Posts Tagged ‘Space’

Whats on Telly Dear?

That’s just what we translated for you folks to read. It really was transmitted out and caught on our alien radar as Picture 2

Its fun-da-mentally friday at Mission Control today and we are taking a few minutes to wonder if you were an alien watching on Earth, what sort of things would you receive via television. Now EVERYONE (ok, clarification: everyone as big a fan of Futurama as I am) knows that this have significant impacts on the human race as portrayed in Season 2, Episode 3; where a premature ending to a television series called Single Female Lawyer causes great wrath on the part of Alien Overlords of Omicron Persei i 8  who launch an invasion fleet to destroy Earth a 1000 years later!

Doomsday talk aside, its a really interesting question – what are the waves conveying. We know that the Search for Extra Terrestrial Life (SETI) brainchild of The Carl Sagan, and if you are a SETI@Home User, you know you are always on the lookout for what it would be like when E.T calls! But what if, E. T is so busy listening to the transmissions from us and watching our television programs, before sending us that message – you know, like you google someone before you email them or facebook them for the first time? Now theres a fun question, with the elements of romanticism of talking to outer space as well as a reflection on what engages us. Back to the obvious question we started with: What is ET watching if they are watching our television? Abstruse Goose, who we think is one of the best webcomics around (Salutes to you sir!) did this interpretation of how we visualize  most watched tv programs and commercials.

electromagnetic_leak

Well, but we do know that ET is probably not only receiving television programs through our trasmitted frequencies! Some readers have already been let into the secret that we are investing some blood sweat and a lot of clicks recently in our new website design, but are still quite fond of the 8.19 sec Spectral signature of the visible wavelengths we receive from the Sun used as the backdrop to our Big On Good current website. We did take a deeper look at how do we visualize and utilise the full electromagnetic sprectrum this week and we didn’t have to look too far: The atlas of electromagnetic spectrum is a fantastic dynamic representation of how the spectrum works in scientific terms, how is it regulated, and what is exactly its relationship with common technologies present in everyday life like Radio, TV, WiFi, Mobile Telephony, and many others. The main attractiveness of the Atlas is its ‘projects’ view – which in combination of its services view (things that you will recognise as uses of the spectrum in daily activities) highlights unique interpretations and new initiatives from artists, ham radio operators, hackers, etc and how social technology services are emerging. Here’s one of our favourites – Your Own Internet Island by Techkwondo as a screenshot. We hope you tell us over the weekend whats your favourite here!

 

Project view in Atlas of Electromagnetic Spectrum

Project view in Atlas of Electromagnetic Spectrum

For now, we will leave you with this. Thank you to Futurama Decoder for translations to our Alien Radar!

Tweeting at 27,724 kms per hour

At Big On Good, we are always excited about new ways of communicating with engaged collaborators. Today, the excitement is reaching a new high – at exactly 3 pm EST or 8pm GMT/BST, we will be tweeting up live with the Crew of STS-125 on The International Space Station!

The event would be live on: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/nasa-live

Some of the questions we have come across are:

Q: Huh, what is the ISS? 

The International Space Station (ISS) is an internationally developed research facility currently being assembled in Low Earth Orbit. On-orbit construction of the station began in 1998 and is scheduled to be complete by 2011, with operations continuing until at least 2015. Several space agencies have been involved in the ISS (you can read the full list on wikipedia too). The space station can be seen from Earth with the naked eye, orbiting at an altitude of approximately 350 kilometres (220 mi) above the surface of the Earth, travelling at an average speed of 27,724 kilometres (17,227 mi) per hour, completing 15.7 orbits per day

Q: Really? When and where can I see the ISS?

If you are reading this post from UK – then you will be able to see the ISS tonight from 21:48:17 till 21:53:04 in the west of the sky. It appears as a slow moving bright spot in the sky (if it is not overcast!). You can see other visible passes in this week optimised for London by Clicking Here. If you are elsewhere and would like to know when you would be able to see passes, satellite flares, etc, you can always check the Heavens Above Website. If you do, please leave us a note/comment here or tweet at @beethakore.

Q: What is STS 125?

STS 125 is short for the Space Transportation Shuttle and it is the 125th flight of the US Space Shuttle program. STS 125 is onboard Atlantis, one of the 3 operating US Space Shuttles – Endeavour and Discovery being the other two.

During STS 125, 7 astronauts repaired and upgraded the Hubble Space Telescope, conducting five spacewalks during their mission to extend the life of the orbiting observatory. They successfully installed two new instruments and repaired two others, bringing them back to life, replaced gyroscopes and batteries, and added new thermal insulation panels to protect the orbiting observatory. The result is six working, complementary science instruments with capabilities beyond what was available and an extended operational lifespan until at least 2014. 

Q: Who is onboard the ISS?

352717main_exp20_ceremony_med_thum

A record number of 13 people are onboard the space station at the moment.

Members of Expedition 19: Gennady I. Padalka, Michael R. Barratt, Koichi Wakata who came up to the Station with Expedition 19.

Members of Expedition 20: Expedition 20 will mark the start of six-person crew operations aboard the International Space Station. All five of the international partner agencies – NASA, the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos), the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) – will be represented on orbit for the first time. This includes flight Engineers Roman Romanenko, Frank De Winne and Robert Thirsk who docked their Soyuz TMA-15 to the International Space Station. This one gets a special treatment, because Big On Good will also be present at the launch of Mission Specialist Nicole P Stott at the targetted date of 18th August 2009 on STS-128!!

STS-127 Crew: Mark L. Polansky, Douglas G. Hurley, Christopher J. Cassidy, Thomas H. Marshburn, David A. Wolf and Julie Payette are onboard STS 127.

More soon…

Space Debris: How do we safeguard our future?

Iridium-Cosmos Debris cloud as it would be on July 10
Iridium-Cosmos Debris cloud as it would be on July 10

Satellite Collision simulation

 

The first accidental hypervelocity collision of two intact spacecrafts occurred on 10 February 2009 when Iridium 33, a US Operational communication satellite and Cosmos 2251, a Russian decommissioned communications satellite collided at 1656 GMT as they passed over northern Siberia at an altitude of 790 km leaving two distinct debris clouds in much of the Low Earth Orbit which are now dispersing and pose danger of future collisions.

The present incidence has generated a lot of concern in the space community (We were at the United Nations Committee for Peaceful Uses of Outer Space recently) especially as the Iridium constellation is in a region of high spatial density and the Iridium constellation has 70 satellites in the operational altitude regime – at even the current situation, there are approximately 3,300 additional catalogued objects that whiz through the Iridium constellation’s altitude each day.

The effects of such debris clouds after collision would pose a significant risk to the access to space both in the short-term and long-term. Although tracking results from the Iridium Cosmos incident show that the debris created is short lived (and would re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere within the next 5-10 years depending on solar activity), incidents such as this could potentially lead to an “ablation cascade” where future collisions would create further and more energetic space debris objects that may be extremely dangerous for human space flights. The figure above depicts the predicted evolution of the Iridium and Cosmos debris planes by July 10 (six months after the collision)! 

Photo Credit with thanks: NASA, Orbital Debris Program Office