Military nuclear accidents

March 18, 2013 at 23:33

A few days ago I found this interesting list: List of military nuclear accidents. I was amazed at how stupid the human race can be, “silly asses“, and the high number of nuclear accidents in naval ships specially caught my attention. But one of them is even odder than the rest: the K-219 incident.

Soviet submarine K-219

Soviet submarine K-219

On October 1986, the K-219 Soviet submarine sank together with its two nuclear reactors and the full set of warheads after an explosion in a missile tube. The URSS claimed that the leak was caused by a collision with an American submarine…

The incident even inspired a film, Hostile Waters, and lots of conspiracy theories, but there is still a big question to be answered: where are the warheads? According to the Wikipedia article:

In 1988, the Soviet hydrographic research ship Keldysh positioned itself over the wreck of K-219, and found the submarine sitting upright on the sandy bottom. It had broken in two aft of the conning tower. Several missile silo hatches had been forced open, and the missiles, along with the nuclear warheads they contained, were gone.

So let’s wait for more US declassified documents.

The Wakhan Corridor

February 20, 2013 at 23:56

Wakhan Corridor

Today I read an article at National Geographic about the Wakhan corridor and the nomads who still live in there. This region belongs to Afghanistan since 1893, when  Britain paid Afghanistan to create this buffer zone between the British India and the Russian Empire. But after the rising of communism in Russia and China, the frontiers became sealed, deeply affecting the life of its nomad inhabitants.

I’m fascinated about how the Kyrgyz nomads can survive at more than 4200 meters above sea level, moving from the north to the south face of the mountain range depending on the season. Furthermore, I can’t imagine how overwhelmed Marco Polo felt when he visited the region in the 1200s…

National Geographic. a family yurt in the Kyrgyz lands of the Wakhan Corridor.

There is an excellent image gallery here from the Varial and Nadjari 2011 expedition.

I’m becoming more and more interested in Central Asia as long as I’m reading about the region, its old history and its pristine nature. How beautiful will stars shine from there?

Lunokhod 1

February 11, 2013 at 11:10

Lunokhod 1

When I was a kid, I spent most of the time building different stuff with Lego®. I remember devouring books about satellites and space rovers to reproduce them with Lego bricks. One of my favorite ones was the Lunokhod 1 (as I was completely fascinated about soviet techonology) and it seems I’m not the only one that was interested in reproducing the Lunokhod using Lego (see below): http://lego.cuusoo.com/ideas/view/23916

I am not the only one building soviet rovers in Lego :)

I am not the only one building soviet rovers in Lego 🙂

By chance, today I’ve read that in 2010 the lost Lunokhod 1 was found again! A NASA team pointed a laser beam to the Lunokhod 1 and they had a strong signal back: “We got about 2,000 photons from Lunokhod 1 on our first try. After almost 40 years of silence, this rover has a lot to say,”. Lunokhod 1  was the first remote controlled robot to land on another celestial object and, after a successful mission, scientists have found a new way of using Lunokhod’s reflector to measure Earth-Moon system.

Below, I paste a little snippet from Wikipedia’s entry about the end of mission and results:

Controllers finished the last communications session with Lunokhod 1 at 13:05 UT on September 14, 1971. Attempts to re-establish contact were finally discontinued and the operations of Lunokhod 1 officially ceased on October 4, 1971, the anniversary of Sputnik 1. During its 322 Earth days of operations, Lunokhod travelled 10,540 metres (6.55 miles) and returned more than 20,000 TV images and 206 high-resolution panoramas. In addition, it performed 25 lunar soil analyses with its RIFMA x-ray fluorescence spectrometer and used its penetrometer at 500 different locations.

Heroes of Science Action Figures

November 19, 2012 at 13:58

I’ll definitely buy all of them if they were real.

Anatidaephobia

October 2, 2012 at 22:26

Anatidaephobia – the fictional fear that somewhere, somehow, a duck is watching you.