Sunday, June 26, 2005

NASA to Blow up a Comet

Fireworks Likely When NASA Blows Up Comet

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Not all dazzling fireworks displays will be on Earth this Independence Day. NASA hopes to shoot off its own celestial sparks in an audacious mission that will blast a stadium-sized hole in a comet half the size of Manhattan. It would give astronomers their first peek at the inside of one of these heavenly bodies.
If all goes as planned, the Deep Impact spacecraft will release a wine barrel-sized probe on a suicide journey, hurtling toward the comet Tempel 1 _ about 80 million miles away from Earth at the time of impact.
"It's a bullet trying to hit a second bullet with a third bullet in the right place at the right time," said Rick Grammier, project manager at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena.
Scientists hope the July 4 collision will gouge a crater in the comet's surface large enough to reveal its pristine core and perhaps yield cosmic clues to the origin of the solar system.
NASA's fleet of space-based observatories _ including the Hubble, Spitzer and Chandra telescopes _ along with an army of ground-based telescopes around the world are expected to record the impact and resulting crater.
The big question is: What kind of fireworks can sky-gazers expect to see from Earth?
Scientists do not know yet. But if the probe hits the bull's-eye, the impact could temporarily light up the comet as much as 40 times brighter than normal, possibly making it visible to the naked eye in parts of the Western Hemisphere.
"We're getting closer by the minute," Andrew Dantzler, the director of NASA's solar system division, said earlier this month. "I'm looking forward to a great encounter on the Fourth of July."
If the $333 million mission is successful, Deep Impact will be the first spacecraft to touch the surface of a comet. In 2004, NASA's Stardust craft flew within 147 miles of Comet Wild 2 on its way back to Earth carrying interstellar dust samples.
Scientists say Deep Impact has real science value that will hopefully answer basic questions about the solar system's birth.
Comets _ frozen balls of dirty ice, rocks and dust _ are leftover building blocks of the solar system after a cloud of gas and dust condensed to form the sun and planets 4 1/2 billion years ago. As comets arc around the sun, their surfaces heat up so that only their frozen interiors possess original space material.
Very little is known about comets and even less is known about their primordial cores. What exactly will happen when Tempel 1 is hit on the Fourth of July is anybody's guess. Scientists believe that the impact will form a circular depression that will eject a cone-shaped plume of debris into space.
But not to worry. NASA guarantees that its experiment will not significantly change the comet's orbit nor will the smash-up put the comet or any remnants of it on a collision course with Earth.
Discovered in 1867, Tempel 1 is a short-period comet, meaning that it moves around the sun in an elliptical orbit between Mars and Jupiter and can be sighted every six or so years.
The Deep Impact spacecraft shares the same name as a 1998 Hollywood disaster movie about a comet headed straight for Earth. NASA says that the names for the space mission and blockbuster movie were arrived at independently around the same time and by pure coincidence.
The spacecraft blasted off from Cape Canaveral, Fla., in mid-January to make its six-month, 268 million-mile voyage. In March, scientists got a scare when test images from one of Deep Impact's telescopes were slightly out of focus. The problem was fixed, and a month later, Deep Impact took its first picture of Tempel 1 from 40 million miles away, revealing a big snowball of dirty ice and rock. Last week, scientists processed the first images of the comet's bright core taken from 20 million miles away, which should help the probe zero in on its target.
The real action starts in the early morning of July 3 (Eastern time) when the spacecraft separates, releasing an 820-pound copper probe called the "impactor" on a one-way trip straight into the path of the comet. During the next 22 hours, mission control at Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena will steer both craft toward Tempel 1.
Two hours before the July 4 encounter, the impactor kicks into autopilot, relying on its self-navigating software and thrusters for the rest of the journey to steer toward the sunlit part of the comet's nucleus so that space and Earth-based telescopes can get the best view.
Meanwhile, the spacecraft _ with its high-resolution camera ready _ will veer out of harm's way some 5,000 miles away, as it stakes out a ringside seat for recording the collision. The spacecraft will make its closest flyby minutes after impact, approaching within 310 miles.
The collision is expected to occur around 1:52 a.m. EDT when the comet, traveling through space at 6 miles per second, runs over the impactor, which will be shooting some of the most close-up pictures of Tempel 1 up until its death.
Grammier has likened it to standing in the middle of the road and being hit by a semi-truck going 23,000 mph _ "you know, just bam!" The energy produced by the crash will be like detonating nearly 5 tons of TNT.
The high-speed collision is expected to excavate a crater that can range anywhere from the size of a house to a football stadium, and from two to 14 stories deep. A spew of ice and dust debris will likely shoot out from the newly formed hole, possibly revealing a glimpse of the comet's core.
Scientists say if the comet is porous like a sponge, the impact should produce a stadium-sized crater about 150 feet deep and 650 feet wide. This suggests that the comet's inside holds some of the pristine material of the early solar system.
But if the comet is packed like a snowball, the crater formed would be much smaller. Another scenario is that the comet is so porous that most of the impactor's energy is absorbed, creating an even smaller but deep crater.
The mothership has less than 15 minutes to snap images from the cosmic collision and resulting crater before it's bombarded with a blizzard of debris. Scientists expect to receive near real-time data from the impactor and spacecraft.
"We get one chance," said Michael A'Hearn, a professor of astronomy at the University of Maryland and Deep Impact principal investigator.
___
On the Net:
Deep Impact page: http://www.nasa.gov/deepimpact

Monday, June 13, 2005

You scored as Unipolar Depression. Congraulations! You are depressed! You know just how it feels to bear all the world's burdens, and the value of a 19-hour night's sleep. And you really hate that circle-guy thing on your Zoloft pill packets.

Unipolar Depression

50%

Borderline Personality Disorder

33%

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

8%

Antisocial Personality Disorder

8%

Eating Disorders

0%

Schizophrenia

0%

Which mental disorder do you have?
created with QuizFarm.com

Hot & Rainy.

Today is a hot & somewhat humid day.. Though the wind is blowing, so that's good. It's about to rain real soon. It's been a few days since I have posted on this blog. Since I don't have the internet..I don't have the means to post 24/7. I post an entry whenever I am able.

Hopefully soon I'll have more to type about.

:)

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Dinner.

today I didn't do much of anything.. I went to the Dollar Store. This evening I went to the masjid - they had a dinner there. It was great, even though hardly anyone showed up. But at least I got to meet a few sisters. The Bosnian Muslimah I met the other week at jummah..she was there & invited me to go over to her house sometime for tea. She's real nice.. her & her husband have 3 kids. Mashallah. Stuffed & tired. .............

News.

Press Release

Source: Council on American-Islamic Relations
Muslim Prayer Hall Burned to Ground in CaliforniaFriday June 3, 10:38 pm ET
CAIR-LA calls for FBI probe as possible hate crime
ANAHEIM, Calif., June 3 /PRNewswire/ -- The Southern California office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-LA) today called on the FBI to investigate a fire at a Muslim prayer hall in that state as a possible hate crime.
CAIR-LA was contacted by the director of the United Islamic Youth Organization who said the prayer hall, located at an Islamic cemetery in Adelanto, Calif., was burned to the ground early this morning. That official told CAIR-LA that the 2,000 square foot prayer hall was used for funeral services and other religious activities. The same cemetery had been targeted by vandals in 2003. Local law enforcement authorities and the FBI were notified of the incident.
"We urge the FBI and other law enforcement agencies working on the case to investigate this incident as a possible hate crime," said CAIR-LA Communications Director Sabiha Khan. "We pray that the perpetrators, whatever their motive, are caught and brought to justice."
Khan said a series of similar incidents has been reported in recent months by Muslim individuals and institutions nationwide. Last weekend, CAIR's Florida office reported that vandals threw a large rock through a glass door of the Islamic School of Miami's prayer area. Just last month, a brick was thrown through a window of the Fort Collins (Colo.) Islamic Center.
As a response to these and other anti-Muslim incidents, CAIR published a "Muslim Community Safety Kit." The safety kit may be obtained free of charge by e-mailing
pubs@cair-net.org. (Include name, address and phone number when requesting the safety kit.) It may also be ordered at: http://www.cair-net.org/comersus/store/comersus_viewItem.asp?idProduct=1021
CAIR, America's largest Muslim civil liberties group, has 31 offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada. Its mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
To read CAIR's Mission, Vision Statement and Core Principles, go to:
http://www.cair-net.org/default.asp?Page=About
NOTE: CAIR offers an e-mail list designed to be a journalist's window to the American Muslim community. Subscribers to the list, called ISLAM-INFONET, receive news releases and other materials dealing with American Muslim positions on issues of importance to our society.
To SUBSCRIBE to ISLAM-INFONET, go to:
http://cair.biglist.com/islam-infonet/

Friday, June 03, 2005

2nd Jumma

Today is a cool day.. the wind is steadily blowing.. .

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Today is a crazy day. It looks so sunny outside, yet it's not hot. It's not cold either, though. Where I'm from it's hot plus very humid right now. It's always humid where I come from. Here the air is dryer, the climate is cooler. It takes some getting use to, but it's okay. I went to Value City today.. it was a pretty cool store. They don't have that store where I come from. Where I come from they have a Fred's Super Dollar Store whereas here they don't.

I'm still exploring Erie.. please keep staying tuned for more entries about it.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Day 3

Today is my third day residing in Erie, Pa. Today was overall a decent day. The only thing that I didn't really enjoy was my Mother calling me - begging me to leave & move back with my family even though I'm old enough to be off on my own. She has told me several times to get out & get a life. That's exactly what I am aiming for, but now she is begging me to go back home. How can I ever have a life of my own if she is dictating it? I'm almost 21. uff!! Any advice would be appreciated.
In other news, I attended a BBQ & I went to the mall & bought some Punjabi looking shoes. :) Now I just need to find an outfit to match. The mall was pretty nice, though it was just one story.

*Sorry I didn't post on here yesturday - I fell asleep early!

Friday, May 27, 2005

First Day.

As-Salaamu'alaykum / Peace be upon you,

Hi, Today is my first day staying in Erie, Pa. I thought to myself, that I should write a weblog of my stay here. Upon my arrival to the place that is said to have the best sunset in the world...... I was astonished by the fact that this city by the lake looks so run down & ghetto. I can't lie & say I wasn't somewhat expecting it to look this way, though. Still, I had hopes it would be better than this. I should note that just because the city isn't too pretty (at least the parts that I've seen so far) - that doesn't mean all the people here are ugly.

I should mention the fact that I am a Muslim. I converted to Islam from Christianity a few years back. Today I went to the masjid(mosque) here, it's inside a two-story house. The Imam (Leader) of the masjid gave a good khutbah(sermon) about how we shouldn't put ourselves into worldly things that take our minds off of the path that God has bestowed upon us. It was cool. I also met a another white Muslim lady .. she was super nice & had the cutest little girl! I asked her where she was from & she said Bosnia. Then she inquired about my nationality & I told her I'm American - then she asked me if my parents were Muslim & I said no that I'm the only Muslim in my family. She said "Mashallah", which means 'God wills it so'.

Well, I'm a little tired from my trip coming up here. Not sure how long I'll stay - a month or more? Who knows, stay tuned to find out. Hopefully you will enjoy reading Erie Times. Inshallah/God-willing.