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Space... the final frontier...

Mr Stickyfingers

an old fart that rants at times...
Awesome site donor
...just an addition to that article that I posted above... here is a website that tracks it 'LIVE' so if you wish to keep an eye on it then you have the means to do so at your disposal... from these screenshots that I took from the website you can see that yes indeed... Australia is in it's flight path... as I said above... don't forget to duck... from this website below... cheers.




Mr Stickyfingers

an old fart that rants at times...
Awesome site donor
...well... our old mate Tiangong 1 is due to fall back to Earth over this weekend at last... from this website below...



Rogue China space craft due for Easter impact
By Richard Wood
11:59am Mar 27, 2018

An out-of-control Chinese space station is predicted to crash into Earth over the Easter long weekend, experts say.

The Tiangong-1 station was launched in 2011 and hailed a “heavenly place” by the Chinese government, eager to join the space superpowers.

But two years ago scientists said they had lost control of the space station and would be unable to perform a controlled re-entry.

The European Space Agency (ESA) predicted the re-entry period for the Tiangong-1 craft would be from Friday, March 30 to Monday, April 2.

But the ESA warned its calculation was “highly variable”.

The 8.5-tonne space craft’s re-entry location is even more unpredictable.

Tiangong-1 is moving too fast and too randomly for trackers to narrow it down any more precisely than somewhere between 43 degrees north latitude and 43 degrees south latitude.

It is a huge area that includes Brisbane as well as Boston, Beijing and Buenos Aires – and one that is unlikely to become more precise.

The good news for Australian space enthusiasts is that it's currently on a path that will take it over our skies.

Alan Duffy, a research fellow in the Centre for Astrophysics and Supercomputing at Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne, told nine.com.au there is a fair-to-good chance of Australians seeing part of its descent.

Tiangong-1's re-entry to Earth's atmosphere may also be marked by a fireball, he added.

The US Aerospace Corporation predicted any debris would fall within an area of a few hundred square kilometres.

However, the chance of anyone being hit by parts of the space station were miniscule - estimated to be less than one in 1 trillion.

That compares with a one-in-1.4 million chance of a person being hit by lightning.

Mr Stickyfingers

an old fart that rants at times...
Awesome site donor
...even more information from 'Aerospace'... heaps of details in fact... the re-entry of the 'ATV-1' satellite on the video when it fell to Earth is truly spectacular...from this website below... cheers.



Tiangong-1 Reentry
Reentry Information
Tiangong-1 is currently predicted to reenter the Earth’s atmosphere around April 1st, 2018 ± 2 Days.
This prediction was performed by The Aerospace Corporation on 2018 March 26.

Please visit our media kit page for other background information.

Object Description
Type: Payload
Int’l Designation: 2011-053A
NORAD Number: 37820
Launched: 2011 September 30 @ 03:16:03.507 UTC
Site: Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, China
Mission: Tiangong-1, First Chinese Space Station
Mass: 8500 kg at launch (18,740 lbs)
Length: 10.5 m (34 ft)
Diameter: 3.4 m (11 ft)
Solar panels: 2 panels (approx. 7 m x 3 m)

Reentry Overview Video

Tiangong-1 Altitude Prediction

Tiangong-1 Altitude History & Adjustments
Dotted lines indicate dates of probable orbital maneuvers.

Mission Background
  • Tiangong-1 is the first space station built and launched by China.
  • It was designed to be a manned lab as well as an experiment/demonstration for the larger, multiple-module Tiangong station.
  • The spacecraft was launched aboard a Long March 2F/G rocket on 2011 September 30 UTC.
  • There are 2 modules that compose Tiangong-1: A habitable experimental module and a resources module.
  • It has a habitable volume of 15 cubic meters.
  • Tiangong-1 is equipped with 2 sleep stations for astronauts.
  • The first Chinese orbital docking occurred between Tiangong-1 and an unmanned Shenzhou spacecraft on 2011 November 2.
  • 2 manned missions were completed to visit Tiangong-1: Shenzhou 9 and Shenzhou 10.

Diagram of Tiangong-1 – Image credit: Wikimedia Commons

Manned Visits to Tiangong-1
Shenzhou 9 Shenzhou 10
Launched 2012 June 16 with 3 astronauts Launched 2013 June 11 with 3 astronauts
China’s first female astronaut (Liu Yang) was aboard First Chinese orbital maintenance completed
Completed 2 dockings – 1 computer-controlled, 1 crew-guided More docking tests executed
13 day mission, 11 days spent at station 15 day mission, 13 days spent at station

Mr Stickyfingers

an old fart that rants at times...
Awesome site donor
...and finally... this is it's position at this time of me posting... New Zealand must be a tad bit nervous at the moment lol!... cheers.


Mr Stickyfingers

an old fart that rants at times...
Awesome site donor
...well... believe it or not... 'Mad Mike Hughes' finally did it... he went up in his home made Rocket to prove that the Earth is flat over the weekend... yup!... he finally had the balls to do it at last... and does he now believe that the Earth is still flat?... he's not saying... he is now telling us that seeing whether the Earth is flat or not was NOT the objective for this mission... the next one is!... lol!... (I guess that he must have had his eyes shut and was crying and calling out for his mommy or something?)... lol!... he didn't actually reach 1/30th of the height of a commercial airline plane apparently... as someone said on YouTube... why not just pay $300 for a flight in a plane to find out whether the Earth is flat or not?... (makes sense to me lol!)...

...he is saying that his next rocket will be lifted into the atmosphere by a giant balloon... or as he himself says... "He wants to build a "Rockoon" — a rocket that is carried into the atmosphere by a gas-filled balloon, then separated from the balloon and lit. This rocket would take Mr Hughes about 110km up"... he now maintains that he believes that the Earth is "shaped like a Frisbee"... yup!... okay Mike... whatever you say sunshine... lol!... some of the comments below the videos on YouTube are quite hilarious too... from this website below... there are two videos... one of the launch and the other of the 'recovery' after he lands... cheers.



Flat Earth believer 'Mad' Mike Hughes launches himself into California's sky, quickly returns
Updated Mon at 8:00pm

Photo: Mr Hughes said he injured his back after Saturday's launch, but he was otherwise fine. (The Daily Press via AP)

He finally went up — just like the self-taught rocket scientist always pledged he would.

Even though he quickly came back down, it was mission accomplished for a man more daredevil than engineer.

"Mad" Mike Hughes, the "rocket man" who believes the Earth is flat, propelled himself almost 600 metres into the air on Saturday (local time), before a hard landing in the Mojave Desert.

He told the Associated Press that outside of an aching back, he was fine and was "relieved".

"I'm tired of people saying I chickened out and didn't build a rocket. I'm tired of that stuff. I manned up and did it," he said, after being checked by paramedics.

The launch in the desert town of Amboy, California — about 320 kilometres east of Los Angeles — was originally scheduled in November.

It was scrapped several times due to mechanical problems and logistical issues with the Bureau of Land Management.

The 61-year-old limousine driver has been working on overhauling the rocket in his garage for months.

It looked like Saturday's attempt would also be cancelled, given that the wind was blowing and his rocket was losing steam.

"I told Mike we could try to keep charging it up and get it hotter," said Waldo Stakes, who's been helping Mr Hughes with his endeavour.

"He said 'no'."

On Saturday afternoon and without a countdown, Mr Hughes' rocket soared into the sky and reached a speed that Mr Stakes estimated to be around 563kph before Mr Hughes pulled his parachute.

Mr Hughes was dropping too fast, though, and had to deploy a second parachute.

He landed with a thud and the rocket's nose broke in two places, like it was designed to do.

"This thing wants to kill you 10 different ways," said Mr Hughes, who had an altimeter in his cockpit to measure his altitude.

"This thing will kill you in a heartbeat.

"Am I glad I did it? Yeah. I guess. I'll feel it in the morning.

"I won't be able to get out of bed. At least I can go home and have dinner and see my cats tonight."

Photo: Mr Hughes was carried away on a stretcher after his home-made rocket returned to ground near Amboy, California. (AP: Matt Hartman)

The rocket landed about 450 metres from the launch ramp, Mr Stakes said.

He got permission to launch on land owned by Albert Okura, who bought Amboy in 2005. Mr Okura attended the launch and said it lasted about three to four minutes.

"Mike branded us as 'Rocket Town'," Mr Okura said.

"It was amazing."

This has been quite an undertaking for Mr Hughes, who lives in California's Apple Valley, and has seen a flurry of reaction to his plans, with detractors labelling him a "crackpot" for planning the launch in a homemade contraption, and for his belief that the Earth is flat.

"I hope he doesn't blow something up," retired NASA astronaut Jerry Linenger said, as Mr Hughes' plans captured widespread attention.

Mr Linenger orbited the globe more than 2,000 times in four months in 1997.

"Rocketry, as our private space companies found out, isn't as easy as it looks," he said.

Proving shape of Earth not mission's purpose
Mr Hughes often sparred with his critics on social media leading up to the launch.

He has always maintained his mission isn't to prove the Earth is flat.

"Do I believe the Earth is shaped like a Frisbee? I believe it is," he said.

"Do I know for sure? No. That's why I want to go up in space."

Photo: Mr Hughes had to repair a steam leak before launching his home-made, steam-powered rocket. (The Daily Press via AP)

That is his project for down the road.

He wants to build a "Rockoon" — a rocket that is carried into the atmosphere by a gas-filled balloon, then separated from the balloon and lit. This rocket would take Mr Hughes about 110km up.

He has a documentary crew following him around to record his ambition, with a planned release in August.

This was the second time he's constructed and launched a rocket.

He said he launched on a private property in Winkelman, Arizona in 2014 and travelled about 420 metres. He collapsed after the landing and needed three days to recover.

But there wasn't any footage of him climbing into the craft, leading some to question whether he even took off.

Photo: Mike Hughes' mission has garnered a lot of attention online. (AP: Mad Mike Hughes)

This launch was going to be shown online.

"My story really is incredible," Mr Hughes said.

"It's got a bunch of story lines — the garage-built thing. I'm an older guy. It's out in the middle of nowhere, plus the flat Earth.

"The problem is it brings out all the nuts also, people questioning everything. It's the downside of all this."

His future plans are simple: fill out the paperwork to run for governor.

"This is no joke," Hughes said.

"I want to do it."

Mr Stickyfingers

an old fart that rants at times...
Awesome site donor
...I don't know what to make of these two rather odd commentators on Mad Mike's launch and recovery... lol!... what a strange pair of people... see what you think?... cheers.


Mr Stickyfingers

an old fart that rants at times...
Awesome site donor
...one last update on the good old Tiangong 1 Space Station... it is now due to crash sometime between Saturday morning and Sunday night at last calculations... and it could land anywhere between United States/ China/ Africa/ southern Europe/ Australia and South America.... so erm... just keep an eye out for it lol!... on this website below... cheers.



China’s defunct space lab hurtling toward Earth for re-entry

FILE - In this Nov. 3, 2011, file image taken from video from China’s CCTV via AP Video, China’s Shenzhou-8 spacecraft is docked with the orbiting Tiangong-1 space station. China’s defunct and believed out-of-control Tiangong 1 space station is expected to re-enter Earth’s atmosphere sometime in the coming days, although the risk to people and property on the ground is considered low. (CCTV via AP Video, File) (Associated Press)

By Christopher Bodeen | AP March 29 at 8:37 PM

BEIJING — China’s defunct and reportedly out-of-control Tiangong 1 space station is expected to re-enter Earth’s atmosphere sometime this weekend. It poses only a slight risk to people and property on the ground, since most of the bus-size, 8.5-ton vehicle is expected to burn up on re-entry, although space agencies don’t know exactly when or where that will happen.

Below are some questions and answers about the station, its re-entry and the past and future of China’s ambitious space program.


The European Space Agency predicts the station will re-enter the atmosphere between Saturday morning and Sunday afternoon — an estimate it calls “highly variable,” likely because the ever-changing shape of the upper atmosphere affects the speed of objects falling into it.

The Chinese space agency’s latest estimate puts re-entry between Saturday and Wednesday.

Western space experts say they believe China has lost control of the station. China’s chief space laboratory designer Zhu Zongpeng has denied Tiangong was out of control, but hasn’t provided specifics on what, if anything, China is doing to guide the craft’s re-entry.

Based on Tiangong 1’s orbit, it will come to Earth somewhere between latitudes of 43 degrees north and 43 degrees south, or roughly somewhere over most of the United States, China, Africa, southern Europe, Australia and South America. Out of range are Russia, Canada and northern Europe.

Based on its size, only about 10 percent of the spacecraft will likely survive being burned up on re-entry, mainly its heavier components such as its engines. The chances of anyone person on Earth being hit by debris is considered less than one in a trillion.

Ren Guoqiang, China’s defense ministry spokesman, told reporters Thursday that Beijing has been briefing the United Nations and the international community about Tiangong 1’s re-entry through multiple channels.



Debris from satellites, space launches and the International Space Station enters the atmosphere every few months, but only one person is known to have been hit by any of it: American woman Lottie Williams, who was struck but not injured by a falling piece of a U.S. Delta II rocket while exercising in an Oklahoma park in 1997.

Most famously, America’s 77-ton Skylab crashed through the atmosphere in 1979, spreading pieces of wreckage near the southwestern Australia city of Perth, which fined the U.S. $400 for littering.

The breakup on re-entry of the Columbia space shuttle in 2003 killed all seven astronauts and sent more than 80,000 pieces of debris raining down on a large swath of the Southern United States. No one on the ground was injured.

In 2011, NASA’s Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite was considered to pose a slight risk to the public when it came down to Earth 20 years after its launching. Debris from the 6-ton satellite ended up falling into the Pacific Ocean, causing no damage.

China’s own space program raised major concerns after it used a missile to destroy an out-of-service Chinese satellite in 2007, creating a large and potentially dangerous cloud of debris.



Launched in 2011, Tiangong 1 was China’s first space station, serving as an experimental platform for bigger projects such as the Tiangong 2 launched in September 2016 and a future permanent Chinese space station.

The station, whose name translates as “Heavenly Palace,” played host to two crewed missions that included China’s first female astronauts and served as a test platform for perfecting docking procedures and other operations. Its last crew departed in 2013 and contact with it was cut in 2016. Since then it has been orbiting gradually closer and closer to Earth on its own while being monitored.

The station had two modules, one for its solar panels and engines, and one for a pair of astronauts to live in and conduct experiments. A third astronaut slept in the Shenzhou spaceships that docked with the station, which also contained facilities for personal hygiene and food preparation.



Since China conducted its first crewed mission in 2003 — becoming only the third country after Russia and the U.S. to do so — it has taken on increasingly ambitious projects, including staging a spacewalk and landing its Jade Rabbit rover on the moon.

China now operates the Tiangong 2 precursor space station facility, while the permanent station’s 20-ton core module is due to be launched this year. The completed 60-ton station is set to come into full service in 2022 and operate for at least a decade.

China was excluded from the 420-ton International Space Station mainly due to U.S. legislation barring such cooperation and concerns over the Chinese space program’s strong military connections. China’s space program remains highly secretive and some experts have complained that a lack of information about Tiangong 1’s design has made it harder to predict what might happen upon its re-entry.

A mission to land another rover on Mars and bring back samples is set to launch in 2020. China also plans to become the first country to soft-land a probe on the far side of the moon.



Official website of China Manned Space: http://en.cmse.gov.cn/col/col1763/index.html

Mr Stickyfingers

an old fart that rants at times...
Awesome site donor
...haha!... this article reminds me of when I was at High School in the early 70's when I was in a 'Science' class one day... 'Black Holes' were a newly discussed topic with our rather 'enthused' Science teacher because it was the talk of the Scientific world at the time... so there he was prattling on and on and on and bloody on about 'Black Holes'... and because I was such a little shit of a kid at the time I grew bored with him blah blah blahhing on about them so I chose the right time when he paused and then asked if we had any questions... of course... because I was that little shit of a kid I put my hand up and the conversation went something like this from memory...

Me:... "Sir!... can I ask you a question?"...
Sir:... "yes Peter"...
Me:... "you're telling us that Black Holes are swirling around the Universe and are devouring everything that they encounter right?"...
Sir:... "yes... that's right Peter"...
Me:... "so not even Light can escape being sucked into it?"... (I take it a step further)... so it sucks in EVERY SINGLE THING in it's path no matter what it is... right?"...
Sir:... "yes that's right too"...
Me:... "okay... so what if two Black Holes swirl towards each other and finally meet each other... do they suck each other off?"...

...yes... the classroom erupted into laughter... and yes... I was in a LOT of trouble for that... I deserved it... as I said... I was a little shit of a kid at the time... true story... from this website below... the sound of two Black Holes 'devouring each other' believe it or not?... lol!... I have really waited for a long time to get an answer to my question haven't I?... lol!... (you have to actually go to the website to hear the actual sounds)... cheers.



Here's what two black holes smashing into each other sounds like

In the inky blackness of space, they say, no one can hear you scream.

It’s another matter altogether when two black holes collide.

Each weighing more than the sun and travelling about 650 million km/h, if you could listen to the crashing together of these galactic titans it would sound like... a sort of popping noise.

“I think it sounds a bit like a slide whistle. Look a 'whoooooooop' and then a sudden 'pop' when the two collide,” says Dr Rory Smith.

Listen to the sound below – it’s best heard through headphones.


Listen to the sound of black holes colliding
Pop on the headphones and listen to the strange sound of two black holes smashing into one another.

Dr Smith and his Monash University colleague Dr Eric Thrane are black hole hunters. But rather than looking for them with telescopes, the pair is trying to ‘listen’ for them, across the vast silences of space.

Astronomy changed in 2015 when scientists managed to spot a gravitational wave for the first time.

Black holes are so big when they collide and merge their energy causes ripples in space time. Those waves spread out through the galaxy (see artist's impression).

Photo: Image: Henze/NASA
Scientists detect waves as they ripple through earth using a giant laser in 4 kilometre pipe. As a wave comes through, the pipe lengthens slightly, then shrinks slightly, as space-time warps around us. In fact everything on earth, including humans, grows and shrinks slightly each time a wave passes through.

A black hole collides with another somewhere in the universe about every 200 seconds - so there are lots of ripples to pick up.

After we detect them, the ripples can be converted into a sound wave. Played through a computer, you can hear the sounds of the universe.

Dr Thrane and Dr Smith were part of the original international team that made the first discovery. Now they want to use waves to listen in on black holes.

It’s sort of like listening to a horn beep and trying to identify the car. Only, the car is on the other side of the universe.

But in a study published today in Physical Review X, they show how it could be done.


Photo: Supplied
The LIGO gravitational wave detector in Louisiana gathers huge amounts of ‘static’ – gravitational waves bouncing randomly through the universe.

Working at the ARC Centre for Gravitational Wave Discovery, the pair has developed an algorithm that, coupled with a powerful enough computer, can listen to that static and pick out the sounds of black holes colliding.

“It’s the same thing your brain does when your car radio goes out of reception and goes to static,” says Dr Smith.

“Little bits and pieces come of radio stations still come through – but your brain is able to put them together and work out what song is playing.”

With their new algorithm they expect to pick out thousands of black hole collisions from LIGO’s data. Then, they can use the ‘sound’ to learn more about the black hole that made it.

“Black holes are really some of the most mysterious objects in our universe. Ask a question about what’s inside a black hole, and all the laws of physics break down,” Dr Smith says.

Seeing further into the night sky once meant building a bigger telescope. But astronomy is now increasingly the province of computers and algorithms.

Photo: Joseph Looker / Monash University
“When I was a kid, I thought to be an astronomer you had to stand on a mountain and stare up with a telescope,” says Dr Smith.

“It’s certainly different from that,” agrees Dr Thrane. “But I’ve really fallen in love with data and working with computers to find things – it’s now how I pictured it, but it’s beautiful.”


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Mr Stickyfingers

an old fart that rants at times...
Awesome site donor
... I actually groaned when I saw this headline...

Did NASA FAKE the moon landings? Unearthed Apollo 16 footage shows ‘buildings and people’
BIZARRE footage has emerged that shows NASA faked landing on the moon, conspiracy theorists claim.

...seriously?... I know that we have our 'flat Earth' people that reckon that the Earth is not round... that it is flat... yup!... you're right... what a bunch of loonies... and of course... we have the good old "we've never been to the Moon!" loonies too... so now that the 'Flat Earth' people have finally shut up after seeking the headlines as of late we suddenly have the 'we've never been to the Moon' people (who obviously got jealous of the 'Flat Earthers' hogging all of the headlines) have now come up with this twaddle... you can read the whole article on this website below...


...they actually believe that these photos from old Apollo 16 blurred videos show 'moon buildings' in the background behind the Astronauts... here they are...



...oh yes... there they are... the 'moon buildings'... in fact... I can see the 'moon people' in their hovering saucers buzzing around the 'moon buildings' I'm sure of it!... **sigh!**... what a bunch of idiots!... seriously... 'moon buildings'?... I've overlaid an image of the 'Moon Buggy' (yes... it is real) on top of both images and it's almost an identical fit (although I couldn't find a Moon Buggy image at the precise angle of what I wanted) and it suits most of the similar shapes of the 'moon buildings'... I'm pretty certain that the 'moon buildings' are just a blurred image of the Moon Buggy and that the other 'blocks' of black and white are just block shadows (because of the bad quality of the image) within the boulder behind it... (I really can't believe that I'm even wasting my time with this latest shit to be honest but I have some sort of bee in my bonnet at the moment with these dickflops for some reason lol!)...

...now!... getting back to the images... here is the original image and below it my overlay of the Moon Buggy...


...now the close up image and my overlay below it...



...um... I'm pretty sure that it is the Moon Buggy and not an advanced civilisation of 'Moon people' living in the 'moon buildings' there lol!... case solved!... here are some images of the Moon buggy in closeup just as a reference... I think that this shit is a closed case file now... I've finally got this twaddle out of my system at last lol!... cheers.


Mr Stickyfingers

an old fart that rants at times...
Awesome site donor
...whoa!... that was close!... this happened just last Sunday and there was only about 24 hours prior notice of it before it whizzed by!... how the hell doesn't anyone know about it until it has just past us by has me gobsmacked lol!... from this website below... cheers.



Asteroid as big as a warehouse is freakiest near miss in years

A space rock soared by Earth closer than half the distance to the moon just hours after being spotted for the first time on Saturday.

April 16, 2018 10:23 AM PDT
Astronomers spotted an asteroid as big as a Walmart store or a city block just hours before it buzzed our planet Saturday.

Asteroid 2018 GE3 could be several times bigger than the meteor that exploded over Chelyabinsk, Russia, five years ago, creating a shockwave that blew out thousands of windows in the city of Chelyabinsk, causing hundreds of minor injuries.

The Catalina Sky Survey and Steward Observatory in Arizona first observed Asteroid 2018 GE3 in the early morning hours on Saturday. Less than 24 hours later, it came within about half of the distance between us and the moon, or 119,000 miles (192,000 kilometers) from the surface of the planet.

It's common for asteroids to be spotted for the very first time at this relatively close distance, but this particular space rock is among the largest ever to come that close to the surface of our planet. A couple of times a week, on average, an asteroid will come closer than the distance to the moon, but most of those are hunks about the size of a bus or maybe a house.

2018 GE3, by comparison, is between 200 and 400 feet (48-110 meters) in diameter, or more like the size of a large warehouse. That makes it two to five times larger than the bolide that unexpectedly collided with the atmosphere above Russia in 2013.

Asteroid 2018 GE3 flew past us today, half the distance to the Moon. Around 50-100 m in diameter, it was several times the 2013 Chelyabinsk meteor, around the size of the 1908 Tunguska event ~ easily enough to destroy a city. We had less than a day's warning. ( Michael Jäger) pic.twitter.com/kElrxBiUoB

— Andrew Rader (@marsrader) April 16, 2018
Wikipedia and other sources are currently reporting that this is the largest asteroid to ever pass this close to Earth. However, a search of NASA near-Earth object observation data shows that a couple of larger asteroids passed within half the distance to the moon, one in 2001 and one in 2002.

But we are set for a real close call in almost exactly 11 years from now, when the asteroid 99942 Apophis will pass closer to us than the orbit of many man-made satellites on April 13, 2029. Apophis is a menacing asteroid that could be 10 times the size of 2018 GE3. But don't worry, it's still highly unlikely to hit us.

Mr Stickyfingers

an old fart that rants at times...
Awesome site donor
...more on that article above... from this website below... cheers.



'Tunguska'-Size Asteroid Makes Surprise Flyby of Earth
By Hanneke Weitering, Space.com Staff Writer | April 16, 2018 01:00pm ET

An asteroid similar in size to one that exploded more than 100 years ago in Russia's Tunguska region in Siberia gave Earth a close shave on Sunday (April 15), just one day after astronomers discovered the object.

The asteroid, designated 2018 GE3, made its closest approach to Earth at around 2:41 a.m. EDT (0641 GMT), whizzing by at a distance of 119,400 miles (192,000 kilometers), or about half the average distance between Earth and the moon, according to NASA's Center for Near Earth Object Studies (CNEOS).

NASA estimated that this asteroid measures 157 to 360 feet (48 to110 meters) wide, making the space rock up to 3.6 times the size of the one that leveled 500,000 acres (2,000 square kilometers) of Siberian forest when it exploded over Tunguska in 1908. [Gallery: Potentially Dangerous Asteroids]

Amateur astronomer Michael Jäger of Weißenkirchen, Austria captured this video of asteroid 2018 GE3 zooming through the constellation Serpens on April 14 at 7:20 p.m. EDT (2320 GMT). The asteroid made its closest approach to Earth on April 15 at 2:41 a.m. EDT (0641 GMT).
Credit: Michael Jäger
This newfound asteroid is three to six times as big as another recent meteor, the one that broke up over Chelyabinsk, Russia, in 2013. That object injured more than 1,200 people and damaged thousands of buildings up to 58 miles (93 km) away from the impact site.

"If 2018 GE3 had hit Earth, it would have caused regional, not global, damage, and might have disintegrated in the atmosphere before reaching the ground," SpaceWeather.com reported. "Nevertheless, it is a significant asteroid, illustrating how even large space rocks can still take us by surprise. 2018 GE3 was found less than a day before its closest approach."

A diagram shows the orbit of asteroid 2018 GE3, which flew by Earth on April 15, 2018.
Credit: NASA JPL
The asteroid 2018 GE3 was first spotted on Saturday (April 14) at 5:23 a.m. EDT (0923 GMT) by astronomers at the Catalina Sky Survey, a NASA-sponsored program based at the University of Arizona in Tucson. This first sighting occurred just 21 hours before the asteroid's closest approach to Earth.

Mr Stickyfingers

an old fart that rants at times...
Awesome site donor
...wow!... it looks like NASA is off to the Moon again... not to repeat the Apollo missions or colonise the moon but to create a 'gateway' to Mars and beyond in low orbit around the Moon... and... for reasons that baffle me... Trump's administration has decided to stop funding the International Space Station in 2024... say what?... from this website below... cheers.



NASA’s Lunar Space Station Is Almost Here
The first contract to build components of the “Gateway” will be awarded next year.
Justin Bachman
April 20, 2018, 6:00 PM GMT+10

NASA’s goal of returning to the moon should see a major push in early 2019, when the agency awards its first contract for the lunar “Gateway” program.

The Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway is NASA’s planned “staging” area intended for studies of the moon and the deep-space environment. Eventually, it will function as a way station for astronauts traveling to and from Mars.

NASA’s first spending for the platform will be for power and propulsion elements early next year, followed by habitation components, Associate Administrator William Gerstenmaier said Thursday at the Space Symposium conference in Colorado Springs, Colorado. They will probably be launched moonward, in that order, starting in 2022.

The platform should be orbiting the moon in 2025, said Gerstenmaier, a 41-year NASA veteran who oversees human exploration and operations. It will carry a four-astronaut crew on 30-day missions, he said.

The Gateway would also further NASA’s goal of another human landing on the moon and will help determine whether water near the surface could be used to manufacture propellant for deep-space missions. The moon’s gravity could also help a spacecraft reduce the blistering speeds used for six-month voyages back-and-forth to Mars, thus facilitating re-entry to Earth’s atmosphere.

“We want to understand orbital mechanics around the moon” a little better, far from the Earth’s deep gravity well, he said. “Doing things in this region, where gravity isn’t such a big driver … is a different way of operating.”

Source: NASA
In November, NASA selected five companies to study a high-power solar-electric propulsion system to use in deep-space missions, including the lunar platform. Future human missions will require a power system that has triple the capability of current designs.

Trips to the “gateway” will be aboard the Orion, a spacecraft being assembled by Lockheed Martin Corp., with the service module being supplied by the European Space Agency. The Orion’s first flight, without crew, is scheduled for next year. The craft will serve as the command deck when it’s docked with the platform.

“Development of the gateway has great momentum, and we are providing our expertise as NASA looks to industry to bring know-how to this important effort,” Lockheed said Thursday in an emailed statement. The lunar platform is based on current NASA budgets and “doesn't require a huge new influx of funding,” Gernstenmaier said, calling realistic budget planning one of NASA’s strategic principles for how to pioneer deep-space missions.

“It’s got fiscal realism, and it’s also adaptable,” he said of the program. “It can adapt to commercial partners. It’s not a rigid program of one mission following another,” an allusion to the Apollo program, which famously required an aggressive schedule of flights that built off each other.

“As long as we view the moon as a stepping stone and not an end goal, I think we’re OK,” Gernstenmaier said. NASA is also assessing how to continue the U.S. presence in low-Earth orbit. The Trump administration has proposed ending U.S. funding of the International Space Station in 2024. “We think it’s a great place to do development,” Gerstenmaier said. “To do major development in the vicinity of the moon is really costly.”

Mr Stickyfingers

an old fart that rants at times...
Awesome site donor
...Storms absolutely fascinate me... I love watching them in their full glory... seeing them from above is just pure wonderment for me... the video below is Mother Nature at it's best... watch it and you will be mesmerised like me... from NASA's website below... cheers.




April 10, 2018

Once Upon a Time in a Thunderstorm

Upper atmospheric phenomena powered by thunderstorms, including terrestrial Gamma Ray Flashes and Transient Luminous Emissions (TLEs), electrical discharges that include blue glimpses at the top of thunderstorms, blue jet, gigantic jet, red sprite, haloes, and elves.
Credits: DTU Space, TGF: NASA

Thunderstorm seen from the space station.
Credits: DTU Space, ESA, NASA

Blue Jet reaching 30 km upwards into the stratosphere as seen from the space station.
Credits: DTU Space, ESA, NASA

Thunderstorms in Earth’s upper atmosphere remain something of a mystery. Scientists cannot reach them directly with instruments; they are too high for balloons and too low for weather satellites. Flying through thunderstorms or camping out on mountaintops waiting for one typically ranks low even on an adventurers' bucket list.

An investigation aboard the International Space Station has come to the rescue. The European Space Agency (ESA) Atmosphere-Space Interactions Monitor (ASIM) is a collection of optical cameras, photometers and a large X- and gamma-ray detector mounted on the outside of ESA’s Columbus Module on the station. For at least two years, it will observe thunderstorm-generated electrical discharges in the upper atmosphere – the stratosphere and mesosphere – up to the ionosphere, the edge of space. This Earth observation facility enables study of severe thunderstorms and their role in the Earth’s atmosphere and climate.

Upper-atmospheric lightning, known as transient luminous events, includes colorful phenomena with names straight out of a fairy tale: sprites, elves, and giants.

The space station offers this investigation an ideal observing platform for several reasons. Its low-Earth orbit brings the observations as close as possible to these upper-atmosphere phenomena. The station’s orbit also offers almost complete coverage of tropical and subtropical regions, much of which are difficult to access but are where some of the most intense thunderstorms form. Finally, observations are made in optical bands that are subject to absorption in the atmosphere and so cannot be used for ground observations.

Sprites are flashes caused by electrical breakdown in the mesosphere. Blue jets are lightning discharges reaching upwards through the stratosphere, and elves are concentric rings of emissions caused by an electromagnetic pulse at the ionosphere’s bottom edge. Giants are large discharges that create an electrical breakdown of the atmosphere from the top of thunderstorms to the bottom ionosphere. Terrestrial gamma-ray flashes are a flash phenomenon generated at the top of thunderstorms. Evidence suggests that run-away electron discharge causes some of these phenomena.

In the 1920s, English scientist C.T.R. Wilson received a Nobel Prize for work with a cloud chamber that made visible the ionizing radiation from cosmic rays and X-rays. He predicted that electrical discharges can occur above thunderstorms in the mesosphere, and that thunderstorm electrical fields can accelerate electrons to relativistic energies. Instruments were not sensitive enough to provide a definitive answer until 1993, however, when flashes of X-rays over thunderstorms were observed from NASA’s Compton Gamma Ray Observatory.

In 1990, the first observation of a sprite was documented, and since then ground and aircraft observations discovered a multitude of discharges above thunderstorms, and spacecraft in low orbit observed X- and gamma-ray radiation.

ASIM represents a comprehensive global survey of these super-high altitude, difficult-to-observe-from-the-ground events to help determine their physics and how they relate to lightning. The investigation also studies high-altitude cloud formation and determines what characteristics make thunderstorms effective in disturbing the high-altitude atmosphere. The research improves understanding of the effect of thunderstorms on Earth’s atmosphere and contributes to better atmospheric models and meteorological and climatological predictions.

“High-altitude observation allows us to study these events without the obscuring clouds,” said principal investigator Torsten Neubert of the National Space institute of the Technical University of Denmark. “With ASIM we will better understand the complex processes of upper-atmospheric lightning, which are also elements of ordinary lightning, although they take on different forms. This understanding can improve technology for detecting ordinary lightning.”

The investigation also helps clarify the effect of thunderstorms on the atmosphere, ionosphere and radiation belts, and will monitor the influx of meteors in Earth's environment and their effect on its atmosphere. Blue jets at the top of thunderstorm clouds, for example, change the concentration of greenhouse gases, another way thunderstorms can affect the stratosphere.

The types of discharges and their structure help scientists better understand the structure of the atmosphere where they occur and of the thunderstorm battery that powers them.

“We will learn more about thunderstorm clouds and more of the fine-structure of the stratosphere and mesosphere, of which little is known,” Neubert said. Based on video taken by ESA astronaut Andreas Mogensen from the space station in 2015, scientists already learned more about what types of cloud create such activity, and that lightning comes from clouds at an altitude of about 10.5 miles (17 km). “These are solid scientific results documenting for the first time how active the tops of thunderclouds can be,” he added.

ASIM observations also improve understanding of the effect of dust storms, urban pollutants, forest fires, and volcanoes on cloud formation and electrification, and the relation of eye-wall lightning activity to intensification of thunderstorms. That could help us all live more happily ever after.

For more information about current investigations happening aboard the space station, follow @ISS_Research. For opportunities to see the space station pass over your town, check out Spot the Station.

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Mr Stickyfingers

an old fart that rants at times...
Awesome site donor

...if nothing else... this article had my brain numb from trying to comprehend the size of this aircraft... it's astounding... the Space rocket carrying aircraft is the 'Stratolaunch' aircraft... it's wingspan is wider than the Saturn V rocket is tall!... it is designed to take off on a runway as a traditional aircraft does with up to 3 Pegasus rockets to be launched in a single flight... eventually it's proposed to take up even bigger Spacecraft affixed to it to be released at a height of 35,000 feet where they will automatically launch themselves into Space and beyond within the stratosphere... they could be launched at the rate of 1 mission each week when it has been fully tested...

...the benefit of launching Space rockets this way is that there is no need for a launchpad and can be launched regardless of the weather... an amazing feat indeed!... the website says that "Stratolaunch was founded in 2011 by Microsoft co-founder Paul G. Allen, with the goal of increasing access to Low Earth Orbit. The system uses an aircraft to launch rockets instead of the traditional launch pad"... I find this to be truly fascinating... from this website below... cheers.



Stratolaunch conducts high-speed taxi tests on giant carrier aircraft
written by Michael Baylor February 26, 2018

Last weekend, Stratolaunch Systems performed high-speed taxi tests of the world’s largest aircraft by wingspan. The tests represent continued progress towards the maiden flight of the plane. The Stratolaunch carrier aircraft will serve as a mobile launch platform for rockets including Orbital ATK’s Pegasus XL.

Stratolaunch was founded in 2011 by Microsoft co-founder Paul G. Allen, with the goal of increasing access to Low Earth Orbit. The system uses an aircraft to launch rockets instead of the traditional launch pad.

Air-launch comes with a few key advantages. For example, the launch vehicle has to fly through significantly less atmosphere. Also, weather delays are not as common, as the rocket is released from an altitude above most weather systems.

Initially, Stratolaunch planned to work with SpaceX to develop a launch vehicle. The goal was to build a four or five engine variant of the Falcon rocket designed for air-launch. However, work between the companies ended in 2012, after SpaceX determined that too many modifications were required.

As a result, Orbital Sciences (now Orbital ATK) was selected to replace SpaceX. Unlike SpaceX, Orbital already had a proven air-launch vehicle in the Pegasus – a rocket with 29 successful launches in a row.

Orbital ATK’s Stargazer carrier aircraft releases a Pegasus XL rocket carrying NASA’s Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System. Image by NASA.

While Orbital ATK prepares to begin operations with Stratolaunch, the fate is unclear for launches from Orbital’s Stargazer aircraft – the current carrier for Pegasus. There is only one Stargazer based launch remaining on the Pegasus manifest – the Ionospheric Connection Explorer (ICON) mission for NASA. Therefore, it is possible that all Pegasus missions will transition to Stratolaunch after ICON launches in 2018.

Stratolaunch will carry the Pegasus from a carbon fiber aircraft designed by Scaled Composites – the same company that built WhiteKnightTwo (WK2) for Virgin Galactic. Like WK2, the Stratolaunch plane features a dual fuselage design.

While both fuselages on the carrier have windows, the three-person crew will fly in the right fuselage. The left fuselage is not human rated and thus will only house electronics.

The plane is propelled by six jet engines which have been salvaged from two 747s. Additional components from the 747s were also utilized, including landing gear, windows, avionics, and actuators.

The Stratolaunch aircraft features three 747 jet engines on each side. Photo by Stratolaunch.

The wingspan of the carrier aircraft is a world record breaking 385 feet (117 meters) – long enough for the Wright brothers to complete their historic flight three times. Additionally, it also makes the carrier wider than the Saturn V rocket is tall.

In addition to the massive wingspan, Stratolaunch has a carrying capacity of 549,290 pounds (249,153 kilograms) and a 1,000 nautical mile mission radius. These metrics will enable up to three Pegasus rockets to be launched in a single flight. They also create the potential for larger launch vehicles to be launched from the aircraft, as the plane is not exclusively designed for Pegasus.

A Stratolaunch visualization of their aircraft carrying three Pegasus rockets.

In May 2017, the Stratolaunch plane rolled out of its hangar at the Mojave Air and Space Port for the first time to begin fuel tests.

In the fall, Stratolaunch moved into stationary engine tests. These were incremental, with the engine’s power gradually increasing over time.

Around the same period, Stratolaunch also announced that it had conducted “prerequisite testing of the electrical, pneumatic, and fire detection systems.”

Finally, in December Stratolaunch capped off the year with a successful low-speed taxi test. During the taxi, the vehicle reached a top speed of 28 miles per hour (45 kilometers per hour) as it headed down the runway.

Following the test, Aircraft Program Manager George Brugg stated, “This was another exciting milestone for our team and the program. Our crew was able to demonstrate ground directional control with nose gear steering, and our brake systems were exercised successfully on the runway. Our first low-speed taxi test is a very important step toward first flight.”

Last weekend, Sratolaunch kicked off 2018 with two days of additional taxi tests. Most notably, the tests included reaching the maximum taxi speed of 40 knots (46 miles per hour). According to Allen, these tests allowed the team to “verify control responses.”

After that, the path remains unclear. Stratolaunch likes to keep a low-profile in terms of scheduling. However, as of last year 2019 was the target for the first launch.

During commercial operations, the aircraft will be capable of performing approximately one mission per week. Stratolaunch will primarily fly out of its base at the Mojave Air and Space Port. However, other airports can be utilized, as long as they can handle the large wingspan.

Initially, Stratolaunch will carry one launch vehicle at a time. Flights with multiple rockets will occur once operations ramp up. Release will occur at approximately 35,000 feet (10,668 meters).


TONIGHT @Mr Stickyfingers ......

A Stargazer's Guide To The Cosmos

ABC HD, 9:30pm, Tue, 15 May 2018, 60 minutes

Amateur astronomer Greg Quicke (a.k.a. Space Gandalf) presents the ultimate beginners guide to the southern sky.

Australia, English, Documentary, Infotainment

Mr Stickyfingers

an old fart that rants at times...
Awesome site donor
TONIGHT @Mr Stickyfingers ......

A Stargazer's Guide To The Cosmos

ABC HD, 9:30pm, Tue, 15 May 2018, 60 minutes

Amateur astronomer Greg Quicke (a.k.a. Space Gandalf) presents the ultimate beginners guide to the southern sky.

Australia, English, Documentary, Infotainment

...yes I picked up on that early today kxkand was going to post it here for you and others... you beat me to it... I'm taping both that and the Brian Cox show before it... thanks for the heads up though kxk... you're a gem... cheers.
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Mr Stickyfingers

an old fart that rants at times...
Awesome site donor
...this sounds interesting... I'm staying up tonight to watch the Live telecast on the NASA website itself on NASA Live TV... colour me intrigued... on this website below is the article itself...


...and here is the 'NASA Live TV' link directly from NASA... it's on around 2:00 AM... cheers.



NASA Is About to Announce a Massively Exciting Mars Discovery
Here's what we know so far!

6 JUN 2018
At 2 pm EDT (6 pm UTC) this Thursday, NASA will have a big Mars announcement to make.

As with most announcements of announcements, they've only released a few details, but we do know that the "live discussion" will talk about "new science results from NASA's Mars Curiosity rover".

So what has Curiosity found? Well, although everyone always hopes for aliens, we wouldn't recommend holding your breath for little green people.

Curiosity celebrated its fifth birthday on the Red Planet earlier this year, with an amazing panorama of where it's gone so far; but to be honest, it's been a very slow journey.

What we do know is that it's bound to be some super-exciting science, with a number of big NASA researchers taking part in the discussion - including people who directly work with the samples Curiosity has been diligently gathering on Mars.

According to NASA, here are the participants:

  • Paul Mahaffy, director of the Solar System Exploration Division at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, who is in charge of Curiosity's sample analysis;
  • Jen Eigenbrode, research scientist at Goddard who investigates gasses and organic molecules;
  • Chris Webster, a senior research fellow in atmospheric chemistry at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL);
  • Ashwin Vasavada, a geophysicist at Mars Science Laboratory, JPL.
The research is also to be published on Thursday in Science – one of the top scientific journals.

What's particularly cool is that the public will be able to tune in and ask questions through social media. To find out what Curiosity has delivered, check out the livestream below at around 2 pm EDT on Thursday (7 June):


Well-Known Member
Thanks for posting that stuff Mr S.
Interests me greatly.
I still have a lifelong fascination with Joe Kittinger-the man who jumped from space in 1960.
Its been done since by Felix baumgartner in2014 as apart of a red Bull sponsored project. But of course armed with all the technology and knowledge we have now.
But Kittinger did it in 1960. A real jump into the unknown. And had a ciggy upon landing!
When I think of fortitude and bravery I always think of Kittinger.
Stretching the possibilities and realms of mankind for research.
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Mr Stickyfingers

an old fart that rants at times...
Awesome site donor
...bloody wow Fuzz!... what a heroic man Joseph was back then eh?... they are brilliant clips... thanks for posting them my friend because I've never seen them before which makes it even better for me... and... thanks also for liking this thread my friend... I didn't think that many were interested in it so one more viewer makes a big difference lol!... cheers.


Well-Known Member
No worries Mr S. Glad you enjoyed the clips.Thank you for this thread. I love this kinda stuff.
I think its the inner.....

that resides in me.:)
Kittinger serves as a bit of a metaphor for me in a lot of ways. Of courage and exploration for the greater good and greater knowledge for mankind.
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