Astral ~ Revelations Reachable
NASA & Other Space Exploration
the Inspiration and major source for text and image at this page.
Our future is more in their hands each day, and their work flavors all our lives right now, in the present. ALL are invited to visit and enjoy this site.
Author's note: As girl,in the '50's, we were sometimes filed in with the "slightly odd, possibly outright weird", because of our knowledge and connection with this group, whose name is known to most toddlers today.
Three generations worked for E.I. DuPont, and, at their Coated Fabrics Plant in Fairfield, my Father's hands made the gold mylar that wrapped the Lunar Landing Module, and created the wonderful stuff that was the mother of all the neat shiny papers and plastics we use for a million things, in work and play, every day.
Having lived away from roots for a long time, I did not know, myself, that our Eastern Connecticut State University / NASA performs the task of collating and providing educational materials for NASA Educational Outreach Projects. This discovery has really done something wonderful for the cold winter day out my window. I hope you will wish to click over to these sites and let them impress you!
Astronomy Day ! April 16th
Celebrate! this Astronomy Week focal point, a day created just for you, new to the stars ...Amateur Astronomy League
And Spring has sprung at NASA ! New Boss, Michael Griffin, DART, Saturn, the Shuttle, and so much more, especially
Space Program Art !
Get the NASA Newsletter, too! Our grandchildren will live extra-terrestrially; this is our destiny, our reality, not a sci-fi movie.
The day it found me.
It was around the time of the Bicentennial celebrations, and we were having a family fun at-home day. I reached for the popcorn from the microwave over the Jenn-Aire.........and nearly dropped it. A very short time ago, in a movie theater not far away, we watched extra-terrestrial Luke Skywalker do the same, and he was a future-guy... I was suddenly struck by at-home awareness of the space age, for the first time.
It was a very personal moment...it is here! The future is here ! Everything since has been a little more "interesting"
Again, sharing the NASA.gov link. NASA online is well-done, a world of wondrous information, and easy to navigate. Try to keep it in mind for that afternoon when plans have been cancelled, instead of Television or a nap...you will be so glad you did! It includes audio and video links, and if you have a question about a Space issue in the News, NASA.gov will probably have text and images instantly. Sign up for their newsletter !
Like alternative? Try Space.Com. My people are NASA, but I read them all sometimes......
Subject: Near-Earth Objects To keep it handy, for myself, I thought to post these FAQ :
1. What Is A Near-Earth Object (NEO)?
Near-Earth Objects (NEOs) are comets and asteroids that have been nudged by the gravitational attraction of nearby planets into orbits that allow them to enter the Earth's neighborhood. Composed mostly of water ice with embedded dust particles, comets originally formed in the cold outer planetary system while most of the rocky asteroids formed in the warmer inner solar system between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter.
2. What Is The Purpose Of The Near-Earth Object Program?
The purpose of the Near-Earth Object Program is to coordinate NASA-sponsored efforts to detect, track and characterize potentially hazardous asteroids and comets that could approach the Earth. The NEO Program will focus on the goal of locating at least 90 percent of the estimated 1,000 asteroids and comets that approach the Earth and are larger than 1 kilometer (about 2/3-mile) in diameter, by the end of the next decade. In addition to managing the detection and cataloging of Near-Earth objects, the NEO Program office will be responsible for facilitating communications between the astronomical community and the public should any potentially hazardous objects be discovered.
3. How Many Near-Earth Objects Have Been Discovered So Far?
As of September 25, 2004, 3047 Near-Earth objects have been discovered. 734 of these NEOs are asteroids with a diameter of approximately 1 kilometer or larger. Also, 634 of these NEOs have been classified as Potentially Hazardous Asteroids (PHAs).
4. What Are Asteroids And Comets?
Asteroids and comets are believed to be ancient remnants of the earliest years of the formation of our solar system more than four billion years ago. From the beginning of life on Earth to the recent spectacular impact of Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 with Jupiter, these so-called "small bodies" play a key role in many of the fundamental processes that have shaped the planetary neighborhood in which we live.
Comets are bodies of ice, rock, and organic compounds that can be several miles in diameter. Comets are thought to originate from a region beyond the orbits of the outermost planets. Scientists believe that gravitational perturbations periodically jar comets out of this population, setting these "dirty snowballs" on orbital courses that bring them closer to the Sun. Some, called long-period comets, are in elliptical orbits of the Sun that take them far out beyond the planets and back. Others, called short-period comets, travel in shorter orbits nearer the Sun.
When comets venture into the more intense sunlight of the inner solar system, the ices in the comet nucleus begin to vaporize and fall away. The evolved gas forms a tenuous atmosphere around the nucleus called a coma, while the dust previously in the nucleus forms a tail that can be thousands of miles long and sometimes can be seen from Earth. While striking the early Earth billions of years ago, comets are thought to have created major changes to Earth's early oceans, atmosphere, and climate, and may have delivered the first carbon-based molecules to our planet, triggering the process of the origins of life.
Most asteroids are made of rock, but some are composed of metal, mostly nickel and iron. They range in size from small boulders to objects that are hundreds of miles in diameter. A small portion of the asteroid population may be burned-out comets whose ices have evaporated away and been blown off into space. Almost all asteroids are part of the Main Asteroid Belt, with orbits in the vast region of space between Mars and Jupiter.
Some asteroids pass very close to Earth's orbit around the Sun. Scientists have found evidence that asteroids have hit our planet in the past. Usually, asteroids and smaller debris called meteoroids are too small to survive the passage through Earth's atmosphere. When these burn up on their descent, they leave a beautiful trail of light known as a meteor or "shooting star." Larger asteroids occasionally crash into Earth, however, and create craters, such as Arizona's mile-wide Meteor Crater near Flagstaff. Another impact site off the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico, which is buried by ocean sediments today, is believed to be a record of the event that led to the extinction of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago. Fortunately for us, these big asteroid impacts are rare. A smaller rocky meteoroid or comet less than 100 yards in diameter is believed to have entered the atmosphere over the Tunguska region of Siberia in 1908. The resulting shockwave knocked down trees for hundreds of square miles.
5. What Are The Differences Between An Asteroid, Comet, Meteoroid, Meteor and Meteorite?
In space, a large rocky body in orbit about the Sun is referred to as an asteroid or minor planet whereas much smaller particles in orbit about the Sun are referred to as meteoroids. Once a meteoroid enters the Earth's atmosphere and vaporizes, it becomes a meteor (i.e., shooting star). If a small asteroid or large meteoroid survives its fiery passage through the Earth's atmosphere and lands upon the Earth's surface, it is then called a meteorite. Cometary debris is the source of most small meteoroid particles. Many comets generate meteoroid streams when their icy cometary nuclei pass near the Sun and release the dust particles that were once embedded in the cometary ices. These meteoroid particles then follow in the wake of the parent comet. Collisions between asteroids in space create smaller asteroidal fragments and these fragments are the sources of most meteorites that have struck the Earth's surface.
Because they are readily available for study, many meteorites have already been subjected to detailed chemical and physical analyses in laboratories. If particular asteroids can be identified as the sources for some of the well-studied meteorites, a detailed knowledge of the meteorite's composition and structure will provide important information on the chemical mixture and conditions from which the parent asteroid formed 4.6 billion years ago.
-Asteroid - A relatively small, inactive, rocky body orbiting the Sun. -Comet - A relatively small, at times active, object whose ices can vaporize in sunlight forming an atmosphere (coma) of dust and gas and, sometimes, a tail of dust and/or gas. -Meteoroid - A small particle from a comet or asteroid orbiting the Sun. -Meteor - The light phenomena which results when a meteoroid enters the Earth's atmosphere and vaporizes; a shooting star. -Meteorite - A meteoroid that survives its passage through the Earth's atmosphere and lands upon the Earth's surface.
Why Study Asteroids?
The scientific interest in asteroids is due largely to their status as the remnant debris from the inner solar system formation process. Because some of these objects can collide with the Earth, asteroids are also important for having significantly modified the Earth's biosphere in the past. They will continue to do so in the future. In addition, asteroids offer a source of volatiles and an extraordinarily rich supply of minerals that can be exploited for the exploration and colonization of our solar system in the twenty-first century.
Asteroids represent the bits and pieces left over from the process that formed the inner planets, including Earth. Asteroids are also the sources of most meteorites that have struck the Earth's surface and many of these meteorites have already been subjected to detailed chemical and physical analyses. If certain asteroids can be identified as the sources for some of the well-studied meteorites, the detailed knowledge of the meteorite's composition and structure will provide important information on the chemical mixture, and conditions from which the Earth formed 4.6 billion years ago. During the early solar system, the carbon-based molecules and volatile materials that served as the building blocks of life may have been brought to the Earth via asteroid and comet impacts. Thus the study of asteroids is not only important for studying the primordial chemical mixture from which the Earth formed, these objects may hold the key as to how the building blocks of life were delivered to the early Earth.
On a daily basis, the Earth is bombarded with tons of interplanetary material. Many of the incoming particles are so small that they are destroyed in the Earth's atmosphere before they reach the ground. These particles are often seen as meteors or shooting stars. The vast majority of all interplanetary material that reaches the Earth's surface originates as the collision fragments of asteroids that have run into one another some eons ago. With an average interval of about 100 years, rocky or iron asteroids larger than about 50 meters would be expected to reach the Earth's surface and cause local disasters or produce the tidal waves that can inundate low lying coastal areas. On an average of every few hundred thousand years or so, asteroids larger than a mile could cause global disasters. In this case, the impact debris would spread throughout the Earth's atmosphere so that plant life would suffer from acid rain, partial blocking of sunlight, and from the firestorms resulting from heated impact debris raining back down upon the Earth's surface. The probability of an asteroid striking the Earth and causing serious damage is very remote but the devastating consequences of such an impact suggests we should closely study different types of asteroids to understand their compositions, structures, sizes, and future trajectories.
The asteroids that are potentially the most hazardous because they can closely approach the Earth are also the objects that could be most easily exploited for raw materials. These raw materials could be used in developing the space structures and in generating the rocket fuel that will be required to explore and colonize our solar system in the twenty-first century. By closely investigating the compositions of asteroids, intelligent choices can be made as to which ones offer the richest supplies of raw materials. It has been estimated that the mineral wealth resident in the belt of asteroids between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter would be equivalent to about 100 billion dollars for every person on Earth today.
Why Study Comets?
Life on Earth began at the end of a period called the late heavy bombardment, some 3.8 billion years ago. Before this time, the influx of interplanetary debris that formed the Earth was so strong that the proto-Earth was far too hot for life to have formed. Under this heavy bombardment of asteroids and comets, the early Earth's oceans vaporized and the fragile carbon-based molecules, upon which life is based, could not have survived. The earliest known fossils on Earth date from 3.5 billion years ago and there is evidence that biological activity took place even earlier - just at the end of the period of late heavy bombardment. So the window when life began was very short. As soon as life could have formed on our planet, it did. But if life formed so quickly on Earth and there was little in the way of water and carbon-based molecules on the Earth's surface, then how were these building blocks of life delivered to the Earth's surface so quickly? The answer may involve the collision of comets with the Earth, since comets contain abundant supplies of both water and carbon-based molecules.
As the primitive, leftover building blocks of the outer solar system formation process, comets offer clues to the chemical mixture from which the giant planets formed some 4.6 billion years ago. If we wish to know the composition of the primordial mixture from which the major planets formed, then we must determine the chemical constituents of the leftover debris from this formation process - the comets. Comets are composed of significant fractions of water ice, dust, and carbon-based compounds. Since their orbital paths often cross that of the Earth, cometary collisions with the Earth have occurred in the past and additional collisions are forthcoming. It is not a question of whether a comet will strike the Earth, it is a question of when the next one will hit. It now seems likely that a comet or asteroid struck near the Yucatan peninsula in Mexico some 65 million years ago and caused a massive extinction of more than 75% of the Earth's living organisms, including the dinosaurs.
Comets have this strange duality whereby they first brought the building blocks of life to Earth some 3.8 billion years ago and subsequent cometary collisions may have wiped out many of the developing life forms, allowing only the most adaptable species to evolve further. Indeed, we may owe our preeminence at the top of Earth's food chain to cometary collisions. A catastrophic cometary collision with the Earth is only likely to happen at several million year intervals on average, so we need not be overly concerned with a threat of this type. However, it is prudent to mount efforts to discover and study these objects, to characterize their sizes, compositions and structures and to keep an eye upon their future trajectories.
As with asteroids, comets are both a potential threat and a potential resource for the colonization of the solar system in the twenty first century. Whereas asteroids are rich in the mineral raw materials required to build structures in space, the comets are rich resources for the water and carbon-based molecules necessary to sustain life. In addition, an abundant supply of cometary water ice can provide copious quantities of liquid hydrogen and oxygen, the two primary ingredients in rocket fuel. One day soon, comets may serve as fueling stations for interplanetary spacecraft.
What Are Atens, Apollos and Amors?
Atens, Apollos and Amors are subgroups of Near-Earth asteroids, and are categorized by their orbits. In terms of orbital elements, NEOs are asteroids and comets with perihelion distance q less than 1.3 AU. The vast majority of NEOs are asteroids, referred to as Near-Earth Asteroids (NEAs). NEAs are further divided into the following groups according to their perihelion distance (q), aphelion distance (Q) and their semi-major axes (a):
Group Description Definition -NEAs Near-Earth Asteroids q<1.3 AU -Atens Earth-crossing NEAs with semi-major axes smaller than Earth's (named after asteroid 2062 Aten). a<1.0 AU, Q>0.983 AU -Apollos Earth-crossing NEAs with semi-major axes larger than Earth's (named after asteroid 1862 Apollo). a>1.0 AU, q<1.017 AU -Amors Earth-approaching NEAs with orbits exterior to Earth's but interior to Mars' (named after asteroid 1221 Amor). a>1.0 AU, 1.017
All my matches were scientists, and my husband, my Dad had been a pioneer Army Air Corps Flight mechanic in WWII, and his hands fashioned the gold foil on NASA's lunar landing module ( stories about hime at his page, "Smitty" ), and we all felt "tech-comfy", aware and prepared to upgrade as we went along in it all.
But it was that kitchen moment, when it all reaches the practicum, that seemed to create that "changed-forever" feeling...in the very best fashion.
The Concept is a true source of energy and motive in my life each day every since, and I am very grateful for it.
Since my Father's passing in '99, I have enjoyed NASA news subscription, and friendship and study. Since I am an artist, with science scripts in my life, I thought to share some of it in arts form here. And since NASA likes Educational Outreach for its concepts, I have formatted some of them into online jigsaw puzzles to make a fun learning experience for puzzlers.
This page is a modest offering, and I hope you will wish to visit NASA's World Online...the site and its realted ones welcome the visitor to worlds of images, text, and easy to digest data, and an impressive Educational Outreach for children and adults, alike.
Jigzone.com is online puzzle fun, in and of itself, and now you can access my Astral-type puzzlesthere, as you wish and send them to friends, using Jigzone's Puzzle Postcard option. My friends and family enjoy them from me, and I hope you find the same.
And this one is from an early gift from the heavens: I ran out into the blizzard to paint this, at age 8 or so...the heavy snowfall had played a trick in the heavens, and the sun shone white with a golden corolla ... did I paint it for science or was it precognition of our firstborn. It is how parents often feel about their own ... a grand dream for a little girl.
A very short story
Today's space projects are a living demonstration that we'd better get our heads ready for interplanetary travel and colonization. The alternative to self-annihilation to control population is expansion to new worlds. Men from space? We ARE men ( and women ) from space! Far-fetched alien stories may be our norm before all that long. Which reminded me...
It was autumn of 1965, and I often studied at the home of college friends. Their Saugatuck apartment was on the river, and there were swans. Being pre-age-of-aquarius guys, they liked my maid's work at break, and they also liked it that, happily engaged to be married, I was little trouble to everyone's desire to go about their business. My friends were kind, and polite, artistic and social fun. The apartment across the hall was just a studio, but it was currently in use by the famous psychic novelist, John Fuller. In his forties or so, at the time, he was a favorite type of mentor-male - good with young people, tall and attractive, and beyond reproach in his ways with young women. Most of all, he seemed clear-thinking and into neat stuff, intellectually, and so of course, we were interested in him, but kept an excited, hushed, respectful distance.
He occasionally popped in for a neighborly moment or motive, but no more than that. But, since were so very good, he visited, very specially, one special evening, and shared tapes and recordings owned by a select few on earth, while we enjoyed ambiant chat and snacks. The recordings were a thrill....original tracks of things like Orson Welles' "War of the Worlds", etc...one walks around as though recently knighted from such intelligence...i.e. Wow! His old radio sound-effects gem,"A Man Turned Inside-out", regaled the men... however, it sent me leaping out of the circle, with replenishing snacks as my excuse for leaving my happy nest at his feet. When I returned, he asked me if I wanted some typing, for the extra money. I replied that I would be honored, if it was something I could do. At this point, he started some new tape-recordings, and said: "I need these transcribed, a first draft"....so we listened.
They were eerie, fascinating, but not objectionable, so I took them up and did my best with most of it.....but with my newbie typing skills, I could only type adequately to a metronome, sitting bolt upright, and the tapes' subject matter kept overwhelming me, and breaking my concentration. I finally gave up , in exasperation, and returned the tapes, along with the pages I had managed to achieve, and guiltily , accepted a small fee for the part of the task I could do. He was mildly disappointed, but, seeing my consternation, was kind and "no-reprisals" about it.
Life goes on, and later that year, I said goodbye to all, off to married life as an officer's wife, en route to Viet Nam. We lived elsewhere through those years, and the pace was sometimes intense, so I never looked back. Postwar, our new work, children,etc., demanded focus, and got it. But ten years later, though one to skip primetime tv, I felt drawn to the circle at ours...
Memory!...that old typing project!......the lines...the dialogue were on tv, in a film called, "Incident at Exeter". Stunned, I breathed to my family: "I typed some of the first script for that, from the tapes....and got "that look" in return - the usual disbelief / respect ....and no more was said.
Obscured by time and spin-offs, it was the first alien abduction story to reach mainstream America, and was done from Mr. Fuller's book of the same name, published a few years earlier. The lead characters in the story, a husband and wife, reveal their experience on tape in a hypnotherapist's office, having sought his help to illuminate a shared experience of amnesia. I remembered their voices on the tapes....the slightly drowsy sound, sometimes in the speech, and the range of emotions expressed, as they recalled, under hypnosis, being stopped in their car, taken aboard the alien craft, and medically examined, then released...all with utmost courtesy and kindness on the part of the men from ____?
The book and film did a true and good job with the story, and I felt at peace about it all, and not at all frightened.
Years later, though, I froze and demurred from a chance to reunite with Mr.Fuller, in meeting, at the estate of an employer. The respect or awe....something....I remember my employer saying, earlier, that John Fuller, now 80-ish was dying of cancer, but not before achieving an impressive task list in his work with three wives, and becoming the delighted father to several children, the last begat in his 70's.....but, I was fond of him and all I could think was, "maybe, if I do not meet him, now, failing in health, and wasting in appearance, it would help...it would be better...I can pray and visualize him as I knew him, in his prime, and love him best that way.
I am sometimes sorry about my choice, since I was not given another chance, and John Fuller died soon after.
But when they need someone to serve the h'ors d'oeuvres to the aliens soon, I will qualify, being among a few with the right poise and background for the job...one chip or two?... to eat , or replenish your palmtop, sir?
Hope you liked my story....elle