Space Race 2018

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Stardate **-**...  Dream Chasers : NASA's Commercial Review of 2017  Neat suits.  Is it a bird, is it a plane?

Erm, leaping forward :

Next Up two supermoons launch 2018, 1st January & 31st January completing a Super Moon Trilogy  (high tides)  All very Mercury,

February back on Terra Firma,  The Yorkshire Dales and North York Moors National Parks will be running a Starmakers initiative to recruit and develop a band of expert astro-guides to meet the booming interest in stargazing and the night sky.

"The Starmakers Programme and Dark Skies Festival are part of Destination Partnerships Moors and Dales, a partnership project running until 1 March 2019 to boost rural tourism across the four protected landscapes within North Yorkshire.

With the Dark Skies Festival now an annual fixture following the popularity of the first two events and a rising level of enquiries about other stargazing evenings throughout the autumn and winter months, the National Parks are keen to train more people who can share and explain the beauty of the night sky happenings with visitors.

A Starmakers programme has been established to provide astronomy and presentation skills so that more events can be held throughout both National Parks, plus the two Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) in the Howardian Hills and Nidderdale.

Initially the National Parks are looking for 12 Starmakers who will then support accommodation providers and local communities to host ticketed astronomy events.

The weekend’s training in 2018 will include practical and theoretical astronomy presentation techniques aimed at navigating the night sky with the naked eye as well as using a telescope. Customer service and tips on running events for different audiences will also be included.

The training is free with the only proviso being that candidates deliver two sessions for the North York Moors National Park on a voluntary basis after which rates will be paid at an agreed amount with the candidates who will then also be able to run sessions themselves or set up business relationships with other venues at any time.

Mike Hawtin, Outdoor Activity Tourism Officer for the North York Moors National Park National Parks explains: “The first two Dark Skies Festivals really helped ignite people’s cosmic curiosity. This has resulted in a rise in enquiries from both visitors looking to attend a stargazing event and businesses who are keen to become an all-year-round destination through astro-tourism.

“Already, established providers such as Hidden Horizons have added more stargazing events at Dalby Forest in response to demand and our existing pool of astronomers has become stretched to the limit responding to requests from hotels, bed & breakfasts, historic buildings and many other venues.”

Tracey Lambert, Tourism Officer for the Yorkshire Dales National Park adds: “Ideally our budding Starmakers need to have some experience in astronomy and star gazing but more importantly they need  a passion for the night sky to join our team as full training and mentoring will be given. In return all we ask is a commitment to help deliver some of the events.”

The first tranche of astro-guides will help support the fourth Dark Skies Festival to be held in February 2019.

The 2018 Festival is set to take place between 9-25 February with more than 100 events – from sporty endeavours through to family star spotting and crafting activities – showing the plethora of ways that people can enjoy and get the most out of the beauty of the National Parks’ dark skies.

For further information on the Festival go to and to find out more about the Starmakers programme and how to sign up, please contact Mike Hawtin" future applications for explosive stores, domes, dark matter laboratories etc etc can be found on the usual channel via Osiris - REx

The NASA to do list 2018 : &

“It’s just fascinating for us to think that the reason we remember yesterday and not tomorrow is because of conditions near the Big Bang,”



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SpAce X

"Out of seven areas the team surveyed - using hidden, motion-activated cameras - only three had Javan warty pigs.

"That means the threat is ongoing and if we don't do anything, more and more populations will disappear," said Dr Rode-Margono. "This is a big red flag."

Ah, so ...

"But at what cost? And could we even survive any long-term colonisation on Mars? Given the problems we face here on Earth it's important to ask whether we should be better tasked with looking after the only planet we know (so far) that can harbour life...

The ethical polarity between those dreaming of conquering space and those hoping to defend Earth from global heating and a nuclear calamity could not be greater."

How inextentialist .. aren' they batting for the same team?

Anyhoos more cheeze  :-0


"An newly-discovered asteroid "the size of a bus" is due to brush close to Earth, according to reports.

Known as 2017 YZ4, the asteroid was first spotted on Christmas Day.

It is believed the asteroid will pass between Earth and the moon just 139,433 miles (224,000km) away this afternoon - which is close enough to be classed a near miss by astronomers.

NASA classifies asteroids as "hazardous" if they come within 4.6 million miles (7.4 million km) of our planet."

Darn ...  that cow was slightly cremated.

Hey diddle diddle ...

Northern Rock

"Jack Turton said on seeing our story: "I saw this aircraft this morning. There's nothing unusual about these flights, which occur regularly from USAF bases in Germany.

"There were two this morning one at 11am and another around 12.15pm. 

"They are readily identifiable by their condensation trails which are distinct from a 747 or A380.  They don't usually show up on apps like Planefinder."

Liam Dobinson said: "Goes over almost every day Nothing new. Callsign: Reach259."


"there's not much else happening on Mercury, other than the odd cosmic collision and the occasional earthquake."

One more orbit ...

"4:14pm 28th December 2017
(Updated 5:00pm 28th December 2017)

A "surprise" asteroid which NASA only spotted on Christmas Day has skimmed past the Earth.

The asteroid, named 2017 YZ4, came its nearest to Earth at 3:56pm GMT on Thursday, missing us by a mere 140,000 miles (224,000km).

In comparison the moon is 238,000 miles (384,000km) away.

It was travelling at approximately 21,000mph (34,000kph) - 16 times faster than a rifle bullet, covering the distance between London and New York in roughly 10 minutes.

It is the 52nd asteroid to skim past the Earth by a distance less than that of the Moon this year.

Lindley Johnson, Planetary Defense Officer at NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington DC told Newsweek that there are thousands of similar objects in space.

"As of December 25, there are 17,506 known Near-Earth Objects (NEOs), in orbits around the Sun that could come close to our planet; 17,400 are asteroids and 106 are comets."

Asteroids and comets are differentiated based on what they are mad of. Asteroids are composed of metals and rocks, while comets are mostly made up of ice and dust."

250,000 miles when your half cut ain't bad ;-))

About that Stratosphere 21 mile thing to confo ...

"The troposphere, the lowest layer, is right below the stratosphere. The next higher layer above the stratosphere is the mesosphere. The bottom of the stratosphere is around 10 km (6.2 miles or about 33,000 feet) above the ground at middle latitudes. The top of the stratosphere occurs at an altitude of 50 km (31 miles)."


Far too much excitement ...


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Spit in Space

Astronaut Scott Kelly on the Devastating Effects of a Year in Space

"“Stick a fork in me, I'm done,” I announce. Everyone laughs and encourages me to get some rest. I start the journey to my bedroom: about 20 steps from the chair to the bed. On the third step, the floor seems to lurch under me, and I stumble into a planter. Of course, it isn't the floor – it's my vestibular system trying to read just to Earth's gravity. I'm getting used to walking again...

"I had been on the station for a week, and was getting better at knowing where I was when I first woke up. If I had a headache, I knew it was because I had drifted too far from the vent blowing clean air at my face. I was often still disoriented about how my body was positioned: I would wake up convinced that I was upside down, because in the dark and without gravity, my inner ear took a random guess as to how my body was positioned in the small space. When I turned on a light, I had a sort of visual illusion that the room was rotating rapidly as it reoriented itself around me, though I knew it was actually my brain readjusting in response to new sensory input...

"Space walks were the most dangerous thing we did in orbit. Even if the station was on fire, even if it was filling up with poison gas, even if a meteoroid had crashed through a module and outer space was rushing in, the only way to escape the station was in a Soyuz capsule...

"I also know that if we want to go to Mars, it will be very, very difficult, it will cost a great deal of money and it may likely cost human lives. But I know now that if we decide to do it, we can."


“The future cost of looking after today’s middle-aged will place a huge financial burden on our future generations.

“The people claiming to be happy today will be forced into looking after the people who say everything is shit – and that’s just not sustainable.”


"Donald Trump has claimed the east coast of the US "could use a little bit of that global warming" to combat freezing conditions set to grip the region this weekend."


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The Lunatic Outpost

"A newly-discovered asteroid the same size as a lorry is expected to pass “close” to Earth tonight, according to reports.

The 2017 YD7 is expected to hurtle past our planet at more than 23,500mph, at about 1,300,000 miles away, on Wednesday.

While it may pass at what seems like a significant distance away, NASA describes asteroids as “hazardous” if they come within 4,600,000 miles of Earth.

It is expected to travel five times quicker than the world’s faster manned aircraft, the hypersonic North American X-15, which travelled at 4,520mph...

The truck-sized asteroid, which has an estimated diameter of between six and 21 metres, will pass the Earth at 0.40 GMT on Wednesday, the Mail reported.

It was first spotted by the Mount Lemmon Suvery (MLS) in Arizona on Thursday, December 28, according to AstroWatch."

“Nothing is real unless it is observed”




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Shuttle Lifting

"A campaign has accelerated to turn a disused railway line in Yorkshire into England’s longest cycle tunnel – instead of using £3m of public money to close it for ever.

The 1.4 mile (2.3km) Queensbury line, which runs 377ft (115 metres) below a hill between Halifax and Keighley in West Yorkshire, was closed in 1956 as rail travel declined and private car ownership increased.

The Department for Transport (DfT) wants to shut it permanently this year, filling in critical sections with concrete in a project campaigners say will cost about £3m – the same amount they claim it would cost to patch the tunnel and turn it into a subeterranean cycling route..."

Indeed. Time to recycle some old rubbish?

Almost there ...  meanwhile ;-)

Ah, so ..

"Britain is in talks to join a trans-Pacific trade group to boost exports after the UK leaves the European Union according to reports."

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Space Movies

A British satellite has gone into orbit on an Indian rocket to acquire full-colour, high-definition video of the surface of the Earth...

The small, low-cost UK mission was one of 31 payloads riding on the Indian Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle.

The contract for these platforms was signed in November...

The forthcoming constellation - which will be known as Vivid-i - will be the first of its kind to provide hi-def, full-colour video.

Short movies of the Earth's surface have been acquired from orbit before, but not on the envisaged scale.

The demonstrator will circle the globe at an altitude of 505km.

It has the ability to point and stare at a particular location. It can take a still picture or gather two-minute movie sequences...

One of these, the Phase 1 LEO satellite, was also manufactured by SSTL in Britain. It is a prototype for more than 100 follow-on platforms that Telesat of Canada wants to launch to deliver broadband across the globe.

The other PSLV passenger of note in this context was a small radar-imaging satellite for Finnish start-up ICEYE..."

"Networks of satellites are all the vogue at the moment"

"Without gravitational force compressing the spine, fluid between the discs fluctuates as they temporarily expand, like a coiled spring unspooled from the top..."


Am sure there was a Soyuz landing today  ...

Oh well ne'er mind.

Keep digging.

Multitasking ...


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Musk on Space

Is Musk losing the plot?

"US entrepreneur Elon Musk will attempt to fly the world's most powerful rocket later from the Kennedy Space Center.

"His Falcon Heavy vehicle is designed to have more than twice the lifting capacity of any existing launcher.

Because of the historic high failure rate of maiden flights, the rocket will only carry a dummy payload, however.

Mr Musk has decided this should be his old cherry-red Tesla sports car. A mannequin wearing a space suit will be strapped to the driving seat.

The entrepreneur says David Bowie's classic hit Space Oddity will be looping on the radio in the roadster as it is hurled into an elliptical orbit that stretches out to Mars' orbit around the Sun..."

“I feel super optimistic. But I feel as though that optimism has no basis in fact.”

“One of my biggest concerns is booster-to-booster interaction,” Musk explained. “You’ve got a lot of dynamics going on there. Those rockets are very flexible; if they flex in unexpected ways they could potentially impact one another.”

With three Falcon 9 cores, the acoustical noise generated by the launch is three times greater than a single Falcon 9 launch. SpaceX engineers think they understand these interactions, but they haven’t tested them in flight. Some unexpected resonancy could cause a structural failure. These systems have all been tested extensively on the ground, but ultimately, nothing compares to an actual flight test."

"The spacewalk dragged on so long — lasting 8 hours and 13 minutes — that Misurkin and Shkaplerov ended up surpassing the previous Russian record of 8 hours and 7 minutes, set in 2013. It was supposed to last 6½ hours.

“Are you kidding us?” one of them asked when they heard about the record.

NASA still holds the world record, with a spacewalk just shy of 9 hours back in 2001."


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Square Rootz

"6:03am 22nd February 2018

Funding is being allocated to improve social mobility in Scarborough Borough. 

In November 2017, the Borough was identified as at risk of becoming a 'social mobility coldspot' in a State of the Nation report.

The report suggests that young people growing up in these areas have less chance of achieving good educational outcomes and often end up trapped by a lack of access to further education and employment opportunities.

Scarborough was rated 295th our of 324 areas. Now, the North Yorkshire Coast Opportunity Area Programme, which has been set up to tackle the issue, is allocating funding to projects. 

The programme has recently launched two funds to support social mobility on the Yorkshire Coast. 

They are; the Essential Life Skills Fund, which will invest £800,000 in extra-curricular activities, and the Opportunity Area Awards, which is open to schools, colleges and youth led groups to create and deliver their own social mobility initiatives."

"... And here, in a cold, gritty section of Brooklyn, his brother Kimbal has embarked on a project that's just as significant in its own way: Trying to reboot the food system.

The younger Musk is the co-founder of Square Roots, an urban farming incubator with the goal of teaching young people how to farm in cities while preaching the importance of locally sourced, non-processed food...

"By 2050, there'll be 9.6 billion people on the planet and 70 per cent of them in urban areas. That's driving a lot of investment and interest in urban farming. Our thinking was if we start in New York and we can figure out solutions ... then we'll be able to roll out those solutions to the world," he said...

"A single 40-foot container provides 320 square feet of growing space. It is outfitted with long, narrow towers studded with crops that are hung on tracks from the ceiling in rows, like vertical blinds. The plants get their water and nutrients from irrigation pipes running along the tops of the towers and their sunlight from dangling narrow strips of LED lights. Besides arugula, crops include kale, radicchio and pak choi.

"What we've proven in the first phase is we can take young people with no experience in farming and get them very, very quickly to grow really high-quality food that people want to buy," he said.

Over the year-long program, the young, mostly 20-something farmers learn about not only agricultural science and farm management but also marketing, community outreach, leadership and business, according to Peggs. During a typical week, they spend about 15 to 20 hours doing farm work, 10 hours handling the business side and 10 hours getting coached by Square Roots' in-house agriculture expert and the team of mentors the company has assembled..."

Crustaceans? 20 years is too long in politics ... ;-)

Music to grow by ...

"It's not something restricted to the urban elite," he said. "Our mission is real food for everyone. We need food to be delicious and young entrepreneurs to be empowered."

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The Big Bang Theory

"Prof Hawking was the first to set out a theory of cosmology as a union of relativity and quantum mechanics.

He also discovered that black holes leak energy and fade to nothing - a phenomenon that would later become known as Hawking radiation.

Through his work with mathematician Sir Roger Penrose he demonstrated that Einstein's General Theory of Relativity implies space and time would have a beginning in the Big Bang and an end in black holes..."