LONDON — Jeff Foust reports: A U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration satellite retired in 2014 has suffered an apparent breakup, the second time in less than a year that a polar-orbiting weather satellite has generated orbital debris.
“The breakup, if confirmed, would be the second time in less than a year for a satellite in polar orbit. In February, the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program Flight 13 satellite exploded in orbit, creating several dozen pieces of debris.”
The Joint Space Operations Center (JSpOC) announced Nov. 25 that it had identified a possible breakup of the NOAA 16 satellite. The center, which tracks objects in orbit and warns of potential collisions, said it first detected the breakup at 3:41 a.m. Eastern time and was tracking an unspecified number of “associated objects” in the orbit of NOAA 16.
JSpOC said later Nov. 25 that the debris from NOAA 16 posed no current threat to other satellites in orbit. It added that it did not believe the debris resulted from a collision with another object, suggesting that NOAA 16 broke up on its own.
NOAA 16 launched in September 2000 with a planned lifetime of three to five years. The spacecraft continued to operate in a backup role until June 2014, when NOAA retired the spacecraft after an unspecified “critical anomaly.”
“A sudden temperature spike in that spacecraft led spacecraft engineers to conclude a battery in the spacecraft ruptured because of a design flaw. Seven other DMSP spacecraft have a similar design flaw.”
The breakup, if confirmed, would be the second time in less than a year for a satellite in polar orbit. In February, the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program Flight 13 satellite exploded in orbit, creating several dozen pieces of debris. A sudden temperature spike in that spacecraft led spacecraft engineers to conclude a battery in the spacecraft ruptured because of a design flaw. Seven other DMSP spacecraft have a similar design flaw. Read the rest of this entry »
Joseph Flaherty reports: As portions of the US are battered by snowstorms and shrouded beneath gray skies, a European startup is developing a light fixture that mimics the sun.
Each CoeLux fixture models the sunlight of a specific locale, be it the cool color and strong shadows of equatorial countries, the even glow of Mediterranean sunlight, or the slightly dimmer and warmer, but more striking patterns found along the Arctic Circle.
CoeLux fixtures use traditional LEDs, calibrated to the same wavelengths as the sun. However, accurately recreating sunlight also requires mimicking subtle variations caused by the atmosphere, which varies in thickness and composition depending upon where you are on earth. CoeLux uses a milimeters-thick layer of plastic, peppered with nanoparticles, that does essentially the same thing in your living room. CoeLux’s inventor, Professor Paolo Di Trapani hasn’t made any disclosures about how the nanotechnology works in practice, but an impressive list of peer-reviewed publications, industry awards, and testimonials from customers provide comfort that these devices actually work as advertised.
Despite the dynamic nature of the light, the fixtures feature no moving parts. Different qualities of light are created by manipulating the size and placement of the LED “hot spot”—the portion of the fixture meant to represent the sun—within the fixture’s two-foot wide and 5-foot long frame. The tropical unit has the largest hot spot, the Nordic unit the smallest. The thickness of the plastic sheet varies as well, thicker for the Nordic light than the equatorial light, to mirror the atmosphere. The light doesn’t emit any ultraviolet rays, so it won’t give you a tan or ease your seasonal affective disorder, but it will make the darkest basement, warehouse, or subterranean dwelling feel like a solarium.
Shining a New Light on an Old Problem
For thousands of years, man has tried to bring sunlight into dark spaces. Egyptians used complex arrays of mirrors to bring natural light deep within the pyramids, but this is labor intensive and difficult to achieve without a huge slave-labor force.
Northern European palaces from the 18th century feature bright Trompe l’oeil frescos of sunny skies, designed to bring cheer during long winters. Las Vegas casinos use similar techniques, augmented with LEDs and other technologies, to make you think you’re outdoors, not frittering away your money in the soulless confines of a casino. Read the rest of this entry »
John Nolte writes: Just this week we had dozens of Global Warming-believing scientists, who specialize in researching ice melt in Antarctica, run into a helluva lot more Antarctic ice than their research told them would be there. So much more ice that their ship and three ice-breaking rescue vessels were stuck in ten feet of it for days (two of the vessels are still stuck). As I write this, the big news of the weekend is a cold snap across much of the country with temperatures reaching 20 and 30-year lows. And yet, despite all of what should be good news, the
Global Cooling Global Warming Climate Change community is not celebrating.
Not only are Climate Change Truthers not celebrating, they are hysterical with worry that unexpected Antarctic ice discoveries and American winters returning to the normalcy those of us of a certain age remember, might hurt their
religioncrusade. The media is so worried they have coordinated a cover-up of the news from Antarctica and those of us pointing to what one might call the “science” of colder temperatures and increased Arctic ice are being mocked for doing so.
Granted, more ice in one area of a vast South Pole is not empirical proof that all is well in the Antarctic, but it is a great way to call attention to the fact that according to NASA, “In late September 2013, the ice surrounding Antarctica reached its annual winter maximum and set a new record.”
Who is anti-science now?
(CNN) — A 2,000-pound European satellite burned up as it re-entered Earth’s atmosphere early Monday, controllers reported.
Re-entry was made close to 1 a.m. Monday (7 p.m. ET), the European Space Agency said.
“As expected, the satellite disintegrated in the high atmosphere and no damage to property has been reported,” the space agency said.
The Gravity Field and Steady-State Ocean Circulation Explorer — a European Space Agency satellite known shorthand as GOCE — crossed over Siberia, the western Pacific Ocean, the eastern Indian Ocean and Antarctica upon its re-entry.