October 19, 2005Postcards from Venus
Venus Express, the European Space Agency's (ESA) new mission, is the first spacecraft launched in 15 years dedicated to studying Earth's nearest planetary neighbor. (The U.S. Magellan spacecraft, launched in 1989, burned up in the planet's atmosphere October 1994). To celebrate, ESA and the non-profit Planetary Society invite you to enter the Venus Express Art Contest.
The contest is open to anyone. Entrants must submit a postcard-size (4" by 6" or 10 centimeters by 15cm) illustration of Venus' hostile surface as seen from above. The artwork must show Venus itself, not the Venus Express spacecraft. Contest rules allow only one entry per person, and group entries are prohibited. The illustration can be created in any two-dimensional medium, including computer-generated art. Entries may be submitted by mail or online, but they must be received by January 13, 2006, 11:59 P.M.
Pacific Standard Time. Click here
for complete rules and instructions on how to enter.
The grand prize winner will receive a trip to the European Space Operations Centre in Darmstadt, Germany, during Venus Express' April 2006 arrival at Venus. Francis ReddyBags packed for a long trip
The science payload for NASA's New Horizons probe is ready for flight. After a nearly 10-year journey, the mission will be the first to visit Pluto and its moon, Charon.
The spacecraft's instruments will examine the planet and moon's atmospheres, compositions, and temperatures. The payload includes three optical instruments, two plasma instruments, a dust sensor, and radio science receiver. An efficient system, collectively, it only takes 28 watts to operate these instruments.
"The New Horizons payload is a remarkably compact, but powerful suite of instruments that will revolutionize our knowledge of Pluto, its large moon, Charon, and bodies farther out in the Kuiper Belt," says Alan Stern, New Horizons principal investigator. "Hold on to your hats this payload is going to provide a ringside seat as New Horizons explores the deep outer solar system."
The probe's launch is scheduled for January 11, 2006, from Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Jeremy McGovern