Part 2…The earth is vast and fascinating…A view from space…Exciting adventures in Kruger Park coming in tomorrow’s post…

I realize this article is very long and may be hard for many to read. But, it is interesting and can give us a great perspective of our earth, its majesty, and its risks.  No doubt, I hesitated to copy and paste the length of this article as it continues from where we left off at the bottom of today’s post.  But, many may find it interesting. I did not edit the spelling and grammar and copied it exactly as I found it.

Today, we headed to Kruger National Park when the WiFi was out this morning. It was cloudy with the possibility of rain, but we decided to go regardless. We had to enter the office at the entrance at Crocodile Bridge since our former WildCard had expired in April, and it was time to renew the annual pass. The cost for the new one-year WildCard was ZAR 5345, US$311.

The enjoyment we get freely going in and out of the national park is well worth the cost. Once the pass was issued, we entered the park and had one of the most fantastic and rewarding self-drive safaris we’ve had to date. We can’t wait to share our photos in tomorrow’s and future day’s posts. Please check back tomorrow!!

Here is the continuation of this story about the Earth from this site.

“They owe it all to the Raikoke volcano.

Luckily, the volcano causing this beautiful sight was the Raikoke volcano. This specific beast is located on the Kuri Islands off the coast of Japan and is an entirely uninhabited area. There were no people that could be hurt by this eruption.

This volcano is part of the infamous Ring of Fire and has erupted twice in the past – the first time in 1778 and once again in 1924. This relatively small volcano was making a lot of commotion.

Their photos can lend a hand to NASA’s projects unlike anyone else

The astronauts aboard the International Space Station took the photos of the event and made quick work of sending them down to Earth in order to report it and also share the stunning views that they were seeing.

The photos were shared by space fanatics all around the globe. The images that the team captures over the years are also a possible helping hand in some of NASA’s future projects. They have viewing capabilities unlike anyone in the world, so they are able to monitor unlike anyone as well.

NASA is studying a post-apocalyptic scenario

NASA is best known for its abilities to send satellites and astronauts into space. So, would it be surprising to learn that they have a team of scientists working on a model of a post-apocalyptic New York City?

They are studying this model seriously, not in the least bit jokingly or as a side project. NASA is not known for being forthcoming when it comes to information and reasoning for projects, so this one is that much more ominous.

Air Force veteran and NASA recruit is convinced about the end of the world

Lindley Johnson is the man behind the study of this peculiar model. He was with the Air Force for 23 years and joined NASA in 2003. He has always been a practical man, but the fascination and belief of the end of the world has been a significant driver for him to study the possibilities.

He has been fixated on the end of the world for as long as he could remember. What he has to say is pretty convincing.

He is NASA’s Planetary Defense Officer

However, he is no crazy man. He is not talking about some dramatic apocalypse like you would see in a movie or television show. He is discussing it from an analytical standpoint. Lindley hold the position of Planetary Defense Officer at NASA (yes, that is an actual position).

He is therefore given all of the information that us civilians are not privy to, and knows what he speaks of when he talks and warns about the end of the world.

Lindley protects the Earth from space rocks

Lindley’s job is not to concern himself with how good of a job we humans are doing to ruin our own planet and endangering ourselves, he is rather more focused towards space and the amount of debris that can come in Earth’s direction and become a real threat.

The majority of the meteorites that head towards Earth are microscopic or small enough not to matter, but there are those that can be a real issue. It’s Lindley’s job to protect Earth from space rocks.

The likelihood of an asteroid hitting Earth

If an asteroid was speeding its way towards Earth and was the size of several football fields in diameter, it would most likely hit some form of ocean since the Earth is 71 percent of that makeup.

However, Lindley is not working on probability – he wants exact numbers and is not relying on luck here. The amount of threats from space are many fold, the amount of credible end of the world threats are not as common. Still, it takes just one to make it all disappear.

This is why they do their hypothetical studies

This is exactly why NASA and Lindley’s team do the hypothetical studies in regards to possible large asteroids hitting urban areas, such as New York City. Historically, thousands of years separate each massive catastrophe such as an asteroid from the other.

However, Lindley is not taking any chances and wants to be prepared in the event that they are wrong about timing, or that time finally does come. There is no scenario that a whole city is removed from the map that is okay by him.

Earth is littered with past collisions

There are many places on Earth that showcase the kind of destruction a collision with a large space rock can do. Earth is littered with craters and canyons that happened as a result of such events.

NASA is not going to allow Midtown Manhattan to become a crater like this one. However, they are looking into true scenarios where this could happen, and if so, how far the damage from such a collision would spread. It is not an easy model to analyze.

Congress finally understood just how important Lindley’s work is

Lindley and his colleagues have been working on this vital model for many years, and have been doing so on a very small budget. In 2015, however, everything changed when they were able to convince Congress about how important their work really is.

A convinced Congress beefed up Lindley’s budget and yearly spending power from their measly $5 million per year, to $50 million. That is the kind of budgetary lift that they needed to make even more projections.

Lindley and his team work on threats we never hear about

Now that he had more financial resources, Lindley was able to expand his team and research and get a better handle on what he is sure to be a galactic threat.

He and his team at NASA put together an arsenal of collected data and created high-end technology to make sure any astroid on its way to Earth that could possibly be a threat, be dealt with and kept away. That kind of work is not spoken of often; we never hear about the threats we almost face.

He knew what to do to keep an asteroid from hitting Earth

NASA keeps the information to the public at a minimum in order to prevent any sort of chaos. They have, however, documented more than 2,000 asteroids around our solar system who would have had the capacity – if came into Earth atmosphere – to decimate a whole continent.

When such a threat is imminent, Lindley knows that blowing up the space rock would cause a lot of fallout, so he and his team had other ways to deal with such a nuisance.

Using unmanned spacecrafts to push the asteroid in a different direction

The most efficient and promising way of redirecting asteroids seems to be by the use of kinetic impactors. These are unmanned spacecrafts that would purposely collide with the asteroid at an incredibly high speed, forcing it to change its trajectory and change course away from Earth.

For lack of a better analogy, it is pretty much like playing space billiards, just with all of our lives at stake. The destruction of the kinetic impactors is unquestionable, but that is the whole point of it.

Lindley doesn’t believe that landing on an asteroid would work

If this sounds familiar, it probably has to do with the fact that Hollywood loves to make films about possible end of world scenarios at the hand of giant asteroids.

Lindley takes offense with the Hollywood blockbuster film Armageddon, as he does not agree with the course of action of landing on an asteroid and drilling a bomb into it. While that is not the best course of action, NASA has not removed it as an option altogether should the need arise.

They simulate complicated asteroid landings anyway

Astronauts have to go through a lot of mental and physical training before they are sent into space. Among their many training courses, they are taught how to handle complex landings on asteroids.

No one in history has ever attempted such a thing, but they simulate it as best they can. NASA sees such a scenario more for the collection of samples than for the explosion of an asteroid. However, having these skills may prove to come in very handy.

NASA has more eyes in the sky now

NASA has kept their simulated scenarios sharp as they train for future possibilities, but they have also added more resources, financial and time, to their more experience-based handling of asteroid prevention.

For example, they have installed additional orbital telescopes so that they can have a better view to monitor space activity in case some form of large space rock decides to make its way too close to Earth. Everything is about being prepared and knowing what is coming their way.

First the asteroids need to be detected

The most important part of all of this is the ability to see far enough into space to spot these asteroids before they even get somewhat close to Earth. The majority of the deflection techniques that were Lindley’s specialty, take several months to years to be put into proper place. 4

Therefore, the first step is the kind of technology that will detect an asteroid years from its possible collision with Earth. NASA is not working on this mission alone, thankfully.

Lindley is working with FEMA to prepare

Lindley and his team worked closely with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), to prepare for such possible damage from a collision with a space rock. Lindley said, “They are a great way for us to learn how to work together and meet each other’s needs.”

The two need to work together to detect and then react should there be a need to get people out of harms way, come to their aid when their area is hit, or the many other possible scenarios they are working with.

Lindley got several world organizations to work together

Lindley organized a conference in 2019 that included the International Asteroid Warning Network, and the European Space Agency. He knew that they needed to work together to make his plan a reality as they each had something the other needed.

Each of these organizations, Lindley representing NASA, have eyes in space and together, they are able to have a broader and deeper look at the sky. He was thinking outside of the box, just like a wise scientist and engineer would.

Lindley is ruining every doomsday preppers plans

The likelihood of such a drastic event such as an asteroid hitting Earth is so minimal, but there are those who are making sure that if it does happen, they are ready to go with provisions for years.

These individuals are called doomsday preppers, and they are impressive rooms and technology (low-tech for that matter) to ensure their survival. We don’t mean to ruin these people’s plans, but if Lindley has anything to do with it, they will never need to use any of that.

He is on his own form of space race

Lindley’s job is a serious one, with a heavy toll if the work is done right or wrong. While his job may be a life or death kind of situation, he says that he doesn’t have a problem sleeping at night. For Lindley, it is another day at work making sure that they are one step ahead of any sort of space rock that has the other idea. He and his team go in day after day to be on their own kind of space race.

Lindley’s colleague took his teacher all too literally

Lindley works with a man named George Aldrich. When Aldrich’s teach in elementary school told him that he could “shoot for the stars” when he was young, he took it literally. He worked hard and did whatever he had to do to make it to NASA.”

For the remainder of this article, please click here and scroll very far down the page.

We hope you’ll return tomorrow to see our exciting adventures on Thursday, July 21, 2022, in Kruger National Park.

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, July 21, 2021:

Green Valley Ranch Resort and Spa is a fabulous property. When we return to Las Vegas in years to come, we’d love to stay here again. For more photos, please click here.

Part 1…The earth is vast and fascinating…A view from space…

Note: Not our photos (obviously).

We write about beautiful and exciting countries we’ve visited, stunning scenery, and exquisite wildlife. We’ve yet to write about the Earth itself for its vast expanse and perspective as seen from space. I’ve always dreamed of going into space, but realistically the cost and my age are hugely limiting factors.

When we’re flying, I am mesmerized by the scenery below, but I can’t even imagine seeing earth from space and how mesmerizing it must be. I always envy astronauts’ opportunities to see this earth from their viewpoints. Now, with technology at an all-time pinnacle, records from space stations have sent the space community into a frenzy.

There’s no point in using my own words to describe these events when I am certainly no expert and only a casual observer of what I see and read from reports along with photos from ultra-high-powered telescopes.

Thus, today, I am sharing an article I read that offers some new insight, some of which you may be aware of and others that you may not. Bear with me as I relay the words of the writer of this article that piqued my attention and interest. Perhaps, you may find it interesting as well.

Here it is from this article:

“Space Station Records Remarkable Phenomenon That Left Astronauts and Experts Bewildered

Outer space is something many of us have a fascination with, as well as a hard time completely grasping. Endless space is something most of us have only seen through television and film. With our curiosity and desire for discovery, we must also remember to look homeward and all the amazing things that take place on Earth.

As humankind has explored more and more of space, it has also grown a little bored with the findings, as many of them repeat themselves. However, these recent images taken from a space station have captured a phenomenon that reminds us that Earth is still filled with mysteries that need to be answered.

The astronauts saw something. 

Space, as we know so far, is filled with planets, stars, and endless discoveries. With the advancement of technology, we have made tremendous strides in exploring space. We view it with admiration and never-ending study to try and find out more about all of the uncharted territory that surrounds our planet.

Recently, a group of astronauts who has been living at the space station, spotted an event on Earth that left them totally baffled. They had never seen anything like it.

Overlooking our own planet

While a possible extraterrestrial sighting would be top headline news, there is another truly mystifying place that we keep overlooking – our own planet.

Earth has been occupied by us for as long as humans have been around, naturally, and we have therefore lost some of our appreciation for the fact that there is a lot about Earth that we don’t know, and the fact that it, too, is taking up a place in space. Maybe thins change of perspective will help convince you…

Only astronauts can take these photos

From their spot on the International Space Station, astronauts are able to take photos of Earth with their high-powered camera and lenses that are retrofitted to the space station itself. Over the years that they have been on the vessel, the men and women on board have snapped some absolutely incredible sights.

Getting a view like that only happens with you are hundreds of miles away from the Earth’s surface, floating right outside its atmosphere. These are breathtaking images.

The Milky Way as a backdrop to Earth

In this image, you can see the far away edge of the Milky Way as a spectacular background to Earth. What you are seeing below, on Earth, is the Sahara Desert in Africa, which tends to tint the atmosphere with an orange hue as the sun begins to arrive on that side of the planet.

The sun makes the Earth seem orange as the light bounces off the sand. The stark contrast between Earth and space is a bold one in this photo.

They see the moon 16 times a day

The International Space Station orbits Earth every 90 minutes. As it goes through these motions, the astronauts aboard the vessel see the moon 16 times a day. This is one of the photos that their camera caught during one of their rotations.

It is part of their daily life, seeing the moon so many times. Sounds disorienting to us, but these men and women were trained for all of this prior to entering the Space Station. This is nothing compared to the other phenomenon they encountered.

 They get a front row seat to see the auroras 

Another event these astronauts got to see on a regular basis is the auroras. These take place in the north and south poles on Earth. The International Space Station gets front row seats to one of Earth’s most magical phenomenon.

Seeing these auroras is possible from Earth, but seeing them from above, with no light pollution diminishing the view, is something else. They snapped this photo, which they said barely did the magnificent event justice. This is just the tip of the iceberg, though.

Breathtaking lights of Spain as it almost touches Morocco 

The astronauts up there are also able to see just how active we are down on the ground. The lights that beam from our respective homes and businesses collect together to show where the population is.

From space, these are the kinds of views that the men and women see. Cloudless nights look like this – whole cities and countries lit up in spectacular fashion. You are looking at Spain, where it almost meets Morocco. You have to be as far as the space station to get a view like this.

They don’t always want a front row seat to see human impact on the environment

The astronauts on the International Space Station also have a front row view to human impact on planet Earth. It is not always good to have such a view. The impact we humans have had on the environment and the manipulation through technology has truly taken its toll.

 They see the world from a wholly different point of view

They do, however, get to see some of the world’s most incredible wonders from a point of view that only a select few – those in space – can. They are able to zoom in with their camera, like in this instance, to take this photo of the Himalayas.

To those on the ground, the Himalayas are a series of mountain peaks, but from space, you see the rivers that cut through the snow and make the natural terrain the formation that it is.

The Earth can sometimes be confused for an oil painting 

Unbelievably, what you are looking at is the desert in Iran that looks more like a painting than a massive sunny wasteland. There are no trees or any sort of coverage for the land in that area, all there is for miles and miles is sun-soaked sand and stone.

The astronauts were not sure what they were looking at the first time they got to see this. However, this is just a small part of what they see from their incredible vantage point.

Not every photo they took had a clear explanation 

They are also able to view famous spots like the Great Barrier Reef in an unprecedented way. It is already incredibly impressive when you see it from Earth, but from Earth’s orbit – it is a whole new level of wonder.

While these photos are undeniably breathtaking, there have been other photos that the crew aboard the International Space Station captured that have been much more baffling and distressing to them. Not everything had an explanation, and this was one of those times.

Terrifying views of natural disasters

From their position outside of Earth’s atmosphere, the astronauts also have a terrifying view of natural disasters. While they are out of harms way, being up there and all, they cannot help but fear as though they were on the ground.

This photo was taken in 2003 during Hurricane Isabel as it was taking shape over the Atlantic prior to hitting the eastern coast of the United States. They could see the storm collecting power as it moved across the ocean.

They helped with disaster relief efforts

Following monsoon rains that took place in Thailand, the Mekong River was flooded over badly, so much so that the Space Station was able to see just how overflowing it was.

The International Space Station, from their unique vantage point, were able to be of help in this instance, as they were able to help with relief efforts by outlining just how bad the flooding was so that the rescuers could get to the most hard-hit locations in the most timely manner.

They spotted a phenomenon that they couldn’t ignore

However, in 2019, another distressing natural disaster loomed that sent the men and women on the Space Station grabbing for the camera. Despite the fact that this phenomenon is not a new one, the scene that was unfolding before their eyes was one that they could not stop watching, let alone ignore.

The powerful camera located on the International Space Station captured incredible footage, some of which did not make much sense. They were bewildered, and so were the experts who were getting their documentation.

One day, they came across this…

Initially, the astronauts could not really make out what they were looking at. There was heavy cloud coverage that day that had made viewing very difficult. However, a small plume of smoke was entering the higher levels of the atmosphere.

The team waited until they were more in orbit, and until the clouds cleared the way a bit. When everything did come into focus, the crew was absolutely in awe of what they were seeing. This was unlike anything they have ever seen before.

They were seeing a rare volcanic eruption

Incredibly, what they were seeing was a volcano erupting! The massive explosion caused a huge cloud of gas and fire, scattering debris and ash in every direction for thousands upon thousands of miles.

The crew then wondered, what volcano could be responsible for such an amazing sight? They were also concerned if there was anyone around that this could pose as a danger to. They continued to take photos of the breathtaking event as it was happening. What a sight!”

We’ll finish with Part 2 in tomorrow’s post.

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, July 20, 2021:

A small section of the Las Vegas Strip from the highway. For more photos, please click here.