leap Foundation.