The GeoChristian

The Earth. Christianity. They go together.

Around the web 12/3/2013

UNIVERSITY THOUGHT POLICE AT WORK AGAIN — University of Michigan Kicks Christian Club off Campus because they require leaders to be Christians. This should be a no-brainer. Of course a Christian group on campus should have Christian leaders; this would be discriminatory only if the same rule were not applied to other groups. A Muslim group should be allowed to require Muslim leaders, a Buddhist group should be allowed to require Buddhist leaders, an atheist group should be allowed to require an atheist leader, and so forth.

PBS HATCHET JOB RETRACTED — pbs.org had posted an anti-creationist hatchet job with several inaccuracies entitled 10 Interesting Lessons from Creationist-Inspired Textbooks. Certainly some of the “10 interesting lessons” were straight out of the fringe (homeschool publishers Bob Jones and Abeka) of young-Earth creationism, but others were simply false accusations, such as the stating that the ID book Pandas and People teaches “biblical genetics” based on the story of Jacob mating Laban’s sheep and goats in Genesis 30.

The PBS article now reads:

Independent Lens [part of PBS] seeks to assure that its content offerings encourage a lively civic dialogue, and that they do not present only one point of view. In this spirit, this post has been removed…

There are enough really bad teachings in the YEC world without adding embellishments.

HT: Controversial Biblical scholar Peter Enns, who missed the Pandas and People error, but gives an idea of what is out there in the YEC homeschool world.

KILLER KITTIES — One of my cats (the cute one) fits the description of “killer.” That Cuddly Kitty Is Deadlier Than You Think.

Domestic cats in the United States […] kill a median of 2.4 billion birds and 12.3 billion mammals a year, most of them native mammals like shrews, chipmunks and voles rather than introduced pests like the Norway rat.

BROKEN LIGHT BULB? — From the EPA: What to Do if a CFL Breaks. (HT: Geology.com News)

TEN YEARS AGOCNN coverage of the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster.

Grace and Peace

February 3, 2013 Posted by | Around the Web, Space Exploration, Young-Earth creationism | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Around the Web — 5/19/2012

Mitt Romney’s Environmental Platform — Ummm, Mitt Romney doesn’t seem to have an environmental platform. The menu at mittromney.com doesn’t have “Environment” as an option.

There isn’t anything substantial about the environment that I could find on the site. I am a conservative, and will vote for Romney in November. But why can’t we have a conservative presidential candidate who would actually be interested in conserving?

Richard Dawkins’ sloppy scholarship — Jay Wile does a good job of exposing militant atheist Richard Dawkins’ poor use of quotations. “This situation is very interesting, because creationists are often accused of quote mining, but here is a clear case where one of the greatest evolutionary evangelists of our time is doing it.”

The “Planet Debate” renewed? — A few years back, Pluto was demoted, so now we have only eight planets in the solar system. The debate is certain to be renewed at same point, not only about Pluto, but also about a couple of asteroids. The NASA article NASA Dawn Spacecraft Reveals Secrets of Large Asteroid refers a number of times to the planet-like qualities of the asteroid Vesta, such as having an interior differentiated into layers, including an iron core.

N.T. Wright sings about Genesis — sung to the tune of “Yesterday” by the Beatles. Watch it at the Internet Monk. Wright isn’t the world’s greatest musician, but he inserts a lot of theological issues into a few verses.

Why they had to fall, I don’t know, it doesn’t say
They did something wrong, and we’ve longed for God’s new day-ay-ay-ay

Grace and Peace

May 19, 2012 Posted by | Around the Web, Environment, Planetary Geology, Politics, Space Exploration | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Vesta video

From today’s Astronomy Picture of the Day: NASA Dawn’s Virtual Flight Over Asteroid Vesta

Grace and Peace

May 14, 2012 Posted by | Astronomy, Geology, Planetary Geology, Space Exploration | , , | Leave a comment

Stratolaunch

From Paul Allen and Burt Rutan: The Stratolaunch.

From Yahoo News: New Stratolaunch plane will take people into Earth’s orbit

Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen is teaming up with aerospace pioneer Burt Rutan to build a giant machine that is part airplane and part spaceship. The new vehicle will be able to transport people and cargo into Earth’s orbit and is scheduled to be commercially available by 2016.

Grace and Peace

December 13, 2011 Posted by | Space Exploration | , | Leave a comment

Seven years of Opportunity

The rover Opportunity has been on the surface of Mars for over seven years now. From Astronomy Picture of the Day for January 29th: Opportunity at Santa Maria Crater.

Credit: Mars Exploration Rover Mission, NASA, JPL, Cornell

The panorama is much more detailed on the APOD site.

The description from APOD:

Celebrating 7 years on the surface of the Red Planet, Mars exploration rover Opportunity now stands near the rim of 90 meter wide Santa Maria crater. Remarkably, Opportunity and its fellow rover Spirit were initially intended for a 3 month long primary mission. Still exploring, the golf cart-sized robot and shadow (far right) appear in the foreground of this panoramic view of its current location. The mosaic was constructed using images from the rover’s navigation camera. On its 7 year anniversary, Opportunity can boast traversing a total of 26.7 kilometers along the martian surface. After investigating Santa Maria crater, controllers plan to have Opportunity resume a long-term trek toward Endurance crater, a large, 22 kilometer diameter crater about 6 kilometers from Santa Maria. During coming days, communication with the rover will be more difficult as Mars moves close to alignment with the Sun as seen from planet Earth’s perspective.

Grace and Peace

January 30, 2011 Posted by | Astronomy, Geology, Space Exploration | , | 2 Comments

Ice on the Moon

From Astronomy Picture of the Day 10/25/2010: Water Ice Detected Beneath Moon’s Surface

Blue is hydrogen-rich (probably water ice) and red is hydrogen-poor.

The explanation from the APOD site:

Is there enough water on the moon to sustain future astronauts? The question has important implications if humanity hopes to use the Moon as a future outpost. Last year, to help find out, scientists crashed the moon-orbiting LCROSS spacecraft into a permanently shadowed crater near the Moon’s South Pole. New analyses of the resulting plume from Cabeus crater indicate more water than previously thought, possibly about six percent. Additionally, an instrument on the separate LRO spacecraft that measures neutrons indicates that even larger lunar expanses — most not even permanently shadowed — may also contain a significant amount of buried frozen water. Pictured above from LRO, areas in false-color blue indicate the presence of soil relatively rich in hydrogen, which is thought likely bound to sub-surface water ice. Conversely, the red areas are likely dry. The location of the Moon’s South Pole is also digitally marked on the image. How deep beneath the surface the ice crystals permeate is still unknown, as well as how difficult it would be to mine the crystals and purify them into drinking water.

October 29, 2010 Posted by | Astronomy, Geology, Space Exploration | , | Leave a comment

Aurora Australis

I’ve only seen the northern lights (aurora borealis) once, and that only faintly. Here’s a photo of the southern lights from the International Space Station.

Credit: NASA/ISS Expedition Crew 23

From NASA’s Earth Observatory Image of the Day, June 21, 2010: Aurora Australis Observed from the International Space Station.

Grace and Peace

July 2, 2010 Posted by | Space Exploration | , , | Leave a comment

NASA going nowhere?

From Yahoo! News: Senators to NASA chief: Go somewhere specific

President Obama’s budget proposal would axe NASA’s planned trip to the moon. So where should NASA send astronauts? The long-term goal is to send astronauts to Mars, but what are good shorter-term objectives?

Here are two items that caught my attention regarding a future trip to Mars:

  • Using inflatable spaceship parts
  • Technological advances that would cut travel time to Mars down from three months to “a matter of days.”

On a humorous note, NASA has a graphic that shows possible destinations to send astronauts in upcoming years. I’m not sure that “Sun” is all that good of an idea.

Credit: NASA

Grace and Peace

February 27, 2010 Posted by | Astrobiology, Fun, Space Exploration | , | 3 Comments

He’s not the real Neil

Neil Armstrong never walked on the moon.

From the Cincinnati Enquirer: One short name, one giant headache for Ohio man

July 26, 2009 Posted by | Space Exploration | Leave a comment

Apollo 11 — 40 years later

Apollo11-smallstep

Neil Armstrong descending the ladder for the first "small step" on the moon. Credit: NASA

I was eight years old when Apollo 11 went to the moon, and was glued to the television every step along the way (with the reporting of Walter Cronkite). I watched the first step on the moon on our black and white television. When there was a break, I ran over to a friend’s house—one who had a color television—only to discover that the pictures were still black and white.

Thankfully, the astronauts had color cameras with them, and were able to bring home better shots:

Buzz Aldrin on the moon. Credit: NASA

Buzz Aldrin on the moon. Credit: NASA

Grace and Peace

July 20, 2009 Posted by | Space Exploration | | 8 Comments

A cheaper way to get humans to Mars: One-way tickets

MarsAstronauts

Credit: NASA

NASA’s Astrobiology Magazine has the text of a presentation given by physicist Paul Davies: A One-way Ticket to Mars.

The greatest expense in sending a group of astronauts to Mars is actually getting them back to Earth. Davies estimates that we may be able to save up to 80% of the costs by sending a group of four astronauts to Mars and then just leaving them there.

At first, this might sound crazy, but how different is it than when my great-grandparents left Norway for the United States, never to see their families again? Granted, Minnesota had oxygen and farmland (but my grandparents eventually ended up in Ekalaka, Montana, which may not have been all that different than ending up on Mars).

The astronauts would end up staying on Mars as the first members of a colony, with the hope that more astronauts would arrive every few years.

“As Bob Zubrin [founder of the Mars Society] has pointed out, Mars is the second-safest place in the solar system. And so it’s the one place humans can go where we could actually make a living, because it’s possible to use material on the martian surface, and crucially, Mars has water and carbon dioxide. So you’re not saying to the people who are going on this one-way mission: you’ve got three days’ supplies and that’s it. You could also protect yourself from some of the worlds hazards, such as the hazard of thin atmosphere.

“I would envisage probably four people would go in the first instance. But a one-way mission to Mars would not just be a one-off exercise. They would be trailblazers. It would be the first step to establishing a permanent human presence on another world. Although they would go without the expectation of returning, they would have the expectation that sooner or later they would be joined by others and that this Mars base would grow and eventually become a permanent Mars colony that might take hundreds of years to establish.”

Anyone want to sign up?

Grace and Peace

May 25, 2009 Posted by | Astrobiology, Astronomy, Future, Space Exploration | , , | 2 Comments

NASA Earth Observatory turns 10 — Winning image

The votes are in from the NASA Earth Observatory’s viewers’ favorites contest, and the winning image out of over 3000 possibilities is:

saturnearth

A view of Earth from Saturn.

To see the top ten vote-getters go to Earth Observatory’s Top Ten Images of the Day.

Grace and Peace

April 29, 2009 Posted by | Astronomy, Space Exploration | , | Leave a comment

Ares-I and Ares-V

The space shuttle is being phased out. Here is an artist’s depiction of part of the replacement, the Ares-I launch vehicle, which is scheduled for its first test launch this summer:

Credit: NASA

Credit: NASA

The Ares-I will be used for carrying crews into Earth orbit. The crew capsule will look similar to that used in the Apollo missions that took astronauts to the moon, but it can carry four to six astronauts rather than just three:

Credit: Rtphokie (wikipedia: Orion spacecraft)

Credit: Rtphokie (wikipedia: Orion spacecraft)

The space shuttle is used for lifting payloads that could be launched using unmanned rockets, which places astronauts unnecessarily at risk. NASA’s replacement launch vehicle for these purposes is the Ares-V, which will have a larger lift capacity than did the Saturn-V rocket, which was last used in the early 1970s. The Ares-V will be used for launching new components of the International Space Station, as well as for launching heavier components for missions to the moon and Mars.

LiveScience.com: Big Test Looms for NASA’s New Rocket

Wikipedia: Ares-I

Wikipedia: Ares-V

Wikipedia: Orion (Spacecraft)

Grace and peace

April 18, 2009 Posted by | Space Exploration | | Leave a comment

Space shuttle — 28 years

This week marks the 28th anniversary of the first launch of the space shuttle. It is hard to believe the shuttle fleet is that old.

Credit: NASA

First shuttle launch 4/12/1981 Credit: NASA

HT: NASA Image of the Day Gallery

Grace and Peace

April 14, 2009 Posted by | Space Exploration | , | Leave a comment

Space shuttles for sale

From Yahoo News/AP: Want a retired space shuttle? They’re up for grabs

The space agency said Wednesday it’s looking for ideas on where and how best to display its space shuttles once they stop flying in a few years. It’s put out a call to schools, science museums and “other appropriate organizations” that might be interested in showcasing one of the three remaining shuttles.

Beware: NASA estimates it will cost about $42 million to get each shuttle ready and get it where it needs to go, and the final tab could end up much more.

The estimate includes $6 million to ferry the spaceship atop a modified jumbo jet to the closest major airport. But the price could skyrocket depending on how far the display site is from the airport. Only indoor, climate-controlled displays will be considered.

NASA is scheduled to retire the space shuttles in 2010, which means that the US will go a few years again without a way to put humans into space.

Here’s an image from NASA’s Image of the Day Gallery for yesterday, showing a space shuttle piggybacked on top of a 747 for transcontinental transport.

shuttle747

Grace and peace

December 18, 2008 Posted by | Space Exploration | , | Leave a comment