NASA’s Mission To Crash a Spacecraft Into an Asteroid Is Ready To Launch – You Can Watch It Live

NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test, or DART, is the world’s first full-scale planetary defense test, demonstrating one method of asteroid deflection technology. True to its name, DART is a focused mission, proving that a spacecraft can autonomously navigate to a target asteroid and intentionally collide with it (called a kinetic impact) at roughly 4 miles per second (6 kilometers per second). Its target, which poses no threat to Earth, is the asteroid moonlet Dimorphos (Greek for “two forms”), which orbits a larger asteroid named Didymos (Greek for “twin”).

As part of NASA’s larger planetary defense strategy, DART will simultaneously test new technologies and provide important data to enhance our modeling and predictive capabilities and help us better prepare for an asteroid that might pose a threat to Earth, should one be discovered…

NASA will provide coverage of the upcoming prelaunch and launch activities for the agency’s first planetary defense test mission, the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART). The mission will help determine if intentionally crashing a spacecraft into an asteroid is an effective way to change its course. DART’s target asteroid is not a threat to Earth…

Live launch coverage on NASA Television will begin at 12:30 a.m. EST Wednesday, November 24, 2021 (9:30 p.m. PST Tuesday, November 23, 2021), on NASA Television, the NASA app, and the agency’s website, with prelaunch and science briefings beginning Sunday, November 21.

Yes, there are lots of interesting, politically-sensitive things going on, as well. This is a proof-of-concept test that just might save our butts from being vaporized by an asteroid impact, sometime in the future. Worth keeping in touch with the experiment.

Space Rock Hits the Moon During the Recent Eclipse


Click for full-frame viewAmateur astronomer Christian Fröschlin

❝ As if the total lunar eclipse wasn’t amazing enough, one binocular observer and more than a dozen people with still and video cameras recorded the split-second flash of a probable meteoroid impact on the Moon at the same time.

❝ Amateur astronomer Christian Fröschlin of the Netherlands captured this amazing still image of the impact, which appeared on one of the 9,000 images he made of the eclipse.

Bravo!

NASA says the world won’t be destroyed in September

asteroids attack

Good news for those with plans for October and beyond: the Earth will still be in existence.

NASA has confirmed – after rumours swept the internet about an imminent asteroid strike expected between 15 and 28 September – that the two-week period in question will be entirely free of Earth-destroying space attacks.

The likelihood of any known potentially hazardous asteroid striking the planet within the next 100 years stands at 0.01%, the space agency said…

Persistent rumours on “numerous recent blogs and web postings” that an errant asteroid is due to wipe out not just Puerto Rico, but the Atlantic and Gulf coasts of the United States and Mexico, as well as Central and South America, persuaded NASA scientists that they needed to speak up…

It is not the first time NASA has punctured the excitement of doom-mongers. In 2012, it dismissed claims that the comet Elenin was on its way to destroy mankind, calling it a “trail of piffling particles”.

The space agency was also proved right in its assertion that the world would not end on 21 December 2012, as the Mayan calendar came to an end, heralding the apocalypse.

Stupidity and ignorance, particularly regarding sciences like astronomy, unite populist nutballs of the Left and Right as thoroughly as do their fears of modern standards for teaching…or vaccination.

Pic of the Day


Click to enlarge

A worker clearing away the snow-covered sidewalk at the Apple 5th Avenue store in NYC apparently rammed into one of the structural tempered-glass panels that is the store facade. The tempered structure worked as intended and it didn’t collapse after shattering.

It’s been at least a dozen years since I worked on a project using structural architectural glass. A piece this size – special order from PPG – would have cost close to $100K BITD.

I wonder which insurance company will be suing some other insurance company over this?

An external airbag for your car

According to the Highway Loss Data Institute, approximately 250,000 cars are damaged by hail every year in the U.S. alone. The average cost of repair comes in at just over US$3,100, so what’s a person to do to protect their vehicle when rain takes the form of ice sculpted golf balls? The obvious solution – airbag the car.

Shifting the airbag from a car’s interior to its exterior was the idea of the folks at Texas-based Hail Storm Products. The company’s patented Hail Protection System is essentially a puffy car cover/airbag in one that is designed to protect from hail damage…

The cover itself is made up of two layers, the first of which straps to the wheels and under the car, with the second forming the outer protection. The cover inflates via four blowers that are powered by a small compressor that sits idle until the owner engages the defense system using a small remote.

With the ability to inflate in less than five minutes, the manufacturer claims the system can protect vehicles from hail up to the size of a softball. Once the storm has passed, the system then goes on standby and returns to its role as the Clark Kent of car covers.

In addition to hail defense, the cover also offers the usual UV protection, water resistance and breathability when not in armor mode. Installation is also car cover simple, with a few minor steps added for the strapping down and power connections.

Back in the day, I was visiting clients in Denver and looked out the window and saw a black cloud approaching – flat, ferocious and big enough to scare the average dragon. It said only one thing to me. Here comes a monster hail storm.

My client had his own car parked inside the single-car garage at his business and it didn’t look like there were any other choices in the neighborhood. I jumped in my car and headed for the nearest freeway entrance. Got on, got rolling away from the storm as fast as I could – and turned back off at the first exit I came to that obviously connected to an underpass back beneath the freeway.

Dived down the ramp and just got parked under the freeway when the storm hit. Denver suffered tens of millions of dollars of damage that day. Glass-fronted buildings had their whole facade ripped away, smashed and demolished.

My car was just fine.

But, if I lived someplace in West Texas – where there isn’t an abundance of bridges – I would buy one of these critters.

Hacked companies fight back with a controversial range of deception and tactics

Frustrated by their inability to stop sophisticated hacking attacks or use the law to punish their assailants, an increasing number of U.S. companies are taking retaliatory action.

Known in the cyber security industry as “active defense” or “strike-back” technology, the reprisals range from modest steps to distract and delay a hacker to more controversial measures. Security experts say they even know of some cases where companies have taken action that could violate laws in the United States or other countries, such as hiring contractors to hack the assailant’s own systems.

In the past, companies that have been attacked have mostly focused on repairing the damage to their computer networks and shoring them up to prevent future breaches…But as prevention is increasingly difficult in an era when malicious software is widely available on the Internet for anyone wanting to cause mischief, security experts say companies are growing more aggressive in going after cyber criminals…

Once a company detects a network breach, rather than expel the intruder immediately, it can waste the hacker’s time and resources by appearing to grant access to tempting material that proves impossible to extract. Companies can also allow intruders to make off with bogus files or “beacons” that reveal information about the thieves’ own machines, experts say…

“Deception plays an enormous role…”

Other security experts say a more aggressive posture is unlikely to have a significant impact in the near term in the overall fight against cybercriminals and Internet espionage. Veteran government and private officials warn that much of the activity is too risky to make sense, citing the chances for escalation and collateral damage…

Nevertheless, the movement shows the deep anger and sense of futility among security professionals, many of whom feel that a bad situation is getting worse, endangering not only their companies but the national economy…

RTFA for a detailed, often intricate discussion emphasizing both philosophical understanding and common sense cost analysis. You don’t want to waste time in a pissing contest with an opponent who is just as easy to mislead into wasting his own energies.

Yes, I understand how completely satisfying it can be to screw over a sleazy and corrupt opponent. Those are the war stories you tend to remember and relate. But, not today. 🙂

Doomed – I say “Dooomed!” – Russian probe crashes today!


An artist’s conception shows the breakup of the Phobos-Grunt probe in the atmosphere

Russia’s botched Mars probe mission Phobos-Grunt is fast approaching a fiery death, with just one or two days remaining before it falls from space…

“The European Space Agency’s current re-entry prediction for Phobos-Grunt … points to the early evening (Central European Time) on Sunday, Jan. 15, with an uncertainty of plus/minus five orbits,” equal to plus or minus 7.5 hours, said Heiner Klinkrad, head of the space debris office at ESA’s European Space Operations Center in Darmstadt, Germany…

A statement from Russia’s Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) also pegged Sunday as the crash day for Phobos-Grunt, but went even further. According to the statement, released in Russian, the 14-ton spacecraft filled with fuel is expected to fall on Sunday and may crash in the Pacific Ocean, off the coast of Chile.

Russian space officials pegged the potential crash time as occurring at about 4:51 p.m. ET Sunday, although major uncertainties still remain. There is a chance the spacecraft could fall earlier in the day, or on Monday…

As Phobos-Grunt draws closer and closer to its fiery finale, a worldwide team of skywatchers is on standby alert in the hopes of spotting the fall.

Experienced observers know that the probability of seeing any given satellite re-entry is very small, so they maintain very low expectations,” said Canada-based Ted Molczan, a leader in the citizen network of observers.

RTFA for beaucoup details.

Yes, I’m one of those people who will go outdoors and look around the expected atmosphere impact time.

Felix Pharand’s maps show human impact on Earth

On the last day of October 2011, the U.N. says the world population will hit seven billion people — an increase of one billion since 1999.

To show some of the impacts of this vast human upheaval, Canadian anthropologist Felix Pharand has created a series of visualizations mapping the presence of technology onto a selection of satellite images showing the Earth from space.

Using data from a range of sources, including the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency and the World Meteorological Organization, the images depict a sprawl of air traffic routes, the underwater cables that carry the internet, road and rail networks, pipelines, shipping lanes and electricity transmission lines.

These images are illustrations of how far we have come at transforming our home planet,” said Pharand, who is founder-director of Globaia — an environmental education organization based in Quebec.

“It shows a human-dominated planet where wilderness areas are shrinking and where the habitats of other species are decreasing in size,” he added.

‘Nuff said. RTFA. Look at the maps.

Are you klutzy enough to need an air bag for your smartphone?

Diagram from the patent application

Jeff Bezos is worried about phone safety. Not your safety while you’re distracted by your phone. No, he’s worried about the gadget itself.

The Amazon boss and his colleague, Vice President Gregory M. Hart, filed a patent application to protect their idea of an air bag that inflates around your mobile device if you drop it. Broadly, the duo are seeking to patent the idea of a “system and method for protecting devices from impact damage…”

The idea is to use a device’s built-in gyroscope, camera, or other sensors to determine if the device its moving quickly toward the ground or some other object. If it determines that damaging impact is imminent, it triggers a protection system to absorb the fall…

And the patent filing isn’t just attempting to cover device air bags. Bezos and Hart also envision a “reorientation element” that would turn the device so that it hits the ground on the side of the device where the air bag has been deployed. And it doesn’t have to be an air bag. The filing also contemplates using “a propulsion element, a spring, an impact absorbing structure, and a reinforced edge,” among other protection elements.

Of course, you still could buy a humungous case or just quit dropping the bloody thing. I presume the addition of the air bag also makes it float if you drop your phone into the toilet.

Probable Darwin Award winner


The quiet neighborhood in Milton where the body was found

The teenager found dead on a Milton, Massachusetts, street last week is the 16-year-old who disappeared from his father’s house in North Carolina, authorities confirmed last night.

Police matched the fingerprint taken from the body, which was found Monday night, with samples taken from a personal item that belonged to Delvonte Tisdale, whose father reported him missing just hours before his body was found…No details were released about how Tisdale got to Boston or how he died…

The case has puzzled authorities since Monday night, when the body was found on Brierbrook Street, a secluded area of the town.

There was no identification on the body, except for what looked like a school lunch pass with what appeared to be Tisdale’s name on it.

Anthony Tisdale reported his son missing Monday at 5:48 p.m., according to a police report from the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department. The body in Milton was found at about 9:30 that night…The body had been found with broken bones and evidence of massive trauma, especially to the head. A preliminary autopsy did not specify a cause of death.

A 2nd opinion

Officials are looking into the possibility the teenager was hiding in the wheel well of an airplane bound for Boston when he fell to the ground…

Federal Aviation Administration officials said Tuesday jets headed for Boston’s Logan International Airport from the south drop their landing gear when they are over Milton.

And there was a flight from North Carolina the night the teen was reported missing, the Herald reported.

If this, in fact, was how this kid died, it’s a testament to the ignorance of urban legends. People believe this is a safe way to steal a free ride when 99% of the time it ends in death. Either you are crushed when the wheels come up after take-off or you freeze to death traveling at altitude in an unheated compartment – or you drop out of the sky when the wheels come down.