Sunday, October 31, 2010

Space science: The telescope that ate astronomy

NASA's next-generation space observatory promises to open new windows on the Universe — 
but its cost could close many more.

It has to work — for astronomers, there is no plan B. NASA's James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), scheduled to launch in 2014, is the successor to the Hubble Space Telescope and the key to almost every big question that astronomers hope to answer in the coming decades. Its promised ability to peer back through space and time to the formation of the first galaxies made it the top priority in the 2001 astronomy and astrophysics decadal survey, one of a series of authoritative, ten-year plans drafted by the US astronomy community. And now, the stakes are even higher. Without the JWST, the bulk of the science goals listed in the 2010 decadal survey, released this August, will be unattainable.
"We took it as a given that the JWST would be launched and would be a big success," says Michael Turner, a cosmologist at the University of Chicago, Illinois, and a member of the committee for the past two decadal surveys. "Things are built around it."

Hence the astronomers' anxiety: the risks are also astronomical. The JWST's 6.5-metre primary mirror, nearly three times the diameter of Hubble's, will be the largest ever launched into space. The telescope will rely on a host of untried technologies, ranging from its sensitive light-detecting instrumentation to the cooling system that will keep the huge spacecraft below 50 kelvin. And it will have to operate perfectly on the first try, some 1.5 million kilometres from Earth — four times farther than the Moon and beyond the reach of any repair mission. If the JWST — named after the administrator who guided NASA through the development of the Apollo missions — fails, the progress of astronomy could be set back by a generation.
 
And yet, as critical as it is for them, astronomers' feelings about the JWST are mixed. To support a price tag that now stands at roughly US$5 billion, the JWST has devoured resources meant for other major projects, none of which can begin serious development until the binge is over. Missions such as the Wide-Field Infrared Survey Telescope, designed to study the Universe's dark energy and designated the top-priority space-astronomy project in the most recent decadal survey, will have to wait until after the JWST has launched. "Until then, we're not projecting being able to afford large investments" in new missions, says Jon Morse, director of NASA's astrophysics division. And all the space telescopes currently operated by NASA and the European Space Agency will reach the end of their planned lifetimes in the next few years.
Worse, the JWST's costs keep growing. In 2009, NASA required an extra $95 million to cover cost overruns on the telescope. In 2010 it needed a further $20 million. And for 2011 it has requested another $60 million — even as rumours are swirling that still more cash infusions will be required (see 'Cost curve').
 

 Senator Barbara Mikulski (Democrat, Maryland), chairwoman of the government subcommittee that oversees NASA's budget, responded to these requests in June by calling for an independent panel to investigate the causes of the JWST's spiralling cost and delays, and to find a way to bring them to resolution. "Building the JWST is an awesome technical challenge," Mikulski says. "But we're not in the business of cost overruns."
John Casani, chairman of Mikulski's investigative panel and a former project manager for NASA's Voyager, Galileo and Cassini missions, emphasizes that the panel is making suggestions, not decisions. Those will be up to NASA, which is expected to announce a budgetary plan incorporating the panel's suggestions on 2 November. But in considering potential solutions for the JWST's woes, Casani says that "everything will be on the table" — including, conceivably, scrapping instruments or otherwise downgrading the programme.

The Goldin Opportunity

The first concept for a Hubble replacement emerged in 1989, when Hubble was still a year away from launch. Astronomers already knew that its vision would not quite reach back to the 'cosmic dawn', 500 million years after the Big Bang, when the first stars and galaxies formed. So a next-generation space telescope that could fill the gap seemed like the logical next step.
In 1993, NASA asked a committee of astronomers, chaired by Alan Dressler of the Carnegie Observatories in Pasadena, California, to define what such a telescope would need. The new telescope's mirror would have to be big to gather the dim light of those first galaxies. So the committee recommended that the primary mirror be at least 4 metres across.

The telescope would also have to be cryogenically cold, because at any temperature higher than 50 kelvin, infrared heat radiation from the telescope itself would wash out the faint photons that the astronomers were looking for. "That was the science that propelled the whole thing," says Dressler.
Finally, it would have to operate far from Earth. At infrared wavelengths, this planet glows like a light bulb. So the committee recommended that the telescope be placed 1.5 million kilometres outside Earth's orbit, at the second Lagrangian point (L2), where the combined gravitational pull of the Sun and Earth creates a region of stability. Any spacecraft at L2 will also lie in the shadow cast by Earth, making it easier to keep cool (see 'The James Webb Space Telescope').
 
In December 1995, Dressler briefed NASA's then administrator, Daniel Goldin, on the recommendations. Goldin was intrigued. He was shaking up NASA's science programmes, pushing a 'faster, better, cheaper' strategy to deliver more capable and inspiring missions at lower costs. Taking his cues from Silicon Valley and aerospace 'skunkworks' projects — small, highly autonomous ventures pursuing innovation within larger organizations — Goldin was pushing for miniaturization of bulky electronics, more off-the-shelf components, lower organizational overheads, and a continuous expansion of the technological boundaries with each mission. Dressler's proposal seemed like a perfect opportunity to test that approach.
 
Instead of a 4-metre telescope, Goldin asked, why not try one with a primary mirror 6–8 metres in diameter? Some of the technology was in hand: NASA was developing the cryogenic infrared Spitzer Space Telescope with a 0.85-metre mirror made of beryllium, a metal that needs special handling — it corrodes skin at a touch — but is lightweight and keeps its shape through extreme temperature changes. That and other innovations could give the JWST a mega-mirror while reducing costs. As Goldin put it in a speech: "Let's throw away glass. Glass is for the ground."
 

Some astronomers were dubious about initial cost estimates for the ambitious mission, which ranged from $500 million to $1 billion. But in the beginning, Goldin's methods seemed to deliver: the first missions using the approach were wildly successful. Among them were 1997's landmark Mars Pathfinder mission and its accompanying rover, Sojourner, and the 1998 Lunar Prospector mission that found evidence of water ice on the Moon. But they were followed in 1999 by the disastrous losses of the Wide-Field Infrared Explorer telescope and two planetary missions, the Mars Climate Orbiter and the Mars Polar Lander. This string of failures tarnished the agency's reputation, and reminded everyone that 'faster, better, cheaper' was also riskier. By the end of Goldin's tenure in 2001, NASA had already begun shifting back to its traditional, risk-averse and far more expensive strategy of exhaustive testing and extensive oversight.
 
That shift would send the cost of the JWST soaring past the billion-dollar mark. The mirror diameter would be cut from 8 metres to 6.5 metres to help reduce costs. But in the meantime, as NASA carried out the many engineering trade-off studies and scientific working groups required to solidify the telescope's design, a more insidious factor came into play: scientists started to pile on complexity.
It happens with almost every major mission, says Peter Stockman, former head of the JWST mission office at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, Maryland. "Everyone fears it will be the last opportunity in their scientific lifetime." And there seemed little reason for restraint: in the 1990s, when the bulk of the design work was done, NASA's astrophysics budget was projected to keep growing by a few per cent a year.

Stretched capabilities

With each iteration, the JWST's science objectives swelled. The core instrument package came to include a large-field-of-view near-infrared camera (NIRCam) and a multi-object near-infrared spectrograph (NIRSpec), primarily for investigating the earliest stars and galaxies; a general-purpose mid-infrared camera and spectrograph for observing dust-shrouded objects in the Milky Way; and a fine guidance sensor and tunable-filter imager to support the other three.
 
These expanded capabilities would have to be supported by expensive and largely unproven technologies. The instruments needed extra-large, ultra-stable infrared detectors. A five-layered membranous sunshield would have to be folded around the spacecraft before launch, then deployed in space to allow the telescope to cool to cryogenic temperatures. Unfurled, each layer would be about the same area as a tennis court. The primary mirror, too large to fit into any existing rocket fairing, would have to be assembled in 18 hexagonal, adjustable segments that would also unfold in orbit. Each segment would be painstakingly chiselled from beryllium, then coated with gold and polished. Arrays of electromechanical devices called microshutters would allow NIRSpec to take spectra from up to 100 objects simultaneously, even if some of those objects were faint and lay next to brighter stars. Each individually controllable microshutter would be the width of a few human hairs, and NIRSpec would require more than 62,000 of them.
 
In addition, every piece of technology in the spacecraft would have to be engineered to endure the violent vibrations of launch, the hard vacuum of outer space and the slow cool-down to cryogenic temperatures. The telescope's optical surfaces, in particular, would have to survive all this while staying aligned to a precision of nanometres. And everything would have to perform nearly flawlessly for a minimum of five years, the baseline mission length.
 
Small wonder, then, that NASA ended up spending almost $2 billion just on the JWST's initial technology development. Nonetheless, the agency did not substantially cut any of the telescope's capabilities to bring the costs back under control. Instead, it looked for partnerships, securing major contributions from the European and Canadian space agencies. NASA also maximized support for the project on Capitol Hill by awarding contracts for spacecraft components to a small army of companies and universities scattered through many congressional districts. Aerospace giant Northrop Grumman of Los Angeles, California, became the JWST's prime contractor, under NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, which would manage the overall project.
By the time the JWST passed its preliminary design reviews in spring 2008 and NASA had officially committed to building it, the project had been transformed from its comparatively modest 'faster, better, cheaper' origins into an audacious multibillion-dollar, multi-instrument mission spanning institutions, countries and continents.

Passing the Test

For nearly a year now, engineering models of the JWST's various components have been trickling into the clean room in Goddard's Building 29 for testing. (The centre's white-suited technicians can be seen at work on Internet 'Webb-cams' .) Pieces of actual flight hardware are supposed to start arriving in the same room in spring and summer 2011. All of the JWST's riskiest technologies have met their critical milestones and are on schedule for the 2014 launch.
 
The most substantial challenge remaining before launch is to integrate and test the flight components to ensure that they function as a whole — and, of course, to do all that without exceeding the remaining budget. NASA's traditional method is to 'test as you fly' — to operate the integrated flight hardware in conditions as close as possible to those it will experience in space. The problem is that the fully assembled telescope will be far too large to fit into any available thermal vacuum chamber. Just as the JWST's scientific objectives required new technology, mission planners have had to devise entirely new protocols to test it.
"With the JWST we have to do incremental modelling, building and testing, validating our model at each stage and then moving up to the next level of assembly," says Phil Sabelhaus, the JWST project manager at Goddard. "We aren't only testing — we're also proving our ability to model correctly, which is how we will evaluate the JWST's absolute performance on-orbit." This hierarchical assembly, testing and modelling is laborious and time-consuming, more like building several telescopes than one, and is a major contributor to the JWST's remaining costs. So, unsurprisingly, it is one of the most probable targets for cost-cutting.
"There are tests that are really essential to do, and tests that would be nice to do," says Dressler. "With something of this magnitude, there is a natural tendency to double-check and triple-check, and maybe we can't afford that." On the other hand, he says, maybe they can't afford not to: it was a decision to save money on testing that allowed a defect in Hubble's primary mirror to go undetected until it was in orbit, nearly dooming the entire mission.

The JWST's supporters contend that, even with further budget overruns, the telescope will still break the historical cost pattern for large space telescopes. "Not even including its four space-shuttle servicing missions, Hubble cost $4 billion or $5 billion in today's dollars just to build and launch," Dressler notes. "Here we are, building a telescope that is almost seven times bigger, it is cryogenic, it is operating 1.5 million kilometres away, and it is costing the same amount as Hubble did, if not less. That is remarkable, and this is probably the biggest scale on which we will consider building such things in this country."
 
Even so, ambivalence still surrounds the JWST. Failure is not an option, either for NASA or for the astronomers it supports. Yet, in the face of flat or declining budgets, a dwindling docket of near-term astrophysics missions and rising public outrage over perceptions of runaway government spending, tough questions are inevitable. At a mid-September meeting of the agency's astrophysics subcommittee, efforts to nail down just how many extra dollars lie between the JWST and its eventual arrival at L2 were met with silence. Until the announcement of a new budget and schedule, informed by recent panel reviews, that is the best answer anyone is likely to get.Source
Related Posts with Thumbnails
Bookmark and Share

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Hubble Looks 10,000 Years into the Future


image
Astronomers are used to looking millions of years into the past. Now scientists have used the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope to look thousands of years into the future. Looking at the heart of Omega Centauri, a globular cluster in the Milky Way, they have calculated how the stars there will move over the next 10,000 years.

The globular star cluster Omega Centauri has caught the attention of sky watchers ever since the ancient astronomer Ptolemy first catalogued it 2,000 years ago. Ptolemy, however, thought Omega Centauri was a single star. He didn't know that the "star" was actually a beehive swarm of nearly 10 million stars, all orbiting a common center of gravity.

The stars are so tightly crammed together that astronomers had to wait for the powerful vision of NASA's Hubble Space Telescope to peer deep into the core of the "beehive" and resolve individual stars. Hubble's vision is so sharp it can even measure the motion of many of these stars, and over a relatively short span of time.

A precise measurement of star motions in giant clusters can yield insights into how stellar groupings formed in the early universe, and whether an "intermediate mass" black hole, one roughly 10,000 times as massive as our Sun, might be lurking among the stars.





Analyzing archived images taken over a four-year period by Hubble's Advanced Camera for Surveys, astronomers have made the most accurate measurements yet of the motions of more than 100,000 cluster inhabitants, the largest survey to date to study the movement of stars in any cluster.

"It takes high-speed, sophisticated computer programs to measure the tiny shifts in the positions of the stars that occur in only four years' time," says astronomer Jay Anderson of the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, Md., who conducted the study with fellow Institute astronomer Roeland van der Marel. "Ultimately, though, it is Hubble's razor-sharp vision that is the key to our ability to measure stellar motions in this cluster."

Adds van der Marel: "With Hubble, you can wait three or four years and detect the motions of the stars more accurately than if you had waited 50 years on a ground-based telescope."

The astronomers used the Hubble images, which were taken in 2002 and 2006, to make a movie simulation of the frenzied motion of the cluster's stars. The movie shows the stars' projected migration over the next 10,000 years.

Identified as a globular star cluster in 1867, Omega Centauri is one of roughly 150 such clusters in our Milky Way Galaxy. The behemoth stellar grouping is the biggest and brightest globular cluster in the Milky Way, and one of the few that can be seen by the unaided eye. Located in the constellation Centaurus, Omega Centauri is viewable in the southern skies.

Images and more information about Omega Centauri:

* http://hubblesite.org/news/2010/28

* http://www.nasa.gov/hubble

# # #

The Hubble Space Telescope is a project of international cooperation between NASA and the European Space Agency. NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center manages the telescope. The Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) conducts Hubble science operations. STScI is operated for NASA by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc. in Washington, D.C.
Source
Related Posts with Thumbnails
Bookmark and Share

Zecharia Sitchin (1920 - 2010)

Zecharia Sitchin (born July 11, 1920 - died October 9, 2010 [1]) was an author of books promoting an explanation for human origins involving ancient astronauts. Sitchin attributes the creation of the ancient Sumerian culture to the Anunnaki, which he claims to be a race of extra-terrestrials from a planet beyond Neptune called Nibiru. He believed this hypothetical planet of Nibiru to be in an elongated, elliptical orbit in the Earth's own Solar System, asserting that Sumerian mythology reflects this view.

Zecharia Sitchin (1920 - 2010): A 2003 Tribute Interview by Paola Harris

Book: Connecting the Dots: Making Sense of the UFO Phenomena
By Paola Harris

The Old Guard
Zecharia Sitchin
www.sitchin.com

Scholars have traveled the entire world looking at historical artifacts and documents as evidence that possibly humankind could have been seeded by alien races. One of the most powerful proponents of this theory is prolific writer, researcher and historian Zecharia Sitchin, and his evidence is pretty convincing.

“The same applied to planets, which they considered as living entities, and to the whole solar system, and to stars: There is a predetermined destiny, but within it a changeable fate. We are part of it. We are not alone in our own solar system, and we are not alone in the universe.

      The following interview took place May 5, 2003, a time when many people had questions about the ransacking of the National Museum in Iraq and the possible return of the planet Nibiru. In The Earth Chronicles, Mr. Sitchin tells, based upon his interpretations of ancient Sumerian clay tablets, the story of humankind, our origins, how we were created, and details of the overall plan. Earth’s history originates with the stories of gods who interact with humans, and most divine stories are similar. We know them

as mythology. Sitchin researched these concepts for 30 years, traveling the world and examining thousands of artifacts, art works and archaeological locations, to reach the following conclusions. (a). The Sumerians wrote the story of humankind on clay tablets 6,000 years ago in what is now Iran, where, in the ages past, a sophisticated, advanced and well

organized civilization suddenly bloomed in the Mesopotamian area. (b). They knew the sun was the center of the planetary system and they knew of planets that we have just discovered in the last 150 years, including Pluto, “discovered” in 1930. (c). The key to the mystery lies in a planet that once orbited between Mars and Jupiter, but which does not exist today. In its place lies the asteroid belt. The Sumerians called this planet Nibiru, and it is represented in ancient writings and art. It has a retrograde orbit around the sun. This “invader planet” has a 3,600-year elliptical orbit around our sun, and it may soon be returning our way. Sitchin says that it took him 30 years of research to discover this, but he had to pause for five years until he found an answer to the creation of humankind itself. This he found in the Mesopotamian epic of creation called Enuma Elish, which was written on seven clay tablets. Six tablets tell about the creation of the solar system and planets, and the seventh glorifies the Creator, much like Genesis in the Bible (the creation of the seven-day week). According to these ancient texts, humanity was genetically created by the Anunnaki (meaning “Those who from Heaven to Earth came”). Fifty of them splashed down in the Persian Gulf (432,000 years ago) and genetically engineered a race to mine gold for them in southeast Africa. They needed gold for a protective shield over their planet. To create humans, they did some serious genetic manipulation on an already-existing hominid species. They left behind symbols found in ancient cultures, such as the winged disc, and evidence of nuclear destruction. Mission control for their flying crafts was in what is now Israel, an area that was as significant then as it is now.

 (See Connecting The Dots“The State of the World” chapter, page 237, which reiterates the key role that Israel still plays in today’s world.)

Paola Harris (PH): What is significance of the destruction of the thousands of artifacts in the National Museum of Baghdad? Does it destroy the legacy left by the early people of the Fertile Crescent, including the Anunnaki?

Zecharia Sitchin (ZS): While the subject of the fate of the archaeological objects in the museum should be of concern to everyone interested in the preservation of art, culture and history, the matter is, of course, of special interest to me and my worldwide readers because my writings, beginning with The 12th Planet, are profoundly based on the archaeological evidence from ancient Mesopotamia—beginning with the Sumerian civilization, continuing with the Akkadian, Babylonian and Assyrian, and encompassing the other adjoining civilizations that followed. The National Museum of Iraq in Baghdad was a major depository of such artifacts, but fortunately not the only one. In the early days of modern archaeology most of the discovered artifacts were carried off to the museums of the archaeologists’ countries (London, Paris, Berlin, Milan, etc.) and later divided between them and the local museums. So, first, the loss is not total. Secondly, it is now clear that of the reported 170,000 items in the Baghdad Museum, only 29 (yes, twenty nine) important artifacts were missing (some have been returned since), and these ones have of course been studied, photographed, etc., and are well known to scholars (or even to readers of my book). Although the loss is not as massive as initially reported, the looting that took place, the smashing of display cases, thus damaging their contents, and the breaking of larger monuments that could not be carried off–this was nothing short of pure barbarism, unforgivable behavior. So the legacy that these museum collections represent was not and cannot be destroyed; it lives on in the other museums and, of course, in the books on the subject (such as mine), in videos, etc.

PH: Could there be a secret connection between this war and antiquity?

ZS: By advancing from the subject of the artifacts to the issue of the geographiclocation of the conflict, you are in reality raising two other very significant subjects. The first is that of hallowed or sacred ground; the other is that of prophecy. If you travel in the lands of the Bible, you realize that a mosque is built exactly where a Byzantine church had stood, and that it was built where there had been a synagogue, and that one, too, was built exactly there because the place was revered even in earlier times. Over the thousands of years of Mesopotamian civilization (from the beginning of Sumer circa 4,000 B.C. to the conquest of Alexander and the Seleucid rulers in the last centuries B.C.), royal inscriptions repeatedly state that it was the custom and the duty of kings to rebuild temples exactly where the previous ones stood. Conqueror after conqueror in antiquity adhered to this tradition, but neither the British after World War I nor the Americans this time have such a compulsion to build houses of worship upon ancient sites. So the issue of interest in one of prophesy. Though Baghdad is a relatively new city and is not a continuation of Babylon, nor built where it was, there are biblical prophecies about the fall of Babylon as part of a Divine Plan. The question is whether such prophecies were one-time prophecies, i.e., just specific to Babylon (as an example) in the 6th century B.C. only—or whether these are eternal prophecies, applicable again and again when the circumstances and the Wheel of Time apply. I believe in the latter. I have repeatedly stated that “The Past is the Future,” because the Anunnaki, the people, and the civilizations they bequeathed to humankind are subject to a grand historical cycle.

PH: In your works you mention that a nuclear explosion destroyed the Sumerians.

What kind of arms do you think they employed?

ZS: The use of nuclear weapons in 2024 B.C. is, first of all, of significance because it relates to the more general and bothering question: Why are there wars on Earth? In my book on the subject, The Wars of Gods and Men, I raised the question: Is Man born a warrior, or did someone teach us to make war? The answer is the latter: Before the wars of man there were the wars of the gods. It was during the conflict between Horus and Seth, according to unambiguous Egyptian texts, that humans were given arms and enlisted to fight (on the side of Horus that time). And so it was that in the conflict between the two clans of Anunnaki, nuclear weapons were used to wipe out the spaceport in the Sinai (an event reflected in the biblical tale of Sodom and Gomorrah). Before that there was an international war related to the spaceport (the so-called “War of the Kings” in Genesis, chapter 14). The nuclear cloud from the explosion in the Sinai was carried by the winds eastward to Mesopotamia, and numerous Lamentation Texts describe how the Evil Wind—the nuclear cloud–killed all life in Sumer. Thus, there was no actual explosion in Sumer. The cities, the buildings remained intact; people, animals, plants died. It is interesting in this regard to recall that as it happened the winds carried the poisonous cloud in such a way that Sumer itself was affected, but not Babylon to the north. So already in antiquity it was pondered: Was this divine omen, the hand of Destiny? Even the Anunnaki opposed to Marduk, the instigator of the war, considered that to be manifestation of destiny and accepted Marduk’s supremacy. As to what kind of nuclear weapons were used–that the texts do not specify.

PH: What do you think happened to the survivors of the conflict?

ZS: The Sumerian Lamentation Texts indicate that the “gods” realized as soon as the explosion took place that a calamity would engulf Sumer hundreds of miles away. So the texts describe a hurried departure by the gods and their warnings to their followers to escape as well: Not to try to hide, because there was no hiding from the cloud, but to run away, to the north and farther east. The result was the first recorded Diaspora. Remnants– led by their gods–found their way, in time, to what we call Iran and India (thus the same tales of the gods in the Sanskrit texts), to the Far East (thus the Chinese, Korean, Japanese scripts that are based on the Sumerian cuneiform), to eastern Europe (the lands of the god whose symbol was the double-headed eagle), along the Danube (thus the Hungarian legends and language), etc.

PH: If the Anunnaki colonized this entire planet, what other traces are there?

ZS: Everywhere! Besides the lands and people I just mentioned, there were the more distant Americas. In my book The Lost Realms, dedicated to the Americas, I show connections—the evidence. You find the same gods, even if called by local tongues (e.g. the Sumerian Ningishzidda = the Egyptian Thoth = the Mesoamerican Quetzalcoatl); the same legends of Creation; the same astronomical recognition of equinoxes and solstices as a guide to temple orientations, etc.

PH: What is your opinion of the return of Nibiru? Many people are becoming fearful of this. What consequences will this return have on the planet?

ZS: Nibiru, which is the home planet of the Anunnaki according to the Sumerians, has a great elliptical orbit that lasts (by definition) one year for its inhabitants but 3,600 Earth years as counted by us Earthlings. I have been asked many times when it will next be in our vicinity (passing between Mars and Jupiter); and if I don’t give an answer, the question is changed to “When was it last time,” so people just add 3,600 years. I have done my best in lectures, on my website etc., to stress that 3,600 (a Shar in Sumerian) is a mathematical number, not a precise orbital number, because orbits change with each passage. We know it from Halley’s comet. We know it from the changing configuration of Earth’s orbit. In addition, how Nibiru affects Earth is also not the same each time. Whether other planets stand between it and Earth is also not the same each passage. Is Earth directly exposed to its gravitational, magnetic and other effects? One time, we know, it caused the Deluge, but not after that one (circa 13,000 years ago). To be specific, I first announced clearly in talks, interviews, and on

my website that the claim by others that Nibiru will pass near Earth in 2003 is wrong. Since April 2003, the predicted date, in the meantime came and went, everyone now knows it.

PH: When will Nibiru be visible in your estimation?

ZS: Nibiru is without doubt on its way back from its farthest point out (aphelion). The leading searcher for what astronomers call “Planet X,” Dr. Robert Harrington of the U.S. Naval Observatory, agreed with me where it probably was a few years ago (his sketch or sky-map is given in my book Genesis Revisited). In that book I also provide the evidence from the discovery by IRAS (Infra-Red Astronomical Station), a satellite launched by NASA, that twice traced the planet in 1983 by infra-red (i.e. by heat emission, not by light reflection). So those who need to know, know at least since 1983. NASA is about to launch a new, more sophisticated infra-red space telescope. When will Nibiru be visible from Earth with regular telescopes? I cannot say, as I am not in the telescope field of expertise. Let me make clear, however, what I have stated in my lectures again and again: The return of the Anunnaki and the return of the planet do not and cannot coincide, for reasons of space travel and trajectories. I thus believe that the prophesied return or second coming is now applicable to the Anunnaki, even if not to their planet.

PH: Do you see any additional evidence that Mars is an outpost for an alien race that might also be the Anunnaki?

ZS: As a matter of fact, the evidence from Mars is one reason why I am so confident of the statement I just made. There is not doubt, from NASA’s own photographs from the ’70s, that there are artificial structures on Mars (other than the “Face”)–I include such photos in Genesis Revisited. The experts now admit, contrary to previous claims that Mars is a dead, airless, waterless uninhabitable planet, that it did have, and still has, plenty of water, that it even had seas and lakes, that it had an atmosphere, etc. So the Sumerian assertion that Mars served as a way-station on the way from Nibiru to Earth, which, when I wrote The 12th Planet in 1976, was deemed by others as impossible, now is admitted as very possible. The crucial piece of evidence is what I called in Genesis Revisited “The Phobos Incident,” when in 1989 a Soviet spacecraft first photographed the shadow of an elliptical object on Mars and then was destroyed by a missile fired from Phobos, a moonlet (possibly an artificial satellite) of Mars. I wrote then that though it may not be the Anunnaki themselves who are back, it was their “emissaries”–robotic artificial being. This was enlarged upon in my TV documentary “Are We Alone?”
in which the Soviet space officials were quite outspoken.

PH: What are the most current discoveries you have made?

ZS: I have made it a point of stressing that the various artifacts, clay tablets, etc., which I use as evidence, were not discovered by me. They are the result of archaeological discoveries by others over a century and a half, the work of scholars, translators, epigraphers, biblical scholars, etc. The main “discovery” by me is the belief that while others refer to all that as “mythology,” I say: No, these are records and recollections of what actually happened. That is why the overall title for my series book is The Earth Chronicles. If “discovery” is understood that way, my recent discovery has been this: That every year, every month, sometimes everyday, as our science advances—in space, in astronomy, in geology, in biology, in genetics, etc.–I “discover” more and more corroboration for what (as I understand it) the ancient people knew. More than ever, the subtitle of Genesis Revisited: “Is modern science only catching up with ancient knowledge?” is becoming more and more true.

PH: What is the overall message of The Earth Chronicles?

ZS: The message is: We are not alone. The DNA on Earth, which is the basis of all life from microbes to humans, is the same as on Nibiru, the same as everywhere else in the universe. Genetically, we are akin to the Anunnaki from Nibiru, for, as the Bible summed it up, we were fashioned by them in their image and in their likeness. Our civilizations are similar to the one they had, because it is they who gave us civilization. Our wars, to consider latest events, are similar to their wars–both wars on Earth and preceding wars on Nibiru. So we, in many respects, are they. And since I believe the Biblical prophecies and think they are universally valid, I have no doubt that we shall one day do what the Anunnaki did: Come to another planet, supposedly for a selfish need or reason, and end up doing there what they did here—cause life to evolve in a manner similar to ours, create civilization there, repeat the cycle, because it is all part of a grand design. The Sumerians distinguished between Fate (nam, tar) and Destiny (nam). Destiny was predetermined, fixed, unchanged. That Man is mortal was Destiny; how Man conducted his life between birth and death, how he would die, was Fate—a “destiny” that could be changed or bent by Man’s behavior, free will, circumstances, etc. The same applied to planets, which they considered as living entities, and to the whole solar system, and to stars: There is a predetermined destiny, but within it a changeable fate. We are part of it. We are not alone in our own solar system, and we are not alone in the universe.
Source

Related Posts with Thumbnails
Bookmark and Share

Friday, October 22, 2010

Last year's moonshot splashed up lots of water

AP – This 2009 image provided by NASA shows the area of the lunar South Pole 
where the LCROSS experiment, …
LOS ANGELES – When NASA blasted a hole in the moon last year in search of water, scientists figured there would be a splash. They just didn't know how big. Now new results from the Hollywood-esque moonshot reveal lots of water in a crater where the sun never shines — 41 gallons of ice and vapor.
That may not sound like much — it's what a typical washing machine uses for a load — but it's almost twice as much as researchers had initially measured and more than they ever expected to find.
The estimate represents only what scientists can see from the debris plume that was kicked up from the high-speed crash near the south pole by a NASA spacecraft on Oct. 9, 2009.
Mission chief scientist Anthony Colaprete of the NASA Ames Research Center calculates there could be 1 billion gallons of water in the crater that was hit — enough to fill 1,500 Olympic-sized swimming pools.
"Where we impacted was quite wet," Colaprete said, adding there could be more such craters at both the moon's poles.
Proof that the moon is dynamic and not a dry, desolate world offers hope for a possible future astronaut outpost where water on site could be used for drinking or making rocket fuel.
But the scientists' excitement is tempered by the political reality that there's no plan to land on the moon anytime soon.
The $79 million moon mission known as the Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite, or LCROSS, was launched to determine whether water exists at the moon's poles. Previous spacecraft spied hints of possible ice in polar craters.
The mission involved slamming a spent rocket into Cabeus crater. The crash carved a hole about one quarter the size of a football field.
A trailing spacecraft then flew through the cloud of debris and dust thrown up by the impact and used its instruments to analyze what was inside before it also struck the moon.
Besides water, the plume also contained carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, ammonia, sodium, mercury and silver. The findings were published in Friday's issue of the journal Science.
How the soup of compounds became trapped in Cabeus crater, among the coldest places in the solar system, is unclear. One theory is that they came from comets and asteroids, which pounded the lunar surface billions of years ago, and later drifted to the poles.
Mission scientist Kurt Retherford of the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, Texas, thinks the discovery of mercury could pose a challenge for any human settlers because of its toxicity.
But Colaprete, the mission chief scientist, said there are ways around the mercury dilemma.
"Just like we use filters on Earth to make sure our drinking water is clean, we will do the same on the moon. We can distill or purify it," he said.
Apollo astronauts previously found traces of silver and gold in lunar samples facing the Earth. Specks of silver in the frigid polar crater are "not going to start the next `silver rush' to the moon," said planetary geologist Peter Schultz of Brown University, who analyzed the plume.
While scientists celebrated the copious data returned to Earth, the highly hyped mission last year was a public relations bomb. Scores of space fans who stayed up all night to glimpse NASA's promised debris plume through webcast or telescopes saw little more than a fuzzy white flash.
LCROSS was originally hatched as a robotic mission before a future human trip. That was before Congress approved a blueprint last month for NASA that shifts the focus from a manned moon landing — as outlined under President George W. Bush — in favor of sending astronauts to near-Earth asteroids and eventually Mars. A return to the moon could potentially be a way station — something still to be decided — but the moon won't be an overall goal.
Given the recent water find, "it's disappointing that we're not going to forge ahead" with a moon return next decade, said space scientist Greg Delory of the University of California, Berkeley, who was not involved in the project.
But he believes that "when the time is right, we're going to send people there again."
SourceRelated Posts with Thumbnails
Bookmark and Share

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Most Distant Galaxy Ever Confirmed

 Image: NASA/ESA/G. Illingworth/HUDF09 Team

Astronomers’ new observations have spotted the most distant galaxy ever seen. The galaxy’s light comes from about 13.1 billion light-years away, making it one of the first galaxies to form after the Big Bang.
The new galaxy is about 30 million light-years farther away than previous record-holder, a gamma-ray burst that faded within a few hours of its peak brightness, and 200 million light-years farther than the next most distant galaxy.
“We are approaching the limits of the observable universe with this observation,” said astronomer Michele Trenti of the University of Colorado, who was not involved in the new work. “It is quite a good improvement.”
The finding, published in the Oct. 21 Nature, could also give insight into how young stars helped make the universe transparent.
The new distance champion, deemed UDFy-38135539, was first spotted in late 2009 in a Hubble Space Telescope image called the Ultra Deep Field. The image captures 10,000 galaxies in the universe’s earliest epochs, several of which were good candidates for the most distant galaxy.
Because light takes time to travel across the universe, telescopes see these galaxies as they appeared billions of years ago. And because the universe is expanding, distant galaxies appear to be rapidly moving away from us. As the galaxies flee, the wavelength of the light they emit stretches out, or redshifts, similar to how an ambulance siren’s howl drops in pitch as it drives away.
Matt Lehnert of the Paris Observatory and colleagues picked the reddest galaxy in the Ultra Deep Field, then took 16 hours of follow-up observations with the SINFONI spectrograph on the Very Large Telescope in Chile.






 The team searched for the specific wavelength of light emitted when hydrogen, the most abundant element in the universe, relaxes from an excited energy state. Based on the amount of stretching this light experienced on its journey from the distant galaxy to the telescope, astronomers calculated that the galaxy is 13.1 billion light-years away, making it 30 million light-years farther than the next-most distant object ever found. The galaxy probably formed within 600 million years of the Big Bang.
Detecting this light at all was a surprising feat, Trenti said. “Most astronomers in the community think spectroscopic confirmation would have been very, very difficult. They were reluctant to try to invest a significant amount of telescope time to get the spectrum,” he said. “Lehnert and colleagues went ahead and really showed that this can be done now, we don’t have to wait for the next generation of more powerful telescopes.”
A 30 million-light-year gain may not sound like much on the scale of the entire universe, Trenti added, but it’s like breaking the world record in the 100 meter dash. “You run a few hundredths of a second faster, but that is a big deal,” he said.
But the new galaxy is more than just “a trophy on the wall,” Lehnert said. UDFy-38135539 is the first galaxy observed that formed during the “epoch of reionization,” when radiation from infant stars split hydrogen atoms that fogged up the early universe into protons and electrons. Hydrogen absorbs light at most wavelengths, so without early stars, even nearby galaxies would be completely invisible to us.
Reionization began around 600 million years after the Big Bang and wrapped up a few hundred million years later, “which, for the universe, is relatively a blink of an eye,” Lehnert said. “But we don’t know how it happened.” The new most-distant galaxy “basically helps to give us insight into the first galaxies, the galaxies that really were responsible for reionization.”
Astronomers know one thing already: The new galaxy is not alone. The galaxy’s young stars blew a transparent bubble of ions around it, which must be big enough to allow astronomers to see the galaxy from Earth. But observations suggest that the galaxy corrals only about 1 billion stars, making it at least 100 times smaller than the Milky Way — too small to blow such a big ionic bubble by itself.
“It must have had friends around it to help it,” Lehnert said. “We have no idea what these friends are like … but this tells us they must be there, and we’re feeling their presence.”
The most likely candidates for these helpers are fainter galaxies, but they could be exotic objects like miniature black holes or decaying particles, Lehnert says.
Correction: A previous version of this article said the next most-distant object, a gamma-ray burst, was two light-years closer than this galaxy. The true figure is 30 million light-years.
SourceRelated Posts with Thumbnails
Bookmark and Share

Saturday, October 16, 2010

The Lost Pyramids of Caral (Peru)

Part 1


Part 2


Part 3

SourceRelated Posts with Thumbnails

Bookmark and Share

UFO Whistle-Blower Col. Philip Corso

Part 1


Part 2


Part 3


Part 4


Part 5


Part 6


Part 7


Part 8


Colonel Philip Corso is one of the most important and controversial UFO whistleblowers ever to emerge. The former Army Intelligence officer says he was the number two man in a key Pentagon office which oversaw the exploitation of technologies retrieved from "crashed saucer sites." There is no question Corso worked at the Pentagon in the position that he claims. His 1997 book The Day After Roswell was an international best seller, though many now dispute Corso’s allegations about the role he played in leaking alien technology to American industry. In 1992, years before anyone else in the UFO field had ever heard of Corso, reporter George Knapp met and interviewed the colonel and heard, for the first time his astounding tale about the military’s knowledge of an ET presence on Earth. Knapp also recorded the first on-camera interview with Corso, conducted more than a year before Corso’s book was released. A few pieces from that interview have been shown publicly, but the full interview hasn’t been seen by anyone else. The 1996 interview covers Corso’s amazing career, his hands-on involvement with pieces of technology taken from crash sites, his other encounters with the UFO mystery, and his knowledge of an ongoing coverup.
SourceRelated Posts with Thumbnails
Bookmark and Share

New fish species found deep below ocean surface

The ghostly white snailfish was found September 10 in the South Pacific.
 
Scientists have discovered a new species of fish living almost 4 1/2 miles below the surface of the Pacific Ocean.
The ghostly white snailfish was found September 10 in the Peru-Chile trench in the South Pacific by an international team of marine biologists led by Alan Jamieson of the University of Aberdeen in Scotland. The scientists also found cusk-eels and crustaceans living in the trench off the west coast of South America. Those creatures had never before been observed at such depths, where sunlight never penetrates and water pressure is almost 10,000 pounds per square inch.
“Our findings, which revealed diverse and abundant species at depths previously thought to be void of fish, will prompt a rethink into marine populations at extreme depths,” said Jamieson, who led researchers from Japan and New Zealand in the project.
The researchers discovered the creatures during a three-week expedition during which they took more than 6,000 images at depths between 4,500 and 8,000 meters (15,000 to 26,000 feet).

The most recent mission – August 31 to September 20 - was the seventh in three years by a collaborative research project among the University of Aberdeen’s Oceanlab, the University of Tokyo’s Ocean Research Institute and New Zealand’s National Institute of Water and Atmospheric research.
Previous expeditions had identified another species of snailfish in deep-sea trenches off Japan and New Zealand.
 
Scientists found large shrimp-like crustacean scavengers in abundance.
 
“To test whether these species would be found in all trenches, we repeated our experiments on the other side of the Pacific Ocean off Peru and Chile, some 6,000 miles from our last observations,” Jamieson said. “What we found was that indeed there was another unique species of snailfish living at 7,000 meters — entirely new to science, which had never been caught or seen before.”
Jamieson said scientists also observed cusk-eels in a “feeding frenzy that last 22 hours” and large shrimp-like crustacean scavengers in abundance in the trench.
“It begs the question of why and how they can live so deep in this trench but not in any other,” said Niamh Kilgallen, an expert on the creatures at the New Zealand institute.
“These findings prompt a re-evaluation of the diversity and abundance of life at extreme depths," Jamieson said.
SourceRelated Posts with Thumbnails
Bookmark and Share

Friday, October 15, 2010

Former Military Officers Affirm UFO Activity Near Nuclear Missile Sites
The Press Conference

SourceRelated Posts with Thumbnails

Bookmark and Share

Steven Greer’s Disclosure Project 2010

Part 1


Part 2
Dr. Steven Greer and Chantal Boccaccio is putting together a package for a TV show and has released a couple of video clips. In these clips, Greer mentions briefing CIA directors (DCI) and work put together for President Obama.

SourceRelated Posts with Thumbnails

Bookmark and Share

CNN Larry King Live - UFOs: Are They for Real?

Part 1


Part 2


Part 3


Part 4

L.A., November 09, 2007

LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, close encounters with UFOS -- is national security on the line?
High ranking government and military officials from around the world have seen what you won't believe. And they risk their reputations to make the case. They're here.
A historic occasion will take place in Washington on Monday. Former high level government employees, military officials and pilots from all over the world will come together. They'll discuss their own UFO sightings and encounters -- and they'll do it at the National Press Club in the nation's capital. Some of them will share their stories for the first time.

This group has gathered together to call on the United States government to take an active role in investigating cases involving unidentified flying objects.

That's the topic of our program here tonight.

Our panel here in Los Angeles:
Fife Symington, the former governor of Arizona, who in 1997 ridiculed a UFO sighting by thousands of people in the state and later admitted that he himself saw a craft.

James Fox, the filmmaker who is the executive producer of the award-winning feature length documentary "Out of the Blue" -- the definitive investigation of the UFO phenomenon.

Colonel Chuck Halt, United States Air Force, retired, was the deputy base commander of Bentwaters Woodbridge, a U.S. military base in Suffolk, England. In 1980, Chuck and his patrol investigated an internationally known UFO encounter in Rendlesham Forest, close to the Bentwaters Woodbridge base.
http://channelislandsufo.blogspot.com/

Sergeant Jim Pennison, United States Air Force, retired, was a Woodbridge security supervisor at that base in 1980. He says he sat with a UFO on the ground for 45 minutes before it hovered above him and shot into the air at an unearthly speed.

And in Copenhagen, Denmark, is Nick Pope. For 21 years, Nick was a government official for the British Ministry of Defence. From '91 to '94, he ran the British government's UFO project at the Ministry of Defence where he researched and investigated the UFO phenomenon for the British government.

Larry King: Fife, are we now saying that the United States is taking this seriously or is this just an event?

Fife Symington, Former Arizona Governor, ridiculed UFOs sighters then admitted he saw one, too: I think the United States is taking it seriously. And they need to, it's long overdue. The issues that James has so courageously tackled with his production deals with, really, the very top sightings around the world. And he's brought this group together for this press conference on Monday. I think it's a great public service that he's providing.

SourceRelated Posts with Thumbnails

Bookmark and Share

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Journey To The Edge Of the Universe: Source 1

Building on images taken from the Hubble telescope, Journey to the Edge of the Universe explores the science and history behind the distant celestial bodies in the solar system. This spectacular, epic voyage across the cosmos, takes us from the Earth, past the Moon and our neighboring planets, out of our Solar System, to the nearest stars, nebulae and galaxies and beyond – right to the edge of the Universe itself.

Journey from Earth’s surface to the outermost reaches of the universe on a grand tour of the cosmos, to explore newborn stars, distant planets, black holes and beyond.

SourceRelated Posts with Thumbnails

Bookmark and Share

Friday, October 08, 2010

200 new species encountered during
two scientific expeditions to Papua New Guinea in 2009

This tube-nosed fruit bat is just one of the roughly 200 species encountered during two scientific expeditions to Papua New Guinea in 2009—including a katydid that "aims for the eyes" and a frog that does a mean cricket impression, Conservation International announced late Tuesday.
Though seen on previous expeditions, the bat has yet to be formally documented as a new species, or even named. Like other fruit bats, though, it disperses seeds from the fruit in its diet, perhaps making the flying mammal crucial to its tropical rain forest ecosystem.
In all, the expeditions to Papua New Guinea's Nakanai and Muller mountain ranges found 24 new species of frogs, 2 new mammals, and nearly a hundred new insects. The remote island country's mountain ranges—which have yielded troves of new and unusual species in recent years—are accessible only by plane, boat, foot, or helicopter.


SourceRelated Posts with Thumbnails
Bookmark and Share
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Statistic


View My Stats