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WW3 On Your Doorstep | Veterans Today

Posted: November 30, 2016 at 6:41 pm

By Katherine Frisk on September 10, 2016

Russian Troops On US Northern Border

by Katherine Frisk

Are Americans prepared for this and are they fully aware of where their leadership is taking them? Or do they still believe that like the last century the whole world can go up in smoke and they will not only be unaffected but will make yet another huge profit into the bargain at everyone elses expense with their own population and infrastructure still intact?

NATO has by degrees since the fall of the Soviet Union, increased Nuclear and ground troops along Russias borders. HERE is one of the many reports that have come out in the last two years.

Ukraine was the victim of a coup led by George Soros, Chevron, Monsanto and Victoria Nuland. The Maiden demonstrations were a color revolution backed by NGOs and Open Society Foundations, the purpose of which was to put NATO in Crimea and along the border of Ukraine within miles of Moscow. The US spent over $5 billion to overthrow the Ukrainian government and president.

NATO clearly aided and abetted in war crimes in Donbass via its creating the conditions for them to happen

Half of Ukraine is Russian speaking and lives in the east.

This resulted in Crimea having an internationally recognized referendum where the people, mostly Russian, voted to return to the Russian Federation which they have been part of since the time of Catherine the Great which was only annexed to Ukraine during the Soviet Union Era.

European politicians and peace keepers have since visited Crimea and have affirmed that the referendum was a democratic decision by the people and was above-board and not rigged.

At the same time a civil war has erupted between western Ukraine and eastern Ukraine. Kiev has continuously grad rocket shelled the east because Donetsk and Lugantsk do not recognize the current government which even the US intelligence agency Stratfor, has called the most blatant coup in history.

Over 1 million refugees fled Ukraine, not to Kiev or to Europe, but to Russia. Besides being doctors, lawyers, engineers and factory owners many of them were successful farmers from the renown fertile black earth region.

These farmers were relocated to eastern Russia, given land and subsidies for farming. As a result in spite of sanctions imposed since 2014, Russia has turned the situation around from being a food importer to a food exporter in the space of two years. GMO, genetically modified food is banned in Russia as well as poisonous herbicides.

In recent weeks we have seen the whole Russian team banned from the Paralympic games, sanctions extended against Russia and the Donbass region of eastern Ukraine for another six months and strangely enough, Typhoon Lionrock hit the Russian Far East after the powerful cyclone brought heavy rains on August 29-31, the east being an area where Russia is now heavily investing in a resurgence of the agricultural industry.

And on that score, you might want to give Italy, the Phillipines And Oklahoma get an Earthquake some thought.

During WW1 and WW2Jacob Schiff of the Federal Reserve funded Japan in their wars against Russia and China as well as Lenin and Trotsky. Bush, Ford, Rockefeller, Chase Manhattan Bank, J.P.Morgan, Harriman and a number of others funded Hitler and his blitzkrieg into eastern Europe and finally Stalingrad.

The United States of America was not openly attacking Russia and claimed to be in support of the Allies. They only entered the war when Stalingrad fell and the Russians did their own blitzkrieg to Berlin.

Americans wanted to get to Berlin first. Since WW2 US policy in Germany has been to keep the Russians out, the Germans down and the Americans in. Germany has the largest US military base outside of the US.

Which brings us to this: Germany Prepares For Domestic Troop Deployments As Catastrophic Terrorist Attack Deemed Conceivable, Even Probable

Terrorists or. a planned buildup under the guise of terrorism for a German, US, NATO attack on Russia? In April 2016 Obama Requested EU Support for Possible War Against Russia.

This time in WW3, unlike in WW1 and WW2, the United States is openly aggressive towards Russia as opposed to their proxy armies during the two previous world wars where they could claim plausible deniability as they are now doing with their support of Daesh in Syria and Iraq.

However, unlike the two previous world wars where the USA was protected by the Pacific and the Atlantic oceans from any attack on its own territory, should WW3 break out, this time the situation will be entirely different.

Red Square Military Parade Moscow

Russia has Boosted Arctic Military Presence with Ten Airfields, Alaska is only 86 kilometers away from Russia at the narrowest point and the US western sea board is within striking distance. Consider this article: How Russian And China Could Strike The US Airforces Achilles Heel.

While often overlooked in favor of advanced anti-ship and surface-to-air missile systems when examining Russian and Chinese anti-access/area denial (A2/AD) capabilities, such long-range air intercept weaponscoupled with the right fightercould cut the sinews that allow the United States to conduct sustained air operations in both the Asia-Pacific and the European theatres.

Essentially, Russians and/or Chinese forces could pair long-range air-to-air missiles with aircraft like the Mikoyan MiG-31 Foxhound, Sukhoi T-50 PAK-FA and the Chengdu J-20 to attack American AWACS, JTARS and aerial refueling tankers like the Boeing KC-135 or forthcoming KC-46 Pegasus.

Especially over the vast reaches of the Pacific where airfields are few and far between, lumbering aerial refueling tankers could be an Achilles Heel that Beijing could chose to exploit. There are three long-range air-to-air missile programs that bear watchingthe Russian Vympel R-37M RVV-BD, the Novator KS-172 (aka K-100) and the Chinese PL-15.

Missile Crisis 2016

In Putins recent Bloomberg interview he broke protocol and instead asked the journalist John Micklethwait a question:

Vladimir Putin: Well, I would like to finish my answer to the previous question. You have been working as a journalist for a long time. You are quite knowledgeable and you understand all the threats that may arise from a tense international environment, dont you? Especially if there is tension between major nuclear powers of the world. We all understand this.

Of course, you are the one asking me questions. It is you who is the interviewer, not I. However, let me ask you a question: do you want another Cuban Missile Crisis? Or dont you?

John Micklethwait: No, nobody does.

Vladimir Putin: Of course, nobody does.

John Kennedy Bobby Kennedy

This time there is no John Kennedy in the White House and no prospect of one in the near future, no matter what the American people think. But that is another can of worms and a dog and pony show rigged and designed as entertainment for the little people.

Unlike the referendum in Crimea. Or the Donbass in eastern Ukraine where people are prepared to fight and die in defiance of a corrupt government that was installed by a US engineered coup. In the same way that Russians were prepared to fight and die in WW2 where almost 30 million perished. Their homes were bombed, their families annihilated and their women raped.

That is the thing you see they are prepared to die. Are you? Or is this not part of your Hollywood reality, Batman Shooting, Boston Bombing and Sandy Hook faked disasters with crisis actors? Where does Rambo and George Clooney fit into the equation?

In a recent interview with the press Putin said :

We know year by year whats going to happen, and they know that we know. Its only you that they tell tall tales to, and you buy it, and spread it to the citizens of your countries. You people in turn do not feel a sense of the impending danger this is what worries me. How do you not understand that the world is being pulled in an irreversible direction? While they pretend that nothing is going on. I dont know how to get through to you anymore.

So again I ask:

Are Americans prepared for this and are they fully aware of where their leadership is taking them? Or do they still believe that like the last century the whole world can go up in smoke and they will not only be unaffected but will make yet another huge profit into the bargain at everyone elses expense with their own population and infrastructure still intact?

See original here:

WW3 On Your Doorstep | Veterans Today

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Space exploration – Wikipedia

Posted: November 29, 2016 at 1:30 am

Space exploration is the ongoing discovery and exploration of celestial structures in outer space by means of continuously evolving and growing space technology. While the study of space is carried out mainly by astronomers with telescopes, the physical exploration of space is conducted both by unmanned robotic probes and human spaceflight.

While the observation of objects in space, known as astronomy, predates reliable recorded history, it was the development of large and relatively efficient rockets during the early 20th century that allowed physical space exploration to become a reality. Common rationales for exploring space include advancing scientific research, national prestige, uniting different nations, ensuring the future survival of humanity, and developing military and strategic advantages against other countries.[1]

Space exploration has often been used as a proxy competition for geopolitical rivalries such as the Cold War. The early era of space exploration was driven by a “Space Race” between the Soviet Union and the United States. The launch of the first human-made object to orbit Earth, the Soviet Union’s Sputnik 1, on 4 October 1957, and the first Moon landing by the American Apollo 11 mission on 20 July 1969 are often taken as landmarks for this initial period. The Soviet space program achieved many of the first milestones, including the first living being in orbit in 1957, the first human spaceflight (Yuri Gagarin aboard Vostok 1) in 1961, the first spacewalk (by Aleksei Leonov) on 18 March 1965, the first automatic landing on another celestial body in 1966, and the launch of the first space station (Salyut 1) in 1971.

After the first 20 years of exploration, focus shifted from one-off flights to renewable hardware, such as the Space Shuttle program, and from competition to cooperation as with the International Space Station (ISS).

With the substantial completion of the ISS[2] following STS-133 in March 2011, plans for space exploration by the USA remain in flux. Constellation, a Bush Administration program for a return to the Moon by 2020[3] was judged inadequately funded and unrealistic by an expert review panel reporting in 2009.[4] The Obama Administration proposed a revision of Constellation in 2010 to focus on the development of the capability for crewed missions beyond low Earth orbit (LEO), envisioning extending the operation of the ISS beyond 2020, transferring the development of launch vehicles for human crews from NASA to the private sector, and developing technology to enable missions to beyond LEO, such as EarthMoon L1, the Moon, EarthSun L2, near-Earth asteroids, and Phobos or Mars orbit.[5]

In the 2000s, the People’s Republic of China initiated a successful manned spaceflight program, while the European Union, Japan, and India have also planned future manned space missions. China, Russia, Japan, and India have advocated manned missions to the Moon during the 21st century, while the European Union has advocated manned missions to both the Moon and Mars during the 20/21st century.

From the 1990s onwards, private interests began promoting space tourism and then private space exploration of the Moon (see Google Lunar X Prize).

The highest known projectiles prior to the rockets of the 1940s were the shells of the Paris Gun, a type of German long-range siege gun, which reached at least 40 kilometers altitude during World War One.[6] Steps towards putting a human-made object into space were taken by German scientists during World War II while testing the V-2 rocket, which became the first human-made object in space on 3 October 1942 with the launching of the A-4. After the war, the U.S. used German scientists and their captured rockets in programs for both military and civilian research. The first scientific exploration from space was the cosmic radiation experiment launched by the U.S. on a V-2 rocket on 10 May 1946.[7] The first images of Earth taken from space followed the same year[8][9] while the first animal experiment saw fruit flies lifted into space in 1947, both also on modified V-2s launched by Americans. Starting in 1947, the Soviets, also with the help of German teams, launched sub-orbital V-2 rockets and their own variant, the R-1, including radiation and animal experiments on some flights. These suborbital experiments only allowed a very short time in space which limited their usefulness.

The first successful orbital launch was of the Soviet unmanned Sputnik 1 (“Satellite 1”) mission on 4 October 1957. The satellite weighed about 83kg (183lb), and is believed to have orbited Earth at a height of about 250km (160mi). It had two radio transmitters (20 and 40MHz), which emitted “beeps” that could be heard by radios around the globe. Analysis of the radio signals was used to gather information about the electron density of the ionosphere, while temperature and pressure data was encoded in the duration of radio beeps. The results indicated that the satellite was not punctured by a meteoroid. Sputnik 1 was launched by an R-7 rocket. It burned up upon re-entry on 3 January 1958.

The second one was Sputnik 2. Launched by the USSR in November 1957, it carried dog Laika inside.

This success led to an escalation of the American space program, which unsuccessfully attempted to launch a Vanguard satellite into orbit two months later. On 31 January 1958, the U.S. successfully orbited Explorer 1 on a Juno rocket. In the meantime, the Soviet dog Laika became the first animal in orbit on 3 November 1957.

The first successful human spaceflight was Vostok 1 (“East 1”), carrying 27-year-old Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin on 12 April 1961. The spacecraft completed one orbit around the globe, lasting about 1 hour and 48 minutes. Gagarin’s flight resonated around the world; it was a demonstration of the advanced Soviet space program and it opened an entirely new era in space exploration: human spaceflight.

The U.S. first launched a person into space within a month of Vostok 1 with Alan Shepard’s suborbital flight in Mercury-Redstone 3. Orbital flight was achieved by the United States when John Glenn’s Mercury-Atlas 6 orbited Earth on 5 May 1961.

Valentina Tereshkova, the first woman in space, orbited Earth 48 times aboard Vostok 6 on 16 June 1963.

China first launched a person into space 42 years after the launch of Vostok 1, on 15 October 2003, with the flight of Yang Liwei aboard the Shenzhou 5 (Spaceboat 5) spacecraft.

The first artificial object to reach another celestial body was Luna 2 in 1959.[10] The first automatic landing on another celestial body was performed by Luna 9[11] in 1966. Luna 10 became the first artificial satellite of the Moon.[12]

The first manned landing on another celestial body was performed by Apollo 11 on 20 July 1969.

The first successful interplanetary flyby was the 1962 Mariner 2 flyby of Venus (closest approach 34,773 kilometers). The other planets were first flown by in 1965 for Mars by Mariner 4, 1973 for Jupiter by Pioneer 10, 1974 for Mercury by Mariner 10, 1979 for Saturn by Pioneer 11, 1986 for Uranus by Voyager 2, 1989 for Neptune by Voyager 2. In 2015, the dwarf planets Ceres and Pluto were orbited by Dawn and passed by New Horizons, respectively.

The first interplanetary surface mission to return at least limited surface data from another planet was the 1970 landing of Venera 7 on Venus which returned data to Earth for 23 minutes. In 1975 the Venera 9 was the first to return images from the surface of another planet. In 1971 the Mars 3 mission achieved the first soft landing on Mars returning data for almost 20 seconds. Later much longer duration surface missions were achieved, including over 6 years of Mars surface operation by Viking 1 from 1975 to 1982 and over 2 hours of transmission from the surface of Venus by Venera 13 in 1982, the longest ever Soviet planetary surface mission.

The dream of stepping into the outer reaches of Earth’s atmosphere was driven by the fiction of Peter Francis Geraci[13][14][15] and H.G.Wells,[16] and rocket technology was developed to try to realize this vision. The German V-2 was the first rocket to travel into space, overcoming the problems of thrust and material failure. During the final days of World War II this technology was obtained by both the Americans and Soviets as were its designers. The initial driving force for further development of the technology was a weapons race for intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) to be used as long-range carriers for fast nuclear weapon delivery, but in 1961 when the Soviet Union launched the first man into space, the United States declared itself to be in a “Space Race” with the Soviets.

Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, Robert Goddard, Hermann Oberth, and Reinhold Tiling laid the groundwork of rocketry in the early years of the 20th century.

Wernher von Braun was the lead rocket engineer for Nazi Germany’s World War II V-2 rocket project. In the last days of the war he led a caravan of workers in the German rocket program to the American lines, where they surrendered and were brought to the USA to work on U.S. rocket development (“Operation Paperclip”). He acquired American citizenship and led the team that developed and launched Explorer 1, the first American satellite. Von Braun later led the team at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center which developed the Saturn V moon rocket.

Initially the race for space was often led by Sergei Korolyov, whose legacy includes both the R7 and Soyuzwhich remain in service to this day. Korolev was the mastermind behind the first satellite, first man (and first woman) in orbit and first spacewalk. Until his death his identity was a closely guarded state secret; not even his mother knew that he was responsible for creating the Soviet space program.

Kerim Kerimov was one of the founders of the Soviet space program and was one of the lead architects behind the first human spaceflight (Vostok 1) alongside Sergey Korolyov. After Korolyov’s death in 1966, Kerimov became the lead scientist of the Soviet space program and was responsible for the launch of the first space stations from 1971 to 1991, including the Salyut and Mir series, and their precursors in 1967, the Cosmos 186 and Cosmos 188.[17][18]

Although the Sun will probably not be physically explored at all, the study of the Sun has nevertheless been a major focus of space exploration. Being above the atmosphere in particular and Earth’s magnetic field gives access to the solar wind and infrared and ultraviolet radiations that cannot reach Earth’s surface. The Sun generates most space weather, which can affect power generation and transmission systems on Earth and interfere with, and even damage, satellites and space probes. Numerous spacecraft dedicated to observing the Sun have been launched and still others have had solar observation as a secondary objective. Solar Probe Plus, planned for a 2018 launch, will approach the Sun to within 1/8th the orbit of Mercury.

Mercury remains the least explored of the inner planets. As of May 2013, the Mariner 10 and MESSENGER missions have been the only missions that have made close observations of Mercury. MESSENGER entered orbit around Mercury in March 2011, to further investigate the observations made by Mariner 10 in 1975 (Munsell, 2006b).

A third mission to Mercury, scheduled to arrive in 2020, BepiColombo is to include two probes. BepiColombo is a joint mission between Japan and the European Space Agency. MESSENGER and BepiColombo are intended to gather complementary data to help scientists understand many of the mysteries discovered by Mariner 10’s flybys.

Flights to other planets within the Solar System are accomplished at a cost in energy, which is described by the net change in velocity of the spacecraft, or delta-v. Due to the relatively high delta-v to reach Mercury and its proximity to the Sun, it is difficult to explore and orbits around it are rather unstable.

Venus was the first target of interplanetary flyby and lander missions and, despite one of the most hostile surface environments in the Solar System, has had more landers sent to it (nearly all from the Soviet Union) than any other planet in the Solar System. The first successful Venus flyby was the American Mariner 2 spacecraft, which flew past Venus in 1962. Mariner 2 has been followed by several other flybys by multiple space agencies often as part of missions using a Venus flyby to provide a gravitational assist en route to other celestial bodies. In 1967 Venera 4 became the first probe to enter and directly examine the atmosphere of Venus. In 1970, Venera 7 became the first successful lander to reach the surface of Venus and by 1985 it had been followed by eight additional successful Soviet Venus landers which provided images and other direct surface data. Starting in 1975 with the Soviet orbiter Venera 9 some ten successful orbiter missions have been sent to Venus, including later missions which were able to map the surface of Venus using radar to pierce the obscuring atmosphere.

Space exploration has been used as a tool to understand Earth as a celestial object in its own right. Orbital missions can provide data for Earth that can be difficult or impossible to obtain from a purely ground-based point of reference.

For example, the existence of the Van Allen radiation belts was unknown until their discovery by the United States’ first artificial satellite, Explorer 1. These belts contain radiation trapped by Earth’s magnetic fields, which currently renders construction of habitable space stations above 1000km impractical.

Following this early unexpected discovery, a large number of Earth observation satellites have been deployed specifically to explore Earth from a space based perspective. These satellites have significantly contributed to the understanding of a variety of Earth-based phenomena. For instance, the hole in the ozone layer was found by an artificial satellite that was exploring Earth’s atmosphere, and satellites have allowed for the discovery of archeological sites or geological formations that were difficult or impossible to otherwise identify.

The Moon was the first celestial body to be the object of space exploration. It holds the distinctions of being the first remote celestial object to be flown by, orbited, and landed upon by spacecraft, and the only remote celestial object ever to be visited by humans.

In 1959 the Soviets obtained the first images of the far side of the Moon, never previously visible to humans. The U.S. exploration of the Moon began with the Ranger 4 impactor in 1962. Starting in 1966 the Soviets successfully deployed a number of landers to the Moon which were able to obtain data directly from the Moon’s surface; just four months later, Surveyor 1 marked the debut of a successful series of U.S. landers. The Soviet unmanned missions culminated in the Lunokhod program in the early 1970s, which included the first unmanned rovers and also successfully brought lunar soil samples to Earth for study. This marked the first (and to date the only) automated return of extraterrestrial soil samples to Earth. Unmanned exploration of the Moon continues with various nations periodically deploying lunar orbiters, and in 2008 the Indian Moon Impact Probe.

Manned exploration of the Moon began in 1968 with the Apollo 8 mission that successfully orbited the Moon, the first time any extraterrestrial object was orbited by humans. In 1969, the Apollo 11 mission marked the first time humans set foot upon another world. Manned exploration of the Moon did not continue for long, however. The Apollo 17 mission in 1972 marked the most recent human visit there, and the next, Exploration Mission 2, is due to orbit the Moon in 2021. Robotic missions are still pursued vigorously.

The exploration of Mars has been an important part of the space exploration programs of the Soviet Union (later Russia), the United States, Europe, Japan and India. Dozens of robotic spacecraft, including orbiters, landers, and rovers, have been launched toward Mars since the 1960s. These missions were aimed at gathering data about current conditions and answering questions about the history of Mars. The questions raised by the scientific community are expected to not only give a better appreciation of the red planet but also yield further insight into the past, and possible future, of Earth.

The exploration of Mars has come at a considerable financial cost with roughly two-thirds of all spacecraft destined for Mars failing before completing their missions, with some failing before they even began. Such a high failure rate can be attributed to the complexity and large number of variables involved in an interplanetary journey, and has led researchers to jokingly speak of The Great Galactic Ghoul[19] which subsists on a diet of Mars probes. This phenomenon is also informally known as the Mars Curse.[20] In contrast to overall high failure rates in the exploration of Mars, India has become the first country to achieve success of its maiden attempt. India’s Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM)[21][22][23] is one of the least expensive interplanetary missions ever undertaken with an approximate total cost of 450 Crore (US$73 million).[24][25] The first ever mission to Mars by any Arab country has been taken up by the United Arab Emirates. Called the Emirates Mars Mission, it is scheduled for launch in 2020. The unmanned exploratory probe has been named “Hope Probe” and will be sent to Mars to study its atmosphere in detail.[26]

The Russian space mission Fobos-Grunt, which launched on 9 November 2011 experienced a failure leaving it stranded in low Earth orbit.[27] It was to begin exploration of the Phobos and Martian circumterrestrial orbit, and study whether the moons of Mars, or at least Phobos, could be a “trans-shipment point” for spaceships traveling to Mars.[28]

The exploration of Jupiter has consisted solely of a number of automated NASA spacecraft visiting the planet since 1973. A large majority of the missions have been “flybys”, in which detailed observations are taken without the probe landing or entering orbit; such as in Pioneer and Voyager programs. The Galileo spacecraft is the only one to have orbited the planet. As Jupiter is believed to have only a relatively small rocky core and no real solid surface, a landing mission is nearly impossible.

Reaching Jupiter from Earth requires a delta-v of 9.2km/s,[29] which is comparable to the 9.7km/s delta-v needed to reach low Earth orbit.[30] Fortunately, gravity assists through planetary flybys can be used to reduce the energy required at launch to reach Jupiter, albeit at the cost of a significantly longer flight duration.[29]

Jupiter has 67 known moons, many of which have relatively little known information about them.

Saturn has been explored only through unmanned spacecraft launched by NASA, including one mission (CassiniHuygens) planned and executed in cooperation with other space agencies. These missions consist of flybys in 1979 by Pioneer 11, in 1980 by Voyager 1, in 1982 by Voyager 2 and an orbital mission by the Cassini spacecraft, which entered orbit in 2004 and is expected to continue its mission well into 2017.

Saturn has at least 62 known moons, although the exact number is debatable since Saturn’s rings are made up of vast numbers of independently orbiting objects of varying sizes. The largest of the moons is Titan. Titan holds the distinction of being the only moon in the Solar System with an atmosphere denser and thicker than that of Earth. As a result of the deployment from the Cassini spacecraft of the Huygens probe and its successful landing on Titan, Titan also holds the distinction of being the only object in the outer Solar System that has been explored with a lander.

The exploration of Uranus has been entirely through the Voyager 2 spacecraft, with no other visits currently planned. Given its axial tilt of 97.77, with its polar regions exposed to sunlight or darkness for long periods, scientists were not sure what to expect at Uranus. The closest approach to Uranus occurred on 24 January 1986. Voyager 2 studied the planet’s unique atmosphere and magnetosphere. Voyager 2 also examined its ring system and the moons of Uranus including all five of the previously known moons, while discovering an additional ten previously unknown moons.

Images of Uranus proved to have a very uniform appearance, with no evidence of the dramatic storms or atmospheric banding evident on Jupiter and Saturn. Great effort was required to even identify a few clouds in the images of the planet. The magnetosphere of Uranus, however, proved to be completely unique and proved to be profoundly affected by the planet’s unusual axial tilt. In contrast to the bland appearance of Uranus itself, striking images were obtained of the Moons of Uranus, including evidence that Miranda had been unusually geologically active.

The exploration of Neptune began with the 25 August 1989 Voyager 2 flyby, the sole visit to the system as of 2014. The possibility of a Neptune Orbiter has been discussed, but no other missions have been given serious thought.

Although the extremely uniform appearance of Uranus during Voyager 2’s visit in 1986 had led to expectations that Neptune would also have few visible atmospheric phenomena, the spacecraft found that Neptune had obvious banding, visible clouds, auroras, and even a conspicuous anticyclone storm system rivaled in size only by Jupiter’s small Spot. Neptune also proved to have the fastest winds of any planet in the Solar System, measured as high as 2,100km/h.[31] Voyager 2 also examined Neptune’s ring and moon system. It discovered 900 complete rings and additional partial ring “arcs” around Neptune. In addition to examining Neptune’s three previously known moons, Voyager 2 also discovered five previously unknown moons, one of which, Proteus, proved to be the last largest moon in the system. Data from Voyager 2 supported the view that Neptune’s largest moon, Triton, is a captured Kuiper belt object.[32]

The dwarf planet Pluto presents significant challenges for spacecraft because of its great distance from Earth (requiring high velocity for reasonable trip times) and small mass (making capture into orbit very difficult at present). Voyager 1 could have visited Pluto, but controllers opted instead for a close flyby of Saturn’s moon Titan, resulting in a trajectory incompatible with a Pluto flyby. Voyager 2 never had a plausible trajectory for reaching Pluto.[33]

Pluto continues to be of great interest, despite its reclassification as the lead and nearest member of a new and growing class of distant icy bodies of intermediate size (and also the first member of the important subclass, defined by orbit and known as “plutinos”). After an intense political battle, a mission to Pluto dubbed New Horizons was granted funding from the United States government in 2003.[34] New Horizons was launched successfully on 19 January 2006. In early 2007 the craft made use of a gravity assist from Jupiter. Its closest approach to Pluto was on 14 July 2015; scientific observations of Pluto began five months prior to closest approach and will continue for at least a month after the encounter.

Until the advent of space travel, objects in the asteroid belt were merely pinpricks of light in even the largest telescopes, their shapes and terrain remaining a mystery. Several asteroids have now been visited by probes, the first of which was Galileo, which flew past two: 951 Gaspra in 1991, followed by 243 Ida in 1993. Both of these lay near enough to Galileo’s planned trajectory to Jupiter that they could be visited at acceptable cost. The first landing on an asteroid was performed by the NEAR Shoemaker probe in 2000, following an orbital survey of the object. The dwarf planet Ceres and the asteroid 4 Vesta, two of the three largest asteroids, were visited by NASA’s Dawn spacecraft, launched in 2007.

Although many comets have been studied from Earth sometimes with centuries-worth of observations, only a few comets have been closely visited. In 1985, the International Cometary Explorer conducted the first comet fly-by (21P/Giacobini-Zinner) before joining the Halley Armada studying the famous comet. The Deep Impact probe smashed into 9P/Tempel to learn more about its structure and composition and the Stardust mission returned samples of another comet’s tail. The Philae lander successfully landed on Comet ChuryumovGerasimenko in 2014 as part of the broader Rosetta mission.

Hayabusa was an unmanned spacecraft developed by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency to return a sample of material from the small near-Earth asteroid 25143 Itokawa to Earth for further analysis. Hayabusa was launched on 9 May 2003 and rendezvoused with Itokawa in mid-September 2005. After arriving at Itokawa, Hayabusa studied the asteroid’s shape, spin, topography, color, composition, density, and history. In November 2005, it landed on the asteroid to collect samples. The spacecraft returned to Earth on 13 June 2010.

Deep space exploration is the term used for the exploration of deep space, and which is usually described as being at far distances from Earth and either within or away from the Solar System. It is the branch of astronomy, astronautics and space technology that is involved with the exploration of distant regions of outer space.[35] Physical exploration of space is conducted both by human spaceflights (deep-space astronautics) and by robotic spacecraft.

Some of the best candidates for future deep space engine technologies include anti-matter, nuclear power and beamed propulsion.[36] The latter, beamed propulsion, appears to be the best candidate for deep space exploration presently available, since it uses known physics and known technology that is being developed for other purposes.[37]

In the 2000s, several plans for space exploration were announced; both government entities and the private sector have space exploration objectives. China has announced plans to have a 60-ton multi-module space station in orbit by 2020.

The NASA Authorization Act of 2010 provided a re-prioritized list of objectives for the American space program, as well as funding for the first priorities. NASA proposes to move forward with the development of the Space Launch System (SLS), which will be designed to carry the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle, as well as important cargo, equipment, and science experiments to Earth’s orbit and destinations beyond. Additionally, the SLS will serve as a back up for commercial and international partner transportation services to the International Space Station. The SLS rocket will incorporate technological investments from the Space Shuttle program and the Constellation program in order to take advantage of proven hardware and reduce development and operations costs. The first developmental flight is targeted for the end of 2017.[38]

The idea of using high level automated systems for space missions has become a desirable goal to space agencies all around the world. Such systems are believed to yield benefits such as lower cost, less human oversight, and ability to explore deeper in space which is usually restricted by long communications with human controllers.[39]

Autonomy is defined by 3 requirements:[39]

Autonomed technologies would be able to perform beyond predetermined actions. It would analyze all possible states and events happening around them and come up with a safe response. In addition, such technologies can reduce launch cost and ground involvement. Performance would increase as well. Autonomy would be able to quickly respond upon encountering an unforeseen event, especially in deep space exploration where communication back to Earth would take too long.[39]

NASA began its autonomous science experiment (ASE) on Earth Observing 1 (EO-1) which is NASA’s first satellite in the new millennium program Earth-observing series launched on 21 November 2000. The autonomy of ASE is capable of on-board science analysis, replanning, robust execution, and later the addition of model-based diagnostic. Images obtained by the EO-1 are analyzed on-board and downlinked when a change or an interesting event occur. The ASE software has successfully provided over 10,000 science images.[39]

The research that is conducted by national space exploration agencies, such as NASA and Roscosmos, is one of the reasons supporters cite to justify government expenses. Economic analyses of the NASA programs often showed ongoing economic benefits (such as NASA spin-offs), generating many times the revenue of the cost of the program.[40] It is also argued that space exploration would lead to the extraction of resources on other planets and especially asteroids, which contain billions of dollars worth of minerals and metals. Such expeditions could generate a lot of revenue.[41] As well, it has been argued that space exploration programs help inspire youth to study in science and engineering.[42]

Another claim is that space exploration is a necessity to mankind and that staying on Earth will lead to extinction. Some of the reasons are lack of natural resources, comets, nuclear war, and worldwide epidemic. Stephen Hawking, renowned British theoretical physicist, said that “I don’t think the human race will survive the next thousand years, unless we spread into space. There are too many accidents that can befall life on a single planet. But I’m an optimist. We will reach out to the stars.”[43]

NASA has produced a series of public service announcement videos supporting the concept of space exploration.[44]

Overall, the public remains largely supportive of both manned and unmanned space exploration. According to an Associated Press Poll conducted in July 2003, 71% of U.S. citizens agreed with the statement that the space program is “a good investment”, compared to 21% who did not.[45]

Arthur C. Clarke (1950) presented a summary of motivations for the human exploration of space in his non-fiction semi-technical monograph Interplanetary Flight.[46] He argued that humanity’s choice is essentially between expansion off Earth into space, versus cultural (and eventually biological) stagnation and death.

Spaceflight is the use of space technology to achieve the flight of spacecraft into and through outer space.

Spaceflight is used in space exploration, and also in commercial activities like space tourism and satellite telecommunications. Additional non-commercial uses of spaceflight include space observatories, reconnaissance satellites and other Earth observation satellites.

A spaceflight typically begins with a rocket launch, which provides the initial thrust to overcome the force of gravity and propels the spacecraft from the surface of Earth. Once in space, the motion of a spacecraftboth when unpropelled and when under propulsionis covered by the area of study called astrodynamics. Some spacecraft remain in space indefinitely, some disintegrate during atmospheric reentry, and others reach a planetary or lunar surface for landing or impact.

Satellites are used for a large number of purposes. Common types include military (spy) and civilian Earth observation satellites, communication satellites, navigation satellites, weather satellites, and research satellites. Space stations and human spacecraft in orbit are also satellites.

Current examples of the commercial use of space include satellite navigation systems, satellite television and satellite radio. Space tourism is the recent phenomenon of space travel by individuals for the purpose of personal pleasure.

Astrobiology is the interdisciplinary study of life in the universe, combining aspects of astronomy, biology and geology.[47] It is focused primarily on the study of the origin, distribution and evolution of life. It is also known as exobiology (from Greek: , exo, “outside”).[48][49][50] The term “Xenobiology” has been used as well, but this is technically incorrect because its terminology means “biology of the foreigners”.[51] Astrobiologists must also consider the possibility of life that is chemically entirely distinct from any life found on Earth.[52] In the Solar System some of the prime locations for current or past astrobiology are on Enceladus, Europa, Mars, and Titan.

Space colonization, also called space settlement and space humanization, would be the permanent autonomous (self-sufficient) human habitation of locations outside Earth, especially of natural satellites or planets such as the Moon or Mars, using significant amounts of in-situ resource utilization.

To date, the longest human occupation of space is the International Space Station which has been in continuous use for 700850716800000000016years, 26days. Valeri Polyakov’s record single spaceflight of almost 438 days aboard the Mir space station has not been surpassed. Long-term stays in space reveal issues with bone and muscle loss in low gravity, immune system suppression, and radiation exposure.

Many past and current concepts for the continued exploration and colonization of space focus on a return to the Moon as a “stepping stone” to the other planets, especially Mars. At the end of 2006 NASA announced they were planning to build a permanent Moon base with continual presence by 2024.[54]

Beyond the technical factors that could make living in space more widespread, it has been suggested that the lack of private property, the inability or difficulty in establishing property rights in space, has been an impediment to the development of space for human habitation. Since the advent of space technology in the latter half of the twentieth century, the ownership of property in space has been murky, with strong arguments both for and against. In particular, the making of national territorial claims in outer space and on celestial bodies has been specifically proscribed by the Outer Space Treaty, which had been, as of 2012[update], ratified by all spacefaring nations.[55]

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Nietzsches Analysis of Nihilism | The World Is On Fire

Posted: at 1:24 am

by Vered Arnon

In the notebook(1) excerpts published as The Will to Power Nietzsche describes nihilism as ambiguous in that it can be symptomatic of either strength or weakness. Nietzsche claims that nihilism is a necessary step in the transition to a revaluation of all values. Passive nihilism is characterised by a weak will, and active nihilism by a strong will. Nietzsche emphasises that nihilism is merely a means to an end, and not an end in itself.

Nihilism, according to Nietzsche, is the most extreme form of pessimism. Put simply, it is the belief that everything is meaningless, but this oversimplifies the concept. Nihilism is a transitional stage that accompanies human development. It arises from weariness. When people feel alienated from values, and have lost the foundation of their value system but have not replaced it with anything, then they become nihilists. They become disappointed with the egoistic nature of truth and morality and so on, but at the same time recognise that what is egoistic is necessary. The notion of free will seems contradictory. Values, though originating from the ego, have been placed in a sphere so far outside and above that they are untouchable. Any attempt to really figure out the truth or posit a true reality has become impossible, thus the world appears meaningless and valueless. The nihilist realises that all criteria by which the real world have been measured are categories that refer to a fictitious, constructed world. This sense of alienation results in exhaustion.

Nihilism would be a good sign, Nietzsche writes in his notebooks. It is a necessary transitional phase, cleansing and clearing away outdated value systems so that something new can rise in their place. He writes about two different forms of nihilism, active nihilism and passive nihilism. Passive nihilism is more the traditional belief that all is meaningless, while active nihilism goes beyond judgement to deed, and destroys values where they seem apparent. Passive nihilism signifies the end of an era, while active nihilism ushers in something new. Nietzsche considers nihilism not as an end, but as a means ultimately to the revaluation of values. He stresses repeatedly that nihilism is a transitional stage.

Passive nihilism is symptomatic of decreased, declined, receded power of the spirit(2). One recognises that all external values are empty and have no true authority. This renders the internal values, the conscience, meaningless as well, resulting in the loss of personal authority. All authority gone, the spirit in hopelessness and with a sense of fatalism strives to rid itself of all responsibility. All trust in society is gone, and the will is weakened. Aims, motives, and goals are gone. The spirit wants something to depend on, but has absolutely nothing that isnt arbitrary. Disintegration of the structured system of values leads one to seek escape in anything that still maintains an outward semblance of authority. These things are hollow escapes though, what Nietzsche calls self-narcotization. The spirit attempts to escape, or at least forget about the emptiness. The weakened will strives to intoxicate itself in resignation, generalisations, petty things, debauchery and fanaticism. The will is weak and seeks escape rather than action. But any attempt to escape nihilism without revaluating values only makes the problem more acute.

Active nihilism is symptomatic of an increased power of the spirit. The will is strengthened and rebellious. This is the form of nihilism that does not stop at judgement, but goes on in action to be destructive towards the remaining vestiges of empty value systems. The strength of the will is tested by whether or not it can recognise all value systems as empty and meaningless, yet admit that these lies arise out of us and serve a purpose. This denial of a truthful world, Nietzsche says, may be a divine way of thinking. The active nihilist recognises that simplification and lies are necessary for life. The value of values becomes their emptiness. Where rationality and reason have clearly failed, the nihilist embraces irrationality and freedom from logic. The will now has an opportunity to assert its strength and power to deny all authority and deny goals and faith to deny the constraints of existence. Nietzsche describes this state as both destructive and ironic.

Active nihilism obviously is not an end, however. It merely opens the stage for the beginning of a revaluation of values. It opens the stage for the will to take power and assert itself. Nihilism is the precursor to revaluation, it does not replace values, it only tears them away. It functions as an essential transition, and must be understood as a means and not an end.

1 This paper is an analysis of notebook passages in an attempt to piece together and summarise Nietzsches ideas on a very small specific topic (His notebook entries often deal with nihilism, morality, pessimism, etc all at once. I am attempting to put together coherently what his views are on nihilism, sorting it out from the rest and leaving the rest alone). For the ease of reading, I will not employ internal citation. All of these ideas and propositions belong to Nietzsche alone, and come from Book One: European Nihilism from The Will To Power, translated and edited by Walter Kaufmann in 1967. 2 Spirit refers to a persons will. Nietzsche does not posit the existence of souls. This word is not used in a religious sense.

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European Space Agency – Wikipedia

Posted: November 21, 2016 at 11:11 am

European Space Agency

The European Space Agency (ESA; French: Agence spatiale europenne, ASE) is an intergovernmental organisation dedicated to the exploration of space, with 22 member states. Established in 1975 and headquartered in Paris, France, ESA has a worldwide staff of about 2,000[3] and an annual budget of about 5.25 billion / US$5.77 billion (2016).[4]

ESA’s space flight programme includes human spaceflight (mainly through participation in the International Space Station programme); the launch and operation of unmanned exploration missions to other planets and the Moon; Earth observation, science and telecommunication; designing launch vehicles; and maintaining a major spaceport, the Guiana Space Centre at Kourou, French Guiana. The main European launch vehicle Ariane 5 is operated through Arianespace with ESA sharing in the costs of launching and further developing this launch vehicle.

Its facilities are distributed among the following 5 research centres:

After World War II, many European scientists left Western Europe in order to work with the United States. Although the 1950s boom made it possible for Western European countries to invest in research and specifically in space-related activities, Western European scientists realized solely national projects would not be able to compete with the two main superpowers. In 1958, only months after the Sputnik shock, Edoardo Amaldi and Pierre Auger, two prominent members of the Western European scientific community at that time, met to discuss the foundation of a common Western European space agency. The meeting was attended by scientific representatives from eight countries, including Harrie Massey (UK).

The Western European nations decided to have two different agencies, one concerned with developing a launch system, ELDO (European Launch Development Organization), and the precursor of the European Space Agency, ESRO (European Space Research Organisation). The latter was established on 20 March 1964 by an agreement signed on 14 June 1962. From 1968 to 1972, ESRO launched seven research satellites.

ESA in its current form was founded with the ESA Convention in 1975, when ESRO was merged with ELDO. ESA has 10 founding member states: Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.[5] These signed the ESA Convention in 1975 and deposited the instruments of ratification by 1980, when the convention came into force. During this interval the agency functioned in a de facto fashion.[2] ESA launched its first major scientific mission in 1975, Cos-B, a space probe monitoring gamma-ray emissions in the universe first worked on by ESRO.

ESA joined NASA in the IUE, the world’s first high-orbit telescope, which was launched in 1978 and operated very successfully for 18 years. A number of successful Earth-orbit projects followed, and in 1986 ESA began Giotto, its first deep-space mission, to study the comets Halley and GriggSkjellerup. Hipparcos, a star-mapping mission, was launched in 1989 and in the 1990s SOHO, Ulysses and the Hubble Space Telescope were all jointly carried out with NASA. Recent scientific missions in cooperation with NASA include the CassiniHuygens space probe, to which ESA contributed by building the Titan landing module Huygens.

As the successor of ELDO, ESA has also constructed rockets for scientific and commercial payloads. Ariane 1, launched in 1979, brought mostly commercial payloads into orbit from 1984 onward. The next two developments of the Ariane rocket were intermediate stages in the development of a more advanced launch system, the Ariane 4, which operated between 1988 and 2003 and established ESA as the world leader[citation needed] in commercial space launches in the 1990s. Although the succeeding Ariane 5 experienced a failure on its first flight, it has since firmly established itself within the heavily competitive commercial space launch market with 56 successful launches as of September 2011. The successor launch vehicle of Ariane 5, the Ariane 6 is already in the definition stage and is envisioned to enter service in the 2020s.

The beginning of the new millennium saw ESA become, along with agencies like NASA, JAXA, ISRO, CSA and Roscosmos, one of the major participants in scientific space research. Although ESA had relied on cooperation with NASA in previous decades, especially the 1990s, changed circumstances (such as tough legal restrictions on information sharing by the United States military) led to decisions to rely more on itself and on cooperation with Russia. A 2011 press issue thus stated:[6]

Russia is ESA’s first partner in its efforts to ensure long-term access to space. There is a framework agreement between ESA and the government of the Russian Federation on cooperation and partnership in the exploration and use of outer space for peaceful purposes, and cooperation is already under way in two different areas of launcher activity that will bring benefits to both partners.

Most notable for its new self-confidence are ESA’s own recent successful missions SMART-1, a probe testing cutting-edge new space propulsion technology, the Mars Express and Venus Express missions as well as the development of the Ariane 5 rocket and its role in the ISS partnership. ESA maintains its scientific and research projects mainly for astronomy-space missions such as Corot, launched on 27 December 2006, a milestone in the search for extra-solar planets.

The treaty establishing the European Space Agency reads:[7]

ESA’s purpose shall be to provide for, and to promote, for exclusively peaceful purposes, cooperation among European States in space research and technology and their space applications, with a view to their being used for scientific purposes and for operational space applications systems

ESA is responsible for setting a unified space and related industrial policy, recommending space objectives to the member states, and integrating national programs like satellite development, into the European program as much as possible.[7]

Jean-Jacques Dordain ESA’s Director General (2003-2015) outlined the European Space Agency’s mission in a 2003 interview:[8]

Today space activities are pursued for the benefit of citizens, and citizens are asking for a better quality of life on earth. They want greater security and economic wealth, but they also want to pursue their dreams, to increase their knowledge, and they want younger people to be attracted to the pursuit of science and technology.

I think that space can do all of this: it can produce a higher quality of life, better security, more economic wealth, and also fulfill our citizens’ dreams and thirst for knowledge, and attract the young generation. This is the reason space exploration is an integral part of overall space activities. It has always been so, and it will be even more important in the future.

ESA describes its work in two overlapping ways:

According to the ESA website the activities are:

Every member country must contribute to these programmes listed according to [1]:

Depending on their individual choices the countries can contribute to the following programmes listed according to [2]:

ESA member states

ESA associate members

ECS states

Signatories of the Cooperation Agreement

ESA is an intergovernmental organisation of 22 member states.[9] Member states participate to varying degrees in the mandatory (25% of total expenditures in 2008) and optional space programmes (75% of total expenditures in 2008).[10] The 2008 budget amounted to 3.0 billion the 2009 budget to 3.6 billion.[11] The total budget amounted to about 3.7 billion in 2010, 3.99 billion in 2011, 4.02 billion in 2012, 4.28 billion in 2013, 4.10 billion in 2014 and 4.33 billion in 2015.[12][13][14][15][16] Languages generally used are English and French. Additionally, official documents are also provided in German and documents regarding the Spacelab are also provided in Italian. If found appropriate, the agency may conduct its correspondence in any language of a member state.[2]

The following table lists all the member states and adjunct members, their ESA convention ratification dates, and their contributions in 2016:[1]

Currently the only associated member of ESA is Canada.[26] Previously associated members were Austria, Norway and Finland, all of which later joined ESA as full members.

Since 1 January 1979, Canada has had the special status of a Cooperating State within ESA. By virtue of this accord, the Canadian Space Agency takes part in ESA’s deliberative bodies and decision-making and also in ESA’s programmes and activities. Canadian firms can bid for and receive contracts to work on programmes. The accord has a provision ensuring a fair industrial return to Canada.[28] The most recent Cooperation Agreement was signed on 2010-12-15 with a term extending to 2020.[29][30] For 2014, Canada’s annual assessed contribution to the ESA general budget was 6,059,449.00 Euros (CAD$8,559,050).[31]

ESA is funded from annual contributions by national governments as well as from an annual contribution by the European Union (EU).[32]

The budget of ESA was 5.250 billion in 2016.[4] Every 34 years, ESA member states agree on a budget plan for several years at an ESA member states conference. This plan can be amended in future years, however provides the major guideline for ESA for several years.[citation needed] The 2016 budget allocations for major areas of ESA activity are shown in the chart on the right.[4]

Countries typically have their own space programmes that differ in how they operate organisationally and financially with ESA. For example, the French space agency CNES has a total budget of 2015 million, of which 755 million is paid as direct financial contribution to ESA.[33] Several space-related projects are joint projects between national space agencies and ESA (e.g. COROT). Also, ESA is not the only European governmental space organisation (for example European Union Satellite Centre).

After the decision of the ESA Council of 21/22 March 2001, the procedure for accession of the European states was detailed as described the document titled “The Plan for European Co-operating States (PECS)”.[34] Nations that want to become a full member of ESA do so in 3 stages. First a Cooperation Agreement is signed between the country and ESA. In this stage, the country has very limited financial responsibilities. If a country wants to cooperate more fully with ESA, it signs a European Cooperating State (ECS) Agreement. The ECS Agreement makes companies based in the country eligible for participation in ESA procurements. The country can also participate in all ESA programmes, except for the Basic Technology Research Programme. While the financial contribution of the country concerned increases, it is still much lower than that of a full member state. The agreement is normally followed by a Plan For European Cooperating State (or PECS Charter). This is a 5-year programme of basic research and development activities aimed at improving the nation’s space industry capacity. At the end of the 5-year period, the country can either begin negotiations to become a full member state or an associated state or sign a new PECS Charter.[35] Many countries, most of which joined the EU in both 2004 and 2007, have started to cooperate with ESA on various levels:

During the Ministerial Meeting in December 2014, ESA ministers approved a resolution calling for discussions to begin with Israel, Australia and South Africa on future association agreements. The ministers noted that concrete cooperation is at an advanced stage with these nations and that prospects for mutual benefits are existing.[56]

A separate space exploration strategy resolution calls for further cooperation with the United States, Russia and China on “LEO exploration, including a continuation of ISS cooperation and the development of a robust plan for the coordinated use of space transportation vehicles and systems for exploration purposes, participation in robotic missions for the exploration of the Moon, the robotic exploration of Mars, leading to a broad Mars Sample Return mission in which Europe should be involved as a full partner, and human missions beyond LEO in the longer term.”[56]

The political perspective of the European Union (EU) was to make ESA an agency of the EU by 2014,[57] although this date was not met. The EU is already the largest single donor to ESA’s budget and non-ESA EU states are observers at ESA.

The only current EU member state that has not signed an ESA Cooperation Agreement is Croatia. In December 2014, the ESA Ministerial Council authorized officials to begin discussions to establish formal cooperation with Croatia.[58]

ESA has a fleet of different launch vehicles in service with which it competes in all sectors of the launch market. ESA’s fleet consists of three major rocket designs: Ariane 5, Soyuz-2 and Vega. Rocket launches are carried out by Arianespace, which has 23 shareholders representing the industry that manufactures the Ariane 5 as well as CNES, at ESA’s Guiana Space Centre. Because many communication satellites have equatorial orbits, launches from French Guiana are able to take larger payloads into space than from spaceports at higher latitudes. In addition, equatorial launches give spacecraft an extra ‘push’ of nearly 500m/s due to the higher rotational velocity of the Earth at the equator compared to near the Earth’s poles where rotational velocity approaches zero.

The Ariane 5 rocket is ESA’s primary launcher. It has been in service since 1997 and replaced Ariane 4. Two different variants are currently in use. The heaviest and most used version, the Ariane 5 ECA, delivers two communications satellites of up to 10 tonnes into GTO. It failed during its first test flight in 2002, but has since made 71 consecutive successful flights (as of March 2016). The other version, Ariane 5 ES, was used to launch the Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) to the International Space Station (ISS) and will be used to launch four Galileo navigational satellites at a time.[59][60]

In November 2012, ESA agreed to build an upgraded variant called Ariane 5 ME (Mid-life Evolution) which will increase payload capacity to 11.5 tonnes to GTO and feature a restartable second stage to allow more complex missions. Ariane 5 ME is scheduled to fly in 2018.[61] Some of its new features will also be adopted by the next-generation launcher, Ariane 6, planned to replace Ariane 5 in the 2020s.

ESA’s Ariane 1, 2, 3 and 4 launchers (the last of which was ESA’s long-time workhorse) have been retired.

Soyuz-2 (also called the Soyuz-ST or Soyuz-STK) is a Russian medium payload launcher (ca. 3 metric tons to GTO) which was brought into ESA service in October 2011.[62][63] ESA entered into a 340 million joint venture with the Russian Federal Space Agency over the use of the Soyuz launcher.[6] Under the agreement, the Russian agency manufactures Soyuz rocket parts for ESA, which are then shipped to French Guiana for assembly.

ESA benefits because it gains a medium payload launcher, complementing its fleet while saving on development costs. In addition, the Soyuz rocketwhich has been the Russian’s space launch workhorse for some 40 yearsis proven technology with a very good safety record. Russia benefits in that it gets access to the Kourou launch site. Due to its proximity to the equator, launching from Kourou rather than Baikonur nearly doubles Soyuz’s payload to GTO (3.0 tonnes vs. 1.7 tonnes).

Soyuz first launched from Kourou on 21 October 2011, and successfully placed two Galileo satellites into orbit 23,222 kilometres above Earth.[62]

Vega is ESA’s carrier for small satellites. Developed by seven ESA members led by Italy, it is capable of carrying a payload with a mass of between 300 and 1500kg to an altitude of 700km, for low polar orbit. Its maiden launch from Kourou was on 13 February 2012.[64]

The rocket has three solid propulsion stages and a liquid propulsion upper stage (the AVUM) for accurate orbital insertion and the ability to place multiple payloads into different orbits.[65][66]

Historically, the Ariane family rockets have been funded primarily “with money contributed by ESA governments seeking to participate in the program rather than through competitive industry bids. This [has meant that] governments commit multiyear funding to the development with the expectation of a roughly 90% return on investment in the form of industrial workshare.” ESA is proposing changes to this scheme by moving to competitive bids for the development of the Ariane 6.[67]

At the time ESA was formed, its main goals did not encompass human space flight; rather it considered itself to be primarily a scientific research organisation for unmanned space exploration in contrast to its American and Soviet counterparts. It is therefore not surprising that the first non-Soviet European in space was not an ESA astronaut on a European space craft; it was Czechoslovak Vladimr Remek who in 1978 became the first non-Soviet or American in space (the first man in space being Yuri Gagarin of the Soviet Union) on a Soviet Soyuz spacecraft, followed by the Pole Mirosaw Hermaszewski and East German Sigmund Jhn in the same year. This Soviet co-operation programme, known as Intercosmos, primarily involved the participation of Eastern bloc countries. In 1982, however, Jean-Loup Chrtien became the first non-Communist Bloc astronaut on a flight to the Soviet Salyut 7 space station.

Because Chrtien did not officially fly into space as an ESA astronaut, but rather as a member of the French CNES astronaut corps, the German Ulf Merbold is considered the first ESA astronaut to fly into space. He participated in the STS-9 Space Shuttle mission that included the first use of the European-built Spacelab in 1983. STS-9 marked the beginning of an extensive ESA/NASA joint partnership that included dozens of space flights of ESA astronauts in the following years. Some of these missions with Spacelab were fully funded and organizationally and scientifically controlled by ESA (such as two missions by Germany and one by Japan) with European astronauts as full crew members rather than guests on board. Beside paying for Spacelab flights and seats on the shuttles, ESA continued its human space flight co-operation with the Soviet Union and later Russia, including numerous visits to Mir.

During the latter half of the 1980s, European human space flights changed from being the exception to routine and therefore, in 1990, the European Astronaut Centre in Cologne, Germany was established. It selects and trains prospective astronauts and is responsible for the co-ordination with international partners, especially with regard to the International Space Station. As of 2006, the ESA astronaut corps officially included twelve members, including nationals from most large European countries except the United Kingdom.

In the summer of 2008, ESA started to recruit new astronauts so that final selection would be due in spring 2009. Almost 10,000 people registered as astronaut candidates before registration ended in June 2008. 8,413 fulfilled the initial application criteria. Of the applicants, 918 were chosen to take part in the first stage of psychological testing, which narrowed down the field to 192. After two-stage psychological tests and medical evaluation in early 2009, as well as formal interviews, six new members of the European Astronaut Corps were selected – five men and one woman.[68]

The astronauts of the European Space Agency are:

In the 1980s, France pressed for an independent European crew launch vehicle. Around 1978 it was decided to pursue a reusable spacecraft model and starting in November 1987 a project to create a mini-shuttle by the name of Hermes was introduced. The craft was comparable to early proposals for the Space Shuttle and consisted of a small reusable spaceship that would carry 3 to 5 astronauts and 3 to 4 metric tons of payload for scientific experiments. With a total maximum weight of 21 metric tons it would have been launched on the Ariane 5 rocket, which was being developed at that time. It was planned solely for use in Low-Earth orbit space flights. The planning and pre-development phase concluded in 1991; the production phase was never fully implemented because at that time the political landscape had changed significantly. With the fall of the Soviet Union ESA looked forward to cooperation with Russia to build a next-generation space vehicle. Thus the Hermes programme was cancelled in 1995 after about 3 billion dollars had been spent. The Columbus space station programme had a similar fate.

In the 21st century, ESA started new programmes in order to create its own crew vehicles, most notable among its various projects and proposals is Hopper, whose prototype by EADS, called Phoenix, has already been tested. While projects such as Hopper are neither concrete nor to be realised within the next decade, other possibilities for human spaceflight in cooperation with the Russian Space Agency have emerged. Following talks with the Russian Space Agency in 2004 and June 2005,[73] a cooperation between ESA and the Russian Space Agency was announced to jointly work on the Russian-designed Kliper, a reusable spacecraft that would be available for space travel beyond LEO (e.g. the moon or even Mars). It was speculated that Europe would finance part of it. A 50 million participation study for Kliper, which was expected to be approved in December 2005, was finally not approved by the ESA member states. The Russian state tender for the project was subsequently cancelled in 2006.

In June 2006, ESA member states granted 15 million to the Crew Space Transportation System (CSTS) study, a two-year study to design a spacecraft capable of going beyond Low-Earth orbit based on the current Soyuz design. This project was pursued with Roskosmos instead of the cancelled Kliper proposal. A decision on the actual implementation and construction of the CSTS spacecraft was contemplated for 2008. In mid-2009 EADS Astrium was awarded a 21 million study into designing a crew vehicle based on the European ATV which is believed to now be the basis of the Advanced Crew Transportation System design.[74]

In November 2012, ESA decided to join NASA’s Orion programme. The ATV would form the basis of a propulsion unit for NASA’s new manned spacecraft. ESA may also seek to work with NASA on Orion’s launch system as well in order to secure a seat on the spacecraft for its own astronauts.[75]

In September 2014, ESA signed an agreement with Sierra Nevada Corporation for cooperation in Dream Chaser project. Further studies on the Dream Chaser for European Utilization or DC4EU project were funded, including the feasibility of launching a Europeanized Dream Chaser onboard Ariane 5.[76][77]

ESA has signed cooperation agreements with the following states that currently neither plan to integrate as tightly with ESA institutions as Canada, nor envision future membership of ESA: Argentina,[78] Brazil,[79] China,[80] India[81] (for the Chandrayan mission), Russia[82] and Turkey.[83]

Additionally, ESA has joint projects with the European Union, NASA of the United States and is participating in the International Space Station together with the United States (NASA), Russia and Japan (JAXA).

ESA and EU member states

ESA-only members

EU-only members

ESA is not an agency or body of the European Union (EU), and has non-EU countries Switzerland and Norway as members. There are however ties between the two, with various agreements in place and being worked on, to define the legal status of ESA with regard to the EU.[84]

There are common goals between ESA and the EU. ESA has an EU liaison office in Brussels. On certain projects, the EU and ESA cooperate, such as the upcoming Galileo satellite navigation system. Space policy has since December 2009 been an area for voting in the European Council. Under the European Space Policy of 2007, the EU, ESA and its Member States committed themselves to increasing coordination of their activities and programmes and to organising their respective roles relating to space.[85]

The Lisbon Treaty of 2009 reinforces the case for space in Europe and strengthens the role of ESA as an R&D space agency. Article 189 of the Treaty gives the EU a mandate to elaborate a European space policy and take related measures, and provides that the EU should establish appropriate relations with ESA.

Former Italian astronaut Umberto Guidoni, during his tenure as a Member of the European Parliament from 2004 to 2009, stressed the importance of the European Union as a driving force for space exploration, “since other players are coming up such as India and China it is becoming ever more important that Europeans can have an independent access to space. We have to invest more into space research and technology in order to have an industry capable of competing with other international players.”[86]

The first EU-ESA International Conference on Human Space Exploration took place in Prague on 22 and 23 October 2009.[87] A road map which would lead to a common vision and strategic planning in the area of space exploration was discussed. Ministers from all 29 EU and ESA members as well as members of parliament were in attendance.[88]

ESA has a long history of collaboration with NASA. Since ESA’s astronaut corps was formed, the Space Shuttle has been the primary launch vehicle used by ESA’s astronauts to get into space through partnership programmes with NASA. In the 1980s and 1990s, the Spacelab programme was an ESA-NASA joint research programme that had ESA develop and manufacture orbital labs for the Space Shuttle for several flights on which ESA participate with astronauts in experiments.

In robotic science mission and exploration missions, NASA has been ESA’s main partner. CassiniHuygens was a joint NASA-ESA mission, along with the Infrared Space Observatory, INTEGRAL, SOHO, and others. Also, the Hubble space telescope is a joint project of NASA and ESA. Future ESA-NASA joint projects include the James Webb Space Telescope and the proposed Laser Interferometer Space Antenna. NASA has committed to provide support to ESA’s proposed MarcoPolo-R mission to return an asteroid sample to Earth for further analysis. NASA and ESA will also likely join together for a Mars Sample Return Mission.

Since China has started to invest more money into space activities, the Chinese Space Agency has sought international partnerships. ESA is, beside the Russian Space Agency, one of its most important partners. Recently the two space agencies cooperated in the development of the Double Star Mission.[89]

ESA entered into a major joint venture with Russia in the form of the CSTS, the preparation of French Guiana spaceport for launches of Soyuz-2 rockets and other projects. With India, ESA agreed to send instruments into space aboard the ISRO’s Chandrayaan-1 in 2008.[90] ESA is also cooperating with Japan, the most notable current project in collaboration with JAXA is the BepiColombo mission to Mercury.

Speaking to reporters at an air show near Moscow in August 2011, ESA head Jean-Jacques Dordain said ESA and Russia’s Roskosmos space agency would “carry out the first flight to Mars together.”[91]

With regard to the International Space Station (ISS) ESA is not represented by all of its member states:[92] 10 of the 21 ESA member states currently participate in the project: Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland. Austria, Finland and Ireland chose not to participate, because of lack of interest or concerns about the expense of the project. The United Kingdom withdrew from the preliminary agreement because of concerns about the expense of the project. Portugal, Luxembourg, Greece, the Czech Republic, Romania and Poland joined ESA after the agreement had been signed. ESA is taking part in the construction and operation of the ISS with contributions such as Columbus, a science laboratory module that was brought into orbit by NASA’s STS-122 Space Shuttle mission and the Cupola observatory module that was completed in July 2005 by Alenia Spazio for ESA. The current estimates for the ISS are approaching 100 billion in total (development, construction and 10 years of maintaining the station) of which ESA has committed to paying 8 billion.[93] About 90% of the costs of ESA’s ISS share will be contributed by Germany (41%), France (28%) and Italy (20%). German ESA astronaut Thomas Reiter was the first long-term ISS crew member.

ESA has developed the Automated Transfer Vehicle for ISS resupply. Each ATV has a cargo capacity of 7,667 kilograms (16,903lb).[94] The first ATV, Jules Verne, was launched on 9 March 2008 and on 3 April 2008 successfully docked with the ISS. This manoeuvre, considered a major technical feat, involved using automated systems to allow the ATV to track the ISS, moving at 27,000km/h, and attach itself with an accuracy of 2cm.

As of 2013, the spacecraft establishing supply links to the ISS are the Russian Progress and Soyuz, European ATV, Japanese Kounotori (HTV), and the USA COTS program vehicles Dragon and Cygnus.

European Life and Physical Sciences research on board the International Space Station (ISS) is mainly based on the European Programme for Life and Physical Sciences in Space programme that was initiated in 2001.

According to Annex 1, Resolution No. 8 of the ESA Convention and Council Rules of Procedure,[95] English, French and German may be used in all meetings of the Agency, with interpretation provided into these three languages. All official documents are available in English and French with all documents concerning the ESA Council being available in German as well.

The EU flag is the one to be flown in space during missions (for example it was flown by ESA’s Andre Kuipers during Delta mission)

The Commission is increasingly working together towards common objectives. Some 20 per cent of the funds managed by ESA now originate from the supranational budget of the European Union.

However, in recent years the ties between ESA and the European institutions have been reinforced by the increasing role that space plays in supporting Europes social, political and economic policies.

The legal basis for the EU/ESA cooperation is provided by a Framework Agreement which entered into force in May 2004. According to this agreement, the European Commission and ESA coordinate their actions through the Joint Secretariat, a small team of ECs administrators and ESA executive. The Member States of the two organisations meet at ministerial level in the Space Council, which is a concomitant meeting of the EU and ESA Councils, prepared by Member States representatives in the High-level Space Policy Group (HSPG).

ESA maintains a liaison office in Brussels to facilitate relations with the European institutions.

In May 2007, the 29 European countries expressed their support for the European Space Policy in a resolution of the Space Council, unifying the approach of ESA with those of the European Union and their member states.

Prepared jointly by the European Commission and ESAs Director General, the European Space Policy sets out a basic vision and strategy for the space sector and addresses issues such as security and defence, access to space and exploration.

Through this resolution, the EU, ESA and their Member States all commit to increasing coordination of their activities and programmes and their respective roles relating to space.[98]

Coordinates: 485054N 21815E / 48.8482N 2.3042E / 48.8482; 2.3042

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Nobel Peace Prize | Nobels fredspris

Posted: at 11:06 am

The Nobel Peace Prize is an international prize which is awarded annually by the Norwegian Nobel Committee according to guidelines laid down in Alfred Nobel’s will. The Peace Prize is one of five prizes that have been awarded annually since 1901 for outstanding contributions in the fields of physics, chemistry, physiology or medicine, literature, and peace. Starting in 1969, a Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel has also been awarded.

Whereas the other prizes are awarded by specialist committees based in Sweden, the Peace Prize is awarded by a committee appointed by the Norwegian Storting. According to Nobel’s will, the Peace Prize is to go to whoever “shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses”. The prize includes a medal, a personal diploma, and a large sum of prize money (currently 8 million Swedish crowns).

The Nobel Peace Prize has been called “the world’s most prestigious prize”. With the award to The European Union in 2012, a total of 101 individuals and 24 organizations have been awarded the Peace Prize. The Prize is awarded at a ceremony in the Oslo City Hall on December 10, the date on which Alfred Nobel died.

ON

Photo: Odd-Steinar Tllefsen / The Norwegian Nobel Institute

From the Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony of 2006

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Trump, NATO chief pledge alliance’s ‘enduring importance’ in …

Posted: at 11:03 am

By Robin Emmott | BRUSSELS

BRUSSELS U.S. President-elect Donald Trump and NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg agreed on Friday on the Western alliance’s “enduring importance”, NATO said, striving to reassure Europe that Washington will remain committed to its security.

Trump questioned during his election campaign whether the United States should protect allies seen as spending too little on their defense, raising fears that he could withdraw funding for NATO at a time of heightened tensions with Russia.

“The president-elect and the secretary general both underlined NATO’s enduring importance and discussed how NATO is adaptingto the new security environment, including to counter the threat of terrorism,” NATO said in a statement after a phone conversation between Trump and Stoltenberg.

There was no immediate comment from Trump’s side.

The NATO statement said the Republican Trump, who will succeed Democratic President Barack Obama on Jan. 20, is expected in Brussels for a NATO summit next year.

The two leaders also addressed defense spending and agreed that “progress has been made on fairer burden-sharing, but that there is more to do” – underlining the fact that the United States spends far more on defense than Europe does.

After the break-up of the Soviet Union a quarter of a century ago, NATO’s European members cut defense spending to historic lows, leaving the United States to make up around three quarters of the alliance’s military expenditure.

A more assertive Russia under President Vladimir Putin has begun to change the picture and European governments are again spending more.

FEW MEET DEFENSE SPENDING TARGET

But Britain, Poland, Greece and Estonia are the only European nations to meet a NATO goal of spending at least 2 percent of gross domestic product on defense. Germany, Europe’s biggest economy, spends far less than 2 percent of its GDP on defense.

Speaking before the phone call, Stoltenberg told a conference in Brussels that European defense spending was one of his top priorities and that he had raised it with every NATO member, winning support from defense ministers.

He said the main obstacle was convincing the respective finance ministers who have the keys to treasuries.

“You have to increase defense spending when tensions go up,” Stoltenberg said, citing as evidence failing states in North and West Africa, the threat of Islamist militants and Russia’s 2014 annexation of Ukraine’s peninsula of Crimea.

“Stop the cuts and gradually increase (defense spending) to reach 2 percent (of economic output) is a very robust message. We have started to move although there is a very long way to go. I am certain Trump will make this his top priority (for NATO).”

Trump’s campaign suggestion of making U.S. defense of its European allies conditional appeared to question the central tenet of NATO – namely that an armed attack against one ally is an attack against all.

Stoltenberg has said he expects an overall 3 percent real increase in European defense spending in 2016. He said on Friday that if all European allies and Canada reached the 2 percent spending target, it would yield an extra $100 billion for NATO.

European Council President Donald Tusk also spoke to Trump by phone on Friday. An EU source said Tusk emphasized the importance of transatlantic cooperation, including on Ukraine, where Russia has supported separatist rebels against government forces in the east of the former Soviet republic.

Trump’s promise to improve Washington’s chilly relations with Russia’s Putin have caused jitters within the EU, particularly eastern member states like Poland and the Baltics.

(Additional reporting by Gabriela Baczynska, editing by Mark Heinrich)

MOSCOW Moscow will deploy S-400 surface-to-air missiles and nuclear-capable Iskander systems in the exclave of Kaliningrad in retaliation for NATO deployments, a senior pro-Kremlin lawmaker was quoted as saying on Monday.

TAL AFAR AIR BASE, Iraq Iraqi Shi’ite militias were massing troops on Monday to cut remaining supply routes to Mosul, Islamic State’s last major stronghold in Iraq, closing in on the road that links the Syrian and Iraqi parts of its self-declared caliphate.

VATICAN CITY Pope Francis on Monday extended indefinitely to all Roman Catholic priests the power to forgive abortion, a right previously reserved for bishops or special confessors in most parts of the world.

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Moon – Wikipedia

Posted: November 8, 2016 at 3:35 pm

The Moon is Earth’s only permanent natural satellite. It is the fifth-largest natural satellite in the Solar System, and the largest among planetary satellites relative to the size of the planet that it orbits (its primary). It is the second-densest satellite among those whose densities are known (after Jupiter’s satellite Io).

The average distance of the Moon from the Earth is 384,400km (238,900mi),[10][11] or 1.28 light-seconds.

The Moon is thought to have formed about 4.5 billion years ago, not long after Earth. There are several hypotheses for its origin; the most widely accepted explanation is that the Moon formed from the debris left over after a giant impact between Earth and a Mars-sized body called Theia.

The Moon is in synchronous rotation with Earth, always showing the same face, with its near side marked by dark volcanic maria that fill the spaces between the bright ancient crustal highlands and the prominent impact craters. It is the second-brightest regularly visible celestial object in Earth’s sky, after the Sun, as measured by illuminance on Earth’s surface. Its surface is actually dark, although compared to the night sky it appears very bright, with a reflectance just slightly higher than that of worn asphalt. Its prominence in the sky and its regular cycle of phases have made the Moon an important cultural influence since ancient times on language, calendars, art, mythology, and apparently, the menstrual cycles of the female of the human species.

The Moon’s gravitational influence produces the ocean tides, body tides, and the slight lengthening of the day. The Moon’s current orbital distance is about thirty times the diameter of Earth, with its apparent size in the sky almost the same as that of the Sun, resulting in the Moon covering the Sun nearly precisely in total solar eclipse. This matching of apparent visual size will not continue in the far future. The Moon’s linear distance from Earth is currently increasing at a rate of 3.820.07 centimetres (1.5040.028in) per year, but this rate is not constant.

The Soviet Union’s Luna programme was the first to reach the Moon with uncrewed spacecraft in 1959; the United States’ NASA Apollo program achieved the only crewed missions to date, beginning with the first crewed lunar orbiting mission by Apollo 8 in 1968, and six crewed lunar landings between 1969 and 1972, with the first being Apollo 11. These missions returned over 380kg (840lb) of lunar rocks, which have been used to develop a geological understanding of the Moon’s origin, the formation of its internal structure, and its subsequent history. Since the Apollo 17 mission in 1972, the Moon has been visited only by uncrewed spacecraft.

The usual English proper name for Earth’s natural satellite is “the Moon”.[12][13] The noun moon is derived from moone (around 1380), which developed from mone (1135), which is derived from Old English mna (dating from before 725), which ultimately stems from Proto-Germanic *mnn, like all Germanic language cognates.[14] Occasionally, the name “Luna” is used. In literature, especially science fiction, “Luna” is used to distinguish it from other moons, while in poetry, the name has been used to denote personification of our moon.[15]

The principal modern English adjective pertaining to the Moon is lunar, derived from the Latin Luna. A less common adjective is selenic, derived from the Ancient Greek Selene (), from which is derived the prefix “seleno-” (as in selenography).[16][17] Both the Greek Selene and the Roman goddess Diana were alternatively called Cynthia.[18] The names Luna, Cynthia, and Selene are reflected in terminology for lunar orbits in words such as apolune, pericynthion, and selenocentric. The name Diana is connected to dies meaning ‘day’.

Several mechanisms have been proposed for the Moon’s formation 4.53 billion years ago,[f] and some 3050 million years after the origin of the Solar System.[19] Recent research presented by Rick Carlson indicates a slightly lower age of between 4.40 and 4.45 billion years.[20][21] These mechanisms included the fission of the Moon from Earth’s crust through centrifugal force[22] (which would require too great an initial spin of Earth),[23] the gravitational capture of a pre-formed Moon[24] (which would require an unfeasibly extended atmosphere of Earth to dissipate the energy of the passing Moon),[23] and the co-formation of Earth and the Moon together in the primordial accretion disk (which does not explain the depletion of metals in the Moon).[23] These hypotheses also cannot account for the high angular momentum of the EarthMoon system.[25]

The prevailing hypothesis is that the EarthMoon system formed as a result of the impact of a Mars-sized body (named Theia) with the proto-Earth Earth (giant impact), that blasted material into orbit about the Earth that then accreted to form the present Earth-Moon system.[26][27]

This hypothesis, although not perfect, perhaps best explains the evidence. Eighteen months prior to an October 1984 conference on lunar origins, Bill Hartmann, Roger Phillips, and Jeff Taylor challenged fellow lunar scientists: “You have eighteen months. Go back to your Apollo data, go back to your computer, do whatever you have to, but make up your mind. Don’t come to our conference unless you have something to say about the Moon’s birth.” At the 1984 conference at Kona, Hawaii, the giant impact hypothesis emerged as the most popular.

Before the conference, there were partisans of the three “traditional” theories, plus a few people who were starting to take the giant impact seriously, and there was a huge apathetic middle who didnt think the debate would ever be resolved. Afterward there were essentially only two groups: the giant impact camp and the agnostics.[28]

Giant impacts are thought to have been common in the early Solar System. Computer simulations of a giant impact have produced results that are consistent with the mass of the lunar core and the present angular momentum of the EarthMoon system. These simulations also show that most of the Moon derived from the impactor, rather than the proto-Earth.[29] More recent simulations suggest a larger fraction of the Moon derived from the original Earth mass.[30][31][32][33] Studies of meteorites originating from inner Solar System bodies such as Mars and Vesta show that they have very different oxygen and tungsten isotopic compositions as compared to Earth, whereas Earth and the Moon have nearly identical isotopic compositions. The isotopic equalization of the Earth-Moon system might be explained by the post-impact mixing of the vaporized material that formed the two,[34] although this is debated.[35]

The great amount of energy released in the impact event and the subsequent re-accretion of that material into the Earth-Moon system would have melted the outer shell of Earth, forming a magma ocean.[36][37] Similarly, the newly formed Moon would also have been affected and had its own lunar magma ocean; estimates for its depth range from about 500km (300 miles) to its entire depth (1,737km (1,079 miles)).[36]

While the giant impact hypothesis might explain many lines of evidence, there are still some unresolved questions, most of which involve the Moon’s composition.[38]

In 2001, a team at the Carnegie Institute of Washington reported the most precise measurement of the isotopic signatures of lunar rocks.[39] To their surprise, the team found that the rocks from the Apollo program carried an isotopic signature that was identical with rocks from Earth, and were different from almost all other bodies in the Solar System. Because most of the material that went into orbit to form the Moon was thought to come from Theia, this observation was unexpected. In 2007, researchers from the California Institute of Technology announced that there was less than a 1% chance that Theia and Earth had identical isotopic signatures.[40] Published in 2012, an analysis of titanium isotopes in Apollo lunar samples showed that the Moon has the same composition as Earth,[41] which conflicts with what is expected if the Moon formed far from Earth’s orbit or from Theia. Variations on the giant impact hypothesis may explain this data.

The Moon is a differentiated body: it has a geochemically distinct crust, mantle, and core. The Moon has a solid iron-rich inner core with a radius of 240km (150mi) and a fluid outer core primarily made of liquid iron with a radius of roughly 300km (190mi). Around the core is a partially molten boundary layer with a radius of about 500km (310mi).[43] This structure is thought to have developed through the fractional crystallization of a global magma ocean shortly after the Moon’s formation 4.5billion years ago.[44] Crystallization of this magma ocean would have created a mafic mantle from the precipitation and sinking of the minerals olivine, clinopyroxene, and orthopyroxene; after about three-quarters of the magma ocean had crystallised, lower-density plagioclase minerals could form and float into a crust atop.[45] The final liquids to crystallise would have been initially sandwiched between the crust and mantle, with a high abundance of incompatible and heat-producing elements.[1] Consistent with this perspective, geochemical mapping made from orbit suggests the crust of mostly anorthosite.[9] The Moon rock samples of the flood lavas that erupted onto the surface from partial melting in the mantle confirm the mafic mantle composition, which is more iron rich than that of Earth.[1] The crust is on average about 50km (31mi) thick.[1]

The Moon is the second-densest satellite in the Solar System, after Io.[46] However, the inner core of the Moon is small, with a radius of about 350km (220mi) or less,[1] around 20% of the radius of the Moon. Its composition is not well defined, but is probably metallic iron alloyed with a small amount of sulfur and nickel; analyses of the Moon’s time-variable rotation suggest that it is at least partly molten.[47]

The topography of the Moon has been measured with laser altimetry and stereo image analysis.[48] Its most visible topographic feature is the giant far-side South PoleAitken basin, some 2,240km (1,390mi) in diameter, the largest crater on the Moon and the second-largest confirmed impact crater in the Solar System.[49][50] At 13km (8.1mi) deep, its floor is the lowest point on the surface of the Moon.[49][51] The highest elevations of the Moon’s surface are located directly to the northeast, and it has been suggested might have been thickened by the oblique formation impact of the South PoleAitken basin.[52] Other large impact basins, such as Imbrium, Serenitatis, Crisium, Smythii, and Orientale, also possess regionally low elevations and elevated rims.[49] The far side of the lunar surface is on average about 1.9km (1.2mi) higher than that of the near side.[1]

The discovery of fault scarp cliffs by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter suggest that the Moon has shrunk within the past billion years, by about 90 metres (300ft).[53] Similar shrinkage features exist on Mercury.

The dark and relatively featureless lunar plains, clearly be seen with the naked eye, are called maria (Latin for “seas”; singular mare), as they were once believed to be filled with water;[54] they are now known to be vast solidified pools of ancient basaltic lava. Although similar to terrestrial basalts, lunar basalts have more iron and no minerals altered by water.[55][56] The majority of these lavas erupted or flowed into the depressions associated with impact basins. Several geologic provinces containing shield volcanoes and volcanic domes are found within the near side “maria”.[57]

Almost all maria are on the near side of the Moon, and cover 31% of the surface of the near side,[58] compared with 2% of the far side.[59] This is thought to be due to a concentration of heat-producing elements under the crust on the near side, seen on geochemical maps obtained by Lunar Prospector’s gamma-ray spectrometer, which would have caused the underlying mantle to heat up, partially melt, rise to the surface and erupt.[45][60][61] Most of the Moon’s mare basalts erupted during the Imbrian period, 3.03.5billion years ago, although some radiometrically dated samples are as old as 4.2billion years.[62] Until recently, the youngest eruptions, dated by crater counting, appeared to have been only 1.2billion years ago.[63] In 2006, a study of Ina, a tiny depression in Lacus Felicitatis, found jagged, relatively dust-free features that, due to the lack of erosion by infalling debris, appeared to be only 2 million years old.[64]Moonquakes and releases of gas also indicate some continued lunar activity.[64] In 2014 NASA announced “widespread evidence of young lunar volcanism” at 70 irregular mare patches identified by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, some less than 50 million years old. This raises the possibility of a much warmer lunar mantle than previously believed, at least on the near side where the deep crust is substantially warmer due to the greater concentration of radioactive elements.[65][66][67][68] Just prior to this, evidence has been presented for 210 million years younger basaltic volcanism inside Lowell crater,[69][70] Orientale basin, located in the transition zone between the near and far sides of the Moon. An initially hotter mantle and/or local enrichment of heat-producing elements in the mantle could be responsible for prolonged activities also on the far side in the Orientale basin.[71][72]

The lighter-coloured regions of the Moon are called terrae, or more commonly highlands, because they are higher than most maria. They have been radiometrically dated to having formed 4.4billion years ago, and may represent plagioclase cumulates of the lunar magma ocean.[62][63] In contrast to Earth, no major lunar mountains are believed to have formed as a result of tectonic events.[73]

The concentration of maria on the Near Side likely reflects the substantially thicker crust of the highlands of the Far Side, which may have formed in a slow-velocity impact of a second moon of Earth a few tens of millions of years after their formation.[74][75]

The other major geologic process that has affected the Moon’s surface is impact cratering,[76] with craters formed when asteroids and comets collide with the lunar surface. There are estimated to be roughly 300,000 craters wider than 1km (0.6mi) on the Moon’s near side alone.[77] The lunar geologic timescale is based on the most prominent impact events, including Nectaris, Imbrium, and Orientale, structures characterized by multiple rings of uplifted material, between hundreds and thousands of kilometres in diameter and associated with a broad apron of ejecta deposits that form a regional stratigraphic horizon.[78] The lack of an atmosphere, weather and recent geological processes mean that many of these craters are well-preserved. Although only a few multi-ring basins have been definitively dated, they are useful for assigning relative ages. Because impact craters accumulate at a nearly constant rate, counting the number of craters per unit area can be used to estimate the age of the surface.[78] The radiometric ages of impact-melted rocks collected during the Apollo missions cluster between 3.8 and 4.1billion years old: this has been used to propose a Late Heavy Bombardment of impacts.[79]

Blanketed on top of the Moon’s crust is a highly comminuted (broken into ever smaller particles) and impact gardened surface layer called regolith, formed by impact processes. The finer regolith, the lunar soil of silicon dioxide glass, has a texture resembling snow and a scent resembling spent gunpowder.[80] The regolith of older surfaces is generally thicker than for younger surfaces: it varies in thickness from 1020km (6.212.4mi) in the highlands and 35km (1.93.1mi) in the maria.[81] Beneath the finely comminuted regolith layer is the megaregolith, a layer of highly fractured bedrock many kilometres thick.[82]

Comparison of high-resolution images obtained by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter has shown a contemporary crater-production rate significantly higher than previously estimated. A secondary cratering process caused by distal ejecta is thought to churn the top two centimetres of regolith a hundred times more quickly than previous models suggestedon a timescale of 81,000 years.[83][84]

Lunar swirls are enigmatic features found across the Moon’s surface, which are characterized by a high albedo, appearing optically immature (i.e. the optical characteristics of a relatively young regolith), and often displaying a sinuous shape. Their curvilinear shape is often accentuated by low albedo regions that wind between the bright swirls.

Liquid water cannot persist on the lunar surface. When exposed to solar radiation, water quickly decomposes through a process known as photodissociation and is lost to space. However, since the 1960s, scientists have hypothesized that water ice may be deposited by impacting comets or possibly produced by the reaction of oxygen-rich lunar rocks, and hydrogen from solar wind, leaving traces of water which could possibly survive in cold, permanently shadowed craters at either pole on the Moon.[85][86] Computer simulations suggest that up to 14,000km2 (5,400sqmi) of the surface may be in permanent shadow.[87] The presence of usable quantities of water on the Moon is an important factor in rendering lunar habitation as a cost-effective plan; the alternative of transporting water from Earth would be prohibitively expensive.[88]

In years since, signatures of water have been found to exist on the lunar surface.[89] In 1994, the bistatic radar experiment located on the Clementine spacecraft, indicated the existence of small, frozen pockets of water close to the surface. However, later radar observations by Arecibo, suggest these findings may rather be rocks ejected from young impact craters.[90] In 1998, the neutron spectrometer on the Lunar Prospector spacecraft, showed that high concentrations of hydrogen are present in the first meter of depth in the regolith near the polar regions.[91] Volcanic lava beads, brought back to Earth aboard Apollo 15, showed small amounts of water in their interior.[92]

The 2008 Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft has since confirmed the existence of surface water ice, using the on-board Moon Mineralogy Mapper. The spectrometer observed absorption lines common to hydroxyl, in reflected sunlight, providing evidence of large quantities of water ice, on the lunar surface. The spacecraft showed that concentrations may possibly be as high as 1,000ppm.[93] In 2009, LCROSS sent a 2,300kg (5,100lb) impactor into a permanently shadowed polar crater, and detected at least 100kg (220lb) of water in a plume of ejected material.[94][95] Another examination of the LCROSS data showed the amount of detected water to be closer to 15512kg (34226lb).[96]

In May 2011, 6151410 ppm water in melt inclusions in lunar sample 74220 was reported,[97] the famous high-titanium “orange glass soil” of volcanic origin collected during the Apollo 17 mission in 1972. The inclusions were formed during explosive eruptions on the Moon approximately 3.7 billion years ago. This concentration is comparable with that of magma in Earth’s upper mantle. Although of considerable selenological interest, Hauri’s announcement affords little comfort to would-be lunar coloniststhe sample originated many kilometers below the surface, and the inclusions are so difficult to access that it took 39 years to find them with a state-of-the-art ion microprobe instrument.

The gravitational field of the Moon has been measured through tracking the Doppler shift of radio signals emitted by orbiting spacecraft. The main lunar gravity features are mascons, large positive gravitational anomalies associated with some of the giant impact basins, partly caused by the dense mare basaltic lava flows that fill those basins.[98][99] The anomalies greatly influence the orbit of spacecraft about the Moon. There are some puzzles: lava flows by themselves cannot explain all of the gravitational signature, and some mascons exist that are not linked to mare volcanism.[100]

The Moon has an external magnetic field of about 1100 nanoteslas, less than one-hundredth that of Earth. It does not currently have a global dipolar magnetic field and only has crustal magnetization, probably acquired early in lunar history when a dynamo was still operating.[101][102] Alternatively, some of the remnant magnetization may be from transient magnetic fields generated during large impact events through the expansion of an impact-generated plasma cloud in the presence of an ambient magnetic field. This is supported by the apparent location of the largest crustal magnetizations near the antipodes of the giant impact basins.[103]

The Moon has an atmosphere so tenuous as to be nearly vacuum, with a total mass of less than 10 metric tons (9.8 long tons; 11 short tons).[106] The surface pressure of this small mass is around 3 1015atm (0.3nPa); it varies with the lunar day. Its sources include outgassing and sputtering, a product of the bombardment of lunar soil by solar wind ions.[9][107] Elements that have been detected include sodium and potassium, produced by sputtering (also found in the atmospheres of Mercury and Io); helium-4 and neon[108] from the solar wind; and argon-40, radon-222, and polonium-210, outgassed after their creation by radioactive decay within the crust and mantle.[109][110] The absence of such neutral species (atoms or molecules) as oxygen, nitrogen, carbon, hydrogen and magnesium, which are present in the regolith, is not understood.[109] Water vapour has been detected by Chandrayaan-1 and found to vary with latitude, with a maximum at ~6070degrees; it is possibly generated from the sublimation of water ice in the regolith.[111] These gases either return into the regolith due to the Moon’s gravity or be lost to space, either through solar radiation pressure or, if they are ionized, by being swept away by the solar wind’s magnetic field.[109]

A permanent asymmetric moon dust cloud exists around the Moon, created by small particles from comets. Estimates are 5 tons of comet particles strike the Moon’s surface each 24 hours. The particles strike the Moon’s surface ejecting moon dust above the Moon. The dust stays above the Moon approximately 10 minutes, taking 5 minutes to rise, and 5 minutes to fall. On average, 120 kilograms of dust are present above the Moon, rising to 100 kilometers above the surface. The dust measurements were made by LADEE’s Lunar Dust EXperiment (LDEX), between 20 and 100 kilometers above the surface, during a six-month period. LDEX detected an average of one 0.3 micrometer moon dust particle each minute. Dust particle counts peaked during the Geminid, Quadrantid, Northern Taurid, and Omicron Centaurid meteor showers, when the Earth, and Moon, pass through comet debris. The cloud is asymmetric, more dense near the boundary between the Moon’s dayside and nightside.[112][113]

The Moon’s axial tilt with respect to the ecliptic is only 1.5424,[114] much less than the 23.44 of Earth. Because of this, the Moon’s solar illumination varies much less with season, and topographical details play a crucial role in seasonal effects.[115] From images taken by Clementine in 1994, it appears that four mountainous regions on the rim of Peary Crater at the Moon’s north pole may remain illuminated for the entire lunar day, creating peaks of eternal light. No such regions exist at the south pole. Similarly, there are places that remain in permanent shadow at the bottoms of many polar craters,[87] and these dark craters are extremely cold: Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter measured the lowest summer temperatures in craters at the southern pole at 35K (238C; 397F)[116] and just 26K (247C; 413F) close to the winter solstice in north polar Hermite Crater. This is the coldest temperature in the Solar System ever measured by a spacecraft, colder even than the surface of Pluto.[115] Average temperatures of the Moon’s surface are reported, but temperatures of different areas will vary greatly depending upon whether it is in sunlight or shadow.[117]

The Moon makes a complete orbit around Earth with respect to the fixed stars about once every 27.3days[g] (its sidereal period). However, because Earth is moving in its orbit around the Sun at the same time, it takes slightly longer for the Moon to show the same phase to Earth, which is about 29.5days[h] (its synodic period).[58] Unlike most satellites of other planets, the Moon orbits closer to the ecliptic plane than to the planet’s equatorial plane. The Moon’s orbit is subtly perturbed by the Sun and Earth in many small, complex and interacting ways. For example, the plane of the Moon’s orbital motion gradually rotates, which affects other aspects of lunar motion. These follow-on effects are mathematically described by Cassini’s laws.[118]

The Moon is exceptionally large relative to Earth: a quarter its diameter and 1/81 its mass.[58] It is the largest moon in the Solar System relative to the size of its planet,[i] though Charon is larger relative to the dwarf planet Pluto, at 1/9 Pluto’s mass.[j][119] Earth and the Moon are nevertheless still considered a planetsatellite system, rather than a double planet, because their barycentre, the common centre of mass, is located 1,700km (1,100mi) (about a quarter of Earth’s radius) beneath Earth’s surface.[120]

The Moon is in synchronous rotation: it rotates about its axis in about the same time it takes to orbit Earth. This results in it nearly always keeping the same face turned towards Earth. The Moon used to rotate at a faster rate, but early in its history, its rotation slowed and became tidally locked in this orientation as a result of frictional effects associated with tidal deformations caused by Earth.[121] With time, the energy of rotation of the Moon on its axis was dissipated as heat, until there was no rotation of the Moon relative to the Earth. The side of the Moon that faces Earth is called the near side, and the opposite the far side. The far side is often inaccurately called the “dark side”, but it is in fact illuminated as often as the near side: once per lunar day, during the new moon phase we observe on Earth when the near side is dark.[122] In 2016, planetary scientists, using data collected on the much earlier Nasa Lunar Prospector mission, found two hydrogen-rich areas on opposite sides of the Moon, probably in the form of water ice. It is speculated that these patches were the poles of the Moon billions of years ago, before it was tidally locked to Earth.[123]

The Moon has an exceptionally low albedo, giving it a reflectance that is slightly brighter than that of worn asphalt. Despite this, it is the brightest object in the sky after the Sun.[58][k] This is partly due to the brightness enhancement of the opposition effect; at quarter phase, the Moon is only one-tenth as bright, rather than half as bright, as at full moon.[124]

Additionally, colour constancy in the visual system recalibrates the relations between the colours of an object and its surroundings, and because the surrounding sky is comparatively dark, the sunlit Moon is perceived as a bright object. The edges of the full moon seem as bright as the centre, with no limb darkening, due to the reflective properties of lunar soil, which reflects more light back towards the Sun than in other directions. The Moon does appear larger when close to the horizon, but this is a purely psychological effect, known as the Moon illusion, first described in the 7th century BC.[125] The full moon subtends an arc of about 0.52 (on average) in the sky, roughly the same apparent size as the Sun (see Eclipses).

The highest altitude of the Moon in the sky varies with the lunar phase and the season of the year. The full moon is highest during winter. The 18.6-year nodes cycle also has an influence: when the ascending node of the lunar orbit is in the vernal equinox, the lunar declination can go as far as 28 each month. This means the Moon can go overhead at latitudes up to 28 from the equator, instead of only 18. The orientation of the Moon’s crescent also depends on the latitude of the observation site: close to the equator, an observer can see a smile-shaped crescent moon.[126]

The Moon is visible for two weeks every 27.3 days at the North and South Pole. The Moon’s light is used by zooplankton in the Arctic when the sun is below the horizon for months on end.[127]

The distance between the Moon and Earth varies from around 356,400km (221,500mi) to 406,700km (252,700mi) at perigees (closest) and apogees (farthest), respectively. On 19 March 2011, it was closer to Earth when at full phase than it has been since 1993, 14% closer than its farthest position in apogee.[128] Reported as a “super moon”, this closest point coincides within an hour of a full moon, and it was 30% more luminous than when at its greatest distance due to its angular diameter being 14% greater, because 1.14 2 1.30 {displaystyle scriptstyle 1.14^{2}approx 1.30} .[129][130][131] At lower levels, the human perception of reduced brightness as a percentage is provided by the following formula:[132][133]

perceived reduction % = 100 actual reduction % 100 {displaystyle {text{perceived reduction}}%=100times {sqrt {{text{actual reduction}}% over 100}}}

When the actual reduction is 1.00 / 1.30, or about 0.770, the perceived reduction is about 0.877, or 1.00 / 1.14. This gives a maximum perceived increase of 14% between apogee and perigee moons of the same phase.[134]

There has been historical controversy over whether features on the Moon’s surface change over time. Today, many of these claims are thought to be illusory, resulting from observation under different lighting conditions, poor astronomical seeing, or inadequate drawings. However, outgassing does occasionally occur, and could be responsible for a minor percentage of the reported lunar transient phenomena. Recently, it has been suggested that a roughly 3km (1.9mi) diameter region of the lunar surface was modified by a gas release event about a million years ago.[135][136] The Moon’s appearance, like that of the Sun, can be affected by Earth’s atmosphere: common effects are a 22 halo ring formed when the Moon’s light is refracted through the ice crystals of high cirrostratus cloud, and smaller coronal rings when the Moon is seen through thin clouds.[137]

The illuminated area of the visible sphere (degree of illumination) is given by 1 2 ( 1 cos e ) {displaystyle {frac {1}{2}}(1-cos e)} , where e {displaystyle e} is the elongation (i.e. the angle between Moon, the observer (on Earth) and the Sun).

The gravitational attraction that masses have for one another decreases inversely with the square of the distance of those masses from each other. As a result, the slightly greater attraction that the Moon has for the side of Earth closest to the Moon, as compared to the part of the Earth opposite the Moon, results in tidal forces. Tidal forces affect both the Earth’s crust and oceans.

The most obvious effect of tidal forces is to cause two bulges in the Earth’s oceans, one on the side facing the Moon and the other on the side opposite. This results in elevated sea levels called ocean tides.[138] As the Earth spins on its axis, one of the ocean bulges (high tide) is held in place “under” the Moon, while another such tide is opposite. As a result, there are two high tides, and two low tides in about 24 hours.[138] Since the Moon is orbiting the Earth in the same direction of the Earth’s rotation, the high tides occur about every 12 hours and 25 minutes; the 25 minutes is due to the Moon’s time to orbit the Earth. The Sun has the same tidal effect on the Earth, but its forces of attraction are only 40% that of the Moon’s; the Sun’s and Moon’s interplay is responsible for spring and neap tides.[138] If the Earth was a water world (one with no continents) it would produce a tide of only one meter, and that tide would be very predictable, but the ocean tides are greatly modified by other effects: the frictional coupling of water to Earth’s rotation through the ocean floors, the inertia of water’s movement, ocean basins that grow shallower near land, the sloshing of water between different ocean basins.[139] As a result, the timing of the tides at most points on the Earth is a product of observations that are explained, incidentally, by theory.

While gravitation causes acceleration and movement of the Earth’s fluid oceans, gravitational coupling between the Moon and Earth’s solid body is mostly elastic and plastic. The result is a further tidal effect of the Moon on the Earth that causes a bulge of the solid portion of the Earth nearest the Moon that acts as a torque in opposition to the Earth’s rotation. This “drains” angular momentum and rotational kinetic energy from Earth’s spin, slowing the Earth’s rotation.[138][140] That angular momentum, lost from the Earth, is transferred to the Moon in a process (confusingly known as tidal acceleration), which lifts the Moon into a higher orbit and results in its lower orbital speed about the Earth. Thus the distance between Earth and Moon is increasing, and the Earth’s spin is slowing in reaction.[140] Measurements from laser reflectors left during the Apollo missions (lunar ranging experiments) have found that the Moon’s distance increases by 38mm (1.5in) per year[141] (roughly the rate at which human fingernails grow).[142]Atomic clocks also show that Earth’s day lengthens by about 15microseconds every year,[143] slowly increasing the rate at which UTC is adjusted by leap seconds. Left to run its course, this tidal drag would continue until the spin of Earth and the orbital period of the Moon matched, creating mutual tidal locking between the two. As a result, the Moon would be suspended in the sky over one meridian, as is already currently the case with Pluto and its moon Charon. However, the Sun will become a red giant long before that, engulfing Earth and we need not worry about the consequences.[144][145]

In a like manner, the lunar surface experiences tides of around 10cm (4in) amplitude over 27days, with two components: a fixed one due to Earth, because they are in synchronous rotation, and a varying component from the Sun.[140] The Earth-induced component arises from libration, a result of the Moon’s orbital eccentricity (if the Moon’s orbit were perfectly circular, there would only be solar tides).[140] Libration also changes the angle from which the Moon is seen, allowing a total of about 59% of its surface to be seen from Earth over time.[58] The cumulative effects of stress built up by these tidal forces produces moonquakes. Moonquakes are much less common and weaker than are earthquakes, although moon quakes can last for up to an houra significantly longer time than terrestrial quakesbecause of the absence of water to damp out the seismic vibrations. The existence of moonquakes was an unexpected discovery from seismometers placed on the Moon by Apollo astronauts from 1969 through 1972.[146]

Eclipses can only occur when the Sun, Earth, and Moon are all in a straight line (termed “syzygy”). Solar eclipses occur at new moon, when the Moon is between the Sun and Earth. In contrast, lunar eclipses occur at full moon, when Earth is between the Sun and Moon. The apparent size of the Moon is roughly the same as that of the Sun, with both being viewed at close to one-half a degree wide. The Sun is much larger than the Moon but it is the precise vastly greater distance that gives it the same apparent size as the much closer and much smaller Moon from the perspective of Earth. The variations in apparent size, due to the non-circular orbits, are nearly the same as well, though occurring in different cycles. This makes possible both total (with the Moon appearing larger than the Sun) and annular (with the Moon appearing smaller than the Sun) solar eclipses.[148] In a total eclipse, the Moon completely covers the disc of the Sun and the solar corona becomes visible to the naked eye. Because the distance between the Moon and Earth is very slowly increasing over time,[138] the angular diameter of the Moon is decreasing. Also, as it evolves toward becoming a red giant, the size of the Sun, and its apparent diameter in the sky, are slowly increasing.[l] The combination of these two changes means that hundreds of millions of years ago, the Moon would always completely cover the Sun on solar eclipses, and no annular eclipses were possible. Likewise, hundreds of millions of years in the future, the Moon will no longer cover the Sun completely, and total solar eclipses will not occur.[149]

Because the Moon’s orbit around Earth is inclined by about 5 to the orbit of Earth around the Sun, eclipses do not occur at every full and new moon. For an eclipse to occur, the Moon must be near the intersection of the two orbital planes.[150] The periodicity and recurrence of eclipses of the Sun by the Moon, and of the Moon by Earth, is described by the saros, which has a period of approximately 18years.[151]

Because the Moon is continuously blocking our view of a half-degree-wide circular area of the sky,[m][152] the related phenomenon of occultation occurs when a bright star or planet passes behind the Moon and is occulted: hidden from view. In this way, a solar eclipse is an occultation of the Sun. Because the Moon is comparatively close to Earth, occultations of individual stars are not visible everywhere on the planet, nor at the same time. Because of the precession of the lunar orbit, each year different stars are occulted.[153]

Understanding of the Moon’s cycles was an early development of astronomy: by the 5th century BC, Babylonian astronomers had recorded the 18-year Saros cycle of lunar eclipses,[154] and Indian astronomers had described the Moon’s monthly elongation.[155] The Chinese astronomer Shi Shen (fl. 4th century BC) gave instructions for predicting solar and lunar eclipses. Later, the physical form of the Moon and the cause of moonlight became understood. The ancient Greek philosopher Anaxagoras (d. 428 BC) reasoned that the Sun and Moon were both giant spherical rocks, and that the latter reflected the light of the former.[157] Although the Chinese of the Han Dynasty believed the Moon to be energy equated to qi, their ‘radiating influence’ theory also recognized that the light of the Moon was merely a reflection of the Sun, and Jing Fang (7837BC) noted the sphericity of the Moon. In the 2nd century AD Lucian wrote a novel where the heroes travel to the Moon, which is inhabited. In 499AD, the Indian astronomer Aryabhata mentioned in his Aryabhatiya that reflected sunlight is the cause of the shining of the Moon.[160] The astronomer and physicist Alhazen (9651039) found that sunlight was not reflected from the Moon like a mirror, but that light was emitted from every part of the Moon’s sunlit surface in all directions.[161]Shen Kuo (10311095) of the Song dynasty created an allegory equating the waxing and waning of the Moon to a round ball of reflective silver that, when doused with white powder and viewed from the side, would appear to be a crescent.

In Aristotle’s (384322BC) description of the universe, the Moon marked the boundary between the spheres of the mutable elements (earth, water, air and fire), and the imperishable stars of aether, an influential philosophy that would dominate for centuries.[163] However, in the 2nd century BC, Seleucus of Seleucia correctly theorized that tides were due to the attraction of the Moon, and that their height depends on the Moon’s position relative to the Sun.[164] In the same century, Aristarchus computed the size and distance of the Moon from Earth, obtaining a value of about twenty times the radius of Earth for the distance. These figures were greatly improved by Ptolemy (90168AD): his values of a mean distance of 59times Earth’s radius and a diameter of 0.292Earth diameters were close to the correct values of about 60 and 0.273 respectively.[165]Archimedes (287212 BC) designed a planetarium that could calculate the motions of the Moon and other objects in the Solar System.[166]

During the Middle Ages, before the invention of the telescope, the Moon was increasingly recognised as a sphere, though many believed that it was “perfectly smooth”.[167]

In 1609, Galileo Galilei drew one of the first telescopic drawings of the Moon in his book Sidereus Nuncius and noted that it was not smooth but had mountains and craters. Telescopic mapping of the Moon followed: later in the 17th century, the efforts of Giovanni Battista Riccioli and Francesco Maria Grimaldi led to the system of naming of lunar features in use today. The more exact 183436 Mappa Selenographica of Wilhelm Beer and Johann Heinrich Mdler, and their associated 1837 book Der Mond, the first trigonometrically accurate study of lunar features, included the heights of more than a thousand mountains, and introduced the study of the Moon at accuracies possible in earthly geography.[168] Lunar craters, first noted by Galileo, were thought to be volcanic until the 1870s proposal of Richard Proctor that they were formed by collisions.[58] This view gained support in 1892 from the experimentation of geologist Grove Karl Gilbert, and from comparative studies from 1920 to the 1940s,[169] leading to the development of lunar stratigraphy, which by the 1950s was becoming a new and growing branch of astrogeology.[58]

The Cold War-inspired Space Race between the Soviet Union and the U.S. led to an acceleration of interest in exploration of the Moon. Once launchers had the necessary capabilities, these nations sent uncrewed probes on both flyby and impact/lander missions. Spacecraft from the Soviet Union’s Luna program were the first to accomplish a number of goals: following three unnamed, failed missions in 1958,[170] the first human-made object to escape Earth’s gravity and pass near the Moon was Luna 1; the first human-made object to impact the lunar surface was Luna 2, and the first photographs of the normally occluded far side of the Moon were made by Luna 3, all in 1959.

The first spacecraft to perform a successful lunar soft landing was Luna 9 and the first uncrewed vehicle to orbit the Moon was Luna 10, both in 1966.[58]Rock and soil samples were brought back to Earth by three Luna sample return missions (Luna 16 in 1970, Luna 20 in 1972, and Luna 24 in 1976), which returned 0.3kg total.[171] Two pioneering robotic rovers landed on the Moon in 1970 and 1973 as a part of Soviet Lunokhod programme.

The United States launched uncrewed probes to develop an understanding of the lunar surface for an eventual crewed landing: the Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s Ranger program produced the first close-up pictures; the Lunar Orbiter program produced maps of the entire Moon; the Surveyor program landed its first spacecraft four months after Luna 9. NASA’s crewed Apollo program was developed in parallel; after a series of uncrewed and crewed tests of the Apollo spacecraft in Earth orbit, and spurred on by a potential Soviet lunar flight, in 1968 Apollo 8 made the first crewed mission to lunar orbit. The subsequent landing of the first humans on the Moon in 1969 is seen by many as the culmination of the Space Race.[172]

Neil Armstrong became the first person to walk on the Moon as the commander of the American mission Apollo 11 by first setting foot on the Moon at 02:56UTC on 21 July 1969.[173] An estimated 500million people worldwide watched the transmission by the Apollo TV camera, the largest television audience for a live broadcast at that time.[174][175] The Apollo missions 11 to 17 (except Apollo 13, which aborted its planned lunar landing) returned 380.05 kilograms (837.87lb) of lunar rock and soil in 2,196 separate samples.[176] The American Moon landing and return was enabled by considerable technological advances in the early 1960s, in domains such as ablation chemistry, software engineering and atmospheric re-entry technology, and by highly competent management of the enormous technical undertaking.[177][178]

Scientific instrument packages were installed on the lunar surface during all the Apollo landings. Long-lived instrument stations, including heat flow probes, seismometers, and magnetometers, were installed at the Apollo 12, 14, 15, 16, and 17 landing sites. Direct transmission of data to Earth concluded in late 1977 due to budgetary considerations,[179][180] but as the stations’ lunar laser ranging corner-cube retroreflector arrays are passive instruments, they are still being used. Ranging to the stations is routinely performed from Earth-based stations with an accuracy of a few centimetres, and data from this experiment are being used to place constraints on the size of the lunar core.[181]

After the first Moon race there were years of near quietude but starting in the 1990s, many more countries have become involved in direct exploration of the Moon. In 1990, Japan became the third country to place a spacecraft into lunar orbit with its Hiten spacecraft. The spacecraft released a smaller probe, Hagoromo, in lunar orbit, but the transmitter failed, preventing further scientific use of the mission.[182] In 1994, the U.S. sent the joint Defense Department/NASA spacecraft Clementine to lunar orbit. This mission obtained the first near-global topographic map of the Moon, and the first global multispectral images of the lunar surface.[183] This was followed in 1998 by the Lunar Prospector mission, whose instruments indicated the presence of excess hydrogen at the lunar poles, which is likely to have been caused by the presence of water ice in the upper few meters of the regolith within permanently shadowed craters.[184]

India, Japan, China, the United States, and the European Space Agency each sent lunar orbiters, especially ISRO’s Chandrayaan-1 has contributed to confirming the discovery of lunar water ice in permanently shadowed craters at the poles and bound into the lunar regolith. The post-Apollo era has also seen two rover missions: the final Soviet Lunokhod mission in 1973, and China’s ongoing Chang’e 3 mission, which deployed its Yutu rover on 14 December 2013. The Moon remains, under the Outer Space Treaty, free to all nations to explore for peaceful purposes.

The European spacecraft SMART-1, the second ion-propelled spacecraft, was in lunar orbit from 15 November 2004 until its lunar impact on 3 September 2006, and made the first detailed survey of chemical elements on the lunar surface.[185]

China has pursued an ambitious program of lunar exploration, beginning with Chang’e 1, which successfully orbited the Moon from 5 November 2007 until its controlled lunar impact on 1 March 2009.[186] In its sixteen-month mission, it obtained a full image map of the Moon. China followed up this success with Chang’e 2 beginning in October 2010, which reached the Moon over twice as fast as Chang’e 1, mapped the Moon at a higher resolution over an eight-month period, then left lunar orbit in favor of an extended stay at the EarthSun L2 Lagrangian point, before finally performing a flyby of asteroid 4179 Toutatis on 13 December 2012, and then heading off into deep space. On 14 December 2013, Chang’e 3 improved upon its orbital mission predecessors by landing a lunar lander onto the Moon’s surface, which in turn deployed a lunar rover, named Yutu (Chinese: ; literally “Jade Rabbit”). In so doing, Chang’e 3 made the first lunar soft landing since Luna 24 in 1976, and the first lunar rover mission since Lunokhod 2 in 1973. China intends to launch another rover mission (Chang’e 4) before 2020, followed by a sample return mission (Chang’e 5) soon after.[187]

Between 4 October 2007 and 10 June 2009, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s Kaguya (Selene) mission, a lunar orbiter fitted with a high-definition video camera, and two small radio-transmitter satellites, obtained lunar geophysics data and took the first high-definition movies from beyond Earth orbit.[188][189] India’s first lunar mission, Chandrayaan I, orbited from 8 November 2008 until loss of contact on 27 August 2009, creating a high resolution chemical, mineralogical and photo-geological map of the lunar surface, and confirming the presence of water molecules in lunar soil.[190] The Indian Space Research Organisation planned to launch Chandrayaan II in 2013, which would have included a Russian robotic lunar rover.[191][192] However, the failure of Russia’s Fobos-Grunt mission has delayed this project.

The U.S. co-launched the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) and the LCROSS impactor and follow-up observation orbiter on 18 June 2009; LCROSS completed its mission by making a planned and widely observed impact in the crater Cabeus on 9 October 2009,[193] whereas LRO is currently in operation, obtaining precise lunar altimetry and high-resolution imagery. In November 2011, the LRO passed over the Aristarchus crater, which spans 40km (25mi) and sinks more than 3.5km (2.2mi) deep. The crater is one of the most visible ones from Earth. “The Aristarchus plateau is one of the most geologically diverse places on the Moon: a mysterious raised flat plateau, a giant rille carved by enormous outpourings of lava, fields of explosive volcanic ash, and all surrounded by massive flood basalts”, said Mark Robinson, principal investigator of the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera at Arizona State University. NASA released photos of the crater on 25 December 2011.[194]

Two NASA GRAIL spacecraft began orbiting the Moon around 1 January 2012,[195] on a mission to learn more about the Moon’s internal structure. NASA’s LADEE probe, designed to study the lunar exosphere, achieved orbit on 6 October 2013.

Upcoming lunar missions include Russia’s Luna-Glob: an uncrewed lander with a set of seismometers, and an orbiter based on its failed Martian Fobos-Grunt mission.[196][197] Privately funded lunar exploration has been promoted by the Google Lunar X Prize, announced 13 September 2007, which offers US$20million to anyone who can land a robotic rover on the Moon and meet other specified criteria.[198]Shackleton Energy Company is building a program to establish operations on the south pole of the Moon to harvest water and supply their Propellant Depots.[199]

NASA began to plan to resume crewed missions following the call by U.S. President George W. Bush on 14 January 2004 for a crewed mission to the Moon by 2019 and the construction of a lunar base by 2024.[200] The Constellation program was funded and construction and testing begun on a crewed spacecraft and launch vehicle,[201] and design studies for a lunar base.[202] However, that program has been cancelled in favor of a crewed asteroid landing by 2025 and a crewed Mars orbit by 2035.[203]India has also expressed its hope to send a crewed mission to the Moon by 2020.[204]

For many years, the Moon has been recognized as an excellent site for telescopes.[205] It is relatively nearby; astronomical seeing is not a concern; certain craters near the poles are permanently dark and cold, and thus especially useful for infrared telescopes; and radio telescopes on the far side would be shielded from the radio chatter of Earth.[206] The lunar soil, although it poses a problem for any moving parts of telescopes, can be mixed with carbon nanotubes and epoxies and employed in the construction of mirrors up to 50 meters in diameter.[207] A lunar zenith telescope can be made cheaply with ionic liquid.[208]

In April 1972, the Apollo 16 mission recorded various astronomical photos and spectra in ultraviolet with the Far Ultraviolet Camera/Spectrograph.[209]

During the Cold War, the United States Army conducted a classified feasibility study in the late 1950s called Project Horizon, to construct a crewed military outpost on the Moon, which would have been home to a bombing system targeted at rivals on Earth. The study included the possibility of conducting a lunar-based nuclear test.[210] The Air Force, which at the time was in competition with the Army for a leading role in the space program, developed its own, similar plan called Lunex.[211][212] However, both these proposals were ultimately passed over as the space program was largely transferred from the military to the civilian agency NASA.[212]

Although Luna landers scattered pennants of the Soviet Union on the Moon, and U.S. flags were symbolically planted at their landing sites by the Apollo astronauts, no nation claims ownership of any part of the Moon’s surface.[213] Russia and the U.S. are party to the 1967 Outer Space Treaty,[214] which defines the Moon and all outer space as the “province of all mankind”.[213] This treaty also restricts the use of the Moon to peaceful purposes, explicitly banning military installations and weapons of mass destruction.[215] The 1979 Moon Agreement was created to restrict the exploitation of the Moon’s resources by any single nation, but as of 2014, it has been signed and ratified by only 16 nations, none of which engages in self-launched human space exploration or has plans to do so.[216] Although several individuals have made claims to the Moon in whole or in part, none of these are considered credible.[217][218][219]

The Moon was often personified as a lunar deity in mythology and religion. A 5,000-year-old rock carving at Knowth, Ireland, may represent the Moon, which would be the earliest depiction discovered.[220] The contrast between the brighter highlands and the darker maria creates the patterns seen by different cultures as the Man in the Moon, the rabbit and the buffalo, among others. In many prehistoric and ancient cultures, the Moon was personified as a deity or other supernatural phenomenon, and astrological views of the Moon continue to be propagated today.

In the Ancient Near East, the moon god (Sin/Nanna) was masculine. In Greco-Roman mythology, Sun and Moon are represented as male and female, respectively (Helios/Sol and Selene/Luna). The crescent shape form an early time was used as a symbol representing the Moon. The Moon goddess Selene was represented as wearing a crescent on her headgear in an arrangement reminiscent of horns. The star and crescent arrangement also goes back to the Bronze Age, representing either the Sun and Moon, or the Moon and planet Venus, in combination. It came to represent the goddess Artemis or Hecate, and via the patronage of Hecate came to be used as a symbol of Byzantium.

An iconographic tradition of representing Sun and Moon with faces developed in the late medieval period.

The splitting of the moon (Arabic: ) is a miracle attributed to Muhammad.[221]

The Moon’s regular phases make it a very convenient timepiece, and the periods of its waxing and waning form the basis of many of the oldest calendars. Tally sticks, notched bones dating as far back as 2030,000 years ago, are believed by some to mark the phases of the Moon.[222][223][224] The ~30-day month is an approximation of the lunar cycle. The English noun month and its cognates in other Germanic languages stem from Proto-Germanic *mnth-, which is connected to the above-mentioned Proto-Germanic *mnn, indicating the usage of a lunar calendar among the Germanic peoples (Germanic calendar) prior to the adoption of a solar calendar.[225] The PIE root of moon, *mh1nt, derives from the PIE verbal root *meh1-, “to measure”, “indicat[ing] a functional conception of the moon, i.e. marker of the month” (cf. the English words measure and menstrual),[226][227][228] and echoing the Moon’s importance to many ancient cultures in measuring time (see Latin mensis and Ancient Greek (meis) or (mn), meaning “month”).[229][230][231][232] Most historical calendars are lunisolar. The 7th-century Islamic calendar is an exceptional example of a purely lunar calendar. Months are traditionally determined by the visual sighting of the hilal, or earliest crescent moon, over the horizon.[233]

The Moon has been the subject of many works of art and literature and the inspiration for countless others. It is a motif in the visual arts, the performing arts, poetry, prose and music.

The Moon has long been associated with insanity and irrationality; the words lunacy and lunatic (popular shortening loony) are derived from the Latin name for the Moon, Luna. Philosophers Aristotle and Pliny the Elder argued that the full moon induced insanity in susceptible individuals, believing that the brain, which is mostly water, must be affected by the Moon and its power over the tides, but the Moon’s gravity is too slight to affect any single person.[234] Even today, people who believe in a lunar effect claim that admissions to psychiatric hospitals, traffic accidents, homicides or suicides increase during a full moon, but dozens of studies invalidate these claims.[234][235][236][237][238]

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Moon – Wikipedia

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Darwinism – The Economist

Posted: November 6, 2016 at 7:06 pm

WEALTH, according to H.L. Mencken, an American satirist of the last century, is any income that is at least $100 more a year than the income of one’s wife’s sister’s husband. Adjusted for inflation since 1949, that is not a bad definition. But why do those who are already well-off feel the need to out-earn other people? And why, contrariwise, is it so hard to abolish poverty?

America, Mencken’s homeland, executes around 40 people a year for murder. Yet it still has a high murder rate. Why do people murder each other when they are almost always caught and may, in America at least, be killed themselves as a result?

Why, after 80 years of votes for women, and 40 years of the feminist revolution, do men still earn larger incomes? And why do so many people hate others merely for having different coloured skin?

Traditionally, the answers to such questions, and many others about modern life, have been sought in philosophy, sociology, even religion. But the answers that have come back are generally unsatisfying. They describe, rather than explain. They do not get to the nitty-gritty of what it truly is to be human. Policy based on them does not work. This is because they ignore the forces that made people what they are: the forces of evolution.

The reasons for that ignorance are complex. Philosophers have preached that there exists between man and beast an unbridgeable distinction. Sociologists have been seduced by Marxist ideas about the perfectibility of mankind. Theologians have feared that the very thought of evolution threatens divine explanations of the world. Even fully paid-up members of the Enlightenment, people who would not for a moment deny humanity’s simian ancestry, are often sceptical. They seem to believe, as Anne Campbell, a psychologist at Durham University, in England, elegantly puts it, that evolution stops at the neck: that human anatomy evolved, but human behaviour is culturally determined.

The corollary to this is the idea that with appropriate education, indoctrination, social conditioning or what have you, people can be made to behave in almost any way imaginable. The evidence, however, is that they cannot. The room for shaping their behaviour is actually quite limited. Unless that is realised, and the underlying biology of the behaviour to be shaped is properly understood, attempts to manipulate it are likely to fail. Unfortunately, even as the 150th anniversary of Darwin’s masterwork, On The Origin of Species, approaches (it was published in 1859) that fact has not been properly accepted. Time, then, to see what a Darwinian analysis has to offer the hard-pressed policymaker, and whether it can make a practical difference to outcomes.

Mencken’s observation neatly explains two aspects of modern life. One is the open-endedness of economic growth. The other is that no matter how rich your country becomes, the poor you will always have with you. But what explains Mencken’s observation?

For a Darwinian, life is about two things: survival and reproduction. Of the two, the second is the more significant. To put it crudely, the only Darwinian point of survival is reproduction. As a consequence, much of daily existence is about showing off, subtly or starkly, in ways that attract members of the opposite sex and intimidate those of the same sex. In humansunlike, say, peafowl, where only the cocks have the flashy tails, or deer, where only the stags have the chunky antlersboth sexes engage in this. Men do it more than women, but you need look no further than Ascot race course on Gold Cup day to see that women do it too. Status and hierarchy matter. And in modern society, status is mediated by money.

Girls have always liked a rich man, of course. Darwinians used to think this was due to his ability to provide materially for their children. No doubt that is part of it. But the thinking among evolutionary biologists these days is that what is mainly going on is a competition for genes, not goods. High-status individuals are more likely to have genes that promote health and intelligence, and members of the opposite sex have been honed by evolution to respond accordingly. A high-status man will get more opportunities to mate. A high-status woman can be more choosy about whom she mates with.

Life is about survival and reproduction

For men, at least, this is demonstrably true. Evolutionary biologists are fond of quoting extreme examples to make the point, the most famous being Moulay Ismail the Bloodthirsty, a Moroccan ruler who fathered over 1,000 children. But kings have powers of coercion. Some better examples are provided by Joe Studwell, in his book Asian Godfathers, which dissects the lives of businessmen. Stanley Ho, a veteran operator in Hong Kong and Macau, has 17 children by several women. Oei Tiong Ham, a tycoon who died in 1924, had 18 concubines and 42 children. The relationship holds good further down the social ladder. Danile Nettle and Thomas Pollet, of Newcastle University, recently showed that in Britain the number of children a man has fathered is, on average, related to his income, the spread of modern contraception notwithstanding.

Status, though, is always relative: it is linked to money because it drives the desire to make more of the stuff in order to outdo the competition. This is the ultimate engine of economic growth. Since status is a moving target, there is no such thing as enough money.

The relative nature of status explains the paradox observed in 1974 by an economist called Richard Easterlin that, while rich people are happier than poor people within a country, average happiness does not increase as that country gets richer. This has been disputed recently. But if it withstands scrutiny it means the free-market argumentthat because economic growth makes everybody better off, it does not matter that some are more better off than othersdoes not stand up, at least if better off is measured in terms of happiness. What actually matters, Darwinism suggests, is that a free society allows people to rise through the hierarchy by their own efforts: the American dream, if you like.

Conversely, the Darwinian explanation of continued support for socialismin the teeth of evidence that it results in low economic growthis that even though making the rich poorer would not make the poor richer in financial terms, it would change the hierarchy in ways that people at the bottom would like. When researchers ask people whether they would rather be relatively richer than their peers even if that means they are absolutely worse off, the answer is yes. (Would you rather earn $100,000 when all your friends earn $50,000, or $150,000 when everybody else earns $300,000?) The reason socialism does not work in practice is that this is not a question that most people ask themselves. What they ask is how to earn $300,000 when all around them people are earning $50,000.

A Darwinian analysis does, however, support one argument frequently made by the left and pooh-poohed by the right. This is that poverty is relative. The starkest demonstration of this, discovered by Richard Wilkinson of Nottingham University, in England, is that once economic growth has lifted a country out of penury, its inhabitants are likely to live longer, healthier lives if there are not huge differences between their incomes. This means that poorer countries with low income-variation can outscore richer ones with high variation. It is also true, as was first demonstrated by Michael Marmot, of University College, London, that those at the bottom of social hierarchies have worse health than those at the topeven when all other variables are statistically eliminated, including the fact that those who are healthier are more likely to rise to the top in the first place.

In the 1970s, when Dr Marmot made this observation, expert opinion predicted the opposite. Executives were expected to suffer worse stress than groundlings, and this was expected to show up as heart attacks, strokes and so forth. In fact, the opposite is true. It is the Darwinian failure of being at the bottom of the heap that is truly stressful and bad for the health. That, writ large, probably explains the mortality patterns of entire countries.

In this case, therefore, the Darwinian conclusion is that there is no right answeror at least no Utopian one. Of course, it does not take a Darwinist to work out that any competition has losers. The illuminating point is that losing has a real cost, not just the absence of gain. With the stakes this highearly death for the failures and genetic continuity for the successesit is hardly surprising that those at the bottom of the heap sometimes seek status, or at least respect, in other ways. This is a point that should be taken seriously by policymakers. For those other ways are also explicable by Darwinism.

That crime is selfish is hardly news. But the idea that criminal behaviour is an evolved response to circumstances sounds shocking. It calls into question the moral explanation that crime is done by bad people. Yet that explanation is itself susceptible to Darwinian analysis: evolution probably explains why certain behaviours are deemed worthy of punishment.

The study of the evolutionary roots of crime began with the work of Martin Daly and Margo Wilson, a married couple who work at McMaster University in Canada. They looked at what is usually regarded as the most serious crime of all, murder.

That murderers are usually young men is well known, but Dr Daly and Dr Wilson dug a bit deeper. They discovered that although the murder rate varies from place to place, the pattern does not. Plot the rate against the age of the perpetrator and the peak is the same (see chart). Moreover, the pattern of the victims is similar. They, too, are mostly young men. In the original study, 86% of the victims of male killers aged between 15 and 19 were also male. This is the clue as to what is going on. Most violence (and thus most murder, which is simply violence’s most extreme expression) is a consequence of competition between young, unemployed, unmarried men. In the view of Darwinists, these men are either competing for women directly (You looking at my girl, Jimmy?) or competing for status (You dissing me, man?).

This is not to deny that crimes of violence are often crimes of poverty (for which read low status). But that is precisely what Darwinism would predict. There is no need to invoke the idea that people are born criminal. All that is required is the evolution of enough behavioural flexibility to respond appropriately when violence is (or would have been, in the evolutionary past) an appropriate response.

Crime

An evolutionary analysis explains many things about crime (and not just murder)particularly why most criminals are males of low status. A woman will rarely have difficulty finding a mate, even if he does not measure up to all her lofty ideals. In the world of Moulay Ismail the Bloodthirsty, however, a low-status man may be cast on the reproductive scrap heap because there are no women available to him at all. Though the world in which humanity evolved was nowhere near as polygamous as Moulay Ismail’s, neither did it resemble the modern one of monogamous marriage, which distributes women widely. In those circumstances, if the alternative was reproductive failure, risking the consequences of violence may have been are worth the gambleand instincts will have evolved accordingly.

For similar reasons, it is no surprise to Darwinists that those who rape strangers are also men of low status. Oddly, considering it is an act that might result in a child, the idea that rape is an evolved behaviour is even more controversial than the Darwinian explanation of murder. Randy Thornhill of the University of New Mexico, who proposed it on the basis of criminal data and by comparing people with other species, was excoriated by feminists who felt he was somehow excusing the crime. On the other hand, it has become a mantra among some feminists that all men are rapists, which sounds a lot like the opposite point of view: biological determinism. Insert the word potential, however, and this claim is probably true. To a Darwinist, the most common form of forced mating, so-called date rape, which occurs in an already charged sexual environment, looks a lot like an adaptive response. Men who engage in it are likely to have more offspring than those who do not. If a genetic disposition for men to force their attentions on women in this way does exist, it would inevitably spread.

Sexual success, by contrast, tends to dampen criminal behaviour down. Getting married and having childrenin other words, achieving at least part of his Darwinian ambitionoften terminates a criminal’s career. Again, that is a commonplace observation. However, it tends to be explained as the calming influence of marriage, which is not really an explanation at all. Ambition fulfilled is a better one.

The murder of children, too, can be explained evolutionarily. On the face of things it makes no sense to kill the vessels carrying your genes into the next generation. And, indeed, that is not what usually happens. But sociologists failed to notice this. It was not until Dr Daly and Dr Wilson began researching the field that it was discovered that a child under five is many times more likely to die an unnatural death in a household with a stepfather present (whether or not that relationship has been formalised by law) than if only biological parents are there.

In this, humans follow a pattern that is widespread in mammals: male hostility to a female’s offspring from previous matings. In some species, such as lions and langurs, this results in deliberate infanticide. In humans things not are always as brutal and explicit. But neglect and a low threshold of irritation at the demands of a dependent non-relative can have the same effect.

Intriguingly, though, if a genetic parent is the killer it is often the mother. Infanticidal mothers are usually young. A young mother has many years of potential reproduction ahead of her. If circumstances do not favour her at the time (perhaps the father has deserted her) the cost to her total reproductive output of bringing up a child may exceed the risk of killing it. Not surprisingly, maternal infanticide is mainly a crime of poor, single women.

Many people might sympathise with those driven to commit this particular form of homicide. But in general crimes such as murder and rape provoke a desire to punish the perpetrators, not to forgive them. That, too, is probably an evolved responseand it may well be a uniquely human one. No court sits in judgment over a drake who has raped a duck. A lioness may try to defend her cubs against infanticide, but if she fails she does not plan vengeance against the male who did it. Instead, she usually has sex with him. Yet ideas of revenge and punishment lie deep in the human psyche.

and punishment

Economists were long puzzled, for example, by the routine outcome of a game in which one player divides a sum of money between himself and a competitor, who then decides whether the shares are fair. If the second player decides the shares are not fair, neither player gets anything.

What is curious about this game is that, in order to punish the first player for his selfishness, the second player has deliberately made himself worse off by not accepting the offer. Many evolutionary biologists feel that the sense of justice this illustrates, and the willingness of one player to punish the other, even at a cost to himself, are among the things that have allowed humans to become such a successful, collaborative species. In the small social world in which humans evolved, people dealt with the same neighbours over and over again. Punishing a cheat has desirable long-term consequences for the person doing the punishing, as well as for the wider group. In future, the cheat will either not deal with him or will do so more honestly. Evolution will favour the development of emotions that make such reactions automatic.

What goes for cheating goes for other bad behaviour, up to and including the murder of relatives and friends. Moreover, if publicly observed, punishment sends the same message to those who might be considering a similar course of action.

It is therefore one of the marvels of civilisation that punishment and revenge have, for the most part, been institutionalised. But to be successful, the institutionalised punishment has to be seen as a proper outcome by the individuals who were harmed. Otherwise, they might mete out their own revenge. That may worry those who believe that reforming the criminal should be the main goal of sentencing policy. If people no longer believe that the punishment fits the crime, a Darwinian would predict that they will stop supporting the criminal-justice system.

Even deterrence, however, does not always work. On the face of things, capital punishment ought to be the ultimate deterrent. But it does not seem to be. Satoshi Kanazawa, an evolutionary psychologist at the London School of Economics, suggests that this is further evidence of the reproduction-related nature of murder. Since failure to reproduce is a Darwinian dead-end anyway, risking death to avoid that fateor, rather, being impelled to do so in the heat of the moment by an evolved instinctis not as stupid as it looks. Some sorts of murder might be discouraged by the threat of the noose or the needle. But not the most common sort: young man on young man over status and sex.

A woman’s place

Crime, then, is one field in which women are unequal with men. That does not bother feminists, but perhaps it should. For it might reflect a wider truth which those who believe that the sexes should not merely have equal rights but enjoy equal outcomes will find uncomfortable.

When outcomes are unequal in socially acceptable areas of behaviour, such as employment, it is often interpreted as a sign of discrimination. But people who draw this conclusion rarely consider that the discrimination in question might actually be being exercised by the supposedly disadvantaged women themselves.

A classic example is income. Women earn less than men. Or do they? In fact, younger women do not, or not much. A recent report by the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), a British think-tank, found that British women aged between 22 and 29 who were in full-time employment earned only 1% less than their male counterparts. This age group corresponds for many women to the period when they are single. Once they have found the best available mate, the calculation changes: a woman no longer needs to show off.

In that context, it is less of a surprise that older women are out-earned by their male contemporaries. One reason is that they now care less about the size of their earnings. Of the top 25 ideal employers, as chosen by women, the IEA found that 12 were in the public or voluntary sectorsareas where salaries for equivalent work tend to be lower than in the private sector, though job security is higher and job satisfaction is often believed to be greater. For men, only four employers were in this category. The other reason, of course, is that women usually look after the children. Indeed, the study by Dr Nettle and Dr Pollet which found that reproductive success correlates with men’s income, also points out that with women the correlation is inverted. But the IEA study also found that it is women themselves who are taking the decisions about child care. It reports that two-thirds of the women who had not already had a career break, as it is euphemistically known, planned to take one at some point in the future. Less than an eighth of men had similar aspirations. That, too, would be predicted by a Darwinist.

Although there is a strong argument for making working conditions more sympathetic to the needs of parents of both sexes, the underlying point is that many womenand certainly many women with childrendo not care as much about striving ahead in their careers as men do. Men, the report found, are more motivated by pay and less by job satisfaction than women are. If managers, they are more likely to work long hours. They also take more risksor, at least, are more frequently injured at work.

The consequence, as Len Shackleton, the IEA report’s main author, puts it, is that: The widespread belief that the gender pay gap is a reflection of deep-rooted discrimination by employers is ill-informed and an unhelpful contribution to the debate. The pay gap is falling but is also a reflection of individuals’ lifestyle preferences. Government can’t regulate or legislate these away, and shouldn’t try to. He failed to add, however, that these preferences are often the result of biological differences between the sexes.

What goes for pay probably goes for career choice as well. At one extreme, it is foolish, as Kingsley Browne of Wayne State University, in Michigan, suggests, to expect equal outcomes in organisations like the armed forces. Not only are men stronger and more aggressive but, Mr Browne suggests, the psychology of both sexes has evolved to trust men (and not trust women) in combat, precisely because of this aggression and strength. At the other end of the scale, it is probably an opposite mixture of evolved aptitudes and attitudes that causes the domination by females of professions such as nursing.

This is not to say there can be no good female soldiers or male nurses. Patently, there can. But it is not clear evidence of discrimination that they are rarer than their counterparts of the opposite sex. A Darwinian analysis of the matter cannot say where the equilibrium would lie in a world free from discrimination. But it can say with reasonable confidence that this equilibrium will often not be 50/50.

Many may harrumph at such a Darwinian interpretation of feminism, and say that it is a circuitous route to a traditional destination. It isn’t: not expecting an equal distribution of the sexes within every profession is not the same as saying that a woman’s place is in the home. And having dared to question the assumptions of both feminists and their opponents, some evolutionary biologists are now hoping to turn conventional wisdom upside down in another area where civil rights meet long-standing prejudice. This is the vexed question of race.

Race to the finish

Racial difference is an area where modern Darwinists have feared, until recently, to tread. This is hardly surprising, given the topic’s history. Many early evolutionary biologists (though not Darwin himself) thought that just as man was a risen ape, so white, European man was the zenith of humanity, and that people from other parts of the world were necessarily inferior.

The consequences of that have been terrible. It gave a veneer of intellectual respectability to the eugenic horrors which culminated in the Nazi death camps. Indeed, it is probably one of the roots of the evolution stops at the neck point of view. But evolutionary biology is now making amends. By overturning understanding of what race actually is, it may yet provide the tools that allow people of different backgrounds to live in reasonable harmony.

Revenge and punishment lie deep in the human psyche

Its first observation is a bleak one. This is that racism, or at least xenophobia, is a deeply ingrained human characteristic. But its second observation is that, so far as can be determined, the traditional definition of racethe tendency of people living in different parts of the world to have different skin colour, hair colour and physiognomyhas no wider ramifications in areas such as intelligence. Racial prejudice, then, is just that: prejudice.

What is being proposed instead, by another husband and wife team of Darwinists, Leda Cosmides and John Tooby of the University of California, Santa Barbara, is a theory of ethnicity that explains the mishmash of categories anthropologists have tried to shoehorn into the general class of race. Are Jews and Sikhs, who are defined by religious exclusivity, races? Are Serbs and Croats, who share their religions with others, but not with each other, and whom no geneticist could tell apart? These examples, and similar ones, argue that race has no biological meaning. But it does. It is just not the traditional meaning.

Social psychologists have long observed that, on first meeting, people automatically classify each other in three ways: by sex, by age and by race. But Dr Cosmides and Dr Tooby pointed out that before long-distance transport existed, only two of those would have been relevant. People of different ages and sexes would meet; people of different races would not.

The two researchers argue that modern racial discrimination is an overstimulated response to what might be called an alliance detector in the human brain. In a world where the largest social unit is the tribe, clan or what-you-will of a few hundred people, your neighbours and your other allies will normally look a lot like you, and act similarly. However, it is known from the study of modern hunter-gatherers, and inferred from archaeological evidence about ancient ones, that neighbouring tribes are often hostile.

Though an individual might reasonably be expected to know many members of his tribe personally, he would probably not know them all. There would thus be a biological advantage in tribal branding, as it were. Potential allies would quickly identify what marked them out from others, and what marked others out from themand, because those differences would probably be small, the detector would need to be very sensitive.

In the past, such markers would often have been cultural, since local physical differences would have been minimal. A telling instance is recorded in the Bible:

Then said they unto him, Say now Shibboleth: and he said Sibboleth: for he could not frame to pronounce it right. Then they took him and slew him.

The questioners were the Gileadites. The slain, an Ephraimite. But no physical difference could distinguish the tribes, so the Gileadite ethnic-cleansers had to rely on linguistic tics.

In a world where a syllable can get you killed, having differently coloured skin is a pretty strong brand of identity. However, it is not a unique signal. Experiments that Dr Cosmides, Dr Tooby and their students have conducted in both America and Brazil (another racially mixed country) suggest it is surprisingly easy to rebrand even people of different skin colour by making other badges of allegiance more significantas happens when sportsmen clothe themselves in coloured team shirts. Moreover, Andrew Penner of the University of California, Irvine, and Aliya Saperstein of the University of Oregon have shown that perception of a person’s race can actually change in the real world. Many people shift from being white to black, in both their own eyes and the eyes of others, in response to unemployment, impoverishment or imprisonment.

That is an uncomfortable reminder of the way group solidarity works in America. The hope this analysis brings, though, is that there is nothing particularly special about biologically based brands such as skin colour. If other brands of group membership can be strengthened, the traditional ones may diminish, even if they do not disappear completely. If this theory of race is correct (and more research is certainly needed), it indicates a strong prescription: policies that encourage groups to retain their identity within a society will cause trouble, but those that encourage cultural integration will smooth things over.

In practice, the history of that most racially mixed country of all, the United States, supports this idea. When integration has been encouraged, as with the descendants of the great flood of European immigrants in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, ethnic distinctions have vanished. When integration has been discouraged, as with the descendants of slaves liberated shortly before those European immigrants arrived, differences have been sharpened. Even in Britain, official policy seems to be shifting from multiculturalism, which celebrated diversity and thus encouraged distinction, to a deliberate attempt to forge a cultural consensus.

What the brand theory of ethnicity does not require, however, is that minorities submit to the majority’s definition of what the brands should be. All that is needed is for each generation to be encouraged to form its own identity from the widest range of materials possible.

A Darwinian analysis thus sheds light on a number of pressing questions. There are others. The rise of metabolic syndrome (obesity plus high blood-pressure equals diabetes plus heart disease) seems to Darwinists the consequence of people trying to sate appetites for sugar and fat that evolution put no brakes on because they were so rare in the natural world.

Pretending young adults are children so that they can be educated en masse in schools is another area ripe for investigation. And the refusal of people to adhere to the patterns of behaviour prescribed for them by classical economics has already spun off a field called behavioural economics that often has Darwinian thinking at its roots.

No one is suggesting Darwinism has all the answers to social questions. Indeed, with some, such as the role of hierarchies, it suggests there is no definitive answer at allitself an important conclusion. What is extraordinary, though, is how rarely an evolutionary analysis is part of the process of policymaking. To draw an analogy, it is like trying to fix a car without properly understanding how it works: not impossible, but as likely as not to result in a breakdown or a crash. Perhaps, after a century and a half, it is time not just to recognise but also to understand that human beings are evolved creatures. To know thyself is, after all, the beginning of wisdom.

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Darwinism – The Economist

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NATO, Russia to hold parallel military drills in the Balkans …

Posted: November 2, 2016 at 6:59 am

Russian President Vladimir Putin (c) and his Serbian counterpart Tomislav Nikolic (3rd R) watch a military parade in Belgrade, Serbia, on October 16, 2014..

VASILY MAXIMOV/AFP/Getty Images

BELGRADE, Serbia – NATO is holding an emergency exercise drill in Montenegro while Russian troops will participate in a war game in Serbia as the two Balkan neighbors seem to be heading in different directions strategically. The moves come amid mounting tensions between Russia and the West over a variety of geopolitical issues.

The five-day drill in Montenegro that started Monday includes fighting floods and chemical attacks. It will involve 680 unarmed personnel from seven NATO countries and 10 partner states.

The 13-day armed exercise in Serbia, dubbed The Slavic Brotherhood 2016, begins Wednesday. It will include 150 Russian paratroopers, 50 air force staffers, 3 transport planes and an unspecified number of troops from Serbia and Belarus, Russias Defense Ministry said.

Both Serbia and Montenegro – a single state before their split in 2006 – are traditional Russian Christian Orthodox allies. But since the split, Montenegro has pursued pro-Western policies, while Serbia has been struggling to wrestle away from the Moscow grip.

Montenegro has been invited to join NATO, despite strong opposition from Russia. Serbia is under strong pressure from the Kremlin not to join the Western military alliance or the European Union.

Serbia, a NATO partner, has held exercises with the Western alliance, but not such a large one or with foreign troops and equipment participating on its soil.

Montenegrin officials have accused Russia of standing behind an alleged coup on election day earlier in October to topple the pro-Western government because of its NATO bid. Some 20 Serbian citizens were arrested in Montenegro during the vote, suspected of trying to stage the coup, while Serbian authorities reportedly deported an unspecified number of Russian operatives from their territory.

2016 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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NATO, Russia to hold parallel military drills in the Balkans …

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Trance music – Wikipedia

Posted: October 31, 2016 at 2:52 am

Trance is a genre of electronic dance music that developed during the 1990s in Germany. It is characterized by a tempo lying between 125 and 150 beats per minute (BPM),[5] repeating melodic phrases,[5] and a musical form that distinctly builds tension and elements throughout a track often culminating in 1 to 2 “peaks” or “drops.”[5] Although trance is a genre of its own, it liberally incorporates influences from other musical styles such as techno,[3]house,[1]pop,[3]chill-out,[3]classical music,[3][4]tech house, ambient, and film music.[4]

A trance refers to a state of hypnotism and heightened consciousness. This is portrayed in trance music by the mixing of layers with distinctly foreshadowed build-up and release. A characteristic of virtually all trance music is a mid-song climax followed by a soft breakdown disposing of beats and percussion entirely,[3][5] and leaving the melody and/or atmospherics to stand alone for an extended period before gradually building up again. As a result, trance tracks are often lengthy to allow for this progression and have sufficiently sparse opening and closing sections to facilitate mixing by DJs.

Trance can be purely instrumental, although vocals are also a common feature. Typically they are performed by mezzo-soprano to soprano female soloists, often without verse/chorus structure. Structured vocal form in trance music forms the basis of the vocal trance subgenre, which has been described as “grand, soaring, and operatic” and “ethereal female leads floating amongst the synths”.[8][9]

The trance name may refer to an induced emotional feeling, high, euphoria, chills, or uplifting rush that listeners claim to experience, or it may indicate an actual trance-like state the earliest forms of this music attempted to emulate in the 1990s before the genre’s focus changed.[5]

Some trace Trance’s antecedents back to Klaus Schulze, a German experimental electronic music artist who concentrated in mixing minimalist music repetitive rhythms and arpeggiated sounds (specifically his 1988 album “En=Trance”.[citation needed] In truth it was really Sven Vth, his labels and others in the same group that saw the initial releases of trance[citation needed] Another possible antecedent is Yuzo Koshiro and Motohiro Kawashima’s electronic soundtracks for the Streets of Rage series of video games from 1991 to 1994, and the Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune series.[10][11][12][13] It was promoted by the well-known UK club-night megatripolis (London, Heaven, Thursdays) whose scene catapulted it to international fame.

Examples of early Trance releases include but are not limited to German duo Jam & Spoon’s 1992 12″ Single remix of the 1990 song The Age Of Love.,[1] German duo Dance 2 Trance’s 1990 track “We Came in Peace”.[5]

One writer[who?] traces the roots of trance to Paul van Dyk’s 1993 remix of Humate’s “Love Stimulation”.[1] However, van Dyk’s trance origins can be traced further back to his work with Visions Of Shiva, which were his first ever tracks to be released.[original research?] In subsequent years, one genre, vocal trance, arose as the combination of progressive elements and pop music,[3] and the development of another subgenre, epic trance, had some of its origins in classical music.,[3] with film music also being influential.[4]

Trance was arguably at its commercial peak in the second part of 1990s and early 2000s.[14][15]

Classic trance employs a 4/4 time signature,[5] a tempo of 125 to 150 BPM,[5] and 32 beat phrases and is somewhat faster than house music.[16] A kick drum is usually placed on every downbeat and a regular open hi-hat is often placed on the upbeat or every 1/8th division of the bar.[5] Extra percussive elements are usually added, and major transitions, builds or climaxes are often foreshadowed by lengthy “snare rolls”a quick succession of snare drum hits that build in velocity, frequency, and volume towards the end of a measure or phrase.[5]

Rapid arpeggios and minor keys are common features of Trance, the latter being almost universal. Trance tracks often use one central “hook”, or melody, which runs through almost the entire song, repeating at intervals anywhere between 2 beats and 32 bars, in addition to harmonies and motifs in different timbres from the central melody.[5] Instruments are added or removed every 4, 8, 16, or 32 bars.[5]

In the section before the breakdown, the lead motif is often introduced in a sliced up and simplified form,[5] to give the audience a “taste” of what they will hear after the breakdown.[5] Then later, the final climax is usually “a culmination of the first part of the track mixed with the main melodic reprise”.[5]

As is the case with many dance music tracks, trance tracks are usually built with sparser intros (“mix-ins”) and outros (“mix-outs”) in order to enable DJs to blend them together immediately.[3][5] As trance is more melodic and harmonic than other electronic dance music,[citation needed] the construction of trance tracks in the proper way is particularly important in order to avoid dissonant (or “key clashing,” i.e., out of tune with one another) mixes.[citation needed]

More recent forms of trance music incorporate other styles and elements of electronic music such as electro and progressive house into its production. It emphasizes harsher basslines and drum beats which decrease the importance of offbeats and focus primarily on a four on the floor stylistic house drum pattern. The bpm of more recent styles tends to be on par with house music at 120 – 135 beats per minute. However, unlike house music, recent forms of trance stay true to their melodic breakdowns and longer transitions.[17]

Trance music is broken into a large number of subgenres.[citation needed] Chronologically, the major subgenres are classic trance, acid trance, progressive trance,[3]uplifting trance,[3] and hard trance.[citation needed]Uplifting trance is also known as “anthem trance”, “epic trance”,[3] “commercial trance”, “stadium trance”, or “euphoric trance”,[5] and has been strongly influenced by classical music in the 1990s[3] and 2000s by leading artists such as Ferry Corsten, Armin Van Buuren, Tiesto, Push, Rank 1 and at present with the development of the subgenre “orchestral uplifting trance” or “uplifting trance with symphonic orchestra” by such artists as Andy Blueman, Ciro Visone, Soundlift, Arctic Moon, Sergey Nevone&Simon O’Shine etc. Closely related to Uplifting Trance is Euro-trance, which has become a general term for a wide variety of highly commercialized European dance music. Several subgenres are crossovers with other major genres of electronic music. For instance, Tech trance is a mixture of trance and techno, and Vocal trance “combines [trance’s] progressive elements with pop music”.[3]Balearic beat, which is associated with the laid back vacation lifestyle of Ibiza, Spain, is often called “Balearic trance”, as espoused by Roger Shah.[citation needed] The dream trance genre originated in the mid-1990s, with its popularity then led by Robert Miles. There is also a slower bpm trance music, this styles are often called “psybient” (synonyms are “psychill”, “ambient trance”).[citation needed]

AllMusic states on progressive trance: “the progressive wing of the trance crowd led directly to a more commercial, chart-oriented sound, since trance had never enjoyed much chart action in the first place. Emphasizing the smoother sound of Eurodance or house (and occasionally more reminiscent of Jean-Michel Jarre than Basement Jaxx), Progressive Trance became the sound of the world’s dance floors by the end of the millennium. Critics ridiculed its focus on predictable breakdowns and relative lack of skill to beat-mix, but progressive trance was caned by the hottest DJ.”[18]

The following is an incomplete list of dance music festivals that showcase trance music.

Notes:’ Sunburn was not the first festival/event to specialize in India in trance music much earlier pioneers of Goa parties[19] held events as early as the late 80’s and through all of the 1990s[20]

Electronic Dance Music festivals in the Netherlands are mainly organized by four companies ALDA Events, ID&T, UDC and Q-dance:

Electronic music festivals in the US feature various Electronic Dance Music genres such as trance, House, Techno, Electro, Dubstep, and Drum & Bass:

The trance scene in South America is constantly growing. The most important trance festival in South America is called Universo Parallelo.

Continued here:

Trance music – Wikipedia

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