Some interesting facts....


Fuel Consumed by the Sun

Every second the sun uses as much hydrogen fuel as there is water in Sydney Harbour.

(Based on Sydney Harbour holding .5 million megalitres of water & the Sun using about 500 million Tonnes of Hydrogen per second)


Cost of Voyager Space Program

The total cost of the Voyager program was $550 million in 1977. In the same year, the American public spent $770 million on pickles.

In 2003, the British public spent $182 million per day ($6.6 billion per year) on alcohol


Asteroid Impact Risk

The odds are only 1 in 5,000 that an asteroid big enough to wipe out civilization will hit the Earth within the next 100 years (much lower than the 1 in 1,500 of earlier estimates). Astronomers from Princeton University used data from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey to calculate that there are 700,000 asteroids in the solar system larger than 1 kilometre; but only a fraction of those will ever cross the Earth's orbit.


Meteor Dust

Even now 40 to 100 tons of smaller interplanetary debris and dust fall into Earth's atmosphere daily -NASA.




Ramadan is the 9th month of the Islamic lunar calendar. It is a month of fasting from sunrise to sunset. The month begins with the first visible sighting of the young crescent Moon. It ends with the sighting of the young Moon in Shaw'waal, or the 10th month of the calendar. This is marked by an end to fasting in a festival called Eid-al-Fitr. Because there is often heated debate about the actual sighting vs. false sightings and the use of calculation, both methods are used. In North America, Muslims usually go by the decision of the Islamic Society of North America. "Do not fast until you see the crescent-moon, and do not break the fast until you have seen the crescent moon, but if conditions are overcast for you then enumerate for it." (Al-Bukhari, Vol. 3:130).

Since the Islamic calendar is lunar, it happens that the Gregorian dates for Ramadan slide forward by about 11-12 days each year. Ramadan has been occuring during the winter months for the past several years (c2000), but will creep forward by a week and a half through the seasons. In the course of about 35 years, it will be back in November.


Soda Can Planets

This is a Project SPICA activity originally from 1988. Credit goes to DeBruin and Murad.

The idea is, what does a full can of soda weigh (feel like) on the other planets.

Earth - a full can of soda

The other cans are emptied and dried. Then place the appropriate number of pennies in each can.


# pennies




























Why have a space program? Glad you asked ...

As long as there has been a space program, there have been detractors. "What are we doing up in space when we've got real problems right here on Earth?"

I welcome that question since it gives me a chance to list the multitude of innovations we use every day that were first developed for space exploration. And that list keeps getting longer and longer.

Just recently, I used a new ear thermometer to check the temperature of a squirming grandchild. The handy device is based on metal coatings technology developed for space helmets.

Smoke detectors, hand-held vacuum cleaners, water filters and ergonomic furniture are just some of the many household items first developed for use in space. The highly efficient foam insulation used in new homes was first used to insulate fuel tanks on liquid-fueled rockets.

Portable X-ray machines, programmable pacemakers and many surgical tools were all pioneered as part of the space program. Concentrated baby foods, as well as the freeze-dried instant mixes we feed our kids, were first consumed in space. Many of the biofeedback techniques used to reduce stress were first developed for use by astronauts.

Satellites have revolutionized telecommunications and the global positioning system can help navigators on land, in the air or on the seas locate their position to within 10 feet anywhere in the world.

The list goes on and on. Studies have shown that for every dollar spent on space development, $7 have been returned to the economy in the form of a new product or service. But one space-program spin-off is paying dividends greater than anyone ever imagined.

While the economy in many parts of the world is in shambles, the U.S. economy keeps humming along. Americans are earning more money than ever before. Unemployment is near an all-time low. And, amazingly, inflation is virtually nonexistent.

Why is the American economy so strong? Economists, not generally known for brevity, answer with a single word: productivity. Since 1990, productivity increases in the United States have averaged 2.1 percent each year.

Besides our fabled work ethic, what is it that makes American workers so productive? Computers. American workers know how to use computer technology to work better and smarter. And you can thank the space program for those computers.

During the 1950s, computers were the size of a supermarket. To travel into space, however, we needed computers that could fit into a phone booth. Companies like Fairchild and Intel experimented with ways to reduce the size of computers. The result was the microprocessor.

Every one of the tiny computer chips found in personal computers, network servers, airplanes, manufacturing equipment, cars, toaster ovens, washing machines, toys, alarm clocks and thousands of other products can trace its heritage back to those integrated circuits first developed for the space program.

Thirty-five years ago, critics called the newly invented microprocessors "novelties' and "toys." Today, the cost of developing these "toys" has been returned a billion-fold, if not more.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration accounts for a mere 1 percent of the federal budget -- an amazingly small amount when you consider the profound effect the agency's work has had on the quality of our lives. Ironically, while the research and development budgets for other government agencies are increasing, NASA's continues to decline -- this in spite of its extraordinary track record.

We must continue investing in technology and the space program. We should encourage our children to study math and science. If anything, we should invest more in science education. Standard & Poors DRI estimates that if our productivity and innovation continues at its present rate, real wages could rise by 9 percent over the next decade. Corporate earnings could rise as much as 54 percent.

Scientific growth means economic growth. The evidence is irrefutable. Let's not turn our backs on progress. There is still so much to discover -- new medicines, new materials, new ways to protect the environment.

If I sound like I'm excited, I am. Who knows which new "toys" will revolutionize the way we live.

- Jim Lovell

June 29, 1999, 03:39 p.m.

(Lovell, commander of the Apollo 13 lunar mission and a retired Navy captain, is the founding chairman of the Space Awareness Alliance's Advisory Board.)