Already working together, the sisters were now planning a wedding, too--which, if you haven't heard, can easily snowball into a $20,000+ project with with a plethora of stakeholders.
Loverly.com Homepage (Click Image To Enlarge)
Loverly.com Categories page (Click Image To Enlarge)
Loverly.com Shopping page (Click Image To Enlarge)
Khalil had met her match: Could wedding complexities be solved? Could you simplify it by giving brides and vendors and retailers and brands a platform to connect on? Khalil thought so. she remembers thinking.
"Why does this not exist?"
"Let's build it."
So a month after sis got married, Khalil took everything she had and jumped into the New York tech scene, launching Loverly.
"There's a limited window, right? For each opportunity there's a clock ticking. Who's going to build it the best, the fastest, who's going to solve the problem?"
Click Image To Enlarge
With a beautiful redesign (search by color!), 30 million images viewed a month, and partnerships with the likes of Nordstrom, Anthropologie, and Etsy, Lovery is poised to do just that.
COMMENTARY: Having been involved in planning a wedding (my own) and consulted for several wedding planners and caterring businesses, I agree with Kellee Khalil that an easier solution to the problem of planning a wedding is needed. If you are smart, you will not tackle this job yourself, and hire a professional wedding planner.
I love that Loverly.com allows couples and newlyweds to share their wedding planning ideas on the site. Having perused the site, there is an abundance of wedding planning ideas. If it's been done, it is probably on Loverly.com. Loverly.com makes it easier to find specific ideas, by breaking them into categories like "Gift" ideas below.
Loverly.com Gift Ideas Category (Click Image To Enlarge)
Loverly.com provides shopping users, and I assume it's not doing this for free, but getting a cut of everything sold through its website. Items include dresses, shoes, jewelery, wedding gifts, etc. Some of the vendors selling on Loverly.com include Ann Taylor, Kate Spade, Nordstrom, BHLDN, Nicole Miller, Oscar De La Renta, Jimmy Choo, to name a few.
Courtesy of an article dated March 15, 2013 appearing in Fast Company
3D concept illustration of NASA JPL's first lunar base (Click Image To Enlarge)
The first lunar base on the Moon may not be built by human hands, but rather by a giant spider-like robot built by Nasa that can bind the dusty soil into giant bubble structures where astronauts can live, conduct experiments, relax or perhaps even cultivate crops.
Shackleton Crater, the site of NASA JPL's proposed lunar base (Click Image To Enlarge)
Location and cutaway view of Shackleton Crater, the site of NASA JPL's proposed lunar base (Click Image To Enlarge)
We've already covered the European Space Agency's (ESA) work with architecture firm Foster + Partners on a proposal for a 3D-printed moonbase, and there are similarities between the two bases -- both would be located in Shackleton Crater near the Moon's south pole, where sunlight (and thus solar energy) is nearly constant due to the Moon's inclination on the crater's rim, and both use lunar dust as their basic building material. However, while the ESA's building would be constructed almost exactly the same way a house would be 3D-printed on Earth, this latest wheeze -- SinterHab -- uses Nasa technology for something a fair bit more ambitious.
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The product of joint research first started between space architects Tomas Rousek, Katarina Eriksson and Ondrej Doule and scientists from Nasa's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), SinterHab is so-named because it involves sintering lunar dust -- that is, heating it up to just below its melting point, where the fine nanoparticle powders fuse and become one solid block a bit like a piece of ceramic. To do this, the JPL engineers propose using microwaves no more powerful than those found in a kitchen unit, with tiny particles easily reaching between 1200 and 1500 degrees Celsius.
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Nanoparticles of iron within lunar soil are heated at certain microwave frequencies, enabling efficient heating and binding of the dust to itself. Not having to fly binding agent from Earth along with a 3D printer is a major advantage over the ESA/Foster + Partners plan. The solar panels to power the microwaves would, like the moonbase itself, be based near or on the rim of Shackleton Crater in near-perpetual sunlight.
Click Image To Enlarge
"Bubbles" of binded dust could be built by a huge six-legged rClick Image To Enlargeobot (OK, so it's not technically a spider) that can then be assembled into habitats large enough for astronauts to use as a base. This "Sinterator system" would use the JPL's Athlete rover, a half-scale prototype of which has already been built and tested. It's a human-controlled robotic space rover with wheels at the end of its 8.2m limbs and a detachable habitable capsule mounted at the top.
Here's a video of it dancing, because science:
Athlete's arms have several different functions, dependent on what it needs to do at any point. It has 48 3D cameras that stream video to its operator either inside the capsule, elsewhere on the Moon or back on Earth, it's got a payload capacity of 300kg in Earth gravity, and it can scoop, dig, grab at and generally poke around in the soil fairly easily, giving it the combined abilities of a normal rover and a construction vehicle. It can even split into two smaller three-legged rovers at any time if needed. In the Sinterator system, a microwave 3D printer would be mounted on one of the Athlete's legs and used to build the base.
Click Image To Enlarge
Rousek explained the background of the idea to Wired.co.uk:
"Since many of my buildings have advanced geometry that you can't cut easily from sheet material, I started using 3D printing for rapid prototyping of my architecture models. The construction industry is still lagging several decades behind car and electronics production. The buildings now are terribly wasteful and imprecise -- I have always dreamed about creating a factory where the buildings would be robotically mass-produced with parametric personalisation, using composite materials and 3D printing. It would be also great to use local materials and precise manufacturing on-site."
"It's good to realise that we have this unique chance to jump from our atmosphere and go to the next evolutionary level -- it's comparable with leaving the ocean and climbing down from the trees. I went to Strasbourg to study space architecture at the International Space University in France, where I formed the team with Ondrej Doule and Katarina Eriksson. Our friend there, Richard Rieber from Nasa's JPL, is one of the co-authors of the 3D printing system based on the Athlete robot. We were inspired by their invention and immediately started designing architecture that would use this technology."
Sintering is quite cheap, in terms of power as well as materials, and an Athlete rover should be able to construct a bubble volume in only two weeks, Rousek estimates. He said:
"It would have a very good cost-value ratio as you don't need to import as much material from Earth. The whole expandable module, with the membranes to cover the base when built, would be carried by the same rocket that would bring other modules of the outpost, but it can build a volume four times bigger than a rigid cylindrical module. Since we don't have the necessary transport capacity to the Moon at the moment, estimating a price now would be very inaccurate. As a comparison, the International Space Station has so far cost approximately $150bn (£99bn) but a lunar base could be designed much more cheaply with private companies."
3D concept illustration of NASA JPL's Sinterator moon crawler robot (Click Image To Enlarge)
Another benefit of sintering is that astronauts could use it on the surface of the Moon surrounding their base, binding dust and stopping it from clogging their equipment. Moon dust is extremely abrasive -- without natural weathering or erosion like on Earth, dust isn't ground down into smooth spheres. Instead it remains tiny yet jagged, perfect for getting into any exposed cracks, scratching lenses, wearing down airtight seals and becoming deeply embedded into human lungs. Former Apollo astronaut Harrison Schmidt has called the dust the biggest environmental issue on the Moon, even more so than radiation (which in SinterHab would be blocked by a combination of the Moon dust structure, "strategically located water tanks" and layers of inflatable polymers).
NASA JPL's Sinterator moon crawler robot (Click Image To Enlarge)
London-based space architect Rousek, director of A-ETC, has continued working on SinterHab with Doule and Eriksson since first proposing the idea in 2010 at the International Aeronautical Congress as a way of taking advantage of the Sinterator system. The design -- now published in the journal Acta Astronautica-- is based on the equilibrium found in bubbles. You might have noticed, the last time that you had a bubble bath, the way that groups of bubbles join together naturally to form a more solid structure -- that's exactly what SinterHab will look like. A bunch of rocky bubbles connected together, with cladding added later. Rousek explained:
"The internal structure was selected to demonstrate how we can arrange the interior and create walls inside. The first version should probably have only a single volume to decrease the risk. Then we could think about a bigger module, which would use connected volumes."
A second version of SinterHab -- SinterHab 2.0 -- is "currently being developed under the leadership of Ondrej Doule from the Florida Institute of Technology," Rousek said.
"We plan to further develop the interior design, deployment and construction process and life-support system. We would like to also do research about possible spin-offs of such construction methods on Earth."
Nasa iskeen on figuring out a way to build a lunar base, and as one of several proposals being batted around inside the organisation it's been used in a proposal for further development of sintering technology -- and I, for one, welcome our new robo-spider space architect overlords.
COMMENTARY: Presently 3D printers are only able to print, if you can call it that, small objects like a cup, vase or head bust. The machines that perform the printing are relatively small, fairly expensive and difficult to operate. What NASA JPL is proposing would simply be amazing and on a much larger scale. Sinterator would have to do its work of building the lunar base completely autonomously and without human intervention. This presents tremendous technological challenges for NASA JPL scientists and engineers.
Since there is no water on the Moon, and transporting building materials there from the Earth would be very costly, it is obviously cheaper to use directly the Moon's resources in order to make water-free concrete. US scientists developed a method that would allow for substituting water with the sulfur found in lunar dust. The resulting concrete would be very solid and would dry much faster than the regular one obtained here on Earth.
The sulfur that would act as a binder for the Moon dust can be extracted directly from it. The sulfur must to be in a liquid or semi-liquid form to work as a binding agent. This would imply that the dust is heated to temperatures of about 130° to 140° C. After cooling, the mixture immediately becomes rock-solid, ultimate-strength concrete able to bear about 170 times the atmospheric pressure (approximately 17 megapascals). With normal concrete you have to wait seven days, in extreme cases even 28 days to get maximum strength.
NASA artist concept of asteroid 2012 DA14 (Click Image To Enlarge)
The best way for most of us to watch asteroid 2012 DA14 come within 17,200 miles of Earth on Friday, and then recede harmlessly into the cosmos, is to fire up your Web browser and watch the show online. Pictures of the space rock, which is about half the length of a football field, are already starting to roll in.
NASA's experts on near-Earth objects say that the time of closest approach will come at 2:25 p.m. ET, when the asteroid is zooming above the eastern Indian Ocean at a speed of almost 17,500 mph (7.8 kilometers per second). It'll be too dim to see with the naked eye, but observers in Australia, Asia and Europe might be able to follow it with binoculars or small telescopes if they know exactly where to look. (If you want to try it, follow the directions at the bottom of this item.)
Then there are the professionals: Astronomers around the world are tracking 2012 DA14 with optical telescopes and radar dishes to learn more about the asteroid's color, shape, spin and reflectivity. Such data could tell them what the object is made of, and perhaps provide insights into how similar objects could be diverted if they were on a threatening course. Which this one is not.
Experts estimate that asteroids the size of 2012 DA14 hit our planet every 1,200 years or so, exploding with the energy of a 2.5-megaton atomic bomb: The last such impactstruck a remote region of Siberia without warning in 1908, flattening 820 square miles of forest. If an object that big were to hit in just the wrong place, it could wipe out a city. Coincidentally, a much smaller meteoroid came down over Russia on Friday, sparking a fireball and a glass-shattering shock wave.
The size of the asteroid 2012 DA14 in comparison to a football field (Click Image To Enlarge)
Even though the 150-foot-wide (45-meter-wide) asteroid is the biggest object of its kind to be seen coming this close to Earth, its orbit is so well-known that NASA's Near-Earth Object Program can rule out any chance of collision in the foreseeable future. And even though 2012 will fly 5,000 miles closer than satellites in geosynchronous orbit, NASA says its mostly south-to-north orbital path goes through a "sweet spot" that keeps it far away from those satellites — as well as from other spacecraft that are in closer orbits, including the International Space Station.
Thus, astronomers don't expect to see anything go boom on Friday. But they could pick up on some subtler phenomena, such asseismic disturbances in the asteroid that are induced by Earth's gravitational kick, orcharacteristics of the asteroid's spin that are affected by radiation absorption and emission.
This animated set of three images shows 2012 DA14 as it was observed by the Faulkes Telescope South in Australia on Feb. 14 at a distance of 465,000 miles. The asteroid is the moving bright spot in the middle.NASA's website provides details. Credit: LCOGT / E. Gomez / Faulkes South / Remanzacco Observatory. (Click Image To Enlarge)
Radar readings provide the best way to get a fix on the asteroid's shape and spin, in part because observations from multiple radio telescopes can be combined to produce a clearer picture. During 2012 DA14's flyby, radio telescopes in California, New Mexico and Puerto Rico will be tracking the asteroid. NASA's 230-foot (70-meter) dish at Goldstone, Calif., is expected to collect radar imagery good enough to produce a 3-D movie mapping the space rock from all sides.
Graphic depicts the trajectory of asteroid 2012 DA14 on Feb 15, 2013. In this view, we are looking down from above Earth's north pole. Image credit of NASA-JPL-Caltech (Click Image To Enlarge)
Other telescopes, spread out from Australia to Israel to the Canary Islands to the U.S., will be gathering optical data — and the images from some of those telescopes will be shared on Friday. Here's the viewing schedule:
Noon ET: NASA plans to start streaming near-real-time imagery of the asteroid's flyby, as provided by telescopes in Australia and Europe, weather permitting. Watch JPL video on Ustream.
2 p.m. ET: To mark the time of closest encounter, NASA will present a half-hour program with commentary from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The show will feature computer animations as well as any live or near-real-time imagery that becomes available from telescopes in Australia. Watch video on NASA.gov or Ustream. (NBCNews.com also plans to stream the show.)
3:15 p.m. ET: The Bareket Observatory in Israel says it will air a three-hour webcast featuring imagery from the flyby. Static images of the asteroid and its celestial surroundings will be refreshed every 30 to 60 seconds. Watch Bareket's webcast.
9 p.m. ET: A video feed of the flyby from a telescope at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center will be streamed for three hours. During the live-streaming event, viewers can ask researchers questions about the flyby via Twitter or the Ustream chat window. Watch Marshall's Ustream channel.
Got any other websites worth watching? Or any asteroid questions you're wondering about? Feel free to share them in your comments below.
Courtesy of an article dated February 15, 2013 appearing in NBC News Cosmic Log and an article date February 12, 2013 appearing in Space.com and an article dated February 14, 2013 appearing in Space.com and an article dated February 15, 2013 appearing in NASA.gov
Picture of the meteorite as it explodes into a huge fireball and sends a huge shockwave and rains debris down on Chelyabinsk in the Russian Urals (Click Image To Enlarge)
Russia’s Urals region has been rocked by a meteorite explosion in the stratosphere. The impact wave damaged several buildings, and blew out thousands of windows amid frigid winter weather. Hundreds have sought medical attention for minor injuries.
Around 950 people have sought medical attention in Chelyabinsk alone because of the disaster, the region's governor Mikhail Yurevich told RIA Novosti. Over 110 of them have been hospitalized and two of them are in heavy condition. Among the injured there are 159 children, Emergency ministry reported.
Army units found three meteorite debris impact sites, two of which are in an area near Chebarkul Lake, west of Chelyabinsk. The third site was found some 80 kilometers further to the northwest, near the town of Zlatoust. One of the fragments that struck near Chebarkul left a crater six meters in diameter.
Servicemembers from the tank brigade that found the crater have confirmed that background radiation levels at the site are normal.
A hole in Chebarkul Lake made by meteorite debris. Photo by Chebarkul town head Andrey Orlov. (Click Image To Enlarge)
Police officers, environmentalists and EMERCOM experts examine small 0.5-1 cm pieces of black matter left by the meteorite at the site of a meteorite hit in the Chelyabinsk Region (Click Image To Enlarge)
Experts working at the site of the impact told Lifenews tabloid that the fragment is most likely solid, and consists of rock and iron.
A local fisherman told police he found a large hole in the lake’s ice, which could be a result of a meteorite impact. The site was immediately sealed off by police, a search team is now waiting for divers to arrive and explore the bottom of the lake.
Samples of water taken from the lake have not revealed any excessive radioactivity or foreign material.
Russian space agency Roskosmos has confirmed the object that crashed in the Chelyabinsk region is a meteorite:
“According to preliminary estimates, this space object is of non-technogenic origin and qualifies as a meteorite. It was moving at a low trajectory with a speed of about 30 km/s.”
According to estimates by the Russian Academy of Sciences, the space object weighed about 10 tons before entering Earth’s atmosphere.
A bright flash was seen in the Chelyabinsk, Tyumen and Sverdlovsk regions, Russia’s Republic of Bashkiria and in northern Kazakhstan.
The Russian army has joined the rescue operation. Radiation, chemical and biological protection units have been put on high alert. Since the explosion occurred several kilometers above the Earth, a large ground area must be thoroughly checked for radiation and other threats.
According to preliminary reports, the worst damage on the ground in Chelyabinsk was at a zinc factory, the walls and roof of which were partially destroyed by an impact wave. The city's Internet and mobile service were reportedly interrupted because of the damage inflicted near the factory.
Chelyabinsk administration’s website said nearly 3,000 buildings were damaged to varying extents by the meteor shower in the city, including 34 medical facilities and 361 schools and kindergartens. The total amount of window glass shattered amounts to 100,000 square meters, the site said, citing city administration head Sergey Davydov. The ministry also said that no local power stations or civil aircraft were damaged by the meteorite shower, and that “all flights proceed according to schedule.”
Buildings were left without gas because facilities in the city had also been damaged, an Emergency Ministry spokesperson said, according to Russia 24 news channel.
The Emergency Ministry reported that 20,000 rescue workers are operating in the region. Three aircraft were deployed to survey the area and locate other possible impact locations.
The trail of a falling object is seen above a residential apartment block in the Urals city of Chelyabinsk, on February 15, 2013.(AFP Photo - Oleg Kargopolov) (Click Image To Enlarge)
The regional Emergency Ministry denied previous unconfirmed reports by local media that the meteorite was shot by the military air defenses.
Witnesses said the explosion was so loud that it seemed like an earthquake and thunder had struck at the same time, and that there were huge trails of smoke across the sky. Others reported seeing burning objects fall to earth.
A spokesperson for the Urals regional Emergency Ministry center claimed it sent out a mass SMS warning residents about a possible meteorite shower. However, eyewitnesses said they either never received it, or got the message after the explosion had occurred. The Emergency Ministry has since denied sending out the SMS warning, and said the spokesperson that spread the false information “will be fired.”
Picture of windows damaged right after the impact of meteorite in Chelyabinsk (Click Image To Enlarge)
This picture taken by Pavel Berlet shows office damage in the city of Chelyabins (Click Image To Enlarge)
Classes for all Chelyabinsk schools have been canceled, mostly due to broken windows. Institute students have been dismissed until next Monday. Authorities also ordered all kindergartens with broken windows to return children to their families.
Police in the Chelyabinsk region are reportedly on high alert, and have begun ‘Operation Fortress’ in order to protect vital infrastructure.
Office buildings in downtown Chelyabinsk have been evacuated. An emergency message published on the website of the Chelyabinsk regional authority urged residents to pick up their children from school and remain at home if possible.
This picture shows exterior window damage to a building in Chelyabinsk. Photo courtesy Pavel Berlet (Click Image To Enlarge)
A man walks past a building with shattered windows after a meteorite shock wave in Chelyabinsk, Urals, Russia (Click Image To Enlarge)
The shockwave from the meteorite blast was so powerful that n some cases the entire window frames were torn from the windows (Click Image To Enlarge)
Those in Chelyabinsk who had their windows smashed are scrambling to cover the openings with anything available – the temperature in the city is currently -6°C.
Chelyabinsk regional governor Mikhail Yurevich said that preserving the city’s central heating system is authorities’ primary goal.
The governor said in and address to city residents.
“Do not panic, this is an ordinary situation we can manage in a couple of days.”
Background radiation levels in Chelyabinsk remain unchanged, the Emergency Ministry reported.
Local zinc factory was damaged the severest, some of its walls collapsing (Photo from Twitter.com user @TimurKhorev) (Click Image To Enlarge)
Screenshot from YouTube user Gregor Grimm (Click Image To Enlarge)
Residents of the town of Emanzhilinsk, some 50 kilometers from Chelyabinsk, said they saw a flying object that suddenly burst into flames, broke apart and fell to earth, and that a black cloud had been seen hanging above the town. Witnesses in Chelyabinsk said the city’s air smells like gunpowder.
Many locals reported that the explosion rattled their houses and smashed windows. “This explosion, my ears popped, windows were smashed… phone doesn’t work,” Evgeniya Gabun wrote on Twitter.
Twitter user Katya Grechannikova reported.
“My window smashed, I am all shaking! Everybody says that a plane crashed.”
Bukreeva Olga wrote on Twitter.
“My windows were not smashed, but I first thought that my house is being dismantled, then I thought it was a UFO, and my eventual thought was an earthquake.”
The Mayak nuclear complex near the town of Ozersk was not affected by the incident, according to reports. Mayak, one of the world’s biggest nuclear facilities that used to house plutonium production reactors and a reprocessing plant, is located 72 kilometers northwest of Chelyabinsk.
NASA scientists said that the incident is not connected to the approach of 2012 DA14, which measures 45 to 95 meters in diameter and will be passing by Earth tonight at around 19:25 GMT, at the record close distance of 27,000 kilometers.
Photo from Twitter.com user @varlamov (Click Image To Enlarge)
Another Tunguska event?
The incident in Chelyabinsk bears a strong resemblance to the 1908 Tunguska event – an exceptionally powerful explosion in Siberia believed to have been caused by a fragment of a comet or meteor.
According to estimates, the energy of the Tunguska blast may have been as high as 50 megatons of TNT, equal to a nuclear explosion. Some 80 million trees were leveled over a 2,000-square-kilometer area. The Tunguska blast remains one of the most mysterious events in history, prompting a wide array of hypotheses on its cause, including a black hole passing through Earth and the wreck of an alien spacecraft.
Trees were flattened from the blast and shockwave from the meteorite that exploded above Tunguska in northern Siberia in 1908 (Click Image To Enlarge)
It is believed that if the Tunguska event had happened 4 hours later, due to the rotation of the Earth it would have completely destroyed the city of Vyborg and significantly damaged St. Petersburg.
When a similar, though less powerful, unexplained explosion happened in Brazil in 1930, it was named the ‘Brazilian Tunguska.’ The Tunguska event also prompted debate and research into preventing or mitigating asteroid impacts.
Courtey of an article dated February 15, 2013 appearing in RT.com
NASA's Curiosity rover finds a shiny piece of metal on Mars (Click Image To Enlarge)
The Curiosity rover on Mars has been keeping itself quite busy lately, most recently boring into Mars’ red surface in order to find signs of life. However, in its downtime, the rover likes to take a lot of photos,including self-portraits, but this time around, Curiosity came across a strange chunk of metal sticking out of the ground? What could it be?
NASA's Curiosity rover finds what appears to be a shinny pice of metal protruding from the ground on the planet Mars (Click Image To Enlarge)
The photo was snapped on January 30 using one of the rover’s MastCam cameras to get shots of the landscape, and it ended up getting this odd piece of metal in the frame. NASA’s scientists aren’t 100% sure what it is, but they think it may be a chunk from a meteorite, or possibly a chunk of ore that became exposed by some sort of erosion.
It’s said that the object is only a half-centimeter tall, so it’s extremely tiny compared to how big it looks in the image. NASA hasn’t said whether or not it will check out the piece of metal, or if they’ll just ignore it and continue on with their planned experiments. After all, they do have more holes to drill.
However, while some think it’s simply a tiny piece of metal, Elisabetta Bonora of Alive Universe Images, mentions that the hunk of metal takes up about 35 pixels in the image. Taking into account the camera’s resolution and the distance between the rover and the object, the size of the chunk of metal may actually be larger than just 0.5 cm — it’s possible that it’s up to a foot tall. At this point, we’ll never know, unless NASA decides to investigate, but it’s very possible they just might let it be and continue on as scheduled.
COMMENTARY: If NASA's Curiosity rover has found a real piece of metal protruding from the ground, is the structure a natural piece of metal, or something left on Mars by intelligent beings? The picture was taken on January 30, 2013, so I must assume that NASA has dug out that piece of "metal" by now and analyzed it with Curiosity's onboard laboratory. Keep tuned for more.
Courtesy of an article dated February 9, 2013 appearing in Slash Gear
EVEN THE TOUGHEST, SMARTEST ASTRONAUT LOOKS SILLY GETTING DRESSED FOR SPACE. BUT A NEW SUIT DESIGN WILL MAKE THE PROCESS NEAR-INSTANTANEOUS.
If you stepped into the vacuum of space in whatever you’re wearing now, you actually might be okay. You won’t pass out. Your blood won’t boil, nor would it instantly freeze. (Our skin and circulatory systems actually hold in our gas and gunk pretty well.) So long as you make no attempts to hold your breath as the air exits your lungs, you might even enjoy the moment. But you’d only have about 30 seconds before you began sustaining long-lasting injuries. As NASA once explained:
"Various minor problems (sunburn, possibly "the bends," certainly some [mild, reversible, painless] swelling of skin and underlying tissue) start after ten seconds or so. At some point you lose consciousness from lack of oxygen. Injuries accumulate. After perhaps one or two minutes, you’re dying. The limits are not really known."
To view interview with Amy Ross, Space Suit Engineer, Part 2 click HERE.
So in other words, while you could walk in space without a suit, you probably shouldn’t try. Which is precisely why NASA works so hard on refining its space suits.
The Z-1 is their latest, and it’s designed for planetary exploration, right down to the Buzz Lightyear paintjob.
Its innovations are largely in the flexible joints, fitted with bearings in the waist, hips, upper legs, and ankles (to make retrieving rock samples and running from alien species more feasible), along with all of the new materials found in the “heavily engineered” inner suit, which include urethane-coated nylon to retain air and polyester to help the suit hold its shape.
But the Z-1’s pièce de résistance is its inventive back port, which allows the suit to latch into a planetary rover as part of its outer shell. This port also means that astronauts can simply slide from the vehicle into the suit, getting dressed instantly before detaching and walking on the surface of another planet. Just as important, the suit is already perfectly pressurized, too, meaning that astronauts can avoid some of the deep-sea-diver-esque pressurization routines that make trips outside the ship such a hassle.
Sadly, the Z-1 won’t actually make its way into space. But as it’s polished into Z-2 and Z-3 forms, the new Z suit will eventually reach realization in 2017.
COMMENTARY: NASA's Z-1 space suite is the first new space suit design in 20 years - and has turned it into a hatchback. It's important to keep in mind that the present Z-1 is an early prototype and a more finished prototype will not be ready until 2014. As hard as I tried, I could not find a price for the Z-1 space suit, but you can bet that they will be expensive considering all the added technological innovations incorporated into the suit. The following infographic highlights the key features of the Z-1 and compares the suit with both the Apollo and NASA space suits in use since 1982.
A new Pentagon forecast showing the total cost of owning and operating a fleet of F-35 Joint Strike Fighters topping $1 trillion over more than 50 years has caused a case of sticker shock in Washington.
And that price tag doesn't even include the $385 billion the Defense Department will spend to purchase 2,500 of the stealthy planes through 2035.
During a Senate hearing this month, Sen. John McCain (R., Ariz.) called the $1 trillion figure "jaw-dropping," particularly when compared with the costs of operating other aircraft.
Said Senator Cain,
"I appreciate this estimate is still early and subject to change, but we need to know that the program is going to bring that number down".
Tom Burbage, who leads the program for manufacturer Lockheed Martin Corp., acknowledged that the 'T' word
"causes a lot of the sensational reaction to it, because no one's ever dealt with 't's before in a program."
The long-range estimate is, by its nature, imprecise because it attempts to forecast factors including inflation and fuel costs decades into the future. And the Pentagon says it will be adjusted as the planes enter operation.
But the figure is bringing new scrutiny to what is already the Pentagon's largest-ever weapon-buying project as its budget comes under pressure. Already, Lockheed Martin has said it was looking for ways to bring down the long-term cost.
Christine Fox, head of the Pentagon's cost-assessment office, said in Senate testimony that the F-35 would likely cost about 33% more per flight hour to operate than two of the aircraft it will replace, the F-16 and F-18. But the new aircraft will be much more sophisticated, will be far less visible to enemy radar and will have sensors that allow a single jet to take on missions that now require several aircraft.
The Marine Corps version of the F-35 will be able to hover and land vertically. The Navy model will operate from aircraft carriers, while the Air Force version will be based on land. Developmental aircraft are flying, and the first F-35s—which cost about $113 million each—are slated to enter service later in the decade.
The Pentagon's forecast includes all the possible costs the military might incur over the lifetime of the program, including everything from housing the aircraft to installing replacement parts. Add all those together, and factor in inflation, Mr. Burbage said, and "you trip the trillion-dollar mark."
But, he said,
"The question to ask is, is that a relevant number?"
Retired Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Emerson Gardner, who previously oversaw cost assessment at the Pentagon, said it wasn't "good analysis" to put that round dollar figure out without a point of comparison—for instance, the cost of sustaining the less-capable aircraft the new plane would replace.
Geneneeral Gardner said,
"You can scare the children with lots of things by projecting out to what it's going to cost in 2065. It's more useful to us if it's [forecast] five to 10 years."
A more near-term analysis, Gen. Gardner said, might add to a constructive debate about realistic costs and alternatives.
It is normal for sustainment costs to outstrip the basic drive-away cost of a piece of military hardware. But Pentagon procurement chief Ashton Carter said in a recent Senate hearing that the Joint Strike Fighter's projected sustainment bill was on top of an "unacceptably large" bill for procurement.
Still the Pentagon sees no "better alternative" to the F-35 says the general,
"Sustainment seems like years away, but now is the time to face that bill and begin to get that under control."
The Joint Strike Fighter has long been a troubled program, with cost overruns, military management shake-ups and heightened political scrutiny, but Lockheed says the aircraft is now ahead of schedule on its test flights.
Speaking to reporters Tuesday, Lockheed Chairman and Chief Executive Robert Stevens said the trillion-dollar figure was derived from a new Pentagon "selected acquisition report" that wasn't developed by the company, and said the company would work to find ways to bring down the aircraft's long-term production and sustainment costs.
Says the Lockheed CEO,
"As big as that number is, there are sufficiently large opportunities to reduce that number by making streamlining decisions along the way."
COMMENTARY: Just before leaving office, the late President Dwight D. Eisenhower warned us all when he said, "Beware of the U.S. military industrial complex." I wonder what Ike would say about the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter program.
I enjoy writing about and exposing U.S. military wasteful spending, and believe me, "The Greatest Miliary In The World," is the biggest spender of our tax dollars, which is contrary to what people say is being spent on entitlement programs like social security and medicare.
If you believe what the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) says the Department of Defense spends each year, then you are very naive. Did you know that the Department of Homeland Security, CIA and NSA fall under the Department of Defense? All the U.S. contractors stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan are also included in the Department of Defense budget.
THE FACT IS: Nobody really knows the actual amount being spent by our U.S. military because much of the spending is highly classified and the government simply doesn't want us to know. It's for reasons of national security, and we don't want the other side to know what we are up to.
THE F-22 RAPTOR PROGRAM COMES TO AN END
The Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor, is a single-seat, twin-engine fifth generation super-maneurable fighter aircraft that uses stealth technology. The Raptor, originally designated the Y-22, first entered service on December 15, 2005, and was designed for the U.S. Air Force primarily as an air superiority fighter, but has additional capabilities that include ground attack, electronic warfare, and signals intelligence roles.
The high cost of the Raptor, a lack of clear air-to-air combat missions because of delays in the Russian and Chinese fifth generation fighter programs, a US ban on Raptor exports, and the ongoing development of the supposedly cheaper and more versatile F-35 Lightning resulted in calls by the U.S. Defense Department to end F-22 production on April 2009. A total of 168 Raptors were built out of 187 budgeted with a total program cost of $65 billion. Total unit costs per plane was $150 million.
On 9 July 2009, General James Cartwright, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, explained to the U.S. Senate Committee on Armed Services his reasons for supporting termination of the F-22 production line. He believed, most importantly, that Fifth-generation fighters need to be proliferated to all three services, a need that could only be met by shifting more resources to producing the 10-years more advanced, multi-service and multirole F-35 Lightning Joint Strike Fighter jet.
THE F-35 LIGHTNING JOINT STRIKE FIGHTER
The F-35 Lightning Joint Strike Fighter jet. previously designated the X-35, will be produced by Lockheed Martin for the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Marine Corp, U.S. Navy and our European military partners The U.K., Italy, Netherlands, Turkey, Australia, Norway, Denmark and Canada. The number of F-35's to be produced are as follows:
US Air Force: 1,763
US Navy/US Marine Corp: 680
European Military Partners:
United Kingdom - Royal Air Force and Royal Navy: 138
U.S. also ordered 14 F-35's for flgiht tests.
The 2,443 F-35's for the U.S. military are scheduled for production between now and the year 2035 at a total cost of $385 billion. This averages $158 million per plane (includwa spare parts) before recurring costs like maintenance, housing and armaments. Individual unit costs are as follows:
F-35A: $122 million (average cost, 2011)
F-35B: $150 million (average cost, 2011)
F-35C: $139.5 millin (average cost, 2011)
The F-35 Lightning II comes in three variants designed to replace aircraft from the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Marine Corp and U.S. Navy:
U.S. Air Force (F-35A CTOL) - Replaces the General DynamicsF-16 Flying Falcon or Viper, a supersonic (1.2 to 2.0 Mach), long-range (2,200 nautical miles) multirole jet fighter designed for dog fighting and attacking ground targets. Original unit cost: $14.6 to $18.8 million (1998 dollars). Average flyaway cost: $3 million.
U.S. Marine Corp (F-35B STOVL) - Replaces the McDonnel Douglas (now Boeing/BAE Systems Hawker Siddeley Harrier or AV-8A Sea Harrier), a second-generation vertical/short takeoff and landing or V/STOL ground-attack subsonic (662 mph), mid-range (1,200 nautical miles) attack jet. Original unit cost: $30 to $35 million (1997 dollars). Average flyaway costs: NA
U.S. Navy (F-35C CV) - Replaces the McDonnel Douglas Navy F/A-18 Hornet, a supersonic (1.8 Mach), mid-range (1,089 nautical miles), all-weather carrier-capable multirole fighter jet, designed to dogfight and attack ground targets ((F/A for Fighter/Attack). Original unit cost: $29 to $57 million (2006 dollars). Average flyaway costs: NA
There are subtle specification differences between each variant as listed below:
Below is the U.S. Marine AV-8B Harrier jet landing on the deck of the U.S. Navy Amphibius Assault Ship USS Bataan (LHD-5).
The F-35B (STOVL) will replace all four previous versions of the V/STOL Harrier family.
According to the Pentagon, the estimated average recurring fly away costs per plane using the U.S. Air Force F-35A CTOL as the benchmark is $65 million per year per plane. NOTE: U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corp versions of the F-35 would have a different estimted average recurring fly away costs because of differences in design.
The Pentagon produced the following production schedule for the 2,443 F-35's being ordered based on Lockheed's annual production capacity. This includes 415 F-35's that will be produced between now and the end of FY 2016, and another 2,028 additional F-35's that will be produced between FY 2016 and FY 2035.
If you do the math, the estimated recurring fly away costs for the 415 F-35's that have already been produced and will be produced between FY 2011 and FY2016 are as follows:
Test Flight Craft - 14: $910 million
Produced FY Prior to 2011 - 58: $26.390 billion
Produced FY 2011 - 32: $12.480 billion
Produced FY 2012 - 32: $10.400 billion
Produced FY 2013 - 42: $10.920 billion
Produced FY 2014 - 62: $12.090 billion
Produced FY 2015 - 81: $10.530 billion
Produced FY 2016 - 108: $7.020 billion
The above totals for the above 415 F-35's totals approximately $84 billion between now and the end of 2016. Then you add this to the recurring costs for the other 2,028 F-35's that will be produced after FY 2016, and that's how the Pentagon derived its $1 trillion figure. In any event, $65 million for maintenance, housing and armaments for the F-35 is damn expensive to say the least.
COMPARISON F-22A VERSUS F-35A
Thanks to nice folks of the Air Force Association, I was able to obtain a comparison of the F-22A versus F-35A. Comparisons were based on different metrics:
What's not to like about the F-22A. The F-22A was superior over the F-35A in just about every metric except for Unrefuled Combat Radius. The cost comparisons are a bit tricky because they do not include maintenance, housing and armament costs. The F-22A unit cost was also based on a much smaller quantity--187 versus 1763.
The U.S. Marines and U.S. Navy have special needs and requirements because they require V/STOL and carrier-based landing capability respectively. Therefore, the costs for the F-35B and F-35C will probably be higher than the F-35A which is land-based.
The biggest criticism that I have with the F-35 Lightning II is the decision to go with a mulitrole underpowered aircraft that would be designed for three branches of the military. We seem to have put all our eggs in one basket. The F-22A has far better performance characteristics and would've given us greater ability to go up against both Russian and Chinese Fifth Generation Fighter jets.
If the price of the F-35 Lightning II was supposed to be chaper, it sure as hell has not turned out that way. I think we need to totally re-evaluate the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Attack jet. We have no choice. In an era of huge federal budget deficits, we must find ways of reducing costs in every department, and this includes the defense budget, a department with costs that will approach $1 trillion by 2016.
THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE BUDGET
To make my case for reductions in the defense budget, let's look at the U.S. Department of Defense Budget for the Fiscal Year 2010, 2011 and 2012 shall we.
U.S. Department of Defense Budget for FY 2010
U.S. Department of Defense Budget for FY 2010 - By Branch and Department
U.S. Defense Department of Defense - Program Spending over $1.5 billion - FY 2011
U.S. Defense Department of Defense - FY 2012 (DOD and other departments)
U.S. Department of Defense Annual Budget for the FY1962 Through FY 2010 and Forecasted for 2014 - Adjusted For Inflation
U.S. Department of Defense Per Capital Spending 1962 Through 2010 and Forecasted for 2014 - Adjusted For Inflation
If you look at the U.S. Department of Defense for programs spending in excess of $1.5 billion, the F-35 is prominently at the top of the list. I think we can assume that the F-35 program will occupy the No 1 spot for a decade and beyond. In short, the F-35 program will be the single most expensive project U.S. Department of Defense Budget.
We have to seriously ask ourselves whether it's time for the U.S. government to seriously consider reducing our military budget. It has gotten completely out of control. Per capita spending on military spending has risen from $2,500 per person in 1962 to nearly $4,000 per person in FY 2010. By FY 2014 per capital spending will be $4,100 per person.
I believe we would be better served by replacing the U.S. Air Force F-35A with the F-22A because it is just plain and simple the superior plane in just about every performance metric. It can carry larger payloads, has greater thrust, speed and maneuverability, has a superior flight envelope, and can control twice the battle space of the F-35A. I don't know who made the decision to go with the F-35A, but in my opinion this was a huge mistake.
I like the F-35 Lightning II's multiservice role, and what it can do overall, but performance-wise the F-22 is far superior. Unfortunately, the F-22 is not designed for vertical takeoff and carrier operations. I am very reluctant to go with the F-35B STOLV and F-35C CV, because the F-35 Lightning II's performance puts our Marine and Navy pilots at a disadvantage in combat conditions. If we are going to go into battle, I want my Marines and Navy pilots behind the best plane--period. They should not be second best to anybody.
My other complaint is the F-35 Lightning II's total production costs per aircraft have skyrocketed to $158 million per plane, and are projected to rise even higher. Just what the hell is going on here?Lockheed Martin has a lot of explaining to do. The company needs to provide a detailed breakdown of the costs of production, parts, housing and armaments. We need to find a way to make the plane much more cost-effective, even if it means that Lockheed Martin has to eat some of those flyaway costs.
12/16/12 - UPDATE:
For three years (FY 2010, FY 2011 and FY2012), the Pentagon has been postponing orders for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. Plans to produce 425 of the F-35's have been put on hold. But Lockheed, the builder of the F-35 has reasons to be optimistic. According to government officials, the Pentagon is close to approving a deal to produce 29 F-35's during fiscal year 2013. The F-35's history is full of research and development setbacks, rising costs and mounting criticism of the troubled F-35. It is now estimated that if the Pentagon builds 2400+ F-35's, the total cost will hit $395 billion. That's a 70% increase in costs since 2001. Flight tests have uncovered a number of flaws with the F-35. Lockheed has agreed to underwrite half the cost of fixing those flaws. And, the Air Force general who supervises the F-35 program calls the relationship between the Pentagon and Lockheed,
"The worst I've ever seen."
Lockheed launched an online campaign on its website to urge F-35 supporters to sign a petition to prevent the F-35 program from being scrapped. The F-35 has undergone numerous test flights since 2006, but don't expect the F-35 to appear over the skys of Afghanistan anytime soon.
NASA's Voyager 1 spacecraft has entered a new region at the far reaches of our solar system that scientists feel is the final area the spacecraft has to cross before reaching interstellar space.
Scientists refer to this new region as a magnetic highway for charged particles because our sun's magnetic field lines are connected to interstellar magnetic field lines. This connection allows lower-energy charged particles that originate from inside our heliosphere -- or the bubble of charged particles the sun blows around itself -- to zoom out and allows higher-energy particles from outside to stream in. Before entering this region, the charged particles bounced around in all directions, as if trapped on local roads inside the heliosphere.
The heliopause marks the outerost edge of our solar system's heliosphere before entering interstellar space (Click Image To Enlarge)
The Voyager team infers this region is still inside our solar bubble because the direction of the magnetic field lines has not changed. The direction of these magnetic field lines is predicted to change when Voyager breaks through to interstellar space. The new results were described at the American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco on Monday.
Voyager spacecraft showing major subsystems (Click Image To Enlarge)
Edward Stone, Voyager project scientist based at the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena said.
"Although Voyager 1 still is inside the sun's environment, we now can taste what it's like on the outside because the particles are zipping in and out on this magnetic highway. We believe this is the last leg of our journey to interstellar space. Our best guess is it's likely just a few months to a couple years away. The new region isn't what we expected, but we've come to expect the unexpected from Voyager."
The Voyager cover protects the Gold Record ans is made from aluminum with an electro-plating of the isotope uranium-238, which has a half-life of 4.51 billion years.(Click Image To Enlarge)
Voyager's Gold Record is a 12-inch gold-plated copper disk containing sounds and images selected to portray the diversity of life and culture on Earth (Click Image To Enlarge)
Explanation of Voyager Recording Cover Diagram (Click Image To Enlarge)
Since December 2004, when Voyager 1 crossed a point in space called the termination shock, the spacecraft has been exploring the heliosphere's outer layer, called the heliosheath. In this region, the stream of charged particles from the sun, known as the solar wind, abruptly slowed down from supersonic speeds and became turbulent. Voyager 1's environment was consistent for about five and a half years. The spacecraft then detected that the outward speed of the solar wind slowed to zero.
The intensity of the magnetic field also began to increase at that time.
Voyager data from two onboard instruments that measure charged particles showed the spacecraft first entered this magnetic highway region on July 28, 2012. The region ebbed away and flowed toward Voyager 1 several times. The spacecraft entered the region again Aug. 25 and the environment has been stable since.
said Stamatios Krimigis, principal investigator of the low-energy charged particle instrument, based at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, Laurel, Md.
"If we were judging by the charged particle data alone, I would have thought we were outside the heliosphere. But we need to look at what all the instruments are telling us and only time will tell whether our interpretations about this frontier are correct."
Spacecraft data revealed the magnetic field became stronger each time Voyager entered the highway region; however, the direction of the magnetic field lines did not change.
Data from Voyager 1 show an abrupt drop in solar ions (top) at the same time that the spacecraft detected an increased number of cosmic rays (bottom) from interstellar space (Click Image To Enlarge)
Leonard Burlaga, a Voyager magnetometer team member based at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md said.
"We are in a magnetic region unlike any we've been in before -- about 10 times more intense than before the termination shock -- but the magnetic field data show no indication we're in interstellar space. The magnetic field data turned out to be the key to pinpointing when we crossed the termination shock. And we expect these data will tell us when we first reach interstellar space."
Voyager 1 and 2 were launched 16 days apart in 1977. At least one of the spacecraft has visited Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. Voyager 1 is the most distant human-made object, about 11 billion miles (18 billion kilometers) away from the sun. The signal from Voyager 1 takes approximately 17 hours to travel to Earth. Voyager 2, the longest continuously operated spacecraft, is about 9 billion miles (15 billion kilometers) away from our sun. While Voyager 2 has seen changes similar to those seen by Voyager 1, the changes are much more gradual. Scientists do not think Voyager 2 has reached the magnetic highway.
The Voyager spacecraft were built and continue to be operated by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, in Pasadena, Calif. Caltech manages JPL for NASA. The Voyager missions are a part of NASA's Heliophysics System Observatory, sponsored by the Heliophysics Division of the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington.
COMMENTARY: NASA's Voyager 1 spacecraft has entered a new region between our solar system and interstellar space. Data obtained from Voyager over the last year reveal this new region to be a kind of cosmic purgatory. In it, the wind of charged particles streaming out from our sun has calmed, our solar system's magnetic field has piled up, and higher-energy particles from inside our solar system appear to be leaking out into interstellar space. Ed Stone, Voyager project scientist at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena said.
"Voyager tells us now that we're in a stagnation region in the outermost layer of the bubble around our solar system. Voyager is showing that what is outside is pushing back. We shouldn't have long to wait to find out what the space between stars is really like."
Although Voyager 1 is about 11 billion miles (18 billion kilometers) from the sun, it is not yet in interstellar space. In the latest data, the direction of the magnetic field lines has not changed, indicating Voyager is still within the heliosphere, the bubble of charged particles the sun blows around itself. The data do not reveal exactly when Voyager 1 will make it past the edge of the solar atmosphere into interstellar space, but suggest it will be in a few months to a few years.
After 35 years of space travel, the twin Voyager planetary probes are nearing the very edge of Earth’s solar system. They will become the first man-made objects to travel between the stars.
Voyager 2 was launched first, on Aug. 20, 1977. Voyager 1 followed on Sept. 5, 1977. This was done because Voyager 2 would travel on a shorter path and would arrive at each planet ahead of Voyager 1.
Each Voyager spacecraft carries a golden record attached to its hull. The record is a 12-inch (30 cm) gold-plated copper disc containing sounds and images of Earth. If the Voyagers are eventually found by alien life forms, a diagram engraved into the record cover explains how to play the record.
As of mid-2012, both Voyager space probes are on the outskirts of our solar system, in a region called the “scattered disc.” Voyager 1 is the most distant human-made object at about 11 billion miles from Earth, twice as far as the dwarf planet Pluto. The Voyagers are expected to soon cross the heliopause, considered the boundary between Earth’s solar system and interstellar space. Both Voyagers continue to radio data back to Earth, and their nuclear batteries, though weakening, continue to provide electrical power.
The U.S. may have had secret plans to detonate an atomic bomb on the moon at the height of the Cold War (Click Image To Enlarge)
A story that surfaced over a decade ago is making the rounds again this week, as some media outlets are reporting that the U.S. considered detonating an atomic bomb on the moon in an effort to intimidate the Soviet Union at the height of the Cold War.
On Sunday,the Daily Mail revived the story, citing a 12-year-old interview with physicist Leonard Reiffel, formerly of the U.S. military-backed Armour Research Foundation and later a deputy director of NASA. Celebrated astronomer Carl Sagan also was said to have been involved with the secret project, which reportedly was known as "A Study of Lunar Research Flights" or "Project A119." Sagan died in 1996.
In the interview, Reiffel reportedly said the plan had been to launch a rocket that would deliver a small nuclear device to the moon's surface, where it would detonate.
Reiffel, now 85, is believed to be the only official to have publicly confirmed his association with the project. However, a 190-page document called "A Study of Lunar Research Flights, Volume I" dated June 19, 1959 is available online through the Information for the Defense Community database. The document, available in PDF format, is credited to Reiffel and bears the heading of Air Force Special Weapons Center and the Air Research and Development Command based at Kirkland Air Force Base in New Mexico.
Click Image To Enlarge
The abstract reads:
Nuclear detonations in the vicinity of the moon are considered in this report along with scientific information which might be obtained from such explosions. The military aspect is aided by investigation of space environment, detection of nuclear device testing, and capability of weapons in space. A study was conducted of various theories of the moon's structure and origin, and a description of the probable nature of the lunar surface is given. The areas discussed in some detail are optical lunar studies, seismic observations, lunar surface and magnetic fields, plasma and magneti3 field effects, and organic matter on the moon.
Military officials abandoned the idea, Reiffel said, in part because of the danger it posed to people on Earth if the mission failed. Scientists also were concerned about contaminating the moon with radioactive material.
In a new interview with The Huffington Post, Richard Rhodes, a Pulitzer-prize-winning author and an affiliate of the Center for International Security and Cooperation at Stanford University, said he was unfamiliar with Project A119. If there had been a plan to send a nuclear missile to the moon in the 1950s, he said, it would have been hard-pressed to advance past the study stage. The first Soviet craft crash-landed on the moon in 1959, followed three years later by the American craft Ranger 4, reports National Geographic.
"I doubt we had any rockets that would have had the power to leave earth's orbit and hit the moon," Rhodes said. "It takes a lot of power to take things out of earth's gravitational pull, much more than to just put something in orbit."
If there had been a secret plan, the show of U.S. technological prowess would have been meant as a counter to Sputnik, Rhodes added.
Though nuking the moon sounds far-fetched, Rhodes said some of the projects that grew out of Cold War tensions were far from funny.
"One of the craziest things we ever did was develop and deploy nuclear tipped anti-aircraft missiles, plane to plane. That's always seemed like insanity," he said. Once miniaturized nuclear weapons were created, "as all the services wanted their share--so they had to think of some use for these things, and their uses were marginally insane," at least by today's risk-reward standards, he said.
When asked about the project, the U.S. Air Force declined to comment, the Associated Press reported in 2000.
COMMENTARY: What a crazy, idiotic idea to bomb the Moon, just to demonstrate our machismo and flex our nuclear muscles just to intimidate the U.S.S.R. Growing up during the height of the Cold War, I can clearly remember the air raid warning alarms and nuclear bomb safety tests that the schools used to conduct. The teachers would get the students in their classes to crawl under their desks and pretend there was a nuclear bomb attack. These tests would've done absolutely zero to protect us in the event of a real nuclear attac.
The whole idea of arming ourselves with enough nuclear weapons to destroy the World 100 times over on the theory that our enemies would never use their nukes is pure lunacy. If you ask me, all of this is done just to keep the Military Industrial Complex in business making weapons of mass destruction and the latest in tech weaponry.
Courtesy of an article dated November 28, 2012 appearing in The Huffington Post and an article dated November 28, 2012 appearing in CNN.com
Saturn V rocket on the launching pad - Official NASA photo (Click Image To Enlarge)
Nowadays, Kickstarter has evolved into a platform for launching big ideas and even bigger businesses. But for Paul Sahre, the crowdfunding platform is about launching a model Saturn V rocket his late father lovingly built 40 years ago. After months of preparation, the rocket never deployed its chute and instead crashed to the ground. It was never flown again.
It’s a powerful story of the Sahre family that resonated with the crowdfunding audience as captured in this color photo from 1969 (Click Image To Enlarge)
Through a Kickstarter campaign, Paul Sahre is continuing a storyline from his youth (Click Image To Enlarge)
Sahre writes on his Kickstarter page.
“It struck me that this was the first time I remember seeing him fail at ANYTHING. It reminded me of a time when our fathers were omnipotent; when any dispute with the kid down the block could be settled with ‘I’ll ask my dad.’”
Now, Sahre plans to try again. He’s going to build and launch a Saturn V of his own alongside his children and family. He’s already bought a vintage kit off eBay, and through Kickstarter funding, he’ll be documenting the experience in a photobook and short documentary video. The goal? To recreate a place and time in both his life and our society.
The idea isn’t just an opportunity to rewrite history in the present …
… but for Paul’s children to get to know a grandpa they never met (Click Images To Enlarge)
Sahre tells me.
“It’s easy to forget but there were seven missions to the moon over a four-year period between 1969-1972. It was a collective experience unlike anything happening today. All my friends wanted to be astronauts and many of them were into model rockets. My dad was an aerospace engineer (but his specialty was flight simulators). He built his 1/100 scale Saturn V and made it an event so we could relate in some small way to what we were watching on the TV every night.”
His father spent months building the rocket (or “years” according to his mom), photographing the progress all the while. But when the rocket failed to deploy its chutes, the photos stopped and the story ended. Sahre wants to continue with his photobook where his father left off.
A 40-yr old Centuri Saturn V rocket kit like the one Paul Sahre's father launched was found on eBay (Click Image To Enlarge)
The sheer amount of details make it a specific memory to be sure. Not everyone’s father was an aerospace engineer. Not everyone’s father built toy rockets. But there’s something about Sahre’s story--maybe it’s the golden age of the Space Race, maybe it’s every man’s quest to understand his father, maybe it’s just the extreme sincerity behind the whole project--that’s resonated with the crowd. Sahre’s family project has already exceeded its $14,000 goal, and there are still a few days left to back it.
“The project is really about shared experiences and the nature of memory. And about loss of course. Why do certain things stay with us? And how do these experiences form the future you? Why do I remember this particular event with such clarity 40 years after the fact? And what effect might a do-over have on that memory?
“While I don’t necessarily expect answers, I like the idea of re-enacting this event, engineered by my father, for my two sons who never knew their grandfather. And seeing if i can make this experience stick for them.
“Or maybe I just simply miss my dad and this is a way to collaborate with him. Either way, I think he would have liked the idea of giving it another try.”
I remember the launch of Apollo 11 to the Moon very well. It was a historic event, something you did not want to miss. People throughout the world were glued to their TV sets to watch the launch including the historic landing on the Moon, and witnessing U.S. astronaut Neil Armstrong's memorable words: "That's one small step for Man, one giant leap for Mankind."
I think the Saturn V Relaunch project is a wonderful and fun idea and 507 Kickstarter donors thought so too, and they generously donated $19,753. This easily exceeded the goal to raise $14,000. I have a feeling there are going to be a lot of happy amateur rocketeers and families with young children when they receive their Saturn V rocket kit. Congrats to Paul Sahre for conceiving it, designing the Saturn V rocket parts for the kits, and posting it on Kickstarter.
He’ll rebuild a Saturn V model rocket his dad had built over 40 years ago (that crashed when it was launched) (Click Image To Enlarge)