Sonntag, 27. Juli 2014 - 17:30 Uhr

UFO-Forschung - Unzureichende Informationen in NICAP-Dokument als UFO-Beweis -TEIL 5


January 4, 1954 - Quantico Virginia
The “UFO evidence” states the following about this case:
January 4, 1954--Quantico, Va. Red revolving or blinking lights, hovering and moving sound- lessly at tree-top height reportedly seen for six nights above Marine Corps base. [IV]1
Going to section IV, we read the following:
Story broke this date that red-lighted UFOs had hovered, maneuvered over base for past six nights2
The source of this story comes from the United Press with no other information being pre- sented. There are no names or details available yet NICAP found it a significant case. Can one consider this “evidence” based on one newspaper clipping? What was so significant about this story that made it worthy of note?
The original story
Iguess the reason that the UFO evidence lists this case is because there were reports of multiple wit- nesses, who were Marines. Marines are considered reliable and trustworthy but that does not guar- antee they reported what transpired accurately. One must understand that the marines that normally stand sentry duty are the lowest ranking and youngest individuals, who might mistake something they were not familiar with as something extraordinary. My first thought about this was that they may have mistook stars scintillating as the tree-top objects. The idea that it was seen six nights in a row usually is an indication of something astronomical.
Since it was military, I figured Blue Book probably was involved. Checking the Fold 3 web site revealed that there was a file but the Blue Book record card was mistakenly dated 31 December 1959. However, the rest of the file comes from January 1954 and included the original story from the Washington Post of January 4, 1954.3 That story described two sentries, who reported the landing of a flying saucer to the Officer of the day. A helicopter was reported to have been sent to find the object and there were rumors of two platoons being sent to capture the flying saucer. The article also mentioned that “higher authorities” were investigating the case.
While this all sounds very interesting, it seems to be the sole source of information that NICAP chose to use as a reference in their document. Like some of the other NICAP cases that I have mentioned in the past, there was an explanation that appeared in the news papers just a few days later that NICAP either missed or ignored.
Grimes lighting
The Blue Book file has an interesting document that demonstrates that the higher authorities run- ning the investigation were from the USAF and the base Public Information Officer (Major Fergus- en) at Quantico. Since the UFOs had appeared over the previous three nights, Major Glasebrook from intelligence, went to Quantico on the evening of the fourth to see what the fuss was about.
BB described what transpired:
At 1945 hours a Marine corporal reported that the phenomena was appearing again. Maj. Glasebrook and Maj. Fergusen went outside and observed a flashing red light which appeared in the north and passed over the northeast section of the Danger area in southeasterly direction. It was rapidly apparent that this was a Grimes Beacon on a commercial air liner as Maj Glasebrook could see both wing tip identification lights at one time, in addition to the Grimes Beacon. 4
On January 5th and 6th, numerous papers published a story stating the Marines had solved the mys- tery.5 The article in the Washington Evening Star had the most information.6 Apparently, airliners had installed a new flashing red light, called a Grimes light, on them. The young Marines on sentry duty, as well as some sergeants/corporals, were unaware of this lighting and it confused them into thinking they were seeing a flying saucer instead of an airplane.
NICAP drops the ball.....again
For an organization that promoted the idea that UFOs were being covered up by the government and Air Force, it sure looks like NICAP was just as guilty of “covering up”. Either they chose not to read any stories that appeared after the initial sighting or they simply refused to admit that there was a rational explanation. This means they were incompetent or deceptive. I guess it is a case of the ends justifying the means. By ignoring or not mentioning the solutions, they could pad their document with a whole bunch of cases that others would simply accept as proof of alien visitation. However, the inclusion of such weak cases indicates that they were blinded by their beliefs instead of examining each case critically.
Quelle: SUNlite 3/2013


Samstag, 26. Juli 2014 - 22:30 Uhr

Raumfahrt - GAO-Bericht warnt davor, das SLS erster Starttermin (Dezember 2017) nicht haltbar ist



Resources Need to be Matched to Requirements to Decrease Risk and Support Long Term Affordability

What GAO Found
The Space Launch System (SLS) program is making solid progress on the SLS design. However, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has not developed an executable business case based on matching the program's cost and schedule resources with the requirement to develop the vehicle and conduct the first flight test in December 2017 at the required confidence level of 70 percent. NASA uses a calculation referred to as the “joint cost and schedule confidence level” to estimate the probable success of a program meeting its cost and schedule targets. NASA policy usually requires a 70 percent confidence level for a program to proceed with final design and fabrication. GAO's work on best practices has shown that programs that do not establish an executable business case that matches requirements—or customer needs—to resources, such as schedule and funding—are at increased risk of cost and schedule growth. The program is satisfying many of NASA's metrics that measure progress against design goals, such as requirements for design maturity. According to the program's risk analysis, however, the agency's current funding plan for SLS may be $400 million short of what the program needs to launch by 2017. Furthermore, the development schedule of the core stage—which drives the SLS schedule—is compressed to meet the 2017 launch date. NASA also faces challenges integrating existing hardware that was not originally designed to fly on SLS. For example, SLS is using solid rocket boosters from the Constellation program, but integrating a new non-asbestos insulating material into the booster design has proven difficult and required changes to the booster manufacturing processes.
The SLS program has not yet defined specific mission requirements beyond the second flight test in 2021 or defined specific plans for achieving long-term goals, but the program has opportunities to promote affordability moving forward. NASA plans to incrementally develop more capable SLS launch vehicles to satisfy long-term goals, but future missions have not been determined, which will directly affect the program's future development path and flight schedule. Mission selection will likely determine which element the program decides to develop next, as the program can afford to develop only one element at a time. The magnitude of these development efforts could be significant but is currently unknown as the program has not developed complete life-cycle cost estimates for the initial or future SLS launch vehicles. In May 2014, GAO recommended that NASA address this issue, and NASA partially concurred, citing that actions taken to structure the programs and track costs met the intent of the recommendations. However, GAO believes NASA's responses do not fully address the concerns about the program's cost estimates. There are opportunities, however, to improve long-term affordability through competition once the development path has been determined and NASA can finalize its acquisition approach. For example, the program plans to compete the procurement of one element; however, the agency has not finalized assessments of options for competitively procuring other future elements. Such assessments could better position NASA to sustain competition, control costs, and better inform Congress about the long-term affordability of the program. GAO's body of work on contracting has shown that competition in contracting is a key factor in controlling cost.
Why GAO Did This Study
SLS is NASA's first exploration-class heavy lift launch vehicle in over 40 years. Predecessor programs, such as Constellation, were canceled in the face of acquisition problems and funding shortfalls. NASA estimates it could spend almost $12 billion developing the first of three SLS vehicle variants and associated ground systems through initial launch in late 2017 and potentially billions more to develop increasingly capable vehicles. Ensuring that this program is affordable and sustainable for the long term is a key goal of the 2013 National Space Transportation Policy.
GAO was asked to evaluate SLS program challenges. This report examines (1) the SLS program's progress toward and risks for its first test flight in 2017 and (2) the extent to which the SLS program has plans in place to achieve its long-term goals and promote affordability. To do this, GAO reviewed relevant design, development, cost, and schedule documents; interviewed program officials; and evaluated SLS program actions using acquisition and cost estimating best practices.
What GAO Recommends
Among other actions to reduce risk and allow for continued assessment of SLS progress and affordability, GAO recommends that NASA develop an executable business case for SLS that matches resources to requirements, and provide to the Congress an assessment of the SLS elements that could be competitively procured for future SLS variants before finalizing acquisition plans for those variants. NASA concurred with GAO's recommendations.
Recommendations for Executive Action
Recommendation: To provide the Congress with the necessary insight into program planning and affordability, and to decrease the risk of cost and schedule overruns, NASA's Administrator should direct the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate to take the following action: To promote affordability, before finalizing acquisition plans for future capability variants, NASA should assess the full range of competition opportunities and provide to the Congress the agency's assessment of the extent to which development and production of future elements of the SLS could be competitively procured.
Agency Affected: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Status: Open
Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
Recommendation: To provide the Congress with the necessary insight into program planning and affordability, and to decrease the risk of cost and schedule overruns, NASA's Administrator should direct the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate to take the following action: To allow for a continued assessment of progress and affordability, NASA should structure each future increment of SLS capability with a total cost exceeding the $250 million threshold for designation as a major project as a separate development effort within the SLS program. In doing so, NASA should require each increment to complete both the technical and programmatic reviews required of other major development projects, per the agency's acquisition and system engineering policies.
Agency Affected: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Status: Open
Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
Recommendation: To provide the Congress with the necessary insight into program planning and affordability, and to decrease the risk of cost and schedule overruns, NASA's Administrator should direct the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate to take the following action: Provide decision makers with an informed basis for making investment decisions regarding the SLS program, NASA should identify a range of possible missions for each future SLS variant that includes cost and schedule estimates and plans for how those possible missions would fit within NASA's funding profile.
Agency Affected: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Status: Open
Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
Recommendation: To provide the Congress with the necessary insight into program planning and affordability, and to decrease the risk of cost and schedule overruns, NASA's Administrator should direct the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate to take the following action: NASA should develop an executable business case for SLS based on matching requirements and resources that results in a level of risk commensurate with its policies. For example, NASA could delay the planned first flight test or increase funding to allow the program to establish cost and schedule baselines for demonstration of the initial capability at the 70 percent confidence level.
Agency Affected: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Status: Open
Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
Quelle: GAO


Samstag, 26. Juli 2014 - 17:40 Uhr

UFO-Forschung - Projekt Blue Book - Teil-5


A Blue Book SNAFU results in an identified “twofer”
On March 4th, I received an e-mail from Herb Taylor pointing out to me that it was the anniversary of one Blue Book “Unknown” that can’t be readily solved. It involved multiple observers, who had seen three large elliptical objects near Dubuque, Iowa on March 4, 1960. Curious, I located the file at the fold3 web site1 and told Herb I was not sure what the explanation was but some of the witnesses appeared to see them as aircraft.
Herb and I were shocked when we both looked closer at a document in the file that stated that flights of three B-52s were flying through the area on the very day the incident occurred. My first thought was that the times did not match and this is why Blue Book did not list this one identified. After converting the Zulu times to local and plotting it on Google earth, I began to realize that the B-52s were a very good match for what the witnesses saw.
Herb informed me that he had polled several UFOlogists about the case file. Meanwhile, I polled several skeptics but did not receive much of a response. Nobody seemed to find a reason to reject the explanation that these were simply aircraft. There seemed to be no good reason as to why Blue Book left this as an unknown. I have a couple of theories on why this happened but I think it would best to go over the case file so the reader can understand what transpired.
The sighting
On March 5th, 1960 the news media reported a sighting by a Dubuque, Iowa airplane instructor, Charles Morris, who saw three saucer-shaped objects flying at 200 mph at an altitude of 20,000 feet over the Mississippi river. According to the media account, he reported shooting 19 feet of film with his movie camera and that the objects were not aircraft or balloons. Morris felt the film would prove that flying saucers did exist.
While this report received attention, another sighting took headlines a few days later when Discoverer 8 produced a display over the eastern United States. This event may have taken Blue Book’s focus away from thoroughly investigating the Dubuque case.
While this report received attention, another sighting took headlines a few days later when Discoverer 8 produced a display over the eastern United States. This event may have taken Blue Book’s focus away from thoroughly investigating the Dubuque case.
Blue Book “investigates”
Blue Book seems to have had only a mild interest in the Dubuque, Iowa sighting. They essentially made just a few calls to see if any aircraft were in the area. According to the case file:
At 0900 EST11 March 1960, Waverly AFS, Iowa was contacted regarding possible acft flights over Dubuque. The operations officer, Lt. Waddle, reported they had no record of B-52s flying around Dubuque on 4 or 10 March 60. Through the efforts of Lt Waddle, several other radar stations in the area were contacted with negative results.5
At this point, Blue Book could not identify the source of the UFO report and it was listed as “unidentified”.
Despite the statements by Morris to the press, there seems to have been no effort by Blue Book to obtain his precious film. It was not until Charles Morris wrote a letter to Major Robert Friend on April 3rd, did he actually give the film to “officials”. He clarified in the letter that he was mistaken that there was nineteen feet of film and there was only six feet. Morris described the sighting that he and his wife had made on March 4th:
On Friday March 4, 1960 at approximately 5:55 P.M. my wife and I at our home were watching a T-6 aircraft performing at approximately 2,000 feet when we saw three brightly, colored solid objects in line appear in the sky, traveling NNE. We saw them for approximately four minutes, and as they disappeared, seemed to be climbing very slightly.
The objects were about the size of a quarter, approximately 200 feet long, 60 feet thick, elliptical in shape, traveling approximately 200 miles an hour, and were about five miles from us. The objects were about 25 degrees above the horizon.
The objects did not give off smoke or any vapor trail, drop anything, change brightness, shape or color, did not explode, speed up or stand still at any time. The objects were sharply outlined and were like a bright star -- between the brightness of the moon and venus.6
He also included a sketch:7
On the 13th of April, Colonel Shoop sent the film to the analysis section of ATIC to see if they could find the UFOs on the film. On 19 April, they sent the film back, stating:
1. Analysis of the film revealed nothing of an unusual nature nor anything as such described by Mr. Morris in his letter dated April 3, 1960.
2. It is suggested that Mr. Morris recheck his film and indicate which frames contain the three objects he refers to in his letter. 8
On the 27th, ATIC sent a memo to Major Tacker stating the same. He sent the film back to Morris on May 16th. The UFO sighting
continued to remain “unidentified” in Blue Book’s opinion.
Probably the most interesting thing one can find in the case file is a report by a group calling itself Civilian UFO research (CUFOR) out of Chicago, Illinois. They conducted their analysis from March 28th to August 7th. It opens with the author of the report stating that this was a very confusing case.
What caused the confusion was the fact that the organization had declared the case as “unknown” on July 9th. This was apparently based on the report by Mr. Morris and a Mrs. H.V. Ludovissy. She had reported:
I looked, and going toward the NW in the sky, were three bright metallic objects; they were traveling VERY slowly, almost floating, THEY WERE NOT PLANES.....We watched for almost ten minutes, and, as we watched, one of them, the one in the middle, gave a flash, or white glow, and at the same time a puff of white smoke came from the back of it. The sun was setting in the west at the time, and I figured if it was the sun that made the flash, all three would have it; because they were so close together; but only the middle one had the glow.9
CUFOR appeared to be ready to close the book on this sighting, when they received more information about the case on July 29th. This information came from observations by more witnesses, who had also seen these UFOs. However, they reported they were actually large aircraft. According to CUFOR, Ferdinand Nesler of Dubuque, observing them in 7X50 binoculars, stated:
I saw a group of three large aircraft, which appeared to be flying one behind the other at lower than usual jet altitude and at just medium speed. They were flying NNW, time 5:50 PM. I saw them not once, but three time within about 15 or 20 days always at the same time and place. 10
Another witness, Allan Jones, used 10X50 binoculars to make his observations:
They were flying a rather loose formation on a course SE to NW. Their speed (slow) was the most unusual part of the whole affair. I could not determine the type, but aircraft they definitely were. I saw them several times after that (different days) and they were following about the same routine. 11
He would add that he felt they were at 40,000 feet and reported an elevation angle of 75 degrees. He noted that the airplane’s tails and contrails were like a B-52’s. CUFOR added that there was an additional witness, who also saw these objects as airplanes.
CUFOR responded by making inquiries to various aircraft companies and Strategic Air Command (SAC) to see if they had any aircraft in the area. All the civilian companies gave a negative report but, on August 4th, CUFOR received a response from SAC that stated:
Investigation here with our flight scheduling branch revealed that Strategic Air Command did have some 2-cells and 3-cell flights operat- ing over Dubuque, Iowa for a 25 hour period which included 5:50PM on 4 March 1960. While we can not say definitely, it’s highly possible that the sighting at the time could have been KC-135’s or B-52’s of this command.12
This had CUFOR trying to rationalize what the witnesses actually saw. They put great weight in Morris’ observations because he was a pilot and saw the objects “at rather close range” (even though the sketch showed the objects at least three miles away!). According to CUFOR, Morris stated they could not be jets because they moved too slowly. He also felt they could not be aircraft reflecting light because the intensity would change as they moved across the sky.
While CUFOR felt that the case involved aircraft, they chose to present the remote possibility that some of the witnesses actually saw three UFOs that happened to appear at the same time as three aircraft flying in the sky. In that scenario, all the witnesses would have missed the other three objects in the sky.
Credit goes to CUFOR for their investigation but it must be noted that, before they became aware of the aircraft witnesses, they were perfectly willing to call this unexplained based on the testimony of only two witnesses.
Blue Book gets the hint
CUFOR apparently sent a copy of their report to ATIC or ATIC became aware of it from another source. On the 22nd of August, ATIC responded to their findings. Colonel Evans seemed a bit upset about the charge that they did not identify these B-52s and considered the case to be “insufficient evidence”. He pointed out that they had contacted radar stations and the air defense sec- tor headquarters to look for such aircraft and received a negative response. He did admit that they had not contacted SAC but he seemed to feel it was unnecessary. He apparently could not understand how SAC’s aircraft could avoid being recorded by the radar or noted by the Air Defense Sector’s headquarters.
To ATIC’s credit, they did not disregard the information and wrote to SAC headquarters on September 2nd:
The Air Force has been receiving queries concerning the possibility of SAC aircraft flying the Dubuque, Iowa area on the evening of 4 March 1960. Request all available information concerning such flights be forwarded to ATIC as soon as possible; i.e. number and type aircraft, altitude, time and direction of flight.13
They also wondered if it was policy to notify the local radar units and the air defense sector when their units were flying through the area.
The B-52 cell flight
SAC responded to the query on the 29th of September stating that they had three B-52 cell flights (planes in groups of two or
three) going north that passed east of Dubuque on three different occasions on March 4th. The most important “cell” flight oc-
curred between the 2327 to 2358Z time frame. This is 5:27 to 5:58 PM CST, which includes the time of the actual sighting. Plotting the flight path on Google earth we see the following:
An airliner seen from a distance of about 28-30 miles. The image to the left was taken with a 70mm lens. The image to the right was taken with a 300 mm telephoto lens. if no contrail had been present, the planes would appear as described tby the primary witness.
The actual distance between the witness and the aircraft was something like 25 miles. This would create an angular speed of about 16 degrees per minute, which accounts for the apparent slow speed of UFOs noted by the witnesses. At this distance, the angular size of the planes would have been pretty small for observers not using optical aid (see images above). The aircraft would probably appear to have no shape.
All of this seems to indicate that Blue Book had their explanation handed to them on a silver platter. Yet, for some reason the case remained “unidentified”.
A case forgotten or misplaced?
What happens next in the case file is really bizarre. About one year after discovering that the cause was a three plane cell of B-52s, Blue Book (Major Coleman) received a letter, dated 6 September 1961,from an individual asking about the case and what happened to the film. They had contacted Dr. Hynek asking him if he had seen the film. Dr. Hynek replied that he had not and he would like to do so. One would think Coleman’s office would look up the case file and see what was found. This apparently did not happen because Coleman would offer, on 13 September 1961, the following response:
....we do not know where such film is. We telephoned Mr. Morris and requested that he send the film for evaluation. We then wrote Mr. Morris requesting the film which he earlier promised. This was several months ago. We have not received the film as of this date.15
He added that would love to see the film. He seemed totally unaware that the film had been received, analyzed, and returned to Morris.
This response indicates that the case file was unavailable/lost/incomplete or Coleman’s office did not even bother to look this up before responding. It seems to have been a bureaucratic SNAFU. Could this be one of the reason’s the case remain “unidentified”?
Upon reading the case file, I came to several reasons why the case remained on the list of unidentifieds:
1. Blue Book did not link the plane flights to the sighting because the record card and analysis sheet used local time while SAC listed Zulu times.
2. Blue Book personnel did not make the link to the plane flights and simply filed the SAC response in a bureaucratic mistake. This may have been the case as the record card makes no mention of SAC’s letter and appears to have been based on the earlier query to the Air Defense Command.
3. Blue Book felt that the B-52 explanation was inadequate. Considering how UFOlogists portray Blue Book’s “debunking”, this seems very unlikely.
4. Blue Book purposefully left this unexplained because the mission of the B-52s was classified. This seems unlikely because the document sent by SAC was not classified.
5. Blue Book purposefully left this unexplained to avoid publishing the fact that the radar network did not detect the B-52s or that the Air Defense Sector headquarters was completely unaware of flights in their zone.
I suspect there are other possibilities. Whatever the reason, Blue Book seems to have inadvertently left this on their list of un- knowns.
The twofer
Interestingly enough, this case also finds a place in the UFO evidence document published by NICAP. While Blue Book seems to have ignored the explanation offered by SAC, NICAP ignored the solution offered by CUFOR. I doubt that NICAP would not have heard of CUFOR’s report. For an organization such as this to be unaware of other UFO group’s conclusions about UFO reports seems unlikely and CUFOR probably sent their investigation report to somebody in NICAP. Either NICAP was ignorant of the investigation or they purposefully chose to ignore its findings when they chose to produce their UFO evidence document.
I can see no reason to dismiss the possibility that these three B-52s were the cause of the sighting. As a result, we can eliminate this case from the various lists of unknown/unidentified UFO sightings.
I would like to thank Herb Taylor for pointing out the case to me and providing feedback as we examined the case file.
Quelle: SUNlite 3/2013

Tags: UFO-Forschung 


Samstag, 26. Juli 2014 - 16:07 Uhr

Astronomie - Close Encounters Of The Radio Kind?


Scientists say a brief burst of radio activity has been detected at the Arecibo radio telescope in Puerto Rico. This new report resembles previous activity detected in Australia, which has scientist debating possible causes, including solar flares, blitzars, or something even more mysterious.


Astronomers have a mystery on their hands. Two large radio telescopes, on opposite sides of the planet, have detected very brief, very powerful bursts of radio waves.
Right now, astronomers have no idea what's causing these bursts or where they're coming from. And nothing has been ruled out at the moment — not even the kind of outrageous claims you'd expect to see in tabloid headlines.
Australian Recordings Inspire Curiosity And Doubt
The first report of these "fast radio bursts" appeared in 2007. Duncan Lorimer and his colleagues had found the signal buried in recordings made at the Parkes radio telescope in Australia.
Lorimer argued at the time that the source of the burst came from way beyond our galaxy. But then the same telescope recorded more bursts that were similar, but clearly coming from something much closer by.
"They cast a lot of doubt on the original detection that we made," Lorimer says; something nearby would probably have a much more pedestrian explanation.
Other astronomers began to suspect Lorimer's extra-galactic detection was a fluke — but that changed last year, when a significant paper in Science announced the discovery of four more bursts.
That paper convinced most astronomers that something real, far away and still very mysterious was happening.
But there was one lingering doubt. All of the detections were made by one radio telescope, the Parkes telescope. Some astronomers wondered if the bursts might not be an astronomical event at all, but some problem with the electronics in the telescope.
But now, Lorimer says, "It's clearly not."
In Puerto Rico, Fresh Reports Renew Speculation
There's a report of a burst detected at the Arecibo radio telescope in Puerto Rico. Lorimer says several more reports of detections will soon be showing up in the scientific literature.
As you would imagine, there's been lots of speculation about what's behind these mysterious bursts. Some astronomers think they're caused by blitzars, pulses of energy from a supermassive star collapsing into a black hole. Others think they may be caused by power solar flares coming from stars nearer by.
And Lorimer says he has to mention it: "There's even been discussions in the literature about signatures from extraterrestrial civilizations."
It's just a theoretical paper suggesting the bursts could be generated by intelligent beings intentionally beaming a radio signal directly at Earth.
James Cordes, an astronomer at Cornell University who's also on the hunt for an explanation of these radio bursts, says he'd bet against the possibility of extraterrestrial involvement.
Cordes says astronomers will need to find more examples of these bursts before they'll be able to say with any certainty what's causing them.
But finding examples will take time. The kinds of radio telescopes that can detect these bursts have what Cordes calls tunnel vision: "We don't see the whole sky — we see just a very narrow snippet of it."
So catching a burst in the act requires a bit of luck. That's frustrating for astronomers, but having only a tiny bit of hard data does have its upside: Theoreticians can spin out all kinds of interesting ideas.
"The nice things about this in the current stage is that we really don't know what these bursts are caused by," Cordes says. "And so the sky's the limit in some respects."
The Parkes Observatory, in New South Wales, Australia, first detected the brief, intense bursts of radio waves in 2007.
Quelle: npr


Samstag, 26. Juli 2014 - 15:45 Uhr

UFO-Forschung - Aliens auf dem Mond / TV Show zeigt Schräge UFO Apollo Geschichten



The pixels in a photograph can be funny things, as demonstrated time and time again in "Aliens on the Moon: The Truth Exposed," a TV documentary airing on Sunday's 45th anniversary of the historic Apollo 11 moon landing.
What one person sees as a overly magnified image with distortions that merely form strange patterns, another person sees as incontrovertible proof that extraterrestrials have left giant antennas, spaceships and industrial complexes on the moon.
"There's no doubt that these structures exist," Robert Kiviat, producer of the two-hour SyFy Channel show, told NBC News. (NBC News Digital and SyFy are both part of NBC Universal.)
Is Kiviat serious? He sounds like it. "My goal would be, right upon the airing on Sunday night, maybe even the day after, to approach the NASA administrator in Washington ... and pretty much say, 'Look, here are these photographs, here's what we know from the NASA data, we would love to work with this under NASA auspices,'" he said.
NASA Administrator Charles Bolden might not rush to join the search for aliens on the moon, but that sort of quest is right up Kiviat's alley. He was behind the "Alien Autopsy" TV show that made such a splash in 1995 with purported footage of alien bodies from Roswell. The footage was later proven to be fake, but in his defense, Kiviat says he acknowledged that in follow-up programs.
"I'm not telling you that I'm ashamed of my work on that," he said. "I'm not."
Photos old and new
The heart of "Aliens on the Moon" is a review of decades-old photographs from the Apollo missions, with commentary by sources ranging from former Apollo astronauts Buzz Aldrin and Edgar Mitchell to old standbys on the UFO scene (MUFON analyst Marc D'Antonio, "Dark Mission" co-author Mike Bara and physicist John Brandenburg, plus photo lab workers Donna Hare and Ken Johnston).
First, about those photographs: Many of the cases have long been part of Apollo UFO lore, and have been addressed on websites such as The Emoluments of Mars. It's fun to see those cases reviewed, as long as you know the history.
Watch for the case of the Asada Crater satellite dish, the tale of the lunar pyramid (also known as the Daedalus ziggurat), the picture of the Apollo 17 skull (also known as Data's Head) and the paperclip on the moon (which has been traced to lint on the picture). Rational Wiki lists the greatest hits on the lunar anomaly list.
The shape at upper right in this photo from Apollo 15 has been characterized as a cigar-shaped UFO, but a closer look reveals it to be a straightforward geological feature. The picture is part of a panoramic photo known as AS15-P-9630.
Attention is given to a cigar-shaped UFO on the moon, as well as the related story of the Apollo 20 / Mona Lisa hoax. No need to go into detail on all this — watch the show, then follow the links for outside critiques.
"Aliens on the Moon" spends a lot of time on a picture from Apollo 11 that Kiviat calls the "smoking gun" for an alien presence on the moon. The original photo, AS11-41-6139, is relatively unremarkable — but if you blow it up enough, the pixels take on a loopy appearance that the show's experts see as a flying saucer.
"Aliens on the Moon" makes a strong pitch for revisiting the moon, and you don't have to be a UFO fan to hope that eventually happens. But many of the show's seemingly baffling mysteries can be resolved much more easily, by looking at higher-resolution imagery from NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter. For example, straight-line tracks that UFO fans might interpret as evidence of massive machines on the moon are more clearly seen as the result of rolling boulders.
Where the astronauts stand
Now, about those astronauts: The show makes it sound as if Aldrin was reluctant to talk about potential UFO sightings — and it's true that he turned down an invitation to review and comment in detail about the Apollo photographs. But over the years, he has discussed the sighting of what the Apollo 11 crew thought at the time was an unidentified flying object in the literal sense of the phrase.
This month, during a Reddit online chat, he passed along the mainstream view once again. "It was either the rocket we had separated from, or the four panels that moved away when we extracted the lander from the rocket and we were nose to nose with the two spacecraft," he said. That view gets short shrift in the show.
Mitchell, meanwhile, has made no secret of the fact that he believe extraterrestrials exist. "I have no doubt that extraterrestrials could very well have populated or made structures on the far side of the moon," the Apollo 14 moonwalker says on the show.
"Twists and distortions do take place, and I don't know how to stop them."
However, Mitchell also has acknowledged that neither he nor any of his colleagues among the Apollo astronauts found any evidence of aliens on the moon. That part of the message often gets left out, much to Mitchell's dismay.
"Twists and distortions do take place, and I don't know how to stop them, except not to give any interviews," Mitchell told NBC News in an email. "Any help is appreciated."
NBC News' space analyst, James Oberg, worries that UFO-centric interpretations and claims about coverups go unchallenged on the show. "I am appalled by the lack of any concern for verification of eyewitness claims," he said in an email. "The producers don't want to know contrary views, they act as if they want to not know such views."
He said that UFO documentaries could end up holding back the honest-to-goodness search for alien life if they put too much emphasis on funny pixels from decades-old pictures, or give too much credence to twisted tales from questionable sources.
"Someday our space explorers — human or surrogate — likely will come across something of non-natural, non-human origin in space," Oberg said. "By making the concept the subject, in this case, of well-deserved ridicule, it is part of the problem, not part of the solution, to the challenge of detection and recognition of traces of extraterrestrial intelligence."
Quelle: NBC
Update: 26.07.2014
Apollo 14 Astronaut Ed Mitchell Blick nach oben: UFOs und darüber hinaus: 
Apollo 14 moonwalker Edgar Mitchell may be the only astronaut to conduct an ESP experiment in space, or openly state that extraterrestrials could theoretically live on the moon. But when historians look back at the Apollo moon effort a thousand years from now, Mitchell wants to be remembered for the down-to-Earth attitude he took toward his assigned task on the moon.
"Our task was to start to do the science," he told NBC News. "And we did that. We did it well. We brought back the first real samples from the moon."
Sure, Apollo 11 brought about 50 pounds of moon rocks back to Earth, and Apollo 12 brought back 75 pounds. As most folks will recall, a potentially fatal mishap forced Apollo 13 to come back from the moon without ever landing on its surface — which meant the pressure was on Mitchell and his Apollo 14 crewmates, Alan Shepard and Stuart Roosa, to help get America's space program back on track in 1971.
The mission succeeded, though not without a hitch or two ... or three. In his recently published book, "Earthrise: My Adventures as an Apollo 14 Astronaut," Mitchell recounts all the twists and turns that brought him from farm life near Roswell, New Mexico, to the moon and back.
Science and sports
Mitchell argues that Apollo 14 marked the transition from just proving humans could make it to the moon, to conducting a rigorous scientific program to characterize the lunar surface. Mitchell and his commander, Alan Shepard, brought back 94 pounds of moon rocks from the Fra Mauro formation, including a famous 20-pounder that was nicknamed "Big Bertha."
They also made their mark as the first sportsmen on the moon: Shepard carried a jury-rigged golf club and hit a ball that went "miles and miles and miles," while Mitchell picked up a rod from a solar-wind experiment and threw it like a javelin.
"I've always been happy to say that my javelin landed a few inches farther than Alan's golf ball," Mitchell says in the book. The place where it landed is now known as Javelin Crater (not Golf Ball Crater).
Back to the moon?
This week marked the 45th anniversary of the first steps taken on the moon, and the occasion has sparked lots of discussion about whether and how we should go back. Mitchell doesn't think a return trip is necessary, unless it somehow helps further other goals on Earth or elsewhere in space.
"As far as a nice place to live, it doesn't have much to offer," he said jokingly.
The way Mitchell sees it, humanity's push outward into space needs to be part of a bigger picture, focusing on the sustainability of humanity and the rest of Earth's species. "I think a big problem on Earth right now is our lack of movement toward sustainability," he told NBC News. "We're not sustainable on this planet."
Apollo 14 moonwalker Edgar Mitchell is the author of "Earthrise."
Speaking of sustainability, Mitchell said he's not surprised to see how long it's taken for human spaceflight to turn into a viable commercial enterprise. After all, it took decades for automobiles to progress from the first vehicle to a full-fledged industry, or for the aviation industry to go from the Wright Brothers to the first commercial airline terminal.
"The same thing's kind of happening in space, now that we have Elon Musk and Richard Branson and Bob Bigelow, all trying to do something to get private industry into space," Mitchell said. "Maybe that's just the pattern of things when entrepreneurship starts to take over."
Mars could be a valid frontier for the future, in Mitchell's view. He recalled that while he was getting his doctoral degree at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the 1960s, he came up with a guidance system for low-thrust interplanetary spacecraft. "That was my contribution to going to Mars," he said.
Experiencing the Overview Effect
The experience of being on the moon was life-changing for Mitchell. "We were the third manned mission to make it to the moon, and it felt tremendous," he writes. But the epiphany that Mitchell experienced during the flight back home from the moon was arguably even more of a life-changer.
As Mitchell gazed at Earth, suspended in the palpable blackness of space, he felt a deep, ecstatic rush of connectedness with the rest of the universe. "What the heck is happening to me?" he recalls asking himself at the time.
He eventually learned that other space travelers felt a similar cognitive shift, known as the "Overview Effect." Seeing the home planet in the void can spark a sense of oneness and enlightenment that is often described using terms from Hinduism, Buddhism and other spiritual disciplines.
The long-range ESP experiment he conducted during his personal time on Apollo 14's trip to and from the moon reinforced his interest in the frontiers of perception. He wrote down sets of numbers and symbols during specific times, to see if four experimental subjects on Earth would write down anything similar.
The idea that telepathy exists hasn't gained much traction in the scientific community, but Mitchell saw the results as promising. "The experiment persuaded me that ESP could happen," he writes in the book. He retired from NASA and the U.S. Navy soon after his moon mission, and founded the Institute of Noetic Sciences in 1973.
Mitchell makes no secret about his belief that life exists elsewhere in the universe, and he's willing to accept the possibility that alien spacecraft have visited Earth. When he returned to his hometown in New Mexico, he met with the relatives and colleagues of people involved in the 1947 Roswell UFO incident — and decided there was 'adequate proof that the Roswell incident was a real thing."
He also acknowledges, however, that he has no firsthand experience when it comes to aliens or UFOs. Instead, he prefers to address the "life in the universe" question more generally, based on the discoveries made by planet-hunting efforts such as NASA's Kepler mission.
"We're just one tiny grain of sand on a virtually infinite beach," Mitchell said. "The notion that we're alone in the universe, that we're the only living species, is absolutely ridiculous. ... Our whole idea of what it means to be living on this planet, and even being a thinking human on this planet, is going to have to undergo some major revision."
Quelle: NBC


Samstag, 26. Juli 2014 - 13:05 Uhr

Astronomie - Leben und Sterben von Sterngeschwistern


In dieser eindrucksvollen neuen Aufnahme vom La Silla-Observatorium der ESO in Chile drängen sich junge Sterne vor einem Hintergrund aus Wolken leuchtenden Gases und Schneisen von Staub. Dieser Sternhaufen mit der Bezeichnung NGC 3293 wäre vor ungefähr 10 Millionen Jahren selbst nur eine Wolke aus Gas und Staub gewesen, aber als die Sternentstehung einsetzte, wurde daraus die helle Gruppe von Sternen, die man hier sieht. Sternhaufen wie dieser sind kosmische Laboratorien, die es Astronomen ermöglichen mehr darüber zu lernen wie sich Sterne entwickeln.
Der wunderschöne Sternhaufen NGC 3293 befindet sich 8000 Lichtjahre von der Erde entfernt im Sternbild Carina (der Schiffskiel). Dieser Sternhaufen wurde zum ersten Mal vom französischen Astronomen Nicolas-Louis de Lacaille im Jahr 1751 während seines Aufenthalts in Südafrika mit einem winzigen Teleskop beobachtet, das eine Öffnung von 12 Millimetern hatte. Es ist einer der hellsten Sternhaufen am Südsternhimmel und kann unter guten Bedingungen leicht mit dem bloßen Auge gesehen werden.
Sternhaufen wie NGC 3293 enthalten Sterne, die sich zur selben Zeit gebildet haben. Sie befinden sich im selben Abstand zur Erde und sind aus derselben Wolke aus Gas und Staub entstanden, wodurch sie dieselbe chemischen Zusammensetzung besitzen. Deshalb sind Sternhaufen wie dieser die idealen Objekte um Theorien zur Entwicklung von Sternen zu testen.
Die meisten der Sterne auf diesem Bild sind sehr jung, und der Sternhaufen selbst ist weniger als 10 Millionen Jahre alt. Sie sind auf kosmischen Skalen nur Babys, wenn man berücksichtigt, dass die Sonne 4,6 Milliarden Jahre alt ist und nur als Stern mittleren Alters betrachtet wird. Ein Überfluss heller, blauer junger Sterne ist üblich in offenen Sternhaufen wie NGC 3293 oder zum Beispiel auch in dem bekannteren Kappa Crucis-Sternhaufen, der auch als Schmuckkästchen oder NGC 4755 bezeichnet wird.
Jeder dieser offenen Sternhaufen entstand aus einer gigantischen Wolke molekularen Gases, und ihre Sterne werden durch ihre gegenseitige gravitative Anziehung zusammengehalten. Aber diese Kräfte sind nicht stark genug, um einen Sternhaufen bei einem Zusammenstoß mit anderen Sternhaufen und Gaswolken zusammenzuhalten, wobei das Gas und der Staub des Sternhaufens zerstreut wird. Deshalb bestehen offene Sternhaufen nur einige Hundert Millionen Jahre, im Gegensatz zu ihren großen Verwandten, den Kugelsternhaufen, die Milliarden von Jahren überleben können und weitaus mehr Sterne beherbergen.
Trotz einiger Hinweise, die noch auf aktive Sternentstehung in NGC 3293 hindeuten, nimmt man an, dass die meisten, wenn nicht sogar alle der fünfzig Sterne in diesem Sternhaufen gleichzeitig entstanden sind. Aber obwohl diese Sterne alle gleich alt sind, besitzt nicht jeder von ihnen die grelle Erscheinung eines Sterns in seiner Kindheit. Einige von ihnen erscheinen eindeutig älter, wodurch Astronomen die Möglichkeit erhalten, zu erforschen wie und warum Sterne sich mit unterschiedlicher Geschwindigkeit entwickeln.
Ein gutes Beispiel ist der helle orangefarbene Stern rechts unten in der Aufnahme. Dieser gewaltige Stern, ein Roter Riese, wäre als einer der größten und leuchtstärksten seines Schlags entstanden, aber helle Sterne brennen schnell aus. Als der Stern den Brennstoff in seinem Kern verbraucht hatte, veränderte sich seine interne Dynamik und er begann sich abzukühlen und blähte sich auf, wodurch er der Rote Riese wurde, den man nun beobachten kann. Rote Riesen erreichen das Ende ihrer Lebenszeit, die Schwestersterne dieses roten Riesen jedoch befinden sich immer noch in der Vor-Hauptreihe, dem Zeitraum vor der langen, stabilen, mittleren Periode im Leben eines Sterns. Man sieht diese Sterne in den besten Jahren ihres Lebens als heiße, helle und weiße Objekte vor einem roten und staubigen Hintergrund.
In dieser Aufnahme vom Wide Field Imager des MPG/ESO 2,2-Meter-Teleskop am La Silla-Observatorium der ESO in Chile drängen sich junge Sterne vor einem Hintergrund aus Wolken leuchtenden Gases und Schneisen von Staub. Dieser Sternhaufenmit der Bezeichnung NGC 3293 wäre vor ungefähr 10 Millionen Jahren selbst nur eine Wolke aus Gas und Staub gewesen, aber als Sternentstehung einsetzte, wurde daraus die helle Gruppe von Sternen, die man hier sieht. Sternhaufen wie dieser sind kosmische Laboratorien, die es Astronomen ermöglichen mehr darüber zu lernen wie sich Sterne entwickeln.
Quelle: ESO


Freitag, 25. Juli 2014 - 23:23 Uhr

Astronomie - Hubble Serviert eine Sternen Scheibe


Hubble Serves a Slice of Stars
The thin, glowing streak slicing across this image cuts a lonely figure, with only a few foreground stars and galaxies in the distant background for company.
However, this is all a case of perspective; lying out of frame is another nearby spiral. Together, these two galaxies make up a pair, moving through space together and keeping one another company.
The subject of this Hubble image is called NGC 3501, with NGC 3507 as its out-of-frame companion. The two galaxies look very different — another example of the importance of perspective. NGC 3501 appears edge-on, giving it an elongated and very narrow appearance. Its partner, however, looks very different indeed, appearing face-on and giving us a fantastic view of its barred swirling arms.
While similar arms may not be visible in this image of NGC 3501, this galaxy is also a spiral — although it is somewhat different from its companion. While NGC 3507 has bars cutting through its center, NGC 3501 does not. Instead, it's loosely wound spiral arms all originate from its center. The bright gas and stars that make up these arms can be seen here glowing brightly, mottled by the dark dust lanes that trace across the galaxy.
Quelle: NASA


Donnerstag, 24. Juli 2014 - 23:30 Uhr

UFO-Forschung - The Phoenix Lights Legenden


After sixteen years, who can you trust?
On March 13th, the annual reposting of the same old UFO stories regarding “The Phoenix Lights” appeared on the web. For some reason, Mitch Stanley is never mentioned in any of these writings. My web site on the subject and an article that appeared in SUNlite 2-3 also seems to have been missed. I am simply amazed that people simply regurgitate these stories without even looking at the facts behind many of them.
The facts
These are the FACTS (things that are not in dispute) regarding the case:
Between 8:00 and 8:45 PM local time, witnesses reported an unidentified formation of lights or lighted object traversing the 1. state of Arizona, starting in the northwest and disappearing near Tuscon.
Witness’ descriptions varied between a massive dark shape behind the lights to a formation of individual lights that was not 2. attached to any craft.
Mitch Stanley and Rich Contry reported seeing these lights through a telescope (Stanley) and binoculars (Contry). Both identi3.
fied the lights as being aircraft in formation.
The only video of the event, taken by Terry Proctor, shows a formation of lights that shifted position significantly in forty-three 4. seconds.
The NUFORC database reveals that only about a third of the witnesses, who made reports in 1997, reported seeing a dark object 5. behind the lights. The rest report a formation of lights.
The flight path of the lights followed a standard air route taken by aircraft flying from Las Vegas to Tuscon.6.
The 10 PM videos were unrelated to the 8-8:45PM event. 7.
The analyses of the 10 PM videos have shown that the lights were, more than likely, flares dropped by the Maryland Air National 8. Guard, which was flying in the area at the time the videos were recorded. Their pilots stated they had ejected flares at a high altitude.
These are the facts. Most of the stories (including the reports by Stanley and Contry) are just reports that are open to interpretation. Filing a UFO report is a fact. However, the details in these reports are not facts but what the witness perceived as facts. We are left trying to determine which reports accurately reported what happened and which reports were inaccurate.
While I discussed the entire case in SUNlite 2-3, there are two stories that have been promoted for some time that I chose to ignore simply because I found them unreliable. Since they continue to be promoted by various UFO web sites, I felt a need to address them.
What a tangled web.....
Years after the events of March 13, 1997, Governor Fife Symington revealed that he knew a lot more about the event than he led everyone to believe. In this new version of UFO history, he stated that his office tried to get to the bottom of the events shortly after this occurred. However, there seems to be no evidence to support this claim. Such an investigation would be documented with letters to various agencies and requests for information. The only document appears to be senator McCain requesting the USAF investigate. But this was in May at the request of Emma Barwood, who did go public in 1997 requesting information about the event. Why didn’t Symington’s investigation contact the powerful senator? Not happy with trying to rewrite this part of history, Symington added another twist.
In this revision of history, Symington plays an active role in seeing the UFO. He recounted the exact details of the sighting on at least two occasions. The first was on Larry King:
Well, I acknowledge that I saw a craft. I was up in the sunny slope area around 8:00 at night. And I went out to look to the west where the -- all the news channels were filming the Phoenix Lights. And to my astonishment this large sort of delta-shaped, wedge-shaped, craft moved silently over the valley, over Squall Peak, dramatically large, very distinctive leading edge with some enormous lights. And it just went on down to the Southeast Valley. And I was absolutely stunned because I was turning to the west looking for the distant Phoenix Lights and all of a sudden this apparition appears.... I think it was from another world. I’ve never seen anything like it, Larry. It was enormous.
It’s unlike anything I’ve ever seen. And, you know, it was all over the news. Hundreds, if not thousands of people saw it.1
This seems to be a confusing account. It is a fact that no news channels were filming “The Phoenix Lights” at 8 PM or 10 PM. These videos came from amateurs all over the region at 10 PM and the media was not out filming anything. As I stated above, there is only one known video of the 8PM event and it was not shot near Squaw Peak.
Symington elaborated on his story in the program “UFOs on the record”:
On March 13th, I was having dinner with my family and we had the TV on and I was well aware of the news about the UFO. So, I said, I am going to jump in my car and I am going to go down Lincoln drive past squaw peak and see if I can see what is going on. When I got here there were people milling around just enjoying the park. I was here for probably five or ten minute and somebody said “look at that...look at that... Out to the northwest was this great big massive craft.....”2
What he seems to be stating is that, while he was eating his dinner, the local news broke into the regular broadcast alerting everyone that a UFO was headed towards or visible over Phoenix. This is a false story. There were no news reports/alerts on television or radio that night. All the witnesses who told their stories over the years never mentioned any such alerts or newscasts. They were surprised by the appearance of the lights. Other than a few television reports that night, the media seemed to demonstrate indifference
to the event. From what I have been able to determine, there really was no mention of the event in the Arizona Republic until the 18th of March and, even then, it only appeared in the “B” section of the paper (see below)!
It was not until June, when USA today ran the story on its front page, that the event became important news outside of the UFO community. After this, the story took on national importance and Fife Symington decided to stage his press conference complete with a fake alien. The same UFOlogists, who cheer Symington today were not amused about this stunt in 1997.
This is the man, who would later state that he saw the alien spaceship. Is he really that trustworthy? Are UFOlogists really this gullible?
Returning to March 13th, we discover that the governor was “a man of action”. At the moment of hearing these stories on the television, Symington decided to jump into his car (without a still/video camera or anybody in the family!), leave his home in Paradise
Valley, and drive five to ten minutes west to a little park in Phoenix to do some UFO gazing. He did not call the local police or any of the news outlets to join him personally. It was like taking a quick trip to the corner store. After driving the distance to this isolated park, he waited an additional five to ten minutes for the UFO to appear. According to Robert Sheaffer, who discussed this with James Fox, this sighting occurred at 8:20 PM. If we work backwards to Symington being alerted, he would have to have heard the news between 8 and 8:10 PM. I wonder if they broke into and interrupted the NCAA basketball game that night? That certainly would have been headlines in sports history. One wonders why the Governor was not interested in watching the Arizona state team play in the first round regional game (which was slated for prime time in Arizona). According to Peter Davenport, he did not even receive the first reports at the National UFO Reporting Center until 8:16 PM. It seems likely that this may have been about the time that other agencies (FAA, radio, news stations, police, etc) were called. Is the ex-governor lying or simply mistaken about the timing in his story?
Finally, I am not even sure the governor could just take off and drive about town on his own without some sort of security or notification
of his security. Does anybody have any proof that the Governor was even home that evening or went out? If the governor of any state was present at a UFO sighting, with a large number of people, the others would remember it and make sure the media knew about it. Yet, in 1997, all these people in Sumida park, did not even recognize the fact that the governor was present and saw what they saw. More interestingly, I am unaware of a single UFO report being filed from this location with MUFON or NUFORC. It is possible that no reports were filed or those reports were never published. All we have is the word of one person, who has been known to be less than honest with the public, that this event happened as he described. What a convenient way to get back into the public eye by stating “me too” to UFO aficionados, who are more than willing to accept these kinds of stories. To them, Symington
can sound awful convincing. Don’t politicians learn to act convincing, sincere, and honest in order to get votes from uncritical voters?
Pilots are highly reliable...aren’t they?
The other story repeated this last March, was the story of Trig Johnston, an airline pilot with over 12,000 hours of flight time. As a result, he is considered an unimpeachable witness by UFO proponents. His story is not really new. I was aware of his name being mentioned back in 1997. To the best of my knowledge, his story first appeared in 2006:
Airline pilots are accustomed to noting the time. Time off the block’s, time off the ground, the time over navigational fixes particularly over the ocean. Then there is the all important estimated time of arrival, the time on the ground and the time on the blocks where we turn off the seat belt sign. And the time the crew bus leaves in relation to those times. Son Logan was making a racket outside in our drive way. When I stepped outside to investigate, the time in Scottsdale Arizona on March 13th, 1997 was 22:20.3
I do not doubt that Johnston feels he is being accurate in telling his story but there is one big flaw with his tale. He states this all happened at 22:20 local time. This is two hours AFTER the actual event. Did Johnston make a mistake on the time even though he is sure of it? Did Johnston see a completely different event that others did not see? Is it possible he is confusing the events of the flares with his own observations?
Logan’s friends, Ryan and Jenny, were helping with the project that consisted of constructing massive, rustic gates for our acre horse property.
He was using a sledge hammer to force timbers onto steel rods. Ryan asked, “What the hell is that?” Ryan had to be the only person on earth who hadn’t known of the Hale Bop comet.4
Were Johnston’s son and his friends really out at 10:20 PM on a school night performing this task as he claims? Perhaps his time really is a bit off despite what he proclaims.
I turned, prepared to deliver a lecture on comet’s, but stopped short. “Uh, we’re in for an air show.” I said. My initial impression was that of a formation of C-130’s displaying some new type of tactical lighting. But you feel a C-130’s powerful Alison engines before you hear it or see it. We felt nothing. It was quiet. Real quiet, and it stayed that way.
The huge mass – at least a mile wide – approached from the North West. I could land on it with my 727. We began to eliminate possibilities.
What ever it was seemed to be following the Tonto One arrival, the standard jet arrival routing for instrument traffic into PHX on an approximate heading of 120°. I estimated its altitude to be 10,000 feet.5
His observation, if accurate, tends to confirm what I have stated all along regarding the Arizona event. That being the lights were at high altitude and flying along a standard air route.
No C-130’s, it wasn’t a formation of jets – too slow for either of them. Helicopters? Not that either – no “wop-wop,” no sound. None. Cessna’s wired with weird lights? Its happened, but that wasn’t the case on March 13th.6
It is amusing he dismissed the formation of aircraft or helicopters because they were too slow and there was no sound. Yet, he admits his own altitude estimates were 10,000 feet. Helicopters might not be heard at this distance and jets flying at a cruising speed of a few hundred miles per hour at 10,000 feet or more would move at a slow angular rate and also might not be heard.
After a few minutes of observation we concluded that this was one object. There was zero movement between its massive forward-facing amber lights. I should have counted the lights, should have run for a camera and called my friend Bob Mohan, a local talk radio guy. The craft had intercepted Scottsdale Road, and made a right turn to approximately 180º following it south. It was headed right for Mo’s house.
WHY didn’t I call Mohan, run for a camera or any of those other questions people always ask? Because I expected it to disappear at any moment. None of us were frightened, excited or otherwise disturbed. But we couldn’t take our eyes off of it. What I saw bears little relation to the video of the “Phoenix Lights.” And yes, there are a couple of fruit loops associated with March 13th. Anyone who can tell you what the little green men wish for us can probably also tell you where God wants you to send your checks. But, that’s just my opinion.
I estimate it passed 90º to our position, roughly at the intersection of Scottsdale road and Shea Boulevard, a couple of miles away, at 22:30. We could no longer see the top of it – the lights we had been watching were blocked out by the structure. As it passed the 90º position, I thought I perceived a rounded, almost gondola shaped – what? – what DO you call a semi-transparent thing on the bottom of a craft whose top might have been 10,000 feet in height? What ever you call it, it was nearly dragging the ground. Keep in mind there was nothing available to compare with – and from our position it was quite dark. I’ve heard it said that it was like looking through water. Yeah. Like a thin curtain of water. Lights on the other side, some city, mostly stars lost some of their brilliance and appeared mildly wavy as the craft passed between us and them. To me, the machine seemed to be an array of amber lights suspended in floating ink surrounded by the dark of night.7
His observations of the “craft” appear to reflect observations of lights but nothing more than that. Notice how his observations indicate a “semi-transparent” effect. Several other witnesses from 1997 used this description. I would not be surprised if this affected his memory of the event. What this indicates is that he never really saw a craft attached to the lights and was fooled by the “airship effect” mentioned in SUNlite 2-3.
I was also disappointed in Johnston’s descriptions. His estimates of size and speed did not involve angular measurements of any kind. Despite the claim that he was a pilot, I found his abilities to accurately describe what happened lacking. How could a man claim he is very attentive to such details because of his profession omit the important facts regarding the sighting? I guess Mr. Johnston’s attitude is best expressed by this statement:
The SR-71 flew in 1958 before they had any real money to play with… When did the Stealth Bomber fly? Remember, they shot JFK in front of God and everyone and got away with it. Fried some folks at Waco, but deny it to this day. Do you believe that TWA 800 was brought down by a faulty boost pump? Do you really believe the “9-11” story?8
Just to set the record straight, the SR-71 did not flying in 1958. The initial design, the A-12, was actually first test flown on April 25, 1962. The rest of this conspiracy minded diatribe demonstrates that Johnston has allowed his personal beliefs to affect his interpretation of the event that he may or may not have witnessed. UFO witnesses have been using the line, “I know what I saw”, for over sixty years and, in many cases, they have been proven to be inaccurate in their reports/observations. The phrase should actually be “I know what I think (or believe) I saw”. This has happened to pilots, police officers, soldiers, sailors, airmen, politicians, lawyers, and a host of many other professions. Why is his report any different?
Since we are reporting pilot observations of the events that night, I would like to add this one from the NUFORC database that was written about the same event in 1999:
I am a pilot with one of the major carriers here in the valley and I live in the South Mountain area. On that night I was on my way to work and traveling north along interstate 10 at approximately 8:15 PM. The lights first appeared to me to be over the airport in a wide formation and traveling in a southerly direction, roughly over the interstate. There is no question that they were anomalous, they got my attention immediately, and I was concerned enough about distractedly weaving into other traffic while observing them, that I pulled off the interstate to watch them go overhead. Where my account seems to differ from the accounts of other witnesses is that I perceived the lights to be individual objects, five in all, traveling in a roughly triangular formation. As they passed overhead, I took note of a particularly bright star and noted that the star was never obscured by any solid object as the lights passed it. When the lights were directly overhead, they appeared to be comprised of two lights per object, the bright light in the direction of motion and a much fainter light immediately behind it. There was no variation in the color of the lights and no blinking or twinkling. It was very difficult to judge the altitude of the objects, as they were never more than pinpoints of light moving very slowly; if I had to guess, I would say they were at very high altitude. I know this is at odds with some of the more dramatic reports of a gigantic dark object, but I am certain that I am not mistaken. Being a pilot, I am a trained observer of lighted airborne objects and, while these lights were indeed strange, there is no doubt in my mind that they were individual objects and not the running lights on some single large object. (Reported July 13, 1999)9
Why is this report, which dismisses the idea of a huge UFO attached to the lights, any less accurate than Mr. Johnston’s? Why is it ignored?
Legends and Myths
What these two stories demonstrate is that the Arizona UFO event will never be explained to the full satisfaction of those who claim to have seen them or those promoting the case. Stories, like these, told years later are difficult to verify and are easily influenced by the testimonies told years before. They may be reasonably accurate, they may be innaccurate memories influenced by various UFO shows, or they may have been made up by the individual for their own personal agenda. Promoting such stories taints the actual observations by ALL the witnesses in 1997 and clouds the issue. It is less about establishing facts and more about creating myths and legends.
Quelle: SUNlite 3/2013


Donnerstag, 24. Juli 2014 - 23:04 Uhr

UFO-Forschung - UFO-Absturz bei Roswell 1947 ? Teil-23


The Roswell Corner
Not even the president of the United States could get into the place

This was a quote given in the media by an official, who was describing the crash site of a B-29 on April 11, 1950. The B-29 had an atomic weapon on board but the nuclear capsule was not installed for safety purposes. However, the casing of the bomb was damaged
and the high explosives in it detonated from the fire/crash. As one might expect, there was much concern for security and the recovery of the nuclear materials (including the spare detonators on board the plane). A road block was erected preventing any access
to the crash site. Interestingly, the plane was attached to the 509th bomb group out of Roswell.
There are some similarities between this and the descriptions of the Roswell incident. The blocking off of roads and high security in the recovery operation are comparable. Could it be possible that some of the individuals, who describe the Roswell event are confusing it with this one? It seems plausible that, decades later, some might recall being transported a long distance to some unfamiliar
location to help recover bodies/pick up debris under tight security as being part of an alien spaceship recovery operation.
A bigger point here is that, despite the secrecy involved, the media was fully aware of the event and the military’s effort to recover the debris. Compare this to the Roswell event, where dozens of vehicles would be required to go through the town of Roswell for several days to get personnel to/from the crash site and retrieve the debris. While the actual crash of the alien spaceship could go unwitnessed, the military’s sudden mass movement through town up Route 285 could not go unnoticed by the local media and populace. Strangely, not one word is uttered in the press about some sort of major military operation north of Roswell, which included security road blocks visible from the highway. The local press in Roswell, and elsewhere, appeared oblivious to all of it. It wasn’t until Mack Brazel came into town did it suddenly become newsworthy. This appears to have been the case with Jesse Marcel Sr. as well. He mentioned no such recovery operations in any interviews and only became aware of a possible crash when he got that infamous phone call from town. It seems highly unlikely that such activity would have gone unnoticed and unreported in 1947.
Bragalia and more JARS
Anthony Bragalia wrote another one of those pieces that describe “Just another Roswell story (JARS)”. This involved some photo lab technician (PFC Calvin Cox) who was ordered to guard the hanger. He was directed to “shoot to kill” anybody who went inside the hanger. I wonder if he took those orders seriously since he decided to ignore those orders and looked inside anyway. Of course, he saw all sorts of debris. I really don’t find the story very credible since none of it can be verified in any way other than the individual was a PFC at the photo lab. Did they really need to go to the photo lab to find guards for the debris? I guess the next step would be to get the cooks involved.
BTW, in all of these interviews that are being done, I wonder if each and every interview is documented. How many are telling JARS and how many tell the story that they saw or knew nothing? A breakdown of ranks might also be interesting to see. I am also waiting
for one of the people interviewed to openly admit they were part of the goon squad that threatened people. Of course, nobody wants to say they were the bad guy. Instead, they all want to be the “good guys”. It is amazing that the a secret that was kept for at least thirty years was obvious to anybody who happened to be on base.
Inaccurate news reports
I was struck by the stories that were circulated in the first few hours after the Boston Marathon explosions and their comparison to what really happened. While the major facts of the story were accurate, all sorts of details were reported within the first 24 hours that were not accurate as various news reporters/agencies wanted to be the first to report this or that. Compare this to Roswell, where details contradicted each other and it was not until the press conference in Fort Worth, did the facts become clear. Of course, conspiracy theorists/crashologists think otherwise. It seems more probable that these contradictory reports had more to do with various news agencies getting the wrong information on a developing story than being evidence of a cover-up.
Quelle: SUNlite 3/2013

Tags: UFO-Forschung 


Donnerstag, 24. Juli 2014 - 20:40 Uhr

Raumfahrt - Erfolgreicher Start und Andocken von Progress-56 bei ISS



MOSCOW, Russia’s Progress M-24M resupply spacecraft, due to be launched on July 24, is to deliver 45 snails to the International Space Station (ISS) for scientific experiments, Russian space agency Roscosmos reported Tuesday.
Containers with snails are to be delivered to the ISS to continue the Regenration-1 experiment.
“The goal of the experiment is to see how space flight influences morphological and electrophysiological properties of a biological object’s regeneration process,” the report reads.
The data obtained from the experiments could be used to help develop medical support for long-term space flights.
A total of 130 Progress spacecraft have supported orbiting outposts over the past three decades, lifting many tons of supplies to low Earth orbit.
The previous spacecraft in the Progress series, the Progress M-23M, was launched on April 9, on a mission to deliver fuel, additional hardware, food, water and oxygen for the crew, as well as scientific equipment for conducting experiments to the ISS.
Update: 20.07.2014
The Progress 55 cargo ship is inspected at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan prior to encapsulation in preparation for its July 23 launch to the International Space Station.
Meanwhile on the Russian side of the orbiting complex, preparations continue for next week’s arrival of another cargo vehicle.
Skvortsov completed loading the Progress 55 craft with trash and unneeded items and closed its hatch in preparation for its undocking Monday. Progress 55, which arrived at the orbiting complex in April, will undock from the Pirs docking compartment at 5:44 p.m. Monday and move to a safe distance away from the station for 10 days of engineering tests before it is deorbited on July 31 to burn up in the atmosphere over the Pacific Ocean.
The departure of Progress 55 will clear Pirs for the next Russian space freighter, Progress 56. On Wednesday, July 23, Progress 56 will launch at 5:44 p.m. from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan (3:44 a.m. local time on July 24), with about 5,700 pounds of food, fuel and supplies for the station's Expedition 40 crew. Progress 56 will make a four-orbit, six-hour trip to the space station and dock at 11:30 p.m.
Artemyev spent much of his day inspecting and photographing the windows inside Pirs and the Poisk Mini-Research Module-2. He also performed routine maintenance on the life-support system in Zvezda.
The third cosmonaut aboard the station, Flight Engineer Max Suraev, continued a monthly inspection of the structural elements and cables inside Zvezda before moving on to remove a protective curtain in one of the crew quarters for the Matryoshka radiation-monitoring experiment.
Over the weekend, the station’s six crew members will take care of weekly housekeeping chores as they clean frequently touched surfaces with disinfectant wipes and vacuum dust from filter grilles. They also will continue their daily 2.5-hour exercise regimen to prevent the loss of muscle mass and bone density that would otherwise occur during their long-duration stay in space.
Quelle: NASA
Update: 22.07.2014 
Russian Progress Craft Undocks From Station
A video camera aboard the International Space Station captured this view of the ISS Progress 55 cargo craft shortly after undocking Monday.
Image Credit: NASA TV
A video camera aboard the International Space Station captured this view of the ISS Progress 55 cargo craft shortly after undocking Monday.
Image Credit: NASA TV
A Russian space freighter departed the International Space Station Monday, clearing the way for the next express delivery of cargo on Wednesday.
The ISS Progress 55 cargo craft undocked from the Pirs docking compartment at 5:44 p.m. EDT Monday after spending more than three months at the orbiting complex. Progress 55 delivered nearly three tons of food, fuel and supplies when it arrived at the orbiting complex on April 9.
After undocking, the Progress moved to a safe distance away from the station for 10 days of engineering tests before it is deorbited on July 31. Now filled with trash and station discards, Progress 55 will burn up as it re-enters the Earth’s atmosphere over the Pacific Ocean.
At the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, preparations continue for the launch of ISS Progress 56 to the International Space Station.
Image Credit: RSC Energia
The departure of Progress 55 clears Pirs for the arrival of the next Russian space freighter. ISS Progress 56 is scheduled to launch at 5:44 p.m. Wednesday from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan (3:44 a.m. local time on Thursday), with about 5,700 pounds of food, fuel and supplies for the station's Expedition 40 crew. Progress 56 will make a four-orbit, six-hour trip to the space station and dock at 11:30 p.m.
The Progress 56 craft, atop its Soyuz booster, will roll to the launch pad at Site 1 at Baikonur early Tuesday for final pre-launch preparations.
In preparation for the arrival of Progress 56, Flight Engineer Alexander Skvortsov and Max Suraev began their workday Monday in the Zvezda service module with a practice session on the Telerobotically Operated Rendezvous System, or TORU. Russian vehicles dock to the station automatically through the use of the Kurs automated rendezvous system, but the crew can use TORU to manually guide a Russian spacecraft to its docking port if a problem arises.
Quelle: NASA
Update: 23.07.2014
Russia’s Progress M-23M resupply spacecraft is due to get undocked on Tuesday from the International Space Station (ISS) and embark on an autonomous scientific flight to study the impact of its engines on the plasma of the Earth's ionosphere.
“An experiment titled ‘Radar-Progress’ is scheduled to be held on board the Progress [spacecraft] from July 22 to August 1, it is connected to the studies by earth-based observatories on the light-reflecting capacity of plasma heterogeneities generated by propulsion systems in the ionosphere,” a source in the Russian mission control center told RIA Novosti.
Another Progress cargo ship is to be launched on July 24. It will bring 45 snails to the ISS for a scientific experiment, which will see how space flight influences morphological and electrophysiological properties of a biological object’s regeneration process, Russian space agency Roscosmos said last week.
The unmanned spaceship will also deliver fuel, food, water and oxygen for the crew, as well as scientific equipment. The Soyuz-U carrier rocket will put the new Progress M-24M ship into orbit on July 24, at 1:44 a.m. Moscow time.
A total of 130 Progress spacecraft have supported orbiting outposts over the past three decades, lifting many tons of supplies to low Earth orbit.
Update: 23.00 MESZ
The ISS Progress 56 cargo ship is erected on the launch pad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
Update: NASA-LIVE 23.30
Quelle: NASA-TV
Update: 24.07.2014

Überlebenskünstler auf der Reise zur ISS

Progress-Rakete befördert Blaualgen und Biofilme für DLR-Experimente ins All
Sie sind zäh, widerstandsfähig und können an den unwirtlichsten Orten auf der Erde überleben - und nun sollen sie dies auch unter Weltraumbedingungen unter Beweis stellen: Am 23. Juli 2014 starten Blaualgen (Cyanobakterien der Gattung Nostoc) und Biofilme (Deinococcus geothermalis) um 23.44 Uhr mitteleuropäischer Zeit mit einer Progress-Rakete zur Internationalen Raumstation ISS. Bei einem Weltraumausstieg voraussichtlich am 18. August werden die Proben des Deutschen Zentrums für Luft- und Raumfahrt (DLR) an der Außenseite der ISS in die Anlage EXPOSE-R2 eingesetzt. Dann soll mit den Experimenten BIOMEX (Biology and Mars-Experiment) und BOSS (Biofilm Organisms Surfing Space) untersucht werden, ob die Organismen beispielsweise ultraviolette Strahlung, kosmische Strahlung, Temperaturschwankungen und simulierte Marsbedingungen überstehen und somit auch auf anderen Planeten überleben könnten.
Dr. Jean-Pierre de Vera vom DLR-Institut für Planetenforschung hat seine Probanden für die Weltraumreise selbst in der Antarktis gesammelt und sie anschließend in seiner Marssimulationskammer getestet: "Die Cyanobakterien sind extrem überlebensfähig - zumindest auf der Erde." Auch in den Anlagen des DLR-Instituts für Luft- und Raumfahrtmedizin wurden die Bakterien ausgiebig unter Strahlung und Vakuum auf die Probe gestellt. Jetzt folgt mit dem Experiment BIOMEX der nächste Schritt, der die Probanden mit dem starken Überlebenswillen ins All bringt. Mehrere hundert Proben - darunter auch Urbakterien, Algen, Flechte, Pilze und Moose weiterer nationaler und internationaler beteiligter Partner - werden dort über ein Jahr lang an der Außenseite der ISS verbringen.
Der Mars im Kleinformat an der ISS
Mikrobiologe und Planetenforscher de Vera lässt dabei an der ISS Marsbedingungen entstehen. Zwei marsähnliche Böden hat er dafür gemeinsam mit dem Naturkundemuseum Berlin zusammengemischt: Zum einen entstand so aus Ton und Sedimenten ein Boden, der die Epoche simuliert, als es auf dem Mars noch Flüsse und Seen gab; zum anderen verwendete das Team Vulkanasche, um die Epoche des Vulkanismus auf dem Mars zu simulieren. Dabei stützten sich die Wissenschaftler auf Daten, die unter anderem von den Marsrovern vor Ort über die  mineralischen Bestandteile des Mars geliefert wurden. Um herauszufinden, ob der Marsboden für die Organismen oder gar für einige Zellbestandteile einen Schutz vor der Weltraumstrahlung bietet, werden die Bakterienproben und biologischen Substanzen in den Versuchsanlagen unterschiedlich stark in dieses Material eingebettet. Zudem schafft eine Begasung mit Kohlendioxid eine künstliche Marsatmosphäre für die Probanden in der Versuchsanlage. "So können wir herausfinden, ob die dünne Atmosphäre und die Bodenschichten auf dem Mars schützen und dieser Planet somit für Leben geeignet ist", sagt Dr. Jean-Pierre de Vera. "Wir können damit ebenfalls feststellen, ob die getesteten weltraum-stabilen Zellfragmente als eindeutige Spuren von Leben in Frage kommen. Wäre das der Fall, so könnte dies die zukünftige Suche nach Leben auf dem Mars unterstützen." Die weltraum-stabilen, biologischen Stoffe könnten bei weiteren Missionen zur Marserkundung als Bezugsstoffe für die dort verwendeten Instrumente dienen.
Erfolgsstrategie Biofilm
Dr. Petra Rettberg vom DLR-Institut für Luft- und Raumfahrtmedizin setzt im Experiment BOSS auf andere Überlebenskünstler, deren Lebensweise auf der Erde allgegenwärtig ist und auch schon einmal dort vorkommt, wo man sie nicht finden möchte, beispielsweise in Wasserleitungen oder im Duschkopf: "Biofilme gehören zu den ältesten Organismengemeinschaften auf der Erde, die wir heute nachweisen können, und haben vermutlich auch auf anderen Planeten gute Überlebenschancen," sagt Dr. Rettberg. Die Erfolgsstrategie des ausgewählten Organismus Deinococcus geothermalis: Das Bakterium lebt in einer Form von vielen Zellschichten, die von einer selbstproduzierten extrazellulären umgeben sind und schützt sich auf diese Weise vor schädlichen äußeren Einflüssen. Immer wieder setzte die Strahlenbiologin ihr Versuchsobjekt gezielt extremen Temperaturen aus, lagerte es wochenlang im Vakuum oder bestrahlte die Organismen mit einer starken UV-Lampe. Die Probanden überlebten. Im All sollen sie nun erstmals die Bedingungen des freien Weltraums und simulierte Marsbedingungen erleben, die durch unterschiedliche Filter über den Proben, eine künstliche Marsatmosphäre sowie Marsdruck im Orbit erzeugt werden. Parallel werden dieselben Organismen in Form von Einzelzellen untersucht, um den Schutzeffekt der Matrix zu ermitteln. Europäische und amerikanische Kooperationspartner beteiligen sich mit anderen Arten biofilm-bildender Organismen, um die zu erwartenden Erkenntnisse verallgemeinern zu können.
Effektivere Suche nach Leben im Weltall
Die Experimente, die das DLR mit  internationalen Teams als zwei von vier Experimenten in der EXPOSE-Anlage der ISS betreibt, werden den Wissenschaftlern Aufschluss darüber geben, welche Organismen im Weltraum oder auf dem Mars überhaupt Überlebenschancen haben. Die Resultate der Weltraumexperimente sind wichtig, um die Entstehung von Leben im Sonnensystem zu erklären: "Die Überlebenskünstler im All könnten das Leben von einem Himmelskörper zum nächsten transportiert haben", sagt Planetenforscher de Vera. Auch die Suche nach Leben auf anderen Planeten könnte einfacher werden: "Mit den unterschiedlichen Bedingungen und Varianten, die wir an der Außenseite der ISS testen, können wir viel genauer definieren, wo man auf anderen Planeten wie dem Mars nach Leben suchen müsste", sind sich Dr. Petra Rettberg und Dr. Jean-Pierre de Vera einig.
Mindestens ein Jahr werden die Probanden den harschen Weltraumbedingungen ausgesetzt und spätestens im August 2016 wieder zur Erde zurücktransportiert. Für die Wissenschaftler am Boden beginnt dann die detaillierte Auswertung, welcher Organismus sich als besonders überlebensfähig erweist, welche Strategie den meisten Schutz im Weltall bietet und welche Biosubstanzen als Bezugsstoffe für die Suche nach Leben auf dem Mars dienen könnten.
Quelle: DLR
Update: 20.40 MESZ 
Cargo Ship Docks to Station Less Than Six Hours After Launch
Cargo Ship Docks to Station Less Than Six Hours After Launch
The ISS Progress 56 resupply spacecraft, packed with almost three tons of cargo, automatically docked to the International Space Station’s Pirs docking compartment at 11:31 p.m. EDT Wednesday, less than six hours after its launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
At the time of docking, the station was soaring 259 miles over the Pacific Ocean off the west coast of South America.
The Soyuz rocket carrying Progress 56 launched from Baikonur at 5:44 p.m. (3:44 a.m., Baikonur time) to send the cargo ship on its expedited, 4-orbit trek to the station.
The new Progress is loaded with 1,764 pounds of propellant, 48 pounds of oxygen, 57 pounds of air, 926 pounds of water and 2,910 pounds of spare parts, experiment hardware and other supplies for the Expedition 38 crew. Expedition 40 Flight Engineers Alexander Skvortsov and Max Suraev will open the hatch to Progress Thursday morning to begin unloading the cargo.
The ISS Progress 55 cargo craft, which undocked from Pirs on Monday, is now a safe distance from the complex for a series of engineering tests prior to being sent to a destructive re-entry over the Pacific Ocean on July 31.
The station’s crew began the workday at 6 a.m. Wednesday, four hours later than the usual 2 a.m. reveille to accommodate the late-night arrival of Progress.
Commander Steve Swanson and Flight Engineer Alexander Gerst participated in more Ocular Health exams as flight surgeons track the vision health of the astronauts aboard the station. NASA recently identified that some astronauts experience changes in their vision, which might be related to effects of microgravity on the cardiovascular system. Researchers are working to understand and prevent these changes in astronauts. With guidance from the Ocular Health team on the ground, Gerst performed an ultrasound scan of Swanson’s eyes. Flight Engineer Reid Wiseman then pitched in to help out with Wednesday’s exams and conducted an ultrasound scan of Gerst’s eyes. Swanson and Gerst later measured each other’s blood pressure and collected electrocardiogram data for Ocular Health.
Swanson also temporarily removed the Multi-user Droplet Combustion Apparatus from the Combustion Integrated Rack’s combustion chamber to replace some igniter tips.
The commander then moved on to assist Wiseman, who was participating in another round of data collection for the Sprint exercise study. Sprint measures the effectiveness of high-intensity, low-volume exercise training in minimizing the loss of muscle mass and bone density that occurs during spaceflight. Station crew members currently work out around 2 ½-hours every day, and the Sprint team is looking into ways to reduce that total exercise time while maintaining crew fitness
Wiseman also set up and photographed new test samples for the Binary Colloidal Alloy Test, or BCAT. Results from this ongoing investigation of colloids – mixtures of small particles distributed throughout a liquid – will help materials scientists to develop new consumer products with unique properties and longer shelf lives.
For the ongoing Burning And Suppression of Solids experiment, or BASS, Gerst conducted a series of flame tests at reduced oxygen pressure to get a stable blue flame for a longer period of time. Housed inside the station’s Microgravity Science Glovebox, BASS is investigating the hypothesis that some materials may actually become more flammable in space. Results from BASS will help screen materials for their use aboard future spacecraft. The research also provides scientists with improved computational models that will aid in the design of fire detection and suppression systems both in space and here on Earth.
Gerst also used several dermatology tools on his forearm to collect data for the Skin B experiment, which investigates the accelerated aging of skin that seems to occur during spaceflight. Results from this study will improve the understanding of the mechanisms of skin aging as well as provide insight into the aging process of similar body tissues.
On the Russian side of the station, Suraev and Flight Engineer Oleg Artemyev began the day with an examination of the veins in their lower legs to provide data on the body’s adaption to long-duration spaceflight.
With Progress 56 slated to arrive at the station well-past the crew’s usual bedtime, all three Russian cosmonauts aboard the station took a 4-hour nap at beginning 12:30 p.m. Afterward, Skvortsov and Suraev resumed preparations for the arrival of Progress 56.
The station also conducted a “deboost” Wednesday morning to steer clear of some space debris.
The engines of the station’s Zvezda service module conducted a 32-second firing at 6:57 a.m. EDT to slightly lower the orbit of the complex and steer clear of a fragment of debris from a Russian Breeze-M upper stage used in the launch of a Russian satellite in December 2011.
The “deboost” of the station was coordinated between NASA and Russian flight controllers after tracking data confirmed that the fragment would have posed a high probability of a conjunction with the station. Although last-minute tracking data indicated that the fragment would have passed a safe distance away from the station, flight controllers elected to proceed with the engine firing since it would have no impact on other activities. Earlier data indicated that if no maneuver would have been conducted, the fragment would have made its closest approach to the station at 9:16 a.m. with an estimated radial miss distance of just 1/10 of a mile and an overall miss distance of 3.6 miles.
The maneuver lowered the station’s orbit by 1.1 statute miles at apogee and 1/10 of a statute mile at perigee and left the station in an orbit of 258.8 x 256.9 statute miles.
The conjunction posed no threat to the crew, had no impact on station operations or the launch of Progress 56.
At Kourou, French Guiana, technicians have completed complimentary verifications and control measures associated with the Ariane 5 ES launcher, and the launch of the European Space Agency’s fifth and final Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV-5) is now set for Tuesday, July 29, at 7:47 p.m. The ATV-5, named the “Georges Lemaitre” in honor of the Belgian physicist and astronomer, is slated to dock to Zvezda on August 12.
Quelle: NASA


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