Archive for June, 2011

Fifth “Fleet of Worlds” novel, ‘Fate of Worlds’ finished – almost!

June 27, 2011


Larry Niven and Edward M. Lerner confirmed in a group chat on June 4th that they had handed in the manuscript of their fifth “Fleet of Worlds” novel, ‘Fate of Worlds.’  This newest Known Space novel is expected to be published “in summer 2012,” according to Edward.

(Update, Saturday July 2nd.  Larry clarifies: ‘ the Fate of Worlds is a draft, perhaps not final draft.  We’re awaiting proofs.’  He also mentioned that he and Greg Benford were ‘amplifying the manuscript’ of their collaborative novel, “Bowl of Worlds.”)

There are no current plans to write more Known Space novels.  (But that’s what Larry said after each Ringworld novel, so the rest of us weren’t too dismayed to hear that.  Smile.)


One month to Vesta rock’s Dawn orbit – 1st spin movie

June 18, 2011
Vesta from Dawn spacecraft July 9th 2011

Vesta from Dawn spacecraft July 9th 2011 41,000 km

NASA’s solar-electric ion-drive Dawn spacecraft is in its final three month approach phase to the second largest Main Belt asteroid, Vesta.

NASA Dawn probe sends first time-lapse rotation movie of Vesta

You can view this 37 second Youtube movie here:

20 navigation images, pictures, or pics are looped 15 times as we see a quarter-rotation of Vesta.  The largest crater (or ‘Feature B’ – we aren’t sure yet if it is a crater) is 60 miles across; Vesta’s diameter is 500 kilometers, or 300 miles.

The Dawn homepage has all the information.

Dawn has traveled in interplanetary cruise mode for nearly three and three-quarters years since its launch Sept 27th, 2007; over 2.2 years of that has been powered ion-drive flight, greatly expanding our experience with these efficient engines to beyond 20,000 hours.  Here is the powered-trajectory Timeline, with green sections for when one of the thrusters was on; there are three Xenon-ion thruster engines, that are used one at a time in a rotation schedule that averages out the wear on each engine.


Vesta Dawn powered trajectory chart. Green sections of Dawn trajectory are powered flight segments.



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