World’s Ugliest Dog Dies, Oprah to Visit Letterman, XBox 360 Out, NASA Finds PAL Cracks, Haybusa Misses Mark, Spirit’s Martian Anniversary

Sam dead at 14 []
Sam, the “World’s Ugliest Dog”, has died.
[After nearly a month of nothing but random Blogger NavBar visits, this gets hits from Technorati—:JJR2]

Oprah to appear on Letterman’s Late Show [MyWay News/AP]
We should also check for unexplained ice formations in hitherto unexplored parts of the netherrworld. Or we could just go on with our other business. Does anyone still actually watch Letterman?
Top 10 reasons why I stopped watching Letterman:

  • 10. I keep forgetting to turn it on
  • 9. When I remember to tune in to the Late Show, I get so bored that I have to check in with the “Pet Channel”, or even post to my blogs.
  • 8. “Late” Show? That isn’t “reality” TV, is it?
  • 7. AADD? The subject is so boring, I can’t think of six more reasons to keep thinking about it.
  • XBox 360 Hits Retail Outlets []Once again, buyers camped out to grab the first new XBox 360 consoles from retailers. G4TechTV had special coverage of the midnight opening of retail sales, and some frank reviews of the new console’s game library.
    But wait! That’s not all! Microsoft has even bigger plans for the XBox 360. Apparently not satisfied with its attempts to destroy industry stadardization of computer graphics (DirectX), Java-ize computer programming itself (Managed Code), and encourage select spyware developers (Windows AntiSpyware ), on to replacing home PC’s with XBot’s!

    Cracks Found in ET-120 PAL Ramp []
    The PAL ramp foam on the tank has nine detectable cracks, according to NASA. ET-120 was actually filled with cryogenic propellants during the troublesome preparations for Discovery’s last flight, and speculations about the cracking includes the thermal effects of the fuels on the foam. But nobody’s giving up….STS-121 is still tenatively scheduled for May, 2006.

    Hayabusa Fails to Contact Asteroid [Spaceflight Now]
    In another setback for the troubled Japanese sample-return mission, the probe’s automatic navigation systems apparently failed to properly guide it to contact the target asteroid. After a descent to about 30 feet, it apparently suffered some kind of attitude control failure and then safed. The “safe mode” program initiated a full-power burn away from the surface to about 60 miles. The burn used a lot of fuel, which was already critically depleted by the loss of two of the probe’s gyrodyne-type inertial attitude controllers. Despite growing pessimism about the fuel shortage, project management expects to try the landing again in a couple of days. Hayabusa is supposed to blast some of the surface material off the asteroid with a projectile, and then return about a gram of it to Earth in a small re-entry capsule.

    “Spirit” Rover Marks Martian Anniversary [JPL]
    As of yesterday, the rover has been puttering about on the surface of Mars for one Martian year. The JPL MER site has a review of the mission so far.


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