Last night was the monthly meeting of the Eddington Society – Kendal’s astronomical society. The format begins, as ever, with a roundup of the week’s news by Stuart Atkinson. He spoke for a while on the retirement of the shuttle, its replacement the Orion spacecraft and the mission to the ISS, which included that wonderfull flyaround as well as Brian the Bat… All these topics have been covered here in earlier posts for those interested.
The we moved on to listen to Doug Ellison of www.unmannedspaceflight.com who gave a talk on the Mars Rover Spirit, which has so far spent over 1,800 days on Mars, has lost the use of a wheel, visited over a hundred sites of interest and still survives to take the occasional reading. It is covered in a thick layer of dust and not expected to survive the next Martian winter, however. The other Rover sent over at the same time, Opportunity, retains the use of all its wheels and is less dusty so expected to last at least a couple more years. Not bad for an intended 90 day mission.
In the interval, a few pictures came through from members at the MoonWatch and those who had taken their own photographs at other times during the month – Venus and Saturn by Ian for example showed the increase in size and change of phase as Venus approached the time when it passed just above the Sun to move from evenning to morning. Doug was an exciting and enthusiastic speaker, giving a knowledgeable and wonderfully illustrated presentation.
A couple of pics were taken and are on Stuart Atkinson’s picture blog here.