Curiosity is taking the first ever radiation measurements from the surface of another planet in order to determine if future human explorers can live on Mars – as she traverses the terrain of the Red Planet. Curiosity is looking back to her rover tracks and the foothills of Mount Sharp and the eroded rim of Gale Crater in the distant horizon on Sol 24 (Aug. 30, 2012). This panorama is featured on PBS NOVA ‘Ultimate Mars Challenge’ documentary which premiered on Nov. 14. RAD is located on the rover deck in this colorized mosaic stitched together from Navcam images. Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech / Ken Kremer / Marco Di Lorenzo
Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2012-11-humans-mars.html#jCp
NASA’s plucky Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity has thrived for nearly a decade traversing the plains of Meridiani Planum despite the continuous bombardment of sterilizing cosmic and solar radiation from charged particles thanks to her radiation hardened innards. How about humans? What fate awaits them on a bold and likely year’s long expedition to the endlessly extreme and drastically harsh environment on the surface of the radiation drenched Red Planet – if one ever gets off the ground here on Earth? How much shielding would people need? Answering these questions is one of the key quests ahead for NASA’s SUV sized Curiosity Mars rover – now 100 Sols, or Martian days, into her 2 year long primary mission phase. Preliminary data looks promising. Curiosity survived the 8 month interplanetary journey and the unprecedented sky crane rocket powered descent maneuver to touch down safely inside Gale Crater beside the towering layered foothills of 3 mi. (5.5 km) high Mount Sharp on Aug. 6, 2012. Now she is tasked with assessing whether Mars and Gale Crater ever offered a habitable environment for microbial life forms – past or present. Characterizing the naturally occurring radiation levels stemming from galactic cosmic rays and the sun will address the habitability question for both microbes and astronauts. Radiation can destroy near-surface organic molecules.
Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2012-11-humans-mars.html#jCp
Longer-Term Radiation Variations at Gale Crater. This graphic shows the variation of radiation dose measured by the Radiation Assessment Detector on NASA’s Curiosity rover over about 50 sols, or Martian days, on Mars. (On Earth, Sol 10 was Sept. 15 and Sol 60 was Oct. 6, 2012.) The dose rate of charged particles was measured using silicon detectors and is shown in black. The total dose rate (from both charged particles and neutral particles) was measured using a plastic scintillator and is shown in red. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ SwRI
Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2012-11-humans-mars.html#jCp
Researchers are using Curiosity’s state-of-the-art Radiation Assessment Detector (RAD) instrument to monitor high-energy radiation on a daily basis and help determine the potential for real life health risks posed to future human explorers on the Martian surface. “The atmosphere provides a level of shielding, and so charged-particle radiation is less when the atmosphere is thicker,” said RAD Principal Investigator Don Hassler of the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colo. See the data graphs. “Absolutely, the astronauts can live in this environment. It’s not so different from what astronauts might experience on the International Space Station. The real question is if you add up the total contribution to the astronaut’s total dose on a Mars mission can you stay within your career limits as you accumulate those numbers. Over time we will get those numbers,” Hassler explained. The initial RAD data from the first two months on the surface was revealed at a media briefing for reporters on Thursday, Nov. 15 and shows that radiation is somewhat lower on Mars surface compared to the space environment due to shielding from the thin Martian atmosphere. RAD hasn’t detected any large solar flares yet from the surface. “That will be very important,” said Hassler. “If there was a massive solar flare that could have an acute effect which could cause vomiting and potentially jeopardize the mission of a spacesuited astronaut.” “Overall, Mars’ atmosphere reduces the radiation dose compared to what we saw during the cruise to Mars by a factor of about two.” RAD was operating and already taking radiation measurements during the spacecraft’s interplanetary cruise to compare with the new data points now being collected on the floor of Gale Crater. Enlarge Curiosity Self Portrait with Mount Sharp at Rocknest ripple in Gale Crater. Curiosity used the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) camera on the robotic arm to image herself and her target destination Mount Sharp in the background. Mountains in the background to the left are the northern wall of Gale Crater. This color panoramic mosaic was assembled from raw images snapped on Sol 85 (Nov. 1, 2012). Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS/Ken Kremer/Marco Di Lorenzo
Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2012-11-humans-mars.html#jCp
Mars atmospheric pressure is a bit less than 1% of Earth’s. It varies somewhat in relation to atmospheric cycles dependent on temperature and the freeze-thaw cycle of the polar ice caps and the resulting daily thermal tides. “We see a daily variation in the radiation dose measured on the surface which is anti-correlated with the pressure of the atmosphere. Mars atmosphere is acting as a shield for the radiation. As the atmosphere gets thicker that provides more of a shield. Therefore we see a dip in the radiation dose by about 3 to 5%, every day,” said Hassler. There are also seasonal changes in radiation levels as Mars moves through space. The RAD team is still refining the radiation data points. “There’s calibrations and characterizations that we’re finalizing to get those numbers precise. We’re working on that. And we’re hoping to release that at the AGU [American Geophysical Union] meeting in December.”
Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2012-11-humans-mars.html#jCp
This article epitomizes the battle between the sending humans to explore space and the artificial life-form/machine crowds.
I can truly understand the human exploration groups – they are the folks I grew up with during the Gemini/Apollo/Moon-landing eras and I will forever regard those folks as heroes and pioneers.
But as a late middle-aged adult who has followed the Space Age for the past 50 years I see the writing on the wall – economics are determining the course of spaceflight into the Solar System and Universe. And machine explorers are definitely more economical than human ones, especially in the foreseeable future.
I remain hopeful however that individuals like James Cameron and Elon Musk will find economical ways to colonize Mars and eventually nearby planets within 4 – 6 light-years.
Hey, if the Marianas Trench can be explored by folks like Cameron, so can Mars and Alpha Centauri Bb!
“Do you want to be an Asteroid Miner? Well, here’s your chance!” — an email we just received.
“We’re looking for passionate college students for paid coop positions to help us mine asteroids this spring and summer,” it reads. “If you love space and want to contribute directly to the development of the next generation of space exploration technologies, we want to hear from you (or from anyone you know that you think would be interested). Click here to apply today!
— Chris Lewicki, President & Chief Asteroid Miner, Planetary Resources, Inc.
Planetary Resources’ Asteroid Miners Wanted page reads:
If you are a college student passionate about space and want to be a part of history by helping us develop the technologies that we’ll use to mine asteroids, we want to hear from you today.
This your chance to join our team onsite in Bellevue, Washington for a paid cooperative education position and get hands on experience working with our team.
PRI provides a unique and intimate work environment where you can make an immediate impact on product development and the fulfillment of primary company objectives. Join us in changing the way we explore the solar system!
I hope this is for real, hiring future asteroid miners might be a glamor job now, but it will be a top blue-collar occupation of the 21st century.
From YouTube via Red Ice Creations:
“Clouds of alien life forms are sweeping through outer space and infecting planets with life — it may not be as far-fetched as it sounds.”
Also tune into Red Ice Radio:
Michael Mautner – Panspermia, Seeding the Universe with Life
Lloyd Pye – Human Origins, Intervention Theory & Genetic Experimentation
Mike Bara – Dark Mission, The Occult NASA Moon Mission
Marcel Kuijsten – Julian Jaynes, the Bicameral Mind & The Origin of Consciousness
Maybe Sir Ridley Scott wasn’t too far off the beam?
The Apollo space missions to the Moon were the last Beyond Earth Orbit human explorations of Near space, the last being in 1972.
The main reasons being lack of public interest and funding, so any explorations beyond the Near Earth regions have been robotic due to their relative financial benefits and nobody worries much if a robot dies instead of a human being.
That issue might change in the future according to a paper written by Ian Crawford, a professor of planetary sciences at Birkbeck College (London):
…Out of necessity, all our missions to the outer system have been unmanned, but as we learn more about long-duration life-support and better propulsion systems, that may change. The question raised this past weekend in an essay in The Atlanticis whether it should.
Ian Crawford, a professor of planetary sciences at Birkbeck College (London) is the focus of the piece, which examines Crawford’s recent paper in Astronomy and Geophysics. It’s been easy to justify robotic exploration when we had no other choice, but Crawford believes not only that there is a place for humans in space, but that their presence is indispensable. All this at a time when even a return to the Moon seems beyond our budgets, and advanced robotics are thought by many in the space community to be the inevitable framework of all future exploration.
But not everyone agrees, even those close to our current robotic missions. Jared Keller, who wrote The Atlantic essay, dishes up a quote from Steve Squyres, who knows a bit about robotic exploration by virtue of his role as Principal Investigator for the Spirit and Opportunity rovers on Mars. Squyres points out that what a rover could do even on a perfect day on Mars would be the work of less than a minute for a trained astronaut. Crawford accepts the truth of this and goes on to question what robotic programming can accomplish:
“We may be able to make robots smarter, but they’ll never get to the point where they can make on the spot decisions in the field, where they can recognize things for being important even if you don’t expect them or anticipate them,” argues Crawford. “You can’t necessarily program a robot to recognize things out of the blue.”
Landing astronauts is something we’ve only done on the Moon, but the value of the experience is clear — we’ve had human decision-making at work on the surface, exploring six different sites (some of them with the lunar rover) and returning 382 kilograms of lunar material. The fact that we haven’t yet obtained samples from Mars doesn’t mean it’s impossible to do robotically, but a program of manned exploration clearly points to far more comprehensive surface study. Crawford points out that the diversity of returned samples is even more important on Mars, which is more geologically interesting than the Moon and offers a more complicated history.
Image: Apollo 15 carried out 18.5 hours of lunar extra-vehicular activity, the first of the “J missions,” where a greater emphasis was placed on scientific studies. The rover tracks and footprints around the area give an idea of the astronauts’ intense activity at the site. Credit: NASA.
Sending astronauts by necessity means returning a payload to Earth along with intelligently collected samples. From Crawford’s paper:
Robotic explorers, on the other hand, generally do not return (this is one reason why they are cheaper!) so nothing can come back with them. Even if robotic sample return missions are implemented, neither the quantity nor the diversity of these samples will be as high as would be achievable in the context of a human mission — again compare the 382 kg of samples (collected from over 2000 discrete locations) returned by Apollo, with the 0.32 kg (collected from three locations) brought back by the Luna sample return missions.
It’s hard to top a yield like that with any forseeable robotic effort. Adds Crawford:
The Apollo sample haul might also be compared with the ≤ 0.5 kg generally considered in the context of future robotic Mars sample return missions… Note that this comparison is not intended in any way to downplay the scientific importance of robotic Mars sample return, which will in any case be essential before human missions can responsibly be sent to Mars, but merely to point out the step change in sample availability (both in quantity and diversity) that may be expected when and if human missions are sent to the planet.
Large sample returns have generated, at least in the case of the Apollo missions, huge amounts of refereed scientific papers, especially when compared to the publications growing out of robotic landings. Crawford argues that it is the quantity and diversity of sample returns that have fueled the publications, and points out that all of this has occurred because of a mere 12.5 days total contact time on the lunar surface (and the actual EVA time was only 3.4 days at that). Compare this to the 436 active days on the surface for the Lunokhods and 5162 days for the Mars Exploration Rovers. Moreover, the Apollo publication rate is still rising. Quoting the paper again:
The lesson seems clear: if at some future date a series of Apollo-like human missions return to the Moon and/or are sent on to Mars, and if these are funded (as they will be) for a complex range of socio-political reasons, scientists will get more for our money piggy-backing science on them than we will get by relying on dedicated autonomous robotic vehicles which will, in any case, become increasingly unaffordable.
Will the Global Exploration Strategy laid out by the world’s space agencies in 2007 point us to a future in which international cooperation takes us back to the Moon and on to Mars? If so, science should be a major beneficiary as we learn things about the origin of the Solar System and its evolution that we would not learn remotely as well by using robotic spacecraft. So goes Crawford’s argument, and it’s a bracing tonic for those of us who grew up assuming that space exploration meant sending humans to targets throughout our Solar System and beyond. That robotic probes should precede them seems inevitable, but we have not yet reached the level of artificial intelligence that will let robots supercede humans in space.
Currently in mainstream space activities, commercial companies such as SpaceX, Blue Origin, Virgin Galactic, Sierra Nevada, etc., are taking the lead in the future exploration of Near Space and the Solar System vice any future explorations by NASA, inspite of what parochial politicians in certain states try to do in Congress.
Of course this precludes any gains made by secret black projects in the military-industrial-complex in the area of any secret space programs.
Maybe that’s one of the reasons politicians aren’t too worried about sending manned NASA missions back to the Moon?
Many thanks to Paul Gilster and his great site Centauri Dreams.
For over thirty years Zecharia Sitchin has been trying to legitimize his theory the early Sumerian culture’s mythology are the real-life stories about human origins and the beings that were instrumental in our creation.
Now Sitchin has a new work that has a new proposition, perform modern DNA testing on a long dead Sumerian queen:
[…]I have been asked at times where my interests would have taken me were the teacher to compliment rather than reprimand me. In truth, I have asked myself a different question: What if indeed “there were giants upon the Earth, in those days and thereafter too“? The cultural, scientific, and religious implications are awesome; they lead to the next unavoidable questions: Why did the compilers of the Hebrew Bible, which is totally devoted to monotheism, include the bombshell verses in the prehistoric record — and what were their sources?
I believe that I have found the answer. Deciphering the enigma of the demigods (the famed Gilgamesh among them), I conclude in this book — my crowning oeuvre — that compelling physical evidence for past alien presence on Earth has been buried in an ancient tomb. It is a tale that has immense implications for our genetic origins — a key to unlocking the secrets of health, longevity, life, and death; it is a mystery whose unraveling will take the reader on a unique adventure and finally reveal what was held back from Adam in the Garden of Eden.
Sumer: Where Civilization Began
Sumer, it is now known, was the land of a talented and dexterous people in what is now southern Iraq. Usually depicted in artful statues and statuettes in a devotional stance (Fig. 28), it was the Sumerians who were the first ones to record and describe past events and tell the tales of their gods. It was there, in the fertile plain watered by the great Euphrates and Tigris Rivers, that Mankind’s first known civilization blossomed out some 6,000 years ago — “suddenly,” “unexpectedly,” “with stunning abruptness,” according to all scholars. It was a civilization to which we owe, to this day, virtually every ‘First’ of what we deem essential to an advanced civilization: The wheel and wheeled transportation; the brick that made (and still makes) possible high-rise buildings; furnaces and the kiln that are essential to industries from baking to metallurgy; astronomy and mathematics; cities and urban societies; kingship and laws; temples and priesthoods; timekeeping, a calendar, festivals; from beer to culinary recipes, from art to music and musical instruments; and, above all, writing and record keeping-it was all first there, in Sumer.
We now know all that thanks to the achievements of archaeology and the decipherment of ancient languages during the past century and a half. The long and arduous road by which ancient Sumer moved from complete obscurity to an awed appreciation of its grandeur has a number of milestones bearing the names of scholars who had made the journey possible. Some, who toiled at the varied sites, will be mentioned by us. Others, who pieced together and classified fragmented artifacts during a century and a half of Mesopotamian archaeology, are too many to be listed.
And then there were the epigraphers — sometimes out in the field, most of the time poring over tablets in crammed museum or university quarters — whose persistence, devotion, and abilities converted pieces of clay incised with odd ‘cuneates’ into legible historical, cultural and literary treasures. Their work was crucial, for while the usual pattern of archaeological and ethnographic discovery has been to find a people’s remains and then decipher their written records (if they had them), in the case of the Sumerians recognition of their language — even its decipherment — preceded the discovery of their land, Sumer (the common English spelling, rather than Shumer). And it was not because the language, ‘Sumerian’, preceded its people; on the contrary — it was because the language and its script lingered on after Sumer was long gone — just as Latin and its script had outlived the Roman empire thousands of years later.
The philological recognition of Sumerian began, as we have illustrated, not through the discovery of the Sumerians’ own tablets, but through the varied use, in Akkadian texts, of ‘loan words’ that were not Akkadian; the naming of gods and cities by names that made no sense in Assyrian or Babylonian; and of course by actual statements (as that by Ashurbanipal) about the existence of earlier writings in ‘Shumerian’. His statement was borne out by the discovery of tablets that rendered the same text in two languages, one Akkadian and the other in the mysterious language; then the next two lines were in Akkadian and in the other language, and so on (the scholarly term for such bilingual texts is ‘interlinears’).
It was in 1850 that Edward Hincks, a student of Rawlinson’s Behistun decipherments, suggested in a scholarly essay that an Akkadian ‘syllabary’ — the collection of some 350 cuneiform signs each representing a full consonant + vowel syllable-must have evolved from a prior non-Akkadian set of syllabic signs. The idea (which was not readily accepted) was finally borne out when some of the clay tablets in the Akkadian-language libraries turned out to be bilingual ‘syllabarial’ dictionaries — lists that on one side of the tablet gave a cuneiform sign in the unknown language, and a matching list on the other side in Akkadian (with the signs’ pronunciation and meaning added, Fig. 29). All at once, archaeology obtained a dictionary of an unknown language! In addition to tablets inscribed as a kind of dictionaries, the so-called Syllabaries, various other bi-lingual tablets served as invaluable tools in deciphering the Sumerian writing and language.
Zecharia’s proposal to have a Sumerian queen DNA tested is funded by his own money. He has much to lose if his theory falls flat.
But the man’s 90 years old and he’s entitled to prove his theories on his own dime.
Whether he’s right or not is inconsequential in the long run. Sumerian history is just as rich and influential as Egyptian history is, in fact, it’s older!
There was a TV show back in the late 1960s, early 1970s called “UFO.”
Ubiquitous enough, eh?
It was produced by Gary Anderson, better known for making puppet shows, but this program had actual live actors. A game-changer for Anderson.
The premise of the show was that Earth was being attacked by UFO aliens who were kidnapping people in order to experiment on them in order to breed with humans.
Familiar story, no?
Anyway, S.H.A.D.O., an acronym for Supreme Headquarters Alien Defense Organisation, was formed as a private organization with no connection with governments (so to retain plausible deniability) to combat the alien threat.
S.H.A.D.O. had enough armaments to make Xe (Blackwater) jealous; mobiles (tanks), submarines, jets, rockets, moon shuttles, space interceptors and a Moon Base for them to launch from.
Now Bigelow doesn’t have all of that. Yet.
But it’s no secret he wishes to establish a private space business using his inflatable module technology, and possibly use the same technology for Moon bases.
And it’s also no secret Mr. Bigelow is interested in UFOs; the reason why they are here, who and what are the inhabitants and what technology they are using.
And also; why are some of them violent?
It sounds like a Hollywood plot for a 21st century remake of Earth versus the Flying Saucers.
San Francisco physicist Dr. Jack Sarfatti claims to have heard the rumor while visiting London in 2004, while in the company of Nick Cook, the well known aerospace journalist from the private intelligence publisher Janes Information Group.
“I was asked by the ‘CIA’ not to pursue the story in 2004, but now Bigelow has (allegedly, it seems) opened Pandora’s Box on the story.”
Sarfatti came forward with the rumor following a remark made by billionaire space maven Bob Bigelow to the New York Times about the dangers of UFOs:
“People have been killed. People have been hurt. It´s more than observational kind of data.”
The New York Times had interviewed Bigelow about his recent efforts to build a private space station. In the article, Bigelow was quoted about the lethality of the UFO phenomena, but the basis for Bigelow’s statement was not pursued.
According to Sarfatti, the rumor of a battle between Bob Bigelow’s employees and otherworldly beings was provided by a mysterious French woman, who was accompanied by a body guard carrying a mystery briefcase allegedly containing “some kind of ‘psychotronic’ weapon based on alien ET technology.”
Sarfatti says the woman claimed to be part of a semi-secret Paris UFO group, and the woman attributed the story to Jacques Vallee, the internationally famous researcher who inspired the French UFO researcher Claude Lacombe in Steven Spielberg’s classic UFO film Close Encounters of the Third Kind.
Sarfatti quickly added, “Allegedly Jacques Vallee denies the story, but now Bob Bigelow seems to have gone public with it — albeit without the details.”
Apparently Sarfatti, who in recent years has consulted to Dr. Ron Pandolfi (for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence) on speculative ideas related to reverse engineering hypothetical extraterrestrial technologies, also knows more of this rumor than he is willing to make public.
“I am not divulging details only the general nature of the remarks. In any case Nick Cook heard them also.”
In the 1990s, Bob Bigelow funded UFO investigations under a group he founded called the National Institute of Discovery Sciences, also known as NIDS.
Among the many investigations conducted by NIDS was the mysterious case of the so-called Bigelow Skinwalker Ranch in a remote region of Utah, where a variety of paranormal phenomena had been reported.
One experience made public by former NIDS personnel was the report of a nearly invisible being emerging from a tunnel that appeared to float in thin air, which led to speculation of an opening from another world — a star gate — built from a spacetime wormhole.
According to Sarfatti’s account, the French woman “claimed an actual gun battle at Bigelow Ranch with Bob’s paramilitary against aliens out of the wormhole with dead and wounded humans. She was very convincing and Nick Cook heard the strange tale at his private London Club with me and another witness. I debriefed Kit Green and Ron Pandolfi soon after and the story caused a big stir.”
Pandolfi and Green are well known for their interest in unusual phenomena and their history of employment with the CIA.
Given the many reports of pilots who have lost their lives pursuing UFOs beyond the safe operating range of their aircraft, Bigelow’s comments to the New York Times may have a more mundane explanation.
Until Mr. Bigelow comes forward with a more detailed explanation for his comments about lethal UFO encounters, Sarfatti’s expose’ of the rumor will only further inflame allegations of a cover-up among the fringe elements of the UFO community.
Is Bob Bigelow a modern day, 21st Century Commander Straker? Did he let too much out of the bag?
Or will he be considered to be like Howard Hughes, a brilliant eccentric?
This story bears watching.
The Space Shuttle Atlantis lifted off from KSC at 2:20 p.m. Friday May 14th for it’s 32nd and last mission.
The space shuttle program is now down to it’s last two launches, to be completed in November.
Like most folks who keep track of space goings-on, even us old tin-foilers who cut our eye-teeth on Mercury, Gemini and Apollo, we’ll be saddened when the last shuttle launches because the shuttle is a ship, not a capsule like Soyuz, the Chinese Shenzhou and the future Orion and/or Dragon.
There’ll never be the likes of the shuttle ever again. Unless someone in the private sector eventually builds a modern one.
Launch of Atlantis
The Roswell Mystery continuously rears its ugly head into our ken time and again it seems like.
“Did a UFO crash there?” “Was it Project Mogul?” “Weather balloons”, “Crash test dummies”, “Aliens to Hanger 18″, “Is there a hangar 18?”
On and on and on – blah-blah-blah…
It’s enough to drive a tin-foiler off the deep end I tell you!
Then there’s this disclosure thing. Sweet Jesus don’t let me get on that! Please!
Well it seems that I’m not the only one who has a problem with Roswell Redux, Nick Redfern, author of ‘Body Snatchers in the Desert‘, writes a tome on why we’ll never be rid of the Roswell meme.
And why the mystery will never be solved:
[…]here’s why I am certain that Roswell will never be resolved.
Unless you include whistle-blower documentation such as the MJ12 documents as being evidence in support of what happened – or didnot happen – on the Foster Ranch, Lincoln County, New Mexico on the fateful day in early July 1947, the only real data of any significance that we have in-hand comes from the witnesses.
And that’s a good thing; a very good thing. The reason being that without the reports, testimony and recollections of the witnesses, all we would have would be a couple of pages of official documents (such as a 1-page FBI memo and a few other scant items), a handful of press-photographs, and a bunch of newspaper clippings. In other words, whatever happened at Roswell, it is thanks to the witnesses that we know something of significance occurred.
So, witness testimony is massively important and has taken us to where we are today with respect to Roswell – which, unfortunately, is a confusing, hall-of-mirrors realm inhabited by tales of crashed UFOs, dead aliens, crash-test-dummies, Mogul-balloons, weather-balloons, flying-wings, Nazi-saucers, Japanese PoWs, Unit 731, V-2 rockets, atomic mishaps, and more. In other words, the witness testimony and second-hand and third-hand testimony is huge – but, rather than uniformly presenting one version of events, the testimony and data has merely muddied the waters even further.
And there’s another problem, and it’s a big one; a very big one, in fact. Due to the passage of time and the inevitability of death, most of the witnesses are gone. Ten or fifteen years from now they will likely all be gone.
Then, with our (thus far) one and only meaningful source of data gone forever, how will we take Roswell further? How will we solve Roswell? Will we even be able to solve Roswell – ever? That’s where I take issue with those who desperately want Roswell to be proved extraterrestrial before they, too, go to the big Hangar 18 in the sky, and who earnestly believe it will be solved, to the point where we have hard evidence, not just a body of intriguing, interesting and notable testimony.
Here’s the problem that many fail to deal with in a level-headed fashion: witness testimony is vital to any investigation and can shed welcome light (sometimes a little light and sometimes a great deal of light) on matters of profound controversy – which Roswell most assuredly is. The problem, however, is that no matter how much testimony and witness material we get, that will still never, ever, definitively prove what happened at Roswell.
The reason the Roswell debate is ongoing – despite literally hundreds of people having offered testimony in varying degrees (first-hand, second-hand, third-hand, etc.) is because no-one has thus far delivered the goods. And by the goods, I mean, of course, a body, a body-part, undeniable extraterrestrial wreckage, or undeniable “Roswell UFO Files” that can be proved to have originated with one or more elements of the official world back in the late-1940s.
So, by 2025, when the Roswell research community will have likely lost its strongest and only source of quality data – the people and the witnesses – the only way we can ever hope to solve Roswell is by getting access to the bodies, the craft and the documentation – if such even exist.
Mission accomplished, for the government that is.
They made damn sure no truth will never come from this. Never mind all this Mogul balloon nonsense. If they came up with that explanation sixty-some-odd years ago, it probably would have worked and nothing more would have been said of it.
Then again maybe not. The weather balloon lie held for thirty years until 1978 one of the ‘witnesses’ wrote a book, so who’s to say the whole thing would not have started anyway.
Today President Obamanator visits the Kennedy Spaceflight Center this afternoon to finally tell (sell) the workers why they must be laid off and why his new space policy should be adopted.
Basically, for you non-space cadet types, Obama’s plan cancels the Constellation Program, lets the shuttle retire in September of this year as planned and gives ‘commercial’ space companies like SpaceX, Orbital Science Corporation, United Launch Alliance and others funds to develop transportation to the International Space Station.
Recently, just earlier this week in fact, Mr. O is allowing the Orion space capsule to live, only in a down-sized version that will be an escape pod for the ISS, in order to throw a little pork in Colorado’s direction.
A lot of folks are angry about the Constellation Program being canned, mainly politicians and workers in Florida, Alabama, Louisiana and Texas, red states who don’t support Obama anyway, and probably wouldn’t even if they were allowed to build a warp drive and launch equipment.
Severe cognitive dissonance resonate through-out the fabled red-states. Must be nice to create your own reality, I have to learn how to do that!
Anyway, I don’t think the Big O cares much about space, especially human spaceflight. Rumor has it he really intends that NASA build and launch replacements for the climate monitoring satellites ol’ George H.W. Bush had launched over twenty years ago.
Actually, I kinda like Obama’s new plan, a little private enterprise in space isn’t such a bad idea. Maybe some innovation could come out of it.
If not, the military is worried that the US could falter in missile technology.
Could be that’s why they’re so interested in SpaceX’s Falcon 9 inaugural flight in May?
Anyone who is a space cadet knows about the change in NASA’s budget for FY 2011. If you’re a Constellation Program fan, sucks to be you.
For quite some time now Frank Chang Diaz’s company, Ad Astra Rocket Company, has been trying to make science-fiction come true by developing a space drive engine that couples efficiency with power, the VX-200 that was tested last November.
Well, a lot of folks think that Frank’s engine is bullsh*t, but NASA thinks that a test engine, the VF-200-1 can be mounted on the ISS as an orbital adjuster to take the place of the Russian Soyuz or Progress spacecraft that’s presently used:
The VX-200 will provide the critical data set to build the VF-200-1, the first flight unit, to be tested in space aboard the International Space Station (ISS). It will consist of two 100 kW units with opposite magnetic dipoles, resulting in a zero-torque magnetic system. The electrical energy will come from ISS at low power level, be stored in batteries and used to fire the engine at 200 kW. The VF-200-1 project will serve as a “pathfinder” for the ISS National Laboratory by demonstrating a new class of larger, more complex science and technology payloads.
Now Bolden proposes in 2015 NASA bid on a Chang-Diaz Drive nuclear-powered lunar tug to supply missions to the Moon’s surface:
Future moon utilization will require a great deal of cargo in the form of facilities, machinery, vehicles, and supplies. Present planning assumes that all of this cargo will be transferred from low Earth orbit to the Moon’s surface by chemical propulsion.
An unmanned cargo capability based on VASIMR® propulsion offers significant cost savings to the proposed lunar exploration program. VASIMR® delivers the highest fraction of the initial mass in low Earth orbit (IMLEO) to the Moon, thereby reducing the cost per kg. In a 6 month lunar cargo mission, a VASIMR® with 5,000 s specific impulse can deliver approximately double the payload mass of a chemical rocket system.
However, the Congress-critters who have Constellation Program manufacturing centers in their respective states’ districts’ have had quite a successful media campaign against the new NASA budget and I gotta give them credit, the “Obama killed American human-spaceflight” Kool-Aid has been drunk by a lot of people. Constellation isn’t quite dead yet. In fact, its death-throes could go on all year.
Eventually though, the future will come upon us all and Diazs’ VASIMR will be the future of Solar System travel.
But as an old college professor of mine said years ago, “The only people who like change are babies with crappy diapers.”
ISS Expedition 22 crew launched yesterday from the Baikonur Cosmodrome at around 5:15 p.m.:
The Soyuz TMA-17 rocket launches from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Dec. 20, 2009 carrying Expedition 22 crewmembers Timothy J. Creamer of NASA, Oleg Kotov of Russia and Soichi Noguchi of Japan to the International Space Station. Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls
Pretty soon (2010/2011), Soyuz will be the only transportation for US astronauts.
Some folks don’t care, others are up in arms.
When is an “apology” a “non-pology?”
When uber-skeptic James Randi does it:
Oh, it must be Christmas. As I mentioned in Wednesday’s news briefs, James Randi has come under fire from all quarters this week, after posting his thoughts about global warming to his blog:
An unfortunate fact is that scientists are just as human as the rest of us, in that they are strongly influenced by the need to be accepted, to kowtow to peer opinion, and to “belong” in the scientific community. Why do I find this “unfortunate”? Because the media and the hoi polloi increasingly depend upon and accept ideas or principles that are proclaimed loudly enough by academics who are often more driven by “politically correct” survival principles than by those given them by Galileo, Newton, Einstein, and Bohr. (Granted, it’s reassuring that they’re listening to academics at all — but how to tell the competent from the incompetent?) Religious and other emotional convictions drive scientists, despite what they may think their motivations are.
…It’s easy enough to believe that drought, floods, hurricanes, and earthquakes are signs of a coming catastrophe from global warming, but these are normal variations of any climate that we — and other forms of life — have survived. Earth has undergone many serious changes in climate, from the Ice Ages to periods of heavily increased plant growth from their high levels of CO2, yet the biosphere has survived. We’re adaptable, stubborn, and persistent — and we have what other life forms don’t have: we can manipulate our environment. Show me an Inuit who can survive in his habitat without warm clothing… Humans will continue to infest Earth because we’re smart.
In my amateur opinion, more attention to disease control, better hygienic conditions for food production and clean water supplies, as well as controlling the filth that we breathe from fossil fuel use, are problems that should distract us from fretting about baking in Global Warming.
Given that Randi’s skeptical peers and scientific admirers have spent the last couple of months attacking ‘Global Warming Deniers’, Randi found himself in the unlikely spot of being attacked for his ‘pseudo-scientific’ opinion piece. Blog posts decrying Randi’s statement appeared quickly on Pharyngula, The Quackometer, Cosmic Variance, Greg Laden’s Blog and Respectful Insolence. Even more vicious were the comments threads (lead, as it would be expected, by more than 500 Pharyngula comments) in which it was suggested that Randi was suffering from dementia and so on (although you’d have to say there may have been some karmic retribution for Randi in the meanness of it all…with friends like those, who needs ‘woo-woo’ enemies!) And, in a wonderful bit of timing, Randi managed to post his piece on the same day that a fund-raising drive for the James Randi Educational Foundation kicked into gear. Oops.
The back-pedaling was swift – the next day, Randi posted a new statement, “I’m Not ‘Denying’ Anything” (which P.Z. Myers labeled a ‘not-pology‘, leading to some fun exchanges between Myers’ minions and Randi’s followers in comments threads.) And then the back-patting, with plenty of ‘skeptics’ saying that the criticism of Randi showed how healthy the modern skeptical movement is.
But this is nonsense. Randi took a position which was diametrically opposed to the current scientific consensus, and furthermore one that was absolutely contrary to the argument being put forth on a regular basis by other skeptics such as Phil Plait and P.Z. Myers. There was no other option for them but to criticise Randi – it was either that or be hypocrites. What would be a better test of the health of modern skepticism is if other skeptics pulled Randi up for speaking nonsense about more fringe topics. Which he does on a regular basis. And the silence is deafening. The real truth of modern skepticism as a dogmatic faith is revealed in those particular moments.
In the comments threads, many people seemed shocked that their great beacon of truth was spreading misinformation. But the only reason was because Randi took on a topic which didn’t allow his sheeple to nod their head in agreement. Randi often posts rubbish and misinformation on his blog – I’ve criticised him before in the comments section to his blog (asking for references for dubious claims etc) only to be attacked by other ‘skeptics’. For instance, as I mentioned recently, Randi once attacked parapsychologist Dr Dean Radin by saying that he had recently moved into researching presentiment after his other research had failed – in truth, Radin has been publishing successful results on presentiment for more than a decade, in addition to his other research. On another occasion with which I was personally involved, Randi deliberately misled his readers to suit his own personal ends. Randi also often states his dislike (or at least distrust) of the ‘ivory tower’ of academia, perhaps a result of his own lack of education.
What caught my attention in this post was the statement, “Religious and other emotional convictions drive scientists, despite what they may think their motivations are.”
Which brings to mind that paragon of hard scientific study, Isaac Newton.
The mainstream science community forget to mention that Newton was a hard-core Zionist Christian scholar and alchemist who believed he reconciled religion, science and prophecy.
Hmm..double standards run rampant in the science community at times.
After all, they’re human too.