World When 60 Minutes’ Hysteria Nearly Shot Down a NASA Mission to Saturn
MCU treasure new for home cinema: Guardians of the Galaxy as a steelbook - the cover is a real treat for the eyes
Guardians of the Galaxy 3 is coming, now there is their first MCU adventure in a beautiful home cinema version as 4K Blu-ray. Get the Mondo Steelbooks. © Walt Disney Pictures / Mondo MCU treasure new for home cinema: Guardians of the Galaxy as a steelbook - the cover is a real feast for the eyes The Guardians of the Galaxy are among the most popular heroes of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). And they are expanding. With Guardians of the Galaxy 3 , Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana and Co.
Few impediments could have been more severe. For a spacecraft to reach the Jovian system with enough speed to eventually achieve orbit around Europa, it had to either launch from a powerful rocket (which NASA lacked, limiting spacecraft to a space shuttle deployment) or be absurdly light (which the required radiation armor rendered impossible). JPL engineers dashed out hastily written equations in chalk before driving fists against blackboards in fits of despair.
Nothing for NASA was ever free… except for gravity assists. Ordinarily, the agency could compensate for the meager speeds of heavy spacecraft by taking indirect flight paths and using planets encountered along the way to yank and shove the robotic pilgrim outward, inward, or onward. The laws of physics being immutable, and the salient numbers known, NASA’s orbital dynamicists could do this all day, running the numbers to sling spacecraft precisely, one planet to the next: free propulsion from Isaac Newton. It was incomparably the best bargain in space exploration.
Mission Impossible: filming postponed for Tom Cruise and episode 8?
As the shooting of 7 nears its end, Christopher McQuarrie should not be able to continue with the shots of "Mission Impossible 8", contrary to what was planned. © Paramount Pictures France Mission Impossible: filming postponed for Tom Cruise and episode 8? New obstacle in sight for agent Ethan Hunt? According to Deadline , Christopher McQuarrie and his team will indeed have to review their plans and give up the idea of filming episodes 7 and 8 of Mission Impossible as a result.
But then television tabloid journalism got involved, and everything became complicated.
In 1997, while waiting at Cape Canaveral for liftoff, the Cassini mission was beset suddenly by political protest. Cassini carried three radioisotope thermoelectric generators, which were powered by the decay of plutonium 238. The plutonium wasn’t of the Back to the Future variety—a disquieting drop of Scary Substance Indeed into a homemade flux capacitor—but rather was stored in a ceramic form, wrapped in iridium, and caked in graphite. It could not corrode, or be obliterated by heat, or vaporize, or disintegrate as an aerosol, or dissolve in water. It was made to withstand not only the explosion of the rocket carrying it, but even a catastrophic reentry into Earth’s atmosphere. Because it couldn’t vaporize, in a disaster situation, no one would inadvertently breathe it in and develop superpowers or extra appendages. In fact, it was designed so that you could even eat the stuff. The human body could not absorb it.
Perseverance rover successfully landed on Mars
© SOPA Images / Getty Images Perseverance rover successfully landed on Mars After seven months of travel, the American rover landed in a crater on Thursday, February 18 Martian. The Perseverance rover landed on Martian soil after seven months of travel, announced Thursday (February 18) the US space agency, a resounding success for NASA which marks the start of a mission lasting several years. "Landing confirmed!" Exclaimed Swati Mohan, in charge of operations control.
But 10 days before three and a half million pounds of rocket thrust put inches between Cassini and Earth, a much smaller number—60, as in 60 Minutes—nearly nailed NASA to the ground. The CBS TV newsmagazine aired a feature on the soon-set-for-Saturn spacecraft, Steve Kroft starring in the segment. The correspondent’s opening line: “On October thirteenth, a Titan IV rocket is scheduled to lift off from Cape Canaveral carrying seventy-two pounds of deadly plutonium; enough plutonium, in theory anyway, to administer a fatal dose to every man, woman and child on the face of the Earth several times over.”
And it got only worse from there. Cassini was an afterthought in the story, and interviews from experts were interspersed with comments from… nonexperts, to be kind, but very well-spoken nonexperts, whose contributions—the generous ones! —included lines such as, “What gives anybody, including the federal government, the right to risk the population’s death or—or injury just for space exploration?”
Syria Wants End to Israel's 'Terrorizing' Strikes and Russia, Iran, Turkey Agree
Syria's U.N. mission told Newsweek that "repeated Israeli attacks on the Syrian sovereignty are not only a technical issue related to the safety of civil air traffic in Syrian airspace, but rather an act of aggression that violates the 1974 ceasefire agreement."Newsweek recently reported on the hazards associated with multiple countries operating in Syria's crowded airspaces, where military and civilian aircraft face increasing risks from the country's civil conflict, which reaches it's 10th anniversary next month.
The segment featured a plutonium expert from the Department of Energy stating flatly that even if the rocket, spacecraft, and graphite-sealed, iridium-wrapped, ceramic plutonium blew up on the launch pad, it was literally impossible for the debris to do what protesters said it would. But just to be balanced, Kroft’s menagerie of doomsayers described in lurid detail what plutonium—not in the form used by NASA, which you could safely sprinkle on your breakfast cereal, because, again, you could eat it—could do to the human body. Among the highlights: “it can produce pulmonary cancer” and “you could have numbers like 100,000 or more people who develop lung cancer” and “if there is such an explosion, you can kiss Florida good-bye.”
Kroft even found a former NASA employee (“He’s neither a scientist nor an engineer,” admitted Kroft, “but…”) to lament publicly his role in endangering lives for such frivolities as space exploration. “I feel guilty, quite frankly,” bewailed the penitent insider.
To seal the deal, Kroft intercut the story with snippets of an interview with Wes Huntress, head of NASA’s planetary program, who had presided over the successful landing of Mars Pathfinder only months earlier.
Most pheasants sold for food 'contain lead shot'
Scientists say a pledge by shooting groups to phase out lead shot has had no detectable effect.The discovery comes one year into a five-year transition to non-toxic shotgun ammunition - a move backed by nine UK shooting organisations.
“This is from your own environmental impact statement,” said Kroft to Huntress—the tone of the host solid but affable, his countenance hard but eyes somehow benevolent. “I want to read you a couple of things from it.”
Video: NASA shows U.S. capable of amazing feats even as Texas struggles with basics (MSNBC)
Huntress was a pioneer in the study of interstellar clouds and one of the world’s foremost experts in planetary exploration, but he was not exactly tabloid-TV material, and after the cavalcade of activists arguing compellingly and without interruption, he seemed less than confident in his responses.
Quoted Kroft: “If there’s an accident it talks about, quote, ‘removing and disposing of all vegetation in contaminated areas, demolishing some or all structures and relocating the affected population permanently.’”
“If there should be any such accident,” said Huntress, accurately but unhelpfully.
Replied Kroft, “I mean, that sounds fairly drastic…” and Kroft waited patiently for Huntress, in possession of rope necessary to hang himself, to fill the silence, which 60 Minutes interview subjects always did, and he did, and did.
“Well, the—what they’re probably talking about mostly is—is the damage on site, near the—near—near the launch pad because there’s clearly, when one of these things goes, a lot of damage near the launch pad.”
Lady Gaga offers $500,000 reward for two stolen dogs
Lady Gaga offers $500,000 reward for two stolen dogsGaga, whose recent performances included singing the national anthem at President Joe Biden's inauguration last month, has been in Rome filming a movie. Her three French bulldogs remained in Hollywood, The Daily Mail reported.
And after Huntress tap-danced and staggered—this guy didn’t even know what his own official Armageddon report said!—and at last swung gracefully from the gallows, well-honed doomsayers followed up, explaining precisely how Life as We Know It was drawing to a close, and kiss your babies tonight because our foolhardy quest to conquer the cosmos—Saturn! This pointless mission to a gas giant, whatever that meant—will leave mutated survivors fighting for the last canned goods on ransacked store shelves.
Worse yet, Cassini would take a second swing at the peaceful people of planet Earth! If it didn’t blow up on launch, it was set to follow a VVEJGA trajectory to boost its way toward Saturn: that is, two swings by Venus (V, V), and then it would play chicken with the Earth, and if something went wrong... (but if all went well, from Earth [E] to Jupiter [J] for a gravity assist [GA]).
The Clinton administration really did not have time for this but dutifully absorbed the panicked letters and optics of protesters grasping concertina-topped chain-link fences on Cape Canaveral’s perimeter, while on the inside, police lined up in body armor and carrying riot shields stared silently, just waiting to—what? Open fire? Brandish batons?
EDITORIAL. “Perseverance” on Mars and… on Earth
© Nasa, PL-Caltech, AFP The “Perseverance” robot, on Mars, February 21. Humanity has always gone above and beyond to know the Earth and understand the universe, respond to the call of the unknown and expand the horizon. A new step has been taken with the arrival of the robot "Perseverance" on Mars.
Nevertheless, NASA went forward with its reckless rocket launch likely to leave only cockroaches crawling the Earth (or whatever some future species would call this planet), and things were fine, as they had been for previous launches dozens of times over. But the message from headquarters to those filing future space missions: if you must launch radioactive material, do not plan trajectories taking the spacecraft back to Earth for a gravity assist. Nobody needs the headache.
Which meant, for Karla and company, years-long discussions on potential trade-offs for the Europa Orbiter mission, as it came to be called. They analyzed other trajectories, other launch vehicles—anything to get more mass for a suitable science return. What hardware do you make “rad-hard”—impervious to radiation (but expensive) —versus simply wrap in “dumb mass,” i.e., big blocks of cheap protective shielding? What was the absolute smallest science payload possible? Ultimately, they found a relatively happy medium: a spacecraft that could launch direct and achieve the minimum science required to make a Europa expedition worthwhile, and NASA loved it, and then the cost doubled, and in 1999 Ed Weiler shot it dead. Just like that.
Fromby David W. Brown. Copyright © 2021 by David W. Brown. From Custom House, a line of books from William Morrow/HarperCollins Publishers. Reprinted by permission.
Father-of-five shot dead in drive-by execution of the WRONG man .
Ikenasio 'Sio' Tuivasa, 33, was outside the All Star Lounge pool hall in Melbourne, when he was shot and died in a hail of bullets, while a bystander was wounded in the leg.Ikenasio 'Sio' Tuivasa, 33, was outside the All Star Lounge pool hall on Westwood Drive in Ravenhall, Melbourne, when he was shot at midnight on Saturday.