Tuesday, February 24, 2009

from the NY Times

February 25, 2009
NASA Satellite Fails to Reach Orbit
A NASA satellite to track carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere failed to reach its orbit during launching Tuesday morning, scuttling the $278 million mission.
“It’s a huge disappointment to the entire team that’s worked very hard over years and years and really did their best to see it through,” said Charles P. Dovale, the launch manager. “The reason not everyone is able to do this is — it’s hard. And even when you do the best you can, you can still fail. It’s a tough business.”
The Orbiting Carbon Observatory lifted off on schedule at 1:55 a.m. Pacific time from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California aboard a four-stage Taurus XL rocket.
But three minutes later, during the burning of the third stage, the payload fairing — a clamshell nose cone that protects the satellite as it rises through the atmosphere — failed to separate as commanded.
The third and fourth stages burned properly, but because of the added weight of the nose cone, the satellite did not reach orbit.
“The fairing has considerable weight relative to the portion of the vehicle that’s flying,” said John Brunschwyler, manager of the Taurus rocket program for Orbital Sciences of Virginia, which built both the rocket and the satellite.
“So when it separates off, you get a jump in acceleration,” said Mr. Brunschwyler. “We did not have that jump in acceleration. As a direct result of carrying that extra weight, we could not make orbit.”
The satellite fell back to Earth, landing in the ocean just short of Antarctica.
NASA will convene a mishap investigation board to investigate the failure. For Orbital Sciences Corporation of Virginia, which built both the satellite and the launch rocket, it was second failure in eight launches of the Taurus XL.
Mr. Dovale said that Glory, another climate satellite built by Orbital Sciences and scheduled to fly aboard a Taurus XL in June, would not fly until they understand the failure of the Tuesday’s launching.
The carbon observatory was to precisely measure levels of carbon dioxide — the heat-trapping gas that is driving global warming — in the air. Scientists had hoped the new data, covering the entire planet, would help them improve climate models and better understand the “carbon sinks” like oceans and forests and that absorb much of the carbon dioxide.

Sharon Otterman contributed reporting.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Conservation Lobby Day

http://movotesconservation.org/lobbyday.aspx is a link to updates on a statewide environmental lobby day held in Jefferson City last week. Bill & I worked with a group on green building and energy efficiency issues. We made a few connections with legislators and as a result of the day's efforts I will be meeting/presenting to the MHDC in April.

A Village of 100

This has been around a while, but it is good to remember:

If we could shrink the earth's population to a village of precisely 100 people, with all the existing human ratios remaining the same, it would look something like the following:

There would be:
57 Asians
21 Europeans
14 from the Western Hemisphere, both north and south
8 Africans
52 would be female
48 would be male
70 would be non-white
30 would be white
70 would be non-Christian
30 would be Christian
89 would be heterosexual
11 would be homosexual
6 people would possess 59% of the entire world's wealth and all 6 would be from the United States.
80 would live in substandard housing
70 would be unable to read
50 would suffer from malnutrition
1 would be near death; 1 would be near birth
1 (yes, only 1) would have a college education
1 would own a computer

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Highland Homes - St Peters, MO

This was billed as the 1st Green Development in our region and it went belly up, left in ruins with part of it torn down already. It wasn't the 'Green' part that brought this down. I don't understand much about property development but it seems to be as much of a Ponzi Scheme as anything Bernie Madoff did. One must keep selling to develop what one 'sold.' Here are some images of the site form this weekend.