Friday, May 03, 2013

Weekly Rundown


In other words, we are back in control again. The little girl had a break from us for a while, as Mars slipped behind the sun from our perspective. This is called the Mars Solar Conjunction, and can seriously disrupt radio communications.

"Can you hear me now? Conjunction is over. I have a clear view of Earth & am back to work!" NASA officials wrote this on their twitter feed on behalf of the rover. This was on May 2nd. Yeah, like they gave the poor little girl a break to begin with. They get the month off basically from giving orders, but Curiosity was still working. It wasn't moving, or drilling, but was still monitoring the Martian atmosphere.

She will now be drilling another hole nearby to aid in the understanding of the John Klein area. Once that is done, she will begin her trek to the base of Mount Sharp, which is a 3.4 mile high mountain that rises from Gale’s center.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot here. The area is named the “John Klein” outcrop, and is in tribute to a team member who was also the deputy project manager for Curiosity at JPL for several years and who passed away in 2011.


Yep, we are back to discussing space junk again, and this time we have an example that could have been really bad. NASA's $690 million Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope, which is used primarily to study the most powerful explosions in the universe, avoided a direct hit with the dead 1.5-ton Russian reconnaissance satellite Cosmos 1805 on April 3, 2012. This wasn't announced until April 30th however for some reason. The space collision was avoided when engineers commanded Fermi to fire its thrusters in a dodging maneuver to get it out of the way.

Oh it gets better, trust me. They learned on March 29th 2012 that they would pass within 700 feet of each other. However, after monitoring it, they realized the next day, that they would pass through the same point in space within 30 milliseconds of each other. Now that to me sounds a lot more deadly than missing by 700 feet. It doesn’t take much to take away 30 milliseconds, even if the old satellite was moving at 27,000 MPH. Personally, I’m betting that was brown trouser time at NASA at that point. Had they collided, the explosion would have been equal in terms of energy to two and a half tons of explosives.

It was actually a simple move however, as they fired the thrusters for one second, and moved the telescope so that the two missed by 6 miles.

Now to me, this just highlights what I mentioned last week. Something needs to be done up there, and done quickly. If it isn't the way we are leaving junk all over the place, if an alien race would find us here, they’d think this was an intergalactic junk drop, and probably jettison all their junk and crap out as well. Or, we’ll find out the hard way that there are laws we don’t know about littering up the bloody space ways. Okay, so maybe that is a bit extreme there, but I’m trying to make a point here. Say we had an asteroid fly through at such a speed not to be yanked into Earth, but with enough mass and size to scatter a whole lot of that in every direction. Or even an explosion could cause it to fly out in all directions, and could threaten I would think even the ISS. It may be a one in a million chance, but lets eliminate that one in a million I say. Space is dangerous. Even I admit that with as bad as I want to get up there myself. So lets say we don't make it any more dangerous than it already is.

There is also a video NASA created to show what they did on the page.

The second link is to an article I came across after I was finished here, but it details how a small hole was found in one of the ISS's solar array wings. Though probably caused by a Micro Meteoroid, that isn't for sure. Anyway, the second link will take you to that article. I need to have a talk with about a little better organisation there. That should have been linked to the other article.


Okay, this was a very long article, and you really need to follow the link and check it out. I’m not sure if I can even get the basics n the Weekly Rundown here, but I’m going to give it a shot anyway.

The eyeballs I am speaking of are alien worlds that some say resemble giant eyeballs that may exist around red dwarf stars.

When a planet orbits a star very closely, the gravitational pull of the star can force the world to become tidally locked with it. And since the habitable zone of a red dwarf would be much closer than Sol’s is, you all see where this is headed.

What this means, is that it is like our moon to our Earth. One side is always facing the sun, so you have one side in permanent day and the other in permanent night.

This is basically where we get the eyeball reference from. While the night side would be covered in a permanent sheet of ice, the daylight side would have an area covered completely by an ocean warmed with constant light and heat.

There are a group of scientists now proposing to construct a variety of eyeball planet models, varying in mass, distance from star, etc, in order to see what a stable version would be like. In this way, they can better use existing and future telescopes to detect them, and know what form they are.

Like I said, it is a pretty long article, and I have only begun to cover the basics of it here. It is a must read article however, as I have left out a lot of information due to time and space. No not on a Doctor Who kick here, but time and space in the Rundown. (Though I admit that worked out pretty well there for a Whovian like me). But seriously, go read that one. You’ll see what all I couldn't even try and get in here. And try and give yourself at least a half hour when you go there. Besides the article there is a video there that is 21.5 minutes long, and is well worth a watch.

Now considering the length of the rundown so far, I think I'll move on to the sci-fi section. I had to pick and choose out of about 10 science pages this week, and it ran a bit longer already than I had planned on, so I'll cut to the sci-fi now.


Yeah I know this is gettin go be something I guess. Last week I mentioned the shuttle from STTOS. And now the bridge from STTNG is being refurbished as well. The thing was lying in the backyard of a studio for years. Amazing what happens to stuff out there isn’t it. But it is now being redone by a group that’s called New Starship.

Though nothing has been confirmed yet, organizer Huston Huddleston said he is in talks with the San Diego Air & Space Museum to bring the bridge there in the middle of 2014. It will remain there for a year if all goes as hoped, and will then possibly move on to other locations.

This exhibit would not only include the bridge, but recreations of other locations such as the transporter room and Captain Jean-Luc Picard's personal quarters. Here is a quote from the article.

"We thought, to quote 'The Six Million Dollar Man,' we have the technology to make this into something that was seen on the TV show, but the technology wasn't there back then – touch-screen computers and interactivity," Huddleston said. "We want to make it an educational piece to bring an entire classroom of kids on the bridge of the Enterprise and have them fly the ship."

Kids my behind, I want on there myself. Okay, we should all qualify as kids to be honest here.

Huddleston says that even if the exhibit doesn't end up in San Diego, he aims to have it in other museums, including a proposed science-fiction focused museum in Hollywood he's involved with that he'd like to see open in 2016. He believes the latter is not probable however, as it isn’t done yet.

Seems like a lot of things have just kind of been tossed away over the years. It’s nice to see that someone has the money to find these things and restore them.


Bay has now changed his mind and has stated that the turtles will not be aliens after all, and is returning to the mutant part of the legend. Here is what Bay had to say about it, direct from the article itself.

There was that quote saying that we’re making [the Ninja Turtles as] aliens. We’re not, it’s the ooze! It’s from the original source material. These are from the original writers, and I never went out to correct myself in the press. I do listen to the fans and I do want this to be authentic. I think they’re going to be really happy with this movie. When I see the digital stuff, the turtles look great.

Ahem. The script was leaked, so I’m guessing he has selective memory at this point. Looks like we actually won this one folks. I myself remember when this was first stated, and I hit the bloody roof. Matter of fact, I remember the girlfriend looking at me like I’d lost my smegging mind, AGAIN. Well, okay, I kind of did.

So apparently Paramount took notice of the sharpened pitch forks, burning torches, and the unrelenting demands for Bay’s head, and changed things. Let me assure you all, I never demanded his head myself. I was with the 90% on this one. We were the ones that were demanding other parts.

But two things to add. One, the date of release isn’t till next year so I’m sure myself we’ll be hearing more on this, and probably more changes. And as for number two, well, in case you didn’t know who is playing April, you may want to sit down. It’s Megan Fox.

And yeah,I have heard rumors of the upcoming Fantastic Four reboot, but nothing solid as of yet. And what I have heard, being a fan of the true First Family of comics, I am not happy. I still say the original, as cheaply done as it was, is still the best one. Yeah, I had a copy before it was ever released of the Roger Corman disaster. That should say what I thought of the newest ones. At least that one was fun.

Hope you all enjoy the rundown this week. Se you all next week folks.


kallamis said...

I just noticed that my microsoft word, where I write things up first is acting strange. That is why the letters are different sizes. Just went into my novel I am working on, and the same thing is there as well. It was fine when I closed it, and now every other paragraph is in a different font. No idea, so I guess I'll just remove it and reload it again. Sorry about that folks. My fault, apparently.

Beam Me Up said...

Not a problem, I went in and just highlighted all the text and selected the menu that strips all format from the text. It straightened out after that. Thanks for the update!

kallamis said...

Oh cool. I had thought of that but was in the middle of my removing and re-installing. Just came to do just that actually. Thanks man.