Sci Station Canada

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Great Scientists, 17th Century (1600-1699), The late Renaissance & Reformation - Sir Isaac Newton

Sir Isaac Newton - Dr Robert A. Hatch, University of Florida
An elegant and comprehensive biography.

Sir Isaac Newton: The Universal Law of Gravitation
Reasonably intensive, course text from the University of Tennessees’ Astronomy 161: "The Planets", a comprehensive on-line text book.

Sir Isaac Newton
Grade school biography

Google Web Directory: Science/Physics/History/People/Newton
Comprehensive Links, including subsection for kids

Newton in Star Trek
Player in Datas’ holographic poker game as seen on STNG Season 6 "Descent, Part 1" Episodes / Movies
Episode summary.

An Interesting Poker Game
Uses the poker game to compare the different concepts of physics of the players and asks the question - Can science prove God does not exist?

Canada gets James Webb Space Telescope contract

Canada has been a partner in the JWST from the onset but on September 16th the Canadian Space industry saw it's first contract inked.

The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) recently awarded a $5-million contract to Ottawa-based EMS Technologies' Space and Technology Group for the design of the fine guidance sensor, in partnership with COM DEV of Cambridge, Ontario...
"Our instrument, the fine guidance sensor, is critical to the success of the mission. It will measure the positions of very faint stars to extremely high accuracy. This is necessary for JWST to achieve the high quality of images required by the scientific objectives," added Mr. Alan Haase, Senior Vice-President and General Manager of EMS Technologies' Space and Technology Group. "We are also including a tunable filter camera that will provide unique scientific capabilities."

Saturday, September 18, 2004

So you think you know your Canadian Cities?

Think you know your city like the back of your hand? Want to see them from a viewpoint few ever see? Checkout the Global contest at the Vancouver SpaceFest web site.

Daily prize winners receive a day pass to the Space Centre for a family of five. The grand prize winner receives a framed image of Vancouver taken from Space, a One-year membership and a Special Space Party at the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre for a group of 20 people.

Might I suggest that if the prize were won by anyone outside Vancouver, it would make a good donation for a charity auction?

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Asteroid crash Genesis

According to a report in The Independant "a massive impact with a giant asteroid - the Haughton impact crater on Devon Island, Nunavut Territory, Canada - could have kick-started life on Earth more than four billion years ago by providing an ideal environment for incubating the world's first lifeform.

Charles Cockell, of the British Antarctic Survey in Cambridge, said analysis of rocks has shown how asteroids can help life to flourish. The intense heat of an asteroid impact causes rock minerals to vapourise, leaving tiny cracks and crevices inside the rock where microbes can live. "We've discovered that rocks inside the crater are more heavily colonised by microbes than the rocks outside the crater," Dr Cockell told the British Association Festival of Science being held in Exeter.

The Haughton crater was created 25 million years ago when an asteroid about a kilometre wide hit Earth, releasing energy equivalent to about 1,000 Hiroshima atomic bombs. When they hit the ground most of the energy is released as heat and one of the effects of that is to provide the energy for simple organic compounds to form more complex compounds," Dr Cockell said.

The heat from a similar impact about four billion years ago could have lasted for between 1,000 and a million years. This may have kept any water collecting within the crater at a constant warm temperature, providing an ideal environment for the origins of life.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

da Vinci must break the paper barrier first!

According to The Saskatoon StarPhoenix ...

The Canadian government has not yet given its stamp of approval to the da Vinci Project's rocket launch in Kindersley, putting the Oct. 2 liftoff in some jeopardy.
The launch team still has to purchase an insurance policy to cover potential injuries and property damage. In addition, a document indemnifying the Canadian government against launch damages must also be filed by the project team, which is led by Brian Feeney.
Lucie Vignola, a spokesperson with Transport Canada in Ottawa, said the agency won't approve a launch licence until then. And even if the documents are filed soon, she could not guarantee the approval process will be completed by the intended launch date of Oct. 2.
'We're not in this to try and delay anything. We're working with Mr. Feeney,' she said. 'But we have to make sure everything is copasetic. We're not going to compromise the safety of the public or of property' by rushing the evaluation process"

Oops! The impression has always been that Feeney had government approval for his launch! Feeney is not letting a few pieces of paper slow him down though! ...

"The project ranks amongst the most complicated ever undertaken in this country. The team though rose to the challenge years ago and continues to push toward the launch line of Oct. 2," Feeney wrote ... "There were more than 30 engineers involved at our end in completing the evaluation part of the process with the Canadian government -- range safety, the works. It took more than a year. That part of the process was completed by April 7 of this year, a day following the announcement by the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) of Burt Rutan's approval."

Nobody wants the Da Vinci project to end with a bang ... but we certainly don't want it to end with a whimper either! Just keep repeating to yourself "Beurocrats are our friends ... they are trying to protect us from ourselves ..."