Plan B Apollo 13 – WIF Space

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Fascinating Facts

About the

Apollo 13 Mission

Apollo 13 Command Module by RoDuPhotography on DeviantArt

When Apollo 13 lifted off from the John F. Kennedy Space Center on April 11, 1970 on America’s planned third visit to the surface of the moon, the general public greeted the event with a collective yawn. After just two manned visits to the moon the reaction by many to continuing lunar exploration was “been there, done that.” The major television networks broadcast the launch, as was customary, but declined to broadcast planned transmissions from the spacecraft as it journeyed to the moon, due to lack of viewership. After just four Americans had walked on the moon, the general public had lost interest. Serious discussions of canceling the remaining Apollo missions took place in political circles in Washington.

All that changed on April 14, when Jack Swigert (not James Lovell, as depicted in the film Apollo 13) informed mission controllers, “Houston, we’ve had a problem here.” An explosion and subsequent venting of precious oxygen ended the mission to the moon and threatened the lives of the three astronauts aboard, Jim Lovell, Jack Swigert, and Fred Haise. The mission to the moon became a gripping drama, as the crew and experts on the ground encountered and overcame problem after problem. The world watched the unfolding tale as it occurred, unsure of whether the three astronauts could be brought home alive.

10. Using the lunar module as a lifeboat was a planned and practiced evolution

The 1995 film, Apollo 13, brought the story of the ill-fated mission back into the popular imagination. The film, based on astronaut Jim Lovell’s book Lost Moon, presented the story with the usual dramatic license practiced by Hollywood (Lovell appeared in the film near the end, as a US Navy Admiral greeting his character as portrayed by Tom Hanks). One fictional aspect in the film was the implication that the Lunar Module (LM) was forced into service as a “lifeboat,” an evolution which was both unforeseen and unrehearsed. Neither was true. Use of the LM to provide shelter for the astronauts due to a casualty had been both envisioned by mission planners and simulated during training, as recalled years later by Ken Mattingly, who was dropped from the original crew at the last minute after being exposed to the measles.

“Somewhere in an earlier sim, there had been an occasion to do what they call LM lifeboat, which meant you had to get the crew out of the command module and into the lunar module, and they stayed there,” Mattingly recalled in an interview with NASA in 2001. Mattingly’s recollection, though admittedly vague, was that the training was intended to simulate unbreathable air in the Command Module (CM), with the astronauts using the LM while the CM was ventilated. During the Apollo 13 mission the LM supported the astronauts for a considerably longer period than had been simulated, but the use of the LM as a lifeboat in space had been foreseen and some procedures prepared before the astronauts experienced the problems which afflicted them on the journey to the moon.

9. Carbon dioxide buildup posed the greatest danger to the crew

The loss of oxygen caused by the explosion of a tank during an attempt to stir its contents led to the assumption that the three astronauts were in danger of running out of air. Loss of oxygen did not present the greatest threat to survival. Nor did a shortage of water, though all three men observed strict rationing and all became dehydrated as a result. Fred Haise was so dehydrated he developed a kidney infection. According to Lovell in his book and subsequent interviews, the single greatest danger posed to the astronauts was from carbon dioxide buildup, which they created through breathing. The scrubbers in the LM, which used lithium hydroxide canisters to remove the carbon dioxide from the air, were insufficient for the exhalations of three men.

The ingenious modifications allowing the use of square canisters in scrubbers designed to use round ones did occur, developed by technicians and engineers in Houston. It, too, had a precedent, practiced on the ground in simulations. According to Mattingly, a similar device was contrived during the training for Apollo 8, coincidentally another mission flown by Lovell. “Well, on 13, someone says,” Mattingly recalled, “You remember what we did on the sim? Who did that?” The engineer who developed the procedure was located, and instructions to construct a similar device in Aquarius (Apollo 13’s LM — the CM was named Odyssey) were radioed to the astronauts.

8. The average age of the experts in mission control was just 29

The lead flight director for Apollo 13 — that is, the man in charge on the ground — was Gene Kranz. Kranz was just 36 years of age when the accident occurred during the mission. Still, in comparison to the team he commanded, known as the White Team in NASA parlance and dubbed the Tiger Team by the media, he was a grizzled veteran. A second team, the Black Team, performed the same functions when the White Team was off duty. The Black Team was led by Glynn Lunney. The average age of the engineers, scientists, and technicians which made up the teams was just 29. They were the men who established the limits of usage in the spacecraft of water, oxygen, and electrical power. They calculated the lengths of the engine burns to properly position and orient the spacecraft, and prepared modified procedures to restore the CM to operation in time for the astronauts to safely re-enter the atmosphere.

Many were recent graduates, on their first job out of school. They worked around the clock, supported by other astronauts in simulators and laboratories, as well as technical representatives (tech reps) from the primary contractors and subcontractors which built the components which comprised the Apollo spacecraft. In the movie Apollo 13, Ed Harris portrayed Gene Kranz as exhorting the teams, “failure is not an option.” Gene Kranz said he never made that statement during the unfolding of the mission. He didn’t have to. Kranz relied on dedication and talent of the young team around him. “Every person that was in this room lived to flaunt the odds,” he told an interviewer years later. “Watching and listening to your crew die is something that will impress upon your mind forever.”

7. Lovell was on his fourth space flight, Swigert on his first (and only)

At the time Apollo 13 cleared the tower and began its journey to the moon, Mission Commander James Lovell was 42-years-old. A veteran of three previous flights, including two Gemini missions and the Apollo 8 voyage around the moon in December, 1968, Lovell had more hours in space than any other American. The three missions combined to give the former Naval Aviator 572 hours in space. Apollo 13 made Lovell the first person to fly to the moon twice. His companions, on the other hand — though both highly experienced pilots — were on their first journey into space.

For Jack Swigert, 38 and a veteran of the United States Air Force and Air National Guard, it was his first, and ultimately only, trip into space. Swigert was a last minute replacement for CM pilot Ken Mattingly, after his medical disqualification from being exposed to measles. Fred Haise, the designated LM pilot, was 35 and also on his first mission for NASA. Haise was a former US Marine Pilot, a civilian flight researcher for NASA and like his companion Swigert, never flew in space again. The average age of the crew for Apollo 13 was nearly a decade older than the members of the teams on the ground, on whom they relied for a safe return to Earth.

6. Ken Mattingly did help resolve the power conservation and startup problem

The film Apollo 13 depicted a resolved Mattingly (portrayed by Gary Sinise) working tirelessly in a Houston-based simulator to find a series of procedures through which the shut down CM could be restored to life. Mattingly was beset by the problem of needing power in excess of what was available in order to bring the stricken CM back to operation. According to the real Mattingly the scenes in the movie in which he attempts procedure after procedure, only to be frustrated by inadequate power reserves, is a false one. Mattingly did work, with other astronauts, to establish the steps to restore the CM. But the actual manner in which it was done had Mattingly outside of the simulator, reading procedures to astronauts within, in order to create the procedure for Lovell, Swigert, and Haise to use.

According to Mattingly, the astronauts included Thomas Stafford, Joseph Engle, and a third whom he hesitantly speculated may have been Stuart Roosa. Mattingly said the astronauts were put in the simulator and a series of procedures were read to them. “We’re going to call these out to you, and we want you to go through, just like Jack will. We’ll read it up to you. See if there are nomenclatures that we have made confusing or whatever.”

The reading of the procedures to Jack Swigert in the Odyssey was thus first rehearsed by Mattingly using astronauts in the simulator. In the real event, astronaut Joe Kerwin, serving as Capsule Communications (CAPCOM), read the start-up procedures step-by-step with Jack Swigert in the Odyssey.

5. Firing the LM engine for course correction was also practiced before the Apollo missions

During development of the Apollo missions’ flight procedures, the Descent Propulsion System (DPS), was tested as a backup for the Service Propulsion System, the main engine on Apollo 13’s Service Module (SM). Firing, shutting down, and reigniting the DPS was performed in laboratories at both its leading contractor’s facilities and at NASA facilities. However, little research had been done using the LM to power the entire Apollo configuration of Lunar Module, Command Module, and Service Module. Flying the entire spacecraft from the LM was a novel experience, unique to Apollo 13. It was made necessary due to the unknown condition of the engine in the Service Module, and the necessity of shutting down the Command Module.

The DPS was fired to loop around the moon and begin the voyage back to Earth using a technique known as free return trajectory. As the spacecraft approached the Earth the need for a second burn of the DPS arose, to correct the trajectory and ensure the CM, carrying the three astronauts, would splash down in the Pacific near the recovery vessels on the scene. On an ordinary mission, the descent stage of the LM remained on the surface of the moon, the ascent stage crashed onto the lunar surface after delivering the astronauts to the CM for the voyage home. Aquarius, LM for Apollo 13, entered the Earth’s atmosphere entire, and burned up during the descent, after having fully lived up to its name, which means in astrology, the Water Bearer.

4. The astronauts used the Lunar Module engine for multiple burns

The first use of the DPS engine to control the direction of the Apollo spacecraft in space occurred as the astronauts looped around the moon. Prior to shutting down the CM and moving into the LM, the astronauts transferred critical navigational data to the latter’s guidance computers. As the astronauts gazed down at the lunar surface (the second time for Lovell), mission controllers confirmed a burn of the DPS engine for 34.23 seconds placed Odyssey and Aquarius on the necessary trajectory. The LM performed flawlessly as the astronauts emerged from the dark side of the moon. The Earth’s size began to increase through the spacecraft’s windows, the moon receded.

The trajectory to Earth indicated the CM would splash down in the Indian Ocean, where the United States Navy had relatively few of the assets needed for recovery. Nor was there sufficient time to move them there. A second burn was therefore required, to move the splash down near the recovery forces in the Pacific Ocean. The astronauts used the Sun as the fixed point of reference, centering the moon in Lovell’s window for the burn, which lasted 4 minutes and 23 seconds. After the completion of the second burn the LM was almost completely shut down, in order to conserve power for the rest of the voyage.

3. The astronauts used the moon as a fixed point of reference for one burn, Earth for the other

As Apollo 13 flew slowly back to the Earth, various factors caused it to drift slightly off course, necessitating another burn of the DPS engine on the LM. The burn used to establish the course on which they flew, known as trans-Earth injection, had been successful. Yet there was some doubt that the DPS engine would fire a third time, at least according to the film Apollo 13. In the real event, few doubted the DPS would perform as needed. The 14 second burn of the DPS guided the spacecraft to the correct trajectory, with Lovell and Haise using the line of demarcation between night and day on the Earth as their point of reference.

A final course adjustment, using the thrusters on the LM rather than the DPS engine, occurred just before the Service Module detached. It last 21.5 seconds, again using the day-night demarcation for reference. Once the course adjustment was completed the astronauts observed for the first time the damage sustained by the SM from the explosion. Lovell reported an entire panel missing, and Haise observed damage to the SM’s engine bell. Another problem arose over the release of the LM, a procedure which normally took place in lunar orbit. Grumman, the lead contractor for the LM, assigned a team of engineers at the University of Toronto to the problem; their solution was relayed to the astronauts, who applied it successfully. Aquarius was released just as re-entry began.

2. The temperature within the spacecraft dropped to 38 degrees, not freezing food

A major plot device in the film Apollo 13 was the cold conditions within the spacecraft, with condensation freezing on panels in the Command Module, windows frosting over, and food freezing hard. The spacecraft was cold and damp, but it did not freeze. The temperature dropped to about 38 degrees Fahrenheit. The astronauts were subject to the cold conditions, which Lovell and Haise fought by wearing the boots in which they had planned to trod on the lunar surface. Lovell considered ordering the crew to wear their spacesuits before rejecting the idea, believing they would be too cumbersome and hot. Swigert donned a second set of overalls, though he suffered from cold feet.

Swigert had collected and bagged as much water as he could as the astronauts shut down Odyssey and moved into Aquarius. During the process, in which he drew water from the tap in the CM, his feet became wet, and in the cold, damp, conditions never fully dried. Despite his efforts gathering water, the crew sustained themselves with a ration of just over 6 ounces per day for the remainder of the flight, leading to significant dehydration and weight loss for all of them. They also consumed as much of the juices found aboard as they could, and what little they ate came from foods labeled as “wet-pack,” indicating some water was contained.

1. Apollo 13 led to several design changes for subsequent missions

The lessons learned from Apollo 13 led to several changes to the configuration of all three components of the Apollo spacecraft, the Command Module, Service Module, and Lunar Module. Additional water storage was added to the CM, and an emergency battery for backup power was installed. Modifications to simplify the transfer of electrical power between the LM and CM were adopted for future missions. The oxygen tank which exploded — creating the crisis — was redesigned with additional safety features installed. Monitoring for anomalies improved both aboard the spacecraft and in the control panels and telemetry screens of mission control.

None of the three astronauts ever flew in space again, with Lovell retiring from NASA in 1973. Haise was scheduled to command Apollo 19, but the mission was canceled. Only four more missions to the moon were carried out before Apollo 17 ended the manned lunar explorations in December 1972. By then public interest in the space program had again waned, the burst of national pride initiated by the successful return of the Apollo 13 astronauts having proved short-lived. Now 50 years later, Apollo 13 remains one of the most dramatic stories of humanity’s short experience working in outer space, a story of disaster, ingenuity, courage, and perseverance.


Plan B Apollo 13

WIF Space

History Channel Side-Hustle – “Ancient Aliens”

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Way-out Theories

on “Ancient Aliens”

The TV show Ancient Aliens has now run for 14 seasons, and has gone over nearly every half-baked theory, pseudo-scientific rambling, dumb hypothesis or just plain crazy alternate scientific idea or “fact” that you could possibly tie into myth, legend, or aliens in some way or another. It has inspired countless memes about its crazy-haired host, but it has also spread an entire alternate set of untruths that questions a lot of legitimate science.

It is important sometimes to look at the height of such a show’s absurdity, to remind ourselves it is really nothing more than entertainment value at the end of the day, and doesn’t belong on something that calls itself the “History” channel. In today’s article, we will go over 10 of the craziest things talked about on Ancient Aliens

10. Nazi Germany Experimented With Advanced Alien Technology 

In “Nazi’s And The Third Reich,” which is one of the earlier episodes in the epic that is the Ancient Aliens series, they discuss the connection between Hitler, his Nazi regime, and ancient aliens, as well as possible more recent alien visitors. One of the more intriguing things they discuss is a little known event that many in most parts of the world, even those who are into aliens, may not be aware of. Apparently somewhere around the middle of the Nazi regime, the Nazis had a Roswell-like incident with an unidentified spacecraft that crash landed.

After this, the Nazis, according to Ancient Aliens, kickstarted their rocket program and even started working on anti-gravitational technology. They speculate that much of the technology the Germans were working on was passed on to the United States when the USA used Operation Paperclip to poach Nazi scientists before they could end up in jail. They also discuss Hitler’s search for biblical and other relics, and how those relics may actually be real, at least in part, and may actually be alien tech and not just biblical magic. In fact, Hitler believed that his superior technology would win him the war, and the Ancient Aliens people are convinced that this superior technology was at least partially based on alien technology.

9. Human-Animal Hybrid Mythological Creatures Were Alien Experiments 

In “Aliens And Monsters,” the crew explores the connection between the various mythological creatures that have captured our imaginations over the years, and alien beings. Particularly, they talk about creatures like the Chimera, the Kraken, the Cerberus, the Hydra and even the Loch Ness Monster. They suggest that these beings did indeed exist, and that all the various mythological stories must have been talking about something real.

However, they suggest that these beings were not natural occurrences, but the results of advanced alien experimentation. They believe that many of the hybrid beings you see in old tales were the early experiments aliens were doing in regard to gene splicing human and animal DNA together. On top of that, they suggest that the ancient Hindu legend of the Garuda, an enormous flying creature that shook the earth when it landed, may have actually been a tale describing an alien spacecraft. Interestingly, in many of the early tales of the Garuda it is depicted as an entirely animal being, but in later lore it is often referred to as a hybrid that is part human. If the slightly later legends were the more accurate ones, the Garuda could also fit within the potential pantheon of creatures created by aliens doing gene splicing with human and animal DNA.

8. Aliens May Actually Be Future Human Time Travelers Visiting The Past 

In “ The Time Travelers,” the Ancient Aliens hosts decide that they need to mix things up, and suggest that maybe many of their own previous theories were too crazy… or maybe not crazy enough. The gang suggests that perhaps many of the UFOs we think we have seen, or alleged alien visitors we think we have encountered, are actually from the future, and aren’t aliens at all. Instead, the aliens are suggested to be visitors from the future that may even just be really advanced humans, who look extremely different from us (their ancient ancestors).

They bring up ancient Hopi legends about ant people who came up from the ground to help jumpstart human knowledge, and suggest these legends could translate to something similar to the name of the alleged Annunaki (aliens UFO theorists allege helped create early man). As far as this theory is concerned, ancient aliens who visited us may have been aliens from the future, but they could also have been humans from the far future, coming to influence man for the better. When it comes to more recent visitors, it is possible they are just coming to check out their past, and see how things are going. The episode also goes over all main theories about how one could travel through time, and mentions various mythological stories that could be interpreted as time travel tales.

7. Bigfoot May Have Been Connected To Past Alien Visitors 

In “Aliens And Bigfoot,” the folks at Ancient Aliens cover all of the possible crazy bases regarding what Bigfoot could possibly be. Of course, the one thing they don’t speculate that Bigfoot might have been is non-existent, because they are convinced he is real. The gang points out that Bigfoot legends of various sorts have existed across pretty much all cultures, and suggest that perhaps Bigfoot-type creatures have managed to stay hidden for the most part by hiding deep in caves. They claim that these creatures, when spotted, often have a sulfur smell that could come from an underground cavern. As for what Bigfoot is, the folks at Ancient Aliens have a few different theories.

They first point out that in some early folklore, there are hairy, primitive beings who live in the woods, and that in some stories, these are speculated to possibly just be humans who eschew society and don’t really shave much. However, they are also convinced there is more to the legend than just hairy humans, and suggest that remaining creatures could either be some type of aliens or perhaps the remains of an alien experiment. The Ancient Aliens people point to an ancient myth where the “gods,” which the show hosts suggest were aliens, created a hairy, man-like being called the “Enkidu” to be their slave and do manual labor for them. They speculate it is possible the Bigfoot-type creatures are remaining Enkidus that escaped any purges when the alien visitors left for their own planets so long ago.

6. The Ark Of The Covenant Could Be Tech From Ancient Aliens 

In “Aliens And The Lost Ark” the crew discusses their interesting ideas about the biblical artifact known as the Ark of the Covenant. Now, for those of you who aren’t too familiar with it, the Ark of the Covenant was a wooden and gold ornamental box carried by the Jews in the bible during their wanderings in the desert. (And let’s be honest: you’ve seen Raiders of the Lost Ark. You know what the Ark of the Covenant is.)

It was credited with helping them stay alive and communicating with God, and as it could only be used or approached or uncovered by specially ordained high priests, many people have come to great speculation about what it may or may not have been.

Now, it could have just been a biblical legend,  or perhaps a small piece of basic technology — that was lost to us at least until modern times — that helped them with a few small applications, but the Ancient Aliens people believe something crazy may have been going on. Many take the idea it could “speak to God” quite literally, in that they believe it was used to communicate with Alien beings who acted as gods to early man. The gang also speculate that it could have been used to create the miracle of the manna in the desert, may have been some kind of electrical capacitor, and even suggest that it may be hiding in a small, unassuming church in Ethiopia, where it is guarded by priests who die shortly after taking the assignment, because of the alleged power of the device.

5. Ancient Sources Allegedly Talked About The Large Hadron Collider 

large-hadron-collider

In “The God Particle” the gang discusses the discovery by CERN in 2012 of the elusive Higgs Boson. Now, the folks behind the Large Hadron Collider don’t actually want it to be called the “God Particle” but the show insists on it for the episode’s entire runtime. The Ancient Aliens gang first speculate on what damage the LHC might have done to Earth when it was used, and what other damage it might do if it were to be given more power (such as creating its own miniature black holes). After that, they first talk about the connection between physics and divinity, and then get into the weeds.

They claim that the Large Hadron Collider and its function and purpose were predicted by ancient sources. They claim that the Veda (which are the ancient Hindu scriptures) have not aged in thousands of years — which is provably untrue — and even suggest that it predicted the Large Hadron Collider. They then go on to the Mayans, whom they claim also predicted the Large Hadron Collider in their primitive artworks. As if all of this wasn’t crazy enough, they go back to the Indian theories near the end, and suggest that the Hindu god Shiva was actually an ancient alien. As for all those mythological stories about the universe ending in Hindu mythology, those can be attributed to the Large Hadron Collider being used to tear particles apart on a subatomic level.

4. Underwater Monsters May Come From Another Dimension Through Wormholes 

In “Creatures Of The Deep,” the gang go over the deep, mysterious depths of our oceans, and speculate on just what might be lurking beneath. With most of our ocean’s creatures unidentified, and millions of creatures (estimated) yet to be discovered, they wonder if many of the craziest creatures from mythology like the Kraken and the Kappa may actually be based in truth, and just be hiding deep beneath the sea.

They point out that not long ago, astronauts found plankton living in space on the outside of the space station, and this led the Ancient Astronaut Theorists to speculate that perhaps all kinds of strange ocean life could be living within our own oceans; perhaps even crazier things than our strangest legends speculate. Many of the strangest creatures in our oceans could even be alien creatures hiding out in the deep, and they believe some could even have come straight to our ocean from other worlds using wormholes, instead of even needing to bother with a spaceship at all. This would certainly make it hard to track them coming here, and would be a very hard theory to disprove. While some creatures like Nessie have been pretty handily disproved, as the area where she is expected to be is not very large and can be proven with sonar to not have a bunch of secret exits, creatures that are potentially lurking beneath the deep are a mystery that will always fascinate the human consciousness.

3. The Space Station Moon Theory (It May Not Actually Be Natural At All)

In “Space Station Moon,” the gang goes over all their craziest theories about what the moon really is… and boy, is it a doozy. Apparently, the moon is actually not at all a natural construct, and their “experts” are happy to explain to you why, as well as provide their novel idea on why the moon is almost completely hollow. At least they aren’t moon landing deniers, but they claim the astronauts were shaken upon returning, that they reported aliens through their medical radios, and that aliens even warned us to stay away from the moon.

So this brings up the real question: why were the aliens allegedly so worried about us landing on the moon? Well, the Ancient Astronaut Theorists claim that NASA is withholding the truth from the public to prevent a mass freakout, because the moon is actually an artificially made space station whose purpose is at least partially to monitor the human race. They even suggest that our military (even though they claim we didn’t go back to the moon), or possibly aliens have secret bases on the dark side of the moon. While the Space Station Moon theory is not novel to the Ancient Aliens series, they consider every possible crazy angle of it, and one of the hosts even suggests that the moon was built by time traveling Freemasons.

2. King Tut’s Curse Was Some Kind Of Technological Protection Used By Ancient Aliens

In “The Pharaoh’s Curse” the gang talk about the opening of King Tut’s Tomb in 1922. Now, the opening of the tomb sparked a fire in the imaginations of people around the entire globe. In fact, people got so into it that they were closely following Ancient Egyptian lore, and some rumor mongers claimed that the tomb had a great curse on it, and that it followed those who opened it and struck them down one by one. Seven people died, and the Ancient Aliens people are quick to point out that all of these people were involved in the opening of the tomb. However, they do fail to point out that the person who actually opened the tomb itself was never struck down, which kind of invalidates the whole curse.

Regardless, even though the curse can be traced back to the most dubious of sources, which comprise a mix of pseudo-scientist musings and old myths, the Ancient Aliens people spend most of an episode on it. They suggest the curse might be alien technology, meant to keep us from discovering the secrets of King Tut’s tomb, which may have even included the Ark of the Covenant. Of course, if it had been in the tomb we would have discovered it, so they have a handy explanation for that. According to the Ancient Astronaut Theorists on the show, the Knights Templar took it to America before we could open the tomb, and hid it on Oak Island (nicely tying Ancient Aliens and The Curse of Oak Island, which are both owned by the same production company, together). We would like to add that not only has the Curse of the Pharaoh been fully debunked over the years, but there is absolutely no evidence to even suggest the Knights Templar ever went to America, or were in possession of the alleged Ark of the Covenant.

1. The Earth Has Black Holes And This Is The Reason For The Bermuda Triangle 

In “The Earth’s Black Holes” the gang go over their belief that perhaps Earth could have its own miniature black holes that most of us know nothing about. They point to mythological stories about various points in Earth being holy, or being a place you could communicate with the gods, and suggest these were black holes. They also suggest that when Moses went up to Mount Sinai, he disappeared into a black hole and this explained his temporary disappearance. As to where he went, they suggest he traveled potentially to a completely different world, or perhaps another dimension.

Now, they also take a flight through the Bermuda Triangle in this episode to play up drama, and mistake turbulence for something strange happening before the pilot himself has to humiliate them by correcting them. They are already embarrassing themselves though, as the Bermuda Triangle has been debunked incredibly hard in recent years, and it has been proven there are no more disappearances or ship accidents there than anywhere else in the ocean.

After their romp through the Bermuda Triangle nets them nothing horrifying, they start talking about people who disappear, and some who show up months later not remembering what happened. They suggest these people disappeared through a “black hole” somewhere on earth, and then showed up later, possibly going through some kind of time distortion as well and not understanding how much time had passed. However, the biggest problem with this entire episode is that most of what they are talking about would be better described by perhaps a stargate or a wormhole. While we don’t completely understand black holes, what we do know suggests that even if they could take you to another universe, you could be completely crushed before you could get there.


History Channel Side-Hustle

“Ancient Aliens”

Moon Over Mankind – WIF Space

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Fascinating Facts

About

Our Moon

Ever since man looked up at the stars, he has been fascinated by the big round white hunk of rock that hangs in the sky above us. The Moon has featured in religious beliefs and in the lore of countless cultures and societies. Due to human curiosity, we set out to understand the Moon further, and what we have learned is sometimes even more interesting than the legends themselves. Join us below as we explore our Moon and revel in its glory.

10. Helium 3

mining-helium-3

Many people, upon hearing that countries still plan to return to the Moon, often wonder why. Some people don’t really think much of a big hunk of dull rock that isn’t even made of cheese. However, the Moon has something much more valuable than stale Gouda underneath the surface. Enter Helium 3, a lightweight isotope that could single-handedly fix our energy problems. Helium 3 can be used in nuclear fusion sans the radioactivity, making it a way safer process. This isotope has already been tested, and has been found to be incredibly efficient. While mining it would be extremely expensive, the costs would be well worth the gain. Imagine a future with safe, affordable, clean energy for the entire world.

9. Water

Bullialdus-RGB

These days, scientists are on a roll finding all kinds of cool new things, and the Moon has been no exception. While many people would suggest all kinds of strange things that could be on the Moon, such as extraterrestrial beings or maybe all of those socks that you lose in the washing machine, what scientists actually found is much more surprising. Using remote imaging, scientists scanned the crater Bullialdus near the equator of the Moon, and found water molecules locked in the rocks deep below the surface. Found beneath the surface, it is referred to as magmatic water and is thought by scientists to have originated due to solar wind that impacted on the surface of the Moon.

8. Preserved Footprints

moon-footprint

As you know, our Moon doesn’t really have much in the way of an atmosphere, but what you may not realize is that this has some very interesting implications. Namely, things don’t erode very easily, so the footprints left by US astronauts in the ’60s and ’70s are still preserved, and should be for a long time. This unique situation has given a brand new thing for people to worry about, and US lawmakers spent time that they were getting paid for in an attempt to legislate the issue. You see, some people are worried that, with commercial organizations getting into space flight and other countries working towards landing on the Moon, that we needed to make sure no one messes with our historical imprint. For this reason, lawmakers tried to pass a bill making the Moon landing site a national park. This failed, though NASA has asked people to at least attempt to respect the original lunar landing site, should they somehow end up there.

7. Spaceship Moon Theory

secret-moon-base

It’s a God! It’s a huge hunk of cheese in the sky! It’s … an alien spaceship? The Moon has been the victim of many strange origin stories over the years. Many have been convinced that the Moon is some sort of God that needs to be worshiped, and some people actually think it is made of cheese. However, perhaps the oddest theory is that the Moon is the remains of an alien spaceship left orbiting earth. The theory starts with the supposition that aliens have been seen on the surface of the Moon. At one point, the United States even experimented with remote viewing, although they decided it was pure rubbish.

But it gets weirder. Those who subscribe to the theory claim that the Moon’s deposits of rocks such as chromium, titanium and zirconium were actually because they were strong building materials for the alien’s enormous spaceship. Those who believe this claim that the Moon’s surface is actually armor plating and was used to protect from meteorite impacts, although they believe the Moon has been abandoned for some time.

6. Moonquakes

moonquake

Over forty years ago while visiting the Moon, astronauts left seismometers that sent data back to the scientists waiting on good old terra firma for results. These seismometers were left active for over a decade and now many years later a professor from Notre Dame and his team set to work once again looking at the data.

What they found is that the Moon has earthquakes or “moonquakes” as it were. Apparently there are several different kinds of quakes that can happen on the Moon. The first are hundreds of miles below the surface, some are simply vibrations set off by meteorites striking the surface. Still others are simply due to thermal expansion. and then there are the shallow moonquakes, the ones that, according to the scientists, we need to watch out for. These are only tens of miles below the surface and can reach a 5.5 on the Richter scale. However, quakes on the Moon have some features that differ from ours and make them more intense. Many of these shallow moonquakes went on for a good ten minutes, and the researcher in charge said the Moon was “ringing like a bell”. Learning more about these quakes is very important if any country is ever to set up a base on the Moon.

5. The Man in the Moon

man-in-the-moon

Long ago before all of our precious modern technology, man looked up at the Moon and wondered about it. For one thing, what was that strange outline that looked like a man on its surface? Wanting to explain the strange shape, people made up many different stories about the Man in the Moon. While these stories have different variations they usually feature a man who was banished to the Moon as punishment for working on the Sabbath and some versions include a woman who was punished with him for a similar crime. However, some legends suggest the man was actually Cain, exiled to our lonely Moon as punishment because his offering was not pleasing to God.

4. Moon Base

Lunar-base

Suggesting that NASA will build a base on the Moon has turned into almost something of a joke in the United States. NASA keeps talking about it and people keep making plans or claiming it is going to happen, and it just never quite gets off the ground. However, while the United States may have been the first to land on the Moon, they may not be the first to establish a permanent base. Supposedly, the Russians plan to head to the Moon with some cosmonauts in 2025, and hope to have a base established a few years later, but they have the countries of Japan, China, and India close on their heels. China especially has ambitious plans of their own and has come up with advanced concepts for their own plans to establish a fully-working base on the Moon by the year 2050.

3. Blue Moon

blue-moon

You’ve probably at some point in your life heard the expression “once in a Blue Moon” and thus know it means something that doesn’t happen very often. However, interestingly there is some confusion as to how not often a Blue Moon actually occurs. Some people are under the impression that it is when two Full Moons happen in the same exact month, but this isn’t accurate. Essentially, a Blue Moon is when a particular season has four Full Moons instead of only three.

Much more interesting though, is that under certain circumstances the Moon can truly appear blue to the naked eye. According to scientists, volcanic eruptions can cause huge plumes of ash to spread out over the atmosphere and scatter red light particles. Particularly strong eruptions such as the volcano Krakatoa caused people to see blue Moons and lavender suns for literally years. According to some people as recently as the 1980’s, after the Mt. St. Helen’s eruption a Blue Moon was visible in some parts of the world.

2. Outer Space Treaty

space-treaty

We mentioned earlier that one lawmaker tried to have the lunar landing site made into a national park, but it turns out that there is a really good reason why his legislation failed. It may not be obvious to those outside the US at first, but the Moon is not actually our property. The Moon orbits the Earth, and is not claimed in particular by any one group of people.

This presents a unique problem when it comes to colonizing, mining from, or even landing on the Moon. Many years back, during the Cold War, some people were afraid the Moon might end up a serious point of contention, perhaps even used as a military base or a place to launch missiles. After much diplomatic back-and-forth, a treaty was finally agreed upon that essentially makes the Moon international territory, from which no one is allowed to conduct any military operations.

1. Dark Side of the Moon

dark-side-of-the-moon

You’ve probably heard the phrase “dark side of the Moon” before; after all, it was one of Pink Floyd’s most well known albums. What you might not realize though, is that the phrase actually doesn’t make any sense. You see, the Moon is mysterious and has a whole secret life we know nothing about, and by that we mean there is a half of the Moon we never see. However, while the Moon only shows one side to us, it still shows both sides to the Sun, and the “dark side” gets plenty of light. Interestingly, if you take this the other way around, it means that if you looked at the Earth from the surface of the Moon, you would end up with the same effect. The Earth would continue to show you the same side, and remain in the same place in the sky every single day.


Moon Over Mankind –

WIF Space

Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 51

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 51

…“If we had no moon at all, chances are Earth would be just another rock circling the sun…

“What does our moon have to do with the creation story?” asks Constance.

Martin has descended into professor mode, eager to satisfy the unquenchable thirst of an inquiring mind. “That is where the single most fundamental law of cosmic physics comes into play; gravity is what makes the world, or universe, go ‘round. How Earth orbits the sun, how the solar system navigates through the Milky Way and finally how all the other galaxies keep their distance from each other; gravity is what determines these things.

“Our Moon serves as an anchor for this ship. If you it were to suddenly drift away now, after having been here for the entire time, planet Earth would descend into geological upheaval. The continental plates would be scrambled into an unrecognizable mess and volcanism would rule the day.

“If we had no moon at all, chances are Earth would be just another rock circling the sun, an ordinary orb arbitrarily wobbling from year to year; without life, without singularity.”

“My cousin Jimmy (cousin #4) says that the moon is the Earth’s dartboard, attracting Eddie's Cousins-001all those meteors and crap.” Eddie cannot help but inject his own brand of knowledge. “Just look at it; a good pair of binocs show all those craters.”

“I’d love to meet that Jimmy whom you refer to often.”

“He lives over in Berwyn; I can take you there sometime.”

“That’s quite alright, Eddie, I was being facetious. Anyhow, Earth has as many or more craters being the larger target; it’s just that it heals itself, just like our skin recovers from a scratch.

“That all aside, the bottom line is, believing that all these factors have fallen into place by accident… frankly is folly. There are an increasing number of us in science who subscribe to intelligent design over evolution.

“Will Libby is one of those who have not swallowed that pill.” Martin is still fearful of what kind of Willard Libby they are retrieving; wondering what manner of cruel pill takes away one’s memory.


Constance Caraway P.I.

Forever Mastadon


page 48

 

The NULL Solution = Episode 153

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The NULL Solution = Episode 153

…Talk about your triple-trouble, these 3 men are clearly brothers from different mothers…

Chasonn of Seljuk bows, to pay his respects to the Deke-wing of the McKinney clan, with a bonus appearance by a doting Mamma Celeste. He is duly impressed by the scope of the McKinney reach, considering that there are three more members over on or near Earth.

Deke is in the middle of preparing an English {USA} lesson plan.

Celeste is formulating the musical equivalent for Eridanian language comparison purposes.

Cerella is putting out fires in the Null-Gifted social interaction arena, thusly unavailable for introduction.

But it is Skaldic, the former Null, which Sam is anxious to introduce. If there are galactic facts to catch up on, Skaldy is the man with the plan.

Talk about your triple-trouble. These 3 men {Sam, Skaldic, Chasonn} are clearly brothers from different mothers. It does not take long before S2 turn Chase {everyone gets a nickname} on to the Harmonia Query. “That is numerical nonsense.” There will be no help from him. He prefers facts to gobbledygook.

“Well that little ditty boomeranged me and Skaldy all the way from Mars to Eridanus faster than I could send you to the wrong coordinates today.”

“It would seem logical to assume that ⃝    is responsible for an anomaly of such greatness.”

“Chase here is a genuine genius isn’t he?”

“Unfortunately, his transporter does not have a range of 10 light years.”

Chasonn ignores the extraneous banter. “I will be pleased if I am able to return to my ship.”

“I hope you aren’t leaving too soon. You just got here. You need to meet this planet’s head honcho.”

“Do you speak of Ekcello? He has contacted me telepathically in the past. We have a common adversary in the Ÿ€Ð.”

“That Ÿ€Ð colony is on its way to my home planet,” Sam informs.

“Earth; in fact it is getting close enough to affect the gravitation of your moon.”

“That ain’t good!”

“One of the reasons I made my journey, is to be near enough to do the most good if Collapsar Axis becomes a threat.”

“That’s good!”

“It has the capability to defeat the force field I provided Earth.”

“That’s not good!”

“They will not find what they are searching for. Your planet did not have the capability to destroy the Ÿ€Ð fleet.”

 “That’s good!”

“They may retaliate out of frustration. They nearly wiped out our planetary leadership, in the distant past, in their quest for galactic domination.”

“That’s not good!”

“Enough Sammy Mac!” Skaldic concludes.


The NULL Solution =

Episode 153


page 151

The NULL Solution = Episode 13

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The NULL Solution = Episode 13

…Speaking of supposed-to-be’s {what-ifs and cold days in hell}, President Harper Lea Bassett is closing in on the would-be festivities…

“Take it easy, Fletch. While I was poking around in there last night, I discovered that SEx can achieve escape velocity on its own. The reinforced hull, along with the molecular stabilizer, will allow Gus to take that baby out solo.”

The youngest McKinney {that Earth knows about} is suiting up as he speaks.

“Somebody please inform our President about the change in plans, after the fact.”

“But…”

“I know what you’re thinking. We are going to show file footage of the boys inside the SEx. Nobody will know the difference.”

Related image“But what about taking off without a piggyback? Somebody is going to notice.”

“Gus is going to be past the moon before anyone knows he’s off the pad. We’re all supposed to be on the receiving stand, isn’t that correct.”

Speaking of supposed-to-be’s, what-ifs and cold days in hell, President Bassett is closing in on the would-be festivities. Few things are more important to a figurehead than advertised appearances. There was a “leak” a week back {not weak back} about her welcoming the heroes of hyperspace in person. She has long since laid claim to bringing SOL technology to the light of day, when in fact it is only her pen and the insistence of her political backers that are truly responsible.

“Where are our men-of-the-hour?” is the most asked question.

“This guy Shriver is being a leaky O-ring,” is how Francine Bouchette-Crippen describes him, for everyone in the inner circle with an earbud. She is not as cranky as her husband, but at their station in life, they don’t suffer fools lightly.

All Prez Roy does is point to the unique contrail left behind by the Stellar Explorer. He makes up a non-treasonable explanation, “There they go, Madame President. We wanted to give you a live demonstration. How will that play in D.C.?”

To support his elaborate smokescreen, he summons a video of Gus and Deke waving to the camera, curiously resembling the one from their original roundtrip to the fringe of the solar system – and back – mostly {before Deke vanished}. The screen behind the reviewing stand is innocently playing that recording and another showing long-range footage, which elicits rousing applause from all the space-geeks and political freaks who would not know the difference between an asteroid and a comet.


The NULL Solution =

Episode 13


page 19

Space Fact Saturday

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WIF Space-001

 Out of this World

Facts about Space

William Shatner hit the nail on the head when he uttered the famous phrase, “Space, the final frontier.” Why? Well, contrary to what some scientists will have you believe, space remains mankind’s final and rather obscure frontier. After all there is so much we have yet to understand about space, and much that we thought we knew is starting to look ‘shaky’.

For example, if you were to approach a couple of astrophysicists and ask them about their views on ‘black holes’ you will, more often than not, open up a cosmic size Pandora’s box of never-ending debate. While it is feasible that many of you might enjoy such a conversation, it is equally likely that you will walk away from the whole episode with a tangible sense that as much as science likes to think it knows a lot about space… it really doesn’t.

However hope is not lost! For amongst all the dull theoretical extrapolations and mind numbing confusion, there remain a number of facts that will challenge some of the ‘cast iron’ perceptions you have about the universe. As a starting point read on and discover 10 of the most mind boggling facts about space!

10. Water Pools In Space

water-space

In 2011 astronomers discovered a gigantic vapour cloud caught in the gravitational pull of a black hole deep within the universe, making it the largest discovery of water anywhere. According toUniverse Today, the cloud, known as a ‘reservoir’ in astronomical circles, is believed to be capable of holding all of the Earth’s oceans 140 trillion times over!

While the discovery of water in space is not headline news, it is the sheer volume of water discovered and the fact that the reservoir seems to be slightly younger than the big bang itself that has caught the attention of scientists. Matt Bradford from NASA has stated that, “[The discovery] is another demonstration that water is pervasive throughout the universe, even at the very earliest times.”

So if the Earth ever runs out of water, at least we know where we can find ourselves an intergalactic water pump. The only problem is how we would get there, as it currently resides 10 billion light years from Earth.

9. It Would Take 225 Million Years To Walk A Light Year

light year-space

It would take 225 million years to walk a light year. Don’t believe me? Well as all great mathematicians suggest, let us show our workings!

  1. One light year (the distance light travels in a year) is about 5.9 trillion miles.
  2. If you briskly walked 5.9 trillion miles at 20 minutes per mile constantly without any breaks, you would complete your light year stroll in 225 million years.

In other words if you started your walk just before the emergence of the dinosaurs you would be about to finish walking now!

On an interesting side note, according to Jessica Cheng in the September 2008 edition of ‘Popular Science’ magazine, the long trip would come with a unique set of problems. She estimates that in order to complete the journey you would need about 11.8 billion pairs of shoes! Not to mention the fact that you would be burning 80 calories per mile and would therefore need an average of 2 trillion power bars to fuel your body for the trip!

Cheng also goes on to suggest that after such a journey, you wouldn’t have got very far. In an astronomical sense 1 light year is the equivalent of you just about reaching the end of Earth’s garden path. The nearest star from Earth, Proxima Centauri, is a staggering 4.22 light years away.

8. Eros Asteroid Of Riches

eros-space

In 1998 the Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous spacecraft passed close to the asteroid Eros and relayed back to Earth its findings. It discovered that Eros was a floating treasure chest of unprecedented riches. Due to its size, NASA has suggested that if Eros consists of 3% metal, like so many meteorites that fall to Earth, then it is not beyond the realms of possibility that Eros might indeed contain 1.8 billion metric tons of gold and other precious metals such as platinum.

According to Dr. David Whitehouse, then Science Editor for the BBC, in an article entitled, ‘Gold rush in space’, Eros is indeed a large but by no means the largest of asteroids. That being said he believes that since Eros is speculated to contain a multitude of rare elements, the asteroid has a total monetary worth of close to $20,000 bn. Of course it goes without saying that if Eros ever impacted the Earth, its priceless metal content and indeed monetary value will be of little consolation (or, for that matter, use) for what would most certainly be an extinct mankind.

7. There Are 1,397 Known Asteroids That Could End Mankind

phas-space

In an attempt to prevent the dramatic scenes of movies such asArmageddon, NASA has its eyes fixed on the 1,397 asteroids in and around our solar system that could, upon impact with the Earth, bring about the end of the human race. You can rest assured that should anything larger than 350 feet in diameter come within 4.6 million miles of the Earth, NASA will be on critical alert.

The extent to which NASA is aware of potentially hazardous asteroids (PHAs) is both impressive and frightening. Rather ominously NASA has released an orbit plan for each of the 1,397 known PHAs. Aside from looking like somebody’s overzealous attempt at getting to grips with Spirograph, the image does not fail to impress the severity of PHAs and the real and continual threat that they pose to mankind. As Dan Nosowitz suggests in the August 5th 2013 edition of the ‘Popular Science’ magazine, it is hard to believe that we have yet to be impacted by one of these ‘destruction max’ asteroids.

6. The International Space Station Travels At Five Miles A Second

ISS-space

According to CoolCosmos, a NASA education and outreach website, the International Space Station orbits the Earth at a speed of (roughly) 17,150 miles per hour! This equates to the station travelling five miles every second with its crew witnessing a sunrise every 92 minutes. To see the International Space Station in action you can log onto the following website and watch its orbit of the Earth live and in real time here.

5. There Are More Stars Than Words Spoken

stars-space

According to Scientific American, there are more stars in the universe than words have been spoken by every human who has ever lived. As much as this sounds a gross exaggeration of fact, the true number of stars in the universe is probably a number so vast that it is beyond the comprehension of the human brain. For example, Nicola Willett of The Mars Society estimates that there are at least 70,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 (70 sextillion x10 to the power of 22) stars in the universe. She goes on to suggest that the universe itself probably contains more than 100 billion galaxies, each likely to contain billions of stars. Don’t worry if this confuses you, as these are the sort of numbers that we will never truly begin to understand.

Our only certainty in the process of comprehending the total amount of stars in the universe is that we are likely to never know the true answer, as star counting is a process of hypothesising with a large, and a very large at that, margin of error. In other words, nobody has known, knows presently and will never likely know the true figure of the sum of all the stars in the universe.

4. The Moon Suffers From Moonquakes

moonquakes-space

When Clive. R. Neal, associate professor of civil engineering and geological sciences at the University of Notre Dame, and a team of 15 planetary scientists re-examined Apollo data from the 1970s, he concluded that ‘The moon is seismically active.’

Seismometers placed at the landing sites of the Apollo missionsbetween 1969 and 1972 radioed data back to Earth until they were taken offline in 1977. The results were surprising, suggesting that there are at least four types of moonquakes:

  1. Deep moonquakes that occur on average around 700km below the moon’s surface and are probably triggered by the Earth’s tidal forces.
  1. Usual vibrations and minor moonquakes as a result of meteorite impact.
  1. Thermal moonquakes caused by the Sun when illuminating and expanding the frigid crust on the moon’s surface following a two week deep-freeze lunar night.
  1. Shallow moonquakes that occur frequently at a depth of 20-30km below the moon’s surface.

In truth nobody is really certain what exactly causes moonquakes.Speculation is rife among scientists. All that is known is that unlike earthquakes, moonquakes last longer. This is because, unlike the earth, the moon’s crust is hard and uncompressible. Therefore a moonquake tends to vibrate the moon like a tuning fork, whereas the Earth has elements of compression (like water and minerals) that act like a sponge during an earthquake and disperse the tremors within a matter of minutes. On the moon, a moonquake has been known to last 10 minutes!

3. Planet HD189733b

planet-space

The Hubble Telescope has identified a deep azure blue planet in distant space. The planet, called HD189733b, is a huge gas giant orbiting very close to its star. Its atmosphere is a hellish environment of 4,000mph (7,000kmph) winds and molten glass that rains sideways! The estimated temperature of this deep space ‘beast’ is a scorching 1,000 degrees Celsius!

The planet might outwardly look serene and earth-like, but its bluish hue is a result of silicate particles scattering blue light rather than any reflection of a serene tropical ocean. If mankind were to ever find itself in a situation similar to the movie Interstellar, this planet would be one of the most hostile environments in the known universe. Not that we would be able to reach it, as it currently resides 63 light years from Earth!

2. The Earth Has More Than One Moon

minimoon-space

If you thought the Earth has only one moon, it might surprise you to discover that this is actually false. While the moon is indeed the only celestial body to observe a strict orbit of the Earth, there are in fact a number of other ‘near-Earth’ asteroids which follow the Earth as it orbits the Sun. These are called ‘co-orbitals’ and there are at least 6 known ‘co-orbitals’ caught in the Earth’s gravitational pull. However don’t think you can gaze into the night sky to find them, as most can’t be seen with the naked eye.

Of course you might agree with many astronomers and suggest that these co-orbitals are not technically moons. However, what is clear is that while they might not be moons in the traditional sense, they are far from your average asteroid.  Like the Earth they orbit the Sun in roughly a year and occasionally pass close enough to the Earth to exert a slight gravitational influence. In astronomical terms this means that the suggestion that they are in facts moons is all the more realistic.

Robert Jedicke, an astronomer at the University of Hawaii, has suggested that, “At any one time there are one or two 1 meter diameter asteroids in orbit around the Earth.” Perhaps when we think of the moon we should consider the possibility that rather than the Earth having one solitary moon in Luna, the Earth has in fact a number of fluctuating moons that come and go throughout the year!

1. There Are Less Than Nine Planets In Our Solar System

planets-space

Despite what you were taught in your science lessons, our solar system has less than 9 planets. Don’t be fooled, you would be right in thinking that there were 9 planets 10 years ago but in recent years the International Astronomical Union has decided it would be a good idea to apply its own criteria of what constitutes a planet to our solar system.

The criteria stipulate that in order for something to be defined as a planet it must:

  1. Orbit the Sun
  2. Have enough mass to be round in shape (but doesn’t have to be perfectly spherical)
  3. Have cleared ‘their neighbourhood’ or immediate orbit.

The first planet to fail the criteria was Pluto in 2006 when it was demoted from a planet to a ‘dwarf planet.’ This is perhaps not surprising as there has been much debate since Pluto’s discovery about whether it is actually a planet. For years it was seen as an icy rock not too dissimilar to an oversized asteroid confined to the region of space at the very edge of the solar system. That makes 8 planets.

Space Fact Saturday

And Pluto

Exploring Space With WIF

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10 Reasons We Should Leave Earth

and Explore the Space

There’s nowhere to run. Not with today’s technology. There’s no emergency plan to get us off this planet and preserve our legacy in case of apocalypse. For this reason alone we should think about finding ways to spread our wings and leave home. And if we do we’ll find other benefits, like…

10. Become Explorers Again

leaveearth1

From as far back as we can trace our history, man has been on the move. Part ofhumanity left Africa in search of greener pastures roughly 60,000 years ago, and from there we settled the entire world, overcoming one obstacle after another and adapting to new climates and environments. Today we’re left with little to investigate, with the exception of space.

This is a mission of incredible uncertainty and risk, with many unknown factors and incredible costs. Take care that you don’t fool yourself into thinking that private corporations can accomplish this on their own! Governments must go in first and take the risk, and only then will the private sector follow. This is how it’s always been done, from Columbus, Marco Polo and Magellan to Apollo and Soyuz. They were all funded by states with grand goals in mind, not individuals or private enterprises.

9. He3 and the Moon

leaveearth2

Humanity invented the airplane and flew men to the Moon in less than 70 years, but after the Soviets decided to not pursue the space race further we lost the incentive to go back to the Moon. But there’s no better or more necessary time than the present to go back. In all the lunar soil samples brought back from the Moon, scientists have discovered large amounts of helium-3 (He3). This compound is a key ingredient for nuclear fusion, capable of providing the world with enough energy to last centuries. He3 is found on Earth in only very small quantities that lack a practical use. The Sun produces large quantities, but because of the Earth’s magnetic field He3 never reaches our planet’s surface. But the Moon is full of the stuff too, and presents far fewer obstacles. And unlike traditional nuclear reactors the theoretical He3 reactor will be more efficient, while the problem of nuclear waste will become practically nonexistent.

8. Space Tourism

leaveearth3

This is something some of us can theoretically be part of. We already have the possibility of seeing the Earth from really high up, but the price for doing so is beyond most of our means. The Russians will be very happy to take you on a flight, but you’ll have to leave behind somewhere between 30 to 35 million dollars.

As for the rest of us who don’t have that kind of money, there are a couple of alternatives that we can consider. Currently there are about half a dozen companies working towards bringing us into space. Virgin Galactic is developing a spaceship capable of taking six people into outer orbit for a couple of minutes, although at $200,000 that’s hardly a casual weekend getaway either. XCOR Aerospace, on the other hand, offers the intimacy of your trip being just you and the pilot for half the cost. Some want to take it a step further, like Robert Bigelow. This American hotel chain owner dreams of building inflatable living quarters in space for tourists and astronauts alike.

7. Colonize Mars

leaveearth4

When it comes to colonizing Mars, we have to think of its future colonists like the pioneers of the Old West. Once they leave, there’s no coming back — but the chance to go to another planet and call it home is, for some, more than a bargain.

Plans and projects are already unfolding. Mars One hopes to send unmanned missions in 2018, with humans arriving in 2024. It will take the astronauts seven months to get there, and once they arrive it’s not going to be about exploring, but surviving. They’ll get no assistance from anyone, not in terms of supplies like food, water, oxygen or basic aid from Earth. Nor in terms of a breathable atmosphere or temperatures above -70C from Mars itself. They’ll have to make due with only what they brought, along with their own ingenuity and willpower.

Living in space could be called claustrophobic at best, and they’ll lose touch with nature and all the stress fighting relief it provides. That’s why these first colonistswill bring plants with them. They’d provide the settlement with food and oxygen, and also a reminder of home. There’s even talk of terraforming Mars, but that’s a goal for a distant future generation.

6. And Venus

leaveearth5

The idea of colonizing Venus is probably far from your mind, considering it’s a fiery inferno of molten rock with oceans of liquid methane and sulfuric acid rain pushed down by an atmospheric pressure greater than a kilometer of water. Not quite the paradise we were hoping for, and by no means a good place to set up shop.

However, its atmosphere is quite different. 50 kilometers above the surface, conditions are somewhat similar to those here on Earth. Unlike the Moon or Mars, the Venusian atmosphere can shield us from most of the Sun’s UV rays and the pressure is similar to home. Besides Earth, Venus’ atmosphere is themost favorable place for human life in the entire Solar System.

While the surface of Venus reaches temperatures of over 450 C (842 F), the high atmosphere is just above 0 degrees (32 F), while the pressure inside is similar to outside conditions. This has led scientists to believe that a future floating city doesn’t need a heavily reinforced outer shell, just enough to withstand sulfuric acid droplets. Breathable air inside the colony will serve a double purpose of both keeping settlers alive and maintaining the ship at the right altitude.Resources needed to sustain the base and its people can be found all over, either in the air or on the ground. Manned missions to the surface are next to impossible because of the hellish conditions, but mining for resources can be done remotely.

5. The Asteroid Belt

leaveearth6

Next on the list of potential colonies is the asteroid belt situated between Mars and Jupiter. The size of these asteroids varies from small dust particles to bodies 940 km (530 miles) across, and the amount of resources found on them is staggering. There’s over a billion times the quantity of platinum, iron, gold, silver and other metals than there can be extracted here on Earth, not to mention all the water we’ll ever need. Mining these asteroids should and almost certainty will be left in the hands of robots, both to cut down on the already significant investment in resources mining will require, and to limit the danger.

4. Exoplanets

leaveearth7

We know surprisingly little about our own galaxy. For example, we don’t know its shape — because we’re part of it, our view is similar to that of a rat in a maze. We lack the big picture, and so scientists debate whether the Milky Way has two or four arms swirling around its core. Our perspective of galaxies is based on others that we can see, like the Andromeda Galaxy, which at 2.3 million light years away is the closest to our own.

We do, however, know that our Solar System is situated somewhere between the galaxy’s middle and its edge. It’s a good distance away from the core where huge amounts of deadly radiation is being produced, and not far enough into the outskirts where no heavy elements like carbon, calcium and iron can be created. These heavy elements are formed in the bellies of stars, and when these stars die they produce all the elements in and around us. Our Sun is a second or third generation star, meaning that other stars before it called this region of space their home at some point. The edges of the galaxy have fewer stars and thus fewer heavy elements, leading to fewer planets.

Habitable planets follow the same principle. They have to be at the correct distance from their star in order for their temperature to be just right, a region called The Goldilocks Zone. Scientists have discovered around 2000 other planets in our galactic “neighborhood.” We can determine their size, distance from their star and what they’re made of based on the gravitational effect they have on their parent star and the intensity of that star’s light when the planet travels in front of it. Some of these planets are quite close to us, relatively speaking. The nearest exoplanet in the Goldilocks Zone is just 13 light years away, while the next one is 20.2 light years. We can’t reach these planets, but in time and with the help of better technology future generations may get there.

3. Keeping Us Alive

leaveearth8

We live in a globalized society. People can come and go as they please, and can reach the other side of the world in less than a day. Borders are beginning to melt away like in the case of the European Union, and entire families can go and live in totally different places from where they were born. While this is by and large a good thing, one concern is that this is leading to a loss of cultural identity. Some people worry that no traditions will be left intact, and nations will forget what it truly means to be American or Russian, Catholic or Hindu.

Another concern is a global plague. Back in the Middle Ages Europe was decimated by the Black Death that arrived on boats from China. Over one third of Europe’s population was wiped out. The same thing happened in the Americas with the arrival of the Europeans, who brought diseases that killed over 90% of the indigenous population. These unfortunate events happened in somewhat isolated circumstances, but in a world where everyone is connected a virus could have dire consequences for the whole of humanity. Our vastly improved medical technology makes this unlikely, but the risk is there.

Leaving Earth and starting colonies on faraway worlds makes both these problems go away. This doesn’t mean that a deadly disease will never wreak havoc or that humans will never blend into some sort of unity of cultures, but by spreading into the galaxy we can assure diversity in both our traditions and our health.

2. Finding E.T.

leaveearth9

The question of whether we’re alone has been boggling man’s mind since as long as our minds could be boggled. There’s no definite answer, but as Arthur C. Clarke said, “Two possibilities exist: Either we are alone in the Universe or we are not. Both are equally terrifying.”

The Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence Institute has been keeping an ear on outer space for decades now, listening for potential transmissions coming from our possible neighbors. Little besides static has ever come out of deep space so far, with the exception of the WOW! Signal. Back in 1977, a 72 second transmission was received from near a star in the Sagittarius constellation, 120 light years away from Earth. Further attempts to locate the signal were in vain, leading to much controversy about its origins.

We’re probably looking at things the wrong way. When it comes to alien life, we really have to think outside the box. We could be surrounded on all sides by signs from distant worlds and we would have no idea, because we don’t know what other intelligent life considers communication to be. Recent discoveries have shown that information, be it in English, Chinese, French or Ancient Sumerian, has a distinct pattern. Some words are more frequent than others, and when someone is talking or writing these words, when graphed based on the frequency of their appearance, form a straight 45 degree angle. The same template even emerges with dolphins. If alien information exists in outer space, it will most certainly follow the same rules. We only need to know what to look for.

1. Finding A.I.

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Chances are that by the time we find extraterrestrial life we’ll have created intelligent life of our own right here on Earth. Artificial intelligence (A.I.) can take over many of our current day jobs. We’re already seeing hints of this, as scientists have been developing vehicles that can drive themselves. Hundreds of such cars have been tested on our roads for years, and the technology is getting better and better. These automated vehicles don’t need to be perfect; they only need to be better than us. They don’t get sleepy, they don’t text while driving and they don’t get distracted. Insurance companies might call them their perfect drivers.

Once this technology becomes mainstream, chances are that many of us will lose our jobs. Millions of people worldwide are employed in transportation, a job that will most certainly be automated in the future. The same principle applies to airline pilots, not to mention military drones currently used around the globe.

Exploring Space With WIF