Category Archives: Learning

What are “Just Read the Instructions” & “Of Course I Still Love You”?

10 February 2015, Space Burning Question

The Space Burning Question is a weekly segment (every Tuesday) On Hamman Time, 5fm.

Questions and answers provided by @jonoweltman from the Foundation for Space Development:
Web: developspacesa.org
Facebook: facebook.com/developspacesa
Twitter: @developspacesa

LISTEN LIVE: Hamman Time, 10 Feb The Burning Question: Straight from the Foundation for Space Development South Africa, Nick tries to find out what “Just read the instructions” and “Of course I still love you” means when we’re talking about space? Luckily their CEO, Jonathan Weltman, has the answer.


Question: What are “Just Read the Instructions” & “Of Course I Still Love You.”?

Answer: South African born Elon Musk, Billionaire Founder & CEO of SpaceX, has named their two robotic landing platform (or Drone) boats after science fiction spacecraft created by the late Scottish sci-fi legend Iain M. Banks.


SpaceX Autonomous Spaceport Drone Ship "Just Read the Instructions"
SpaceX Autonomous Spaceport Drone Ship “Just Read the Instructions”

More detail:

Elon Musk:

1. Born in Pretoria

2. Matriculated at Pretoria Boys High

3. Co-founded Paypal & Tesla Motors

4. Founded SpaceX which is the only company to now have contracts with NASA for BOTH cargo & crew delivery to the ISS.

Iain Banks:

1. Died 2013

2. ‘Just Read the Instructions’ and ‘Of Course I Still Love You’ are two of the sentient, planet-sized Culture starships which first appear in Banks’ ‘The Player of Games’. Just as the Minds inhabiting each Culture ship choose their names with care, you have to imagine that Musk did the same here.

Drone Ships:

1. Remote control barges

2. Attempting to land the first stage of rockets upright onto the barges. Saves costs and thus reduces the price of going to Space, which, as discussed last week, is a major imperative.

3. Developed specially engineered “paddles” for descent control.

4. First attempt ran out of fuel seconds before landing and crashed to which Musk said “Close, but no cigar” on Twitter when posting the video.

5. Second attempt delayed from yesterday to tomorrow, fingers crossed!

What is a Space Elevator, a StarTram, a Space Gun & a Slingatron?

3 February 2015, Space Burning Question

The Space Burning Question is a weekly segment (every Tuesday) On Hamman Time, 5fm.

Questions and answers provided by @jonoweltman from the Foundation for Space Development:
developspacesa.org
| facebook.com/developspacesa
| @developspacesa

 

LISTEN LIVE: Hamman Time, 3 Feb The Burning Question: What are Space Elevators, Star Trams, Space Guns and Slingatrons? This was a tough one! Not to worry, as always Jonathan Weltman from the Foundation for Space Development has the answer.


Continue reading What is a Space Elevator, a StarTram, a Space Gun & a Slingatron?

WATCH: The real Gravity

With the movie Gravity premiering on DSTV101 tonight, 28 December 2014, for African Viewers, we thought it would be a good opportunity to highlight the real issue of Space Debris & the Kessler Syndrome:

OBJECTS IN SPACE 1957-2010

Kessler Syndrome
The Kessler syndrome (also called the Kessler effect, collisional cascading or ablation cascade), proposed by the NASA scientist Donald J. Kessler in 1978, is a scenario in which the density of objects in low Earth orbit (LEO) is high enough that collisions between objects could cause a cascade—each collision generating space debris which increases the likelihood of further collisions. One implication is that the distribution of debris in orbit could render space exploration, and even the use of satellites, unfeasible for many generations.
Source: Wikipedia

Bill Maher & Neil deGrasse Tyson On Kessler Syndrome

It’s all about that Space!

“All About That Space” is a volunteer outreach video project created by the Pathways Interns of NASA’s Johnson Space Center. It was created as a parody (to raise interest and excitement for Orion’s first flight) of Meghan Trainor’s “All About That Bass”. The lyrics and scenes in the video have been re-imagined in order to inform the public about the amazing work going on at NASA and the Johnson Space Center.

NASA’s Orion spacecraft is built to take humans farther than they’ve ever gone before. Orion will serve as the exploration vehicle that will carry the crew to space, provide emergency abort capability, sustain the crew during the space travel, and provide safe re-entry from deep space return velocities.

Learn more about NASA: http://www.nasa.gov
Learn more about Orion: http://www.nasa.gov/orion
Follow the Orion Spacecraft on Twitter: @NASA_Orion
Follow the Orion Spacecraft on Instagram: @explorenasa
Follow NASA’s Orion Spacecraft on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NASAOrion

For students interested in NASA Johnson Space Center:
http://pathways.jsc.nasa.gov
https://intern.nasa.gov/
http://www.facebook.com/nasa.jsc.stud…
http://www.twitter.com/nasajscstudents
http://instagram.com/nasajscstudents

“All About That Space” Lyrics:

Because you know
I’m all about that space
‘Bout that space, space travel.
I’m all about that space
‘Bout that space, space travel.
I’m all about that space
‘Bout that space, space travel.
I’m all about that space
‘Bout that space

Yeah, it’s pretty clear, I ain’t commercial crew
But I can launch it, launch it
Like I’m supposed to do
‘Cause I got that boom boom that all the Astros chase
And all the space flight to all the right places

I see Orion crew workin’ that ship nonstop
We know we goin’ far
Now put that LAS on top
If you got boosters boosters, just raise ‘em up
‘Cause every spacecraft needs propulsion
From the bottom to the top

Hey, they’re working so hard, don’t you love these NASA guys?
They will take us so far the first time that Orion flies.
You know we travellin’ to deep destinations ‘fore to long,
So if that’s what you’re into then join in and ride along.

Because you know I’m
All about that space
‘Bout that space, space travel
I’m all about that space
‘Bout that space, space travel
I’m all about that space
‘Bout that space, space travel
I’m all about that space
‘Bout that space
Hey!

I’m bringing rockets back
Go ahead and tell the whole world that
We’re doing exploration. Come on, board it stat
We’re ready for liftoff
Every spacecraft needs propulsion from the bottom to the top.

Hey they’re working so hard, don’t you love these NASA guys?
They will take us so far the first time that Orion flies.
You know we’re travellin’ to deep destinations ‘fore to long,
So if that’s what you’re into then join in and ride along.
Because you know I’m
All about that space
‘Bout that space, space travel
I’m all about that space
‘Bout that space, space travel
I’m all about that space
‘Bout that space, space travel
I’m all about that space
‘Bout that space

Because you know I’m
All about that space
‘Bout that space, space travel
I’m all about that space
‘Bout that space, space travel
I’m all about that space
‘Bout that space, space travel
I’m all about that space
‘Bout that space

Because you know I’m
All about that space
‘Bout that space, space travel
I’m all about that space
‘Bout that space, space travel
I’m all about that space
‘Bout that space, space travel
I’m all about that space
‘Bout that space
‘Bout that space, ‘bout that space
Hey, hey, ooh
You know you love that space.

100,000 Stars – 3D Interactive Visualization

Screen Shot 2014-12-14 at 12.27.11 PM
Optical View

100,000 Stars is an interactive visualization of the stellar neighborhood created for the Google Chrome web browser. It shows the location of 119,617 nearby stars derived from multiple sources, including the 1989 Hipparcos mission. Zooming in reveals 87 individually identified stars and our solar system. The galaxy view is an artist’s rendition based on NGC 1232, a spiral galaxy like the Milky Way.

Screen Shot 2014-12-14 at 12.28.26 PM
Thermal View

It is an incredible 3-D Visualization that will keep you rooted in from of your screen all day if you are not careful!

We suggest taking the automated tour on your first visit. Kudos and thank you to all involved in this amazing project, we hope you keep it going!

VISIT THE 100,000 Stars Experiment at stars.chromeexperiments.com/

(from their site)
Warning: Scientific accuracy is not guaranteed. Please do not use this visualization for interstellar navigation.

Sources:
Programmed by some space enthusiasts at Google.Music by Sam Hulick, whose work you may have heard in the video game, Mass Effect. The track is titled “In a Strange Land” and is used with his permission.
Galaxy images provided by Wikipedia and ESO/IDA/Danish 1.5m/R.Gendler and A. Hornstrup.
Star renderings derived from Wikipedia
Sun images courtesy of NASA/SDO and the AIA, EVE, and HMI science teams.
Star data provided by:HYG Database, by Astronomy Nexus
Gliese/Jahreiß Catalog, by Dr. Wilhelm Gliese and Dr. Hartmut Jahreiss
Bright Star Catalog (5th edition), by Dr. E. Dorrit Hoffleit and Dr. Wayne H. Warren Jr, and the Department of Astronomy at Yale University
HIPPARCOS Catalog (3rd Edition) by the European Space Agency

VIDEO: Official NASA Orion Flight Test

Orion blazed into the morning sky at 7:05 a.m. EST on Dec. 5, 2014, lifting off from Space Launch Complex 37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on a United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket. The Orion crew module splashed down approximately 4.5 hours later in the Pacific Ocean, 600 miles southwest of San Diego.

The test marked a major milestone on NASA’s Journey to Mars as the Orion spacecraft completed its first voyage to space, traveling farther than any spacecraft designed for astronauts has been in more than 40 years.

DID YOU KNOW?: A lunar day is a month on Earth!

A lunar day is the period of time it takes for the Earth’s Moon to complete one full rotation on its axis with respect to the Sun. Equivalently, it is the time it takes the Moon to make one complete orbit around the Earth and come back to the same phase. It is marked from a new moon to the next new moon.

On average, this synodic period lasts 29 days, 12 hours, 44 minutes and 3 seconds. Which just so happens to be what we call a synodic month here on Earth.

This is an average figure, since the speed of the Earth-Moon system around the Sun varies slightly over a year, due to the eccentricity of the orbit. The Moon’s own orbit also undergoes a number of periodic variations about its mean value, due to the gravitational perturbations of the Sun.

Types of Months used in Astronomy:

The following types of months are mainly of significance in astronomy, most of them (but not the distinction between sidereal and tropical months) first recognized in Babylonian lunar astronomy.

  1. The sidereal month is defined as the Moon’s orbital period in a non-rotating frame of reference (which on average is equal to its rotation period in the same frame). It is about 27.32166 days (27 days, 7 hours, 43 minutes, 11.6 seconds). The exact duration of the orbital period cannot be easily determined, because the ‘non-rotating frame of reference’ cannot be observed directly. However, it is approximately equal to the time it takes the Moon to pass twice a “fixed” star (different stars give different results because all have proper motions and are not really fixed in position).
  2. A synodic month is the most familiar lunar cycle, defined as the time interval between two consecutive occurrences of a particular phase (such as new moon or full moon) as seen by an observer on Earth. The mean length of the synodic month is 29.53059 days (29 days, 12 hours, 44 minutes, 2.8 seconds). Due to the eccentric orbit of the lunar orbit around Earth (and to a lesser degree, the Earth’s elliptical orbit around the Sun), the length of a synodic month can vary by up to seven hours.
  3. The tropical month is the average time for the Moon to pass twice through the same equinox point of the sky. It is 27.32158 days, very slightly shorter than the sidereal month (27.32166) days, because of precession of the equinoxes. Unlike the sidereal month, it can be measured precisely.
  4. An anomalistic month is the average time the Moon takes to go from perigee to perigee – the point in the Moon’s orbit when it is closest to Earth. An anomalistic month is about 27.55455 days on average.
  5. The draconic month or nodal month is the period in which the Moon returns to the same node of its orbit; the nodes are the two points where the Moon’s orbit crosses the plane of the Earth’s orbit. Its duration is about 27.21222 days on average.

A synodic month is longer than a sidereal month because the Earth-Moon system is orbiting the Sun in the same direction as the Moon is orbiting the Earth. Therefore, the Sun appears to move with respect to the stars, and it takes about 2.2 days longer for the Moon to return to the same apparent position with respect to the Sun.

An anomalistic month is longer than a sidereal month because the perigee moves in the same direction as the Moon is orbiting the Earth, one revolution in nine years. Therefore, the Moon takes a little longer to return to perigee than to return to the same star.

A draconic month is shorter than a sidereal month because the nodes move in the opposite direction as the Moon is orbiting the Earth, one revolution in 18 years. Therefore, the Moon returns to the same node slightly earlier than it returns to the same star.

Sources: Wikipedia, NASA Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter.