Florida Today from Cocoa, Florida on June 12, 1994 · Page 49
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Florida Today from Cocoa, Florida · Page 49

Cocoa, Florida
Issue Date:
Sunday, June 12, 1994
Page 49
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V 'W Janice Voss Ford talks space on CompuServe FLORIDA TODAY, Sunday, June 12, 1994 FORD, From 10E Q: After training with the Russians, if you were asked, would you want to go up to Mir for an extended period of time? f A: I've been taking Russian a few years, so I'm prepared for a variety of options. Norm Thagard and Bonnie Dunbar recently returned from their first few months in Russia training for Norm's flight to Mir. They were very complimentary about both the Russian training program and the way they have been treated. I am looking forward to hearing Norm's report, and put off any other planning until after a successful STS-63. - Q: What are the major differences and difficulties you've experienced in training for the Mir mission than for your previous missions, and what adjustments are being made in the pre-launch activities to accommodate the short launch window? A: We only started training for STS-63 about a month ago. Right now the biggest problem is waiting for the agreements with the Russians to settle. I attended the first of A series of telecons which will be held every other week until launch to review the status of STS-63. I learned there will be a one Jour hold added at T-minus 6 hours. This is a critical time in external tank tanking operations. And 30 minutes will be added to the hold which already . exists at T-minus 9 minutes. Q: What does NASA consider to be the main benefits to the U.S. space program resulting from docking with Mir on STS-71? I A: The Mir docking is only the "first step in a currently planned 10 rendezvous flights with Mir. That flight will also have a Spacelab on board, so direct benefits from that one flight include the science on Spacelab. a The docking will exchange a Lflight crew, the Mir 19 crew will come up on the shuttle. As part of - the plans to use the space program ; to promote the participation of the Russians in the world community in . a peaceful way, STS-71 is an impor- ' tant step. T; We are used to thinking of the rspace program as a technical program, which it will continue to ',be NASA does many things ' besides flying joint programs with - the Russians but the international connections and ability of the space program to inspire people, especially children, has always I been important, too. Q: Are there any plans to use SAREX (Shuttle Amateur Radio Experiment) with Mir on your ' upcoming flight, and are you a :Jam? J A: Yes, I have a no-code technical license. Mike Foale and Vladi-' mir Titov also have licenses in the . crew of STS-63. SAREX is currently on the flight v because of the presence of the first female shuttle pilot, Eileen Collins, and the rendezvous with Mir, but it has been on and off a few times so it J may not still be on when we launch. J 0- We discussed your interest in , science fiction on the forum earlier. What role did fiction play in ; inspiring your space participation " and any other thoughts on inspirit ing future space scientists? A: Science fiction is what first got me interested in the space program. I read science fiction MOP ' it V iV ! i f. - - --' mm- NASA CLAD IN launchentry suits, Janice Voss Ford and Jeff Wisoff rehearse emergency procedures before their June 1993 mission. when I'm exercising in 1-g, so, when I was in space, I took a book with me to exercise on the ergometer. When we waved off a day for weather, I was able to read for a few minutes by Earth light, curled up under an overhead window. The book was, of course, Asimov's 'Foundation', which I am donating to the Hayden Planetarium. Q: When will NASA eventually have to clean up some of the threatening projectile space junk in orbit? A: NASA is very concerned about the space debris. Unfortunately, there are no good ideas for cleaning it up. Space faring countries have tried to minimize the problem in new launches with spent boosters that don't overpressurize and shatter, but that is not a long-term solution. Plans have been discussed like dispersing clouds of ice crystals, which would drastically increase orbital drag locally, but that would be expensive. I don't know of anyone happy with the situation right now, but with no good alternatives, probably nothing major will be done about until we have a serious problem or someone comes up with a good answer. The good news is that the Russians have had space stations in space for a long time now with no serious problems. Q: In the most optimistic sense, what would be the most distant objective for a manned . space flight within the next century? Could it be possible to venture out of the solar system? Possibly a nearby star? A: The next century is only six years away, so near term we clearly won't get beyond low Earth orbit. 106 years from now? The adage goes that one always overestimates the next few years, and underestimates the distant years, so I would certainly expect to be to Mars by then. I wouldn't bet on people outside the solar system, because there other interesting planets in this one first. Q: When you were first selected for the program what were the first training areas NASA worked with you as far as learning basic shuttle operations? A: The first area was actually T-38 safety. T-38s are the two-seater jets we use for training. I fly about an hour a week in them. Two weeks after we started, which was July 16, 1990, we were sent to Vance Air Force Base in Enid, Okla., to learn how to eject safely from a T-38. I don't remember the first shuttle system we studied there were a lot of them. Q: I'm nine years old and love space. How many hours do you have to sit in the shuttle before liftoff and are you busy the whole time? A: We start getting into the shuttle about two hours before launch. We go in two at a time, one on the flight deck and one on the middeck, and it takes about an hour to get six people strapped in and checked. I was on the middeck on my first flight, in the middle, which is probably the least busy position in the crew, but I never felt like I had spare time. It was so interesting following the check list, keeping track of what was happening. There is always something happening there is almost constant talk on the communications channels. My only responsibility was to participate in the communications checks and be ready for an abort, which I would have an important role in since I was on the middeck. Q: In selecting pilots and mission specialists for a mission, how does NASA balance the benefits of using experienced astronauts with the need to train new ones? A: One of the running in-house jokes in the astronaut office is how crews get picked. There really is no simple plan for assigning crews. The assignments are heavily seniority driven inside class of astronauts, and almost every crew has one or two rookies. Inside a class, the order is mostly determined by payload requirements. For example one of the medical doctors in my class flew on Spacelab Life Sciences 2. Q: This question comes from the 4-5-6 graders at Ocean City Elementary in Washington. Is freefall scary? What advice would you give these kids if they wanted to become astronauts? A: The advice I pass on to kids is advice I got from Rusty Schweick-art, an Apollo astronaut. When I asked that question he said that it is impossible to second guess what NASA will want 10, 15 or 20 years from now, but whatever it is, they will be looking for the best. Evaluating your interests and abilities and picking a career that 3 you are good at and enjoy will make excelling a game, not a chore. When the time comes to apply, you will have a good chance if you're skills match NASA's interests. If not, you have a life you enjoy, which is what your real goal was anyway. The best part is that this applies even if you don't know what you want to do right now! Also, persistence is important. I applied four times before being accepted as an astronaut. As for freefall, it's not scary at all, it's great. Shortly after I got back from my first flight, I was in T-38 jet doing maneuvers and briefly got lifted out of the seat. My body got all excited because it was hoping it was back in space already. Q: My nine-year-old daughter wants to be an astronaut She wants to know how you became an astronaut, and what is your educational background? A: I first got interested in being an astronaut when I was nine years old, in the summer of 1966. My educational background is a Bachelor of Science degree in engineering sciences from Purdue University, Master of Science de gree in electrical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and a Ph.D. in aerospace engineering, also from MIT. But there are a lot of possibilities. The class of 1992 has a veterinarian. Q: It has been very frustrating in the recent years watching the struggles that've plagued the space station. What is the current status of the station and its schedule? A: I'm not sure of the exact schedule right now, but first element launch is something like 1997. It has been frustrating, but you can cheer yourself up by reading all the negative press NASA got during Gemini and Apollo. It works for me. Q: I would like to hear your feelings on the overall importance of the space program. What do you hope to accomplish? A: My personal goal is to contribute to making the world a happier and more fun place to live in. I think space does that because the technology we develop has proven to be very useful to the rest of society, and it also gives people a sense of a better future. You can see that in the people I work with every day. They love what they do as much as I do, and they're good. I'm looking forward to the time when I can point to a new drug or piece of equipment in 30 or 40 years which was developed from an experiment I flew on one of my flights, and maybe even operated. Q: I think mankind needs to explore to grow. Do you feel like an explorer, and would you take the big trip to Mars? A: I have thought about Mars many times, and decided I couldn't decide so I wouldn't worry about it since it probably won't happen in my career lifetime. If the choice was between fly in space to Mars, or don't fly in space, no question I would go! But I have no choice other than the shuttle right now. Space station is a similar problem, and I've decided to not worry about that either, since I can't do anything about it until after STS-63 anyway. Yes, I do feel like an explorer, that is a big part of why I love this job. The full text of the conference is available in Library 1 of the Florida Today NewsLink forum on the Compuserve Information Service. High-tech offers planetariums alternative scopes PLANETARIUMS, From 10E The dawn of modern-era plane-, tariums took place just after World War I, when Walther Bauersfeld, a board member of the Zeiss (optical) ) Works in Gena, Germany, proposed ' the idea of a planetarium projector. ' ' Four years later, the device was . demonstrated in a darkened 52-foot : dome. Stars were projected on the ! interior of the dome by a compli-"t cated array of lights, lenses, gears and motors. By 1924, the planetarium, rede-1 signed to show the stars from ulifferent latitudes on Earth, took on , the familiar barbell shape so famil-; iar to planetarium visitors today. These traditional planetarium . projectors consist of two spherical ! housings attached to opposite ends of a cylinder the barbell shape. ; From either sphere, light is projected onto a white, domed ceiling. Rather than show pictures from : film, the traditional planetarium uses brilliant light bulbs inside the spheres. The lights shine through a system of lenses and small holes to produce star images on the dome. Stars are projected by the first sphere in their actual brilliance, in proper relationship to each other in our hemisphere and in color. The second star globe projects stars seen from the opposite hemisphere. The connecting assembly between the globes supports devices that faithfully reproduce the image and motion of the sun, planets and moon. Because the planetarium moves through three axes, the sky easily is represented from ny location on Earth be it the North Pole, where stars are seen traveling in circles parallel to the horizon, or the equator, where every visible star rises in the east, crosses the sky and sets in the west. Planetariums also can show the night sky from any point between 4000 B.C. and A.D. 3000. By the 1600s, globes representing the heavens were popular among stargazers. Unfortunately, these celestial globes, by virtue of their design, displayed the sky in reverse. The Gottorp Globe corrected that problem in 1660 by permitting the viewer to step inside the globe. Hollow and 10 feet in diameter, the globe had bright stars and constellations painted on its interior surface while a representation of the Earth was painted on the exterior. The Gottorp Globe had inside seating for 10. Visitors entered through a small door (in the Indian Ocean) and sat on a circular bench and viewed the painted heavens with an oil lamp. The largest, hollow star globe still in use is located in the Museum of the Chicago Academy of Sciences. Such devices reached near perfection in the late 1600s by displaying the correct speed of planets around the sun in relation to each other. . The devices began to be driven by clockwork. One of them was given to Charles Boyle, the fourth earl of Cork and Orrery. In tribute to Boyle, a patron to numerous builders of those clock-driven devices, they became known as orrerys. Glass-enclosed orrerys can be found in science museums throughout the world. The Cranbrook Institute f Science in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., displays one in its lobby with all the planets save PluO, !K- "Si ' " .9 tT -vi ' '4; w it 1 J i r v. f 5 . space scientist lauded by NASA, AGU Sources: Window to the Universe and Der Himmet Auf Erden VAN ALLEN Pioneering space scientist James Van Allen recently was honored by NASA and the American Geophysical Union in a cere mony on his 80th birthday. NASA presented Van Allen, professor emeritus at the University of Iowa, with an original computer painting commemorating his distinguished half-century ca reer studying planetary magneto-spheres and cosmic rays. Van Allen is best-known for his discovery of the belt of radiation around Earth that bears his name. His radiation-measuring equipment aboard the first successful American satellites Explorers 1 and 3 were launched from Cape Canaveral in 1958. The satellites provided data for the first Space Age scientific discovery: the existence of a doughnut-shaped region of charged particle radiation trapped by the Earth's magnetic field. Van Allen and his team also provided instruments for other NASA missions, including energetic charged particles detectors on: Mariner 2, a spacecraft that studied Venus. Mariner 4, a sistership that journeyed to Mars. Explorer 35, the first American spacecraft to orbit the moon. Pioneers 10 and 11, both of which studied Jupiter and Saturn. Van Allen's instruments aboard Pioneer 10 contributed to the discovery of the magnetosphere and the radiation belts of Jupiter and Saturn. He and his team also used Pioneer 10 and 11 data to study the galactic cosmic rays in the solar system. The award ceremony was held recently at the union's 75th anniversary meeting in Baltimore, Md. The group also sponsored a special Van Allen Symposium featuring invited speakers on past accomplishments, recent important results and future prospects in a number of areas in which Van Allen has made significant contributions. Veteran astronaut retires from NASA A veteran NASA astronaut is THORNTON: which wasn't discovered until 1930. the planets moving around the sun In 1774, the largest orrery ever at their actual rate of speed. Saturn, built into the ceiling of a house was the outernost planet known at the installed in the Netherlands. It's time, takes 29.5 years to circle the still in operation today and shows room. hanging up his space helmet to take 1. a seat in front of a word processor.:'- Two-time space shuttle flier;; William Thornton retired from NASA late last month and plans to write about his 30-year career with the space program. "Due to my work, I haven't really had the opportunity, or the time to do any writing about my ; technical work other than a fewv reports, and none at all about other ", matters," Thornton said. A member of the astronaut class ; of 1967, Thorton flew twice aboard -shuttle Challenger once in 1983 ; and again in 1985. On his first flight, Thornton, made near continuous mea? surements and investigations of J adaptation of the human body to! weightlessness. A number of those were firsts time measurements on the human ' nervous system in space using,' equipment he designed. During his second flight, Thorn, ton was responsible for the first ' animal payload aboard a shuttle, mission. He also continued space medicine studies in a trailer-sized-Spacelab module in the orbitefs; payload bay. Thornton, a medical doctor received his doctorate from the University of North Carolina in 1963 after obtaining a bachelor of scU ence degree in physics from UNC in 1952. ;i Prior to the shuttle program,' Thornton was the principal investigator for a Skylab medical expert' ment and documented a number of basic responses of the human body to weightlessness. His experiments included alterations in body posture and shape, and rapid loss of muscle strength and mass, along with preventive methods. v He devised the first mass measuring devices used in space on Skylab, which are still in use. More recently, Thornton Hef signed and tested smaller, improved units to allow routine mass measurement in space. "Bill has contributed greatly to operational studies in space throughout his career," said David Leestma, director of Flight Crew Operations at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston. "His expertise will be greatly missed." Reported by Florida Today Staff Writer Todd Halvorson. Author claims ancient cities exist on moon By Jerry Llpman For FLORIDA TODAY COLUMBUS, Ohio An alien civilization at least 500,000 years old built vast cities on the moon beneath crystalline cones rising seven to 20 miles high. So says Richard Hoagland, a former NASA consultant and author, who also claims there is proof of alien civilizations on Mars. He is best known for the 1987 book "The Monuments of Mars," in which he claims a landform on Mars photographed by NASA's 1976 Viking probe is a likeness of a human face built by aliens. Hoagland recently told about 600 people at Ohio State University how he arrived at his latest alien theory. Working from map coordinates, Hoagland studied moon photos taken from 1966 to 1972 by unmanned Surveyor and Lunar Orbit-er spacecraft and Apollo astronauts. That led to other photos that, Hoagland said, show a spire l'2 miles tall casting a shadow on the surface, and another resembling a cube atop a tower five to seven miles tall and a mile across. The latter, he says, has light-scattering properties, a multiple scattering surface, lineal fractures, internal consistency and "geometry within geometry." ; Both features appear to have crystalline structures, Hoagland said. The taller "must have been larger still and was whittled away by constant meteorite bombardment of the moon. In that scenario "these objects cannot exist. Billions of years of that meteor rain should have obliterated them." Hoagland said various photos show "a gridwork of light-reflecting structures above the moon" similar to the Biosphere 2 greenhouse north of Tucson, Ariz. He believes a "highly-structured, highly-complex dome" once cohered the moon's Sinus Medii region.", "I think you're looking edgewjsfe at the upper part of the dome;", a hexagonal truss, part of a contagious set of objects in a coherent matrix, with material linking if jn (the) matrix. I think we're seeing a dark gridwork covered with the glass fragments ... a wonder- Tof geometry." FLORIDA TODAY GNS Renewing Your CD? It Pays To Know All Your Options CD's aren't the only game in town. At A.G. Edwards' seminar, "Facts to Know Before You Renew Your CD," we'll discuss: What are your alternatives to CD's Earning higher returns without needless risk Increasing your income with tax deferred investments ' DATE: & TIME: Tuesday, June 14 6:00 p.m. LOCATION: Holiday Inn, Cocoa Beach GUEST SPEAKER: Bob Rowe, Regional Vice President ot Putnam Financial Services For Reservations Call: Steven T. Freeman, MBA Investment Broker Membar SIPC 1990 A Q Edwards A Son. Inc AGEchvords S VmSIMENTS SIHCE I8S7 252 E. Merrirt Island Cswy., Ste. 3 Merritt Island, FL 32952 452-0100 Register To Win A Door Prize . j AN-BS-10?SI

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