Tuesday, February 10, 2015

NASA Invites You to Get Personal with the Sun in New Solarium Exhibit

By Zain Haidar
Published Feb 10 2015 09:25 AM EST

I wonder if someone from NASA has been reading the book, "A day with an extraterrestrial". No where near the same effect or the visual mind blowing show one sees from the space platform near the sun, but nice nonetheless.


NASA is unveiling a new exhibit aimed at bringing viewers up close and personal with the sun.
Wednesday afternoon, NASA will reveal "Solarium" to the media at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, and later open the exhibit to the public. The installation, described as "video art," will feature floor-to-ceiling projections of massive-scale imagery from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO). These videos, edited to produce a hypnotic effect, will be paired with music created at Stanford University.

(MORE: Hubble Telescope Captures Rare Image of Jupiter's Moons)
Solarium is a celebration of SDO's fifth anniversary. Since Feb. 11, 2010, SDO has captured stellar footage of the sun and continues to collect data related to solar flares, coronal activity and material in the solar atmosphere.
According to NASA, the observatory takes a picture nearly once a second, and each image "has eight times as much resolution as an HD TV."
With that in mind, Solarium won't run out of materials to display any time soon.

Monday, January 26, 2015


My wife is to blame if I never get any more books written. I don't spend a lot of time painting but the time I spend painting was once the time I spent writing. After I answer email questions spare time is diminished, kaput. Writing about the Sphinx is on my long list of things to write about. But painting it is so much easier and it probably doesn't ruffle as many feathers as do words.

Lou Baldin  

Sunday, January 25, 2015

The two faces of Ceres


Dawn Mission Director: Probe will introduce us to a strange new world

Artist rendition of the Dawn spacecraft approaching Ceres. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
Artist rendition of the Dawn spacecraft approaching Ceres as seen on Spaceflight Insider

The two faces of Ceres. All celestial objects are two-faced. The face the vast majority of humans are allowed to see and the face NASA and other top dogs get to see. We humans need protection, like a child who might run out in traffic if not holding the hand of an adult. Speaking of which, I could use more 5 star reviews on my books, because some of those same types of people, the ones that want to protect humanity from dangerous information, have been leaving 1 star reviews, and warning people of the perils of reading Lou Baldin books. Oh the humanity....lol  

Lou Baldin

NASA’s Dawn mission is closing in on a mysterious, unknown world located in the asteroid belt between the planets Mars and Jupiter. The dwarf planet Ceres, named after the Roman goddess of agriculture, is nearing the point in its history when mankind will unlock its secrets. So far, humanity has only had a glimpse of this enigmatic orb using the Hubble Space Telescope, so what we might find at the dwarf planet after Dawn’s arrival – has those both within and on the outside of the space community interested in what awaits the spacecraft.
Marc Rayman, the Mission Director and Chief Engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, could not hide his excitement: “Everyone should be excited by this. Everyone who has ever gazed in wonder at the night sky, everyone who yearns to know what lies beyond the confines of our humble home, everyone who longs for adventure and seeks to peer beyond the horizon, and everyone awed by the mystery, the grandeur, and the immensity of the cosmos can share in this,” he told astrowatch.net. “Together we are going to be introduced to a strange new world!”
Dawn is slated to arrive at Ceres on Mar. 6. The spacecraft will enter the dwarf planet’s orbit at an initial altitude of 8,388 miles (13,500 km) for a first full characterization. Then it will explore Ceres from survey orbit at 2,374 miles (4,400 km), and next it will go lower to only 913 miles (1,470 km). To travel from one orbit to another, it will use its extraordinary ion propulsion system to spiral lower and lower and lower.
“The exact time of orbit entry varies a little bit because of changes in the schedule of Deep Space Network availability, which affects when we pause ion thrusting. In addition, of course, while we have estimates of Ceres’ mass, we do not know it precisely, so the strength of its gravitational pull is not certain,” Rayman revealed. “Nevertheless, in our latest design, orbit entry occurs around Mar. 6 at 1:30 a.m. EST (06:30 GMT). It is unlikely to change by more than a few hours.”
But this isn’t a first time when Dawn visits a celestial body. In July 2011 the spacecraft entered the orbit of asteroid Vesta for a one-year exploration. Thus, Dawn will be the first mission to orbit two separate extraterrestrial bodies. “We will make all the same kinds of measurements at Ceres that we made at Vesta and will produce all the same products, including the geological maps. That is the one of the benefits of having one spacecraft that can orbit multiple deep-space destinations, a first in the exploration of space,” Rayman said.
Vesta and Ceres are important for scientists to explore because they are remnants of the formation of our solar system. It’s possible that both bodies contain the basic building blocks associated with life. Scientists believe that Ceres may harbor an internal ocean of liquid water under its surface. The surface is probably a mixture of water ice and various hydrated minerals such as carbonates and clay.
Processed image of Ceres as seen on Spaceflight Insider
This processed image of Ceres, as seen from the Dawn spacecraft, hints at craters on the dwarf planet’s surface. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
“This is an exciting opportunity to study an exotic, alien world of ice and rock. We hope to discover how the large inventory of water — mostly frozen, but some perhaps as liquid — affects this dwarf planet. There may be signatures in the physical appearance, as displayed in our photographs, and in the composition, as revealed by our other measurements,” Rayman said. “Part of the thrill of an ambitious adventure like this, however, is that we cannot say what new discoveries and findings we will make. This is truly a mission of exploration. Ceres is the first dwarf planet discovered, the largest body between the sun and Pluto that a spacecraft has not yet visited.”
The spacecraft will also deliver the highly anticipated high-resolution images of Ceres. The photos will be well over 800 times better than the best we have now from Hubble. “For more than two centuries, we have only been able to glimpse it as a fuzzy little patch of light,” Rayman noticed. “In its lowest altitude orbit, Dawn’s images will have a resolution of better than 40 meters per pixel. So we will be able to see exquisite detail compared to what we have now.”
As the Dawn approaches Ceres, the excitement of unveiling the unknown, mysterious protoplanet grows. This ‘strange new world’ as Rayman describes it, is about to unlock its secrets. “I am very excited about the arrival at Ceres. Before the Dawn mission, Vesta and Ceres were among the last unexplored worlds in the inner solar system. We are about to unveil a mysterious orb that has beckoned for more than two centuries. It holds secrets from the dawn of the solar system,” Rayman said.
Rayman provides all the latest updates regarding the mission on the Dawn Blog.
The Dawn mission to Vesta and Ceres is managed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, Washington D.C.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Flying saucer over house

Back in 1994, I built a house in a new subdivision, one that was way out in the boonies, cornfields as far as the eye could see. It was going to be a bedroom community on the outskirts of Kansas City. The developer was going to put in a golf course and a lake. I was one of five builders selected to build it out, a twenty year project. I and another builder jumped right in and started building, the other three builders backed out. I finished my house and so did the other builder, I was about to start more houses when the developer went bankrupt. Couldn't sell my house so I moved into it. Ended up living there for ten years. The first 3 years we had the whole undeveloped subdivision and hundreds of acres of cornfields to ourselves. This is the house where I wrote my first book, In League with a UFO. A new developer came in and built out the subdivision after it had sat there for 3 years with no activity. The bank was going to let me take it over for a song (little cash) but I was busy building in other subdivisions and passed up on one of those once in a lifetime opportunities. The new developer couldn't build houses fast enough and sold them before they were finished. The golf course and lake never got put in. But the subdivision came to life and was filled with new families and school age children nearly overnight. 

One day my daughter came home from school and asked me what a UFO was. She was in grade school, and said that a boy on the school bus, a neighbor that lived across the street from us, who was a year or two older than her, said that he saw a UFO parked over our house. So she wanted to know what a UFO was. I gave her a vague explanation and she never brought it up again. When we had the whole place to ourselves, UFOs were more frequent, and the stars on a cloudless night were so plentiful one could reach up and grab a handful. Not so, where I live now, city lights hide them. The painting is a description of the UFO over my house that the boy described to my daughter. Haven’t lived in the house for ten years but I still own it. I can’t seem to sell the house, so if anyone is interested let me know. Be forewarned, it’s been contaminated by extraterrestrials and is now haunted by Space Aliens!