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aries1988 : space   10

A Review of Kurt Caswell’s Laika’s Window | BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog

As with police dogs and military dogs, though, the job was dangerous. Everyone involved with the space dogs knew they would not survive being shot into space. Getting Laika safely back to earth was not possible with the technology of the time, though shooting her into space was. She was the best fit for the job of first animal into orbit both literally—she was a small dog, and the smaller the better in space programs—and because of her temperament. She was profoundly patient, capable of sitting in a confined space for 20 days, and she took well to space training.

And so, on November 3, 1957, up she went, inside Sputnik II. She died of overheating after a few orbits, but she passed on a wealth of information about the status and survival of living beings in space, such that Yuri Gagarin’s successful orbit a few years later would not have been possible without her.
dog  urss  Space  hero  book 
24 days ago by aries1988
What Happens If China Makes First Contact?

Science fiction is sometimes described as a literature of the future, but historical allegory is one of its dominant modes. Isaac Asimov based his Foundation series on classical Rome, and Frank Herbert’s Dune borrows plot points from the past of the Bedouin Arabs. Liu is reluctant to make connections between his books and the real world, but he did tell me that his work is influenced by the history of Earth’s civilizations, “especially the encounters between more technologically advanced civilizations and the original settlers of a place.” One such encounter occurred during the 19th century, when the “Middle Kingdom” of China, around which all of Asia had once revolved, looked out to sea and saw the ships of Europe’s seafaring empires, whose ensuing invasion triggered a loss in status for China comparable to the fall of Rome.

Every so often, a Hans Zimmer bass note would sound, and the glass pane would fill up with the smooth, spaceship-white side of another train, whooshing by in the opposite direction at almost 200 miles an hour.

seti does share some traits with religion. It is motivated by deep human desires for connection and transcendence. It concerns itself with questions about human origins, about the raw creative power of nature, and about our future in this universe—and it does all this at a time when traditional religions have become unpersuasive to many.

China could rightly regard itself as the lone survivor of the great Bronze Age civilizations, a class that included the Babylonians, the Mycenaeans, and even the ancient Egyptians. Western poets came to regard the latter’s ruins as Ozymandian proof that nothing lasted. But China had lasted. Its emperors presided over the planet’s largest complex social organization. They commanded tribute payments from China’s neighbors, whose rulers sent envoys to Beijing to perform a baroque face-to-the-ground bowing ceremony for the emperors’ pleasure.
astronomy  seti  china  alien  chinese  project  state  scientist  scifi  technology  development  2017  future  human  discovery  history  Space  interview 
november 2017 by aries1988
Why Land on the Moon? - The Atlantic
THOUGHTFUL critics, concerned over the allocation of limited national resources, ask whether this is a good way in which to spend funds that might otherwise be used for the betterment of man's lot on the surface of the earth. Could some of the money going into space research be diverted into other programs of public interest -- medical research, education, housing, technical aid to emerging nations -- a variety of projects contributing to the welfare of our society?

But if space money cannot readily be rerouted into other channels, that negative consideration in itself is not a reason for these large expenditures. What are the positive values which we derive from this investment?

The current discussion of these values of the space program has served the United States well in directing its attention to questions of national purpose. But, however we may try to break the program down into its elements and to attempt a detailed balancing of debits and credits, the fact remains that the space effort is greater than the sum of its parts. It is a great adventure and a great enterprise, not only for the United States but for all humanity. We have the power and resources to play a leading role in this effort, and it is inconceivable that we should stand aside.
science  politics  policy  discovery  state  moon  astronomy  nasa  space 
october 2017 by aries1988
The Visit: What aliens would really mean for us as humans
The most frightening aspect for me was Beaver’s sense of how public panic would cause society to break down. I thought panic leading to Armageddon was just a Hollywood cliché, but the MoD officials I spoke to had seen this process under way during the Bosnian conflicts of the mid-1990s. Their assumption – that society tips into anarchy very quickly – was deadly serious and sincere. Beaver and Sheriff told me, more or less, that the varnish of society is very thin: fear cuts through it quickly.

And there’s hope in the fact that we conjure up aliens in the first place. We long to be seen by something other than ourselves, because then our own existence is strengthened. Alongside it is this suspicion that perhaps the alien is resting inside ourselves: that while we’re alone in the universe, we don’t truly know who we are.
alien  opinion  howto  safety  space 
january 2016 by aries1988
Moon Launch Was Man's Shining Hour
I found myself waving to the rocket involuntarily, I heard people applauding and joined them, grasping our common motive; it was impossible to watch passively, one had to express, by some physical action, a feeling that was not triumph, but more the feeling that that white object's unobstructed streak of motion was the only thing that mattered in the universe.
essay  human  space 
december 2015 by aries1988
Is a Climate Disaster Inevitable?
The physicist Enrico Fermi first formulated this question, now called the Fermi paradox, in 1950. But in the intervening decades, humanity has recognized that our own climb up the ladder of technological sophistication comes with a heavy price. From climate change to resource depletion, our evolution into a globe-spanning industrial culture is forcing us through the narrow bottleneck of a sustainability crisis. In the wake of this realization, new and sobering answers to Fermi’s question now seem possible.
science  scifi  future  civ  earth  space  climate 
january 2015 by aries1988
Rosetta, une réussite européenne
En 1981, la décision unilatérale de la NASA d’arrêter sa participation à la mission ISPM de survol des pôles du Soleil par un satellite américain et un européen provoqua une crise politique majeure et vint renforcer une croissante volonté d’autonomie renforcée par le succès du premier lancement d’Ariane en 1979.

Après une large consultation de plus de 2 000 scientifiques européens, l’ESA établit, en 1984, un programme de vingt ans, « Horizon 2000 », composé de pierres angulaires, choisies par consensus de tous les scientifiques, représentant les domaines phares de leurs intérêts : observation du Soleil et de son influence sur l’environnement ; astronomie des hautes énergies et du rayonnement infrarouge lointain ; exploration des comètes et des astéroïdes concrétisée par les missions Soho et Cluster, XMM-Newton, Herschel et Planck, Giotto et Rosetta.

Conçu pour être autonome, le programme répondait à la volonté d’indépendance, tout en permettant la participation de partenaires non européens. Son coût total avoisinait 4,5 milliards d’euros sur vingt ans en exigeant une augmentation régulière du budget scientifique de l’ESA – en stagnation depuis 1971 – au niveau annuel de 27 millions d’euros, soit un dixième du programme équivalent à la NASA.

Succès politique majeur, dont Rosetta est l’illustration scientifique spectaculaire. Sa mise en œuvre exigeait une discipline de contrôle des coûts des missions. Son acceptation enclencha une révolution des méthodes de travail tant de la communauté scientifique que de l’ESA et de ses Etats membres. Le programme devint une référence européenne et internationale. Une fois accepté, il attisa l’intérêt des Américains, des Japonais, des Russes et, plus tard, des Chinois. L’Europe offrait et ne mendiait plus !
europe  space  science  engineering  comparison 
november 2014 by aries1988
Mystery of the missing waves on Titan
Researchers have toyed with several explanations. Perhaps the lakes are frozen. Hayes thinks that is unlikely, however, "because we see evidence of rainfall and surface temperatures well above the melting point of methane." Or maybe the lakes are covered with a tar-like substance that damps wave motion. "We can't yet rule that out," he adds.
The answer might be found in the results of a study Hayes and colleagues published in the July 2013 online edition of the journal Icarus. Taking into account the gravity of Titan, the low viscosity of liquid hydrocarbons, the density of Titan's atmosphere, and other factors, they calculated how fast wind on Titan would have to blow to stir up waves: A walking-pace breeze of only 1 to 2 mph should do the trick.
This suggests a third possibility: the winds just haven't been blowing hard enough. Since Cassini reached Saturn in 2004, Titan's northern hemisphere (where most of the lakes are located) has been locked in the grip of winter. Cold heavy air barely stirs, and seldom reaches the threshold for wave-making.
ocean  space 
july 2013 by aries1988

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