NASA was hacked 13 times last year        

Washington: NASA said hackers stole employee credentials and gained access to mission-critical projects last year in 13 major network breaches that could compromise US national security.

National Aeronautics and Space Administration Inspector General Paul Martin testified before Congress this week on the breaches, which appear to be among the more significant in a string of security problems for federal agencies.

The space agency discovered in November that hackers working through an Internet Protocol address in China broke into the -network of NASA`s Jet Propulsion Laboratory,

Martin said in testimony released on Wednesday. One of NASA`s key labs, JPL manages 23 spacecraft conducting active space missions, including missions to Jupiter, Mars and Saturn.

He said the hackers gained full system access, which allowed them to modify, copy, or delete sensitive files, create new user accounts and upload hacking tools to steal user credentials and compromise other NASA systems. They were also able to modify system logs to conceal their actions.

"Our review disclosed that the intruders had compromised the accounts of the most privileged JPL users, giving the intruders access to most of JPL`s networks," he said.

In another attack last year, intruders stole credentials for accessing NASA systems from more than 150 employees. Martin said the his office identified thousands of computer security lapses at the agency in 2010 and 2011.

He also said NASA has moved too slowly to encrypt or scramble the data on its laptop computers to protect information from falling into the wrong hands.

Unencrypted notebook computers that have been lost or stolen include ones containing codes for controlling the International Space Station, as well as sensitive data on NASA`s Constellation and Orion programs, Martin said.

A NASA spokesman told Reuters on Friday the agency was implementing recommendations made by the Inspector General`s Office.

"NASA takes the issue of IT security very seriously, and at no point in time have operations of the International Space Station been in jeopardy due to a data breach," said NASA spokesman Michael Cabbagehe.


In a separate development, the U.S. Air Force said on Friday

it had scrapped a plan to outfit thousands of personnel with second-generation iPad tablet computers from Apple Inc, but denied the reversal was because some of the software it wanted on the devices had been written in Russia.

Two days ago, news website Nextgov raised questions about a requirement that the 2,861 iPad2s come equipped with GoodReader, an electronic document display program written by an independent Russian developer.

The devices were to be used to store and update flight information, regulations and orders, according to procurement documents.

"The cancellation was not the result of any concern about GoodReader," said Matt Durham, a spokesman at the Air Force Special Operations Command.

He said the cancellation of the six-week-old order followed a decision that the procurement should not have been reserved for small businesses.

The military and other branches of government have been putting an increased emphasis on "supply-chain security" as they try to make sure that hardware, software and other components have not been tampered with by other nations.

This has proved challenging because so many parts come from overseas. Even American companies often contract for programming work abroad.

Mike Jacobs, who headed the National Security Agency`s program for defending U.S. equipment, said in an interview he had killed a major procurement of encryption software within seconds after learning that a U.S. supplier had included a small amount of Russian-made code.

Bureau Report

Image Caption: 
News Source: 

          It's Time for Robots to Mine the Asteroids        
Phil Metzger at University of Florida has just published an important and compelling article titled Space Development and Space Science Together, an Historic Opportunity about the need to develop a Self-sufficient Replicating Space Industry that uses robots to harvest space-based resources . The article is detailed, well-cited and fully attentive to the objections often raised.

Metzger calculates that it would take only a third of Earth's national space program budgets over the coming decades to deploy and complete the industrial infrastructure we need for harvesting resources from space that address major challenges we face in economic development, science, climate change, energy needs and other dwindling mineral resources.

Metzger specifically prescribes an initial focus on mining water for the purpose of fueling steam-based propulsion systems. Robust water deposits on the moon, asteroids, Europa, and elsewhere in the solar system promise bountiful supplies that will propel us to the stars. Another benefit of hydro-propulsion, explained to me this week by Deep Space Industries @GoDeepSpace CEO Dan Faber, is that water would be easy and safe for entrepreneurs integrating propulsion into their satellites today. Metzger has focused his attention and efforts on developing a lunar mine, Faber's company looks to mine water from Near Earth asteroids since their negligible gravity makes it easier to extract the water without escaping lunar gravity. (See DSI design, right.)

Metzger outlines other important projects as well, such as a Space-Based Solar Power system and extraterrestrial compute facilities, sorely needed infrastructure that we simply cannot scale on Earth:
"The primary benefit of space is real estate that biology does not need. Earth is the one special place in the solar system required by life, but machines can function anywhere else."
Why now? Metzger argues that AI has reached the points of maturity and acceleration that we need to pull it off, citing Bill Gates that robotics "is developing in much the same way that the computer business did 20 years ago."

Counter intuitively, the primary obstacles are not technical. Rather it is government inaction, in both funding and regulation. Peter Diamandis' startup Planetary Resources employs JPL veterans who know how to prospect Near earth asteroids today, but PR's mission awaits space-faring nations to legally recognize asteroid mining rights (other than the U.S. which did so last year). And government funding is hard to come by for what the Chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on NASA dismissed as a "nutty fantasy." Metzger lays out strategies for overcoming these obstacles.

Enough said. Click through and read Metzger's important, fascinating paper.

          We're back on Mars - Curiosity Touchdown Story        
Yes, we've just made it to the Mars once again, a few minutes ago Curiosity Rover safe-landed on Mars and started to send back the signals. I was just glued to my chair during the last 2 hours of flight of the Curiosity capsule, listening to various media news and NASA TV and finally as it was successful, I was sunken in a lot of feelings. What an effort made by the crew to have this sophisticated robot landed on our neighboring planet, the dedication and sacrifices they've put forward in bringing this up to a reality. So hats off to all those who are behind this great project, well done guys !!!

Plus what kind of discoveries can be made with this rover's expertise. By far Curiosity is the largest rover to have landed on Mars as we know and what we all just have to do is let the science begin, Already there are torrents of photos and data being sent to Earth and you all can see the pictures in NASA website. Quite interestingly it was seen that the NASA web-servers crashed at the high traffic naturally triggered for the Curiosity's news of safe landing. Anyway stay tuned in for NASA for latest news about the Curiosity.

Practice of the tradition of munching peanuts before the entry of the rover
Practice of the tradition of munching peanuts before the entry of the rover

Just before the first entry point, it was seen the usual tradition of munching of peanuts was practiced and now we all know that Curiosity has made it to Mars safely. The crews at JPL were exhilarating as they made the achievement when the pictures of the Martian surface appeared on the screen. It was truly a moment of joy and celebration, as their untiring efforts paid off.

JPL Crew reactions at the touchdown of Curiosity Rover
JPL Crew reactions at the touchdown of Curiosity Rover

If you have time just try to find and have a look at the animation depicting the entry and landing, the technique of parachute and rocket boosters is novel and interesting. They have built the largest ever parachute for this endeavor, I heard.  Looking forward to more updates from Curiosity !

Pictures courtesy : NASA TV

          2009-12-14: Network issues resolved, LTSRF resuming operations        
Network issues that had been interfering with the acquisition of GHRSST data from JPL have been resolved. Additional issues with incomplete metadata for AVHRR17_L data sets are being investigated. All other GHRSST data sets are being ingested normally. Thank you for your patience.
          Comment on Asteroide Dag i MÃ¥løv – Hvad rager det mig! by astrotez        
My work as an amateur astronomer and Pro-Am collaborator highlighted on NASA’s JPL main search engine.
          Video Production for Students Part 2: Production        

How to Make A Video, Part 2; Production by Jose Carrillo



The first thing that may come to mind is that you need to acquire some high end video equipment. Nowadays, you may have two or three things on your person right now that can capture HD quality video.
Screen Shot 16.png
Big fancy cameras are not needed!
Smartphones, tablets, DSLRs, hard drive based video cameras, even some webcams have the ability to shoot high quality footage that you can bring into your favorite video editor.
HD Video is within your grasp.
If you do not have access to any cameras, though, check the campus library. The UTSA JPL library has some HD cameras and tripods you can check out, along with laptops. So, even if you only have a desktop computer stuck at home, you still have the option of having a computer handy.

If you do plan on using the camera “on location”, make sure you charge the batteries or your location has a wall plug. Or else, your shoot may be finished sooner than you think.


A webcam is also a good way to record your introductions, as well as narration. Some software tools and online tools, like, allows you to use your web camera and microphone to record straight into the timeline.

Get Familiar with your equipment

The worst time to open up the instruction manual on a video camera is during the shoot. It is highly suggested that you try out your equipment beforehand. Shoot some video footage with the camera, then see if you can figure out how to get the video file off the camera and into your computer. 
Once you've figured that out, look at the video. How is the audio? Is it loud enough? Does the video look good, or does the room need more lights? It is best to figure out what your shot needs before the day of the shoot.

Shooting Video

Slow and steady wins the race
 If you are using a smartphone or other smaller camera, or don’t have a tripod, lean on something. A tree, a wall, or anything else will help you steady the camera. If there is nothing nearby to lean on, place your elbows on your stomach, to keep your hands steady.


One of the things you may want to keep track of is composition. Composition helps create a pleasing image for the viewer while also helping prevent any distractions. One of these rules is the rules of third. This guide helps pull the focus of the viewer to whatever you want by dividing the picture into thirds, horizontally and vertically.

Another composition trick is to be aware of the background. Refrain from overly busy or cluttered backgrounds. You don't want someone trying to read what is in a blurry TV over your shoulder when you are talking on video.

Also, make sure things are not "sticking out" of the speaker's head. Sign posts sprouting from their head, or a water pipe appearing as if it is going through the speakers head are all very distracting to the viewer.


Lighting may seem like a complicated process, but most issues can be worked out with light that is already available. For one, make sure that your set is already set up for light, and avoid areas that have no light at all. 
If your shoot is inside, turn on all the lights you can. If it is a sunny day, open the windows and use the sun as a light source. However, keep the window to the cameraman back.  If you put the speaker in front of the window, there is a chance that your subject will end up looking like a silhouette.
This goes the same for outdoor shooting. The sun is a great illumination, but it will wash out your subject if you are not careful. If you're not sure, shoot some video and check it out.


Whatever camera you are using, be sure your camera is close enough to pick up the actors voice. Viewers are more likely to forgive bad video than they are to forgive bad audio. Your mind filters out all the humming and buzzing around you, but the camera will pick it up.
If you’re not sure, record some footage with your camera, then play it back with some headphones.

Vertical Video

Vertical video may be a burgeoning film style, but, for the sake of professional looking video presentations, it is suggested that you keep your video horizontal. Not only will the image be bigger on the screen, but will thankfully lack distracting vertical bars.

          Wow. Here at JPL for MSL landing         
          Najbliższego Ziemi brązowego karła obiega planeta        

Jeszcze w 2012 roku astronomowie ogłosili odkrycie planety podobnej do Ziemi krążącej wokół naszego najbliższego sąsiada, Alpha Centauri B. Ten obiekt astronomiczny znajduje się zaledwie 4,3 lat świetlnych od nas. Wraz z odkryciem rozpoczęła się gorąca dyskusja. Druga grupa astronomów nie była bowiem w stanie potwierdzić obecności egzoplanety, co wywołało zrozumiałe emocje.


To, co zaobserwowano nie jest zatem ostatecznie zweryfikowane, ale jest sporo dowodów potwierdzających, że egzoplanety często krążą wokół brązowych karłów. W tym konkretnym przypadku może to być planeta pozasłoneczna w trzecim najbliższego systemie gwiezdnym licząc do Słońca.


Astronomowie odkryli ten system kilkanaście miesięcy temu. Dwa brązowe karły zostały dostrzeżone w danych z szerokiego pola należącego do NASA teleskopu WISE. Specjaliści twierdzą, że nie zostały wykryte tak długo, ponieważ znajdują się one w płaszczyźnie galaktyki, obszarze gęsto zapełnionym przez gwiazdy, które są znacznie jaśniejsze od brązowych karłów.

Źródło: NASA / JPL / Gemini Observatory / AURA / NSF

Henri Boffin z Europejskiego Obserwatorium Południowego kierował zespołem astronomów w misji, której celem było, aby ustalenie większej ilosci informacji o tych nowo znalezione sąsiadach. Grupa wykorzystała teleskop VLT znajdujący się w Paranal w Chile. Wykonano pomiary astrometrii wykorzystując technikę stosowaną do precyzyjnego pomiaru położenia obiektów. Te kluczowe dane pozwoliły im na lepsze oszacowanie odległości do obiektów, jak i ich okresu orbitalnego.


Zespół Boffina był też w stanie obliczyć ich masy, stwierdzając, że jeden brązowy karzeł waży 30 razy a drugi 50 razy więcej od Jowisza. Te lekkie obiekty okrążają się powoli, co zajmuje im około 20 lat. Jednak ich orbity nie są doskonałe. Odnaleziono nieznaczne zaburzenia, co sugeruje, że coś je grawitacyjnie "szarpie". Prawdopodobnym winowajcą jest egzoplaneta o masie około trzy razy większej od Jowisza. Musi ona znajdować się na orbicie jednego lub nawet obydwu obiektów.


Następnym krokiem w celu potwierdzenia lub wykluczenia tego odkrycia będzie ścisłe monitorowanie tego systemu w celu potwierdzenia istnienia planetarnego towarzysza. Do tej pory odkryto tylko osiem egzoplanet znajdujących się wokół brązowych karłów. W przypadku gdy odkrycie zostanie zweryfikowane, planeta ta będzie pierwszym ciałem niebieskim zlokalizowanym za pomocą astrometrii.




          From the sea bed to the stars        
By Sophia StuartThe excitement at the back of the bus was mounting. Twenty-six middle schoolers, called delegates, all rising global stars in math, applied science, technology, and engineering, had just flown into Los Angeles from around the world to participate in Broadcom MASTERS International 2017. They’d come from a total of 19 countries, including Australia, Brazil, China, India, South Africa, and the UK. Smartly dressed in red T-shirts and baseball caps, tentative connections were being formed across cultural and language barriers. It was going to be a packed week of tailored programming: heading out on a boat with marine conservationists, meeting engineering professors in a top university lab, learning about the American West, going behind the scenes with scientists at a world-class museum, and gazing into the sky with NASA JPL rocket scientists at an observatory.
          NGC Subsidiary, AOX, Awarded WFIRST Contract from NASA's JPL        
Adaptive Optics Associates, Inc. (AOX), a subsidiary of Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC), has been awarded a sole-source contract to provide mission-critical optical technology for the WFIRST coronagraph instrument. The AOX team successfully completed the preliminary design studies in early 2016 with NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). JPL is managed for NASA by the California Institute of Technology. WFIRST is a future infrared space observatory that was recommended in 2010 by Un...
          For NASA Rover Team, Many Years of Work and ‘Seven Minutes of Terror’ Paid Off        

Watch Video | Listen to the Audio

JUDY WOODRUFF: NASA basked today in the glory of a technological tour de force. Overnight, after a 350 million-mile journey, the heaviest, most expensive spacecraft ever to land on Mars was gently set down in a giant crater on the Red Planet.

MAN: Touchdown confirmed. We’re safe on Mars.


JUDY WOODRUFF: The long-awaited words touched off unbridled celebration late Sunday night at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. Cheers and hugs marked an emotional climax to a journey of more than eight months for Curiosity. The rover itself even joined the party with a tweet that read: “I’m safely on the surface of Mars. Gale Crater, I am in you.”

Just minutes later, Curiosity sent back its first set of black-and-white images from the crater showing its wheel and shadow. The $2.5 billion project came down to what scientists dubbed the ‘seven minutes of terror,’ depicted in NASA animation, a highly complex series of landing maneuvers never before tried.

Curiosity began the atmospheric acrobatics slicing into the thin Martian air at 13,000 miles an hour. A supersonic parachute deployed to help slow the one-ton object as it hurtled toward the planet. Then the heat shield separated from the rover and the parachute came away.

And from there, a kind of sky crane powered by eight rockets supplied the final braking and used a set of cables to lower Curiosity to the surface at a speed of just 2 miles an hour.

From orbit, another U.S. spacecraft, the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, captured actual images of the parachute deploying. Color photos and video of the landing were expected in the next few days.

Meanwhile, back on Earth…


JUDY WOODRUFF: … the excitement carried into the post-landing news conference.

Deputy project manager Richard Cook.

RICHARD COOK, deputy project manager: So, that rocked. Seriously, is not that cool or what?


RICHARD COOK: I have been lucky enough to have done this now four times, and it never gets old, seriously. It’s just a great experience.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Now, that it’s on Mars, Curiosity will spend two years collecting samples that may show whether there was ever life on the Red Planet.

The robot is loaded with a number of cameras and other tools, including a power drill and a laser. First, though, engineers will check out the systems before sending the craft on a test drive. Some reaction now on a very big day, first from one of the principal leaders of the NASA team.

John Grunsfeld is an associate administrator at NASA. I spoke with him earlier today after Curiosity landed.

John Grunsfeld, thank you for joining us. And congratulations. I think we heard this in the cheers, but what was the reaction there today?

JOHN GRUNSFELD, associate administrator, NASA: Well, you know it was really interesting, because, you know, this is the culmination of over five years of work, 7,000 people around the country to make the Curiosity rover, the Mars Science Laboratory.

And last night here in Pasadena, Calif. at the Jet Propulsion Lab, the Mars Science Laboratory hit the top of the Mars atmosphere for its seven minutes of terror before it landed safely on the surface.

And at each of the critical events, the guided entry, the parachute opening, the sky crane rockets lighting, the lowering down of the crane, it was just one image of disbelief after another that everything was really coming together and working, to the point that when the sky crane put the Curiosity rover gently on the surface, and we all saw the data that indicated that it had landed, there was almost a moment of silence when people said, wow, it really made it.

And then, of course, the team erupted in just jubilation that it had actually worked. And, fortunately, the Curiosity rover was programmed to take a couple of quick snapshots and send postcards back, little stamps, if you will, of the images at the landing site. It was the start of that jubilation all over again.

JUDY WOODRUFF: What were you most worried about on this 350-million-mile mission? Were there any indications of trouble? Or did things go smoothly the whole way?

JOHN GRUNSFELD: Well, amazingly, it was, I would say, pretty smooth the whole way, in fact, so much so that, you know, in the last few days, you know, a few of us were starting to worry, what have we missed?

But this is a very sharp team. They scrutinized everything. We have honed our skills from the Mars Exploration Rovers, from our Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, our experience at other planets, Cassini orbiting Saturn. We just recently launched the Juno mission to Jupiter.

This is, you know, one of the most talented teams we have at NASA. And at NASA, I think, we have the best of the best on planet Earth, maybe even Mars, too. That is one of the things we will try and find out with Curiosity.

JUDY WOODRUFF: And what are you looking for in the images, in the data coming back from Curiosity? What do you expect to see and to learn?

JOHN GRUNSFELD: Well, these early images are just really engineering images, pictures to tell us a little bit about where we landed. And over the next few hours and over the next couple of days, we will start to get more of a perspective about where we landed.

We targeted the Curiosity rover to land in an area called Gale Crater. And, specifically, it was targeted because it is a very deep crater, and in the middle is a mountain that has been dubbed Mount Sharp after a Celtic geologist.

And in the sides of this mountain, we see evidence that water flowed on Mars. Now, we know that in other places, and we have actually landed now on — with the Phoenix lander on ice. But what we want to study is the history, the water history and the geological history of Mars.

And we can do that. Just as on Earth, we study the Grand Canyon to go back a couple billion years in Earth’s history, on Mars we can go back even further through the study of sedimentary rocks, through the study of the minerals to try and understand, how did Mars form? How did it evolve? What were the conditions like billions of years ago, when Mars was warmer and wetter?

And in those times, could Mars have supported life? And maybe, if we’re — if we hit the grand slam, and there was life on Mars, we might be able to detect in the geology, in the rocks themselves, the chemical signatures of that — what would likely have been — or what we would call microbial life. But that is a long shot.

We just have no idea whether Mars did support life or could have supported life. And that is why we sent Curiosity, to answer that question. It’s part of the quest to answer that fundamental human question that we all want to know, is, are we alone in the universe? Is there life elsewhere?

JUDY WOODRUFF: John Grunsfeld of NASA, thank you again. And congratulations.

JOHN GRUNSFELD: Well, thanks very much.

And I hope everybody looks forward to a very exciting couple of years on Mars.

JUDY WOODRUFF: And some perspective on this feat now from NewsHour science correspondent Miles O’Brien. He joins us from Houston.

MILES O’BRIEN: Miles, you could barely wipe — they could barely wipe the smiles off their faces. There was such elation there among the NASA team.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Was there a different level of excitement about this than — over this than other missions, do you think?

MILES O’BRIEN: Yes, Judy, I have got a smile on my face just listening to John, thinking about what lies ahead over the couple years, as Curiosity starts exploring Mars in ways we have never seen it.

But the stakes were so high in this case, the Mars program literally on the line, facing budget cuts. There is a lot of concern about what is next after Curiosity. As a matter of fact, even as this landing was occurring, a blue-ribbon panel was going through and replanning future missions because of cuts proposed by the Obama administration which would hit the Mars program very hard.

So, couple that with the fact that it’s $2.5 billion worth of cookies in one basket coming down, not having two rovers, as we had in 2004 with Spirit and Opportunity. And it just ratchets up the pressure in ways that are hard to imagine.

Imagine people having a career where a decade gets baked into that one seven-minute period, and either you get a gold medal, or you don’t show up for work the next day. That is what was going on in that room. And so that eruption makes a lot of sense.

JUDY WOODRUFF: So they were feeling the pressure from everywhere and from the public. I mean, the — people all over the world were watching this.

MILES O’BRIEN: Yes, it’s interesting how Mars captivates people, I think, Judy.

I think back to the Pathfinder mission in the early ’90s. That was one of the first great Internet spectacle moments, millions and millions of hits in an era when we were not on the Internet like we were.

Last night surpassed any records we can imagine on Internet access to a news event. What, I think, interests people and what is so exciting about this, it’s really unprecedented if you think about it in history, is the average person, armchair scientists, you and I, have access to the same data at virtually the same time that the scientists do. We can all be on Mars together.

We can all armchair scientifically analyze all this data together. We are all on Mars as part of this effort together. And there’s nothing quite like that in science, really, and there’s nothing quite like that in space.

JUDY WOODRUFF: We heard John Grunsfeld explain the search for life, micro, macro-bio — I didn’t get the word right, but small life, I guess it is, on Mars, very small life.


JUDY WOODRUFF: How much do they know — Miles, help us understand how much they already know and how much yet there is to discover for them.

MILES O’BRIEN: Well, what — we have been going through a slow, kind of iterative process of building the story of potential life on Mars.

You know, Spirit and Opportunity were all about settling a question that we think we knew, that at one time Mars was warm and wet. Well, they have brought home just volumes of evidence to say that was in fact the case. We don’t have to debate that one anymore, if there was debate prior.

Now, what else do you need for life? Well, there are three things. You need — wherever we have moisture, wherever we have water on this planet, we have life, wherever we have some source of energy, whether it is the sun or deep down in the ocean coming from the center of the Earth, essentially. And we have to have some sort of carbon material.

Those are the three things for life as we know it. So, we know that water was once there. Now let’s go after this issue of the carbon. And that is what Curiosity is all about. It’s going to go through.

And think about it. You could take a big drill and try to drill a core sample or you could do — take advantage of what Mother Nature did, which was create this huge hole in the ground there with this asteroid three billion years ago, which lays bare all these layers of sediment, which reveal three billion years of history if you know how to read it.

Well, Curiosity knows how to read it. The scientists at — in Pasadena at JPL know how to read it. And we are going to be able to tell the story of just what happened along the way there over these next couple of years.

JUDY WOODRUFF: And, Miles, do we expect — do they expect the information is going to come back in a burst at the end of the two years or in a steady stream for the next 24 months? Do we know that?

MILES O’BRIEN: Well, first of all, everybody has got to be a little bit patient on this one.

If you recall, with Spirit and Opportunity, the pictures started coming down almost immediately. Those were sprint missions designed to last 90 days. Of course, Opportunity is still going eight years later. So, based on that math, I think Curiosity could last potentially 30 years, 30 times longer.

The fact is, this is a much more complicated mission. It is baselined for two years, which is one Martian year, 98 weeks. And so they are going to take their time understanding this complex machine, how it operates on Mars.

The first month, we will see some images, for sure. We are not going to see it move probably until September. We are not going to see it drill into a rock until later in the fall. So, it’s going to take a little while. But as it builds up steam, as the pipeline gets going, if you will, we are going to start seeing some science, very intriguing science coming down, I predict.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, a very exciting start, and we will try to contain our impatience.

MILES O’BRIEN: All right.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Miles O’Brien, thank you.

MILES O’BRIEN: You’re welcome.

The post For NASA Rover Team, Many Years of Work and ‘Seven Minutes of Terror’ Paid Off appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

          JPL Monthly Book Club for Adults        
          Total Eclipse 2017        
Itinerary for our Total Eclipse program to be held at JPL on Aug. 21, 2017
          JPL Monthly Book Club for Grown-Ups        
          Successful Completion of CORAL’s Hawaii Campaign        
Friday, April 28, 2017
•>75% coverage (~9,800 km2) of the main Hawaiian Islands
•Flew ~27 science hours, imaged ~76 flight lines
•Land (dark basalt) and in-water calibration/validation at the Big Island and Kaneohe Bay, respectively
•Media & Outreach: local school presentation, JPL 360º VR Project, National Geographic

          Antique Limoges French Open Sugar Bowl JPL C1900        
Pb160001 thumb155 cropPrice: $22.00
Category: Limoges
A beautiful antique Limoges France Open Sugar Bowl. We picked this up at an estate sale some time back. What got our immediate attention was the cherubs on each side of the bowl. It is a chubby little bowl with the chubby little cherubs and tha...

          Caltech-Led Team Looks in Detail at the April 2015 Earthquake in Nepal         
News Writer: 
Kimm Fesenmaier
John Galetzka, then of Caltech, and Sudhir Rajaure, of the Department of Mines and Geology in Kathmandu, install a high-rate GPS station in the Himalaya.
Credit: John Galetzka

For more than 20 years, Caltech geologist Jean-Philippe Avouac has collaborated with the Department of Mines and Geology of Nepal to study the Himalayas—the most active, above-water mountain range on Earth—to learn more about the processes that build mountains and trigger earthquakes. Over that period, he and his colleagues have installed a network of GPS stations in Nepal that allows them to monitor the way Earth's crust moves during and in between earthquakes. So when he heard on April 25 that a magnitude 7.8 earthquake had struck near Gorkha, Nepal, not far from Kathmandu, he thought he knew what to expect—utter devastation throughout Kathmandu and a death toll in the hundreds of thousands.

"At first when I saw the news trickling in from Kathmandu, I thought there was a problem of communication, that we weren't hearing the full extent of the damage," says Avouac, Caltech's Earle C. Anthony Professor of Geology. "As it turns out, there was little damage to the regular dwellings, and thankfully, as a result, there were far fewer deaths than I originally anticipated."

Using data from the GPS stations, an accelerometer that measures ground motion in Kathmandu, data from seismological stations around the world, and radar images collected by orbiting satellites, an international team of scientists led by Caltech has pieced together the first complete account of what physically happened during the Gorkha earthquake—a picture that explains how the large earthquake wound up leaving the majority of low-story buildings unscathed while devastating some treasured taller structures.

The findings are described in two papers that now appear online. The first, in the journal Nature Geoscience, is based on an analysis of seismological records collected more than 1,000 kilometers from the epicenter and places the event in the context of what scientists knew of the seismic setting near Gorkha before the earthquake. The second paper, appearing in Science Express, goes into finer detail about the rupture process during the April 25 earthquake and how it shook the ground in Kathmandu.

Build Up and Release of Strain on Himalaya Megathrust (caption and credit in video attached in upper right)

In the first study, the researchers show that the earthquake occurred on the Main Himalayan Thrust (MHT), the main megathrust fault along which northern India is pushing beneath Eurasia at a rate of about two centimeters per year, driving the Himalayas upward. Based on GPS measurements, scientists know that a large portion of this fault is "locked." Large earthquakes typically release stress on such locked faults—as the lower tectonic plate (here, the Indian plate) pulls the upper plate (here, the Eurasian plate) downward, strain builds in these locked sections until the upper plate breaks free, releasing strain and producing an earthquake. There are areas along the fault in western Nepal that are known to be locked and have not experienced a major earthquake since a big one (larger than magnitude 8.5) in 1505. But the Gorkha earthquake ruptured only a small fraction of the locked zone, so there is still the potential for the locked portion to produce a large earthquake.

"The Gorkha earthquake didn't do the job of transferring deformation all the way to the front of the Himalaya," says Avouac. "So the Himalaya could certainly generate larger earthquakes in the future, but we have no idea when."

The epicenter of the April 25 event was located in the Gorkha District of Nepal, 75 kilometers to the west-northwest of Kathmandu, and propagated eastward at a rate of about 2.8 kilometers per second, causing slip in the north-south direction—a progression that the researchers describe as "unzipping" a section of the locked fault.

"With the geological context in Nepal, this is a place where we expect big earthquakes. We also knew, based on GPS measurements of the way the plates have moved over the last two decades, how 'stuck' this particular fault was, so this earthquake was not a surprise," says Jean Paul Ampuero, assistant professor of seismology at Caltech and coauthor on the Nature Geoscience paper. "But with every earthquake there are always surprises."

Propagation of April 2015 Mw 7.8 Gorkha Earthquake (caption and credit in video attached in upper right)

In this case, one of the surprises was that the quake did not rupture all the way to the surface. Records of past earthquakes on the same fault—including a powerful one (possibly as strong as magnitude 8.4) that shook Kathmandu in 1934—indicate that ruptures have previously reached the surface. But Avouac, Ampuero, and their colleagues used satellite Synthetic Aperture Radar data and a technique called back projection that takes advantage of the dense arrays of seismic stations in the United States, Europe, and Australia to track the progression of the earthquake, and found that it was quite contained at depth. The high-frequency waves that were largely produced in the lower section of the rupture occurred at a depth of about 15 kilometers.

"That was good news for Kathmandu," says Ampuero. "If the earthquake had broken all the way to the surface, it could have been much, much worse."

The researchers note, however, that the Gorkha earthquake did increase the stress on the adjacent portion of the fault that remains locked, closer to Kathmandu. It is unclear whether this additional stress will eventually trigger another earthquake or if that portion of the fault will "creep," a process that allows the two plates to move slowly past one another, dissipating stress. The researchers are building computer models and monitoring post-earthquake deformation of the crust to try to determine which scenario is more likely.

Another surprise from the earthquake, one that explains why many of the homes and other buildings in Kathmandu were spared, is described in the Science Express paper. Avouac and his colleagues found that for such a large-magnitude earthquake, high-frequency shaking in Kathmandu was actually relatively mild. And it is high-frequency waves, with short periods of vibration of less than one second, that tend to affect low-story buildings. The Nature Geoscience paper showed that the high-frequency waves that the quake produced came from the deeper edge of the rupture, on the northern end away from Kathmandu.

The GPS records described in the Science Express paper show that within the zone that experienced the greatest amount of slip during the earthquake—a region south of the sources of high-frequency waves and closer to Kathmandu—the onset of slip on the fault was actually very smooth. It took nearly two seconds for the slip rate to reach its maximum value of one meter per second. In general, the more abrupt the onset of slip during an earthquake, the more energetic the radiated high-frequency seismic waves. So the relatively gradual onset of slip in the Gorkha event explains why this patch, which experienced a large amount of slip, did not generate many high-frequency waves.

"It would be good news if the smooth onset of slip, and hence the limited induced shaking, were a systematic property of the Himalayan megathrust fault, or of megathrust faults in general." says Avouac. "Based on observations from this and other megathrust earthquakes, this is a possibility."

In contrast to what they saw with high-frequency waves, the researchers found that the earthquake produced an unexpectedly large amount of low-frequency waves with longer periods of about five seconds. This longer-period shaking was responsible for the collapse of taller structures in Kathmandu, such as the Dharahara Tower, a 60-meter-high tower that survived larger earthquakes in 1833 and 1934 but collapsed completely during the Gorkha quake.

To understand this, consider plucking the strings of a guitar. Each string resonates at a certain natural frequency, or pitch, depending on the length, composition, and tension of the string. Likewise, buildings and other structures have a natural pitch or frequency of shaking at which they resonate; in general, the taller the building, the longer the period at which it resonates. If a strong earthquake causes the ground to shake with a frequency that matches a building's pitch, the shaking will be amplified within the building, and the structure will likely collapse.

Turning to the GPS records from two of Avouac's stations in the Kathmandu Valley, the researchers found that the effect of the low-frequency waves was amplified by the geological context of the Kathmandu basin. The basin is an ancient lakebed that is now filled with relatively soft sediment. For about 40 seconds after the earthquake, seismic waves from the quake were trapped within the basin and continued to reverberate, ringing like a bell with a frequency of five seconds.

"That's just the right frequency to damage tall buildings like the Dharahara Tower because it's close to their natural period," Avouac explains.

In follow-up work, Domniki Asimaki, professor of mechanical and civil engineering at Caltech, is examining the details of the shaking experienced throughout the basin. On a recent trip to Kathmandu, she documented very little damage to low-story buildings throughout much of the city but identified a pattern of intense shaking experienced at the edges of the basin, on hilltops or in the foothills where sediment meets the mountains. This was largely due to the resonance of seismic waves within the basin.

Asimaki notes that Los Angeles is also built atop sedimentary deposits and is surrounded by hills and mountain ranges that would also be prone to this type of increased shaking intensity during a major earthquake.

"In fact," she says, "the buildings in downtown Los Angeles are much taller than those in Kathmandu and therefore resonate with a much lower frequency. So if the same shaking had happened in L.A., a lot of the really tall buildings would have been challenged."

That points to one of the reasons it is important to understand how the land responded to the Gorkha earthquake, Avouac says. "Such studies of the site effects in Nepal provide an important opportunity to validate the codes and methods we use to predict the kind of shaking and damage that would be expected as a result of earthquakes elsewhere, such as in the Los Angeles Basin."

Additional authors on the Nature Geoscience paper, "Lower edge of locked Main Himalayan Thrust unzipped by the 2015 Gorkha earthquake," are Lingsen Meng (PhD '12) of UC Los Angeles, Shengji Wei of Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, and Teng Wang of Southern Methodist University. The lead author on the Science paper, "Slip pulse and resonance of Kathmandu basin during the 2015 Mw 7.8 Gorkha earthquake, Nepal imaged with geodesy" is John Galetzka, formerly an associate staff geodesist at Caltech and now a project manager at UNAVCO in Boulder, Colorado. Caltech research geodesist Joachim Genrich is also a coauthor, as are Susan Owen and Angelyn Moore of JPL. For a full list of authors, please see the paper.

The Nepal Geodetic Array was funded by Caltech, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, and the National Science Foundation. Additional funding for the Science study came from the Department of Foreign International Development (UK), the Royal Society (UK), the United Nations Development Programme, and the Nepal Academy for Science and Technology, as well as NASA and the Department of Foreign International Development.

          Using Radar Satellites to Study Icelandic Volcanoes and Glaciers        
News Writer: 
Kimm Fesenmaier
This Landsat 8 image, acquired on September 6, 2014, is a false-color view of the Holuhraun lava field north of Vatnajökull glacier in Iceland. The image combines shortwave infrared, near infrared, and green light to distinguish between cooler ice and steam and hot extruded lava. The Bárðarbunga caldera, visible in the lower left of the image under the ice cap, experienced a large-scale collapse starting in mid-August.
Credit: USGS

On August 16 of last year, Mark Simons, a professor of geophysics at Caltech, landed in Reykjavik with 15 students and two other faculty members to begin leading a tour of the volcanic, tectonic, and glaciological highlights of Iceland. That same day, a swarm of earthquakes began shaking the island nation—seismicity that was related to one of Iceland's many volcanoes, Bárðarbunga caldera, which lies beneath Vatnajökull ice cap.

As the trip proceeded, it became clear to scientists studying the event that magma beneath the caldera was feeding a dyke, a vertical sheet of magma slicing through the crust in a northeasterly direction. On August 29, as the Caltech group departed Iceland, the dike triggered an eruption in a lava field called Holuhraun, about 40 kilometers (roughly 25 miles) from the caldera just beyond the northern limit of the ice cap.

Although the timing of the volcanic activity necessitated some shuffling of the trip's activities, such as canceling planned overnight visits near what was soon to become the eruption zone, it was also scientifically fortuitous. Simons is one of the leaders of a Caltech/JPL project known as the Advanced Rapid Imaging and Analysis (ARIA) program, which aims to use a growing constellation of international imaging radar satellites that will improve situational awareness, and thus response, following natural disasters. Under the ARIA umbrella, Caltech and JPL/NASA had already formed a collaboration with the Italian Space Agency (ASI) to use its COSMO-SkyMed (CSK) constellation (consisting of four orbiting X-Band radar satellites) following such events.

Through the ASI/ARIA collaboration, the managers of CSK agreed to target the activity at Bárðarbunga for imaging using a technique called interferometric synthetic aperture radar (InSAR). As two CSK satellites flew over, separated by just one day, they bounced signals off the ground to create images of the surface of the glacier above the caldera. By comparing those two images in what is called an interferogram, the scientists could see how the glacier surface had moved during that intervening day. By the evening of August 28, Simons was able to pull up that first interferogram on his cell phone. It showed that the ice above the caldera was subsiding at a rate of 50 centimeters (more than a foot and a half) a day—a clear indication that the magma chamber below Bárðarbunga caldera was deflating.

The next morning, before his return flight to the United States, Simons took the data to researchers at the University of Iceland who were tracking Bárðarbunga's activity.

"At that point, there had been no recognition that the caldera was collapsing. Naturally, they were focused on the dyke and all the earthquakes to the north," says Simons. "Our goal was just to let them know about the activity at the caldera because we were really worried about the possibility of triggering a subglacial melt event that would generate a catastrophic flood."

Luckily, that flood never happened, but the researchers at the University of Iceland did ramp up observations of the caldera with radar altimetry flights and installed a continuous GPS station on the ice overlying the center of the caldera.

Last December, Icelandic researchers published a paper in Nature about the Bárðarbunga event, largely focusing on the dyke and eruption. Now, completing the picture, Simons and his colleagues have developed a model to describe the collapsing caldera and the earthquakes produced by that action. The new findings appear in the journal Geophysical Journal International.

"Over a span of two months, there were more than 50 magnitude-5 earthquakes in this area. But they didn't look like regular faulting—like shearing a crack," says Simons. "Instead, the earthquakes looked like they resulted from movement inward along a vertical axis and horizontally outward in a radial direction—like an aluminum can when it's being crushed."

To try to determine what was actually generating the unusual earthquakes, Bryan Riel, a graduate student in Simons's group and lead author on the paper, used the original one-day interferogram of the Bárðarbunga area along with four others collected by CSK in September and October. Most of those one-day pairs spanned at least one of the earthquakes, but in a couple of cases, they did not. That allowed Riel to isolate the effect of the earthquakes and determine that most of the subsidence of the ice was due to what is called aseismic activity—the kind that does not produce big earthquakes. Thus, Riel was able to show that the earthquakes were not the primary cause of the surface deformation inferred from the satellite radar data.

"What we know for sure is that the magma chamber was deflating as the magma was feeding the dyke going northward," says Riel. "We have come up with two different models to explain what was actually generating the earthquakes."

In the first scenario, because the magma chamber deflated, pressure from the overlying rock and ice caused the caldera to collapse, producing the unusual earthquakes. This mechanism has been observed in cases of collapsing mines (e.g., the Crandall Canyon Mine in Utah).

The second model hypothesizes that there is a ring fault arcing around a significant portion of the caldera. As the magma chamber deflated, the large block of rock above it dropped but periodically got stuck on portions of the ring fault. As the block became unstuck, it caused rapid slip on the curved fault, producing the unusual earthquakes.

"Because we had access to these satellite images as well as GPS data, we have been able to produce two potential interpretations for the collapse of a caldera—a rare event that occurs maybe once every 50 to 100 years," says Simons. "To be able to see this documented as it's happening is truly phenomenal."

Additional authors on the paper, "The collapse of Bárðarbunga caldera, Iceland," are Hiroo Kanamori, John E. and Hazel S. Smits Professor of Geophysics, Emeritus, at Caltech; Pietro Milillo of the University of Basilicata in Potenza, Italy; Paul Lundgren of JPL; and Sergey Samsonov of the Canada Centre for Mapping and Earth Observation. The work was supported by a NASA Earth and Space Science Fellowship and by the Caltech/JPL President's and Director's Fund.

          Caltech, JPL Team Captures Movement on Nepal Earthquake Fault Rupture        
News Writer: 
Shayna Chabner McKinney
The modeled slip on the fault is shown as viewed from above and indicated by the colors and contours within the rectangle. The peak slip in the fault exceeds 19.7 feet (6 meters). The ground motion measured with GPS is shown by the red and purple arrows and was used to develop the fault slip model. Aftershocks are indicated by red dots. Background color and shaded relief reflect regional variations in topography. The barbed lines show where the main fault reaches Earth's surface.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Using a combination of satellite radar imaging data, GPS data measured in and near Nepal, and seismic observations from instruments around the world, Caltech and JPL scientists have constructed a preliminary picture of what happened below Earth's surface during the recent 7.8-magnitude Gorkha earthquake in Nepal.

The team's observations and models of the April 25, 2015 earthquake, produced through the Advanced Rapid Imaging and Analysis (ARIA) project—a collaboration between Caltech and JPL—include preliminary estimates of the slippage of the fault beneath Earth's surface that resulted in the deaths of thousands of people. In addition, the ARIA scientists have provided first responders and key officials in Nepal with information and maps that show block-by-block building devastation as well as measurements of ground movement at individual locations around the country.

"As the number of orbiting imaging radar and optical satellites that form the international constellation increases, the expected amount of time it takes to acquire an image of an impacted area will decrease, allowing for products such as those we have made for Nepal to become more commonly and rapidly available," says Mark Simons, professor of geophysics at Caltech and a member of the ARIA team. "I fully expect that within five years, this kind of information will be available within hours of a big disaster, ultimately resulting in an ability to save more lives after a disaster and to make assessment and response more efficient in both developed and developing nations."

Over the last five years, Simons and his colleagues in Caltech's Seismological Laboratory and at JPL have been developing the approaches, infrastructure, and technology to rapidly and automatically use satellite-based observations to measure the movement of Earth's surface associated with earthquakes, volcanoes, landslides and other geophysical processes.  

"ARIA is ultimately aimed at providing tools and data—for use by groups ranging from first responders, to government agencies, and individual scientists—that can help improve situational awareness, response, and recovery after many natural disasters," Simons says. "The same products also provide key observational constraints on our physical understanding of the underlying processes such as the basic physics controlling seismogenic behavior of major faults."

ARIA is funded through a combination of support from JPL, Caltech, and NASA.

          Genealogist and historian Randall Ladnier examines early Louisiana colonists in 'The Brides of La Baleine'        
In 1720, 88 young French women ages 12 to 30 volunteered to travel to the Louisiana colony to become brides for the soldiers, sailors and settlers in Biloxi. In August, they left the Salpetriere General Hospital in Paris on board the ship La Baleine and arrived in what is now the Mississippi Gulf Coast in January 1721. The women were labeled “casket girls” because of the small wooden chests they carried containing clothes for their voyage. In the year of their arrival, 60 of the women were married in Biloxi.

Historian and genealogist Randall Ladnier has researched these pioneering women and written their history in a new book, “The Brides of La Baleine.” From these marriages are many of today’s families living in Louisiana and along the Gulf Coast.

“The great majority of descendants from these girls possess surnames found mostly in South Louisiana,” Ladnier wrote me by email. “For example, Pierre Prudhomme married one of the brides and, although the couple only had four children, his tree of descendants now contains more than 700 different surnames. I think it would be difficult to come up with a South Louisiana surname which is not included in my book.”

In addition to information about the women raised at the Salpetriere General Hospital, which Ladnier calls “a combination of a convent and a concentration camp,” he details their backgrounds, their journey and their offsprings, including a handy genealogical index in the back.

Ladnier and I met when he was passing through Lafayette and he is passionate about both his book and the subject matter, insisting that these women who helped populate the Louisiana colony are grossly overlooked and misrepresented. He hopes proceeds from the book, plus grants and donations, will help start either a museum or a monument in their honor.

History lovers and genealogists alike may enjoy this book. Learn more at Ladnier’s website, To purchase the book for $25 or download the PDF for $15, visit

Pinckley Prizes
Louise Penny and Trudy Nan Boyce are the recipients of the 2017 Pinckley Prizes for Crime Fiction, sponsored by the Women’s National Book Association of New Orleans. The prizes honoring two women writers will be presented Sept. 8 at The Academy of the Sacred Heart/Nims Fine Arts Center, 4301 St. Charles Ave. in New Orleans. The ticketed event is open to the public. Winners receive both $2,500 and a trip to New Orleans to accept their prize. The Pinckley Prizes for Crime Fiction was created in 2012 to honor the memory of Diana Pinckley, a crime fiction columnist for The New Orleans Times-Picayune and her passion for mysteries.

Mystery festival
Five local authors or criminal activity experts will make presentations at the third annual Jefferson Parish Library Mystery Readers/Writers Literary Festival on  Saturday at the East Bank Regional Library, 4747 W. Napoleon Ave. in Metairie. The keynote speaker will be New York Times bestselling author Erica Spindler, who will open the event at 9:30 a.m. Spindler’s novel â€œBone Cold” won the Daphne du Maurier Award for excellence and she received a Kiss of Death Award for her novels â€œForbidden Fruit” and â€œDead Run.” Spindler is a three-time RITA Award finalist and Publishers Weekly awarded the audio version of her novel “Shocking Pink” a Listen Up Award, naming it one of the best audio mystery books of 1998. The event geared toward readers and writers of mysteries is free and open to the public, no registration necessary.

Other presentations include:
10:30 a.m.-11:45 a.m.,“The Wheels of Justice” with Sal Perricone, a member of law enforcement for nearly 40 years and author of the Crescent Criminality series.
Noon to 1:15 p.m.,“High Speed Car Chases” with Jeff Blue, a former police officer and now an attorney, who will discuss the reality of police pursuits based on his personal experiences.
2 p.m.-3:15 p.m.,“Hard Roll, A Paramedic’s Perspective of Life and Death in New Orleans” with Jon McCarty, an emergency medic and co-creator of the New Orleans EMS Field Training Officer program.
3:30 p.m.-4:30 p.m.,“Master Class for Authors – Pacing for the Thriller or Mystery” with Bill Loehfelm, author of the critically acclaimed Devil series about New Orleans Police Department rookie Maureen Coughlin. He is also the author of the stand-alone novels, â€œFresh Kills” and â€œBloodroot,” set in his hometown of Staten Island.

The JPL Mystery Writers/Readers Festival is supported by the New Orleans chapter of Sisters in Crime and the Southern Louisiana Chapter of the Romance Writers of America. For more information, contact Chris Smith, manager of Adult Programming for the library, at (504) 889-8143 or write

Cheré Coen is the author of “Forest Hill, Louisiana: A Bloom Town History,” “Haunted Lafayette, Louisiana” and “Exploring Cajun Country.” She writes Louisiana romances under the pen name of Cherie Claire. Write her at

          Straw at Saturn's Keeler Gap        

The term "straw", in relation to planetary rings, was coined during the orbital insertion of Cassini at Saturn when images like the following, available from the JPL site, were taken with high resolution because the probe was so close to Saturn and the rings. The "ripples" that run through this image diagonally are density waves. In the bottom left corner there is a large density wave that has course structures in it. Someone in the room when these images came down thought that they looked like straw, and the name stuck.

Just a bit before Cassini arrived at Saturn, I had been doing simulations of the Encke gap that showed extremely large self-gravity wakes forming near the gap edge. These gravity wakes form as the Pan wakes damp out downstream from the moon. They were described in an Icarus paper (Web supplement with movies). The figure below comes from that paper, and the top four panels in the right column show some frames where these oversized wakes appeared in four different simulations. Since that time, "straw" type features have been seen at the edge of the B ring as well, but I am not aware of any observations of them at the Encke gap. Perhaps the end of life mission will manage to fix that with higher resolution images of the rings as Cassini dips inside the D ring.

It is natural for gravity wakes to form in these simulations. The frames on the left column show the situation early in the simulation when the clumping is from normal sized gravity wakes. The surface density of the simulations varies by row, and generally increases from the bottom row to the top. The size of the gravity wakes is a direct function of the surface density. Notice that the size of the clumps is much larger at the inner edge of the right column cells than it is anywhere in the left column.

This last year, Nicole Albers at the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP) found some interesting features in Cassini UVIS occultations of the Keeler gap region. These features are basically holes in the ring material roughly a kilometer in radial extent that are located just a bit inside of the edge of the gap itself. So you have the gap, with effectively no material, followed by a few kilometers of ring material, followed by a kilometer or so of no material, then back to the normal rings. These holes are found in the region a few degrees downstream from Daphnis, the moon that maintains the Keeler gap. (I hope to do a systematic search for these things myself using public data from the rings PDS node. I'll put up another blog post on that so I can make figures without infringing on what Nicole has done.) Some of these holes also appeared around the Encke gap.

I've been simulating the Keeler gap for a while, so I was wondering if I might see something similar in simulations. The problem was that I needed to do a big simulation to get to the region where these were seen by Cassini. My hypothesis was that straw might form near the edge of the Keeler gap, and the regions between those oversized gravity wakes would be cleared out enough to appear as a hole. To test this hypothesis, I have been running a very large simulation of the Keeler gap involving 80 million particles with collisions and particle self-gravity. At this time, the simulation has been running for about three months, and it is a bit over half way done. The animation below shows a large-scale view of the simulation. It is using a gray scale to show the geometric optical depth. That is just a ratio of how much area the particles in a small region cover divided by the total area of that small region. This isn't exactly what one would see looking at this material in the rings, but it is a reasonable approximation.

There is a lot going on in this plot. The coordinate system is centered on the average position of Daphnis. The particles drift from right to left with a drift speed that is proportional to their radial distance from the moon. When they go past the moon, the gravity of the moon pulls them onto eccentric orbits. This leads to the wavy structures that are visible. Daphnis has a fairly eccentric orbit relative to the width of the gap, so the magnitude of how much it pulls on the particles varies with time. The fact that Daphnis has a non-negligible eccentricity and inclination makes this part of the rings difficult to simulate. I'll plan to write a different post describing how these simulations are done, compared to the Encke gap where those values can be set to zero without losing too much information about the system. The combination of the wavy motion and the shear that results from more distance particles drifting faster leads to compression regions that we call moon wakes. Since Daphnis is the moon, I will sometimes call them Daphnis wakes. The collisions in these wakes dissipate the forced eccentricity caused by the gravitational pull of the moon, so the waviness decreases as you go to the left after passing by the moon.

The first question is, does straw form? If we believe from the Encke gap simulations that straw is just long, stringy gravity wakes that have grown over-large due to systematic motions of the population of particles, then this is equivalent to asking if large gravity wakes form near the edge of the Keeler gap in this simulation. The answer to this question turns out to be yes. It took 12 orbits downstream from the moon for them to begin to appear, but the figure below, which shows a region ~16 orbits after passing the moon, clearly shows that there are large gravity wakes. Going back to the figure above, if you look at the last few wake peaks, those just past 2000 km downstream from the moon, on the inner edge, there is coarse graininess that was not present in the earlier wakes. This appears to be what those large wakes manifest as in the binned data.

This simulation still needs to go another 10 orbits or so further downstream before it gets to the point where the first "holes" have been seen in occultations. That should take about another two months gives the current speed the simulation is running at. At this point we can say that straw definitely forms near the edge of the Keeler gap, but it is very unclear if the straw can cause the observed holes.

          Mons Voyage        

This episode, we go on another vacation! Can you tell I need a vacation? Anyway, back to the episode. What would it be like if you could hop on a space cruise ship, and take a trip to Mars?

This is a special episode because our little future intro is actually two real people playing real parts. Olivia Koski and Jana Grcevich are the authors of a new book called Vacation Guide to the Solar System. The book is a spinoff of their long-running project the Intergalactic Travel Bureau, a project of Guerilla Science and a place where people could really come inside and ask about trips to other planets. And they take us on a very fun tour of what you could do, as a tourist, to Mars.

Along with Olivia and Jana, this episode features Ben Longmier, a former rocket scientist, and Rebecca Boyle, a science writer who has a true love for Mars. 

There’s a lot to talk about when it comes to intergalactic travel, so in this episode we focus specifically on tourism. Not colonization, or research, or any of the other things that you could potentially try to do. And we’re also going to focus on a single planet, just because trying to cover all the planets would be really hard. So what would it be like, to take a vacation to Mars. Just… a trip for fun. Like going to Cancun. But instead of snorkeling you hike up Olympus Mons? Listen to find out!

Further reading:

Flash Forward is produced by me, Rose Eveleth. The intro music is by Asura and the outtro music is by Hussalonia. The episode art is by Matt Lubchansky.

If you want to suggest a future we should take on, send us a note on Twitter, Facebook or by email at We love hearing your ideas! And if you think you’ve spotted one of the little references I’ve hidden in the episode, email us there too. If you’re right, I’ll send you something cool.

And if you want to support the show, there are a few ways you can do that too! We have a Patreon page, where you can donate to the show. But if that’s not in the cards for you, you can head to iTunes and leave us a nice review or just tell your friends about us. Those things really do help.

That’s all for this future, come back next month and we’ll travel to a new one.

          AWS re:Invent 2016 Video & Slide Presentation Links with Easy Index        
As with last year, here is my quick index of all re:Invent sessions. I'll keep running the tool to fill in the index.  It usually takes Amazon a few weeks to fully upload all the videos and presentations. This year it looks like Amazon got the majority of content on Youtube and Slideshare very quick with a few Slideshares still trickling in.

See below for how I created the index (with code):

ALX201 - How Capital One Built a Voice-Based Banking Skill for Amazon Echo
As we add thousands of skills to Alexa, our developers have uncovered some basic and more complex tips for building better skills. Whether you are new to Alexa skill development or if you have created skills that are live today, this session helps you understand how to create better voice experiences. Last year, Capital One joined Alexa on stage at re:Invent to talk about their experience building an Alexa skill. Hear from them one year later to learn from the challenges that they had to overcome and the results they are seeing from their skill. In this session, you will learn the importance of flexible invocations, better VUI design, how OAuth and account linking can add value to your skill, and about Capital One's experience building an Alexa skill.
ALX202 - How Amazon is enabling the future of Automotive
The experience in the auto industry is changing. For both the driver and the car manufacturer, a whole new frontier is on the near horizon. What do you do with your time while the car is driving itself? How do I have a consistent experience while driving shared or borrowed cars? How do I stay safer and more aware in the ever increasing complexity of traffic, schedules, calls, messages and tweets? In this session we will discuss how the auto industry is facing new challenges and how the use of Amazon Alexa, IoT, Logistics services and the AWS Cloud is transforming the Mobility experience of the (very near) future.
ALX203 - Workshop: Creating Voice Experiences with Alexa Skills: From Idea to Testing in Two Hours
This workshop teaches you how to build your first voice skill with Alexa. You bring a skill idea and well show you how to bring it to life. This workshop will walk you through how to build an Alexa skill, including Node.js setup, how to implement an intent, deploying to AWS Lambda, and how to register and test a skill. Youll walk out of the workshop with a working prototype of your skill idea. Prerequisites: Participants should have an AWS account established and available for use during the workshop. Please bring your own laptop.
ALX204 - Workshop: Build an Alexa-Enabled Product with Raspberry Pi
Fascinated by Alexa, and want to build your own device with Alexa built in? This workshop will walk you through to how to build your first Alexa-powered device step by step, using a Raspberry Pi. No experience with Raspberry Pi or Alexa Voice Service is required. We will provide you with the hardware and the software required to build this project, and at the end of the workshop, you will be able to walk out with a working prototype of Alexa on a Pi. Please bring a WiFi capable laptop.
ALX301 - Alexa in the Enterprise: How JPL Leverages Alexa to Further Space Exploration with Internet of Things
The Jet Propulsion Laboratory designs and creates some of the most advanced space robotics ever imagined. JPL IT is now innovating to help streamline how JPLers will work in the future in order to design, build, operate, and support these spacecraft. They hope to dramatically improve JPLers' workflows and make their work easier for them by enabling simple voice conversations with the room and the equipment across the entire enterprise. What could this look like? Imagine just talking with the conference room to configure it. What if you could kick off advanced queries across AWS services and kick off AWS Kinesis tasks by simply speaking the commands? What if the laboratory could speak to you and warn you about anomalies or notify you of trends across your AWS infrastructure? What if you could control rovers by having a conversation with them and ask them questions? In this session, JPL will demonstrate how they leveraged AWS Lambda, DynamoDB and CloudWatch in their prototypes of these use cases and more. They will also discuss some of the technical challenges they are overcoming, including how to deploy and manage consumer devices such as the Amazon Echo across the enterprise, and give lessons learned. Join them as they use Alexa to query JPL databases, control conference room equipment and lights, and even drive a rover on stage, all with nothing but the power of voice!
ALX302 - Build a Serverless Back End for Your Alexa-Based Voice Interactions
Learn how to develop voice-based serverless back ends for Alexa Voice Service (AVS) and Alexa devices using the Alexa Skills Kit (ASK), which allows you to add new voice-based interactions to Alexa. Well code a new skill, implemented by a serverless backend leveraging AWS services such as Amazon Cognito, AWS Lambda, and Amazon DynamoDB. Often, your skill needs to authenticate your users and link them back to your backend systems and to persist state between user invocations. User authentication is performed by leveraging OAuth compatible identity systems. Running such a system on your back end requires undifferentiated heavy lifting or boilerplate code. Well leverage Login with Amazon as the identity provider instead, allowing you to focus on your application implementation and not on the low-level user management parts. At the end of this session, youll be able to develop your own Alexa skills and use Amazon and AWS services to minimize the required backend infrastructure. This session shows you how to deploy your Alexa skill code on a serverless infrastructure, leverage AWS Lambda, use Amazon Cognito and Login with Amazon to authenticate users, and leverage AWS DynamoDB as a fully managed NoSQL data store.
ALX303 - Building a Smarter Home with Alexa
Natural user interfaces, such as those based on speech, enable customers to interact with their home in a more intuitive way. With the VUI (Voice User Interface) smart home, now customers don't need to use their hands or eyes to do things around the home they only have to ask and it's at their command. This session will address the vision for the VUI smart home and how innovations with Amazon Alexa make it possible.
ALX304 - Tips and Tricks on Bringing Alexa to Your Products
Ever wonder what it takes to add the power of Alexa to your own products? Are you curious about what Alexa partners have learned on their way to a successful product launch? In this session you will learn about the top tips and tricks on how to go from VUI newbie to an Alexa-enabled product launch. Key concepts around hardware selection, enabling far field voice interaction, building a robust Alexa Voice Service (AVS) client and more will be discussed along with customer and partner examples on how to plan for and avoid common challenges in product design, development and delivery.
ALX305 - From VUI to QA: Building a Voice-Based Adventure Game for Alexa
Hitting the submit button to publish your skill is similar to sending your child to their first day of school. You want it to be set up for a successful launch day and for many days thereafter. Learn how to set your skill up for success from Andy Huntwork, Alexa Principal Engineer and one of the creators of the popular Alexa skill The Magic Door. You will learn the most common reasons why skills fail and also some of the more unique use cases. The purpose of this session is to help you build better skills by knowing what to look out for and what you can test for before submitting. In this session, you will learn what most developers do wrong, how to successfully test and QA your skill, how to set your skill up for successful certification, and the process of how a skill gets certified.
ALX306 - State of the Union: Amazon Alexa and Recent Advances in Conversational AI
The way humans interact with machines is at a turning point, and conversational artificial intelligence (AI) is at the center of the transformation. Learn how Amazon is using machine learning and cloud computing to fuel innovation in AI, making Amazon Alexa smarter every day. Alexa VP and Head Scientist Rohit Prasad presents the state of the union Alexa and Recent Advances in Conversational AIn for Alexa. He addresses Alexa's advances in spoken language understanding and machine learning, and shares Amazon's thoughts about building the next generation of user experiences.
ALX307 - Voice-enabling Your Home and Devices with Amazon Alexa and AWS IoT
Want to learn how to Alexa-power your home? Join Brookfield Residential CIO and EVP Tom Wynnyk and Senior Solutions Architect Nathan Grice, for Alexa Smart Homefor an overview of building the next generation of integrated smart homes using Alexa to create voice-first experiences. Understand the technologies used and how to best expose voice experiences to users through Alexa. Paul and Nathan cover the difference between custom Alexa skills and Smart Home Skill API skills, and build a home automation control from the ground up using Alexa and AWS IoT.
ARC201 - Scaling Up to Your First 10 Million Users
Cloud computing gives you a number of advantages, such as the ability to scale your web application or website on demand. If you have a new web application and want to use cloud computing, you might be asking yourself, "Where do I start?" Join us in this session to understand best practices for scaling your resources from zero to millions of users. We show you how to best combine different AWS services, how to make smarter decisions for architecting your application, and how to scale your infrastructure in the cloud.
ARC202 - Accenture Cloud Platform Serverless Journey
Accenture Cloud Platform helps customers manage public and private enterprise cloud resources effectively and securely. In this session, learn how we designed and built new core platform capabilities using a serverless, microservices-based architecture that is based on AWS services such as AWS Lambda and Amazon API Gateway. During our journey, we discovered a number of key benefits, including a dramatic increase in developer velocity, a reduction (to almost zero) of reliance on other teams, reduced costs, greater resilience, and scalability. We describe the (wild) successes weve had and the challenges weve overcome to create an AWS serverless architecture at scale. Session sponsored by Accenture. AWS Competency Partner
ARC203 - Achieving Agility by Following Well-Architected Framework Principles on AWS
The AWS Well-Architected Framework enables customers to understand best practices around security, reliability, performance, and cost optimization when building systems on AWS. This approach helps customers make informed decisions and weigh the pros and cons of application design patterns for the cloud. In this session, you'll learn how National Instruments used the Well-Architected Framework to follow AWS guidelines and best practices. By developing a strategy based on the AWS Well-Architected Framework, National Instruments was able to triple the number of applications running in the cloud without additional head count, significantly increase the frequency of code deployments, and reduce deployment times from two weeks to a single day. As a result, National Instruments was able to deliver a more scalable, dynamic, and resilient LabVIEW platform with agility.
ARC204 - From Resilience to Ubiquity - #NetflixEverywhere Global Architecture
Building and evolving a pervasive, global service requires a multi-disciplined approach that balances requirements with service availability, latency, data replication, compute capacity, and efficiency. In this session, well follow the Netflix journey of failure, innovation, and ubiquity. We'll review the many facets of globalization and then delve deep into the architectural patterns that enable seamless, multi-region traffic management; reliable, fast data propagation; and efficient service infrastructure. The patterns presented will be broadly applicable to internet services with global aspirations.
ARC205 - Born in the Cloud; Built Like a Startup
This presentation provides a comparison of three modern architecture patterns that startups are building their business around. It includes a realistic analysis of cost, team management, and security implications of each approach. It covers Elastic Beanstalk, Amazon ECS, Docker, Amazon API Gateway, AWS Lambda, Amazon DynamoDB, and Amazon CloudFront, as well as Docker.
ARC207 - NEW LAUNCH! Additional transparency and control for your AWS environment through AWS Personal Health Dashboard
When your business is counting on the performance of your cloud solutions, having relevant and timely insights into events impacting your AWS resources is essential. AWS Personal Health Dashboard serves as the primary destination for you to receive personalized information related to your AWS infrastructure, guiding your through scheduled changes, and accelerating the troubleshooting of issues impacting your AWS resources. The service, powered by AWS Health APIs, integrates with your in-house event management systems, and can be programmatically configured to proactively get the right information into the right hands at the right time. The service is integrated with Splunk App for AWS to enhance Splunks dashboards, reports and alerts to deliver real-time visibility into your environment.
ARC208 - Hybrid Architectures: Bridging the Gap to the Cloud
AWS provides many services to assist customers with their journey to the cloud. Hybrid solutions offer customers a way to continue leveraging existing investments on-premises, while expanding their footprint into the public cloud. This session covers the different technologies available to support hybrid architectures on AWS. We discuss common patterns and anti-patterns for solving enterprise workloads across a hybrid environment.
ARC209 - Attitude of Iteration
In todays world, technology changes at a breakneck speed. What was new this morning is outdated at lunch. Working in the AWS Cloud is no different. Every week, AWS announces new features or improvements to current products. As AWS technologists, we must assimilate these new technologies and make decisions to adopt, reject, or defer. These decisions can be overwhelming: we tend to either reject everything and become stagnant, or adopt everything and never get our project out the door. In this session we will discuss the attitude of iteration. The attitude of iteration allows us to face the challenges of change without overwhelming our technical teams with a constant tug-o-war between implementation and improvement. Whether youre an architect, engineer, developer, or AWS newbie, prepare to laugh, cry, and commiserate as we talk about overcoming these challenges. Session sponsored by Rackspace.
ARC210 - Workshop: Addressing Your Business Needs with AWS
Come and participate with other AWS customers as we focus on the overall experience of using AWS to solve business problems. This is a great opportunity to collaborate with existing and prospective AWS users to validate your thinking and direction with AWS peers, discuss the resources that aid AWS solution design, and give direct feedback on your experience building solutions on AWS.
ARC211 - Solve common problems with ready to use solutions in 5 minutes or less
Regularly, customers at AWS assign resources to create solutions that address common problems shared between businesses of all sizes. Often, this results in taking resources away from products or services that truly differentiate the business in the marketplace. The Solutions Builder team at AWS focuses on developing and publishing a catalog of repeatable, standardized solutions that can be rapidly deployed by customers to overcome common business challenges. In this session, the Solutions Builder team will share ready to use solutions that make it easy for anyone to create a transit VPC, centralized logging, a data lake, scheduling for Amazon EC2, and VPN monitoring. Along the way, the team reveals the architectural tenets and best practices they follow for the development of these solutions. In the end, customers are introduced to a catalog of freely available solutions with a peek into the architectural approaches used by an internal team at AWS.
ARC212 - Salesforce: Helping Developers Deliver Innovations Faster
Salesforce is one of the most innovative enterprise software companies in the world, delivering 3 major releases a year with hundreds of features in each release. In this session, come learn how we enable thousands of engineers within Salesforce to utilize a flexible development environment to deliver these innovations to our customers faster. We show you how we enable engineers at Salesforce to test not only individual services they are developing but also large scale service integrations. Also learn how we can achieve setup of a representative production environment in minutes and teardown in seconds, using AWS.
ARC213 - Open Source at AWS—Contributions, Support, and Engagement
Over the last few years, we have seen a dramatic increase in the use of open source projects as the mainstay of architectures in both startups and enterprises. Many of our customers and partners also run their own open source programs and contribute key technologies to the industry as a whole (see DCS201). At AWS weengage with open source projects in a number of ways. Wecontribute bug fixesand enhancementstopopular projectsincluding ourwork with the Hadoop ecosystem (see BDM401), Chromium(see BAP305) and (obviously) Boto.We have our own standalone projectsincludingthe security library s2n (see NET405)and machine learning project MXnet (see MAC401).Wealsohave services that make open source easier to use like ECS for Docker (see CON316), and RDS for MySQL and PostgreSQL (see DAT305).In this session you will learn about our existing open source work across AWS, and our next steps.
ARC301 - Architecting Next Generation SaaS Applications on AWS
AWS provides a broad array of services, tools, and constructs that can be used to design, operate, and deliver SaaS applications. In this session, Tod Golding, the AWS Partner Solutions Architect, shares the wisdom and lessons learned from working with dozens of customers and partners building SaaS solutions on AWS. We discuss key architectural strategies and patterns that are used to deliver multi-tenant SaaS models on AWS and dive into the full spectrum of SaaS design and architecture considerations, including tenant isolation models, tenant identity management, serverless SaaS, and multi-tenant storage strategies. This session connects the dots between general SaaS best practices and what it means to realize these patterns on AWS, weighing the architectural tradeoffs of each model and assessing its influence on the agility, manageability, and cost profile of your SaaS solution.
ARC302 - From One to Many: Evolving VPC Design
As more customers adopt Amazon VPC architectures, the features and flexibility of the service are squaring off against evolving design requirements. This session follows this evolution of a single regional VPC into a multi-VPC, multi-region design with diverse connectivity into on-premises systems and infrastructure. Along the way, we investigate creative customer solutions for scaling and securing outbound VPC traffic, securing private access to Amazon S3, managing multi-tenant VPCs, integrating existing customer networks through AWS Direct Connect, and building a full VPC mesh network across global regions.
ARC303 - Cloud Monitoring - Understanding, Preparing, and Troubleshooting Dynamic Apps on AWS
Applications running in a typical data center are static entities. Dynamic scaling and resource allocation are the norm in AWS. Technologies such as Amazon EC2, Docker, AWS Lambda, and Auto Scaling make tracking resources and resource utilization a challenge. The days of static server monitoring are over. In this session, we examine trends weve observed across thousands of customers using dynamic resource allocation and discuss why dynamic infrastructure fundamentally changes your monitoring strategy. We discuss some of the best practices weve learned by working with New Relic customers to build, manage, and troubleshoot applications and dynamic cloud services. Session sponsored by New Relic. AWS Competency Partner
ARC304 - Effective Application Data Analytics for Modern Applications
IT is evolving from a cost center to a source of continuous innovation for business. At the heart of this transition are modern, revenue-generating applications, based on dynamic architectures that constantly evolve to keep pace with end-customer demands. This dynamic application environment requires a new, comprehensive approach to traditional monitoring one based on real-time, end-to-end visibility and analytics across the entire application lifecycle and stack, instead of monitoring by piecemeal. This presentation highlights practical advice on how developers and operators can leverage data and analytics to glean critical information about their modern applications. In this session, we will cover the types of data important for todays modern applications. Well discuss visibility and analytics into data sources such as AWS services (e.g., Amazon CloudWatch, AWS Lambda, VPC Flow Logs, Amazon EC2, Amazon S3, etc.), development tool chain, and custom metrics, and describe how to use analytics to understand business performance and behaviors. We discuss a comprehensive approach to monitoring, troubleshooting, and customer usage insights, provide examples of effective data analytics to improve software quality, and describe an end-to-end customer use case that highlights how analytics applies to the modern app lifecycle and stack. Session sponsored by Sumo Logic. AWS Competency Partner
ARC305 - From Monolithic to Microservices: Evolving Architecture Patterns in the Cloud
Gilt, a global e-commerce company, implemented a sophisticated microservices architecture on AWS to handle millions of customers visiting their site at noon every day. The microservices architecture pattern enables independent service scaling, faster deployments, better fault isolation, and graceful degradation. In this session, Emerson Loureiro, Sr. Software Engineer at Gilt, will share Gilt's experiences and lessons learned during their evolution from a single monolithic Rails application in a traditional data center to more than 300 Scala/Java microservices deployed in the cloud.Derek Chiles, AWS Solutions Architect, will review best practices and recommended architectures for deploying microservices on AWS.
ARC306 - Event Handling at Scale: Designing an Auditable Ingestion and Persistence Architecture for 10K+ events/second
How does McGraw-Hill Education use the AWS platform to scale and reliably receive 10,000 learning events per second? How do we provide near-real-time reporting and event-driven analytics for hundreds of thousands of concurrent learners in a reliable, secure, and auditable manner that is cost effective? MHE designed and implemented a robust solution that integrates AWS API Gateway, AWS Lambda, Amazon Kinesis, Amazon S3, Amazon Elasticsearch Service, Amazon DynamoDB, HDFS, Amazon EMR, Amazopn EC2, and other technologies to deliver this cloud-native platform across the US and soon the world. This session describes the challenges we faced, architecture considerations, how we gained confidence for a successful production roll-out, and the behind-the-scenes lessons we learned.
ARC307 - Accelerating Next Generation Healthcare Business on the AWS Cloud
Hear Geneia's design principles for using multiple technologies like Elastic Load Balancing and Auto Scaling in end-to-end solutions to meet regulatory requirements. Explore how to meet HIPAA regulations by using native cloud services like Amazon EC2, Amazon EBS volumes, encryption services, and monitoring features in addition to third-party tools to ensure end-to-end data protection, privacy, and security for protected health information (PHI) data hosted in the AWS Cloud. Learn how Geneia leveraged multiregion and multizone backup and disaster recovery solutions to address the recovery time objective (RTO) and recovery point objective (RPO) requirements. Discover how automated build, deployment, provisioning, and virtual workstations in the cloud enabled Geneia's developers and data scientists to quickly provision resources and work from any location, expediting the onboarding of customers, getting to market faster, and capturing bigger market share in healthcare analytics while minimizing costs. Session sponsored by Cognizant. AWS Competency Partner
ARC308 - Metering Big Data at AWS: From 0 to 100 Million Records in 1 Second
Learn how AWS processes millions of records per second to support accurate metering across AWS and our customers. This session shows how we migrated from traditional frameworks to AWS managed services to support a large processing pipeline. You will gain insights on how we used AWS services to build a reliable, scalable, and fast processing system using Amazon Kinesis, Amazon S3, and Amazon EMR. Along the way we dive deep into use cases that deal with scaling and accuracy constraints. Attend this session to see AWSs end-to-end solution that supports metering at AWS.
ARC309 - Moving Mission Critical Apps from One Region to Multi-Region active/active
In gaming, low latencies and connectivity are bare minimum expectations users have while playing online on PlayStation Network. Alex and Dustin share key architectural patterns to provide low latency, multi-region services to global users. They discuss the testing methodologies and how to programmatically map out a large dependency multi-region deployment with data-driven techniques. The patterns shared show how to adapt to changing bottlenecks and sudden, several million request spikes. Youll walk away with several key architectural patterns that can service users at global scale while being mindful of costs.
ARC310 - Cost Optimizing Your Architecture: Practical Design Steps For Big Savings
Did you know that AWS enables builders to architect solutions for price? Beyond the typical challenges of function, performance, and scale, you can make your application cost effective. Using different architectural patterns and AWS services in concert can dramatically reduce the cost of systems operation and per-transaction costs. This session uses practical examples aimed at architects and developers. Using code and AWS CloudFormation in concert with services such as Amazon EC2, Amazon ECS, Lambda, Amazon RDS, Amazon SQS, Amazon SNS, Amazon S3, CloudFront, and more, we demonstrate the financial advantages of different architectural decisions. Attendees will walk away with concrete examples, as well as a new perspective on how they can build systems economically and effectively. Attendees at this session will receive a free 30 day trial of AWS Trusted Advisor.
ARC311 - Evolving a Responsive and Resilient Architecture to Analyze Billions of Metrics
Nike+ is at the core of the Nike digital product ecosystem, providing services to enhance your athletic experience through quantified activity tracking and gamification. As one of the first movers at Nike to migrate out of the datacenter to AWS, they share the evolution in building a reactive platform on AWS to handle large, complex data sets. They provide a deep technical view of how they process billions of metrics a day in their quantified-self platform, supporting millions of customers worldwide. Youll leave with ideas and tools to help your organization scale in the cloud. Come learn from experts who have built an elastic platform using Java, Scala, and Akka, leveraging the power of many AWS technologies like Amazon EC2, ElastiCache, Amazon SQS, Amazon SNS, DynamoDB, Amazon ES, Lambda, Amazon S3, and a few others that helped them (and can help you) get there quickly.
ARC312 - Compliance Architecture: How Capital One Automates the Guard Rails for 6,000 Developers
What happens when you give 6,000 developers access to the cloud? Introducing Cloud Custodian, an open source project from Capital One, which provides a DSL for AWS fleet management that operates in real-time using CloudWatch Events and Lambda. Cloud Custodian is used for the gamut of compliance, encryption, and cost optimization. What can it do for you?
ARC313 - Running Lean Architectures: How to Optimize for Cost Efficiency
Whether youre a cash-strapped startup or an enterprise optimizing spend, it pays to run cost-efficient architectures on AWS. This session reviews a wide range of cost planning, monitoring, and optimization strategies, featuring real-world experience from AWS customers. We cover how to effectively combine Amazon EC2 On-Demand, Reserved, and Spot instances to handle different use cases; leveraging Auto Scaling to match capacity to workload; choosing the optimal instance type through load testing; taking advantage of Multi-AZ support; and using Amazon CloudWatch to monitor usage and automatically shut off resources when they are not in use. We discuss taking advantage of tiered storage and caching, offloading content to Amazon CloudFront to reduce back-end load, and getting rid of your back end entirely by leveraging AWS high-level services. We also showcase simple tools to help track and manage costs, including Cost Explorer, billing alerts, and AWS Trusted Advisor. This session is your pocket guide for running cost effectively in the Amazon Cloud. Attendees of this session receive a free 30-day trial of enterprise-level Trusted Advisor.
ARC314 - Enabling Enterprise Migrations: Creating an AWS Landing Zone
With customers migrating workloads to AWS, we are starting to see a need for the creation of a prescribed landing zone, which uses native AWS capabilities and meets or exceeds customers' security and compliance objectives. In this session, we will describe an AWS landing zone and will cover solutions for account structure, user configuration, provisioning, networking and operation automation. This solution is based on AWS native capabilities such as AWS Service Catalog, AWS Identity and Access Management, AWS Config Rules, AWS CloudTrail and Amazon Lambda. We will provide an overview of AWS Service Catalog and how it be used to provide self-service infrastructure to applications users, including various options for automation. After this session you will be able to configure an AWS landing zone for successful large scale application migrations. Additionally, Philips will explain their cloud journey and how they have applied their guiding principles when building their landing zone.
ARC315 - The Enterprise Fast Lane - What Your Competition Doesn't Want You To Know About Enterprise Cloud Transformation
Fed up with stop and go in your data center? Shift into overdrive and pull into the fast lane! Learn how AutoScout24, the largest online car marketplace Europe-wide, are building their Autobahn in the Cloud. The secret ingredient? Culture! Because Cloud is only one half of the digital transformation story: The other half is how your organization deals with cultural change as you transition from the old world of IT into building microservices on AWS with agile DevOps teams in a true you build it you run it fashion. Listen to stories from the trenches, powered by Amazon Kinesis, Amazon DynamoDB, AWS Lambda, Amazon ECS, Amazon API Gateway and much more, backed by AWS Partners, AWS Professional Services, and AWS Enterprise Support. Key takeaways: How to become Cloud native, evolve your architecture step by step, drive cultural change across your teams, and manage your companys transformation for the future.
ARC316 - Hybrid IT: A Stepping Stone to All-In
This session demonstrates how customers can leverage hybrid IT as a transitional step on the path to going all-in on AWS. We provide a step-by-step walk-through focusing on seamless migration to the cloud, with consideration given to existing data centers, equipment, and staff retraining. Learn about the suite of capabilities AWS provides to ease and simplify your journey to the cloud.
ARC318 - Busting the Myth of Vendor Lock-In: How D2L Embraced the Lock and Opened the Cage
When D2L first moved to the cloud, we were concerned about being locked-in to one cloud provider. We were compelled to explore the opportunities of the cloud, so we overcame our perceived risk, and turned it into an opportunity by self-rolling tools and avoiding AWS native services. In this session, you learn how D2L tried to bypass the lock buteventually embraced itand opened the cage. Avoiding AWS native tooling and pure lifts of enterprise architecture caused a drastic inflation of costs. Learn how we shifted away from a self-rolled lift into an efficient and effective shift while prioritizing cost, client safety, AND speed of development. Learn from D2L'ssuccesses and missteps, and convert your own enterprise systems into the cloud both through native cloud births and enterprise conversions. This session discusses D2Ls use of Amazon EC2 (with aguest appearance by Reserved Instances), Elastic Load Balancing, Amazon EBS, Amazon DynamoDB, Amazon S3, AWS CloudFormation, AWS CloudTrail, Amazon CloudFront, AWS Marketplace, Amazon Route 53, AWS Elastic Beanstalk, and Amazon ElastiCache.
ARC319 - Datapipe Open Source: Image Development Pipeline
For an IT organization to be successful in rapid cloud assessment or iterative migration of their infrastructure and applications to AWS, they need to effectively plan and execute on a strategic cloud strategy that focuses not only on cloud, but also big data, DevOps, and security.Session sponsored by Datapipe. AWS Competency Partner
ARC320 - Workshop: AWS Professional Services Effective Architecting Workshop
The AWS Professional Services team will be facilitating an architecture workshop exercise for certified AWS Architects. Class size will be limited to 48. This workshop will be a highly interactive architecture design exercise where the class will be randomly divided into teams and given a business case for which they will need to design an effective AWS solution. Past participants have found the interaction with people from other organizations and the creative brainstorming that occurs across 6 different teams greatly enhances the learning experience. Flipcharts will be provided and students are encouraged to bring their laptops to document their designs. Each team will be expected to present their solution to the class.
ARC402 - Serverless Architectural Patterns and Best Practices
As serverless architectures become more popular, AWS customers need a framework of patterns to help them deploy their workloads without managing servers or operating systems. This session introduces and describes four re-usable serverless patterns for web apps, stream processing, batch processing, and automation. For each, we provide a TCO analysis and comparison with its server-based counterpart. We also discuss the considerations and nuances associated with each pattern and have customers share similar experiences. The target audience is architects, system operators, and anyone looking for a better understanding of how serverless architectures can help them save money and improve their agility.
ARC403 - Building a Microservices Gaming Platform for Turbine Mobile Games
Warner Bros Turbine team shares lessons learned from their enhanced microservices game platform, which uses Docker, Amazon EC2, Elastic Load Balancing, and Amazon ElastiCache to scale up in anticipation of massive game adoption. Learn about their Docker-based microservices architecture, tuned and optimized to support the demands of the massively popular [Batman: Arkham Underworld and other franchises]. Turbine invent and simplify microservices persistence services consolidating their previous NoSQL database solution with highly performant PostgreSQL on Amazon EC2 and Amazon EBS. Turbine also describes other innovative strategies, including integrated analytic techniques to anticipate and predict their scaling operations.
ARC404 - Migrating a Highly Available and Scalable Database from Oracle to Amazon DynamoDB

Cassini Swaps Thrusters03.12.09 Artist konsep Cassini di Saturnus. Kredit gambar: NASA / JPL Cassini-Huygens Misi Laporan Status Pasadena, California - awal pagi ini angkasa Cassini yang relayed informasi yang berhasil swapped ke set cadangan daya thrusters akhir Rabu. Swap dilakukan karena degradasi dalam performa utama thrusters, yang telah digunakan sejak Cassini's memulai pada tahun 1997. Hal ini hanya kedua kalinya dalam Cassini dari 11 tahun penerbangan bahwa teknik tim telah ke sistem cadangan. Thrusters yang digunakan untuk membuat koreksi kecil ke angkasa dari saja, untuk beberapa fungsi kontrol sikap, dan untuk membuat penyesuaian tajam momentum dalam reaksi roda, yang juga digunakan untuk mengontrol sikap. Yang berlebihan menetapkan adalah identik kumpulan delapan thrusters. Hampir semua Cassini teknik subsystems memiliki kemampuan cadangan berlebihan. Cassini telah berhasil menyelesaikan aslinya empat tahun direncanakan tur Saturn dan kini diperpanjang dalam misi operasi. Informasi lebih lanjut tentang misi tersedia di: dan The misi Cassini-Huygens adalah proyek kerjasama NASA, European Space Agency dan Italia Space Agency. JPL, sebuah divisi di California Institute of Technology di Pasadena, mengelola Cassini NASA untuk misi dari Direktorat Misi Sains, Washington, DC The Cassini orbiter dirancang, dikembangkan dan dikumpulkan di JPL

          Prayers for the Persecuted Church (3/22/2012)        
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03/12/2012 China (ChinaAid) Members Detained and Sent to Labor Camp as Chinese House Church Repeatedly Targeted for Persecution -

A house church belonging to the China for Christ denomination has been the target of months of attacks from local authorities in the city of Zhuozhou, Hebei province, with church members being illegally detained, interrogated and sent to labor camps -- simply for attending worship services or other activities.Local authorities have also forcibly confiscated 170,000 yuan ($27,000 USD) of church funds without following any of the required legal procedures.

They have also sent people to labor camps and demolished the home where the church was meeting.A religious affairs bureau official announced that the church's November 8, 2011 meeting, which was attended by over fifty villagers, was an illegal service because it had not been registered with or approved by the government departments supervising religious affairs. Full Story

Pray for the house churches in China as their number is rapidly increasing but is continually targeted by Chinese authorities for persecution. Praise God for watering the planted seeds of the Gospel in China!
Pray for these villagers who have been sent to labor camps for their faith. May their faith remain strong under the intentional oppression by the government.
Pray that the Lord will providentially use these events to bring the Gospel to others in these labor camps and in the government bureaus.
03/12/2012 India (BosNewsLife) India Militants Attack Prayer Meeting, Pastors

Suspected Hindu militants broke up a Christian prayer meeting and forced two women leading the gathering to stop evangelizing in India's southwestern state of Karnataka, as part of several attacks against devoted believers across the country.
As many as twenty Hindu "radicals" and "extremists" raided the March 3 prayer meeting in the Vijayanagar neighborhood of Bangalore, local Christians said.

The mob allegedly insulted worshipers and ordered the two women leading the service, Parimala, 36, and Padmavathi, 35, to stop the prayers immediately. The two women are members of the Mahima Prarthana Mandira - an independent church in the Vijayanagar neighborhood. Both believers, who were Hindus before becoming Christians twelve years ago, also lead a sixty-member congregation which often gathers for prayer services at a rented home. Additionally, they have been distributing evangelical publications with the Gospel. These activities angered the militants and filed complaints of "forceful conversion" and pressured the two to write down that they would halt prayer meetings and no long conduct their evangelistic activities.

Pray for these two women who are specifically being targeted for spreading the Gospel. Jesus said He will build His church and the gates of Hell would not prevail against it. Pray for fruit of their evangelistic efforts.
Pray for these Hindu militants, that like these two women, will see the beauty of Christ and put their faith in the one true God.
Pray for India as they have seen increasing persecution and attacks by Hindu militants.
03/14/2012 Afghanistan (AsiaNews) Christian Fears Grow Worse as Taliban Prepare New Attacks

The recent killing of 16 civilians by a US soldier has left Afghanistan's Christian population increasingly fearful as the Taliban has promised new attacks. Coupled with the recent Qur'an burnings at an American military base, violent protests have erupted across the country leaving more than forty people dead.

"Resentment against the West and Christians is growing stronger, even though no direct threats have been made against individuals," sources say.

International media have shown Afghans protesting by burning crosses and Christian symbols. For most Afghans, the West and Christianity are the same, the sources note. "Sadly, the crazy act of a madman will be paid [for by] Christians." Full Story

Pray that U.S. presence in Afghanistan will be a blessing and not a catalyst for hatred and violence towards our brothers and sisters in Christ.
Pray for the small population of Christians in Afghanistan who have been continually targeted by Muslim extremists. Pray for their safety and for the faith.
Pray that the church continues to grow in Afghanistan. Pray that the eyes of the people will be opened to the joy and satisfaction that is found in Christ alone.
03/14/2012 Eritrea (International Christian Concern) Imprisoned Head of Eritrean Orthodox Church in Urgent Need of Medical Attention

Patriarch Antonios, who has been imprisoned for his faith, is a diabetic and his situation is deteriorating due to lack of medical attention. He has been detained at an undisclosed location since 2006. The Eritrean government is known for their oppression of Christians. There are over 3000 Christians in prison in the country simply because of their faith.

ICC's Jonathan Racho said, "We are deeply concerned about the health of the Patriarch and urge the international community to pressure Eritrea to release him. Eritrea must end the unlawful detention of Christian prisoners."

Patriarch Antonios was detained for asking the Eritrean government to release members of his church detained for their beliefs and urging the Eritrean officials not to interfere in the affairs of the church. Full Story 

Pray for Patriarch Antonios as his health declines. Pray for the Lord to sustain him during this time.
Pray that those Christians also serving sentences for their faith. Eritrea is notorious for the brutal prison conditions for Christians. Be in prayer for sustained faith, safety, and providential opportunities for the Gospel to be shown and preached.
Pray for the hearts of those in Eritrea to be fertile soil for the Gospel.
03/14/2012 United States (FoxNews) NASA Scientist Claims He Was Harassed, Demoted Over Intelligent Design Beliefs

David Coppedge, a high-level computer systems administrator at the laboratory maintains he was fired nine months after expressing his beliefs in intelligent design to his co-workers. Lawyer William Becker spoke on behalf of Coppedge to Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Ernest Hiroshige in trial of the religious discrimination lawsuit his client filed in April 2010.

JPL attorney James Zapp argued that Coppedge was laid off as part of a staff reduction and that Coppedge had trouble getting along with other employees, becoming defensive when a supervisor instructed him on avoiding confrontations with co-workers.

According to his suit, Coppedge was demoted for allegedly "pushing religion" by loaning interested co-workers DVDs supporting intelligent design. Full Story

Pray for this trial as it could have significant repercussions for free speech in the workplace.
Pray for the judge in this trial, that he or she rules objectively.
Pray that this case awakens the U.S. to the plight of the persecuted church.
 03/14/2012 Pakistan (CNN) Petition: Free Pakistani Woman Set for Execution 

In a weird twist of irony, Asia Bibi is facing the death penalty following a false accusation of blasphemy in Pakistan, which is running for a seat on the United Nation's Human Rights Council. However, activists presented a petition Tuesday to the U.N. calling on Pakistan to free the Christian mother of five from being put to death on the charge.
Pakistani courts found Asia Bibi guilty of defiling the name of the Prophet Mohammed during a 2009 argument with Muslim fellow field workers. As a result, Bibi was sentenced to death by hanging. But an investigation by a Pakistani government ministry found the charges stemmed from religious and personal enmity and recommended Bibi's release.

The petition was signed by fifty activists including a former Czech foreign minister, the president of the U.N. General Assembly, a survivor of Tienanmen Square, and a women's rights activist. "With Pakistan now running for a seat on the U.N. Human Rights Council, the government should make an important gesture by releasing Asia Bibi, and repealing its blasphemy law, which is inconsistent with basic human rights," said Hillel Neuer, director of U.N. Watch, a Geneva-based human rights group that organized the petition. Full Story

Pray for the nation of Pakistan. With increasing pressure on the government to reverse laws that target Christians and with increasing pressure on maintaining religious freedom, Christians may be able to worship freely someday in this country.
Pray for Asia Bibi who has been in prison for nearly three years. Pray for her safety and strength of faith. Her faith is something to praise God for, as the Lord has been faithful in encouraging her.
Pray for the many needs of her family. One of her five children has special needs and the burden on this family is great, not just because of their size, but coupled with persecution, they have struggled to meet their needs.
3/16/2012 Pakistan (Deccan Herald) Majority of Christian and Hindu Women Face Sexual Harassment in Pakistan

A recent study has shown that the majority of minority women, both Christian and Hindu, are subject to discrimination and harassment.
Out of 1000 women interviewed, 74 percent of them had been sexually harassed in the workplace in 2010 and 2011.

Due to their economic status, these women are "on the margins of social and economic development," says Peter Jacob, executive director for the National Commission for Justice and Peace.

This position makes minority women easy targets for discrimination. Full Story

Pray for Christian and Hindu women of Pakistan, that God will protect his daughters, encourage them and empower them to be victors in their environment.
Pray for the NCJP, that their work will be seen, heard and acted upon.
Pray that Pakistan will safeguard women's rights.
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Thank you for caring and praying for the persecuted.

          Occultist father of rocketry ‘written out’ of Nasa’s history        
from Jack Parsons was a founding member of Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Lab, with some crediting him as being one of the “fathers of rocketry” and others joking that JPL was actually Jack Parsons’ Laboratory, but
          31 - Jack Parson        

Dave Anthony and Gareth Reynolds examine JPL Founder Jack Parsons



          Anger, Sadness and Envy Ep. 26: Marathon 1-1 Arrival        

Here at Rampancy, we'll be starting a new series on the Anger, Sadness and Envy podcast: a video Let's Play series of Bungie's classic science fiction shooter, Marathon, as played using the modern Aleph One engine under Mac OS X. All three games in the Marathon series (Marathon 1 and 2 by Bungie, and Marathon Infinity by Double Aught, a studio made up of Bungie alums) are available to play on Mac, Windows, and Linux from

We'll also be playing with a remixed version of the Marathon music, originally written by Bungie founder Alex Seropian and remixed and remastered by JPL planetary scientist Chris Hardgrove. (We don't talk about the music in the first episode but we'll get to it, I promise). You can get his remix, as well as lots of other cool Marathon music-related stuff, at

So, without further ado, the first level of Marathon 1: Arrival as played by Blackstar and myself.

          E’ solo questione di fortuna?        
PHA conosciutiLa figura riportata poco tempo fa dal JPL della NASA sulle orbite degli oggetti a rischio d’impatto con la Terra ha veramente qualcosa di spaventoso. La Terra è costretta ad attraversare una zona che dire ad alto rischio è veramente poco. In realtà, però, le cose non sono proprio come appaiono. Un attimo di distensione (si fa per dire) in attesa del secondo appuntamento con la MQ. In fondo anche qui c’entra la probabilità…e il succo non è troppo lontano dalla MQ.
          LYDIA CORNELL BIO 2017        

About Lydia Cornell

Lydia Cornell, whose great-great grandmother was Harriet Beecher Stowe, has been Invited to contribute her writings to The International Museum of Peace, which houses letters from Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Mother Teresa, Maya Angelou & Sir Edmund Hillary. Known for her knife-sharp wit on HBO, standup comedy, social media, concerts, public speaking and morning-drive radio, Cornell has been called: “A female George Carlin and ‘the new Tina Fey.’ A fresh voice; one of the most original voices in America today. ~ Cindy Pearlman, Chicago Sun Times and New York Times syndicate

With 18-34 million viewers Tuesday nights on ABC primetime, and millions more in worldwide syndication, AFI Best Actress nominee and People's Choice Award winner Lydia Cornell grew up in America’s living rooms. Best known for her starring role as the daughter of TV legend Ted Knight  (The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Caddyshack)on the hit ABC series Too Close for Comfort, she is an international celebrity with a fiercely loyal fan following whom she interacts with daily on social media.  Starring in over 250 TV shows & films in 27 countries, including HBO's Curb Your Enthusiasm,she costars with Robert Downey, Jr., Steven Tyler, Jon Bon Jovi and Gary Oldman in indie films at Sundance; Variety’s Power of Comedy with Rebel Wilson and Russell Brand and The Kelsey Grammer Comedy Hour. Her fan base exploded last fall when she shot onto Google’s Top Trends[1]and Yahoo! Finance News’ Most Viewed News Stories[2]right behind William Buffet. Yahoo! Finance News: Lydia Cornell interviews World Leaders, Pulitzer Prize Winners, White House and Presidential Candidates for new morning drive AM radio show

Cornell is also a writer, director, talk show host, women and children’s advocate, teen mentor; mother and inspirational public speaker. In 2017, she was honored by the Los Angeles Movie Awards for directing the SAG film It's My Decision and received the Southern California Motion Picture Council's Golden Halo Lifetime Achievement Award. As co-host of a radio network with Hell’s Kitchen chefs, MTVstars and CLNS Sports Radio personalities, she hosts a top-rated podcast on itunes, which was nominated for a Stitcher award. She is currently working on a series of humor and spiritual recovery books. She is producing docuseries with an astrophysicist  from NASA-JPL and a Naval Intelligence officer, as well as her own comedy TV series. She wrote and directed the indie short Venus Conspiracy, which will soon be a feature film. Her articles have appeared in Herald de Paris; A&E Biography; Editor & Publisher; Huffington Post; Macon Daily, People, Us, Yahoo, New York Post, Script Frenzy and Lone Star Icon. Too Close for Comfort airs daily on Tribune Broadcasting’s new comedy channel Antenna TV. Cornell took a sabbatical from Hollywood in order to get sober, raise children, write books, and find her soul in a pornographic world.

  • Cornell's blog is a triple Koufax nominee for best writing, recipient of the Thinking Blogger Award and winner of the Freedom Award and three World Report Awards, is “a consistently thought-provoking firecracker of pointed socio-political commentary and observant, caustic wit.” (Yahoo News; Shotgun Reviews.)
  • Despite rumors on TMZ and in the tabloids, Cornell did not sue Kelsey Grammer. Cornell is currently helping the FBI alongside Kelsey Grammer in a major criminal investigation. This will be revealed in an upcoming expose.
  • Has been invited to contribute her writings to The International Museum of Peace, which houses letters from Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Mother Teresa, Maya Angelou & Sir Edmund Hillary.

Triumph over Tragedy: A children’s advocate, Cornell raised a child with brittle bone disease is an inspirational speaker on domestic violence, and teen suicide prevention — as well as on drug, alcohol and Adderall[1] abuse. She endured a shattering personal tragedy when she found her younger brother’s body after a drug overdose.

Recovery Expert: Sober now for 22 years, she speaks to recovery groups of 200 or more. She spoke at Texas A&M for Domestic Violence Prevention’s 30th anniversary luncheon. Her talks are laced with poignant stories of transformation with an innate sense of humor and comic timing. Cornell speaks at charity fundraisers, hospitals, high schools, colleges and women’s centers on overcoming loss, grief, unemployment, sexism, ageism, depression, self-sabotage, suicide, raising aliens (teenagers) and every imaginable hardship. Her triumph over addiction was the result of a ‘catastrophic spiritual awakening.’ “There is a reason so many celebrities are in rehab these days,” she says. Her experiences in overcoming a string of failures and humiliations inspired her to assist others with their own demons. “My ego was so big, it had an apartment of its own with a walk-in closet.  

Osteogenesis Imperfecta: Lydia has been invited to speak in Florida on Osteogenesis Imperfecta or brittle bone disease. A mother of boys, she raised a stepson whose bones broke every time he fell. “Raising a child with brittle bone disease has been one of the most precious gifts of my life.” she says of her stepson.

Public Service

Military: Received the USO Distinguished Service Award for trip to Beirut war zone
In 2015, Lydia went to Lincoln Nebraska to support the troops for the Big Red Challenge.  She will be in Santa Barbara for a celebrity golf tournament to benefit “Santa Ynez Valley People Helping People.”  She has worked with the Red Cross, Firefighters, Autism Awareness, and High Hopes Ryan’s Reach — Pat Boone’s charity for traumatic spinal cord injury.

Domestic Violence: She hosted a documentary for Safe Passage Home, an organization that gives extreme life makeovers to victims of domestic violence, for Oxygen network. She housed domestic abuse victims and cared for their children throughout the school year. With the help of the police, Cornell helped rescue a battered woman from a predator. 

Teen Mentor: As a teen mentor, Lydia works with L.A. Team Mentoring (after school programs for underprivileged kids) and is developing a site for troubled teens called The Answer Room.

  • Currently in talks with Dancing with the Stars
  • Opened for Paul Rodriguez at Pechanga 1500 seat theater
  • Seen on HBO's Curb Your Enthusiasm; costarring with Robert Downey, Jr., Steven Tyler, Jon Bon Jovi and Gary Oldman in Me, Miami and Nancy Sundance; Kelsey Grammer Comedy Hour; Host of Variety’s Power of Comedy with Rebel Wilson, Russell Brand, Helen Mirren, Melissa Etheridge, Aziz Ansari, Lake Bell, Dylan McDermott, Patton Oswalt and Sarah Silverman; co-stars in director Jordan Alan’s Cats Dancing on Jupiter with star of The Mentalist.
  • Too Close for Comfort is back daily on Tribune Broadcasting’s comedy channel Antenna TV, on WGN and in top markets nationwide. The show has been in worldwide syndication for over 25 years.
  • She has her own award-winning podcast and radio show and is co-owner of a network Beats and Eats on iTunes with Hell’s Kitchen chefs, Sports Radio and MTV stars, and was nominated for a Stitcher Award.
  • A humorist and comedienne, Cornell has been called the “female George Carlin.”
  • She is currently working on a series of humor and spiritual recovery books, which will be out in 2018.
  • Despite rumors on TMZ and in the tabloids, Cornell did not sue Kelsey Grammer. Cornell is currently helping the FBI alongside Kelsey Grammer in a major criminal investigation. This will be revealed in an upcoming expose.
  • Lydia Cornell's blog is a triple Koufax nominee for best writing, recipient of the Thinking Blogger Award and winner of the Freedom Award and three World Report Awards, is “a consistently thought-provoking firecracker of pointed socio-political commentary and observant, caustic wit.” (Yahoo News; Shotgun Reviews.)
  • Has been invited to contribute her writings to The International Museum of Peace, which houses letters from Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Mother Teresa, Maya Angelou & Sir Edmund Hillary.
  • Received the USO Distinguished Service Award for Middle East and Beirut war zone trip to visit the troops.
  • Venus Conspiracy – written and directed by Lydia Cornell, costarring Deborah Van Valkenburgh, who played her sister on Too Close for Comfort
  • Pain is Inevitable, Sex Optional – on stage in her original three-woman show
  • Political Voices of Women Best Writing Awards ~ World Report Award, Thinking Blogger Award; Weblog Award and Double Koufax Nominee.

[1] Google Hot Trends: Google Hot Trends: What is popular/what is hot Lydia Cornell in Google’s top 100 trends when a cover story on Cornell coincided with the news that her show was coming back on the air. Cornell wrote over 175 spiritual-political articles on government, politics, Obama, the election, sex and religion.
[2] Breaking Yahoo! News: Too Close for Comfort actress Lydia Cornell interviews world leaders, presidential candidates and Pulitzer Prizewinners for new radio show.

          Quantum Well Infrared Photodetectors (QWIP)        
Inducted Individuals: 
Dr. Sumith Bandara
Clyde Bethea
Dr. Kwong-Kit Choi
Dwight Duston
Dr. Sarath Gunapala
Theodore Hoelter
Dr. Murzy Jhabvala
Dr. Carl Kukkonen
Dr. Barry Levine
John Liu
Dr. Kathrine Manizade
Technology Description: 

Understanding climate changes and the parameters influencing the climate is very important. Infrared imaging is an important technology for gathering useful information however, prior to 1990, no photodetector arrays had been fabricated that would operate at infrared wavelengths necessary for detecting these changes in ecosystems. In a unique collaboration between the Goddard Space Flight Center, and ATT/Bell Labs the first quantum well photodetector array capable of operating in the far infrared was developed and incorporated into a camera system that successfully performed airborne imaging. Dr. Sarath Gunapala of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), while working with Dr. Barry Levine at Bell Labs, helped developed the QWIP technology that could be used in imaging systems. 

Bell Labs decided that this novel technology did not fit their commercial directions. However, technical visionaries at NASA JPL saw its potential for producing enhanced space-based imaging systems and acquired the technology as well as several technical people including Dr. Gunapala. At JPL he and his colleagues have perfected the QWIP technology and have produced cameras that are capable of operating at infrared wavelengths that were not previously possible with existing technology. Use of this technology is enabling NASA to enhance substantially its earth? observation capability. The QWIP technology is a complicated solid-state detector that involves sandwiching gallium arsenide chips between silicon wafers and connected them with indium connectors. The technology can be designed to operate at longer infrared wavelengths and can be produced at lower costs making it is superior to any existing technology. A new company, QWIP Technologies, was formed to obtain a license from JPL to produce focal plane cameras using the QWIP technology. 

OmniCorder, a biomedical company, recognized the potential of using QWIP technology for medical purposes. They obtained an exclusive, worldwide license from NASA to use the technology for biological applications, including breast cancer detection. Recent medical research studies have shown that cancer cells exude nitric oxide. This causes changes in blood flow and concomitantly the temperature in tissue surrounding cancer. The OmniCorder BioScan System, which incorporates the QWIP technology, is able to reliably detect these minute temperature changes. The system, which has received FDA approval, uses no ionizing radiation and permits a hazard-free non-invasive assessment of abnormal tissue.

          Comment on Does flood insurance need a life raft? by Ross Stein        
The radar imagery detects changes in the range and phase of the signal. Much of the flooding could be obscured by foliage. ARIA seems to work better for earthquake damage. But we need to hear from Dr. Sang Ho Yun at NASA JPL for his answer.
          The Women In The Blue Shirts Who Dare Mighty Things        
PASADENA, CA - AUGUST 5: Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Pauline Hwang (L) and Nagin Cox hold packs given to each of the team members that contain a mars bar and peanuts in the Mission Support Area at JPL ahead of the planned landing of the Curiosity rover on Mars, August [...]
          Los lagos de lava de Ío        
Hace ya tiempo hablamos por aquí de la luna atormentada del Sistema Solar, Ío. Es una luna tan interesante que no he podido resistirme a volver a contar más cosas sobre ella.

Ío orbita al gigantesco planeta Júpiter a una distancia media de 420000 km en una órbita excéntrica. Dada la cercanía de Ío a Júpiter se produce lo que se conoce por acoplamiento de marea, esto es, el satélite siempre muestra la misma cara a su planeta. Otra de las consecuencias de este acoplamiento es que la órbita poco a poco se hace circular, estabilizándose.

Ío pasa frente a Júpiter en esta hermosa toma que capturó la sonda Cassini en 2000, cuando iba de camino a Saturno. NASA/JPL

No olvidemos que Ío es apenas un poco más grande que nuestra Luna (3600 km de diámetro, un 5% de diferencia), con lo que lo normal sería que su actividad geológica fuera similar a la de nuestra Luna, o sea, ninguna.

Comparativa de tamaños de la Tierra, la Luna e Ío. Wikipedia
Ío provocando un eclipse solar sobre la atmósfera de Júpiter. Esta fantástica imagen fue tomada por el telescopio espacial Hubble en 1999. Créditos: John Spencer (Lowell Observatory)/NASA
Sin embargo, Ío no se encuentra sola orbitando al mayor de los planetas del Sistema Solar ya que la acompañan otras 66 lunas más, entre las que encontramos las otras 3 grandes lunas galileanas (Europa, Ganímedes y Calisto, descubiertas junto con Ío por Galileo en 1610). De hecho, 2 de estas lunas (Europa y la gigantesca Ganímedes, que es incluso mayor que Mercurio) ejercen una poderosa influencia sobre Ío. Con estos cuerpos se produce un curioso fenómeno de resonancia orbital, llamado Resonancia de Laplace (los periodos de sus órbitas tienen una relación entre sí de números enteros, 1:2:4). Veamos un poco más detalladamente qué es esta resonancia y por qué es tan importante.

La resonancia de Laplace implica que por cada órbita que Ganímedes traza alrededor de Júpiter, Europa traza 2 órbitas e Ío da ¡4! vueltas en torno a su planeta. O sea, que Ío no sólo sufre los descomunales tirones gravitatorios de Júpiter cuando se encuentra en su punto más alejado (apojovio) y más cercano (perijovio) a Júpiter, sino que también experimenta tirones gravitatorios de Ganímedes y Europa, manteniendo la excentricidad de la órbita de Ío.

Precisamente esta diferencia de tira y afloja gravitatorio casi continuo que sufre Ío hace que esta luna se esté expandiendo y comprimiendo, con lo que su núcleo permanece fundido y en un estado de casi permanente ebullición.

Diagrama de la estructura de Ío. Gráfico creado por Kelvinsong/Wikipedia

Toda esta presión interna del núcleo y manto de Ío empujan la corteza hacia el exterior, deformándola y produciendo algunas de las montañas más altas del Sistema Solar, y cómo no, muchísimos volcanes.

En la superficie de esta luna podemos encontrar entre 100 y 150 montañas, con una altura media de unos 6 km. La más alta de ellas es Boösaule Montes, que alcanza una altura de unos 18 km. Tan sólo se conocen 3 montañas más altas en el Sistema Solar: Olympus Mons (Marte), tiene más de 22 km de altura, Rheasilvia Mons (Vesta) con casi 22 km de altura y Toledo Mons (Japeto, que orbita a Saturno) que alcanza los 20 km de altura. Al lado de estas gigantescas montañas, nuestro monte Everest (8848 m) parece muy poquita cosa.

Boösaule Montes, fotografiado por la Voyager 1 en 1979. NASA/JPL

Tohil Mons, de 5'4 km de altura. Fotografiado por la sonda Galileo en 2001. NASA/JPL

Y en cuanto a los volcanes, Ío al menos tiene 150 en erupción más o menos continua, aunque es posible que este número aumente hasta los 400 volcanes activos. Como podrán imaginar, toda esta intensa actividad volcánica tiene efectos muy importantes en la topografía de nuestra protagonista, ya que la corteza se encuentra en un proceso de renovación constante. Esto explica por qué no se han podido ver cráteres de impacto en la superficie de Ío, las continuas erupciones y flujos de lava los cubren al poco tiempo de producirse.

Son evidentes los cambios producidos por el vulcanismo de Ío en estas 2 imágenes obtenidas por las sondas Galileo y New Horizons con 8 años de diferencia. NASA/JPL

Mapa geológico de Ío. U.S. Geological Survey. Está disponible para su descarga más ampliado, con las leyendas correspondientes aquí.

En este fantástico mosaico de imágenes de la Voyager 1 cuando pasó por Júpiter en 1979 observamos algunas formaciones geológicas muy interesantes en el sur de Ío: justo a la izquierda de la imagen vemos el color oscuro de la colada de lava que cubre parcialmente el cuenco de Creidne Patera. En la parte inferior de la imagen podemos apreciar Haemus Mons, de unos 10 km de altura. NASA/JPL

Sobre la fotografía anterior, quisiera llamar la atención en la riqueza de colores que podemos apreciar, debidos a la composición química de las erupciones de los volcanes. Son muy abundantes las erupciones de azufre y diversos sulfuros, aunque algunas de ellas (las que tienen las coladas más oscuras) tienen como componentes principales silicatos en forma de basaltos.

Una foto para la historia: el 8 marzo de 1979 la Voyager 1 tomó esta imagen de Ío a más de 4'5 millones de km, tres días después de sobrevolar esta luna. Se aprecian 2 erupciones volcánicas, una en el limbo izquierdo y otra en el terminador (el punto más brillante). Fueron las primeras erupciones detectadas fuera de nuestro planeta. NASA/JPL

 Podemos apreciar la altura que alcanzan los imponentes penachos de las erupciones en Ío en esta animación. Aquí vemos Tvashtar Patera, cuyo penacho alcanzó más de 300 km de altura (el término patera tiene origen latino, y se refería a un cuenco poco profundo). La imagen fue captada por la sonda New Horizons de camino a Plutón en 2007. NASA/JPL

Como seguramente los avispados lectores sospecharán, tanta erupción debería generar una atmósfera en esta luna a pesar de su baja gravedad (poco menos de 0'2 g). Efectivamente hay una atmósfera, pero es extraordinariamente tenue. Está compuesta principalmente por SO2, con trazas de SO, sodio, azufre molecular y oxígeno.

Precisamente las moléculas de azufre son las responsables del color característico de Ío: el S2 es expulsado de los volcanes y termina cayendo a la fría superficie (-143ºC), agregándose en moléculas mayores de S3 y S4, que son las responsables del color rojo en algunas zonas cerca de los volcanes de Ío. Eventualmente estas moléculas se terminan agregando en su forma más estable, la de S8 (con forma de anillo), proporcionándole un color amarillo pálido a la superficie de esta luna.

Diagrama explicativo del ciclo del azufre en Ío. NASA/JPL/Lowell Observatory

El gran Júpiter con su enorme gravedad tiene la capacidad de robar las partículas de la atmósfera de Ío y las incorpora a su propia magnetosfera, haciendo de paso que ésta sea mucho más intensa de lo que debería ser de no existir este satélite (o de encontrarse mucho más lejos). O sea, Júpiter pone la energía en la magnetosfera e Ío pone el combustible.

Representación de la magnetosfera de Júpiter, interactuando con Ío para redoblar su potencia. En rojo vemos el toroide de plasma que envuelve a Ío; en verde, el flujo de partículas entre Ío y Júpiter, y en amarillo, la nube de sodio neutro que rodea a la luna. Las líneas azules representan el campo magnético. Gráfico creado por John Spencer/Wikipedia

Esta fantasmagórica imagen nos muestra las auroras en la atmósfera de Ío. Al contrario de las auroras que conocemos, causadas por la interacción del viento solar con la magnetosfera, en el caso de Ío es la interacción de la magnetosfera de Júpiter con los átomos de azufre de la tenue atmósfera de este satélite. Las zonas más brillantes corresponden a erupciones volcánicas. Imagen obtenida por la sonda Galileo en 1998. NASA/JPL

Este es el aspecto de la superficie de Ío, en representación Mercator. Para ello se han usado cientos de imágenes de las misiones Voyager y Galileo. NASA/JPL

Las paterae de Ío son depresiones del terreno (o cuencas) parcialmente cubiertas con lava derretida, con una superficie formada por una fina capa de material solidificado. La mayoría de los volcanes de Ío tienen esta tipología. Unos pocos son del tipo escudo y se denominan tholus. Por último, a los flujos de lava se les denomina fluctus.

El volcán más activo de Ío, y por extensión, de todo el Sistema Solar, es Loki Patera (sí, se le ha bautizado con el nombre del hermano del dios nórdico Thor). Además es gigantesco, ya que su diámetro supera los 200 km. Por si fuera poco, Loki Patera experimenta unos cambios de brillo relativamente periódicos, ya que se producen en intervalos de entre 400 y 600 días y su explicación era objeto de debate entre los científicos.

Este es el aspecto que luce Loki Patera con sus más de 21500 km2 de superficie. Este enorme lago de lava (en el centro, ligeramente hacia abajo y de color oscuro), es 1 millón de veces mayor que sus equivalentes de la Tierra. Imagen tomada por la sonda Voyager 1 en marzo de 1979. NASA/JPL

El 8 de marzo de 2015 se produjo un tránsito de Europa por delante de Ío. Este evento fue aprovechado por Katherine de Kleer (Univ. Berkeley) y otros investigadores para medir los cambios de brillo de Loki Patera. Para este estudio, usaron el Gran Telescopio Binocular (con espejos gemelos de 8'4 m de diámetro) de Arizona. Se tomaron unas 3000 imágenes en la banda del infrarrojo, ya que la helada luna Europa es completamente opaca a esta longitud de onda y no interferiría en las observaciones.
Esta animación muestra el tránsito de Europa enfrente de Ío producido en marzo de 2015 y permitió averiguar el origen de los cambios de brillo de Loki Patera. Katherine de Kleer/UC Berkeley

Los datos obtenidos arrojaron como resultado las diferencias de temperatura en distintos puntos de Loki Patera, consistente con flujos de lava que se originan en el extremo oeste y que se desplazan a una velocidad de 1 km por día, convergiendo finalmente en el extremo este de Loki Patera.

Mapa de temperaturas de Loki Patera. Los puntos (1) y (2) son los más fríos, mientras que el punto (3) es el más caliente, ya que la lava es más reciente (se ha estimado que tiene unos 75 días). Toda la superficie del lago de lava se renueva en unos 3 meses, aproximadamente. Katherine de Kleer/UC Berkeley
Recreación del avance de las ondas de lava en Loki Patera. Al converger, se renueva la capa de lava que se ha ido solidificando, que se hunde en la lava nueva y caliente, aumentando el brillo. Katherine de Kleer/UC Berkeley

Es sorprendente que toda esta información pueda ser obtenida desde unos 600 millones de km de distancia, usando un telescopio con base en la Tierra.

Hasta 2021 no volverá a producirse esta ocultación (Europa/Ío), con lo que habrá que esperar para seguir descubriendo los secretos que guarda esta pequeña pero fascinante luna joviana.


Posts relacionados

          Grand Finale de la Cassini        
El 15 de septiembre de 2017 la NASA pondrá fin a una de sus misiones de exploración del Sistema Solar más exitosas de su historia: la sonda Cassini. Pocos podían imaginar en su lanzamiento (15 de octubre de 1997), que esta increíble nave interplanetaria sobreviviría casi 20 años en el espacio, durante los cuales nos ha regalado momentos e imágenes realmente mágicos del Sistema Solar, especialmente de Saturno y su magnífico sistema de lunas y anillos.

El motivo del fin de la misión no es otro que la Cassini se ha quedado sin combustible para ejecutar las complejas maniobras orbitales alrededor del sistema de las lunas Saturno, por lo que se corría el riesgo de que al quedar a la deriva terminara chocando con alguna de las lunas, contaminándola. Para evitar esta eventualidad desde el control de misión han preferido estrellarla contra el gigante Saturno, haciendo que se zambulla en su densa atmósfera.

Han decidido que la mejor manera de finalizar una misión tan soberbia como ésta es trazar 22 órbitas polares alrededor del gigante anillado para obtener las imágenes más cercanas posible de su sistema de anillos y su atmósfera.

Así serán las últimas 22 órbitas de la Cassini, entre los anillos y el planeta. En naranja, la órbita final que precipitará a la sonda contra Saturno. Créditos: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Estas últimas órbitas permitirán realizar un estudio a fondo de la atmósfera del gran Saturno, así como la composición y distribución de las nubes, la estructura interna del planeta, origen y evolución de la ionosfera y también se estudiará a fondo su magnetosfera.

No cabe duda de que echaremos mucho (muchísimo) de menos imágenes como éstas... Pero mientras tanto, toca disfrutar ¡y de qué manera! de estos últimos regalos de la Cassini:

El 18 de enero de 2017, antes de comenzar el Grand Finale, Cassini obtuvo esta espectacular toma de Saturno a una distancia de 1 millón de km. Créditos: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

Aquí podemos apreciar una de las exóticas formaciones que aparecen en los anillos, las hélices. Esta en concreto fue 'cazada' el 9 de enero de 2017 y acertadamente se le bautizó con el nombre de Blériot (uno de los pioneros de la aviación). Se espera que en las órbitas finales podamos saber más sobre la composición, masa y densidad de los anillos. Créditos: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

Nuestra protagonista, en una de las 22 órbitas que pasarán entre los anillos y Saturno. Créditos: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Un vórtice tormentoso en la atmósfera de Saturno. La cercanía de las órbitas finales al planeta permitirán conocer mucho mejor la atmósfera, y obtendremos primeros planos que nos darán mucha información sobre la estructura de la atmósfera de Saturno. Créditos: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

La naturaleza no deja de sorprendernos. Estamos viendo a la diminuta luna pastora Pan (28 km) que recorre la división Encke de los anillos de Saturno. Precisamente la acumulación de materiales que se ha producido a lo largo de sus órbitas le ha dado esta forma tan curiosa. Créditos: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

Otra luna con una gran acumulación de material en su región ecuatorial, en este caso se trata de la pequeña Atlas (30 km). La imagen fue captada el 12 de abril de 2017 por la Cassini a una distancia de 11000 km. Créditos: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

Magnífica vista de Tetis (1062 km), en la que se aprecia su enorme cañón Ithaca Chasma, con cerca de 100 km de anchura y hasta 4 km de profundidad. Recorre casi las 3/4 partes de la circunferencia del satélite (unos 2000 km). La imagen fue obtenida a más de 220000 km de distancia el 30 de enero de 2017. Créditos: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

Una de mis lunas favoritas de Saturno (¡hay 62 para elegir!). La pequeña Mimas (400 km), a.k.a. La Estrella de la Muerte, con su enorme cráter Herschel de 130 km de diámetro. Fotografiada a tan sólo 85000 km de distancia. Créditos: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

Una última mirada a casa. El 12 de abril de 2017 la Cassini pudo captar ese diminuto punto blanco entre los anillos de Saturno. Somos nosotros, a más de 1400 millones de km de distancia. Si hacen clic sobre la foto se puede ver la Luna a la izquierda de la Tierra. Créditos: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

Y en este vídeo vemos cómo la Cassini ha aprovechado su último sobrevuelo a Titán (el nº 127) para alterar su órbita y encaminarse al final de su histórica misión.

Como más que merecido homenaje, el JPL ha producido el siguiente vídeo. Es tan bonito que no encuentro palabras para describirlo adecuadamente, salvo que lo pongan a pantalla completa para disfrutarlo en todo su esplendor. Su autor es el mismo que el de otro maravilloso vídeo que publicamos por aquí en su día: 'Wanderers'

CASSINI'S GRAND FINALE from Erik Wernquist on Vimeo.

El texto del vídeo anterior es el siguiente:
A lone explorer, on a mission to reveal the grandeur of Saturn, its rings and moons.  
After 20 years in space NASA's Cassini spacecraft is running out of fuel. And so, to protect moons of Saturn that could have conditions suitable for life, a spectacular end has been planned for this long-lived traveler from Earth. 
In 2004, following a 7-year journey through the solar system, Cassini arrived at Saturn. The spacecraft carried a passenger, the European Huygens probe -- the first human-made object to land on a world in the distant outer solar system. 
For over a decade, Cassini has shared the wonders of Saturn and its family of icy moons, taking us to astounding worlds where methane rivers run to a methane sea. 
Where jets of ice and gas are blasting material into space from a liquid water ocean that might harbor the ingredients for life. 
And Saturn -- a giant world ruled by raging storms and delicate harmonies of gravity. 
Now, Cassini has one last, daring assignment. 
Cassini's Grand Finale is a brand new adventure. Twenty-two dives through the space between Saturn and its rings. As it repeatedly braves this unexplored region, 
Cassini seeks new insights about the origins of the rings, and the nature of the planet's interior -- closer to Saturn than ever before. 
On the final orbit, Cassini will plunge into Saturn fighting to keep its antenna pointed at Earth as it transmits its farewell. 
In the skies of Saturn, the journey ends, as Cassini becomes part of the planet itself.

Bola extra: Un precioso mini-documental sobre los 20 años de la Cassini en el espacio, hecho por la geóloga planetaria Laura Parro, ¡disfrútenlo!

Referencias externas:

Cassini: Mission to Saturn

Posts relacionados:

El hexágono de Saturno, revisitado
Lunas pastoras, donde mandan las pequeñas
          NASA's Juno is about to reach Jupiter after a 5-year journey. I visited JPL before the big show.        

          Ingeniero de la NASA advierte sobre el riesgo de la geoingeniería y los chemtrails y sus consecuencias        
Riley Duren
23 abr 14. Ingeniero experto de la NASA aclara la situación: los Chemtrails son reales, la Geoingeniería puede ser una Ciencia inevitable, la locura del control del clima podría chantajear tierras con las sequías, las hambrunas. Las estelas químicas y el juego global de gran riesgo: la geoingeniería es real, y una parte inevitable del futuro, cuando la ciencia trata de orquestar la naturaleza en nombre de la domesticación del cambio de clima, mientras los expertos discuten sobre quién hará las reglas en la forma de gobierno global de la modificación meteorológica y la geoingeniería.

¿Podría un multimillonario arrogante jugar con el delicado equilibrio de nuestro planeta? ¿Podría un científico loco incluso 'militarizar' el control del clima para ejercer el poder sobre el planeta? ¿Quién es el que manda y quién vigila a los modificadores?

Todo es posible, advierte Riley Duren, Ingeniero Jefe de Sistemas en Laboratorios de Propulsión Jet de la NASA. Los Chemtrails y la geoingeniería ya no son cosas de la especulación conspirativa o de ciencia ficción retro ¿Los escenarios están dando forma a un mundo de la ciencia que contempla hasta qué punto está demasiado lejos para que el hombre pueda ir en el nombre de una crisis ambiental global?

Ver la presentación completa LA NASA JPL (geoingeniería en 32m): Cambio climático y geoingeniería -14 de febrero de 2013, 20:54 en Vivo LA NASA JPL (USTREAM) LA NASA

La NASA admite los Chemtrails como propuesta de pulverización estratosférica con aerosoles en el medioambiente de la Tierra

Truthstream Media - ‪ Chemtrails? Mire esto! Luego intente negarlo

Científicos: "Exclusive Club" para asumir el mando de la geoingeniería global

La CIA co-patrocinadora de estudio de geoingeniería para revertir las opciones del calentamiento global

Geoingeniería Unilateral. No Información técnica. Notas para un taller - En el Consejo de Relaciones Exteriores Washington DC, 05 mayo 2008

El experimento de geoingeniería más grande del mundo 'viola' reglas de Naciones Unidas

Respuesta del Gobierno a la Cámara de los Comunes (Ciencia y Tecnología Comité 5 Informe de Sesión 2009-10): El Reglamento de Geoingeniería

Incentivos estratégicos para coaliciones de geoingeniería para excluir una amplia participación (Ricke, Moreno-Cruz y Caldeira)

Científicos: "Exclusive Club" para asumir el mando Global de la geoingeniería

Traducción: ArucasBlog

          Trail users say transient population at campground above JPL poses safety concern        

For nearly two decades, Altadena Town Councilwoman Dorothy Wong has hiked and biked up the Gabrielino Trail northeast of La Cañada’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

But like many who frequent the Angeles Nation Forest, she’s begun to notice an influx of homeless people.

“I always saw it as a place for...

          The Art of Exoplanets        
How do you visualize distant worlds that you can't see? IPAC's Robert Hurt and Tim Pyle are featured in a new video produced by JPL that highlights how they use scientific data to imagine exoplanets and other astrophysical phenomena.
          Mt. Erebus Ice Caves Stand In For Frozen Alien Worlds To Help NASA JPL Test Tools        
It's no Europa but Mt. Erebus’s ice caves do good work simulating the frozen environments that could be present in alien worlds in the outer solar system, providing NASA with suitable conditions to test its tools in.
          NASA's Mars rover sets off-Earth, off-road distance record        

NASA's decade-old Mars rover Opportunity has set a new off-Earth, off-road distance record, logging just over 25 miles (40 km) on the surface of the Red Planet to surpass the benchmark set in 1973 by a Russian probe on the moon.

Opportunity, which arrived on Mars in January 2004, a few weeks after its now-defunct rover twin Spirit, was built to drive only about a single kilometer but has continued to operate far beyond its design capabilities.

Earlier this year, the aging but intrepid rover, a six-wheeled vehicle about the size of a golf cart, found evidence that fresh water once pooled on the surface of Mars, reinforcing similar discoveries made by a newer, larger probe Curiosity, on the other side of the planet.

On Sunday, the robot rover advanced another 157 feet (48 meters) as it continued along the rim of a Martian crater, putting Opportunity's total odometer at 25.01 miles (40.25 km), according to NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory near Pasadena, California.

By comparison, the Soviet Union's Lunokhod 2 rover drove about 24.2 miles (39 km) in less than five months after landing on Earth's moon on Jan. 15, 1973, JPL said. The manned lunar rover driven by astronauts of the Apollo 17 mission logged 22.2 miles (35.7 km) in 1972.

"Opportunity has driven farther than any other wheeled vehicle on another world," JPL's Mars Exploration Rover Project Manager John Callas said in a statement.

Opportunity still has miles to go. Scientists said they plan next to direct the rover to a nearby Martian valley that would extend its accumulated operating distance to 26.2 miles, the traditional length of a marathon.

(Reporting by Steve Gorman; Editing by Nick Zieminski)

          Review: Rise of the Rocket Girls        
Once upon a time, computers didn't refer to machines running programs, but to people who did the computation work that were eventually relegated to those machines. Rise of the Rocket Girls is the story of the computer department at JPL. It's a great read and well worth your time.

That the computer department at JPL consisted entirely of women was not an accident but deliberate policy. The supervisor of the team, Marcie Roberts, had a policy that she only hired women. She would say to the women in her team:

"In this job you need to look like a girl, act like a lady, think like a man, and work like a dog." (Kindle Loc. 3061)

As the department switched to electronic computers, the women involved trained and learned to write computer programs. What's document is interesting: the early IBMs were so unreliable that the engineers involved wouldn't trust the results unless it was a human who did the computation. It took several generations of improvements before the computers became good enough to be used. The first of such machines was even given a name by the department and became a valued part of the team. Subsequent generational iterations happened so quickly that the people no longer became attached to them:
The scientists reviewed the computer analysis and tried to make sense of it. Some of the students were surprised by how much of the operation required human interaction. They expected to see supercomputers instead of people doing all the work. Senior scientist Harold Masursky good-naturedly responded to one inquiry: “Computers are just like wearing shoes. You need them when you are walking on gravel, but they don’t get you across the gravel. (Kindle Loc. 2922)
Note that JPL as an eventual government agency focused on research instead of financial results, didn't hand out stock options. That didn't actually matter: the programmers were paid by the hour, which given the usual extreme overtime hours required of programmers actually meant that they were paid much better than if they were salaried:
The women worked late nights and weekends on Mariner, desperately checking their trajectories and programs. The hours were exhausting, especially for new mothers Barbara and Helen, but their paychecks were worth it. As hourly employees they were both earning impressive incomes, outstripping their husbands, thanks to the long hours Mariner required. (Kindle Loc. 2154)
Having an all-woman department at JPL meant that in the early days the lab could run beauty contests:
As odd as it seems by today’s standards, the beauty contest was a result of JPL’s progressive hiring practices. As the bouquets were handed out and an attractive woman crowned the winner, the competition was unintentionally highlighting the presence of educated young women working at JPL. After all, other laboratories would have found it impossible to hold such a contest in the 1950s; they simply didn’t hire enough women. (Kindle Loc. 949)
An interesting difference between  biographies of men and women is that while men's biographies rarely mention their personal lives (like raising kids, etc), in women's biographies that's covered in detail. Nevertheless, the book provides ample coverage of the various missions that JPL ran, including the practice of planning dual missions for redundancy.

It's also well-written and provides a compelling narrative. Highly recommended.

          CMOS Systems-on-Chip for NASA Millimeter-Wave & THz Space Instruments [SystemX]        

In this talk we will first introduce the exciting Earth science, planetary science and astrophysics investigations that are performed by JPL and NASA at millimeter-wave and terahertz frequencies, describing several recent results by instruments operating in this wavelength regime. Then we will then discuss the important role CMOS system-on-chip (SoC) technology now plays in these instruments for LO generation, and signal processing, and the fundamental challenges (noise, extreme temperatures and radiation effects) that CMOS based instruments face in delivering the high level of fidelity required for NASA's science investigations. The talk will discuss several examples of CMOS SoC-based instruments from NASA programs including a 600 GHz side-band separated spectrometer being developed for investigations of Europa, Titan, Enceladus, and a 100 GHz in-situ spectrometer system for investigation of volatiles ejected from comet and asteroid surfaces. Additionally we will discuss several NASA radiometer instruments based on CMOS technology for observing Earth's atmosphere to diagnose precipitation and extreme weather events.

          WISE presents: Watching the Earth Breathe        

Saturday, November 15, 2014 - 11:30am to 2:30pm

Jack & Florence Ferman Presentation Room and Donald E. Bianchi Planetarium

The Oviatt Library and the Bonita J. Campbell Endowment for Women in Science and Engineering present

Watching the Earth Breathe

All are welcome to join us for a stellar afternoon and a light lunch as we explore what NASA-JPL and other researchers in astrophysics and earth-system science are finding out about the health of our Planet-EARTH.  The adventure is free and begins at the Oviatt Library. There will be a spectacular star show at the Bianchi Planetarium and a variety of activities led by the CSUN Institute for Sustainability and JPL-NASA Education.

Featured speaker Karen Yuen - Science Data Applications Lead for the Orbiting Carbon Observatory, NASA

speaking on Spaceship Earth: Air, Land and Water

Luncheon: Jack and Florence Ferman Presentation Room, Oviatt Library
Presentation: Donald E. Bianchi Planetarium (Ages 9+), Citrus Hall

RSVP by November 10th, on our RSVP Form (

Click on the image below to see our flyer (PDF).

Watching the Earth Breathe Flyer Image

          Robots: JPL Open House 2012        
In today's show we bring you to NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory Open House, just in time to prepare for the landing of the Curiosity Mars Rover in less than 10 days.
          2016 Sonia and David Oberman Archive Internship        
Sonia and David Oberman Archive Internship of the JPL The Jewish Public Library Archives (JPL-A) is pleased to announce that applications are now open for the 2016 Sonia and David Oberman Archive Internship.  This internship supports the mandate of the JPL-A to collect, preserve, and make available to the public [...]
          Memphis in May 2016        
The JPL Archives is very excited to announce the inclusion of  the “Stories Told: 100 Years of the Jewish Public Library” exhibition in the Memphis in May international festival line-up.  The exhibition will be on display at the Memphis Jewish Community Center from May 1 – May 31, 2016. [...]
          Waves Rippled Through Greenland’s Ice. That’s Ominous        
by Brian Kahn, Climate Central, May 26, 2017

On its surface, the Greenland ice sheet is a vast expanse of seemingly immovable ice. But beneath the monotonous stretch of white, scientists have discovered evidence of waves rippling through one of its outlet glaciers and roiling its innards.
The waves, observed during the two most intense melt seasons on record, sent an unprecedented cascade of ice and water rushing into the sea and warping the very bedrock upon which the ice sits. As temperatures continue to rise, scientists fear that massive waves of ice could expedite Greenland’s melt even further, pushing sea levels higher.
Rink Glacier from 34,000 feet. Credit: John Sonntag/NASA
It’s the latest piece of bad news about Greenland’s ice. The ice sheet has been pouring roughly 270 megatons of ice a year into the ocean via the glaciers that stretch out from its hulking mass since 2000. That’s a big uptick compared to preceding decades.
The new research, published earlier this week in Geophysical Research Letters shows a new way that climate change is taking a toll. Scientists at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, led by Surendra Adhikari, were looking at data from a series of GPS stations set up around the various outlet glaciers that tumble from Greenland’s ice sheet to the sea. Ironically, they were looking at the GPS data to see if it was worth maintaining the network of stations that rings Greenland.
They found evidence of a never-before-observed phenomenon affecting Rink Glacier, a glacier on the western flank of Greenland. The glacier usually sends about 11 gigatons of ice into the ocean each summer melt season.
But 2012 was different. A fast-moving (by glacial standards), massive wave rumbled through the glacier’s interior, causing an extra 6.7 gigatons of ice and water to slosh into the sea. That’s the equivalent of 55 million blue whales, the largest animal on earth.
The wave — dubbed a solitary wave because of its singular nature — traveled at 2.5 miles per month in the summer, picking up to 7.5 miles per month in the fall. Rink Glacier typically only moves a mile or two in a normal year.
Scientists picked up on the wave using GPS sensors, which shifted more than half an inch as it rolled by. That might not sound like much, but the sensor is sitting on stable Greenland bedrock, which isn’t exactly susceptible to perturbations.
A similar, though less extreme, wave passed by the sensor in 2010. The behavior is like nothing scientists have ever observed on Greenland.
“If you were to place a piece of plywood onto two sawhorses then place a large rock in the middle, the plywood would bend, sagging in the middle,” said Erik Ivins, a researcher at JPL who co-authored the study. “When the rock is removed, the plywood returns to the original potion.”
An animation showing horizontal bedrock motion in response to the solitary wave passing by.
Credit: Surendra Adhikari/NASA
Though they’re still trying to understand exactly why it happened, there are a few major clues. Those clues don’t bode well for the future of Rink Glacier or the enormous amount of ice it’s holding back.
The melt seasons of 2010 and 2012 were two of the most extreme on record. In 2012, a prolonged summer heat wave coupled with soot from Siberian fires that cast a dark coat over the ice sheet resulted in 95% of the ice sheet going into meltdown.
Scientists suspect that that meltdown is responsible for the wave that tore through Rink Glacier. Meltwater from the interior created new pathways for water to move around and likely lubricated the based of the glacier where it meets the bedrock, priming it for the massive shudder of ice that moved through it.
Robin Bell, an ice researcher at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, called the research a “beautiful study linking how the surface of the ice sheet melts and slides with how the surrounding mountains (solid earth) responds. (It’s) remarkable to see the earth lurch in a year when the ice changes more.”
Temperatures are likely to only keep rising due to climate change. Previous research has suggested that melt seasons like 2012 could become the norm by the end of the century, increasing the risk of more glacial waves in the coming century.
“We suspect that solitary waves may be unique to high melt years,” Adhikari said. “The more warming, the more surface meltwater available to trigger ‘extraordinarily’ dynamic behavior of glacier such as the one we discovered in Rink Glacier.”
Greenland’s melt is currently responsible for roughly 25% of observed sea level rise. That percentage could increase in the coming years if what happened at Rink Glacier spreads to other glaciers.

          Percepatan-Perlambatan Rotasi Bumi        
ROTASI BUMI DIPERCEPAT OLEH GEMPA DAN DIPERLAMBAT PASANG SURUT BULAN   Beberapa hari setelah gempa Chile 27 Februari 2010 peneliti JPL NASA mengabarkan bahwa gempa Chile berdampak pada percepatan rotasi bumi dan pergeseran poros ”gambar bumi”. Bagi sebagian orang, berita tersebut mengejutkan. Tetapi sebenarnya, percepatan dan pelambatan rotasi bumi terus terjadi. Bumi kita secara konstan […]
          Mooning Saturn: The Maps are Out!        
It may well be the longest and most complex project I've ever embarked on but the results are emphatically worth it.  Although I am primarily tasked to investigate the geologic history and evolution of icy bodies across the Middle Solar System (considering the distant Kuiper Belt of small icy objects, the giant planets are more correctly in the middle zone), that work has some extra benefits.  The mapping of topography and shapes of features requires precise knowledge of their locations on the surfaces of the icy moons.  As I like to do things like this to completion (call it ADD or OCD if you like), the result is a complete set of updated camera vectors for all relevant Voyager, Galileo, and Cassini images of icy satellites.  More on camera vectors in moment but the benefit of this is that all these images can then be accurately reprojected to any map format and combined to make a true global map of each body.  Using color images as well and you can make a color map!  

The first bonus of all this work (and I do mean months of hard labor over a keyboard) was the Atlas of the Galilean Satellites (P. Schenk, Cambridge Univ. Press, 2010) showing global and high-resolution maps of each of the 4 large moons of Jupiter known since Galileo first discovered them in 1610.  This volume includes the first and only fully registered and accurate positioning of all the Galileo images of these moons, and each mosaic is faithfully reproduced therein.  It is recommended to anyone interested in these bodies, in planetary imaging, and in the naked beauty of the Universe.

I also recently released the updated color map of Triton (see my previous 2 posts), and now the same has been done for the 6 largest midsize icy moons of Saturn [Mimas, Enceladus, Tethys, Dione, Rhea, and Iapetus] known before the Space Age began in 1957.  (I would like to do Hyperion and Titan in this way but am doubtful I will be able to get to it before upcoming events overwhelm.)  These are the maps that, after 18 months of work were released yesterday on NASA Photojournal and the LPI Main Website, and described in detail in an article in the latest Planetary Report.  These new maps are the most accurate in terms of location, the highest resolution, and the first to show both albedo/brightness variations realistically and the first to be in full color.  Not only that, they reveal these worlds to have a beauty all their own (as described in the Planetary Report article).
Cover of the Fall 2014 issue of Planetary Report, showing part of Enceladus.  I should open an art gallery . . . 
Getting feature locations in planetary images is a complex business.  So before getting into the maps I will attempt to explain.  The images come down from space with information about the exposure, including the time and position of the camera (i.e., the camera vector), as well as spacecraft location and other things.  This information is the instructions given to the camera, but the spacecraft always has a teeny bit of wobble and the information is always slightly inaccurate as a result.   Once sufficient number of images have been built up to cover most of the surface, someone (such as myself) can then go in and select a bunch of match-points that identify features in multiple images.  Each points should all have the same location in each image but do not due to the wobble.  Once cataloged, the pointing vectors are adjusted (a 'bundle-block adjustment') in a least-squares program until the differences in the match-point locations are minimized.  Ideally these difference should be zero but seldom are.  Anyway, this new information is then passed back to the images and we can then know precisely where features are.

Why is this important?  Obviously we want accurate maps of planets so we can send landers to the right place, and make future observations of changes or unusual features, but we also want to make accurate topographic maps from stereo images and such and that requires accuracy.  Scientific work on geologic processes also requires accuracy in position or we get the wrong answer and waste time and money.  And if we have inaccurate pointing information our maps are misaligned and we can't make the kind of mapping product like those released yesterday.
An example of a misaligned map (left) and an accurately aligned map (right).  Courtesy USGS.
So, this brings us to the new maps.  As noted above, these are the best maps produced to date of these objects.  They will be updated periodically as our understanding of their rotation state improves and as the last sets of images come through in 2015, but positionally they will not change much more if at all.  Several close encounters of Tethys, Enceladus, Dione and even a few more shots of Mimas are on tap for next year.  The maps are at different resolutions because the bulk of images for each satellite were obtained at different resolutions because of the Cassini tour geometry and speeds and the size of the objects.  The goal was to make maps at the highest resolution possible with as uniform a resolution as possible.  I (slightly) favored resolution in each case, and the result was 250 meters for Tethys and Dione, 400 meters for Rhea and Iapetus, 200 meters for Mimas, and 100 meters for Enceladus, which has been the focus of numerous Cassini encounters and is the best mapped icy body in the Solar System.

These are the first global maps to realistically show brightness variations across the surface.  Hence you can see the really dark trailing hemispheres of Tethys, Dione and Rhea very well.  Bright lineations on Dione and Rhea also stand out as do various bright and dark features such as rayed craters.  Like all maps, compromises were required to get a uniform map product, as each image was acquired under its own uniquely different lighting and viewing conditions.  When a choice was required I usually chose feature definition (from shading) over brightness variation, for example.

Tale of Two Hemispheres.  These global projections show how different Saturn's icy moons can look, depending on the view.  The top is the leading hemisphere, covered in smooth deposits and sinuous rilles.  Note the young bright ray crater Creusa near top.  The bottom view is of the darker heavily cratered trailing hemisphere, which is scarred by arcuate young fracture networks.
The other new feature of these maps is that they are the first accurate maps in color (I think somebody may have done preliminary color maps elsewhere but they are not as complete or accurate as these positionally or in color registration).  These new maps are in 'Superman' colors, just beyond the range of normal human color vision.  The color choice was not made to annoy anybody.  Cassini did obtain some images in the R-G-B range of the spectrum close to human vision but these are insufficient images to construct global maps at high resolution.  The natural visual colors of these bodies do reveal information but they tend to be rather bland.  Cassini did obtain routine higher resolution coverage of these moons in the near-IR and the UV wavelengths and these are used to make the global maps.  "Dialing up' the colors to include these spectral ranges also brings out color contrasts between geologic features much better than the olde R-G-B range.

In addition to the global maps, Cassini obtained a number of higher resolution mosaics, many of them in color.  Some of these are shown in the Planetary Report article.  This will be the topic of a future blog.

It is all well and good to use maps like these for scientific investigations.  That is why we go there, to learn about how the Solar System works.  But sometimes it is worth stepping back for a few moments and marveling at the amazing Universe we are part of.  Each world out there is unique and holds numerous discoveries and surprises (check out the Planetary Report issue for some of those, but if you search earlier blogs here, and also our 2011 Icarus article where I describe them as well.)  These worlds are also little jewels in a vast empty Cosmos, fascinating and wonderful to behold.  I hope to have more on these maps soon, but for now enough blubbering!  The maps are released to the public to enjoy for free.   After all, this is YOUR space program!  

To view and download the maps, go to the LPI or JPL websites (The JPL releases will have been dated 2014-11-04 they have scrolled of their page).  The maps are released in global and hemispheric views, and with and without annotation, suitable for wall poster printing!  The global map can be dropped into GoogleEarth or similar global rendering software.  We have released on the LPI website moves showing these moons in rotation and flyby.  We are working on how to make them downloadable.  In the meantime, they are also on the LPI YouTube channel for quick viewing (other related high-res videos can be found on my galsat400 YouTube channel).

If you plan to use them in publications, productions, or presentations, the proper credits are:  
Global map(s) of Saturnian moon(s) [name of moon(s)] were produced by Dr. Paul Schenk (Lunar and Planetary Institute, Houston TX. Image data are from the Imaging Science Subsystem (ISS) camera on the Cassini orbiter (NASA, JPL).

          Triton at 25        

Triton at +25, Pluto at -1: Twin Planets Separated by Gravity

[An addenda and errata for this post has been uploaded on Aug 23. Click here to go to it and read more.]

It has been quite a long time since my most recent post but it doesn't mean I haven't been busy!  I have been working long hours preparing a new set of global maps of icy moons, the first of which is being released today.  This is the new high-resolution color map of Neptune's large and crazy moon Triton (The next set will be released within a month, and the Galilean Satellite global maps were released in the Atlas of the Galilean Satellites in 2010.)  

August 25, 2014 is an interesting date in Solar System exploration.  It is foremost the 25th anniversary of the Voyager 2 encounter with Neptune and Triton.  This was the grand finale of that landmark mission, which over the span of 10 years completed the first exploration of the giant Outer Planets.  It is thus a good day to release the new Triton map. 

I was a freshly minted post-doc at JPL in 1989, having arrived the year before.  Having been a summer intern for Voyager Science Support under Dr. Ellis Miner 10 years before during the Voyager 2 Jupiter encounter, and then 2 years later for Saturn, I felt a bond with the mission and its support teams.  Many of these people I know today!  But in 1989 I had no connection with the Project.  Fortunately I knew Bill McKinnon, my thesis advisor, and he knew folks on the Imaging Team.  In the spirit of celebration surrounding the Neptune encounter, the two of us were snuck into the Inner Sanctum in Building 264, third floor, where I had been an intern 10 years before.  (True, 'someone' objected to us being there but we were snuck back in anyway and no one else complained.  It was a grand and special event and [almost] everyone was happy to be part of it and share it with a few colleagues.)

One of the few shots of myself (back left) during my Voyager internship during the Jupiter Summer of 1979.  Project Scientist Dr. Ed Stone is in front of me at the head of the conference table.
Here are some of the photos (on film!) I took during the Neptune encounter 10 years later . . .
Bill McKinnon, and some of the TV crews assembled to report the Neptune encounter, 1989.
A JPL billboard showing Voyager's progress.
Jay Inge making an airbrush map of Triton, the last body mapped in this way.
Linda Spilker (nee Horn) gleefully monitoring IRIS data from Neptune on the printer.
Linda and Kelly Beatty (Sky & Telescope) looking over data printouts.
Linda Spilker looking over IRIS results the old fashioned way!
Watching the monitors during Encounter.  Jonathan Eberhart (Science News) is in the foreground. 
Larry Soderblom, chief of the satellites group, discussing the mission with the press.
A monitor shows the current image of Triton.
Dave Grinspoon, Caitlin Griffith, Bob Strom, Bill Boynton, Eugene Shoemaker, Joe Veverka.
Dave Grinspoon, Buck Janes, Carl Sagan, and Torrence Johnson
Lastly, that's me in front, with Jeff Moore right behind.  What a grand time!
Thanks to the Voyager Project for letting some of us in to share it.
I along with everyone else at JPL in those days was treated to the Voyager Neptune encounter live every day on our closed-circuit TV monitors (this was just a few years before the WWW, cell phones, etc.).  Each day Neptune and Triton got a little bit bigger and more detailed as new images were flashed to the monitors.  The fantastic cloud patterns of deep blue Neptune were fun, but for Triton, we didn't even know how large it was, so everything was new.  It wasn't until a week before encounter that we learned the radius of Triton for the first time.  The surface itself finally became clear only on August 24, the day before closest approach, when Triton's strange features became distinct.   The new map being presented today is the product of those images.

The Voyager Project also published a Travel Guide (before pdf's!) describing the Neptune encounter.  It contains many gems of wisdom and fun facts.  Included are the following quotes from a section in which Voyager 2 leaves a hypothetical diary during its trip out of the Solar System.

Note the little 'flip-movie' of the encounter at bottom left.
"Star Date -1.259 (1990)  Today I am filled with an intense sorrow.  The encounter with Neptune has ended.  It is a but a tiny star in the background.  Part of my sorrow is from not being able to visit Pluto before my departure, for it is a very mysterious body.  . . .  I wish that I, or my sister spacecraft, had been the one to unveil some of the mysteries of Pluto.  The Project never seriously considered a visit to Pluto because it would have meant foregoing Voyager 1's encounter with Saturn's moon Titan. . . . However, it will be many decades before man will send another spacecraft out to that part of the solar system."  (!)

Like Voyager 'said,' one of the things left undone was the exploration of the trans-Neptunian realm.  Voyager 1 was going too far north, and Voyager 2 too far south.  Other than Pluto itself we had no knowledge of the "Kuiper-Edgeworth Belt" or just Kuiper Belt, until 1992, when the first non-Pluto object was discovered in that zone. Since then hundreds more icy objects have been found.  These objects are smaller than Earth, have icy surface compositions, and extend well beyond Neptune.  New Horizons is the first dedicated exploration of that zone.  It crosses the orbit of Neptune on August 25, 2014, on the same day as the 25th anniversary of Voyager passing Neptune.  It is also now a mere 11 months from Pluto, its main target, which it will reach in mid-July 2015.

In a double sense this is fitting, as Triton is a near twin of Pluto.  Triton and Pluto are both slightly smaller than Earth's Moon, have very thin nitrogen atmospheres, frozen ices on the surface (carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, methane and nitrogen), and similar bulk composition (a mixture of ices, including water ice, and rock.  Triton however was captured by Neptune long time ago and has been wracked by intense heating ever since.  This has remade its surface into a tortured landscape of overturned layers, volcanism, and erupting geysers.

What will we see at Pluto?  Guesses have ranged from active geology to cold and cratered, so we are in for a suspenseful Summer next year!  Triton is of importance as it offers clues to what geologic features might look like on Pluto, given that the icy crusts of both bodies are probably rather similar and would presumably react in similar ways under internal stress and heat.   So if there were or are volcanoes on Pluto they could look similar to those we see on Triton.

So what does the Triton map show and how was it constructed?  The Triton map was constructed from images acquired in the clear, orange, green and blue filters (ultraviolet filter images were also used and this map will be posted at a later date).  The images were co-registered in an updated control network, which determines where the camera was pointing in each frame with precision so that feature geography is well known.  Photometric adjustment of each image was also done so that shading due to the curvature of the surface can be corrected.  The map also includes the departing crescent imagery, which is apparent in the left hand part of the map.  I hope to post the actual mosaic components in a future post.

Go Here to Find Full Resolution Triton Map and a Movie Recreating 1989 Voyager Flyby (the video is large and may take a few minutes to download):

Triton global map (scaled-down by a factor of 16!).  Dark areas were in shadow or not observed.

[A Note on the Use of the Triton Map and Video:  All the Triton maps and videos are in the public domain and may be used freely.  Credit should be notes as:  Triton map produced by Dr. P Schenk, Lunar and Planetary Institute, Houston.  Triton video produced by Dr. P. Schenk and J. Blackwell, Lunar and Planetary Institute, Houston  (or LPI may be used if short form desired).   Use of map and video does not constitute an endorsement of any other product.]

The result is a smooth map showing uniform shading and reasonably accurate brightness and color representation.  Note that the orange filter used by Voyager is not quite the same as our human optical red sensors but is close enough.  Although the map approximates natural colors, there are some uncertainties in the color calibration and  the "true colors" of Triton in 1989 may be slightly different.

In the intervening quarter century and its many discoveries, I think we have tended to forget how strange and exotic Triton really is!  Its effective surface age may be a little as 10 million years, clearly implying that active geology is going on today.  The cantaloupe terrain, which I interpreted back in 1993 as due to crustal overturn (diapirism), hasn't been seen anywhere else.  The volcanic region with its smooth plains and volcanic pits large and small, is  the size of Texas.  And the southern terrains still defy interpretation.

The Triton map also gives a sense of the quality of the Pluto map we hope to get.  The Triton encounter was rather similar to our upcoming Pluto encounter in that New Hoizons will zip through the Pluto system at a high speed, a leisurely 11 kilometers per second compared to 25 km/s for Voyager at Triton, and both bodies rotate rather slowly, ~ 6 days.  This means that for both bodies we will have seen one side well at high resolution and the other side at much lower resolution, roughly 25-to-40 kilometers.  The northern polar regions of Pluto and Charon will also be in darkness as seen by New Horizons, as they were for Triton.

One important difference is that New Horizons carries more powerful remote sensing instruments and will obtain infrared spectroscopy that Voyager, built in the early 1970's, could not.  We should be able to map the distribution of ices across the surface.  We will also resolve features several hundred meters across large areas and as small as ~90 meters in smaller regions of Pluto.  Voyager's best resolution on Triton was ~300 meters in a limited area.  This should be more than enough to map crater distributions, volcanoes, faults, and erosional processes. It will also be sharp enough to see if Pluto has any atmospheric plumes (or geysers) like Voyager saw at Triton.  These can be seen as thin dark and bright streaks on the Triton map.

Producing global maps of Pluto and Charon will take some time as the playback of data from that great distance will be rather slow.  It will take most of next autumn to return all the images and data from Pluto so we will have to be patient.  The end result should be maps of the surfaces of Pluto and Charon even better than we have for Triton.  It will be most interesting to compare Pluto with what we saw at Triton to see if there are any similar features, and to see whether or not Pluto has ever been geologically active.  

Next month:  Moons of Saturn, in color.

          The End of an Era - A Personal Look Back at the Shuttle        

Fernando Correa presenta el programa Misión Cuiosity el cual tiene como objetivo informar sobre todas las actividades que realiza el Rover Curiosity en el planeta Marte.
          Reply #1275        

INITIAL choice groups 53 42 39 45 27 05 AND 54 41 10/40 49 14 24 group two 7/8 9/40 42 46 18 51 24/55 29 32/33

4/16 pb DIG rank 0 9 5 3 4 7 MAJD dig 9 0 1 2 7 pyn 3 2 1 5 9 4 6 sumo round 1 9 10 12 19 20 21 27 29

MAJPL 0 4 5 8 9 12 14 15 21 31 39 42 46 50 51 55 majisdy 6 7 9 12 24 25




















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          Goodbye, Neil - And Thank You        

The sad death of Neil Armstrong today is a salutary reminder that soon there will be no living person on this planet who has walked on the surface of another world. A select band of heroes, one of the most exclusive clubs ever to have existed, will be gone - with no prospect of anyone filling their boots for a long time to come. It's a sobering thought, and it got me reflecting on what Neil and the other Apollo astronauts have meant to me over the course of my life.

First, you have to understand that I have an appalling memory. I mean appalling: bad enough for me to sometimes wonder whether I have early-onset Alzheimer's. So if I remember something from my childhood, you can be sure that it made a damned big impression on me. As you can probably guess, my earliest memory, out of the very few fragments that I've retained from my early years, is of Neil setting foot on the Moon. I don't recall whether we were at our neighbours' house to watch footage on the TV or they were at ours, but we were definitely together. I was too young to appreciate the true significance of what was happening, of course, but I do recall a palpable sense of excitement.

This was the beginning of a childhood fascination with space exploration. The single memory I have of infant school was of being asked to write about what we wanted to be when we grew up and then draw pictures of our future selves. Needless to say, I wrote that I wanted to be an astronaut. My words and my picture of me in a spacesuit were put into a booklet with a red cover, which was then cut out into the shape of a rocket.

Another memory I have, probably dating back to the end of Apollo programme, was of cutting out coupons from the back of cereal packets to send off for a book about the Moon and the Apollo missions. I remember being fascinated by photographs in the book showing the damage done to the Apollo 13 command module. A couple of years after that, I recall being taken to a lecture on astrophotography by my uncle Harry, who worked for Kodak - providers of the film that the astronauts used in their Hasselblad cameras. Harry gave me a set of glossy prints, a selection of the best photos taken by Neil and the others who walked on the lunar surface.

This passion for space (admittedly in conjunction with an insatiable curiosity about the quantum world) ultimately led me to study Physics at university. And when I found myself staying in academia to embark on a PhD, I suppose it was inevitable that my research should involve the study of objects in the solar system - of the Moon itself but also of other worlds, other surfaces yet to bear a human footprint.
Me at the business end of a
Saturn V rocket in 1988
Although I didn't stay working in this field for very long after finishing my PhD, life having pulled me in another direction, I have treasured memories of my time as a space scientist. I enjoyed trips to the Johnson Space Center in Houston for conferences, even got to visit the USSR and see the site of Yuri Gagarin's fatal plane crash (something that very few foreigners had been able to do at the time). And I got to meet an Apollo astronaut face to face, courtesy of my PhD supervisor who had done his PhD during the Apollo days and knew a few of them.

Eventually, I morphed from a physicist studying planetary surfaces into a computer scientist (sort of), but that fascination with solar system exploration and the exploits of astronauts has never left me and it continues to have an emotional impact. I get goosebumps when seeing the latest images from spacecraft visiting other worlds. I felt that rush of joy from JPL scientists when Curiosity touched down successfully. And to this day, I can't watch Ron Howard's excellent Apollo 13 without getting a lump in my throat at the end.

So thank you, Neil and thanks to your Apollo comrades, too. Thank you for inspiring me and a whole generation of young people who were growing up in the late 60s and early 70s. Thank you for giving me a passion for science and sense of direction in my nascent academic career. I wouldn't be where I am today without you.

          Annual Sales Retreat 2017-18        

The G R A N D Celebrations for the Grand Success, Felicitation of our Super Star Performers of the past year, Congratulations !! Roaring Lions of Jyoti at JPL (Jyoti Premier League)    

The post Annual Sales Retreat 2017-18 appeared first on Jyoti CNC Automation Ltd..

          To boldly go where public health hasn't gone before        
"Hopefully, Emory will make a mark in NASA history," says Yang Liu, associate professor of environmental health. (NASA photo)

From Rollins Magazine

Rollins School of Public Health researchers will soon take their research into orbit, partnering with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in a new satellite mission to study air pollution.

NASA chose Rollins as a joint recipient of its $100 million award — $2.3 million of which will come to Rollins — to study the effects of air pollution on the population through a satellite mission, according to Yang Liu, associate professor of environmental health. He noted that this is the first time a NASA space mission has incorporated a public health component.

"We're the scientific guinea pig," Liu said.

The Rollins research group, led by Liu, co-created the project idea with NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). The mission will construct and use a Multi-Angle Imager for Aerosols (MAIA) device to record airborne particulate matter, which will collect data on the effects of pollution on public health from at least 10 locations with major metropolitan areas.

Once constructed by JPL, the MAIA device will be mounted on a compatible Earth-orbiting satellite. "Even though it's a small mission, it's actually the first ever in which we get to work with NASA engineers to build public health into the DNA of this instrument," Liu said.

The Rollins team will analyze the data to make predictions about public health issues such as birth outcomes and cardiovascular disease. The team will also serve as the public health liaison between JPL and other institutions in the complete research group. Recruited by Liu, the complete group has teams at University of California, Los Angeles, Harvard University, University of British Columbia, and University of Dalhousie.

Because the device will orbit via satellite, it will provide a more holistic view of air pollution data than the commonly used ground monitors.

"It's very difficult to cross to a completely different scientific community and convince them that this mission is not only worthwhile but also feasible," Liu said. "Hopefully, Emory will make a mark in NASA history."

Georgia Climate Project creates state 'climate research roadmap'
          Super Swooper: Cassini Wraps Up its Lowest Pass Through Titan Atmosphere        
Julie Webster, Spacecraft Operations Team Manager, NASA’s Cassini spacecraft On Sunday evening, my eyes were glued to eight windows on my computer screen, watching data pop up every few seconds. NASA’s Cassini spacecraft was making its lowest swing through the atmosphere of Saturn’s moon Titan and I was on the edge of my seat. Trina Ray, a Titan orbiter science team co-chair, was keeping me company. Five other members of my team were also at JPL. Between us, we were keeping an eye on about 2,000 data channels. One of the 34-meter antennas at the Deep Space Network’s Goldstone complex, DSS-24, was pointed at Saturn and listening for the signal that was expected to be here in just a few minutes. The data would be arriving at my computer as quickly as they could be sent back to Earth, though there was an agonizing hour-and-18-minute delay because of the distance the data had to travel. (We call this flyby T70, but it is actually Cassini’s 71st flyby of Titan.) It was a nervous time for me — the previous night we had been at JPL to send some other real-time commands to the spacecraft when an alarm came in indicating that the magnetometer, the prime instrument taking data for the T70 flyby, needed a reset. Fortunately, the controller on duty immediately called the magnetometer instrument operations team lead in England. Within 90 minutes, the commands were on their way to do a computer reset and clear the alarm.  At 2 a.m. Pacific time on Sunday, we got the email indicating all was well and the magnetometer was ready for the Titan closest approach. So here we were, past one hurdle, hoping nothing else would come up. We had run hundreds of simulations over the past three-and-a-half years, so I knew we had done everything we could think to do. We did more training for this event than anything else we had done since we dropped off the Huygens probe in January 2005 for a descent through the moon’s hazy atmosphere. Right on time, at 7:26 p.m., the Deep Space Network locked on the spacecraft downlink, a good start. I was focused on the data for spacecraft pointing. As long as we stayed within an eighth of a degree of the expected pointing, everything would be fine. At 7:45 p.m., we got the data from closest approach, a mere 880 kilometers (547 miles) in altitude. Over the vocabox, a cross between a telephone and walkie-talkie, the attitude control team reported that the thrusters were firing about twice as much as we expected. The Titan atmosphere appeared to be a little thicker than we expected, even though we had fed about 40 previous low Titan flybys by Cassini and the descent data from Huygens into our modeling. But spacecraft control was right on the money, keeping the pointing within our predicted limits. Even with the extra thrusting, we stayed well within our safety margin. At 7:53 p.m., the spacecraft turned away to go to the next observation. I let out a sigh of relief, happy that everything during closest approach had gone just as we planned. Five attitude control guys crowded into my office with smiles on their faces. Trina and I were marveling at what a wonderful spacecraft we have to work with. Another first for the Cassini mission! Now, as Trina says, we have to finish the job by returning all the great science data. We have data playbacks today at two different Deep Space Network stations to make sure we have – as we say here – both belts and suspenders. Engineers will also go back to analyze the data with the scientists to see just how dense the Titan atmosphere turned out to be at our flyby altitude. But last night, at least, my team and I went home happy!  Julie Webster, spacecraft operations team manager for NASA’s Cassini spacecraft, oversees the engineering subsystems and overall spacecraft health and safety. She is a systems engineer at JPL.
          Trail users say transient population at campground above JPL poses safety concern        

For nearly two decades, Altadena Town Councilwoman Dorothy Wong has hiked and biked up the Gabrielino Trail northeast of La Cañada’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

But like many who frequent the Angeles Nation Forest, she’s begun to notice an influx of homeless people.

“I always saw it as a place for...

          JPL Creates BEC with ColdQuanta System        

NASA Cold Atom Lab Creates Ultracold Atoms

(PRWeb October 02, 2014)

Read the full story at

          ColdQuanta Helps JPL Develop Ultracold Atom Experiments in Space        

Groundbreaking BEC Experiments on Space Station

(PRWeb June 26, 2013)

Read the full story at

Maven e Mangalyaan arrivano in orbita marziana

Due nuovi satelliti terrestri in orbita attorno al Pianeta Rosso.

Mangalyaan conferma l'arrivo
alle altre sonde
per mezzo dei social network [ISRO]
La sonda della NASA/JPL Maven è arrivata nell’orbita di Marte. MAVEN era su un’orbita solare 0,96 x 1.45 UA x 2.0 gradi, fino ad entrare nella sfera di influenza marziana alle 0100 UTC del 20 settembre, modificandola in una traiettoria iperbolica di 537 x -15.778 km x 74 gradi. Alle 0138 UTC del 22 settembre la sonda ha iniziato un’accensione di frenata di 33 minuti per entrare in un’orbita 380 x 44600 km x 75 gradi (parametri non ancora confermati).

Nel frattempo, la sonda della missione MOM (Mars Orbiter Mission) dell’agenzia indiana Space Research Organization e nota in India col nome di Mangalyaan, è entrata il 22 settembre nella sfera d'influenza gravitazionale di Marte dalla sua orbita solare di 0,98 x 1,44 UA x 2.5 gradi.
Il 24 settembre la Mars Orbiter Mission si è inserita in orbita marziana. I parametri orbitali completi non sono ancora disponibili.

Tratto dal Jonathan's Space Report, newsletter aperiodica di informazione spaziale.
Iscrivetevi qui alla versione italiana.
          Stock Market Tools        
My main background is as a real estate investor. However, I have studied other investment areas. One area that I looked at a while ago is the stock market.

It's just never been my cup of tea. It is a lot of work and you have to pay attention to it constantly. So, I looked for (and am still looking for) tools that help make buy and sell decisions (from the simplistic "red light/green light" program to programs whose data looks like JPL astronomical data sets. However, until now, I've never seen one that uses astrology to help pick stocks.

OK, OK. This program isn't all about astrology. It has a lot of good tools and an easy to use interface. They just decided to add astrological algorithms to the list of algorithms they support. As with anything they do, they kind of went overboard with it. I'm sure that if I knew anything more about astrology than my sign, their data would be really impressive. If you know anything about astrology, please look over their samples and let me know if they know what they are talking about. It sure looks impressive to me.

You can find them here:

I must say that if the astrology algorithms are as good as as the financial algorithms (which I know), they will be accurate.

I'll leave determining their usefulness to those with more qualifications and interest in that field.

Jeff Miller
          Meet JPL Interns: Engineered for Success        
On my second "first day" as an intern at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, I felt a very different kind of nervousness from my first internship, last summer.
          Global DJ Broadcast Top 20 April 2013        

01. Markus Schulz - The Spiritual Gateway (Transmission Theme 2013) (06:25)
02. Armin Van Buuren & Markus Schulz - The Expedition (A State Of Trance 600 Anthem) (KhoMha remix) (07:07)
03. Facepalm - Brainwash (Arcalis remix) (07:11)
04. Protoculture - Laguna (06:38)
05. Skytech - No Need For Words (07:07)
06. Solis & Sean Truby - Closer To The Earth (feat Sue McLaren) (06:26)
07. Aerofoil vs E&G - One Word (07:15)
08. Ashley Wallbridge - Zorro (Rafael Frost remix) (06:20)
09. DNS Project - Shatter (06:14)
10. Natious - Amber (Thomas Datt mix) (07:44)
11. Praveen Achary - Space Machine (05:56)
12. Arisen Flame - All The Way (07:03)
13. Bart Claessen & Raz Nitzan Presents Who Is - Only Totally (original mix edit) (03:13)
14. Lange & Audrey Gallagher - Our Way Home (Wellenrausch radio edit) (04:00)
15. Flavio Grifo - I'm Back (Danilo Ercole remix) (06:52)
16. Solarstone - Seven Cities (Thomas Datt remix) (08:24)
17. Armin Van Buuren vs Arty - Nehalennia (07:25)
18. MIKE - Natural Source (album mix) (06:59)
19. Kassey Voorn & Deepfunk - Long Time Coming (08:46)
20. York & JPL - Nightmare (JPL club mix) (07:16)
21. Three 'N One - Reflect (original 1996 club mix) (07:12)



          On This Day in Math - July 24        

In mathematics the art of proposing a question 
must be held of higher value than solving it.
~Goerg Cantor

Today is the 205th day of the year; there are 205 pairs of twin primes less than ten thousand. *Number Gossip

Every number greater than 205 is the sum of distinct primes of the form 6n + 1. *Prime Curios

205 is the number of walks of length 5 between any two distinct vertices of the complete graph K_5


In 1673, Edmund Halley entered Queen's College, Oxford, as an undergraduate. Halley had attended the prestigious St. Paul's school, where in 1671, he was appointed captain, a position resembling today's student body president. He was an excellent student, and by the time he entered Queen's College, Oxford. At this young age, Halley already possessed, "... the basic facts and computations not only of navigation but also those which the practical astronomer is concerned when he sets about the delicate task of measuring the positions of celestial bodies in the sky," according to Colin Ronan in his book Edmond Halley: genius in eclipse *TIS

1860 Yale University authorized the granting of Doctor of Philosophy degrees. The first such degrees in the U.S. were awarded in 1861 by Yale to Eugene Schuyler, James Morris Whiton, and Arthur Williams Wright. [Kane, p. 215] *VFR

1911, American Hiram Bingham discovered the Lost City of the Incas, Vilcapampa (now called Machu Picchu), where the last Incan Emperors found refuge from the conquistadors.*TIS

1950, the first successful rocket launch from Cape Canaveral took place. "Bumper" No. 8 was a captured German V-2 rocket with the payload replaced by another rocket 700-pound Army-JPL Wac Corporal rocket on top. It was fired from Long-Range Proving Ground at Cape Canaveral. The first-stage V-2 climbed 10 miles, separated from the second-stage Corporal which traveled 15 more miles. (V-2 exploded). A previous attempt on 19 July 1950 of a similar launch was aborted on the pad. Image: A V2 just after launch (White Sands Missle Range, NM)*TIS

1991, a University of Manchester scientist announced the finding a planet outside of solar system. Andrew G. Lyne of the University of Manchester subsequently retracted his claim for a planet around pulsar PSR 1829-10 at the Jan 1992 meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Atlanta. He said that the modulation of radio waves coming from the pulsar was caused not by the presence of a planet but was in fact an artifact of the Earth's motion around the Sun. That possibility that had been considered but then discounted in earlier studies of the data.*TIS


1827 Edward Olney (ALL-nee*) (July 24, 1827 - January 16, 1887) was born in Moreau, Saratoga County, New York. His ancestry can be traced back to Thomas Olney who accompanied Roger Williams in founding the city of Providence and colony of Rhode Island. Benjamin Olney's family moved to Oakland County, Michigan, in 1833 and, a few months later, settled on a farm in Weston, Wood County, Ohio.
Opportunities for formal education on the frontier were sparse, and Olney was largely self-taught. Calloway tells about Edward hiring a neighbor boy to drive the team of oxen on the Olney farm so that he could attend school for six weeks in order to master Day's Algebra. During this time he also ran an arithmetic school at home in the evenings in order to earn the money to pay for his substitute driver.
At age 19, Olney began his career as a teacher in the local elementary schools, while studying mathematics, natural science, and languages on his own. Cajori reports that "though he had never studied Latin, he began teaching it and kept ahead of the class because he 'had more application'." In 1848 Olney was hired as a teacher in the district school at Perrysburg, Ohio. The following year he was named principal of the grammar department in the new Union School. Over the next five years he would become the school's superintendent, marry Miss Sarah Huntington (a teacher at the school), and receive an honorary A. M. degree from Madison University (now Colgate University) in Hamilton, New York. Today there is an Olney School in Lake Township, Wood County, named after him.
In 1853 Olney was appointed Professor of Mathematics at Kalamazoo College, Michigan, where he remained for ten years and established the first mathematics curriculum at that institution. He inspired his colleagues and students alike with "his high Christian aims; his generous, self-sacrificing spirit; his thoroughness in government and discipline; and the inspiration which attended him." Although he insisted that his students recite using exact and correct language, he always tried to simplify the explanations of concepts and processes and make them more understandable. Kalamazoo college later conferred the honorary degree, LL. D. upon him.
In 1863 Olney was named Professor of Mathematics at the University of Michigan, succeeding George P. Williams, whose title was then changed to Professor of Physics. In those days the freshmen at Michigan were taught by inexperienced instructors, but once a week they had to recite for Professor Olney. His reputation for being a stern disciplinarian and a stickler for correct details earned him the nickname "Old Toughy." Nevertheless, he took great pains to see that the poorer students obtained help in making up their deficiencies. According to a former student, G. C. Comstock, "He was not a harsh man, and although the students stood in awe of him, I think that he was generally liked by them."
While he was at Michigan, Professor Olney began writing a series of successful mathematics textbooks for use in both grammar schools and colleges. In many places these displaced the works of such highly regarded authors as Charles Davies and Elias Loomis. Among the titles are: Elements of Arithmetic for Intermediate, Grammar, and Common Schools (1877), A University Algebra (1873), Elementary Geometry (1883), Elements of Trigonometry (1870), and A General Geometry and Calculus (1871) (online). Olney's treatment of calculus was criticized for using infinitesimal methods, but praised for giving "the elegant method, discovered by Prof. James C. Watson [Professor of Astronomy at Michigan], of demonstrating the rule for differentiating a logarithm without the use of series." It is said that Olney preferred geometry to analysis, and when teaching calculus, he would attempt to translate analytical expressions into their geometrical equivalents. This, along with his own struggles in self-education, contributed to his great success as a teacher and textbook author. Edward Olney died on January 16, 1887, after suffering for three years from the effects of a stroke. *David E. Kullman

1851 Friedrich Hermann Schottky. (24 July 1851 – 12 August 1935) was a German mathematician who worked on elliptic, abelian, and theta functions and invented Schottky groups. He was born in Breslau, Germany (now Wrocław, Poland) and died in Berlin.
He is also the father of Walter H. Schottky, the German physicist and inventor of a variety of semiconductor concepts.*Wik

1853 Henri-Alexandre Deslandres (July 24, 1853 – January 15, 1948) French astrophysicist who invented a spectroheliograph (1894) to photograph the Sun in monochromatic light (about a year after George E. Hale in the U.S.) and made extensive studies of the solar chromosphere and solar activity. He worked at the Paris and Meudon Observatories. His investigation of molecular spectra produced empirical laws presaging those of quantum mechanics. He observed spectra of planets and stars and measured their radial velocities of, and he determined the rotation rates of Uranus, Jupiter and Saturn (shortly after James E. Keeler).*TIS

1856 Emile Picard (24 July 1856 – 11 December 1941) born. Picard's mathematical papers, textbooks, and many popular writings exhibit an extraordinary range of interests, as well as an impressive mastery of the mathematics of his time. Modern students of complex variables are probably familiar with two of his named theorems. His lesser theorem states that every nonconstant entire function takes every value in the complex plane, with perhaps one exception. His greater theorem states that an analytic function with an essential singularity takes every value infinitely often, with perhaps one exception, in any neighborhood of the singularity. He also made important contributions in the theory of differential equations, including work on Picard–Vessiot theory, Painlevé transcendents and his introduction of a kind of symmetry group for a linear differential equation, the Picard group. In connection with his work on function theory, he was one of the first mathematicians to use the emerging ideas of algebraic topology. In addition to his path-breaking theoretical work, Picard also made important contributions to applied mathematics, including the theories of telegraphy and elasticity. His collected papers run to four volumes.
Like his contemporary, Henri Poincaré, Picard was much concerned with the training of mathematics, physics, and engineering students. He wrote a classic textbook on analysis and one of the first textbooks on the theory of relativity. Picard's popular writings include biographies of many leading French mathematicians, including his father in law, Charles Hermite.*Wik

1871 Paul Epstein (July 24, 1871 – August 11, 1939) was a German mathematician. He is known for his contributions to number theory, in particular the Epstein zeta function.
Epstein was raised in Frankfurt where his father was a professor. He received his PhD in 1895 from the University of Strasbourg. From 1895 to 1918 he was a Privatdozent at the University in Strasbourg, which at that time was part of the German Empire. At the end of World War I the city of Strasbourg reverted to France, and Epstein, being German, had to return to Frankfurt.
Epstein was appointed to a non-tenured post at the university and he lectured in Frankfurt from 1919. Later he was appointed professor at Frankfurt. However, after the Nazis came to power in Germany he lost his university position. Because of his age he was unable to find a new position abroad, and finally committed suicide by abusing barbital, fearing Gestapo torture. *Wik

1888 Dunham Jackson (July 24, 1888, Bridgewater, Massachusetts – November 6, 1946) was a mathematician who worked within approximation theory, notably with trigonometrical and orthogonal polynomials. He is known for Jackson's inequality. He was awarded the Chauvenet Prize in 1935. His book Fourier Series and Orthogonal Polynomials (dated 1941) was reprinted in 2004.
Harold Bacon recalls that Jackson was an inspired writer of limericks. When Bacon purchased Jackson's "The Theory of Approximations" he took it to Jackson's office and requested he sign it, suggesting a limerick. Without any visible prethought Jackson wrote on the flyleaf:
There was a young fellow named Bacon
Whose judgement of books was mistaken
In a moment too rash
He relinquished some cash
And his faith in the Author was shaken
*Steven Krantz, Mathematical Apocrypha Redux

1923 Christine Mary Hamill (July 24, 1923 – March 24, 1956) was an English mathematician who specialized in group theory and finite geometry. After receiving her Ph.D. at the University of Cambridge in 1951, she was appointed to a lectureship in the University of Sheffield and later was appointed lecturer in the University College, Ibadan, Nigeria.*Wik


1934 Hans Hahn (September 27, 1879 – July 24, 1934) was an Austrian mathematician who is best remembered for the Hahn-Banach theorem. He also made important contributions to the calculus of variations, developing ideas of Weierstrass. *SAU

1964 Finlay Freundlich (May 29, 1885 – July 24, 1964) was a distinguished German astronomer who worked with Einstein on measurements of the orbit of Mercury to confirm the general theory of relativity. He left Germany to avoid Nazi rule and became the Napier Professor of Astronomy at St Andrews. *SAU

1974 Sir James Chadwick (20 October 1891 – 24 July 1974) English physicist who received the Nobel Prize for Physics (1935) for his discovery of the neutron. He studied at Cambridge, and in Berlin under Geiger, then worked at the Cavendish Laboratory with Rutherford, where he investigated the structure of the atom. He worked on the scattering of alpha particles and on nuclear disintegration. By bombarding beryllium with alpha particles, Chadwick discovered the neutron - a neutral particle in the atom's nucleus - for which he received the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1935. In 1932, Chadwick coined the name "neutron," which he described in an article in the journal Nature. He led the UK's work on the atomic bomb in WW II, and was knighted in 1945*TIS

1983 Eberhard Frederich Ferdinand Hopf (April 4, 1902, Salzburg, Austria-Hungary – July 24, 1983, Bloomington, Indiana) was a mathematician and astronomer, one of the founding fathers of ergodic theory and a pioneer of bifurcation theory who also made significant contributions to the subjects of partial differential equations and integral equations, fluid dynamics, and differential geometry. The Hopf maximum principle is an early result of his (1927) which is one of the most important techniques in the theory of elliptic partial differential equations.*Wik

1992 Lillian Rose Vorhaus Kruskal Oppenheimer (October 24, 1898 in New York City – July 24, 1992) was an American origami pioneer. She popularized origami in the West starting in the 1950s, and is credited with popularizing the Japanese term origami in English-speaking circles, which gradually supplanted the literal translation paper folding that had been used earlier. In the 1960s she co-wrote several popular books on origami with Shari Lewis.
She was the mother of three sons William Kruskal(developed the Kruskal-Wallis one-way analysis of variance), Martin David Kruskal(co-inventor of solitons and of surreal numbers), and Joseph Kruskal ( Kruskal's algorithm for computing the minimal spanning tree (MST) of a weighted graph) who all went on to be prominent mathematicians. Her grandson Clyde P. Kruskal (son of Martin) is an American computer scientist,working on parallel computing architectures, models, and algorithms. *Wik

2005 Sir Richard Doll (28 October 1912 – 24 July 2005) British epidemiologist who was one of the first two researchers to link cigarette smoking to lung cancer, as published in the British Medical Journal in 1950. In the same journal, fifty years later, Doll published (22 Jun 2004) the first research that quantified the damage over the lifetime of a generation, based on a 50-year study of a group of almost 35,000 British doctors who smoked. The study found that almost half of persistent cigarette smokers were killed by their habit, and a quarter died before age 70. Persons who quit by age 30 had normal life expectancy. Even quitting at age 50 saved six more years of life over those who continued smoking. He studied other health effects, such as those caused by asbestos and electricmagnetic fields.*TIS

Credits :
*CHM=Computer History Museum
*FFF=Kane, Famous First Facts
*NSEC= NASA Solar Eclipse Calendar
*RMAT= The Renaissance Mathematicus, Thony Christie
*SAU=St Andrews Univ. Math History
*TIA = Today in Astronomy
*TIS= Today in Science History
*VFR = V Frederick Rickey, USMA
*Wik = Wikipedia
*WM = Women of Mathematics, Grinstein & Campbell
          Enough has been said to illustrate.        
Around the mounds the ground is stripped bare by the three feet.
Then begins a tremendous climb which I accomplish by both hands, he holding tight to the burro's tail ahead of him.
When JPL pulled itself off the network, the tailsites went Virginia.
After that, she found a secretarial job at a gathered up the courage to ask Theorem for her voice telephone number.
I will make it all right with the manager, said Braybrooke, with must really have proposed to Miss Cronin for Miss Van Tuyn's hand that time until she had to dress for dinner.
But at this moment there was a tap at the door of the box, and Craven waiting outside.
          pwtempuser pwtempuser updated API Asterank        


API Endpoint:
API Description: 
The Asterank database acts as a layer over the NASA/JPL Small Body Database. The JPL Small-Body Database Browser includes data on orbital elements, orbit diagrams, physical parameters, and discovery circumstances. On top of this, the Asterank database includes JPL delta-v data, published asteroid mass data, and Asterank's independent calculations. Because the Asterank database runs on MongoDB, queries must adhere to Mongo's JSON format.
How is this API different ?: 
SSL Support: 
API Forum / Message Boards: 
Twitter URL: 
Developer Support URL: 
Interactive Console URL: 
Support Email Address: 
Primary Category: 
Secondary Categories: 
Supported Response Formats: 
Is This a Hypermedia API?: 
Supported Request Formats: 
Architectural Style: 
Description File URL (if public): 
Other Request Format: 
Other Response Format: 
Type of License if Non-Proprietary: 

          General Meeting: Speaker: Dave Doody, JPL Engineer        
  Date: Sunday, July 27, 2014 at 11:00 am Join Dave Doody, Space Flight Operations Engineer […]
          Year 2 - Mars Activity: UV Man        
Kobie Boykins, a JPL mobility systems engineer, uses the AMAZING UV BEADS you get in your free activity kit if you are one of the first 1000 entries!
          Year 2 - Mars Activity: Soil on Mars        
Suparna Mukherjee, a JPL engineer, demonstrates the cool magnetic soil you get in your free activity kit if you are one of the first 1000 entries!
          Year 2 - Mars Activity: Air Pressure - Bag it!        
Adam Steltzner, a JPL engineer uses a container and plastic bag to demonstrate what air pressure is. Download the activity and do it for yourself!
          Year 2 - Kids’ Science Challenge: Mars - Dirty Chamber        
To test equipment bound for Mars, JPL scientists head to their ’dirty chamber’, a low-pressure tank that can handle abrasive Mars-like sand.
          Orbiter 2016 Is Here        

Orbiter 2016 is the latest version of a space flight simulator I have been playing with on and off since 2005. And while I'm now old enough to be a grandfather, I find that Orbiter still brings out the "space kid" in me. The sixties were a great time to be a space- and aviation-obsessed kid, and I was a NASA fan from Mercury to Gemini to the Apollo moon flights and beyond. Aside from TV coverage, my only space resources back then were books from the library, plastic model kits, LIFE Magazine, and a huge trove of "NASA Facts" and other free publications I would write to Washington to request. Fortunately NASA had a pretty big public relations budget in the sixties and they were happy to send bulging envelopes of space info to a kid in upstate New York.

I never really lost my fascination with space and aviation, as I have often discussed in this blog (though not so much recently). Thanks to personal computers and the internet, there are now more space and aviation resources than ever. I spent a lot of time in the nineties playing with various flight simulators, and I got my real pilot's license in 2001, though I ended up not flying nearly as much as I had hoped, and I am not an active pilot now. Orbiter was a great find in 2005, because it allowed me to combine my interest and experience with flight simulators with my long dormant goal of being an astronaut, albeit only a virtual one. And Orbiter was free (it still is).

Orbiter even inspired me to write a book called Go Play In Space (free Orbiter tutorial ebook), and to volunteer as a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador to do some space and astronomy-related educational outreach programs, often using Orbiter in my presentations as a dynamic extension of PowerPoint slides and words. The years 2005 to 2010 were probably my "golden age" for space related study, play, conferences, and educational outreach, but shortly after the release of Orbiter 2010, my company was acquired, and my professional workload greatly increased. Side interests like Orbiter largely fell by the wayside.

Things are still busy at work, but I do again find time to pursue hobbies like music and space, and with the recent release of Orbiter 2016, I'm getting fired up again. The biggest visible change in the 2016 version is built-in support for detailed 3D terrain on planetary surfaces, with gigabytes of data available for the Earth, Moon, Mars, and some smaller bodies. This doesn't matter much visually from a 300 km orbit, but when you are down low, it makes a huge difference, especially for the Moon and Mars. Earth terrain is nice too -- though not as detailed as in Microsoft Flight Simulator, it covers the entire globe (clouds are modeled too). Orbiter is primarily a space flight simulator, and although atmospheric flight is modeled reasonably well, if you are mainly interested in flying airplanes and understanding realistic flight operations, a dedicated flight sim like MSFS or X-Plane is probably a better bet.

Orbiter 2016 includes some other updates, and thanks to user interface improvements and a wide range of community-produced video and other tutorial materials, it is easier to learn and use than earlier versions, though the learning curve is still pretty steep.

I will be writing more about Orbiter 2016 in the coming weeks. In the meantime, here are some possibly helpful links, including a collection of Orbiter 2016 screen shots I have placed on my Flickr site.

My review of Orbiter 2016, Kerbal Space Program, and Space Simulator (iOS app) on The Space Review

Orbiter 2016 Screen Shots on Flickr

Main Orbiter website with free download links

Orbit Hangar: Most Orbiter add-ons are hosted here for free download

Home page for the Orbiter Forum

Download my free ebook Go Play In Space here (PDF, 2006 version, Wiki version here)

David Courtney has a large number of Orbiter tutorial videos here

TexFilms has many Orbiter videos including tutorials here

          End of the blog, but not of the Zine Collection.        
It’s with a bit of sadness that I write this post. This will be the final post on The Zine Collection at Jacksonville’s Main Library blog.  We are hoping that by focusing our energies on other zine related duties we can improve the collection.  We will still be represented on Facebook on the JPL page.  […]
          JPL Zine collection at Jax by Jax        
Come Join Sara and Ryan from JPL’s Zine collection at the Jax x Jax Literary Festival. The festival will be held this Saturday at 2:00 pm at Park and King Streets in the Riverside Avondale area.  We will have a table set up from 3:00 – 6:00 in front of Il Desco restaurant with examples of […]
          Comment on On Curiosity and its Shadows by Tru        
Curiosity's wheels are specially designed to spell out JPL over and over in the dust in Morse code.
          JPL - Waking Up With You (Original Mix)        

          Ø§Ù„مسافة التقريبية بين القمر والأرض "صور وفيديو"        
هو رفيق كوكبنا الوفي, وأحد أهم أسباب إستقرار الحياة على الأرض وبالأخص حياة البشر وحياة كل الكائنات .. نعم إنه القمر! فإن التجاذب وزوايا المجالات المغناطيسية ما بين كوكبنا وهذا الكوكب الصغير نسبيا هو سبب إستقرار مركز الأرض وثبات زاوية دورانه حول نفسه من ما يثبت الأحوال الجوية وظهور الفصول الأربعة في فترات منتظمة من العام وإلا فإنك ستشاهد الفيضانات والبراكين والأمطار والجفاف والحرارة المرتفعة كلها في نفس اليوم.. فشكرا لله على هذه الهبة (القمر).
الرسم التوضيحي التالي يظهر المسافة ما بين الأرض والقمر بمقياس واقعي مع إظهار نقاط مهمة في المسافة الفاصلة.
لم يتعدى الإنسان بنفسه (وليس المعدات) طوال التاريخ المعروف مدار الأرض الأدنى إلا خلال رحلات برنامج أبولو للفضاء حيث شمل البرنامج ست عمليات هبوط على القمر ما بين عامي 1969 و1972. وقد إستعمر الإنسان عددا من مدارات الأرض وقسمها ضمن خرائط وتزيد عن 30 مدارا شمل كل مدار منها عددا من الأقمار الصناعية المختلفة وذلك لتخدم الأغراض المختلفة للإنسان.
تقع محطة الفضاء الدولية ضمن مدار الأرض الأدنى وذلك لتسهيل عملية إرسال وإنزال رواد الفضاء والعلماء من حول العالم للمحطة والذين يتم إرسالهم لإجراء بحوثهم ودراساتهم المختلفة.
في بعض الأحيان يلزم تثبيت الأقمار الصناعية ضمن المدار الجعرافي الثابت وذلك ليظهر كأنه ثابتا بالنسية للمشاهد على الأرض ومن الأقمار الصناعية على هذا المدار نذكر هنا على سبيل المثال أقمار البث التلفزيوني كـ (عربسات ونايلسات وهوت بيرد) (وللمعلومية فإن أقمار البث التلفزيوني ليست سوى مرايا ضخمة تعكس ما يصل إليها من بث أرضي على بقع معينة من العالم وتلازمه طوال الوقت) ويقع هذا المدار على إرتفاع 35,786 كلم والصورة المتحركة التالية تصف بشكل مبسط دوران القمر الصناعي بشكل ملازم للأرض إذا ما ثبت على المدار الجغرافي الثابت.
ومن المعلومات التي أوردناها اليوم في الرسم التوضيحي الأول هي ذلك الكويكب العجيب (2005 YU55) الذي مر بسلام ما بين الأرض والقمر بينما كان العالم يراقب بحذر في نوفمبر لعام 2011. فيما يلي صورة توضيحية للكويكب وهو يمر بين القمر والارض.
الفيديو التالي لهذا الكويكب كم التقطه مختبر الـ JPL التابع لناسا والذي يرأسه بالمناسبة شارل العشي (عالم فضاء لبناني-أمريكي).

وبما أن الشيء بالشيء يذكر, أحب أن أذكر أن أبعد قمر صناعي سيتم وضعه ليدور حول أرضنا هو لتليسكوب أو مقراب جيمس ويب الفضائي والذي سيتم وضعه عام 2018 في مداره على بعد 1.5 مليون كلم عن الأرض لكي يتمكن من إلتقاط صور للفضاء بدون أي شوشرة من الأرض

أختم موضوعنا اليوم بهذا الفيديو حيث يقوم المقدم بالطلب من الذين يقابلهم أن يقدرو المسافة ما بين الأرض والقمر.أختم موضوعنا اليوم بهذا الفيديو حيث يقوم المقدم بالطلب من الذين يقابلهم أن يقدرو المسافة ما بين الأرض والقمر.

          Comment on Mars Curiosity’s seven minutes of terror – in less than 3 minutes by Mars Curiosity, MSL, Mars Rover | AstrotalkUK        
[...] Laboratory. In this interview recorded on August 2nd via telephone from her office in JPL she captures the sheer exhilaration of the dramatic entry decent and landing phase  and describes her role in the Mars Curiosity rover [...]
          The study team at JPL Will Present their Mars Program Concept at the 2015 Humans to Mars Summit        
A study team at JPL will present their humans to Mars program concept at the Humans to Mars Summit and publish it as a peer-reviewed article in the New Space Journal.
          PoÅ¡leme na Mars vrtulník?        
Na Mars jsme v posledních desetiletích poslali sluÅ¡ný počet nejrůznějších sond. Bohužel jsou vÅ¡echny stejné – statické se stále stejným vybavením přistávající na stále nudných místech nebo rovery. Vybavení se zlepÅ¡uje, filozofie se ale nemění. Kdysi se uvažovalo například o bezpilotních letadlech nebo vyslání desítek nanosond. Nyní přichází částečně nový návrh. V JPL testují vrtulník pro Mars. […]
          Nejlepší fotografie od Curiosity z posledních dní        
Na první fotografii úplně nahoře je meteorit, okolo kterého Curiosity před pár dny projela. Credit: NASA, JPL  
          2 Jul        
RSG — Die Opportunity Marstuig doen al vir meer as tien jaar sy werk op die Rooiplaneet. Dr. Japie van Zyl van JPL verduidelik vir ons watter take díe tuig tans verrig. Hy praat ook oor Internasionale Asteroïddag wat die afgelope week gevier is, en verduidelik dat 'n spesiale groep by die Jet Propulsion Laboratory byeengebring is om asteroïdes te soek.
          SpSt distance ed student Ernst Wilson named NASA/JPL Ambassador        
          Encore un entraîneur de JPL viré: son successeur est connu        
Saint-Trond a été le premier à virer son coach après deux journées alors que Bartolomé Marquez avait pris trois points sur six. Un deuxième entraîneur a pris la porte de sortie: Runar Kristinssson, dont le successeur est déjà connu. D'après Het Laatste Nieuws, l'Islandais n'a pas survécu aux deux médiocres prestations de Loke..
          Little Atoms Road Trip 03 – Kevin Hand        
In this episode, Neil gets a guided tour of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, and talks to JPL scientist Kevin Hand. Kevin Hand is Deputy Chief Scientist of Solar System Exploration at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. He is an astrobiologist and a planetary scientist, most concerned with studying the Jovian moon Europa. This has […]

          What 13,500 pages micro-etched into nickel looks like        

The good folks over at the Jet Propulsion Labs in Pasadena who organized the Data and Art show that the Rosetta Disk was in, were kind enough to get some really nice photos taken of the micro-etched data side of the disk. What you are looking at is over 13,000 tiny pages describing over 1,500 languages. To see each page you would need a 500x microscope.

Many thanks to Dan Goods at JPL and especially Spencer Mishlen for this gorgeous work. I really love how the page rows start to look like the Matrix as you zoom in...




          â€˜I’m NASA and I Know It’ video parodies Mars rover mission        
Some filmmakers in Seattle have put together a parody video -- "I'm NASA and I Know It" -- playing off NASA's JPL staff landing the Mars rover Curiosity, complete with actors playing "Mohawk Guy" Bobak Ferdowsi, the flight director, and white-haired mission project manager Pete Theisinger.
          Worth a Thousand Words: Ceres, Queen of the Asteroid Belt        

This is especially appropriate to me after having read Leviathan Wakes.

From NASA/JPL Visions of the Future, a wonderful series of "what if" travel posters.
Ceres is the closest dwarf planet to the Sun. It is the largest object in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, with an equatorial diameter of about 965 kilometers. After being studied with telescopes for more than two centuries, Ceres became the first dwarf planet to be explored by a spacecraft, when NASA's Dawn probe arrived in orbit in March 2015. Dawn's ongoing detailed observations are revealing intriguing insights into the nature of this mysterious world of ice and rock.

          Un timelapse de cinco años recorriendo Marte         

Rover12 Kwlf 620x349 Abc La Mars Science Laboratory (abreviada MSL), conocida como Curiosity es una misión espacial que incluye un astromóvil de exploración marciana dirigida por la NASA. Fue finalmente lanzada el 26 de noviembre de 2011 a las 10:02 a. m. EST, y aterrizó en Marte exitosamente en el cráter Gale el 6 de agosto de 2012, aproximadamente a las 05:31 UTC, enviando sus primeras imágenes a la Tierra.

Para que veamos toda la gesta de este vehículo, la NASA ha lanzado el siguiente vídeo, un timelapse que resume cinco años de su vida.


La NASA y el JPL han aprovechado todas las imágenes capturadas por la cámara de navegación “Hazcam” del vehículo (dedicada a evadir riesgos y peligros en sus recorridos) para crear un timelapse de los últimos cinco años del rover explorando Marte. Además, el timelapse también muestra el recorrido total del Curiosity sobre la superficie marciana.

Famoso por sus selfies, el trabajo de este vehículo ha permitido saber que Marte tenía atmósfera en su juventud, se tienen datos más detallados de la radiación en el planeta, se encontraron pruebas de la existencia de agua dulce y, además, se analizaron meteoritos y rocas que permitieron conocer mejor la historia del planeta.

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La noticia Un timelapse de cinco años recorriendo Marte fue publicada originalmente en Xataka Ciencia por Sergio Parra .

          Are we there yet? New Horizons spacecraft reaches Pluto in historic 10-year trip        

Storified by San Gabriel Valley News · Tue, Jul 14 2015 18:30:20

After traveling for almost 10 years and more than 3 billion miles, the New Horizons spacecraft made its closest approach to dwarf-planet Pluto on Tuesday, July 14, 2015, beaming back a photo with our closest look yet at what used to be the 9th planet in our solar system.
Our 3-billion-mile journey to Pluto reaches historic #PlutoFly! Details & the high-res image: · NASA
"Pluto is much more than something that is not a planet. It’s a reminder that there are many worlds out there beyond our own — that the sky isn’t the limit at all." — New Horizons science team member Bonnie Buratti
Hey @USPS @USPSstamps, it's time to update your Pluto stamp. @NASANewHorizons was there exploring today. · NASA
.@BadAstronomer your quote inspired me to get to work in MS Paint. :) Image via @NASANewHorizons @Plutoflyby #NASA · Joe DiNoto
"We have completed the initial reconnaissance of the solar system” #PlutoFlyby · Eric Holthaus
Google got in on the excitement, changing its logo to a doodle honoring Pluto.
We ♥ Pluto. #PlutoFlyby #GoogleDoodle · Google Doodles
In a video message posted to Facebook, Stephen Hawking congratulates NASA and the New Horizons team "for their historic flyby of Pluto. The culmination of a decade long mission, I can't wait to see what new information the New Horizons spacecraft will reveal about our distant relative."
Stephen Hawking - Stephen Hawking NASA Statement | Facebook · Facebook
Before New Horizons, the Hubble Space Telescope provided our closest look at Pluto. The Hubble image is part of a set taken between 2002 and 2003.
Pluto from Hubble vs Pluto from New Horizons · Evan
Mankind takes first look at the last member of Solar System...PLUTO.And the beauty responded by baring its heart! · Sanjay Sharma
happy pluto day... · aNimo_suzhaNtie
This is how big Pluto is, Credits: @NASA @NASANewHorizons · Varun Shah
Some think that Pluto's 'heart' closely matches the Disney character of the same name.
Apparently Pluto has 'Pluto' on its surface · Sacerdotus

          Prayers for the Persecuted Church (3/22/2012)        
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03/12/2012 China (ChinaAid) Members Detained and Sent to Labor Camp as Chinese House Church Repeatedly Targeted for Persecution -

A house church belonging to the China for Christ denomination has been the target of months of attacks from local authorities in the city of Zhuozhou, Hebei province, with church members being illegally detained, interrogated and sent to labor camps -- simply for attending worship services or other activities.Local authorities have also forcibly confiscated 170,000 yuan ($27,000 USD) of church funds without following any of the required legal procedures.

They have also sent people to labor camps and demolished the home where the church was meeting.A religious affairs bureau official announced that the church's November 8, 2011 meeting, which was attended by over fifty villagers, was an illegal service because it had not been registered with or approved by the government departments supervising religious affairs. Full Story

Pray for the house churches in China as their number is rapidly increasing but is continually targeted by Chinese authorities for persecution. Praise God for watering the planted seeds of the Gospel in China!
Pray for these villagers who have been sent to labor camps for their faith. May their faith remain strong under the intentional oppression by the government.
Pray that the Lord will providentially use these events to bring the Gospel to others in these labor camps and in the government bureaus.
03/12/2012 India (BosNewsLife) India Militants Attack Prayer Meeting, Pastors

Suspected Hindu militants broke up a Christian prayer meeting and forced two women leading the gathering to stop evangelizing in India's southwestern state of Karnataka, as part of several attacks against devoted believers across the country.
As many as twenty Hindu "radicals" and "extremists" raided the March 3 prayer meeting in the Vijayanagar neighborhood of Bangalore, local Christians said.

The mob allegedly insulted worshipers and ordered the two women leading the service, Parimala, 36, and Padmavathi, 35, to stop the prayers immediately. The two women are members of the Mahima Prarthana Mandira - an independent church in the Vijayanagar neighborhood. Both believers, who were Hindus before becoming Christians twelve years ago, also lead a sixty-member congregation which often gathers for prayer services at a rented home. Additionally, they have been distributing evangelical publications with the Gospel. These activities angered the militants and filed complaints of "forceful conversion" and pressured the two to write down that they would halt prayer meetings and no long conduct their evangelistic activities.

Pray for these two women who are specifically being targeted for spreading the Gospel. Jesus said He will build His church and the gates of Hell would not prevail against it. Pray for fruit of their evangelistic efforts.
Pray for these Hindu militants, that like these two women, will see the beauty of Christ and put their faith in the one true God.
Pray for India as they have seen increasing persecution and attacks by Hindu militants.
03/14/2012 Afghanistan (AsiaNews) Christian Fears Grow Worse as Taliban Prepare New Attacks

The recent killing of 16 civilians by a US soldier has left Afghanistan's Christian population increasingly fearful as the Taliban has promised new attacks. Coupled with the recent Qur'an burnings at an American military base, violent protests have erupted across the country leaving more than forty people dead.

"Resentment against the West and Christians is growing stronger, even though no direct threats have been made against individuals," sources say.

International media have shown Afghans protesting by burning crosses and Christian symbols. For most Afghans, the West and Christianity are the same, the sources note. "Sadly, the crazy act of a madman will be paid [for by] Christians." Full Story

Pray that U.S. presence in Afghanistan will be a blessing and not a catalyst for hatred and violence towards our brothers and sisters in Christ.
Pray for the small population of Christians in Afghanistan who have been continually targeted by Muslim extremists. Pray for their safety and for the faith.
Pray that the church continues to grow in Afghanistan. Pray that the eyes of the people will be opened to the joy and satisfaction that is found in Christ alone.
03/14/2012 Eritrea (International Christian Concern) Imprisoned Head of Eritrean Orthodox Church in Urgent Need of Medical Attention

Patriarch Antonios, who has been imprisoned for his faith, is a diabetic and his situation is deteriorating due to lack of medical attention. He has been detained at an undisclosed location since 2006. The Eritrean government is known for their oppression of Christians. There are over 3000 Christians in prison in the country simply because of their faith.

ICC's Jonathan Racho said, "We are deeply concerned about the health of the Patriarch and urge the international community to pressure Eritrea to release him. Eritrea must end the unlawful detention of Christian prisoners."

Patriarch Antonios was detained for asking the Eritrean government to release members of his church detained for their beliefs and urging the Eritrean officials not to interfere in the affairs of the church. Full Story 

Pray for Patriarch Antonios as his health declines. Pray for the Lord to sustain him during this time.
Pray that those Christians also serving sentences for their faith. Eritrea is notorious for the brutal prison conditions for Christians. Be in prayer for sustained faith, safety, and providential opportunities for the Gospel to be shown and preached.
Pray for the hearts of those in Eritrea to be fertile soil for the Gospel.
03/14/2012 United States (FoxNews) NASA Scientist Claims He Was Harassed, Demoted Over Intelligent Design Beliefs

David Coppedge, a high-level computer systems administrator at the laboratory maintains he was fired nine months after expressing his beliefs in intelligent design to his co-workers. Lawyer William Becker spoke on behalf of Coppedge to Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Ernest Hiroshige in trial of the religious discrimination lawsuit his client filed in April 2010.

JPL attorney James Zapp argued that Coppedge was laid off as part of a staff reduction and that Coppedge had trouble getting along with other employees, becoming defensive when a supervisor instructed him on avoiding confrontations with co-workers.

According to his suit, Coppedge was demoted for allegedly "pushing religion" by loaning interested co-workers DVDs supporting intelligent design. Full Story

Pray for this trial as it could have significant repercussions for free speech in the workplace.
Pray for the judge in this trial, that he or she rules objectively.
Pray that this case awakens the U.S. to the plight of the persecuted church.
 03/14/2012 Pakistan (CNN) Petition: Free Pakistani Woman Set for Execution 

In a weird twist of irony, Asia Bibi is facing the death penalty following a false accusation of blasphemy in Pakistan, which is running for a seat on the United Nation's Human Rights Council. However, activists presented a petition Tuesday to the U.N. calling on Pakistan to free the Christian mother of five from being put to death on the charge.
Pakistani courts found Asia Bibi guilty of defiling the name of the Prophet Mohammed during a 2009 argument with Muslim fellow field workers. As a result, Bibi was sentenced to death by hanging. But an investigation by a Pakistani government ministry found the charges stemmed from religious and personal enmity and recommended Bibi's release.

The petition was signed by fifty activists including a former Czech foreign minister, the president of the U.N. General Assembly, a survivor of Tienanmen Square, and a women's rights activist. "With Pakistan now running for a seat on the U.N. Human Rights Council, the government should make an important gesture by releasing Asia Bibi, and repealing its blasphemy law, which is inconsistent with basic human rights," said Hillel Neuer, director of U.N. Watch, a Geneva-based human rights group that organized the petition. Full Story

Pray for the nation of Pakistan. With increasing pressure on the government to reverse laws that target Christians and with increasing pressure on maintaining religious freedom, Christians may be able to worship freely someday in this country.
Pray for Asia Bibi who has been in prison for nearly three years. Pray for her safety and strength of faith. Her faith is something to praise God for, as the Lord has been faithful in encouraging her.
Pray for the many needs of her family. One of her five children has special needs and the burden on this family is great, not just because of their size, but coupled with persecution, they have struggled to meet their needs.
3/16/2012 Pakistan (Deccan Herald) Majority of Christian and Hindu Women Face Sexual Harassment in Pakistan

A recent study has shown that the majority of minority women, both Christian and Hindu, are subject to discrimination and harassment.
Out of 1000 women interviewed, 74 percent of them had been sexually harassed in the workplace in 2010 and 2011.

Due to their economic status, these women are "on the margins of social and economic development," says Peter Jacob, executive director for the National Commission for Justice and Peace.

This position makes minority women easy targets for discrimination. Full Story

Pray for Christian and Hindu women of Pakistan, that God will protect his daughters, encourage them and empower them to be victors in their environment.
Pray for the NCJP, that their work will be seen, heard and acted upon.
Pray that Pakistan will safeguard women's rights.
Giving Made Easier!
ICC Offers the Ability to Automate Your Monthly Gift!
You can sign up to be a monthly supporter of the persecuted through a monthly credit card transfer via our website. Your automated recurring gift will help us plan, build, and serve the persecuted with greater confidence. Thank you for your ongoing commitment to serve our persecuted brothers and sisters.

You can sign up for recurring gifts or make a secure online donation by clicking here.

Thank you for caring and praying for the persecuted.

          Sports continue winning streak        
DUDLEY Sports Juniors continued their winning streak in the Under-15s MJPL by beating North Birmingham Celtic 6-1.
          The Potentially Dangerous Asteroid (101955) Bennu        
We computed impact solutions of the potentially dangerous asteroid (101955) Bennu based on 569 optical observations from September 11.40624 UTC, 1999 to January 20.11189 UTC, 2013, and 29 radar observations from September 21, 1999, through September 29, 2011. Using the freely available OrbFit software package, we can follow its orbit forward in the future searching for close approaches with the earth, which can lead to possible impacts up to 2200. With the A2 nongravitational parameter in the motion of the asteroid (101955) Bennu we computed possible impact solutions using different JPL planetary and lunar ephemerides and different number of additional massive perturbed asteroids. The possible impact path of risk for 2175 is presented. Additionally, we computed possible impact solutions using the normal places method of the selection of Bennu’s astrometric observations. Moreover, we computed time evolution of the mean orbital elements and the orbital nodes of Bennu 5 kyr in the backwards and 1 kyr in the future using the Yarkovsky effects. We computed the mean motion and secular orbital resonances of the Bennu. We also computed the influence of the JPL planetary and lunar ephemerides DE403, DE405, DE406, DE414, and DE423 on the close approaches of the asteroid (101955) Bennu with the earth.
          Have Your Pi and NGSS, Too!        
Care for a slice of pie? How about FOUR slices of pi from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL)? And a dollop of Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) on top? Certainly! In honor of pi and Pi Day (March 14) and even Rounded Pi Day (March 14, 2016… 3.1416… get it?), JPL serves up its third round […]
          Su Marte in retromarcia        

Come speciale per l'estate Mr. Pod vi offre una lunga intervista da ascoltare in vacanza mentre vi rilassate guardando il panorama. Che, per quanto esotico, non potrà mai essere come quello cui è abituato Paolo Bellutta: i deserti di Marte... Il nostro ospite ha lasciato il natìo Trentino per la California e dal Jpl di Pasadena guida via radio Spirit e Opportunity, i due rover della Nasa che scorrazzano per il Pianeta rosso dal gennaio 2004. MrPod l'ha incontrato via Skype durante la sessione tematica dedicata allo spazio organizzata giovedì 3 luglio 2008 dal Master in comunicazione della scienza della Sissa. L'intervista è condotta da Fabio Pagan con interventi di Giovanni Caprara del Corriere della sera, Enrico Flamini dell'Asi, studentesse e studenti del Master. Seguitela e scoprirete perché Marte è grande e se davvero lassù il codice della strada permette manovre proibite sulla Terra.

          Sci-Fi Writers Take Note: There Are Way More Stars Than We Thought        
A while ago I read a fascinating news release from JPL about a sounding rocket experiment that measures the light between galaxies. The conclusion: “While we have previously observed cases where stars are flung from galaxies in a tidal stream, our new measurement implies this process is widespread.” In other words, there are way, way more …
          An Engineer's Engineer        

Read article: An Engineer's Engineer

Curiosity's first contact-science rock target was named as a memorial to JPL engineer, Jake Matijevic.

          Social Media Strategy for B2B Marketers: Content + Search + Social = Impact        

We are pleased to present this guest post by John Walker of JPL Integrated Communications, an agency that works with B2B brands including Medtronic, Modjeski and Masters, and New Holland. Read SocialMediainfographic.jpgon for John's formula for success with social media.

“So, how do we get started with social media?” It’s a question our agency has been asked countless times, but not many companies know it’s the wrong question to be asking. The right question sounds more like “What information can I provide to potential customers that is valuable to them as they are making purchasing decisions?”

54% of respondents recently surveyed by DemandGen Report* said they “followed group discussions, conversations or threads to learn more” about their purchase. Respondents also indicated that they avoid direct contact with vendors over social media. This makes sense, because the messages that typically resonate better are objectively credible information versus a sales pitch.

So the challenge becomes: “How do we create content that is genuinely helpful and credible to buyers?”

Following are three tips on how to impact purchasing decisions through social media.

  1. Content should help, not sell

Most marketers are used to talking about their own products or services, but remember that buying decisions usually start with a customer pain point or a specific need. Take the business software industry for example. The selection process might start with your potential customer conducting a web search on the problem she seeks to solve, such as “managing online marketing.” The prospect might be interested in not only what software can help, but in what strategies her organization can employ. This presents an opportunity to connect with potential buyers at the earliest stage of the selection process, by providing content that educates and solves the greater problem.

Examples of helpful content that can engage buyers in the early selection process might include: buying guides with product comparisons, white papers explaining strategies, case studies by other practitioners, video interviews with industry experts and blog posts explaining best practices.

  1. Make content highly visible online to improve search

The same DemandGen Report research referenced above found that web searches are the primary way that buyers start researching B2B companies. While making your content highly visible on search engines may seem like an obvious step to take, when it’s best to optimize your content might surprise you. For many, search engine optimization is an afterthought, with optimization taking place after content is created. For best results, content should be search engine optimized before the content is in even its earliest stages. In fact, search visibility needs to be a primary determinant in what content is created in the first place. Use tools like the Google Adwords Keyword Research tool to see what search terms people are entering, then build helpful content for them to find.

  1. Use social media to amplify impact

Once you’ve created relevant, engaging content, use social media to amplify impact. Use your social media platforms to establish meaningful connections with customers and followers, and create messages that are consistent with your content – helpful, not salesy. Content that makes the greatest impact in the social sphere is visual by nature and will continue to move in that direction, as you can tell from the recent design layout changes on both Facebook and Google+. Post links to content on your company website, with videos and/or photos included in your post. Share content through your own social feeds, but ask colleagues to share through theirs as well. According to DemandGen Report’s findings, primary platforms where B2B prospects look for information are blogs, LinkedIn, SlideShare and YouTube, while Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest reflected lower levels of influence*.

As depicted in the infographic, the formula for B2B marketers is simple:

Content + Search + Social = Impact

Leveraging these three tips and applying this formula will help your organization create a social strategy that is rooted in content and designed to improve search visibility.


*Source: The 2012 B2B Buyer Landscape: New Challenges, New Complexity by DemandGen Report

About the author:

JohnWalker_Headshot.jpgJohn Walker is digital marketing manager at JPL Integrated Communications where he works with B2B and B2C clients to help them prioritize investments and slash through the buzz to find the right tools for their goals.


          2010-11-15: New Global 1km Level 4 product from NASA JPL now available through GHRSST        
The Multiscale Ultrahigh Resolution (MUR) blended sea surface temperature (SST) product has been updated to version 1. This is a daily 1 km resolution product funded by the NASA MEaSUREs program to meet the goals of an accurate and consistent retrospective Level 4 SST record, for US coastal regions initially. The output data sets are made to GDS 2.0 specifications for Level 4 netCDF. The data for 2008-2010 are available from the GDAC at
          Self Portraits of Mars Rovers        

A few days ago, NASA released this beautiful panoramic image of the Martian Landscape. While majestic by itself, the view is enhanced by the presence of the newest Mars Rover, Curiosity, in the middle of the picture, on top of the hill overlooking the whole planet. The photograph shows just how far NASA has reached in terms of being able to beam back images of robots on other planets, but this picture isn't the first self picture of a robot on Mars. These are some of the self-portraits of all Mars rovers to date.

To start with, the image above shows the Mars Pathfinder which landed on Mars in 1997. The mosaic is centered around the fixed lander called the Carl Sagan Memorial Station, and prominently shows the solar cells which powered the station. While technically not a rover, the Pathfinder package did contain a mobile robot named Sojourner which can be seen in the upper left-hand corner near Yogi Rock.

The Sojourner rover lasted only 83 sols (Earth days), but the Pathfinder mission was considered a success in that it was the first endeavor of its kind since NASA launched the Viking Program in 1976. Aside from the scientific findings of the planet's surface, the program proved that the airbag-method of landing was feasible. The small robot Sojourner also showed success in being able to maneuver on a foreign planet.

The above self photograph was taken by the rover Spirit (more formally known as Mars Exploration Rover - A) in 2007, midway through its life on Mars. The rover  is one of two identical Mars rovers, the other being Opportunity. The rover was launched from Earth in 2003 and it arrived on Mars in early 2004.

The rover's panoramic camera shows the heavy dust build up on its solar panels, which greatly affected its ability to charge its batteries (this earlier self-portrait shows what the rover would look like with relatively clean panels). While strong winds would sometimes clean away the dust build up, this tendency to gather debris on itself would have a detrimental impact on the rover's life. The robot became stuck in soft soil in 2009, but continued to perform in a stationary position. Spirit sent its last communication in 2010, and NASA formally ceased communications attempts in 2011, after 2,208 successful working sols.

This last, shadowy portrait shows the still active Mars Exploration Rover B, also known as Opportunity, the twin brother of the Spirit rover. While the two robots landed on Mars at about the same time in 2004 (albeit in different locations), only Opportunity has continued to perform consistently, surpassing its original 90-sol mission. The rover celebrated it's 3,000 sol in the middle of last year, and it's still being used to explore the Meridiani Planum somewhere around Mars' equator.

On the other hand, the header photograph shows the youngest of the Martian rovers, Curiosity. This robot is about the size of a sedan, a mammoth compared to the earlier sojourner which was only the size of a milk crate. Curiosity's mission is to investigate the climate and geology of Mars, and help determine whether the planet's environment is conducive to microbial life.

For more information about these self portraits of all Mars rovers, check out the NASA's JPL Mars Exploration Rover homepage and mission page. For more photographs from beyond Earth, check out the Outer Space category of this blog.

          Audio System Dealers in Chennai | Speaker | Ceiling | Box | TOA | JPL        
Mithra Audio Visuals – One of the leading audio system,ceiling, box speakers,home theatre dealers and suppliers in chennai from top reputed brands like TOA, JPL and others.
          "The Farthest—Voyager In Space"        
Join science journalist Miles O'Brien in conversation with Voyager team members.
Join science journalist Miles O'Brien in conversation with Voyager team members.
Join science journalist Miles O'Brien in conversation with Voyager team members.
Credit: Caltech

The Farthest tells the story of NASA's Voyager mission and its journey to the outer planets and beyond. Launched 40 years ago, Voyager's twin spacecraft have sent back data and images that revolutionized our understanding of the solar system—and each craft has continued sailing into interstellar space bearing greetings, music, and images from Earth, preserved on two golden records.

Following the screening, join science journalist Miles O'Brien in conversation with Voyager team members

  • Suzanne Dodd (BS '84), Voyager project manager and JPL's director for the Interplanetary Network Directorate
  • Carolyn Porco (PhD '83), Voyager I imaging specialist and imaging team leader for the Cassini-Huygens Mission, Space Science Institute
  • Ed Stone, Voyager project scientist for JPL and Caltech's David Morrisroe Professor of Physics and Vice Provost for Special Projects

Admission is free, but tickets are required.

Please contact the Caltech Ticket Office between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday by calling (626) 395-4652 or visiting the Keith Spalding Building at the corner of California Blvd. and Wilson Ave.

          Things To Do Saturday 11-19-11        
Downtown / Springfield
Click the links for more info. Please comment or leave a voice message at (904) 469-8636 if we missed anything.

          Detecting Life in the Ultra-dry Atacama Desert        

Read article: Detecting Life in the Ultra-dry Atacama Desert

JPL tests a portable chemistry lab designed for potential use on other planets.

          (8062) Okhotsymskij. Curva de luz        
Órbita del asteroide (Órbitas by Julio Castellano)

(8062) Okhotsymskij un nombre difícil para nosotros de habla hispana. Es el apellido de Dmitrij Evgenievich Okhotsymskij, especialista en mecánica teórica y aplicada, trabajó en teoría de control de lanzaderas de vehículos espaciales en la Academia Rusa del Instituto de Matemáticas Aplicadas, contribuyó destacadamente en el programa espacial soviético. Es el descubridor, desde el observatorio de Crimea, de este objeto en el año 1977, un asteroide del cinturón principal situado entre Marte y Júpiter.
El asteroide es un pequeño objeto de tan solo 14.4 Km de diámetro cuyo punto más cercano al Sol en su perihelio es de 2.14 UA (322M Km.) con una órbita casi circular de excentricidad 0.1, tiene un período de 3.69 años. Su albedo (porcentaje de energía reflejada respecto a la recibida) es de 0.07 por lo que parece un cuerpo oscuro (datos del JPL). Su período de rotación es de 5.282 horas con una magnitud absoluta de 12.8 (la que tendía a una distancia fija del sol de 1UA).
Curva de luz de la noche del 25 de Diciembre 16. (F. García)
El 25 de Diciembre de 2016 estaba prevista la ocultación de una estrella por este cuerpo cuya zona de sombra, ligeramente al sur, estaba muy próxima a la ubicación de mi observatorio en Muñas de Arriba (Asturias), como siempre hay incertidumbre en las previsiones fue una observación prevista. Tiempo antes del evento empecé a tomar imágenes en las que podía verse claramente el asteroide y su movimiento (ver animación), con ellas pude hacer una curva de luz para comprobar si eran apreciables esos mínimos cambios en su reflexión y determinar si luego era factible hallar su período. Su magnitud aparente en las imágenes para la banda R estaba en esos momentos sobre 15.6
Animación del movimiento del asteroide la noche del 25

Consultando la base de datos de Raoul Behrend de Ginebra no aparecía, aunque si en las del MPC (Minor Planet Centre) y en el JPL (Jet Propulsion Laboratory de la Nasa) ya mencionado.

En las noches siguientes dedique varias horas de observación a seguir este pequeño cuerpo del sistema solar que en esa fecha del 25 se encontraba a 196M Km y alejándose de la Tierra en dirección al Sol, teniendo en cunta su bajo albedo y su pequeño diámetro parece algo espectacular que desde un observatorio amateur con un telescopio de 25cm se llegue a medir una cosa así.
Curva de luz en la noche del 5/01/17. (F. García)
En la noche del 5 de Enero 2017 comenzando lo antes posible, al terminar el crepúsculo y esperando algo más al final, fue posible obtener toda la curva de una vez (no solo amplios fragmentos), en esa fecha ya se había alejado hasta los 204M Km. esto supone un descenso del brillo de al menos 0.2 magnitudes.
Cada noche posible, aprovechando la climatología favorable con noches despejadas, se obtiene un parte de la curva que luego se pondrá en acuerdo con las anteriores y así, noche tras noche hasta un total de 7 fue surgiendo de la nada una curva que indicaba sin duda su variación. El resultado fue totalmente satisfactorio y en perfecto acuerdo con los datos publicados en el MPC y el JPL, una amplitud de la variación de 0.48 magnitudes (0.49 en el JPL) y un período de 5.28263 horas (0.22009 días +/- 0.0002)
El perfil fotométrico da una idea de su forma. (Raoul Behrend)

Mi agradecimiento a Raoul Beherend que ha reducido también algunas imágenes para determinar si unos extraños saltos en noches casi consecutivas se podrían deber a algún error en el procedimiento por lo que en un momento llegó a sospecharse de la posibilidad de un objeto binario. A modo de prueba he mirado como sería buscando por un período mayor que no parece del todo descabellado a juzgar por el resultado de la curva. Serían necesarias muchas más noches de seguimiento par ver si realmente hay esas fluctuaciones de la magnitud debidas a la presencia de otro cuerpo en su cercanía.

Para la observación de aficionado es muy gratificante comprobar que con un telescopio no demasiado grande y una cámara CCD se llega a esta capacidad para obtener resultados perfectamente acordes que en ocasiones actualizan los existentes y mejorando a veces el conocimiento de los objetos del cinturón de asteroides de nuestro sistema solar.

Curva de luz de (8062) Okhotsymskij obtenida en L'Observatoriu (F. García)

F. García.

          Stellarium 0.15.1        

Version 0.15.1 introduces a few new exciting features.
- The Digital Sky Survey (DSS) can be shown (requires online connection).
- AstroCalc is now available from the main menu and gives interesting new computational insight.
- Stellarium can act as Spout sender (important for multimedia environments; Windows only).
In addition, a lot of bugs have been fixed.
- wait() and waitFor() in the Scripting Engine no longer inhibits performance of moves.
- DE430/431 DeltaT may be OK now. We still want to test a bit more, though.
- ArchaeoLines also offers two arbitrary declination lines.
- Added support of time zones dependent by location.
- Added new skyculture: Sardinian.
- Added updates and improvements in catalogs.
- Added improvements in the GUI.
- Added cross identification data for stars from Bright Star Catalogue, 5th Revised Ed. (Hoffleit+, 1991)

A huge thanks to our community whose contributions help to make Stellarium better!

Full list of changes:
- Added code which allows to display full-sky multi-resolution remote images projected using the TOAST format
- Added new option to Oculars plugin: enabling automatic install the type of mount from the telescope settings for saving horizontal orientation of CCD frame
- Added new option stars/flag_forced_twinkle=(false|true) for planetariums to enable a twinkling of stars without atmosphere (LP: #1616007)
- Added calculations of conjunction between major planets and deep-sky objects (AstroCalc)
- Added calculations of occultations between major planets and DSO/SSO (AstroCalc)
- Added option to toggle visibility of designations of exoplanets (esp. for exoplanetary systems)
- Added support of time zones dependent by location (LP: #505096, #1492941, #1431926, #1106753, #1099547, #1092629, #898710, #510480)
- Added option in GUI to edit colours of the markings
- Added a special case for educational purpose to drawing orbits for the Solar System Observer
- Added the new config option in the sky cultures for management of boundaries of constellations
- Added support synonyms of star names (2nd edition of the sky cultures)
- Added support reference data for star names (2nd edition of the sky cultures)
- Added support synonyms of DSO names (2nd edition of the sky cultures)
- Added support native names of DSO (2nd edition of the sky cultures)
- Added support reference data for native DSO names (2nd edition of the sky cultures)
- Added support Spout under Windows (Stellarium is Spout Sender now)
- Added a few trojans and quasi-satellites in ssystem.ini file
- Added a virtual planet 'Earth Observer' for educational purposes (illustration for the Moon phases)
- Added orbit lines for some asteroids and comets
- Added config option to switch between styles of color of orbits (LP: #1586812)
- Added support of separate colors for orbits (LP: #1586812)
- Added function and shortcut for quick reversing direction of time
- Added custom objects to avoid of getting of empty space for Search Tool (SIMBAD mode) and to adding custom markers on the sky (LP: #958218, #1485349)
- Added tool to management of visibility for grids/lines in Oculars plugin
- Added the hiding of supernova remnants before their birth (LP: #1623177)
- Added markers for various poles and zenith/nadir (LP: #1629501, #1366643, #1639010)
- Added markers for equinoxes
- Added supergalactic coordinate system
- Added code for management of SkyPoints in Oculars plugin
- Added notes to the Help window
- Added commands and shortcuts for quick move to celestial poles
- Added textures for deep-sky objects
- Added Millions of light years distance to infostring for galaxies (LP: #1637809)
- Added 2 custom declination lines to ArchaeoLines plugin
- Added dialog with options to adjust of colors of markers of deep-sky objects
- Added new options to infobox
- Added calculating and displaying the Moon phases
- Added allow for proper stopping of time dragging (LP: #1640574)
- Added time scrolling
- Added Scottish Gaelic (gd) translations for landscapes and sceneries.
- Added usage the Qt 5 JSON parser instead of the hand-made one we used so far
- Added synonyms for DSO
- Added names consistency for DSO
- Added support operational statuses for few classes of artificial satellites
- Added special zoom level for Telrad to avoid undefined behaviour of zooming (LP: #1643427)
- Added new icons for Bookmarks and AstroCalc tools
- Added missing Bayer designation of 4 Aurigae (LP: #1645087)
- Added calculations of conjunctions/occultations between planets and bright stars (AstroCalc tool)
- Added 'Altitude vs Time' feature for AstroCalc tool
- Added location identification which adds canonical IAU 3-letter code to infostring and PointerCoordinates plugin
- Added elongation and phase angle to Comet and MinorPlanet infostrings
- Added cross identification data for stars from Bright Star Catalogue, 5th Revised Ed. (Hoffleit+, 1991)
- Added AstroCalc icon (LP: #1641256)
- Added new scriptable methods to CustomObjectMgr class
- Added Sardinian sky culture
- Allow changes of milky way and zodiacal light brightness via GUI while stars switched off (LP: #1651897)
- Fixed visual issue for AstroCalc tool
- Fixed incorrectly escaping of translated strings for some languages in Remote Control plugin (LP: #1608177)
- Fixed disappearing of star labels when the 'Navigational Stars' plugin is loaded and not activated (LP: #1608288)
- Fixed offset issue for image sensor frame in Oculars plugin (LP: #1610629)
- Fixed crash when labels and markers box in sky and Viewing Options tab is ticked (LP: #1609958)
- Fixed spherical distortion with night mode (LP: #1606969)
- Fixed behaviour of buttons on Oculars on-screen control panel (LP: #1609060)
- Fixed misalignment of Veil nebula image (LP: #1610824)
- Fixed build of planetarium without scripting support (Thanks to Alexey Dokuchaev for the bug report)
- Fixed coordinates of the open cluster Melotte 227
- Fixed typos in Kamilorai skyculture
- Fixed cmake typos for scenery3d model (Thanks to Alexey Dokuchaev for the bug report)
- Fixed crash when turning off custom GRS if GRS Details dialogue has not been opened before (LP: #1620083)
- Fixed small issue rounding for JD for DeltaT tooltip on bottom bar
- Fixed rendering orbits of artificial satellites during changing of location through spaceship feature (LP: #1622796)
- Fixed hiding the Moon during a total solar eclipse when option 'limit magnitude' for Solar system objects is enabled
- Fixed small bug for updating catalog in the Bright Novae plugin
- Fixed displaying date and time in AstroCalc Tool (LP: #1630685)
- Fixed a typographical error in coefficient for precession expressions by Vodnark et. al.
- Fixed crash on exit in the debug mode in StelTexture module (LP: #1632355)
- Fixed crash in the debug mode (LP: #1631910)
- Fixed coverity issues
- Fixed obvious typos
- Fixed issue for wrong calculation of exit pupil for binoculars in Oculars plugin (LP: #1632145)
- Fixed issue for Arabic translation (LP: #1635587)
- Fixed packaging on OS X for Qt 5.6.2+
- Fixed calculations of the value of the Moon secular acceleration when JPL DE43x ephemeris is used
- Fixed distances for objects of Caldwell catalogue
- Fixed calculations for transit phenomena (LP: #1641255)
- Fixed missing translations in Remote Control plug-in (LP: #1641296)
- Fixed displaying of localized projection name in Remote Control (LP: #1641297)
- Fixed search localized names of artificial satellites
- Fixed showing translated names of artificial satellite
- Fixed GUI Problem in Satellites plug-in (LP: #1640291)
- Fixed moon size infostring (LP: #1641755)
- Fixed AstroCalc lists transits as occulations (LP: #1641255)
- Fixed resetting of DSO Limit Magnitude by Image Sensor Frame (LP: #1641736)
- Fixed Nova Puppis 1942 coordinates
- Fixed error in light curve model of historical supernovae (LP: #1648978)
- Fixed width of search dialog for Meteor Showers plugin (LP: #1649640)
- Fixed shortcut for "Remove selection of constellations" action (LP: #1649771)
- Fixed retranslation name and type of meteor showers in Meteor Showers when language of application is changed
- Fixed wrong tooltip info (LP: #1650725)
- Fixed Mercury's magnitude formula (LP: #1650757)
- Fixed cross-id error for alpha2 Cen (LP: #1651414)
- Fixed core.moveToAltAzi(90,XX) issue (LP: #1068529)
- Fixed view centered on zenith (restart after save) issue (LP: #1620030)
- Updated DSO Catalog: Added support full of UGC catalog
- Updated DSO Catalog: Added galaxies from PGC2003 catalog (mag <=15)
- Updated DSO Catalog: Removed errors and duplicates
- Updated stars catalogues
- Updated stars names (LP: #1641455)
- Updated settings for AstroCalc
- Updated Satellites plugin
- Updated Scenery3d plugin
- Updated Stellarium User Guide
- Updated support for High DPI monitors
- Updated list of star names for Western sky culture
- Updated Search Tool (LP: #958218)
- Updated default catalogues for plugins
- Updated list of locations (2nd version of format - TZ support)
- Updated pulsars catalog & util
- Updated Scripting Engine
- Updated rules for visibility of exoplanets labels
- Updated shortcuts
- Updated info for the landscape actions (LP: #1650727)
- Updated Bengali translation of Sardinian skyculture (LP: #1650733)
- Correctly apply constellation fade duration (LP: #1612967)
- Expanded behaviour of for isolated constellations selection (only for skycultures with IAU generic boundaries) (LP: #1412595)
- Ensure stable up vector for lookZenith, lookEast etc.
- Verification the star names by the official IAU star names list
- Minor improvement in ini file writing
- Set usage Bortle index only after year 1825
- Re-implement wait() and waitFor() scripting functions to avoid large delays in main thread
- Restored broken feature (hidding markers for selected planets)
- Removed color profiles from PNG files
- Removed the flips of the CCD frame because it works incorrect and he introduced new one bug
- Removed the useless misspelled names from list of stars
- Removed the Time Zone plug-in
- Removed useless translations in ArchaeoLines plug-in

By Mike Deliman This afternoon I watched the press conferences for Mars Science Laboratory “Curiosity” that were hosted by NASA/JPL from Pasadena, Ca.  These conferences were broadcast over NASA-TV, both on the cable/satellite channels and over the web.  If you...
          A COMPANY CALLED MATTE EFFECTS: The Work of Ken Marschall & Bruce Block - part one        

Bruce Block (left) on location in 1990 to shoot a plate for a matte in the film NOTHING BUT TROUBLE, and Ken Marschall with a glass painting done in 1987 for a Disney-MGM Orlando Tour demonstration film.  Also shown here are some of the original matte paintings from WHAT’S LOVE GOT TO DO WITH IT, STAND BY ME and MOBSTERS.

Part One

It probably wouldn’t be too much of an overstatement when referring to the illusionists featured in this edition of NZPete’s Matte Shot as two of the truly unsung heroes, as it were, of the latter period of the traditional hand painted matte shot era.  Matte painter Ken Marschall and cameraman collaborator Bruce Block laboured quietly without publicity nor self promotion for nearly two decades  producing a sizeable number of matte painted effects shots from the early 1980’s onward through to the end of what we might call the ‘photo-chemical era’on what would amount to a considerable catalogue of productions from James Cameron’s big breakthrough hit THE TERMINATOR, the Emmy Award winning effects shots for the highly regarded television miniseries THE WINDS OF WAR, the coming of age classic STAND BY ME and a number of genre movies such as FRIGHT NIGHT 2 and the deliriously wacky KILLER KLOWNS FROM OUTER SPACE among many others.
Ken and Bruce would operate quietly under the radar on scores of features and commercials – so far under the radar in fact that their anonymity extended beyond the average movie goer and would even slip by unknown to many within their own industry.

I’ve been wanting the opportunity to profile Ken and Bruce’s career for some time, and after an extended period of email exchanges I feel privileged, now that both gentlemen have some spare time, to be in a position to speak at length with Ken and Bruce about their respective careers and take an in depth look at the wonderfully invisible trick work the duo have been responsible for, often without screen credit and always without fanfare.

Readers of this blog and fellow lovers of traditional matte work will be astounded with the caliber of the matte shots featured in this comprehensive career Q&A, of that I’m certain.  As a researcher and matte historian myself I am all too frequently deflated by the lack of existing artwork, photographs, film clips and memorabilia still available from this once essential though now sadly lost artform.  I can happily report that this is NOT the case with Ken and Bruce’s career.  Ken has carefully retained allof his original matte paintings – with only a few exceptions where art may have been given to a director upon completion of the shoot.  I am delighted that Ken has also kept the majority of the 35mm film clips, before and afters and layout drawings as well.   
There is literally so much material that as it stands, this article will be a two (or maybe three) part blog post – and even then not all of the projects can be covered. You will be impressed.

Most images in this blog are from Ken’s or Bruce’s personal collection. Others are credited on the picture. Scanned motion picture frames are from original film test clips in Ken’s and Bruce’s files, and although these may technically be the property of the various studios that commissioned the work, this blog is intended to be a respectful homage to these films, and we trust that their posting will be considered flattering. A few other images were found online and are seen so often, without credit, that they are assumed to be basically public domain and that no toes are being stepped on by including them here.
I’d also like to extend my gratitude to Gene Warren jr. for his valuable and sincere contribution to this article.


Q:           I'd like to welcome you both and say that I appreciate your time and efforts in getting this career retrospective off the ground. Let’s start with you Ken.  Tell us a little if you will about your background prior to entering the movie industry.

KM:         Art isn’t something I kind of gravitated to as I matured.  I was creating as far back as I can remember, whether it was building something with Lincoln Logs, cutting up cardboard to make an imaginary spaceship, drawing with crayons or colored pencils or of course painting.  My mom used to tell the tale of how, at around the age of three or four (c. 1953-4) in our home in Whittier, California, I got into her supply of Jello and sprinkled the different colors in designs on the carpet like a sand painting.  I was apparently just about to add water to the creation to deepen the colors when she appeared and stopped the fun.  Although she stifled that particular creation, she was otherwise encouraging of my artistic inclinations and even got me oil paint-by-number sets as early as when I was in about second grade.  I can still close my eyes and smell that paint in those little plastic tubs.  By fourth or fifth grade I had my own set of “adult” oils in tubes and was painting on canvas boards.  And I drew a lot.  I had a particular fascination with trains, planes and ocean liners.

Q:        It seems you were literally ‘born to paint’.

KM:        I have many other interests –– archeology, astronomy, architecture, photography, science in general –– but I’ve always fallen back on art as the mainstay.  I have a perfectionist trait, so I naturally tend toward accuracy, detail and photorealism.  My best friend as a child, Rick Parks, whom I met in second grade right after we moved to La Cañada, California, and who was a gifted artist, lived only a few blocks away, and we routinely painted, drew, built models and dreamed up various projects together.  Constant creativity.  While my brother busied himself playing ball, I had to be quietly creating something.  I remember I loved relief maps and made several while in elementary school, carefully painting the various hues for mountains, deserts, ocean and so on.  I recall making a diorama of a Viking ship in a cardboard box, with painted sea, wake and sky with clouds, done around third grade. 
   As I matured in the “let it all hang out” ’60s, Rick tried to get me to loosen up and just splash paint on canvas in an abstract expressionist way, to paint what I “feel.” But it was nigh impossible, way too accidental, not nearly enough thoughtful deliberation for my liking.  To this day, careless splashes of paint proudly shown off as profound, high art irk me.  Sure, the colors might go well with a carpet or sofa, but aside from that they are a pretentious excuse for art.  To me, art, at a minimum, must be conscious and requires at least a degree of intent.  Throwing paint over your shoulder at a canvas and then rolling around in it is little more than a messy accident.  And when accidents become art, when graffiti vandalism is celebrated as art and considered just as valid and worthy of analysis and praise as, say, a da Vinci, then anything can be art, and fine art loses any specialness.  Without ugliness there can be no beauty.  It’s highly insulting to the great masters to give any sort of equivalency to some of the careless modern art we see.

Q:        As a lover of ‘traditional painting’ myself, I couldn’t agree more with that summation Ken.

KM:     I recall a segment on Dateline or 20/20 not too long ago where a bunch of first graders were each given a canvas and asked to paint whatever they wanted.  A selection of the resulting works was then put in expensive frames, and a phony gallery exhibit opening was advertised and staged in an upscale area of Manhattan.  An actor pretended to be the artist, touted as New York’s newest undiscovered sensation, and Fifth Avenue prices were slapped on the pieces.  Hidden cameras rolled as he mingled with the patrons and made up ridiculous stories about the profound inspiration behind each of the works.  It was hilarious to see the public fawning over his “sensitive” brushstrokes, identifying with the deep meanings behind the “unique” paintings, how he had conveyed his angst so successfully.  At least one connoisseur made an expensive purchase, eager to get in on the action before the artist’s prices climbed, the buyer later confessed.
   It’s a sting I’d hoped for years to see, proving exactly my point –– that anyone can throw paint on a canvas and that so much of the art scene is pretentious silliness.  Jackson Pollock himself admitted in an interview once that his work was “not to be taken too serious.”

Q:        I can just see the self righteous pretense in that room dissolving and oozing out under the door as those ‘connoisseurs’ realized it’s game over.

One of the effects scenes showing the large miniature used in 20th Century Fox’s 1953 classic TITANIC. It was visions like this one that pulled me into the magical world of special effects.
KM:     My art teacher at Pasadena High School, Rollie Younger, offered eye-opening lessons that have stayed with me through the decades.  His mantra when teaching the more realistic drawing and painting was “Observation.  Take in what you’re really seeing, not what you think you see.  Get past your preconceived ideas.  Is that shadow really just ‘grey’?  Where’s the key light coming from?  How about bounce light?  What reflections do you see? Where are the vanishing points?”
   My interest in photography grew, and soon a friend helped me disable the shutter mechanism in my old Brownie Starmite camera so that I could actually take time exposures.  I was fascinated by this new-found ability and soon purchased a Pentax Spotmatic SLR camera, had my own darkroom and developed black-and-white film and prints.  Later, I processed and printed color.

Q:        Yes, a great deal of fun, but for me colour processing was a nightmare and I gave it up in despair.  So Ken when did the realisation of ‘special effects’ or trick photography in motion pictures hit you.
KM:     I was always riveted by special effects in movies, creating what never existed or, even more interesting to me, re-creating what once was but is now lost.  It was pure magic to me.  How did they do that?!  One effects movie unexpectedly set me off on a lifelong career path.  Around 1965 I happened to catch the 20th Century Fox movie TITANIC on TV, the one with Barbara Stanwyck and Clifton Webb, and although I had heard of the ship before, the film stopped me in my tracks.  It captivated me.  The largest liner in the world, said to be unsinkable, on its maiden voyage, carrying the wealthy and influential of two continents on a mirror-flat ocean, glances against an iceberg one moonless night and vanishes in less than three hours with the most horrific loss of life of any peacetime sea disaster.  It was the most evocative, gripping, incredible tale I could imagine, a story so audaciously amazing and unlikely that even at the tender age of 14 or 15 I doubted it could have really happened that way.  Surely this was pure Hollywood.

I quickly got a copy of Walter Lord’s acclaimed book A Night to Remember, a minute-by-minute, you-are-there account of the disaster, and discovered that, in fact, the substance of the movie was no exaggeration.  It was true history.  With my passion for recreating what has been lost, a spark was ignited. My original, beat-up copy of that book, purchased at Vroman's bookstore in Pasadena in 1966, is shown at left.  I felt compelled to build a large model of the ship.  Along with a friend I’d met in junior high, Chris Bragdon, I embarked upon the balsa-wood model project, researching Titanic’s deck plans and appearance as best we thought we could using the local library.  My old friend Rick occasionally helped, as well.

The first photo shows initial progress on an eight-foot balsa-wood model of Titanic built with two friends, Chris Bragdon and Rick Parks. The Polaroid was taken in the fall of 1967. Second image: Chris and Rick work on the stern upstairs in my room in December of that year. A partially completed model of Big Ben stands in the corner. In the last photo, shot in January 1968, I’m working on “plating” the overturned hull.
I struck up a correspondence with Walter Lord himself who graciously engaged this inquisitive teenager with my endless questions, supplied information and further shipyard plans to assist us and who put me in touch with others of like mind.  When the hull of our eight-foot-long model was nearly complete we discovered even more plans of the ship which showed that hopeless mistakes had been made in our model’s contours.  Being that perfectionist, that was the end of that.
   But hell, I thought, I can paint.  Why not paintthe ship instead?  I did a small 16 x 20-inch oil of Titanic at sea, steaming along happily in bright sunshine.  Someone saw that and asked me to paint a much larger scene of the ship –– my very first commission.  That was in 1969. 

Here I am, age 18, standing in my room next to my first Titanicpainting (in the frame), one evening in March 1969. Above it is a small proposal painting, or “maquette,” for my first commission.

Before long, word was getting out that I could do decent paintings of the legendary liner.  They appeared in various magazines, then in books, and I soon had a budding career bringing Titanic back to life with my brushes.  A stickler for accuracy and detail, my research into the subject grew, and model kit companies asked me to help with technical advice on their projects. 

Q:        So, even at that young age you appear to have been the ‘go to guy’ on The Titanic.  Where did this passion lead to next.

Albert Whitlock presenting one of his all day seminars, circa 1982.
KM:     In late 1975 or early ‘76 a friend and I learned of a course in motion picture special effects being offered at the University of Southern California (USC).  We signed right up for the spring session.  Each week guest lecturers spoke of a different aspect of the craft –– building miniatures, using hanging miniatures, stop-motion, scenic background/backdrop painting, makeup, prosthetics and appliances, breakaway “glass,” explosives and squibs, and of course matte painting, my favorite, which I believe was discussed over several sessions.  I got to meet and speak with Al Whitlock and Bill Taylor, Harrison Ellenshaw, Matt Yuricich and L. B. Abbott (LOGAN’S RUN was in the final stages of post production), all of whose demo reels were astounding, utterly magical and jaw-dropping.  The experience was unforgettable.  And I thought, I could do this.  I reallyshould do this.

Q:        I’ve heard some marvelous accounts of those matte painter lectures and would dearly have loved to have been in a position myself to get my foot in the door.  Whitlock’s seminars were always highly acclaimed.

KM:     During one of the matte painting demos a scene came along where a telephone pole or electrical wire could not be removed before an expensive shot was filmed, and had to be painted out later by the matte artist.  It was mentioned, however, that new technology was being developed for the film industry that, just like with the Mars Viking lander, could one day pixelize film into tiny squares that could then be adjusted or blended using a computer, and such things as an unwanted pole, wire, or a “Roman” extra who forgot to remove his wristwatch could be easily stitched out using this process.  The class gasped with a mixture of surprise and awe.  What a miracle, and a revolution, that would be, we thought… to digitize film and make any changes you want!

   In 1977, at the age of 26, I was hired by Director Stanley Kramer and Production Designer Bill Creber as the advisor on a gigantic 55-foot miniature of history’s most famous liner for the film project RAISE THE TITANIC, based on the best-selling book by Clive Cussler.  Designed and constructed at CBS Studio Center in Studio City, California, this model would be “the largest Titanic since the Titanic,” as I proudly told anyone who would listen.  (The one built for the 1953 film was about 28 feet.)

   It was my first hands-on foray into the film industry.  I worked at the studio for six months, doing my best to be in several places at once, trying to make sure that no mistakes were made in the miniature that could be avoided.  “We want to get this right,” Creber said, “so what Ken says goes –– within reason.”  You can imagine how thrilled I was to be given that kind of authority and expecting that, finally, for once, a Titanicminiature would be built accurately (the ’53 one built by Fox left much to be desired).  Most of the time I was tolerated by the set designers and construction crew, but of course I didn’t always get my way.  And, because there was only one of me and I couldn’t be in several places at once, some minor mistakes were made.  But generally I was quite proud and excited about the progress.

Posing next to the bow of the 55-foot miniature being constructed for the movie RAISE THE TITANIC in the fall of 1977. Some wag has affixed a champagne bottle to the prow.
Creber told me to try my hand at storyboarding the prologue of the film.  When I presented my sketches to him, he actually liked them.  I thought he was just being kind to a young kid, but he surprised me with his sincerity.  “No, I’m serious,” he said.  “This is good.  I’m gonna use this.”  In the end, though, the screenplay went through several rewrites and the entire original prologue went away.
 I took a bunch of photographs of the nearly finished miniatures on March 10, 1978, my last day on the job showing the scale of the 55-foot hero model and close views of the Boat Deck with some details yet to be painted.  In the distance are several U.S. Navy vessels.
   Stanley Kramer left the project when the model was about half completed after Lord Lew Grade refused his entreaties to increase the film’s budget.  He told Grade that he simply couldn’t do justice to such an epic tale for $7.5 million (if I recall the figure), with all the effects his team envisioned and the story demanded.  Grade told him that was fine, he’d find another director.  After Kramer departed, crew was let go, group by group, person by person, as production slowed.  A core bunch of us working on the huge miniature (and other models of U.S. Navy vessels in the same scale) were kept until the final shutdown happened in earnest.  On March 10, 1978, I took one last set of color photos and then said goodbye to my baby, which was nearly finished.  I had been told that of course I would be rehired just as soon as a new director had signed on and production resumed.

Production Designer Bill Creber and I during the model construction phase of RAISE THE TITANIC, fall 1977.  He's vamping for the camera, pointing out some water detail in a slide showing miniature work from THE POSEIDON ADVENTURE, a film on which he had also served as production designer.

The promised call never came.  Jerry Jameson would be the new director, and the model was completed by a crew apparently unfamiliar with the ship.  When the film premiered in 1980 I was stunned and disappointed to not see my name anywhere in the credits, while someone else, and his organizations, were given the plaudits for the research and technical advice –– with no less than three lines of credit.  Ah, welcome to Hollywood.

Q:        Hollywood……Some things never change.

One of my very first assignments at Graphic was to paint a background aerial view showing the clouds of Venus and a spacecraft on a cel, which would be animated frame by frame by Ray Bloss working the animation stand and camera. The photo at right shows Ray shooting another scene with the camera, a still shot of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL).
KM:     This didn’t dissuade me, though, from wanting to work in the film industry, in the art field.  In early 1979 a friend of a friend directed me toward a small studio called Graphic Films Corporation, in Hollywood, an intimate operation that produced photo-real animation and model shots for science documentaries, mostly NASA and the Jet Propulsion Lab.  The potential existed for matte work down the line, so I eagerly prepared a small portfolio.  Bruce worked there, and that’s when our paths came together.  He was the one who interviewed me.  My long interest in astronomy, space, science and art made it the ideal fit.  Apparently Les Novros and George Casey, the bosses at Graphic, felt likewise, because in April I was hired.  It was a fortunate synchronicity.  I had shown up on their doorstep at exactly the right moment; their chief artist, Don Moore, had recently left suddenly, and the company was in somewhat of a lurch.

Q:        Oh that’s very interesting Ken.  I’ve recently put out an extensive blog on 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY where Graphic Films methodology and expertise played a major role in the success of the Kubrick picture.

KM:     Yes, that was a marvelous blog, just wonderful.  I loved it. Anyway, I was immediately put to work painting backgrounds and animation cels of planets and galaxies that would be filmed on an old-fashioned Bowles-Acme animation crane, building Styrofoam models of asteroids and lunar landscapes, miniature spacecraft and so forth.  My mentor there was J. Gordon Legg, approaching age 70, who had been an animator and art director with Disney decades before.  He told me how he did light glows and shadows in SNOW WHITE and worked on FANTASIA.  I learned a lot from him.  He taught me the airbrush, something I knew I would have to learn, but being non-mechanical and non-technical, I feared would be a great struggle.  But Gordon was a good teacher, and in one day I had it basically mastered.


Graphic already had one very large oblate sphere model of Jupiter when I was hired, but they wanted one at a smaller scale that was easier to handle for certain applications. So I was put to work on a much smaller model airbrushing the planet’s distinctive cloud patterns, referencing the latest Voyagerimagery that had just arrived.  We had a direct pipeline to JPL where Voyagerwas being controlled, and it was always very exciting to see the breathtaking, high-resolution prints being delivered fresh from JPL’s lab, often before they appeared in the media.

One of the Jupiter models with a foreground moon model built up of Styrofoam and modeling paste.

Airbrushing a large view of Saturn at the plane of the rings.

This shows the scale of the painting. Gordon sits at his desk in the background at an original Disney animation desk, one of several in use at Graphic Films. A former Disney employee going way back, he always wore a sport coat to work.

Painting a galaxy which will be very subtly rotated during photography.

I don’t remember any details, but somehow Graphic must have been bidding on effects work in 1981 for the TV movie GOLIATH AWAITS. Here’s a very early matte proposal I created to show how a relatively simple foreground could be turned into an impressive scene inside the sunken but somehow still-airtight liner, illuminated in an eerie phosphorescent green.  This may have been the very first matte-painting-related thing I did at the company. (I don’t believe my matte idea went anywhere; I didn’t produce a finished painting, I know that.)

Another Saturn painting on a cel, to be animated, this one quite small.  I recall the planet itself being no more than about two inches across.

For the trailer for the movie SATURN 3 I did yet another background painting, then we set up several sheets of glass in front of the artwork and glued little chunks of Styrofoam to them. The pane of glass closest to the camera had the largest chunks, and vice versa.  Then we filmed, at a very tiny aperture, bright light and long exposures to keep all the planes and planet in focus, moving each glass pane at a different speed to simulate the vast depth of the ring particles.  This scene, or another very similar that we did, was so convincing that it is still occasionally used in documentaries all these years later.

For another sequence in the SATURN 3 trailer Gordon and I created a foreground moon landscape and then, with the camera locked down, photographed it in three or four stages of fading backlight. Here’s Gordon standing next to our light which is blocked by a flag. 

I painted a background of the planet and various animation cels showing stages of the Sun being occulted by the planet, all of which appeared behind the slowly cross-dissolved sequential photographs of the moon miniature as it faded into darkness. Saturn’s clouds were even made to move, giving the sense that the planet was very slowly rotating.

For the Omnimax film TOMORROW IN SPACE, produced by Graphic Films in 1982, I painted a large Earth background for various scenes in which miniature spacecraft hovered in the foreground.

I did a lot of storyboarding for the film, as did Gordon.

My mini Space Shuttle, a new technical phenomenon at the time, and painting a spacecraft miniature.

Gordon and I built, from scratch, an extravehicular mobility unit (EVU) prop for the film. Or maybe I did the whole thing myself. I can’t remember.

Various moonscapes and asteroids were needed, built from Styrofoam and modeling paste. I’m stunned when I look at some of these snapshots today, all these years later. We made some pretty cool and very realistic models.

One of the things I did during my first year at Graphic was create an Earth model for STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE.  It’s seen briefly on the Enterprise’s huge monitor about two-thirds or three-quarters into the movie.  I had been a huge STAR TREK buff in the ‘60s, so to have contributed anything at all to the movie was beyond thrilling.

          Church Awakening Breakfast Fundraiser        
You are invited to join Pastor Alec for Church Awakening informational Breakfast Fundraiser on Saturday, August 26th from 8:30 AM -10:00 AM in Room 320 at Westgate Chapel. You can either RSVP, here on the City of email Jeanie at from Activity in The Plaza for Westgate Chapel via IFTTT
          Leaving lessons in a lessons database doesn't work - an example from NASA.        

NASA found out the hard way that just collecting lessons into a database is not enough.

Image from wikimdia commons
5 years ago, NASA conducted an audit of lesson-learning. At the time, NASA spent 750,000 annually on their lessons learning approach, centred around a tool called LLIS (The Lessons Learned Information System).  NASA was at the time (and still is) one of the worlds leaders in Knowledge Management, and they wanted to know if this money was well spent, and if not, what could be done (note of course that lesson learning is only a part of NASA's KM approach, and thanks to Barbara Fillip for bringing me up to speed).

According to the levels of use and application found by the auditors 5 years ago, there was plenty of room for improvement in lesson-learning. Specifically -
"We found that NASA program and project managers rarely consult or contribute to LLIS even though they are directed to by NASA requirements and guidance. 
In fact, input to LLIS by most Centers has been minimal for several years. Specifically, other than the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), no NASA Center consistently contributed information to LLIS for the 6-year period from 2005 through 2010. 
For example, the Glenn Research Center and the Johnson Space Center contributed an average of one lesson per year compared to the nearly 12 per year contributed by JPL .....  
Taken together, the lack of consistent input and usage has led to the marginalization of LLIS as a useful tool for project managers" 
With minimal contributions (other than at JPL), and with rare consulation, then this system was just not working.

Why did it not work?

The project managers that were surveyed offered a variety of reasons for not using or contributing to LLIS, including:
  • A belief that LLIS is outdated, and is not user friendly
  • A belief that LLIS does not contain information relevant to their project
  • Competing demands on their time in managing their respective projects.  
  • Policy Requirements have been weakened over time. 
  • Inconsistent Policy direction and implementation. 
  • Lack of Monitoring. 
Interesting that three out of these six reasons are directly related to governance. One wonders that, even if a spanking new LLIS were introduced, whether (without better governance) anyone would bother to use it. 

The auditors suggested a number of improvements, including improvements to process, policy and resources, but one of the main issues with a lessons database is that it is a clumsy solution. Lessons should not be stored in an ever-accumulating database - lessons need to be embedded into design, into principles and into process.

Levels of lesson learning

I described, earlier this year, 3 levels of lesson learning, and the approach reviewed by the auditors is Level 1 - reactive capture of lessons in the hope that others will review them and learn from them.

Ideally any organisation should aim for level 2 - where lessons lead to changes in designs, practices or procedures. A lesson is therefore an increment of knowledge, and those little increments are used to build an ever-improving body of knowledge. Once the lesson has been embedded as a practice change, or a design-principle change, or a change in a checklist,  then it can be removed from the database.

Ideally the NASA database would be empty - all lessons would be incorporated in some body of knowledge somewhere. The only lesson in the system would be those pending incorporation.

If this system works well and quickly, then there should be no need for anyone to consult a lessons database - instead they should go to the designs, the checklists, and the design principles.

By relying on a Level 1 lesson learning system, NASA were already making things difficult for themselves. 

          KM vision statements, numbers 16 to 45. Number 37 is so simple, it's elegant!        

In December 2011 I wrote a post titled 15 Knowledge Management Visions.  Here are 30 more to add to the list.

All of these are vision statements for organisational KM programs, forming a core part of the respective Knowledge Management strategies.

Some of these were appended as comments to the original blog post, others are more recent additions. My favourite is number 37 - so simple!

16. NATO communications and information agency
The Vision of NCI Agency’s Knowledge Management is of customer satisfaction through knowledge superiority, the Mission is to deliver customer-focussed and cost-effective solutions through collaboration and knowledge sharing.

17. Unesco
UNESCO’s KM and ICT vision is to enable programme planning, delivery and evaluation in the most efficient and effective way, through the full and innovative use of information and communication technologies and the implementation of Knowledge Management based on a knowledge-sharing culture. This will allow UNESCO to be a modern and learning organization, capable of adapting to the changing world and playing fully its role within the United Nations system.

18. World Health Organization
The vision of WHO KM is of global health equity through better knowledge management and sharing.

19. Worcester Health Libraries
Our vision is to harness the body of knowledge and exploit it at point of need so that the right information will be available to the right people in the right format at the right time. We believe that the effective management of knowledge and information is essential for the provision of the best patient care.

20. UN Economic Commision for Africa
to ensure that ECA becomes and remains Africa’s premier think tank, consistently generating top quality, thoroughly researched products reflecting the latest thinking on issues relating to Africa’s transformative agenda.

21. Hulley & Kirkwood

What does Knowledge Management mean for our employees?

  •  Better communication with peers. 
  • Access to quality information and knowledge that has been validated by internal experts. 
  • Best practice. 

What does Knowledge Management mean for our customer?

  •  Potential cost savings by implementing lessons learned on previous projects at earlier stages of the design. 
  • Greater exposure to the knowledge and expertise of 130 engineers across 8 regional locations. 
  • More efficient delivery of our design. 

What does Knowledge Management mean for our project partners?

  •  Exposure to rationale, lessons learned and local knowledge across our organisation. 
  • Potential cost savings due to better quality information at all project and design stages.

22. Main Roads, Western Australia
OUR KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT VISION: To be recognised as a world class road authority, working innovatively with industry, our partners and the community, to share and build cutting edge knowledge and expertise.

23. The UN-REDD Programme
The UN-REDD Programme partner countries develop REDD+ readiness and implementation capacities aligned with UNFCCC requirements, through the systematic identification, capture and sharing of REDD+ related knowledge.

24  FAO
FAO will facilitate the access to and exchange of knowledge, as well as its generation, in the domain of agriculture and food security. It will assist its Members in generating, accessing and utilizing knowledge in food and agriculture, as well as any other knowledge that relates to it, required to address Members‟ individual and collective development and food security goals.

25. McKnight Foundation
We manage and share knowledge to maximize McKnight’s credible influence in support of mission and programs.

26. Samsung SDS
Samsung SDS' mission is to provide the best possible IT service to our customers. This best service can only be created via our know-how, which is produced by freely sharing our best practice, knowledge and experience from every area within the company

27. GMI
KM: Promotes and strengthens our capacity to learn, question, investigate, share and innovate based on our organization´s culture in order to generate long term value for clients, stakeholders and workers.

28. Aspen Tech. 
All employees will have access to the information, knowledge, and processes they need to achieve their individual objectives and help AspenTech meet its strategic goals.

29. NHS library and knowledge services in England
NHS bodies, their staff, learners, patients and the public use the right knowledge and ,evidence, at the right time, in the right place, enabling high quality decision-making .learning, research and innovation to achieve excellent healthcare and health improvement

30. Ernst and Young 2002
Our knowledge management mission is to enable and steward the acquisition, sharing and reuse of knowledge by our people worldwide. By doing this, our people will be better able to generate new revenues and strengthen client relationships.

31. Department of the Navy 2014 version
The DON vision for KM is to create, capture, share, and reuse knowledge to enable effective and agile decision-making, increase the efficiency of task accomplishment, and improve mission effectiveness. To achieve this vision, the DON KM community will continue to share and leverage the significant KM experience and resources existing within the Department. Currently, DON KM is a centralized vision executed through decentralized implementation

ACCCRN partners will collaborate to build a recognisably credible knowledge base of practical and actionable know-how to meet key climate change urban resilience challenges that will ultimately improve the lives of poor and vulnerable people.

33. The Parliament of Finland 
 The Parliament is an open and competent knowledge organisation with a co-operation oriented work culture and the capacity and will to learn.

34. The U.S. Army Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center (ARDEC) Knowledge Management Office
Providing secure connection to information on demand - any type of information, across multiple applications & business processes
 Consolidation & integration of information to provide a single view of data & higher value information for insights, greater efficiency & improve our competitive advantage
 Integration of partner-enabled solutions & diverse sources of information to provide acceleration of the deployment of end-to-end business processes to improve operational efficiency

35. Lloyds register Marine 
Our vision is to have a knowledge sharing culture that is recognised and respected globally by industry, our clients and our people. We will have behaviours, technology and processes that will connect our global expertise and the right information will always be in the right hands at the right time. Through our people, knowledge and expertise, Lloyd's Register’s performance will continuously improve.

36. Office of Nuclear Energy
The vision of the Office of NE KM Program is to benefit the NE programs by providing scientists across the community with the information required to assess and analyze the accuracy of advanced nuclear energy systems and associated capabilities.

37. US Army TRADOC
 A knowledge-enabled force – one learns, everyone knows.

38. Canadian International Development Agency
The vision of CIDA is to be "a knowledge-driven organization".

39. Comcare
Comcare will create, capture, share and reuse knowledge to support effective and agile evidence based decision-making. We will increase the efficiency and effectiveness of our people and deliver high level service to our community.

40. GPET
GPET will be a learning organisation where the outcomes of previous projects and research inform future work.
Staff will have easy access to information to allow them to do their work. This will include embedding procedures and guidelines into workflows and the ability to find the latest authoritative information across the organisation.
Stakeholders will be able to capitalise on learnings across GPET programs to inform or establish best practice in GPET and their own organisations.

Agricultural knowledge contributing effectively to improved livelihoods in Eastern and
Central Africa.

JPL will “make good use of what JPL knows.”

43. Department of the Navy, 2005 version
The DON vision of KM is to create, capture, share, and reuse knowledge to enable effective and agile decision-making, increase the efficiency of task accomplishment, and improve mission effectiveness.

44. U.S. Army Maneuver Center of Excellence
Connected 24/7 to information, knowledge, and training.

45. MTR organisation
An organisation that
  • Provides continuous opportunities for people to learn ô€‚‹
  • Provides skill development and renewal opportunities ô€‚‹
  • Provides better career opportunities ô€‚‹
  • Provides platform to capture and retain crucial knowledge 
Where people are
  • Aware of business and work expectations ô€‚‹
  • Share knowledge and expertise openly 
  • Seek new and creative ways of working
Beneficial to All Stakeholders
  • ô€‚‹Customers ô€‚‹
  • Shareholders ô€‚‹
  • Staff

          NASA's 6 rules for making Wikis work        

Wikis can sometimes be difficult to sustain as a Knowledge Management tool. Here are 6 rules for success.

Image from Wikimedia commons
I was reading a great article called "Why Wikis at NASA" by  John Verville, Patricia Jones and Mark Rober. In the article, they talk about NASA's experience with wikis, giving the examples of the Goddard Engineering Wiki and the JPL Wired Wiki.

From theie experience, they share these 6 basic and common sense rules.

  • Wikis work best when they solve a problem that is evident to most of a group. 
  •  Wiki use needs to replace an existing work process, not add to work. 
  •  Wikis need advocates and advertising. 
  •  Seeding the wiki with valuable content helps jump-start the process; with a blank page, no one knows where to start. 
  •  Gradual growth is fine, and starting small helps a core group of users become accustomed to the wiki (think pilot study). 
  •  A wiki that serves a niche need is okay; it does not need to be all things to all people.

The authors conclude that

"Wiki technologies have proven themselves to be usable, robust, and affordable. With wikis and other collaborative technologies springing up around NASA, we believe the technological, economic, and cultural forces have aligned to make us a more highly collaborative culture".

          And Then There Was One        
NASA CONCLUDES ATTEMPTS TO CONTACT ROVER 'SPIRIT' Last night the news of Spirit's mission coming to a close hit my mailbox. For me, her journey started about eleven years ago.  A call from JPL came to my office phone, it...
          NASA Mars Curiosity Rover Space Voyager JPL Cydonia Face On Mars Rod Pyle        
Guest: Rod Pyle. Topic: Destination Mars
          Comment on Know Your Zine Author: Aaron Lake Smith by Zine Library: Aaron Lake Smith « popnihil        
[…] Originally from the JPL Zine Collection blog. […]
          Comment on Zine of the Week: Practice Apartment by Pop Nihil » Zine Library: Practice Apartment        
[...] Originally published at the JPL Zine Library. [...]
          Comment on Zine of the Week: Middle School by Monica Gallagher by Pop Nihil » Zine Library: Middle School        
[...] Originally published at JPL Zine Library. [...]
James A. Michener and Basic English-part 2

From Space p.744:
'So we construct a special language of about 1,300 words and we transmit those, and each word cues the computers to set prearranged sequence of events into operation. Dr. Mott, how many radically different commands do you suppose we'll be able to send to our spacecraft?'
'You mean, from JPL to Saturn?'
'You have 1,300 command words, I suppose each one controls...what? Ten...fifteen functions?'
'We can send 300,000 different, specific orders.'

In Basic English with the -er,-ed,-ing endings,  the permitted names of things and other expansions in use(use of a quality as the name of a thing) there are nearly the same number of names of things as above. But a thing is not a thought, a statement gives knowledge of a thought. And in an eight word statement the permitted substitutions in Basic could be gone through at the rate of one a second for more than a million years, each one having a different sense. Basic English is not simple English. Basic English is a system and knowledge of Basic English may be a best first step to knowledge of other language systems (other than natural English).
          So amazing!        

The United States of America might be in the middle of a financial disaster and on the brink of total self destruction or implosion or annihilation or something but setting all that aside…

We just shipped and landed a car sized rover on Mars…and my husbands fingerprints are all over it.  Ok, well, his glove prints anyway. 

The Mars Science Lab (MSL) launched about 9 months ago and has been travelling at about 20,000 mph on its way to Mars which is something like 35 million miles away from here.  (WHAT!!!!!?)

I’ve explained Dave’s role in previous posts, but generally and non-technically speaking, Dave’s role was the design, test, and manufacturing of the heat shield separation mechanisms—most of which took place 4 years ago.   Here’s a picture of him with his team from last summer when they were assembling the heat shield and backshell:



In order to better understand what the heck I’m talking about you MUST watch this video that JPL did explaining the “7 minutes of terror” they anticipated once the spacecraft entered Mars atmosphere. 


7 minutes of terror

Rather dramatic don’t you think?  So not only did they have to get the 2,000 pound rover 35 million miles away, they had to land the dang thing in the fanciest way possible.

We had the opportunity to go to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science last night for a special event which included the live broadcast of from the control room at JPL in Pasadena.

Here are some pics and highlights:


Here’s Dave geekin’ out at a display with his hardware explaining things to the crowd.



This is Dave saying, “I’ve already explained this to you 5 times, don’t you get it?”



Watching mission control on the imax screen in the theater at DMNC.  There was a 14 minute time delay from Mars to Earth.  Wrap your brain around that one.



A computer simulation of the aeroshell entering the Mars atmosphere.  Dave’s big moment of truth was a few minutes later.



Another computer simulation screen—but with actual measurements of velocity and fuel, etc.  You can’t really see it too well, but the “gauge” on the bottom of the screen shows that the vehicle is travelling at nearly Mach 4.  Dave told me that the separation would happen just after it slowed to Mach 1.


This one shows that the heat shield has separated (YAY DAVE!!), and that the a 50 foot diameter parachute had deployed. 


Mission control celebrating the success of the landing.  There was a lot of love in that room.  And probably stinkiness too. 

They were able to receive images from the rover almost immediately, which was somewhat unexpected—it had to do with the positioning of the Mars Odyssey Orbiter and its ability to capture the messages from the rover and send them back to earth, all in a 3-4 minute window they had before earth “set” on Mars and we were out of sight for a while .  Here’s the first picture we saw:


Here’s one that came later taken by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter of the parachute stage of the descent:


Overall a totally awesome experience and amazing accomplishment for the hundreds of scientists and engineers that worked on it.  Including our very own Dave. 

If you want to watch the entry, decent and landing broadcast from NASA/JPL, here it is:

Here’s the link to the msl pages online:

          Dodging the Station Fire        
Our family's two-week summer vacation started the weekend before the Station Fire. We came home for two nights (Thursday 8/27 and Friday 8/28) before it was seriously threatening our neighborhood in northeast Altadena. The breeze delivered two days of clear skies and two nights of choking smoke.

Thank goodness the wind never presented the seasonal Santa Ana pattern that can happen at this time of year, with the characteristic hot gusting winds out of the north that fanned the local fires of 1993. The Station Fire has only been fanned by the gentle Foothills breathing rhythm that residents rely on to draw the day's hot air out to sea every night. The Stonehill anemometer chronicles this pattern of gentle south breeze all day and gentle north breeze all night. A look at the current 5-day readings illustrates the breath-like regularity of this pattern.

With our windows closed all night, we contemplated our vacation plans and decided that they were in some ways a blessing. So we voluntarily evacuated to escape the smoke and enjoy the second half of our vacation on Saturday 8/29, and monitored the email lists, web cams and blogs from afar all week. The steady flow of information made it possible for us to enjoy our vacation with one eye on how things were progressing online. At one point early in the week, we contemplated flying me back home to help defend the neighborhood should it come to that, but decided against it. Amidst the bounty of near-real-time information, these photos were among some of the most reassuring to me personally. They were emailed by Dan Gollnick, showing professional Hot Shot crews fortifying the perimeter defenses along the Altadena Crest Trail.

After having seen literally dozens of ominous photos like the brief selection posted below, the photos of the hotshot crews fortifying our defenses was a welcome sight.

Station Fire flaring up above JPL on 8/28/09 at about 8pm
Photo by Dan Finnerty

Station Fire as seen from the top of Lake on 8/29/09 at about 6am
Photo by Bill Westphal

DC-10 water bomber on 8/29/09 at about 5:30pm
Photo by Bill Westphal

P-3C Orion water bomber over Mount Wilson Observatory on 8/30/09 at about 6:00pm
Photo by Greg Garner

Martin Mars water bomber over Mount Wilson Observatory on 9/1/09 at about 4:00pm
Photo by Greg Garner

Martin Mars water bomber flying over on 9/1/09 at about 4:00pm
Photo by Greg Garner

In the local lore about the 1993 Santa-Ana-whipped blazes that destroyed many homes in our neighborhood, one of the biggest aspects of the stories is the near complete lack of professional support in the defense. Seeing these pictures, I imagined that the Gollnicks, who are the beachhead of Stonehill, must have found some level of satisfaction seeing professionals digging literally miles of "scratch lines" with 1.5 inch feeder hose laid the entire length.

We returned from vacation late last night. I took a hike this morning along part of the "scratch-line" that the Hot Shots had built. Not to over-dramatize things, but I couldn't help looking at the coils of 1 inch hose as unmanned foxholes in hastily-build fortifications somewhere in the Ardennes, facing an anticipated German onslaught, which by some stroke of fate passed over and raged to the east. A staged Forest Service bulldozer at the ready and sky cranes ferrying supplies from the rear to the eastern front filled out the sense of walking a fortification prepared for a battle that never came.

Living in a land without war or knights-of-old, wild-land hot shots are the knights-of-new, defending our kingdom against the flames of hell.

A "knight-of-new" Grayback Forestry Hot Shots of Grants Pass, OR on 9/4/09
SGVN/Staff photo by Eric Reed

For posterity, here is a list of the best wildfire links collected during the week:
Non-government sites:
  • Mashup map of MODIS satellite thermal data and the GeoMAC perimeter data
  • Industry-watch blog
  • Time-Life-quality photos of the Station Fire
National wildfire aggregate information:

          Time is Running out for Spirit Rover        
JPL just released this update on Spirit’s status and it doesn’t look good: The list of remaining maneuvers being considered for extricating Spirit is becoming shorter. Results are being analyzed Wednesday, Jan. 13, from a drive on Sol 2143 (Jan. 12, 2010) using intentionally very slow rotation of the wheels. Earlier drives in the past […]
ELEnin (Dwarf Star), YU55, & Revelations 12:1-2 (June 11, 2011 Update)




詳しくは、Solar System Dynamics:JPL Small-Body Database BrowserのSearch欄に「1003113」と入力して、表示された上段左にある[show orbit diagram]をクリックしご自身で調べてください。

転載元: Brand New World

          Explore Venus with a Strandbeest Rover        

There’s a little problem with sending drones to Venus: it’s too hostile for electronics; the temperature averages 867 °F and the pressure at sea level is 90 atmospheres. The world duration record is 2 hours and 7 minutes, courtesy of Russia’s Venera 13 probe. To tackle the problem, JPL has created a concept for AREE, a mechanical robot designed to survive in that environment.

AREE consists of a Strandbeest configuration of multiple legs with a monster fan propelling it, and one can imagine it creeping over the Venusian landscape. While its propulsion system might be handled by the Strandbeest mechanism, …read more

          The first TV image of Mars was made with crayons        
The first broadcast image of Mars was actually made with crayons, coloured according to data breamed back from the Mariner 4. At 03:13:04 UT signal was reacquired. All systems were nominal, cruise mode was re-established, and transmission of the images started 8.5 hours later. It lasted until August 3. The people at the JPL were [&hellip
          Explore Venus with a Strandbeest Rover        

There’s a little problem with sending drones to Venus: it’s too hostile for electronics; the temperature averages 867 °F and the pressure at sea level is 90 atmospheres. The world duration record is 2 hours and 7 minutes, courtesy of Russia’s Venera 13 probe. To tackle the problem, JPL has created a concept for AREE, a mechanical robot designed to survive in that environment.

AREE consists of a Strandbeest configuration of multiple legs with a monster fan propelling it, and one can imagine it creeping over the Venusian landscape. While its propulsion system might be handled by the Strandbeest mechanism, …read more

          NASA is Testing Mars Drone drone droneday : 2015-01-26 09:07:09 - adafruit industries blog - NASA s Jet Propulsion Laboratory JPL is testing a drone they ve coined the Mars Helicopter that could be headed to Mars via The Verge Rover teams still have a tough time with the Martian surface even though they re flush with terrestrial data The alien surface is uneven, and ridges and valleys make navigating the terrain difficult