Since the Chevy Volt production model was just being rolled out around this time yesterday there were not many pictures available to share. Today wired.com has a nice spread and the car looks nice. The all electric Volt is projected to hit showrooms in late 2010 and cost about $40,000. The price is a little steep for me but there is always hope that battery costs will come down by then. Apparently, according to insiders, GM is banking its entire future on this car. If the Volt fails, then GM might go bankrupt. One thing that would help their cause is if they can get the car into showrooms well ahead of schedule. I am not sure why it will take 2 more years of development. Two years is an eternity in today’s world. Some other technology might pop up in the meantime and make the Volt less desirable.
Since we are in the picture sharing mood, how about some recent scenes from "out of this world". The Phoenix Mars Lander is still having trouble digging up soil and dumping it into the instrument chambers, but did have some recent success. It seems Phoenix has had much better luck capturing photographs of weather happenings on the surface of Mars. Here is a picture of some frost that formed on the landers legs: Read more about it here. Phoenix has also captured pictures of dust devils (whirlwinds) moving across the polar plains.
Staying on the space theme, if you read the blog often you know I am excited for a potential future robotic mission to Jupiter’s moon Europa. The idea is that there could be some sort of microbial life underneath the frozen surface. Many astrobiologists think there is a large liquid water ocean under Europa’s icy crust. In order to get a probe through the ice, a robot will need to melt or drill it’s way through. I had always though melting was the only route, however, this article mentioned a potential pitfall with the melting concept. What happens if there is something other than ice along the path down into the ocean. There might be some dirt, a rock , or organic matter. Once a melting probe hits the dirt/sand it would be stuck. So the best of both worlds would be a probe that could melt AND drill its way into an alien ocean. Here is another article about mini-submersible robotic subs that might someday be sent to Europa.
The weather is still very quiet, not only here in Wisconsin but across the entire nation. I was watching the national news this morning and it was interesting to see the map of airport weather delays. There were none. There was no weather anywhere in the nation that was causing airport delays. There was not much cloudcover either. Fairly cloudless weather will continue for our area for today and tomorrow. A few more clouds will come into the picture on Friday but it will still be warm with highs in the mid 70s.
The chance of rain over the the weekend has gone up slightly. Instead of being less than 20%, I am now bumping it up into the 20 to 30% range for both Saturday and Sunday. Those are still fairly low odds and if something does develop, it doesn’t look like it will be very heavy or widespread. So you should still be alright to plan outdoor activities, just be mindful that there might be a brief shower. The weather will dry up again early next week and high temps will still be in the 70s.
Have a super Wednesday! Meteorologist Justin Loew