Space links for 22 June 2010: another Cassini flyby of Titan, why SpaceX is cheaper than the rest, Trappist planet-hunting telescope, etc.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Time to get rid of some of the open tabs on my browser, so here are some of the stories that might not have merited their own post but deserve to be mentioned nonetheless:

First an update to Cassini: it flew by Titan again this weekend, going a mere 880 km over the surface which was the closest flyby ever. It is looking for a magnetic field as none yet has been detected, but may still exist.

Here's a concise and interesting explanation of what makes SpaceX rockets cheaper than others. Just being a private company isn't enough to do so.

Trappist: you may remember that this planet-hunting telescope began operations just a short time ago, and is capable of detecting extrasolar planets in spite of being just 60 cm in diameter. They have a page here detailing the equipment involved, and the telescope is made by a company called Astelco Systems but the price for their telescopes is not shown. However, I found two pages that seem to have the correct price: the telescope itself is 72900 euros, the stand is 30000 pounds. On top of that one has to add the camera, filter wheels, and dome, so perhaps a total cost of some $200000-$300000?

Here's the largest telescope constructed by an individual, 110 cm in diameter.

NASA's tsunami prediction system. Not the most interesting piece of news, but something to keep in mind the next time you get into an argument with someone who makes the tired claim that space does nothing to benefit people on the ground and that all the problems here should be solved before exploring it.

An opinion piece that I agree with on a compromise between Constellation and the new plan.

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