A Chapter of the National Space Society

Oklahoma Space Alliance Home 


         Oklahoma Space Alliance will meet at 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, January 16 at the Eskridges' house in Norman. Prospective members are also welcome. Their house is at 2114 Hummingbird Lane in Edmond.
         Directions: “You are welcome to come to our home on Saturday 3:00 p.m.
We live at 2114 Hummingbird Lane. Hummingbird Lane is East off Bryant between Covell and Danforth.  Coming north on I35 take the Danforth Exit.  Cross over I35 to the west and go one stop sign and two stop lights. A Shell station is on your right. That is Bryant. Turn to the right (north). The third turn to the right is Bobwhite.  The addition is Rolling Creek. Turn right on Bobwhite which is east.  Bobwhite is only one block long.  At the stop sign, look across the street slightly left and the Dead End Sign sits in our front yard 2114 Hummingbird Lane.
         “Home phone 405-341-7890
         “Cell 405-615-1021”


  1. Introductions (if necessary)
  2. Read and approve agenda
  3. Read and approve minutes and reports of activities
  4. Old Business
    1. Start Up Kit for Chapters in Second Life
    2. Research funding
    3. Heinlein Award (voting ends January 20)
    4. A New OSA Logo
    5. Treasurer’s Report
    6. Annual Report
    7. 50th Anniversary of Manned Space Flight (Yuri's Night 2011)
    8. Space Solar Power
    9. Augustine Report
    10. Marketing for Burns Flat
    11. International Space Development Conference 2010.
  5. Read and discuss mail
  6. New Business
    1. NSS Petitions
  7. Create New Agenda

Minutes of December Party

         Oklahoma Space Alliance met at the Koszorus’ house on December 19 for its annual Christmas dinner. Tom and Heidi Koszoru, Claire and Clifford McMurray, Tim Scott, Rosemary Swift and Syd Henderson attended as well as prospective members Gordon and Rosemary Eskridge and two friends of the Koszorus, Bill and Pat Urell This was also the occasion for electing officers of Oklahoma Space Alliance. Elected were Tom Koszoru, President; John Northcutt, Vice-President; Syd Henderson, Secretary; Tim Scott, Treasurer.
         After dinner and conversation, those remaining watched videos on Cliff’s trip to Antarctica, where he finally got to meet Neil Armstrong.

Heinlein Award

         The Robert A. Heinlein Memorial Award honors those individuals who have made significant, lifetime contributions to the creation of a free, space-faring civilization. Their contributions can be in any form or discipline. Those individuals whose actions have involved personal, social, or financial risk are particularly meritorious. Do not exclude anyone from consideration if his contribution is in only one area.
         Deadline for on-line voting on the Heinlein Award is January 20. You can vote at www.surveymonkey.com/s/heinlein2010award. Voting is limited to members of the National Space Society. The award will be given at the International Space Development Conference in Chicago.

         Previous winners of the Heinlein Award were:
2008 - Burt Rutan
2006 - General Chuck Yeager
2004 - Capt. James Lovell
2002 - Robert Zubrin
2000 - Neil Armstrong
1998 - Dr. Carl Sagan
1996 - Dr. Buzz Aldrin
1994 - Dr. Robert H. Goddard
1992 - Gene Roddenberry
1990 - Dr. Wernher von Braun
1988 - Sir Arthur C. Clarke
1986 - Dr. Gerard K. O'Neill

Oklahoma Space Alliance Logo

         Our current Oklahoma Space Alliance logo looks like this:
OSA Logo
(color version at http://osa.nss.org/index.html) which, as John Northcutt pointed out a few months ago, is starting to look dated and tacky. This logo was done quite a while ago, and was used on our t-shirts, stationery and still is used on our web site and on flyers and sign-up sheets. As near as I can tell, we no longer have the original of the logo. I obtained it by scanning it from a t-shirt, which makes it a copy of a copy of a copy. Since the picture is a bit blurry, I will point out that it shows a spacecraft shooting out of Oklahoma, although the trail of the satellite against the Earth has vanished.      We’re going to be discussing this at the January meeting and probably for several meetings after that. If you have a suggestion, please bring it to one of the meetings or e-mail it to Syd at [email protected].

Viewing Opportunities for Satellites (January 15 – February 20, 2010)

         You can get sighting information at www.heavens-above.com/. Heavens Above allows you to get Station data for 10 day periods, and gives you a constellation map showing the trajectory of the satellite. If you go to the bottom of the map page, it will give you a really detailed map with the location at 10 or 15-second intervals, depending on detail. In fact, the detailed charts will even show you the tracks against maps of the constellations, which should help you if you are familiar with the night sky.
         Sky Online (the Sky & Telescope web site) carries station observation times for the next few nights at skyandtelescope.com/observing/almanac. With the addition of the solar panels, the Space Station can be as bright as magnitude -2.7, making it brighter than all the stars other than the Sun, although magnitude -1 to -2 is more likely. The Hubble Space Telescope can get up to magnitude 1.5, which is brighter than the stars in the Big Dipper, although, since it is lower in the sky, it is a bit more difficult to see. 
         Missions to the Space Station may change its orbit. Space Shuttle Endeavour is currently scheduled to be launched at 3:39 a.m. [CST] on February 7. Be sure to check Heavens Above or www.jsc.nasa.gov/sightings/ before going out to watch.  The last mission to the Hubble Telescope has already occurred so its information should be reliable.

ISS  January 22, 2010
Time          Position   Elevation
6:33 p.m.      336°           14°
6:34              356            25
6:35                37            33
6:36                79            24
6:37                98            14

ISS  January 23, 2010
Time          Position   Elevation
6:55 p.m.      302°           18°
6:56              291            33
6:57              227            60
6:58              158            34
6:59              146            17

ISS  January 25, 2010
Time          Position   Elevation
6:02 p.m.      306°           17°
6:03              298            35
6:04              226            70
6:05              149            35
6:06              142            17

ISS  February 3, 2010
Time          Position   Elevation
6:53 a.m.      223°           17°
6:54              217            41
6:55              135            79
6:56                55            36
6:57                51            17

HST  February 10, 2010
Time          Position   Elevation
7:20 p.m.      221°           20°
7:21              202            27
7:22              176            31
7:23              149            28
7:24              130            20

HST  February 11, 2010
Time          Position   Elevation
7:18 p.m.      225°           21°
7:19              206            28
7:20              178            32
7:21              151            28
7:22              132            21

HST  February 12, 2010
Time          Position   Elevation
7:16 p.m.      229°           21°
7:17              209            28
7:18              182            32
7:19              155            28
7:20              136            21

HST  February 13, 2010
Time          Position   Elevation
7:14 p.m.      230°           20°
7:15              212            27
7:16              186            30
7:17              160            27
7:18              141            20

         Pass times are from Heavens Above
         Key: Position is measured in degrees clockwise from north. That is, 0° is due north, 90° is due east, 180° is due south, and 270° is due west.  Your fist held at arm's length is about ten degrees wide. "Elevation" is elevation above the horizon in degrees. Thus, to find the Hubble Space Telescope at 7:14 p.m. on February 13, measure five fist-widths west of south, then two fist-widths above the horizon.
         All times are rounded off to the nearest minute except for times when the satellite enters or leaves the shadow of the Earth. The highest elevation shown for each viewing opportunity is the actual maximum elevation for that appearance.
         J-Pass provides a service called J-Pass Generator, which will e‑mail you sighting information for the next three days for up to ten satellites. For more information, go to science.nasa.gov/Realtime/JPass/PassGenerator/.

Space News

         In the September 2009 issue of Outreach, I reviewed Robert Zimmerman’s article, “Epsilon Aurigae: Astronomy’s Longest-Running Mystery Show!” from the October 2009 Astronomy. Epsilon Aurigae is an eclipsing binary star with a period of 27.1 years. The eclipse lasts for approximately two years, which means the eclipsing object must have a diameter about two billion light-years across.
         The Spitzer Space Telescope has been observing Epsilon Aurigae in the infrared. The Spitzer observations show the eclipsing object is a disk of particles about the size of sand grains. This is a bit unexpected since, although a disk was anticipated, the particles were expected to be more the size of particles of dust. The center of this disk must be a star several times the mass of the Sun, which means it’s relatively hot, and raises the question as to why it’s invisible.
         From the observations, it appears that the brighter component, Epsilon Aurigae A, is an orange supergiant near the end of its life. It started off with maybe 10 times the mass of the Sun (less than anticipated) and has been shedding mass as it dies. A disk of this mass has been captured by the companion star and is the eclipsing object. The companion star has blown away most of the really light particles, leaving the larger grains behind. The reason the companion star has not been observed is because it, as well as Epsilon Aurigae A, is not as massive as anticipated and is small enough to be hidden by the disk.

         The Kepler Space Telescope was launched last March with the purpose of detecting planets which transit the disks of their stars. Eventually it should start detecting planets the size of the Earth, but for the moment, it’s busy detecting “hot Jupiters.” It takes a minimum of three transits to confirm the existence of a planet. This means that if it were trying to detect a planet the size and distance of Earth from a Sun-like star, it would take around three years, but it can detect a “hot Jupiter” in as little as a couple of weeks. Since we know the approximate mass and size of the parent star, we can also find the planet’s mass (from its orbit) and size (from the amount of the parent star’s disk eclipsed).
         Four of the first five confirmed planets Spitzer has discovered are “hot Jupiters” and the other is a “hot Neptune.” Since they are hot, their atmospheres are puffed out, most spectacularly in the case of Kepler 7b, which has only a quarter the density of Saturn, which is itself less dense than water. Kepler 7b has been termed a “Styrofoam planet.” All five exoplanets have a period less than five days and a temperature more than 2200 degrees Fahrenheit.
         The Kepler Space Telescope is accurate to one forty-thousandth of a magnitude. To put it another way, not only can it detect a planet transiting its star’s disk, it can also detect the much shallower eclipse when a “hot Jupiter” passes behind its star. This means it can measure the percentage of light reflected by the planet (its albedo), and also see the changes in brightness caused by the planet showing phases as seen from Earth.
         In addition to detecting planets, Kepler is very good at detecting slight variations in a star’s output, including the stellar equivalent of solar sunspot cycles. It’s also so precise that it can measure parallaxes better than previous telescopes, giving the distance to many of the faint stars its observing.
         The Kepler discoveries bring the total of known extrasolar planets to 424, but this is going to increase rapidly over the next three years. Kepler already logged over 125 candidates just from the first six weeks of data, and many are yet to be examined. Kepler could easily double the number of known exoplanets, even before the launch of the James Webb Space Telescope.

         Other space missions, such as COROT (Convection Rotation and Planetary Transits), as well as ground-based telescopes, are continuing to detect planets. For example, COROT-7b has a diameter only 1.7 times that of Earth but a mass of 4.8 Earth masses, which means its density is 5.6 times that of water. This is slightly denser than the Earth and Mercury, the two densest planets in the Solar System. This means the planet is almost certainly rocky, with slightly less iron than the Earth. (It would be denser because of the compression from its larger mass.) It may also have more water, but since its surface has a temperature over 3300°F, this seems doubtful. That’s well above the melting point of iron.
         The discovery of this planet leads to the star being named COROT-7. It has another planet, COROT-7c, which was not actually discovered by COROT, but from the La Silla Observatory in Chile. This planet has a mass 8.4 times that of Earth and orbits its star in 3.7 days. Since it doesn’t transit its star’s disk, its size and density are unknown.
         The Keck Space Telescope has detected a planet four times the mass of Earth and orbiting the star HD156668 about eighty light-years away. This makes HD15668 the second smallest exoplanet in mass (excluding a few orbiting pulsars). The only smaller one, Gliese 581 e, is twice as massive as Earth and 20.5 light-years away. Both of these planets orbit their stars in about four days and must be extremely hot. Although we know of exoplanets within their stars’ habitable zones (Gliese 581 c and d are two such), these are all much more massive than Earth.

         The Voyager spacecraft have discovered a strong magnetic field just outside the Solar System, which may solve the mystery of the persistence of the “Local Fluff,” a very diffuse cloud of hydrogen and helium also known as the Local Interstellar Cloud that the Solar System is passing through. The problem is that ten million years ago a cluster of nearby supernova explosions should have dispersed the cloud. The magnetic field is strong enough to hold the cloud together.
         The Voyager probes aren’t actually in the Local Fluff yet. They are in the heliosheath, the outermost layer of the heliosphere, the region of space most affected by the Sun’s magnetic field. The heliosheath is the region where the solar wind is slowed by interstellar gas. Its outer boundary is the heliopause, where the solar wind is stopped by the interstellar wind. This is about ten billion miles from the Sun in the direction of the Solar System’s movement, but extends much farther in the reverse direction. The heliopause is one boundary of the Solar System, but the Oort Clouds of comets, which are also gravitationally bound to the Sun, extend much farther out.
         Calling the “Local Fluff” a cloud may give the wrong impression. It has only a fifth the average density of the galactic interstellar medium. However, the Sun is in a region of the Milky Way called the Local Bubble, which was cleared by the aforementioned supernovae and has only half the density of the Local Fluff.

         India’s lunar probe, Chandrayaan-1, may have failed last August, but its discoveries are still making the news. In the November Outreach, I reported on its role in the confirmation of the existence of water in the Moon’s polar regions. Chandrayaan-1 also discovered great outcrops of crystals, including one in the Mare Orientale that is at least 25-miles wide. The crystals consist of rather pure plagioclase, a category of feldspars. The Mare Orientale is a bullseye-shaped impact basin with several outer rings. The impact would have created a sea of magma. Eventually the lighter feldspars would have crystallized as more iron-rich materials sank.

Sky Viewing

         On January 16, there is an annular eclipse of the sun that will be visible in central Africa, the southern tip of India, northern Sri Lanka, Burma and parts of China. An annular, or ring eclipse, happens when the Moon is near its apogee. Since Earth is also near perihelion, the Sun also appears a bit larger than usual. This will be the longest annular eclipse until 3043.
         Venus was in superior conjunction with the Sun on January 11 and won’t        be visible for the rest of January. In February, Venus will begin to become visible just after sunset.
         Jupiter is currently in the southwest at sunset and setting about three hours after the Sun. It will be lost in twilight in late February as it approaches conjunction with the Sun on February 28.
         So essentially, Venus is entering the evening sky as Jupiter is leaving it. As they do so, the two planets have a notable conjunction in mid-February. On February 16, Venus and Jupiter will be only half a degree apart in the sky, which is about the apparent diameter of the full moon. For several days around then, the two planets will be less than two degrees apart. You might just be able to catch this about 15 minutes after sunset.
         Mercury will be about ten degrees above the horizon at sunrise for the rest of January. It actually gets brighter in February, but it’s also going to be lower in the sky, so it will be even more difficult to see early in February and impossible in late February, It will, however, be highly visible to observers in the Southern Hemisphere.
         Mars will be at opposition on January 29, although it will be a smidgen closer to the Earth on January 27. It’s also pretty bright, reaching magnitude ‑1.3 at opposition, which is almost as bright as Sirius. It’s currently moving into Cancer in its retrograde motion and will be only three degrees from the Beehive Cluster on February 4. This isn’t a particularly good opposition. In 2003, Mars reached magnitude -2.9 and its diameter appeared nearly 80 percent larger.
         Saturn is currently rising about 10:30 p.m. and is rising about an hour earlier each night. It is magnitude 0.9 and is in Virgo, which has only one bright star, Spica, so Saturn stands out more than that magnitude might suggest.
         Uranus is about 30 degrees above the horizon at sunset, still below the circlet in Pisces. It is still visible with rather weak binoculars, but it will be setting earlier each night and not be observable in late February.
         Neptune is magnitude 8.0 in Capricornus, not far from Jupiter and can just be found right after sunset with the help of binoculars. However, even that will soon become impossible as Neptune approaches conjunction with the Sun on February 14. Viewing charts for Uranus and Neptune are available at http://www.skyandtelescope.com/observing/highlights/41561382.html.
         Pluto was in conjunction with the Sun on December 25 and is very hard to find at any time.
         The asteroid Vesta is at opposition on February 18 and at magnitude 6.1 may be barely visible to the naked eye in very dark skies. There are finder charts on page 47 of the February issue of Astronomy and page 54 of the February issue at Sky & Telescope. The latter is also online at www.skyandtelescope.com/observing/highlights/80433142.html. Vesta will be spending the first half of 2010 threading the Sickle asterism in Leo. On the night of February 16, Vesta will pass between the bright star Algieba (Gamma Leonis, magnitude 25) and a fifth magnitude star, 40 Leonis.
         [Information for this section is mostly from Astronomy, Sky & Telescope, Sky Online, and other online sources.]

Calendar of Events
         [All times are Central.]
         January 15, 2010: Annular solar eclipse visible in central Africa.
         January 16, 2010: [Tentative] Oklahoma Space Alliance meeting at 3:00 p.m. at the Koszoru house.
         January 20, 2010: Deadline for voting on-line for Heinlein Award. [See article.]
         January 27, 2010: Mercury is at greatest western elongation, 25° from the Sun (hence can be seen before sunrise).
         January 27, 2010: Mars is at closest approach to Earth.
         January 29, 2010: Mars is at opposition with magnitude -1.3.
         February 7, 2010: Launch of Endeavour to the Space Station, currently scheduled for 3:39 a.m.
         February 10, 2010: [Tentative] Oklahoma Space Industry Development Authority Meeting, 1:30 p.m., Commission Room at the Oklahoma Department of Transportation Building, 200 NE. 21st. Street, Oklahoma City
         February 12, 2010: Meeting of the Oklahoma City Astronomy Club at Science Museum Oklahoma (formerly the Omniplex). There will be a novice session in the planetarium at 6:45 p.m., followed by a club meeting at 7:30 p.m.
         February 14, 2010: Neptune is in conjunction with the Sun.
         February 18, 2010: The asteroid Vesta is at opposition. At magnitude 6.1 it may be barely visible to the naked eye, and easily visible through binoculars.
         February 20, 2010: [Tentative] Oklahoma Space Alliance meeting at 3:00 p.m. Location to be announced.
         February 28, 2010: Jupiter is in conjunction with the Sun.
         March 10, 2010: [Tentative] Oklahoma Space Industry Development Authority Meeting, 1:30 p.m., Commission Room at the Oklahoma Department of Transportation Building, 200 NE. 21st. Street, Oklahoma City
         March 14. 2010: Mercury is in superior conjunction with the Sun.
         March 17, 2010: Uranus is in conjunction with the Sun.
         March 18, 2010: Launch of Discovery to the Space Station. Launch time is currently projected to be 12:34 p.m. [CDT]
         March 20, 2010: [Tentative] Oklahoma Space Alliance meeting at 3:00 p.m. Location to be announced.
         April 8, 2010: Mercury is at greatest eastern elongation, 19° from the Sun (hence can be seen after sunset).
         April 12, 2010: Yuri’s Night.
         April 17, 2010: [Tentative] Oklahoma Space Alliance meeting at 3:00 p.m. Location to be announced.
         April 22, 2010: The Lyrid meteor shower peaks. Up to twenty meteors an hour should be visible to the naked eye.
         April 28, 2010: Mercury is in inferior conjunction with the Sun.
         May 2010: Japan launches the Venus Climate Orbiter (aka Planet‑C) to Venus. Web page is www.jaxa.jp/projects/sat/planet_c/index_e.html.
         May 14, 2010: Launch of Atlantis to the Space Station. This is last scheduled mission for Atlantis. Launch time is projected to be 1:28 p.m. [CDT]
         May 15, 2010: [Tentative] Oklahoma Space Alliance meeting at 3:00 p.m. Location to be announced.
         May 25, 2010: Mercury is at greatest western elongation, 25° from the Sun (hence can be seen before sunrise).
         May 27 – 31, 2010: 29th International Space Development Conference in Chicago, Illinois
         June 2010: Hayabusa returns to Earth with a sample of asteroid Itokawa.  This will be the first asteroid sample returned to Earth. Web site is www.isas.jaxa.jp/e/enterp/missions/hayabusa/index.shtml.
         June 19, 2010: Jupiter is 0.5° south of Uranus.
         February 20, 2010: [Tentative] Oklahoma Space Alliance meeting at 3:00 p.m. Location to be announced.
         June 25. 2010: Pluto is at opposition.
         July 10, 2010: The Rosetta comet probe passes asteroid 21 Lutetia.
         July 11, 2010: Total solar eclipse in southern Chile and Argentina. This eclipse is also total on Easter Island.
         July 29, 2010: Launch of Endeavour to the Space Station. This is the last scheduled mission for Endeavour. Launch time is currently projected for 6:51 a.m. [CDT]
         August 6, 2010: Mercury is at greatest eastern elongation, 27° from the Sun (hence can be seen after sunset).
         August 12-13, 2010: Perseid meteor shower peaks. This shower takes place just after new moon and should produce about three meteors per minute.
         August 20, 2010: Venus is at greatest eastern elongation, 46° from the Sun (hence can be seen after sunset).
         August 20, 2010: Neptune is at opposition.
         September 16, 2010: Launch of Discovery to the Space Station. This is the scheduled conclusion of the space shuttle program. Launch time is currently projected for 10:57 a.m. [CDT]
         September 19, 2010: Mercury is at greatest western elongation, 18° from the Sun (hence can be seen before sunrise).
         September 20, 2010: Jupiter and Uranus are both at opposition and less than a degree apart. This will be Jupiter’s closest opposition in eleven years.
         September 21, 2010: Jupiter is at opposition. This is the closest Jupiter will come to Earth in the next 20 years, about 370 million miles.
         September 30, 2010: Saturn is in conjunction with the Sun.
         October 28, 2010: Venus in inferior conjunction with the Sun.
         December 2010: Japan’s Planet-C arrives at Venus.
         December 1, 2010: Mercury is at greatest eastern elongation, 21° from the Sun (hence can be seen after sunset).
         December 21, 2010: Total eclipse of the Moon, visible just after midnight in North and South America.
         December 26, 2010: Pluto is in conjunction with the Sun.
         Sometime in 2011: China will launch two missions to the Tiangong 1 space station. The first will be an unmanned mission and the second a manned docking mission.
         January 2. 2011: Jupiter is 0.6° south of Uranus.
         January 8, 2011: Venus is at greatest western elongation, 47° from the Sun (hence can be seen before sunrise).
         January 9, 2010: Mercury is at greatest western elongation, 23° from the Sun (hence can be seen before sunrise).
         March 18, 2011: MESSENGER goes into orbit around Mercury.
         June 15, 2011: Total eclipse of the Moon, visible in South America and most of Eastern Hemisphere.
         August 5, 2011: Launch of the Juno mission to Jupiter. See en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Juno_(spacecraft) or http://juno.wisc.edu/ for details.
         August 15, 2011: Launch of NuSTAR space probe from Kwajalein via a Pegasus rocket. NuSTAR will search for black holes, supernova remnants and active galaxies. For more details, visit www.nustar.caltech.edu/ or en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_Spectroscopic_Telescope_Array.
         September 8, 2011: Launch of GRAIL, the Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory, to orbit the Moon. This is actually a dual probe mission. For more information, visit http://moon.mit.edu/index.html.
         October 2011: Dawn probe orbits Vesta. See dawn.jpl.nasa.gov/  or en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dawn_Mission for details.
         October -December 2011: The Mars Science Laboratory is launched. See marsprogram.jpl.nasa.gov/msl/ for details. [Moved from October 2009]
         October 2011 – April 2012: Dawn probe orbits Vesta.
         December 10, 2011: Total eclipse of the Moon. This one is at its best in Russia, eastern Asia, Australia, Alaska and the Yukon, but the early part of the eclipse will be visible in the rest of North America.
         Sometime in 2012: Russia launches the “Luna-Glob” mission which will deploy 13 mini-probes upon the lunar surface.
         March 3, 2012: Mars is at opposition at magnitude -1.2. This is the worst opposition for the next twenty years.
         April 2012: Dawn probe leaves orbit around Vesta for Ceres.
         June 6, 2012: Venus transits the Sun's disk.  The early part of this will be visible from the United States, but the full transit will only be visible from the western Pacific Ocean, eastern Asia, eastern Australia, and eastern Indonesia including New Guinea.
         Fall 2012: The Mars Science Laboratory rover lands on Mars. See marsprogram.jpl.nasa.gov/msl/ for details.
         December 30, 2013: Earliest launch date for India’s Chandrayaan II. This mission will include a lunar rover. For more information, visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chandrayaan-2.
         Sometime in 2014: The European Space Agency/JAXA BepiColombo Mercury Orbiter is launched. Home page is sci.esa.int/science-e/www/area/index.cfm?fareaid=30.
         June 2014: Earliest date for the launch of the James Webb Space Telescope.
         August 2014 - December 2015: The Rosetta space probe orbits comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko. In November, 2014, it will release the Philae lander. See September 5, 2008 for website information.
         Sometime in 2015 or 2016: Launch of SIM PlanetQuest (aka the Space Interferometry Mission). This mission was originally supposed to have been launched in 2005 and has been delayed at least five times. It was recently moved from 2012. For more information, visit en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_Interferometry_Mission.
         February 2015: Dawn space probe arrives at Ceres. Operations are scheduled to continue through July. Dawn may continue on to other asteroids if it is still operational.
         July 14, 2015: The New Horizons probe passes through the Pluto-Charon system. The New Horizons web site is pluto.jhuapl.edu/.
         Sometime in 2016: ESA launches the ExoMars Mars Rover. For more information, visit en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exomars.
         July 2016-2020:  The New Horizons probe visits the Kuiper Belt.
         August 21, 2017: The next total solar eclipse visible in the United States, on a pretty straight path from Portland, Oregon to Charleston, South Carolina.  St. Louis is the biggest city in-between.
         Summer of 2020 (approximate) BepiColombo arrives at Mercury orbit.
         April 8, 2024: A total solar eclipse crosses the US from the middle of the Mexico-Texas border, crosses Arkansas, southern Missouri, Louisville, Cleveland, Buffalo and northern New England.
         August 12, 2045: The next total solar eclipse visible in Oklahoma.  This one is also visible in Salt Lake City, Denver, Little Rock (again), Tampa Bay and New Orleans.

         Space-Related Articles

         “Violent Origins of Continents,” by Sarah Simpson, Scientific American, January 2010, pp 60-7. In the early days of planet Earth, asteroid collisions did a great deal to keep the surface molten. Simpson hypothesizes about a period a billion years later, when the crust was starting to solidify and protocontinents were starting to form. She thinks at this stage large asteroid collisions may actually have helped speed up the formation of continents. Mantle plumes would have been producing volcanic islands much as today. The molten rock produced by an asteroid colliding with the tip of a plume would temporary stifle the plume, which depends on convection currents. Eventually, when the pool of rock solidified, the plume would be deflected around this “plug,” possibly under a continent, where it would produce supervolcanoes which would add to the mass of the continent, while cooling magma beneath would add new crust.

         “Superships” by Marcus Chown, New Scientist, 28 November 2009, pp 34 – 37. “We could reach the stars if we built a dark matter rocket or a black hole starship, and we’ve got the physics to do it.” The dark matter rocket is a variation on the Bussard ramjet, this time collecting dark matter rather than hydrogen. Since the ship wouldn’t have to carry fuel, it could go a lot faster. Actually gathering dark matter and confining it is left as an exercise to the reader. The idea requires the dark matter to be in the form of neutralinos, which are weakly interacting neutral particles which are their own antiparticles. So, if you squeeze them together you get energy, since you are pretty much combining antimatter and matter. Fortunately, since the particles also tend not to interact, you don’t just turn your spaceship into a big bomb. Unfortunately, the same properties make the neutralinos difficult to collect, and allow them to seep through the walls of the reaction chamber. (This is ignoring the possibility that neutralinos may not exist at all.)

            The black hole spaceship needs a black hole with a mass of a million tons, and uses the Hawking radiation to propel the spaceship. You make the black hole yourself with giant gamma-ray lasers. Figuring out how to confine and maneuver the black hole is left as an exercise to the reader.

Oklahoma Space Alliance Officers, 2009 (Area Code 405)

Tom Koszoru, President                                        366-1797 (H)
John Northcutt, Vice-President                               390-3476 (H)
Syd Henderson, Secretary & Outreach Editor       321-4027 (H)
Tim Scott, Treasurer                                              740-7549 (H)
Claire McMurray, Correspondence Secretary/Update Editor   329-4326 (H-no msg) 863-6173 (C-msgs OK)

OSA E-mail Addresses and Web Site:

claire.mcmurray at sbcglobal.net (Claire McMurray)
T_Koszoru at cox.net (Heidi and Tom Koszoru)
sydh at ou.edu (Syd Henderson)
ctscott at mac.com (Tim Scott)
lensman13 at aol.com  (Steve Galpin)
dmcraig at earthlink.net (Nancy and David Craig).
         E-mail for OSA should be sent to [email protected].  Members who wish  their e-mail addresses printed in Outreach, and people wishing space-related materials e-mailed to them should contact Syd.  Oklahoma Space Alliance website is osa.nss.org/index.html. Webmaster is Syd Henderson.

Other Information
          Oklahoma Space Industrial Development Authority (OSIDA), 401 Sooner Drive/PO Box 689, Burns Flat, OK 73624, 580-562-3500.  Web site www.state.ok.us/~okspaceport.
          Science Museum Oklahoma (former Omniplex) website is www.sciencemuseumok.org. Main number is 602-6664.
          Tulsa Air and Space Museum, 7130 E. Apache, Tulsa, OK  74115.
Web Site is www.tulsaairandspacemuseum.com.  Phone (918)834-9900.
          The Mars Society address is Mars Society, Box 273, Indian Hills CO 80454. Their web address is www.marsociety.org.
          The National Space Society's Headquarters phone is 202-429-1600.  The Chapters Coordinator is Bennett Rutledge 720-529-8024.  The address is:  National Space Society, 1620 I (Eye) Street NW Ste. 615, Washington, DC 20006.    Web page is space.nss.org.  
          The Planetary Society phone 626-793-5100. The address is 65 North Catalina, Avenue, Pasadena, California, 91106-2301 and the website is www.planetary.org. E-mail is [email protected].
          NASA Spacelink BBS  205-895-0028.  Or try www.nasa.gov.  .
          Congressional Switchboard 202/224-3121.
           Write to any U. S. Senator or Representative at [name]/ Washington DC, 20510 (Senate) or 20515 [House].


 A Chapter of the National Space Society

Please enroll me as a member of Oklahoma Space Alliance.  Enclosed is:
                                    $10.00 for Mem­bership.  (This allows full voting privileges, but covers only your own newsletter expense.)
__________________ $15.00 for family membership

                                     TOTAL  amount enclosed

          National Space Society has a special $20 introductory rate for new members ($35 for new international members).  Regular membership rates are $45, international $60.  Student memberships are $20.  Part of the cost is for the magazine, Ad Astra.  Mail to: National Space Society, 1620 I (Eye) Street NW, Washington DC 20006, or join at space.nss.org/membership. (Brochures are at the bottom with the special rate.) Be sure to ask them to credit your membership to Oklahoma Space Alliance.
          To join the Mars Society, visit.  One-year memberships are $50.00; student and senior memberships are $25, and Family memberships are $100.00.    Their address is Mars Society, Box 273, Indian Hills CO 80454.

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OSA Memberships are for 1 year, and include a subscription to our monthly newsletters, Outreach and Update.  Send check & form to Oklahoma Space Alliance, 102 W. Linn, #1, Norman, OK 73071.


Contact person for Oklahoma Space Alliance is Claire McMurray
PO Box 1003
Norman, OK 73070
Webmaster is Syd Henderson.
Copyright ©2009 Oklahoma Space Alliance.