Thursday, 9 July 2015

Space, The Final Frontier,

but you have to go through a ton of junk to find it,

there are in fact an estimated 500,000 or so smaller orbital debris (between one and 10 centimetres in diameter) and about 21,000 larger bits (larger than 10 centimetres) spinning around Earth right now, according to NASA's Orbital Debris Program Office, so getting into space is a bit like dodging flying objects some travelling at terrifyingly high speeds, (think between 7 and 10 kilometres per second), in a shooting gallery where you could so easily be the target, but now thanks to Stuff In Space, would be Captain Kirks can track the paths of hundreds of thousands of orbital objects in real time, it is a great program developed by programmer James Yoder, if you load the program you are presented with a slowly spinning globe (which accurately displays day and night) surrounded by various colour-coded dots representing satellites (red), debris (gray), and discarded rocket bodies (blue),

as you glide your mouse across the screen, the orbits of satellites and large debris are highlighted as blue lines and their names or designations displayed in text and do not forget to zoom in or out, you can even see exactly what is hovering or speeding across your home town, but of course remember it is in real time, so you might want to wait until daybreak for a accurate fix on your part of the world, you can also hover over the 'Groups' section to see views of some of the largest collections of related objects, such as America's network of GPS satellites, Russia's rival positioning system GLONASS, and the debris of the accidental 2009 collision between a Russian military satellite and American communications satellite (Iridium 33 and Kosmos 2251), there's even a search function, if you happen to have a particular satellite name in mind, say one from the US Navy Navigation Satellite System, (NNSS) just tap in the name of the particular satellite say Polar Bear, and there it is, and yes I have spent more time playing with it than I should have, what a great program.

No comments: