Web tool- How Many People are in Space?

Here is an interesting website: http://www.howmanypeopleareinspacerightnow.com/

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The Sentinelese- perhaps the most isolated people in the world!

sentinel-island
Sentinelese on the beach of North Sentinel Island fiercely defend heir home.

North Sentinel Island is in the Bay of Bengal, in the waters east of India. The Sentinelese inhabit the island and have an estimated population of anywhere from 50-500.  They are aggressively defensive of their island and fend off visitors with arrows and stones and have even killed to keep visitors away from their home.  After multiple failed attempts to communicate with the Sentinelese, the Indian Government has declared North Sentinel Island off -limits and has imposed a 3 mile no-trespassing boundary around the island.

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North Sentinel Island,- The Indian government has officially closed the island and made it illegal for anyone to visit – It is dangerous to outsiders trying to make contact and potentially devastating to the Sentinelese- who have no immunities to diseases such as smallpox, measles, and influenza.

 

A few days after the devastating tsunami in 2004, which killed more than 200, 000 and wiped out nearby islands, the Indian Government sent a helicopter to the island to

In 1981, the ship Primrose ran aground on the coral reef, which surrounds North Sentinel Island.  A few days later, the crew noticed “small black men” carrying spears and arrows and building boats on the beach.  Sensing imminent danger the captain radioed for Sentinelese could reach them.  The tribe used scrap metal from the abandoned boat to build weapons and tools

dRRuzug
Sentinelese chasing potential visitors away1

In 2007,  two fishermen fell asleep in their boat, anchored with a rock tied to a rope.  The anchor failed and the boat drifted near the island and inside the coral reef.   The Sentinelese promptly killed the men andburried them in shallow graves, giving others a grim warning sign to stay away from North Sentinel Island or risk death!

The dense forest canopy makes it impossible to get an accurate count of the tribe.

The Sentinelese survived the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and its after-effects, including the tsunami and the uplifting of the island. Three days after the event, an Indian government helicopter observed several of them, who shot arrows and threw stones at the hovering aircraft.  Although the tsunami disturbed the fishing grounds of the Sentinelese, they appear to have adapted.

Since 1947, India has administered the island as part of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands Union Territory.  However, because there has never been any treaty with the people of the island, nor any record of a physical occupation whereby the people of the island have conceded sovereignty, the island exists in a curious state of limbo under established international law and can be seen as a sovereign entity under Indian protection. It is, therefore, one of the de facto autonomous regions of India.

image37
Sentinelese trying to repel a helicopter with bows and arrows. (/the are quite accurate and deadly up to 30 ft)

The Andaman and Nicobar Administration has stated in 2005 that they have no intention to interfere with the lifestyle or habitat of the Sentinelese and are not interested in pursuing any further contact with them.   Wikipedia- North_Sentinel_Island

After the 2004 tsunami showed the dangerous tribal species, the world was still unaware of them: http://therednews.com/News/1913/indian-sentinel-island-where-untouched-human-living

North_Sentinel_Island
The canopy of vegetation covers almost everything on North Sentinel Island, even when looking at the island from satellite view, making it difficult to get an accurate count of people living on the island or seeing how they live.

 

Tracking and Mapping Space Junk

More than 500,000 pieces of debris, or “space junk,” are tracked as they orbit the Earth. They all travel at speeds up to 17,500 mph, fast enough for a relatively small piece of orbital debris to damage a satellite or a spacecraft.

In the 50-plus years that humans have been zipping through space more than 6,000 satellites have been launched. While some have made their way back down to Earth, more than 3,600 remain in orbit.

 

  • It’s estimated that between 100 and 150 tons of space junk re-enters our atmosphere each year — with the vast majority of it burning up before it hits the ground.
  • Scientists are looking to develop methods of removing some of the space junk that’s currently in orbit.
  • Some worry that if we don’t act fast enough, the Kessler syndrome will be observed. This would occur if space debris continues to pile up, eventually reaching the point where it would be impossible to launch new objects without creating a collision.

SourceInteractive map shows how much space junk is flying around Earth

Stuff in Space

Stuff in Space.- Key-Legent

Stuff in Space
Stuff in Space is a realtime 3D map of objects in Earth orbit, visualized using WebGL. (Shown above)

The website updates daily with orbit data from Space-Track.org and uses the excellent satellite.js Javascript library to calculate satellite positions.

Stuff in Space on GitHub, by James Yoder.: https://github.com/jeyoder/ThingsInSpace

The US. department of Defense maintains an accurate log of all the objects in the Earth’s orbit that are larger than a softball — and if you’d like to get an idea of what all that might look like, you can — via an interactive map called Orbital Objects.  http://www.alexras.info/code/orbital_objects/

The rising population of space debris increases the potential danger to all space vehicles, but especially to the International Space Station, space shuttles and other spacecraft with humans aboard.

NASA takes the threat of collisions with space debris seriously and has a long-standing set of guidelines on how to deal with each potential collision threat. These guidelines, part of a larger body of decision-making aids known as flight rules, specify when the expected proximity of a piece of debris increases the probability of a collision enough that evasive action or other precautions to ensure the safety of the crew are needed.

Space debris encompasses both natural (meteoroid) and artificial (man-made) particles. Meteoroids are in orbit about the sun, while most artificial debris is in orbit about the Earth. Hence, the latter is more commonly referred to as orbital debris.

Orbital debris is any man-made object in orbit about the Earth which no longer serves a useful function. Such debris includes nonfunctional spacecraft, abandoned launch vehicle stages, mission-related debris and fragmentation debris.

There are more than 20,000 pieces of debris larger than a softball orbiting the Earth. They travel at speeds up to 17,500 mph, fast enough for a relatively small piece of orbital debris to damage a satellite or a spacecraft. There are 500,000 pieces of debris the size of a marble or larger. There are many millions of pieces of debris that are so small they can’t be tracked.

Continue reading Tracking and Mapping Space Junk

Google Converter Tool

Click on graphic above for acutal tool.  You can also use link included below this image.
Click on graphic above for acutal tool. You can also use link included below this image.

Use this tool to make easy conversions. Link:  Conversion Tool  You can change the cateogories, then select variables for the units of measurement for each category.

Click “More Info” (Green arrow in above image) for this link: Calculator and unit converter

China Successfully Launches Rover Mission!

China has launched a lunar rover, only the third country to do so after the United States and the Soviet Union.  The rover, named Jade Rabbit (called Yutu in Chinese) is solar-powered, has 6 wheels and four cameras.  It also has mechanical arms that can dig soil samples up to 30 meters deep.  It can travel up to 200 meters per hour and weighs 120 kg.

Yatu’s mission is to explore the moon’s surface and look for natural resources.  The rover was able to send photos of itself back to Earth.  A rover “selfie.”  Link

China's lunar rover, Yatu
China’s lunar rover, Yatu

 

200,000 would like to live on Mars!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n4tgkyUBkbY

If you have ambitions of being one of the first people on Mars, listen up: A Dutch company says it is moving along with its plan to send four lucky Earthlings to colonize the Red Planet. The catch: They won’t ever come back.

The Mars One foundation announced Tuesday that it has secured lead suppliers for an unmanned mission launching in 2018, which involves a robotic lander and a communications satellite. Lockheed Martin has been contracted to study building the lander, and Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd. will develop a concept study for the satellite, Mars One said.
This first mission will demonstrate technology that would be involved in a permanent human settlement on Mars. If all goes well — and that’s still very much an “if” — the first pioneers could land on Mars in 2025.
Enthusiasm has been growing since the project’s first big announcement in April.

  • More than 200,000 people have signed up to be prospective astronauts, Mars One CEO Bas Lansdorp said in Washington on Tuesday.

Apparently, they’re OK with living out the rest of their lives on Mars.

  • The technology for a return flight doesn’t exist
  • There’s no Kennedy Space Center launch pad over there
  • Having a one-way trip greatly reduces costs, the company has said.

http://www.cnn.com/2013/12/10/tech/innovation/mars-one-plan/index.html?iid=article_sidebar

Outside In

Get ready for an amazing IMAX film!

Stephen Van Vuuren is a self-described musician, photographer, ubergeek and filmmaker whose diverse background includes growing up in Johannesburg, South Africa and Knoxville, Tennessee. Like most filmmaker’s, Van Vuuren has a current film project, but the movie he wants to make is a bit unique. He wants to personally take hundreds of thousands of still photographs from NASA‘s Cassini-Huygens Mission and turn them into an animated IMAX film. The film called Outside In has been profiled previously, but a recent posting about Van Vuuren and his movie on io9.com has giving his project new life since his video with scenes from the movie have gone viral. More on Geek.com

Future? Sight

Sight is a short futuristic film, which may not be that far-fetched.

In fact, Google Glass has many similarities to what is shown in Sight.

Google Glass   What It Does

2012- Year in Review

Google Zeitgeist 2012- Year in Review- What did the world search for?

The Zeitgeist- (spirit of the age or spirit of the time) is the intellectual fashion or dominant school of thought which typifies and influences the culture of a particular period in time. For example, the Zeitgeist of modernism  typified and influenced architecture, art, and fashion during much of the 20th century.

www.google.com/zeitgeist/  1.2 trillion searches. 146 languages. See what the world searched for.

Google’s revealed its annual list of the year’s top searches, with the death of Whitney Houston gleaning more requests than even the Gangnam Style juggernaut and site powering over 1.2 trillion searches. One Direction topped the most searched image category, while events like Hurricane Sandy and the Olympics made an impact both in the primary top ten and the people we searched for. The top searched-for gadgets saw a conspicuous absence of the iPhone 5, likely due to its launch in the second half of the year. The new iPad (well, iPad 3) claiming first place, followed by Samsung’s Galaxy S III. We’ve included Google‘s obligatory uplifting video after the break, if you’ve already started to forget what happened this year.

Top 10 Global Searches

  1. Whitney Houston
  2. Gangnam Style
  3. Hurricane Sandy
  4. iPad 3
  5. Diablo 3
  6. Kate Middleton
  7. Olympics 2012
  8. Amanda Todd
  9. Michael Clarke Duncan
  10. BBB12

These were the top 10 news stories, according to the Associated Press:  Click HERE

USA today’s top stories:  HERE

Reuters 2012- Year in Review: HERE

Giant wind-blown ball rolls around and detonates landmines

Another fascinating example of human ingenuity!   A childhood toy inspires a wind-powered minesweeper that could help clear the millions of active landmines buried around the globe.  CNET article HERE

Video (Yahoo!) showing the Mine Kafton in action:  HERE 

Another cool video: http://vimeo.com/51149501

Check it out at:  www.massoudhassani.com

NASA Curiosity

The Rover Curiosity carries the most advanced scientific gear ever used on Mars.

Curiosity to land on Mars.  Article: click here

Although at first glance the mission seems a lot like the others, it is bigger and more complex than ever.  Are Americans even aware that this spacecraft is hurtling toward Mars and about to land and explore our neighboring planet?   Or does the public need new territory as opposed to advancing science and studying a place we have already visited?  Do Americans feel threatened by the new competition from Europe and China?  Is it a blow to national pride that we rely solely on the Russian Soyuz spacecraft to shuttle humans and much of the supplies to the International Space Station and back?   I remember the Viking missions of the 1970s, then the Pathfinder in 1996 and the Odyssey in 2001. (although I did have to look up the years of those missions)  The Soviet Union was actually the first to send a ship to the planet, which crashed in 1960 and Japan and the European Union have also done some exploring, and now the Chinese are also giving it a go.

Spacecraft to Mars:  http://starryskies.com/solar_system/mars/spacecraft.html

Curiosity is bigger and better, but is it exciting for the average American?  One big problem facing NASA is where else do we go and explore?  The immense distances just in our own solar system are mind boggling and tough to even comprehend.  We have many amazing minds working on these missions and we continue to learn and improve technology.

Hubble Space Telescope- In my opinion,the Hubble Space Telescope is one of the best things we have done is space and Ultra Deep Field is some good proof of how important it has been to broaden our horizons.  The image was the deepest image ever taken by humans, was taken in a dark portion of the sky, and looked back some 13 billion years.

About Ultra Deep Field-  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hubble_Ultra-Deep_Field

The image was taken from an area equal to roughly one thirteen-millionth of the total area of the sky.  Still, over 10,000 galaxies were identified.  This could well be one of the biggest human achievements in history.

The Image- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Hubble_ultra_deep_field_high_rez_edit1.jpg

Back to Curiosity- “… the space agency is tempting fate with a novel approach that involves a big parachute, a specially designed winch, and some very high hopes.”   http://news.cnet.com/8301-11386_3-57485016-76/how-nasa-tests-an-against-all-odds-mars-rover-landing/

Some facts on Curiosity:

  •  Mars Science Laboratory rover cost $2.5 billion
  •  Curiosity is a two-year mission.
  • For the first 90 days of the mission, controllers will work together as if each day were 24 hours and 40 minutes long — the approximate length of a Martian day.
  • Curiosity rover is big as a car, and contains a nuclear reactor for power. Its landing mechanism, the “sky crane,” represents a new way of delivering a payload onto the Martian surface. For the first time, this rover possesses a laser with which to vaporize rock and conduct experiments.  Link:  Click Here

Excellent website from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory: http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/

NASA continues to dazzle, amaze and spark our Curiosity!

NASA/ISS Photographs of Earth – Where in the World Quiz

Where is this?
Example picture from quiz

Where in the World Quiz. (Very interesting and fun)  http://eol.jsc.nasa.gov/quiz/quiz.pl?

Advance to next picture by clicking “Click to Refresh” near top of page.  This took me awhile to figure out.

The Gateway to Astronaut Photographs: This is a great link for any one who has a passion for geography, space, etc… http://eol.jsc.nasa.gov/

This is a video of the International Space Station flyover of Aurora Australis (Southern Lights)  http://eol.jsc.nasa.gov/Videos/CrewEarthObservationsVideos/#issborealis_iss_20120423

Earth Observatory: http://eol.jsc.nasa.gov/Coll/EarthObservatory/PostedSort.htm

Photos by map search:  http://eol.jsc.nasa.gov/sseop/clickmap/

Cities of the World:  http://eol.jsc.nasa.gov/cities/

Pictured above: Puget Sound, WA, USA. Seattle is near center.

Smoking Humpy (pink) Salmon

Late August and early September in PNW

Walked down an alley in Everett, WA and smoke was pouring out of this little, wooden shack.  A wooden sign on it said “Smoke house.”  Every other year, the Pink Salmon (Humpy) runs are incredible in the Pacific Northwest, as the fish head back to their birthplace to spawn and keep the cycle going.  Some get caught along the way, cleaned, and hung in cool little shacks like this to be cured with smoke, a tasty way to preserve and enjoy the fish!

GPS, London Cabbies, and Brain Swelling

Are GPS navigational devices damaging our sense of direction?

http://www.theweek.com/article/index/102501/The_last_word_This_is_your_brain_on_GPS

London cabbies must take a test called “The Knowledge” which requires them to memorize 25,000 streets and thousands of landmarks.  Here is a link to the Knowledge; http://www.the-knowledge.org.uk/main/

Apparently, the back part of the hippocampus in the brains of cabbies is enlarged compared with brains of the average person.    However, the front part of the hippocampus shrinks.

Drinking Urine in Space

A big accomplishment aboard the International Space Station, astronauts are drinking recycled urnine.

Very Dangerous Shuttle Mission to fix Hubble

Shuttle
Shuttle
NASA Website: http://www.nasa.gov/
This mission will fix the ailing Hubble Telescope, one of the best NASA projects.  The mission is amazing, as Hubble is in an orbit which is full of space junk. 

Meteorite Information

Amazing!  Hammer stones are meteorites that have hit man-made objects, which increases their value.

Great NPR story on meteorites

Awhile back, in the 90’s, a family in suburban Seattle had what they thought was a meteorite crash through their roof and land in their living room.  It was green and started melting before authorities could arrive.  Turns out it was a backed up toilet, leaking sewage on the outside of an  airliner descending into Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.  As the mass warmed up, it started to emit a foul smell.  These folks thought they had a hammer-stone meteorite, but actually had a chunk of frozen, jetliner, toilet water.  But hey, we are still talking about them! 

Article on the situation

More on the frozen poop

Eagle Cam

This is a streaming video camera of a family of Bald Eagles in a nest, in Sydney, BC, Vancouver Island, Canada.

There is a pair of eagles and a baby in the nest.  Sometimes you can see them feeding the baby.

http://www.hancockwildlifechannel.org/staticpages/index.php/20090302200021473

Conserve Engergy?

In 1971 a search for gas went wrong when a whole drilling rig fell into an underground cavern. Natural gas started coming up from the hole. It was set alight so it wouldn’t kill everything around. For 35 years now the flames keep burning providing an spectacular seen for tourists. At night the burning gas makes the crater seen from miles away. The crater is located in Turkmenistan in the heart of the Karakum desert. The crater is called Darvaza or The Burning Gates.

In 1971 a search for gas went wrong when a whole drilling rig fell into an underground cavern. Natural gas started coming up from the hole. It was set alight so it wouldn’t kill everything around. For 35 years now the flames keep burning providing an spectacular seen for tourists. At night the burning gas makes the crater seen from miles away. The crater is located in Turkmenistan in the heart of the Karakum desert. The crater is called Darvaza or The Burning Gates.

More on the scary, recent, tectonic events in Yellowstone.

Maybe we shouldn’t worry about the market, and cash in the 401 K’s.  If this thing goes off, things could change in a hurry:

http://www.usnews.com/blogs/capital-commerce/2009/1/3/earthquakes-at-yellowstone-supervolcano-update.html