“An unmanned Russian rocket carrying three navigation satellites has crashed to earth. A state-run television station captured the moment. Within seconds of blast off it was clear the Proton-M booster rocket was in trouble as it veered off course.”
Tag Archives | Satellites
On Monday, a panel of NASA scientists gathered to talk about their search for extraterrestrial life. They claim that they will find evidence within the next 20 years–and that’s a conservative estimate.
via The Week:
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NASA outlined its plan to search for alien life and said it would launch the Transiting Exoplanet Surveying Satellite in 2017. The agency predicts that as many as 100 million worlds in the Milky Way galaxy may be home to alien life.
“Just imagine the moment when we find potential signatures of life,” Matt Mountain, director of the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, said at the announcement. “Imagine the moment when the world wakes up and the human race realizes that its long loneliness in time and space may be over — the possibility we’re no longer alone in the universe.”
NASA astronomer Kevin Hand seconded Mountain’s opinion, saying that within the next 20 years, “we will find out we are not alone in the universe,” suggesting that extraterrestrial life may exist on Jupiter’s moon Europa.
Strange problems via CBS Sacramento:
A man who called 911 more than 100 times in one month says he’s not going to stop until his concerns are heard by the federal government. Sacramento Police say he’s ignored warnings to stop calling over and over, so they arrested him for 911 abuse.
Jimmy Shao keeps a log book of every 911 call he’s made. He doesn’t believe he’s wasting the time of emergency responders because he has an emergency of his own: Shao believes he’s being watched by shadowy government authorities.
He claims to believe his body is controlled by satellites. “My brain, I can feel it starting. I’m blasted by the signals, every couple of minutes,” he said. “I yell and I scream, ‘Stop it, I don’t need this,’ but they never listen.”
Fresh out of jail, Shao promises he isn’t done dialing 911, “until Congress starts an investigation.”
More on MIT artist in residence Trevor Paglen’s previously discussed Last Pictures project, which involves sending a satellite into permanent “graveyard orbit” whose cargo is a “nano-etched silicon disc” which will not deteriorate for billions of years. The disc will contain a hundred images to be seen by beings of the distant future, offering a window into the existence of humanity and planet Earth. Via Wired, the images selected for immortality are rather macabre, including:
Currently, more than 800 spacecraft in geosynchronous orbit form a man-made ring of satellites around Earth. The dead spacecraft in orbit have become a permanent fixture around Earth, not unlike the rings of Saturn. They will be the longest-lasting artifacts of human civilization, quietly floating through space long after every trace of humanity has disappeared from the planet’s surface. Presented by public art organization Creative Time, The Last Pictures is a project to acknowledge these spacecraft as the monuments of our historical era. They are our Pyramids, our Stonehenge, and our Nazca lines.
WIRED has unveiled a collection of previously classified photographs of a CIA mission to retrieve a fallen satellite 16,000 feet beneath the Pacific ocean:
Only July 10, 1971, America’s newest photo reconnaissance satellite, the KH-9 Hexagon, dropped a capsule loaded with film toward the Earth. The re-entry vehicle was supposed to open its parachute; an American aircraft would snatch it out of the sky in mid-descent. But the chute was never unfurled. The re-entry vehicle hit the Pacific Ocean with a force of approximately 2,600 G’s. And then it sunk down into the deep, before settling at 16,000 feet.
Check out the entire gallery at WIRED, and when you’re done there, browse through declassified documentation at the CIA Reading Room.
Jim Nash writes in Scientific American:
Earlier this year Iran’s defenseminister put the world on notice: His nation had developed the ability to “easily” watch spacewalking astronauts from the ground. The announcement was largely ignored, in part because it made the minister sound like a James Bond villain. The boast was also a bit anticlimactic, given that even amateur astronomers are already recording in detail what happens in low Earth orbit.
Both the technology involved and the techniques used to observe satellites and even the occasional astronaut perched outside the International Space Station (ISS) are improving, much to the presumed chagrin of governments looking to keep certain on orbital activity confidential.
In a development harkening back to the earliest days of desktop computing, highly skilled stargazers are hacking together optics, electronics and software to create sophisticated observatories of their own. In fact, one French astrophotographer, Emmanuel Rietsch, has begun selling software and hardware that make it possible for backyard astronomers to track and record satellites…
Read More: Scientific American
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Last week, a new U.S. spy satellite was launched into orbit as part of a secretive military program enabling the surveillance of Earth from space.
A live webcast showing the Delta IV rocket blast into the sky from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on Tuesday was blacked out just three minutes after liftoff due to the sensitive nature of the mission, dubbed “NROL-25.”
An official at the Vandenberg base told the Los Angeles Times that the NROL-25 was part of a “national security payload,” which could mean it is to be used for any number of purposes, possibly including domestic surveillance. The Wall Street Journal reported in 2007 that U.S. intelligence agencies, in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, had approved the use of spy satellites for domestic purposes, such as for monitoring border security.
Aaron Cynic writes at Diatribe Media:
Now that unmanned surveillance and attack drones hovering over foreign and friendly skies the world over has become almost commonplace, the Pentagon is looking to add another eye in the sky for big brother. The Defense Department’s research arm DARPA, is developing a satellite that would capture real time imagery from space. Project MOIRE (Membrane Optical Imager for Real-Time Exploitation) would fit spy satellites with camera lenses nearly 60 feet wide. DARPA argues that because there aren’t enough drones or other aircraft providing real time imagery and current satellites only take still photos, such a project bridges a national security gap.
According to Universe Today, each MOIRE satellite would cost $500 million and would cover an area of more than 100 km by 100 km. DARPA hopes the device would be able to track a vehicle moving up to 60mph, which would require a resolution so fine it would be able to see objects a mere 10 feet long in a single pixel.… Read the rest