R.I.P. Valery Kubasov (Вале́рий Куба́сов), the Russian cosmonaut best known for his participation in the 1975 Apollo-Soyuz mission. He passed away on February 19, 2014, at the age of 79. Here are some fun facts about his amazing life culled from various obituaries:
- "Kubasov, twice named Hero of the Soviet Union, flew in space three times, including on the historic Apollo-Soyuz mission in 1975 that saw an American Apollo and Soviet Soyuz spacecraft dock with one another." (RIA Novosti)
- "The cosmonauts and the astronauts — Brig. Gen. Thomas P. Stafford, and Deke Slayton and Vance D. Brand, both civilians — spent 44 hours together, exchanging gifts and conducting scientific experiments, while their spacecraft were linked." (New York Times)
- "Later, at a space-to-ground conference attended by both crews, he expressed his hope as an engineer that their work would pave the way for a time “when space will have whole plants, factories, for the production of new materials." (The Telegraph)
- "On his first space mission, aboard Soyuz 6 in October 1969, he carried out the first vacuum welding in space, fusing different types of metals with an electric gun to set the stage for extensive welding work on future missions in zero gravity." (NYT)
- Kubasov was “reported to have broken out in a medley of songs during that mission, seemingly out of character, bringing laughter from the craft’s commander, Lt. Col. Georgi Shonin.” (NYT)
- Of the Earth, he said “there is nothing more beautiful than our blue planet.” (The Telegraph)
- "Mr. Kubasov’s third and final space mission came in spring 1980, when he joined with Bertalan Farkas, the first Hungarian in space, on a docking with the Soviet Union’s Salyut 6 orbiting station." (NYT)
- His wife described him as “calm, restrained, not excitable.” (NYT)
- "Kubasov, originally trained as an engineer, remained active as a manager and technical consultant in Russian space projects in the post-Soviet era." (RIA Novosti)
Please note: In the two-shot photos, he is pictured with fellow cosmonaut Aleksei A. Leonov.
(Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
Our First Glimpse of the Web that Connects All Galaxies
Astronomers say all of the galaxies in the universe are connected by a vast cosmic web of filaments, but we’ve never actually seen this supposed network. That’s changed, however, thanks to the tumultuous activity of a distant quasar that’s illuminating the celestial backdrop.
Fun fact: According to the theory of relativity, the Earth would have to be condensed to roughly the size of a walnut (~9 mm) in order to become a black hole.
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Hubble Space Telescope Gets an Upgrade (Archive: NASA, Marshall, 12/21-29/99) by NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center on Flickr.
Astronauts Steven L. Smith and John M. Grunsfeld are photographed during an extravehicular activity (EVA) during the December 1999 Hubble servicing mission of STS-103, flown by Discovery. On this spacewalk, the astronauts are replacing gyroscopes, contained in rate sensor units (RSU) inside the Hubble Space Telescope. NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. was responsible for the design, development, and construction of the Hubble Space Telescope, launched on April 24, 1990. Hubble was designed with these types of on orbit servicing missions in mind as a way of extending the telescope’s lifespan.
Image credit: NASA/MSFC
Gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) are flashes of gamma rays associated with extremely energetic explosions that have been observed in distant galaxies. They are the brightest electromagnetic events known to occur in the universe. Bursts can last from ten milliseconds to several minutes. The initial burst is usually followed by a longer-lived “afterglow” emitted at longer wavelengths (X-ray, ultraviolet, optical, infrared, microwave and radio).
Most observed GRBs are believed to consist of a narrow beam of intense radiation released during a supernova or hypernova as a rapidly rotating, high-mass star collapses to form a neutron star, quark star, or black hole. A subclass of GRBs (the “short” bursts) appear to originate from a different process - this may be due to the merger of binaryneutron stars. The cause of the precursor burst observed in some of these short events may be due to the development of a resonance between the crust and core of such stars as a result of the massive tidal forces experienced in the seconds leading up to their collision, causing the entire crust of the star to shatter.
Gamma-ray bursts are thought to be highly focused explosions, with most of the explosion energy collimated into a narrow jet traveling at speeds exceeding 99.995% of the speed of light. The approximate angular width of the jet (that is, the degree of spread of the beam) can be estimated directly by observing the achromatic “jet breaks” in afterglow light curves: a time after which the slowly decaying afterglow begins to fade rapidly as the jet slows and can no longer beam its radiation as effectively
Image credit: NASA/Swift/Cruz deWilde
Sky Tapestry, by Cordella Lackey
A tapestry jewelled hangs over the night;
Have you looked up to see where it gleams?
There are rubies and sapphires and diamonds white
Interwoven with mists of lost dreams.
This tapestry ancient was hung up for you
Before Time tried to reckon with Space;
And for ages to come it will hang in the blue,
Starry jewels each one in its place.
Each star has a story, each mist is alight;
If you seek to know each priceless fold
You will treasure this tapestry hung up at night
By the Weaver of tapestries old.
ILLUMINATED CODE FROM SPACE
Bioartis Haari Tesla (behance) - "Macrocosm and microcosm is an ancient Greek Neo-Platonic schema of seeing the same patterns reproduced in all levels of the cosmos, from the largest scale (macrocosm or universe-level) all the way down to the smallest scale (microcosm or sub-sub-atomic or even metaphysical-level). In the system the midpoint is Man, who summarizes thecosmos." - I was doing some researches and I found experiment with miniatures of space so I decided to try my own. The result has been nebulae, galaxies and supernovae transformed into microorganism.
(NASA) What’s happening over the south pole of Titan? A vortex of haze appears to be forming, although no one is sure why. The above natural-color image shows the light-colored feature. The vortex was found on images taken last month when the robotic Cassini spacecraft flew by the unusual atmosphere-shrouded moon of Saturn. Cassini was only able to see the southern vortex because its orbit around Saturn was recently boosted out of the plane where the rings and moons move. Clues as to what created the enigmatic feature are accumulating, including that Titan's air appears to be sinking in the center and rising around the edges. Winter, however, is slowly descending on the south of Titan, so that the vortex, if it survives, will be plunged into darkness over the next few years.
Astronaut John H. Glenn, Jr. became the first American to orbit the Earth on February 20, 1962. With the world watching the historic and live-televised event, Glenn orbited the Earth three times in his space capsule, Friendship 7. Four hours and 55 minutes after ignition, John Glenn and Friendship 7 returned to Earth and splashed down in the Atlantic Ocean.
The John Glenn Story, 1963
From the series: Headquarters’ Films Relating to Aeronautics, 1962 - 1981,Records of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
Godspeed, John Glenn!
I can’t believe I forgot it was today! (This has been a bad week.)
This is StarStuff.
The cloudy, nebulousness of this vial are nanodiamonds, carbon molecules only a thousand atoms strong, bonded together. During the formation of our solar system a cloud of dust ballooned from the collapse of a massive molecular cloud and was circling around what would be our new, baby sun. These carbon atoms were trapped within larger molecules and compounds and became inclusions, embedded within meteorites which would become evidence of the earliest solids that condensed from the cooling of protoplanetary disks.
The Field Museum has part of the oldest known meteorite - the Allende meteorite - from which these carbon nanodiamonds were extracted through chemical processes developed by Philipp Heck, our Curator of Meteoritics. We know how old the solar system is by dating these inclusions from the Allende meteorite, giving us an estimate that our solar system is 4.567 billion years old. The carbon atoms I’m holding in the above photo are, in a sense, our greatest ancestor, and ultimately became the building blocks for all life on our planet.
TL;DR I’m holding our greatest ancestor in the palm of my hand.
Beyond Earth Stephen Di Donato
"After recently finding old science fiction magazines dating back from the 1980’s, it reignited my childhood memories of my curiosity of our solar system and of limitless imagination. I began researching heavily on NASA missions and came to the realization that the late 1950’s to mid-1970’s were exciting times for new discoveries, for real photographic images of planets and for limitless possibilities. This gave me the incentive to start a personal project named Beyond Earth."
"Extraterrestrial beings will have a different biology, a different culture,
a different language. How could we possibly understand
All the technical civilizations in the cosmos, no matter how different must have one language in common. The language called science.”
Cosmos, Part 12: Encyclopaedia Galactica