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Earth,Moon, Mars or beyond?: Being the space debate of the times

Earth,Moon, Mars or beyond?: Being the space debate of the times

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This book contributes to the global debate in the space community (having quoted several factual sources) where space exploration should head next since the human conquest of the moon in 1969. Voices heard declare their varying views. Read the book and add your voice which direction the next frontier should take whether to remain around earth's orbit, venture back to the moon to set base, to Mars or elsewhere such as asteroids...
This book contributes to the global debate in the space community (having quoted several factual sources) where space exploration should head next since the human conquest of the moon in 1969. Voices heard declare their varying views. Read the book and add your voice which direction the next frontier should take whether to remain around earth's orbit, venture back to the moon to set base, to Mars or elsewhere such as asteroids...

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Published by: BILLY CHILONGO SICHONE on Apr 20, 2011
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Earth, Moon, Mars or beyond?

Earth, Moon, Mars or beyond?
The debate

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By Billy Chilongo Sichone

1st Edition

July 2009

Earth, Moon, Mars or beyond?

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© Billy C Sichone 2009 All rights reserved. No copy or part of this book may be printed or published in any form imaginable without the express written consent of the copyright owner. You may contact him on: Billy.Sichone@gmail.com Or +260977429521 +260966325998 Acknowledgements

Earth, Moon, Mars or beyond?

This book was born out of a desire to contribute to the debate in “Space circles” as to where humans head to next in the quest to conquer and explore space frontiers, hoping to reach the far reaches of the universe some day. Naturally, I am indebted to whatever sources I drew my materials during the writing of this work. Special thanks are due to the National Geographic edition of January 1980 that opened my eyes to the Voyager “twin space travellers” as well as William Sheehan for his classic book, “Worlds in the sky” (1992). These two documents as well as other internet sites really enriched my appreciation and comprehension of the world beyond our planet. I would also like to salute the 1992 Rio Earth summit with its declarations. That was a land mark meeting with powerful resolutions whose token fruit and effect we are beginning to see now.
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Acronyms

Earth, Moon, Mars or beyond?

STS-Shuttle Transport System ISS-International Space Station ETA-Expected Time of Arrival ET-Extra Terrestrial AU-Astronomical Unit (1 Au=93 million miles) SETI-Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence
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Earth, Moon, Mars or beyond?

Contents

CONTENTS.........................................................................................................5 Page | 5 Introduction......................................................................................................................8 The Earth.......................................................................................................................39 The Moon.......................................................................................................................57 Mars...............................................................................................................................67 Beyond...........................................................................................................................72 Whither from here?........................................................................................................89 General Bibliography......................................................................................................91 Sheehan William, Worlds in the sky, University of Arizona Press, 1992..........................93 Appendix........................................................................................................................94 6. MINING ACTIVITIES- ANTHROPOGENIC ACTIVITIES SUCH AS MINING ARE AS OLD AS THE WORLD PROBABLY. TODAY, HOWEVER, THIS ACTIVITY RANKS AMONG THE HIGHEST POLLUTERS IN THE WORLD. SMOKE AND DUST COME FROM THE MINERAL PROCESSING ACTIVITIES ESPECIALLY FROM THE METAL SMELTERS. IT IS NO WONDER THAT THE SURROUNDING AREAS OF THE MINES DO NOT HAVE VEGETATION AND ACID RAIN IS A COMMON FEATURE IN NEARBY LOCALITIES......96 THIS
IS HOW ACID RAIN IS FORMED AS THE GASES REACT WITH RAINWATER ....................................................100

THIS REACTION TAKES PLACE ON A LARGE SCALE AND SO FORMS A LAYER THAT IS AN EFFECTIVE BARRIER AGAINST THE LETHAL GAMMA PARTICLES. UNFORTUNATELY, THIS SELFSAME GAS IS EASILY DESTROYED BY CERTAIN ELEMENTS IN THE ATMOSPHERE WHICH LEADS TO THE SITUATION WE SITED-THE OZONE HOLE. THE MAJOR CAUSE OF THE RAPID BREAK DOWN OF THE LAYER IS ATTRIBUTED TO THE USE OF AEROSOLS. THESE AEROSOLS CONTAIN INERT PROPELLANT GASES SUCH AS CHLOROFLORO CARBONS OR CFCS. AFTER BEING RELEASED FROM SPRAYING CANS AND FRIDGES, THESE ASCEND TO THE HIGHER ORBS WHERE, IN THE PRESENCE OF UV LIGHT THEY SPLIT TO GIVE FREE CHLORINE RADICALS......................................................................................................102 THESE FREE CHLORINE RADICALS THEN GO AND “ATTACK” THE OZONE IN A SPONTANEOUS CONTINUOUS MANNER. IN THIS WAY, THE DESTRUCTION RATE OF OZONE IS FAR HIGHER THAN THE FORMATION, THUS LEADING TO THE GAPS OR OZONE HOLE. THE FOLLOWING IS THE REACTION THAT PROBABLY TAKES PLACE WHEN THE OZONE IS BROKEN:........................................................................102 CL + O3  CLO + O2.......................................................................................102 Bibliography.................................................................................................................109 Index............................................................................................................................110 About the author..........................................................................................................113

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Preface

From infancy, I always dreamed of becoming an Astronaut and then travel the worlds far
beyond my wildest dreams. As early as my second grade, I was already drawing rockets, space suits and aliens from other galactic bodies who visited our planet. As years rolled on, I increasingly talked about my ambitions as my fascinations for rockets increased. I was ten years old when the Space shuttle first made its maiden voyage into space, how it blew my mind! My interest increased all the more and read whatever my eyes could find relating to space and cosmic travel. That intrigue has never left me to this day. However, as the years rolled on, I increasingly became aware of the fact that I was born and raised in a context that was far removed from such things! People were either ignorant or simply not care about life beyond their immediate environment, let alone their planet! Over the years, I have come to painfully accept that I probably will not visit space or live on the moon. But although I may not reach the stars physically, I can certainly get there in my imagination as well as contribute in some way towards the quest to reach the outer reaches of space. The venerable CS Lewis once wrote much about space in the 1930s but his thoughts were viewed as pure fantasy. Today, not everything he said and dreamt may be classified as such. In a few

Earth, Moon, Mars or beyond?

generations from now, he may even be better venerated and vindicated. Perhaps he lived outside his time. Many others have laboured in the areas we now tread and we simply build on what they saw from afar.
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Thus this book is born out of a deep personal interest I have had for nearly three and a half decades and hope I can win some more “space freaks” over to our camp. It is also a treatise hoping to contribute to the fiery debate that engulfed the world when commemorating the 40th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 landing of 20th July 1969, a year before I first landed on planet earth from worlds unseen. Billy Sichone

Dedication To all space exploration lovers: Past, present and future.

Earth, Moon, Mars or beyond?

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Introduction

For many generations, man has wondered at the greatness and vastness of space. The wide
starry skies and expanse have held people in awe as to who designed or from where the extremely magnificent, orderly and glorious universe has come from1. Could things have accidentally evolved? Or could an intelligent mind, far removed from his works have fashioned and let things work randomly?2 Many pundits of either side have spent their entire lives arguing for or against a given theory without a conclusive answer. The question still lingers, from where did this wonderful piece of art emerge? In this book that we begin to explore together, the writer does not enter the polemics surrounding the origins per se but rather focuses on the wonder of
1

At least three theories have been propagated as to the Universe origin: 1. The Steady state theory 2. The evolutionary or ‘Big Bang’ theory and 3. The ‘cyclic’ universe theory (which assumes that the universe is in a state of alternate expansion and contraction)-Moon Flight Atlas pp 4 by Patrick Moore. As to the origins of life, at least three have been forwarded: 1. The supernatural (or creationist) 2. The Panspermia hypothesis (life came by spores which drifted through space to Earth, also the ‘Garbage theory’ that life begun when some space travelers from another world visited the earth and contaminated it leading to life springing up. 3. Chemical evolution which states that life originated in some ideal conditions consisting of chemicals and right temperatures etc. Most scientists hold this view. Refer to Brandt & Maran’s book, ‘New Horizons in Astronomy’ pp85
2

This is the deist view as championed by big names like Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson and many other big names past and present.

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this great piece we have in our laps, or better still, we ride on in the universe. From ancient times, humanity has marvelled at the beauty displayed in the upper reaches of the sky and has developed a lot of belief systems or uses of the sky. For instance, some civilizations have worshipped the planets or stars3. Others have delved into astrology while others have used the stars to navigate their way through confusing geographical dilemmas. The stars have been used Page | 9 as bearings on journeys as well as help foretell ones’ destiny. All these and many others have resulted from the quiet but amazing “emptiness” of space. There is always a song that is heard and seen from all parts of the universe which cannot be denied or ignored. For those that have ventured into astronomy, progressive powerful instruments for studying and mapping the skies have been developed, having first been invented by Galileo in the 1600s. From using the telescopic naked eye, people have invented better telescopes until today when humans have placed the Hubble Space Telescope which can see many times better (at least seven times better) than any earth stationed telescope. Put in orbit about April 1991, the telescope continues to get magnificent hitherto unseen cosmic pictures into the far reaches of the universe. But humans have not been content to merely see things from afar, which in many instances are light years away, there has been an inner urge to send unmanned probes to search out the hidden riches of deep space as well as the outer planets and beyond. Many probes have travelled and continue to go “where no man has gone before” and send back informative data from gigantic distances stretching millions, yea, billions of miles away, taking an electronic instruction over twelve hours to reach the probe. But man has also been investigating the nearer neighbours in the inner solar system via unmanned probes to the planets nearest to the earth with a view of possible colonization. As though that were not stunning enough, man has made spectacular leaps in technological advancement allowing humans to regularly travel within the atmosphere at supersonic speeds, reaching places that would have ordinarily taken many months or years perhaps to traverse. Aeroplanes are no longer as amazing as they once were in 1903 and afterwards. Today, humans can travel outside the regular atmosphere into lower earth orbit and at times relatively deep space though still within the earth’s orbital influence. The pinnacle of manned space flight arrived on 20th July 1969 when the first human set foot on the moon. It was the first time humans had set foot on another body in space and safely returned to earth. The momentous and exciting epoch was to be followed by ten other men that traversed the lunar surface and safely returned home. That was the end of that epic human voyage and the initial euphoria subsequently died for several decades. It is now 40 years4 since the first human “took the giant step for mankind”. It would appear that in the forty year period, a lot of ideas developed in people’s minds, which have been aired in these latter days. It would also appear that after the “race to the moon” was won by the USA, attention seems to have shifted to the lower earth orbit which saw the construction of the Skylab and now the International Space Station (ISS). Movies, stories and reports have been written as to which way the space adventure should go in the quest to conquer the next frontier. One school of thought has forcefully advanced the unmanned space
3 4

For Example, in Acts 14:11,12 As at 2009

Earth, Moon, Mars or beyond?

probe investigation basing their argument largely around costs while the other school strongly contends that humans should be part of the adventure because they actually do a better job, despite the costs and all. The arguments relentlessly rage on. Yet another school thinks it is high time humans switched off altogether about this pointless ‘space craze’ and focus on the immediate needs of humans and the struggling planet. These go right against the grain of others Page | 10 that would like to see more action and work into manned deep space exploration on the scale of Star Trek, Space 1999 and Star Wars. This latter group strongly believes in the possibility of extra terrestrial life (such as ET) some place somewhere in the universe and thus have set up antennas specifically positioned to capture alien communication from some civilisation out there. Dr Carl Sagan was one such ardent proponent of this view and devoted most of his life to the search for life on planets like Mars (i.e. through the SETI project). The countless arguments roll on without end but the bottom question is, what should humans do with space and where should they go next? This question is precisely what this treatise seeks to investigate, comment on and hopefully give some general guidance on the hot debates that will engage the human mind for generations to come, long after many of us are gathered to our fathers in the dust of the earth. In attempting to handle such a grand subject, the author does not pretend to have the competence to deal in detail with everything on the huge topics of the day but merely scratches on the surface and leaves the reader to investigate further. The internet is replete with information on past and present space travel all waiting to be read. For now, we briefly highlight some issues bugging the human mind at the moment, especially after celebrating the 40th anniversary of manned flight to the lunar surface. The pressing issues For some time after the conquest of space and the moon, people from all corners of the globe were excited and naturally wanted to see more speedy action to set up a permanent base on the moon. Movies like Star Trek (1966) and Space 1999 (of the seventies) really helped to push this agenda for humans longed to live and work in space or the lunar surface. But alas, with the passage of time, economic recessions, wars and change of governments, the euphoria was soon eclipsed by other things. For a while, people talked less about space exploration and more about improved quality of life here on the earth to the extent that people are now questioning the relevance of space exploration! The basic question is “Is space travel and exploration necessary or not?” Further still, we could put the hypothesis as “Space exploration is not necessary and a sheer waste of time and resources.”! Many people today do not mince their words and simply trash the subject, including some serious policy makers in the developed world. Thus, NASA and other space agencies must continuously come up with new strategies to convince their governments to remember them, if not increase the budget allocation. With the passage of years, NASA has suffered budget cuts or reductions signalling a decline in space interest by the once enthusiastic American public. The Shuttle disasters of 1986 and 2003 both indicated that the security and safety standards were compromised in the quest to rationalise the limited resources. The Russians (especially USSR) have not done any better although they have innovatively

Earth, Moon, Mars or beyond?

brought in innovative ways to finance their budgets by encouraging ‘space tourism’ where individuals cough up as much as $ 20 million to get a ride into space , visiting the ISS in the process. But how sustainable and safe is this strategy? While commendable and encouraged, there is need for serious reinvestment by the already cash strapped Governments. The necessity of space exploration question has hit at the core and root of the entire adventure. But there are other issues hovering around the race to colonise the celestial bodies. There is evident fear, especially by the USA and Russia that the emerging nations will eventually overtake them in space technology and travel. At the moment, while people are focussing on Mars, there is a possibility that the Chinese, Japanese or Indians will swiftly outwit them to the moon, set up a permanent base and colonise large chunks of territory that has valuable mineral deposits. We shall dwell on this issue in more detail in a later chapter but suffice it to say that new ‘space race entrants’ are threatening to change the rules of how space exploration and exploitation is handled. Coupled with this is the concern of increasing space junk now crowding the planet making it dangerous for future space crafts. There is still another issue: The Earth and its inhabitants. As the planet has progressively become crowded, the resources are reducing in an inversely proportional manner. In keeping with what Malthus of old once postulated, the 6+billions earth inhabitants pose a greater pressure on the world’s meagre and limited resources. Today, very few have good quality life, let alone access to good clean and hygienic water. The evolution of human settlements, technological development, improved travel and communication all have a telling effect on how people live and conduct business. A decision that once took many months to make can now be done within seconds at the click of the mouse. Thus, the argument is: “Why waste so much tax dollars on space exploration when myriads, yea, countless souls go to bed hungry? Why take billions to “empty space” when the money could have been profitably channelled to save a dying child somewhere in Africa or Asia?” These are not small questions which must be trivialised but given due attention. This book however is not primarily about justifying this position or other but will touch on some of these areas with a view to stimulate debate. Manned space flights, whilst being exciting and motivating have proved far too costly to maintain. To keep people safe and sound up there in space for any extra hour costs thousands of Dollars because each movement must be meticulously monitored both from space and on the ground (Mission control centre). For instance, to keep a space shuttle one day longer in space entails over a million dollars gobbled. Thus, a fourteen day voyage will suck in many millions. Imagine that same amount was channelled towards President Obama’s Health care plan, things would be far better. There is also another side to this question that begs answering-the safety of the astronauts or cosmonauts. Why hazard their lives when a machine would do as well if not far much better. Why keep a human suspended for over three months in the orbiting space station when a robotic satellite could have equally done equally at a cost effective rate? Robots can carry out most experiments was as well as humans, provided they are designed and programmed to do that. Look at the Mars Rovers (Opportunity and Spirit), they did a fantastic job while they lasted.

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Can’t we just improve on this and do much better at a far cheaper price? They well ‘geologists’ par excellence. Environmental degradation and its attendant effects are also another point of contention though to a lesser degree. As the planet plunges into peril resulting from the continued indiscriminate Page | 12 reckless anthropogenic activity, there is an increase in concern surrounding pollution matters (air, water, dust, noise etc) because the equilibrium that enables the earth to renew itself has been over stretched by far. The planet is now giving its back lash as seen in rising global temperatures and sea tide, erratic weather pattern, frequent natural disasters, increased disease burden among many others. Thus, voices of concern are heard from across the globe relating to the pollution resulting from frequent rocket flights through the atmosphere, although the other school argues that this degradation is minimal, if not negligible. To the contrary, most spacecrafts use Liquid Hydrogen, deposit chlorine which significantly pollutes the atmosphere in the long run. The other issue worth pondering over involves agreed space pundits who do not for a moment question the need for space exploration. They think and know it is crucial both for the present and future generations. For instance, should the earth become overcrowded some day, part of this population can be safely and conveniently “exported” to another world, allowing the earth to recover and regenerate itself. However, this group is in two camps as to where to go next. The first group argues that humans have “unfinished business” with the moon, to colonise and exploit it. They contend that the thrill of walking on lunar surface is alive still and must be pursued from where the Apollo project left off in 1973. They further contend that a permanent moon base must be established by as early (or is it “late” because Man should have been resident there by 1999) as 2020-24. There is considerable debate around the time line and frame. They further argue that the moon could be a powerful outpost for interplanetary travel. A space craft could take off from earth, visit the space station (or by pass it), land on the moon to refuel, refresh and then hurtle out into deep space. This looks perfectly reasonable, they argue, not mentioning the mining and exploration prospects on the planet terrain! The second group of space farers asserts that the moon is “boring” and not as exciting as it once was. There is need for a new thrill, Mars! They argue this for several reasons which include the following: The Planet holds more promise for some potential organic life form. Secondly, the planet probably closest resembles the earth in terms of features and conditions. The polar caps most likely have ice of some sort while the terrain shows evidence of having had liquid flowing on its surface, not forgetting the winds there. They further argue that the planet is not too far out in space and humans can safely make a round trip, given the right technology and positioning. In that way, more can be learnt and planet colonization can progress hence. They also argue that a lot of research has already gone into surveying the planet and much already is known unlike the moon. Lastly, they argue that going back to the moon will be like “reversing” instead of driving full speed ahead. Why spend valuable scarce resources on a ‘dead rocky body’ when there is one that holds more promise? After all, Mars would be a more reasonable “stopover” base in the quest to conquer the outer reaches of space rather than the moon. In other words, they argue that Mars should be a “one

Earth, Moon, Mars or beyond?

stop shop” where space farers can get all they need to survive on the planet or on their interplanetary travel. They postulate that massing resources on one planet is better than slicing resources thinly all over the solar system. The debate rages on endlessly. We scarcely have time to talk about atmospheric pollution, space junk and a whole host of other interesting issues of our times. Thus, in coming to handle this amazing subject, we must bear in mind the touchy points raised above and many others that have not been documented here. Having dealt with some issues, it is fitting to give a birds’ eye view of the issues that have generated such debate and contention across the world. We shall briefly consider them one after the other. The Solar system
Image removed
An artist’s impression of the known Solar system

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In talking about manned space travel, we usually and naturally limit ourselves to the solar system. And this is for the simple reason that we are part of it. There is so much that presently needs to be discovered about the solar system alone before we consider the enormous distances between planets. Crossing the systems’ radius, or tracing its circumference is presently impossible with the human eye because fresh data keeps flowing in. The diameter of the solar system is so vast that travelling less than a third of it, humans, in their present condition and form would have long expired, decayed and mutated into something else perhaps, unless appropriate technology is discovered that “hibernates” the brain and effectively retards metabolism whilst keeping the body alive for several millions of years only to be reactivated at the right time. Such technology or techniques are not presently available. Be that as it may, our focus here is to introduce the solar system. By basic description, this is a systematic and orderly interlinked system with its core being the sun. Every other body in this system revolves around the sun using centripetal forces to catapult the planetary bodies right round the sun. From what we presently know, there are at least nine planets although some postulate by way of calculation that others could exist. The known planets are Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto. Most of these planets have satellite bodies or “moons” that orbit them although Pluto has long been suspected to be a “runaway” moon of the planet Neptune (despite it having a moon of its own). Considerable debate surrounds this planet whether it actually qualifies to be one (i.e. a planet). Each of these bodies pursues a unique orbit relative to the sun and may range from a few days (88 days for Mercury) to several centuries (e.g. 248 years for Pluto). The Earth takes 365 days while Mars takes over 700+ earth days whereas Jupiter takes about 12 earth years to revolve once around the sun. The distances from the sun therefore affect the length of time a planet takes to revolve round the sun once though this same distance may not

Earth, Moon, Mars or beyond?

necessarily determine the conditions in the interior of the planet. For instance, Neptune is considered the ‘Windiest’ planet in the solar system while Pluto is obscure, relatively quiet and far out of reach. The Voyager space probes shed a lot of light on some of these planets. The planets all have different morphological structures and different conditions prevail on the planets as well as their satellites (if they have any). Venus is the brightest planet in the sky (on earth) Page | 14 while Jupiter is the largest and probably busiest with frequent ‘volcanic activity’ evident on its surface/atmosphere (e.g. Jupiter flares). It also emits some heat, despite its distance from the sun. Jupiter is many times larger than the earth and was worshipped in ancient times. But then there is the sun, many times larger5 than the earth. It is a huge ball of fire which is believed to thrive on hydrogen reactions at its core which give rise to extreme high temperatures (about 26 million degrees)6 as well as what is known as “Solar winds” affecting all the solar bodies in their path. The sun, although extremely hot has a spot popularly known as the “sun spot”. It is not known exactly what this spot is about or how it arises although various theories exist on this. This huge hot ball of fire rotates on its axis radiating heat, energy and light to all the cosmic bodies that revolve round it. The sun is a star like others and is part of a bigger galaxy (collection of billions of stars) called the Milky Way. In fact, it is believed to be one of the average stars and relatively young, although scientist believe that it will eventually burn up and turn into a black hole. What is dumbfounding about the solar system is that it is very vast (relative to humans!), orderly and meticulously well positioned. Everything works in an amazing fashion to maintain the system equilibrium and stability. One day when humans reach the edge of this system where the sun’s influence ceases, maybe they will be able to better explain just how vast and potent the suns’ influence extends. The Voyager probes are reaching those regions about now and should give back valuable data. Space vehicles, satellites & deep space exploratory probes Humans have always wanted to connect with the universe in various ways and one such way is to build space vehicles. After many attempts, in 1957, an object was made that went into low orbit for the first time. Then came the Russians who sent Laika the Dog into orbit in 1957. A monkey would be next and lastly, the first Human (Yuri Gagarin) went into orbit in 19617. This feat would generate a race that culminated in a human walking on the moon almost a decade later (1969). In this section however, we focus on the various vehicles that have been developed and enabled manned or unmanned flights to take place. We give brief notes on each vehicle or probe. Mariner 1-4 The Marina series were designed to explore and investigate the terrestrial planets as well as find out some details related to the suns’ influence on the planets. There were ten Mariner space
5

Others say 110 times bigger than the earth! Refer to Space Mysteries pp 5 Source: Katherine Kenah, Space Mysteries, pp5 Alexei Leonov was the first person to walk in space, March 1965

6 7

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crafts, some of which were lost, destroyed or malfunctioned soon after launch. For instance, Mariner 1 (aimed at Venus) was destroyed soon after launch (1962) and immediately replaced by Mariner 2 which flew to Venus that same year discovering the solar winds in the process. Mariner 3 was aimed at Mars in 1964 attempting a flyby but ceased some nine hours after launch and is believed to have entered solar orbit. Mariner 10 did a Venus/Mercury flyby in 1973-1975. Page | 15 As can be seen, the series had some success as well as challenges but enabled a lot of information to be learnt and thus engrafted into future space programming. Voyager 1 & 2

JPL In August and September 1977, the USA sent two deep space probes with a mission to visit all the outer solar system planets. The twin Voyagers would visit the asteroid belt, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto after which they would exit the solar system. During the fly bys and intermittent travels, the probes would collect as much data, analyse and transmit back to earth. The further the probe, the longer the messages/instructions would take to travel the immense space distances. Presently, an instruction from to a Voyager Craft takes over twelve hours to reach and vice versa. The Voyager crafts are now millions of miles away from earth and signals from them progressively get weaker. Fitted with nuclear energy, they will travel forever and never return. Estimates are that between 2012 and 2045, they will be too far away to be detected and cease to communicate with earth. The Voyager crafts scored profound successes in many senses. For instance, the Voyager probes revealed hitherto unknown facts about the planets Jupiter and Saturn. Prior to the 1980 visit, it was not known that Jupiter had a ring that surrounds it while Saturn more than 20 satellites that circle it than previously known. Presently, the probes are about to leave the solar system as we know it and enter an area that is devoid of solar influence (Interstellar space) and intersects with other Universe influences (heliopause).

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JPL

It is not known exactly the fate of the Crafts beyond the solar system but the crafts continue to transmit valuable data as long as the signal remains, although its parts are dying out with time as energy levels drop in the deep cold environment of space. Will another advanced alien civilization ever intercept Voyager? We have no telling. Viking Orbiters & Viking Landers The Viking Lander crafts probably derive their names from the Vikings who landed in Europe many thousands of years ago, invaded and ruled for a long time. They were a warrior like tribe with great power and might and would not stop at anything until they conquered. In like spirit, the Viking crafts went with a mission to “invade” another world, in this case, Mars. Viking 1 was launched on August 20, 1975 while Viking 2 followed a few weeks later on September 9, 1975. They arrived in June and August of 1976 respectively. They remained in Mars orbit preparing the way for the Viking Landers that would eventually safely land on the Martian surface on July 20th & Sept 3rd, 1976 respectively. These Landers’s main mission was to explore the Martian surface, rock structure and conditions. The crafts remitted thousands of pictures back to earth, did some experiments (3 Biology experiments), with a view to establish the presence of any signs of life. No clear signs of living organisms were found but some profound discoveries were made on the conditions on the planet. Although designed to work for a 90 day life span, the landers far exceeded expectation to over 4 years. The last transmissions from these crafts reached earth in April 11th, 1980 (Viking lander 2) and November 11, 1982 (Viking lander 1) respectively having worked remarkably well. Pioneer 1…..138 The Pioneer series were some of the earliest deep space probes to be launched by NASA with a view to explore the far reaches of space. The Pioneer crafts were the first man made (unmanned) probes to travel beyond the earth’s orbit. First created in 1958, and carried on by NASA (created October 1958), at least nine crafts were designed for interplanetary exploration. The crafts explored Venus, Jupiter and Saturn before veering off into deep space at incredible speeds. Four
8

This section largely indebted to Joseph N. Tatarewicz, Ma., PhD, on: http://encarta.msn.com

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of these explored the space between Earth and Moon while the rest went further sending back valuable data which would eventually feed into future probes and manned flights. Here is a summary of the Pioneer series: Year in Space Owner Craft (Pioneer) Exploration area (in space) and achievement Measure temperatures, radiation & Meteorites in Moon vicinity. Largely unsuccessful but provided critical data on radiation surrounding the Earth. “ “ “ Successfully explored the space between Earth & Venus. Also transmitted first data on Solar Flares (explosions of energy on the sun’s surface) from space. To explore the solar influence on the inner solar system planets. The crafts were to detect solar magnetic fields and particle detections leading to spiral mapping of the solar flares etc. Pioneer 6,7 & 8 are still functioning today. Successful series as a build up on the earlier
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1958

I

1958 1959 1959 1960 NASA NASA NASA

II III IV V

1965

NASA

VI

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mariner series. 1966 1967 1968 1972 NASA NASA NASA NASA VII VIII IX X “ “ “ Designed to be outer planetary regions. Pioneer 10 carried a plaque with pictorial information about the Earth’s location, inhabitants and other relevant data just in case it encounters alien intelligent life during its odyssey among the stars. Pioneer X was the first craft to navigate through the asteroid belt. In December 1973, flew past Jupiter returning the first close up pictures of the Jovian Planet and then catapulted outside the solar system, being the first craft to leave the Solar system. Fastest manmade object to leave the earth @ 32,400 mph from earth increasing to 82,000mph after the Jupiter trajectory. Much like Pioneer X in design but travelled at a slower speed than
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1973

NASA

XI

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its predecessor (X) and came three times closer to Jupiter (December 2, 1974). Using the sling shot Page | 19 effect, pioneer was flung towards Saturn which it reached in September 1979. New rings were discovered as well as moons. With the passage of time, power declined and Pioneer 11 died in 1995. Pioneer X ended its mission in 1997 though still with some power. Was tracked until 2003. 1978 NASA XII (or Pioneer Venus 1) XIII (Pioneer Venus 2) To explore (atmosphere)and map the surface of Venus Sent into the atmosphere of Venus Both contributed to a tremendous amount of information about Venus such as the extreme temperature variations between day and night (-170*C and 40*C)

1978

NASA

Spirit & Opportunity (2003-2004) In 2003, NASA sent two probes, Spirit and Opportunity whose mission was to continue the survey of the Martian terrain as well as establish the probability of water having been on the planet in the past. They were launched on June 10 and July 7, 2003 respectively. The probes

Earth, Moon, Mars or beyond?

safely navigated through the Asteroid belt and arrived at and entered Martian orbit in 2004. When the optune time arrived, they left their respective orbiters and landed on opposite sides of the planet where it was suspected that water had once flowed. What made headlines around the world was the classic successful landing modes that they used. They fell through the thin atmosphere and at a right altitude, released small parachutes coupled with huge balloons that Page | 20 sandwiched them. Having reduced the velocity, the probes bounced off the surface and eventually came to a standstill. There was jubilation across the planet (earth) as space enthusiasts watched the machines smoothly unravel the insulating packages, roam to life onto the Martian surface, where they were to work. It was amazing watching the machines come to life and commence their work. They were rightly called “twin robot geologists” because they were designed to excavate the soil, test the samples and transmit data back to earth for as long as they had life in them. They were also to traverse the terrain, “Hibernate” during the winter season and then resume the work until they had completed their missions. These machines were equipped with cameras, “Labs”, solar panels and powerful communication equipment that would allow them to receive instructions from Earth to carry out designated instructions. These were to succeed the Beagle probe that had been lost earlier on. Although they were both designed to work for only 90 earth days, these probes have smashed all the records and have scaled the 2,000 sols mark. What were the successes of the probes?9 They had both successes and failures but in general, they achieved their main objective, to find out the possibilities of water in the past. From their findings, there was evidence of some fluid (most probably water10) having flowed on the surface but they could not exactly ascertain whether the fluid that once flowed was water or whether any life form existed. New and interesting data was made available which will inform future space programming directed at Mars. With declining power, software glitches and unfavourable weather, the Rovers finally gave up their ghosts, one after the other though they had amazing “powers” to regenerate and repair themselves. They were amazing rovers that no doubt have paved the way for future “robotic expeditions” to the Red planet. Some have coined them as one of the best and magnificent deep space explorers of all time. Galileo (1989) Galileo, probably derived from the great scientist of old who invented the telescope (around 1610), was a probe sent to Jupiter to study its gaseous properties and its moons. The craft arrived
9

Interestingly, Some people claim that crafts found forests and timber fragments on Mars as well as a frozen “lake”. The writer accuses NASA of not telling the truth about Mars!!! Refer to Tom Arbino: www.ufo-secret-files.net. Also refer to www.livescience.com/space/080716mars-water.html or www.marsdaily.com/reports/frozen_water_confirmed_on)Mars_999.html. Article title: Opportunity Rover Finds Timber on Mars (4th August, 2008) Accessed on 05/10/2009
10

See article in New Scientist by David L Chandler, May 2007 which suggests that the presence of silica on Mars suggest water availability probably in the past.

Earth, Moon, Mars or beyond?

in the Jovian planet’s orbit and begun an extensive survey of the planet and at some point sending down an atmospheric probe which descended into the Jupiter atmosphere. Galileo also studied Europa, one of Jupiter’s moons and established the satellite has a subsurface ocean making it is a probable place to search for life forms. Galileo completed its task and was “deliberately” plunged into the Jupiter’s atmosphere. Thus ended the voyage to the giant planet. Future probes will investigate Europa to establish whether water and life forms exist there. Venera 9 to Venus (1975) The Venera series was a Russian set of probes that had different objectives in space. They went far and wide visiting the planets but perhaps the greatest of these probes in the series was Venera 9. This probe made historic trip to Venus, mapped the planet, entered its “hellish” atmosphere and landed on 22 October 1975. This was no doubt a first although it is soon stopped transmitting data, probably because of the harsh conditions there. It was none the less a feat of the times. Magellan to Venus (1989) Venus appears to have intrigued astronomers for a long time, probably because of its illuminating brightness in the sky. Its sparkle lures people to it. Magellan, was probably a result of such interest although it was designed to establish something specific. Its name probably derived from the venerable Ferdinand Magellan who sailed around the world in the 1500, the space probe was a “space farer” of sorts. The probe was sent to further map the planet’s surface using cloud-penetrating radar and thus provided the most complete view of the planet landscape ever obtained. Magellan did a splendid job and ended its mission with distinction, adding on to what Venera 9 did way back in 1975. NEAR (1996)11 This probe was sent to investigate the asteroid belt and particularly 433 Eros. After a tour of duty in space, the craft finally landed on Eros on February 12, 2001. This was one of science’s greatest feats in recent times. Cassini-Huygens to Saturn (1997) The European Space Agency (ESA) and NASA came together and sent the Cassini-Huygens probe to Saturn with a specific mission to survey the planet, it is amazing rings and moons. The probe left in 1997 and has been in Saturn orbit since July 2004. It has carried out its functions with distinction and has the following accolades tied to its name: The main craft sent a lander to Titan, one of Saturn’s moons which landed/touched down12 (the first ever on a moon of another planet apart from the earth). Second feat is the discovery of plumes of water vapour, giving hope
11

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Great insightful notes from David Shiga, the online reporter (Permalinkdel.icio.us)

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for the existence of some life form on Enceladus, another Saturn moon and finally, the main craft continues to observe the planet, transmitting valuable data to earth. Since the Voyager visit of the eighties, this craft has been instrumental in affording humans to get a better glimpse of what the brilliantly ringed planet has to offer. Saturn has about 30 moons and these keep the rings in planet orbit. Could there be life in that far flung place? We are yet to discover. Page | 22 Hubble space telescope The Hubble space telescope was launched into orbit in 1990 with the objective to enable astronomers to peer into deep space, at least seven times more than the most powerful earth based telescope. Due to the aberration and effects caused by the earth’s atmosphere, some objects are not clearly visible as well as they should. The Hubble Telescope therefore escapes all this “interference” and thus zooms in hitherto unseen wonders of space. From the time of its launch, humans have learnt and see far much more in a short time than all the generations before combined. For instance, we can now see the other galaxies much better and in some instances even witness some phenomenal activity happening somewhere in the far flung reaches of the Universe. The telescope has been repaired and upgraded over the years, the last being in 2009 when it had the seventh patch up. The Space shuttle did the honours in launching this great object into orbit. As mapping continues and more potent upgrades are installed, we expect to zoom into a greater number of hitherto unseen things, who knows, we may even be able to visit other planets with the penetrating telescopic eye of the Hubble! Rockets Both the USA and Russia (USSR) developed and used different generations and versions for both manned and unmanned space flights. The most common of these rockets were the “three stage” rockets which consumed a lot of fuel as they blasted away from the earth to escape the planet’s gravitational grip on them. Usually, the first and second stages would harmlessly fall away back to the earth into the oceans after the fuel had been exhausted. The final stage would usually complete the task in the upward ascent into space. But then came along the Apollo series that would eventually have slightly more “stages” to cater for the trip to and from the moon. The first two stages would be the same as before but then a further few more stages would be used to orbit the moon (main craft) while the Lunar module lander would descend to the surface from where it would leave a “platform” to launch back into orbit to reunite with the orbiter for the long journey home. There was also the Gemini series that preceded the Apollo missions although they were designed for manned flights into lower orbit around the earth as opposed to the “space faring” Apollo crafts. The three stage rocket design is still widely in use today but may be eclipsed some day by a better design, much like what the space shuttle did while it lasted, although it also relied on three large “rockets” in its initial stages whenever it ascended into space on a mission.
12

Refer to Stephen Battersby’s article in The New Scientist # 2531 for 24th December 2005.

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Space Shuttle Image removed
The Space Shuttle in space against the back drop of space and Earth

The Space Shuttle idea was hatched in the seventies but became a reality in 1981 when the first Shuttle emerged from the skies to majestically land on earth. In between 1973 and 1981, a lot of tests and experiments were done to find out the feasibility of developing a reusable space craft that would land on earth like any other aeroplane. After many tests, the Enterprise, probably derived from Star Treks’ NCC enterprise, successfully flew on the back of a 747 jumbo jet, took to the skies from the Jet’s back and landed safely. This would open the door for the famous Shuttle Transport System (STS). The glorious Shuttle Columbia proved that a reusable craft would work and proved cheaper in the long run. The shuttles were designed for manned flights into orbit around the earth and could carry a maximum seven member crew on each voyage. From that time, there has been no turning back. The USA built and owned five shuttles namely Challenger, Columbia, Discovery, Atlantis and Endeavour which would grace the skies for the next 30 years or so to 2010 when the shuttle fleet will be retired. What have been the successes of the shuttle fleet? By and large, the shuttles have been extremely successful and to some extent exceeded expectations of many. The ships have been used to carry out all sorts of experiments, ferry cargo into space and back, promoted international cooperation, used to repair ailing satellites and finally the building of the international space station which should be completed by end of 2010. The Shuttles have had their down side as well, largely revolving around huge maintenance costs (both in space and on earth) as well as some security concerns as the fleet ages as well as depreciation takes its toll. The Shuttle disasters of 1986 & 2003 raised serious questions of their safety and suitability. For human beings who care for space travel, the Shuttle epoch has certainly been one of their best moments. It would be interesting to note that the USSR also once designed a Space Shuttle (though focused for the Mars trip) called the “Buran shuttle” on similar lines as the US space shuttle in 1983 there about. One wonders who ‘stole’ the design from the other? Aires

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NASA

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After the magnificent Shuttles era closes in 2010, another fleet is in the offing to succeed it (Shuttle). This fleet has been named “Aires/Oris” and is yet to be completely unwrapped to the world after its design, test and commission has been done. As things stand, there will be a time lag or gap between the Shuttles retiring and Aires commissioning some time beyond 2012. In the mean time, the Astronauts will be “hiking” from the Russian built Soyuz to the International Page | 24 Space Station. The Aires will differ from the shuttle in the sense that it will be designed differently and land/plunge into the sea or ocean as opposed to landing like a plane. This might render the landing strips in the Californian desert obsolete, unless another shuttle like craft is developed in the future. The second difference is that the craft will use the Saturn V rockets, similar to the ones that took the Apollo astronauts to the moon and back as they have proved very powerful and versatile. In a sense, we are returning to the past but with better ideas. Finally, the Aires will be far cheaper to maintain and will also have capacities to probably go to the moon and back, all things being equal. There is much in the offing that has not yet been unwrapped but let us eagerly wait to see. Meanwhile, will it be best to retire the shuttles before Aires becomes operational? That is another debate altogether and we dare not stir the waters further! Mir space station and Salyut space station program The Russians have consistently used what is known as the “Soyuz” rockets for many generations. These rockets have been of various versions but principally, this consists of a three stage rocket that blasts off from the earth and drops its different parts/stages as fuel empties until the third and final craft gets into lower orbit around the earth. This third stage is the craft that goes in rendezvous and can be used to perform all sorts of experiments and then re-enters the atmosphere at an angle, using its heat shield until it splashes down in the ocean or uses a parachute to gently land on the earth in some designated place. As empty shells of the rockets were accumulating in space, the Russians decided to “connect” these parts to build a mini Space Station to which any new rocket would dock or undock on its onward journey home. At times, the “space station” would remain unmanned but usually, there would always be a person on board. This initial stage is what is now being assembled together to make the International space station now that the cold war is past and gone. In that sense, the Russians have proved a point, it is cheaper to stick to the tried old ways of low orbit space faring. Sky lab (1973-79) The Americans have not always used the STS throughout. They for a long time effectively used the three stage rocket approach and only discarded this mode in 1981 when the Shuttle came around. Now things are changing trekking back to the three stage rockets or something similar. As the race to the moon (space race) heated up, a lot of debris and “junk” parts were left spiralling around space with practically no use, even posing a danger to future space travellers as well as satellites.

Earth, Moon, Mars or beyond?

The relics of the Apollo hardware was made good use of when the parts were docked together in space to form what has come to be known as the “Sky lab”. The idea was that when these parts were joined together, it would form a habitable station that would function as a space laboratory for future experiments. For a while, this grand idea worked well and delivered on expectation until some things went wrong. The Solar panels malfunctioned and subsequently failed to Page | 25 generate power for the station. Without power, the station begun to lose orbit and was eventually pulled by gravity to the Earth. The sky lab plunged uncontrollably out of space into the Indian Ocean (near Australia) although there were fears that it would have crashed any where especially central Africa. Thankfully, it fell far away and removed the horror we had way back in 1979. I was a young lad then and have never forgotten that episode. As a result of that problem, the Americans seem to have trashed the idea of a Sky laboratory until the ISS idea came about. International Space Station (ISS) Image removed
Fig. A sketch of the International Space Station

The International Space station idea was muted and born out of a desire for humans to have a floating presence in Space probably akin to the Star Trek arrangement. This station was to be a multipurpose arrangement with various countries collaborating in construction of the same. The idea is that the station will not only unite the nations but will be used as a research laboratory as well as a place where space travellers can lodge and work from. Thus, after recovering from the sky lab loss of 1979, the Americans have joined hands with Russia, Europe, Japan and a few other powerful nations to construct this gigantic outpost in space. The plan is to progressively expand this station with components specially made and designed from the earth and transported to space using the Space shuttle. As things stand, the Shuttle will and has transported most of the critical components to the station, carried out repairs and should complete the task by 2010 when the Shuttles retire. The space station presently has sections for USA, Europe, Japan, Canada and probably a “no man’s land” section where space tourists will lodge and visit. The design of this station appears something like the fig above although there might be some modifications and additions such as more solar panels etc. The station will allow for exercise, research and as a stopover for future near and deep space expeditions. The orbiting station is continuously tracked from the earth as well as meticulously examined to ensure nothing goes amiss. Some of these things regularly checked are: The temperature, pressure, power (and solar panels), the health of the residents, weight/gravitational effects on the station among many. It would appear that artificial gravity can or has been created on the station emanating from the stations’ rotation on its axis and orbit relative to the earth, although most of the pictures we see are people in a zero gravity situation. Perhaps, we still need to unravel the mysteries of the Star ship enterprise...With this scenario, we may well add another feature to our starry skies, a slowly moving star in our skies which may either be a satellite or the ISS!

Earth, Moon, Mars or beyond?

The construction of the ISS has been planned in three phases as follows13. It will take a total of 34 space flights 21 of which will be by Shuttle while 13 by Russian launch vehicles: Phase 1: Shuttle makes a series of flights to the Mir 1 Space station. Both Astronauts and cosmonauts combine activities on shuttle, Soyuz and Mir 1 Space station. Up to ten such flights planned to Mir. Phase 2: Actual assembly of space station commences. First element launch slated for Dec 1997. A total of ten flights scheduled (4 by Shuttle while 6 by Russian Launch vehicles). The core of station should be in place by 1998. Phase 3: The final phase should finish the construction of station. 17 shuttle flights and six Russian launch vehicles should complete the job by October 2003. As things stand, this end date has been scheduled to 2010 when the shuttles fleet retires.

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Tragic events and challenges -Apollo disaster 1961 During the race to the moon of the 1960s, much activity took place, much of which was positive and progressive. However, one memorable tragedy occurred, here on earth and not in space. This tragedy involved three Apollo 1 candidates namely Virgil “Gus” Grissom, Ed White and Roger B. Chaffee, during one of the test and training exercise on January 27, 1967 on pad 34 at the then Cape Kennedy. The crew were the selected for the first manned Apollo Program mission. The Command module, atop the Saturn rocket, got gutted by fire and subsequently the trainee astronauts perished. This was a sad development/dent but the race to the Moon still continued, probably in their honour and many others after them. The exact cause of that infernal was never conclusively determined but suspicions pointed to the use of 100% oxygen atmosphere in the module for the test creating fertile environment for a wild fire. The command module was accordingly redesigned.

Images removed
Before After

The Apollo 1 Astronauts in the Command module shortly before the fire. Far right, after the erupted and within very few second had done the damage...

-USSR cosmonaut14
13

Source: Scientific American, May 1994 issue This section largely from the Wikipedia site on Soyuz 1 (Komarov)

14

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The Russians also have had a fair share of space related disasters though to a lesser scale compared to the Americans. While the USA has recorded a 4+% fatal accident cases, the Russians have less than 0.9%, though some argue that even they could have a higher figure owing to past secrecy. However, a case in point involved a cosmonaut Komarov in 1967 while returning from a successful but troubled (mission bugged with multiple technical Soyuz craft Page | 27 malfunction) trip in space. As the capsule entered the earth, turning into a fire ball as it descended through the atmosphere, it eventually turned out right poised for a safe landing rather than splashdown. But then something went badly wrong, the first (drogue) parachute worked but the main chute did not come out and your guess is as good as mine, the capsule came down and slammed the earth and breaking apart in the process. The cosmonaut (Vladimir Komarov) obviously died on impact. Vladimir was honoured by both the Apollo 11 & 15 astronauts who left plagues in his honour on the moon. But there are other cases where the cosmonaut survived miraculously, when the capsule entered the atmosphere the wrong way up. As though that were not bad enough, it failed to separate with another component and nosedived with it. Just when it was about to burst open with heat to instantly consume the man, the capsule turned the right way up and was thus shielded from destruction. Thankfully, the parachutes worked normally and he landed safely in an ice cold area far away from target. He was later rescued. Gemini VIII15

Gemini 8 Credit - NASA

In the quest to improve manned flights and subsequent conquest of the moon, the USA launched the Gemini 8 craft into space carrying Astronauts Neil Armstrong & David Scott to attempt a docking in space, the first of its kind. For awhile, the rendezvous and all indications looked fine as the craft came in to dock with another module (Agena) with precision, things worked perfectly. People were jubilant and excited. After some time, due to some problems, the craft undocked and disengaged when something strange happened in the process. The module veered backward and begun to spin uncontrollably due to some malfunction (A thruster got stuck). Neil & Scott tried to slow the rapid spinning firing retro thrusters without much success and nearly blacked out but thankfully, things normalised and they eventually safely returned to Earth. It was an emergency landing. Had things not worked, the capsule risked falling out of orbit and
15

Source: Wikipedia site

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plunging them to a fiery death. The other option is that they would have run out of fuel and stuck in orbit. Neil would eventually become the first man to walk on the moon years later. Apollo 13
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NASA Engineers on earth brainstorming how to save Apollo 13 and how to bring the Astronauts safely home

Apollo 13 is probably the best known story among the Apollo missions apart from the moon landing Apollo 11. The reason is simple, it was one of the most dangerous/hazardous missions that humans have ever engaged in. The rocket blasted off on April 11, 1970 carrying Astronauts James Lovell, Fred Wallace Haise Jr and John L Swigert Jr. Their mission was to land on the moon and return to earth. Somewhere in between the earth and the moon, an oxygen tank exploded rendering the craft unsafe for humans. But they were fast towards the moon and could not turn back. They went round the moon and used its force in a centripetal fashion to ‘sling shot’ back to the earth. As they approach the earth, things progressively got worse with oxygen and other vital life support systems almost exhausted. Thankfully, they splashed down safely in the South Pacific Ocean. The mission has rightly been dubbed “the successful failure” as no life was lost. -Challenger Jan 1986 Perhaps one of the most traumatic accidents that shook the world in recent times is the Space Shuttle Challenger explosion (disintegration) 73 seconds after liftoff. On 28th January, 1986, the Shuttle Challenger perfectly cleared the tower as people cheered when from nowhere the craft suddenly broke apart in mid air instantly killing the entire 7 member crew(although some authorities argue that the Astronauts did not all die immediately). The Shuttle was scheduled for probably an eight day mission carrying the following crew: Sharon Christa McAuliffe (civilian), Ronald McNair, Ellison Onizuka, Gregory Javis, Francis “Dick” Scobee, Michael J. Smith, Judith Resnik. The exact cause of the disaster was not immediately established until later when a hydrogen gas leak was suspected. It would appear that as the Shuttle was blasting off, a small leak (invisible to the human eye) in the fuel tank wall cause the liquid hydrogen probably to seep out as a result of the enormous pressure from the lift off. Others say that it was a seal (O-ring) failed causing a breach in a joint thus allowing gas to escape with consequences. As the Shuttle ascended to the skies, the fire quickly ignited the hydrogen (probably vaporised) and eventually gutted the entire craft to its destruction. That horrifying experience before a crowd of space enthusiasts affected many and led to improved safety precautions on the ensuing Shuttle flights.

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-Columbia Feb 1, 2003 Like the Challenger disaster of 1986, the Columbia shuttle disintegration was totally unexpected. Having learnt many lessons from the earlier disaster, NASA had effectively tightened their safety record around the prior identified weak points but there was danger lurking elsewhere which Page | 29 would eventually kill some other astronauts. In February 2003, after what appeared a successful mission in space, the shuttle positioned itself to re-enter the earth’s atmosphere. By all indications and readings, everything was perfect...but there was a surprise in store. The shuttle took the usual routines and dived into the atmosphere on the way home, ceasing all contact with mission control for some minutes due to the high friction that attends re-entry. It was expected that after about seven minutes or so, communication should have been restored but when this time elapsed, the panic button was pressed within the space control circles that were monitoring the orbiter’s descent. On the outside, the enthusiastic funs, relatives and friends were spooked when the shuttle did not appear majestically from the skies as it had always done. Naturally, they begun to enquire but no straight forward answers came forth. It was only later that it became apparent that the orbiter had disintegrated on entry and everyone died. The world mourned once again, but what could have caused this tragedy? After a painstaking enquiry, it was established that on lift off, a piece of the fuel wall tiles (Bipod foam) that shield the tanks from extreme heat fell off and struck the orbiter’s wing. At the time it occurred (striking of Shuttle wing by peeling off heat shield), experts ignored it as insignificant or posing no risk, since “such a thing had happened before”. Little did they know that this little thing would doom the flight. According to what has been reported, as the shuttle was entering the atmosphere and friction increasing, heat must have seeped through the point where the shield had struck (creating a tiny invisible crack) on the wing and subsequently doomed the orbiter. No one survived. After it was discovered that the shuttle had been lost, the search begun until as much debris (around southeast Dallas/Texas, USA) as possible was found and collected. This tragic loss caused more safety checks to be instituted including scanning the orbiter before, during and after it reaches orbit. One hopes no other surprises are in store before the great shuttles eventually retire in 2010. The crew of the doomed of the Columbia Shuttle: 1. Rick D. Husband 2. William C McCool 3. Micheal P. Anderson 4. David M Brown 5. Kalpana Chawla ( From India) 6. Laurel Blair Salton Clark 7. IIan Ramon (from Isreal)

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These venerable men and women were honoured by NASA as well as by other important dignitaries. The wonders of space
A. The Universe Page | 30

The Universe is not fully comprehensible. This is because no one knows its exact bounds and all its contents. With the human mind, we can safely say that it is infinite, wherever infinity extends to or ends. That said, it continues to fascinate the finite human mind because of its amazing features that characterise it. The vast distances between places, the complexity of its constitution, the order that attends it as well as the continuous activity that frequently happens are among the many things that amaze even the most hardened heart. The knowledge that some of the light reaching the earth today probably started off millions of light years ago is simply unfathomable! How can light travelling at 186,000 miles per second (approximately 300,000 km per second) take that long? If that be true, then just how vast is the universe? And if that light took such an incredible amount of time to travel, how or what are those respective stars like today? Further, the Sun (Sol) itself is mind blowing, although considered a small16 star in a galaxy of stars called the Milky Way. If the sun is indeed a small star, then how big must be the biggest star? If our galaxy is one of the many billions out there hurtling towards a specific direction, just how big is the universe? Some argue that the Universe is actually expanding17, but to what and where? Talking about the solar system planets, how many are there exactly that circle this star? Are they nine or more? How many asteroids are there? Are there other “solar systems” in the universe? If so, is there life on some of those planets, in the far flung areas of the Universe? What about in our solar system, does life only exist only on the Earth? Why not elsewhere? Since people believe in evolution, some form of organisms could have surely evolved! What is unique about the earth to merit evolution of species? Could it be that some intelligent being called God created18 and put them there? Why didn’t that being place organisms on other planets too? What about the big bang19 theory, is it true, can it be proved? Where did that bang first come from? The matter that exploded, where did it come from? All these and many more questions bug the mortal mind and ultimately evoke wonder and praise (for the religious). The universe will continue to spark imagination and a desire to connect with other parts of the known world (as in universe!). The age of the Universe, the forces that sustain it, the waves and undetected motions/activity that attends it are still being explored. It will certainly take many generations and years to map the entire universe, if one small section of the sky takes
16

Some term our sun as an average star Refer to Science Explorer, pp774 Refer to the Holy Bible Genesis I verse 1 Refer to Science Explorer, pp 774

17

18

19

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astronomers many years to convincingly map! The Hubble space telescope has enhanced our view into the outer reaches of our universe by more than seven times and hopefully should further improve over the years. The other point worth mentioning about the universe is its great variety from place to place. In the ensuing section, we attempt to zero in on some salient features of our universe: Page | 31 B. Size The first point that we consider is the sheer size of the Universe. As earlier alluded to, no one knows the exact dimensions. The best we can do is to estimate those incredible distances which our conventional units may not adequately contain or measure up to. In astronomical terms, they have devised measurements such as ‘AU’ which is equivalent to many million miles. Instead of writing 93,000,000 miles for instance, they simply write 1AU. This in itself suggests that we cannot fully comprehend the size of the universe. Consider one galaxy with billions of stars all scattered by millions of light years apart. But we are told that there are billions of such galaxies out there...and they are said to be moving a terrific speed in a specified direction! How huge must the universe be! No wonder some people believe that the Universe is expanding. Were humans to undertake a trip to the nearest star, they would have long died hundreds, yea thousands of years before their ship arrived there, if at all it has sufficient energy to reach that far. Unless new technology is developed that enables humans’ to hibernate and awake after the entire journey is done! The Voyager space probes have been moving in space at terrific speeds for nearly 30 years but they have hardly left the known solar system! This size is incomprehensible!!! C. Enormous distances apart Closely connected to the point above, the distances between places in the universe are far between. For instance, a journey to Mars takes no less than six months with current technology. A journey to Pluto may take far more years, what more a trip to the nearest “solar system”. Consider the distance travelled by the planets around the sun. One “Pluto year” equals nearly 248 earth years! Jupiter takes 12 earth years to complete one revolution round the sun. What about if the Universe revolves around one central point, how long does it take for one ‘Universe year’ to complete a cycle? What if things move in a linear direction, how “broad” must the Universe be? D. Variety As we gaze at the starry host at night, many of us are literary spell bound by what we see. Star differs from star as planet differs from planet both in brilliance, appearance and size! Yet all these add up to make one beautiful universe! What different things make up our world! You just need to sit and pause a while gazing at the sky telling its story and I am sure your mind will be blown up with wonder!
E. Order

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Although we do not know the exact structure and design of the universe, we certainly know that there is some remarkable ‘chaotic’ order out there. Scientists have come up with varying theories as to how things came about but none has successfully and convincingly explained the meticulous order of things as to why things are the way they are. Isaac Newton discovered and identified the laws of nature including gravity but he could not explain the source of these forces. Page | 32 Today, with more enlightenment, science attempts to explain the forces attributed to the sun’s action relative to the planets but again, the question that begs answering is how and why? Consider the sun itself, it is a ball of fire with continuous reactions and explosions every second probably from hydrogen reactions. But how does it hold together and continue to react while radiating heat, light, solar winds and all? How can a star millions of miles away affect a planet as far away as Pluto for thousands, if not millions of years?
F. Galaxies20

A Galaxy by simple definition is a collection of stars or star systems in a given locality of the Universe bound together by gravity21. According to what has been established, billions of galaxies exist in the universe though very few are discernible with the human eye. At best two or three can be seen from the earth but a whole host of them can be seen using powerful telescopes, better still those outside the earth’s atmosphere such as the Hubble space telescope. Our sun, which itself is a star belongs to what is known as the Milky Way. This is a collection of over 200 billion stars which are “crammed” together although with the human mind, they have incredible distances between them. There is also the Andromeda galaxy which composed of many stars as well. Recent evidence shows that each of these stars also has a planetary system revolving around it, and if that be the case, how many earth like planets must be in existence? Further, could it be possible that only the earth can support life in this grand universe? Questions still linger for now. It is worth mentioning also that different types of galaxies exist based on their nature, structure and shape. The startling thing to us is that galaxies are fast moving away from each other, proving the expanding universe theory. But it is still not known what is causing this accelerating departure from each other. Some scientists like Vera Robin have suggested that this is attributed to what has come to be known as “dark energy”22 G. Stars The building blocks of a galaxy are stars and the constituent elements of these galaxies are known as Stars. Stars by description are shining light sources in the universe that continue to give out light for many years. These stars go through different stages from infancy right through
20

The Milky Way has a sister Galaxy called the Andromeda spinning in space some 2.1 million light years away. The Andromeda’s hub glows yellow with some two smaller galaxies hovering in the vicinity.
21

Refer to Science Explorer, pp 770 Refer to Science Explorer pp 778

22

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to their death and extinction. In keeping with the laws of nature stating that matter is never destroyed but just changes form, stars mutate to something else after their energy reactions at their core ceases. A star radiates light and beautifies our skies. Perhaps a good question worth pondering over is why starts exist and where they are from. Various people give different answers but surely they must have a purpose other than just shinning out there. Astronomers estimate that there could be well over 10, 000 billion billion stars in the universe23, that is a whooping large number! H. Black holes As stars decay and die, astronomers tell us that they create what has come to be known as “black holes”. A black hole is believed to have a powerful force that draws things into its central core. We do not know exactly what this core is composed of and what happens when something is ‘sucked in’. Observations have been conducted to see what becomes of a star once it explodes and fizzles out. They postulate that this could explain the existence of the black holes. Someone has defined a black hole as “an object with gravity so strong that nothing, not even light, can escape”24 This definition implies that a black hole is a gravity centre and can ‘pull’ things to its core, whether light or not. This also implies that a black hole cannot be seen directly but by proxy, the things it draws to its core. The hair raising fact about black holes is that once anything gets trapped in them, they cannot possibly escape!
I.

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Asteroids25

As astronomers continued to scan the skies to see what is there, they came upon across a mass of smaller rocky bodies which could not qualify to be called planets. Their size and probably shape has generated endless debate as to whether some of them are planets or not. What was startling about this find was that it was a region beyond planet Mars of what appeared to be fragmented rocks in a ring around the sun. These rocks have different sizes and some have now been identified to have some “earth like” properties. This has sparked another debate altogether. But what is an asteroid exactly? Simply stated, it is a huge rock mass of some considerable dimension (say a kilometre in diameter) but far smaller than a planet. That definition is what has repeatedly revived endless debates as to whether Pluto qualifies to be a planet or simply a ‘runaway’ moon of the planet Neptune. There is no conclusive answer to the Pluto question but those found in the region immediately beyond Mars are clearly not planets in the main. Some think they could be debris from a smashed planet which collided with a meteorite years ago while others feel it has always been like that by design (who designed this?). Still others think these fragments are left over relics of the big bang as the universe evolved. We have no telling exactly but whatever the case, this is a fascinating belt that has and continues to intrigue the
23

Source: Rhoda Nottridge, Sky Watch, pp 6 Science Explorer pp 766, The word “asteroid” is derived from Greek denoting “star like” Refer to Science Explorer, pp 732

24

25

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mind. More and more are discovered every day, from four in 1807 to over 100,000 to date. The count continues. It is worth mentioning that each of these asteroids has a unique orbit around the sun, sometimes coming closer to the sun than the Earth. Some evolutionists think that an asteroid once collided with the earth 65 million years ago leading to the extinction of the dinosaurs. Whether this is fact or fiction, we simply have no telling! Page | 34 J. Planets Another feature that spooks the mind is the existence of the planets in and out of our solar system. These rocky26 bodies have each got unique features differentiating them from the neighbour planet. For instance, Jupiter is so different from Mercury, probably because of its proximity to the sun but Mars is totally different from the Jovian planet or asteroids within the ‘neighbourhood’. A planet is a large body mass with density, size and features which make it exists on its own, have satellites revolving round it while it hurtles along around its ‘sun’ or core star. Each of these is in constant motion and is affected by its sun in relation to its distance from the core. Most planets have a form of gravity and an atmosphere blanketing them, at least in the solar system. The atmospheres are of varying degrees, densities and types. Some are gaseous while others are moist. The chemical make ups of these also differ considerably although Hydrogen is often found anywhere in the universe according to what we know (believed to be the most abundant element in the universe). As for the planets in the solar system, nine so far are well known and documented while others are extrapolated to exist, much like what happened to the Pluto discovery in the 1930s. For a long time before the planet was identified from among the stars, mathematicians had calculated its path probably because of its effect upon other space bodies but was only discovered in 1931 thereabout. Similarly, the tenth planet could exist, if not already discovered. For now, we list those that we know: Mercury Venus Earth Mars Jupiter Saturn Uranus Neptune
26

Although the Science Explorer suggests that Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune do not have solid surfaces no wonder they are often referred to as “the Gas giants”. Refer to pp 721 of Science Explorer

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Pluto The planets have been classified as inner and outer planets, probably separated by the asteroid belt. The other thing is that the inner planets may have some similar properties while the outer are completely different from the inner. Sizes differ but each has its own properties.
K. Solar winds and other rays

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The sun is so powerful in the solar system and sends out many waves that affect activity in the system. One of those are invisible ‘particles’ called ‘Solar winds’ which emanate from or are catalysed by the solar flares (magnetic energy from the sun) and go out like rippling waves akin to what we see in the ocean. These particles reach the upper atmosphere of our planet and beyond. Voyager, which is now billions of kilometres away also had recorded some solar wind activity meaning that these winds travel fast across the solar system. There are other waves and rays in the solar system not discernible to the eye as well as fields/belts around each planet that counter these waves or temporarily decelerate their speed in the universe. In the heliopause region and beyond, it is believed the suns’ influence in terms of solar winds drastically declines while other interstellar forces take over. There is no proof for this yet but the voyager’s deceleration has brought some puzzles to astronomers because it is slowing down faster than expected when it should have maintained its velocity if not increased. One thing is certain for sure, some form of forces or waves exist out there.
L. Comets27

Comets are believed to be a gaseous body that has a unique elliptical orbit around the sun. Usually, a comet has a gaseous core with a long tail facing away from the sun. They are cloudy, fuzzy patches of glowing light with somewhat irregular shapes. Derived from the Latin word “comet” denoting ‘hair’, comets are a spectacular sight, though become less so at every encounter with the sun. For some reason, they appear periodically around the sun in their never ending orbit, with each advent appearing less spectacular. Some think, the comets wear out as they take their orbit and eventually die. Some comets are visible from earth while others can only be seen by the aid of a telescope. The best known comet is the Halley’s Comet that appears every 76 years and usually gives a spectacular view to the onlooker. The last time it appeared was in April 1986 and many of us saw this night beauty for a few weeks and then it vanished behind the sun probably only to be seen next in 2062, if we shall be there! The Halley’s Comet is named after famed astronomer Edmund Halley who spotted it in 1682. He most probably calculated its orbit and predicted that it would return after 76 years in 1758, and it did! It would next return in 1834 before it showed up in 1910. Other comets do exist as well but the Halley’ comet is probably the most spectacular from the earth’s perspective. The European space probe Giotto attempted to get to its core with modest results.
27

Some aspects of this section derived from Patrick Moore & Mason John’s work, The Return of the Halley’s comet, pp48 where they trace the comet as far back as 240 BC!

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Briefly, here are three of the well known comets and when they return: Comet Rigollet’s Encke’s Halley’s Returns after: 156 years 3.30 years 76 years
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M. Orbits and years An orbit is a path taken by something revolving around another. In this context, we refer to planets revolving around the sun which is at the centre of the solar system. For instance, the earth revolves around the sun and the path it takes or maintains is called its orbit. Similarly, the moon revolves around the earth and never leaves that path called its orbit. When we consider all the planets and objects in space, there is an amazing precision about the route. These heavenly bodies, if we may call them each have a unique path that keeps them what they are. In other words, if the earth veered a little closer or further from the sun than it is supposed to at that particular time, the earth’s inhabitants would roast or freeze, or at least the planet would be affected in some way. Amazingly though, the planets maintain their orbits from age to age. Another thing that baffles the mind is just how the particular planet years vary. While planet Mercury takes only 88 days to complete one revolution round the sun, Neptune takes 164 years to complete one revolution! What a vast difference! Yet these journeys round the sun never end! N. Satellites A satellite is any object, probably rocky in nature that revolves around a given planet. It is within its gravitational pull and moves with the said planet as it journeys round the sun. A case in point is our moon or one of Pluto’s moon, Charon. Each planet has a number of satellites or moons that revolve round it and are usually barren rocky bodies, although recent findings show that not every moon is rocky. Some like Jupiter’s Europa are believed to have an ocean of liquid water underneath the icy crust that covers it. Some have even suggested that some life form could exist there. Be that as it may, satellite differs from satellite. It is prudent also to mention that satellites are of two types. The first set is what we have just described, natural ones while the second set are artificial. The artificial ones have been made by man for a specific purpose. Nearly every planet of interest has an artificial satellite that orbits it, observing and collecting information which is analysed on earth. This data is critical to feed into future space programming. Have you taken time to wonder, that in the same way humans observe other planets, someone or aliens out there could be watching us as well? O. Atmospheres

Earth, Moon, Mars or beyond?

Each planet and indeed the sun have some form of gaseous atmosphere which envelopes that particular body. Some atmospheres are extremely thin and almost none existent while others have thick heavy ones. The earth has a unique atmosphere that is suited for organisms to exist and flourish while Mars has a very thin atmosphere that is believed to have vaporised when the planet collided with an asteroid28 or comet, we have no telling exactly. Whatever the case, the atmosphere exerts some influence on the planet and shields it from solar winds and potentially deadly rays, in the case of the earth. It is indeed a wonder that our atmosphere could do so much to protect us from the harmful UV or gamma rays which would result in terrible cancers or render some organisms extinct. We have no time to talk about the tides, planet temperatures as well as the weather pattern. Suffice it to say that we have an amazing atmosphere up there! P. Why are we here? Finally, we come to a close of our brief excursion in the universe, the question that still bugs our minds is: where did we come from and why are we here? There must be an answer somewhere because things cannot just randomly occur or exist. Perhaps it should be called “random order”! But then, is there a purpose for our existence in this vast universe? Are we alone in this grand world? Is there no other planet which approximates to the earth somewhere in the Universe? If there is, is there life there and where did it come from. We are back from where we started I guess. That said, I hope this introduction has given you sufficient overview over the issues we are to discuss in this dossier. It is time to adjust our gears as we start from where we live, the Earth! Bibliography Dupuis L Diane & Engelbert Philis, The Handy astronomy & Space GK Book, Jaico Publishing House, 2006 Gitt Werner, Stars and their purpose, Master Books, 2006 Griswold Ferrel, Evolution 1, 2 & 3 (tapes), Ferrel Griswold tape Ministry Hartmann K William, Astronomy the cosmic Journey, Hayden Kate, Astronaut: Living in space, Dorling Kindersley, 2000 Kenah Katharine, Space Mysteries, Waterbird books, 2004 Man’s conquest of Space Morris M Henry, Many Infallible Proofs: Evidences for the Christian Faith, Master Books, 1974
28

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The Earth is also said to be bombarded by at least 19,000 meteorites annually each weighing over 100g. Refer to Rocks & Minerals by Dr R.F Symes pp 40. It’s a wonder indeed that the earth remains unscathed thus far.

Earth, Moon, Mars or beyond?

NASA, Results of the Third U.S. manned orbital space flight, October 3, 1962, National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Nottridge Rhoda, Skywatch, Harper Collins publishers Ltd, 1991 Padilla J Michael, Muaoulis Ioannis, Cyr Martha (Program Authors), Prentice Hall Science Explorer, Pearson Prentice Hall Inc, 2006 Symes R F, Rocks & Minerals, Dorling Kindersley, 1988
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Chapter one

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JPL Voyager 1 picture of Earth with moon

“We are all passengers on spaceship Earth and therefore must do all we can to preserve it for longer use/space voyages yonder”
BS (2007)

The Earth

The Earth has been circling the Sun since the ‘Big Bang’ or Creation depending on which side
you lean. The Earth has been beautiful and glorious over the centuries unique and small among the planets. The tiny ‘blue marble’ in the solar system has evolved from being a quiet and relatively primitive silent space ship around the sun to a place bustling with activity. It is now a hive of activity at literary every point that one chooses to zoom in, although admittedly some parts, look more “alive” than others. Astronauts have long marvelled at the planet as they make their rendezvous’ in their orbiting space crafts. From space, all looks calm, nice and neat on the earth but as one lands, they suddenly realise that there is chaos down there! Wars, acrimony, turf fights, threats, planet degradation and all have bugged the planet from virtually every angle and location. There is now talk around a new economic order guised under “globalisation” which has its ardent adherents as well as its serious fundamental opponents. As anthropogenic activity has escalated, the planet is suffocating and so are other ‘lesser’ beings, such as species of instinct. There is a marked reduction in biodiversity while humans dominate the planet. Some pundits argue and question whether humans have the right to claim to be ‘masters’ of the planet at the expense of other equally important species that contribute to the planet eco-equilibrium and diversity. The other school of thought unreservedly asserts that God gave dominion to humans to “work and manage” the planet. Everything else therefore is subservient to human wants and desires. By implication, this school claims that humans determine what is right and good for the entire planet regardless. If some form of degradation say, air pollution is taking place, as long as humans are not inconvenienced, then that is fine! It only becomes a problem when human lives

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are adversely affected. In this world view, biodiversity, variety and species extinction does not matter! The debate rages on. But there are other issues that confront the planet. The advent of technological advancement has brought much good for humans but has in some instances adversely affected other parts of the ecosystem. For instance, planes, cars, industries and modern life styles have greatly affected the planet. Whilst being good and improving on the quality of Page | 40 life, the backlash is now clearly showing in different ways. The planet is now barer than it was say 100 years ago. There are fewer “oxygen machines” or trees in many parts of the world which are fast being replaced by the concrete jungles or commercial farm lands. An improved quality of life translates into a higher life expectancy and reduced mortality rate leading to an exponential population explosion. As at 1999, the planet had close to 6 billion humans alone and one wonders what it could be now, ten years down the line. This 6+billion population means the burden on the health care system has increased, the pressure on natural resources and social amenities has also sky rocketed by that token. While the richer and more advanced north is recording population decline (although they are already too many!), the developing nations are struggling to come out of the poverty woodworks so that they can industrialise many times using what is now dubbed “dirty technologies” because of their damaging effects on the planet. Conference after conference has been hosted attempting to solve the planet dilemma because the planet is literary on its knees, it is in peril as some have rightly observed. That said, poverty is on the increase right across the world. There are fewer people who have access to safe drinking water as well as live on less than $ 1 per day. Ironically, about $ 2 or more is spent on feeding an animal in the developed north because they can afford it and probably have mastered the art of generating wealth. There are other dimensions that bug the planets such as international relations, an unequal world in terms of relations, treatment and trade, the threat of nuclear wars that have the potential to obliterate the planet many times over. The emerging nations now are asserting their rights to develop while the already richer nations are urging a middle ground dubbed “sustainable development” which in all probability will not deliver the high standards of living that the richer north have already attained. Some think this contestable and unclear concept is yet another ploy to inhibit the emerging nations/markets so that the Developed north remains in the dominating factors. All these and many more problems continue to hound the planet and yet are not visible from space. In this chapter however, our focus is not on the politics that bug the nations but rather the debate that surrounds the exploration of space with respect to what is obtaining on the planet. The basic question we seek to explore in this chapter is what people say about space exploration and why they say it. Pervasive and excruciating poverty Although the planet has experienced unprecedented amounts of development by leaps and bounds in the past few decades, poverty remains a bugging problem is not worsening. As exponential population explosion sky rockets resulting from the improved quality of living, the planets’ resources are increasingly unevenly and thinly spread out. Another aspect is that the

Earth, Moon, Mars or beyond?

scarce resources are excessively “lumped” in the developed north while the poorer south continues to wallow in abject poverty. The poverty level and degree is so excruciating to the extent that it basically does not make sense to “waste” billions of dollars on profitless space pursuit. How can a person in their right mind elect to spend nearly all they have on buying high cost mineral (bottled) water when fresh, free and safe spring water flows in their backyard? Do Page | 41 you think people will hear their cry for help from neighbours asking for bottled safe drinking water once they have exhausted all their money? In all probability, they will be pointed to the backyard spring that has all the while been pouring out clean water that is free! In the same way, development practitioners question both the relevance and reasonability of spending colossal sums of money on space exploration at the cost of the majority world’s poor. The religious also add their voice. They question the morality and wisdom of neglecting a fellow human being who has been created in the image of God in preference for empty space, important as it might be. They argue that we first sort out the excruciating poverty mess on the earth before venturing out, but the question that begs answering is, when will this be feasible, in 2015? Perhaps in 2030. Environmental issues Since humans broke loose from the forest cocoons that once enveloped them, they have been making frantic efforts to cut down trees and get out of the forest woodworks. This brought about an unprecedented uplift of the social life quality on many of the world’s citizenry. The North discovered the formula of breaking their bounds much quicker than the rest of the world and thus engaged on voyages around the world. These trips had their own ramifications, some positive and others devastatingly negative. The positive side is that it brought about good changes in the way people lived and got by. The downside of this among many is that it unleashed wanton destruction of the planet to the extent that it is itself gasping for survival breath! The industrial revolution, whilst good and applauded, can be principally be pointed out as the time when anthropogenic activities begun to take their toll. Today, the planet is now throwing its backlash to this relentless abuse and degradation. Environmental issues have now entered the political realm and could easily cost one the vital vote to clinch political office. Environmental issues have now taken a nigh religious tone with people taking serious sides to the point of martyrdom! Thus, anything that suggests further messing up the planet or degrading it faces much opposition from all corners of the globe. Gone are the days when one would freely light a fire in the backyard without the neighbour voicing concern or raising the red flag. The once perfectly blue and healthy planet is now crying out for help, if life is to be sustained in its present form. To appreciate this point better, we high light some of the present problems confronting the planet. -climate change The planet once had stable predictable climate and weather pattern. At one time, it was possible to plan activities accurately and see the desired results but this has changed drastically in the last few years. From a 35 year lag time to determine the local climate, climate and weather changes far more frequently and faster. For instance, the planet has experienced unprecedented floods,

Earth, Moon, Mars or beyond?

extreme temperatures (such as heat waves or extreme freezing spells) and droughts leading to adverse consequences. A place may be warm in this minute but freezing the next. The air may be good, healthy and clean this minute but chokes and kills people the next. All these and many others are almost common place and increasingly hardly surprising. -Global warming Closely connected to climate change is the issue of Global warming. The planet’s temperature has steadily been rising over the last century triggering other processes. The increasing trapped Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is leading to the entire planet warming up. This has repercussions. Some of them include the melting ice bergs, reducing polar caps, rising sea tide, disappearance of some lands as well as the reduction in biodiversity. Global warming has a bearing on the erratic weather patterns that the planet experiences. As more fossils are disturbed, due to the acidifications of the seas, more previously trapped carbon is released to the atmosphere thereby increasing the carbon load. -Pollution (air, dust, water, noise etc) Planet degradation takes various forms. Today, it has become possible to isolate the respective problems as well as their effects on the planet. Pollution is one of the elements of planet degradation. This selfsame pollution is of different forms that include air pollution, fresh water pollution, ground water pollution, noise pollution among many. Noise pollution was not recognised as such until much later. People are now clamouring for a quieter world where Jet engine booms, car engines, machines noises are reduced. For the patient, noise can be such a nuisance! Hearing problems are not uncommon these latter days. -Species extinction As the planet gets more poisoned and poisonous, some species are either disappearing or simply dying off. Their disappearance could be explained by indiscriminate poaching or the clearing of land and forest for development. Humans, claiming to be masters of the universe have gone to all lengths to plunder the planet of its once rich biodiversity. Plants also have not been spared in this scourge. -Mutations To survive, according to genetics, mutations take place in organisms. They mutate in order to survive within their environments. Whether this is true or not, there is some evidence that has been adduced by evolutionists and paraded as science to the world. Debates abound about this but the point is, change is constant. If these changes take place in the cell nucleus, the change must be major. Perhaps the planet changes may have a bearing on the frequent cancer incidences? -Reduction in biodiversity
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As earlier alluded to in the species extinction above, reduction in diversity on the planet is evidently taking its toll. The coral reefs for instance which harbour a lot of organisms are dissolving in the acidifying seas and with them go some organisms. The animals that once roamed the planet are killed off and replaced by humans whose prime occupation is to gratify ego desires. But that is not all, the vegetation is also changing. Some weaker species die off Page | 43 while those that survive are cleared for commercial farming or some other anthropogenic activity. Genetically modified Organisms (GMO) now feature prominently on the planet and threaten to take the lions’ share if not already, in food matters. The diversity that once beautified the planet is now drastically on the decline and steadily replaced by a “uniform” kind of vegetation. The increasingly harsh and poisonous planet has and will kill off the fragile diversity. -Frequent natural disasters As an off shoot of climate change, there has been an increase in natural disasters and adverse conditions as the planet gives its backlash. For instance, flood (including flush floods), heat waves, extreme freezing temperatures, torrential rainfall and drought increasingly mark our world. Humans now have to plan and manage these extreme conditions around them. -Melting Polar caps As the planet disintegrates due to relentless wanton degradation, the polar caps are slowly but steadily melting. The warmer temperatures account for this. As things stand, about 10.4% of the earth’s land surface is permanently covered by ice but with global warming, some of this ice melts releasing water into the oceans which in turn have tide rise. This rise spells doom to the islands which “drown” with their bio-diverse organisms. The icebergs are now adrift and pause grave dangers to sea farers. -Potential atmospheric gas ratio changes Although this point has probably not been documented yet, there is a probability that the gas concentrations and ratios in the earth’s atmosphere is or has been changing. Historically, we know that the normal ratios (by volume) revolve at 78.08% Nitrogen, 20.95% Oxygen, 0.038% Carbon dioxide, 0.93 Argon as well as trace elements which make up the balance. This composes a healthy gas mixture but the industrial revolution triggered a process where different gases were emitted to the upper atmosphere and thus effectively poisoning the air or at least altering its composition. This development has probably triggered other processes which may eventually affect the planet quality. -Nitrogen loading As more commercial farming takes centre stage, various fertilisers have been used to improve crop yield and production. While this is helpful and necessary, the down side to this trend is that the nitrogen load on the soils is having a telling effect up the food chain as well as polluting the

Earth, Moon, Mars or beyond?

atmosphere ultimately. The nitrogen released through fossil fuels, fertiliser and so forth finds its way into the fresh water systems and ultimately into the atmosphere. Nitrogen oxides contribute to global warming as well. -Ozone depletion Image removed The continued degradation resulting from CFC29 emissions which rise into the upper atmosphere and break up Ozone (o3) opens the door for the lethal gamma rays from the sun to reach the planet. Ordinarily, the ozone layer acts as a shield to the planet and bounces off the deadly rays into space. But with its destruction and emergence of holes in this shield, skin cancers increase while some organisms are killed off. An ozone hole has been spotted over Southern Australia in recent years which changes in size from time to time. As these holes become a permanent feature on the planet, there is likely to be an upswing in the adverse effects mentioned above. -Disease burden The problem(s) affecting the earth, such as global warming, has also triggered some problematic organisms to be active. These pathogens and viruses have come alive and cause diseases that were once thought eliminated. Other diseases such as skin cancer have found their way on many bodies because the planet is failing to protect humans, especially those with less melanin. Thus, it is evident that environmental issues are a big problem enough to keep humans at home rather than wondering among the stars. Some of these problems cannot be solved in a short time and thus concerted efforts by all stake holders are needed. The rockets that blast through the atmosphere frequently actually may significantly contribute to the planet destruction. -Globalisation The word ‘Globalisation’ or ‘Globalism’ has taken the centre stage in recent times. In the quest to unify and develop the global economy, there has been a push towards harmonising financial systems, approaches as well as the removal of any impediments to international trade and interactions among nations. The idea is to develop one global market whose tenets abhor any limitations in terms of trade restrictions for instance as well as foster global unity, perceptions, tastes and values. Globalisation is more than a movement that pervades trade boundaries, it also affects how people view things, value and treat each other as well as how important things such as the Environment are viewed. Principally, globalisation aims at improving trade relations, integrating systems, uniting peoples of the world as well as driving the development agenda by
29

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The main source of this ozone damaging chlorine has been domestic fridges etc but the Popular science magazine once reported that “NASA estimates that about 75 tons of Chlorine are deposited in the Ozone layer each time a shuttle is launched”. That’s a lot of Chlorine, given the frequency of these flights! The Awake magazine of December 22, 1994 also had some useful information relating to Ozone depletion/destruction.

Earth, Moon, Mars or beyond?

globalisation seems to favour the privileged few located in the developed north, although things may change in the long run. With globalisation therefore comes collective responsibility and acting. For instance, what may have been perfectly acceptable and expected in Spain may not be allowable in the new integrated setting (EU). The world will eventually probably unify these integrated economic blocks scattered across the globe. -Revolutions Different revolutions come and go at every turn and time period. Some are big and affect a large section of the world’s population. Others are small and localised impacting only a negligible circle of contexts. A revolution can take place in about anything such as IT, Industry, social setting and religion to mention but a few. One of the greatest revolutions to have an indelible mark on the human race was the industrial revolution of the 1700s. From about that time, a lot of leaps in development have been recorded leading to what obtains today. Cumulative developments have had a lasting impact on how humans live, interact or do business. For instance, the industrial revolution gave us the factories, mechanical engineering and promoted large scale production but the Technological revolution has given birth to Information Technologies, electronic among many. Yet another revolution is taking place, the Green Revolution. This has promoted efficiency, alternative fuel sources or what is termed ‘cleaner technologies’ which may eventually lead to the planet having some respite, hoping things are not too late. There are other revolutions but our scope does not cover them. -Scarcity of non renewable assets The planet has developed to an extent where available energy sources are proving to be inadequate. The rising population as well as improvement in the quality of life have laid a serious burden on the resources that the planet is able to offer. For instance, the use of coal is now almost largely discouraged but in the earlier years of the Industrial revolution, Coal was the main energy source. One just needs to visit some districts of the UK to see what we are talking about. While it was extremely helpful and cheaper to utilise, it is now considered a relatively “dirty” fuel especially if the process system is not refined. But there are other non-renewable sources such as minerals and energy sources which are fast being depleted and if not carefully managed may spell doom for the world. -Imbalances between the rich and poor For a long time, few have dared voice out or talk about the imbalances that exist between the nations. Things are however beginning to change with Dambiso Moyo’s daring book “Dead Aid” took its place on the world’s book shops. It is a book that has ruffled many feathers and tackled things that few academics and development practitioners dare to question. Statistics and observation clearly show that the disparity between the rich and poor nations is ever widening. The question that begs answering is why? Dambiso attempts to answer this and offers some pragmatic solution that centre around empowerment rather than hand outs. There is a stronger

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call in Development circles to revisit the systems and practices of things that affect the world if anything tangible is to be recorded. -‘Sustainable development’30 For some time now, the developed and developing worlds have been at dangers drawn, busy pointing at and accusing each other. The one (Developed world) insists that there should be a limit on the development extent and a mandatory use of relatively more expensive cleaner technologies while the other retorts and claims that they have a right to develop at whatever rate and means they like. They further claim that the developed world should limit its development agenda since they are the major culprits of planet degradation. Having developed themselves using cheaper “dirtier” technologies and wrecking the world, what morality do they have to lecture others when they pursue their paths? These and many other controversies surround the term “sustainable development”31 which some people dismiss as spurious and misleading. By definition, ‘sustainable development’ aims at tackling a number of ideas and concepts as relates to the planet. We offer some definitions below: (a) The first idea that the term propagates is that development should be ongoing and self sustaining. It should be self sustaining in the sense that this development is contextual and yet bring about the greater good of humanity as things improve for them. The Development agenda should be owned and pushed by the local context and yet ultimately contributes to global development. (b) The second idea, which was reflected and echoed in the Rio Earth summit is that development should not only be spontaneously ongoing but should be cautiously handled with an eye towards the future. In other words, as development processes take place today, they must take into consideration the repercussions on future generations as to what planet they will inherit, whether it will be a damaged, destroyed world or it will be a thriving and revived world able to refresh itself? Sustainable development does not compromise progeny’s world tomorrow while fostering innovation, ingenuity and progress. -Green Business In recent times, resulting from the harm being inflicted on the planet, there has been a call to stop and re-examine our ways of doing business. During the change over, some processes have
30

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Karpagam M’s book on Environmental Economics has an interesting chapter on Sustainable Development worth perusing through.
31

The World Commission on Environment & Development (WCED) defined sustainable development as “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”. This definition is contestable and has attracted a lot of criticism. Some claim that the definition is open to wide interpretations and at times even contradictory!

Earth, Moon, Mars or beyond?

been developed while others have fallen by the way side. Critically analysed, green business is another industry that focuses on the development and use of ‘cleaner technologies’ which may eventually help the planet in peril. Apart from the development of technologies, there is also talk about helping to restore the planet to its healthy state where organisms can flourish as they once did prior to proportions predating the Industrial revolution. Some examples include the Page | 47 following: -Carbon quarters. As the planet struggles to control and get a hold on the carbon released to the atmosphere, there is need for industries to limit the amount of carbon emitted. This limitation allows the planet to regenerate and renew itself. These carbon quarters are quantifiable amounts of carbon which are meticulously monitored by some independent agency and if for some reason an industry or country exceeds their ration, they must pay a penalty or “buy” smoke quarters from countries that use less of their allocation. Whichever way, there is some transaction somewhere, though meticulously monitored by someone. -CO2 ‘harvesting’. Then there is another aspect worth pondering over. Clearly, the planet is ailing and needs drastic measures to cure it from its life threatening illness. The planet needs to recover its self renewing stamina which has evidently by and large been weakened and in some cases lost. One of the strategies is to harvest as much carbon dioxide from the atmosphere being a green house gas and thus contributing to global warming. There is need to reduce fossils or carbon emitting dead organisms from dissolving. This implies ensuring less pollution into the fresh water bodies which ultimately pour into the larger water bodies such as seas and oceans. If the pollution is nipped in the bud, it will not flow all the way to the sea and thus reduce the ocean acidification which in turn will not dissolve the carbon retaining fossils. Another strategy is to plant more “oxygen machines”-Trees. If more trees are around a given area, chances are that they will “suck in” more Carbon dioxide and give oxygen in return as the process of photosynthesis takes place. Thus, the environmental bodies are increasingly encouraging individuals and nations to plant more trees. While the developed nations have made a killing with their concrete jungles, the developing nations have an opportunity to cash in as they put their vast idle lands to good use by simply planting trees. In years to come, nations and individuals may be rewarded for harvesting as much CO2 from the atmosphere as possible. They may be paid say $ 2 per living tree on their estate. If that were the case, then an individual with a 1000 trees may rake in a cool $ 2000 dollars per given period. If they have 10,000 then $ 20,000 may be their lot and so forth. In the distant future, they may be rewarded per tree or plant species they have because some may harvest more CO2 than others. The question of CO2 emission at night is an issue many will have to grapple with though. This is because the plant reverses its metabolism process as CO2 is released instead. -Rising disease burden

Earth, Moon, Mars or beyond?

As a consequence partly of the warming up planet, new diseases are on the rise in addition to the already besting ones of the past. With the exponential population explosion on the planet, there is increased pressure both of the earth’s resources as well as the services to be provided. The health institutions are far outstretched to the adequately cater for all humans, worse still for those in the poorer south nations. Having relocated from where they originally lived and adopted new ways Page | 48 of existence, most of them have lost connection with health remedies and depend on the modern remedies. The population boom coupled with lower mortality rates (due to improved quality of life) increasingly mean that problems will invariably be the order of the day. A diseased population is definitely counter or less productive compared to one whose critical mass of population is healthy. Viewed globally, the planet and its inhabitants are generally less healthier than they were decades ago. Thus, there is need to invest more in health related matters rather than zooming off to wonder among the stars! -Polarised world The cold war divided the world into two opposing sides although the non aligned nations sought to stick to the middle ground, which in reality was the case because each of these had a leaning. For instance, although Zambia claimed to be non-aligned, it effectively was socialist effectively leaning towards the communist USSR or China. As 1991 came around, the tables turned towards the western world. Since then, things have drastically changed although the face of international relations is ever in flux. Today, Russia is the super power sparring with the USA, next it is Iran, China, Venezuela or some other countries. Today, a capitalist inclined government is in power but tomorrow, the socialist or communist bounces back where it once reigned and lost power. Things are volatile and people invariably take sides. Recently, the once sleeping giant China has awakened from its serious sleep and is now flexing its financial/technological muscle on the international scene while the once unrivalled capitalist king, the USA is forced to stop in its tracks and reconsider its ways. No one can ignore China today as was once the case. There is therefore need to harmonise this world to avert another world war or anything that threatens global peace and therefore the globalisation tenets. -Religion Religion was once a seriously private matter and localised in some one’s heart and context but with the globalisation advent, the various religious ideologies and convictions are in constant collision. The stronger religious beliefs suppress and crush the weaker and vulnerable ones. There is considerable debate over the validity of this assertion but one thing is true, every adherent to each faith is convinced that theirs is the true religion and blessed by God. Religion, in some sense has become a global commodity and brand that people either buy into or discard but may not entirely ignore. One can scarcely do successful global marketing of their product for instance without taking into account the religious concerns and values of different people across the world. Thus aggressive marketing will ensure it strives towards homogeneous customer taste and perception lest they raffle some feathers! It is important to state also that religion is such a

Earth, Moon, Mars or beyond?

powerful force today which must be meticulously handled because of the rise of the religious fundamentalist or extremists. A fundamentalist by definition is one that claims to adhere to the original truth of that particular religion and strives to proselyte others as well as polices others within the same faith to stick to those particular tenets failure to which one is not considered a true worshipper but one that associates and in so doing ‘desecrates the holy things’. A Page | 49 fundamentalist does not tolerate ambiguities but demands one is either a full adherent or clearly not one. In that way, the line is clearly drawn on how far the two groups will relate hence. But there is another group-The ones dubbed ‘Terrorists’. These terrorists actually branch from the Fundamentalists and go a step further into fanaticism or pure extremisms. They are dubbed “terrorists” because in the name of being faithful to their deity, they persecute and attack anyone else who holds a contra view or position. A terrorist has no time to reason or negotiate. Its either you join them or they slaughter you, and thus “purify” the world. Then they feel fulfilled and acceptable to their God. Terrorists are found in practically every religion only that they methods of terrorism vary. For Instance, ‘The Lord’s Resistance army’ of Uganda reigned terror in northern Uganda for a long time. If asked, they claimed to have been obeying instructions from their God, to slaughter, maime or defeat anyone that was opposed to the Bible’s Ten Commandments. Others recently claimed to have engaged in drug trafficking in the lord’s name! There are other terrorists some of which even die as martyrs! -Culture The way people live, behave and view things constitutes what we term as culture. The culture therefore motivates and fosters certain behaviour patterns emanating from some inherent value systems. The value system therefore shapes one’s world view and to some extent orientation. Exposure, upbringing and context greatly impacts on one’s values and thus their cultural practices. If in an organisation, people spend the first twenty minutes before they commence work each day, then that could be part of their corporate culture. Similarly, different contexts across the world have different cultures which confluence when one trends the international scene with the globalisation advent. What matters is how they conduct themselves in a given situation so as to remain objective and relevant. Admittedly, culture is also always mutating though values may not change that fast. What often changes is the mode and approach of doing something not necessarily the conviction. -Politics Politics takes different forms and shades. In about every context, some form of politics takes place whether at church, in the organisation, village, society or nation. However, one type of politics has take prominence and is frequently referred to. This type of politics is one that revolves around organised political parties that jostle for power with a view to gain control of or philosophy that a group of people or cross section of society believe in or adhere to. For instance, one political party may strongly believe in pure capitalism while another is a socialist and abhors capitalism in all its forms. The respective parties must “market” themselves to as many members

Earth, Moon, Mars or beyond?

of the electorate as possible and scoop the elections. Democracy is increasingly being heralded as the best mode of political governance although pockets holding a radically contra position still exist around the world. In some places, party politics are at the root of turmoil, acrimony and civil wars while in other contexts, they have brought about harmony and development. The planet has a mixed blend of these. Page | 50 -Legal aspects The world has various legal systems which dictate how countries and individuals operate. Laws are derived from different backgrounds and in a sense reflect the thinking and culture of people. As the world goes global, homogeneity and relativity in many matters abound. The perceptions, values and principles therefore affect the enactment of laws. Their implementation is another. Historically, the English, Roman and Islamic law have been the foremost sources of law but these also are in flux. The Martial law for instance is implemented in military regimes while Islamic (Sharia) law is largely observed and upheld in Islamic republics. The English and Roman laws exist in democratic states around the world. It is worth mentioning that each of these laws claims to be objective, fair and ideal for their respective settings. Within a global economic context though, these variations can pose as challenges because if a multinational has a litigation issue in an Islamic setting where Islamic law is upheld, it may be “trapped” because it probably relies on the English law in the country of origin. Thus, as part of its international strategy, these issues must be borne in mind so as to minimize international outrage or acrimony. -Relativity of issues Relativity has to do with different perceptions and views over the same issue. What may be perfectly acceptable and desirable for one person may not necessarily be for the next person. What may be expected and good for one person may be repulsive and offensive for the next person. This generates a lot of problems for the unexposed international traveller as they intermingle with people from other regions of the world. Cultures, background orientation, exposure, education and values all affect the way people perceive and interpret things. In short, their world view is shaped by what they have known or been exposed to. Thus, hard line dogmatic stances on certain things startle and appear surprisingly shocking for the global worker whose mind is highly tolerant to relativity. The world somehow abhors absolutes relative to the past. -Undiscovered/unconquered frontiers on the earth A good portion of the earth has been investigated and a lot discovered. Humans have been to the far flung places of the earth, studied them and adapted to them. People work and live around the Arctic Circle as well as the middle of the hot deserts. As the early explorers set out to discover “the edge of the earth”, they carried with them a pioneering spirit, facing the unknown. Some returned safely home but many others vanished never to be seen again. Those that made it became heroes and opened up routes to other parts of the world. Now people are planning to visit

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Mars and in a few decades from now, Mars may become a piece of cake! However, there are lone voices scattered across the world that see the earth as an intriguing place to explore still. For instance, the wonders of the deep seas and oceans remain largely unexplored or dominated by man. People can scarcely journey to the deepest oceans as tourists because as yet, very few deep sea/ocean worthy vessels exist. Further, not only should humans tour or explore the deep seas, Page | 51 they are yet to “colonise” those territories in a way that they can control what goes on. For instance, when the French Air line (from Rio) crashed into the Atlantic Ocean in June 2009, only part of the wreckage was discovered while the vital black boxes never were. The reason is that humans do not have the technical knowhow to handle the undersea world. Proponents of this view further assert that the air space above the land is also yet to be exploited and productively used. Apart from aeroplanes flying about, there is need to invent ways of building suspended as well as subterranean cities. The underground, the undersea and free air space still needs to be effectively utilised. We do not have time to talk about drilling to the earth’s core past the extant theories, developing newer energy sources away from the hydrocarbon fuels, waveless technologies as well as cures for menacing diseases such as cancer or other presently terminal diseases whose cure lies hidden somewhere in those forests which are rapidly and indiscriminately being destroyed rather than preserved. In short, there is a lot more to discover here on earth before running off to be experts of another world or space body out there. -Urban challenges People’s settlement patterns and ways of living have been evolving over the years. From hunters, gathers and subsistence farmers in sparse settlements, humans have moved on to erect cities in which they live. Although good and plausible a mode of existence, this has brought a fresh challenge to the fore. One of these challenges is the increased pressure on social amenities as well as concentrating the earth degrading actions that include pollution (i.e. water, air & noise etc), deforestation, reduced biodiversity and reduction of vegetation cover in preference for the concrete jungles. This development has also other attendant problems such as higher stress levels, depression as well as other mental disorders resulting from a “compacted” life style. -Earth summit declarations A number of summits have been held across the world with their classic “declarations” at the end of the conference but how many have really been effectual and implemented. The world has had the Tokyo protocol, the Rio declaration, The Johannesburg world development summit among many have taken place but most of them have ended up to be talk shops with little action after that. What has lacked largely in these summits has been the political will in the respective countries represented. While the technocrats have seen the need and urgency of something, the actual people with power may have not bought into it and thus not run with the ball. That said, these declarations have progressively begun to worm their way into the policy documents and may eventually be implemented some day, assuming things are not too late.

Earth, Moon, Mars or beyond?

-Energy problems As the Earth population exponentially explodes, the resources the earth can offer decline by that token. To keep in step with the need of the times, greater exploitation of wasting assets is the only reasonable course of action. However, this cannot be done without harming the planet. Page | 52 Hence, there has been a move to discover or invent alternative energy sources. There have been hydro, solar and nuclear energy sources. Other sources are daily being found though the stress on the planet’s resources remains a source of concern. The alternative sources so far adduced also have their own down sides as well as limitations. For instance, nuclear energy exploitation posses a long term threat should something go wrong. The Chernobyl disaster32 of April 1986 comes to mind. Today, that area in Ukraine remains a dangerous place to living organisms.
Image removed
Nuclear power station in the developed world

A large geographic area remains contaminated for hundreds of years to come, unless of course new technology is able to avert disaster or clear the mess once it occurs. On the other hand, hydro power depends on the availability of water in appropriate levels. Should a drought strike and rivers dry up, problems ensue. Solar and wind power sources are perhaps some of the best sources currently although the initial capital expenditure is exceedingly forbidding. Recent space related tragedies & space exploration feats The Challenger disaster of 1986 brought into sharp focus the wisdom, relevance and cost effectiveness of manned space flights. The world paused a while and ferociously debated this question seriously after many years of relative safety. Since Apollo 1 disaster on the launch pad (January1967). The security issues seem to have been paramount but as the years rolled on coupled with the complex STS and budget cuts, security concerns seem to have slipped into the background. Space exploration is a mixed bag. On the one hand, it is dangerous but on the other it is delightful and exciting. Humans have been travelling into space since the early sixties and continue to conquer more space frontiers around the planet. Most of the manned flights have been restricted to the space between the earth and moon. In fact, most of it has been around the earth itself rather than further a field. Below are some pictures depicting human conquest of space using various space vehicles: Image removed

32

Refer to Cunningham Saigo’s Environmental Science text pp 364

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The Earth remains an enigmatic place somewhat because of its complexity. It has an envelope around it called its atmosphere. Interestingly, this envelope is graduated into various gaseous components in addition to the solid part called land or Biosphere in earth science circles. The said atmosphere is composed of various gases, water vapour and other elements which combine in an interesting fashion making it habitable to for organism. Despite the atmosphere being thick Page | 53 and dense, it none the less is just the right pressure coupled with gravity which keeps things “attached” to the earth33. It is this atmosphere that is presently under threat because the vices mentioned earlier own take place there and in the process destroy the various layers of the same. We briefly illustrate the atmosphere as well as give some notes about this beautiful blanket (Redfern calls it ‘the fragile veil’). Image removed
Layers of Earth’s atmosphere

The Earth’s atmosphere structure 1. The Troposphere: 8 miles 2. The Stratosphere: 3. The Mesosphere: 60 miles with a high concentration of ozone and strongly absorbs ultraviolet light from the sun. This protects living tissues from UV’s destructive effects. 4. The Ionosphere or thermosphere: Up to 220 miles where gases are ionised by the sun’s radiations.
5. The Exosphere: Beyond 220 miles where the atmosphere is rarefied. Intermolecular

collisions rarely occur and travel round the Earth in satellite like orbits. At this stage, the atmosphere gradually thins out into space. At times, the sun light causes some amazing sights in the northern regions of the planet. The exact cause for this aura is not known but some scientists suggest that it could result from sunlight rays encountering some the atmosphere at an angle causing reactions and thus giving the beautiful sight.

Aura caused by solar rays colliding with the earth’s atmosphere
33

Martin Redman says similar sentiments on pp5 of his book “The Earth: A very short introduction. He says: “Unlike the giant stormy gas bags of the outer planets, cold, dry Mars, or the acid stream-bath of Venus, the Earth has everything just right. Water exists in all three phases-Liquid, ice and steam”

Earth, Moon, Mars or beyond?

Proto types The proponents of space exploration have also expressed themselves in different ways that Page | 54 encourage humans to tackle new and exciting frontiers away from the earth. These expressions have come out in many ways that often were many decades ahead of their time. For instance, the cell phone which appears mundane and obvious today was not so a few years ago. In fact, not even the military had it but then, out of the woods of Finland, the cell phone concept was developed into the Nokia brand that we have today. But where did this wireless phone idea first find its expression? Opinions vary but Star Trek was probably the first to popularise the cell phone. Others have expressed themselves in other motion pictures such as: Jason of Star Command (1978-81)

(c) Peter Brown TV

There is a station somewhere in space whose mission is to carry out specific assignments. The mission station is called ‘Star command’ and the star actor is called Jason, hence “Jason of Star command”. This eventful little thriller portrays the adventures of Jason to different worlds, his space ship and triumphs over evil. He often encounters Dragos who tries by all means to bring about destruction against all those that oppose him. Jason gets instructions from star command centre and then ventures out giving feed back once the mission is complete. This is a thrilling 30 minute episode and gives one the ‘warmth’ of space exploration. He also works in collaboration with the pocket size robot (Wiki) and a Professor to counter Dragos’ machinations. Buck Rogers This is a story which seeks to bring to the fore the possibilities of space exploration. This is a story of a person who falls into a deep sleep and wakes up in the 25th century armed with advanced technology which enables him to fly and do many antics that are presently impossible although some of these things are slowly becoming achievable. This person has abilities to fight off evil schemes and can travel to space and back. Buck Rogers was a popular comic strip initially in the 1929s and has been credited with encouraging human space exploration. The Universal Pictures company ran a 12 part Buck Rogers series in 1939 onwards. The Buck Rogers series took different forms across the years but one thread flows through all of them, the ability to fight evil whether on earth or in space. For instance, in 1979, Buck Rogers is taken as a US

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Airforce Pilot commanding space faring Ranger 3, built on the space shuttle concept. The series was abruptly cancelled in 1981 but remains a favourite in many minds. Battle of the Planet (Cartoon)
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©Julieann Adolf 1997-2004

This is a 1978 cartoon with a theme revolving around good versus evil tussles. The evil is scheming to overthrow a planet and rule it with evil motives. On the planet (probably earth) lives a team of individuals who know about this evil scheme and thus set out to defend the planet using their space ship, hence the title, “Battle of the Planet”. It is a thrilling cartoon which brings out the beauties and complexity of space planet, earth and planes. Conclusion As has been observed, the Earth is an exceedingly delicate place. There is much at stake which needs to be meticulously & cautiously handled if life is to continue in its present form. We have also established that the diversity is on a drastic decline and only drastic measures will turn the tide. The quest to explore greater and loftier frontiers far afield will only be reasonable and plausible once the earth localised hurdles are effectively handled and managed. As things stand, it does not make any sense to some people why humans should rush outside the planet whilst the planet is dying, unkempt due to wanton negligence. The deepening and pervasive poverty levels cry out for the few dollars that are committed to space fantasy whilst myriads live in increasingly languid and deplorable conditions. They languish and grope around in the poverty trap with no conceivable respite in sight in the immediate or far future. The planet has been crying for help for such a long time and is now gasping for breath. It is now giving its backlash in various ways that include climate change, global warming or the depletion of the critical ozone layer. Space travel needs stronger justifiable reasons why it should be supported apart from the fun that it gives a few individuals or rich nations. There is also need to revisit the use of “dirty technologies” even in the space industry. Every time a rocket blasts into space, it deposits some significant amount of pollutants that eventually impact on the planet in one way or other. As space tourism becomes the norm rather than the exception, atmospheric degradation will be heightened by that token. In this chapter therefore, we have sought to high light some of the salient points that rational individuals and groups push forward as they consider the issue of

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space exploration. While their assertions may not entirely hold water at every turn, they none the less deserve serious attention in the quest to build a better world for everyone. That the Earth deserves better and needs urgent attention is beyond debate. That space exploration is totally irrelevant is quite debatable but what is needed is a healthy blend of both which attempts to be encapsulated in the controversial term “Sustainable Development”. In the ensuing chapter, we Page | 56 proceed to consider the moon as we move further into deep space. What is your take on this matter? ====================================================================

Bibliography Baker Susan, Sustainable Development, Routledge, 2006 Battista J. Cristina, “Chernobyl: GIS Models Aids Nuclear Disaster Relief”, GIS World 1994 Boraika A Allen, “Hazardous Waste” Storing up trouble...”, National Geographic, CACC, Environmental Management (MEM), Preston University, 1998 Curry-Lindahl Kai, Conservation for survival: An ecological strategy, Victor Gollancz ltd, 1972 Dalal-Clayton Barry & Bass Stephen (editors), Sustainable Development Strategies: A resource book, Earthscan, 2002 Dresner Simon, The Principles of sustainability, Earthscan, 2002 Edwards Mike, Chernobyl-One year after, National Geographic, 1987 IUCN, Caring for the Earth: A strategy for sustainable living (Summary), UNEP, IUCN, WWF, 1991 Karpagan M, Environmental Economics, Sterling Publishers Private Limited, 1999 Kleniewski Nancy, Cities, Change, and Conflict: A political Economy of urban life, 2nd edition, WADSWORTH THOMSON LEARNING, 2002 Owen A Lewis, Pickering T. Kevin, An introduction to global environmental issues, Routledge, 1994 Poltorzycki Stephen, Creating Environmental Business Value: Achieving two shades of green, Financial World Publishing, 2001 Redfern Martin, The Earth: A very short introduction, Oxford University, 2003

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Schaeffer A Francis, Genesis in time and space, Regal books, G/L publications, Intervarsity Press, 1972 Schaeffer A Francis, Pollution and the Death of Man: The Christian view of Ecology, Tyndale House publishers, 1970 Sheehan William, Worlds in the sky, University of Arizona Press, 1992 Steger B Manfred, Globalization: A very short introduction, Oxford University, 2003 Stewart Peter, Development Theories, UNISA, 2005 Welford Richard & Starkey Richard (editors), Business and the Environment, Universities Press (India) ltd, 1996

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Chapter two
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The Moon

For thousands of years, the moon has intrigued the human mind. Men and women have
exercised their imagination as to how and why the moon exists the way it does. Until it was discovered that the moon merely reflected the sun’s rays rather than produced its own light, humans were amused by the “lesser light” that governed the night sky. The moon looked far more glorious than the far flung stars because it was nearer to earth rather than other celestial bodies. Many dreamed of visiting this mysterious heavenly body as well as worshipping it. By that token, many legends and fantastic imaginary stories were made about the moon. All sorts of things were imagined from mysterious monsters, civilisations to a dead and deserted lifeless body were propagated. The early civilisations used the naked eye to admire and map the moon, imagining pictures, designs, seas and oceans on the lunar surface. Then came the telescope, first invented by Galileo. This telescope zoomed the moon into sharper focus and people’s appreciation increased. It was not until in the 1950s when humans begun making space faring rockets that the possibility of humans visiting the moon became a reality. In 1957, Laika the dog

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went into earth orbit and later Yuri Gagarin would be the first human in space in 1961. This was a high point for humans but gave further impetus to the race to the moon between the USA and USSR. Both countries made frantic efforts to get as many people into space poised towards the moon landing. In 1963, the US President J F Kennedy would make a pronouncement that an American would walk on the moon before the end of that decade. It was a tall order at the time Page | 58 because the Americans did not possess the technology to land a human on the moon but putting their heads together, the Apollo series was developed. Although Kennedy never leaved to see his dream realised in his life time, the dream definitely outlived him and became a reality six years later in July 1969. Image removed
Apollo 8 Astronaut and commander, Frank Borman quoting the famous Genesis words “In the beginning, God created the heaven and earth…and the earth was without form…”

To get to the moon was not a one day affair nor was it without its challenges or failures. What kept humans fast at work was the desire to outwit each other and thus prove superior as well as conquer space. The Gemini series focused on lower space orbit with a view to test how humans would survive as well as some procedures in space such as the Rendezvous, docking and undocking. The Apollo series was specifically designed to prepare the path to the moon, land humans and bring them back safely. At least 17 Apollo missions were actioned with varying challenges and successes. For instance, Apollo 1 had its fatal accident on the launch pad in which three valiant Astronauts perished. The Apollo series preceding 11 were trial runs to space, to the moon, orbit and back without landing on the lunar surface. Apollo 8 captured the iconic “Earth rise” picture for instance. Apollo 11 had three humans, Armstrong, Collins and ‘Buzz’Aldrin who embarked on a four day journey to and back from the moon. On arrival in the moons’ orbit, the Eagle lunar module separated from the mother ship and descended to the lunar surface carrying Armstrong and Aldrin while Collins orbited around the moon in the mother ship. As they landed, for a moment, the whole world stood still as they fixed their gaze on their screen. It was a hair raising and extremely daring adventure to visit another space body outside the earth. The ship landed on the surface and Armstrong stepped out of the lunar module to become the first human to set foot on another celestial body outside the earth. Image removed
‘Buzz’ descending from the space craft

He uttered those famous words “This is one small step for a man but one giant step for mankind”. Image removed

Earth, Moon, Mars or beyond?
Famous foot print

Buzz also followed shortly after that and the men planted the American flag on the moon as well as leaving other information packs such as the plaque exhibiting the spirit in which the astronauts Page | 59 came. Image removed
Plague left on the moon

After a day on the moon, the two adventurers blasted off and reunited with their colleague and then headed back home to a heroic welcome. Ten other astronauts would walk on the moon after them, the last being Apollo 17 in December 1973. All the other Apollo missions after 11 successfully achieved their objectives except Apollo 13 which nearly turned out into a night mare. Apollo 13 had a perfect take off like any other mission and headed towards the moon almost flawless. Suddenly, somewhere in mid flight to the moon, an explosion occurred in one of the space ship compartments. On investigation, it was discovered that one of the oxygen tanks had exploded. The craft continued all the way to the moon but returned using the moons’ centripetal force to catapult the ailing craft back home. A lot of physics and innovative thinking was involved to safely get the astronauts back home alive. After much painstaking calculations and acting, the capsule finally splashed down and astronauts were safely home. Although Apollo 13 never achieved its objective of landing a human on the moon, it was none the less extremely successful in one regard: returning the astronauts safe and sound back home. Apollo 14, 15, 16 and seventeen had their own high points such as gathering a lot of data about the moon, its conditions as well as samples from the lunar surface. Apollo 15 even had a rover that transported the astronauts on the moon as they carried out their experiments. Image removed
Picture from the moon

For some reason, the Apollo missions ended at the end of 1973. Reasons vary but probably global economic conditions dictated or enthusiasm declined from the general public. Some felt the Apollo series had achieved its objective and thus no need to continue. It was time to change focus towards a space station (sky lab) as well as begin designing the space craft of the future, which would turn out to be the Space Shuttle which became operational in 1981. It is worth mentioning that when all these achievements were taking place in the USA, the USSR was not idle. They developed on their earlier space crafts and largely focused on the space station, satellites as well as other feats which probably have not been as publicised as the American achievements were. Although the USSR lost the race to the moon, they were clearly not underdogs and still remain giants in the space industry today. As the shuttles are retired in

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2010, the Russians will offer improved launch vehicles to space and back for they are clearly champions in the three stage rocket for now. Even their record attests to this. As the industry has been maturing, other nations are increasingly coming on board such as Japan, China and India. These nations cannot be ignored and chances are that they may come up Page | 60 with cheaper innovative ways to get into space and eventually to the moon. While the Americans and probably Russians have their eyes fixed on Mars, the new industry entrants have their eyes on the moon which they probably might visit and colonise. By that token, they may exploit the moon closer to home much faster than the industry incumbents would with their lofty dreams and targets. Conspiracy theory A human walking on the surface of the moon was certainly a remarkable achievement not only for the USA but for all mankind. Every human being in their right mind is excited and stands amazed every time they consider the feat achieved in the 1960’s and 70s. Considering the hazards, complexity, costs, risks and uncertainties involved, the Apollo Astronauts were certainly a remarkable set of people worth applauding. The amount of coordinated team work across the globe, time consumptions and prior flight preparations are simply unimaginable and yet all these worked together like beavers until the work was done. However, whilst the world was spell bound and excited about all the space craze, a group of sceptics arose. They questioned the entire space and moon adventure as a hoax, fluke and deception. They had their own reasons for taking such a position and their voice was heard more strongly in 2009 when the Apollo moon landing 40th anniversary was commemorated. Their argument goes something like this: Because of the race to the moon, as well as America’s determination and quest to remain the world leader in technology, a conspiracy was hatched in which the Apollo 11 astronauts quite alright took off from earth and went into orbit from which they were made to land somewhere on earth away from the cameras. They were then drugged and then sent back into space and appeared to have landed back home on 22nd July 1969. According to them, either Armstrong or team were convinced (brain washed) into believing that they actually went to the moon or they were sternly warned not to reveal the plan obviously in exchange for some fortune. In between, the moon voyage was basically an acted out trip to the moon which showed the three astronauts go to the moon, “land on the moon” and even “Walk” on the lunar surface. The sceptics claim that all these were acted out in a secret studio somewhere with the artificial background created by the film directors. Thus, for them, the Apollo 11 moon landing never happened but was done to frustrate the USSR as well as deceive the rest of the world. They point to a number of issues worth critically analysing such as: 1. The lighting on the supposed lunar landing was inconsistent.

Earth, Moon, Mars or beyond? 2. There was no way the astronauts would have survived those deadly and lethal Van Allen

rays. Deadly rays in the Van Allen belt should have killed the astronauts after the lethal exposure to them. NASA did not have the technology nor the ability to fend off these deadly rays.
3. The USA did not possess the right technology or might at the time to fly people to and Page | 61

from the moon safely.
4. The Lunar surface is believed to have fine dust, rocks and glass, how come the space

suits never ruptured as they moved about, jumped and fell?
5. The flag placed on the surface appeared to have been moving probably due to wind,

where did the wind come from on the lunar surface since it is part of the vacuum of space?
6. The Eagle’s rocket engines as it landed on the moon never raised dust, why was this? 7. The Astronauts’ movement in “slow motion” appears to have been acted out rather than

actual. 8. Some of the movements appeared to have been made possible by some invisible “wires” which at times radiated in the light. These and many other arguments are raised by the sceptics as they bombard NASA “to tell the truth”. There are two schools of thought in this group though. Whilst they are all agreed that the Apollo 11 landing was fake, they do not all agree that the subsequent missions i.e. Apollo 12, 13, 14, 15, 16 &17 were real. Some believe these were real and actual since the Americans had proved that they were superior while others contend that all these were a sustained lie. The reader is encourages you to view some of these “Conspiracy theories” on You Tube as well as other materials. Energy sources on the moon One of the reasons why nations today are tending to focus their attention to the moon is because of the potential they have spotted there. For one thing, they think that the moon will and can offer a safe haven of a good portion of the earth’s exponentially exploding population. If a good portion could be “exported” to the moon, then the earth will be less congested and stands a better chance of recovery from the deadly planet degrading activities such as pollution. For another thing, the moon does not have an atmosphere which is as fragile or complex as the earths. This implies that industrial activity can proceed unabated or without fear. Further still, the moon has some energy sources that are either limited on the earth or may not be safe to exploit. The moon has Rigolith (or Lunar soil) and Hellium 3 which are nuclear oriented radioactive substances. They can power the moon base as well as export some of the energy to the earth so that the planet does not black out due to excessive energy demands. The moon will then be alive and full

Earth, Moon, Mars or beyond?

of activity that will lead to sustainability. In effect, another body in space will be active and attractive for generations to come. This selfsame Nuclear energy will be useful for the deep space exploration. Space crafts from the earth will stop over on the moon to refuel on their outward journeys to the far reaches of space. There are other minerals and useful substances that the moon has which may be presently veiled to the human eye. For instance, the moon is Page | 62 believed to have abundant glass suggesting that sand of sorts may be readily available both for construction as well as other useful applications. Finally, it will be easier to execute some heavy duty functions on the moon compared to the earth. Since its gravity is one sixth of the earth’s, heavy duty work will be a piece of cake leading to energy conservation. This will lead to other benefits such as faster task accomplishment, savings as well as other technological inventions appropriate for the lunar context. The grand idea The desire of ages for humans has been to set up a permanent moon base akin to what has been depicted in the film, Space 1999 which hit the television screens in the 1970s. The film centres around a moon base on in which humans work and live. A lot of things happen on the moon as well as other parts of the heavenly body. The commander and team work tirelessly to preserve the base as well as provide support to others who need support. This large moon base covers a wide area and has several terminals and facilities in which people work and live. A fleet of space crafts called “Eagle” are used by the team as they move around the moon as well as other parts of space within the Moon’s orbit. This motion picture is an excellent depiction of what humans have aspired to do for years. Thus, when the 40th Apollo landing anniversary came around, this dream, which appeared abandoned for nearly four decades suddenly came to the fore. Those advocating for a permanent settlement argue that the station on the moon can be self sustaining and will significantly contribute to the quality of humans. It will also afford humans to exploit the moon at a cheaper rate as some of the materials will be locally sourced. The living quarters will be pressurised, be able to generate a life supporting system, plants will grow as well as artificial gravity installed akin to what obtains on the earth. The centre will house living rooms, recreation centres, gyms and sick bays. The intercoms will be at every turn although wireless mobile communication will be very basic at the time. The walls of the base will be thick enough to wad-off the deadly UV and gamma rays (or any other lethal rays) thus protecting the occupants. If humans want to visit the outside environment for exploration or some other activity such as mining, they will have to wear space suits. Robots and other machines (state of the art) will do most of the hazardous work outside the station. Space Rovers, saucers or other mobile vehicles will transport people around the moon ensuring that the moon potentials are fully exploited. As highlighted in an earlier section, the moon will be colonised either by humans collectively or as separate political states. If the former be the case, a common moon base will be constructed in one central place with various sections belonging to different countries. These countries will work jointly to preserve the station as well as engage in different activities of their preference but of course observing some universal ethics and agreements. This will most likely

Earth, Moon, Mars or beyond?

foster human unity and understanding. However, if the latter be the case, as presently appears to be, countries will venture to the moon in the name of “mankind” when in fact they are extending their state dominion from the earth. This will spark a “scramble for the moon” akin to what happened to Africa centuries ago. The first country to land at a particular site will place their flag signifying their conquest of that place as well as owning all the rights relating to that domain. Page | 63 This view is what makes the USA and other advanced nations reluctant to by-pass the moon in preference for Mars. If while they were busy crafting a space craft to Mars, the other space industry entrants will swiftly take over the moon and exploit all the loot that is there. This would spell serious loss for the Russians and USA because they got there first in one way or the other but lost an opportunity to maintain the lead. India, China, Japan and a few other states are making serious inroads into the space industry and have serious intentions to visit the Earth’s nearest neighbour. If the present mode of thinking is sustained and actualised, the moon will be a seriously partitioned place which will effectively lock out the pauper nations from ever owning a square inch of land on the moon, let alone visit there. The only way to visit there perhaps will be by getting a pass or permission of some sort, at great cost of course. That said, if competition is maintained, the moon will most likely develop much faster than it would ordinarily be developed in stages. The ideal moon base station will be a habitable place that will invite all mankind to work and live as “astro-workers” far beyond the present global worker cadre. These people (astro-workers) will initially have to be physically fit having gone through strenuous training and on-going routine medical check up but as the learning curve evens out as humans become proficient in space management, civilians will eventually be engrafted into moon society. People from earth will apply for moon careers and chose whether to be permanently based there or on a contractual period and then return to the earth for respite or pick up an “earth job”. Those that permanently dwell there will have special rights to own property as well as develop some part of the moon if they so wish. The down side to this moon life will centre around terrorism threat or some other lethal threat that has potential to destroy the entire moon base, hence the merit of having multiple moon bases or meticulous background checks before any person is admitted to the said moon base(s). But then, the problem still lingers, can we tell for sure that someone is a genuine moon citizen? We cannot tell people’s real motives even if they have lived among you for generations. To make the bases safe, the moon complex will have to provide for emergency lock outs in case of any dangers. This view presupposes three things: Firstly, the building material of the station will have to be made of “bomb proof” material. This may include ability to repel deadly invisible rays. Secondly, the station sections will have the ability to “detach” from the rest and function as a complete unit for some years. The unit will thus be mobile and able to be moved about to some safe location & distance. Finally, the section will have sufficient space to host several thousands, if not millions of occupants. This implies that all the moon base occupants can be safely housed in one section in case of trouble. But another supposition is that each section will have a landing

Earth, Moon, Mars or beyond?

base as well as its own space crafts that can quickly evacuate people to another part of the moon or to a Moon orbit based space station flying above the lunar surface. As to what the moon residents will do for their work and survival, they will do plenty things, ranging from service delivery to experiments, research, mining and tourism. The moon will help Page | 64 to decongest the earth and will house a good portion of the earth’s population scattered all over the lunar surface. While some will be Engineers, others will take up Accountancy, hotel Management, and Astronomy among many other fields. There will be a new range of occupations that may not be present on the earth such as stomata management, artificial photosynthesis or some sorts of advanced genetic engineering. The food industry will no doubt be big business for a time until the brain chip as well as when humans are able to control or determine the metabolism rate. Some humans will hibernate for generations without any food and only become active when their time has arrived. The “expired” beings will be shipped out to their burial sites, cremated or their bodies processed to some other useful material. Although humans will still posses emotions as always, their view of things will be radically different from what obtains today perhaps. In such a scenario, the degenerated earth will either be abandoned by the rich and powerful nations in preference for the moon or it will be a special place for the rich and powerful while the pauper nations will be banished to the moon, to work there. The beautiful sunshine, beaches and free fresh air will only be affordable by the powerful not the poor, assuming the earth will have been rejuvenated to what is once was before anthropogenic activity wrecked it. That said, the moon will be fun to visit, live and work on. Humans will understand things far better than they presently do. The glass and other minerals on its surface will no longer be mysterious. Venturing onto the lunar surface outside the moon base confines will be normal and acceptable. ==================================================================== Proto type Space 1999’s moon base

Earth, Moon, Mars or beyond?

Page | 65

Undoubtedly, the motion picture “Space 1999” laid a solid foundation for present thinking and simulation. The film depicts a company of humans who have settled on the moon in a “moon base”. The moon base is far advanced than any technology known at the time of its making but the station has its own challenges. All sorts of things happen on that base ranging from deadly creepy creatures to strange visitors who threaten the station. Each episode focuses on a particular problem that keeps the audience in suspense until the issue is resolved before the next episode commences. The station has a large base spread over a large section of the moon with all sorts of transport systems as well as space suits that can be worn when venturing around the moon. This epic motion picture is worth revitalising with probably a changed name or title as we are clearly past the 1999 period. It would appear that the originators of the series had anticipated that by 1999, humans would have been working and living on the moon. Alas, this has not happened and may eventually become a reality around 2024, if the present plans and thinking do not change. ==================================================================== Bibliography Dresner Simon, the Principles of Sustainability, Earth Scan, 2002 Karpagam M, Environmental Economics, Sterling Publishers private ltd, 1999 Kenah Katharine, Space Mysteries, School Speciality Childrens’ publishing, 2004 Kleniewski Nancy, Cities, Change, and Conflict: A political Economy of urban life, 2nd edition, WADSWORTH THOMSON LEARNING, 2002 Padilla J Michael, Miaoulis Ioannis & Cyr Martha (Program Authors), Prentice Hall Science Explorer, Pearson Prentice Hall, 2006 Sichone Billy, The Strategic Horizon: Being the needs of the times, Lulu.com, 2009

Earth, Moon, Mars or beyond?

Symes R.F, Rocks & Minerals, Dorling Kindersley, 1988

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Earth, Moon, Mars or beyond?

Chapter Three
Mars
Image removed
Artist impression of planet Mars

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If the moon has captivated minds for centuries, then Mars has stolen them. The planet has been
under serious scrutiny by humans for many centuries each generation having interesting views about it. The reason for this is not exactly clear but one thing is sure, its unique colour and properties. It is often called ‘the red planet’ because it has an alluring lustre about it that keeps one engaged. Another reason why this planet holds sway in people’s minds is the similarity it has with the earth. Although it may not be entirely exactly like the earth, it has several features such as distinct channels, has “frozen” north and south poles as well as appears to have some form of atmosphere. Many stories and imaginary tales have been made about this planet on that score because it has been believed to harbour (or has in the past) some form of living organism. The channels and frozen poles suggest some form of fluid to have freely flowed on its surface until something happened that probably blew away its atmosphere for ever. Some authority has this to say in one book “Despite its desiccated34 and generally inhospitable condition now, the fact remains that Mars did have a dense atmosphere and running water on its surface during its first billion years, and this brings us to the all important question, did life develop there, and if so, is there a possibility that some especially hardy organisms may somehow have maintained a foot hold?” As late as 1976, Dr Carl Sagan believed that aliens inhabited the planet either on the surface or in the subterranean cities. Although the Doctor’s argument largely centred on extraterrestrial life in general around the Universe, he none the less championed Mars to be a very likely candidate of such organisms. Prior to space probe visits, astronomers spent countless hours mapping the planet, studying its features, atmosphere and possible soil properties. They wanted to find out exactly why the planet glowed so brightly red as well as why it changed “Seasons”. The momentous occasion of exploring the planet would come in 1976 when the twin Viking landers touched down on the surface. Their mission was to carry out some biological experiments (and thus establish the possibility of any life form). The Landers also were to find out some properties of the planet. Accordingly, they landed on the Martian surface and carried out the experiments, taking samples of the soils, examining them and finding out whether the planet was habitable for some form of organisms. The Landers exceptionally executed their functions and in fact exceeded the 90 day life span by far. The landers would “die” in 1982 and 1987 respectively having transmitted a wealth of data. What were some of the successes of the
34

William Sheehan, Worlds in the sky, pp100

Earth, Moon, Mars or beyond?

landers? They certainly proved that no life form existed in the way we know and define it. Although people are reluctant to admit, living organisms were not found although this expedition did not conclusively rule out any life form present on the planet at the time or before. Secondly, the landers found out that the red colour was probably attributable to iron or some other chemical substances in abundance on the planet. Finally, the Landers proved that Mars was a dry barren Page | 68 world with stormy winds and fluctuating weather depending on the planet’s position in space relative to the sun. Many other probes have visited Mars on their outward journey while others still orbit the planet gathering as much information as possible. In 2004, a set of probes, Opportunity and Spirit landed on the planet in a spectacular way on opposite sides of the planet. Their main task was to investigate if water actually existed on the planet in the distant past as well as whether there was still traces of liquid water beneath the surface. This would then lead to a further search of the possibility of life on the planet. The probes traversed the surface from different positions, excavated the soils and analysed the samples with profound success. These probes initially planned to do their work within 90 days continued to work three years later with remarkable success despite their “breaking down” in some parts as depreciation caught on. The twin probes worked as geologists, moved around and hibernated to save energy or to let the storm pass. At other times, they hibernated to let the winter pass and reactivate afterwards. On went the excavations, analysis and data transfer back to the earth. In terms of finds, the probes established strong evidence of the planet having once had liquid water flowing on its surface. This gave hope that life of sorts may have once flourished when the atmosphere was a lot thicker than it presently is. The other thing confirmed by the probes was the abundance of Carbon dioxide in the planet’s atmosphere. Some put it at about 95%. The red colour comes from the iron in the soils reacting with chemicals. Finally, these and other probes would prove that the “ice caps” contained frozen carbon dioxide rather than water. Others have even mentioned methane on the surface! That said, speculation and thoughts about the planets’ viability still linger on. Though dry and bare, relatively colder than the earth, Mars still offers a grand opportunity for human exploration and colonisation. The temperature variance (between -140*c and 20*c) can be managed by human settlers while the dust storms, weather changes and seasons will have to be studied with a view to mitigate their impact on human settlement. The planet’s crater, Olympus Mons35, is said to be the largest volcano in the solar system so far as well as the Mariner Valley, wide enough to campus right across the USA.36

35

Science Explorer, pp716-717 Sky Watch, pp17

36

Earth, Moon, Mars or beyond?

As we have noted earlier, a lot of debate has surrounded the planet as to whether it should be the next solar body to be visited by humans after the moon. The reason is simple, Mars places a better bet for human habitation than the moon. The planet has an atmosphere albeit thin but this is a better scenario than the moon that is completely naked. Secondly, the planet has changing weather due to its axis angle & spin relative to the sun. This would give humans the time and Page | 69 ability to plan around that. The warmer months would allow human to work, recharge their solar batteries as well as do many other things. The carbon dioxide abundant in the atmosphere would be good for photosynthesis (although the plants would have problems in the night!). The plants would grow relatively well though the early years and centuries would be corrosively tough for their survival. Humans would probably house them inside the ‘Mars base’. This Mars out post would then be a factory to strategically contribute to colonising and changing the gas composition in the planet. Admittedly, an artificial atmosphere close to what obtains on the earth or supports organisms would be a tall order and long range thinking with the present technological development but we should not put it past human capability to develop such mechanisms. The valleys, canyons, gullies and channels on the planet can be exploited to the advantage of settlers although at the moment they may be viewed as obstacles. Mars also offers some natural resources that can be exploited. The planet has abundant Iron content in its soil structure. It has methane, carbon dioxide and other gases than can act as green house gases in addition to being used as fuel or for photosynthesis. The water vapour which probably still exists in its atmosphere can be condensed and used for other useful purposes. Although further away from the sun than the earth and taking almost twice the time to complete an orbit round the sun, planet Mars offers the best alternative to the earth as a potential place where settlers can reside and build a separate existence. Here, they can visit or refuel on their outward bound visit to the far flung places of our solar system. The planet, akin to the moon, can be a great human settlement with stations dotted all over the planet to which settlers can migrate in case of extreme situations such as winter. The settlers can also build subterranean cities which are largely shielded from the planets’ extremities. Thus, the first settlers will need to carry their own space suits, vehicles (such as rovers) and materials to build the first base. Once complete, this complex will host humans from different parts of the earth who will work together with a view to colonise the planet, change its gas chemical composition as well as contribute to the depopulation of the earth. This population reduction will afford the earth to recover and preserve some of its natural resources such as minerals (e.g. iron), gases and acids. The outposts will also serve as both observatories and experiment laboratories. The thin planet atmosphere will ensure enhanced big picture views of space using the respective observatories. Astronomers will definitely find the planet even more convenient than the ISS or the Hubble Space Telescope which are somewhat affected by the earth’s Van Allen belt or other forces. That said, the living quarters, gyms/fitness centres, clinics, vegetation halls, dining halls and common rooms/halls will favour human habitation and advancement. There may come a time when the planet inhabitants will master the Martian environment to the extent that they will be able to venture outside the base without much ado.

Earth, Moon, Mars or beyond?

In addition to the aforementioned, the satellites, both natural and artificial will continue to circle the planet. The artificial satellites will track changes on the planet as well as transmitted valuable data to the earth or planet as the case might be while the natural satellites will eventually be “invaded” by other humans who may prefer them to the actual mother planet Mars. In the far distant future, there is a possibility that there will be a separate existence much like what Page | 70 happened to England and the settlers of New England. Today, Former English people in America have little connection to England itself, although they may speak a similar dialect. There is more to learn about planet Mars. However, whatever has been discovered so far is both encouraging and discouraging at the same time. The encouraging bit is that the planet is being mapped, probes have successfully landed on its rocky surface and made serious head way. The planet has seasons, an atmosphere and probability of harbouring some organisms albeit in a form unknown to us presently. The planet is not excessively big and can be far much easily be colonised as opposed to hostile Jupiter, Neptune or Uranus (The gaseous giants). It has a far weaker gravity at 0.38 that of the earth, probably owing to its size and rotation speed (equatorial speed). With much more work on humans’ part, the planet may well become our second home. The discouraging bit is that the planet presently has a very thin and fragile atmosphere largely composed of CO2 (The gas composition stands as follows: CO2 (95%) and a combination of Nitrogen, Argon, Carbon Monoxide, Oxygen and other trace elements amount to 5% or less)37 . The planet occasionally has deadly storms, is exceedingly dry terrain as well as a far weaker solar effect (in terms of energy and light). The temperature differences can be extreme and pose a threat in the declining period of the sun as it mutates into a dying star or even long before. What humans finally resolve about where to go next in space exploration will have a direct bearing on how soon Mars is colonized and developed. Prototype The Red Planet This is a movie which narrates a story of human beings who travel to Mars for the first time to find out what the planet is like, having sent numerous probes to the planet prior to that particular trip. This is the first Manned flight and has a team of close to eight human beings. Their task is to find out what the planet is like and then feedback information to the earth. Accordingly, the space craft arrives in Mars orbit and shortly releases a lander carrying about seven human beings. Unfortunately, the lander enters the atmosphere when a storm has just ensued and thus crashes on the planet. All communication is lost with the Mars orbiter circling the planet. Things unfold progressively until one of the crew members accidentally discovers that the gas on Mars is breathable! This sends puzzles through the team as they seek to get to a Russian lander on the other part of the planet. In the process, they die off by attacks as well as a “gone astray” robot. In
37

Source: The Search for Life on Mars: Evolution of an Idea, pp 3 (1980) by Henry S.F Cooper

Jr.

Earth, Moon, Mars or beyond?

the end, only one survives and blasts off to meet the orbiter for the seven month journey home. The film really depicts what could be if humans assist in changing the planet gas ratios and atmosphere as the film shows. Bibliography Kenah Katherine, Space Mysteries, School Specialty Children’s Publishing, 2004 Nottridge Rhoda, Skywatch, Collins, 1991 Padilla, J Michael, Miaoulis Ioannis & Cyr Martha (Program Authors), Prentice Hall Science Explorer, Pearson/Prentice Hall, 2006 Sheehan William, Worlds in the sky, University of Arizona Press, 1992 Symes R.F, Rocks & Minerals, Dorling Kindersley, 1988
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Earth, Moon, Mars or beyond?

Chapter Four
Beyond

The study of the Earth alone and its moon is enough an interesting study area which could take
us more than a life time to exhaust, if at all that were possible. The reason is that there is so much to learn, discover and appreciate about each of these two cosmic bodies. The Earth has many things beyond number which are yet to be investigated. The area just outside the earth’s atmosphere into the Van Allen belt has so much that is yet to be studied and documented. But then, there are equally other thrilling areas and objects beyond our planet that exert a strong magnetic influence on our minds. To pause and consider the planets, the sun, the invisible rays and a host of other amazing things simply jams the mind with awe! These are all unique in their own right which in itself would take many years and several generations of astronomers, scientists to fully map out and comprehend38. However, in this chapter we take a tour around our solar system using a bird’s eye view to open up some areas of study. We shall take a far briefer ‘fly by’ view of the planets than what the Voyager or Pioneer crafts saw as they made their maiden voyages in their exit journeys of the solar system. We shall give brief points about each planet or object of interest and then swiftly get back to Earth where we began from. Mercury39

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NASA Mercury taken by MESSENGER space probe

Mercury is the first planet in our line of consideration. It is first because it is the closest planet to the sun nearly 58 million kilometres from the sun’s blazing furnace surface. Its orbit is rather short and completes its circle round the sun in only 88 earth days. It spins on its axis at an equatorial speed of 6.7 miles per hour which is a slow rotation speed. Thus, a day on Mercury takes about 59 earth days. Mercury is a solitary place that has attracted some early space probes to visit it and map its terrain. The earliest was by the Marina 10 craft that visited in 1974 & 1975
38

Some have suggested the dimensions of the solar system (heliosphere) standing at a staggering 7,332 milliom miles (11,800 million km), Gitt Werner, Stars and their purpose, pp 172
39

Most of this section is derived from the Science Explorer text pp714 ff

Earth, Moon, Mars or beyond?

(flew by the planet thrice) and flew within 700 kilometres of the planet. Since then, very few other probes have visited the planet with a view to study it. By 2009, it is expected that the probe MESSENGER will go into Mercury orbit to study & observe it. What is the planet like? What are the conditions on the planet? Not much is known but for all we Page | 73 know, the side facing the sun may have surface temperatures as high as 430*C and cools down to -170*C on the side facing away from the sun because Mercury does not have an atmosphere. It has a rocky (probably dense metal iron) surface and has a gravity weaker than the earths’ at 0.38 equivalent to that of Mars. Marina 10’s pictures suggest that the planet has flat plains and craters on its surface. Being close to the sun, the planet is significantly affected by the solar winds and other rays that are constantly emitted from the sun. It is the smallest of the terrestrial planets (i.e. the inner planets alongside Venus, Earth and Mars). It is hardly larger than the earth’s moon and orbiting next to a gigantic sun (sol). What would human travellers encounter on this planet and what challenges would they encounter? The reader is encouraged to explore this beautiful planet further. Venus

JPL/NASA Venus

Venus is the brightest object in the morning and evening sky. The planets’ lustre can easily be mistaken for a nearby star because it is none the less distinct from the rest. The planet appears like a star by all counts and is the earliest shining object to be seen at dusk. It has sometimes been called the morning star when in fact it is a planet radiating the suns’ light. Of all the terrestrial planets, Venus very closely resembles the earth in several ways. For one thing, it has a thick atmosphere with a solid surface beneath it. For another thing, the planet is almost the same size as the earth although slightly smaller. Further, it has a gravity of nearly the same strength as the Earth (0.90 of the earths’) as well as an escape velocity of 6.4 miles per second compared to the earth’s 7.0 miles per second. Thus, a day on Venus takes 244 earth days! The planet has valleys, plains and clouds much like the earth. For these and other similarities, Venus is called “Earth’s twin”. However, the planet differs from the earth in several respects. The first is that the planet has a far slower equatorial speed of 6.5 kilometres per hour compared to the earth’s 1,670 kilometres per hour. Secondly, the planet’s atmosphere largely contains carbon dioxide largely though its thick clouds contain sulphuric acid droplets which would easily destroy or corrode would be planet invaders. Venus is nearly 108 million kilometres from the sun and thus

Earth, Moon, Mars or beyond?

comparatively gets more solar heat as well as other rays. The planet takes nearly 7.5 earth months (about 224.7 earth days) to complete one orbit round the sun. From this we can see that one ‘Venus day’ takes 8 months while its ‘year’ takes 7.5 months! Another interesting fact about Venus is that it rotates from east to west rather than from west to east as the earth does. A lot of theories surround this strange phenomenon. The planet is believed to have a very high pressure Page | 74 (about 92 times that of the earth) and could easily crush any human that attempted to land there. The planet’s carbon dioxide (green house gas, 96.5% of the atmosphere, 3.5% largely Nitrogen) probably accounts for the planet’s high temperature (the highest of any known planet in the solar system) which exceeds 420*C which would easily melt lead. On earth, most of the CO2 is locked or trapped in fossils or water whereas, on Venus, most of the CO2 freely floats in the atmosphere, hence the “infernal” within. The minimum temperature however on the planet is around -220*C especially the side facing away from the sun. Venus none the less has attracted a lot of interest over many generations because its atmosphere reflects a lot of heat and light some of which reaches the earth. That explains its brilliance. Humans have sent several probes to study this planet by that token. One of the earliest probes to visit and land on the planet was from Russia’s Venera series. Venera 7 landed on the planet in 1970 and sent some interesting data back to the earth. Mariner 2 (1962) before Venra 7 orbited the planet 109 times before “dying”. Part of the Pioneer series also attempted to visit the planet but Magellan was probably the most successful. It went in 1990 and mapped the entire planet confirming that the planet has solid rocks, plains, lava flows and volcanoes. Clearly, although Venus looks attractive to the eye, it is very hostile to humans or organisms as we know them although one cannot rule out the possibilities of life even in those harsh conditions. For instance, on the earth, how do some creatures survive at the bottom of the deepest oceans given the heavy pressure and darkness exerted by the water? The other thing worth observing is the temperature and acids on the planet. These would easily kill off any organisms or “eat” them away long before they land on the planet. The good side about this planet is that you can work for eight months on one spot without the sun setting! This is really a long day, longer than the year!

Asteroid Belt Image removed
Asteroid belt against the backdrop of space

The asteroid Belt is found between Mars and Jupiter. By definition as someone has said, “this is a Sun-orbiting span of rocky debris floating in space between Mars and Jupiter” and ‘Asteroid’ in Greek means “star like”. Some have dubbed Asteroids as Minor planets. Viewed in a telescope, these asteroids radiate as they reflect light from the sun, hence the name. The said belt

Earth, Moon, Mars or beyond?

is a collection of rocky metallic fragments which each have an orbit round the sun. These rock fragments are thought to be remnants of the “big bang” that failed to collect into planet size structures. Other thinkers suggest that these are fragments from shattered planets. Presently, there are thousands of them and new ones continue to be discovered daily. In fact, recent evidence seems to suggest that some of these asteroids are larger than expected. For instance Page | 75 Ceres is said to be large enough to be classified a dwarf planet (with a diameter of about 1,000 km) and so is Eris. Some of the asteroids even have some “moons” orbiting them as they make their solar journey. Studies revolving around the asteroid belt have been commissioned with some countries like the USA devoting some resources towards this work. The reason is simple, among the asteroids, some planets may exist! For another reason, some of these rocky structures are rich in minerals which could be exploited and used for development purposes. Further, some have been found to have some form of atmospheres which could probably point to a possibility of some life form. Presently, some of the best known asteroids include Annefrank, Braille, Castalia, Eros, Gaspra, Ida, Juno, Vesta and Pallas among many thousand others (Presently, over 100,000 have been identified). These asteroids orbit round the sun and are thought to sometimes escape their orbit by attraction of the bigger planets especially Jupiter. Some asteroids are also believed to periodically crash into the earth’s atmosphere. This thought perhaps accounts for the extinction of the dinosaurs when an asteroid supposedly collided with the earth millions of years ago, raised dust and lo and behold, the creatures could not survive! There is no definite tangible proof of this theory but people believe it by faith. Craters in the USA and other parts of the world are used as proof of the possible earth-asteroid collisions. Granted, some of the asteroid orbits may pass very close to the earths, if not criss-cross, does the earth have enough power to attract these? Why then doesn’t the earth have more than one moon? That said, the asteroids are of varying sizes and have unique orbits generally between Mars and Jupiter. For some time, concerns were raised about a possible collision with an asteroid if space probes ventured out but this fear is now allayed. The Pioneer crafts opened the door that enabled future probes to safely navigate among the asteroids. This fear, in part, explains why asteroid tracking is critical. In future, humans may spend more time visiting the asteroids with a view to establish settlements and mining activities. If relatively hospitable asteroids are discovered, then there may not be immediate need to colonise Jupiter and other hostile planets. Perhaps humans may go to the outer planets for sightseeing and research rather than colonisation. But then, the asteroids themselves could be a business opportunity and destination, much like people go to tourist resorts at a cost.

Jupiter Image removed
Jupiter

Earth, Moon, Mars or beyond?

When we come to a consideration of Jupiter, every space enthusiast of necessity sits up. They do so because the planet in question is in many senses extremely unique. Apart from being the largest planet in the solar system (with a diameter of 142,984 kilometres, nearly 12 times that of the earth), Jupiter’s’ mass is about 2.5 times that of all the solar systems’ planets combined! This planet is believed to have been a failed star because it emits more heat than it’s receives as well Page | 76 as possessing properties that many other regular planets do not possess. First we consider the similarities this Jovian planet has with other planets. It is the first of what is known as the ‘outer planets’ beyond the asteroid belt and is among the ‘gas giants’ which are believed not to have a solid surface though suspected to have a solid core. Jupiter has a very thick atmosphere (composed of Helium (14%) and Hydrogen (86%), in addition to some trace elements such as Methane, ammonia, Phosphine, Water, acetylene, ethane, germanium and carbon dioxide and consistently covers the surface of the planet and thus never visible to the naked eye (i.e. Cannot see the planet surface). The planet also has cloudy covering which is some kilometres in depth and most probably largely made out of Ammonia, sulphur and phosphorus crystals. The planet averages a distance of 778,570,000 million kilometres away from the sun making it one of the furthest planets from the sun relative to the inner planets. The planet takes nearly 12 earth years to complete one revolution around the sun and has one of the fastest equatorial speeds enabling the planet to complete one revolution on its axis within 9 hours 56 minutes. Jupiter’s gravity is 2.6840 times stronger than that of Earth (and its magnetic field is 14 times stronger than the earths!)41 probably due to its size and equatorial speed (at 45,765 kilometres per hour).If a space vehicle were to escape from Jupiter’s gravity, it needs at least to accelerate at around 37.0 miles per second42. Jupiter has stark differences from the terrestrial planets in the following areas: The planet has a huge mass and rotates very fast on its axis. As hinted at earlier, the planet emits heat from its surface despite being further from the sun than the other planets. The planet has a very thick atmosphere as well as an extremely high pressure (estimated at over 30 million that of the earth.)43 If a craft or any human beings were to venture to land on the watery surface, they would be crashed long before they reach the liquid surface. The other difference is the planets’ great red spot probably caused by mighty winds that constantly blow across the planet. It was first spotted in the 1600s and does not show signs of subsiding. The jovian giant has swirling storms that go on constantly given its lack of land mass to slow down the speedy winds. The planet also occasions lightening flashes that are many times stronger than those generated on the earth. This gives the impression that the planet interior is a hive of chaotic activity coupled with a speedy revolution on its axis.
40

Source: Saturn and Beyond pp 54 & 86 World Book @ NASA, accessed 11/09/2009

41

42

Saturn and beyond pp 88
Refer to Science Explorer pp 722

43

Earth, Moon, Mars or beyond?

Conditions on the planet The planet is admittedly far from the sun and is expected to be a freezing place. In one sense, this view is true but in another it is not. This is because the planet amazingly generates more heat than it receives! The temperature increases as one descends down the ammonia clouds into the Page | 77 planet core. At the cloud tops, the temperature is around -145* C but soon reaches 21*C after some few metres down. It is probable that the temperature at the core could be around 24,000*C, even hotter than the suns’ surface44! Recall that Jupiter is thought to be a failed star by some quarters and probably explains how or why the planet generates such heat and energy. Even the mix of chemicals resembles the sun rather than the other planets, interestingly! Jupiter’s satellite moons No doubt, the giant planet exerts a lot of influence in the region. It has a belt around it that slows solar winds as well as attracts other objects in the solar system. Jupiter is thought to attract a lot of comets and meteorites to itself probably because of its rapid revolution and size. Some even propose that Jupiter protects the terrestrial planets because it “stops” some potentially deadly objects from going beyond the asteroid belt. That is why the planet is sometimes referred to as the Solar System’s “vacuum cleaner”, thanks to its gravity which is 2.68 times stronger than the earths’. The magnetosphere is 14 times stronger than the earths’! This same gravity is the one that keeps the satellite moons as well as the ring around the planet. Jupiter has over 45 known moons the best known being four namely, Callisto, Europa, Io and Ganymede (the largest moon in the solar system, larger than Mercury or Pluto!). Galileo identified these moons with his telescopes hence the phrase “Galilean moons” but the others would be discovered in later years especially after the Voyager flyby and Galileo probes. Each of these major moons has a unique feature that marks them apart. For instance, Europa is thought to be covered by ice holding an ocean of liquid water beneath. Callisto is icy and has many craters while Io is covered with many large and active volcanoes. Scientists have been considering sending a probe to investigate if life could exist on Europa. As of January 2009, Jupiter has 49 official (although the Wikipedia site says 63), named moons plus 14 other unofficial still being considered. By that token, the number could increase with time. A further difference about this planet is that it has some rings encircling the planet. They may not be as prominent or spectacular as those of Saturn but they certainly do go right round the planet. At the moment (2009) Jupiter has two or three rings adding colour to the planet’s beauty. In 1996 & 1997, Galileo spacecraft investigated these rings and established that some of these were still in formative stage. This study also shed some light on how these rings are formed. Ancient mythology In ancient times, Jupiter has been an interesting subject of discussion. Due to its brightness (Usually the second brightest planet after Venus, although Mars at times outshines it depending
44

Source: World book @ NASA, accessed on 11/09/2009

Earth, Moon, Mars or beyond?

on its location in its orbit) and sheer size, many ancients have marvelled at the planet, developing different theories and stories surrounding it. All sorts of things including strange creatures have been attributed to the planet Jupiter. It also has been a centre of religious worship and mysticism45. The Romans had a King among the gods called Jupiter and thus named this planet after him probably because of its imposing size, colour and lustre. The planet is definitely in a Page | 78 class of its own. Probes to Jupiter In the quest to answer many curious questions, people have visited this planet both mentally and by using man made probes. Presently, Jupiter is too far away for humans to physically travel there but this may be possible in future generations. Among the many probes (at least six) that have either visited or flown by this planet, the following stand out: Pioneer 10 & 11 Probably the first and most important probes to visit this planet were the Pioneer twin space probes. The probes flew by the planet at a distance and in the process garnered some momentum which propelled them into the far reaches of space. The probes made significant findings which have laid the foundation for many theories that surround the planet perspective. In addition, these probes discovered some hither to unknown moons. Voyager twins The momentous encounter of Voyager probes with planet Jupiter occurred in 1979. The two voyager crafts, set out in 1977 a few weeks apart with a view to explore Jupiter and Saturn (including the rings). However, this initial plan would change because the probes proved more versatile and have lasted over 30 years, 25 years more than initially planned. The probes arrived at Jupiter and observed the planet at different distances and made remarkable discoveries. One of them was the Jupiter rings as well as some other moons. The planet’s great red spot was examined and information analysed to feed into future programming. In an inspiring article by the National Geographic, “What Voyager Saw: Jupiter’s dazzling Realm” of January 1980, the crafts revealed a lot of hither to unknown but fascinating facts, really stunning to the eye. The Voyagers also examined Europa as well as the rings before hurtling away to Saturn , Uranus and Neptune before hurtling away into deeper space. Galileo46

45

For instance, refer to Acts 14:12 in the Bible where Paul & Silas are nearly worshipped!

46

Some parts of this article are attributed to: Gierasch, Peter J., and Philip D Nichloson. “Jupiter” World Book Online Reference center. 2004 World Book, Inc (http://www.worldbookonline.com/wb/Article?id=ar293080.)

Earth, Moon, Mars or beyond?

The Galileo space craft left the earth in October 1989 and arrived at Jupiter somewhere in July 1995 where it released an atmospheric probe (December 1995) to measure the amount of water and other chemicals in the atmosphere. Galileo remained in orbit around Jupiter until about 2003 when the craft was intentionally crashed it into the Jovian planet’s atmosphere, September 21. The craft contributed a lot to what we presently know about the Planet as well as its moon Page | 79 Europa. Future programming has and will definitely benefit from the wealth of knowledge contributed by Galileo, probably thus named in honour of the great scientist of the earlier centuries. No doubt, Galileo was a great craft that changed the way we look at the solar system. We have surveyed some salient points about the largest planet in the solar system. Much has been learnt so far and yet still more remains to be discovered. Several things are however sure: Jupiter is too hostile for humans to live on, let alone land on its fluid surface. Long before the space craft descends below its clouds, it would probably have been crushed and vaporised by a combination of the planets’ incredible pressure as well as its heat escaping from its core. But there would be more a visitor from Earth would have to contend with. They would have to handle the bolts of lightning, the storms, the chemical composition as well as the speed at which the planet rotates on its axis. When leaving the planet, they may have to contend with its great gravity as well as the planetary pull which is many times greater than anything known in the solar system save for the sun. The Magnetosphere of Jupiter as well as other belts surrounding the planet would for a moment confuse the unsuspecting visitor as they approach the blow shock phase or increase their speed as they sling shot out of its gravitational pull. Jupiter will for a long time still remain the king among the solar system planets despite being too small to be a star but too large to be an ordinary planet. The question still begs answering, could some form of life exist on Jupiter or its moons somewhere below their surfaces? For now, we must wait for future generations to unravel these mysteries. It is high time we took off for Saturn! Saturn

Saturn has been another dazzling celestial giant after Jupiter. It has brilliant rings surrounding it in addition to its beautiful atmosphere (composed of hydrogen, Helium and trace Methane) and collection of moons circling it. Saturn, like Jupiter has been named after some Roman deity as it was equally adored by ancient civilisations. For a long time, this planet intrigued the human mind because it is far off, an incredible 1,429,400 kilometres from the sun. Saturn in clearly the second largest planet in the solar system and has an equatorial speed of 36,850 kilometres per hour. This implies that the planet’s day lasts just under 10 hours 39 minutes. It has an equatorial diameter of 119,300 kilometres and takes over 29.5 earth years to complete one revolution round the sun. The planet is cold with an average cloud temperature around -125*C. A visitor to this planet would have to contend with several things such as the storms, the harsh atmospheric conditions and limited light.

Earth, Moon, Mars or beyond?

Several things distinguish Saturn from the rest. The first is that the planet’s density is only 0.69, making it one of the few, if not the only planet in the solar system whose density is less than that of water. Thus, Saturn can float on water! The second is that the planet has many rings composed different particles. The beautiful collection of rings around the planet is believed to have been formed by debris from a previous collision between some larger moons and comets or Page | 80 meteoroids. Others think that these are chunks of rocks and ice simply orbiting the planet. The planet has far more rings than hitherto known (some put it at seven)47, thanks to the Voyager flyby of the 1980s (November 1980). Another larger ring was recently discovered using NASA’s Spitzer Telescope making Saturn even more fascinating.

NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has spotted a massive, nearly invisible ring around Saturn. 06/10/2009

Saturn has a collection of satellites called “shepherd moons” which are believed to hold the rings belt together and keeping them from flying off to space. The planet has a total of 31 known moons the dominant one being Titan48 (although more moons continue to be identified). Other moons include Atlas, Calypso, Dione (A & B), Enceladus, Epimetheus, Helene, Phoebe, Tethys (Trojan), Lapetus (discovered by Giovanni Casini in 1671) and Pandora among others. This is certainly an amazing collection of moons each doing a great job around the mother planet. This satellite (Titan) was initially thought to be only ‘a point of light’ until Voyager (Nov 12, 1980) unlocked the mystery even revealing that the Titan has an atmosphere. Saturn has a gravity that is 1.15 times stronger than that of earth which means that a space faring vehicle would need an escape velocity of 22.1 miles per second (35.49 kmph) from the planet’s surface. Akin to Jupiter, Saturn does not have a solid surface but is largely gaseous in nature with probably liquid hydrogen flowing on its surface. The planet does have stormy conditions as well although not comparable to the chaos found on Jupiter or Neptune.
47

Katherine Kenah in Space Mysteries, pp25

48

Titan is unique with an atmosphere harbouring 82% Nitrogen & 6% Methan which acts like water on earth. Methan is found in solid, liquid and gas states. Methane glaciers and lakes, rain drops and snow are common place on it. Refer to Gitt W Stars & their purpose , 2006, pp168/69

Earth, Moon, Mars or beyond?

Probes to Saturn Voyager 1 & 2 The Voyager twins were originally designed to visit Jupiter and Saturn and then end their Page | 81 missions but with time, it increasingly became desirable and necessary for them to extend their mandate to Uranus and Neptune before taking on journeys among the stars. Saturn therefore was in the original design and was planned to clear some of the most pressing questions of the time. For instance, what composed the rings around the planet? How many planets did the planet actually have? What was the planets’ atmosphere composed of? These and slightly more questions were answered by the legendary Voyager fly by which captured some of the most spectacular pictures of the magnificent planet both the side the faces the sun as well as the reverse side. What we know about Saturn was largely unravelled by the Voyager crafts. Casini (2004) In 2003/2004, the space probe Casini (probably named after famous astronomer Giovanni Casini) arrived in Saturns’ orbit to begin a comprehensive observation and study of the planet. Named, after the great astronomer, the probe accordingly and successfully completed the mission with distinction, confirming unclear things that Voyager saw as well as revealing more information that included data about the planet’s atmosphere, the moons as well as the exact nature of the Saturn rings. Casini discovered that the rings were in fact more than earlier thought to be with larger bands having smaller ‘ringlets’ within. There were also gaps noticed between the rings as well in some places. Casini continues to explore Saturn and its moons to this day. More is certainly to come. Future probes It is hoped that future probes will even be more thorough than what The Voyagers and Casini saw or continue to see. It is expected that future probes will be more complex, more equipped and advanced enough to detect more things. In addition, the probes will probably do well to descend into the planet atmosphere and get a glimpse of what is there. Titan deserves further investigation. Well, so much for the great planet, it is time to continue our voyage to Uranus before we head out to Neptune and Pluto. Uranus Image removed
Uranus

Uranus was not discovered until 1781 by the English Astronomer William Herschel. He was surveying the skies when he stumbled across a fuzzy object in the sky that did not quite fit into

Earth, Moon, Mars or beyond?

the regular description of a star. After several verifications and examination, it was finally concluded that a new planet had been discovered. Accordingly, the astronomer would subsequently become famous. Knowledge about the planet remained limited until Voyager 2 came around making amazing discoveries about the planet. For instance, Voyager discovered at least ten new moons, some rings around the planet as well as helping to determine more precisely how fast the planet rotates on its axis. It was discovered that the planet takes about 17 hours 14 minutes to complete one rotation on its axis. But what about the planet itself, what is it like? As earlier intimated, very little is known but the planet definitely is larger than the earth, though clearly smaller than both Jupiter and Saturn. It is among the gaseous giants meaning that it is mainly composed of gases rather than having a solid surface. The planet is 2, 870,972,200 kilometres from the sun and thus almost twice the distance of Saturn from the sun. This also implies that the planet receives far less light and could be a very cold place, despite it having stormy conditions on its planet and some volcanic activity on some of its moons. The planet has at least 25 known moons that orbit around it as well as a thin ring belt akin to Saturn though less spectacular and darker. The best known of these moons are Titania and Oberon both discovered by Herschel in 1787. The planet has a blue-greenish colour probably because of Methane in its atmosphere. The planet is the third largest planet in the solar system with an equatorial diameter of 51,800 kilometres and orbits the sun once every 84 earth years! The atmosphere of Uranus is mainly Hydrogen (83%), Helium (15%), methane (2%) and other smaller trace elements like acetylene. The planet is tipped in an unusual direction and rotates from north to south rather than from west to east. Some suggest that the planet was probably impacted by an object that “disturbed” its rotation pattern. Uranus was visited by Voyager 2 in 1986 and took spectacular images of the planet, some of them iconic in nature. The old solitary planet (averaging -193*C) is so far away and yet continues to attract the human mind to it. How soon another probe visits that planet depends on what humans will be looking for. Neptune Image removed
Neptune

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Neptune was visited by Voyager 2 (1989) before it tangented to head to the stars. By Design, Voyager 2 was only to visit Jupiter and Saturn and then end its mission but by ‘popular demand’, this visit was extended to Uranus and Neptune. Voyager’s trip brought a lot of information to the fore about this blue planet that hovers very far out in space at average distances of over 4,504,300,000 kilometres away from the sun. A visit to this planet is currently impossible but were it to be, a number of things would be discovered and contended with. The planet itself was discovered in 1846 by Johann Gotfried Galle after many years of mathematical predictions of its existence. In some ways, Neptune is like Uranus and thus some call them ‘twin planets’. Uranus is blue-green in colour but Neptune has a distinct blue colour

Earth, Moon, Mars or beyond?

probably due to the presence of ammonia, water and methane on its interior while the outer parts (including atmosphere) are composed of Helium(13%), Hydrogen (85%), water and methane (2%). The Methane is what gives Neptune its blue colour (which absorbs red and orange wave length while reflecting blue light). It contains some clearly visible clouds and is believed to be a hive of activity. The hurricane-like winds on the planet are believed to be the fastest in the solar Page | 83 system and blow in an opposite direction to its equatorial rotation. Several spots have been spotted on the planet resulting from frequent chaotic situations within the planet but these quickly change. The Great Dark spot discovered by Voyager disappeared and has been replaced by several others since. The dynamic planet is volatile but holds together none the less. Neptune has an equatorial diameter of 49,500 kilometres and thus clearly larger than the earth by over 60 times. It orbits round the sun once in 164.79 years. Its day lasts 16 hours 6.7 minutes and thus revolves faster on its axis. Its average temperature revolve between -193*C & 153*C. Neptune is thought to be shrinking, much like Jupiter over the years and has probably higher temperatures in the interior. The planet has at least 13 (though some say 8) known moons and some rings which prior to Voyager’s visit were unknown or seen. The largest of these is Triton which has a thin atmosphere. From Voyager’s ‘investigation’, Triton’s southern pole has a Nitrogen ice cap. Interestingly, the moons are far away from the planet unlike what generally obtains in the solar system. Scientists have been baffled at why ferocious winds blow on Neptune. One has said “We have reached a point at which we cannot even explain why the wind on Neptune blows so fiercely”49. Despite possible explanations, this phenomenon still intrigues the mind. Pluto

NASA Pluto system
50

Pluto is the farthest planet from the sun in the known solar system standing at over 5,913,520,000 kilometres away from the sun. For several years, the planet could not be identified among the stars because it was too far off. This was also due, in part, it its size. Pluto is a small
49

James Pollack, NASA (K2, p 132) as quoted by Gitt pp 169 Picture downloaded from Wikipedia website on 14/09/2009

50

Earth, Moon, Mars or beyond?

solitary planet in the remote part of the solar system. Before it was eventually spotted in the 1930s (discovered by 24 year old Clyde W. Tombaugh), its existence was predicted because of its effect on Neptune’s orbit. It has also been a subject of controversy as to whether it is a full planet or not. Some call it “the double planet” because it is nearly the same size as one of its satellite moons (Charon) which orbit round it. Others have argued that Pluto is a “run away” Page | 84 moon of the planet Neptune and thus does not qualify to be a full planet. As such, it has at times been demoted from a full planet to a sub or Dwarf planet along with the newly discovered Ceres and Eris. With these recent discoveries, Pluto is probably not the ninth planet but the tenth or so. Pluto is larger than Ceres but smaller than Eris. They are none the less all classified as Dwarf planets. In terms of its physical composition, Pluto is a cold solitary rocky planet that takes over 248.54 earth years to complete one revolution around the sun. It does not have a known atmosphere (although it may have a very thin one composed of Methane and Nitrogen) and is probably an icy deserted world with little or weak light from the Sun. Its surface is believed to contain 98% Nitrogen, some Methane and traces of Carbon Monoxide. If Voyager had visited the planet in its grand tour among the celestial bodies, a bit more information would have been discovered about the planet thus, much more remains to be known about it. Should a probe be sent to permanently orbit the planet, perhaps more light will be shed. Thank fully, the probe, New Horizons (launched January 2006, on a nine year trip to Pluto) is presently making its way there and should reach Pluto orbit about 2015.Then Pluto and its satellites would have been visited by a manmade object, much like the other outer planets have been. The planet has a very unique orbit at times even coming closer to the sun than Neptune (For a period 20 years out of its 249 year orbit, Pluto comes closer to the sun than Neptune. It is now heading out and only returns in September 2226). Most of the times however, it is far away from reach. Should humans one day travel there, they will definitely need to carry a lot of energy and light so that they keep warm. The planet takes 6.387 earth days to rotate on its axis with mean temperatures of around -240*C. It has a diameter of 2, 274 kilometres only while Charon, one of its three known moon has 1,172 kilometres. They will also have an interesting time visiting the planet’s moon. Planet X51 The Planet X is generally a belief that an unidentified planet exists somewhere in the solar system but has not yet been spotted. Pluto was for a long time unseen but its effects were detected until about March 1930 when its discovery was officially announced. In fact, Pluto was the original planet X although thought to have a bigger mass and density than it actually turned
51

Gitt talks about a tenth planet dubbed 1992QB1 discovered in 1992 by Daniel Jewitt & Jane Luu way beyond Pluto approximately 41 AU away. Its orbit around the sun is probably in the region of 262 earth years. There is yet another, 1993FW which is to be explored further! Stars and their Purpose, pp 172

Earth, Moon, Mars or beyond?

out to be. There have been other pseudo planets have been discerned but not yet located. In an article “Pluto’s retreat” which appeared in the US News & World report of August 1991, a University of Manchester team of astronomers claimed that they had discovered the first planet outside our known solar system. The planet itself was not seen directly but its presence was discernible by its six month fluctuations in radio signals detected by radio telescopes. Many such Page | 85 findings abound in these latter days. The question that begs is, Is Pluto the furthest planet in the solar system after all? Could there be other planets beyond or before Pluto? Are the planets exactly placed in the order that they have been placed thus far? What are those planets like? Other issues UFOs
Image removed
UFO with aliens alighted

Unidentified Flying Objects (UFOs) have never been resolved. Myriads of explanations have been forwarded attempting to rationally explain what was observed. Some people have claimed to have encountered beings from another world who descended from the skies using saucer like space ships, landed and at times abducted them for some experiments and then left them. Others have claimed to have seen space ships fly in the skies at night at terrific speeds and vanished. One case even claimed that they were captured and “detained” in the space ships’ laboratory where a collection of strange looking beings carried out studies on their anatomy. After completion, they were “knit” back together and taken back to their home before the visitors from another world left. Even films have been developed to such effects. But scientists have dismissed such insinuations as mere imagination created by the mind. They have said that once the mind wants to ‘see’ something, it has the power to create that impression thereby deceiving the eyes. Science fictionists on the other hand have left the door open for possibilities of anything. That said, the UFO question has not been answered, do people from other worlds visit the Earth? If they do, why are they not openly visible to humans? Why should they be seen by a select few? Could it be true that people are in fact deceived by their minds? Suppose the UFO stories and sightings were true, what implications would it have on human life? What effect would the fact of being watched by someone somewhere have on everyday life? Would a war subsequently ensue? Would humans be targets for annihilation? These and many other issues still linger around the UFO question. Extraterrestrial life For generations, and increasingly in these latter days, humans have been wondering whether there is life elsewhere in the universe apart from the earth. Enquiry so far has drawn a blank though this is not conclusive yet. Some argue that life in fact does exist elsewhere but probably

Earth, Moon, Mars or beyond?

not in the form known to us. They further argue that organisms could have lived in the past but for changes in the solar system has been obliterated by some unexplained disastrous event such as a collision with an asteroid or meteorite that forced the atmosphere to be sucked out into space. This has been the long held view over Mars. The voyager visits to the planets shed more light to this Extraterrestrial life question. No life form was discernibly found. The next step was to look elsewhere, but where? The enormous distances between planets is itself a serious challenge, what about peering into the dark? Astronomers have shifted their enquiry and telescopes to other stars. Recent evidence has shown that in fact, other “planetary systems” do exist elsewhere in our galaxy although no life has been discovered yet. Some “planets”, sometimes called “exoplanets” by some, have been discovered though their properties are not exactly or clearly known. What has been concluded so far about their properties is by use of proxy indicators. That discovery however has raised further hopes of some life forms far out there, probably not presently visible to the human eye. Some astronomers postulate that extraterrestrial life could be classified into at least three categories52:
1. Those that use energy comparable to all nations on the earth combined.

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2. Those that use energy equivalent to a star such as the sun.
3. Those that use energy equivalent to an entire galaxy.

The third class is obviously a very advanced civilisation as compared to the first option which would appear extremely primitive relative to the others. This classification also brings to the fore the question as to whether humans are being watched by some more advanced civilisation hidden somewhere waiting to befriend or ambush the earth? Perhaps humans are not even significant at all much like what ants appear to a travelling human in his car.

If life exists out there and humans successfully establish communication with such civilisations, what are the implications? Should humans continue with the contact or break off? What will humans do? Some have alleged that communication has already been established in the past but has been kept secret from the public lest panic be generated all over the world. The X files in the UK and USA are said to contain such information. Some former Astronauts and scientists have also joined the chorus of those calling for the disclosure of what is contained in the said X files. ==================================================================== Prototype Star Trek
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Advanced by Soviet astronomer N.S Kardasher . Refer to New Horizons in Astronomy pp 100. Also consult a book called Exploration of Space pp 421 which expresses human affinity to connect with other yet unseen civilizations out there somewhere in space.

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Wikipedia Star Trek Logo 2007

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The first Star Trek motion picture hit the TV screens in 1966. The plot of the film is a star ship that is far out in deep space and travels across the stars visiting different worlds, venturing “where no man has gone before” as the famous saying goes. As the Star ship enterprise treks among the stars and planets, they encounter different challenges and situations. The Enterprise is equipped to move at light speed as well as orbit planets investigate them and move on. Occasionally, the Enterprise gets distress signals to help out at one end of the universe to which it responds. Captain Kirk has a great team composing Dr McCoy (Bones), Spoke (the Vulcan), Scotty (engineer), Sulu and a host of other active individuals. The star ship has living quarters, several stories and a population that works away like beavers ensuring that the Enterprise functions at optimum levels. After each episode, Captain James (Jim) Kirk gives his “captain’s log” which gives an update of what the star ship has been through, location and how things were resolved. Each episode brings lively situations that keeps one glued to the screen. The later generations of Star Trek bring in more characters with varying abilities to continue from where the NCC 1701 enterprise ended.

Internet Star ship encountering yet another planet

Obviously, what the Star Trek series achieved is that it challenged humans about the possibilities of inhabiting and exploring space safely. The advanced state of the art technology that is displayed in the series is obviously way ahead of its time. For instance, the beeper is the fore runner of the wireless cell phone we have today. Then there is the Beaming technology which is yet to be developed despite several trials here and there. The vehicles that fly in and out of the enterprise are equipped for their complex manoeuvres in different contexts. In later generations of Star Trek, the Federation head quarters comes into focus, equivalent to the International Space Station, although far more advanced. Star Trek remains a stunning classic to this day. Star Wars

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Wikipedia Star wars logo

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Star Wars first hit the screens in the mid 1970s (by George Lucas) which depicts a series of characters that are involved in conflict to destroy or preserve certain civilisations scattered around the universe. The main characters are Luke (Anakin) Skywalker with his laser sword alongside friends and robotic droids. Luke assumes some title and power as a Jedi (use power for good) that battles with an enemy (Sith and later Dark Jedi) whose machinations are to destroy all the media warriors so that they can gain supremacy of the Universe. There is a lot of conflict and visits to different planets where all sorts of beings (often humanoids) exist though are endangered. Sky Walker alongside his brothers and robots (3PO) visit some of these planets and attempt to free them from bondage but in the process provokes the slave masters’ wrath. They have a space vehicle that can travel at or beyond the speed of light and thus takes them places. The Star Wars series pictured in a space context continues to captivate the human mind. =================================================================== Bibliography “Pluto’s retreat?”, US News & world Report August 5, 1991 edition, pp10 “When our atmosphere is damaged”, Awake magazine, December 1994 issue Bartusiak Marcia, “Shake, rattle, and shine: New methods of probing the sun’s interior”, American Scientist, February 1994 edition Brandt & Maran, New Horizons in Astronomy, 2nd edition, WH. Freeman & Co. Cooper S.F Henry Jr, The search of life on Mars: Evolution of an idea, Holt, Renehart & Winston, 1980 Introductory College Physics Moore Patrick & Mason John, The return of the Halley’s comet. Sagan Carl, The Cosmic connection, Saturn and Beyond Sheehan William, Worlds in the sky, University of Arizona Press, 1992 Shelton William, Soviet Space Exploration,

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The American Scientist January 1995 issue Topic magazine, issue # 191, 1992 Whayes AR, Concise A-Level
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Chapter Five

JPL Inscription aboard the deep space probes.

Whither from here?

There is no ending to what we can discuss. Information keeps flowing through as well as
debates daily generated. Humans no doubt have made tremendous strides in technological advancement and can competently design robotic machines to replace human functions. Human ingenuity is improving all the time and may one day sort out a lot of problems that bug the

Earth, Moon, Mars or beyond?

planet. For one thing, technological feats will probably make manned space flights out of date. Although people love adventure, machines may take over since the probability of them having longer life spans is greater. Consider the Pioneer, Voyager and other probes that have done a fantastic job. They continue to send marvellous pictures of what it is in the far flung areas of space. Humans could not have done that because they would have long deceased, although future Page | 90 technology may change this picture. But then, we will have to wait for a long time to come in the process losing out on time. For now, humans are limited to the earth’s orbit, the moon and probably Mars in the next few years, should they elect to go that far. As for Jupiter and beyond, that remains a pipe dream for now in relation to manned flights. The Star Trek kind of adventures will take a bit of time but with more concentration and focus, things should change in the short or medium time range. All that is needed is focus, determination, massing resources and thinking big as well as strategically. The debate raging across the world is which frontiers humans should now conquer. Is it the moon or Mars? As we briefly saw at the beginning of the book, serious schools of thought have emerged over the years. Some say the moon is no longer interesting and in fact boring while others argue that it is even more essential than Mars or the international Space station! To arrive at an objective answer, we recommend that readers give themselves to serious research and thinking, listing down the advantages and down side of each position. Some basic guiding questions would be something like, what are the issues at hand? Which place is best and why? Which will be more strategic and cost effective in the long run? Will we be going backwards or improving on what we have? What are the implications on the earth and its inhabitants? Will these voyages affect the planet as well as the solar system in any way? Does humanity have what it takes in terms of technology and resources? How best can planetary or moon colonisation be handled? Should nations go it alone or collectively as humans? What ethics govern space exploration? How will the solar system, let alone the universe be ‘divided’ in the scramble for dominion? These and many other pressing questions beg serious well thought out rational and objective answers. It will take time to answer all these but the earlier it is done, the better. Then progress can be made. Dr Carl Sagan and others were persuaded about many things and devoted their lives and souls for the pursuit of what they thought best. We need people who are thus passionate and will do everything in their power to pursue a dream. We could say much, much more but we need wind up this book and return to our planetary studies. We have come a long way together and have visited different worlds together. I trust that you have been enticed to take on the study of astronomy. It is simply amazing to know that there is so much out there happening without our knowledge or aid. The solar winds, the sun spots, the winds on Neptune, the reactions on Jupiter, the relative remoteness of Pluto, the wondering rocky asteroid, just so much out there! They may appear random to some but if one paused, they would be seriously dumb founded to notice the “chaotic order” that holds things together. That planets maintain their orbits repeatedly across the years cannot be fully understood. Humans may

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intelligently and logically explain the gravitational forces but that does not settle the matter of order. To know also that our sun is just an average star is fascinated. But that is not all, there are probably billions of galaxies out there and each of them is heading in some direction away from the others! Could the Universe be expanding? To where and what? In the midst of all these gigantic distances between stars and stellar systems, the planet earth exists, with its unique Page | 91 internal environment! The planet has a belt surrounding it, a gaseous atmosphere which supports living organisms! It is from this tiny little dot in space that humans continue to plan ways of reaching out to the outer reaches of space. Whether life exists on earth alone or somewhere else in the universe remains unresolved. For now, humans know that they exist and can do something to reach out beyond the present reaches. The question that begs answering at the moment is whether the Moon or Mars should be the next step in reaching out into the deep. Should humans build the first settlement outside our Earth’s immediate atmosphere on the moon or Mars? What will be the advantages in either case? Who stands to lose or win in this case? Should the developed nations by pass the moon, what will they be losing? Should laws be established that will dictate where humans go next? Who will be privileged to live on the Moon or Mars, or is it that the banished will live on these stations because the earth will be for the “good citizens? Recall that Australia was once for the banished criminals but today, it is a goodly place! These and many questions will continue to face humans for many years to come. The earlier they are resolved, the better for space development. Where do you stand on this matter? End.

General Bibliography
“Pluto’s retreat?”, US News & world Report August 5, 1991 edition, pp10 “When our atmosphere is damaged”, Awake magazine, December 1994 issue Baker Susan, Sustainable development, Routledge, 2006 Banking World, Views from the future, December 1989, Chartered Institute of Bankers Bartusiak Marcia, “Shake, rattle, and shine: New methods of probing the sun’s interior”, American Scientist, February 1994 edition Brandt & Maran, New Horizons in Astronomy, 2nd edition, WH. Freeman & Co. Children’s World Atlas, King Fisher books, 1994 Cooper S.F Henry Jr, The search of life on Mars: Evolution of an idea, Holt, Renehart & Winston, 1980

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Curry-Lindahl Kai, Conservation for survival: An Ecological Strategy, Victor Gollancz ltd, 1972 Dresner Simon, The Principles of sustainability, Earthscan, 2003 Dubrin J Andrew, Leadership: Research Findings, Practice and skills, Houghton Mifflin Company, 1995 Envro-line (volume 1 # 1), Environmental Council of Zambia, April 1996 Forestry for Sustainable Rural Development, Ford Foundation, New York, 1998 Fun, Facts & Fiction, Zaner Bloser, Inc, 1983 Gitt Werner, Stars and their Purpose, 1996 HIV/AIDS in Zambia: Background projections, impacts and interventions, Ministry of Health/CBOH, September 1999 International Action Against Poverty, Achieving our dreams for 2015, Grow up free from poverty Coalition, 2005 Introductory College Physics IUCN, Caring for the Earth: A strategy for sustainable living (Summary), UNEP, IUCN, WWF, 1991 Karpagam M, Environmental Economics, Sterling Publishers Private Ltd, 1999 Kenah Katharine, Space Mysteries, Waterbird Books, 2004 Kleniewski Nancy, Cities, Change, and Conflict: A political Economy of urban life, 2nd edition, WADSWORTH THOMSON LEARNING, 2002 Man’s conquest of space Moore Patrick & Mason John, The return of the Halley’s comet. Morris M Henry, many Infallible Proofs: Evidences for the Christian Faith, Master Books, 1974 Morris M Henry, Many Infallible Proofs: Evidences for the Christian faith, Master books, 1974 NASA, Results of the third U.S. Manned Orbital Space Flight, October 3, 1962, National Aeronautics and Space Administration Nottridge Rhoda, Sky Watch, COLLINS, 1991 Owen A Lewis & Kevin T Pickering, An introduction to Global Environmental issues, Routledge, 1994
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Padilla J Michael, Miaoulis Ioannis, Cyr Martha et al, Prentice Hall Science Explorer, Pearson Prentice Hall, 2006 Pollock Steve, Ecology, DK Publishing, 2005 Poltorzycki Stephen, Creating Environmental Business Value, Financial World Publishing, 2001 Page | 93 Preston University, Environmental Management, CACC, 1998 Red Planet (Movie) Redfern Martin, The Earth: A very short introduction, Oxford University Press, 2003 Report on the global HIV/AIDS epidemic 2002, UNAIDS Sagan Carl, The Cosmic connection, Saturn and Beyond Schaeffer A Francis, Genesis in Space & Time, Intervarsity Press, 1972 Schaeffer A. Francis, Pollution and the Death of Man, Tyndale House publishers, 1967 Sheehan William, Worlds in the sky, University of Arizona Press, 1992 Shelton William, Soviet Space Exploration, Sichone Billy C, The Strategic Horizon: Being needs of the times, Lulu .com, 2009 Steger B Manfred, Globalisation: A very short Introduction, Oxford Press, 2003 Stewart P (complier) Perspectives on theories of Development, UNISA, 2005 Stewart Peter, Development Theories, UNISA, 2005 Symes R.F, Rocks & Minerals, Dorling Kindersley, 1988 The American Scientist January 1995 issue The National Programme of Action for Children in Zambia, GRZ Topic magazine, issue # 191, 1992 United Nations, A Vision of Hope: the fiftieth Anniversary of the United Nations Uniting the world against AIDS, UNAIDS

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Welford Richard & Starkey Richard (editors), Business and the Environment, Universities Press (India) Ltd, 1996 WFP Zambia Whayes AR, Concise A-Level Willis Richard J.B, The AIDS pandemic, The Stanborough Press Ltd, 2002 World food Programme, Annual report 1999 World food Programme, Annual Report 2003 Zambezi River Authority, Kariba Dam’s operation Noah Re-launched, 1996
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Appendix
A Air pollution In December 1952, over 4,000 people perished at the grisly hands of toxic smog which settled over London for four days. More recently, in 1991, Athens was engulfed in a cloud of smoke, which landed many in hospital. These and many like incidents have been recorded more frequently all over the world, especially in major cities where there is heavy traffic. But what has caused these occurrences? What exactly is the root cause and what can be done to correct this situation? Many have undertaken to highlight these problems and one of these is an article “Environmental Polluters to face criminal charges” which appeared in the Zambia Daily mail issue of 4th August 1999. We shall attempt to define what this kind of pollution is and then seek to show its effects as well as the possible remedies. What exactly is pollution? Pollution is generally defined as “The introduction of certain Γ parameters into the environment , which cannot be engrafted properly into the ecosystem due to

The environment is the world in which we live. It is the source of our food, water and the air we breathe

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their nature or volume and thus lead to deleterious consequences as a result of an ecoinequilibrium.” Clearly, we note that this state of affairs is very hostile to vegetation, animals and human kind. The parameters here spoken of are of varied types depending on the type of pollution at hand. For our purposes we confine ourselves to air pollution. This is one of the most common forms of pollution because we meet it at every turn. As one walks around the Page | 95 compound, they will notice little smoke emitting fires, as people clean their yards. In the city, big industries pour noxious gases galore. But what are the major sources of pollution in the world today? A number are identified below:

1. The Coal Power generating plants. These are spread all over the world and in some cases, their concentration is so high like in the coal power plants of the UK. These use coal that burns and gives off thick dark fumes. These fumes billow into the air and are transported many kilometres Ε away from the polluting point. It is a curious fact that over 92% of the polluted air present in Norway is as a result of the Pollution in the lower latitudes such as England. This clearly shows that Pollution is not only a local problem but a global one. The burnt coal heats up water to produce steam. This selfsame steam turns the turbines to generate power. While the power is useful and necessary, the by-products from this process are toxic and the solid waste is difficult to dispose off. 2. Volcanic eruptions The Volcanic eruptions have been known to be the largest natural polluters, even outweighing present anthropogenic emissions. It is estimated that some eruptions ∏ release as much as 15 – 30 million tonnes of sulphur dioxide into the air!

3. Toxic Fumes from Cars. As the number of world vehicles has swelled, so also has the amount of emitted poisonous fumes. Cars give out at least two noxious air pollutants as a result of engine combustion. These pollutants are Carbon Monoxide and Lead. Carbon monoxide, an odourless, colourless gas, is formed when the following reaction occurs due to incomplete combustion: 2C(s) + O2 2CO (g) This carbon monoxide is released is large volumes especially in the cities where there is much traffic. For example, in Zambia, where the emission levels are not regulated, it is estimated that Ξ 45,000 tons are released into the atmosphere per year! The Lead is put in the fuel to increase the engine efficiency to burn the fuel. This toxic pollutant is very deadly and once it enters the human body system, even in minute quantities (as little as 100 micro grams/cubic decimetre), it

Source: Introduction to Global environmental issues, Pickering C Owen L Page 109. Source: Introduction to Global environmental issues, Pickering C Owen L page 116. Source: Enviro line April 1996 Vol 1 No. 1 pp8

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will cause terrible mental disorders on the victim, especially children. The exact amount of damage caused by these is incalculable. The average estimation for Zambia per year is Ξ approximately 444 tons released into the air. These levels are frighteningly high and are bound to increase as more vehicles pour onto the already jammed the streets. Nitrogen oxide is another pollutant to consider though it is not directly released from the car fumes but is a mixture of oxides of Nitrogen and other gases like Carbon monoxides and Sulphur Dioxide. 4. Domestic burning. This is by far the most common type of pollution source because man has been burning things from the earliest times of civilisation. Now we have arrived at a stage where unnecessary fires are not welcome. Fire ceased being a wonder many ages ago, rather is now an inconvenience where it is unnecessary, because fumes will billow from there making the air dirty. There is another type of burning- that of natural gas in homes, especially in the cooler countries where gas is used for cooking and warming. An example of a polluting reaction is the burning of methane in the following reaction: CH4 + 3O2 CO2 + 2H2O This reaction causes more carbon dioxide to be released to the atmosphere thereby contributing to global warming. 5. Industries- The industries are a major source of pollution as their by-products are usually dirty and toxic. The Oil refineries and other chemical factories have continued pouring dense poisonous fumes into the air. These must be watched very carefully. 6. Mining activities- Anthropogenic activities such as mining are as old as the world probably. Today, however, this activity ranks among the highest polluters in the world. Smoke and dust come from the mineral processing activities especially from the metal smelters. It is no wonder that the surrounding areas of the mines do not have vegetation and acid rain is a common feature in nearby localities. 7. Firewood burning- As the need for power rises, so also the demand for firewood. This means that more trees are felled to produce the wood charcoal. The ramifications are that there will be fewer trees to carry out photosynthesis which converts carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to give oxygen. The mere processing of wood to charcoal makes smoke to be produced. This practice is more pronounced in developing countries.

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8. Air plane and Rocket fumes. Not much has been written about the effect of planes on the environment. One author once asserted that the pollution produced by the take off of one Boeing 707 is equivalent to 6,850 accelerating Volkswagens. In Munich for example, an area of 20 hectares near the airport has suffered severe pollution where the pine trees are dying-all due to

Source: Enviro line April 1996 Vol 1 No. 1 pp8

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the air plane exhausts. Want of space forbids us to talk about the noise and air pollution generated by the many rockets launched into space. 9. Exponential Population growth. The rapid increase of the worlds’ population has far outstripped the earth’s carrying capacity. There is unbearable strain on the worlds’ resources as Page | 97 the global population hurtles towards the seven billion mark. Not only is there stress on the resources, but also the amount of Carbon dioxide emissions have increased proportionally. While human population is on the increase that of plants is on the decline meaningless oxygen machines available (i.e. the plants) Having identified the major air polluting sources, we proceed to enquire as to the types of pollutants and the effects of this type of pollution. The question to hand is “What are some of the toxic air pollutants and what are the effects on man and the environment?” The major air pollutants are given below: 1. Carbon monoxide. This is a colourless and odourless gas formed when incomplete combustion takes place. This gas is produced in car engine combustion as well as when hydrocarbons are burnt where insufficient oxygen is present. The fact that this gas cannot be smelled makes it doubly dangerous because the person inhaling it suffocates to death. Carbon monoxide has been the major cause of many a death that has occurred in village huts where people sleep with a fire in the middle of a poorly ventilated hut. Others have perished when they have left the car engine running while in an enclosed place such as a garage.

2. Sulphur dioxide. This gas is mainly emitted from the Mines, which pour out untold amounts of this gaseous substance into the air. This gas rises into the atmosphere and settles in the air. Some of it is dissolved into the rainwater to form other chemicals that fall to the ground. Zambia is said ℑ to release over 1,000 tons of this gas into the air. In Kitwe and Mufulira (Zambian town on the Copper belt), the refinery plants and the underground fumes often cause many to choke as the “Senter” is released at certain hours of the day. Extremely concentrated fumes are released at a particular hour of the day and when that is done, people are sent scampering while others have to endure the choking fumes with great discomfort. Later on in life, these selfsame fumes effect will come to haunt the victims while the mines go Scot-free.

3. Hydro carbons and organic acids- The hydrocarbons fuels and the CFCs are used in aerosols as propellants. They are preferred because they are chemically very inert and thus do not react

Source: Conservation for survival ,Lindahl K., 1972, Page 14 Source: Enviro line April 1996, Vol 1, number 1, Page 8

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with other materials in the container. However, in the upper atmosphere, UV light splits the ! CFC to give Chlorine. This chlorine then reacts with ozone to produce oxygen.

4. Lead- Is a naturally occurring element and it is added to petrol in cars to improve the engine efficiency. As a result, the selfsame metal (in tiny particle form) is released to the atmosphere where it is inhaled by living organisms. The air concentration of the Lead is relative from place to place but is highest where traffic congestion is upper most-the cities. New York and Tokyo have been known to have very high concentrations of Lead and on days when Traffic reduces, say, on Sundays, the levels of the same pollutant have reduced by the same token, in some cases Χ by as much as 80%! . Incidentally, this lead is found in many more substances such as paints, insecticides, and solder. It is also used in the glass making process.

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5. Nitrogen Oxides-These are oxides that come from sources such as the burning of organic substances, or reactions in the air with certain gases such as Carbon Monoxide or Sulphur oxides. The major sources of these oxides are the burning of coal in power plants and the car fumes. 6. Nuclear waste and fall out. This topic has been a source of much controversy in the recent past due to the nature of the materials at hand. While nuclear use and knowledge has increased over time, the age-old question that still begs answering is, “How are we to safely dispose off hazardous nuclear waste permanently after use?” No real solution has been found. The problem is that nuclear materials are lethal and invisible to the human eye. In addition, they usually have long half-lives and can exist in that lethal state for many years. Where these have accidentally been exposed to the free atmosphere, untold amount of damage has been recorded, as was the case with the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in the former USSR. To this day, large stretches of land and air are deadly to traverse. This nuclear waste and fallout threatens both the wild life and the environmental health of a certain locality. Even more hair raising is the fact that the contaminated air moves from place to place and thus transports the radiation particles to distant places. It has been reported for example, that animals grazing in Sweden and Norway were condemned and the milk not fit for human consumption. Various reports have been given as to the radiation levels at the Chernobyl disaster, but one reading pegged it at more than 300 δ roentgens an hour, more than 300,000 times above the normally allowed dose! once exposed,
“The total chlorine loading of the atmosphere has continued to rise… Governments should replace CFCs and other Ozone depleting substances, consistent with the Montreal Protocol…” Agenda 21-1992 Rio earth summit.
 

Source: Conservation for Survival, an ecological strategy. Lindahl K., 1972 ,page 14

Source: Readers’ digest, May 1991 issue. Pekkanen. J, The man who flew into hell Page 151

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the body cells rapidly disintegrate, mutations occur and cancers like Leukaemia develop later on From the above scenario, it is clear that nuclear technology, whilst plausibly cheaper and more efficient, is a long-term hazardous pollutant of the atmosphere.
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The aforementioned pollutants are classified as gaseous and particulate. Some of these pollute directly and as such are known as primary pollutants while others form as a result of prior reactions of primary gases to form secondary pollutants. An example of a secondary gas is Nitrogen dioxide and ozone. When these gases are emitted in excessive quantities, the earth fails to clean the atmosphere adequately. Naturally, the Earth has a “Cleaning” mechanism that can only handle a certain level of pollution beyond which, the toxic substances remain in the atmosphere and “stick” to the clouds. In the fullness of time, the said toxins begin to wreck havoc as they affect the natural functions of the atmosphere. What are some of the effects of air ≤ pollution? Looking at the magnitude of the terrible effects , it is difficult to point out exhaustively the extent of this scourge but a few suggested answers will suffice for our purposes. The following effects immediately come to the fore:

1. Discomfort, health problems and death. It is now a documented fact that air pollution is a

silent, slow but certain killer. As intimated at the beginning of this paper, the noxious gases have and continue to do great harm. In humans, it has been discovered that where there is more air pollution, diseases such as bronchitis and other respiratory ailments abound. Another known disease connected to atmospheric damage is Emphysema. Furthermore, air pollution is linked to Lung cancer as this disease is more prevalent in industrial countries rather than in agrarian ones. There has been a world over increase of Lung cancer and in the USA for example, as an author states, this type of cancer kills more people than all the other Κ cancer types combined . Carbon monoxide, one of the poisonous gases once inhaled displaces the Oxygen in the blood and reduces the amount carried to the body tissues, thus the brain gets starved of oxygen and the victim dies. The concentration of this gas varies from place to place. In the USA for example, Lindahl states that more than 100 million tons of Carbon monoxide was emitted in 1968. This figure is nothing compared to the present levels today, 32 years later. Furthermore, CO slows down the body reactions even in the healthiest persons and contributes significantly to the risks of accidents.

The 1992 Rio earth summit highlighted the following… “Air pollution damages lungs, corrodes buildings, poisons soils and crops, kills forests and makes lakes unfit for aquatic life…"

Source: Conservation for survival., Lindahl. 1972,page 19

Earth, Moon, Mars or beyond? 2. Acid rain forms . It is hardly necessary to be labour the point that acid rain emanates directly

from air pollution. What happens is that as the Nitrogen oxides and the Sulphur oxides dissolve into rain water, they change the pH level of the water so much that by the time the rain falls to the ground, the pH of the water will be around 4. It must be noted that not all the gases are absorbed due to their high concentration, the excess “sticks” onto the clouds and falls later as rain. This rain will most likely fall in a totally different locality and cause other Page | 100 problems such as acidifying lakes and soils. Further, the rain destroys the vegetation as well. The two ways in which this acid rain destroys the vegetation and plant diversity is by making the soil have an unfavourable pH level and secondly, by simply poisoning the soil so that certain plants will not grow. The following is a suggested reactions take place in the atmosphere to form acid rain:
(i)

SO2(g) + H2O(l)H2SO3 (Sulphurous acid) or

SO3(g) + H2O(l) H2SO4 (Sulphuric acid) This is how acid rain is formed as the gases react with rainwater
(ii) 3. Large stretches of vegetation are destroyed- Closely akin to the aforementioned point, large

stretches of vegetation are destroyed. It has been speculated by some scientists that if not carefully managed, air pollution has the potential to cause entire forests to vanish. This is because the plant leaves are destroyed by either dry or wet deposition of pollutants on the leaf surfaces. As the pollutants settle on the surface, they not only destroy the stomata but Ω allow toxic gases like ozone to enter into the plant too. Furthermore, in places near industrial areas, mines and airports, the vegetation is either absent or experiences stunted growth. A visit to the Mines in Mufulira, Zambia will reveal just how much air pollution has damaged large stretches of forest. In those areas no plant survives once planted. The explanation is simply that the Sulphur dioxide scorches chokes and kills the plants. 4. Air concentration balances altered. I did not find any documented evidence but I seriously think that a chance exists that the traditional concentration ratio of gases in normal clean air (i.e. Nitrogen, 78%, oxygen 21% and 1% other trace elements) is now being altered due to the anthropogenic actions as more gases are pumped into the atmosphere. This postulation, if correct, will mean that the air becomes more toxic and unhealthy for organisms. The will lead to diversity reduction in species and diseases increases such as lung cancer as asserted in No. 1 above. 5. Weather and climate changes-The far-reaching consequence of pollution is that the weather, world-over is changing rapidly and unpredictably. Hither to, it took no less than 30 years to predict the climatic conditions of an area but today this data is obsolete. The reason is that air pollution has affected the weather patterns so much that we can no longer easily predict the

Vegetation is affected by the following pollutants: Gases kill the cells, acid rain damages plants as well as lowers the soil pH & mobilizes toxic metals, air borne particles settle on the plants to reduce solar radiation received hindering photosynthesis, dust particles block stomatal pores and inhibit gas exchange as well as photosynthesis

See footnote with same symbol on previous page

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climatic conditions of a place. The advent of the computer and Satellite technology aids us to figure out what is going on at a given moment but cannot tell us precisely what will happen 10 years hence. All these sudden weather changes are attributed to atmospheric pollution. 6. Death of marine life due to temperature changes. Due to the weather instability and the atmospheric changes, marine life will die. The water temperature changes will lead to Page | 101 extensive deaths of organisms which are sensitive to temperature variations, even minute changes of say 1*C will create a mass grave of organisms. The Bio diversity is at risk as well. 7. Destruction of buildings. Air pollution has caused certain gases which were hitherto not in abundance in the air to increase to such levels where when they react with certain substances, they cause a lot of damage. A well observed case is that of acid rain which destroys the curving on some ancient limestone buildings. The acid reacts with the calcium carbonate and thus breaks down the structures slowly but surely. Other uncalculated costs such as the dirt on the walls of buildings, the corroded metal bridges and many other structures distorted by pollution indirectly. To replace, paint or clean them costs a lot of money which would have otherwise been spent profitably elsewhere. Dust pollution for example is a menace in many places. 8. Deserts expand and get hotter. There is a significant advance of the hot deserts as more vegetation dies off. The world is increasingly becoming hostile to plants as more toxins are released into the air. In recent years, the Kalahari and the Sahara deserts have been noted to be expanding further out at a phenomenal rate. As though that were not enough, the deserts are becoming even hotter! Both these changes have been noticed, we have no telling what nature has up its sleeve next. 9. Changes in the circulation of the ocean currents. The advent of the indiscriminate air pollution by human activity has led to the erratic weather patterns in the atmosphere. Among the anticipated changes is the route of the ocean currents. Traditional patterns are being violated by the unstable conditions in the upper atmosphere and with time, it is thought that these changes will affect the ocean currents. If this happens, it will lead to many changes such as the different distributions of species, different impacts on the continents and the reduction of the bio diversity. 10. Ozone layer depletion. Since the British scientists in the Antarctica discovered the Ozone β holes , there has been a lot of discussion and “Heat” generated from various quarters. The fact that the Ozone layer has developed holes due to human activity spells doom for man. This layer is the worlds’ shield against the lethal solar radiation that comes to the earth from the sun. When the said radiation reaches the earth, the ozone layer filters out the harmful UV radiation from the rays and allowing only safe levels to reach the earth. In the absence of this selfsame layer, the entire intense load reaches the earth causing invisible but catastrophic harm to the worlds’ organisms. In humans, especially among the white skinned people who have little melanin in their skins, cancers are prevalent. Cataracts have also been associated with the Ozone depletion phenomenon. This has been traced to the deadly solar radiation. Furthermore, increased UV air radiation will affect marine, crops, and terrestrial ecosystems through the UV effect on sensitive species. But what exactly is ozone? What happens to it and why? Where is it found? We shall attempt to offer some answers. Ozone is a form of oxygen except that each Ozone molecule is made up of three oxygen atoms. It is a light blue

Quoted from the Awake! Magazine, December 22, 1994 issue page 6 “When our atmosphere is damaged”

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toxic gas with a pungent smell. The ozone is found in trace elements near the surface of the earth but the bulk of it is found in the stratosphere, a layer between 15 to 45 kilometres above the earth. Ozone is formed by the reaction of ordinary Oxygen gas (O2) molecule with atomic oxygen (O) from Nitrogen dioxide in the air in the presence of Ultra Violet radiation. The reaction goes as follows: Page | 102 O2 (g) + O (g)  O3 This reaction takes place on a large scale and so forms a layer that is an effective barrier against the lethal gamma particles. Unfortunately, this selfsame gas is easily destroyed by certain elements in the atmosphere which leads to the situation we sited-the ozone hole. The major cause of the rapid break down of the layer is attributed to the use of aerosols. These aerosols ∇ contain inert propellant gases such as Chlorofloro Carbons or CFC s. After being released from spraying cans and fridges, these ascend to the higher orbs where, in the presence of UV light they split to give free Chlorine radicals. These free chlorine radicals then go and “Attack” the ozone in a spontaneous continuous manner. In this way, the destruction rate of ozone is far higher than the formation, thus leading to the gaps or ozone hole. The following is the reaction that probably takes place when the Ozone is broken: Cl + O3  ClO + O2 Unless drastic measures are put in place, we will continue to witness more and more ozone holes, as the present ones are growing bigger by the day. Also the skin cancer cases will continue to ∆ rise especially among the white skinned people in places like Australia where the ozone Λ protection has fallen sharply . It is gratifying to note that modern fringes and aerosol cans have been branded “Ozone friendly”. Although extensive damage has been done to the Ozone layer already, there is still hope of reversing the trend, tough it will take many years, aye, centuries to repair the mess. We badly need the Ozone layer. 12. Frequent Famine and floods. Air pollution is poised to cause more frequent natural disasters. There is so much evidence for this assertion because the natural disasters are galore in almost all parts of the world. An example is the flooding which took place in Mozambique recently. This is probably a place where no previous record of flooding of that magnitude has been recorded, but alas, it has happened! Much more is to come. Further, what is the explanation of the droughts, famines and crop failures worldwide? Isn’t it because of mans’ continued violation of the natural balance in the ecosystem? We are bold to assert that all this has its root cause in Pollution! Let us gear up for more natural disaster show downs!

An estimated 20 million tons of CFC 1994 have been already been released into the atmosphere…reports the 1994 magazine Popular Science.

The following except is from The New scientist: “…there were unusually low values of Ozone concentrations in 1992 between latitudes 50*N & 60*N, covering northern Europe, Russia and Canada. The Ozone level was 12% below normal, lower than at any time in 35 years of continuous observations…”

Depletion is most rapid in extremely cold & still conditions like Antarctica where over 60% or more Ozone has been destroyed.

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13. Heat waves. Hither to, heat waves were a rare phenomenon and restricted to certain geographical areas but the recent years have witnessed a higher frequency of these heat waves even in places where these were previously unheard of. It is believed that the said waves will increase in frequency as the chaotic weather patterns continue to be catalysed by more air pollution. Scanning the local press, one will definitely come across some incidence related to these sudden heat outbursts in different parts of the world. Where these have occurred, the temperatures have risen to unbearable degrees causing many human and animal deaths. Plants are not spared either, as they become scorched too. Excessive heat is dangerous as it causes serious dehydration.

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14. Polar cap melting. There is a belief that in coming months and years, the rising world temperatures will cause the ice caps at the two poles of the earth to melt. The two cold deserts hold a lot of water in frozen state and thus reduce the amount of free flowing water in the oceans, but with the afore mentioned development, there is going to be a more pronounced ice melting and the consequent release of more water to the oceans. This development will be a result of air pollution that will in turn lead to higher temperatures. What this melting will entail has not been fully calculated but suffice it to say that the ice caps will definitely begin to melt in coming days, if they have not already begun! 15. Global warming. Although warmer temperatures have been alluded already, it is necessary for us to highlight this as we see it being pivotal to the many changes that are taking place in the world today. As may have been noticed, there is a general increase in the world temperatures due to the presence of more free Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide is a green house gas, meaning that its presence causes the world to heat up because the gas traps the Infra red radiation and keeps the heat in the lower atmosphere. When this happens, the heat builds up in the world causing an inequilibrium in the ecosystem. The off shoots are the observed changes in the weather and climate. It is postulated that going by the present trends, the temperatures worldwide might rise by an estimated 1.5-4.5*C, depending partly on the response of the natural CO2 reservoirs such as forests and oceans. Talking about the reservoirs, it is estimated that some ® 300,000 times more carbon dioxide is trapped in the ocean floors in fossils and rocks . It is feared that as more global warming occurs, these deposits will be released into the atmosphere, causing even more problems. Reversing the global warming will be hard since CO2 remains in ε the atmosphere for many decades. The 1992 Rio de Jenairo earth summit called for countries to

Source: Worlds in the sky, Sheenan.W., 1992, page 75

Maurice Strong, the earth summit Secretary General stated: “Stabilising the gaseous composition of the atmosphere is clearly the most urgent problem we face in the 1990s… Carbon emissions must be cut at least by 60% just to put the global warming trend on hold…”

Earth, Moon, Mars or beyond?

stabilise the CO2 emissions at 1990 levels by the year 2000. Whether this has been achieved, we have no telling just now.

16. Tide rise. It is postulated by some scientists that there has been and will be more tidal rise in Page | 104 the ocean and sea water levels. As pointed out in 14 above, the melting of the polar caps will mean more water unlocked into the oceans. This, among many things threatens to flood lowlands such as the pacific islands and Bangladesh. Also, the atolls, Coral reefs and other bodies where organisms thrive will be submerged and reduce the biodiversity further. This will also mean that the hurricanes on coastlines will be even more difficult to quell. It is feared that the world melting ice might raise the sea water level uniformly worldwide by no less than thirty centimetres within a century. 17. Reduced light intensity It has been noticed that the light intensity in heavily polluted areas has been reduced significantly due to the dark fumes that hover over the polluted areas. As one approaches a mining town like Kitwe in Zambia, one can clearly see a dark smoke hallow o enveloping the city, but upon entering the city, the cloud is virtually invisible to the human eye. Every hour, people are breathing smoke into their body systems unawares. In some extreme cases, visibility due to the dense fumes has been reduced to less than 10 metres! This condition is a sure recipe for disaster and has a twofold negative effect: 1. The process of photosynthesis is hindered in plants and thus leads to stunted plant growth and death. 2. The dark clouds have contributed to many accidents due to the poor visibility. 18. Noise pollution. Another component that comes hand in hand with mechanisation is noise. As the machines efficiently do their work, noise has made our world so uncomfortable. Although the definition of “Noise” is relative, any unwanted sound can be classified as noise. The Factories, cars, aeroplanes and even our own domestic gadgets give off noise. Of concern is the sonic booms produced from aeroplanes and also from magnificent vehicles like the space shuttle. Not only do the planes pollute by the destructive gases they produce, they also emit too much noise, such that some people have had their hearing impaired as a result. In some instances, glasses are shattered due to the high noise decibels flooding the atmosphere. Those who work among machines for long hours on end are most at risk of suffering the ill effects of continuous noise pollution. 19. Acidification of lakes and soil poisoning. When the acid rain falls it pollutes the water bodies making them inhabitable to aquatic life. This has occurred in Norway and Sweden. Also, the selfsame acid rain changes the pH of the soil making it poisonous to plants. This has a bearing on the type of Flora and Fauna extant in a given locality. Both these negative effects lead to reduced bio diversity.

Earth, Moon, Mars or beyond?

The above outlined air pollution effects speak for themselves that we are virtually sitting on a pending time bomb. Only a few seconds remain before the detonation takes place, what ought to be done? How are we to handle the prospects that confront us? The article to hand suggests that Page | 105 the law be invoked. In Zambia, the Environmental Protection and Pollution Control act is in place, in particular, the Air Pollution Control Bill which was signed in 1996 are there to help the Environmental Council of Zambia. But what practical tangible steps can we take to help tame the pollution tide? A few practical steps are suggested: 1. Strengthen the existing laws against Polluters. - The relevant appointed environmental protection institutions must be strengthened. In turn, this will empower them to prosecute polluters with minimal external interference. In many countries, the same ecological protection bodies are there only to report pollution occurrences but have no power to bring to book all the offenders. If they are to be relevant and effective, laws must be enacted to give them “teeth to bite”, otherwise they remain as white elephants in any country, these bodies must have the powers to issue or revoke a licence to all that pollute the atmosphere in one way or the other. Not only should they be empowered to issue licences, but they must also be given the right to monitor and check any premises at will, as they please. Only in this way will polluters be deterred from degrading the atmosphere. Of course this is a costly exercise but atmospheric degradation is even more costly!

2. Minimise the polluting levels of the atmosphere. Presently, the emissions into the atmosphere are so high that if we continue at the present rate, we are headed for a major catastrophe. With the breakdown of the ecosystem will come economic collapse and death. The ideal situation is to simply shut down the pollution sources! Unfortunately, this is not a possibility now. The best that can be done is to minimise the air contamination levels to a bare minimum so that the earth can be given the capacity to recover, though this process will take many years (the recovery). Pragmatic measures must be put in place that will enable the existing polluters to carefully watch their waste emissions and also to be at the forefront promoting the anti pollution cause. Furthermore, cleaner and more efficient ways must be developed which reduce the degree of air contamination.

Θ

3. Develop healthier, cleaner and efficient power sources. More money must be spent on research into newer cleaner power sources. Presently, hydrocarbon fuels are extensively used world over. The problem with these hydrocarbon fuels is that they are not renewable and therefore wasting assets. Secondly, they emit a lot of by products that cannot be safely disposed

It is important to note the following as stated by UNEP in 1992 “Exposure to air pollution is now an inescapable part of urban life through out the world…”

Earth, Moon, Mars or beyond?

off. In burning coal for example, we have a two-fold waste-the solid as well as the gaseous waste. These cannot be disposed off easily. The one (solid waste) has to be dumped on land previously undisturbed whilst the other (gas) will billow into the air and contaminate it, thus destroying the air quality. As though that were not enough, acid rain falls to the earth as a bonus! It should be our firm belief that research is primary at the moment or else risk destroying the Page | 106 earth further. Some countries have made plausible strides towards that direction but the majority are still engrossed in exploiting these dirty power sources. Some of the latest developments are the use of water as a fuel instead of petrol. Other inventions are the solar power and the now generally accepted hydroelectric power. For many developing countries, the nuclear power harnessing is still a far-fetched dream and many do not even think about that option because of the attendant hazards. Many still harbour an antipathy for Nuclear power harnessing because of its potential deleterious nature. In an ideal situation, Nuclear power is potentially a good power source as is the hydro one but these systems must be perfected and made more efficient before they can be effectively used widely across the world. Other power source ideas are yet to be hatched, for this, we anxiously wait!

4. Regulate the emission to the 1990 levels. Among the many proposals that were suggested at ε the 1992 Rio earth summit was the desire to regulate emission to the 1990 levels. This means that nations must strive to either reduce or maintain the 1990 levels while alternative solutions were being sought. The extent to which this proposal has been implemented is yet to be ascertained but it is certainly a good first step towards taming the pollution tide. If we are to tackle any issue, we must first stop in our tracks and then refocus which way forward. 5. Intensify global awareness campaigns. Ironically the greater part of the world remains asleep in the light. They see the danger but many remain indifferent or continue in their old indiscriminately destructive habits. It is high time people awoke and came out of their cocoons. Many global environmental protection crusaders have emerged in the recent past and they must be supported by all. Individuals must be made aware of the true repercussions of their actions and that of others, probably thousands of kilometres away. We need a concerted effort to tackle this human created vice rather than by few disjointed individuals. It must be pointed out that this environmental decay knows no geographical or political boundaries but is global in nature. Furthermore, this should be a political campaign requirement as well. Candidates who ignore the environmental component must not be given a hearing at all as they have no pulse for mother earth. One other way to get the world’s attention is to report the occurrences of pollution accompanied by the stiff penalties mated out on the offenders publicly. In this way, many will be careful, dreading to be brought to public disgrace lest they lose their good will. Also, as has happened in some places, the products of the offending companies are boycotted.

See foot note under global warming on 10 by Maurice strong.

Earth, Moon, Mars or beyond?

Time has come for the world to open its eyes and see the exact picture on the ground. We long for a higher antipathy to pollution! 6. Encourage people to use public transport so as to minimise the air polluting traffic- This proposal is a plausible one but it largely depends on the degree of understanding and sympathy Page | 107 people have towards environmental issues. The idea at hand is to encourage people to use public transport rather than their own vehicles. This cuts down significantly on the number of vehicles on the road, thus fewer emissions into the air. There is obviously going to be a reduction in the concentrations of the carbon monoxide and other related gases into the atmosphere. The problem with this idea is that some people will not trade their comforts for anything. Perhaps one way to encourage people is to offer some kind of incentive to those who voluntarily use public transport though they have their own cars.

7. In extreme cases, declare certain days as “car free”- This proposal is closely connected to the

one above except that in this instance, people have no choice but to obey. The issue at hand is a moral one that affects everyone. It was done once in Japan (1970) and the CO dropped as ≈ much as 80%! This ban was implemented on Sundays on over 122 busiest streets in Tokyo. We are fast approaching a time when this will not only be an issue of indifference but a must. We need to act fast before the laws of nature force us into an austere position.
8. Introduce toxins neutralising elements during mass production processes. This will mean that

certain chemicals will have to be introduced either into the air or be added to by-products so that when they react with atmospheric pollutants, they bring about some kind of neutralisation. This has been explored in some coal power stations where the waste fumes are passed through some substances, which neutralise or filter out most of the toxic Sulphur dioxide. This could be extended to other areas and used on a wider scale. The only hurdle is that this is an expensive undertaking and also poses other detrimental environmental problems such as where these waste materials will be dumped without tampering with the topography of the land.
9. “Nip” potential pollution sources in the “bud.” This is simply the idea that any upcoming

pollution source must be watched strictly even before one puff of smoke is released to the atmosphere. This is very involving because it amounts to “witch hunting”! By and by, this will be a necessary activity. To ensure that this works well, realistic guidelines must be put in place. These parameters will guarantee that we are not always acting as “fire fighters” but rather, disaster preventers. By that token, new factories must be meticulously watched lest they proliferate and add to the existing mess.
10. Be cautious and meticulous what “Investment” to allow into the country, especially in the

poorer developing countries! Although most of the atmospheric pollution presently occurs in

Source: Conservation for survival. Lindahl K, 1972, page 14.

Earth, Moon, Mars or beyond?

the highly Industrialised countries, this scourge is fast shifting to the less developed nations. While the Developed nations are looking for ways to deal with the waste emanating from mass production, the poorer nations will compromise many issues so as to get the technological and financial assistance from the more advanced nations. Since these poor nations have no choice in the matter, they open their countries to all manner of investment without caring to put certain minimum environmental and health standards in place. As such, Page | 108 the rich investors come with their powerful Dollars, revive old dilapidated mines and factories as well as explore new areas of development. Half the time, these new investors’ main goal is profit and not sustainable development per se. We do not need to go far, we just need to turn our eye and see what has taken place in Zambia where the major factories and mines have been taken over. There is literary no care for the environment. Another way this serpent has slithered its way into the less environmentally polluted countries is under the guise of “aid”. This subjective point is validated by the fact that in the countries where these industries originate have strict laws and very high fines slapped for pollution offences. Without foresight, these beggarly nations embrace any glimmer of apparent free technical help not realising that there is a translation of pollution points. That is not to say that there is nothing good in all the technical aid given, not at all! To the contrary, the presence of these institutions will create the much-coveted jobs, though at the cost of long term permanent α damage to the environment. The air quality degenerates to almost inhaling smoke , akin to Hitler’s gas chambers!
11. Establish the critical loads of every environment. This is very crucial if sustainable

development is to be a reality in the world today. There must be a deliberate policy in place to determine the critical loads of the environment. Since Pollution cannot be entirely χ eradicated , degradation. As such, the environment has certain levels of Pollution that it can safely clean beyond which the earth does not have the capacity to effectively clear the air. This calls for careful observation and research and then to determine the maximum levels beyond which degradation begins. In the case of water bodies for example, this means that the acid neutralising capacity (ANC) must be known. The propensity to turn acidic must be determined. In some countries, the air and water are so easily pollutable because of the continued releasing of pollutants into them.
12. Curb noise pollution: Though noise pollution is here to stay, ways must be devised which

minimise the noise levels from machinery. Silencers must be utilised or the noise pollution sources relocated to alternate places far from society. This will minimise the inconvenience suffered by myriads. As the article new millennium unfolds we, like the article author ably concludes, hope that the law enacted will have the potency to restore sanity in human kinds’ mad quest to exploit nature

See the May 1987 issue of the National Geographic page 624

“Exposure to air pollution is now almost an inescapable part of the urban part of life throughout the world”- UNEP, 1992

Earth, Moon, Mars or beyond?

without paying back dividends. Let us join hands with the environmental crusaders on the throes of earth restoration! Bibliography
Page | 109 1. Zambia Daily mail, 4 August 1999 issue by Kasuba Mulenga, “Environmental polluters to
th

face criminal charges” 2. Reader’s Digest, May 1991 issue, Pekkanen “The man who flew into hell” Pages 147-176 3. Introduction to global environmental issues.1995 Pickering C. Owen. L. London & New York. Routledge 4. Enviro line, April 1996 issue Vol 1 No. 1 Environmental council of Zambia 5. Conservation for survival: an ecological strategy.1972. Lindahl K. London. Victor Collancz ltd 6. Worlds in the sky.1992. Sheenan. W 7. GIS WORLD, March 1994 issue,Vol 7 No. 3. Page 32. Chernobyl: GIS aids model nuclear disaster relief. GIS WORLD Inc, Washington. 8. National Geographic, May 1987 issue. Mike Edwards, “Chernobyl-One year after” pages 632-653,624-625 9. Caring for the earth- a strategy for sustainable development (Summary). IUCN/WWF/UNEP 1991 10. A bomb Radiation effects Digest. Harwood academic publishers, 1993. 11. National Geographic, July 1987 issue. Cobb.C. jr. The Great Lakes’ troubled waters. Pages 2-31 12. National Geographic, July 1992 issue. Lee D. America’s third coast 13. Message, May/June 1990 page 18,19, WM.B Eerdmans publishing Co., 1985 14. National Geographic, March 1985 issue, Allen A. Boraiko. Hazardous waste. Pages 318351,364-383 15. Quotations from the Rio de Jenairo summit

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Index
A
Aires.................................................23, 24 anthropogenic...12, 39, 41, 43, 64, 95, 100 Apollo. 7, 12, 22, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 52, 58, 59, 60, 61, 62 artificial satellite.....................................36 asteroid..15, 18, 21, 33, 35, 37, 74, 75, 76, 77, 86, 90 Astronauts....24, 26, 27, 28, 39, 58, 60, 61, 86 astronomer...........................35, 81, 82, 86 Atlantis...................................................23 atmosphere....9, 12, 19, 20, 21, 22, 24, 26, 27, 29, 32, 34, 35, 37, 42, 43, 44, 47, 53, 61, 67, 68, 69, 70, 72, 73, 74, 75, 76, 79, 80, 81, 82, 83, 84, 86, 88, 91, 95, 96, 97, 98, 99, 100, 101, 102, 103, 104, 105, 107

cosmonauts......................................11, 26 craft. 12, 18, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 27, 28, 59, 63, 72, 76, 79 Creation..................................................39

D
Dambiso Moyo........................................45 Dead Aid.................................................45 degradation. 12, 39, 41, 42, 43, 44, 46, 55, 105, 108 Democracy.............................................50 Discovery................................................23 Dwarf planets.........................................84

E
earth 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 15, 16, 18, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 35, 36, 37, 39, 41, 43, 44, 48, 50, 51, 52, 54, 55, 57, 58, 60, 61, 62, 63, 64, 67, 68, 69, 70, 72, 73, 74, 75, 76, 77, 79, 80, 82, 83, 84, 85, 86, 90, 91, 97, 98, 99, 101, 103, 105, 106, 108, 109 Earth....1, 8, 11, 13, 17, 18, 20, 22, 23, 24, 25, 27, 30, 34, 37, 39, 46, 51, 52, 53, 55, 56, 58, 63, 65, 72, 73, 76, 79, 85, 91, 92, 93, 99 ecosystem................40, 94, 102, 103, 105 Edmund Halley.......................................35 Endeavour..............................................23 England............................................70, 95 Environmental....12, 41, 46, 52, 56, 65, 92, 93, 94, 105, 109 ESA.........................................................21 EU...........................................................45 extra terrestrial.......................................10

B
Beagle....................................................20 Big Bang.............................................8, 39 biodiversity.........................39, 42, 51, 104 black hole.........................................14, 33 Buran shuttle..........................................23

C
centripetal forces....................................13 Challenger............................23, 28, 29, 52 China..........................................48, 60, 63 Chinese...................................................11 climate, climate......................................41 Columbia..........................................23, 29 Comets...................................................35 Conspiracy theory...................................60

Earth, Moon, Mars or beyond?
Extraterrestrial life......................12, 85, 86 extremists...............................................49

N
NASA 10, 16, 17, 19, 21, 23, 27, 28, 29, 30, 38, 44, 61, 76, 77, 92 Neptune. 13, 15, 33, 34, 36, 70, 78, 81, 82, 83, 84, 90 Page | 111

G
galaxy.......................14, 30, 31, 32, 86, 91 Galileo.............................20, 57, 77, 78, 79 Gemini........................................22, 27, 58 Genetically modified Organisms.............43 geographical.............................9, 103, 106 Global warming...............................42, 103 globe...........................9, 10, 12, 41, 45, 60 God.......................................30, 39, 41, 48 Green Business.......................................46

O

H
heliopause........................................15, 35 Hubble space telescope..........9, 22, 31, 32 humans 3, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 22, 25, 28, 31, 36, 39, 41, 43, 44, 45, 48, 51, 54, 55, 57, 58, 62, 64, 65, 67, 69, 70, 74, 75, 78, 79, 82, 84, 85, 86, 87, 90, 91, 99, 101 Hydrogen........................12, 34, 76, 82, 83

Obama....................................................11 Opportunity................................11, 19, 68 orbital influence........................................9 organisms....16, 30, 37, 42, 43, 44, 47, 52, 67, 69, 70, 74, 86, 91, 98, 100, 101, 104 Ozone...............................44, 98, 101, 102

P
Pioneer...16, 17, 18, 19, 72, 74, 75, 78, 89, 90 planet...3, 6, 10, 11, 12, 13, 16, 19, 20, 21, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 50, 52, 55, 61, 67, 68, 69, 70, 72, 73, 74, 75, 76, 77, 78, 79, 80, 81, 82, 83, 84, 90, 91 Pluto.13, 15, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 77, 81, 83, 84, 88, 90, 91 Pollution. .42, 57, 93, 94, 95, 102, 105, 108 probes 9, 14, 15, 16, 19, 21, 31, 68, 70, 72, 74, 75, 77, 78, 81, 90

I
Indians....................................................11 Inner solar system....................................9 international space station.....................23 Iran.........................................................48

R
race to the moon........9, 24, 26, 58, 59, 60 Religion...................................................48 Rovers........................................11, 20, 62 Russia.....................11, 22, 25, 48, 74, 102

J
Jupiter....13, 15, 16, 18, 19, 20, 31, 34, 36, 70, 74, 75, 76, 77, 78, 79, 80, 81, 82, 83, 90

M
Magellan...........................................21, 74 Mariner.......................................14, 68, 74 Mars...1, 10, 11, 12, 13, 15, 16, 20, 23, 31, 33, 34, 37, 51, 60, 63, 67, 68, 69, 70, 73, 74, 77, 86, 88, 90, 91 Martian.................................16, 19, 67, 69 Mercury...........................34, 36, 72, 73, 77 mineral deposits.....................................11 Mir 1.......................................................26 moon....6, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 21, 22, 24, 27, 28, 33, 36, 56, 57, 58, 59, 60, 61, 62, 63, 64, 65, 67, 69, 72, 73, 75, 77, 84, 90, 91

S
satellite...11, 13, 21, 25, 36, 53, 77, 80, 84 Saturn....13, 15, 16, 19, 21, 24, 26, 34, 76, 77, 78, 79, 80, 81, 82, 88, 93 Shuttle Transport System...................4, 23 Sky lab..............................................24, 25 Solar winds.......................................14, 35 Soyuz..........................................24, 26, 27 space. 3, 6, 7, 8, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 44, 51, 52, 53, 54, 55, 57, 58, 59, 60, 61, 62, 63, 65, 67, 68, 69, 70,

Earth, Moon, Mars or beyond?
72, 74, 75, 76, 78, 79, 80, 81, 82, 85, 86, 87, 88, 90, 91, 93, 97, 104 Space 1999...........................10, 62, 64, 65 space shuttle....................................11, 22 Space Shuttle..............................23, 28, 59 Spirit...........................................11, 19, 68 Star Trek...................10, 25, 54, 86, 87, 90 Star Wars..........................................10, 88 sustainable development..40, 46, 108, 109 Sustainable development.................46, 91 Uranus......................13, 15, 34, 70, 81, 82 USA....9, 11, 15, 22, 23, 25, 27, 29, 48, 58, 59, 60, 61, 63, 68, 75, 86, 99 USSR.......10, 22, 23, 26, 48, 58, 59, 60, 98

V
Venera..............................................21, 74 Venezuela...............................................48 Venus......13, 16, 17, 19, 21, 34, 73, 74, 77 Viking Lander..........................................16 Voyager. . .3, 14, 15, 22, 31, 35, 72, 77, 78, 80, 81, 82, 83, 84, 90

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T
Titan.................................................21, 80

Y
Yuri Gagarin......................................14, 58

U
UK...............................................45, 86, 95 Unidentified Flying Objects.....................85 Universe...8, 15, 22, 30, 31, 32, 37, 67, 88, 91

Z
Zambia.................................................113

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About the author

Billy Sichone trained as an Accountant and worked as a Program Accountant at one of World Vision International-Zambia’s large scale Area Development Programs (ADP) for seven years before moving on to hold other portfolios. He holds several qualifications that include an MBA. He is married to Jane and they have two daughters together. Among his interests are studying, reading, photography, research, writing, poultry, art, meeting people, astronomy, cycling and adventure. In keeping with his interests, he has produced several DVDs, books and is a public speaker.

Visit his u tube site on: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n2vu-QE0Oj4 to sample some of his materials

Earth, Moon, Mars or beyond?

You could also visit his SCRIBD site (BILLYSICHONE) where he has lodged his other writings on various subjects

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