Sunday, October 7, 2018

Laser-Powered Sub to Explore Jupiter Moon Europa ?

    Europa-moon.jpg
Image of Jupiter's moon, Europa, one of the four Galilean moons. Famous astronomer Galileo Galilei discovered Europa, along with the other three large moons of Jupiter (Io, Callisto, and Ganymede), in January of 1610 using the first telescope to be used for astronomical observing. These were the first moons discovered beyond Earth's Moon. (Image Sources: NASA / Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Wikipedia.org)

By Glenn A. Walsh
Reporting for SpaceWatchtower

In the search for life elsewhere in our Solar System, one of the most promising areas to look for life are the oceans, under thick sheets of ice, on several of the Solar System's moons. However, it is not easy for a probe to melt the thick ice to get to the ocean. A new technique uses the power of a high energy laser to get through the ice.

Cryobots, robots that can penetrate water-ice, are the latest technology for studying oceans beneath ice shelves. But, before such oceans can be studied, there must be a way to go through the ice to reach the ocean to be studied. In the case of Jupiter's moon, Europa, the ocean has a depth of about 60 miles / 100 kilometers, not including 18 to 30 miles / 30 to 50 kilometers of ice above the ocean.

Cryobots are designed to heat water which cuts through these miles of ice. However, until now the power needed to melt the ice, and the communication with Earth during the process, have been two problems that have stalled such projects. Whether using standard drills or heating elements to get through the ice, as the cryobot descends, ice just reforms above the cryobot.

Power packs, which have a finite source of energy for the cryobot, have to be carried with the probe. And, as the ice reforms above the cryobot, a radio link is seriously degraded, if not completely blocked.

Stone Aerospace has come up with a technique which solves both power and communication problems. By using a high-powered laser on the cryobot, which is fed energy from the surface of the planet via an optical fiber, ice could reform around the optic-fiber while energy to the laser is not affected. And, communication to the surface, via the optic-fiber, also continues.

Stone Aerospace's new cryobot system is called VALKYRIE: Very deep Autonomous Laser-powered Kilowatt-class Yo-yoing Robotic Ice Explorer. The Texas firm, founded by William Stone, has been working on the concept for more than a decade.

In 2011, NASA awarded a $4 million grant to Stone Aerospace for Phase 2 of the VALKYRIE project, which allowed a cryobot to tunnel through ice in Matanuska Glacier, Alaska. This experiment proved that the cryobot, which used on-board ice-penetrating radar to watch where it was tunneling, could look ahead far enough to avoid collisions with buried obstacles and other hazards, such as meteoric debris or dense brine deposits.

VALKYRIE Phase 3 proposes a full-scale version of the laser-powered cryobot to tunnel through to a sub-glacial lake in Antarctica. The cryobot would then return to the surface with samples from the lake. Sub-glacial lakes in Antarctica, which hold water never touched by humans, may include micro-organisms never seen before.

If all goes well with Phase 3, then a cryobot mission to Europa would be considered. But first, the Europa Clipper will be launched by NASA to fly by Europa, while in orbit of Jupiter, several times. The Europa Clipper is expected to be launched sometime between 2022 and 2025. At around the same time, the European Space Agency (ESA) plans to send the Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer space probe to fly by Europa twice, as well as exploring the Jupiter moons Callisto and Ganymede.

Internet Links to Additional Information ---

Cryobot: Link >>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cryobot

Jupiter Moon Europa: Link >>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Europa_(moon)

Source: Glenn A. Walsh Reporting for SpaceWatchtower, a project of Friends of the Zeiss.
              Sunday, 2018 October 7.

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gaw

Glenn A. Walsh --- < http://buhlplanetarium2.tripod.com/weblog/spacewatchtower/gaw/ >
Electronic Mail: < gawalsh@planetarium.cc >
Project Director, Friends of the Zeiss: < http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/fotz/ >
SpaceWatchtower Editor / Author: < http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/ >
Formerly Astronomical Observatory Coordinator & Planetarium Lecturer, original Buhl Planetarium & Institute of Popular Science (a.k.a. Buhl Science Center), Pittsburgh's science & technology museum from 1939 to 1991.
Author of History Web Sites on the Internet --
* Buhl Planetarium, Pittsburgh:
  < http://www.planetarium.cc >
* Adler Planetarium, Chicago:
  < http://adlerplanetarium.tripod.com >
* Astronomer, Educator, Optician John A. Brashear:
  < http://johnbrashear.tripod.com >
* Andrew Carnegie & Carnegie Libraries:
  < http://www.andrewcarnegie.cc >

Monday, October 1, 2018

Astronomical Calendar: 2018 October

                  https://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/gpn-2000-000686_2.jpg        

Image of the launch of Friendship 7, the Mercury-Atlas rocket which sent John Glenn to be the first American to orbit the Earth, on 1962 February 20. NASA, America's civilian space agency, marks its 60th anniversary on October 1 of this year. (Image Source: NASA)

Astronomical Calendar for 2018 October ---
Link >>> http://buhlplanetarium4.tripod.com/astrocalendar/2018.html#oct


 Related Blog Post ---

"Astronomical Calendar: 2018 September." 2018 Sept. 1.

Link >>> https://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2018/09/astronomical-calendar-2018-september.html


Source: Friends of the Zeiss.
              Monday, 2018 October 1.

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            More Astronomy & Science News - SpaceWatchtower Twitter Feed:
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                Want to receive SpaceWatchtower blog posts in your in-box ?
                Send request to < spacewatchtower@planetarium.cc >.

gaw

Glenn A. Walsh --- < http://buhlplanetarium2.tripod.com/weblog/spacewatchtower/gaw/ >
Electronic Mail: < gawalsh@planetarium.cc >
Project Director, Friends of the Zeiss: < http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/fotz/ >
SpaceWatchtower Editor / Author: < http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/ >
Formerly Astronomical Observatory Coordinator & Planetarium Lecturer, original Buhl Planetarium & Institute of Popular Science (a.k.a. Buhl Science Center), Pittsburgh's science & technology museum from 1939 to 1991.
Author of History Web Sites on the Internet --
* Buhl Planetarium, Pittsburgh:
  < http://www.planetarium.cc >
* Adler Planetarium, Chicago:
  < http://adlerplanetarium.tripod.com >
* Astronomer, Educator, Optician John A. Brashear:
  < http://johnbrashear.tripod.com >
* Andrew Carnegie & Carnegie Libraries:
  < http://www.andrewcarnegie.cc >

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Japan Launches Mini-Space Elevator Experiment to International Space Station

                                             Diagram of a space elevator.  At the bottom of the tall diagram is the Earth as viewed from high above the North Pole. About six earth-radii above the Earth an arc is drawn with the same center as the Earth.  The arc  depicts the level of geosynchronous orbit.  About twice as high as the arc and directly above the Earth's center, a counterweight is depicted by a small square.  A line depicting the space elevator's cable connects the counterweight to the equator directly below it.  The system's center of mass is described as above the level of geosynchronous orbit.  The center of mass is shown roughly to be about a quarter of the way up from the geosynchronous arc to the counterweight.  The bottom of the cable is indicated to be anchored at the equator.  A climber is depicted by a small rounded square.  The climber is shown climbing the cable about one third of the way from the ground to the arc. Another note indicates that the cable rotates along with the Earth's daily rotation, and remains vertical.
This graphic shows the concept of an Earth to Earth-orbit Space Elevator. Japan has launched an experiment, to be managed by astronauts on the International Space Station, of a very small version of such a Space Elevator. (Image Source: Wikipedia.org)


By Glenn A. Walsh
Reporting for SpaceWatchtower

After a launch delay of nearly 2 weeks, due to a Pacific Ocean typhoon and some unspecified technical problems, Japan has now [on September 22 at 1:52 p.m. Eastern Daylight Saving Time (EDT) / 17:52 Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) / Sept. 23, 2:52 a.m. Japan Standard Time] launched a mini-Space Elevator experiment to the International Space Station (ISS). Well known to fans of science-fiction, a true, operable Space Elevator, between the Earth and Earth-orbit, could potentially reduce the cost of moving payloads to Earth orbit by a significant amount.

The launch, originally scheduled the evening of September 10 (the morning of September 11, Japanese time), was delayed by Typhoon Mangkhut which had threatened the U.S. territory of Guam. The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) uses a NASA ground-based satellite tracking station on Guam, which is needed to receive data during the launch of JAXA's H-IIB rocket.

Once deployed in Outer Space from the ISS, this mini-experiment of the Space Elevator concept will consist of 2 ultra-small cubic satellites, known as “cube-sats,” connected by a steel cable. A small container, something like a mini-trolley-car or mini-elevator-car, will then travel between the 2 cube-sats using its own motor. Cameras attached to each cube-sat will record the movement of the small container.

Each cube-sat is about 4 inches / 10 centimeters on each side. The steel cable, along which the elevator-car will move, measures about 33 feet / 10 meters long.

This mini-Space Elevator experiment is a project of Japan's Shizuoka University Faculty of Engineering. It was launched on a Kounotori ('White Stork') Cargo Ship to the ISS, from the Tanegashima Space Center in the Japanese Prefecture of Kagoshima (a prefecture is similar to a U.S. state).

The Japanese cargo ship also has 5 tons of supplies for the ISS, which includes water, food, fuel, spare parts, other science experiments, and 6 new lithium-ion batteries for the International Space Station. The cargo ship will take 3 to 5 days reach the space station.

Although cables have been extended in Outer Space in the past, the Japanese Space Elevator experiment will be the first time an elevator-car-like container will travel along such a cable. If successful, this experiment could boost interest in such a transportation system.

Both scientists and science-fiction writers have long dreamed of a Space Elevator. Although some people doubt such a transportation system is plausible, there is an International Space Elevator Consortium (ISEC) which held their 2018 Space Elevator Conference in Seattle last month.

Corporations in both Japan and China have expressed the interest in building a true Earth to Earth-orbit Space Elevator by mid-century. Google X, the Google think-tank for big ideas, has also expressed interest in the concept.

One of the major problems with space travel is the huge cost of transporting people and cargo into Earth orbit. Currently, we need expensive rockets to counter Earth's gravity to place payloads in Earth orbit.

A true Space Elevator, between Earth and Earth-orbit, could greatly reduce the cost of transporting both human and cargo payloads into Earth orbit. This would make it much easier and inexpensive to build space stations in orbit of Earth and the Moon, as well as eventually traveling to Mars, the Asteroid Belt, and beyond.

The Japanese firm, Obayashi Corp., estimates the total cost for constructing a fully functional Space Elevator at 10 trillion Yen / US $90 billion. The Obayashi Corp. compares this cost to a very similar cost of another transportation system being considered: a passenger, magnetic-levitation train project between Tokyo and Osaka.

Internet Link to Additional Information ---

Space Elevator: Link >>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_elevator

Source: Glenn A. Walsh Reporting for SpaceWatchtower, a project of Friends of the Zeiss.
              Sunday, 2018 September 23.

                             Like This Post? - Please Share!

           More Astronomy & Science News - SpaceWatchtower Twitter Feed:
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gaw

Glenn A. Walsh --- < http://buhlplanetarium2.tripod.com/weblog/spacewatchtower/gaw/ >
Electronic Mail: < gawalsh@planetarium.cc >
Project Director, Friends of the Zeiss: < http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/fotz/ >
SpaceWatchtower Editor / Author: < http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/ >
Formerly Astronomical Observatory Coordinator & Planetarium Lecturer, original Buhl Planetarium & Institute of Popular Science (a.k.a. Buhl Science Center), Pittsburgh's science & technology museum from 1939 to 1991.
Author of History Web Sites on the Internet --
* Buhl Planetarium, Pittsburgh:
  < http://www.planetarium.cc >
* Adler Planetarium, Chicago:
  < http://adlerplanetarium.tripod.com >
* Astronomer, Educator, Optician John A. Brashear:
  < http://johnbrashear.tripod.com >
* Andrew Carnegie & Carnegie Libraries:
  < http://www.andrewcarnegie.cc >

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Autumn Begins Saturday Evening; Harvest Moon Monday Night

http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/pix/graphics/solsticeimage008.png
This diagram shows the position of the Earth, in relation to the Sun, at the time of the Autumnal Equinox, as well as the other solstices and equinox of the year.
(Image Source: ©1999, Eric G. Canali, former Floor Operations Manager of Pittsburgh's original Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science and Founder of the South Hills Backyard Astronomers amateur astronomy club; permission granted for only non-profit use with credit to author.)

By Glenn A. Walsh
Reporting for SpaceWatchtower

The Autumnal Equinox, the beginning of the season of Autumn or Fall in the Northern Hemisphere of Earth, begins Saturday evening. In Earth's Southern Hemisphere, this equinox marks the astronomical beginning of the season of Spring. And, the Harvest Moon in the Northern Hemisphere, the Full Moon of September, is on Monday evening.

                                                  September Equinox

The September Equinox occurs on Saturday Evening, 2018 September 22 at 9:54 p.m. Eastern Daylight Saving Time (EDT) / September 23, 1:54 Coordinated Universal Time (UTC).

On the day of Equinox, the Sun appears directly overhead at local Noon on the Equator. At the moment of Equinox, the Northern and Southern Hemispheres of Earth are illuminated equally. And, the time of Equinox is the only time when the Earth Terminator (dividing line on Earth between daylight and darkness) is perpendicular to the Equator.

This, and the reason for seasons on Earth in the first place, is due to the fact that Earth rotates on its axis, which is tilted at an approximate 23.44-degree angle from the plane of the Earth's orbit around the Sun. As the Earth revolves around the Sun, this axial tilt causes one hemisphere of the planet to receive more direct solar radiation during that hemisphere's season of Summer and much less direct solar radiation a half-year later during that hemisphere's season of Winter. As mentioned, during an Equinox (about half-way between Summer and Winter, and about half-way between Winter and Summer) both planetary hemispheres receive an equal amount of solar radiation.

Although "Equinox" in Latin means equal-night, the day of the Equinox does not actually have an equal amount of daylight and nightfall, as it appears on the Earth's surface. If the Sun was just a pin-point of light in our sky, as all other stars appear, day and night would be equal.

But, because the Sun is a disk, part of the Sun has risen above the horizon before the center of the Sun (which would be the pin-point of light); so there are extra moments of light on the Equinox. Likewise, part of the Sun is still visible, after the center of the Sun has set.

Additionally, the refraction of sunlight by our atmosphere causes sunlight to appear above the horizon, before sunrise and after sunset.

September 25 will mark the Equilux ("equal-light"), the actual day with equal hours and minutes of the Sun above the horizon, and equal hours and minutes of the Sun below the horizon. The Equilux occurs twice each year, approximately 3-to-4 days before the Vernal Equinox, when Spring begins,  and 3-to-4 days after the Autumnal Equinox.

An urban legend that has been making the rounds for decades has it that eggs can be stood on their ends only during an Equinox, whether the Vernal Equinox in the Spring or the Autumnal Equinox in the Fall. This is completely false. Depending greatly on the size and shape of the particular egg, eggs can be stood on their ends any day of the year! Astronomy has nothing to do with whether an egg can stand on its end. If an egg can stand on its end on the Equinox (and, due to the shape and size of some eggs, this is not even possible), it can stand the same way any other day of the year.

In the last few years, with the help of the Internet and Social Media, another urban legend has become prevalent. Now it is claimed that brooms can stand, on their own, on their bristles, only on an Equinox day. This is also false. Again, as with eggs, if a broom can stand on its bristles by itself (this usually only works with newer brooms, with more even bristles) on an Equinox, it can do so any day of the year!

September 22 is also designated as the annual Falls Prevention Awareness Day for this year.

                                                    Harvest Moon

This year's Harvest Moon will occur on Monday Evening, 2018 September 24 at 10:52 p.m. EDT / September 25 at 2:52 UTC. Often, but not always (usually, two out of every three years), the September Full Moon is considered the Harvest Moon. The Harvest Moon is the Full Moon closest to the Autumnal Equinox, when the season of Autumn or Fall officially begins, usually September 22 or 23.

So, the Harvest Moon, in general, can occur from two weeks before the Autumnal Equinox to two weeks after the beginning of Fall. When the October Full Moon occurs early in the month, it is then sometimes considered the Harvest Moon. The October Full Moon, which is usually the first Full Moon after the Harvest Moon, is usually considered the Hunter's Moon, providing hunters with additional light to hunt game after sunset. When the October Full Moon is considered the Harvest Moon, some still consider it the Hunter's Moon as well, while others then consider the November Full Moon the Hunter's Moon.

Occurring in the late Summer or early Autumn, in September or October in the Northern Hemisphere, the Harvest Moon provides farmers with additional light in the early evening, during the very busy harvest time.  The Harvest Moon has the same characteristics in the Southern Hemisphere, when it occurs in March or April.

On average, throughout the year, the Moon rises 50 minutes later each day. However, this lag time between successive Moon rises shrinks to an annual minimum near the Full Moon closest to the Autumnal Equinox. This greatly reduced lag time averages between 25 and 35 minutes throughout most of the United States, and as little as 10 to 20 minutes for Canada and much of Europe, each day for several days around the time of the Full Moon. Hence, for a few days around the date of the Harvest Moon, there is little or no period of darkness between sunset and Moon rise. This provides farmers with several days of extra, uninterrupted, light after sunset, for completing the harvest (of course, weather-permitting).

In the Northern Hemisphere, the September Full Moon is also known as the Corn Moon, Fruit Moon, Wild Rice Moon, and Red Plum Moon.

The September Full Moon has been given several names in the Southern Hemisphere: Worm Moon, Lenten Moon, Crow Moon, Sugar Moon, Chaste Moon, and Sap Moon.

Internet Links to Additional Information ---


Season of Autumn or Fall: Link >>> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autumn

Equinox: Link >>> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Equinox

Earth's Seasons: Link >>> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Season

Tilt of a planet's axis: Link >>> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Axial_tilt

Urban legend of eggs and brooms standing on their own, only on an Equinox:
Link >>> http://www.snopes.com/science/equinox.asp

Falls Prevention Awareness Day: Link >>> http://www.ncoa.org/improve-health/center-for-healthy-aging/falls-prevention/falls-prevention-awareness.html
Source: Glenn A. Walsh Reporting for SpaceWatchtower, a project of Friends of the Zeiss.
              Saturday, 2018 September 22.

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           More Astronomy & Science News - SpaceWatchtower Twitter Feed:
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        Astronomy & Science Links: Link >>> http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/#sciencelinks

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                Send request to < spacewatchtower@planetarium.cc >.

gaw

Glenn A. Walsh --- < http://buhlplanetarium2.tripod.com/weblog/spacewatchtower/gaw/ >
Electronic Mail: < gawalsh@planetarium.cc >
Project Director, Friends of the Zeiss: < http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/fotz/ >
SpaceWatchtower Editor / Author: < http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/ >
Formerly Astronomical Observatory Coordinator & Planetarium Lecturer, original Buhl Planetarium & Institute of Popular Science (a.k.a. Buhl Science Center), Pittsburgh's science & technology museum from 1939 to 1991.
Author of History Web Sites on the Internet --
* Buhl Planetarium, Pittsburgh:
  < http://www.planetarium.cc >
* Adler Planetarium, Chicago:
  < http://adlerplanetarium.tripod.com >
* Astronomer, Educator, Optician John A. Brashear:
  < http://johnbrashear.tripod.com >
* Andrew Carnegie & Carnegie Libraries:
  < http://www.andrewcarnegie.cc >

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Astronomical Calendar: 2018 September



Image of the Columbia Command Module, which transported the first humans to the Moon as part of the historic Apollo 11 space mission in July of 1969. The Columbia, along with many other artifacts from the Moon mission, are part of the Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum exhibit, "Destination Moon: The Apollo 11 Mission," which will open as a temporary exhibit at the Senator John Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh on September 29. More information on this traveling exhibit: Link >>> https://www.heinzhistorycenter.org/exhibits/destination-moon-apollo-11-mission
(Image Source: National Air & Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution; Photographer: Eric Long)

Astronomical Calendar for 2018 September ---
Link >>> http://buhlplanetarium4.tripod.com/astrocalendar/2018.html#sep


 Related Blog Post ---

"Astronomical Calendar: 2018 August." 2018 Aug. 1.

Link >>> https://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2018/08/astronomical-calendar-2018-august.html


Source: Friends of the Zeiss.
              Saturday, 2018 September 1.

                             Like This Post? - Please Share!

            More Astronomy & Science News - SpaceWatchtower Twitter Feed:
            Link >>> https://twitter.com/spacewatchtower

        Astronomy & Science Links: Link >>> http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/#sciencelinks

                Want to receive SpaceWatchtower blog posts in your in-box ?
                Send request to < spacewatchtower@planetarium.cc >.

gaw

Glenn A. Walsh --- < http://buhlplanetarium2.tripod.com/weblog/spacewatchtower/gaw/ >
Electronic Mail: < gawalsh@planetarium.cc >
Project Director, Friends of the Zeiss: < http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/fotz/ >
SpaceWatchtower Editor / Author: < http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/ >
Formerly Astronomical Observatory Coordinator & Planetarium Lecturer, original Buhl Planetarium & Institute of Popular Science (a.k.a. Buhl Science Center), Pittsburgh's science & technology museum from 1939 to 1991.
Author of History Web Sites on the Internet --
* Buhl Planetarium, Pittsburgh:
  < http://www.planetarium.cc >
* Adler Planetarium, Chicago:
  < http://adlerplanetarium.tripod.com >
* Astronomer, Educator, Optician John A. Brashear:
  < http://johnbrashear.tripod.com >
* Andrew Carnegie & Carnegie Libraries:
  < http://www.andrewcarnegie.cc >

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Are Sundials, to Tell Time, Really Obsolete ?

                    http://buhlplanetarium2.tripod.com/sundial/carnpa/libpk/pix/lsw/sundial26lsw.jpg   
Photograph of an Open Armillary Sundial (which tells both time and date) located at the northern tip of Library Park, near the center of the Pittsburgh suburb of Carnegie, Pennsylvania; at the top of Library Hill is the historic Andrew Carnegie Free Library and Music Hall, the fourth (of only five) Carnegie libraries both built and endowed by industrialist and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie. This was the first of several Pittsburgh-area sundials visited by the North American Sundial Society on August 17, during their annual conference.
(Image Source: Friends of the Zeiss; Photographer: Pittsburgh-Area Free-Lance Photographer Lynne S. Walsh)

By Glenn A. Walsh
Reporting for SpaceWatchtower

Today, with computers, smart-phones, and atomic clocks, are sundials, for telling time, really obsolete? For a dedicated group of amateur scientists, members of the North American Sundial Society, the answer to this question is an emphatic no! In fact, they are using computers and high technology to design and create even better sundials!

This-past weekend (August 16 to 19), the North American Sundial Society held their annual conference in the Oakland Civic Center District of Pittsburgh. The conference included many sessions on new types of sundials and new ways to design and use sundials, in addition to spending a day visiting several local and historic sundials in the Pittsburgh area.

Several of the sessions were presented by Fred Sawyer, whose breadth of knowledge of all aspects of telling time by sundial is amazing. He is President of the North American Sundial Society (NASS) and co-founded the educational organization in the Autumn of 1993. Mr. Sawyer, who now lives in Connecticut, received Masters Degrees in History and the Philosophy of Science from the University of Pittsburgh in 1976.

Mr. Sawyer's presentations ranged from determining the mathematical scales for laying-out a horizontal sundial to a session on how to create a sundial that tells time by the light of the Moon! Mr. Sawyer, and NASS member Frank King, both made presentations regarding Ring Sundials, smaller portable sundials that one can carry with them or wear.

“3D Printing A Double Helix Sundial” was the title of a presentation delivered by NASS member Bob Kellogg. According to Mr. Kellogg, it takes 21 hours and 55 minutes to complete a 3D-printed sundial.

One fascinating presentation regarded a house in Mexico, which was designed so that the Sun shone onto indoor sundials! The presentation, “El Cerrito Pyramid & The Cosmic Room,” was prepared by the home's owner, Mexican Statistics Professor Ruben Hernandez Herrara. Unfortunately, due to visa problems, Professor Herrara was not able to attend the conference; NASS member Bob Kellogg made the presentation.

NASS member Ken Clark demonstrated how to get more public attention to sundials by mounting small sundials on or near local businesses. With both a presentation and an exhibit, he showed how he set-up a small vertical sundial at a Rita's Italian Ice store in Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania.

In addition to discussing Pittsburgh-area sundials, there were sessions on St. Louis-area sundials and “Gnomonic Activities in Italy.” And, NASS member Will Grant showed photographs of his visit to the Millennial Solar Monument near Antofagasta, Chile. This Monument was constructed in the Southern Hemisphere on the Tropic of Capricorn, the southern-most latitude where the Sun can be directly overhead.

Other presentations included, “A Viking Sunstone Sundial,” “Alternative Sunrise / Sunset Markers,” “Alt-Az Plots on Panoramic Photos,” “An Hours to Sunset Solar Decliner Reflection Sundial,” “An Original Bifilar Sundial With Helix Wires,” and “A Sundial With A Helix Polar Gnomon Showing Civil Time.”

The annual Sawyer Dialing Prize was awarded to Italian NASS member Gianpiero Casalegno for creating computer software tools to assist in the development of new sundials. Mr. Casalegno donated the small cash prize to a new sundial being built in Seattle.

At age 25, the North American Sundial Society is one of the oldest sundial science and educational organizations. Only the British Sundial Society is older, at age 29.

Mr. Sawyer emphasizes that researching sundials is multidisciplinary, including several academic areas such as science, mathematics, technology, history, and culture.

From time-to-time, the NASS assists in some public educational programs, including a STEM (Science-Technology-Engineering-Math) festival in Washington DC a few years ago. More recently, NASS participated in a program at the National Archives, again in Washington.

NASS, which publishes a quarterly journal, has also participated in a history book project with the Adler Planetarium in Chicago. And, from time-to-time NASS members contribute to projects to build new sundials, including a sundial mural expected to be completed next month in Bellingham, Washington.

The local host for the 24th annual conference of the NASS was John Sibenac. In addition to his interest in sundials, Mr. Sibenac produces bookmarks from postage stamps, including the wonderful postage stamp issued last year in commemoration of the Great American Solar Eclipse. A first-of-a-kind stamp, the heat from the touch of a finger transforms the eclipsed Moon into the image of the Moon!

Special Thanks: Fred Sawyer and John Sibenac.

                  “Sundial – original”  Taken between 1894 and 1900, this image shows how the Fort Pitt Sundial would have appeared shortly after it was found by the Fort Pitt Society.  The carvings and numerals are clearly visible and in good condition.  The sundial’s surface was heavily damaged during the 20th century from being exposed to pollution and rain.  Credit - Fort Pitt Society.
Photograph of the sundial discovered buried just outside of the Block House of historic Fort Pitt, in Pittsburgh, in 1894. Found without the gnomon, it is believed to date from 1763 following the Battle of Bushy Run during Pontiac's Rebellion, immediately following the French and Indian War. In addition to receiving a site visit by the North American Sundial Society, this sundial was the topic of one of the history presentations at the Pittsburgh conference.
(Image Source: Fort Pitt Society, Daughters of the American Revolution / Fort Pitt Block House)

Internet Links to Additional Information ---

Sundial: Link >>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sundial

North American Sundial Society: Link >>> http://sundials.org/

British Sundial Society: Link >>> http://sundialsoc.org.uk/

Historic Fort Pitt Sundial: Link >>> http://www.fortpittblockhouse.com/sundial/

Library Park Sundial, Carnegie PA:
Link >>> http://andrewcarnegie.tripod.com/photofreelibrary.htm#SD

Another interesting sundial - Bracewell Radio Sundial at Very Large Array Radio Telescope Observatory in New Mexico: Link >>> https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap180713.html

Related Blog Posts ---


"Journey to the Sun !" 2018 Aug. 12.

Link >>> https://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2018/08/journey-to-sun.html

 

"Special Solar Eclipse Stamp to be Unveiled During Stonehenge-Type Solstice Event in Wyoming." 2017 June 19.

Link >>> http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2017/06/special-solar-eclipse-stamps-to-be.html


Source: Glenn A. Walsh Reporting for SpaceWatchtower, a project of Friends of the Zeiss.
              Wednesday, 2018 August 22.

                             Like This Post? - Please Share!

           More Astronomy & Science News - SpaceWatchtower Twitter Feed:
            Link >>> https://twitter.com/spacewatchtower

        Astronomy & Science Links: Link >>> http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/#sciencelinks

                Want to receive SpaceWatchtower blog posts in your in-box ?
                Send request to < spacewatchtower@planetarium.cc >.

gaw

Glenn A. Walsh --- < http://buhlplanetarium2.tripod.com/weblog/spacewatchtower/gaw/ >
Electronic Mail: < gawalsh@planetarium.cc >
Project Director, Friends of the Zeiss: < http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/fotz/ >
SpaceWatchtower Editor / Author: < http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/ >
Formerly Astronomical Observatory Coordinator & Planetarium Lecturer, original Buhl Planetarium & Institute of Popular Science (a.k.a. Buhl Science Center), Pittsburgh's science & technology museum from 1939 to 1991.
Author of History Web Sites on the Internet --
* Buhl Planetarium, Pittsburgh:
  < http://www.planetarium.cc >
* Adler Planetarium, Chicago:
  < http://adlerplanetarium.tripod.com >
* Astronomer, Educator, Optician John A. Brashear:
  < http://johnbrashear.tripod.com >
* Andrew Carnegie & Carnegie Libraries:
  < http://www.andrewcarnegie.cc >

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Journey to the Sun !

The United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket lifts off from Space Launch Complex 37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at 3:31 a.m. EDT, carrying NASA's Parker Solar Probe.
Launch of the Parker Solar Probe on a 3-month journey to the Sun. The on-time launch (although there was a one-day delay) occurred from Space Launch Complex 37 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida early on Sunday Morning, 2018 August 12. (Image Source: NASA)

By Glenn A. Walsh
Reporting for SpaceWatchtower

Early Sun-day morning (ironically, before local Sun-rise on August 12), NASA launched a mission to the nearest star, our Sun. The Parker Solar Probe will enter and study the solar corona, the Sun's atmosphere, when it arrives in November, for the beginning of a 7-year mission, orbiting the Sun 24 times.

It was just on August 21 of last year, during the Great American Solar Eclipse, that millions of Americans saw the solar corona, safely, with their own eyes. The first data about the Sun, from the Parker Solar Probe, should start arriving in December.

After nearly a 24-hour delay from the original launch time, the Parker Solar Probe was launched, on-time, from Space Launch Complex 37 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The early Sunday morning (2018 August 12) darkness was disrupted at 3:31:56 a.m. Eastern Daylight Saving Time (EDT) / 7:31:56 Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) when the 1,400-pound / 635.029318 kilogram probe, about the size of a small automobile, lifted-off.

“That’s a relatively light spacecraft,” said Andy Driesman, Project Manager for the mission at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab in Laurel, Maryland. “And it needs to be, because it takes an immense amount of energy to get to our final orbit around the Sun.”

Being launched on one of the most powerful rockets in the world, a United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy Rocket (with a rocket third-stage), this rocket has 55 times more energy than is required to reach Mars! About two hours after launch, at 5:33 a.m. EDT / 9:33 UTC, the mission operations manager reported that the spacecraft was healthy and operating normally.

It takes a lot of fuel to place even a fairly light-weight object into Outer Space. By about a minute or-so after launch, the entire rocket was half the weight it was at the time of launch! The fuel consumed in the launch constitutes the rocket's lost weight.

The first time NASA has ever named a space mission after a living person, the Parker Solar Probe is named after American astrophysicist Dr. Eugene Parker, the S Chandrasekhar Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus, Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics at the University of Chicago. Now age 91, Dr. Parker viewed the launch at Cape Canaveral this morning.

It was 60 years ago near the beginning of the Space Age, in 1958 at about the same time that NASA was officially established, that Dr. Parker published an academic paper which developed the theory of the solar wind, the stream of charged particles and magnetic fields that flow continuously from the Sun, after observing that as a comet approaches the Sun the comet's tail always points away from the Sun. He also predicted the “Parker Spiral” shape of the solar magnetic field extending into the Outer Solar System.

This project has literally been in the planning for the last 60 years, since the publication of Dr. Parker's academic paper. Only now have we been able to develop the technologies that will allow the Parker Solar Probe to travel close to the Sun, safely.

“NASA was planning to send a mission to the solar corona for decades, however,
we did not have the technology that could protect a spacecraft and its instruments from the heat,” said Adam Szabo, the Mission Scientist for the Parker Solar Probe at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. “Recent advances in materials science gave us the material to fashion a heat shield in front of the spacecraft not only to withstand the extreme heat of the Sun, but to remain cool on the backside.”

The most important technology developed was the shadow heat shield, made of a reinforced carbon-carbon composite. This will protect the scientific instruments from the solar corona's intense heat and radiation. While the Sun-facing side simmers at +2,500 degrees Fahrenheit / +1,371.11 degrees Celsius, behind the shield the spacecraft will be a cozy +85 degrees Fahrenheit / +29.44 degrees Celsius.

Energy to power the spacecraft and scientific instruments will come from two solar, photo-voltaic power arrays. The larger, primary array is used until the spacecraft gets close to the Sun; then it is retracted behind the shadow shield. The smaller, secondary array will power the spacecraft at the closest approaches to the Sun. A pumped-fluid cooling system will be used to keep the secondary array from over-heating.

NASA Parker Solar Probe Project Scientist Nicky Fox, with the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab, describes the probe as "the most autonomous. spacecraft that has ever flown." She goes on to say, “We’ll be going where no spacecraft has dared go before — within the corona of a star...With each orbit, we’ll be seeing new regions of the Sun’s atmosphere and learning things about stellar mechanics that we’ve wanted to explore for decades.”

Greater spacecraft autonomy is necessary because much of the time, particularly when the spacecraft is on the other side of the Sun from Earth, the probe will be out of communication with Earth scientists, due to the great amount of radio noise that comes from the Sun. And, even when the probe is within communication range, it will take eight and one-third minutes to send a command to the spacecraft, as it takes light eight and one-third minutes to travel from the Sun to the Earth.

To reach the Sun, the Parker Solar Probe will use a gravity-assist from the Planet Venus. But, unlike other gravity-assist missions which help the spacecraft to speed-up, in this mission the Parker Solar Probe actually gives-up some energy to Venus to slow-down the spacecraft and ensure a more directed solar orbit for the probe.

In fact, the probe will orbit Venus seven times before it reaches the final, quite eccentric solar orbit. Actually, all of the probe's orbits will be highly elliptical, to reduce the amount of time the probe's scientific instruments and electrical systems have to be exposed to the spacecraft charging effects, highly-charged particles, radiation, and heat from the near-solar environment. And, at closest approach to the Sun at a distance of only 3.83 million statute miles / 6.16378752 million kilometers, this will be the closest any human-made object has gotten to our Sun!

Although the probe will orbit Venus seven times, as it perfects its solar orbit, only one passage of Venus will permit data about Venus to be collected and sent back to scientists on Earth. On the other six passages of Venus, the scientific instruments will be off, to allow the spacecraft's limited power to transmit solar data back to Earth.

On the closest orbit to the Sun, the Parker Solar Probe will be traveling 430,000 miles per hour / 692,017.92 kilometers per hour, becoming the fastest human-made object ever built! At this speed, the probe would take but one second to travel from Philadelphia to Washington, DC !

There are three primary goals of this mission:

  • Determine why the surface (photosphere) of the Sun is only about +10,000 degrees Fahrenheit / +5,500 degrees Celsius, while the atmosphere (corona) is much hotter: ranging from +1.7 million degrees Fahrenheit / +1 million degrees Celsius to more than +17 million degrees Fahrenheit / +10 million degrees Celsius, according to the National Solar Observatory (NSO) Sacramento Peak in Sunspot, New Mexico. Scientists also want to know how this extra heating of the corona accelerates the solar wind.
  • Determine the structure and dynamics of the solar wind's magnetic fields.
  • Determine how energetic particles are transported and accelerated.

In particular, scientists want to learn more about how the Sun affects Space Weather, that is the extreme events in the solar corona which send-out highly-charged particles and radiation that often affects electrical systems on Earth and in Earth orbit. The gases and plasma in the Sun create strong magnetic fields, which often become twisted due to the uneven rotation of the Sun, creating sunspots, solar flares, and coronal mass ejections. The particles and radiation sent-out by these explosive events can effect radio communications, GPS, and satellites, disrupt electrical grids, and endanger astronauts.

“All of our data on the corona so far have been remote,” said Nicholeen Viall, Solar Physicist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. “We have been very creative to get as much as we can out of our data, but there is nothing like actually sticking a probe in the corona to see what’s happening there.” 

Below the probe's high-gain antenna is a plaque which dedicates the mission to Dr. Parker and includes a quote from the scientist: “Let’s see what lies ahead.” The plaque has a memory-card, which includes the names of over 1.1 million people; NASA solicited these names from interested members of the general public. The memory-card also includes photographs of Dr. Parker, along with a copy of his 1958 scientific paper.

Internet Links  to Additional Information ---

Parker Solar Probe -
Link 1 >>> https://www.nasa.gov/content/goddard/parker-solar-probe
Link 2 >>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parker_Solar_Probe

More News Regarding Parker Solar Probe Mission -
Link 1 >>> https://blogs.nasa.gov/parkersolarprobe/
Link 2 >>> https://www.nasa.gov/feature/goddard/2018/nasa-s-parker-solar-probe-is-about-to-lift-off

Earth's Sun -
Link 1 >>> https://www.nasa.gov/feature/want-to-learn-more-about-the-sun-here-s-how
Link 2 >>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sun

Celestial Star: Link >>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Star

Solar Eclipse / Eclipse of the Sun: Tips for Safe Viewing:
Link >>> http://buhlplanetarium2.tripod.com/FAQ/soleclipse/solareclipseviewingtips.html

Related Blog Post ---

"Great American Solar Eclipse Early Mega-Movie & Balloon Images." 2017 Aug. 26.

Link >>> https://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2017/08/great-american-solar-eclipse-early-mega.html


Source: Glenn A. Walsh Reporting for SpaceWatchtower, a project of Friends of the Zeiss.
              Sunday, 2018 August 12.

                             Like This Post? - Please Share!

           More Astronomy & Science News - SpaceWatchtower Twitter Feed:
            Link >>> https://twitter.com/spacewatchtower

        Astronomy & Science Links: Link >>> http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/#sciencelinks

                Want to receive SpaceWatchtower blog posts in your in-box ?
                Send request to < spacewatchtower@planetarium.cc >.

gaw

Glenn A. Walsh --- < http://buhlplanetarium2.tripod.com/weblog/spacewatchtower/gaw/ >
Electronic Mail: < gawalsh@planetarium.cc >
Project Director, Friends of the Zeiss: < http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/fotz/ >
SpaceWatchtower Editor / Author: < http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/ >
Formerly Astronomical Observatory Coordinator & Planetarium Lecturer, original Buhl Planetarium & Institute of Popular Science, Pittsburgh's science & technology museum from 1939 to 1991.
Author of History Web Sites on the Internet --
* Buhl Planetarium, Pittsburgh:
  < http://www.planetarium.cc >
* Adler Planetarium, Chicago:
  < http://adlerplanetarium.tripod.com >
* Astronomer, Educator, Optician John A. Brashear:
  < http://johnbrashear.tripod.com >
* Andrew Carnegie & Carnegie Libraries:
  < http://www.andrewcarnegie.cc >

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Astronomical Calendar: 2018 August


Image of a 2007 Perseid Meteor, just to the right from the Milky Way. The Perseid Meteor Shower, one of the best meteor showers of the year, will be even better this year as the Moon will be in New Moon phase (Lunation # 1183) on August 11 at 5:58 a.m. EDT / 9:58 UTC, and moonlight will not interfere with meteor viewing during this meteor shower's peak (Perseid Meteor Shower runs from July 14 to August 24, with the peak occurring Sat., Aug. 12, 9:00 p.m. EDT / Aug. 13, 1:00 UTC - Best viewing: Aug. 11, 12, & 13, Midnight to Dawn). And, Mars will continue to be a bright beacon in the night sky for another month or so. More info on viewing Mars this Summer:
Link >>> http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2018/07/mars-bright-beacon-in-sky-in-july-august.html
(Image Sources: Wikipedia.org, By Brocken Inaglory - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2632873)

Astronomical Calendar for 2018 August ---
Link >>> http://buhlplanetarium4.tripod.com/astrocalendar/2018.html#aug


 Related Blog Posts ---

"Science Experiments Children & Teens Can Do At Home !" 2018 June 5.

Link >>> https://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2018/06/science-experiments-children-teens-can.html

 

"Astronomical Calendar: 2018 July." 2018 July 1.

Link >>> http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2018/07/astronomical-calendar-2018-july.html


Source: Friends of the Zeiss.
              Wednesday, 2018 August 1.

                             Like This Post? - Please Share!

            More Astronomy & Science News - SpaceWatchtower Twitter Feed:
            Link >>> https://twitter.com/spacewatchtower

        Astronomy & Science Links: Link >>> http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/#sciencelinks

                Want to receive SpaceWatchtower blog posts in your in-box ?
                Send request to < spacewatchtower@planetarium.cc >.

gaw

Glenn A. Walsh --- < http://buhlplanetarium2.tripod.com/weblog/spacewatchtower/gaw/ >
Electronic Mail: < gawalsh@planetarium.cc >
Project Director, Friends of the Zeiss: < http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/fotz/ >
SpaceWatchtower Editor / Author: < http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/ >
Formerly Astronomical Observatory Coordinator & Planetarium Lecturer, original Buhl Planetarium & Institute of Popular Science (a.k.a. Buhl Science Center), Pittsburgh's science & technology museum from 1939 to 1991.
Author of History Web Sites on the Internet --
* Buhl Planetarium, Pittsburgh:
  < http://www.planetarium.cc >
* Adler Planetarium, Chicago:
  < http://adlerplanetarium.tripod.com >
* Astronomer, Educator, Optician John A. Brashear:
  < http://johnbrashear.tripod.com >
* Andrew Carnegie & Carnegie Libraries:
  < http://www.andrewcarnegie.cc >

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

A U.S. 'Space Force' ?

                         

By Glenn A. Walsh
Reporting for SpaceWatchtower

Last Friday marked the 49th anniversary of the first landing and walking by humans on Earth's Moon. And, next Sunday will mark the 60th anniversary of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the nation's first civilian space agency (signed into law by U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower on 1958 July 29, after Congressional passage on 1958 July 16; NASA became operational on 1958 October 1). The Trump Administration and the National Space Council are now calling for the establishment of the nation's first true military space agency, the U.S. Space Force.

U.S. President Donald J. Trump announced his proposal for a Space Force on 2018 June 18, during an address to the newly reconstituted National Space Council. In the address, the President said, “I’m hereby directing the Department of Defense and Pentagon to immediately begin the process necessary to establish a space force as the sixth branch of the armed forces. That’s a big statement.” He further said that the Air Force and the Space Force would be two "separate but equal" branches of the United States Armed Forces.

The President had floated the suggestion for a Space Force during an earlier speech in March of 2018. Apparently, he felt that few people, particularly in the Pentagon, had taken the suggestion seriously, which resulted in the National Space Council address and official proposal.

Last year, a new U.S. Space Corps within the U.S. Air Force (as the U.S. Marine Corps is within the U.S. Navy), had been proposed by the Trump Administration. As the Pentagon showed little support for a Space Corps, the initiative went unfunded by the Congress.

Russia is the only nation that has had an independent Space Force. The Russian Space Forces operated as an independent branch of the Russian military from 1992 to 1997, and again from 2001 to 2011. The Russian Space Forces became a part of the Russian Aerospace Forces in 2015, similar to how the U.S. Air Force Space Command is part of the U.S. Air Force.

Currently, only three other nations have space-related military agencies:

  • China: People's Liberation Army Strategic Support Force
  • France: French Joint Space Command
  • United Kingdom: Royal Air Force Air Command

Although he was Supreme Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Forces in Europe during World War II, President Eisenhower preferred creating a civilian space agency, which became NASA, for most scientific research into space exploration. In a Presidential Memorandum of 1958 March 5, it states the following:

The President...said he has asked himself how we should use space activities for our national purposes. It seems to him that military activity on space projects is acceptable in the area of application of knowledge. He feels certain, however, that discovery and research should be scientific rather than military. He felt that there is no problem of space activity (except ballistic weapons) that is not basically civilian, recognizing that application of findings may be made to serve military purposes.”

For military space activities, a new Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) was set-up within the Department of Defense on 1958 February 7. Today, this agency is known as the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and advances scientific research that often has civilian applications. The Internet and the Global Positioning System (GPS) originated with DARPA projects.

Since 1958, responsibilities for military activities in Outer Space has been reorganized a few times. A U.S. Space Command, which was a Defense Department Unified Combatant Command, operated from 1985 to 2002. In an attempt to streamline Defense Department commands, the U.S. Space Command was absorbed into a larger U.S. Strategic Command in 2002.

Additionally, three armed services-based commands, related to military space activities, continue to exist:

  • Naval Space Command which was merged into the Naval Network and Space Operations Command in 2002;
  • Air Force Space Command;
  • Army Space and Missile Defense Command.

In fact, the Wall Street Journal reported on a Government Accountability Office (GAO) study that stated that, as of 2016, there were "60 distinct entities that deal with (military) assets in space." Although details for the organization of a new Space Force are not yet available, it seems that these would all be absorbed by the new, separate Space Force.

Following President Trump's official Space Force proposal, before the National Space Council, the Congress has commissioned two studies to consider the feasibility of such a new military service. The first study, which is due next month, would determine whether such a Space Force would be necessary. The second study, due in December, would examine the nature, implementation, and costs of a Space Force.

Supporters of a Space Force contend that American military space efforts are fractionalized among several different commands and other agencies. This leads to uneven implementation of military space goals and objectives.

Further, Space Force supporters believe that the Navy, Air Force, and Army have their expertise in sea, air, and land (respectively) activities, that does not transfer well into the realm of Outer Space; the Navy, Air Force, and Army just have other priorities. They believe that a single Space Force, which can completely concentrate their efforts in activities related to Outer Space, would be a much more efficient and effective manner to implement the nation's military efforts in Outer Space.

Mark Albrecht, Executive Secretary of the National Space Council from 1989 to 1992 has noted that “Space is a place where there is now tens of billions of dollars” in infrastructure, from the International Space Station to the the Hubble Space Telescope, to GPS and military surveillance satellites. He adds, “Everything from financial transactions to the GPS that guides your car is controlled from space, or at least facilitated by space.” He believes that we have such a huge financial investment in Outer Space today, we do need something such as a Space Force to protect that investment.

Recently, perhaps surprising support for a Space Force came from a well-known, science popularizer, Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson, long-time Director of New York City's Hayden Planetarium and host of the most recent Cosmos television series. He insists that people should not dismiss the Space Force proposal out-of-hand, simply because it was proposed by President Trump. Dr. Tyson believes a Space Force may be the best way to organize protection against possible asteroid strikes on the Earth.

People opposed to a new Space Force see the new military service as a new, unnecessary expense. They see a new enlarged and costly bureaucracy that will be a rival to the other military branches. They contend such an additional rivalry for military resources would be inefficient, and during a time of national crisis could be harmful.

Last year, when a U.S. Space Corps was being considered, Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson said, “The Pentagon is complicated enough...This will make it more complex, add more boxes to the organization chart, and cost more money. If I had more money, I would put it into lethality, not bureaucracy.” Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis also wrote to Congress in opposition to the Space Corps proposal.

On 1967 January 27, most nations of the world, including the United States, Russia (then, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics), and China, signed the Outer Space Treaty. The treaty forbids weapons of mass destruction in Outer Space, but does not forbid conventional weapons. The treaty, however, does forbid the use or testing of any type of weapon on another planetary body.

The Outer Space Treaty also forbids military installations or military maneuvers on other celestial bodies, as well as any nation claiming land on a planetary body. Space analysts have long suggested that this portion of the treaty may some day need to be amended, to promote economic development and resource exploitation of other planetary bodies, including asteroids.

Few private corporations will be willing to make huge investments in Outer Space, if they do not have property rights on certain portions of planets or asteroids. Further, when such planetary and asteroid development begins, the nations from which the corporations come from will want to provide some type of military protection for the corporation's celestial activities, as our military currently protects corporations within our legal boundaries.

In the popular, science-fiction television series, Star Trek, to justify military action in a distant part of our Milky Way Galaxy, Star-Ship Enterprise Captain James T. Kirk (who led the Flag-Ship of the United Federation of Planets' “Star Fleet”) sometimes said something to the effect, “We are the only cops out here!” The question is: how soon will true “space cops” be needed?

Internet Links to Additional Information ---

Memorandum of Conference with the President (Eisenhower) - regarding establishment of NASA - 1958 March 5
Link >>> https://eisenhower.archives.gov/research/online_documents/nasa/Binder12.pdf:

Space Forces Around the World: Link >>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_force

Proposed U.S. Space Force: Link >>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Space_Force

20th Century Space Race between U.S. and Russia:
Link >>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_Race

1967 UN Outer Space Treaty: Link >>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Outer_Space_Treaty

Related Blog Posts ---

"45 Years Ago: Man Lands on the Moon !" 2014 July 20.

Link >>> http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2014/07/45-years-ago-man-lands-on-moon.html

 

After 30 Years, New "Cosmos" Science TV Series Airs on FOX." 2014 March 7.

Link >>> http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2014/03/after-30-years-cosmos-science-tv-series.html

 

"JFK: Loss of the Man Who Sent Us to the Moon." 2013 Nov. 22.

Link >>> http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2013/11/jfk-loss-of-man-who-sent-us-to-moon.html

 

"Moon Day - A National Holiday ?" 2013 July 20.

Link >>> http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2013/07/moon-day-national-holiday.html

 

"The Historic Mission of Apollo 11, Man Walks on the Moon for the First Time; A Personal Remembrance From 40 Years Ago By Glenn A. Walsh" 2009 July 20.

Link >>> http://buhlplanetarium2.tripod.com/bio/Apolloremembrance.htm


Source: Glenn A. Walsh Reporting for SpaceWatchtower, a project of Friends of the Zeiss.
              Tuesday, 2018 July 24.

                             Like This Post? - Please Share!

           More Astronomy & Science News - SpaceWatchtower Twitter Feed:
            Link >>> https://twitter.com/spacewatchtower

        Astronomy & Science Links: Link >>> http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/#sciencelinks

                Want to receive SpaceWatchtower blog posts in your in-box ?
                Send request to < spacewatchtower@planetarium.cc >.

gaw

Glenn A. Walsh --- < http://buhlplanetarium2.tripod.com/weblog/spacewatchtower/gaw/ >
Electronic Mail: < gawalsh@planetarium.cc >
Project Director, Friends of the Zeiss: < http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/fotz/ >
SpaceWatchtower Editor / Author: < http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/ >
Formerly Astronomical Observatory Coordinator & Planetarium Lecturer, original Buhl Planetarium & Institute of Popular Science, Pittsburgh's science & technology museum from 1939 to 1991.
Author of History Web Sites on the Internet --
* Buhl Planetarium, Pittsburgh:
  < http://www.planetarium.cc >
* Adler Planetarium, Chicago:
  < http://adlerplanetarium.tripod.com >
* Astronomer, Educator, Optician John A. Brashear:
  < http://johnbrashear.tripod.com >
* Andrew Carnegie & Carnegie Libraries:
  < http://www.andrewcarnegie.cc >