Tag Archive: NASA

Google Gagarin

It Was 50 Years Ago, Today

…when mankind left the gravitational confines of our Earth.

Google Gagarin

Google Gagarin

Yuri Gagarin

Yuri Gagarin

A poor boy from the steppes, Yuri Gagarin, simultaneously became the first man in space and the first man to leave Earth and orbit it completely.  (This is something that took NASA several steps before John Glenn finally emulated the feat).

While of humble background (like Jesus), his father was a carpenter (like Jesus) and his mother read voraciously (as Jesus knew the scriptures).  Obviously, Gagarin wasn’t Jesus, but he did die in his mid-thirties which parallels Jesus’s early death.

Gagarin Launch

Gagarin Launch

I was alive when Gagarin stunned the world by being shot into space.  I remember very few photos of the man or the event.  The West was naturally very embarrassed by being overshadowed by a dictator-led communist state.  Most scientists were just astonished.  Most politicians and the mainstream media were extremely alarmist in public (and fully actioned in private) because the inter-continental aspect of chucking a nuclear weapon sized piece of machinery aloft at the height of the cold war was paramount in their minds.

What struck me then and since was the fact that Gagarin always seemed to have a happy cheeriness about him.  When we now see his pre-flight pictures, his confidence is astounding, because remember, before the voyage, mankind had conflicting ideas about the very survivability for a man in the entirely hostile and unforgiving environment of space.  Some said that a man would die within half and hour from radiation….

Of course, the Soviet scientists had tested these theories with mammals (dogs & ape) and knew that even though the animals died on their space-flights (and were destined to die, by design), they knew that a man could survive the flight and if a return to Earth could be made, he’d live to see another day.  They’d also done a small step-by-step approach to their rocketry so even though the rocket was made primarily as an ICBM, its designer was actually more interested in getting men into space and had designed accordingly.  (see this article on Sergei Korolev and his space-flight dreams).

This, Gagarin duly did, by re-entering the atmosphere in his capsule and then, when the speed had sufficiently reduced, by opening his capsule and leaping from it to then descend on a conventional parachute.

Amazingly, this all worked, perfectly.

International Space Station

International Space Station

We now see the benefits of this early Soviet work because for the next few years, transport of people to the International Space Station (ISS) will be done by the Russian Soyuz spacecraft alone now that the NASA Space Shuttle is grounded for good.

The Soyuz is a direct descendant of Gagarin’s early capsule and the subsequent work and deaths of Soviet cosmonauts.  Later joint work with NASA and their own accidents and astronaut deaths have made the Soyuz platform very reliable, in space flight terms.  See this Wikipedia article for a full introduction to space-flight of all kinds.

Google Celebration

Google, characteristically, have celebrated Gagarin’s achievement (and that it was, make no mistake, he was a very, very, brave man), with a decorated main page which I’ve copied for posterity above.

Hooray For Gagarin.

So it was 50 years ago today.  An event that changed the world and our perception of it and ourselves  in the universe.

It’s only people some years older than myself who actually remember the previous world where people remained fixed to the planet and could only dream and wonder about the reality beyond.  For myself and folks younger than me, we can only to imagine what that world was like because we are part of the world that Gagarin’s bravery opened up for us..

Related Posts:

Comments are closed

Google Tsunami Alert

Japanese Earthquake and Tsunami

Google Tsunami Alert

Google Tsunami Alert

Following this morning’s (using GMT) earthquake just off Japan (now set at 8.8 on the Richter Scale, but it keeps rising as more information is analysed), I noticed that the Google search page has a Tsunami warning for all to see.

I thought I’d capture it for posterity.

Enormity

This truly is an enormous event, the TV videos this morning of the wave’s advance making this perfectly clear.  How and when it finishes, we can only watch and wait as one of the great forces of nature plays out before us.

Tsunami Transit Time for Japanese Tsunami of 11/3/11

Tsunami Transit Time for Japanese Tsunami of 11/3/11

Fortunately, the Tsunami warning system seems to be doing its job, and hopefully, those countries around the Pacific and the small Pacific Islands within have had enough time to warn folks to get to high ground.  This image shows how much time they’ve got!

 

NOAA Tsunami Warning @ 10:30 GMT

This is the state of play a short time ago and the actual alert, showing wave heights and periods out at sea.  When they hit the coast, things are very, very different.

000

WEPA40 PHEB 111030

TSUPAC

TSUNAMI BULLETIN NUMBER 006

PACIFIC TSUNAMI WARNING CENTER/NOAA/NWS

ISSUED AT 1030Z 11 MAR 2011

THIS BULLETIN APPLIES TO AREAS WITHIN AND BORDERING THE PACIFIC

OCEAN AND ADJACENT SEAS…EXCEPT ALASKA…BRITISH COLUMBIA…

WASHINGTON…OREGON AND CALIFORNIA.

… A WIDESPREAD TSUNAMI WARNING IS IN EFFECT …

A TSUNAMI WARNING IS IN EFFECT FOR

JAPAN / RUSSIA / MARCUS IS. / N. MARIANAS / GUAM / WAKE IS. /

TAIWAN / YAP / PHILIPPINES / MARSHALL IS. / BELAU / MIDWAY IS. /

POHNPEI / CHUUK / KOSRAE / INDONESIA / PAPUA NEW GUINEA /

NAURU / JOHNSTON IS. / SOLOMON IS. / KIRIBATI / HOWLAND-BAKER /

HAWAII / TUVALU / PALMYRA IS. / VANUATU / TOKELAU / JARVIS IS. /

WALLIS-FUTUNA / SAMOA / AMERICAN SAMOA / COOK ISLANDS / NIUE /

FIJI / NEW CALEDONIA / TONGA / MEXICO /

KERMADEC IS / FR. POLYNESIA / PITCAIRN /

GUATEMALA / EL SALVADOR / COSTA RICA / NICARAGUA / ANTARCTICA /

PANAMA / HONDURAS / CHILE / ECUADOR / COLOMBIA / PERU

THIS BULLETIN IS ISSUED AS ADVICE TO GOVERNMENT AGENCIES. ONLY

NATIONAL AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT AGENCIES HAVE THE AUTHORITY TO MAKE

DECISIONS REGARDING THE OFFICIAL STATE OF ALERT IN THEIR AREA AND

ANY ACTIONS TO BE TAKEN IN RESPONSE.

AN EARTHQUAKE HAS OCCURRED WITH THESE PRELIMINARY PARAMETERS

ORIGIN TIME – 0546Z 11 MAR 2011

COORDINATES – 38.3 NORTH 142.4 EAST

DEPTH – 24 KM

LOCATION – NEAR EAST COAST OF HONSHU JAPAN

MAGNITUDE – 8.9

MEASUREMENTS OR REPORTS OF TSUNAMI WAVE ACTIVITY

GAUGE LOCATION LAT LON TIME AMPL PER

DART 21415 50.2N 171.8E 0845Z 0.27M / 0.9FT 52MIN

WAKE US 19.3N 166.6E 0928Z 0.39M / 1.3FT 14MIN

NAHA OKINAWA JP 26.2N 127.7E 0901Z 0.25M / 0.8FT 60MIN

SAIPAN US 15.2N 145.7E 0916Z 0.65M / 2.1FT 30MIN

TOSASHIMIZU SHIKOKU 32.8N 133.0E 0753Z 0.92M / 3.0FT 68MIN

OMAEZAKI HONSHU JP 34.6N 138.2E 0818Z 1.42M / 4.6FT 56MIN

DART 21419 44.5N 155.7E 0716Z 0.40M / 1.3FT 20MIN

DART 21413 30.5N 152.1E 0659Z 0.76M / 2.5FT 32MIN

HANASAKI HOKKAIDO J 43.3N 145.6E 0657Z 2.79M / 9.2FT 76MIN

DART 21401 42.6N 152.6E 0643Z 0.67M / 2.2FT 40MIN

DART 21418 38.7N 148.7E 0619Z 1.08M / 3.5FT 06MIN

LAT – LATITUDE (N-NORTH, S-SOUTH)

LON – LONGITUDE (E-EAST, W-WEST)

TIME – TIME OF THE MEASUREMENT (Z IS UTC IS GREENWICH TIME)

AMPL – TSUNAMI AMPLITUDE MEASURED RELATIVE TO NORMAL SEA LEVEL.

IT IS …NOT… CREST-TO-TROUGH WAVE HEIGHT.

VALUES ARE GIVEN IN BOTH METERS(M) AND FEET(FT).

PER – PERIOD OF TIME IN MINUTES(MIN) FROM ONE WAVE TO THE NEXT.

NOTE – DART MEASUREMENTS ARE FROM THE DEEP OCEAN AND THEY

ARE GENERALLY MUCH SMALLER THAN WOULD BE COASTAL

MEASUREMENTS AT SIMILAR LOCATIONS.

EVALUATION

SEA LEVEL READINGS CONFIRM THAT A TSUNAMI HAS BEEN GENERATED

WHICH COULD CAUSE WIDESPREAD DAMAGE. AUTHORITIES SHOULD TAKE

APPROPRIATE ACTION IN RESPONSE TO THIS THREAT. THIS CENTER WILL

CONTINUE TO MONITOR SEA LEVEL DATA TO DETERMINE THE EXTENT AND

SEVERITY OF THE THREAT.

A TSUNAMI IS A SERIES OF WAVES AND THE FIRST WAVE MAY NOT BE THE

LARGEST. TSUNAMI WAVE HEIGHTS CANNOT BE PREDICTED AND CAN VARY

SIGNIFICANTLY ALONG A COAST DUE TO LOCAL EFFECTS. THE TIME FROM

ONE TSUNAMI WAVE TO THE NEXT CAN BE FIVE MINUTES TO AN HOUR, AND

THE THREAT CAN CONTINUE FOR MANY HOURS AS MULTIPLE WAVES ARRIVE.

FOR ALL AREAS – WHEN NO MAJOR WAVES ARE OBSERVED FOR TWO HOURS

AFTER THE ESTIMATED TIME OF ARRIVAL OR DAMAGING WAVES HAVE NOT

OCCURRED FOR AT LEAST TWO HOURS THEN LOCAL AUTHORITIES CAN ASSUME

THE THREAT IS PASSED. DANGER TO BOATS AND COASTAL STRUCTURES CAN

CONTINUE FOR SEVERAL HOURS DUE TO RAPID CURRENTS. AS LOCAL

CONDITIONS CAN CAUSE A WIDE VARIATION IN TSUNAMI WAVE ACTION THE

ALL CLEAR DETERMINATION MUST BE MADE BY LOCAL AUTHORITIES.

BULLETINS WILL BE ISSUED HOURLY OR SOONER IF CONDITIONS WARRANT.

THE TSUNAMI WARNING WILL REMAIN IN EFFECT UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE.

THE JAPAN METEOROLOGICAL AGENCY MAY ALSO ISSUE TSUNAMI MESSAGES

FOR THIS EVENT TO COUNTRIES IN THE NORTHWEST PACIFIC AND SOUTH

CHINA SEA REGION. IN CASE OF CONFLICTING INFORMATION… THE

MORE CONSERVATIVE INFORMATION SHOULD BE USED FOR SAFETY.

THE WEST COAST/ALASKA TSUNAMI WARNING CENTER WILL ISSUE PRODUCTS

FOR ALASKA…BRITISH COLUMBIA…WASHINGTON…OREGON…CALIFORNIA.

 

Wake Island

I wonder how Wake Island is getting on?  The highest point on the island is only 20 feet and the wave should be there about now….

Related Posts:

Comments are closed

Top Cat Dies

Strangely post on December 23rd, 2009
Posted in Art Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Arnold Stang Dies

The voice of Top Cat, the excellent cartoon series of my childhood has died at a good old age.

He’s also in one of my favourite bits from the film “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.”  About half-way through the clip below he’s one of the two gas station attendants who witness and barely survive the destruction of the gas station by the truck driver.  I particularly like the phrase,

Hey Ray….   I think we’re gonna have to kill him.

…which we used to recite at school in some bizarre ritual as we’d mentally run through the whole script of the film. (Even now, phrases still pop into my mind from the film, which was under-rated and heavily cut many times probably because they tried to get every single comedy cliché and star of the day into it…)

Related Posts:

Comments are closed

Technical Xenophobic BBC Air Crash Reports

Introduction

You may not have noticed the co-incidence yesterday, but an Iranian aircraft crashed and the US Space Shuttle took off.  the co-incidence was in  the strange reporting that envelops such events.

Iranian Crash

Fly home, AF447

Fly home, AF447

This, as air crashes go, was pretty ordinary – something went wrong, it crashed, everyone died.  You’d expect some reasoned discussion, bearing in mind that one of the most modern and newest planes in the sky plummeted into the South Atlantic little over a month ago.

This is what the BBC said about it near the end of the piece:

The plane was built in Russia in 1987.

It was the third deadly crash of a Tupolev Tu-154 in Iran since 2002.

The BBC’s Jon Leyne says Iran’s civil and military air fleets are made up of elderly aircraft, in poor condition due to their age and lack of maintenance.

Since the Islamic revolution of 1979, trade embargoes by Western nations have forced Iran to buy mainly Russian-built planes to supplement an existing fleet of Boeings and other American and European models.

West v East technology

This is all well and good, but the deadly tone with an emphasis on old and/or Russian aircraft makes a bad taste in the mouth, does it not?…  Why?

A.  Because there’s very little technical difference between the Russian and Western aircraft.

challenger

Challenger

Indeed, on the very day that the Shuttle takes off, I’m reminded of the technical superiority of Russian astronautics and space exploration.  While not putting a man on the moon,  they pragmatically put a robot there instead, paving the way for the robots we now have placed on Mars & Venus, etc.

They have a long and distinguished history of space “firsts”…  But the ultimate irony is that the much vaunted Space Shuttle has had very public catastrophic failures in the past and is soon to be retired.  And until the US gets a new launch vehicle, for the next 4-6 years they will be relying on the Russians to put men in space!

Actual Crashes

So much for balance!  The BBC article then continues in a box-out,

IRANIAN PLANE CRASHES

Feb 2006: Tupolev crashes in Tehran, kills 29 people – E
Dec 2005: C-130 military transport plane crashes near Tehran, kills 110 – W
Feb 2003: Iranian military transport plane crashes in south of country, kills all 276 on board – E
Dec 2002: Antonov 140 commuter plane crashes in central Iran, kills all 46 people on board – E
Feb 2002: Tupolev crashes in west Iran, kills all 199 on board – E

Looks bad doesn’t it?

A Russian airliner that crashed near a city in the Urals, killing all 88 people on board, caught fire in mid-air, reports say.  The Boeing-737-500, belonging to a branch of the national airline Aeroflot, was on a flight from Moscow to Perm, near the Ural mountains.   One witness said the blaze lit up the whole sky

A Russian airliner that crashed near a city in the Urals, killing all 88 people on board, caught fire in mid-air, reports say. The Boeing-737-500, belonging to a branch of the national airline Aeroflot, was on a flight from Moscow to Perm, near the Ural mountains. One witness said the blaze lit up the whole sky

Compare and contrast this to this little list of large plane crashes (from the BBC article, but as a link), and count the relative abundance of Eastern versus Western manufactured planes…..

2009

15 July: A Caspian Airlines Tupolev plane crashes in the north of Iran en route to Armenia. All 168 passengers and crew are reported dead. – E

30 June: A Yemeni passenger plane, an Airbus 310, crashes in the Indian Ocean near the Comoros archipelago. Only one of the 153 people on board survives. – W

1 June: An Air France Airbus 330 travelling from Rio de Janeiro to Paris crashes into the Atlantic with 228 people on board. Search teams later recover some 50 bodies in the ocean. – W

20 May: An Indonesian army C-130 Hercules transport plane crashes into a village on eastern Java, killing at least 97 people. – W

6 April: An Indonesian army Fokker-27 crashes on landing near Bandung, West Java, killing 24 people. – W

25 February: A flight from Istanbul to Amsterdam crashes short of the runway at Schiphol international airport. Of the 135 people on board, nine are killed and at least 50 injured. – W

Forty-nine people were killed when a flight from Newark to Buffalo crashed in Clarence Center, a suburb of Buffalo, in New York state. One person was also killed on the ground.

Forty-nine people were killed when a flight from Newark to Buffalo crashed in Clarence Center, a suburb of Buffalo, in New York state. One person was also killed on the ground.

12 February: A passenger plane crashes into a house in Buffalo, New York, killing all 49 people on board and one person on the ground. – W

8 February: A passenger plane crashes into a river in the Brazilian state of Amazonas, killing 24 people, most of whom were from the same family. – W

2008

14 September: A Boeing-737 crashes on landing near the central Russian city of Perm, killing all 88 passengers and crew members on board. – W

24 August: A passenger plane crashes shortly after take-off from Kyrgyzstan’s capital, Bishkek, killing 68 people.- W

20 August: A Spanair plane veers off the runway on take-off at Madrid’s Barajas airport, killing 154 people and injuring 18.- W

Wreckage of the Spanair MD82, 21 August 2008 [Pic: EFE]

Three days of mourning was declared after the Madrid air disaster

2 May: South Sudan’s defence minister is among 22 people killed after engine trouble causes a plane carrying a military delegation to crash about 400km (250 miles) west of Juba. -N/A

15 April: Some 40 people die when a DC-9 skids off the runway while attempting to take off in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo city of Goma during heavy rain, smashing through a wall and into a busy residential area.- W

24 January: Nineteen people die when a Polish Casa C-295M military transport plane crashes in the country’s north-west, carrying officials who had attended an air safety conference.- W

Conclusion

For 2008 to 2009, I make the totals, as reported by the BBC, 1 unknown, 12 (W)estern manufacture, 1 (E)astern manufacture.

Now do you see the technological xenophobia that I’m talking about?

Related Posts:

Comments are closed

Copenhagen Congress on Climate Change

In this stark summary from a meeting of 2.5k scientists from across the globe, we find that not only is anthropomorphic climate change real, not only is it getting worse, but also, within the error margins for the ‘hockey stick‘ predictions of only a few years back, recent measurements put the actual effects at the top of the predicted range!

Kongres Logo

Copenhagen, Denmark: Following a successful International Scientific Congress Climate Change: Global Risks, Challenges & Decisions

Many years ago I read a book (actually in a few volumes) by the late climatologist from East Anglia, H.H.Lamb called Climate Present Past and Future (ISBN 0-06-473881-7).  It’s extremely hard to get hold of now, but I recall that nearly everything Professor Lamb wrote is now coming true.

Many of the scientific concepts he wrote about are being used in the so-called ‘climate debate’ between various vested interests.  Check out the apologists for freedom at The Heartland Institute (you can’t make it up, can you?) or Climate Change Fraud (who change their hyperlinks regularly to avoid comebacks).  Several lone souls tackle these monsters of misleading fact-providers, such as Greenfyre’s and the Ecogeek.

The amount of cloud cover and water vapour is always a good red herring for the deniers.  As Prof. Lamb pointed out 30 years ago and is perfectly obvious to any observer, clouds are both insulators and reflectors of heat.  It just depends where they are, if it’s night or day, and where you, the observer are!  For instance:

  • cold day, -> clouds move in and night falls = cold night as cold trapped at ground level
  • cold day, -> no clouds at night = even colder night as heat radiates out to space
  • cold night, -> cloudy day = cold day as cold trapped under clouds and sun’s heat is reflected back to space
  • cold night, -> sunny day = warm day as sun warms earth’s surface

These temps are all relative, of course.  But throw in a bit of dirt into the clouds or let dirt fall on snow (another good reflector and insulator) and the picture changes because dark clouds and snow absorb more heat.  What is clear is that cloud and snow cover, like continuous volcanic eruptions, and like CO2 and CH4, are critical positive feedback agents.  Like trying to slowly push a light switch to stop in the middle, eventually all the slow forcing you do makes it flip to it’s other stable state.

Any worldary wobbling that the deniers use is also a red herring.  The wobble cycles tie in with ice-ages as Professor Lamb pointed out.  We’ve at least 20k years until the next one.  Bothered?  No.  Thought not.

The fact is that there are many scenarios for cloud behaviour and it’s influence – the climate change deniers just tend to use one (like the wobbles) as the basis of their arguments.  But even back in 1977, Professor Lamb’s models basically predicted the climate forcing we are witnessing now although at the time, a swing in the other direction looked possible.

But now we do know!

A recent exploration to the Arctic has been forced back because there’s no safe ice to walk on!  Coral is dying.  Floral and faunal species are being made extinct at an E.L.E. rate.  Make no mistake, it’s our fault and if we don’t pay now we or our children will pay in the future.  We need land and food to live on, not equities and price to earnings ratios.  A week of reduced fuel supplies in the UK and Europe and the continuing travails of African economic migrants revealed a tiny window on our probable future as billions, globally, seek somewhere to live and breed.  A few street riots will be the least of everyone’s worries.

I just wish that the OCO spacecraft had made it

Related Posts:

© 2007-2017 Strangely Perfect All Rights Reserved -- Copyright notice by me