October 2022

Info Post


News are dominated by the war in Ukraine and the possible energy shortage this coming winter.

One keeps forgetting that we still have an Covid pandemic going on.


Following reports that we are at the start of an 8th wave, I have been watching closely the COVID data during the past few days.

Daily new confirmed Covid cases per million people 7 days rolling average. Due to limited testing, the number of confirmed cases is lower than the true number of infections.


Indeed the Covid-19 infections are back at a high level with some 66.564 cases yesterday (October 5th).

The government is actively discussing renewing the need to wear face masks again in certain areas.


Here is a useful link to identify petrol prices locally.

▫️ USB C

And that will apply to Apple phones as well.


Not a good start, the scheduled launch of Artemis I on August 29th had to be aborted with 40 minutes left on the countdown due to a few technical issues.

The goal of the Artemis program is to return humans to the moon, including the first woman and first person of color. Artemis III, the first moon landing mission, will be no earlier than 2025. 

Did you know?

Artemis known as SLS (Space Launch System) is based on a lot of space shuttle elements, and at first glance, it’s easy to spot some of the similarities: the bright orange fuel tank, the pencil-shaped solid rocket boosters. But the engines themselves are not just similar to shuttle engines – they are space shuttle engines.

Each space shuttle was equipped with three RS-25 main engines, guzzling liquid oxygen and hydrogen from the orange external tank as they powered the reusable orbiter to space. Those engines were swapped out and refurbished after landing.

Over three decades of the shuttle program, 46 engines were produced. Of those, NASA saved 16 for use as the main engines on what became the SLS rockets; 24 more will be manufactured for future flights.

For the Artemis I mission, four veteran engines were selected, with a combined 25 flights between them, according to NASA:

  • Engine E2045: The most veteran engine with 12 flights, including a docking with Mir in 1998 and John Glenn’s flight, also in 1998
  • Engine E2056: Four flights, including STS-109, a Hubble Telescope servicing trip and Columbia’s last successful mission
  • Engine E2058: Six flights, all to build the space station
  • Engine E2060: Three flights, most notably STS-135 Atlantis, the final shuttle mission

Unlike the shuttle program, though, the SLS rockets won’t be reused. The core stage and its engines will instead be dropped in the Atlantic when its fuel is gone – Apollo-style – which means these four old shuttle engines will go out in a literal blaze of glory.

by Chris Boe

Shaun the sheep

The specially trained woolly astronaut, Shaun the Sheep, has been assigned a seat on the Artemis I mission to the Moon, which will be the first flight of NASA’s Orion spacecraft with an ESA European Service Module. How far will Shaun’s career in space go? Only time wool tell. Shaun is pictured here in front of a model of the Orion/European Service Module spacecraft.

Pic du Midi 🇫🇷

The Pic du Midi observatory photographed and mapped the moon for NASA. This work led to the choice of the landing site for the first Apollo mission in July 1969.

Back to the moon! With the Artemis mission, NASA is preparing to make its grand return to the moon, 50 years after the last human steps on our natural satellite (the last manned mission dates back to 1972). This historic return to the moon will be closely followed in Toulouse, at the space centre and at the Cité de l’espace.

It is also an opportunity to recall a little-known episode in the conquest of space: the role played by the Pic du Midi (Hautes-Pyrénées) in the 1960s in preparing for the moon landing of the Apollo 11 mission on 20 July 1969. From its 2877 m altitude, the Pic du Midi observatory photographed and mapped the moon in the early 1960s. The aim was to find the best landing site for the Apollo mission

There was no internet at the time, the photos were given to the US Army and sent by plane to the USA where they were developed and studied.

Nearly 60,000 photos of the moon were taken from the summit of the Pic du Midi over a period of nearly ten years. The observatory’s telescope dedicated to this work was at the cutting edge of technology at the time, hence the choice of the Pyrenean site, which was also favourable because of the low light pollution.

In total, some fifty people worked on this mission to map the moon. The result: thousands of photos and a one-millionth scale atlas of the moon. A little-known contribution from the Pyrenees that enabled Neil Armstrong to take the first step on the moon in July 1969.


My month in music

Boycott Spotify

switch to



My hot peppers are growing nicely


When you think you are at the top of the technological progress with your motorised scooter and you are confronted with this photo dating from 1916…



○ A stunning shot of five galaxies merging.

○ These flowers dazzle under ultraviolet light.

○ The science behind a viral spray-on dress at Paris Fashion Week.


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