Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Apollo 12 Color TV Camera Developer Dies at 89


http://www.ninfinger.org/karld/My%20Space%20Museum/a12cam1b.jpg
Pre-flight photograph of the color television camera used on the Moon during the mission of Apollo 12. This camera was developed by Westinghouse engineer James Justice, who passed-away this month. (Image Source: http://www.ninfinger.org/karld/My%20Space%20Museum/apollocams.htm#A12%20&%2014%20Color )

By Glenn A. Walsh
Reporting for SpaceWatchtower

James W. H. Justice, who developed and designed the circuitry for the first color television camera used in space and on the Moon, passed-away on May 13 of cancer at age 89.

Mr. Justice was the second Westinghouse Electric Company engineer, who developed television technology for NASA's Project Apollo, to die within the last three months. Physicist Ernest Sternglass, who was instrumental in development of the television camera (black-and-white camera) which showed the first astronauts walking on the Moon during the mission of Apollo 11, died at age 91 on February 12. (Link to blog post obituary of Mr. Sternglass at the end of this blog post.)

The color television camera developed by Mr. Justice was first used in the Command Module during the Apollo 10 mission, the Moon landing “dress rehearsal” when the astronauts did everything except land on the Moon. During this mission, the Lunar Excursion Module (LEM) separated from the Command Module, while in lunar orbit, and came within 8.4 nautical miles / 15.6 kilometers of the lunar surface.

Apollo 12 was the first mission when this Westinghouse color television camera was used on the lunar surface. The camera worked well until there was an accident. About 42 minutes into the first Extra Vehicular Activity (EVA) on the Moon's surface by astronauts Alan Bean and Pete Conrad, Alan Bean inadvertently pointed the camera at the Sun, while preparing to place the camera on a tripod. The extreme brightness of the Sun burned-out the video pick-up tube rendering the camera unusable. When the camera was returned to Westinghouse's research labs in Pittsburgh, scientists were able to get an image on the section of the tube that had not been damaged. NASA instituted revised procedures, including the addition of a lens cap, to ensure this incident would not be repeated.

The Westinghouse color television camera was successfully used on the Moon during the Apollo 14 mission, although the camera's automatic gain control (AGC) led to problems of proper exposure during high contrast light situations. For the remainder of Project Apollo, the Westinghouse camera was used only in the Command Module, while a newer RCA color television camera was used during Moon walks. The Westinghouse camera was also used throughout the 1970s during all three Skylab missions, as well as the Apollo—Soyuz Test Project.

The 1969 Emmy Awards for Outstanding Achievement in Technical / Engineering Development were awarded by the National Academy of Arts and Sciences to NASA for the conceptual aspects of the Apollo color television camera and to Westinghouse for development of the camera.

Mr. Justice considered the development of the Westinghouse color television camera for the Apollo missions as the proudest achievement of his life. Westinghouse's 1969 Annual Report said that Mr. Justice was responsible for both the systems design of the Westinghouse color television system for outer space, as well as designing the circuitry and electronics for the screw-in fluorescent lamp.

On an Internet web page and in an hour-long video archived at a special legacy project web site, Mr. Justice describes how NASA asked not just for a color television camera for space, but the camera also had to transmit in color on a limited bandwidth and be accessible for normal, analog television reception in people's homes. (Link to web page and hour-long video near end of this blog post.)

Mr. Justice was a prolific inventor, and by 1969 he had already accumulated 22 patents. Interestingly, at one point General Electric (GE) was shocked to learn that one of their new color television developments (multiple programs transmitted over a single television channel) had already been invented by Mr. Justice ten years earlier! GE had to stop production because Mr. Justice owned the patent for the process.

Mr. Justice was born in England on 1925 June 2. He served as a navigator in a bomber command of the Royal Air Force during World War II. Mr. Justice attended St. John's College at Cambridge University and also North London Polytechnic.

When recruited by Westinghouse for the company's Research and Development Center in the Pittsburgh suburb of Churchill, he traveled from London with his wife and three children aboard the Queen Mary. He retired in 1987.

James Justice Collective Legacy Project Internet Web Page and Hour-Long Video:
Link >>> http://www.collectivelegacyproject.com/james-justice/

Obituaries ---
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:
Link >>> http://www.post-gazette.com/news/obituaries/2015/05/17/Obituary-James-W-H-Justice-Westinghouse-engineer-whose-designs-included-first-color-camera-on-the-moon/stories/201505170154
Legacy.com:
Link >>> http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/postgazette/obituary.aspx?n=james-w-h-justice&pid=174864301&fhid=9737

More on Project Apollo Television Cameras:
Link 1 >>> http://www.ninfinger.org/karld/My%20Space%20Museum/apollocams.htm
Link 2 >>> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apollo_TV_camera

More on Apollo 12: Link >>> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apollo_12

Related Blog Post ---

Apollo 11 TV Camera Developer Dies at 91  (2015 Feb. 23):

Link >>> http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2015/02/apollo-11-tv-camera-developer-dies-at-91.html

 

Source: Glenn A. Walsh Reporting for SpaceWatchtower, a project of Friends of the Zeiss.

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Wednesday, May 20, 2015

140 Years of International Time

14PML013_f2_jefferts_heavner_LR
The newest "Cesium Fountain" Atomic Clock, which
established a new civilian time standard for the United
States last year.
(Image Source: National Institute of Standards and Technology,
U.S. Department of Commerce)

By Glenn A. Walsh
Reporting for SpaceWatchtower

International coordination of time is now 140 years old.

One hundred, forty years ago today (May 20), a treaty among 17 nations (of 20 nations considering the proposal), including the United States, was signed forming the International Bureau of Weights and Measures. Officially known by its French name, Bureau International des Poids et Mesures (BIPM), the Bureau was established to maintain the International System of Units (SI) under the terms of the Convention du Metre or Metric Convention. As of August of 2008, 51 nations have signed the Metric Convention.

In America, time and measurement standards are maintained by the National Institute of Standards of Technology. From 1830 until 1901, weights and measures had been maintained by the Office of Standard Weights and Measures in the U.S. Department of the Treasury. In 1901, these responsibilities were transferred to the U.S. Department of Commerce and enhanced with the creation of the National Bureau of Standards.

With the passage of Public Law 100-418, the National Bureau of Standards became the National Institute of Standards and Technology on 1988 August 23. Many employees were quite disappointed that the National Bureau of Standards name, which was considered the gold-standard for the standards of weights, measures, and time world-wide, would be discarded. However, the U.S. Congress determined that the agency should take greater responsibility in improving American industrial competitiveness throughout the world and needed a new name to highlight the agency's new responsibilities.

One of the major responsibilities of the International Bureau of Weights and Measures is to maintain accurate, world-wide time-of-day. An official Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) is established after the Bureau collects, analyzes, and averages the atomic time measured and calculated by atomic clocks in laboratories around the world, from nations who are signatories to the Metric Convention.

This precise time standard and accurate time synchronization are essential in our modern world. Global navigation satellite systems rely on precise time for communication systems of all kinds from satellites to cellular telephones, electrical power grid synchronization, financial transactions, and scientific applications. Of course, this includes GPS systems used by millions of people world-wide.

Astronomy has always had a need for precise time. Astronomers were the first to establish methods, using the stars, to calculate exact time, using special telescopes called transit telescopes.

In fact, beginning in 1869, Pittsburgh's Allegheny Observatory, under Director Samuel Pierpont Langley (who would go on to become the third Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, then considered the nation's greatest scientific appointment), sold precise time to the railroads and cities. This is considered the first regular and systematic system of time distribution, using the telegraph. This precise time was derived from the Allegheny Observatory's transit telescope and the proceeds were used to fund Observatory operations and research.

This led to “Railroad Time” in 1883, which included the first five time zones in North America. The railroads voluntarily established these time zones, to avoid government action. The 1918 Standard Time Act brought these time zones into Federal law.

More on the International Bureau of Weights and Measures ---
Link 1 >>> http://www.bipm.org/en/about-us/
Link 2 >>> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Bureau_of_Weights_and_Measures

More on Standard Time ---
Link 1 >>> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Standard_time
Link 2 (History in North America) >>> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Standard_time#North_America

More on the National Institute of Standards and Technology, U.S. Department of Commerce ---
Link 1 >>> http://nist.gov/
Link 2 >>> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Institute_of_Standards_and_Technology

More on Radio Stations Broadcasting International Time ---
Voice Announcements -
WWV (SW), Fort Collins CO: Link >>> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WWV_%28radio_station%29
WWVH (SW), Kekaha HI: Link >>> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WWVH
CHU (SW), Ottawa, ON Canada: Link >>> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CHU_%28radio_station%29
Broadcast for Radio-Controlled Clocks -
WWVB (LW), Fort Collins CO: Link >>> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WWVB

More on the Allegheny Observatory:
Link >>> http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2012/08/centennial-new-allegheny-observatory.html

More on Samuel Pierpont Langley: Link >>> http://johnbrashear.tripod.com/bio/LangleySP.htm

Related Blog Posts ---

New Laser System Could Provide Mini Atomic Clocks (2014 Nov. 15):

Link >>> http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2014/11/new-laser-system-could-provide-mini.html


New U.S. Atomic Clock World's Most Accurate  (2014 April 26):

Link >>> http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2014/04/new-us-atomic-clock-worlds-most-accurate.html


Even More Accurate Atomic Clock  (2014 Jan. 27):

Link >>> http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2014/01/even-more-accurate-atomic-clock.html


Laser Pulses Create More Accurate Atomic Clocks  (2013 June 21):

Link >>> http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2013/06/laser-pulses-create-more-accurate.html 

 

Centennial: New Allegheny Observatory Dedication  (2012 Aug. 28):

Link >>> http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2012/08/centennial-new-allegheny-observatory.html


Source: Glenn A. Walsh Reporting for SpaceWatchtower, a project of Friends of the Zeiss.

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Glenn A. Walsh, Project Director,
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Electronic Mail - < gawalsh@planetarium.cc >
SpaceWatchtower Blog: < http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/ >
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Monday, May 18, 2015

Small Tribal College 'Space Center' Gets NASA's Attention

Christian Cultee, a student at the Northwest Indian College, with a rocket that broke the sound barrier.
Christian Cultee, a student at the Northwest Indian College, with a rocket that broke the sound barrier. (Image Sources: KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols)

By Joshua McNichols

The students at Northwest Indian College on the Lummi Reservation near Bellingham, Washington were launching little rockets made from recycled water bottles as a way to do some hands-on science.

Computer science teacher Gary Brandt says calling it a “space center” was just something one of the students came up with.

“And he said, ‘I called us the Northwest Indian College Space Center,'” Brandt said. “I was kind of dumbfounded, basically. And I said, 'OK, let’s do that. That’s kind of grandiose. Let’s really play it up.’”

The joke was funny because this was just a tiny, two-year college, with no engineering program. Getting into space was the last thing on the minds of these students; they were just trying to escape poverty. Next thing they knew, NASA was calling them up.

Not long after their first real rocket launch, Brandt got a phone call – from NASA.

“She introduced herself and said, ‘I didn’t know you were big enough to have a space center,’” he said. “And I, of course, choked and chortled and told her the story of what happened. And she said, ‘Be that as it may, you are doing what we want, and that’s to get underrepresented students involved in science, technology, engineering and math programs.’”

NASA would give them $5,000 a year for three years. It was enough to get them to take themselves seriously.

More - Link >>> http://kuow.org/post/why-nasa-called-northwest-indian-college-space-center

YouTube Video - Northwest Indian College Space Center 2010 Rocket Launch:
Link >>> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6C3fG91vBqw#t=234

Special Thanks: Steven Russo, Director East Kentucky Science Center & Planetarium.

Source: KUOW Radio, University of Washington.

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Glenn A. Walsh, Project Director,
Friends of the Zeiss < http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/fotz/ >
Electronic Mail - < gawalsh@planetarium.cc >
SpaceWatchtower Blog: < http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/ >
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Saturday, May 16, 2015

New Magnetic Field Shielding for Precision Experiments


An international team of physicists has developed a shielding that dampens low frequency magnetic fields more than a million-fold. Using this mechanism, they have created a space that boasts the weakest magnetic field of our solar system. The physicists now intend to carry out precision experiments there. Credit  Astrid Eckert / TUM Usage Restrictions  None
An international team of physicists has developed a shielding that dampens low frequency magnetic fields more than a million-fold. Using this mechanism, they have created a space that boasts the weakest magnetic field of our solar system. The physicists now intend to carry out precision experiments there.
(Image Source: Astrid Eckert / TUM Usage Restrictions None)
Magnetic fields easily penetrate matter. Creating a space practically devoid of magnetic fields thus presents a great challenge. An international team of physicists has now developed a shielding that dampens low frequency magnetic fields more than a million-fold. Using this mechanism, they have created a space that boasts the weakest magnetic field of our solar system. The physicists now intend to carry out precision experiments there.

Magnetic fields exist everywhere in the universe. Here on the Earth, we are permanently exposed to both natural and artificial magnetic fields. In Central Europe the Earth's ever-present magnetic field measures 48 microtesla. On top of this come local magnetic fields generated by transformers, motors, cranes, metal doors and the like.

A group of physicists headed by Professor Peter Fierlinger, physicist at the Technische Universit√§t M√ľnchen (TUM) and researcher of the Cluster of Excellence "Origin and Structure of the Universe" have now successfully created 4.1 cubic meter space at the Garching research campus in which permanent and temporally variable magnetic fields are reduced over a million-fold.

This is accomplished using a magnetic shielding comprising various layers of a highly magentizable alloy. The ensuing magnetic attenuation results in a residual magnetic field inside the shield that is even smaller than that in the depths of our solar system. The approach improves the attenuation of previous set-ups more than ten-fold.

Reducing electromagnetic noise is a key prerequisite for many high-precision experiments in physics - but also in biology and medicine. In fundamental physics, the highest degree of magnetic shielding is essential when making precision measurements of miniscule effects in phenomena that drove the early development of our universe.

More - Link >>> http://www.ecnmag.com/news/2015/05/weakest-magnetic-field-solar-system

Sources: Technische Universitaet Muenchen, ECN Magazine.

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Tuesday, May 12, 2015

New Book on Our Future in Outer Space

Astronomer Chris Impey examines the possibilities of the universe in his new book Beyond. "I like the idea that the universe — the boundless possibility of 20 billion habitable worlds — has led to things that we can barely imagine," he says. In the 1970s, NASA Ames conducted several space colony studies, commissioning renderings of the giant spacecraft which could house entire cities.
Astronomer Chris Impey examines the possibilities of the universe in his new book Beyond. He was interviewed on National Public Radio's "Fresh Air," on May 11.
(Image Source: Rick Guidice / NASA Ames Research Center )

The possibility of humans colonizing outer space may seem like the stuff of science fiction, but British astronomer Chris Impey says that if the U.S. were pumping more money into the space program, the sci-fi fantasy would be well on its way to reality.
 
Astronomer Chris Impey is a professor at the University of Arizona. He was interviewed by Terry Gross on "Fresh Air" on Monday (May 11), broadcast by National Public Radio.
 
"I think we might actually be living on the moon and Mars," Impey tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "Maybe not many of us, but we might have our first bases there. We'd have robust commercial space activity or people routinely in orbit. America wouldn't have had a hiatus of four years and counting when we couldn't get astronauts into space. It would be probably quite different."

Impey says the possibility of humans living in space is very real. And if — or when — it happens, the space settlers will face conditions that may cause them to become an entirely new species.

"They'll evolve physiologically quite quickly, because if the gravity is less — as it would be on Mars or the moon — then they will change," Impey says. "Their physical bodies will change even while they're alive. And then if they have children and grandchildren — then they'll change even more."

Impey is a faculty member at the University of Arizona and the author of Beyond: Our Future in Space. In his previous book, Humble Before the Void, Impey recounted his journey to Northern India to teach a program designed to introduce science into the Tibetan Buddhist monastic tradition.

More & Radio Interview Highlights:
Link >>> http://www.npr.org/2015/05/11/405503895/the-great-beyond-contemplating-life-sex-and-elevators-in-space

Excerpt from Professor Impey's book, Beyond: Our Future in Space:
Link >>> http://www.npr.org/books/titles/405503900/beyond-our-future-in-space?tab=excerpt#excerpt

Source: National Public Radio.

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Glenn A. Walsh, Project Director,
Friends of the Zeiss < http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/fotz/ >
Electronic Mail - < gawalsh@planetarium.cc >
SpaceWatchtower Blog: < http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/ >
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Sunday, May 10, 2015

Ana Earliest Tropical Storm Since 2003 Ana


From Earth orbit, the NOAA GOES satellite shows Sub-tropical Storm Ana, located about 170 miles (275 kms) south-southeast of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, seen in an image taken at 7:15 a.m. EDT  / 11:15 UTC 2015 May 8. (Image Sources: Reuters, NOAA / NWS)

By Harriet McLeod

Winds from Tropical Storm Ana, the first named storm of the 2015 Atlantic hurricane season, picked up onshore in the Carolinas on Saturday and beachgoers were warned of expected dangerous rip currents and heavy rain.

Ana was moving slightly faster toward the U.S. Southeast coast with maximum sustained winds of 60 miles per hour after it transitioned overnight into a tropical storm, the Miami-based National Hurricane Center said.

The storm had slowed slightly, moving at about 3 mph, and the center of the storm was forecast to be "very near" the coasts of North Carolina and South Carolina by Sunday morning, according to the hurricane center.

Ana's formation is the earliest appearance of a named storm in the Atlantic since a previous incarnation of Subtropical Storm Ana on 2003 April 20, said Jeff Masters, chief meteorologist for Weather Underground, a commercial weather service.

The Atlantic hurricane season typically runs from June 1 through Nov. 30.

More - Link >>> http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/05/09/us-weather-storm-ana-idUSKBN0NT1R420150509

Source: Reuters Wire Service.

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Glenn A. Walsh, Project Director,
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SpaceWatchtower Blog: < http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/ >
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Thursday, May 7, 2015

Advanced ET Societies Can Never Be Ruled-Out

WISE artist concept (PIA17254, crop).jpg
WISE (Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer) infrared -wavelength astronomical space telescope launched by NASA in December of 2009. (Image Source: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

                       Searching for the God-Like

By Francis G. Graham, Professor Emeritus of Physics, Kent State University
Reporting for SpaceWatchtower

In the 1960s, Nikolai Kardashev theorized that alien civilizations, if they exist, could be classified in three categories: Type I, II and III. Type I utilize all the energy resources of a planet, Type II use the energy resources of a star (cf. Ring-world, or ideas on construction of Dyson Spheres) and Type III might utilize the energy output of an entire galaxy. A group of researchers led by J.T. Wright reasoned that such a Type III civilization would produce a great deal of waste heat, required under the second law of thermodynamics. This waste heat would result in an excess infrared emission from a galaxy. Thus, if enough galaxies are surveyed, such excess heat galaxies might be discerned.

Fortunately such a survey of infrared from galaxies has been done, called the WISE mission. This data is being examined by Wright and colleagues in a project called G-HAT, or Glimpsing Heat from Alien Technologies. Excess infrared does not necessarily mean a Type III civilization is there; other bizarre astrophysical processes might be producing the waste heat. But its inclusion in the G-HAT list means that it should be further investigated.

This idea of a search is a good one. The only caution I have is that a negative result would be meaningless. A civilization that uses the entire output of a galaxy would have, by necessity, discovered energy sources and sinks for waste energy that we not only do not know, but with our limited brain architecture at this time cannot know. Imagine how australopithicines stepped unknowingly over petroleum seeps, not merely in ignorance but unable to conceive of a modern fossil fuel civilization. Perhaps the aliens would use dark energy, or find things in higher dimensions. We may discover the god-like, but we cannot ever rule them out.

Source: Francis G. Graham, Professor Emeritus of Physics at Kent State University, and former Planetarium and Observatory Lecturer at Pittsburgh's original Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science:
Reporting for SpaceWatchtower, a project of Friends of the Zeiss.

Related Blog Post ---

No Obvious Signs of Advanced ET Societies in 100,000 Galaxies: Penn State Study (2015 April 21):

Link >>> http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2015/04/no-obvious-signs-of-advanced-et.html

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