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Sonntag, 13. März 2016 - 20:15 Uhr

Raumfahrt - Erfolgreicher 2.Start-Versuch von Sojus-2.1b mit Resurs-P No.3 Satelliten

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12.03.2016

A Soyuz-2.1b carrier rocket aborted launch with the Resurs-P No.3 satellite at the Baikonur cosmodrome (Kazakhstan) on 12 March 2016, at 18:56 UTC (21:56 local time). According to Roscosmos, “there was an automatic shutdown of the engines, the causes are being investigated”
Quellet: Roscosmos 
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Update: 13.03.2016
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Resurs-P satellite launch set to Sunday, March 13 - Roscosmos
It was reported earlier that during the launch of the Soyz-2.1b carrier rocket with the Resurs-P No.3 satellite its engine was automatically idled and the launch called off
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The launch of the Russia's Soyuz-2.1b carrier rocket carrying an advanced Resurs-P No. 3 remote sensing satellite, postponed on March 12, was set to Sunday, March 13 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Roscosmos press service told TASS.
"The launch of the carrier rocket is scheduled for 21:56 MSK," the state corporation said.
The satellite will be separated from the rocket 9 minutes after liftoff, at 22:05 MSK, Roskosmos said.
It was reported earlier that during the launch of the Soyz-2.1b carrier rocket with the Resurs-P No.3 satellite its engine was automatically idled and the launch called off.
Roscosmos told TASS that the postponement of launch of Earth remote sensing satellite Resurs-P No. 3 would not affect the timeframe of regular launches this March.
"The changes in timetable of other launches scheduled for March is not planned," the press service said.
The nearest launch of the Soyuz-FG rocket is scheduled for March 19 to deliver a crew to the International Space Station (ISS).
The 5,920-kg Resurs-P No. 3 satellite was to have formed a system of Earth remote sensing satellites, expected to comprise 11 space vehicles in 2016.
The first Resurs-DK satellite was put into orbit in June 2006, followed by Resurs-P No.1 in June 2013 and Resurs-P No.2 in December 2014. The third apparatus was manufactured at the Samara-based Progress rocket and space center.
In last November, the orbital system was adopted in regular operation, becoming the first national orbital group of the civilian remote Earth sensing satellites with a detailed level of resolution.
Over 200 Russian agencies use data received from the satellites in the agriculture, forestry, the water industry and in monitoring emergencies areas.
Quelle: TASS
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Update: 19.00 MEZ
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Zweiter Start-Versuch von Soyuz-2.1b
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...19.55 MEZ
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Quelle: Roscosmos

Tags: Raumfahrt 

1330 Views

Sonntag, 13. März 2016 - 16:45 Uhr

Luftfahrt - GET READY FOR THE NEXT GENERATION FIGHTER JET

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Boeing Concept For 6th Generation Fighter
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Since the dawn of the jet age, military planners and industrialists have grouped the fighters borne forth from their iron loins into generations. Borrowing the term from biology, each generation is grouped by a series of improvements that make the successor distinct from the predecessor. Now, as the fifth generation F-35 Joint Strike Fighter slowly eases its way into American military service, and the fourth generation A-10s and F-16s that preceded it are phased out, the Pentagon is looking further into the future, ready to start the long and pricey conception of a sixth generation.
The gestational period of a fighter is sometimes decades. The F-35, which is expected to enter service in 2019, first started development in 1997. Airplane generations don’t always take as long as human ones. The F-18, a major success by Pentagon acquisition standards, took just a decade to go from an existing prototype in the 1970s to a working fighter in the 1980s, but that’s an outlier. For the sixth generation, the Department of Defense hopes to split the difference and get them flying and ready to go by the 2030s.
DARPA is already working on this future. Sixth-generation fighters could include the planned hunting packs of drones that may very well fight alongside manned fighters. But in their “Air Dominance Initiative,” the agency notes that it's looking not just at specific technologies, like stealth or vectored engines, but at systems that work together to make a better fighter. "Systems", of course, is a super vague term. Here's how DARPA Director Arati Prabhakar described it in 2013:
We're seeking, as well, ideas that can invert the cost equation, ways to use innovation not just to nibble at the cost of systems, but really to fundamentally change the cost equation and to inflict much more costs on our adversaries to respond to the solutions that we come up with.
Here's something more concrete: One of those systems might be onboard artificial intelligence.
America is hardly alone in deciding the shape of future warplanes. For decades, Russian and American innovation competed, first in the skies above Korea and then later Vietnam. Straight-wing first-generation fighters were outmaneuvered by swept-wing competitors. The early gunfighting second-generation jets manufactured right after the Korean war found themselves in missile fights against the more advanced third generation. While air-to-air combat is increasingly rare, the same cycle of design and competition continues. In future aerial battlefields, America’s F-22s and F-35s might have to contend with China’s own fifth-generation J31 fighter or Russia’s T-50. These planes are all expected to serve for decades until the sixth generation arrives, screaming and kicking afterburner, to dominate the skies.
Quelle:PS

Tags: Luftfahrt 

1493 Views

Sonntag, 13. März 2016 - 16:15 Uhr

Raumfahrt - Electra: Freie Bahn für ESA´s E-Satelliten

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Der Name ist Programm: Mit "Electra" möchte die Europäische Weltraumorganisation ESA einen Kommunikationssatelliten rein elektrisch statt - wie bislang üblich mit chemischen Triebwerken - entwickeln, bauen und starten. Die Energie liefert die Sonne.
Als so genannte Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) wurde die Mission auf der ESA-Ministerratskonferenz 2012 in Neapel beschlossen - sie ist Teil des ARTES (Advanced Research in Telecommunications Systems)-Programms der ESA, Deutschland ist im Electra-Unterprogramm mit 58,5 Prozent der Hauptzeichner. Private Partner von Electra sind das luxemburgische Raumfahrtunternehmen SES und die deutsche OHB System AG.
Am 11. März 2016 wurden jetzt in Betzdorf (Luxemburg) im Beisein des luxemburgischen Vize-Premiers Etienne Schneider die entsprechenden Verträge zwischen der ESA und den privaten Partnern unterzeichnet. Der Grundstein für die Entwicklungs- und Bauphase von Electra ist damit gelegt. "Electra steht für Elektrische Satellitenantriebe, das ist vergleichbar mit der Elektromobilität beim Auto. Wir verbinden hier in einer engen Partnerschaft konzeptionelle und programmatische Überlegungen mit der Technologiekompetenz von OHB aus Bremen und Interessen des Luxemburger SES Konzerns als Ankerkunden und haben damit eine ideale Kombination für eine PPP", sagte Dr. Gerd Gruppe, DLR-Vorstandsmitglied für das Raumfahrtmanagement anlässlich der Vertragsunterzeichnung in Luxemburg, und ergänzt: "Dies erhöht den Wettbewerb. Electra ist auch für das DLR von strategischer Bedeutung: Es ist ein wesentliches Element, eines der Ziele der deutschen Raumfahrtstrategie, die sogenannte Systemfähigkeit in der Satellitenkommunikation, zu erreichen."
Flexiblere Nutzung und niedrigere Kosten
Electra wird von dem deutschen Raumfahrt-Konzern OHB entwickelt und gebaut. Die erste Mission beauftragt der Satellitenbetreiber SES. Bei dem Satelliten erfolgt sowohl die Lageregelung als auch die Anhebung in den finalen geostationären Orbit in 36.000 Kilometern Höhe mit elektrischen anstelle von chemischen Antrieben. Electra nutzt dazu seine Solarenergie. "Dadurch lässt sich der Treibstoff deutlich effizienter einsetzen. Electra wird so bei etwa gleichem Gewicht eine fast doppelt so große Nutzlastmasse in den Orbit bringen können, 'erkauft' sich dies aber mit einer deutlich längeren Transferzeit - sechs Monate gegenüber einer Woche bei einem chemischen Satellitenantrieb", erläutert David Futterer, Electra-Programmkoordinator beim DLR Raumfahrtmanagement in Bonn. 
Mit einer solchen Plattform habe man aber zusätzlich die Möglichkeit, den Satelliten hinsichtlich Transferzeit oder Gesamtkosten anzupassen: So könne man entweder eine stärkere Startrakete verwenden, um die Transferzeiten zu reduzieren oder mit einer kleinen und kostengünstigen Rakete längere Transferzeiten in Kauf nehmen. "Damit eröffnet Electra den Satellitenbetreibern eine neue Flexibilität. Zusammen mit den geplanten niedrigeren Satellitenkosten hat Electra gute Voraussetzungen, ein kommerzieller Erfolg zu werden", verdeutlicht David Futterer. Der Start des ersten Electra-Satelliten ist für Ende 2021 geplant.
Quelle: DLR

Tags: Raumfahrt 

1449 Views

Sonntag, 13. März 2016 - 15:45 Uhr

Astronomie - NASA erste Breit-Feld Weich-Röntgenkamera als Geschenk erhalten

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The CuPID/WASP payload (front of rocket) was integrated into a Black Brant IX sounding rocket and launched in early December 2015. The instrument returned valuable data needed by three different scientific disciplines. Image courtesy NASA.

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NASA's first wide-field soft X-ray camera, which incorporated a never-before-flown focusing technology when it debuted in late 2012, is a gift that keeps giving.
NASA recently selected a miniaturized version of the original X-ray camera to fly as a CubeSat mission to study Earth's magnetic cusps - regions in the magnetic cocoon around our planet near the poles where the magnetic field lines dip down toward the ground. The CubeSat will observe the cusps via soft X-rays emitted when the million-mile-an-hour flow of solar particles constantly streaming from the sun, called the solar wind, collides with and exchanges charges with atoms in the uppermost region of Earth's atmosphere and neutral gases in interplanetary space.
The bread loaf-size instrument is the latest incarnation of the Sheath Transport Observer for the Redistribution of Mass, or STORM. Funded by NASA's Heliophysics Technology and Instrument Development for Science, or H-TIDeS program, this new version of the instrument is being developed as WASP/CuPID, short for Wide Angle Soft x-ray Planetary camera and the Cusp Plasma Imaging Detector. The mission is expected to launch in 2019.
STORM Evolves into CuPID/WASP
Three years ago, a team of three NASA scientists at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, demonstrated STORM aboard a Black Brant IX sounding rocket to prove that their concept for studying charge exchange would work. The charge-exchange process happens when the heavy ions in the solar wind steal an electron from the neutrals - an exchange that puts the heavy ions in a short-lived excited state. As they relax, they emit soft X-rays.
The neutrals from which the heavy ions stole the electron are now charged themselves. This allows them to be picked up by the solar wind and carried away. This is one way planets like Mars could lose their atmosphere.
So valuable was the resulting data that the three scientists decided to miniaturize STORM and compete for a CubeSat flight opportunity. Now about half the size of STORM, CuPID/WASP was demonstrated aboard a Black Brant IX sounding rocket in December 2015 and will be further refined under the H-TIDeS funding. Ultimately, it will carry its own avionics system.
"Actually, it was quite a coup," said Michael Collier, a planetary scientist who worked with heliophysicist David Sibeck and astrophysicist Scott Porter to develop all instrument versions. "This imager has applications across many different fields and platforms. We figured we could miniaturize it and put it on a CubeSat and still get good science."
Boston University professor Brian Walsh, a former Goddard post-doctorate student, is serving as the mission's principal investigator.
Three Scientific Disciplines Benefit
Like its predecessor, CuPID/WASP employs what's known as a lobster-eye optic, a thick curved slab of material dotted with tiny tubes across the surface. X-ray light enters these tubes from multiple angles and is focused through reflection, giving the technology a wide field of view necessary for globally imaging the emission of soft X-rays.
Because the instrument is considerably smaller than STORM, its collecting area isn't quite as good. However, the data is just as valuable to scientists, Porter said.
Since its discovery in the mid-1990s, scientists have observed the emission of charge-exchange X-rays from planets, the moon, comets, interplanetary space, possible supernova remnants, and galactic halos.
Planetary scientists have observed these emissions from the outer atmospheres of Venus and Mars, leading some to question whether the charge-exchange phenomenon contributes to the atmospheric loss on Mars.
Heliophysicists studying how near-Earth space is affected by radiation and magnetic energy from the sun also have observed soft X-rays from the outer boundaries of Earth's magnetosphere, the magnetic bubble that shields Earth from hazardous solar storms. And astrophysicists have observed them, too - as unwanted noise in data collected by all X-ray observatories sensitive to soft X-rays.
As a result, planetary scientists and heliophysicists want to measure these emissions for scientific reasons, while astrophysicists want to remove them as noise.
Since the instrument's debut in 2012 and subsequent miniaturization as a CubeSat payload, a European-led team has begun considering developing a STORM-like instrument for its proposed Solar Wind Magnetosphere Ionosphere Link Explorer (SMILE).
"Everyone is interested in getting this data, although for different reasons," Collier added. "These missions span three different disciplines, which is a rare occurrence in space science."
Quelle: SD

Tags: Astronomie 

1433 Views

Sonntag, 13. März 2016 - 13:45 Uhr

Raumfahrt-History - 1956: Probleme des kosmischen Fluges

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Aus dem CENAP-Archiv:

Quelle: CENAP-Archiv


Tags: Raumfahrt 

1260 Views

Sonntag, 13. März 2016 - 09:00 Uhr

UFO-Forschung - Fragen zu einer "Fliegende Untertasse" Geschichte von 1948

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The following thoughts are prompted by the recent death of Walt Andrus, the founder of MUFON and advocate for half a century of the idea that Flying Saucers and UFOs represent alien beings visiting the Earth.
One day in August 1948, Walt Andrus stood on a street in downtown Phoenix, Arizona, and watched four flying saucers move across the sky. Or he said he did. My question is twofold: (1) Did that happen?, and (2) Why should we believe it?
I knew Walt Andrus when he and Coral Lorenzen were still on speaking terms. I met him in the summer of 1967 at WIL Radio studios in the Centennial Building in downtown St. Louis at a time when I had developed an interest in astronomy and the Flying Saucer controversy. From 1967-’70, he and I exchanged letters and cards. I have Christmas cards I received from Walt Andrus in 1968 and 1969.
In November 1967, Dr. J. Allen Hynek spoke on the UFO topic at Washington University in St. Louis. Walt Andrus was in the audience that night. So was I. I have a snapshot of Walt Andrus pointing to a diagram of the four flying saucers he claimed to have seen that day in Phoenix, as he spoke to a group of UFO enthusiasts at John Schuessler’s home one day in August 1968. I was one of them.
I heard Walt Andrus speak at the first two MUFON conferences in 1970-’71. On a Saturday morning in February 1973, I had breakfast with Walt Andrus, Ted Phillips, Dr. J. Allen Hynek, and several other UFO researchers in the restaurant of the Marriott Hotel across from Lambert St. Louis Airport.
Because I was young and green in those years, I assumed that Walt Andrus knew what he was talking about. Years later, I learned better. With each passing year in the 1970s, what Walt Andrus was writing and saying seemed more and more hollow to me. Walt Andrus was well-educated, intelligent, articulate, and congenial. He also wrote and spoke absolute nonsense.
Looking back now over half a century, it seems to me that Walt Andrus was primarily a salesman. He sold stock in the church he created and called “MUFON” and adorned in the trappings and vocabulary of science.
In the 1830s-‘40s, Millerites in New England allowed themselves to believe that the end of the world was imminent and that signs in the heavens (principally meteors, a comet, and solar halos) supported that belief. Some of them put on white robes and climbed trees to await being lifted up to heaven. But they waited in vain. (See Clara Endicott Sears, Days of Delusions: A Strange Bit of His- tory, Houghton Mifflin Co., 1924)
In the 1960s-‘90s, members of MUFON allowed themselves to believe that signs in the heavens (flying saucers and UFOs) indicated the presence of alien beings from other worlds cruising the skies at random, pausing now and then to kidnap some unsuspecting man or woman. For more than half a century, Saucer enthusiasts have said the Aliens are going to land and reveal themselves any day now, but they are still waiting in vain.
Although there is no more evidence to support the beliefs of MUFONites than there was to support the beliefs of Millerites, I imagine that Walt Andrus and his followers were probably just as sincere as William Miller and his followers. But sincerity is no guarantee that people can see straight and think straight.
I have been a UFO skeptic for more than 35 years and have not kept current with the UFO topic. I write these words in the hope that some UFO skeptic living in or near Phoenix might have the chance and the inclination to check the Phoenix newspaper archives to see what if anything can be learned about the incident that Walt Andrus said took place there on that day in 1948.
“Usually, it is not as important what you are told in a brief UFO account as what you aren’t told.” -- Allan Hendry, in a discussion of press coverage of UFO reports, in The UFO Handbook, Doubleday, 1979, p. 215
The most notable thing about the Phoenix Flying Saucer incident is not what Walt Andrus told us but what he didn’t tell us. His account appeared in the May 1, 1966, issue of the Motorola Company publication Voice of Motorola (“I Saw Four Flying Saucers: An- drus”, p. 2). It is also mentioned briefly in the June 1992 issue of Texas Monthly (online here: http://www.texasmonthly.com/articles/ alien-contact/).
No mention of a flying saucer sighting in downtown Phoenix in August 1948 can be found in NICAP’s 1964 document The UFO Evidence. Nor, although it allegedly occurred not far from his home in Tucson, did Dr. James E. McDonald cite that alleged 1948 incident among the UFO sightings he said were especially impressive and that he detailed in a paper he presented to the House Committee on Science and Astronautics Symposium on Unidentified Flying Objects in July 1968.
NICAP’s 1948 UFO Chronology online has a brief listing for the incident described by Andrus. It cites one book by George Eberhart and another by Ronald Story. Neither is a primary source. Both merely repeat the story told by Andrus.
The question is: Did that incident happen? Did it happen the way Walt Andrus said it happened? Or did he omit or distort or mis- represent certain details that may have pointed toward an identification of those four objects in the sky as man-made objects or illusions?
Where are the newspaper stories from that day or the days after that would confirm the story told by Andrus? To which agency or department of government did he report that incident and what was their response and how did they investigate it and what did they determine? How did their evaluation compare with the story told by Andrus? Where can these things be found and read? Where are the archives for that incident? Where is the documentation? Where are the primary sources for that alleged incident?
No one is more dedicated to preserving newspaper clippings for posterity than Flying Saucer buffs and UFO believers. Yet in all the thousands of such newspaper stories published and republished over the past half century, why are there none that back up Walt Andrus’s colorful story about that incident in downtown Phoenix on that day in 1948?
We know that 1948 was a banner year for “flying saucer” stories. The three “classic” saucer sightings involving Mantell, Chiles-Whit- ted, and Gorman took place that year. (See Edward Ruppelt, The Report on Unidentified Flying Objects, Doubleday, 1956, Chapter 3, “The Classics”, and Curtis Peebles, Watch the Skies!, Smithsonian Institution Press, 1994, Chapter 3, “The Classics”.)
So newspapers in 1948 were filled with stories about flying saucers. And yet no “UFO researcher” has ever produced a single news- paper story about the event that Walt Andrus claimed happened in downtown Phoenix one day that August and that he claimed was witnessed by “numerous other people” walking along the streets. And how come neither Andrus nor any of those numerous other people took any pictures of those four “flying saucers” while they remained in plain sight in broad daylight for 15-20 minutes?
“I assumed these were experimental crafts the Air Force was developing,” said Andrus. (Texas Monthly article)
But why assume? Why not contact the Air Force and ask them? Project Sign was in the news that summer because the Eastern Air Lines “cigar-shaped flying saucer” sighting over Alabama made headlines only three weeks earlier. Yet Andrus never gave the slight- est indication that he made any attempt to contact the Air Force or report his flying saucer sighting to any authority.
And if in 1948 he “assumed” those four objects were American aircraft but later began telling people he had seen flying saucers piloted by extraterrestrial aliens, then when did he change his mind and why?
From the absence of any reference to documentation, I venture the guess that Walt Andrus did not contact any agency of govern- ment or airport or military base after he claimed to have seen those four “flying saucers”; if he had done so, then surely he would have reported that fact in his recitation of that story in later years, because it would add substance to his story, especially if any of those people had told him that they had investigated that incident but were unable to identify those four objects.
In her book American Betrayal (St. Martin’s Press, 2013), Diana West argues that there is a “culture of omission, blanks and gaps” in the official history of World War II and the Cold War years afterward. By that, she means that certain information is routinely omitted, ignored, or buried in the official history of those years. I think she is right.
I contend also that a similar “culture of omission, blanks and gaps” exists in the corpus of anecdotes that is called the “Flying Saucer 
Mystery” or the “UFO Mystery”. Knowing that that subculture exists within the larger culture of Saucer enthusiasts is a key to under- standing the truth about those alleged mysteries.
What commercial airline flights were in the vicinity of Phoenix at that time?
What private aircraft were in that vicinity at that time?
Were any civil defense exercises taking place in or around Phoenix that day?
Were any civic or promotional events taking place that involved balloons or advertising aircraft? Were any weather or meteorological research balloons in that vicinity that day?
Were any exercises taking place that day from nearby military bases?
Were any kite or balloon aficionados holding any events that day?
Were any groups of citizens holding festivals or picnics nearby?
Which airports or military bases in and around Phoenix tracked those four flying saucers on radar? As far as Walt Andrus was concerned, the answer to all those questions was: Blank out.
Evidently UFO researchers and “investigators” had the same lack of curiosity about that incident.
Andrus said that the four “flying saucers” he saw seemed to disappear for a few minutes and then came back into view. The possi- bility of common atmospheric-optical illusions that make ordinary objects like airplanes or balloons seem to “disappear” momen- tarily and then reappear apparently did not occur to Andrus. Instead of that common-sense consideration, he preferred fantastic speculation:
“Did those balloon-shaped objects ‘dematerialize’ or change into another dimension right before our eyes and then return a few minutes later into our three dimensional world?”, he asked in an essay he contributed to The Encyclopedia of UFOs (Ronald Story, ed., Dolphin Books, 1980, pp. 17-18).
In other words, Walt Andrus would have his readers believe that we are dealing not only with interplanetary spaceships but also with other dimensions. UFO “science” at its best: The mysteries multiply while Occam’s Razor gets thrown into the trash.
How did he know that what he had seen could not be accounted for by common illusions or changing angles of sight?
Did he investigate that possibility? No.
Did anyone else investigate that possibility? No.
From his failure to have contacted any official investigating agency or airport or military base, it is therefore reasonable to surmise that Andrus thought himself to be omniscient.
How did he know that he had seen four “flying saucers” piloted by Alien Beings if he never asked any official agency to investigate that incident? The answer: He “just knew”. There was no need for investigation because Andrus “just knew”.
That is how True Believers think. If they tell you they have seen extraordinary things in the sky and you ask them how they know those things are extraordinary, they will dance around your question or stand it on its head to evade the hard responsibility of an- swering it. Instead, they will assure you that they “just know”.
A few years ago I spoke with a man in St. Louis who said he saw a light or object in the sky that puzzled him late one night in the summer of 1960, when he was about 15-16 years old. To whom did he report that observation and what did they conclude?, I asked. No one. How did he know that what he saw was something truly mysterious or inexplicable?, I asked. His reply: “I know what I saw.”
I gave up. From that and other examples like it, I concluded that it is no more possible to have a rational conversation with such people than it would have been to show Millerites that meteors and comets do not portend the end of the world.
And that is what gives the game away. It is what identifies belief in “Flying Saucers” or “UFOs’” as the ersatz religion that it is. The truth is that no one “just knows” anything.
People who say they “just know” are indulging in mysticism. “Mysticism” means anti-knowledge and anti-reason. And reason is man’s only means for acquiring knowledge, knowing anything, and understanding anything—not “mysticism”, not “faith”, not “re- vealed wisdom”, not magical thinking, not “meta-logic”, and not “just knowing”.
It is a measure of the credulity or the will-to-believe of modern Americans who study the UFO “mystery” that they are willing to adopt any or all of those forms of mysticism and throw reason out the window in what they claim is their desire to solve that mystery. I have known such people. Most were thoroughly decent and intelligent people. Walt Andrus was one of them.
I believe that Walt Andrus was probably sincere in claiming to believe the things he said and wrote. People like Walt Andrus or Wil- liam Miller can be found in any nation at any time in history, but they flourish among people who are especially credulous in one way or another. And no people in American history were ever more credulous than Americans proved themselves to be in the years after World War II when their apparent victory in that war enabled them to assume a kind of arrogance about themselves. Belief in 
Flying Saucers was just one expression of their credulity, which today is orders of magnitude greater than it was in the 1950s-‘60s and extends to matters much more important.
“They are definitely not from our planet,” Walt Andrus said about “flying saucers” in a 1966 article in a midwestern college magazine. [ Culver-Stockton College Concept, Winter 1966-1967, p. 14 ] “But they are not dangerous. They are here for surveillance only. They’ve been here for thousands of years.....” [ Walt Andrus, quoted in Tulsa (Oklahoma) Tribune, July 25, 1969 ]
He didn’t explain how he knew those things. Apparently he “just knew” them, perhaps the same way that William Miller knew the world would come to an end in October 1844.
And let’s don’t overlook the irony here:
Walt Andrus, a “UFO expert” and founder of a widely-respected group of UFO researchers, dispensed advice on how to investigate UFO stories in MUFON’s official “field investigator’s manual” but failed to investigate or report to any official agency the very flying saucer sighting that he claimed to have made in 1948. Is that rich or what?
By comparison with the incident that Andrus said took place that day in Phoenix in 1948, consider the three “classic” Saucer cases from 1948 discussed at length by Ruppelt and Peebles and known to all UFO researchers: What significance would they have if those incidents had not been reported and investigated immediately afterward by Project Sign personnel? What significance does the alleged incident in Phoenix have when neither Andrus nor anyone else ever reported it or investigated it? What significance does an unreported, undocumented, and uninvestigated “flying saucer” sighting have?
A measure of Walt Andrus’s determination to solve mysteries can be gleaned from his handling of the November 1966 Ozark Air Lines Nocturnal Light UFO case from Missouri. The pilot who saw the light and kept it in view for more than half an hour never claimed it was anything other than a light. Andrus learned of the incident when he was still working as a volunteer investigator for Jim and Coral Lorenzen’s APRO (Aerial Phenomena Research Organization). When he spoke with the pilot, Andrus tried to make the light into a “craft” piloted by alien beings. The pilot never claimed or suggested any such thing. That was pure invention by Walt Andrus. Neither he nor any other UFO “investigator” investigated that incident or told the pilot what he had seen. There was no “craft” and there were no Aliens.
All that Andrus had to do was look at a star chart for the night of the incident and see that the bright star Vega occupied exactly the same place in the sky as the Nocturnal Light reported by the Ozark Air Lines pilot. But Andrus did not do that. Why? If he knew that such a solution was readily available and did not pursue it and report it, then he was disingenuous as a “UFO investigator”. If he didn’t know it or made no attempt to learn it, then he was inept as a “UFO investigator”. [ The Ozark Air Lines case was reported in the Nov.-Dec. 1966 issue of The A.P.R.O. Bulletin, p. 7. ]
“Ignorance is said to be voluntary, when it regards that which one can and ought to know...And ignorance of this kind happens, either when one does not actually consider what one can and ought to consider; this is called “ignorance of evil choice,” and arises from some passion or habit: or when one does not take the trouble to acquire the knowledge which one ought to have.”
– St. Thomas Aquinas [ Emphasis mine – DS ]
What shall we conclude about the anecdote told by Walt Andrus when it appears that he did not take the trouble to acquire the information that he ought to have acquired, or did not ask experienced investigators to develop the information that we must have in order to evaluate that anecdote?
I had no further contact with Walt Andrus after the mid-1970s. I became a UFO skeptic, while he continued selling Saucer stories to his receptive customers.
Walt Andrus and I shared an interest in the topic, but for very different reasons: For him, he said it was his desire to learn more about the alien beings whom he believed or said he believed operated the Flying Saucers; but for me, it was because I concluded that Saucer stories offer splendid examples of mythmaking, propaganda, fairy tales, logical fallacies, and men’s limitless capacity for error and self-deception.
Quelle: SUNlite 1/2016

Tags: UFO-Forschung 

1535 Views

Samstag, 12. März 2016 - 19:00 Uhr

UFO-Forschung - UFO-Absturz bei Roswell 1947 ? Teil-40

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Slide news
Following the October presentation, Jaimie Maussan’s experts chose to post their analysis on the web. That web page lasted less than a week before it was made inaccessible to the general public. One can not say why but it could be that they had received negative feedback regarding their analysis.
As always, they continue to ignore the rules of perspective and insist the body in the Ray’s photograph is 120 cm long. This is based on the measurements they made on the woman in the background, who is behind the body a significant distance. There is no doubt that she is much further away because she is not in focus, which means she is outside the depth of field. I discussed this in SUNlite 7-4. So far, the Maussan experts have failed to address this problem.
Either Maussan’s experts are hoping nobody will notice their errors or they are being paid to say these things. Failure to address obvious mistakes in their analysis indicates they are not interested in science and are part of a hoax. Their failure is embarrassing for them professionally. Maybe they hope that nobody will notice.
Deathbed confessions
Kevin Randle recently wrote about “deathbed confessions” that appear in many of Carey and Schmitt’s writings. It is amazing that some of the stuff they write is blindly accepted by other crashologists. Personally, I think just about anything Carey and Schmitt write should not be trusted without being verified. The recent Roswell slides debacle demonstrated how unreliable both of these men are.
Of course, the “deathbed confession” is not just reserved for people like Schmitt and Carey. There have been other ridiculous at- tempts at promoting “deathbed confessions” as truth. Here are a two recent examples that were less than compelling.
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        Ramey DOCUMENT update
Last issue, I mentioned that David Rudiak, Kevin Randle, and Martin Dreyer had produced new scans of the infamous “Ramey memo” photograph taken in Fort Worth. Lance Moody shared these scans with several members of the Roswell Slides Research Group, which decided to see if they could make heads or tails out of it. Despite employing various versions of software and other methodologies, nobody really could agree on much about what the text states. Even though nobody in our group could clearly read it, I decided to share some of my observations regarding the “memo” with readers of SUNlite.
The Roswell scenario
What we are told by Roswell crashologists is that this is a top secret message sent by General Ramey to higher headquarters de- scribing the recovery operations underway at Roswell and efforts to deceive the press. The most detailed analysis comes from David Rudiak, who has spent over a decade examining and attempting to read the text. He has provided us with his interpretation and asserts that it is correct.1
According to Rudiak, this is a highly classified message from General Ramey to General Vandenberg. His interpretation of the memo describes a recovery operation, the delivery of “victims” from some sort of craft to some unknown location, and the deception cam- paign launched to fool the press. This is Rudiak’s claim based on years of looking at the images but is his reading accurate?
Was General Ramey a “drooling idiot”?
The argument that this is a top secret message that was so highly classified that very few people were ever aware of its contents makes some serious assumptions about General Ramey and Colonel Dubose. Both men were not young first Lieutenants and were knowledgeable about securing classified information. Despite this experience, we are told that they managed to ignore security regulations when the photographs were taken. Were they, to quote a prominent crashologist, “drooling idiots”? If one is going to categorically state that balloon and radar reflector materials could NEVER be misidentified by a Colonel and a Major (even though there is evidence that such misidentifications were being made in 1947) then one has to assume that it is just as, if not more, unlikely for a General to wave a highly classified document in front of a camera. I am not stating it is impossible for Ramey to expose classified material to the press. I am just stating that, based on the assumed contents of the message, it is extremely unlikely that he would be so careless.
Who sent what?
The claim made by Rudiak, and the other crashologist, that this is a message from General Ramey to higher headquarters needs to be critically examined. In Rudiak’s case, the message is specifically to General Vandenberg, the head of the USAAF. However, his interpretation makes no sense if that was the case.
Rudiak states that Ramey tells Vandenberg that he (Vandenberg) “forwarded” the “victims of the wreck”. How could Vandenberg, who is in Washington D.C., forward the debris from Roswell? This interpretation indicates that Vandenberg already knew about the event and had Roswell send the debris to Fort Worth. However, this is not what happened according to all of the witnesses associat- ed with the case. General Dubose told researchers that he called Roswell and told them to send the wreckage to Fort Worth. Others have suggested that Blanchard decided on his own to send the debris to Fort Worth.
Another problem with the message being from Ramey is that, if this is accurate, there would be no reason for Ramey to be holding it. If he were reviewing a message to be transmitted, he would not have been holding the final printout. Instead, he would have held a form/draft that was typed so he could review it. These are two examples of these kinds of forms:
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The one on the left is from a field manual on signal communications from 19502. The middle document shows the form in use. Several of these can be found in the Blue Book files3. The one on the right is a draft message following the D-Day landings in 19444. Both demonstrate there was a form that would be used to create a message prior to its transmittal. Had Ramey being reviewing a message prior to transmittal, he would have had that form in his hand. Once the message was transmitted, there would have been no need for him to see a printed copy of the message right away.
A more likely scenario is that he held in his hand a message that was sent to him, 8th Air Force, or to multiple commands. In that instance, he would have been given the message so he could be aware of recent information that he needed to know for his press conference.
Different interpretations
Most skeptics have felt there is no way to clearly read the document and most of the solutions are little more than a “best guess”
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where one’s bias can affect what one reads. A few years ago, Barry Greenwood, in UHR #13 , interpreted one line to read ““....
WARREN HAUGHT, PUBLIC RELATIONS OFFICER AT ROSWELL, SAID.” That was something very different and, according to Green- wood, this meant that it was a news teletype. Several people pointed out that many of the words that everyone agrees upon never appear in any news paper reports, which eliminates this as a news telex. This is true but Greenwood’s reading of the line needs a lot more consideration than a simply dismissal based on these grounds. The words do appear to match what can be seen in the photograph. I can’t say if this is an accurate analysis or not but it seems like a better reading than some of the other interpretations. My tentative agreement with Greenwood on the words may be influenced by my bias that this probably was some sort of document with a report recounting some of the information that was already circulating in the media.
Does this look like a 1947 message?
The one thing that has me extremely skeptical of Rudiak’s interpretation is his message format. It does not appear to match any-
6,7,8,9,10
thing that can be found in messages from the era. On the following page, I have five messages from the era showing how
they appeared in various types of reports (two of which were highly classified at the time). All followed similar formats, which are unlike the interpretations of the header format suggested by Rudiak, where General Vandenberg was identified as the recipient. To top it off, the wording found in the various interpretations look nothing like what is seen in these messages.
The only problem with this comparison is that they are not messages transmitted by the 8th Air Force in 1947. One has to compare apples to apples. That being said, there is no reason to believe that the Fort Worth message traffic was any different than what we see in these examples.
One other item I noticed in the “Ramey document” is the unusual header at the top11:
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I have yet to see any “header” like this in any military document. Identifying this logo might hold the key to identifying what type of document the “Ramey memo” actually is.
Studies and outside agencies
Over a decade ago, Kevin Randle and James Houran published a study about the Ramey memo where they concluded that
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people would not be able to read the word “victims” unless they were prompted to do so . David Rudiak felt the subjects,
who were allowed to view the image, were not given enough context or information about the memo, to give it a proper reading/ interpretation13. He felt the wording was clear enough to him and to his fellow crashologists. To prove this, he came up with what he calls “consensus” readings14. However, this “consensus” readings were among many pro-UFO crash authors who have been pub- lishing and sharing their readings with each other for years. They are not independent and most are influenced by a shared belief in a crashed spaceship. It is not a surprise that they are going to agree on certain key phrases and the document’s meaning.
One of the items that was mentioned in the Houran/Randle study was that they wanted to have the memo read by several indepen- dent agencies to see if they came up with the same results. Houran was able to convince the Fund for UFO Research to finance such an effort. The results of this study were not widely disseminated but Kevin Randle mentioned it in his e-book, Roswell Revisited:
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Houran details the methods used to review the memo by the laboratories and then offers the conclusions of that analysis. Surprisingly, those results mirror those obtained by the Air Force during their study in the 1990s. In other words, the experts consulted by Houran, after running their various tests, scans, and analysis, concluded that nothing could be read with any degree of certainty in the Ramey Memo. Houran wrote to me, “The labs felt that no words could be read with any accuracy...However, they did say that improved methodologies might yield some legible words.”
So, like the Air Force before them, these labs didn’t want to make a judgment call on what they considered a stimuli too vague to define. They suggested that there was a lower limit to how much resolution there could be because the “noise” from the grains of silver in the emulsion could never be completely eliminated and that even the best labs might never be able to improve the quality of the signal. No, they didn’t rule that out completely, but the fact remains that the object of the photograph was not the paper in Ramey’s hand, and that the paper was turned and twisted and those distortions just might be too much of overcome.
What it seems to boil down to is that there is no real consensus on what the message says no matter how much argument there is about it. And while it can be argued that the message held by Ramey might be about the Roswell case, there really is no way to know that for certain because the stimuli is too vague to be read with any degree of certainty.15
Thanks to Kevin Randle, I was able to obtain a full copy of the report and the comments by the various analysts mirror much of what has been stated about reading the text all along:
The problem from an image processing point of view is VERY challenging and interesting since the images you gave us are both blurred and corrupted with film grain noise. 16
The most important difficulty which explains that we do not obtain better results is the presence of an important noise, essentially the noise of the photographic film. The spatial frequencies of this noise are of the same order as those of the letters, so that it is very difficult to extract a pertinent information. 17
The letters in the image are probably too near to the resolution limit of the camera setting and too much information has been lost.18
The most interesting comment in the report came from Dr. Bruce Maccabee:
The fact that the image size of even the largest letters is not great compared to the grain size of the film is the reason that I have stayed out of this. I suspect that a sizable part of the “restored information” we have read about in the past (based on claims about being able to read the document to get that information) is in the eye of the beholder. In other words, there is so much noise what one claims to see is like seeing “something” in a Rorschach ink blot test. The individual letters are broken up, sometimes severely broken, by the absence of film grains. This makes any attempt at a restoration very difficult or perhaps even impossible, in my humble opinion.19
All these comments mirror what the USAF stated in the 1994 report on Roswell. They stated that they had digitized an original print obtained from the University of Texas-Arlington hoping to discover additional information about the Roswell event:
In an attempt to read this text to determine if it could shed any further light on locating documents relating to this matter, the photo was sent to a national-level organization for digitizing and subsequent photo interpretation and analysis. This organization was also asked to scrutinize the digitized photos for any indication of the flowered tape (or “hieroglyphics,” depending on the point of view) that were reputed to be visible to some of the persons who observed the wreckage prior to its getting to Fort Worth. This organization reported on July 20, 1994, that even after digitizing, the photos were of insufficient quality to visualize either of the details sought for analysis.20
David Rudiak, among others, has implied that the USAF either lied about the analysis or were incompetent in performing it. Over a decade later, independent agencies, who probably had better equipment/software than those available in 1994, were agreeing with the USAF’s conclusions. The implication that something sinister transpired during the analysis appears to be debunked based on this information.
Possible readings
Ihave tried a number of programs in order to make the text more clear. I tried NEAT image, Photoshop, Registax (which has a wave- let feature that I thought might help), and Smart deblur. All were unsuccessful in any improvement in reading the letters in the memo.
My attempts to read the lines in the image did not produce anything I am overly confident in publishing but I think there are some possibilities that are not found in the popular readings. As stated previously, I think that it is possible that Greenwood’s reading of the one line has some merit. Other lines can also have different interpretations.
The most important line for the Crashologists is the line “Victims of the wreck”. However, one could also read this as “Finding”, “Viewing”, or “Remains” among other possibilities. While the word “victims” is a possible match, the word “wreck” seems to be less convincing. It does look like five letters but there is a space between the second and third letters indicating that part of the letter or a complete letter is missing.21
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Of course, we do not even know if the word is even spelled correctly. For instance, the word might be OBJECT but misspelled OBJET. It also might be military jargon or a designation like RAWIN, ML307, or 509TH! We don’t know for sure. These possibilities need to be considered and not dismissed in favor of the “consensus” of a group already convinced the message involves discussion of a crashed alien spaceship.
After the words “Victims of the wreck” is the subsequent phrase “you forwarded”. To me, the word appears to be “you commanded” or “was commanded”. 22
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This makes more sense if this is a message sent to Ramey and not from him. This might read, “The remains of the wreck you com- manded to the........at Fort Worth, Tex.”
Another part of the message that has me wondering is the section that is read, “Meaning of story”. I see it differently. The “M” in meaning could be an “H” . This means the word might be “hearing” , which changes the whole context of the sentence. For instance, if one was “hearing of story”, then it is was indicative of a second hand report and not some conspiratorial note that there was a “meaning”of the story. Of course, I also wonder if the“of story”interpretation is even correct. The space between the “of” group and “story” group appears blurred or smudged to the point
that a letter could be there and obscured by damage to the negative (see arrow).23 If this is accurate then, instead of two words, it might be one complete word. This would change the entire interpretation.
I don’t’ consider any of my observations very accurate because I feel my personal bias is involved. That is the problem with the Ra- mey document. The reader is going to see what they want to see and there appears to be no way to work around it.
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Test image
In an effort to replicate the Ramey memo, I took several photographs using a wide angle lens from distances ranging from six to twelve feet using an 18 mega-pixel Canon digital SLR. This was not an effort to duplicate the resolution of the 4X5 negative but an effort to find at what distance the camera’s resolution appeared to match that seen in the “Ramey Memo”. I discovered that the words become clear enough to read around ten feet. At 11 and a half feet, the resolution was similar to what we see in the Fort Worth photographs.
I typed the document using a teletype font and phrases from various documents involving Roswell and other events that transpired with a few years of the Roswell crash. I also created a section based on the Roswell UFO crash story. To introduce even further am- biguity, I used a printer with a low toner cartridge. It introduced fading to some of the letters (although they could clearly be read when held by hand).
The image on the following page is that document. It is comparable to the resolution of the Ramey document. While I could not read all of the words, I could read several phrases based on what I knew about what was in the document. Beyond the key phrases, the rest of the document is difficult to be read.. In some cases, the letters appeared to blur together. This indicated to me that it was
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almost impossible to accurately read any document when the words are this small and lost in the noise of the image.
The Gordian knot
There really can be no conclusions at this point unless somebody can resolve the letters with certainty. Where some see a secret message from Ramey to higher headquarters, others are going to see something that appears more mundane. The new scans do not appear to clarify the issue and I have yet to see anybody produce improved text resolution from them. Until that can be done, the “Ramey Memo” will remain an enigma, which nobody will be able to solve.
Quelle: SUNlite 1/2016

Tags: UFO-Forschung 

1312 Views

Samstag, 12. März 2016 - 17:00 Uhr

Planet Erde - Landsat sieht Schiffwracks in Küstengewässer

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An estimated 3 million shipwrecks are scattered across the planet’s oceans. Most maritime mishaps take place close to shore where hazards to navigation — such as rocks, reefs, other submerged objects and vessel congestion — are abundant. While there is a romantic association of shipwrecks and buried treasure, it is desirable to know where they are located for many other practical reasons. The ships may be of historical significance or, if the hard substrate of the ship has created a reef, of ecological significance. Modern-era shipwrecks are also commonly sources of pollution, leaking onboard fuel and corroded heavy metals. Nearshore shipwrecks can be navigational hazards themselves.
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In this natural color Landsat OLI image, long sediment plumes extend from the wreck sites of the SS Sansip and SS Samvurn. Insets show elevation models (created by a multibeam echosounder) of the wrecks on the seafloor.
Credits: NASA/USGS Landsat/Jesse Allen/NASA Earth Observatory/Matthias Baeye et al
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Elevation models show the SS Sansip (left) and the SS Samvurn (right) as imaged by a multibeam echosounder. Both of these ships leave sediment plumes detectable by Landsat 8 during ebb and flood tides.
Credits: Matthias Baeye et al
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Researchers have found that shipwrecks near the coast can leave sediment plumes at the sea’s surface that help reveal their location. Using data from the NASA/USGS Landsat 8 satellite, researchers have detected plumes extending as far as 4 kilometers (about 2.5 miles) downstream from shallow shipwreck sites. This discovery demonstrates for the first time how Landsat and Landsat-like satellites may be used to locate the watery graves of coastal shipwrecks.
A quarter of all shipwrecks may rest in the North Atlantic. In the narrow southern end of the North Sea, where the English coast is only 100 miles from the shores of Belgium and the Netherlands, World War II-era shipwrecks are plentiful. In this area, mines, submarines, other submersibles and warships targeted cargo ships sailing between Allied countries and Dutch and Belgian ports. The potential negative environmental impacts of these modern-era shipwrecks are substantial enough that the Council of Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly has recommended they be mapped and monitored.
While airborne lidar (which uses light pulses to measure distance) can be used to detect shipwrecks close to shore and multibeam echosounders and other sound-based methods can be used anywhere deep enough for a survey vessel to sail, the former method requires clear water and cost prohibits both methods from being used to conduct exhaustive coastal surveys.
A new study published in the Journal of Archaeological Science by authors Matthias Baeye and Michael Fettweis, from the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences; Rory Quinn from Ulster University in Northern Ireland; and Samuel Deleu from Flemish Hydrography, Agency for Maritime and Coastal Services, aims to change things. The authors have found a way to use freely available Landsat satellite data to detect shipwrecks in sediment-laden coastal waters.
Their study, conducted in a coastal area off of the Belgium port of Zeebrugge, relied on a detailed multibeam echosounder survey of wreck sites, previously conducted by the Flemish government. This part of the Belgian coast is strewn with shipwrecks, in often sediment-laden waters.
The researchers started with the known location of four fully submerged shipwrecks in their study site: the SS Sansip, which the authors explain was a 135 m (443 foot) U.S. Liberty ship that sank after striking a mine in December 1944; the SS Samvurn, a similar ship that met the same fate the very next month; as well as the SS Nippon, a ship that sank after a maritime collision in 1938; and the SS Neutron, a small 51 m (167 foot) steel cargo vessel that fell victim to an uncharted navigation hazard, presumed to be the SS Sansip.
Using 21 Landsat 8 images and tidal models, the researchers mapped sediment plumes extending from the wreck locations. They found that the two ships with substantial portions of their structure unburied created sediment plumes that could be traced downstream during ebb and flood tides.
The authors postulate that the exposed structure of these ships created scour pits that then fill with fine sediments (sand, clay, organic matter, etc.) during slack tides (the period of relatively still currents between ebb and flood tides). These scour pits then serve as sediment repositories from which sediments are re-suspended during flood and ebb tides. When these sediments reach the surface, they create their telltale plumes.
Uncharted shipwrecks could be located by using the researchers’ methodology in reverse — i.e., mapping sediment plumes during various tidal stages and then following the plumes upstream to their point of origin.
The study looked at shipwrecks in waters as deep as 15 m (50 feet); depth is an essential consideration as the re-suspended sediment plumes must reach the surface to be detected by optical satellites like Landsat.
Given that coastal waters are typically shallow, often sediment-laden, and where most shipwrecks occur, this new shipwreck detection method could prove useful for marine archaeologists.
The Landsat Program is a series of Earth observing satellite missions jointly managed by NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey. Landsat satellites have been consistently gathering data about our planet since 1972. Landsat 8, designed with many evolutionary advances, launched in 2013.
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A Liberty ship, SS George Washington Carver, launches in 1943. By 1944, wartime production of these "ugly duckling" cargo steamers took an average of 42 days.
Credits: E.F. Joseph/The New York Public Library/Photographs and Prints Division
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The SS Marad, a U.S. Liberty cargo ship at sea, steams along between 1941-42. Liberty ships were an essential part of the U.S. wartime merchant fleet during World War II. Over 2,700 Liberty ships were produced in five years. The SS Sansip was a U.S. Liberty ship and the SS Samvurn had similar dimensions.
Credits: U.S. Library of Congress
Quelle: NASA

Tags: Planet Erde 

1454 Views

Samstag, 12. März 2016 - 16:45 Uhr

Raumfahrt - ESA ExoMars Mission 2016 - Update-2

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23.02.2016

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23.02.2016

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EXOMARS 2016 ORBITER AND LANDER MATED FOR MARCH LAUNCH

ExoMars Schiaparelli lander being mated with the Trace Gas Orbiter on 12 February 2016. Credit: ESA – B. Bethge
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Earth’s lone mission to the Red Planet this year has now been assembled into launch configuration and all preparations are currently on target to support blastoff from Baikonur at the opening of the launch window on March 14, 2016.
The ambitious ExoMars 2016 mission is comprised of a pair of European spacecraft named the Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) and the Schiaparelli lander, built and funded by the European Space Agency (ESA).
The duo have now been assembled and mated by technicians into their final launch configuration, working in a clean room at the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, for launch atop a Russian Proton rocket.
“The main objectives of this mission are to search for evidence of methane and other trace atmospheric gases that could be signatures of active biological or geological processes and to test key technologies in preparation for ESA’s contribution to subsequent missions to Mars,” says ESA.
After launch the pair will remain joined for the seven month long interplanetary journey to Mars until 16 October, at which time the Schiaparelli entry, descent and landing (EDL) demonstrator module will separate from the orbiter.
Three days later on October 19, TGO is slated to enter Mars orbit and Schiaparelli will begin its plummet through the thin Martian atmosphere and hoped for soft landing.
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The ExoMars 2016 entry, descent and landing demonstrator module, Schiaparelli, being transported from a cleanroom to the fuelling area, in the Baikonur cosmodrome, where it will be united with the Trace Gas Orbiter on 12 February 2016. Copyright: ESA – B. Bethge
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The mating operations commenced on February 12 with the hydrazine fueled lander in a mounting platform surrounding the orbiter that “facilitates the activities that need to be done about 4 meters off the ground,” according to ESA officials.
Over the following days, technicians then completed all the critical connections between the two spacecraft and conducted function tests to insure that all systems were operating as expected.
Specialists from the Airbus Defence and Space team also bonded the final few thermal protection tiles onto Schiaparelli. Several spots remained open during the mating operation to allow for equipment hooks to latch on and maneuver the spacecraft. With those tasks done, technician can apply the finishing touches.
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ExoMars 2016: Trace Gas Orbiter and Schiaparelli. Credit:
ESA/ATG medialab
The launch window extends until March 25.
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The ExoMars spacecraft will join ESA’s only other Red Planet probe – the Mars Express orbiter – which arrived in 2004 and continues to function well to this day.
The ExoMars 2016 orbiter is equipped with a payload of four science instruments. It will investigate the source and precisely measure the quantity of the methane and other trace gases.
The orbiter was built in Europe and the instruments are provided by European and Russian scientists.
Methane (CH4) gas is the simplest organic molecule and very low levels have reportedly been detected in the thin Martian atmosphere. But the data are not certain and its origin is not clear cut.
Methane could be a marker either for active living organisms today or it could originate from non life geologic processes. On Earth more than 90% of the methane originates from biological sources.
The 2016 lander will carry an international suite of science instruments and test European landing technologies for the 2nd ExoMars mission.
The 2018 ExoMars mission will deliver an advanced rover to the Red Planet’s surface. It is equipped with the first ever deep driller that can collect samples to depths of 2 meters where the environment is shielded from the harsh conditions on the surface – namely the constant bombardment of cosmic radiation and the presence of strong oxidants like perchlorates that can destroy organic molecules.
Stay tuned here for Ken’s continuing Earth and planetary science and human spaceflight news.
Quelle: UT

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SAVE THE DATE: EXOMARS 2016 LAUNCH EVENT

Save the date: the next flight to Mars is departing soon.
The ExoMars 2016 mission, a joint endeavour between ESA and Roscosmos, is targeting launch at 09:30 GMT on 14 March on a Proton-M/Breeze-M from Baikonur.
Online registration for a dedicated media day at ESA’s operations centre, ESOC, in Darmstadt, Germany, will soon be available via esa.int.
Media representatives as well as social media influencers will be eligible to apply for accreditation to attend the launch event. Note that there is no dedicated social media event; those attending with social media accreditation will be accorded the same access to the event and expert interview partners as traditional/online news media (eligibility requirements will be available soon).
Applicants should already bear in mind that the event at ESOC will take place between approximately 07:00 and 22:00 GMT. In addition to launch coverage in the morning, an extensive programme of speakers is being prepared for the afternoon. The final, fourth-stage rocket burn and separation of the spacecraft, including the first acquisition of signal, is expected later in the evening.
The full programme outline and application details will be available next week.
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Artist's impression visualising the separation of the ExoMars entry, descent and landing demonstrator module, Schiaparelli, from the Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO).
The separation is scheduled to occur on 16 October 2016, about seven months after launch. Schiaparelli is set to enter the martian atmosphere on 19 October, while TGO will enter orbit around Mars.
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The ExoMars 2016 Trace Gas Orbiter being fuelled at the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
In March, Europe’s new era of Mars exploration begins with the launch of the Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) and Schiaparelli. After a seven-month journey through space, Schiaparelli will separate from the orbiter on 16 October and head towards the planet’s surface, where it will land three days later, on Meridiani Planum.
Meanwhile, the orbiter will begin to manoeuvre into orbit and, after a year of aerobraking, will begin science operations.
Any long journey requires an ample supply of fuel and, 21 February, fuelling of TGO began. This spacecraft has one fuel tank and one oxidiser tank, each with a capacity of 1207 litres. When fuelling is complete, the tanks will contain about 1.5 tonnes of MON (mixed oxides of nitrogen) and 1 tonne of MMH (monomethylhydrazine).
The propellant is needed for the main engine and the 10 thrusters (plus 10 backup thrusters) that are used for fine targeting and critical manoeuvres.
Even the propellants have had a long journey: both were procured via Gerling Holz in Germany, brought by ship to St Petersburg in Russia, and then by train to the cosmodrome, in Kazakhstan.
Since fuelling is a hazardous exercise, only essential staff – wearing protective suits – are allowed in the fuelling area. A team from Thales Alenia Space France is in Baikonur to take care of TGO fuelling, as they did for Schiaparelli. While this activity is under way, the fire brigade, doctor, security and safety officers are on hand.
Quelle: ESA

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Update: 4.03.2016

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EXOMARS 2016 SPACECRAFT ENCAPSULATED WITHIN LAUNCHER FAIRING
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With less than two weeks until the launch of ExoMars 2016, preparations are proceeding well and the spacecraft composite has now been encapsulated within the launcher fairing at the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
Earlier this week the spacecraft composite, comprised of the Trace Gas Orbiter and Schiaparelli, was mated with the launch vehicle adapter and installed on top of the Breeze upper stage. Yesterday, 2 March, the Breeze upper stage and spacecraft were encapsulated together within the two fairing halves. Prior to the encapsulation, they were tilted horizontally and the first fairing half was rolled underneath the spacecraft and Breeze, on a track inside the cleanroom. The second fairing half was then lowered into place by means of an overhead crane, encapsulating the payload.
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Quelle: ESA

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Update: 8.03.2016

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Drei Tage vor der Ankunft beim Mars: Von der Muttersonde Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) trennt sich das Landemodul Schiaparelli und fliegt autonom zum Roten Planeten

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Sonnenaufgang auf dem Mars: 400 Kilometer über der Oberfläche richtet eine Raumsonde im Orbit ihre Instrumente in Richtung des Sonnenlichts, das durch die Atmosphäre des Planeten strömt.
Sie ist auf der Suche nach den spektralen Signaturen wichtiger Gase wie Methan, die auf noch heute aktive biologische oder geologische Vorgänge hinweisen können. Zur gleichen Zeit ist ein Fahrzeug auf der Oberfläche dabei, mit einem Bohrer die erste Bodenprobe aus einer Tiefe von zwei Metern zu entnehmen. Das Gefährt befindet sich in einer Region, die in der Frühzeit des Planeten vor rund vier Milliarden Jahren mit flüssigem Wasser bedeckt war. Wird es Reste vergangenen Lebens finden, die vor der energiereichen Strahlung geschützt waren, welche heute die Oberfläche überflutet?
Seit Jahrhunderten ist die Menschheit von der Suche nach Leben auf dem Mars fasziniert, angefangen von Künstlern und Schriftstellern bis hin zu den Forschern und Astronomen. Obwohl das obige Szenario wie eine Szene aus einem Sciencefictionroman wirkt, wird es bald Realität dank des Programms ExoMars.
ExoMars ist ein gemeinsames Projekt der Europäischen Raumfahrtagentur ESA und der russischen Weltraumbehörde Roskosmos. Es besteht aus zwei Missionen: Die erste, die Mitte März 2016 startet, beinhaltet den so genannten Trace Gas Orbiter (Orbiter für Spurengase, kurz: TGO) und ein Landemodul namens Schiaparelli, das Verfahren für eine weiche Landung auf dem Mars erproben soll. 
Die zweite Mission, die 2018 folgen wird, besteht aus einem Marsrover und einer Landeplattform mit wissenschaftlichen Instrumenten. Die Hauptaufgabe des Programms ExoMars ist die Beantwortung der Frage, ob der Mars einstmals belebt war oder gar immer noch ist.
Dabei möchten die Forscher erfahren, ob der Planet heute noch geologisch aktiv ist oder sich dort Hinweise auf einfaches mikrobielles Leben finden lassen. Jedoch ist es noch gar nicht so lange her, dass sich die Spekulationen hierüber regelrecht überschlugen und viele Menschen annahmen, auf unserem Nachbarplaneten gäbe es intelligentes Leben.
Das ExoMars-Modul für die Testlandung ist nach dem italienischen Astronomen Giovanni Schiaparelli benannt
Diese Fantasien wurden verstärkt durch die Fehlinterpretation teleskopischer Beobachtungen des italienischen Astronomen Giovanni Schiaparelli (1835 – 1910) gegen Ende des 19. Jahrhunderts: Er hatte auf dem Planeten helle und dunkle gerade Linien wahrgenommen, die er im Italienischen als »canali« bezeichnete. Diese wurden fälschlicherweise im Englischen und anderen Sprachen als »Kanäle« anstatt als »Furchen« oder »Rillen« übersetzt. Dadurch drängte sich das Bild eines Netzwerks aus Bewässerungskanälen auf, die vermeintlich von intelligenten Wesen auf dem Mars errichtet wurden.
Nach Giovanni Schiaparelli ist nun das ExoMars-Modul für die Testlandung benannt, dessen offizielle Bezeichnung sonst »Entry, descent and landing demonstrator« lautet, auf Deutsch ungefähr: »Modul zur Demonstration des Eintritts, Abstiegs und Aufsetzens auf der Marsoberfläche«.
Schließlich fotografierten im 20. Jahrhundert Raumsonden die Marsoberfläche im Detail und räumten mit dem Missverständnis der Kanäle auf: Die von Schiaparelli gesichteten geraden Strukturen waren nur optische Täuschungen gewesen. Jedoch nahmen die Wissenschaftler weiterhin an, dass es auf dem Mars Mikroorganismen geben könnte. Tatsächlich machte sich im Jahr 1976 das US-Programm Viking daran, mittels zweier Landesonden mit speziellen Instrumenten nach Stoffwechselprodukten von Mikroben im Marsboden zu suchen.
Nachdem dies erfolglos blieb, stellten die Forscher auf eine stufenweise Forschungsstrategie um. Schon aus den Beobachtungen des Planeten mit den beiden Viking-Orbitern war klar geworden, dass Wasser – die Grundbedingung für die Entstehung von Leben, wie wir es kennen – eine große Rolle bei der Gestaltung der Marsoberfläche gespielt hatte. Tatsächlich wiesen verzweigte Netzwerke aus Tälern – ähnlich jenen, die durch Regenfälle in den irdischen Wüsten entstehen – und uralte ausgetrocknete Flussbetten und -rinnen darauf hin.
Daraus ergab sich in der Folgezeit das Mantra »Folge dem Wasser«. Aber heute ist die Marsoberfläche kalt, trocken und starker Strahlung ausgesetzt, so dass dort Organismen nicht überleben würden. Könnte sich aber Leben während früherer feuchter Umweltphasen vor Milliarden von Jahren auf dem Mars eingenistet haben?
Dies ist bis heute eine der wichtigsten ungelösten wissenschaftlichen Fragen unserer Zeit. Sie beflügelte zahlreiche Missionen zum Mars, seitdem die Menschheit damit begann, den Roten Planeten zu erkunden. Mehr als 40 Raumsonden wurden in Richtung Mars gestartet, freilich mit sehr unterschiedlichem Erfolg. Obwohl sich unser Verständnis des Mars seitdem gewaltig verbessert hat, haben wir noch immer keine Antwort auf diese Kernfrage.
Mehr als 40 Raumsonden sind bereits in Richtung Mars gestartet 
Europa war an zahlreichen Marsmissionen beteiligt, die von den USA, Russland und Japan durchgeführt wurden. Die erste eigene Mission, Mars Express, begann im Jahr 2003. Sie führte zudem die britische Landesonde Beagle-2 mit, die sich erfolgreich von der Muttersonde trennte, dann aber verschollen blieb.
Mars Express war auf eine Betriebsdauer von zwei Jahren im Marsumlauf ausgelegt, ist aber nach mehr als zwölf Jahren noch immer aktiv. Eine der interessantesten Beobachtungen in ihrer eindrucksvollen Karriere war der Nachweis von Methan in der Marsatmosphäre. Diese Entdeckung sollte die Keimzelle für die Entwicklung des Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) des ExoMars-Programms werden. Auf der Erde setzen vor allem lebende Organismen einen Großteil des atmosphärischen Methans frei.
Es ist zudem der Hauptbestandteil von Erdgas; ein weiterer Beitrag stammt aus der vulkanischen und hydrothermalen Aktivität unseres Planeten. Obwohl Methan weniger als 0,000 18 Prozent der Gase in der Erdatmosphäre ausmacht (oder 18 Teile pro Milliarde Teilchen pro Volumeneinheit = 18 ppbv), gelangen pro Jahr mehrere hundert Millionen Tonnen in unsere Lufthülle. 
Da die biologische Aktivität der Erde eine Schlüsselrolle für die Methanproduktion spielt, ist der sichere Nachweis von Methan auf dem Mars ein erster wichtiger Schritt, die derzeit aktiven Prozesse zu verstehen, welche dort dieses Gas erzeugen und auch wieder entfernen. In der Marsatmosphäre sollte das Methan nur eine recht kurze Lebensdauer von rund 400 Jahren haben, da es durch die ultraviolette Strahlung der Sonne zerstört wird. Mischungsvorgänge in der Atmosphäre sollten dafür sorgen, dass sich rasch ein mehr oder weniger einheitlicher Methangehalt auf geringem Niveau einstellt. Sollte dies richtig sein, so müsste es eine Quelle geben, die den Vorrat ständig auffüllt, und gleichzeitig ein Vorgang aktiv sein, der das Methan wieder rasch entfernt. Nur so lassen sich die beobachteten Veränderungen der Methankonzentrationen erklären.
Endlich diese Vorgänge zu verstehen, ist eines der aufregendsten Ziele des Trace Gas Orbiters. Sie sind ein Rätsel, das es zu lösen gilt. Tatsächlich ist es eine Hauptaufgabe für TGO, eine große Anzahl von Spurengasen in der Marsatmosphäre gleichzeitig zu analysieren. Sie sind dort nur in geringen Mengen vorhanden und machen wesentlich weniger als ein Prozent der Gesamtzusammensetzung aus. Es sind die Beziehungen zwischen den verschiedenen Spurengasen, die uns Einblicke in den möglichen Ursprung von Methan und anderen interessanten Gase bieten dürften, sei er biologischer oder geothermaler Natur.
TGO führt zudem das Testmodul Schiaparelli mit sich, das Schlüsseltechnologien im Hinblick auf die nächste Mission des ExoMars-Programms erproben wird, die schon oben erwähnte Mission ExoMars-2018. 
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Some of the team at Baikonur who are preparing the ExoMars 2016 spacecraft for launch, pictured in front of the Proton rocket.
The Trace Gas Orbiter and the entry, descent and landing demonstrator module, called Schiaparelli, are inside the fairing (with the ExoMars logo).
The image was taken 5 March at the Baikonur cosmodrome, Kazakhstan.
Quelle: ESA

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Update: 11.03.2016

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Inzwischen steht die Proton-M senkrecht auf Launchpad 200 in Baikonur. Start: Montag, 10:31 MEZ

Quelle: ESA

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Update: 12.03.2016

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MISSION CONTROL READY FOR MARS LAUNCH
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Counting down to final countdown
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ESA’s mission control conducted the dress rehearsal for the ExoMars launch today, an important final step in preparing the ground teams and systems for the 14 March departure to the Red Planet.
Next Monday, the ESA–Roscosmos ExoMars 2016 mission is set to lift off from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on a Russian Proton rocket, marking the start of a seven-month journey to the Red Planet (follow live updates; more information on ExoMars).
Today, the ‘team of teams’ comprising the flight engineers and specialists at ESA’s ESOC control centre in Darmstadt, Germany, who will fly the ExoMars orbiter, performed the dress rehearsal, a crucial final step before any launch.
The realistic, eight-hour practice began at 02:00 GMT (03:00 CET) to conform to the tight schedule of the Roscosmos launch team at Baikonur.
Rehearsing for final countdown
In Darmstadt, mission controllers worked in the centre’s Main Control Room, using the actual mission control systems and ground tracking stations that will be employed on launch day and during flight, stepping through the preflight procedures while following the minute-to-minute network countdown to the moment of liftoff.
Teams established a live data connection with TGO on top of the Proton rocket in Baikonur, and could receive telemetry and other status data from the spacecraft, which was also undergoing its own preflight software loading and countdown rehearsal.
“Today’s rehearsal is one of the final steps in being ready to go – we do a similar dress rehearsal for every launch,” says Paolo Ferri, Head of Mission Operations.
“It’s a milestone that caps off several years of preparation for any complex mission – designing, building and testing the ground systems, preparing the flight operations procedures and then finally an intensive period of team training.”
Specialists from areas such as flight dynamics, ground stations, ground software and systems also took part in the rehearsal, sitting in their own control rooms and working together via voice and data loops between each other and to the launch control centre at Baikonur and the ground stations.
Representatives from Thales Alenia Space, leading the European industrial grouping that built ExoMars and Schiaparelli, and from ESA’s ExoMars project office, also took part.
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Twelve missions in space and nine in preparation
Readying to conduct the ExoMars mission comes at a time when ESA’s operations teams are seeing an historically high level of activity.
Twelve missions, for a total of 17 spacecraft, are now in flight, spanning science, Earth observation, orbiting observatories and Europe’s Galileo and Copernicus programmes, while nine new missions are being prepared.
“In 2016, at least five new missions are expected to be launched – a record for ESOC – plus two spectacular interplanetary highlights in the autumn: ExoMars arrival at Mars, and the controlled impact of Rosetta on its comet,” says Rolf Densing, ESA’s Director for Operations and head of the ESOC centre.
Quelle: ESA
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Tags: Raumfahrt 

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Samstag, 12. März 2016 - 08:00 Uhr

Astronomie - Wie ein US Amateur Meteoriten Jäger einen Feuerball aufspürte

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One of six meteorites recovered by a team of amateur meteorite hunters from a fireball that flew over Florida on Jan. 24.

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When a fireball whizzed over Florida on Jan. 24, more than a hundred witnesses reported spotting the flare on the American Meteor Society’s website. Within a week, Mike Hankey, an amateur meteorite hunter based nearly a thousand miles away near Baltimore, was holding a muddy chunk of the space rock he found near a swamp.
“With A.M.S. we are connecting the sky to the ground,” Mr. Hankey, 43, said, referring to the fireball tracker he manages for the American Meteor Society, a nonprofit organization that monitors fireballs and meteor showers, when he’s not running a software development business. “People are seeing this object in the sky and then a few weeks later they are holding it in their hands.”
Since last October, citizen scientists like Mr. Hankey have uncovered fragments from at least three different fireball sightings using data collected and analyzed by the society. For his Florida hunt Mr. Hankey reconstructed the trajectory of the fireball from the eyewitness reports and then compared it with Doppler radar readings he received from a colleague at NASA. Doppler radar are normally used to measure rain clouds and weather patterns but on occasion they catch a meteor’s path through the sky. Using both tools, Mr. Hankey pinpointed where the fireball’s fragments could have fallen.
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A map showing a fireball’s trajectory over Florida on Jan. 24 and a reading from Doppler weather radar. Credit American Meteor Society and Rob Matson
Trilobites
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With the newly drawn treasure map, Mr. Hankey embarked on a 13-hour drive to Jacksonville, Fla., in search of a bounty billions of years old.
Once there he met with a few other amateur meteorite hunters and they began searching a large ranch near the map’s metaphorical “X,” but found nothing. On the second day they set their sights on some swamps near Osceola National Forest.
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A heatmap showing eyewitness reports submitted to the American Meteor Society following the Jan. 24 fireball over Florida.
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The team walked through muddy trails, but again found nothing. Then, as Mr. Hankey paused for a stretch, he spotted a glimmering black rock, about the size of a thumbnail, amid the dried out grass. The team scored its first meteorite.
“It’s a neat rush,” Mr. Hankey said. He had been on five hunts previously, but had not found one himself. “It’s been traveling for hundreds of millions of miles for billions of years and came down in this giant explosion, and I’m the first person to look at it and find it.”
Two hours later the hunters made their second find about a half a mile away, and the next day they found a few more.
They had hit the jackpot he recalled thinking. “There are meteorites everywhere around here.”
After several days he drove back home. Some of his colleagues stayed behind another week and unearthed their biggest treasure: an 840-gram fragment about the size of a tennis ball. In total the team found six meteorites.
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Four of the six meteorites recovered by a group of citizen scientists. Credit Mike Hankey
The team mailed samples from the hunt to Alan Rubin, a geophysicist at U.C.L.A. who later confirmed their finds. Dr. Rubin said in an email that he suspected the meteorite they recovered experienced several intense collisions before breaking from its parent asteroid and plummeting to Earth. The team’s finds were only the sixth time that meteorite chunks were found in Florida, according to Mr. Hankey. It was also the first time that a team of meteorite hunters had recovered fragments in the state from a fireball that people had witnessed. Most of the previous meteorites found in the state had been dug up years after they fell.
Reached by phone in Pittsburgh last month, where he was conducting yet another hunt, Mr. Hankey said: “For me to find a meteorite from a fireball I tracked, and find it meters away from where I said it would be it’s supreme validation, to be like, ‘Wow, I connected all these dots.’”
Quelle: The New York Times

Tags: Astronomie 

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