The chances of anything coming from earth, are a million to one, they say.

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We all know the story “War of the Worlds” be it either the book, movies or the musical version. A tag line of the story is “The chances of anything coming from Mars are a million to one, they say.”

Turns out that we beat the Martians to it. On July 1976. only 7 years after the first man to set foot on the Moon, the first man made object landed on Mars, the Viking 1″

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Viking 1’s  successful landing ,gave  a window into the climatic conditions of the red planet. From the crafts position  on Chryse Planitia, the Viking 1 spent six years transmitting pictures, information and occasionally life experiments back to Earth. Which are still being debated today.

The lander was launched using a Titan/Centaur launch vehicle. The launch happened on August 20 1975, 11 months before the landing.

mars probe

Viking 1 carried a biology experiment whose purpose was to look for evidence of life. Thus far no life has been found(or has there?)

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The other casualties of the V2 weapon.

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So many people say that World War 2 should be left in the past, it’s been more then 7 decades now and we should move on.

And to an extend they are right. However what these people forget is that the effects of WWII are still current in ways that they didn’t even consider, many of them look up at the sky at night and try to see the International Space Station, not knowing that the ISS is there as a direct result of WWII. But it came at an awful high price, a price too high.

The V2(technical name Aggregat 4 or A4) was the world’s first long-range guided ballistic missile.

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On 29 August 1944  Adolf Hitler signed declaration to begin V-2 attacks as soon as possible, the offensive began on 8 September 1944 with an initial single launch at Paris.

The following  months about 3,172 V-2 rockets were fired at the following targets:Belgium, 1664: Antwerp (1610), Liège (27), Hasselt (13), Tournai (9), Mons (3), Diest (2)United Kingdom, 1402: London (1358), Norwich (43),[14]:289 Ipswich (1)
France, 76: Lille (25), Paris (22), Tourcoing (19), Arras (6), Cambrai (4)
Netherlands, 19: Maastricht (19) Germany, 11: Remagen (11)

An estimated 2,754 civilians were killed in London and a further 1,736 dead in the greater Antwerp area.

800px-V-2victimAntwerp1944But so many more died in forced labor whilst working on the V2 program.On 18 August 1943, a bombing raid by the Royal Air Force on Peenemünde causing so much  damage to  the facilities that they had to end the construction of the V2 there.

On 19 October 1943, the German limited company Mittelwerk GmbH was issued War Contract No. 0011-5565/43 by General Emil Leeb, head of the Army Weapons Office,for 12,000 A-4 missiles at 40,000 Reichsmarks each.

Adolf Hitler ordered Heinrich Himmler to use concentration camp workers in future A4/V-2 production.One of the sites selected was at the mountain known as Kohnstein, near Nordhausen in Thuringia.

Albert Speer, was put in charge to oversee the creation and operation of the new construction facility. This fact alone contradicts Albert Speer’s claims that he wasn’t aware of the mass killings.330px-Bundesarchiv_Bild_146II-277,_Albert_Speer

 

On 28 August 1943, the first 107 Concentration camps prisoners from Buchenwald arrived with their SS guards at the Kohnstein facility. In 1943, prisoners of Buchenwald  began construction of large underground factories and development facilities for the V-2 missile program and other experimental weapons.

 

A new subcamp with the name ‘Dora’ or ‘Mittelbau Dora’  was created-In October 1944, the SS made Dora-Mittelbau an independent concentration camp with more than 30 subcamps of its own.-

By Christmas 1943 the amount of slave labourers from Buchenwald had risen to 10,500. Because there were no living quarters, prisoners were forced to sleep in the tunnels.

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Prisoners  who were too weak or too ill to work were sent to Auschwitz-Birkenau or Mauthausen to be killed.

Prisoner came from almost all occupied European countries, many of them were so called ‘political’ prisoners. After May 1944, Jews were also transported to Mittelbau. With the closing of the so-called Zigeuner-Familienlager  at Auschwitz-Birkenau, the SS transported many Roma and Sinti to Mittelbau between April and August 1944.

On 10 December 1943, Albert Speer and his staff had paid a visit to  the tunnels, where they saw  the terrible conditions and had observed how the tunnels  littered with corpses. Some members of Speer’s staff were so supset that they had to take an extra period of leave. A week later, Speer wrote to Kammler, an appointed board member, congratulating him on his success “in transforming the underground installation from its raw condition two months ago into a factory.

In 1944, a compound to house forced laborers was built above ground level south of the main factory area.

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Some prisoners organized resistance operation in the camps but every prisoner suspected of carrying out sabotage was executed by hanging.

It is estimated that about 60,000 prisoners had worked as forced labourers in  the Mittelbau camps between August 1943 and March 1945. The exact number of people killed is nearly impossible  to establish. According to some SS Data an estimated 12,000 died. In addition, an unknown number of unregistered prisoners died or were murdered in the camps. Additionally 5,000 sick and dying were sent in early 1944 and in March 1945 to Lublin and Bergen-Belsen.

One of the architects and designers of the V2 program was Wernher von Braun,and he must have been well aware of the way his weapons were build and how many lives it had cost,aside from that, his weapon had not only caused the deaths of thousands of civilians in the UK and Belgium it had also caused psychological terror. Despite this he escaped prosecution by the allies.

Peenemünde, Dornberger, Olbricht, Leeb, v. Braun

On June 20 1945 the United States Secretary of State, Edward Reilly Stettinius Jr. approved the transfer of Wernher von Braun and his team of Nazi rocket scientists to the U.S. under Operation Paperclip.

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During the late 1960s, von Braun was instrumental in the development of the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, he was also director of Marshall Space Flight Center from 1960 to 1970. He spearheaded development of NASA’s Mercury and Apollo space programs.

The development of the V2 played a pivotal part in the development and progress of the US space program.

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In fact the very first photo from space was taken from a V-2 launched by US scientists on 24 October 1946.

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Don’t get me wrong I am not against space exploration in the contrary, it intrigues me but I  do question the manner how it initially was conducted, so many were tortured and killed for it.

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The last man on the Moon

 

lastmenonmoonMention Neil Armstrong and every one will know who he is and even what he said when he set foot as the first man on the Moon.

However the name Eugene Cernan will mean very little to most people. Although he was just as important to the Apollo missions. Eugene Ceman was the last man on the Moon, but he was also part of the Apollo 10 mission.

Apollo 10 was  the second manned mission(Apollo 8,had been the first) to orbit the Moon. Launched on May 18, 1969, it was the F mission: (the ‘dress rehearsal’ for the first Moon landing) testing all of the components and procedures, without actually landing on the surface.

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It was also the mission which set the  highest speed attained by a manned vehicle.24,791 mph on its return to earth on May 26 1969.

Eugene Cernan Cernan flew two other space missions: Gemini 9A, where he struggled during NASA’s second spacewalk ever. Cernan was originally selected with Thomas Stafford as backup pilot for Gemini 9. When the prime crew was killed in the crash of NASA T-38A “901” (USAF serial 63-8181) at Lambert Field on February 28, 1966, the backup crew became the prime crew—the first time this happened.

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Cernan was surprised, as were others, that he was selected as the commander for the Apollo 17 mission. Shortly before the selection of the crew, Cernan had crashed his helicopter. After the crash he said  “if he couldn’t fly a helicopter without incident, how could he command a journey to the moon?”  Richard F. Gordon Jr. would have been a more likely candidate as commander for the mission, partially because he had been a member as the back up crew of the cancelled Apollo 15 mission together with Harrison H. Schmitt.

Schmitt was a geologist, making him the first scientist-astronaut to land on moon.He was assigned as Lunar Module Pilot for the Apollo 17 mission.

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Scientific objectives of the Apollo 17 mission included, geological surveying and sampling of materials and surface features in a pre-selected area of the Taurus-Littrow region; deploying and activating surface experiments.

Cernan’s role as commander of Apollo 17 closed out the Apollo program’s lunar exploration mission with a number of record-setting achievements. During the three days of Apollo 17’s surface activity (Dec. 11-14, 1972), Cernan and Schmitt performed three EVAs (Extravehicular Activities)or Spacewalk and moonwalk in this case, of  a total of about 22 hours of exploration of the Taurus–Littrow valley. Their first EVA alone was more than three times the length astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin spent outside the Lunar Module.

As Cernan was getting ready  to climb the ladder for the final time, he spoke these words; which are the last spoken by a human standing on the Moon’s surface to date:

“Bob, this is Gene, and I’m on the surface; and, as I take man’s last step from the surface, back home for some time to come – but we believe not too long into the future – I’d like to just (say) what I believe history will record: that America’s challenge of today has forged man’s destiny of tomorrow. And, as we leave the Moon at Taurus–Littrow, we leave as we came and, God willing, as we shall return, with peace and hope for all mankind. Godspeed the crew of Apollo 17.”

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Sadly Eugene Cernan died on January 16, 2017 but what a legacy he left behind, they just don’t make them like that anymore. A true hero.

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Sources

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First human in Space

Yuri-Gagarin-1961-Helsinki-crop

Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarinwas a Soviet pilot and cosmonaut. He was the first human to journey into outer space when his Vostok spacecraft completed an orbit of the Earth on 12 April 1961.

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During the flight, the 27-year-old test pilot and industrial technician also became the first man to orbit the planet, a feat accomplished by his space capsule in 89 minutes. Vostok 1 orbited Earth at a maximum altitude of 187 miles and was guided entirely by an automatic control system. The only statement attributed to Gagarin during his one hour and 48 minutes in space was, “Flight is proceeding normally; I am well.”

Vostok1

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Mercury 7-Astronaut Group 1

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On April 9, 1959, NASA’s first administrator, Dr. Keith Glennan, announced the names of the agency’s first group of astronauts at a news conference in Washington, D.C. Now known as the “Original Seven,” they included three Naval aviators, M. Scott Carpenter, Walter M. Schirra Jr., and Alan B. Shepard Jr.; three Air Force pilots, L. Gordon Cooper Jr., Virgil I. (Gus) Grissom, and Donald K. (Deke) Slayton; along with Marine Corps aviator John H. Glenn Jr. This group photo of the original Mercury astronauts was taken in June 1963 at the Manned Spacecraft Center (MSC), now Johnson Space Center, in Houston, Texas. The astronauts are, left-to-right: Cooper, Schirra, Shepard, Grissom, Glenn, Slayton and Carpenter.

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Mercury represented NASA’s first human spaceflight program, with the aim to see if humans could function effectively in space for a few minutes or hours at a time.

Members of the group flew on all classes of NASA manned orbital spacecraft of the 20th century — Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, and the Space Shuttle. Gus Grissom died in 1967, in the Apollo 1 fire.

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The others all survived past retirement from service. John Glenn went on to become a U.S. senator and flew on the Shuttle 36 years later to become the oldest person to fly in space, age 77. He was the last living member of the Mercury 7 team when he died in 2016 at the age of 95.

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On Oct. 7, 1958, the space agency announced plans to launch humans into space. Project Mercury became NASA’s first major undertaking. The objectives of the program were simple by today’s standards, but required a major undertaking to place a human-rated spacecraft into orbit around Earth, observe the astronaut’s performance in such conditions and safely recover the astronaut and the spacecraft.

President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s decision that the military services could provide the pilots simplified the astronaut selection process. From a total of 508 service records screened in January 1959, 110 men were found to meet the minimum standards. This list of names included five Marines, 47 Naval aviators and 58 Air Force pilots.

President Dwight D. Eisenhower insisted that all candidates be test pilots. Because of the small space inside the Mercury spacecraft, candidates could be no taller than 5 feet 11 inches (180 cm) and weigh no more than 180 pounds (82 kg). Other requirements included an age under 40, a bachelor’s degree or the professional equivalent, 1,500 hours of flying time, and qualification to fly jet aircraft.

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NASA officials were pleased so many agreed to participate in the man-in-space project. At the introductory news conference, Shepard said that he was eager to participate as soon as he learned NASA was seeking pilots for spaceflight.

NASA introduced the astronauts in Washington on April 9, 1959. Although the agency viewed Project Mercury’s purpose as an experiment to determine whether humans could survive space travel, the seven men immediately became national heroes and were compared by Time magazine to “Columbus, Magellan, Daniel Boone, and the Wright brothers.”Two hundred reporters overflowed the room used for the announcement and alarmed the astronauts, who were unused to such a large audience.

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The other event on April 4, 1968.

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Because it is the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr, I had initially planned to do a blog to reflect on that event, however after having done research I discovered that so much has already been written about it that there is no way I can add any value to the story. Therefore I will be focusing on another event that took place on that day but was obviously overshadowed.

But before I do that I want to add the one thing to the MLK story which might not be known by most. Martin Luther was assassinated in the The Lorraine Motel

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But even before that fateful day, the property at 450 Mulberry Street had a fascinating history in its own right. Before it was the Lorraine, it was the Marquette Hotel that catered to black clientele in segregated Memphis. Then, in 1945 African-American businessman Walter Bailey purchased the hotel, which he re-christened the Lorraine after his wife Loree and the popular jazz song, “Sweet Lorraine.”

Sweet Lorraine-291Apollo 6-The other event

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Apollo 6 (also known as AS-502), launched on April 4, 1968, was the second A type mission of the United States Apollo program, an unmanned test of the Saturn V launch vehicle. It was also the final unmanned Apollo test mission.

At the early stages of the space race all launches of spacecrafts would have been major news events.

Unlike Apollo 4’s near perfect launch and mission, Apollo 6’s launch and mission were plagued with problems. A phenomenon known as pogo oscillation damaged some of the Rocketdyne J-2 engines in the second and third stages by rupturing internal fuel lines, causing two second-stage engines to shut down early.

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The Apollo 6 spacecraft itself performed well on the mission despite problems with the Saturn V’s first, second and third stages. The problems were solved after the flight and the next Saturn V, the Apollo 8 mission, was launched manned.Ten hours after launch, the craft landed 43 nautical miles from its planned touchdown point in the North Pacific Ocean north of Hawaii. Even with the engine failures, Apollo 6 provided NASA with enough confidence to use the Saturn V for manned launches.

There was another minor event that day but one that would have a great impact on future cinematography.. On April 4 1968 a movie opened in a limited premiere at the Warner Cinerama Theater in Hollywood and Loew’s Capitol teatre in New York City. The film was 2001: A Space Odyssey,  science fiction opus by director Stanley Kubrick which would change the Sci-Fi genre forever.

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The “wow” signal:A scientific event hardly anyone knows about

Wow_signal

The Wow! signal, an intriguing radio signal detected on Aug. 15, 1977 that some thought was a call from extraterrestrials. The 72-second transmission was picked up by the Big Ear radio observatory at Ohio State University, coming from the direction of the constellation Sagittarius.

Because the radio signal was 30 times more powerful than the average radiation from deep space, a volunteer astronomer named Jerry Ehman who was watching the telescope data scrawled “Wow!” on a computer printout, leading to the signal’s moniker. No evidence ever arrived actually linking the transmission to an alien civilization, and no repeat message from the same direction has ever been detected, and the Wow! Signal remains a mystery.

Dr Ehman, who had been working on a project for the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) Institute, noticed the surprisingly strong signal in a column of alphanumerical data.

With a red pen he scrawled the word ‘Wow!’ in the margin and circled the sequence.

Astronomers ruled out that the signal came from Earth and could find nothing in our solar system to have produced it.

Although it is quite a scientific event is has stayed below the radar for one reason. The day after the ‘wow signal, on August 16 1977, Elvis Presley died.

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Seti

 

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I am passionate about my site and I know a you all like reading my blogs. I have been doing this at no cost and will continue to do so. All I ask is for a voluntary donation of $2 ,however if you are not in a position to do so I can fully understand, maybe next time then. Thanks To donate click on the credit/debit card icon of the card you will use. If you want to donate more then $2 just add a higher number in the box left from the paypal link. Many thanks

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Ivan Ivanovich-Unsung Space “Hero”

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I know what you are thinking when you look at the picture”That looks like a dummy” and you would be right because  Ivan Ivanovich was a dummy. Weeks before Yuri Gagarin made a successful orbit of the Earth, a Soviet mannequin named Ivan Ivanovich (the Russian equivalent of John Doe) tested the dangers of spaceflight and reentry.

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Ivan Ivanovich’s first space exploration was on Korabl-Sputnik 4 on 9 March 1961, accompanied by a dog named Chernushka, various reptiles, and 80 mice and guinea pigs, some of which were placed inside his body.

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Ivan was ejected out of the capsule during re-entry and made a soft landing using a parachute. Chernushka was recovered unharmed inside the capsule.

To test the spacecraft’s communication systems, an automatic recording of a choir was placed in Ivanovich’s body – this way, any radio stations who heard the recording would understand it was not a real person. Ivan was also used to test the landing system upon return to Earth, when he was successfully ejected from the capsule and parachuted to the ground.

Because no human being had ever been to space, the test dummy was designed to test as many unknowns as possible on a real human form. And because the Korabl-Sputnik capsule he traveled on wasn’t designed to make a soft landing, Ivan’s trip tested a human passenger’s ability to bail from the capsule during descent and parachute safely to ground.

Ivan’s  second space exploration was aboard the , Korabl-Sputnik 5,  March 26 1961, was similar – he was again accompanied by a dog, Zvyozdochka, and other animals, he had a recording of a choir and also a recipe for cabbage soup to confuse any listeners inside him, and he safely returned to Earth.Ivan_ivanowich

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Who needs the Moon anyway- when the US wanted to nuke the Moon.

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Project A119 was the designated name by the US Air Force to detonate a nuclear bomb on the moon.

The project was called “A Study of Lunar Research Flights” aka ” Project A119 and was developed by the U.S. Air Force in the late 1950s.

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The aim was to intimidate the Soviet Union, who at that time were winning the space race, by seeing the nuclear flash from Earth.

The explosion would of course be best on the dark side of the moon for the best possible effect.

One of the leaders of the project, physicist Leonard Reiffel, figured  hitting the moon with an intercontinental ballistic missile would have been relatively easy to accomplish, including hitting the target with an accuracy of approximately two miles.  The accuracy would have been particularly important as the Air Force wanted the resulting explosion to be clearly visible from Earth.

The Soviet Union had successfully launched the Sputnik 1 on October 4th 1957, and the US was in need of some morale boost.

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Project A119, was cancelled though in  1959 for fears that a failed explosion on the moon might have might have adverse effects on Earth.

Thankfully the used a different approach by sending the first man to moon , a decade later,

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