Tag Archives | Space

United Nations to Adopt Asteroid Defense Plan

Ssc2005-01bThe Hollywood adaptation of this story is no doubt already in the works. In the meantime, Scientific American has the details of the UN’s plan to defeat an asteroid attack:

When a meteor exploded over Chelyabinsk, Russia in February, the world’s space agencies found out along with the rest of us, on Twitter and YouTube. That, says former astronaut Ed Lu, is unacceptable—and the United Nations agrees. Last week the General Assembly approved a set of measures that Lu and other astronauts have recommended to protect the planet from the dangers of rogue asteroids.

The U.N. plans to set up an “International Asteroid Warning Group” for member nations to share information about potentially hazardous space rocks. If astronomers detect an asteroid that poses a threat to Earth, the U.N.’s Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space will help coordinate a mission to launch a spacecraft to slam into the object and deflect it from its collision course.

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Voyager I Has Left the Solar System

766px-VoyagerLadies and gentlemen, Voyager I has left the building…

Via New York Times:

By today’s standards, the spacecraft’s technology is laughable: it carries an 8-track tape recorder and computers with one-240,000th the memory of a low-end iPhone. When it left Earth 36 years ago, it was designed as a four-year mission to Saturn, and everything after that was gravy.

But Voyager 1 has become — thrillingly — the Little Spacecraft That Could. On Thursday, scientists declared that it had become the first manufactured object to exit the solar system, a breathtaking achievement that NASA could only fantasize about back when Voyager was launched in 1977, the same year “Star Wars” was released.

Keep reading.

How about a little send-off music?

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Space Farming: The Final Frontier

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Vegetable Production System (NASA)

What do you do next when you’ve successfully screwed up the Earth? Screw up Space too! Agricultural science is approaching its next frontier reports Modern Farmer:

Last year, an astronaut named Don Pettit began an unusual writing project on NASA’s website. Called “Diary of a Space Zucchini,” the blog took the perspective of an actual zucchini plant on the International Space Station (ISS). Entries were insightful and strange, poignant and poetic.

“I sprouted, thrust into this world without anyone consulting me,” wrote Pettit in the now-defunct blog. “I am utilitarian, hearty vegetative matter that can thrive under harsh conditions. I am zucchini — and I am in space.”

An unorthodox use of our tax dollars, but before you snicker, consider this: That little plant could be the key to our future. If — as some doomsday scientists predict — we will eventually exhaust the Earth’s livability, space farming will prove vital to the survival of our species.

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Sangreal, The Holy Grail: Recovering the Lost Science of Antiquity part 5.

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Flagetanis the heathen saw with his own eyes in the constellations things he was shy to talk about, Hidden Mysteries. He said there was a thing called the Grail, whose name he had read clearly in the constellations. A host of angels left it on the earth…” – Parzival

Via Randall Carlson @ SacredGeometryInternational.com

We left off last month with a synopsis of a portion of Chretien de Troyes account of the Grail quest. We learned how Percival became a knight in King Arthur’s court and subsequently set out in pursuit of adventure, whereupon he encounters a fisherman who directs him to a castle. Within a great hall in this castle Percival witnesses the ‘Grail Procession.’ One of the items carried in the procession is a white lance dripping blood. The grail itself, when conveyed through the hall, is overwhelmingly brilliant. He later learns that the fisherman is a king who has suffered a grievous wound which will not heal.… Read the rest

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Elon Musk Proposes ‘Hyperloop’; Expects Others to Build It

From Modern Mythology:

California has been working up the gumption to build itself a bullet train for about five years now. It will cost tens of billions of dollars, and will be finished no sooner than 2028. A week ago, Musk proposed a solution that is not only cheaper than the proposed bullet train, but better in pretty much every conceivable way. His plan, in really stupidly simple terms, is to build a gigantic closed-circuit blowgun. Yeah, it sounds totally ridiculous, but that’s mainly because I described it in a ridiculous way. The plan itself actually makes a lot of sense.

Here’s the actually puzzling part, at least to me. Musk went ahead and proposed this wild thing, even wrote up a 52-page technical document about it, but he’s got no intention of lifting a finger to actually build it. Yes, people are constantly coming up with ways for the government to run itself better.

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Twin Study to Explore Genetic Aspects of Space Health

Twin studies are the Holy Grail of medical research, but in some fields its very rare to find qualifying sets of siblings. Two astronaut twins (imagine the odds!) are giving scientists at the Baylor College of Medicine the opportunity to study the genetic aspects of human health outcomes in outer space.

dn23999-2_300New Scientist:

“We have the best ground control you could dream of,” says Graham Scott of the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, who is helping NASA with the experiment. The question of space health is especially timely as several human trips to Mars are currently being discussed.

Last year, Scott Kelly was chosen to take part in the first one-year mission aboard the ISS, double the usual stay, along with Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko. Then last week NASA announced a twist: his brother Mark will be monitored on Earth throughout.

John Charles, chief scientist of NASA’s human research programme, says the brothers came up with the idea: “I was discussing plans with Scott and he said, ‘how about the twins angle?’ ”

Researchers will have access to blood and saliva samples from both twins taken before, during and after Scott’s trip to the ISS, along with assessments of their vision, sleep patterns and cardiovascular activity.

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Star Trek-Style Deflector Shields – Coming Soon!

Copyright 2007 Paramount Pictures and CBS Studios Inc. (Fair Use)

Copyright 2007 Paramount Pictures and CBS Studios Inc. (Fair Use)

It’s always fun to see Gene Roddenberry’s fictional devices become reality. CNN reports on the latest:

You’ve answered the call for volunteers, signed up for the Mars trip and you are looking forward to boldly going to space, the final frontier, to explore a strange new world.

But wait. Recent evidence from NASA’s Curiosity rover mission to the Red Planet has revealed that astronauts on the round-trip would be exposed to high levels of radiation from cosmic rays and high-energy particles from the sun contained in solar storms. NASA says a Mars voyager would receive a radiation dose around 100 times the average yearly exposure on Earth.

Along with all the other risks of spaceflight, this would clearly be bad for your health — and it is proving difficult to find a solution.

Eddie Semones, a radiation health expert at NASA’s Johnson Space Flight Center, told CNN that shielding to completely block the radiation danger would have to be “meters thick” and too heavy to be used aboard a spacecraft.

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Occult of Personality Interviews Randall Carlson: Earth History, Renegade Scholarship, and Masonic Speculation.

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Via OccultofPersonality.net

“Randall Carlson is a master builder, architectural designer, teacher, geometrician, geomythologist, explorer, and renegade scholar. For over forty years, he’s researched the interface between ancient mysteries and modern science. Randall has been an active Freemason for 30 years and is Past Master of one of the oldest and largest Masonic lodges in Georgia. He has been recognized by The National Science Teachers Association for his commitment to Science education for young people. His work incorporates Ancient Mythology, Astronomy, Earth Science, Paleontology, Symbolism, Sacred Geometry, Architecture, Geomancy, and other disciplines. For over 25 years he has presented classes, lectures, and multimedia programs synthesizing this information for students of the Mysteries. With these unique qualifications, Randall’s aspiration is to affect a revival of lost knowledge towards the goal of creating the new world based upon universal principles of harmony, freedom, and spiritual evolution.”

Randall describes his passion for building and architectural design which began at a young age by being around his father’s construction business.… Read the rest

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Massive Asteroid Will Buzz Earth Today

This “Near Earth Object” is so big it has its own moon, and it’s visiting Earth today. Let’s hope the scientists didn’t get the estimated distance wrong! Via NPR:

An asteroid nine times the size of a cruise ship is dropping by Earth Friday, and it’s not coming alone. Asteroid 1998 QE2 will be about 3.6 million miles from our planet at its closest approach. But the new proximity has already given scientists a surprise: The asteroid has its own moon, measured at about 2,000 feet wide.

Today will mark the closest the asteroid comes to Earth for at least the next 200 years, say researchers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory who led the radar observations spotting the asteroid’s moon. The point of maximum proximity will come at 4:59 p.m. ET, or 20:59 UTC, Friday, according to the space agency.

“In the near-Earth population, about 16 percent of asteroids that are about 655 feet (200 meters) or larger are binary or triple systems,” according to NASA.

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