There is a lot to do at K.A.W. This page will feature news and current events, as well as introducing new features on the page.
Kex's Corner is my opportunity to spot off in detail about whatever is on my mind, periodically
The Favorite Links page has interesting and fun places to go.
The sky section tells you what is "up" this month, mostly concentrating on our solar system. Your questions are welcome.
The review page has become quite popular. Check it weekly for new films or video releases.
The archives page contains reviews you may have missed.
Make your world better can take you to a lot of worthwhile sites where you can become involved
Cassini images will present news and features from the mission to Saturn
The Amazing family page is my personal corner
Final thoughts wraps it all up
Welcome To Kex's Amazing World
Kex's Amazing World
Loyalty to a petrified opinion never yet broke a chain or freed a human soul." --Mark Twain
UPDATE: June 10, 2001
Congratulations to the 2000-2001 Stanley Cup Champion Colorado Avalanche
READERS NOTE: Most of the links on the links page, and the make your world better page are operable again. There are a few I need to update, but that will occur soon
MOVIE REVIEW PAGE: Check out the review page for a video review of Shadow of the Vampire, and last week's video review of U.S. Marshalls.
NEW FEATURES: Check out the final Cassini image of Jupiter, taken last January. It was just released, and is up on the Cassini Images page. I've put an update on the Kex's Amazing Family page. Sorry, no new pics, but a general update on what has been going on with the ever growing menagerie, etc. The June sky section will be posted soon.
KEX's CORNER: Something new, finally. See my reflections on 100 movie reviews for this page. Also, a tribute to two of the worst directors of all time; Ed Wood Jr. and Roger Corman.
IN THE NEWS
NASA APPROVES MERCURY MISSION: NASA has officially approved a $256 million mission that will send the first spacecraft into orbit around the planet Mercury. The mission, dubbed Messenger, will launch in 2004, and make a slow, inward spiraling journey to reach Mercury in 2009. The mission profile calls for the spacecraft to orbit the planet for one year, mapping much of the planets surface and searching the polar regions for water ice. The only previous mission to Mercury was a Mariner program flyby in the early 70's.
STUDIES SELECTED FOR PLUTO/KUIPER MISSION: NASA has awarding funding to two groups for further study of a potential mission the explore Pluto and the Kuiper belt. The mission could launch between 2004 and 2005, arriving at Pluto around 2020, if either proposal is accepted. The two winning studies were submitted by groups lead by The University of Colorado, and The Southwest Institute in Boulder Colorado.
TITO PROMOTES TOURISM, QUESTIONS SPACELAB SCIENCE: Dennis Tito, who paid the Russians $20 million for a trip to I.S.S. recently noted that sending tourists into space might reenergize interest in manned spaceflight, but he noted that very little science goes on aboard the station.
Said Tito: ""Most science in space is being conducted by unmanned vehicles. In my view, there is limited amount of science that takes place on the international space station." Gee, where have we heard that before?
NEW MGS IMAGES LEAVE MARS FACELESS: New images of the Mars Cydonia region, once the subject of considerable paranormal speculation, have removed all doubt as to the natural nature of the so called "Face on Mars." The highest resolution images to date, returned just a few weeks ago, have shown conclusively that the feature is not artificial in nature.
A few charlatans who have made a career of espousing an intelligent origin for the feature continue to attempt to offer exotic explanations, however the recent MGS images, combined with images taken a few years ago upon arrival of the spacecraft have left the matter unambigious. The "face" first appeared in an image returned by one of the Viking orbiters in 1976. Several other images taken by Viking demonstrated that the eerie image was a trick of light and shadow, however the landform became celebrated by numerous promoters of matters paranormal, and the available contrary evidence was largely ignored.
MARS ODYSSEY STATUS REPORT, MAY 24: The spacecraft completed its first successful course correction on May 23, and is in an excellent state of health. Flight engineers continue to be pleased with the spacecrafts operations as it is continuing a series of early flight systems tests.
GALILEO CALLISTO ENCOUNTER SUCCESSFUL: The Galileo spacecraft's close encounter with Callisto appears to have been a complete success. It will be several weeks before any signficant data is released, however.
U.N. PLAN HOPES TO SAVE CRITICIALLY ENDANGERED GREAT APES: The United Nations plans to allocate about a million dollars toward helping to save the planets criticially endangered populations of Great Apes. Populations of both chimps and orangs fell dangerously during the 20th century, mostly due to human habitat destruction. Both are endanger of becoming extinct in the wild within a decade. Even more seriously endangered are the two species of gorillas. Mountain gorilla populations have dipped to just a few dozen, and lowland gorillas are no more than a few thousand in the wild.
ATMOSPHERE LOSING VITAL CLEANSING AGENT: A compound vital to the ability of earth's atmosphere to cleanse itself has dropped significantly over the past decade, according to a recently released scientific report. The agent, hydroxyl (OH) helps the atmosphere cleanse itself of dangerous oxides such as carbon dioxide (CO2) carbon monoxide (CO) and Nitrous Oxide (NO). The cause of this depeletion remains unknown at this time, but since rates of depletion are considerably higher in the northern hemisphere than the southern, human activity is implicated.
NASA REESTABLISHES CONTACT WITH PIONEER 10. Engineers at NASA's Deep Space Network picked up signals from the distant Pioneer 10 spacecraft for the first time since August of last year. Formal communications with the craft ended in 1997, but NASA had continued to occasionally moniter its progress. The spacecraft, now more than 7 billion miles from earth had been presumed inoperable, since no signals had been detected for several months. But the spacecraft responded in the most recent effort on April 29. Further communications are difficult, since the craft will only respond to signals beamed directly to it, and a single two way communication requires several hours. The spacecraft was first launched in March of 1972, and was the first spacecraft to cross the asteroid belt, photograph Jupiter, and cross the orbit of Pluto thus leaving the solar system.
MARTIAN MUPPETS?: Here is a photo that I talk a lot about in numerous forums, and have had many requests to publish it. This is the infamous "Kermit on Mars" photo:
Yes, this is a genuine photo of an area on the surface of Mars, taken by one of the Viking orbiters back in the mid-70's. There is also a Magellan radar image of a formation on Venus that looks like Miss Piggy, sans one ear. I guess one has to assume that either the solar system was once visited by muppet worshipping aliens, who left us with a genetic memory only recently brought to the surface by the late Jim Henson, or our brains are hardwired for pattern recognition.
For The Lastest Cassini Images, check out the Cassini Images link above
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The infamous ape statue
Kex's Amazing World, Copyright 2000. All Rights reserved. Reproduction of any articles or images for commerical purposes without the written consent of the author is prohibited. Space imagery is courtesy of The National Aeronautics and Space Administration, The Jet Propulsion Laboratories and Cal Tech University in accordance with expressed guidelines.