To Infinity and Beyond…

Stephen Hawking Space

Not just a line of Buzz Lightyear, but a dream for the United States since the beginning of the Space Race. With a changing climate, species becoming extinct and the melting of the ice caps, I think it is about time for a back up plan. Have we not learned anything from movies? They are not all pointless drivel as some of the aspects of our favorite sci-fi movies have come to fruition. Stephen Hawking, a man who spent his career decoding the universe has spoken out and urged the continuation of space exploration for humanity’s sake, while others have taken it upon themselves to continue the mission such as the Inspiration Mars Foundation.

The 71 year old British cosmologist said Tuesday, he believes that humans could not survive another 1,000 years “without escaping beyond our fragile planet” the Associated Press reports. He was speaking to an audience of doctors, nurses, and employees at Cedars Sinai Medical Center where he toured a stem cell lab focused on Lou Gehrig’s disease. Diagnosed with the neurological disorder 50 years ago, Hawking commented, “if you understand how the universe operates, you control it in a way.” His Tuesday hour long talk entitled “A Brief History of Mine” was full of nuggets of advice such as look up at the stars not at your feet and be curious. Hawking even said, “However difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at.”Hawking has survived with Lou Gehrig’s disease or ALS which attacks nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord that control muscles longer than most receiving around the clock care, communicating through twitches and relying on a computer mounted to his wheelchair to convey his thoughts. Hawking has remained active in 2007 he experienced weightlessness by making parabolic dives in an aircraft. Dr. Robert Baloh, director of Cedars Sinai’s ALS programs who invited the cosmologist has no explanation how the physicist has survived for 50 years with the disease where few survive past ten years.

Speaking at the National Space Symposium, members of the Inspiration Mars Foundation described the challenges in launching two people on a 501 day flyby journey to the Red Planet and back in January of 2018 yet remain optimistic. The plan  for the luck two will consist of living in an RV sized space for more than a year, breathe recycled air, eat dehydrated food, drink purified urine and if they die they will be freeze dried in body bags. Even with all of this, application have been rolling in according to Huff Post yet according to Jane Poynter, president of the Paragon Space Development Corp., no show stopping applications yet.

The project is the brain child of Dennis Tito, the first space tourist in 2001, unveiling the plan called “Mission for American” in February. The hope is to send a man and a women possibly a married couple on the journey in January 2018 the ideal time as Earth and Mars  are positioned for a quick trip  and the next opportunity not until 2031. The date also falls on the 11 year solar minimum where the crew will deal with less solar radiation than other launch windows according to officials.  Tito will bank roll the project for the first two years with private donations covering the rest. The ultimate goal of the mission is to inspire Congress to recommit to long distance space travel Tito explained at the National Space Symposium.

The 501 day mission will not touch down on Mars as that requires addition propulsion equipment and science experiments will be kept to a minimum on board, but will prove that humans can explore deep space. The crew on board will collect biological samples from their own bodies so researchers can study the effects of long term space travel and cosmic radiation exposure. Keeping the crew alive is a whole other challenges according to Taber MacCallum, Inspiration Mars’ chief technology officer, as the two voyagers must be mechanically inclined to fix problems that arise during the mission but will require no spacewalks as everything is fixable from the inside. Psychology of the couple will be important as well as Poynter points out that they must be stable as possible in order to avoid the pitfalls of long term space travel like depression, mood swings and hallucinations.

Asteroid Early-Warning System ATLAS Could Warn Against Space Rock Threats

Asteroid Early-Warning System ATLAS Could Warn Against Space Rock Threats.

It’s a bird…it’s a plane…it’s it’s a UFO???? Like their are not enough problems in the world, now space has to give everyone an attitude. Last week was a of spectacular spacial events with a meteor smashing and crashing into Russia, a light show over San Francisco, and astronomers in Australia witnessing an asteroid pass Earth. A week full of coincidences is what scientist are calling it, but it does raise the question why didn’t anyone see it coming? There is no early warning system right now, but many countries believe after last week that a system needs to be in place especially because things could of gone very differently last week. As the meteor smashed into pieces over Russia, one piece manage to crash into a frozen lake instead of a nuclear disposal facility that would of caused greater damage and loss of life. Luckily, the Chelyabinsk, Russia 55 foot asteroid  sent out a shock wave from  its mid air explosion that managed to shatter windows across the area leaving 1,200 people injured and thousands of buildings damaged. What shall we do?

Have no fear, Hawaii has come up with a solution to prevent other close calls like the asteroid 2012 DA14 last week and the unexpected meteor blast over Russia. One team of astronomers at the University of Hawaii is developing a warning system to help safe guard the planet from surprise attacks. The new Asteroid Terrestrial Impact Last Alert System (ATLAS) scheduled to be ready in 2015 will have 8 small telescopes equipped with cameras that are a 100 megapixels in resolution and fixed mounted at one or two locations in the Hawaiian Islands. The system will offer one week warming for a 50 yard asteroid that could wipe out a whole city and three weeks for a 150 yard space rock that could wipe out a whole country. John Tonry, a University of Hawaii astronomer, says that the time allotted will allow time to evacuate the area, take measures to protect the infrastructure, and alert of tsunami dangers generated by ocean impacts. Had the larger asteroid 2012 DA14 hit the Earth, the 130 foot asteroid would of obliterated the city of Chelyabinsk according to scientist and NASA observations. The asteroid on Friday came as close as 17,200 miles of Earth well inside Earth’s communication satellites however it never posed a threat. The ATLAS telescope will scan the skies twice a night in search of objects that may be asteroids. The ATLAS project will receive $5 million in funding over five years from NASA’s Near Earth Observation Program. Besides asteroids, ATLAS will also search for dwarf planets, supernova explosions and other cosmic objects.

 

Meteor Explosion: Russian Region Begins Recovery In Frigid Weather

 Meteor Explosion: Russian Region Begins Recovery In Frigid Weather.

On Saturday as many begin to repair and replace acres of windows caused by a meteor explosion, many residents joked about what happened saying the residents of the meteor were terrified to see Chelyabinsk approaching. The situation has brought together people in the area to fix damage done by the meteor explosion and many residents together on the Internet to find out more about the meteor and to have a laugh. The temperature during winter drops to minus 30 Celsius or minus 22 Fahrenheit making it very important for the repair to be completed.

The concern from Friday’s meteor hit surrounds the dangerous facilities located near Chelyabinsk. The fireball itself reportedly injured 1,200 people by the shock wave from the explosion which is the equivalent to 20 Hiroshima atomic bombs. In 1957, the Mayak nuclear weapons plant had one of its waste tanks explode contaminating 9,200 square miles and causing the evacuation of 10,000 residents. It is now Russia’s main disposal facility and only 50 mile east of the city.

This one traumatic event has brought more than  24,000 people from all over the region to help with the relief efforts. The goal for them is to cover windows, gather warm clothes and food, and other efforts as well according to the governor’s office. Glass companies adjacent to the region were also flown in. Gov. Mikhail Yurevich on Saturday said that the damages are at 1 billion rubles or $33 million, but he promises that all broken windows will be fixed within the week as temperatures in the region are dropping. The immediate task by midday in Chelyabinsk where temperatures dropped to minus 12 Celsius or 10 Fahrenheit  was to cover the windows with plastic sheeting and boards until they can be repaired.

 

 

As the search for the meteor fragments in Chebarkul continue, other places in the world are experiencing something similar to Chelyabinsk. In the town of Chebarkul, divers explore the 20 foot wide hole left by a meteor fragment that hit the lake and haven’t found anything yet according to the Emergency Ministry spokeswoman Irina Rossius. Residents of San Francisco on the other side of the planet experienced lights in the sky on Friday night as reports to the science institute in Northern California. In Cuba, residents described a bright light and loud explosion similar to that in Russia that shook windows and walls. There were no reported injuries or damages like the Russian meteorite.

 

 

Meteor Streaks Across Russian Urals, Leaves Nearly 1000 Injured (VIDEO, LIVE UPDATES)

Meteor Streaks Across Russian Urals, Leaves Nearly 1000 Injured (VIDEO, LIVE UPDATES).

Above is a picture of the impact site in Russia where today a large meteor hit leaving many injured and several questions unanswered. We were just lucky this time that the meteor was one of the smaller ones that travel by earth. With a flash and a  booming shock wave, a meteor over Russia’s Ural Mountains Friday exploded with the force of an atomic bomb injuring 1,000 people as it blasted windows and caused panic in Chelyabinsk, a city of 1 million. NASA estimates the size to be that of a bus and weighing 7,000 tons. Videos of the dramatic fireball over the city show streaming contrails arcing toward the horizon just after sunrise. The meteor came just after a 150 foot asteroid passed within 17,000 miles of Earth. The European Space Agency do not believe the two are connected just coincidence.

The meteor enter the atmosphere at 9:20 am local time at 33,000 mph and broke into pieces about 18-32 in the sky according to The Russian Academy of Science. NASA said that the energy released was in hundreds of kilotons. The shock wave from the blast blew in 1 million square feet of glass according to city officials and 3,000 buildings in Chelyabinsk were damaged. Most of the injuries were from flying glass as an estimated 1,100 people sought medical attentions and 48 were hospitalized. There no immediate words on deaths or anyone struck by fragments of the meteor.

President Vladimir Putin summoned the nation’s emergency minister and ordered repairs. Some fragments fell into a reservoir outside the town of Chebarkul according to the Interior Ministry leaving a 26 foot hole in the ice. Injury from the sonic booms when meteors enter the atmosphere are extraordinarily rare. The many broken windows leave residents exposed to the cold as temperatures are expected to drop to minus 20 degrees Celsius or minus 4 degrees Fahrenheit overnight. The regional governor has asked anyone who can repair windows please help. Social media including Twitter was flooded with videos from dashboard cameras that Russians mount on their cars in case of corrupt traffic police or accident disputes. Strong reactions from many prominent Russian leaders also surfaced calling for more research and funding from World Powers to come up with a way to prevent falling space objects from causing devastation. NASA said the fireball was the largest since 1908, when a meteor hit Tunguska, Siberia about 3,000 miles away from Chelyabinsk and destroyed 80 million trees.

The 150 foot space rock that passed Earth on Friday was dubbed Asteroid 2012 DA14. The asteroid was invisible to U.S. astronomers, but Australian astronomers used binoculars and telescopes to watch it across the night sky. According to Jim Green, NASA’s director of planetary science, called the event rare and historic since usually the fireballs are not seen because they fall over oceans  or remote areas.

 

The Russian meteor could of led to a serious problem in the area hosting nuclear and chemical weapons disposal facilities. The meteor struck only 60 miles from the Mayak nuclear storage and disposal facility where dozens of tons of weapons grade plutonium is held noted Vladimir Chuprov of Greenpeace Russia. A chemical weapons disposal facility at Shchuchye also has 6,000 tons of nerve agents including sarin and VX about 14 percent of the chemical weapons Russia has committed to destroy.

 

 

 

 

According to the Huffington Post article, one of the most popular jokes was that the meteorite was supposed to fall on Dec. 21, 2012 – when many believed the Mayan calendar predicted the end of the world – but was delivered late by Russia’s notoriously inefficient postal service.

The Reality of Star Wars

Do we really need something like this? If the government went along with the idea people would take issue with what the government is spending the money on and what they would use this for. Dangerous game to play if any government takes this seriously. Although it does look pretty cool.

Space shuttle Endeavour lands at LAX

The space shuttle Endeavor, atop the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft, and at Los Angeles International Airport on Sept. 21. Its journey marked the final scheduled ferry flight of the Space Shuttle Program.

via Space shuttle Endeavour lands at LAX.