Two new missions toward the moon in one rocket
Published 6/19/2009 in Franck Marchis Blog Author Franck Marchis
Dear readers, Yesterday June 18 2009 at 21:17 GMT (2:17 PDT) an Atlas V rocket lifted off carrying two missions designed by NASA and dedicated to the exploration of the moon, our closest space neighbor. if you have read my previous posts on Kayuga, Chang’e-1 and Chandrayaan-1, you must be asking yourself why do we need new missions  to explore the moon? These ones are led by NASA which has already a lot of experience in mission designed for the solar... read more ❯

The demise of a mission - Kayuga crashed on the Moon
Published 6/12/2009 in Franck Marchis Blog Author Franck Marchis
Hello, I am back from AAS in Pasadena, CA where I gave a talk on the use of Adaptive Optics to study Multiple Asteroid Systems. This is my last professional trip for the summer since I just hired 2 students to work with me until mid-Aug. Today I am writing a brief post about the demise of the Kayuga mission which was sent to crash on the moon surface. You may remember my previous post about the Kayuga mission, which is a lunar-dedicated mission developed by JAXA, the Japanese Space Agency. This mission was launched on September 14 2007  and aimed at... read more ❯

Back from the Planetary Defense Conference - May is going to be CRAZY!
Published 5/4/2009 in Franck Marchis Blog Author Franck Marchis
Hello, I am back from Granada where I enjoy this very inspirational conference called Planetary Defense Conference (see my previous post). I would like to spend some time to discuss in this blog the technologies presented by various colleagues about the deflection of a potential asteroid threat. I realized listening to their talks that the limit between science and science-fiction is getting fuzzier as I am getting older.:-) Most of you have heard already about the possibilities of using nuclear bombs to deflect an asteroid. This is technologically doable but only by an handful of countries. D. Dearborn from LLNL presented... read more ❯

Happy Day to Earth, our only home planet (so far...).
Published 4/23/2009 in Franck Marchis Blog Author Franck Marchis
Hello, Today is Earth Day. A lot of actions and initiatives have been taken around the world: cleaning the beaches and the streets, promote green energy to the public and in school, write your representatives to support green legislations, and so on... In my case, I do realize that I have my share of contaminating this planet, just based on the carbon emission of my frequent trips for conferences and other meetings. However I have been promoting a "greener" science over the last 4 years, using for instance video conferencing when it was possible such in our last Io workshop or our... read more ❯

Back from LPSC (what is that?)
Published 4/3/2009 in Franck Marchis Blog Author Franck Marchis
First of all sorry for the long absence, since I updated my SAFARI to the 4beta version, I lost capabilities to access and write this blog. So I switched back to Firefox. I should have waited the final version of Safari instead of becoming a beta tester... End of March is a busy month for astronomers who want to access to telescopes. All the deadlines for Fall-Winter 2009-2010 telescope time are concentrated during this period. This year I decided to focus on a few proposals aimed at studying binary asteroids instead of submitted a lot of them. Quality vs Quantity let's... read more ❯

The Phoenix mission on Mars
Published 2/21/2009 in Franck Marchis Blog Author Franck Marchis
Hello, Yesterday at UC-Berkeley, I attended a talk given by Peter Smith, PI of the the Phoenix mission. Peter gave us an overview of the mission, its concept and a few information about the scientific results. A serie of articles will be most likely published soon in a special issue of Science, so i will not go through the scientific results in  details in this post. To summarize them and to impress people during your next dinner, you should know that the mission allows the detection of water ice in the soil, shows the absence of sulfate on the surface but... read more ❯