The word failure is sticking in my craw. Certainly, we failed to achieve the objective of Cosmos 1: we did not achieve solar-sail flight. But I don’t think, with all we have done, that I can call Cosmos 1 a failure.
In the past twenty-four hours, the Russian space agency (RKA) has made a tentative conclusion that the Volna rocket carrying Cosmos 1 failed during the firing of the first stage. This would mean that Cosmos 1 is lost.
When Cosmos 1, the first solar sail spacecraft, launches on June 21, 2005, it will carry into Earth orbit a CD containing the names of over 75,000 members of The Planetary Society and the Japan Planetary Society, along with the works of early visionaries who inspired solar sailing.
From Moscow to the Marshall Islands and California to the Czech Republic, tracking stations around the world will receive data from Cosmos 1, the world's first solar sail spacecraft after it launches on June 21, 2005.
The biggest reason that NASA—as well as other western space agencies—has not attempted a solar sail flight is that the cost of launching even a small spacecraft is so high that they are unwilling to carry out a mission with very modest goals.
As [email protected] has demonstrated, untold millions around the world are ready and eager to donate their computer time for the advancement of knowledge and the benefit of humankind. The story of distributed computing is only just beginning.
BOINC stands for the “Berkeley Online Infrastructure for Network Computing.” Its purpose is to spread the credo of distributed computing beyond [email protected], by making it easy for researchers in all fields to launch their own projects, and tap into the enormous computing capacity of personal computers around the world.
It has been more than a year since the [email protected] crew spent a hectic week at Arecibo, pointing the giant radio telescope at some of SETI's most promising targets. Much of the data collected during the reobservations has since been repackaged as work units, and sent out to users around the world for analysis.
Update as of March 24, 2004
2003 was a good year with 50,779 asteroid astrometric observations submitted, including known NEOs and the discovery of a new Aten-class object, 2003 UY12. Based upon the volume of astrometric observations submitted, observatory code 683 was the world's eighth most productive asteroid astrometry station.
[email protected] and BOINC are gradually converging, and the benefits for both are substantial. While [email protected] enjoys the increased flexibility of the BOINC platform, it brings to BOINC something of inestimable value to a distributed computing project: millions of [email protected] users, willing to use their computers' processing power for the advancement of scientific research.
[email protected] chief scientist Dan Werthimer and his team went back to Arecibo to reobserve the most promising candidate signals detected by the project so far. Unlike most of the year, when [email protected] piggy-backs on the regular operations of the telescope, this time the Werthimer's crew had the full use of the resources of the giant dish.
[email protected]'s Stellar Countdown has come to an end at the Arecibo Radio Observatory. All in all the Stellar countdown observed 227 promising locations in the sky. Within the next few weeks all the data collected and recorded will be processed by [email protected] users around to world.
After getting bumped off the telescope last week to make way for Solar flare observations, [email protected] Chief Scientist Dan Werthimer and his crew will spend 14 hours today observing the locations of [email protected]'s most promising candidate signals, as well as a few other interesting locations.
[email protected] scientists will have to wait for several weeks for the full analysis of the data collected during the reobservations. But even while the observations are going on at Arecibo, they will already have a good idea if they have found something significant.