NASA is preparing a flurry of new spacecraft launches, planetary flybys and orbital insertions in the next two years, and is celebrating the "Year of the Solar System" to mark the occasion. Twenty-three months is actually a Martian year, so hey, it works.
The space agency has dozens of missions at any given time, and scientists are always maneuvering some spacecraft into a new orbit or into a new trajectory. But the next two years will see triple the usual amount of activity, NASA says. The second half of 2011 will be as busy, space-wise, as entire decades of the space age, according to Jim Green, NASA's planetary science director.
October kicks off the special year as the EPOXI satellite pays a visit to yet another comet. Then in November, astrobiologists will launch the fantastically named O/OREOS mission, a shoebox-sized satellite designed to test the durability of life in space. It stands for "Organism/ORganic Exposure to Orbital Stresses" and will harbor a group of molecules and microbes and expose them to solar and cosmic radiation, just to see what happens. Scientists have found organic molecules in interstellar space, so NASA would like to know more about how they survive.
In an added bonus, a small solar sail will hitch a ride on O/OREOS and unfurl in Earth orbit. The NanoSail-D will occasionally reflect a sunbeam back to Earth, causing the first "solar sail flares," NASA says. NASA has had some huge success with hitchhiker satellites — most notably LCROSS, which confirmed the presence of lots of lunar water.
Other milestones include a new spacecraft's arrival at Venus; the launch of a solar-powered Jupiter probe; a moon-mapping mission; and more.
"History will remember the period Oct. 2010 through Aug. 2012 as a golden age of planetary exploration," Green said.
23 months in a year
57 states in the Union
Boy, I really am sure glad that he was the smart one!
JohnR if you read the last sentence in the article, I believe those are the 23 months they are speaking of.
That's so deliciously geeky of them to refer to those 23 months in terms of a single martian year!
Well NASA has to get these meaningless projects envisioned, funded and built during the BUSH administration out of the way so it can dedicate 100% of it's efforts to making Muslims feel better about themselves.
Only right wing rags would take a statement and turn it into something like "Obama said to put 100% of your effort into 'x'".
I love how this works - make an outrageous and out-of-context claim, have the dittoheads repeat it, lead the willing astray to la-la land.
23 months is the Martian year. Bit of science geek humor.
57 states was a slip by a tired man. He had actually been to 47. 47 of the lower 48. Strange, eh? How hard is it to make a slip up and start with "Fify" (which is what you are use to when counting states) and "seven" (which is the second digit of the number or States you have visited)?
I suppose you have never said anything stupid when you are tired?
Charles Bolden said "HIS HIGHEST PRIORITY" was to make make the Muslims feel better. I just thought that since the Obi is putting 100% of his efforts into creating jobs, Bolden would do likewise and put 100% of his efforts into Muslim self image enhancement. We all know how important everything these characters do is. By the way Obi needs the teleprompter because without it he's a blithering idiot. With it he's not much better.
Lol. I like how the geeky kids here are smart enough to know how important the space program is but still make lame excuses for the president. You don't have to defend the fact that you voted for him. It's called buyers remorse. He's an idiot. He lied to everyone. It's ok. Elections are soon. And he did say he was trying to cut off funding for NASA because "there were more important things to spend money on."
To be fair though, he is just a puppet. So we can't be too hard on the fool.
Whoa ..... when the hell did the Glenn-Beckers take over Popsci boards? Shouldn't you guys be trolling the creationism/museum site?
You said lower 48 states. That is almost comical , when in reality there are 3 commonwealths ( NOT states ) in the US. I know this as I used to live in one. Virginia. Look at the seal of the commonwealth . It literally says Commonwealth of Virginia. NOT state of Virginia. There are not " lower 48 anything " as you can see.
Awesome upcomming robotic missions!
Let's not let human space exploration go extinct under the current plan; we can save the space program and return to the moon and go to an asteroid in this decade, and go to Mars soon after. NASA can be fixed if we lead the way.
Join the campaign to save human space exploration at www.SaveMannedSpace.com
holy Effing mother of god... leave the god damn politics out of this. for once can i read something where the first place the commenters go is not directly to bashing another person's political beliefs? I actually made an account just to say this. if you have nothing better to do than shout your political beliefs anonymously to a world that doesn't want to hear them then go run for office or something. just please leave the internet. if you want to rant on a site that gives political news or opinions then by all means it is called for, but in this case it is not. not even in the slightest. now ride your high horse out of here and please think about this on the way out, "always remember that no matter what you believe, you should believe equally as much that you could be wrong"
No. He didn't say that.
Do you ever read anything in context?
As a 24 year Army veteran, I've lived in 3 of the FOUR Commonwealths -- I missed Pennsylvania. "Commonwealth" is a historical naming convention and has no special meaning politically or judicially.