Thursday, January 29, 2009
Today NASA took time off to remember the fallen astronauts of Apollo 11, Shuttle Challenger, and Shuttle Columbia. There are links to a video commemorating the events on the NASA site at www.nasa.gov. I don't have much time today to blog on it, so I'll be taking some time next week to write about each accident.
Monday, January 26, 2009
SpaceWeather.com reported a meteoric fireball observed over the Massachusetts Turnpike region on January 23rd. Witnesses record the time about 8:48 pm Eastern, with blue and green colors being observed.
Of course, here at the Bunker I'm glad there were no casualties. It appears this was yet another attempt by Interstellar aliens to try to hit Earth with their weapons of mass concretion. Again, they seemed to have underestimated the size of mass necessary to penetrate Earth's defensive atmospheric shields.
There have been other reports or fireballs this week. It seems Norway and Sweden were targets on the 17th. And, mysteriously, it seems there was a previous fireball seen over New England last December 29th. Coincidence? I think not. ; )
Monday, January 19, 2009
A significant milestone occurred 50 years ago: SNAP 3 was shown to President Eisenhower. It was a little 5-watt thermoelectric generator that used the energy delivered by radioactive isotopes. It was demonstrated as how to provide long-term electric power for space probes in the future. Of course, this then was the ancestor of the nuclear power generators used to power our deep space probes which cannot rely on weak solar power so far from the inner section of the Solar system.
Back in October I made sure to get my seasonal flu shot. What I forgot was that flu shots don't do a darned thing about head colds. That sneaky, recurrent viral invader got me over the last 10 days, and I tell ya, nothing defeats blogging like a virus. I had no desire to do any work on the computer at all, which is tough considering that's how I make a living. But all is well, the immune system kicked in, and the viral invaders have been suppressed. Alas, like the Terminator, they're always quoting: "I'll be back..."
I suspect my immune system was lowered in capacity due to all the snow-shoveling activity, which is tougher on the body than any gym exercise session. Utah got dumped on seriously through the 10th, and since I live on the side of Mt. Timpanogos, it doubled its portions just for me. Since the end of the serial wave of snowstorms, it has been quiet, weather-wise, and we're trapped in an inversion. That means the valley air is stagnant, the pollution doesn't leave, and air quality suffers. That makes it hard on everyone's respiratory systems. Fortunately, my home is just slightly high enough on the benches to poke up through the thickest layers of smog. We've also seen thick morning fog as a result. That's kindof cool.
Anyhow, it's time to get back to spaceblogging.
Saturday, January 10, 2009
Good News! SpaceRef.com is reporting that the University of Arizona has done extremely well in its search for NEOs (Near Earth Objects- those pesky dangerous asteroids which MIGHT impact the Earth, causing devastation and grief). In fact, they've done SO well, they've been granted a NASA Grant of over $3,000,000 to enlarge their program and continue to watch the skies! Last year the program detected 565 new NEOs, a hundred more than the previous year.
This is great news in the war against planetary terrorism, but it also highlights the fact that there are many more objects out there that we don't know about yet. These unseen cosmic bombs could cause terrible destruction, and it is our duty to prepare for the inevitable successful strike.
By the way, to learn more, you can go to: www.SpaceRef.com for updates on the NEO news as it occurs.
Picture: Asteroid Ida (thanks NASA)
Monday, January 5, 2009
Thanks to APOD (Astronomy Photo Of the Day) I've been alerted to the appearance of Comet Lulin (C/2007 N3). Currently in the constellation of Libra, if you are at about 40º latitude it should appear low in the sky about 5- 5:40 am. Might be difficult for me as I live on the western side of Mt. Timpanogos which blots out the entire eastern sky. However, as I often head to the gym that early in the morning, I might have a chance of catching it. I'll try using binoculars.
Except for the next couple of days: Winter snowdump in progress. Don't even want to get the car out of the garage. No clear sky for a little while.
Now that this interloper is on the radar, however, we'll be keeping an eye on it here at the bunker.
Friday, January 2, 2009
Tonight Earth will be bombarded by fast moving projectiles hurtled at us from outer space.
Astronomers often refer to this particular recurring event as the Quadrantid Meteor Shower. According to the experts at SpaceWeather.com, it's peak intensity should occur in the early morning hours over America on Saturday January 3rd. Unfortunately, at this time here in Utah we are experiencing a major snowfall event which will cloud over the skies at the time of this happening. I myself will be sheltered in the Command Bunker. The danger level for this event is very small, thanks to the expected minor size of the projectiles. Therefore, I expect I'll be snoozing away in anticipation of shoveling frozen H2O later on.
However, it pays to be cautious. Fox News reported on a mysterious explosion over the region of Fairbanks, Alaska last Monday afternoon. Multiple witnesses reported a contrail in the sky recording the path of the asteroid which evidently exploded above ground. Witnesses also reported hearing the shockwaves of the explosion which destroyed the falling object.
Lucky Fairbanks. If that object had reached the ground before exploding, it could have caused great damage.
But the question really is, Who? Who is behind this devious assault on Planet Earth?
Thursday, January 1, 2009
I've been a bad, bad, blogger. Got too busy and didn't keep up with the Space Rubble blog.
Oh well, moving on.
First, what I missed from the rest of December 50 YA that was significant:
1) 10th- National Airlines starts first domestic airlines service from New York to Miami. (Big one, this!)
2) 13th- Brave little squirrel monkey named Gordo was lost after a ride in the nosecone of a Jupiter ballistic missile. The capsule was not recovered from the sea. Actually Gordo was probably terrified unless they drugged him. Unfortunately it brings back a tragic memory of my 5th graders launching a model rocket with a cricket in the payload section, only the ejection charge blew the payload section apart (not enough glue, apparently) and the cricket was not recovered. : (
3) 16th- Successful test shots of the Thor ballistic missile.
4) 17th- IMPORTANT DATE: NASA announces that Project Mercury will be the name of the man-in-space program. Wahoo!
5) 18th- A communication satellite prototype, PROJECT SCORE, was blasted into orbit by by a test Atlas missile. This would be a forerunner of future communication satellites, which will change the world of communications forever.
6) 19th- Using the PROJECT SCORE satellite, President Eisenhower's voice was beamed from the satellite delivering a Christmas message . First voice beamed in from space! Wahoo!
7) 20th- Cape Canaveral sees a Titan missile test explode on the pad. Ouch!
8) 1958 was the first year that Transatlantic passengers by AIR outnumbered passengers by SHIP. Very significant change in travel history.
There were other events as well, but I thought these were the more interesting ones.
Now for the resolutions:
In 2009 I intend to....
1) Increase the frequency of 50 YA postings
2) Cover significant events in current NASA endeavors
3) Report on my own pathetic efforts as a space enthusiast
I especially intend to open a new front in reporting on the war.
Oh, Not THAT war. I mean the one that most people ignore on a daily basis. That's right, the constant, never-ending struggle for mankind to free itself from the unrelenting assault from outer space. The war to defend ourselves from the constant barrage of projectiles which threaten to wipe humans (and other species) from the face of the Earth. In this great crusade we must not fail, or we will end up like the dinosaurs and others who only remain as fossilized witnesses to the longest war in history.
Um, more on this later.