Refuel Space Station

Weighing more than 300 automobiles, or nearly 500 tons, the ISS or International Space Station began deployment in 1998. More than three dozen manned missions since late 2000 have included scientific experiments and work to assemble the station. Several assembly missions launched from the now retired NASA Space Shuttle platform, but the bulk of the heavy lifting to date has been from Russian Soyuz programs.

The resupply and refueling missions are currently handled by Russian missions, with plans to expand refueling and resupply operations to Space-X and Cygnus missions. Cygnus is a government and private industry partnership with Orbital Sciences and Alliant Tech Systems, both companies merged and are located near Washington DC.

Space-X is a venture related to Elon Musk and the Tesla Motor Car, at least the visionary Musk is central to both companies.

Both refueling efforts use the “Harmony” docking system, which is one of at least four different docking systems on the International Space System. Russian systems for refueling seem to include at least the Pirs, Rassvet and Nauka docks, which has to do with the amount of Russian components built into the ISS.

Proponents of the USA private/public space exploration effort look forward to the certification and implementation of the Space-X platform, which may yet occur in 2015.

Gliese 710 and the Oort Cloud

Planet Earth and our Sun, as well as the other (now 7) planets are often depicted as larger and larger rings in space, but the Kuiper Belt and the Oort Cloud are made up of billions of comets, meteors and asteroids in three dimensions. But to get an idea of the true makeup of our Solar System, first consider that the entire mass of the gravitational influence of our Solar System is more than 100,000 times the orbit of the Earth, and shaped more like a sphere than a disk.

Light travels from the surface of the Sun to Earth in just over eight minutes, and to Neptune in four hours. The distance from the center of the Sun to the center of the Earth is defined as one Astronomical Unit, or AU. The edges of the Oort cloud are 50,000 AU from the Sun, which would be the radius, the diameter being 100,000 AU.

Within our planetary orbits lies the main asteroid belt. A handful of celestial bodies make up the vast bulk of the mass of this belt. This belt is more disc shaped. But further out from the orbit of our main planets is a much larger mass of billions of objects making up the spherically shaped Oort Cloud.

Here lies the problem with Gliese 710, and its expected approach to our Solar System. In 1.4 million years, Gliese 710 will have traveled over 60 light years at 50,000 mph towards the 100,000 Astronomical Unit diameter mass of our Solar System. While it is unlikely that calculations can be made accurately enough to predict whether Gliese 710, roughly more than half the mass of the Sun, will impact Earth, the Sun or any other planet, it only needs to travel within 25,000 AU or so of the Oort Cloud to start a chain reaction of events.

The billions of objects in the Oort cloud have had billions of years to settle into predictable orbits that keep the bulk of them from intersecting in orbits with Earth or the inner planets. But once gravitational forces from Gliese 710 act on the cloud, billions of objects will have these orbits stretched to different dimensions. While there orbits around the Solar System have periods of many thousands of years, there will at that point be billions of objects whose disrupted orbits over hundreds or thousands of years will now threaten the inner ranks of the Solar System.

Additionally, if Gliese 710 intersects more closely with the Sun, in the neighborhood of a few dozen AU or less, the impact on the orbits of the inner planets would be severe. Then there is the incredibly remote possibility that its path intersects with Earth or the Sun. That would surely be noticed.


Habitable Worlds

Other than Earth, Wikipedia lists 17 planets that could have sunshine and liquid water in our solar system, at distances ranging from 4.2 lightyears to 2500 lightyears away. If this were a complete list, we could break down our solar system into habitable areas of 2500 lightyears in diameter.

We would further consider that life could not be sustained in the interior of the Milky Way, due to Gamma Rays, Black Holes and other DNA squashing regularities of the interior.

So this would leave around 200 quadrants around the edge of the Milky Way, with several more in the arms such as where the Earth resides. Since no life has been detected in our local quadrant, other than Earth, we have little information with which to fill in the variables of the Drake Equation. Perhaps most of these quadrants have no life. But others contain two, or three civilizations.

We don’t know. Perhaps our own quadrant contains life that is closer to bacteria than to human. What is the likelihood that there is some primitive bacterial, stromatolite or even sponge like life in our quadrant. Some might say the odds are high.

But the odds of another civilization in our Milky Way are still difficult to ascertain. Two more civilizations? Five more? Certainly we have enough data to think it is unlikely that there are hundreds, or even a dozen civilizations in the Milky Way, and we still have no proof that there must be more than one.


The Dryas is a wildflower that grows in cooler climates. An evergreen that colonizes areas by spreading along the ground, it is found in Alaska, the Canadian Rockies and reaching as far south as Colorado.

The Younger-Dryas is also an era named for glaciation and cooler temperatures, roughly ending 11,000 years ago. The most recent major ice age started around 115,000 years ago and encompasses the extinction of the Neanderthals and the rise of man. This major glaciation was coasting towards warmer temperatures up to a sudden temperature retreat around 13,000 years ago called the Younger-Dryas and lasting around 1,500 years.

Scientists cannot put an exact year on the peak of and ice-age or the transition from a warm period to a cool period. In years, the transition is much slower, and all changes feature starts, stops, retreats and retrenching, much like a stock market chart. But we do know that the period of glaciation was severe for North America and Scotland. Scottish historians tell us that there were five or six peaks of glaciation in northern Scotland over the last 750,000 years.

Northern Europe and northern North America suffered thick glaciers two miles thick during these ice ages. Geologists tell us that Chicago, New York, most of Scotland, Finland, Norway, and the ice was thinner but still substantial in northern France, Germany and Poland. The European ice sheet appears to have receded a thousand years earlier than in Russia and North America.

Heavy rains in the deserts of North America produced lakes, including Lake Bonneville. The Great Salt Lake is a remnant of the climate of the last ice age. Even the Amazon was affected by global cooling, the jungles today were in some places a grassland more like Africa than central South America. Sea levels were also affected severely by the end of the last ice age.

As the Younger-Dryas came to and and, the seas saw a nearly 200 foot rise in sea level during the next 5,000 years. The deepest recessions of sea level in the last major ice age exceeded 400 feet below today’s sea level. For reference, the deepest part of the Chunnel is 250 feet below sea level, which is also the narrowest part of the English Channel. During the Younger-Dryas and during much of the last major glaciation period, the English Channel was probably dry, or a salt marsh, which was crossed by Neanderthal and Early humans. But the climate of southern England would have been cooler, with ice near to the north supporting small populations of early hunters and gatherers.

The extremes of sea levels had interesting effects for the Phillippines. Today’s mass of thousands of islands were one large island. It may have been possible to walk on dry land from Japan to Australia, crossing ridges exposed by the lower sea levels to Taiwan, then to the Phillippines, next to New Guinea and right onto the Australian continent. The sea level changes mean that eons of history for humanity that fished the oceans has been buried under hundreds of feet of salt water. But other differences in the environment were also prevalent.

One feature of the last ice age was air pollution. The same ice age that produced heavy rains and lakes in the deserts of North America expanded deserts elsewhere. Blowing sands and dust were up to 50 times higher during the ice age, which further blocked sun light that could have warmed the Earth.

Dark Matter

Scientists are searching for Wimps. Weakly interacting massive particles are a particle that we think is sub-atomic, accounts for 85% of matter in the universe, and we just can’t find the stuff.

The most obvious clues of dark matter began coming in as soon as we had telescopes capable of observing remote galaxies. In the 1920’s astronomers were fascinated by the Milky Way and the stars in the night sky, but indications arose that there were more galaxies than just the Milky Way.

With less powerful telescopes, we looked at the night sky and believed everything was a star. We knew that the Milky Way was a dense galaxy of stars, but it was the more powerful telescopes that showed us that some things that we thought were stars were other galaxies.

Lord Kelvin advanced the theory that objects unseen were subjecting gravitational pull within the Milky Way in a talk given in 1884. He speculated that a large percentage of star bodies were dark in the Milky Way. In 1906 Frenchman Henri Poincare advanced the notion of matiere obscure, or dark matter.

In the 1920’s Dutch astronomers Kapleyn and Oort further advanced the theory of Dark Matter and Fritz Zwicky in 1933 was working at the California Institute of Technology and had access to the Mount Wilson Observatory and the Palomar Observatory. He made records of the rotation of galaxies other than the Milky Way and advanced the idea that the rotation of galaxies would cause them to fly apart without Dark Matter.

Brightest Star

Let’s get super Sirius, the brightest star in the night sky is Sirius, 8 light years from Earth and twice the mass of the Sun. Known by many as the Dog Star, it is part of the constellation Canis Major which is south of the Zodiac belt.

In North America, winter is the best season for viewing Canis Major, also known as Greater Dog. The star Sirius is the nose of the dog. Early in the winter, Leo, Cancer and Gemini occupy the 2AM sky from Denver, along the ecliptical plane and towards the east. To the west in the Zodiac belt are Taurus, Aires and Pisces. In the middle of November in the middle of North America, Taurus dominates the night sky.

If your born between April 20 and May 21, Taurus is your sign. The Earth is on the opposite side of the sun from constellations from the opposite sphere of the Zodiac, like Sagittarius and Capricorn. During the course of a year, we gradually see the constellations from the twelve signs of the Zodiac dominate the equatorial plane of the night sky.

Sirius and the constellation Canis Major likewise are best viewed when the planet earth is on the correct side of the Sun. It is more easily seen from the southern hemisphere, although if you look toward the horizon or get on top of a mountain, you improve your chances. Gemini is next to Taurus, and may be the easiest ecliptic constellation to spot, as two bright stars at ten and 11 o’clock, and another bright star a four o’clock. It is supposed to be twins with their feet at the lower left and their heads at the upper right as you throw your head back while facing north.

Below and to the right of Gemini is Orion, and near that is the famous star Betelgeuse and below them more in line with Gemini is Canis Major. Sirius, the brightest star in the sky is the nose of the hound.

Ottoman Empire

The Ottoman Empire¬†decline started early to mid 19th century, but World War One and its aftermath saw its complete dissolution. The empire began to Continue…