SpaceX Lands the Falcon9 First Stage - A revolution in Rocket Science and Engineering

Today, at 8:33, Spacex made history. They landed the first stage of their Falcon9 rocket after having it successfully deploy a second stage into low earth orbit.

The Video is here:

Unlike other rocket companies, Spacex in not making small hops - they did that 2 years ago with their grasshopper rocket. In fact, this is how they tested the initial avionics systems that would be able to land the rocket in a stable position autonomously. Here is some footage:

Unlike the companies that make these hops, Spacex has to use this stage to help get payloads into low earth orbit… and then recover it! This is incredibly difficult and requires an advanced retro-thrusting maneuver that has never been successful - until now! The diagram below shows this thrusting maneuver, which happens shortly after the second stage has decoupled and ignited.

Spacex claims that this is similar to throwing a pencil over the Empire State Building, then having it flip perfectly, then haveing it fall into a shoebox… easy enough right?

Only, in real life SpaceX isn’t shooting a pencil… they are shooting a rocket! This is the pad that the now famous falcon9 rocket landed on:

Now you might ask, why does this matter? This means space will become cheaper! We can already build satellites that are less than $10,000, as a matter of fact I’m building a small satellite with a team right now! As it currently stands, space travel is too expensive for creative people to take risks. Now, thanks to SpaceX, we may be mining or visiting asteroids, visiting the moon, visiting mars, or doing something crazier - and we may be doing this very soon! The Falcon9 rocket costs $54 million to build but only $200,000 to refuel… let’s put this in perspective… That’s the same amount that it costs to refuel a Boeing 747 (which is the airplane that consumers use to fly around the world). This means that space travel could be as cheap as air travel very soon! Way to go SpaceX!

If you want to watch the full launch and landing video check it out here (this may be moved in the future): http://www.spacex.com/webcast/

Credit: SpaceX

Did we actually land on the moon?

We have seen a legion photographs of astronauts on the moon.

But how can we be sure that this was taken on the moon and not in some laboratory on earth? Well, because NASA says so !?

And How far is our moon?

Textbooks reluctantly write it as 384,400 km on average.But How on earth did they figure out how far the moon was? Can we quantify this value?

As a common man, is there any possible  way to convince ourselves that we indeed land on the moon and how far it is from earth - The answer is YES!. And this post is all about it.

What is a Retro reflector?

A Retro reflector is a device or surface that reflects light back to its source.

The most quotidian place to find one is on Bicycles, where it is installed for purposes of safety.

If you are the one with the cats, their eyes are coated with a fluid known as Tapetum Lucidum which mimics a retro reflector.

There are Retro reflectors placed on the moon

According to NASA, Retro reflectors were planted on the moon during the Apollo program (11, 14, and 15).

We are sure of this because if we aim lasers ( powerful ones ) on the moon, they are reflected back to the earth. 

They can be identified as originating from the laser because the laser is highly monochromatic.

The distance to the Moon is calculated approximately using this equation:

Distance = (Speed of light × Time taken for light to reflect) / 2.
(since distance=speed* time )

Can you test this in your backyard ?

Unfortunately no ! You would need highly sensitive detectors and a really powerful laser. But you can watch them in action at many places.

This is a requisite because the reflected light is too weak to be seen with the human eye:

Out of 10^17 photons aimed at the reflector, only one will be received back on Earth every few seconds, even under good conditions.

There you have it!

The distance between the moon and the earth measured and also conclusive proof that astronauts ( or something else ) did  in fact land on the moon.

The Blue-Glowing Astronaut

This photo was taken during the Apollo-12 mission way back in 1969. But the reason for the blue glow is still not conclusive.

Orgonelab’s article - Astronaut Blues takes you on a journey. A journey alongside with physicists and their theories as they try to produce a rationale for this bizarre behavior. It is highly recommended that you read it

Have a good day!

Photo Credit : NASA, Greg Hume, sciencedaily,Uniiversity of Winsconsin.