Earth sunlight & cloud pattern
Watch the sun rise and set all over the world on this real-time, computer-generated illustration of the earth’s patterns of sunlight and darkness. The clouds are updated every 3 hours with current weather satellite imagery.
Phases of the Moon
Not a flying car, but a roadable aircraft, the Terrafugia Transition took flight for the first time March 5, 2009.
NASA has been busy planning for a new spacecraft, the Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV), to be able to rendezvous with the ISS and then to take a crew back to the moon in conjunction with the Lunar Surface Access Module (LSAM).
A Crew Launch Vehicle, named Ares I, derived from the Space Shuttle Solid Rocket Booster (SRB) will deliver the CEV to low Earth Orbit (LEO) while a larger rocket, Ares 5, will deliver ISS cargo of the LSAM to LEO. Once in LEO, the CEV and LSAM will dock and a J-2X Earth Departure Stage (EDS) will deliver the CEV/LSAM to Low Lunar Orbit (LLO) at 100 km. The EDS is discarded and CEV/LSAM temporarily decouple.
The LSAM then performs the Lunar Orbit Insertion (LOI) to deliver the LSAM to the lunar surface will all 4 astronauts onboard. After some amount of time on the surface, an ascent stage from the LSAM boosts the crew back to LLO and the ascent stage docks with the unattended CEV.
The ascent stage is discarded and the service module section of the CEV boosts the crew module (with crew) towards Earth reentry, and the service module is then discarded. The crew module reenters the upper atmosphere and an ablative heat shield slows the craft to a point where it is captured by the Earth. Parachutes then slow the crew module for a land (or sea in emergencies) landing.
Whew, safe at last from solar storms! Ares V will be able to launch 130 metric tons LEO inclined at 28.5 degrees or it can deliver 55 metric tons to trans-lunar orbit. By comparison, the Saturn V was capable of 118 metric tons to LEO or 47 metric tons to lunar orbit.
See http://www.plasmaben.com/CEV.html for more info.
NASA’s Ares 1 spacecraft is seen launching from Cape Canaveral carrying the Orion spacecraft. The Lunar Access Module (LSAM), launched separately, will join with the Orion Command Module (CM) in order to deliver 4 astronauts to a Low Lunar Orbit (LLO). Once in LLO the CM and LSAM separate and the LSAM lands 4 astronauts on the surface of the moon. After ~1 week, the ascent stage of the LSAM returns the astronauts to the CM in LLO for a return back to Earth. The CM will re-enter like an Apollo or Soyuz capsule with an ablative heat shield.
Lockheed Martin’s new lunar lander and the Orion spacecraft separating in low lunar orbit.
A US Airways flight flew into a flock of geese minutes after takeoff from NYC-LaGuardia bound for Charlotte, NC. The birds took out both engines and left the plane without power at a critical moment in its flight path.
Pilot Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger saved all 155 passengers and crew members by quickly scanning for landing options and found the only place to bring down the plane safely was in the Hudson River.
Captain Sullenberger is a U.S. Air Force Academy grad who flew F-4 fighter planes while in the Air Force. He has flown for US Airways for 29 years.
Commercial jets attempting emergency landings in water is extremely rare. 27 years ago a Air Florida flight bound for Tampa from Washington National crashed into the Potomac River killing 78 people.
The Federal Aviation Administration says there were about 65,000 bird strikes to civil aircraft in the United States from 1990 to 2005, or about one for every 10,000 flights. But since 1960, only 25 have resulted in crashes by large aircraft. 23 of these incidents occured below 400 feet.