Podcaster: Dr. Al Grauer
Title: Travelers in the Night Eps. 75E & 76E – MOM Reaches Mars & Space Rocks
Organization: Travelers in The Night
Description: Today’s 2 topics:
- India’s Mars Orbiter Mission or MOM has made the 10 month journey from Earth to Mars.
- Asteroid 2008 TC3 is the only asteroid which was observed to be hurtling between planets, flying through our atmosphere, and pieces of it found to be lying on the Earth’s Surface.
Bio: Dr. Al Grauer is currently an observing member of the Catalina Sky Survey Team at the University of Arizona. This group has discovered nearly half of the Earth approaching objects known to exist. He received a PhD in Physics in 1971 and has been an observational Astronomer for 43 years. He retired as a University Professor after 39 years of interacting with students. He has conducted research projects using telescopes in Arizona, Chile, Australia, Hawaii, Louisiana, and Georgia with funding from NSF and NASA.
He is noted as Co-discoverer of comet P/2010 TO20 Linear-Grauer, Discoverer of comet C/2009 U5 Grauer and has asteroid 18871 Grauer named for him.
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75E: MOM Reaches Mars
India’s Mars Orbiter Mission or MOM has made the 10 month journey from Earth to Mars. India joins the United States, Russia, and the European Space Agency in the exploration of the red planet by placing its Mangalyann [Mangle Yarn] spacecraft into orbit around Mars. MOM is circling the red planet in a highly elliptical orbit which takes it from 262 to 48,000 miles from its surface. Its orbit will allow Mangalyann to study our neighboring planet’s atmosphere and surface.
This remarkable achievement succeeded on its first attempt with a budget which is tiny compared to its competition. India is the first Asian nation to send a spacecraft to Mars.
Mangalyann [Mangle Yarn] has 5 scientific instruments which will map Mars and study the minerals on its surface during its 6 month mission. The spacecraft’s first photo shows Mars from pole to pole and captures a large dust storm in the red planet’s northern region. Its attempt to detect and measure the abundance of methane could have an important impact on our quest to find evidence of life on Mars.
In the last few years, India has become a major player in the navigation, weather, and communication satellite industries. This mission proves that the Indian Space Research Organization has the ability to design, build, and manage an interplanetary mission.
The Mars Orbiter Mission success will have many positive results including the inspiration of India’s next generation of scientists and engineers.
76E: Space Rocks
One can find references to rocks from space throughout human history including Australian Aborigines oral traditions concerning a meteor fall 4,700 years ago.
Asteroid 2008 TC3 is the only asteroid which was observed to be hurtling between planets, flying through our atmosphere, and pieces of it found to be lying on the Earth’s Surface. NASA funded, Catalina Sky Survey team member, Richard Kowalski discovered it 20 hours before it hit. Airline pilots spotted it flying through the sky. Eventually, searchers were rewarded with pieces of it on the sands of the Sudanese desert.
On January 1, 2014 a small asteroid was spotted before its explosion, once again by my Catalina Sky Survey team, member, Richard Kowalski. Its sonic boom was recorded by the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Network as it disintegrated over the Atlantic ocean. Every day, fireball meteors which are brighter than the planet Venus are spotted all around the world. Four Martian meteors have been observed streaking across the sky with pieces of them being recovered shortly afterward on the Earth’s surface. If you find a Martian meteorite it could be worth many times its weight in gold and diamonds.
Meteorites from asteroids, comets, the Moon, and Mars can be found on the surface of Planet Earth. They contain many types of materials including amino acids and vitamin B3. These space rocks have much to tell us as we are learning to read the stories which are written in their compositions and structures.
For Travelers in the Night this is Dr. Al Grauer.
End of podcast:
365 Days of Astronomy
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