Posts in category Space
‘I think they would rather not know. Wouldn’t it be better to have a happy successful flight and die unexpectedly during entry than know there was nothing to be done, until the air ran out?’ How Columbia crew died in ignorance
NASA has revealed that the Columbia crew were not told that the shuttle had been damaged and they might not survive re-entry.
The seven astronauts who died will be remembered at a public memorial service on the 10th anniversary of the disaster this Friday at Florida’s Kennedy Space Center.
The shuttle was headed home from a 16-day science mission when it broke apart over Texas on February 1, 2003, because of damage to its left wing.
Ten years ago, experts at NASA’s mission control faced the terrible decision over whether to let the astronauts know that they may die on re-entry or face orbiting in space until the oxygen ran out.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2271525/It-better-die-unexpectedly-Columbia-Shuttle-Crew-Not-Told-Possible-Problem-With-Reentry.html#ixzz2JlVSnkgZ
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After flying to an altitude of 39,045 meters (128,100 feet) in a helium-filled balloon, Felix Baumgartner completed a record breaking jump for the ages from the edge of space, exactly 65 years after Chuck Yeager first broke the sound barrier flying in an experimental rocket-powered airplane. Felix reached a maximum of speed of 1,342.8 km/h (833mph) through the near vacuum of the stratosphere before being slowed by the atmosphere later during his 4:20 minute long freefall. The 43-year-old Austrian skydiving expert also broke two other world records (highest freefall, highest manned balloon flight), leaving the one for the longest freefall to project mentor Col. Joe Kittinger.
WASHINGTON - U.S. weather has been lousy this year, with droughts, heat and killer storms. But a solar superstorm could be far worse.
A monster blast of geomagnetic particles from the sun could destroy 300 or more of the 2,100 high-voltage transformers that are the backbone of the U.S. electric grid, according to the National Academy of Sciences (NAS). Even a few hundred destroyed transformers could disable the entire interconnected system.
There is impetus for a group of federal agencies to look for ways to prepare for such a storm this year as the sun moves into an active period called solar maximum, expected to peak in 2013.
Forget everything you’ve heard about the world ending on Dec, 21, 2012.
NASA is here to assure us that come Dec. 22, 2012, we will still be standing.
In a post that appears on the space agency’s site, NASA dispelled several myths surrounding the doomsday date.
“Given a legitimate need to protect Earth from the most intense forms of space weather -– great bursts of electromagnetic energy and particles that can sometimes stream from the sun -– some people worry that a gigantic ‘killer solar flare’ could hurl enough energy to destroy Earth,” the statement said.
“Citing the accurate fact that solar activity is currently ramping up in its standard 11-year cycle, there are those who believe that 2012 could be coincident with such a flare. But this same solar cycle has occurred over millennia. Anyone over the age of 11 has already lived through such a solar maximum with no harm. In addition, the next solar maximum is predicted to occur in late 2013 or early 2014, not 2012.”
The project hunting for intelligent life elsewhere in the universe is continuing its recruitment of citizen scientists despite the loss of one its key architects.
The SETI Institute is starting work to make terabytes of data trawled using its radio telescopes available to members for the public for analysis.
SETI is creating a “citizen science platform” building on setiQuest Explorer. Group research director Jill Tarter told The Reg that the project will lead to real-time participation in the group’s search for ET.
Tarter told us: “We hope by next March that we will have a new one [project] that will allow volunteers to help us explore regions of the spectrum that are crowded with signals.”
An enormous solar flare expected to hit Britain could blow out the national grid leaving the entire country without electricity, scientists have warned.
Energy Secretary Chris Huhne is considering a raft of options to protect electricity supplies including switching off the national grid entirely causing temporary blackouts.
It is believed that as the sun reaches a peak in activity over the next two years it could unleash a ‘class 5′ flare, which might knock out computer systems and even throw satellites off course.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2005503/Incoming-solar-flare-blow-national-grid-leave-Britain-electricity.html#ixzz1Q036cUxD
The SETI Institute has been forced to temporarily shut down operations at its telescope array due to federal and state funding cutbacks.
The Allen Telescope Array, composed of dozens of radio dishes 300 miles northeast of San Francisco, was put into a state of hibernation last week. The telescope array is operated by both SETI and the University of California at Berkeley, who have been using the radio dishes to search for signs of extraterrestrial life since 2007.
SETI chief executive Tom Pierson said the institute was working on numerous efforts to insure the telescope array came back online, including work for the United States Air Force.
Operating the telescope array costs about $1.5 million a year, according to The Associated Press.
SETI has other telescope arrays at its disposal, but the Allen Telescope Array is the biggest and, unlike other facilities, is dedicated to the institute’s operations.
August 23, 2010 MSNBC
Coronal mass ejections (CMEs) are no laughing matter, but for quite some time now we’ve been livin’ easy as the sun kept it cool. That changes tomorrow, when a massive CME will hit our atmosphere, flung asunder by that great CFL in the sky, which apparently spent much of yesterday throwing a giant, solar tantrum. Scientists are saying that human life will probably not be exterminated thanks to our atmosphere, but GPS and cellular reception could be a little finicky tomorrow. We can’t wait to see the anti-sun attack ads from Apple.
NASA’s deep-space Kepler probe has found hundreds of new planets — many similar to earth — sparking new hope of life outside our solar system.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration confirmed Sunday that in six weeks of operation, the spacecraft has found five new solar systems in the Milky Way and identified more than 700 bodies that could be new planets.
NASA has so far formally announced only five new exoplanets — planets outside our solar system — but early data analysis indicates up to 140 of the 700 identified bodies are earth-like. That is, they are solid masses containing both land and water which could allow simple lifeforms to develop.
“The figures suggest our galaxy, the Milky Way [which has more than 100 billion stars] will contain 100 million habitable planets, and soon we will be identifying the first of them,” Dimitar Sasselov, professor of astronomy at Harvard University and a scientist on the Kepler Mission, told Fox News Sunday.
June 4, 2010: Earth and space are about to come into contact in a way that’s new to human history. To make preparations, authorities in Washington DC are holding a meeting: The Space Weather Enterprise Forum at the National Press Club on June 8th.
Richard Fisher, head of NASA’s Heliophysics Division, explains what it’s all about:
“The sun is waking up from a deep slumber, and in the next few years we expect to see much higher levels of solar activity. At the same time, our technological society has developed an unprecedented sensitivity to solar storms. The intersection of these two issues is what we’re getting together to discuss.”
The National Academy of Sciences framed the problem two years ago in a landmark report entitled “Severe Space Weather Events—Societal and Economic Impacts.” It noted how people of the 21st-century rely on high-tech systems for the basics of daily life. Smart power grids, GPS navigation, air travel, financial services and emergency radio communications can all be knocked out by intense solar activity. A century-class solar storm, the Academy warned, could cause twenty times more economic damage than Hurricane Katrina.
On Friday evening, May 21st, 2010, multiple witnesses filmed footage of an incredible UFO phenomenon reported in Western Canada. The phenomenon shows a type of light ship propelling across the sky opening up a form of aperture in a brilliant display of light triggering off sonic booms as the light fades from the sky. Many viewers are baffled by this phenomenon and it cannot currently be explained.
Aliens almost certainly exist but humans should avoid making contact, Professor Stephen Hawking has warned.
In a series for the Discovery Channel the renowned astrophysicist said it was “perfectly rational” to assume intelligent life exists elsewhere.
But he warned that aliens might simply raid Earth for resources, then move on.
“If aliens visit us, the outcome would be much as when Columbus landed in America, which didn’t turn out well for the Native Americans,” he said.
Prof Hawking thinks that, rather than actively trying to communicate with extra-terrestrials, humans should do everything possible to avoid contact.
He explained: “We only have to look at ourselves to see how intelligent life might develop into something we wouldn’t want to meet.”