Feedback & Space Lego’s | SciByte 31

Feedback & Space Lego’s | SciByte 31

We take a look at lego’s in space, dinosaur feathers, spacecraft updates, breaking science, viewer feedback and as always take a peek back into history and up in the sky this week.

Too much out there is just plain distraction, why can’t we have our cake and eat it too? There are a lot of interesting things going on out there in science, but getting to the interesting bits without all the hype you get from major media outlets is a trick we at Jupiter Broadcasting are hoping to pull off.

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One small flight for a Lego man, one giant leap for Lego Kind?

  • The low down on Weather Balloons
  • Made of latex for synthetic runner typically about 0.002in [0.051mm] thick on the ground and 0.000098in [0.0025mm] at bursting altitude
  • On the ground they are about 6ft [1.8m] wide and expand to 20ft [6.9m] in diameter at altitude and can be filled with either hydrogen or helium
  • Can reach altitudes of 25mi [40km] and twice a day, every day of the year, weather balloons are released simultaneously from almost 900 locations worldwide!
  • Where does space begin? – It’s a complicated answer because there is no definitive answer. NASA awards astronaut wings to anyone who reaches 49.7mi [80km.] Other instruments and scientists argue that it begins at around 62mi [100km]
  • Significance
  • Two 17 years old Canadians, used a helium filled weather balloon that brought a homemade styrofoam capsule that included two video cameras, four digital cameras, a GPS-enabled cell phone, and a tine Lego man holding a Canadian flag
  • They launched from a soccer field up to a heights of 16mi [25km] and reached a height of 6mi [25km] where the helium balloon burst in what is technically known as the stratosphere.
  • * Of Note*
  • Technically they reached the stratosphere, which is 6–30 mi [10–50km] above sealevel.
  • Commercial airliners typically cruise at altitudes of 9–12 km (30,000–39,000 ft)
  • There have been a few sightings and evidence that birds can fly in the lower stratosphere
  • Several Lego toys are constantly flying even higher above the Earth at this very moment aboard the International Space Station as part of an educational outreach effort by NASA and Lego.
  • Actually Inadvisable generally when launching a balloon of that size you have to check in with the local airports to make sure it will be in a clear flight path.
  • Multimedia
  • YouTube VIDEO : Lego man in Space
  • Further Reading / In the News
  • Toronto Teens Launch “Lego Man in Space” @ UniverseToday
  • Canadian teens send Legonaut 15 miles into atmosphere @ c|net
  • Pilot warns against copycat weather balloon experiments as they ‘could bring down an airplane’ @ DailyMail

*— NEWS BYTE — *

Dinosaur feather colors

  • The low down
  • Archaeopteryx is the most ancient bird species known, who spread their wings amid the branches of Late Jurassic trees
  • Archaeopteryx got its name in 1861 based on a lone fossil feather.
  • Significance
  • Examining the original dark trace of feather, scientists turned to a specialized scanning electron microscope in Germany.
  • Checking points along the feather revealed evidence of rod-shaped nubbins like the structures that hold pigments called melanin’s inside the cells of modern feathers.
  • In a procedure that has identified colors on several dinosaurs as well as fossil penguins
  • The pigment-carrying structures, called melanosomes, grouped with modern birds’ black ones instead of the brown or gray ones, or the oddball melanosomes found in penguins
  • * Of Note*
  • There have been questions about whether Archaeopteryx feathers would have been strong enough for the early bird to fly
  • The substance of the feather material was pretty tough stuff due to the melanin, black feathers are typical of this
  • It doesn’t necessarily follow that the feather as a whole had the aerodynamic stiffness for sustained, powered flight
  • Archaeopteryx was probably a pretty clumsy flier or glider.
  • Multimedia
  • YouTube Clip from show : Fit for flight
  • Further Reading / In the News
  • Archaeopteryx wore black @
  • Feathered Dinosaur Had Black Wings? @ NationalGeographic
  • Wikipedia : Archaeopteryx

Old photographic plates reveal new star data

  • The low down
  • Photographic plates preceded photographic film as a means of photography.
  • A light-sensitive emulsion of silver salts was applied to a glass plate
  • Glass plates were far superior to film for research-quality imaging because they were extremely stable and less likely to bend or distort, especially in large-format frames for wide-field imaging
  • There were in wide use by the professional astronomical community as late as the 1990s.
  • Starting in the 1990s, photographic plates were replaced with more sensitive CCDs (charge-coupled devices), which are digital light sensors
  • Significance
  • A century’s worth of astronomical photographic plates have revealed a slew of new variable stars, many of which alter on timescales and in ways never before seen.
  • * Of Note*
  • The discoveries come from a new analysis of the 500,000 plates made by the Harvard College Observatory from the 1880s through the 1980s, covering the whole sky.
  • Scientists are trying to digitize the plate collection, basically using CCDs to image the plates, then applying an algorithm to quantify how bright stars appear and search for variations over time.
  • Multimedia
  • IMAGE : @
  • Further Reading / In the News
  • New Star Discoveries Found in Antique Telescope Plates


Looking back


  • * Last time on SciByte*
  • SciByte 29 | Exoplanets & Social Media
    (Jan 17, 2012)
  • * Of Note*
  • Earlier this month, the space station fired its thrusters to avoid debris from a 2009 satellite crash between an U.S. and Russian spacecraft.
  • On Jan. 28 the space station had to avoid space junk from the Chinese satellite Fengyun 1C
  • Rocket thrusters on the space station’s fired in a 1-minute, four-second burn to slightly raise the laboratory’s orbit, leaving it on a path that reaches just over 251 miles (404 kilometers)
  • The space station is currently home to a six-man crew that includes three Russians, two Americans and one Dutch astronaut
  • When there is not enough time to plan a dodging maneuver, station astronauts can take shelter inside the Russian Soyuz vehicles that ferry them to and from the station until a piece of space junk has safely zoomed by.
  • The Soyuz capsules, two of which are docked at the station now, each seat three people and can double as lifeboats.
  • Also the Progress 46 cargo ship successfully docked to the International Space Station’s Pirs Docking Compartment late on January 27 to deliver almost three tons of food, fuel and supplies
  • Multimedia
  • YouTube VIDEO : Space Freighter Docks to ISS
  • Further Reading
  • Space Station Dodges Debris From Destroyed Chinese Satellite
  • Progress Resupply Ship Docks at the International Space Station




What is my favorite space movie?

Time Travel

  • Gravitational Slingshot
  • A number of space probes have used gravitational slingshot (Gravity assist) to gain speed
  • A Gravity Assist Primer @
  • YouTube VIDEO : NASA original voyager animation
  • SciByte Clip
  • Gravitational time dialation
  • The Theory of General Relativity, states that the rate of time passing depends on the strength of the gravitational field at the observer’s location.
  • The gravitational well of the Sun would change the apparent rate of time flow depending upon your point of observation
  • **Combining the two to get time travel?
  • Science does not support getting a Klingon bird of prey to 1986 by fling close to the sun, although it would make your trajectory faster going away on the other side
  • Star Trek clip from trailer

How can I submit Feedback or Stories?

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Interstellar Matter

Looking up this week

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