A Good Day for Russia
Though they seem few and far between these days, Russia is having a good day thanks to the latest Progress-M ISS resupply mission going according to plan. After two failed resupply missions in a row (SpaceX’s unplanned disassembly last week and the previous Progress mission in May), today’s successful arrival brings much-needed supplies, “including 1,940 pounds of propellant, 106 pounds of oxygen, 926 pounds of water, and 3,133 pounds of spare parts,” according to NASA’s ISS Blog. The next scheduled resupply mission is a Japanese HTV set to arrive in August, which, with today’s successful mission, should have the crew of the ISS set for supplies until the end of the year, at least.
In related news, SpaceX has yet to announce the reason for the failure of the CRS-7 mission, except for suggestions that it was to do with an “overpressure event” in the second stage. Elon Musk last reported on June 29 that they’d be taking a frame-by-frame approach.
After 188 hours in the air, pilot Andre Borschberg landed the Solar Impulse 2 in Hawaii yesterday, breaking all kinds of world records in the process. The longest leg of the round-the-world itinerary for the fully solar-powered plane, the Japan to Hawaii leg was roughly 4500 miles and involved a fantastic amount of skill (and not a little luck) on the parts of the pilot and the whole team. They made the announcement after sixteen hours of flight that the plane had passed its “point of no return” on the trip, which it began early Monday in Nagoya. The next stage of the journey is Hawaii to Phoenix, Arizona — just a little shorter distance — before moving on to New York, crossing the Atlantic, and ending their journey in Abu Dhabi where it began. For more on the story, check out the BBC, or The Verge.
In other news concerning Hawaii, a federal judge has once again overturned an attempt by a county to ban the growing of GMO products. In the ruling against Maui County, Judge Susan Molloway indicated that the moratorium was preempted by federal laws because of the Supremacy Clause. That is to say, for the same reason that individual states can’t vote to ban gay marriage in their locality when there’s a federal order on the books, a locality can’t ban GMOs when there’s already a federal law allowing some (and disallowing others). The ruling is a third blow to anti-GMO activism in Hawaii, after similar bans were overturned in Hawaii and Kauai Counties. Check out more on the story from Civil Beat, or check out the ruling itself.
With just ten days left before it reaches its one-time flyby of distant, icy Pluto, the speedy little probe has hit a small snag. A software problem Saturday caused the craft to reboot in safe mode after an hour-and-a-half blackout that must have had the scientists and engineers more than a little nervous. The problem seems to be under control — as much as anything to do with space can be under control — and they expect the craft to be up and running as usual in one to three days (mostly thanks to the four and a half hours each way communications lag) in plenty of time for the June 14 flyby. Check out Spaceflight Now for more details.
Google Glass may be back, if a new FCC filing by the software/robotics/cellphone/internet giant means what we think it means. According to reports, the FCC ID is A4R-GG1, and its “e-label” is in the aspect ratio used by Glass. Moreover there’s all the things it isn’t: “the hardware isn’t classified as a smartphone, tablet or media device,” according to Engadget. Does this mean Glass is coming back? Well, it is. We knew that already. But we’re just getting excited because it’s a lot of fun. Check out The Verge, Engadget, or their source Droid Life for more.
Best of the Rest
Here’s some more things to check out this week:
- Synthetic blood is coming
- NASA’s making a flying drone for Mars
- You can’t patent crowdfunding
- The US is producing more solar power than we thought
- This is a prototype of the failed Nintendo-Sony SNES CD, and
- You can have a creepy digital potato “helping” you all day… until you get creeped out and stop.