Archive for the ‘NASA’ Category
NASAGoddard has just celebrated on Twitter the fact that “Blue Marble 2012 with nearly 3.2 million views is now “one of the all time most viewed images” on @flickr http://bit.ly/xBOuD8“. That’s nice apart from the fact that it is a fake.
Even the Bad Astronomer was half-fooled initially, perhaps by the enthusiastic caption that still refers to a “hemisphere“. However, as it should be clear given the relative size of the USA to the rest of the world, the “blue marble” does not show a hemisphere, and should be considered as “a picture taken with a huge huge fish-eye lens“.
A quick trip to Google Earth shows how a real Blue Marble would have looked like, minus the clouds:
This story has however a happier ending in the newst “Blue Marble”, the one showing Africa.
I can happily report it is the way it should’ve been . See Google Earth again:
Nice to see somebody at NASA still interested in the real world.
As microblogged live on my (other) Twitter account, @mmorabito67 on May 25, 2011:
- At the BIS British Interplanetary Society in London for Alan Lawrie’s SaturnV presentation. live microblogging 6pm GMT
- Title is “Saturn V Manufacturing and testing” – room packed
- Special anniversary of Kennedy’s announcement of the Moon attempt in 1961
- Lawrie has 30 years of space technology experience
- Kennedy spoke at around 1.09pm EDT – Also 45th of first full rocket
- Mastermind was Von Braun – developed in record time, new materials invented
- Huntsville Al. was a small city when Von Braun went there in the 1950s –
- Picture of Von Braun team member meeting Korolev’s daughter –
- Saturn was a military concept for testing rockets at the start –
- Pictures of Marshall Spaceflight Center test facilities –
- RL10 h2 / o2 rocket test facility. Neosho rocket production facility in Missouri near Joplin –
- Details of rocket. First stage S-1C by Boeing and MSF.
- Welded tanks but bolted intertanks. Manufacturing details. Fairings around external engines blown after separation
- Pictures of retrorockets firing – heroicrelics.org
- S-1C firing test at MSF. Walt Disney visiting Huntsville
- Picture of Saturn V in test stand
- People measuring rocket’s vibrational modes by pushing it – same happened for Ares –
- Stage built vertically but engines inserted horizontally –
- First stage of Apollo 16 caught fire during tests. Engineers forced to look at the failed parts.
- S-II second stage by NAA in California. Not kerosene but hydrogen. One tank with one bulkhead within
- Testing at same Mississippi facility still used
- Story of mistaken loading to explosion due to incorrect procedures
- First stage o2 not insulated but second h2 had to be. Several attempts up to Apollo 13.
- Third stage S-IV B similar to second stage but one engine.
- Tanks hemispherical in 3rd ellipsoidal in 1st and 2nd
- 2nd stage external insulation strong metal inside. 3rd stage insulation inside by tiles that didn’t fall off.
- Picture of Skylab being built out of 3rd stage
- Explosion in Jan 1967 of S-IVB-503 3rd stage one week before Apollo 1.- problem with Helium tanks
- Problem with welding of He tanks.
- Pictures comparing sites in 1967 and 2006 –
- F-1 rocket engines – tested at Edwards
- J-2 tested near Hollywood
- Overview of Saturn V flights. Second flight not so well (Apollo 6) with 2 lost engines then Apollo 8
- Apollo 8 – a major structural failuree in California a day earlier but launched anyway
- Pictures of test firings of Apollo 11. Lightning striking Apollo 12. Apollo 17 3rd stage never test fired.
- How did they make it so perfect? Leadership, mindset. Von Braun and other German managers
- Many things worked by dodging bullets
- Personally I would not be surprised the programme was stopped before a major accident would kill it and spaceflight
The lecture followed the publication of “Saturn” by Alan Lawrie with Robert Godwin.
So it’s been confirmed: President Obama is keen on ending all American efforts to go back to the Moon. This doesn’t sound like a particularly inspired or forward-thinking move. I know that Buzz Aldrin as weighed in saying “this program will allow us to again be pushing the boundaries to achieve new and challenging things beyond Earth“; the Planetary Society has said “We’ll develop the technology to explore Deep Space, reaching new milestones in space and accomplishing new things here on Earth“; and the Bad Astronomer has commented “this may very well save NASA and our future manned exploration capabilities, if this is all done correctly“.
Still, the end result would be NASA canceling yet another major launch system initiative; no hope to go back to the Moon in the foreseeable future; vague promises of “future heavy-lift rocket systems…potentially taking us farther and faster into space” that sound quite empty as missing of any clear destination in time and space.
Phil Plait admitted as much in a tweet: “I think we sorta agree there, @unclebobmartin. There’s no real plan now. I’m hoping that by doing this, NASA can concentrate on big plans”
Now, if you add on top of that some other facts about the USA:
- still shipping weapons to Taiwan, as always
- sending troops to Afghanistan, as usual
- have no plans to leave Iraq for good in the foreseeable future, as always
- are still no way near a non-confrontational approach to Iran, as usual
- have shown no idea of any sort to bring the Israelo-Palestinian conflict anywhere, as always
- have tried to score low-level political points with a populist approach to banking management, as usual….
…isn’t that enough to label Obama’s as the least imaginative administration ever?
What about the Ares 1-X launch? What we have seen is the 480M$ demonstration that a Space Shuttle’s Solid Rocket Booster can fly on its own. A step towards a Moon mission dream? Methinks not.
It’d be vastly cheaper to develop just a capsule to launch on top of the Ariane-5. Or better yet, order 200+ Soyuz flights from Russia.
What is missing is a really heavy launcher, not yet another reinventing of the manned rocket.
Still not much out of the LCROSS team, victims of “HYPErspace” to say the least. Let’s entertain ourselves in the intervening time with a Forbes.com article “Bombing the Moon“. And for those in a hurry:
The LCROSS mission is an important and expensive scientific experiment. Nonetheless, comments on Web sites such as Scientific American and Nature indicate that quite a few people thought the whole venture to be some sort of outer-space vandalism. Some even wondered whether NASA might have acted illegally or violated an international law or treaty by setting out to “bomb the Moon.”
The answer is no. But while many might be surprised–dismayed, even–to hear that there is such a thing as “space law,” there are treaties governing activities in outer space, including the Moon.
I had the honour to attend tonight in London a speech by Phil Plait “The Bad Astronomer” on the “Moon Hoax Hoax” (i.e. the hoax perpetrated by those that believe the Apollo manned lunar landings were a fake).
The presentation was organized by the UK’s Skeptic Magazine as part of their Skeptics in the Pub‘s monhtly gathering, taking advantage of Plait’s schedule in-between his Colorado home and a visit to the Large Hadron Collider in Geneva.
In front of a large crowd downstairs at the Penderel’s Oak in Holborn, Plait chose to wear a hat after dazzling us with an impressive hairdo (or lack thereof).
So how to respond to people still clinging to the odd notion that NASA has been able to pull off a multi-decadal hoax involving tens of thousands of people, something much more difficult that actually landing on the Moon itself? The Bad Astronomer went through familiar questions and answers, here summarized:
(1) No stars in Moon photographs? Obviously not. Those are pictures of bright spacesuits and a bright terrain directly hit by the Sun’s rays.
(2) Shadows are not parallel, “demonstrating” multiple light sources? First of all, multiple light sources cause multiple shadows, and there is none of that in the Apollo pictures. Furthermore, shadows are not parallel on Earth either: it’s called perspective!!!
(3) Astronaut’s suits in the dark shadows on the Moon are not black? Of course not, they are illuminated by the surrounding, bright lunar surface.
(4) Waving flags on the Moon? Sure, with nothing much to dampen any vibration, that’s exactly what to expect.
(5) No crater from the LEM’s landing engine? Large thrust, over a large surface, means low pressure, hence…
(6) No flames from departing LEM’s upper half in Apollo 17 video? Flames are only visible for certain types of rocket fuel. Even the Space Shuttle’s main engines produce a barely visible blue flame at take-off.
There are two main problems with “moon hoaxers”: one, as Plait pointed out, is that they choose to tell only that part of the truth that suits them. The second, if I may add, is that they invariably never ever reveal what evidence would convince them to change their mind.
I have only one remark for the Bad Astronomer: sometimes he goes too hard for it. All Moon-hoaxers’ claims I have seen so far are already ridiculous enough. Is it really necessary to build jokes around stuff that is already laughable on its own?
Anyway…it’s been great to meet somebody that enrolled me some time ago as one of his minions. Here some pictures from the evening…
Notably, the crew has almost certainly spent some time getting crushed at several times the Earth’s sea-level gravity. As somebody has already commented “It can’t be much fun to spend a few minutes at 10G following six months in microgravity“.