May 25, 2020

3.10.9: NASA teams up with the NWS.

Did you know that rain drops flatten as they fall to Earth? NASA has been putting some of its high tech toys to use, aiding in the battle for accurate and timely local weather prediction. The University of Alabama in Huntsville has paired the National Weather Service with NASA’s Short term Prediction Research and Transition team, or SPoRT, to combat fast evolving weather. Physically co-located in the Nation Space Science and Technology Center, SPoRT provides real time analysis and assessment of the weather situation. This can be critical, from monitoring hurricanes and tornadoes to counting lightning strikes and the intensity of hail storms. For instance, traditional radar can only profile a shower in the horizontal direction. NASA’s Dual Polarimetric Doppler radar, however, can provide a 3D analysis, differentiating hail from rain and measuring water content to warn of potential flooding. Further tools, such as the GOES-R next generation weather satellite will give forecasters a powerful new tool when its launched in 2015. Coupling with NASA will also mean better weather forecasts for a clear night sky near you!


01.10.09: “Bozo” in Space?



Yesterday’s early AM TMA-16 Soyuz launch out of the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan carried a very unusual passenger. Guy Laliberte, Canadian entrepreneur and founder of Cirque du Soleil, blasted off 3:30 AM EDT with cosmonaut Maxim Surayev and US astronaut Jeffery Williams for an eventual docking on Friday. Laliberte paid a reputed 35$ million dollars US for his nine day stay on the International Space Station, where he also carries a message for the denizens of Earth; save our water. Laliberte’s One Drop Foundation plans to hold a global two hour show complete with concerts in 14 cities on October 9th to highlight the problem of our dwindling fresh water supply. Notables Shakira and Al Gore will take part. NASA remains ambivalent at best towards the idea of Space Tourism, but of course, the Russians and the start-up company Space Adventures are providing the ride… there are remarkable rumor rumblings that NASA may even abandon the as of yet completed station in 2015! Of course, the Russians say they’d gladly take up management… could NASA’s orbiting three-ring circus become the first “Big-Top in Space?” Laliberte is also an accomplished acrobat and fire-eater (I’d like to see him try that in space!)… He has also issued a warning to the crew of the ISS; beware of the mid-nite tickler!