Godspeed Christer! Good luck with your mission! It truly means a lot for Sweden to have a representative out in space.
To follow STS-128 visit one of the NASA links bellow. NASA put some effort in reporting the progress for the 30th ISS mission and I would think they will air the launch live by streaming it through their website on the 24th of August. I will get back with more links.
- NASA STS-128 mission
- NASA interview Fuglesang
- Reported in Swedish news: Dagens Nyheter, Aftonbladet, Sydsvenskan
Since the time Galileo pointed his telescope toward Saturn, every observer has been fascinated about the rings. They are mainly made of ice, grain and rocks of different sizes and shapes – some as big as cars – moving around Saturn and colliding with each other constantly causing them to be torn apart into smaller pieces. The rings are what remain from a moon in the past. Gravitational forces between the two objects (gas giant and its satellite) caused the object to be ripped into smaller parts during the ages. Today the remnants left from that moon are an astonishing beautiful sight that appears to us as rings.
The same kind of “war declaration” is claimed between Jupiter and its moon Io. Moons too close to these extremely large gas giant planets will cause them to slowly be torn apart over time. Currently Io has violent volcano and moon-quake activities ripping it slowly from the inside. One day Jupiter may have as beautiful rings as Satun. Who knows?
Rocks orbiting Saturn sometimes fall out of their orbits due to large collisions between the rocks, causing the shadows we see on the image, before they fall back again into orbit. Aftonbladet reports this news as mystical as in “Mysterious object in Saturn’s rings“, which it actually is not. Sometimes I admit that they add a little bit of a spice in their news with overdramatized titles.
Aftonbladet article: Mystiskt föremål i Saturnus ring ( http://www.aftonbladet.se/nyheter/article5641347.ab )