Sunday, July 17, 2011
Two quick items to note today:
Space Shuttle search engine traffic is at either a five-year or at least nine-year high, depending on whether you are looking at regular search engine traffic or news reference volume. It looks like this:
This is thanks to the wonderful handwringing I noted a few days ago that has accompanied the last Space Shuttle launch and the resulting fears of the end of the role of the United States in space. Hopefully this fear will translate into something tangible - more letters to members of Congress and more talking about space by candidates for Congress, for example. Hopefully it won't just result in despondency.
ARTEMIS's second craft has now arrived at the moon, with the second going into orbit at pretty much exactly the same time as Dawn around Vesta. This makes three probes orbiting the moon at the same time, and joining them soon will be GRAIL, another mission involving two probes launching in September and arriving about three months later.
Total cost for these missions? $469 million for GRAIL, ARTEMIS is more or less free, LRO is $583 million.