Friday, May 10, 2013

Weekly Rundown

            The ISS is leaking coolant, and this isn't the first time it has happened. The station uses liquid ammonia for cooling the power systems on its 8 solar array panels. NASA is looking into the problem, but says it poses no immediate danger to the astronauts. Now here is where things get interesting. A minor leak was first discovered in 2007, and NASA has been studying the problem ever since then. In November of 2012, two of the crew spacewalked in order to ficx the problem.  They rewired some coolant lines and installed a spare radiator. They assumed it was damaged by a micrometeorite. Seriously, 5 years to get that done. Am I missing something here. That seems like a very long time.
            Well, apparently today (May 9 2013), they noticed a steady stream of frozen ammonia particles leaking off again. It appears to be coming from a coolant loop in the Photovoltaic Thermal Control System (PVTCS).
            NASA spokesman Kelly Humphries of the Johnson Space Center in Houston told that it is in the same area as previously, but they do not know if it is the same leak. Humphries also stated that they were taking it very seriously because of the importance of the system. If they would lose the ability to cool the array, the station has no power. It has in fact worsened to the point that they expect that particular loop to shut down within the next 48 hours.
            Okay, now that is sounding just a bit serious to me. This to me just highlights again why we need to move forward, and build a massive station up there, instead of these, well frankly, flimsy little things. But that is just my opinion, as I think we should already have one large enough to actually fly a shuttle inside of it. Here’s the link to the entire article.

            We are still under the theory that Earth’s water originated from ancient meteorites, but perhaps sooner than expected. It is thought now that water existed here before the collision that created our moon. Though it is still a mystery of how the water survived the impact, it is thought now that the moon had water from its earliest moments of existence.
            About 4.5 billion years ago, the earth had a run in with a proto planet about the size of Mars, creating our moon from the molten debris. This kind of heat should have baked any water and it’s ingredients out of the moon. But 5 years ago, they discovered evidence of hydrogen in samples brought back from the lunar missions. In order to discover the origin of this water, they began analyzing crystals and glass beads from the moon ricks brought back by Apollo 15 & 17. These have tiny pieces of glass that basically serve as records of the geological history of the moon.
Study lead author Alberto Saal says, “With a good degree of certainty, we know that the water came to the moon and Earth from primitive meteorites now located in the outer parts of the asteroidal belt." He also told that, "the Earth from its birth had water, and it got to the moon during the giant impact without completely being lost by this event." He also added that it is not believed that the Earth gained any more significant amount of water after the event that created our moon.
            Folks, this is a must read article, as I haven’t the room for all the explanations and science there to put here. But it makes you think about something though. The moon would have 5-10 times less water than the earth, but that isn’t it. What would the earth be like now, if the moon had simply been captured in passing, and no collision had ever occurred? I’d say for those of you with the turn of mind in this area, that you have yourselves a pretty decent alternate history version of our planet for a story or novel here. Check it out though, it’s really interesting.

            Well, it makes sense actually. Considering what it would take to keep a constant food supply going, I don’t see where there could be any other choice.
            Now considering that the first manned mission is looking to be around 2030 or shortly after, NASA is debating whether it should be a long mission, or one of short duration. The discussion revolves around whether or not to keep a sustained human presence on Mars. Guess I don’t need to put my opinion in there do I?
            The ISS has suggested through its experiments that plants can grow in micro gravity, but as to the reduced gravity of mars, scientists are still wondering. Also Mars receives only about half the sunlight as that of Earth, and then there is the pressurized enclosures that would lower the lighting even farther.
            Robert Ferl, director of the Interdisciplinary Center for Biotechnology Research at the University of Florida had this to say on the concept of the pressure compared to Earth normal. "You don't have to inflate that greenhouse to Earth-normal pressure in order for plants to grow. Maintaining a full atmosphere of pressure is difficult on a planetary surface. You can take plants down to a tenth of an atmosphere and they'll still function."
            This of course would mean that gardening would have to be done in a suit as the garden would be separate from all normal quarters. There a few other things here as well in the article, so make sure to check it out.
            Now in my personal view the lighting should not be a problem. Add LED lighting to standard fluorescent in order to get the proper light waves that are needed. This works quite well as I myself have experimented with this. Also, you could do the entire thing as hydroponics to start out, and save a lot of space by using the circular enclosure system with the lights down the center.  As the plants turn on what is basically the inside of a wheel, they will pass through the nutrient solution, and by using mylar to reflect light back upwards toward the lights in the center, you will be giving light to all parts of the plant. This is already in use here on Earth anyway. I have not experimented with hat system, but then I don’t have the funds that NASA has either. I think it would be a lot easier to ship in a bunch of nutrient solution compared to hauling up tons of earth. Now there are two types to this. One is the ferris wheel type where all plants are aimed up  like here at all times. The other is inside the wheel where they will be upside down for a time period. It is the second type I am talking about and below is a picture to clarify what it is I mean. Been growing plants for medicine and food since I was a kid, so I think this would be the best way. First the link to the article.

            This is just a way to finish off the science, and move into the sci-fi this week. And it is being done at as well.
            To put it simple, they are taking a poll. Which is better? Star Trek, or Star wars.
            I’m sure you all know which side of the fence I fall on here, but they went and through a monkey wrench in there just to screw me up. Here are the choices below. They are truly nasty people sometimes.

1.        Star Wars! Luke and Vader could wipe the floor with Kirk's Enterprise.Star Trek!

2.        Whiny Luke can't hold a lightsaber to the sheer awesomeness of James T. Kirk and the Enterprise crew. Plus, Trek was first.

3.        Get Warped: There's more to life than the Force and starships. And everyone knows Doctor Who rules the school.

See what I mean. And me and the Doctor are both turning 50 this year. I went with Doc, I had to. The smegheads. But in the Trek vs Wars, well, there’s only one choice for me. Star Trek, all the way. That should get me hated by some of you I am sure. Anyway, here's the link folks. Frack, I'm older than Star Trek.

And now on the the sci-fi portion.

            This sort of belongs in the science area, but I am sticking it here instead considering.
Tim Bouckley, Millie Clive-Smith, Mi Eun Kim and Yuta Sugawara have created two masks that enhance sensory perception. One fits over your mouth and ears, and is supposed to be able to neutralize background noise. Sound is transmitted to the wearer a mouthpiece and headphones to the inner ear by bone vibrations. They say it is like hearing someone talk inside your head.
The second fits over the eyes, and has a camera mounted near the top to capture images. These are processed by the software, and basically allow the wearer to see a frame by frame progression of movement.
Hey, don’t ask me, I just stumbled across this and decided to throw it in here. Amazing the stuff you come across by accident.

            Yep, back to the Turtles again folks. The link below will take you to a site that shows pictures of Megan Fox that were apparently taken right before her shoot in an underground subway. And if this is what she is going to be looking like in the movie, well, nuff said. There is also a voting place there to say whether you think she is a fit, you’ll wait and see, or no way. Also it was rumored that Will Arnett would be playing Casey. That's out the window as well I guess as it is now being stated that he will be playing April's cameraman. The second link will take you to that page. There are also more pics there of April, if you can even call her that. I have only one thing to say about the entire situation. If Bay gets his hands on Thundercats, I am finding a way off this bloody planet once and for all.

            Looks like Ellen Page will  be returning as Kitty Pryde. This isn’t the only news here however. It has been confirmed that both Bishop and Warpath will be appearing in Days of Future Past, and we will also be getting our first look at Iceman, Storm and Beast. Okay, let’s be honest here. As an X-Men movie, First Class doesn't pass the muster. For an action movie yeah, but in terms of the X-men, no. It has been rumored that things are going to be more explained in this, and some of the First Class movie will be straightened out in this, but we all know how those rumors usually pan out now don’t we. And frankly, I don’t see how they could. Let’s just hope we get a little more back on track here with this one. Not much on the site, and I basically just told everything that was there plus, but here is the link anyway.

            Usually I use these as blog posts, but decided with my schedule this week, and the next few, I would include it here instead. And frankly, it belongs here. We lost one of the greats this week. If you don’t already know, I am talking about Special effects pioneer Ray Harryhausen. He passed from our realm on May 7th, at the age of 92. And if you don’t know his name, you definitely grew up watching his work. He created a form of stop-motion model animation known as "Dynamation. He influenced so many of those that are working in the fields today, that frankly I don’t think a list of them would even be possible. But as for what he did that many of us grew up with, here a partial list. Mighty Joe Young 1949, It Came From Beneath the Sea 1955, 20 Million Miles To Earth 1957, Jason And The Argonauts 1963, One Million Years BC 1966, Clash Of The Titans 1981, and so many many more. I will be listing two links here. The first is to his official website, and the second will be to the wiki article about him. He will be sorely missed, but his movies and legacy will live on, especially in this household, believe it.

Well folks, that's it for this week. Once again I was picking and choosing what to put here again. Well, except for the last one that is. There was never a doubt that was going on Beam Me Up one way or another. And I figured I could reach more with it on the rundown, so that is why it is here instead of being a standard blog post. Hope you all enjoyed this weeks, and I'll be seeing you all again next week.  And once again it is almost 2 am, so ignore all the spelling mistakes. Auto check doesn't always get them, and frankly I'm too tired as usual to notice any longer. I really need to get started earlier on this thing. Especially when I wander off into the long winded segments like I did with the growing on Mars.

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