09 Sep

Stealth Fighters and why Skywatchers should learn about them!

Every Skywatcher has a clandestine meeting with one or two Stealth airplanes at one time or another. They are often tested at night, can fly very low, be very silent, but most important of all they can be mistaken for ETV’s (Extraterrestrial Vehicles). The latter is often the case when the Skywatcher experiences a Stealth that is still a military secret. Nevertheless, the study of the known models can help us a long way. Transologists even receive nice tools (seen below) on the topic. Very important to know is that Stealths are created for a specific reason. They reduce reflection/emission of radar, infrared, visible light, radio-frequency (RF) spectrum, and audio. This is collectively known as stealth technology. Equally important is the fact that not only the USA develops them. The Russians have the Sukhoi-Su57 (2018), the Indian Sukhoi/HAL FGFA is their version of the Su57 and China has the Chengdu-J20 and Shengyang J-31. There are also unmanned stealths and various secret crafts that aren’t public domain. Skywatchers take your posts and watch the skies! 

09 Sep

Mars Expedition 2030 – 2050! (Part 4)

A brief history on the human Mars launches

1960 – For the first time in human history the Soviet Union tries to launch a mission to Mars. Due to an error in the carrier rocket both the probe Marsnik 1 and the rocket itself crashes in Siberia.

1964/1971 – NASA probes Mariner 4, 6, 7 and 9 all reach Mars. Mariner 9 goes into orbit around the red planet. The probe sends back pictures for as long as a year.

1971 – Mars 2 failed to land on the surface of Mars but the Soviet Union didn’t give up and the Mars 3 does land but sends back data for a brief 15 seconds.

1975 – The USA launches the Viking missions. The landing vehicles Viking 1 and 2 are by far the most important information source in terms of our knowledge about Mars until the Mars Rovers Spirit and Opportunity land 28 years later.

1996 – For 10 years the NASA Mars Global Surveyor satellite spins around Mars. This magnificent device analyses the atmosphere and shoots detailed pictures of the surface. after that it functions as a communication satellite for the Rover missions. Sojourner is the first rover on operating on Mars.In 3 months he travels 100m. This is the device the astronaut, Mark watney, discovers in the film ‘The Martian’.

2001 – Both Europe and the USA position a probe around Mars. The Mars express (ESA) examines the circulation of the Martian atmosphere while the Mars Odyssey (NASA) looks for water, ice and minerals. Both probes are still active up until this day.

2003 – After the trials with the rover Sojourner (1997) it is time to send some more! The Spirit and the Opportunity bring countless images of the surface. The Opportunity is still active and has scouted Mars for 42km and counting.

2005 – NASA’s Mars probe MRO (Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter) has more taks than previous space probes. In 2016 it delivers the magnificent news of water on Mars!

2007 – The Phoenix performs the first landing near the north pole of Mars. In 2008 it measures for the first time the actual possibility of water on Mars.

2011 – Another rover is launched by NASA due to the previous successes. The Curiosity has the size of a car and is more equipped and advanced than his predecessors. The rover is still active today.

2013 – The NASA satellite Maven shows that the atmosphere of Mars has suffered more by the solar winds. The satellite was installed to investigate the disappearance of the atmosphere and most of the water on Mars.

2016 – ESA’s landing vehicle Schiaparelli and the probe ExoMars test new techniques for later missions. They search for trails of geological and biological activity in the air.

2018 – The independent company ‘SpaceX’ tries to achieve in the first private Mars mission. The spaceship the Red Dragon will make this possible. it will be launched before the daring manned missions and has to land on the surface as if there are people on board.

2020 – Europe, USA and Russia will launch new Mars rovers! The European-Russian mission will take drill samples while the American rover(s) will search for life. In the same year China wants to deliver its first independent Mars mission launch!

2022 – The planned NASA probe NeMO will act as communication satellite for further Mars missions. It will also test a new type of Ion engine.


06 Sep

Mars Expedition 2030-2050! (Part 3)

Life on Mars will be very hard. The psychological ramifications of being isolated for so lang can be devastating and unpredictable at this point. Space travel can play a strange game with the mind and then there’s the planetary isolation. The brain can suffer terribly from this situation and therefore depression is almost certainly an enemy of the Mars pioneers. This could lead to a mission failure! The Mars milieu can also create obstacles. Low gravity and radiation make it very hard and virtually impossible to survive. The pressure in the skull, caused by the difference in gravity, could damage the eyes and the facial nerves. Then there’s the surface dust that hurtles up due to the thin atmosphere and low gravity. The lungs and eyes could be facing troublesome effects in these conditions. There’s no electromagnetic field, at least not in the way that we experience it on Earth. This in connection with the thin atmosphere could leave us virtually defenseless against harmful radiation. This could cause damage to the proteins in the cell structure and our DNA and result into fertility problems and even cancer. As the gravity is only one third of that on Earth it gives less pressure on bones and muscles causing them to deteriorate. Even if NASA doesn’t admit that there is life on Mars we are absolutely sure that microscopic life will be present. Everything points in that direction. These could cause problems to the human immune system, although we are not sure yet. But it is most likely that microscopic life could be dangerous.