November 28, 2014

A Rocket Landing in Tortuguero? (Source: Tico Times)
We’ve written about Costa Rica's Tortuguero, on the northern Caribbean coast, many, many times. The town and national park – one of Costa Rica’s top tourism destinations. We’ve roamed the mangroves, swamps, beaches and hotels, visited with the locals and looked into the history. But we’ve never noticed a nexus between this wild outpost of Costa Rica in the remote northeastern corner of the country and space flight. Until now.

Large pieces of aerospace debris were discovered on the beach one morning in March 2012. Trapani and hotel his staff originally considered them to be pieces of a commercial airliner, but the honeycomb structure encased within aluminum suggested otherwise. Commandeering the hotel staff, with the help of a quad, they rescued the large metal pieces of something and took them to a clear space behind the restaurant. Then Trapani started his research, burning the midnight oil on the Internet.

What he found out still excites him. French Guiana is home to ESA’s Guiana Space Centre used by Arianespace. Russian-supplied Soyuz rockets power the launch vehicle for satellite delivery. Two early launches in 2011 were entirely successful, and the fairing systems that shielded the satellites behaved perfectly, sacrificing themselves, and delivering their charred remains ultimately to Trapani’s hotel beach. (11/26)

Why Interstellar Should Be Taken Seriously -- Very Seriously (Source: Huffington Post)
When I went to see Interstellar, I made sure a physicist was at my side. We loved the movie, and to us (especially the physicist) the physics of the story were merely a layman's version of the real thing, but that was the right way to do it. A third member of our viewing party, a girl whose interests could be described as more spiritual than scientific (not that the two are mutually exclusive), utterly despised it.

What I couldn't figure out, despite her attempts to explain, was why. I kept coming back to the conclusion that it was because she didn't understand it, but the reality is that plenty of people -- very intelligent people -- don't fully understand the physics behind Interstellar. The truth, though, is that she just wasn't interested. Many people just aren't interested in space. Too many.

NASA accounts for only 0.58 percent of our annual budget, yet the average American believes we are spending too much on space exploration and research. Compare that with the only 37 percent of Americans who believe that our $1.2-trillion annual defense budget is too high. It occurred to me that not only do many people not fully understand the physics of space travel, but they hold the physics portrayed in the movie to be closer to fantasy than to science. This is not the case. Click here. (11/26)

USA Hampers Spektr-UF International Space Observatory Project (Source: Itar-Tass)
The US State Department prevents from implementing an international project for creating the Spektr-UF space observatory. The US agency imposed the ban on supplies to Russia of radiation-resistant components, which are used in radiation recording instruments. The ban affected the contract on producing radiation detectors that Russia had signed with E2V of the United Kingdom.

“The British are manufacturing a radiation detector themselves, but wiring ‘harness’ of radiation-resistant components is produced with the use of American parts,” he said. “They [the British] failed to get permit for export of these parts to Russia. They tell us that they will be able to produce the necessary parts themselves, but they asked to extend the contract for 1.5 years,” Shustov said. (11/27)

Former NASA Worker Says She Saw Humans on Mars in 1979 (Source: Economic Times)
A woman named “Jackie,” who claims to be a former NASA employee, called Coast to Coast AM in the U.S. She claimed she had seen evidence of two human figures walking towards the Viking lander on Mars in 1979. The “former NASA employee” asked the radio show presenter to solve a 27-year-old mystery for her. She claimed she had worked for NASA and that her job was to handle the downlink telemetry from the lander.

The Viking lander was the first vehicle to send back pictures of the surface of the Red Planet. She said that while she was working, she saw two people walking across the Martian surface. She continued that she and six colleagues were watching the footage of the Viking rover moving around on multiple screens when she noticed two men in spacesuits walking to the Viking Explorer from the horizon. She added the men’s suits looked protective but unlike what astronauts wore.

"There were probably about half a dozen of us downstairs. We were just maintaining the equipment. Then they cut off our video feed," Jackie told the radio host. NASA is yet to verify her claim. The Viking Explorer is the first vehicle to send back images of Mars. Editor's Note: The words "watching footage" and "video feed" give this hoax away. The Viking landers took 360-degree photos, not video. (11/26)

Nuclear Attack From Aliens Eradicated Life On Mars, Physicist Claims (Source: International Business Times)
The ancient life on Mars was eradicated by aliens armed with nuclear weapons, plasma physicist and an expert in propulsion technologies Dr John Brandenburg believes. He therefore warns that a nuclear attack of this kind will also happen on Earth.

Brandenburg concludes that the Earth's interstellar neighborhood has forces or beings hostile to young, noisy, civilizations like the ones people has on Earth. It is with the same reason that aliens launched a nuclear attack against the ancient life on Mars, he said.

Brandenburg outlined apparent evidence that immense nuclear explosions happened on Mars twice, attacking two sites of the early life -- the Cydonians and the Utopians. He said these two sites were erased by nuclear bombs launched by highly advanced aliens. He said the red color of the surface of Mars proved that nuclear explosions happened on its surface. (11/25)

Japan's Hayabusa-2 Mission to an Asteroid is Set to Launch (Source: SEN)
As the world celebrates the success of Europe’s Rosetta, Japanese space scientists are preparing to launch the latest mission to explore one of the minor bodies of the Solar System. Their Hayabusa 2 spacecraft is due to blast off on Sunday 30 November from the Tanegashima Space Center. Its mission will be to rendezvous with an asteroid, land a small probe on its surface, and then return samples to Earth.

It follows an earlier Japanese Hayabusa mission to an asteroid named Itokawa. Hayabusa 2’s target is a 1km-wide asteroid labelled 1999 JU3, after the year when it was discovered. It is a C-type asteroid, thought to contain more organic material than other asteroids, and so might again help scientists understand how the Solar System evolved. (11/27)

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