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Third Dutch-born Astronaut Launched on Soyuz TMA-03M

Soyuz TMA-03M launched successfully from Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 14.16pm Amsterdam time today, carrying the next three crew members for the ISS.
The European Space Agency's Andre Kuipers, NASA's Don Pettit and Roscosmos Oleg Kononenko launched to complement the crew for Expedition's 30 and 31 aboard the International Space Station.
The spacecraft will presently orbit the Earth 36 times, executing three major engine burns, to be able to adjust its trajectory to meet the ISS on Friday at 14.43 Amsterdam time ( +1 GMT). The docking on Friday will be broadcast live on NASA-TV. The three astronauts will join the US Dan Burbank and Russians Anton Shkaplerov and Anatoly Ivanishin, who have been living on the station since November. All six expedition members will be there to greet the first ever commercial resupply from the US, when Elon Musk's SpaceX Dragon ship sets out for the ISS in February. There'll also be time for Kononenko and Shkaplerov to carry out external assembly and maintenance on the station during a six-hour spacewalk.
Burbank, Shkaplerov and Ivanishin are due back in March, and the second half of the crew will return to Earth in May.
André kuipers is the third Dutch born to enter space for his second mission (his first mission was Soyuz TMA-4 launched 19 April 2004 duration 11 day's). The first dutch born in space was Lodewijk van den Berg (launched aboard Space Shuttle Challenger on April 29, 1985 STS-51B.), at the time of his flight, Van den Berg was not a Dutch citizen, having been naturalized as US citizen.
The second Dutch-born astronaut and first Dutch citizen to have been to space is Wubbo Ockels (Space Shuttle Challenger on October 30, 1985 STS-61A, the last successful flight of the challenger). 
During this 6-month PromISSe mission, André will conduct 57 experiments and around 15 from other Station partners, including human research, life sciences, physics, materials science, radiation research and technology demonstrations
His mission also features a strong educational aspect centred on the theme ‘Spaceship Earth’.
The lessons from space will educate children in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, as well as teaching about the requirements for life on Earth.
As part of ‘Mission-X: Train Like an Astronaut’, André will invite thousands of students to perform physical exercises and classroom lessons to compete with teams around the world to become as fit as astronauts. 


  • Published in Space
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Turin Shroud Defy Scientific Explanation

Italian governmental scientists now have claimed to discovered proof that a supernatural event produced the image on the Turin Shroud, presumed by many people to be the burial cloth of Jesus Christ.

After many years of work attempting to replicate the colouring on the shroud, a comparable image has been produced by the scientists.However, they only managed the effect by scorching comparable linen materials along with high-intensity ultra violet lasers, undermining the arguments of other research, they say, which claims the Turin Shroud is a medieval hoax. This kind of technology, say scientists from the National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development (Enea), was in fact far beyond the capability of medieval forgers, whom most experts have attributed with making the famous relic.

"The results show that a short and intense burst of UV directional radiation can colour a linen cloth so as to reproduce many of the peculiar characteristics of the body image on the Shroud of Turin," they said.And in case there has been any doubt about the preternatural degree of energy necessary to make such distinct marks, the Enea report spells it out: "This degree of power cannot be reproduced by any normal UV source built to date."A statement by head investigator, Dr Paolo Di Lazzaro, stated: "If our results prompt a philosophical or theological debate, these conclusions we'll leave to the experts; to each person's own conscience,"he was quoted saying. Luigi Garlaschelli, a professor of chemistry at Pavia University, explained: "The implications are... that the image was formed by a burst of UV energy so intense it could only have been supernatural. However I don't think they've carried out anything of the sort."

Retreat of Arctic sea ice releases Methane Gas

Earlier this week during the American Geophysical Union meeting in Bay Area Dr Semiletov released Alarming results,  Dramatic and unparalleled plumes of methane are bubbling to the top of Arctic Sea discovered by researchers undertaking a comprehensive survey from the region.
Methane is roughly 25 times as potent at trapping heat as carbon dioxide over the course of a century. Igor Semiletov, belonging to the Asian branch from the Russian Academy of Sciences, explained he hasn't before observed the scale and pressure from the methane being released from underneath the Arctic seabed.
The dimensions and amount of the methane release has shocked the mind from the Russian investigation team that has been surveying the seabed from the East Siberian Arctic Shelf off northern Russia for almost 2 decades.
"Earlier we found torch-like structures such as this however they were only hundreds of metres across. This is actually the very first time that we have found ongoing, effective and impressive leaking structures, in excess of 1,000 metres across. It's amazing," Dr Semiletov stated. "I had been most astounded by the massive scale and density from the plumes. On the relatively small area we found a lot more than 100, but on the wider area there must be 1000's of these.
Researchers estimate that you will find 100s of immeasurable tonnes of methane gas locked away underneath the Arctic permafrost, which in turn stretches in the landmass in to the seabed from the relatively shallow ocean through the East Siberian Arctic Shelf. Probably the greatest fears is the fact that using the disappearance from the Arctic ocean-ice in summer season, and rapidly rising temps over the whole region, that are already melting the Siberian permafrost, the trapped methane might be all of a sudden launched in to the atmosphere resulting in rapid and severe global warming.
Dr Semiletov's team released a study this year determining the methane pollutants out of this region were about eight million tonnes annually, however the latest expedition suggests this can be a substantial underestimate from the phenomenon.
Previously, the Russian research vessel Academician Lavrentiev carried out a comprehensive survey around 10,000 square miles of ocean from the East Siberian coast. Researchers used four highly sensitive instruments, both seismic and acoustic, to watch the "fountains" or plumes of methane bubbles rising towards the ocean surface from underneath the seabed.
"In an exceedingly small area, under 10,000 square miles, we've counted a lot more than 100 fountains, or torch-like structures, bubbling with the water column and injected into the atmosphere in the seabed," Dr Semiletov stated. "We completed inspections at about 115 stationary points and discovered methane fields of the fantastic scale - I believe on the scale not seen before. Some plumes were a km or even more wide and also the pollutants went into the atmosphere - the concentration would be a hundred occasions greater than usual.

Lake Peigneur Disaster

On 20 November 1980, it was a beautiful morning in Louisiana a disaster developed in or rather under lake Peigneur.  The Diamond Crystal Salt Corporation operated the Jefferson Island salt mine next to and under the lake, at the same time at the Surface a Texaco oil rig was drilling down from the surface of the lake hunting for petroleum. Due to a miscalculation, the 14-inch (36 cm) drill bit entered the mine, starting up a chain of events which turned what was back then an almost 10-foot (3.0 m) deep fresh water lake into a salt water lake with a deep hole.
It's difficult to determine exactly what took place that day, as many of the evidence was destroyed and washed away in the resulting maelstrom (a very powerful whirlpool). One explanation is that a miscalculation by Texaco regarding their specific location resulted in the drill puncturing the roof of the third level of the Salt mine. This created an opening in the bottom of the lake. The lake then drained into the hole, expanding the size of that hole as the dirt and salt were washed into the mine by the rushing waters, filling up the massive caverns left by the removal of salt over the years since the opening of the mine in 1919 . The resulting whirlpool sucked in the Texaco drilling rig, eleven large barges and a great number of trees including 65 acres (260,000 m2) of the surrounding terrain. Because of the tremendous amounts of water that drained into the caverns the flow of the Delcambre Canal that usually empties the lake into the Gulf of Mexico was reversed, making the canal a temporary inlet. This backflow produced, for a few days, the tallest waterfall ever in the state of Louisiana, at 164 feet (50 m), as the lake refilled with salt water from the Delcambre Canal and the Gulf of Mexico . The water downflowing into the mine caverns displaced air which inturn erupted as compressed air and then later as 400-foot (120 m) geysers up through the mineshafts.
There were luckily no injuries and no human lives lost. All 55 people in the mine at the time of the accident were able to escape thanks to well-planned and rehearsed evacuation exercises, while the crew of the drilling rig fled the platform right before it was sucked down into the new depths of the lake. Three dogs were reported killed however. Several days after the disaster, once the water pressure equalized, 9 of the 11 sunken barges popped out of the whirlpool and refloated on the lake's surface.
The lake had salt water after the event, not as a direct result of water entering the salt mine, but from the salt water from the Delcambre Canal and the Gulf of Mexico , which are naturally salt or brackish water. The event permanently disturbed the ecosystem of the lake simply by changing the lake from freshwater to saltwater and increasing the depth of a big part of the lake. After the disaster the mine was closed in early December 1986.
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