Climate Change and NASA

NASA continues to do great work on climate change, as always. Here is something from one of the NASA FAQs (frequently asked questions).



The AGU (American Geophysical Union) position statement is titled, “Human-induced climate change requires urgent action.” That science is as settled as science can be, as settled as the age of the Earth and the role of evolution on life, including human life.

The IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) is an award-winning source for climate change science communication and public policy. They shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with Al Gore.

As we can see from the image, NASA does not promote particular public policies. Even the AMA (American Medical Association) published a climate change position statement, referring to their support for the work of the IPCC. Who else can join the AGU and the AMA in publishing a position statement?

My sighting and photos of an adult bald eagle fishing with two Opsrey

I was walking my dog Friday, September 26, 2014, and I had my camera (20x optical zoom, automatic mode, sports mode) with me. I photographed a bald eagle and two Osprey. About a year ago, a couple told me that bald eagles were sighted here in Houston at Armand Bayou years ago, nesting, and creating a second nest farther down the bayou, farther away from people. The sight of this bald eagle was a big and pleasant surprise. I will place one photo here for now. I have a few photos of it. In one photo, the bald eagle has a fish in its claws. In another photo, one of the two Osprey has a fish in its claws.

My PowerPoint slides are available in PDF format via this website:

Here is that link in a clickable and more concise form.

Great to see a bald eagle

A bald eagle and an Osprey. The wingspan for an Osprey is up to one inch less than 6 feet (Wikipedia). The wingspan for a bald eagle is up to 8 feet (Wikipedia). In this photo, the Osprey has a fish in its claws.

And below are two more pictures of a bald eagle (the same one, I guess) at that same place. It is being attacked in air by an Opsrey. These photos are from Friday, October 3, 2014, my second bald eagle sighting, one week after the first sighting. I photographed both sightings!

A bald eagle and an Osprey

Bald eagle and Opsrey again

Bald eagle and Osprey again

Bald eagle and Osprey again

The 2010 book Merchants of Doubt mentions eagles and falcons being saved by the work of Rachel Carson, author of the 1962 book Silent Spring. Her book talked about DDT, pesticides, and ecosystems. In the first paragraph of MoD’s Chapter 7, bald eagles are mentioned. The MoD book explains in its Chapter 7 that suddenly in 2007, an internet “Rachel was wrong.” campaign appeared from the CEI. (I will not bother to define the acronyms of these conservative think tanks for now. Calling them conservative is being too nice to them, by the way.) Conservative and Libertarian. AEI. The Cato Institute. The Heartland Institute. They are free market fundamentalists.

In 1972, the successful solution in the USA to the problem of DDT and other pesticides was implemented, including government regulations.

“Mass murderer.” “Worse than Hitler.” That is how they described Rachel Carson in 2007 with their “Rachel is wrong” campaign.

“After Rush Limbaugh parroted the ‘Rachel was wrong’ attack, the CEI promoted him for the Nobel Peace Prize.” That sentence is from MoD, an exact quote, except that the book spells out the acronym for CEI.

The MoD authors are Naomi Oreskes and Eric M. Conway. I recommend the book. The full title is Merchants of Doubt, How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming. Eric M. Conway is the NASA/JPL historian.

Of course, climate change is is the news now with Eric Schmidt talking about ALEC, another one of those free market fundamentalist groups. Here is a link to an article from the Guardian. The quote by Schmidt about ALEC is from an NPR show, the Diane Rehm show. Here is the link to that transcript from NPR. And here is that quote from that show of Monday, September 22, 2014:

[Start quote.]

Hi, yes. Thank you so much for taking my call, Diane.
I’m curious to know if Google is still supporting ALEC, which is that fund lobbyist in D.C. that are funding climate change deniers.
We funded them as part of a political game for something unrelated. I think the consensus within the company was that that was sort of a mistake. And so we’re trying to not do that in the future.
And how did you get involved with them in the first place? And were you then disappointed in what you saw?
Well, the company has a very strong view that we should make decisions in politics based on facts. What a shock. And the facts of climate change are not in question anymore. Everyone understands climate change is occurring. And the people who oppose it are really hurting our children and our grandchildren and making the world a much worse place. And so we should not be aligned with such people. They’re just literally lying.
Eric Schmidt. He’s executive chairman of Google. He’s former chief executive officer of Google from 2001 through 2011. His new book is titled how Google works. Eric Schmidt, it was a pleasure to talk with you. And maybe we’ll talk again.

[End quote.]



Personal Memoirs of U.S. Grant

[July 30, 2014]

I recall reading that this book has never been out of print. It first appeared as two books, Volumes 1 and 2, it seems. This famous American Civil War winning General later served two consecutive four-year terms as President of the USA, and at the end of his life, he completed his best-selling memoirs in two volumes. Mark Twain was his publisher, as I recall.

I purchased a square-bound softcover printed-on-paper version of this book quite a few years ago. I read it and liked it, though I found long stretches of the narrative held little interest for me. I often wanted to re-read that story about the popularity of tobacco in Mexico. The war with Mexico occurred before our 1861-1865 Civil War. This week I downloaded these two free e-books from the Apple iBooks store. I found that tobacco story easily since I can search for words such as tobacco.

I am sure these books are in the public domain. I will check on that later by using Wikipedia. I note here that Volume 1 in this e-book form is produced by Glen Bledsoe and contains additional proofing by David Widger.

I place a few quotes here from Volume 1.

In my early days, every one labored more or less, in the region where my youth was spent, and more in proportion to their private means. It was only the very poor who were exempt. 

[...] While my father carried on the manufacture of leather… I detested the trade, preferring almost any other labor; but I was fond of agriculture, and of all employment in which horses were used. 

[...] I did not like to work; but I did as much of it, while young, as grown men can be hired to do in these days, and attended school at the same time. 

[...] I noticed, however, a few years later, when the Mexican war broke out, that most of this class of officers discovered they were possessed of disabilities which entirely incapacitated them from active field service. They had the moral courage to proclaim it, too. They were right; but they did not always give their disease the right name.

Next I focus on a few long quotes from U.S. Grant about Texas, our war with Mexico which resulted in the transfer of Texas to the USA, and our Civil War.

In May of 1845, Grant procured a leave for 20 days. He visited St. Louis. He asked a lady’s father for permission to marry. It was granted.

Grant introduces us to Camp Salubrity. They stayed there for 6 months before the first death occurred, and that was by accident.

[...] There was no intimation given that the removal of the 3rd and 4th regiments of infantry to the western border of Louisiana was occasioned in any way by the prospective annexation of Texas, but it was generally understood that such was the case. [...] Generally, the officers of the army were indifferent whether the annexation was consummated or not; but not so all of them. For myself, I was bitterly opposed to the measure, and to this day regard the war, which resulted, as one of the most unjust ever waged by a stronger nation against a weaker nation. It was in instance of a republic following the bad example of European monarchies, in not considering justice in their desire to acquire additional territory. Texas was originally a state belonging to the republic of Mexico. It extended from the Sabine River on the east to the Rio Grande on the west, and from the Gulf of Mexico on the south and east to the territory of the United States and New Mexico-another Mexican state at that time-on the north and west. An empire in territory, It had but a very sparse population, until settled by Americans who had received authority from Mexico to colonize. These colonists paid very little attention to the supreme government, and introduced slavery into the state almost from the start, though the constitution of Mexico did not, nor does it now, sanction that institution. Soon they set up an independent government of their own, and war existed, between Texas and Mexico, in name from that time until 1836, when active hostilities very nearly ceased upon the capture of Santa Anna, the Mexican President. Before long, however, the same people-who with permission of Mexico had colonized Texas, and afterwards set up slavery there, and then seceded as soon as they felt strong enough to do so-offered themselves and the State to the United States, and in 1845 their offer was accepted. The occupation, separation and annexation were, from the inception of the moment to its final consummation, a conspiracy to acquire territory out of which the slave states might be formed for the American Union. 

Even if the annexation itself could be justified, the manner in which the subsequent war was forced upon Mexico cannot. The fact is, annexationists wanted more territory than they could possibly lay claim to, as part of the new acquisition. Texas, as an independent State, never had exercised jurisdiction over the territory between the Nueces River and the Rio Grande. Mexico had never recognized the independence of Texas, and maintained that, even if independent, the State had no claim south of the Nueces. I am aware that a treaty, made by the Texans with Santa Anna while he was under duress, ceded all territory between the Nueces and the Rio Grande-, but he was a prisoner of war when the treaty was made, and his life was in jeopardy. He knew, too, that he deserved execution at the hands of the Texans, if they should ever capture him. The Texans, if they had taken his life, would have only followed the example set by Santa Anna himself a few years before, when he executed the entire garrison of the Alamo and the villagers of Goliad. 

In taking military possession of Texas after annexation, the army of occupation, under General Taylor, was directed to occupy the disputed territory. The army did not stop at the Nueces and offer to negotiate for a settlement of the boundary question, but went beyond, apparently in order to force Mexico to initiate war. It is to the credit of the American nation, however, that after conquering Mexico, and while practically holding the country in our possession, so that we could have retained the whole of it, or made any terms we chose, we paid a round sum for the additional territory taken; more than it was worth, or was likely to be, to Mexico. To us it was an empire and of incalculable value; but it might have been obtained by other means. The Southern rebellion was largely the outgrowth of the Mexican war. Nations, like individuals, are punished for their transgressions. We got our punishment in the most sanguinary and expensive war of modern times. 

This is an incredible history of Texas and the American Civil War, but Grant is a reliable reporter in my eyes. This does not agree with the Wikipedia version of these stories, as I recall. I will compare those sources again later.

[...] Under these circumstances, I gave up everything like a special course of reading, and only read thereafter for my own amusement, and not very much for that, until the war was over. I kept a horse and rode, and staid [stayed] out of doors [outdoors] most of the time by day, and entirely recovered from the cough which I had carried from West Point, and from all indications of consumption. I have often thought that my life was saved, and my health restored, by exercise and exposure, enforced by an administrative act, and a war, both of which I disapproved. 

Below is the last paragraph of Chapter 3 (Volume 1):

At Camp Salubrity, and when we went to New Orleans Barracks, the 4th infantry was commanded by Colonel Vose, then an old gentleman who had not commanded on drill for a number of years. He was not a man to discover infirmity in the presence of danger. It now appeared that war was imminent, and he felt that is was his duty to brush up on his tactics. Accordingly, when we got settled down at our new post, he took command of the regiment at a battalion drill. Only two or three evolutions had been gone through when he dismissed the battalion, and, turning to go to his own quarters, dropped dead. He had not been complaining of ill health, but no doubt died of heart disease. He was a most estimable man, of exemplary habits, and by no means the author of his own disease. 

Chapter IV is titled Corpus Christi-Mexican Smuggling-Spanish Rule in Mexico-Supplying Transportation. Mexican Smuggling refers to that tobacco story that I plan to include in this post.

[...] Corpus Christi is near the head of the bay of the same name, …

[...] Tobacco is cheap, and every quality can be produced. Its use is by no means so general as when I first visited the country.

The tobacco story starts with Corpus Christi above and ends with, “Its use is by no means so general as when I first visited the country.” That is four paragraphs. I am not typing them here for now, but I will probably fill in those quotes later. Briefly summarized, when tobacco is only sold to a privileged group and is very expensive (and production is controlled), everyone wants tobacco, and everyone obtains it. Most obtain it via smuggling. Much later, when it is cheap and can be grown anywhere (and can be sold to anyone, and the quality varies), far fewer people use tobacco.


Brevet_Second_Lieutenant_Ulysses_S._Grant_in_1843. Click to zoom. Source: Wikipedia. URL:


Climate Change Public Policy Quotes of Importance from 2007 and 2012

[July 6, 2014]

This blog post compares a 2012 quote from Naomi Oreskes and Eric Conway (from their book Merchants of Doubt) to a 2007 quote from former NASA Administrator Michael Griffin.

After my 1981-2011 Honeywell aerospace engineering career, climate change arrived on my radar in late 2011, though earlier I had seen Al Gore’s Academy-award-winning documentary movie An Inconvenient Truth. I heard a few climate change denialists make presentations in a NASA/JSC building. A month later, 3 university professors made climate change presentations in that same building, invited by those same organizers. Of course, the presentations of these university professors were in agreement with the United Nations IPCC, the NASA climate website, and professional science groups such as the American Geophysical Union (AGU). I knew I leaned to believing the second set of those presentations (some of those presentations from those two sessions are available online), but I remained on the fence until October 23, 2012. On that date, PBS Television in the USA showed the Climate of Doubt episode of Frontline, a one-hour TV show of weekly (but not 52 weeks per year) investigative journalism. Frontline featured climate change denialists in their own conference, the 8th conference in a series of climate change denialism, with the Heartland Institute featured prominently. In fact, the 9th conference in that series is now approaching soon (in Las Vegas, as I recall), though I concluded they were canceled after the Frontline broadcast.

Of course, one free source of information to sort this out is Robert Brull’s 2013 report. The Drexel University press release is found by searching the internet for Not Just the Koch Brothers. The report’s title includes the words Institutionalizing Delay. The Heartland Institute is mentioned in that report. The report focuses on the climate change denialism public policy funding from 2003 to 2010, and reports that American conservatives have successfully created controversy from scientific facts about climate change since the Heartland Institute took on the subject of climate change in 1989. Brull also worked with Stanford University on that report. A John Baez website provides high-resolution images of the figures from this Brull report.

Before comparing an Oreskes/Conway quote to a Michael Griffin quote, here is a global warming image file obtained via Wikipedia.

NASA global warming image via Wikipedia (Click to zoom.)

NASA global warming image via Wikipedia (Click to zoom.)

Here is the caption for the image from Wikipedia:

Caption for global warming image from NASA via Wikipedia (Click to zoom.)

Caption for global warming image from NASA via Wikipedia (Click to zoom.)

The PBS television show in the USA, Moyers & Company, is excellent, and the related website is He presents the first few pages of the Oreskes/Conway book Merchants of Doubt in a blog post dated May 16, 2014. I have the Apple iBooks sample, and the very next paragraph contains the Oreskes/Conway quote I wish to present here. The shortest form of this global warming quote is, “First they [Setiz and Singer, and a handful of other scientists who joined forces with think tanks and private corporations to challenge scientific evidence on a host of contemporary issues] claimed there was none, then they claimed it was just natural variation, and then they claimed that even if it was happening and it was our fault, it didn’t matter because we could just adapt to it.”

This is a 2012 book, and I will now compare that last part of that quote to Michael Griffin’s 2007 quote. Here is the Wikipedia article containing the 2007 quote from Michael Griffin, NASA Administrator from 2005 to 2009. Griffin seemed to be in agreement with the above climate change denialist quote, “… even if it [global warming] was happening and it was our fault, it didn’t matter because we could just adapt to it.”

The NASA Earth Observing System satellite fleet started in 1997 and contains about 20 satellites now [Wikipedia], all used for climate change studies. It is painful to know that a NASA Administrator would say that. It requires time for American citizens, including me, to sort out this subject of climate change, but thanks to many sources, including the recent television series Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, it is now becoming obvious to American citizens.

Here is part of the Griffin quote from that Wikipedia article:

In a follow-up interview to his May 31 interview with NPR‘s Steve Inskeep airing June 1, 2007, on NPR News’ Morning Edition, Griffin said the following:

“I have no doubt that global—that a trend of global warming exists. I am not sure that it is fair to say that it is a problem we must wrestle with. To assume that it is a problem is to assume that the state of Earth’s climate today is the optimal climate, the best climate that we could have or ever have had and that we need to take steps to make sure that it doesn’t change.
First of all, I don’t think it’s within the power of human beings to assure that the climate does not change, as millions of years of history have shown, and second of all, I guess I would ask which human beings – where and when – are to be accorded the privilege of deciding that this particular climate that we have right here today, right now is the best climate for all other human beings. I think that’s a rather arrogant position for people to take.”

Some climate scientists referred to his remarks as ignorant. In particular, James E. Hansen, NASA’s top official on climate change, said Griffin’s comments showed “arrogance and ignorance”, as millions will likely be harmed by global warming. Jerry Mahlman, a scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, said that Griffin was either “totally clueless” or “a deep antiglobal warming ideologue”.



Climate Change and State Governors in the USA

Climate Progress published an excellent map, and the link for that article is provided below. This map shows the 50 states of the USA, color-coded based on the climate change track record of the state governor.

That relates state governors and climate change.

Like Ta Nahisi Coates on the PBS television show Moyers & Company, I compare that to maps of the northern and southern states during the American Civil War of 1861-1865. Coates wrote the June 2014 cover story for the monthly magazine, the Atlantic. The article title was the Case for Reparations. He pointed out that those Southern states reject the Medicaid extension option for ObamaCare, the Affordable Care Act, harming black Americans more than anyone, once again, in addition to the current American mass incarceration. Once again, black Americans are injured, he says. A relevant book is the New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander.

Also, a new book by Ian Haney Lopez is Dog Whistle Politics. He asserts that between the Civll War and the start of the Jim Crow era (after World War 2), the situation for black Americans from Texas to North Carolina was worse than slavery, thanks to convict leasing. Lopez points out that once the Civil War ended, neither slavery nor indentured servitude were allowed, except for those justly convicted of a crime. Haney explains that before the Civil War, many slaveholders described their slaves as peaceful, but once the Civil War ended, they were described as violent and dangerous. How convenient!

Here is the text of Section 1 of the 14th amendment to the Constitution of the USA from the Wikipedia article:

“All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

Below is a map from Wikipedia of the Confederacy from the American Civil War.

Map of the states and territories claimed by the Confederate States of America

Map of the states and territories claimed by the Confederate States of America. Wikipedia. Click to zoom.

The link for that Wikipedia page is:

Here is a map from Wikipedia of the Union during the American Civil War (1861-1865):

Map of the division of the states during the American Civil War. Blue (the U.S. Army’s uniform color) indicates the Union states; light blue represents Union states which permitted slavery (border states); red represents Confederate states. White or unshaded areas were territories. Wikipedia. Click to zoom.

Here is the full link for the above map:

The Late Frederick Ira Ordway III

The Late Frederick Ira Ordway III (April 4, 1927- July 1, 2014)

[July 3, 2014, Douglas Yazell]

A giant of the aerospace world died this week, and we offer our tributes and a few words about our connections. First, here is a link for an obituary article in the Quad-Citites Daily newspaper website, serving Athens, Decatur, Huntsville, and Shoals in the American state of Alabama. He is described there as Professor Ordway of Huntsville, so he enjoyed living in the NASA/MSFC (Marshall Space Flight Center) community. Here is that link spelled out:

A great friend sent me the news, probably from this NASA Watch link:

Here is the Wikipedia article link for Frederick Ira Ordway III:

I led a team on an 18-month project to reprint the 1952-1954 magazine articles, “Man Will Conquer Space Soon!” Wernher von Braun led a team of editors, writers and artists creating those articles in eight issues of the weekly magazine Collier’s. Our Horizons Collier’s team became the first to reprint those articles page-by-page and in high resolution. Horizons is the newsletter of AIAA Houston Section, and AIAA is the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. Horizons was and probably will continue to be bimonthly (or monthly), free, using the PDF format, all-volunteer, and approximately 36 pages per issue. Fred Ordway was kind enough to join our Horizons Collier’s team, and his name was listed in each of our eight issues of Horizons as a member of our Horizons Collier’s team. His contribution was mostly contained in a few email notes, as I recall, but we knew we could call on him, and his participation was a source of great pride for our team.

The Horizons website page is here:

The July / August 2012 issue of Horizons was our part 1 of 8 parts for the Horizons Collier’s series. Here is the link for low resolution (23 MB) version of that issue:

Here is the link for the high resolution (87 MB) version of that issue:

Professor Ordway allowed me to print in Horizons the contents of a short email note (lightly edited) he wrote to me. Here is the original text of that note dated June 12, 2013:

 Yes. indeed, all OK, and a splendid article, indeed.
    I of course have all the Collier’s series; and, by the way, was introduced to Wernher von Braun by Professor Fred L. Whipple at a Hayden space symposium in 1952 in New York. Dr. Whipple chaired the Department of Astronomy when I studied the subject at Harvard–class of 1949.
    Back in 1952 I was working at the Guided Missiles Division of Republic Aviation on Long Island and frequently attended American Rocket Society meetings in New York; I had joined the ARS as a student member when I was only 13–in January 1941!..
    With best wishes and many congratulations, Fred Ordway

He wrote again on June 21, 2013:

Hi, Douglas, you can certainly use my words in your important effort. By the way, The American Rocket Society merged with the Institute of Aerospace Sciences to become the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, widely referred to as the AIAA. Good luck and best wishes, Fred Ordway

Incidentally, I see the Wikipedia article states (with two references) that Professor Ordway joined the American Rocket Society (ARS) in 1939, though Ordway specified 1941 above.

AIAA was created in 1963 by merging the two societies mentioned above. One of those started in 1930, and one started in 1932, so AIAA celebrates 1931 as its birth year. I note that NASA was created in 1958, and Sputnik was launched in 1957.

We probably first contacted Ordway to ask about copyright expiration dates for the Collier’s series. Later, it was only Arthur M. Dula who was able to help us with that question, along with Shirazi Jaleel-Khan from his office.

With great admiration, we say goodbye to our Horizons Collier’s series teammate Frederick Ira Ordway III. May we all dare to do such great things as he did in his career.
In closing, below is a screen capture image of the advertisement (All of our Horizons Collier’s series advertisements were presented at no charge for Horizons team members.) we carried in each of the eight issues of Horizons in our Horizons Collier’s series:

A screen capture image of the Ordway advertisement in every issue of Horizons Collier's series (Click to zoom.)

A screen capture image of the Ordway advertisement in every issue of Horizons Collier’s series (Click to zoom.)

That website address above is for Apogee Books: Ordway’s book The Rocket Team can be purchased there. We highly recommend the book.

In fact, when we use that Apogee Books website address above today, it leads to a short tribute to the late Frederick Ira Ordway III. From there, we can click to continue to the Apogee Books website.

Amelia Earhart Mystery News June 2014

Source: Wikipedia

Source: Wikipedia (click to zoom)

The Miami Herald presents an excellent new article about the Amelia Earhart mystery. The new article is dated June 29, 2014:

It says Ric Gillespie and TIGHAR found a metal plate on Gardner Island which matched Earhart’s plane in some ways except the rivet pattern was different. Now Gillespie announces that a new photograph is found (news article dated June 29, 2014) showing Earhart’s airplane just before its last takeoff, with that window replaced. It was a last-minute replacement, not recorded, so it could explain the difference in rivet patterns.

I note that even the Wikipedia Earhart article explains that Earhart’s windows were replaced. One Wikipedia photo caption is this:

“Amelia Earhart’s Lockheed Electra 10E. During its modification, the aircraft had most of the cabin windows blanked out and had specially fitted fuselage fuel tanks.”

And even in a 2012 TIGHAR photograph from this news source:

we see that window was already replaced.

But in 2014, in the news article of June 29, 2014, we are told that the window was only replaced at the last moment of Earhart’s round-the-world flight, in that last week before her last takeoff. That appears to be certain, in any case: it was a last-moment replacement of that window, using an aluminum plate.

By the way, we have a Houston connection to this story, or we once had that connection. That article starts on page 34 here:

That is the May 2011 issue of Horizons. In fact, I had just started as Editor of that publication on April 11, 2011, so that was difficult. That issue was published a few days late compared to its April 20, 2011 deadline, so we called it the May 2011 issue, but it was the March / April 2011 issue, so to speak.

That news article reports that Ric Gillespie’s work has often been criticized. It also reports that TIGHAR is working to confirm those matching rivet patterns. If confirmed, that would be good evidence. Even if the rivet patterns are not confirmed, this appears to be good new evidence. If accurate, then Earhart’s airplane was there and used as a source of radio broadcasts asking for help, then sank there. One day, if her airplane is located at the bottom of the ocean in that location, the mystery will finally be solved. No rush, but her life and work are often too much criticized and not enough praised.

Climate Change Notes for Spaceflight Chronicles July 1, 2014

I glanced at Wikipedia to start reading about NASA Earth Observation Satellites.

NASA EOS via Wikipedia 2014 07 01 (click to zoom)

NASA EOS via Wikipedia 2014 07 01 (click to zoom)

And that led me to NASA ESE via Wikipedia:

NASA ESE via Wikipedia (click to zoom)

NASA ESE via Wikipedia (click to zoom)

That led me to Dr. James Hansen via Wikipedia. Below are some of his slides and cropped slides from a late 2013 presentation at a meeting of the American Geophysical Union (AGU):

Quote from James Hansen 2013 AGU PDF via Wikipedia

Quote from James Hansen 2013 AGU PDF via Wikipedia (click to zoom)

That is worth repeating:

“Thus our objective is to define what the science indicates is needed, not to assess the political feasibility.”

The next slide presented here talks about PLOS ONE and open access:

James Hansen AGU 2013 via Wikipedia PLOS ONE open access

James Hansen AGU 2013 via Wikipedia PLOS ONE open access (click to zoom)

PLOS ONE is new to me. Next, I selected a slide from Dr. Hansen containing addresses of a few websites:

Websites mentioned by Dr. James Hansen AGU 2013

Websites mentioned by Dr. James Hansen AGU 2013 (click to zoom)

Next I selected a chart from Dr. Hansen that talks about carbon emissions and many countries, including China and the USA.

When I mentioned climate change to a friend who lives in Utah, he said China will zoom ahead of us while we sacrifice in order to reduce our carbon footprint (carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere).

A National Public Radio (NPR) interview with Dr. Judith Curry took place in 2013, as I recall. The journalist said something to this effect, “There is no scenario where this ends well, staying on our current path of doing nothing about human-caused climate change. Don’t run that experiment!” Dr. Curry responded saying something to this effect, “China will run that experiment.”

Here is that chart from Dr. Hansen:

James Hansen AGU 2013 emissions annual and cumulative (click to zoom)

Looking at the above figure, for the 2012 carbon emissions, the Chinese result is about twice the American result. For cumulative emissions, the American result is about 2.5 times the Chinese result. As I recall, carbon’s (CO2, carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, also called a Tyndall gas) damaging effects on global climate has a dramatically long lifetime.

As I recall from his book, Dr. James Hansen recommends the use of nuclear power as a source of energy, and he recommends a new generation of nuclear power plants. I have some family connections in France, so the following quote stayed on my mind.

James Hansen AGU 2013 emissions annual and cumulative

James Hansen AGU 2013 emissions annual and cumulative (click to zoom)

To enjoy the entire set of charts from this presentation by Dr. James Hansen, use the following website page address:

The main website address is:

That is the website for Dr. James E. Hansen at the Earth Institute of Columbia University in New York City.

I will end this blog post here. See you next time!

The May / June 2014 issue of Horizons, newsletter of AIAA Houston Section

Exciting news! This 46-page newsletter (magazine, PDF format, 9 MB) was published today! AIAA is the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, with 35,000 members and 100 corporate members. AIAA Houston Section has about 800 professional members, mostly in the NASA/JSC community, with almost 10% in the Texas A&M University (TAMU) in the area of College Station, Texas USA. All issues include climate change science & public policy, articles created in collaboration with AIAA Houston Section’s French sister section 3AF MP (, the TAMU student chapter, the Rice University student chapter, the 1940 Air Terminal Museum at Hobby Airport (an AIAA Historic Aerospace Site), the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) Chapter 12 (Houston), the Johnson Space Center Astronomical Society (JSCAS), and much more.

Horizons preview

Horizons preview (click to zoom)

The cover story for this issue is Morpheus: the Ups and Downs of an Autonomous Lander, by Jon Olansen, NASA/JSC.

This is available (membership not required) via the following link:


Aeronautics and Space Daily News and Amelia Earhart

[June 27, 2014]

After three years of editing a newsletter for a big group of professionals, I will soon start getting my bearings on other tasks. The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) sends a daily email news summary note to its members. The note is called AIAA Daily Launch. I am tempted to collect such notes of interest here, but that is not a targeted task. Meanwhile, here is one such note of interest.

Amelia Rose Earhart To Recreate Namesake’s 1937 Flight.

The Denver Post (6/26, Gonzalez) reports that Amelia Rose Earhart will recreate the around-the-world flight her namesake, Amelia Mary Earhart, attempted back in 1937 that ended in her disappearance. On Friday, she’ll begin her journey in a single-engine Pilatus PC12.

The above was done with a simple copy and paste operation. Here is how it looks in my email inbox:

AIAA Daily News screen capture image

Here is a cropped photograph of Amelia Earhart:

Cropped Amelia Earhart photograph from Wikipedia

The young woman now starting her repeat of this around-the-world flight is not related to Amelia Earhart, but she carries the same name. If I were still editing that same newsletter, I would be tempted to report there on her round-the-world flight, but even then, I might not have the interest of an audience mostly located in Houston, Texas USA.

Amelia Earhart is underestimated. She was not only the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean, she was the second person to accomplish that feat. It occurred five years to the day after the success of Charles Lindbergh.

In other news, here are some news items of interest to me. These are from AIAA Daily News, but I will probably not be placing this kind of summary here on a regular basis.

Item 1:

Astronauts Have Friendly Bet For U.S.-Germany World Cup Match.

Florida Today (6/25, Dean) reported that with the U.S. and Germany facing each other in the World Cup today, there is a friendly wager between NASA astronauts Steve Swanson and Reid Wiseman and Germany’s Alexander Gerst, all of whom are now at the ISS. If the U.S. wins, Gerst will paint the U.S. flag on his head. If Germany wins, the American astronauts would “shave their heads.” Wiseman said, “You better believe we’ll be watching. … It’s two against one up here, so I think the U.S. chances are pretty good.” If the two teams do advance with a tie, Swanson said he “would love to see” a championship game between the two nations.

Item 2:

Chinese Space Agency Plans To Land Rover On Mars By 2020.

RT (RUS) (6/26) reports Ouyang Ziyuan, an official with the Chinese Academy of Sciences and a top scientist on China’s Lunar Exploration Program, said Monday at the 22nd International Planetarium Society Conference in Beijing that China plans to “land a rover on Mars by 2020 and bring back samples from the Red Planet a decade later.” He explained the goal behind the missions is to “explore extraterrestrial activity and research the planet’s environment” as well as signify China’s introduction to “deeper voyages into outer space.”

Item 3:

Telescopes May Have Observed X-Rays From Sterile Neutrino Decay.

The Huntsville (AL) Times (6/25, Roop) reported that NASA said that the Chandra X-ray Observatory and XMM-Newton X-ray Observatory have discovered an unidentified “spike of intensity at a very specific wavelength of X-ray light” coming from the “Perseus Cluster and 73 other galaxy clusters.” These emissions may be caused by “decaying sterile neutrinos,” which is thought to be one explanation for dark matter. While confirmation of this explanation is needed, Esra Bulbul of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, who led the research, said that the discovery could be “huge.”

Item 4:

NIAC Funds Project That Would Send Swarm Of Nanoprobes To Asteroids.

Popular Mechanics (6/25, Wenz) reported that Justin Atchison of The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory was recently awarded a NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) Phase I grant for his Swarm Flyby Gravimetry proposal, which would send “a fleet of smaller nanoprobes” to asteroids to measure characteristics like their mass and gravity. A larger spacecraft would collect the data from the nanoprobes to form “a more complete picture.” According to the article, Atchison proposes “a number of ways” this could be done, and the NASA grant will help develop “proof of concept and cost measurements.”

Item 5:

NASA Completes Another Orion Parachute Test.

SPACE (6/25, Kramer) reported that on Wednesday, the Orion spacecraft underwent the “most complex” parachute test so far. This was the 14th of 17 planned for the spacecraft before its test flight at the end of the year. Orion Program Manager Mark Geyer said, “We’ve put the parachutes through their paces in ground and airdrop testing in just about every conceivable way before we begin sending them into space on Exploration Flight Test (EFT)-1 before the year’s done. … The series of tests has proven the system and will help ensure crew and mission safety for our astronauts in the future.” NASA officials said that the test demonstrated that “the system can tolerate potential failures.” The next test is expected in August, when “one main parachute and one drogue chute” will fail on purpose.

Item 6:

NASA To Try To Test LDSD On Saturday.

SPACE (6/25, Wall) reported that NASA will make another attempt to test the Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator (LDSD) on Saturday, with alternate dates on June 29, June 30, July 1, and July 3 if needed. If successful, the LDSD could result in a system to land “big, heavy payloads” on Mars. The article noted that last month, the test flight was “repeatedly thwarted” by high wind speeds.

 Item 7:

ESA Fires Bullet To Test ATV’s Resistance To Space Debris.

Space News (6/25, de Selding, Subscription Publication) reported that in order to demonstrate the “space-debris resistance” of its Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV), the ESA fired a “7.5-millimeter-diameter aluminum bullet” into a target that is made of the “same multilayer Kevlar-Nextel fabric” as the spacecraft’s pressure shell. Scheduled to launch to the ISS in late July, the ESA said that the test shows that the ATV’s shell “would survive such a collision intact.” According to the article, the test not only showed the “expected resistance” of the ATV and ISS modules, but also what space debris can potentially do.

 Item 8:

Concept Cargo Plane Can Generate Own Power In-Flight.

Discovery News (6/26, McDonald) reported on the GIGAbay cargo plane, a “flying warehouse” designed by Barcelona-based Oscar Viñals that is “so large that it could fit two fuselage sections of an Airbus A350 passenger airliner within its storage bay.” The aircraft would also be “much more energy-efficient than smaller cargo planes, consuming less fuel while carrying more weight” due to its use of “cutting edge ceramics, fibers and carbon nanotubes.” It also “generates and stores its own power in-flight” and when it lands, it can be transformed into a “mobile power station, water treatment plant or even a three-story, self-sustaining hospital.” As a concept plane, it may be “a few decades” before it ever flies.

Item 9:

ISS Astronauts Watch U.S.-Germany World Cup Match.

ABC World News with Diane Sawyer (6/26, 6:31 p.m. ET, lead story, 2:39, Moran) led off its broadcast with a report about the World Cup match on Thursday between the U.S. and Germany. The broadcast very briefly noted that even astronauts at the ISS were among the millions around the world watching the game.

Ahead of the game, AFP (6/26) continued coverage of the video the astronauts produced showing “a zero-gravity kickabout” with “crowd-stunning bicycle kicks and saves.”

Item 10:

Final ATV Spacecraft Launches July 24.

AFP (6/26) reported that the ESA’s fifth and last Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV), the George Lemaitre, is scheduled to launch July 24 on a mission to resupply the ISS with cargo such as “water, food, fuel, oxygen, experiments and treats for the crew.” According to the article, the previous ATVs were “successful testbeds for automated space flight.”

Item 11:

ARM Spacesuit, Technology Being Developed With Other Missions In Mind.

Wired UK (6/26, Piesing) reported that even though 230,000 people voted on what outer skin NASA’s Z-2 spacesuit should have, NASA will not be using it for the manned segment of the Asteroid Redirect Mission (ARM). Instead, astronauts will be wearing a portable life support system (PLSS). Raul Blanco, head of NASA’s Space Suit and Crew Survival Systems Branch, said, “[The asteroid suit] will be a great launch suit and an acceptable – though not ideal – extra-vehicular activity (EVA) suit.” According to the article, Blanco’s team has done “a lot of development work” on the PLSS, adding, “Our goal is for the first time to create a suit-agnostic PLSS, as it won’t care what suit it is attached to and can be used on any mission.” As for ARM in general, Mark McDonald, NASA’s Concept Analysis Team Lead, said, “Damn near everything we are doing is great for other missions.”

Item 12:

Public Restores Video Of SpaceX Reusability Test.

NASA Space Flight (6/26, Veen) detailed the process by which the public, mostly on the NASA Space Flight forums, helped restore SpaceX’s “historic imagery” video of a rocket reusability test back in April. During the test, the SpaceX rocket’s first stage, which helped launch a Dragon spacecraft to the ISS, conducted “a soft splashdown in the ocean.” On June 22, those working on the project said that the video was restored, “clearly” demonstrating that the stage conducted “a controlled descent, leg deployment, and finally a soft touchdown.”

SpaceX Amends Lawsuit Against Government. The Denver Post (6/27, Painter) reported that SpaceX has amended its lawsuit against the government and United Launch Services accusing them of illegally blocking competition for military satellite launches. It added claims made by Sen. John McCain that the Defense Department is paying inflated costs for the RD-180 engines used in Atlas V rockets.

Space Policy Online (6/26, Smith) also covered the story.

Item 13:

Sea Launch Official Says Maritime Launch Platform Will Not Be Mothballed.

Moscow (RUS) Times (6/26, Bodner) reported that Sea Launch’s California-based maritime launch platform will not be mothballed for two years due to the political crisis in Ukraine. Peter Stier, deputy head of Sales and Marketing for Sea Launch said the company is “continuing to buy rockets from Ukraine,” and is promoting its services “to the international launch market.” He added that Sea Launch is “exploring contingency plans should they ever need to suspend operations, though the company does not expect the situation to arise.”

Item 14:

Russia Reinstates Female Cosmonaut Candidate.

collectSPACE (6/26, Pearlman) reported that Russia has reinstated Anna Kikina after initially rejecting her from going on to become a cosmonaut. According to Russian media, an “unnamed industry source” said that she would need more training before being allowed into space. If that takes place, the article noted that she will be the fifth Russian woman in space, following Yelena Serova, who flies to the ISS in September.

Item 15:

Obama Selects Hart To Lead National Transportation Safety Board.

Reuters (6/26, Felsenthal) reported that President Obama yesterday announced the nomination of current NTSB Acting Chair Christopher Hart to head the agency. The nomination requires Senate confirmation.

[That ends this blog post for now. Wait! One more thing:]

A great friend sent me this link to a space news article on a French website. It summarizes the NASA Asteroid Redirect Mission (ARM).

[Goodbye for now.]