Archive for October 2011
I have been researching people who claim to “hate NASA” over the past few days and it has been quite a delightful experience. If we could only power the world by mining the Internet for stupidity, our energy problems would be immediately and permanently solved. Here is a few gems:
“…There are so many documentaries that speak about natural events that are changing and that are prooved (sic) by scientists and I hate NASA to lie us, to try to deny the reality. They are killing us !!!…Yeah yeah… keep your lies for others !!! I hate all the power you think you have just becaue (sic) you are government!!! I think YOU are destroying the planet by all your experiences… you organize tsunami and attack to eliminate people because “there are too many people on the earth” and then you want us to believe that is “natural disaster”…” – Chapi C
I don’t know what natural disasters have to do with NASA, and it’s a real shame that NASA thinks “we are stupid” (another unfounded claim in a different segment of her rant) when there is clearly detectives like Chapi out there to set the record straight and show that whoever “we” are, is NOT stupid. Here is another good one:
“because it is incapable of taking the risks nessasary (sic) to progress at a fast enough pace to keep up with the private sector.(spaceship one) Due mostly to the beaurocracy (sic),lack of vision,and lack true of direction. Any one of these shortcomings could be responsible for the non survival of the human race in the future.” - zvs31
I am glad that “zvs31″ brought up this point about the private sector because they have really caught up. Lack of vision and direction – maybe, I’ll give him that too, but I don’t think NASA not succeeding the way some nobody thinks they should is going to be the ultimate pitfall of human achievement and survival.
Andrew J. Testa claims he worked for Lockheed which is closely associated with NASA and “It is a sham, a dried up money-pit
with no purpose and no direction, flopping about like an ugly fish in the bottom of a boat.” He goes on to use some very colorful language that is inappropriate for this blog but very entertaining.
Of course, I am being biased, but I am also trying to give you something entertaining to read. There are plenty of good articles by scholars that argue NASA is wasteful, spaceflight dangerous and shuttles outdated. I have no retort except to say, it’s a government program, what on Earth (or in space) do you expect? You think the government has any incentive to tighten up and be more resourceful, especially in terms of something as apocalyptically costly as the space shuttle program where they can really get away with saying something like “Um, we’re moving 40,000 lbs of equipment into space, not including the weight of the shuttle itself, and thats not exactly cheap.”
Information Sources: http://www.akdart.com/nasa.html,
http://amplicate.com/hate/nasa – Picture credit also to amplicate.com and Facebook
Among one of the more interesting things to come out of the NASA space program (and believe me, there are tons, exposing them is the aim of this blog) is the experiments with squid and microorganisms that took place in April of this year aboard NASA’s final flight.
Any doctor or scientist can tell you that for every living cell in your body, you have ten microorganisms that are `not human`. The vast majority of them are helpful, a common example would be the bacteria in your gut that help to digest food, also known as `normal flora.` The point of some of the experiments in space was to determine the effects no gravity and a harsh space environment has on this good bacteria because we surely cannot survive without it. Makes sense? But why squid?
The Hawaiian Bobtail Squid, among other types of squid, is able to `light up` by the process of bioluminescence. They use it to light up murky water or at night, attracting prey and even camouflage. Squid, cuttlefish, octopus and other cephalapods are unique in their ability to control their color and even texture. It is actually microbes that help them to do this lighting up.
So the experiment went something like this: the squid were hatched aboard the ship, microbes were inserted into the water and it was examined to see if the bacteria will take to the squid in a natural mutually beneficial relationship as it would on earth. The squid died of course, but when brought back to Earth the plan was to examine them and see if the absence of gravity influenced or hindered the ability of the bacteria to live on the squid.
I am unable to find results yet but I will be sure to update if I do find them.
Source for pictures and information: Discovery: http://news.discovery.com/space/bobtail-squid-hitches-a-ride-on-space-shuttle.html
Shock diamonds are a pattern that occurs in an afterburner’s flame. The reasons behind its existence are very technical and geeky and having to do with changes in pressure in the flame and atmospheric pressure as an external force, but it is pretty well summed up in the following diagram which i have lifted from Aerospaceweb.org.
Sources: video from XCOR Aerospace (www.xcor.com > on YouTube under general license)
The International Space Station is an artificial satellite that has been human occupied by at least one person since October 2000. This month marks its 11 year anniversary. In that time, over 200 unique individuals from dozens of different countries have visited the ISS.
It orbits the Earth at a staggering 17,227 miles per hours or 15.7 times every day, or once every 91 minutes. The ISS has orbited over 1.5 billion miles which would be (pay attention) the distance traveled from Earth to Jupiter at its farthest point away then flying back at its closest (That is, when Earth and Jupiter are at their closest points. The distance between Earth and Jupiter varies greatly because of orbit shape). Its main purpose is to serve as an environment for scientific research in space.
The ISS maintains an orbit between 173 and 286 miles above the Earth’s surface. It is about one football field in length and weighs nearly a million pounds, that is, when it is subjected to the gravity on Earth’s surface. It relies on solar panels for power of which, again, take up the area of about one football field. The internal livable pressurized volume of the ISS is approximately 830 meters cubed or nearly the size of a five bedroom house. There is a gym, two bathrooms and a 360 degree bay window which serves are an area to relax and admire what is undoubtedly a spectacular view.
Now time for the nerdy facts. 3.5 million lines of code in the support center on the ground make it possible for the 2.3 million lines of code on the space station to operate all of the functions on the space station (including 1.5 million lines in the US segment). Apparently the 44 computers in the United States segment only have 1.5 gigabytes of hard drive space, but this might just be the main computers; the rest may have even less.
What else about the ISS interests you? Post a question or a topic and I will address it in the next post along with the real importance of the ISS…stay tuned.
Information source credited to NASA: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/main/
Photo used courtesy of NASA: http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/station/index.html