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Space Science

BLAST Telescope About To Launch From Antarctica 51

mtruch writes "BLAST, the Balloon-borne Large Aperture Sub-millimeter Telescope, is about to be launched from McMurdo Station, Antarctica. BLAST is a 2700 kg telescope with a 2 meter primary mirror that hangs from a 1.1 million cubic meter balloon floating at an altitude of 38 km that will study the star formation history of the universe. It will float west at nearly constant latitude for about 14 days until it is (hopefully) located over McMurdo again and will be terminated and recovered. Real time position and flight track is available from the CSBF. Watch the launch live via a crappy webcam link. Three of the graduate students working on the project have photo blogs of much of the prep period, and specifically Don's blog should have launch photos soon (bandwidth to/from McMurdo is at a premium). BLAST made it on Slashdot in the past, when it launched from Sweden in June 2005, and indirectly with an interview with Prof. Barth Netterfield and George Staikos. Yes, the flight computers still run Slack, and yes, we still use kst for data viewing and analysis. There is a Discovery Science show about BLAST and high-altitude balloons, and a future documentary film being made as well."
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BLAST Telescope About To Launch From Antarctica

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  • Eskimo UFO (Score:4, Funny)

    by Joebert ( 946227 ) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @09:56AM (#17324174) Homepage
    BLAST is a 2700 kg telescope with a 2 meter primary mirror that hangs from a 1.1 million cubic meter balloon floating at an altitude of 38 km
    What's the odds we'll see this reported as a UFO story on Unsolved Mysteries in a few years ?
  • by tlon ( 154006 ) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @10:11AM (#17324336) Homepage
    News Flash: Scientists struggle to explain the polar meltdown occurring at the McMurdo Antarctic base. "We've never seen anything like it" commented Don, one of the researchers serving at McMurdo.

    "I posted my pictures to the McMurdo file server, and a few minutes later, the whole thing just started sinking into the ground!" One industry expert attributes the effect to 'The Slashdot Effect'.

    Joe L. Expert commented "With bandwidth at McMurdo at a premium, the sudden onslaught of traffic from a posting to the nerd news site caused a gigantic power spike. The land lines carrying power and data to the McMurdo facility became superconducting in the ultra-cold temperatures there, and some sort of resonance field appears to have formed." L. Expert went on to say "These scientists may have accidentally discovered a new way to start a fusion reaction. Of course, this reaction can only be shut down if slashdot visitors stop hammering the poor server into the ground. If we don't act quickly, the whole southern icecap may melt, flooding the world and destroying civilization as we know it"

    Joe Expert was forcibly removed from his office a few minutes later by several men in black suits.
  • by spun ( 1352 ) <> on Thursday December 21, 2006 @11:20AM (#17324998) Journal
    Ha! That's the plan! You see, aliens have been landing at the south pole for years. This is just a way to throw the conspiracy theorists off the trail. The world must know: penguins are actually super-intelligent aliens from the planet fishstickus. It wasn't humans that overfished our oceans, it was the alien penguins. Now you know the truth!

"The eleventh commandment was `Thou Shalt Compute' or `Thou Shalt Not Compute' -- I forget which." -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982