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Oklahoma Space Alliance NSS Chapter UPDATE for December 2009

December Meeting and Christmas Party:  Note New Time

        The Oklahoma Space Alliance will have its annual Christmas POTLUCK Party on December 19 at the Koszoru residence, 514 Fenwick Court in Norman. Prospective members are welcome.  Meet at 5:00 p.m., eat at 6:00 p.m. Elections will be at 7:00 - 7:15 p.m. Clifford McMurray is back from his trip to Antarctica and will hopefully bring lots of pictures. Call Claire at 405-329-4326 (H) or 863-6173 (C) to discuss what to bring, or email [email protected].

        This will be the meeting at which we elect officers.  Ballots will be mailed in Outreach in November. You can vote at the meeting if you wish; if you cannot, votes will be accepted through e-mail or by snail mail.  We will also be selecting officers of the Mars Society of Central Oklahoma. An agenda will be posted at osa.nss.org/index.html

         To get the meeting either: (1) Take the Robinson Street west exit off I-35. Proceed west to 36th Street where you will turn left, and go south until you turn left on Rambling Oaks (about half a mile north of Main Street). Fenwick Court is the third street on the left. Tom's house is the last on the left side, or (2) Take the Main Street west exit off I-35, proceed west past the Sooner Fashion Mall, and turn right at 36th Street, and go north until you turn right on Rambling Oaks (about half a mile north of Main Street). Fenwick Court is the third street on the left. Tom's house is the last on the left side. For more information, call Tom at 366-1797, Syd at 321-4027, or Claire at 329-4326.


  1.. Introductions (if necessary)
  2.. Read and approve agenda
  3.. Read and approve minutes and reports of activities
  4.. Old Business
    a.. Food
    b.. Elections
  5.. Read and discuss mail
  6.. New Business
  7.. Create New Agenda

Minutes of November Meeting

         Oklahoma Space Alliance met on the afternoon of November 21 at the Koszoru's. Attending were Claire McMurray, Tom and Heidi Koszoru, John
Northcutt and Syd Henderson. Our guests were Adrian Lucy, Alyssa Grimley and Erin Longworthy from the newly formed Oklahoma University chapter of SEDS,
the Students for the Education and Development of Space.
        Can we do Second Life on University computers?
        National Science Foundation grants go to science groups.
        Syd can start a Facebook Oklahoma Space Alliance page or group. Adrian recommended starting a page and can give advice on how to do it.
        "Blast!" is a feature documentary about the BLAST telescope and the scientists who created it (seehttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BLAST!_(2008_film)). Educational packet is $250, which includes the movie and educational DVD.
        When is Conestoga? April 23 - 25, 2010. Yuri's Night (April 12) is on a Monday in 2010. The 2011 Yuri's Night is on a Tuesday and will mark the
50th anniversary of manned spaceflight.
        SEDS will be asking for UOSA funding for rocketry and education. They are doing a rocketry program that they want to expand to educational outreach. They can do a Yuri's Night celebration on campus, perhaps around the Observatory.
        NSS has a deal with escript for credit card purchases. You can name up to three groups to receive money from credit card transactions.
        The Planetary Society is trying to rebuild their solar sail project.
        The Christmas Party will be 5:00 p.m. on December 19 at the Koszoru house. Unfortunately, this will be the day after OU has its finals so the SEDS members won't have a chance to attend.
       Oklahoma Space Alliance officer nominations:
        President: Tom Koszoru
        Vice-President; John Northcutt
        Secretary; Syd Henderson
        Treasurer: Tim Scott
        Claire is nominated for correspondence secretary as an appointed rather than elected position. Claire should be listed as contact person on website.
        We received newsletters from the Luna Project, whose website ishttp://www.lunarcc.org/. We met Chris Carson of the Project at Soonercon earlier this year.

--Minutes by Oklahoma Space Alliance Secretary Syd Henderson\

Between Meetings Activities

            Claire attended the December 3rd SEDS meeting at OU. They are interested in a Yuri's Night party, but prefer Friday, April 9th on the South Oval. They would like OSA to come up with a speaker or two (maybe from FAA/CAMI?), and maybe a BotBall event. Since it could rain, they also want to schedule a space-related movie (in a dorm, so they don't have to pay copy-right fees) and some space-related games. They are working on getting cooperation from the Physics & Astronomy department to hold part of the event at the observatory (or telescopes at the South Oval), and they'd like to do some rocket launches if they can find the rocket club and a reasonable place to launch, such as the Lloyd Noble parking lot. One of them has taught himself enough rocket science to design his own engine, and is hoping to get help from an OU engineering lab to build it.

            At a meeting of the video group associated with the Norman Arts Council, Claire met Cassandra Ketrick, who said the group might be interested in making a space-related music video to post on FaceBook. We have in-principle agreement from Diana Gallagher Burke to use one of her songs for the purpose (as we did, more crudely, in the 90's). It remains to be seen whether we can find the right visuals to go with the right song for space promotion purposes. We might be able to get agreement from a different singer/songwriter such as Leslie Fish. I'm thinking of old filk, but there may be modern filk that would work better.

Space News

            Great NASA Giveaway: No, private individuals can't line up. But NASA centers and state-approved educational institutions are eligible to receive surplus shuttle-related equipment just for the cost of transportation-everything from space food to used space suits to shuttles-when the shuttle program ends "next year." Discovery will go to the Smithsonian; the fate of Atlantis and Endeavour is still to be determined, according to FOX news. One hopes that NASA will keep a prudent reserve of the stuff that can be used aboard the space station, since current plans call for  continuing the ISS program with manned launches from Russia and cargo launches by Russia, Japan, and future US commercial providers.

            NASA's Wide-field Infrared Space Explorer launched Dec 14 at 6:09 a.m. Pacific Standard Time (14:09 Universal Time) from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. WISE rode a Delta II rocket into a polar orbit 326 miles (525 km) high. The camera's pictures will be orders of magnitude more detailed than our previous infra-red telescope. If all goes well, the frozen hydrogen aboard will last long enough for 1½ complete sky maps. For more information, go to www.nasa.gov and enter "WISE" in the search box.

STS-129 Ascent Video Highlights from mike interbartolo on Vimeo.

            He says, "Watch this video compiled by NASA of the beautiful launch of the Space Shuttle Atlantis STS-129. It's gorgeous and proves that all space launches should come with their own Celtic soundtracks." The video plays interesting games with time and camera angles. Many of the shots are taken in space, and show what you never see on TV. For full credits, see the video: http://io9.com/5418689/space-shuttle-atlantis-the-beautiful-music-video-launch

Solar System Formation:

            At http://www.skyandtelescope.com/skytel/beyondthepage/8594717.html you can find an animation illustrating the "Nice model" (named for the French city) of our solar system's formation. It was proposed by Alessandro Morbidelli (Cote d'Azur Observatory, France), Rodney Gomes (National Observatory of Brazil), Kleomenis Tsiganis (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece) and Hal Levison (Southwest Research Institute, Colorado).
            Click on the image to display a 7-megabyte QuickTime movie illustrating how trillions of planetesimals in the early solar system changed the orbits of
the outer planets. If your computer doesn't already have QuickTime, you can download a free copy from www.apple.com.

Oklahoma Space Alliance UPDATE Addendum:

Global Dimming:

            From http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DZnnLnl8L2w&feature=related & related videos.
            In Israel, the German Alps, & many other places, the amount of solar energy reaching Earth has fallen by average 4-5% (but 22% in Israel). Yet Earth seems to be warming.
            For 100+ years, agricultural scientists have been measuring the "pan evaporation rate"-the amount of water which must be added to a pan, to bring the level to yesterday's level. BUT in the 1990's the rate of evaporation started falling. That's puzzling, with global temps going up, since higher temps should increase evaporation. But it turns out that the key factors are sunlight (dominant), humidity and wind. It's the energy of photons that kicks the water molecules out of the pan. On the average, there's been 100 mm of water less evaporation from l945-1985. Decline was found in Russia, Europe & USA. There's real "global dimming."
            Why? The sun hasn't changed (actually, some solar emission has recently gone down-nutrinos?. But that's a different story.) It must be changes in Earth's atmosphere. Soot, ash etc. creates haze. Unlike CO2, it's not transparent  to visible light. The northern Maldive Islands get polluted air from India. In the southern islands, air is unpolluted. Four years of monitoring & sampling discovered a 3-kilometer depth of polluted air. which cut sunlight by 10%--much more than anyone had thought possible. Partly the particles themselves block sunlight. But they also turn clouds into "giant mirrors" because more and smaller water droplets can form around the particles, and many small droplets reflect more light than fewer larger droplets. Satellite images show the same thing is happening all over the world where there's industrial activity.
            Tragically, the more-reflective clouds can alter rainfall patterns. This may be one cause of the sub-Saharan drought in the 1970s & 1980s. The rain belt failed to shift northward enough to cause the monsoon, apparently because the northern-hemisphere ocean was insufficiently warmed. The same thing could happen to the Asian monsoon if Asian industry increases and does not control air pollution. Air pollution controls in Europe & North America have markedly reduced air pollution (though not greenhouse gasses). The implication was that that may be why the sub-Saharan drought ended.
            On the other hand, many scientists believe that global warming-not dimming-causes droughts, according to http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090416144520.htm. The same article claims that intermittent mega-droughts have been normal for the sub-Saharan region over the last 3000 years. The evidence is in lake sediments that apparently correlate to fluctua-tions in sea surface temperatures (based on tree-ring variations and computer simulations), a pattern called the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation.
            Ancient droughts couldn't have been caused by industrial pollution, but I suppose volcanic activity might have been involved, if there's been that much of it in the right places.
            According to Global Dimming scientists, we might get a "double whammy" if we keep reducing the cooling pollutants-as we need to do for health-while still increasing the warming pollution of greenhouse gasses, because that would speed up the warming. Until recently, cooling pollution somewhat balanced warming pollution. Some scientists think this would produce 3 degrees Celsius of warming sooner than expected. The last time the Earth was 3 degrees warmer was 3 million years ago, when there was a natural increase in greenhouse gases. The sea level was 75-80 feet higher then, and would probably rise that much again. Due to weather patterns in that case, the Amazon could be drier & more vulnerable to fire, releasing even more CO2.
            An article at http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/09/080930081357.htm indicates that over the last 120,000 years there were 3 periods when the Sahara was green. They coincided with times that the changing direction of the earth's rotational axis provided maximum solar energy in the tropical Atlantic Ocean. This increased moisture production and pushed the African monsoon further north, increasing precipitation in the Sahara.
            Most models do not take full account of global dimming, and may be underestimating the global warming effect. If we reduce pollution-based cooling, at least one model suggests as much as 18oC of overall warming could occur by the end of this century. In that case, many plant species would not survive, and the frozen [methane] hydrates under northern oceans might escape into the atmosphere. Since methane is a stronger greenhouse gas than CO2 (or water), this could be a major problem.
            Climate scientists apparently don't see a way out. However, a guest at a recent FenCon pointed out that the earth could be significantly cooled by one payload of fine particles such as diatomic earths lofted into the jet stream and released there. That would be cheap (relatively), easy, and temporary but would probably cool northern latitudes more than the tropics. Northern countries might resist such forcible cooling. If dimming does cause droughts, tropical countries might also be badly affected. However, it seems to me it should stop release of frozen methane if that becomes necessary (unless we wait so long that the jet stream pattern changes drastically).

Book Report: Death from the Skies! These Are the Ways the World Will End... by Phillip Plait, Ph.D. (author of Bad Astronomy, also an award-wining blog
at www.badastronomy.com)

            I found this book fascinating. Dr. Plait writes clearly and with a casual, highly-readable style. Useful features include a good index, and an appendix listing stars within 1,000 light years which will eventually go nova. Even more useful, he proposes defenses against many of the possible disasters. Each chapter begins with a relevant disaster scenario. The chapters are:

Target Earth: Asteroid and Comet Impacts [The space program can probably save us from asteroids, but comets are much harder because a) their gas jets
make their orbits erratic & b) they're faster.]

Sunburn [Some problems from solar flares; massive problems from coronal mass ejections; climate change. Some defense possible but expensive.]

The Stellar Fury of Supernovae Responsible for the elements in our bodies. No candidates close enough to kill us at this time, but stellar orbits

Cosmic Blowtorches: Gamma-Ray Bursts [Devastating but none likely to be aimed at us; see above]

The Bottomless Pits of Black Holes ["Our galaxy is lousy with black holes...{but} space is big.."]

Alien Attack! [We're probably safe from viruses, bacteria or even BEMs, but not self-replicating probes, if any]

The Death of the Sun [Death for us & the environment, unless we move Earth. See later chapters]

Bright Lights, Big Galaxy [Every large galaxy contains a supermassive black hole. Ours is currently inactive, but if activated chances are ~ 1/30 the
destructive beam would hit us.]

The End of Everything [Things get so far apart light can't get here anymore, and protons decay...]

and Epilogue: What, Me Worry?[Odds calculated, meaning of far-future certainties discussed]

Oklahoma Space Alliance Officers, 2009 (Area Code 405)

Tom Koszoru, President                                         366-1797 (H)
Claire McMurray, Vice-President/Update Editor  329-4326 (H-no msg) 863-6173 (C-msgs OK)
Syd Henderson, Secretary & Outreach Editor        321-4027 (H)
Tim Scott, Treasurer                                               740-7549 (H)

OSA E-mail Addresses and Web Site:

claire.mcmurray at sbcglobal.net or at nss.org (Claire McMurray; can forward to Cliff)
T_Koszoru at cox.net (Heidi and Tom Koszoru)
sydh at ou.edu (Syd Henderson)
ctscott at mac.com (Tim Scott)
lensman13 at aol.com  (Steve Galpin)
dmcraig at earthlink.net (Nancy and David Craig).
E-mail for OSA should be sent to [email protected].  Members who wish their e-mail addresses printed in Outreach or Update, and people wishing space-related materials e-mailed to them should contact Syd. 

Other Contact Information

: www.nasa.gov. Huge info source. Assorted phone numbers are also in there somewhere.

The Mars Society , Box 273, Indian Hills CO 80454. Old website doesn’t work: use http://www.marssociety.org/portal. Interested in human settlement on Mars: active projects.

The Planetary Society
, http://www.planetary.org/home/. Phone from US & Canada: 1-800-9WORLDS (1-800-996-7537). Outside the US & Canada, phone 1-626-793-5100. Interested in exploring the solar system & beyond, mostly robotic. Nice magazine.

Science Museum Oklahoma (formerly Omniplex), 2100 NE 52nd St, Oklahoma City, OK 73111. Museum information: 405-602-6664 (old 800# doesn’t answer) Their new web site is http://www.sciencemuseumok.org/default.htm, but one must click on “Agree” or “Disagree” to enter the site

Oklahoma Space Industrial Development Authority (OSIDA), 401 Sooner Drive/PO Box 689, Burns Flat, OK 73624, 580-562-3500.  Web site www.state.ok.us/~okspaceport.

Air and Space Museum, 7130 E. Apache, Tulsa, OK 74115, Phone (918)834-9900.
Web Site is www.tulsaairandspacemuseum.com.         

Congress of the United States: 202/224-3121 (switchboard). Senate: www.senate.gov/  

House of Representatives: www.house.gov. You can email most from those main web sites.

Write to any U. S. Senator or Representative at [name]/ Washington DC, 20510 (Senate) or 20515 [House].
President of the United States: www.whitehouse.gov. Click on “Contact Us” for email.

Postal mail: The White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20500

Contact person for Oklahoma Space Alliance is Claire McMurray
PO Box 1003
Norman, OK 73070
Webmaster is Syd Henderson.
Copyright ©2009 Oklahoma Space Alliance.