Scientists Are Preparing To Drill Into The Site Of The Impact That Killed Off The Dinosaurs


This month, in the Gulf of Mexico, a drilling site will be constructed. Typically, these sites are built for oil extraction, but this one is for a more valiant pursuit. Scientists plan to drill into the site, known as the Chicxulub crater, where 66 million years ago an asteroid impacted and killed off the dinosaurs and many other life forms on Earth. The goal is to discover rock cores that will potentially give insights into how life rebounded after such a devastating event. They believe the crater could have been a breeding ground for microbial life that then evolved into the life forms of today.  Continue reading

NASA Admits There’s ‘A Chance’ That Asteroid 2013 TX68 Could Smash Into Earth


NASA has dramatically changed its mind about the risks posed by asteroid 2013 TX68 , a 100ft-wide rock which is currently heading towards Earth. It said there was “a chance” it could plough into our planet next year when it makes another flyby. However, we are glad to report that NASA thinks the odds of a collision on September 28, 2017, are “no more than 1-in-250-million”. If it did hit the planet, the asteroid would probably explode in the atmosphere, unleashing as much energy as a powerful nuclear bomb and wiping out anything unlucky enough to be beneath it. “The possibilities of collision on any of the three future flyby dates are far too small to be of any real concern,” said Paul Chodas, manager of NASA’s Center for near earth orbit studies . “I fully expect any future observations to reduce the probability even more.”  Continue reading

Flat Earth Hoax: Began As a Ridiculous Farce to See How Gullible People Would Be

flat earth 3

Cosmic Convergence Research Group

CCRG Editor’s Note:
If ever the CIA and/or Tavistock Institute wanted to test out a new mind-control program, the Flat Earth Theory would be the perfect theme for the program.  As most know by now, the CIA has been running covert mind-control experiments on various segments of humanity for decades.  With the internet being a global platform, the opportunities for the intelligence agencies to advance their mind-control agenda, as well as test their techniques and technologies, have increased and intensified considerably.  Continue reading

A Mysterious Object Will Sweep Past Earth In 2017 – Scientists Have No Idea What It Is


A mysterious object will sweep past Earth in 2017 and Scientists have no idea what it isIs this an Alien probe? The mysterious object was spotted for the first time in 1991 by Astronomer James Scotti from the University of Arizona and is referred to as 1991 VG.

The mysterious object was spotted for the first time in 1991 by Astronomer James Scotti from the University of Arizona and is referred to as 1991 VG.  Continue reading

How Can Anyone POSSIBLY Still Believe The Earth Is Flat?


The Earth isn’t flat. This presumably doesn’t come as news to you, and why should it? Earth’s roughly spherical nature has been known about since the time of the Ancient Greeks. It’s bewildering, then, to see various “celebrities” declaring online that Earth is indeed flat, claiming that NASA has been keeping this secret from us for decades. So what exactly is going on here?  Continue reading

Meet Planet Nine, The Newly Discovered Ninth Planet In Our Solar System

There’s some debate over just how many planets our solar system has because Pluto never gets a break. But the argument is about to get a lot weirder with the announcement of a potential new planet circling the sun. Meet Planet Nine, the planet we didn’t know existed.  Continue reading

Secret Files Hidden From The Public For Decades, Detailing Every UFO Account, Are Now Available To The Public


A global effort has begun — Secret files hidden from the public for decades, Detailing every UFO account, are now available to the public. We are about to uncover The truth behind these classified documents. Find out what the government doesn’t want you to know. Exposing the biggest secret on planet earth. Join us as the secrets of alien technology are unsealed.
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Insane Video Of Vortex Opening Up Over C.E.R.N.

UFO entering Interdimensional Portal over Geneva SWITZERLAND - Dec 2015 !!!

Geneva, Switzerland. US tourists filmed UFO/strange orb entering Interdimensional Portal in the sky of Geneva, just over CERN area.

The CERN project site is located in Geneva, Switzerland. The CERN functions as a Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the largest and most powerful particle accelerator in the World. A collider is the basic tool of particle physics. You take a stream of particles, accelerate them to really high kinetic energy levels, and initiate a collision to slam them into a target. Depending intensity of the experiment, all sorts of peculiar things can happen.As of in 2015, CERN reached levels of double potency over the 10 Tev barrier of dark matter – the theoretical minimal energy of formation of a ‘bag of strangelets’ and ‘micro-black holes’. Continue reading

Massive Fireball From Space Witnessed In Thailand, Explosions Heard (VIDEO)

russia fireball
A massive fireball, believed to be a meteorite, has fallen on Thailand. Awestruck commuters witnessed the spectacle, describing a green and orange glow, as it took a nosedive toward Earth.

The event took place during the morning rush hour at about 8:45am local time in Bangkok, although the meteor did not make an audible sound as it struck the ground.
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Legendary Radio Host John B. Wells Talks JFK Conspiracy, Jade Helm, UFO’s, Flat Earth Theory & More

 Click the YouTube link below to listenJohn B Wells August

Host of Caravan to Midnight, actor, musician, writer, investigative journalist, composer, martial artist, aviator and broadcaster, John B. Wells finds the ancient sage advice of “concentrating on just one thing” to be true. His one thing: The Arts.

John is also an internationally renowned voice-over artist with credits ranging from serving as the announcer for CBS’ The Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn, to voicing promos for hit television shows like Discovery Channel’s Deadliest Catch and Gold Rush to lending his voice to films like Oliver Stone’s JFK and Talk Radio, as well as the popular series Unsealed: Alien Files.

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Is a mini ICE AGE on the way? Scientists warn the sun will ‘go to sleep’ in 2030 and could cause temperatures to plummet


The new model of the Sun’s solar cycle is producing unprecedentedly accurate predictions of irregularities within the Sun’s 11-year heartbeat.

It draws on dynamo effects in two layers of the Sun, one close to the surface and one deep within its convection zone.

Continue reading

Elon Musk Won’t Go Into Genetic Engineering Because of “The Hitler Problem”


As far as the future of humanity goes, there are five areas that will shape us the most: the internet, sustainable energy, space exploration, artificial intelligence, and human genetic code manipulation.

Elon Musk, one of the greatest innovators of our time, has already helped shape three of those areas — he co-founded Paypal for online financial transactions, Tesla Motors has given us a future with automobiles that don’t require fossil fuels, and SpaceX is making leaps into affordable and efficient space exploration.

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Possible Planets Beyond Pluto… Is It Nibiru (Planet X)?

planet x

According to new calculations by scientists in Spain and the UK, there could possibly be two planets beyond the planet Pluto. Recently the Authentic Enlightenment team interviewed researcher Bob Fletcher and from his studies he believes that this could be true, and could possibly be Nibiru (Planet X). Below you will find the entire interview, in which we found rather interesting to say the least. If Mr. Fletcher’s calculations are correct, Nibiru could start showing by the end of the year 2015. He also talks about underground cities being built from government black budgets along with seed banks and more.

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Flat Earth Theory And Why It’s Not Real


“The Flat Earth model is an archaic belief that the Earth‘s shape is a plane or disk. Many ancient cultures have had conceptions of a flat Earth, including Greece until the classical period, the Bronze Age and Iron Age civilizations of the Near East until the Hellenistic period, India until the Gupta period (early centuries AD) and China until the 17th century. It was also typically held in the aboriginal cultures of the Americas, and a flat Earth domed by the firmament in the shape of an inverted bowl is common in pre-scientific societies.” -Wikipedia Continue reading

Large Hadron Collider Could Detect Extra Dimensions


A paper in Physics Letters B has raised the possibility that the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) could make a discovery that would put its previous triumph with the Higgs Boson in the shade. The authors suggest it could detect mini black holes. Such a finding would be a matter of huge significance on its own, but might be an indication of even more important things. Continue reading

NASA Confirms: Salt Water Ocean On Jupiter’s Moon With More Water Than Earth


The size of our universe is unfathomable, and it is equally difficult to contemplate the idea of things like multiple universes, parallel realities, multiple dimensions, and more. Scientists estimate that billions of Earth-like planets already exist, and that’s only in our galaxy. Think about all of the billions, if not trillions, of habitable worlds that exist within the billions, if not trillions of galaxies that are floating through space. Now contemplate the idea that not all worlds have to be “Earth-like” in order to harbour some form of extraterrestrial life – be it microbial or intelligent. Continue reading

Joe Rogan on Invisible Aliens, String Theory & Collective DMT Dreams

Rogan BTS

Abby Martin discusses everything from aliens communicating with earth, collective DMT experiences, string theory and marijuana legalization with Joe Rogan, host of the Joe Rogan Experience. It’s good and worth the watch.


Super solar storm could leave Western nations without power ‘for months’ – report

image from 

A power outage could leave Western nations without electricity for months in the event of a strong geomagnetic storm, a new report claims, adding that it is “almost inevitable in the future” while the sun is approaching the peak of its solar cycle.

It is a known fact that solar activity is interconnected with the our planet’s geomagnetic fields that are known to affect life on Earth, including widespread electrical disruptions.  Currently the Sun’s activity is ramping up toward what is known as solar maximum as the peak of the 11-year solar cycle is expected in 2015.

According to the report, produced by Lloyd’s in cooperation with Atmospheric and Environmental research (AER), super solar storms normally occur approximately every 150 years, the last being the Carrington Event in 1859 – a geomagnetic storm that caused disruptions in telegraph lines all over the world and the brightest auroras. However that was long before people were so dependent on electricity.

The report outlines a doomsday scenario - the cancellation of the services the public has come to depend upon every day. For example, the systems for controlling air-traffic would stop, potentially grounding entire fleets. The satellites that power the world’s telecoms networks would be knocked out.  Hospital patients dependent on electrical equipment would be put at risk.


Aurora.Reuters / Lehtikuva / Pekka SakkiAurora.Reuters / Lehtikuva / Pekka Sakki


This could lead to liability claims if customers believe companies did not take enough protective measures during a blackout, which would have significant implications for the insurance industry.

Sunspots concentrate extreme magnetic activity on the sun’s surface. Magnetic field lines “looping out” of sunspot regions can reconnect and release a large amount of energy, that can cause solar storms or coronal  mass ejections (CME). During a CME the sun releases bursts of plasma , intense magnetic fluctuations, that can reach Earth’s atmosphere. This material compresses the earth’s magnetic field. It results in an increase of electric current in the atmosphere , generates electromagnetic fields that induce ground electromagnetic fields. Large amounts of geomagnetically induced currents (GIC) flowing through a power grid can damage power transformers and lead to voltage collapse, resulting in power outages

All this can occur as a result of strong geomagnetic storms - severe disturbances in the upper layers of our atmosphere caused by solar storms.  The geomagnetic storms  induce currents in long conductors such as power lines. These additional currents can trigger voltage collapse or damage extra-high voltage transformers. The economic costs would be catastrophic, according to the report.

The total cost of such a scenario today in Europe and North America is estimated at $2.6 trillion for a five-month blackout period, though it could be as low as $0.6 trillion, the Telegraph reports.

In 1859 a solar superstorm,  the so-called Carrington Event,  hit Earth’s magnetosphere and induced the largest observed geomagnetic solar storm,  causing bright auroras  that were seen around the world. People who happened to be awake in northeastern US could reportedly read a newspaper by the aurora’s light. During the storm telegraph wires in North America and Europe were reportedly destroyed , giving operators electric shocks and knocking out the telegraph network as far away as Australia and Asia for two days. That was before modern methods were used to calculate the force of the solar storms.

In March 1989, the strongest measured geomagnetic storm caused the collapse of Hydro-Québec’s electricity transmission system in Canada. More than six million people lost electric power for nine hours. That cost the government  $12.7 billion.

Historical auroral records suggest a return period of 50 years for storms like the one in Quebec and about 150 years for extreme storms such as the Carrington Event.

The researchers mapped potential effects on the US territory of an extreme solar storm much alike the Carrington Event in the report.



Geomagnetic latitude, ground conductivity and distance from the coast’s highly conducive seawater can measure  the region’s susceptibility to geomagnetic storms. For example such populated regions as New York and Washington DC strongly attract the sun’s electric energy. Other regions include the US Midwest and the Gulf Coast states.

According to the data in the report the total US population at risk of extended power outage from a Carrington-level storm is between 20-40 million, with durations of sixteen days to one or two  years.

“The duration of outages will depend largely on the availability of spare replacement transformers. If new transformers need to be ordered, the lead-time is likely to be a minimum of five months,” it says.

“They are very limited in terms of numbers of replacements and manufacturing new transformers takes quite a long period of time, up to almost two years”  said Neil Smith, Research Manager at Lloyd’s of London as quoted by  the Telegraph. “These are huge pieces of equipment. Building and transporting it is a huge job” he added.”This could take weeks, even years, in the event of a really big storm.”

There are currently four satellites that can warn Earth of the coming CME and allow grid operators to prepare and take preventative measures before the storm, though the report adds that the force of the storm can only be measured in 15-30 minutes before it hits. The satellites are also past their mission lives and need replacement.

However the cost of prevention is reportedly much smaller than the price of damage caused by a single storm. For example, after the Quebec power outage the Canadian government has taken preventative measures by  investing  $1.2 billion into protecting the Quebec grid infrastructure, potentially saving billions of dollars if the incident should occur again.

NASA Mars Orbiter Images May Show 1971 Soviet Lander

Could This Be the Mars Soviet 3 Lander?


Hardware from a spacecraft that the Soviet Union landed on Mars in 1971 might appear in images from NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

While following news about Mars and NASA’s Curiosity rover, Russian citizen enthusiasts found four features in a five-year-old image from Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter that resemble four pieces of hardware from the Soviet Mars 3 mission: the parachute, heat shield, terminal retrorocket and lander. A follow-up image by the orbiter from last month shows the same features.

The Mars 3 lander transmitted for several seconds after landing on Dec. 2, 1971, the first spacecraft to survive a Mars landing long enough to transmit anything.

Images of the possible Mars 3 features, taken by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, are available at and .

“Together, this set of features and their layout on the ground provide a remarkable match to what is expected from the Mars 3 landing, but alternative explanations for the features cannot be ruled out,” said HiRISE Principal Investigator Alfred McEwen of the University of Arizona, Tucson. “Further analysis of the data and future images to better understand the three-dimensional shapes may help to confirm this interpretation.”

In 1971, the former Soviet Union launched the Mars 2 and Mars 3 missions to Mars. Each consisted of an orbiter plus a lander. Both orbiter missions succeeded, although the surface of Mars was obscured by a planet-encircling dust storm. The Mars 2 lander crashed. Mars 3 became the first successful soft landing on the Red Planet, but stopped transmitting after just 14.5 seconds for unknown reasons.

The predicted landing site was at latitude 45 degrees south, longitude 202 degrees east, in Ptolemaeus Crater. HiRISE acquired a large image at this location in November 2007. This image contains 1.8 billion pixels of data, so about 2,500 typical computer screens would be needed to view the entire image at full resolution. Promising candidates for the hardware from Mars 3 were found on Dec. 31, 2012.

Vitali Egorov from St. Petersburg, Russia, heads the largest Russian Internet community about Curiosity, at . His subscribers did the preliminary search for Mars 3 via crowdsourcing. Egorov modeled what Mars 3 hardware pieces should look like in a HiRISE image, and the group carefully searched the many small features in this large image, finding what appear to be viable candidates in the southern part of the scene. Each candidate has a size and shape consistent with the expected hardware, and they are arranged on the surface as expected from the entry, descent and landing sequence.

“I wanted to attract people’s attention to the fact that Mars exploration today is available to practically anyone,” Egorov said. “At the same time we were able to connect with the history of our country, which we were reminded of after many years through the images from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.”

An advisor to the group, Alexander Basilevsky, of Vernadsky Institute of Geochemistry and Analytical Chemistry, Moscow, contacted McEwen suggesting a follow-up image. HiRISE acquired the follow-up on March 10, 2013. This image was targeted to cover some of the hardware candidates in color and to get a second look with different illumination angles. Meanwhile, Basilevsky and Erogov contacted Russian engineers and scientists who worked on Mars 3 for more information.

The candidate parachute is the most distinctive feature in the images. It is an especially bright spot for this region, about 8.2 yards (7.5 meters) in diameter. The parachute would have a diameter of 12 yards (11 meters) if fully spread out over the surface, so this is consistent. In the second HiRISE image, the parachute appears to have brightened over much of its surface, probably due to its better illumination over the sloping surface, but it is also possible that the parachute brightened in the intervening years because dust was removed.

The descent module, or retrorocket, was attached to the lander container by a chain, and the candidate feature has the right size and even shows a linear extension that could be a chain. Near the candidate descent module is a feature with the right size and shape to be the actual lander, with four open petals. The image of the candidate heat shield matches a shield-shaped object with the right size if partly buried.

Philip J. Stooke from the University of West Ontario, Canada, suggested the direction of search and offered helpful advice. Arnold Selivanov (one of the creators of Mars 3) and Vladimir Molodtsov (an engineer at NPO Lavochkin, Moscow) helped with access to data archives.

HiRISE is operated by the University of Arizona, Tucson. The instrument was built by Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp., Boulder, Colo. The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Project and Curiosity are managed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, Washington. JPL is a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.

For more information about the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, which has been studying Mars from orbit since 2006, visit .



Binary Asteroid Didymos heading our way, but they’re going to intercept it!

(Investment Watch Blog) -A joint mission between Europe and the US is working on a project to slam a spacecraft into an asteroid in 2022, in a bid to prove that incoming objects from space can be knocked off path and stopped from colliding with earth.

The Joint European/US Asteroid impact and Deflection Assessment mission (AIDA) is preparing to intercept the asteroid Didymos in 2022, when it is about 6.5 million miles (11 million kilometers) from earth.


European Space Agency (ESA) Officials announced the plans in a press release on Friday.


“AIDA is not just an asteroid mission, it is also meant as a research platform open to all different mission users,” said Andrés Gálvez, ESA studies manager.

ESA’s proposed Asteroid Impact and Deflection Assessment mission now has a target: asteroid Didymos.

The recent Russian meteor and, on the same day, our planet’s close encounter with an even larger chunk of celestial debris underline the need for us to learn more about these high-speed space rocks.

Legality questioned as secretive ‘Stingray’ cell phone surveillance tool used more frequently


(Image credit: Joe Ravi under CC-BY-SA 3.0)

(Image credit: Joe Ravi under CC-BY-SA 3.0)
(EndTheLie) -Questions about the legality of the secretive cell phone surveillance tool  known as “Stingray” are being raised as the use of the device, originally billed  as a counterterrorism tool, expands into everything but cases related to  terrorism.

Unfortunately this is just one of many methods of surveillanceall of which are increasing dramatically – used by the government, law  enforcement and even the private sector.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) called Stingrays “the biggest technological threat to cell  phone privacy you don’t know about” and “an unconstitutional, all-you-can-eat  data buffet” in October of last year and unfortunately it has only become more  important since then.

The Stingray essentially dupes cell phones into treating the device as if it  were a real cell phone tower, thus allowing “the government to electronically  search large areas for a particular cell phone’s signal—sucking down data on  potentially thousands of innocent people along the way,” as the EFF puts it.

The major problem is that law enforcement has used them while circumventing  the need for individualized warrants as the Constitution requires.

Since this is dragnet surveillance, anyone and everyone can be targeted by  the device without a warrant being issued for the search and seizure of their  data.

In late January, LA Weekly reported that Stingray while “intended to fight terrorism,  was used in far more routine LAPD criminal investigations 21 times in a  four-month period during 2012, apparently without the courts’ knowledge that the  technology probes the lives of non-suspects who happen to be in the same  neighborhood as suspected terrorists.”

The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) was able to purchase their device  thanks to a 2006 grant from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Keep in  mind, DHS funds many highly troublesome surveillance efforts around  the nation.

While the original grant request from the LAPD claimed they would be using  the Stingray for “regional terrorism investigations,” they’ve been using it for  everything from drug cases to burglary and murder cases.

“Of course, we’ve seen this pattern over and over and over,” the EFF points out. “The government uses ‘terrorism’ as a catalyst to gain some powerful new surveillance tool or ability, and then  turns around and uses it on ordinary citizens, severely infringing on their  civil liberties in the process.”

As previously mentioned, the biggest problem with Stingrays is the lack of a  specific warrant issued for an individual, instead, it essentially gives police “general warrant” powers.

Blocking general warrant powers was exactly what the founding fathers had in  mind when drafting the Fourth Amendment since, as the EFF rightly notes, “In  pre-revolutionary America, British soldiers used ‘general warrants’ as authority  to go house-to-house in a particular neighborhood, looking for whatever they  please, without specifying an individual or place to be searched.”

Instead of obtaining a warrant for a specific individual’s cell phone data,  the Stingray acts as the “digital equivalent of the pre-revolutionary British  soldier” by allowing police to simply “point a cell phone signal into all the  houses in a particular neighborhood, searching for one target while sucking up  everyone else’s location along with it. With one search the police could  potentially invade countless private residences at once.”

The EFF isn’t the only group questioning these devices. The Electronic  Privacy Information Center (EPIC) obtained a paltry two FBI documents (see here  and here) on Stingrays (out of an estimated 25,000) as part of  their Freedom of Information Act lawsuit attempting to uncover more information  on the use of Stingrays.

The documents, which are unsurprisingly heavily redacted, reveal that even within the  government itself there are concerns that the use of Stingrays may in fact be in  violation of a prohibition of interference with communications signals in a  section of the Communications Act.

This demonstrates that “there are clearly concerns, even within the agency,  that the use of Stingray technology might be inconsistent with current  regulations,” EPIC attorney Alan Butler told Slate. “I don’t know how the [Department of Justice]  justifies the use of Stingrays given the limitations of the Communications Act  prohibition.”

The FBI declined to comment on the specifics of the legality or illegality of  Stingrays since it remains in litigation. However, FBI spokesman Christopher  Allan told Slate’s Ryan Gallagher by email that “in general the FBI cautions  against drawing conclusions from redacted FOIA documents.”

Perhaps most disturbing of all revealed in the documents is that they “disclose that the feds have procedures in place for loaning electronic  surveillance devices (like the Stingray) to state police. This suggests the  technology may have been used in cases across the United States, in line with a stellar investigation by LA Weekly last year, which  reported that state cops in California, Florida, Texas, and Arizona had obtained  Stingrays,” writes Gallagher.

Some of the questions surrounding Stingrays and the information obtained  through their use may be answered on March 28th.

Both the EFF and American Civil Liberties Union submitted an amicus  brief in the case, United States v. Rigmaiden, and the March hearing will  address if evidence obtained by using a Stingray should be suppressed.

“It will be one of the first times a judge will rules on the  constitutionality of these devices in federal court,” writes the EFF.

The EFF urges local and federal law enforcement agencies alike to come clean  about the Stingray technology and how they are using it before even more  innocent people have their Fourth Amendment rights violated.

UPDATE: EPIC just announced a new release of documents  related to this technology.

They state:

In the fifth interim release of documents in EPIC v. FBI, a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, the  agency has turned over nearly 300 pages about the surveillance technique  directed toward users of mobile phones. The documents obtained by EPIC reveal  that agents have been using “cell site simulator” technologies, also known as “StingRay,” “Triggerfish,” or “Digital Analyzers” to monitor cell phones since  1995. Internal FBI e-mails, also obtained by EPIC, reveal that agents went  through extensive training on these devices in 2007. In addition, a presentation  from the agency’s Wireless Intercept and Tracking Team argues that cell site  simulators qualify for a low legal standard as a “pen register device,” an  interpretation that was recently rejected by a federal court in Texas. For more  information, see EPIC v. FBI (StingRay).


NASA knew Columbia crew would die but chose not to tell them



Shuttle Columbia crew in 2003 via Wikipedia


(Raw Story) -A NASA flight director has revealed that personnel on the ground knew in 2003 that the Space Shuttle Columbia would not survive re-entry, but chose not to inform the vessel’s crew. According to an ABC News report from Thursday, when faced with the choice of letting the astronauts die trying to come home or leaving them to orbit until their air ran out, high-ranking NASA officials chose to let the Columbia crew die in ignorance of what was to befall them.

Wayne Hale, who became a Space Shuttle program manager in the years after the Columbia disaster, wrote on his blog Thursday about the meeting among ground personnel at Johnson Space Center as they grappled with the decision. Video of Columbia’s takeoff showed a briefcase-sized chunk of foam breaking off an engine and colliding with the shuttle’s wing, gouging a hole in the shield designed to protect the craft from the furious heat generated as it crossed from the vacuum of space into the atmosphere.

When it became clear that the orbiter was seriously damaged and likely wouldn’t survive re-entry, Flight Director Jon Harpold said to Hale and others at the meeting, “You know, there is nothing we can do about damage to the TPS (Thermal Protection System). If it has been damaged it’s probably better not to know. I think the crew would rather not know. Don’t you think it would be better for them to have a happy successful flight and die unexpectedly during entry than to stay on orbit, knowing that there was nothing to be done, until the air ran out?”


On Feb. 3, 2003, engineers and managers watched helplessly as the vehicle broke up into a trail of fireballs in the upper atmosphere, killing all 7 astronauts on board. The crew was made up of five men and two women, David Brown, Rick Husband, Laurel Clark, Kalpana Chawla, Michael Anderson, William McCool and Ilan Ramon.

The surviving children of the astronauts will take part in a commemorative ceremony to be held on the 10th anniversary of the accident on Friday.
Raw Story (

Money falling from the sky: Airlines Losing Millions as 787 Battery Investigation Continues

As the airplane maker tries to find a fix, its customers are trying to figure out how to juggle schedules and routes to fly passengers with 50 Dreamliners grounded around the world. And at least one of those airlines is already saying it expects to be compensated by Boeing.

Today the Japanese Transport Safety Board released photos of the charred 787 battery that prompted pilots to make an emergency landing on Wednesday after they smelled smoke and cockpit indicators signaled a problem. Like the battery that caught fire on a 787 in Boston last week, the lithium-ion battery from the All Nippon Airways airplane showed a melted mass inside the battery case. There appears to be less damage on the outside of the battery box, indicating there was no fire outside the box, unlike the Boston incident.

GS Yuasa, the Japanese company that makes the lithium-ion batteries for the 787, is working with investigators.

It remains unclear whether the problem is with the batteries themselves, the power source or charging system, or the Dreamliner’s electrical system as a whole. The 787 is the most electric airliner ever built and relies far more on electricity to power on-board systems than any other airliner.

The Boeing 787 uses two 63-pound lithium-ion batteries primarily as backup power sources. The battery that caught fire in Boston is located in the tail of the airplane, and can also be used to start the nearby auxiliary power unit. The battery involved in Wednesday’s emergency landing in Japan is located under the cockpit in the front of the airplane.

The two airplanes involved were delivered almost a year apart. But according to the Seattle Times, the batteries may have been built in a much closer timeframe. The paper cites a source saying the serial numbers on the batteries were about 30 digits apart, indicating they may be from a single production run. If it turns out to be a battery manufacturing problem, it could show there is no widespread problem with the design and manufacturing of the Dreamliner itself. And flights could resume sooner than if the problem is traced to an inherent design problem with the airplane.

Boeing is already suggesting an interim fix could be a thorough inspection of the lithium-ion batteries and changes to pilot procedures for a more thorough check of any potential battery problems before flying according to the Seattle newspaper.

Ultimately Boeing is responsible for finding a fix to its new airplane whether the problem is traced to a bad batch of batteries or not. And already airlines are talking about being compensated as their $200 million airliners sit idle. Polish airline LOT says it will seek compensation from Boeing for its grounded airplanes according to Reuters. LOT’s 787 was left stranded in Chicago after making its first trans-Atlantic flight from Poland this week.

Several airlines, including Indian Airlines, are already receiving compensation from Boeing due to delays in the delivery of the 787 Dreamliner. With 50 airplanes grounded, the carriers are losing many millions of dollars. All Nippon Airways operates the largest fleet of 787s right now, with a total of 17 Dreamliners flying primarily domestic routes in Japan. The airline could be losing more than $1 million a day with its 787s parked according to Reuters.

Government Waste: Feds fund $100,000 video game featuring female climate change ‘superhero’

Photo - Star of the taxpayer-funded video game HERadventure. (From Inside Spelman)
Star of the taxpayer-funded video game HERadventure. (From Inside Spelman)

(Washington Examiner) - A new video game featuring a black alien female superhero delivered to Earth to fight global warming is about to hit the market thanks to a $100,000 grant from the Obama administration.

The National Endowment for the Arts is funding the Spelman College of Atlanta, Ga.’s multi-episode game called “HERadventure.” In the grant announcement made last year, the NEA said the story “focuses on a young female superhero sent to Earth to save her own planet from devastation because of climate changes caused by social issues impacting women and girls.”

The game is set to debut on March 8 on International Women’s Day.

The college’s digital newspaper described the project this way: “What would happen if the societal issues affecting women put other planets at risk? Well, of course, HER, a black female superhero, would swoop in with a plan to save the universe. HER is central to HERadventure, a science fiction-based, multimedia platform project that interweaves virtual worlds, digital and social media to create a gaming and storytelling experience. HERadventure not only entertains but tackles social issues that permeate the daily reality of many women.”

While the grant was hit by a lawmaker when it was made, it just came to our attention when the watchdog site Speak With Authority called it wasteful.

“The description defies parody. $100,000 of taxpayer money is going to help develop a video game about a female alien sent to earth to rescue her own planet,” said the site, which added: “Mark your calendars for March 8th. We paid $100,000 for it. We might as well see if we got our money’s worth.”

Winter Solstice 2012: Meteor Shower Likely, 0% Chance Of Apocalypse

(IBITimes) -December 21 might not have brought the apocalypse that some were expecting, but an important celestial event did occur around 6 am Eastern time: the winter solstice. People across the Northern Hemisphere can look forward to longer and longer days as we make the inexorable march towards spring.

Winter Solstice 2012: Meteor Shower Likely, 0% Chance Of Apocalypse
On Friday, the northern half of our planet is tilted as far away from the sun as it gets, and the sun appears to hang extremely low in the sky at noon.

The reason for the season is axial tilt. The Earth doesn’t spin around an axis that points straight up and down relative to its orbit; it rotates on a bit of an incline, with the North Pole pretty much constantly pointing towards the north star, Polaris. Axial tilt means that during certain parts of our orbit around the sun, the Northern Hemisphere is tipped more towards Earth than the Southern Hemisphere, making it summer for half the planet; then, in another part of the cycle, we’re tilted back away from the sun.

Winter solstice coincides with the longest night of the year.

“But that’s a good thing!” astronomer Phil Plait wrote for Slate on Friday. “Every day for the next six months, we’ll slowly round the Sun and have our axis point more toward it. The Sun will get higher, the days longer and warmer.”

As we progress towards the summer solstice, we’ll pass through the vernal equinox on March 20, the point in spring when day and night will be about the same length.

Throughout human history, the winter solstice has been a time of celebration and significance, especially for agricultural communities more at the mercy of nature. Stonehenge, for instance, appears to have been constructed in part to observe celestial events like the summer and winter solstices.

The solstice also brings the peak of the Ursid meteor shower, which happens as Earth passes through the stream of debris left by Tuttle’s Comet. The Ursids, which appear to radiate from the constellation Ursa Minor, aren’t show-stoppers like the recent and much more active Geminids, and it’ll be harder to see them thanks to the waxing moon.

December 21 also marks another special celestial event, as the sun appears to get close to Sagittarius A*, the center of our Milky Way galaxy. Despite what some conspiracy theorists might say on YouTube, the sun isn’t going to align perfectly with the center of the galaxy.

“The winter solstice Sun does not get closer than 3 degrees to the center of the Milky Way Galaxy,” the California-based Griffith Observatory says. “This is equal to six full moons [from our perspective], a very large discrepancy, even for the unaided eye.”

Some doomsday seers and profiteers have stoked fears that a so-called Galactic Alignment means Earth will be sucked into some kind of catastrophe, but since the alignment happens every year, there’s no reason to expect 2012 will be any more eventful than the last few millenia.

“Enjoy the solstice, by all means, and don’t let the Dark Rift, alignments, solar flares, magnetic field reversals, potential impacts or alleged Maya end-of-the-world predictions get in the way,” NASA says.

Mayan Apocalypse Is Unlike Other Doomsdays

Illustration showing Earth amageddon

Illustration showing Earth amageddon
CREDIT: sdecoret | Shutterstock

(LiveScience) Doomsday predictions seem as regular as the tides. UFO cults and evangelical preachers alike have claimed to know the true date of the end of the world. But the Mayan apocalypse is unlike most any doomsday to come before.

That’s because the Mayan apocalypse is an entirely grassroots doomsday, religion experts say. Most apocalyptic groups center around an apocalyptic leader, who passes along predictions, often claiming divine inspiration. The belief that the world will end on Dec. 21, 2012, on the other hand, has popped up almost entirely online, giving rise to a plethora of dueling predictions.

“This was almost an evolutionary process, in that certain ideas seem to stick for some reason, and many didn’t, but what you ended up with is the current 2012 phenomenon,” said Stephen Kent, a sociologist at the University of Alberta who studies new religious movements.

Nevertheless, apocalypse experts say, the current doomsday predictions have much in common with previous versions in that they assume the world to be in hopeless decline and beyond saving. [Full Coverage: The Mayan Not-Apocalypse]

A brief history of the end of the world

Apocalyptic viewpoints are thousands of years old. In Western civilization, they get their start with the ancient Persians, said Allen Kerkeslager, a religious studies professor at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia. The Persian religion, called Zoroastrianism, included beliefs in an epic struggle between good and evil that would culminate in the end of the world, Kerkeslager told LiveScience.

In 539 B.C., the Persians conquered the ancient Jews, whom they would rule for the next 200 years. Prior to coming under Persian rules, Jewish thinkers had given little attention to the apocalypse. But as the cultures collided, apocalyptic thinking began to percolate into their writings, including the Dead Sea Scrolls. These end-of-the-world stories would later get integrated into early Christianity.

“These end-of-the-world predictions, a lot of it Christianity gets directly from Judaism, and Judaism gets it really almost directly from Zoroastrianism,” Kerkeslager said.

Failed apocalypses occurred with regularity in the first millennium; unsurprisingly, nice round dates like A.D. 500 and A.D. 1000 attracted particular attention. At other times, doomsday predictors looked to the skies. For example, in 1524, astrologers predicted a planetary alignment would bring the end of the world. The failure of this prophecy resulted in a revised date to 1528 and then to 1624. [Oops! 11 Failed Doomsday Predictions]

Modern Doomsdays

In the modern era, many doomsday prophets continue to preach versions of the Christian doomsday, with its judgment and rapture. One prominent example is radio preacher Harold Camping, who captured nationwide attention in 2011 after buying up billboard space to warn of Judgment Day on May 21 of that year. The end of the world was expected to follow in October. (Camping is currently out of the business of predicting the end.)

Others have combined the Western cultural fascination of doomsday with new religious movements. In 1954, late Chicago housewife Dorothy Martin and a group of her followers predicted a global flood on Dec. 21 of that year. The cult believed that a UFO would come and rescue them, as true believers, on the night of the flood.

The case became famous thanks to sociologists embedded with the cult, who reported the group’s reaction as the flood and UFO failed to materialize in the book “When Prophecy Fails” (Harper-Torchbooks, 1956). The group rationalized the failure by explaining that they themselves had turned back God’s plans for doomsday with their faith.

The Mayan apocalypse

The Mayan apocalypse myths are similar to prophecies like Martins’ in that they take a non-Biblical view of the end of the world. Mayan apocalypse believers get their inspiration from the Mayan Long Count Calendar, which consists of 144,000-day-long cycles called b’ak’tuns. (There are also longer units of time, such as piktuns, which are made of 20 b’ak’tuns.) Dec. 21, 2012 marks the end of the 13th b’ak’tun, which would have been seen as a completed full cycle of creation by the ancient Maya. However, there were no apocalyptic predictions associated with this day.

The driving belief behind the Mayan apocalypse is likely the same as any other doomsday, said Lorenzo DiTommaso, a professor of religion at Concordia University in Montreal.

Believers are motivated by “a general dissatisfaction with the world and a sense that its problems cannot be overcome by human intellect and engineering,” DiTommaso told LiveScience.

However, unlike other doomsday predictions made by charismatic leaders, people come to the Mayan apocalypse for all sorts of different reasons, DiTommaso said.

“It’s in some ways a Rorschach test, because you impose as much on it as it imposes on you,” he said. “You’ve got a problem with the environment? Maybe it’s 2012, and the planet is trying to tell you something.”

‘Habitable’ planet discovered circling Tau Ceti star

Tau Ceti

Artist’s impression of Tau Ceti: astronomers have found a planet with conditions that could support life orbiting a twin neighbour of the sun. Photograph: J Pinfield for the RoPACS netwo/PA


(Guardian) A planet with conditions that could support life orbits a twin neighbour of the sun visible to the naked eye, scientists have revealed.

The world is one of five thought to be circling Tau Ceti, a star just 12 light years away that is almost identical to the sun.

Astronomers estimate the Tau Ceti planets to be two to six times bigger than Earth. One of them, with five times the Earth’s mass, lies in the star’s “habitable zone”.

Also known as the “Goldilocks zone”, this is the orbital region that is neither too hot nor too cold to allow liquid surface water and, potentially, life. Details of the discovery are to appear in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics.

Because of the difficulties involved in detecting extra-solar planets, most found so far have had high masses. The Tau Ceti planetary family is thought to be the lowest-mass solar system yet detected.

Scientists found the planets using a highly sensitive technique that combined data from more than 6,000 observations from three different telescopes. They used the radial velocity method, which looks for “wobble” in a star’s movement caused by the gravitational tug of planets.

Dr James Jenkins, a member of the international team from the University of Hertfordshire, said: “Tau Ceti is one of our nearest cosmic neighbours and so bright that we may be able to study the atmospheres of these planets in the not-too-distant future.

“Planetary systems found around nearby stars close to our sun indicate that these systems are common in our Milky Way galaxy.”

More than 800 planets have been discovered orbiting stars beyond the sun since the 1990s. Those found around the nearest sun-like stars are the most interesting to astronomers.

Professor Steve Vogt, another team member, from the University of California at Santa Cruz, said: “This discovery is in keeping with our emerging view that virtually every star has planets, and that the galaxy must have many such potentially habitable Earth-sized planets. They are everywhere, even right next door.”

Professor Chris Tinney, an Australian member from the University of New South Wales, said: “As we stare at the night sky, it is worth contemplating that there may well be more planets out there than there are stars, some fraction of which may well be habitable.”

Jenkins is a visiting fellow at the University of Hertfordshire who is based at the University of Chile.

Fireball Over Texas Prompts Worries of Mayan Apocalypse

By M. Frank Drover
December 8, 2012

A pre-dawn fireball streaked across the Houston, Texas sky this morning and was seen as far north as Dallas, over 200 miles away.

It was so bright that the unidentified flying object was spotted by NASA’s meteor camera some 500 miles west of Houston in Mayhill, NM.

Concerned residents contacted local news stations to report what has been described as a “huge shooting star-like object.”

Local radio broadcasts immediately began receiving calls, many from people who were driving to work, with some asking whether the fireball in the sky could be a sign that the fabled Mayan Prophecy has begun.

The Maya were a mesoamerican civilization that are believed to have been one of the most advanced peoples to live in the Americas, having developed language, mathematics and astronomical systems.

The prophecy refers to December 21, 2012, which is believed by some to be the date the world will end – Doomsday.

Though disputed by most mainstream science, some historians and mathematicians have concluded that the date, calculated from the Mayan Calendar, will lead to massive changes on earth that may include floods, earthquakes, and solar events.

The scenario was popularized in the Hollywood blockbuster 2012.

Despite some panic, NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston insisted that this was not a sign of the coming destruction of the planet, but rather, just a rogue asteroid originating from the asteroid belt between the planets Mars and Jupiter (which incidentally is theorized to have been created when a large planet-size object met its Doomsday).

“It is a meteor, most likely a fragment from the asteroid belt and not associated with the Geminid meteor shower,” said NASA spokesman Bill Cooke.

Civilian reports:

NASA Camera captures fireball burst:

Contributed by M. Frank Drover of The Daily Sheeple.

M. Frank Drover is a co-editor and contributor for The Daily Sheeple, an alternative media hub for leading headlines, head lies, opinion, and commentary. Wake the flock up!

Curiosity Rover Finds Organic Signal on Mars, But Not Definitive: NASA

( NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity has discovered complex chemistry on the Red Planet, as well as hints of long-sought organic compounds that could aid primitive life, scientists announced today (Dec. 3).

The Curiosity rover found evidence of chlorine, sulfur and water in Mars dirt studied by its onboard laboratory, as well as organic compounds (chemicals containing carbon) inside its Sample Analysis at Mars instrument. However, the science team can’t yet be sure whether these compounds truly come from Mars, or arise from contamination transported to the Red Planet onboard Curiosity.

“SAM has no definitive detection to report of organic compounds,” Paul Mahaffy, SAM principal investigator at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., said during a press conference at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco.

“Even though [Mahaffy’s] instrument detected organic compounds, first of all we have to determine whether they’re indigenous to Mars,” said John Grotzinger, Curiosity’s project scientist. [Organic Compounds On Mars - Did Curiosity Bring it? | Video]

The announcement came after recent rumors — which NASA attempted to dampen last week — that Curiosity had made a huge discovery on Mars.

Curiosity's 'Rocknest' Workplace
NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover documented itself in the context of its work site, an area called “Rocknest Wind Drift,” on the 84th Martian day, or sol, of its mission (Oct. 31, 2012). Image released Dec. 3, 2012.

The observation by Curiosity involved perchlorate, a reactive compound of oxygen and chlorine that had previously been found in the Martian arctic by NASA’s Phoenix lander.

Curiosity’s SAM instrument uses a tiny oven to cook Mars dirt samples, then study the gases they give off to determine their chemical makeup. Martian soil samples are placed in the device by a scoop on Curiosity’s robotic arm.

When Curiosity cooked the perchlorate in its SAM oven, it created chlorinated methane compounds, one-carbon organic material.

“The chlorine is of Martian orgin, but it’s possible the carbon may be of Earth origin, carried by Curiosity and detected by SAM’s high sensitivity design,” NASA officials wrote in a statement.



The new findings by Curiosity came during the rover’s study of a patch of windblown Martian dust and sand called “Rocknest.” It is a flat stretch of Mars terrain that is still miles away from Curiosity’s first destination, rock outcrop called Glenelg at the base of the 3-mile (5 kilometers) Mount Sharp that rises from the center of the rover’s landing site — the vast Gale Crater.

While scientists puzzle out the validity of Curiosity’s SAM signals, the rover’s other instruments have made curious discoveries, as well, mission scientists said.

Curiosity’s arm-mounted tools have confirmed that the Martian soil at the Rocknest site is similar in chemical composition and appearance to the dirt seen by NASA’s three other rovers: the small Pathfinder, and golf cart-size Spirt and Opportunity rovers.

Windblown Sand from the 'Rocknest' Drift

The Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) on NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity acquired close-up views of sands in the “Rocknest” wind drift to document the nature of the material that the rover scooped, sieved and delivered to the Chemistry and Mineralogy Experiment (CheMin) and the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) in October and November 2012. Image released Dec. 3, 2012.

Photos from the rover’s Mars hand Lens Imager, or MAHLI, revealed that the sand drifts at Rocknest have a crusty surface that hides even darker, finer sand below.

“Active drifts on Mars look darker on the surface,” MAHLI principal investigator Ken Edgett of Malin Space Science Systems in San Diego said in a statement.”This is an older drift that has had time to be inactive, letting the crust form and dust accumulate on it.”

Meanwhile, Curiosity’s Chemical and Mineralogy detector, called CheMin, found that the terrain around Rocknest is a mix of volcanic and glassy, non-crystalline materials. While the rover found more evidence of water than expected, some water molecules bound to bits of sand were anticipated, scientists said.

The car-size Mars rover Curiosity landed on the Red Planet in early August. The $2.5 billion robot is the largest rover ever sent to another planet and is expected to spend at least two years exploring Gale Crater to determine if the region could have ever supported microbial life.

Will a Secret Private Manned Mission to the Moon Be Announced This Week?

Is this happening again? Image: NASA

( Internet rumors have been swirling for several weeks of a secret venture backed by private entrepreneurs that would return people to the moon’s surface. It seems that the veil will finally be lifted this week, during a press conference in Washington, D.C., on Dec. 6.

“The Golden Spike Company invites you to attend a game-changing announcement about the future of commercial human space travel to the Moon,” reads the announcement for the media briefing. ”Executives from the company will describe the team, the mission architecture, and the business model.”

Many questions remain about the prospects for such a mission, including its feasibility, rationale, and how the company intends to fund the endeavor, which will likely run to billions of dollars. Early rumors suggested that backers included Warren Buffet and Richard Branson, though these have since been shown false. The plan may also include a $120 million deal with SpaceX to provide a heavy rocket to reach the moon. SpaceX had no statement about such a deal when Wired reached out to them on Dec. 2.

The Golden Spike Company is registered in Colorado to planetary scientist and aerospace engineer Alan Stern, who ran NASA’s science directorate from 2007 to 2008. Stern also worked in the private spaceflight sector that year, as an independent research representative for Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin. In a 2011 interview he said, “I hope that in 10 to 20 years’ time, we are on the hills of human return to the moon, so that we could then go on with humans to explore the solar system. I think this is our destiny.”

Golden Spike is a reference to the ceremonial spike driven into the rails connecting the U.S. transcontinental railroad in 1869, which helped open up the American West. The company has recently started both a Facebook group and Twitter account.

The company has apparently been around for a while. A conference presentation from May mentioned a company called Golden Spike that was “backed by respected scientific and astronautical entities” and “envisions the development of a reliable ‘Cislunar Superhighway.’” That same presentation mentioned a “cooperative initiative coalescing between independent, national and international enterprises [that] could see 2 to 4 people on the surface for 1 to 4 weeks at an estimated cost of US$5-10 billion.” Whether this plan is the same as Golden Spike’s is unclear.