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NASA’s Kepler Mission
Posted: 01 March 2009 06:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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Chris Crawford - 28 February 2009 11:17 PM

I did a little poking around and I can’t provide any good answers. I am fairly certain that the “super diamond” has no application in the search for extra-terrestrial life. What I did find was as follows:

First, there is research on doping diamond to create a high-temperature superconductor. This may be the source of the reference to a superdiamond with the English synchrotron. They’re talking about high-energy X-radiation, and my guess is that they’re able to get higher power densities by using a carefully doped diamond as the central resonator. If so, that would certainly be impressive work—but not any new fundamental physics.

About the diamonds, it seems first that they were found in the remains of asteroids that have crashed to earth.  Second that the characteristics o the super diamonds were just that, super; they were much harder, larger, more perfectly crystalline and so on.  Then they figured out that if these diamonds were made in deep space that their production process was quite different to the diamonds mined on earth: instead of very high pressure and heat, they needed very low pressure, a vacuum, and heat.  The ability to produce these diamonds as high conductors, and to replace silicone chips are two uses - but uses on earth are, apparently endless and amazing, but I could swear that I also heard that these things have a direct bearing on the possibility of extra-terrestrial life.  The only thing I can think of, offhand, is their carbon-based structure and the possibility that they indicate that life had formed where they came from.  They will also become widely used in space research because of their ability to use and measure light (speed, spectrum etc), but I can’t give you any references because I cant find the place that went to at the start of this curiosity binge.

But I will.

[ Edited: 04 March 2009 08:15 PM by Fat Man ]
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Posted: 01 March 2009 09:20 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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Yes, I’d appreciate it if you could find a reference to these. The diamonds that you mention associated with asteroids are called “shock diamonds”. They’re quite interesting in terms of physics: they’re produced by the shock wave created by the asteroidal impact. They’re microscopic in size. I would not expect any form of diamond to be significantly different from the conventional kind. For example, the hardness of diamond arises from the crystalline structure, which is established by the nature of the carbon atoms, and you can’t change the carbon atoms. The only differences I would expect would arise from doping: superconductivity, lasing, and semiconductivity. By the way, this last creates an interesting opportunity for conspicuous consumption: it’s possible that you could make computer chips out of diamond. So we could have snobs sniffily declaring “My computer has diamond chips!”

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Posted: 01 March 2009 01:40 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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NASA supplies tools for teachers, students and parents interested in the Kepler Mission:

http://kepler.nasa.gov/ed/starwheel/index.html
http://kepler.nasa.gov/ed/starwheel/KeplerStarWheel.pdf

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Posted: 01 March 2009 02:10 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
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KEPLER SHOULD BLAST OFF THIS WEEK ON FRIDAY

•Kepler pre-launch schedule: http://www.nasa.gov/kepler

NASA Web Prelaunch and Launch Coverage

NASA’s home on the Internet, http://www.nasa.gov, will provide extensive prelaunch and launch day coverage of the Kepler mission.

Kepler’s prelaunch webcast, featuring Kepler’s Deputy Principal Investigator Dr. David Koch and Kennedy Mission Manager Armando Piloto, will be streamed on the Web and broadcast on NASA TV on Thursday, March 5, at 11:30 a.m.

Live countdown coverage through NASA’s launch blog begins at 9 p.m. Friday, March 6. Coverage features real-time updates as countdown milestones occur as well as streaming video clips highlighting launch preparations and liftoff. For questions, contact Jeanne Ryba at 321-867-7824.

To view the webcast or blog or to learn more about the Kepler mission, visit:  http://www.nasa.gov/kepler

[ Edited: 01 March 2009 02:13 PM by Fat Man ]
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Posted: 02 March 2009 12:26 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
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Chris Crawford - 01 March 2009 09:20 AM

Yes, I’d appreciate it if you could find a reference to these. The diamonds that you mention associated with asteroids are called “shock diamonds”. They’re quite interesting in terms of physics: they’re produced by the shock wave created by the asteroidal impact. They’re microscopic in size. I would not expect any form of diamond to be significantly different from the conventional kind. For example, the hardness of diamond arises from the crystalline structure, which is established by the nature of the carbon atoms, and you can’t change the carbon atoms. The only differences I would expect would arise from doping: superconductivity, lasing, and semiconductivity. By the way, this last creates an interesting opportunity for conspicuous consumption: it’s possible that you could make computer chips out of diamond. So we could have snobs sniffily declaring “My computer has diamond chips!”

The most up-to-date program about the superdiamond is on National Geographic at: natgeotv.com in Naked Science
http://channel.nationalgeographic.com/tv-schedule.  Look for Monday 2nd March @ 1:00am under superdimonds and in Naked Science.

[ Edited: 02 March 2009 12:28 AM by Fat Man ]
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Posted: 02 March 2009 07:24 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
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From: http://kepler.nasa.gov/
LATEST — 2009 Feb 26. NASA’S Kepler Telescope to Launch Aboard Delta II Rocket. Excerpt: CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla.—Launch of NASA’s Kepler telescope is targeted for no earlier than Friday, March 6, from Pad 17-B at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. There are two launch windows, from 10:49 - 10:52 p.m. and 11:13 - 11:16 p.m. EST.


Downloadable booklet available from NASA on Kepler Mission:
http://www.ulalaunch.com/launch/Kepler/FINAL_MOB_Kepler.pdf

Kepler Pre-Launch Webcasts to start the day before the mission:
http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/kepler/launch/webcast.html

Viewing the Launch Online: The launch will be simulcast online on the Web cast page beginning 9 p.m. EST. You may also view the launch directly on NASA TV at http://www.nasa.gov/ntv.

Launch Updates: To keep up to speed with updates for the Delta II NOAA-N Prime, dial the ULA launch hotline at 1-877-852-4321


From: http://www.ulalaunch.com/
On Tuesday, a Taurus XL rocket carrying NASA’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory failed to achieve orbit. Managers want to confirm there will not be any related issues with Kepler’s Delta II.

A picture of a Delta II rocket is pasted below…..

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Posted: 03 March 2009 05:21 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]
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NYTimes has a detailed article about the mission HERE.

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Posted: 03 March 2009 05:58 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]
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http://kepler.nasa.gov/

“The Kepler spacecraft and its Delta II rocket have been cleared to launch into space late Friday night following a thorough review by launch managers Monday.

“Liftoff is scheduled for 10:49 p.m. EST. The Launch Services Program was joined by officials and engineers from the United Launch Alliance, the Kepler program and others to examine all aspects of the observatory and the launcher.

“It is the first mission with the ability to find planets like Earth—rocky planets that orbit sun-like stars in a warm zone where liquid water could be maintained on the surface. Liquid water is believed to be essential for the formation of life.”

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Posted: 04 March 2009 07:19 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]
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I’m not sure if anyone posted this link, but here’s an interesting clip with interviews of some of the Kepler team explaining what the mission is all about.

http://www.space.com/common/media/video/player.php?videoRef=SP_090226_Kepler

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Posted: 04 March 2009 07:43 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]
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The more the merrier!

http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/kepler/main/index.html

Press Conference/Science Briefing
“NASA officials and members of the Kepler launch team will discuss Kepler’s mission and launch readiness during a press conference beginning at 1 p.m. Thursday. Ed Weiler, NASA’s associate administrator for the Science Mission Directorate, heads the panel that also includes Launch Director Omar Baez. A science briefing by the researchers who will analyze the Kepler’s findings will follow the press conference. Both events will be televised on NASA TV.”

•Watch Pre-launch Press Conference on NASA TV (Thursday @ 1 p.m. EST)
•Multimedia for Feb. 19 Press conference
•Launch Processing Images

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Posted: 05 March 2009 06:07 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]
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Today’s News on Kepler (03/05/2009).  Tomorrow, Friday 03/06/2009, is blastoff.


http://www.comcast.net/articles/news-science/20090305/Planet.Hunter/
Ed Weiler, NASA’s associate administrator for science, said Kepler is not just another science mission.

“It very possibly could tell us that Earths are very, very common, that we have lots of neighbors out there, or it could tell us that Earths are really, really, really rare,” Weiler said at a press conference.

“Perhaps we’re the only Earth. I think that would be a very bad answer because I, for one, don’t want to live in an empty universe where we’re the best there is. That’s a scary thought to many of us.”

Kepler will be scouting for Earth-size planets circling stars in the so-called habitable or Goldilocks zone. That’s where planets are neither too close nor too far from their star, and where conditions could be ripe for liquid water on the surface. “Planets that are not too hot, not too cold, but just right,” according to Boruki.

Once launched, Kepler will trail the Earth in an orbit around the sun. It will peer continuously at a large patch of sky near the Cygnus and Lyra constellations, looking for any winks against the brightness of the stars that could indicate passing planets.

The stars to be observed by Kepler are between 600 and 3,000 light years away.

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Posted: 06 March 2009 08:02 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]
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FROM NASA: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/kepler/main/index.html

Liquid Oxygen Loading Complete
9:40 p.m. EST

The countdown continues toward tonight’s launch of a United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket carrying NASA’s Kepler spacecraft. Liquid oxygen loading is complete and the Delta II is now fully fueled. The launch team has not encountered any technical issues this evening and the weather forecast remains favorable for tonight’s launch window.

Liftoff remains set for 10:49:57 p.m. EST.

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Posted: 06 March 2009 09:09 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]
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Kepler has left earth and has separated.  Watching it live.  Approx. 10:49pm 02/06/09.

35 Nautical miles after 3 minutes into flight.

Main engine cutoff in one minute. 8,962MPH.

62 Nautical miles.  Main engine cutoff. 

2nd stage burn has cut in.

89 Nautical miles.

95.4 Nautical miles. 7 minutes into flight.

99.9 Nautical miles. 8 minutes into flight.

15,567MPH

103 Nautical miles.

12.5 minutes into flight. Shutdown of command receiver decoders.  Antigua contact will be lost as craft goes over the horizon.

At 51 minutes after launch signal will come in from Dangarra/Tenant Creek tracking station in Australia.

[ Edited: 07 March 2009 08:31 AM by Fat Man ]
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Posted: 07 March 2009 08:16 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 29 ]
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Kepler News Report - Saturday 03/07/2009

“It was just magnificent. It looked like a star was being formed in the sky,” said Bill Borucki, Kepler’s principal scientist. “Everybody was delighted, everybody was screaming, ‘Go Kepler!’”

Kepler’s mission will last at least 3 1/2 years and cost $600 million.

The goal is to find, if they exist, Earth-like planets circling stars in the so-called habitable zone — orbits where liquid water could be present on the surface of the planets. That would mean there are lots of places out there for life to evolve, Borucki said.

On the other hand, “if we don’t find any, it really means Earths are very rare, we might be the only extant life and, in fact, that will be the end of ‘Star Trek.’ “

Once it’s settled into an Earth-trailing orbit around the sun, Kepler will stare nonstop at 100,000 stars near the Cygnus and Lyra constellations, between 600 and 3,000 light years away. The telescope will watch for any dimming, or winks, in the stellar brightness that might be caused by orbiting planets.

http://www.comcast.net/articles/news-science/20090306/Planet.Hunter/

[ Edited: 07 March 2009 08:23 AM by Fat Man ]
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Posted: 07 March 2009 08:42 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 30 ]
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Kepler: NASA’s first mission capable of finding Earth-size and smaller planets around other stars

The collection of Planetary Data from Kepler will begin in about 3 months:

http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/kepler/overview/index.html

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