Another Star Trek survivor!

Hello everyone!

In the last post I wrote about the original Enterprise model. In this one the life sized mock up of the shuttlecraft Galileo is presented! I was really excited to find out that it still exists and is now on display at the Kennedy Space Center in Houston, Texas. It will be there to inspire generations of fans an space explorers to come!

It was originally built in 1966. A different design was created by the famed Walter “Matt” Jefferies. It couldn’t be built in the time allotted  for the construction ( roughly thirty days). So an alternate plan  was used. Gene Winfield was contracted to do the job. He created a design that could be easily built and that could be by easily produced by the model company AMT. They agreed to finance construction in exchange for being allowed to make model kits form the show.

It was shown to art director “Matt” Jefferies and he ok’d the design. Construction began and the rest is history. It has inspired the design of every subsequent StarTrek shuttlecraft since. It’s another important artifact that not only deserves the restoration, but is another sci-fi icon that has been rescued from oblivion. The videos below will tell the story in greater detail. Enjoy! I hope that you enjoy them! Until next time!

Star Trek’s original starship gets a much needed restoration.

Hello everyone!

As you know I’ve been a life long Star Trek fan. Especially the original series. It was groundbreaking, innovative, risk taking, ahead of its time and just plain fun! For about fifty years, Star Trek has been part of the human lexicon. Memorable characters, technology and stories about the human condition that endure to this very day.

Gene Roddenberry had a great idea that NBC took and ran with. They made the vision truly memorable. Set it the future (the 23rd Century  circa 2265-2268 roughly) Star Trek was a look at a possible future for mankind. we had outgrown our modern and past prejudices and hatred. Humanity had evolved to a better state. One where improving oneself is much more important that personal wealth and gain. A very utopian dream that we could one day achieve. Especially since all of the turmoil of the 1960’s when the show was created. The technology was also ahead of its time and influenced much of what we take for granted today. PC’s, cell phones, and tablets just to name a few.

One of the most groundbreaking ideas is the design of the the famous U.S.S. Enterprise. Walter “Matt” Jefferies created a design that broke from what was the norm at the time. It wasn’t a rocket or a flying saucer, but a clever blend of the two. It was also something that was neither. Gene Roddenberry wanted something that was not either of the aforementioned designs ( although I Have to admit I LOVE those, too! ) He really created something magical. It still is like almost nothing else before or since. It was the unnamed star of the show for three years on broadcast television, and lives immortally in the hearts of fans worldwide.

Fast forward to February 10, 2015. The studio miniature (at eleven feet long and around 200 pounds, miniature is a bit of a misnomer, but I digress) is about to be given a complete restoration. The Enterprise has been in the Smithsonian’s National Air And Space Museum  There were two previous restorations done, with mixed results. One in 1974 and another done in 1991. This shall be the best of the three an should preserve this important artifact for generations to come. It’s been a springboard for the imaginations of millions who have seen the show over the years. So it’s a fitting tribute to place it in the NASM for all visitors to see.

This is very important to me as well. Who would’ve thought that a little show would have such long lasting contributions to the world? One note. The video below mentions that the photograph was 1965. The model was actually delivered in December of 1964! Also Lead curator Margaret Weitekamp’s comments about the ship in 1 gee are a bit peculiar. No where in Star Trek canon is it stated that the design isn’t capable of withstanding earth;s gravity. The ship was built in zero g at the San Francisco shipyards. It has been postulated by some over the years that since she was built in zero g, that she couldn’t withstand one or more gs. Two original series episodes show however, that this isn’t the case.

The first is “Tomorrow Is Yesterday”. The Enterprise is detected by radar over earth in the 20th century. It’s actually IN the atmosphere and is intercepted by a Lockheed F-104 Starfighter. The episode is set in the year 1967. The ship leaves the atmosphere and attains orbit with no ill effects. The second is “Requiem For Methuselah”. Flint actually shrinks the Enterprise and places her on a desk in his domicile. Once again a one g environment. The ship is returned to its proper size, again, with no ill effects (in the second case, it’s the last time that we see the three foot miniature that was delivered as a proof of concept for the design).

This is related to another survivor. The full size mock-up of the Galileo shuttlecraft! I will write about that in a later article. Without further ado, the video below with tell the story of the impending restoration! Enjoy! Until next time!

Ahead Warp Factor One!

 

 

Pikachu Outbreak!!!!!!!!!

Hello everyone!

As you know Pokemon as it’s known here is a collectible card game that started in Japan. It started around 1996 A.D., of course! Pocket Monsters (it’s true title) is a HUGE worldwide phenomenon. It has spawned video games, an animated series, toys, manga (comics) and all sorts of other merchandise. Nintendo is the mastermind behind the franchise and it’s popularity is evergreen, indeed!

Fast forward to August 2014. There was a televised announcement of a Pikachu Outbreak in Yokohama. After which at least twenty, that’s right! TWENTY Pikachu took the area by storm. If you’re a fan of Pocket Monsters you’ll go wild! It really is exceedingly cute which the Japanese excel at. Don’t take my word for it. See the videos below for the pandemonium of the Pikachu Outbreak!!!!! This is one of the many things that I LOVE about Japan! Enjoy! Until next time!

Rise Of Flight PC flight simulation

Hello everyone!

I was going to do another installment of Blast From The Past when I found this. Rise Of Flight is a World War One flight simulator that is truly beautiful to behold. The fight model is spot on for the aircraft being modeled as well. If you’re a fan 0f flight sims or WW 1 aircraft. This is a great choice for you. It has a campaign and career mode that allows you to create a pilot and to choose the side that you will fight on as well. The Triple Entente (which was England, France and the U.S.A.) or the Triple Alliance (which was Germany, Austria-Hungary and Turkey).

The game itself has gorgeous photo realistic graphics that are breathtaking to behold. The controls allow you to pilot the aircraft in either first or third person views. You also have fighter, bomber and reconnaissance aircraft to choose from. Even flying boats and seaplanes! The mission that can be flown are also as varied. There’s a HUGE amount of famous aircraft that can be flown.  In a two seat aircraft you can switch between the pilot and the gunner positions as well. It really gives you a new perspective on aerial combat.

The aircraft interiors are super detailed with accurate gauges and controls that operate with great precision. You can map the controls to your liking and each control can be slaved to a different button. It really gives you the option to set up the sim to your liking. You can download the game at the aforementioned website or buy the hard copy for $29.99. The download is a free to play edition of the game. Check it out and I think that you’ll be impressed with what you see! Until next time!

Blast From The Past! Inaugural Edition

Hello everyone!

Welcome to the inaugural edition of Blast From The Past! This is the section where I talk about technological advancements from days of yore.  In this episode, I’d like to discuss submarine technology. I’ve always been a fan of military technology. Submarines are no exception. In a later edition I shall discuss the history of submarines: past, present and future. This issue will discuss and introduce you to the workings of what is essentially a World War II United States submarine.

Submarines are also the stuff of science fiction and fantasy dreams. From Jules Verne’s classic novel 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea to more modern classics like the television shows Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea and seaQuest DSV 4600.

It’s a post war GUPPY ( which is an acronym for Greater Underwater Propulsion Power Program). It was a modification of the war era subs that removed the deck guns and railing from the upper decks. It also made the conning tower much more hydrodynamic. The goal was to make the submarine much more efficient and faster underwater.

The original Fleet class submarines (Which included the original Gato class, followed by the “thick skinned” Balao and Tench classes. Much more on these in a later edition!) were designed to be much faster on the surface of the ocean instead of under it  So it took more power to move under the surface and created much more hydrodynamic drag. The GUPPY was a way to address this. Since there were still many viable subs that were still in service, just after the war, this was a viable option.

The video is a declassified US Navy film from 1955 that explains the inner workings of the GUPPY. It’s also my first black and white video posting so I hope that you’re not too disappointed! I find it interesting that it explains how a submarine works.  Most of this is also true for modern nuclear submarines!  I hope that you will enjoy and learn from it. Until next time!

 

Black Holes visualized properly for the first time in cinema history!

Hello again everyone!

2014 was a year of firsts. One of which is the the first accurate depiction of a Black Hole. They are the stuff of legends and of real life. They have been even been the stuff of science fiction for some tine now. But all this time the images were wrong. The film Interstellar is the first film to accurately portray  the way that a Black Hole would appear to us in real life. I won’t make this into a review of said film. The interesting thing is how much of the actual science is shown in the film. Most of it’s spot on. Especially the Black Hole itself! It’s called Gargantua in the film. It’s truly breathtaking and beautiful!

A Black Hole is a mathematically defined region of spacetime exhibiting such a strong gravitational pull, that no particle or electromagnetic radiation can escape from it.

The film makers were helped by Astrophysicist Kip Thorne in their depiction of the Black Hole. His calculations were used in the creation of the way that the Black Hole looks. The computers used actually have enough power to accurately translate his equations into a realistic image for the first time. Very exciting stuff, indeed! I’ll let the film crew explain the rest in a couple of videos that are below for your perusal. Enjoy! Until next time!

NASA Starship??????

Hello everyone!

It’s been five years and STO is still alive and well. February 2nd is the day that it debuted. What a ride it’s been! If you haven’t experienced it yet, you should. It’s fun for  people who like games, those who are sci-fi fans and gamers, also for hard core Star Trek fans. It’s not perfect, but it’s really addicting and fun. i highly recommend it.

This post is really about the released photos of the IXS Enterprise. A FTL (Faster Than Light) starship.  The story was released in 2012, that the National Aeronautics and Space Agency (NASA for short) was working on a Warp Drive that would allow Faster Than Light velocities. Artist Mark Rademaker (along with Mike Okuda of Star Trek fame) has worked with Dr. Harold White to make concept images of the proposed spacecraft. Dr. White is planning to make it a reality by incorporating an Alcubierre drive. This propulsion is envisioned by physicist Miguel Alcubierre. It works by distorting space time.

What this means, is that the drive will basically compress space in front of the ship, and expand space behind it. This will give the sense of motion to the passengers allowing them to experience movement with a lack of acceleration. This will also make long distance space travel possible in our life time. No generational or sleeper ships will be necessary. A trip to Alpha Centauri ( a distance of about 4.3 light years) will take about two weeks. A light year is about 6 trillion miles! The ship is enclosed inside of two large rings that envelop the ship. The rings create a warp bubble around and inside the rings. Anything outside the rings will be left behind or amputated from the vessel.

This is a tantalizing idea, but it’s only a concept. But is does give us a possible glimpse of the future. The design is based on a design from the past. Walter “Matt” Jefferies was the designer of the original Starship Enterprise. His design was on of the many rejected design of the famous sci-fi vessel. His design had very thin rings, with a long protrusion from the front that extended beyond the rings. Rademaker’s design is much more “beefy” with thicker rings and hull. It also has some sci-fi elements but it could be done. The artificial gravity on board for one. Here’s a couple of movies to explain it all! Enjoy! Until next time everyone!

Impossible Drive – A myth or a reality?

2014 was a series of firsts. An “impossible drive” was announced, NASA unveiled a Starship design and the first realistic Black Hole animation/photos were released. I plan to tackle each of these.

Momentum in physics can be determined by multiplying an object’s mass and velocity (speed in a set direction). Momentum is conserved (theory and observation for some time now tell and show us this fact).  This is a fancy way of saying that momentum can neither be created or destroyed. All movement follows these principles. A rocket for instance , burns it’s propellant and the exhaust is accelerated in the opposite direction of movement creating thrust (momentum). To conserve momentum, the spacecraft must move with an equal and opposite momentum to that of the exhaust gases. The rocket’s motion in response to the exhaust gases is called a reaction. Rocket engines (or motors) are reaction engines. This is also called a drive in speculative fiction ( Star Trek’s Impulse Engine comes to mind). The “impossible” drive is a reactionless thruster/drive. Mr Shawyer says that this isn’t the case, but I’ll let him explain his device later in the attached videos.

Back in August of 2014, it was reported that NASA had validated the “impossible drive” concept. Called “impossible” be cause it manages to create thrust without using propellant to do so. It’s what’s called a Propellantless Thruster. Roger J Shawyer created what he calls the EMDrive (Electromagnetic Drive). He is an aerospace engineer from England. Another gentleman named Guido P. Fetta has created a similar device called the Cannae Drive (or sometimes the Q Drive). Mr Fetta has a sales and marketing background but has nonetheless created a company to market his drive, Cannae LLC.

Both are basically a sealed metal container with a microwave generator inside called a magnetron. It creates thrust by bouncing the microwaves around inside. But since one side of the “box” has greater surface area than the other, There’s a slight imbalance in the pressure exerted by the microwaves which is detected as thrust, since the thruster moves without exhaust. That’s the EM Drive concept. It’s also known as a RF resonant cavity thruster. The Cannae Drive works on a similar principle, but instead of a sealed cavity it’s a disk shape. It has radial slots in one inside face that produce an internal force imbalance that creates thrust.

These devices are contrary to law of conservation as we know them by directly turning electricity into thrust. Mr Shawyer has written  papers to show that his device obeys Einstein’s relativity principle and Newton’s laws. He says that he has successfully tested prototypes as well. Boeing has tested the device but no results were given. Juan Yang, a professor of propulsion theory and aero and astronautics engineering at Northwestern Polytechnical University in Xi’an, China, has claimed to have tested the EM Drive successfully.

It is a great hope of mine that these devices have merit and do actually work. It would make the bulky and terribly inefficient rockets of today completely obsolete. 90%, that’s right about 90% of a rocket’s mass at liftoff is propellant. Only about 10% of that is the payload. It’s one of the reasons that they are so expensive and difficult. A drive like this would make exploring the stars a much more economical and easy process. A dream come true. I haven’t heard any news about this since August of last year, but here’s to hoping. More on this later. Until next time!

Back in the fight!

Hello everyone! I hope that the holidays were fun and not too hectic! But I digress. I’m posting for the first time in a while, now. I wanted to have something up tonight, but alas it will be tomorrow. Stay tuned! Great things are in store. Happy Birthday Janos!!!!!

Star Citizen: The New Trailer!

Hello everyone! This is a very quick post to show the newest video for Star Citizen. They have just released this and updated the website. I’ll be back later with more info and tidbits of knowledge. This is a must see! : Enjoy!

Please leave any questions or comments below and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can!