4

The Russian Cosmonaut Gun,

Starting in 1986 Russian Cosmonauts began to carry a special gun into space.  These guns were not meant to fight off space aliens and any other kind of intergalactic threat, but were meant as an emergency survival weapon.  Often Russian missions involved landing in remote areas of Siberia.  Pickup and recovery could take a while, especially if they happened to be off course. In addition if they had to abandon a space ship or station and their escape pod may land in the middle of the wilderness on some far off continent. Thus they were issued a special survival guns to fend off predators or hunt for food.

The TP-82 was a simple three barreled break open firearm that sported two calibers.  The upper two barrels were smoothbore and chambered for a special 12.5x70mm (40 gauge) shot shell ideal for hunting small game.  The bottom third barrel was rifled and chambered for 5.45x39mm rifle cartridge which was good for small game but also could be used for larger animals in a pinch.  Included with the gun was a detachable buttstock which also doubled as a sheathed machete.

The TP-82 was issued to Soviet and Russian Cosmonauts from 1982 up to 2006.  In 2007 the Russian Space Agency’s store of the rare 12.5x70mm shotshell ammunition expired in terms of shelf life.  Since then Russian Cosmonauts are issued regular semi automatic pistols with their emergency gear.

6

Hidden Waterfalls, Secret Beaches, and More Journeys of the Soul

This story is brought to you by vapor-distilled smartwater, who found unique inspiration for their water by looking up to the sky. we hope the change in perspective this piece offers will help inspire you.

No matter how stunning the place, it’s the journey that offers the most transformation. Whether climbing down to a hidden waterfall or swimming to a secret beach, Atlas Obscura’s “Journeys of the Soul” are all trips to watery wonders that show how exploration and curiosity can help heal the heart.

These five walks will take you farther than the destination…

5
Q&A: The First-Ever Expedition to Turkmenistan’s “Door to Hell” Explorer George Kourounis describes his descent into a fiery, gas-fueled crater

Christina Nunez

National Geographic

PUBLISHED JULY 16, 2014

More than four decades ago, a gaping, fiery crater opened up in the desert of northern Turkmenistan (map), likely the result of a drilling mishap.

The Darvaza Crater, more commonly known as the Door to Hell, still burns today, a surreal feature in an otherwise barren landscape.

Details on the origin of the sinkhole are sketchy, but the story goes that Soviet scientists set it on fire to burn off noxious gases after the ground under a drilling rig gave way. Perhaps the scientists underestimated the amount of fuel that lay below—Turkmenistan has the sixth largest natural gas reserves in the world.

In November 2013, explorer and storm chaserGeorge Kourounis, on an expedition funded partly by National Geographic, set out to be the first person to plumb the depths of the crater, which is 225 feet (69 meters) wide and 99 feet (30 meters) deep. 

At the bottom he collected soil samples, hoping to learn whether life can survive in such harsh conditions—and perhaps shedding light on whether life could survive similar conditions elsewhere in the universe.

His harrowing plunge is featured on the National Geographic Channel series Die Trying, which airs tonight, July 16, at 10 p.m. EDT. Kourounis, who’s based in Toronto, talked with National Geographic about his experience in Turkmenistan.

Tell me how this project got started.

The place has always fascinated me. The story behind how it came into existence has been sort of shrouded in mystery, and there’s no other place like it on Earth. It is very unique, in that there’s no other place where there is this pit of burning methane that’s being ejected from the ground at high pressure. It’s fascinating, it’s visually stunning, and there’s a lot that we can learn about this place.

What did you do to prepare for the expedition? How did you protect yourself?

There was about a year and a half of preparation and planning. Getting permission, getting all the logistics in order, getting the team assembled, getting the [National Geographic] Expeditions Council on board. In order to prepare, there was a lot of practice at first. We set up [a] rope-rigging system over a local river gorge and practiced out there several times, including with the full apparatus I was wearing: a heat-reflective suit, self-contained breathing apparatus, the climbing harness that I’m wearing. We had to get it custom-made out of Kevlar, because a regular climbing harness would just melt under the extreme heat.

I even went as far as to hire a stunt coordinator who does movie stunts for Hollywood films to light me on fire several times, in order to sort of prepare myself for not panicking being up close around flame.

read more from Nat  Geo

Not much more than a year ago, I ventured out into the mountains for the first time. That moment, captured by this photo, was a transformative experience. It was there that I started to realize my purpose in life: Enabling others to discover themselves through the outdoors.

Last week, I resigned from my desk job to pursue my dreams of telling stories through adventure travel, but I need your help to make them become a reality.

Please check out my IndieGoGo to see how you can be a part of this journey.
Explore the Unimaginable

9

Trivia Tuesday from BLM Montana

Pompeys Pillar National Monument is home to Captain William Clark’s signature carved into a sand stone butte along the Yellowstone River in 1806. Clark’s inscription is still the only remaining physical evidence along the route of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. - My Public Lands Magazine

During his return trip to St. Louis, William Clark of the Lewis and Clark Expedition climbed the Pillar and carved his signature and the date in the sandstone. Clark wrote, “This rock I ascended and from its top had a most extensive view in every direction on the Northerly Side of the river high romantic Cliffs approach & jut over the water for Some distance both above and below…I marked my name and the day of the month and year.”

While archaeological digs and other recent research have uncovered artifacts that may have been left by the Corps of Discovery, Clark’s inscription is still the only remaining physical evidence of Lewis and Clark’s passing visible on their actual route. This historic carving on the sandstone butte that Clark called a “remarkable rock” has inspired generations of visitors for more than 100 years.

Pompeys Pillar National Monument in Montana, a part of the BLM’s National Conservation Lands, was proclaimed a national monument in January 2001. Prior to its monument status, it was a designated national historic landmark in 1965. It is located along the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail. Learn more: http://on.doi.gov/18XoTnK

Photos by Bob Wick, BLM

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