1: History and Overview of Present Status
7 September 2011
9 September 2011
Welcome to the new term and good
On the first day we talked about
logistics and then looked at what will be covered in the course. We started with the course and covered
Chapter 1. We talked about communication attempts with aliens.
Today we talked about
Arthur Clarke. Click
here for his 1945 article. Then we focussed
on the history
of communication satellites (click
also here) that started after the launch of the
first satellite, Sputnik.
and the ANIK series
are important to remember. Then we talked
about Other Earth-orbit satellites: remote
sensing satellites like Radarsat.
Today we continued with remote sensing satellites
Positioning Satellites, and with Research Satellites, like HST, VSOP, RadioAstron and GP-B. See the video that we
made here in Toronto. We also mentioned the Kepler mission and discussed
techniques of how to find extrassolar planets.
Then we started to cover the
topics of Lunar spacecraft. Of particular interest are the LUNA program of
the USSR with LUNA-9 being the first spacecraft that soft-landed on the
Moon. Apollo 11 is the well-know mission
of NASA that first took men to the Moon and back. From the mid 70' on
the Moon seemed to be forgotton. Series exploration started again in
the mid 90's with Clementine
that mapped most of the Lunar surface. It was followed by the Lunar Prospector
mission with the purpose of mapping the surface and searching for polar
ice. The Japanese spacecraft, SELENE,
is a moon-orbiting spacecraft launched in 2007. Then we focused
on our Solar System and scaled it down so that the sun has a diameter
of only 1 cm. What are the sizes an distances from sun of the planets?
We started looking at particular planets and missions to them.
We learned about a new discovery, the second
planet outside of our solar system that could potentially sustain life.
We then talked about the Interplanetary
Spacecraft. For each of the planets visited, particularly important
spacecraft missions are:
Mercury: Mariner 10
Venus: Venera 3, Pioneer
Venus 1 and 2, Venera 14,
4, Mars 2, Viking 1, Phobos 2, Mars Orbiter, Pathfinder, Mars
Global Surveyor, Mars Surveyor, Mars Odyssey, Mars Express,
Exploration Rovers, Phoenix Mars Mission
Jupiter: Pioneer 10, Voyager
1 and 2, Galileo
Saturn: Pioneer 11, Voyager
1 and 2, Cassini
and the Huygens
decent on Titan
Uranus: Voyager 2
Neptune: Voyager 2
Of particular interest is also Europe's first interplanetary mission, Giotto,
which took pictures of Halley's comet in 1986.
Just one last thing. Here is an
announcement by NASA's Kepler mission of the discovery of an unusual
planet that has two suns.