Rod is back with the latest in space news. This week, we saw a moon rocket get stacked for the first time since 1972. The Orion 2 uncrewed test mission will launch and fly around the moon to test Orion's lunar capabilities. The launch is expected in February of next year. The mission is expected to last a month to six weeks. By contrast, Apollo only lasted a few days on the moon. Why? Because NASA is building a lunar gateway, a smaller version of the International Space Station, to be in orbit around the moon. So it's exciting. We're about to go back to the moon!
Rod joins Leo to talk about Mars news. Perseverance finally managed to get a sample of a rock, which will be kept for a return mission at a later date. They're hoping by 2027-28, they'll be able to launch a new mission to return it. The less good news is that NASA's relationship with Russia's Space Agency is getting strained due to political issues. Russia feels slighted that they aren't part of NASA's return to the moon. Now they're talking to China, and that leaves the ISS in a state of limbo.
Rod returns to catch us up on what's happening on Mars. The Chinese Rover has had its mission extended past its original 90 days. Road says it's very impressive for a first mission. Meanwhile, the US Perseverance rover had its first drilling attempt to grab a sample to return home in a future mission. But the soil was so powdery; they have to move to another location and try again.
Rod joins Leo to talk about the latest in Space News. The big news was the Chinese Long March booster rocket, which put up the first module of China's space station and then reentered the atmosphere in an uncontrolled fashion. It ended up breaking up and crashing somewhere in the Indian Ocean. Rod says that China has had a cavalier attitude towards what happens to their rockets, and they are fast-tracking their space station with a damn the torpedos full steam ahead outlook, which Rod says is concerning.
After a rain delay on Wednesday, SpaceX is poised to launch its first manned mission to the International Space Station with DM-2. Leo says that while critics say that money shouldn't be "wasted" on space exploration, Leo disagrees, saying that a tiny fraction of the federal budget goes to NASA and the Commercial Space Program, and the benefits of what we learn far outweigh what we spend, or the risk. And it always has.
Bill says that exposed Xray film is good for viewing the solar eclipse and if you can find some wasted film from a doctor's office, you can use it. Leo doesn't recommend doing this, and viewers should consult the NASA Eclipse Website for how to properly and safely view it.
Amazon has issued a recall alert and cancelled all orders for glasses told to view the upcoming solar eclipse. The glasses were counterfeit and has the proper ISO certification printed on the items, even though they weren't. Not knowing which ones were real and which were counterfeit on it's face, Amazon decided to cancel ALL sales and issue a recall.
In a few weeks, on August 21st, there will be a total solar eclipse in North America. It will be possible to see at least a partial eclipse everywhere in the US, but some places will get totality, meaning the sun will be completely blocked by the moon. That will happen in a band stretching across Oregon to Florida.