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Archive for November 3rd, 2009

Space Exploration Not an Exact Science!

Posted by feww on November 3, 2009

Astronauts’ Feces Dumped Over New Zealand

Japan’s HTV-1 Dumped a Large Load of Astronauts’ Sewage and Trash in Tasman Sea

The agency said their space vehicle had maneuvered successfully reentering the atmosphere at about 6:26 am JST on November 2, some 120 km above New Zealand, and completing its  mission of  unmanned cargo transfer vehicle to and from the International Space Station (ISS).

“Most of the vehicle components are expected to be destroyed and burned out encountering the aerodynamic heating during the reentry, but some of the debris is estimated to survive and fall into the South Pacific Ocean.” The agency said.

The HTV was carrying a large load of astronauts feces and trash from ISS to dump over New Zealand/Tasman Sea.

HTV1 Photographed with ISS
HTV-1 is being captured/released by ISS. Copyright JAXA

A Press Release issued by Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) said their H-II Transfer Vehicle (HTV) had made a “successful reentry” after its demonstration flight.

The H-II Transfer Vehicle (HTV) Demonstration Flight successfully re-entered the atmosphere after the third de-orbit maneuver at around 5:53 a.m. on November 2, 2009 (Japan Standard Time.)

The HTV Demonstration Flight successfully accomplished its initial objective of shipping cargos to the International Space Station, and [returning sewage and trash back to Earth] completed all its missions of about 52 days by today’s reentry.

The vehicle made a reentry at an altitude at 120 km over New Zealand at 6:26 am JST on Monday, November 2, 2009, and the debris landed in water about 8 to 28 minutes later.

A Day Earlier:

Space station junk burns up on reentry over New Zealand

Well, parts of it any way!

A large ammonia tank the size of a refrigerator is jettisoned into space by NASA astronaut Clayton Anderson from the international space station during a spacewalk on July 23, 2007. NASA said the tank broke up Sunday upon reentry into the atmosphere.

A 1,400-pound (635-kg) tank of toxic ammonia coolant, the size of a large refrigerator, which was thrown off the international space station (ISS), more than a year ago,  plunged into Earth’s atmosphere late Sunday to burn up [at least partially,]  NASA officials said Monday.

The orbital junk slammed into Earth’s atmosphere, breaking up at an altitude of about 50 miles (80 kilometers) as it flew above the ocean just south of Tasmania, space station program manager Mike Suffredini said.

“What debris may have been still together after re-entry, it fell into the ocean between Australia and New Zealand,” Suffredini said at a NASA briefing. “I know a lot of folks were wondering what the end result of that was.”

[You must be a mind reader, too, Mr Suffredini!]

How Much Trash Out There

Ever wondered how much trash is dumped in the space?

Multi-Billion Dollar Space Debris
Low Earth Orbit


High Earth Orbit

spacejunk_geo_2009237Orbital debris, or “space junk,” is any man-made object abandoned in orbit around the Earth. On February 11, 2009, a U.S. communications satellite owned by a private company called Iridium collided with a non-functioning Russian satellite. The collision destroyed both satellites and created a field of debris that endangers other orbiting satellites. As of May 2009, satellites in NASA’s Earth Observing System had been maneuvered three times to avoid orbital debris from the Iridium collision. The U.S. Space Surveillance Network tracks all debris larger than 10 centimeters, approximately 19,000 manmade objects as of July 2009, most of which orbit close to the Earth, top image. The lower image shows all items in orbit, both close to and far from the Earth. Images are dated August 25, 2009. NASA illustration courtesy Orbital Debris Program Office. Caption by Holli Riebeek. Edited by FEWW.

See also:  Garbage Dump Space!

Related Links:

Do they use condoms aboard ISS, too?

Posted in Astronaut Feces, International Space Station, Space Exploration, to go boldly, unmanned cargo transfer | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

El Niño Update [2 Nov 2009]

Posted by feww on November 3, 2009

ENSO Cycle: Recent Evolution, Current Status and Predictions

The following UPDATE is prepared by

Climate Prediction Center / NCEP –  2 November 2009

The latest weekly SST departures are:

  • Niño 4   ~  1.6ºC
  • Niño 3.4  ~  1.5ºC
  • Niño 3 ~ 1.2ºC
  • Niño 1+2 ~ 0.4ºC

El Niño Map. [SOURCE: NOAA/ Climate Prediction Center / NCEP]

SST Departures (°C) in the Tropical Pacific During the Last 4 Weeks
During the last 4-weeks, equatorial SSTs were at least 1.0°C above average between 165°E and 140°W and in small areas in the eastern Pacific.

Global SST Departures (°C)
During the last four weeks, equatorial SSTs were above-average in the Pacific and Indian Oceans. Also, above-average SSTs covered large areas of the Northern Hemisphere subtropics.

Weekly SST Departures (°C) for the Last Four Weeks

  • During the last four weeks, equatorial SST anomalies strengthened across the central and eastern Pacific Ocean.
  • During the last 30 days, equatorial SST anomalies increased in much of the central and eastern Pacific.

SST Tep Dept Eq Pacific

Tropical OLR and Wind Anomalies During the Last 30 Days

  • Positive OLR anomalies (suppressed convection and precipitation, red shading) were present over Indonesia, Malaysia, and Australia. Negative OLR anomalies (enhanced convection and precipitation) were located across the northern Philippines, Papua New Guinea, and over the western tropical Pacific Ocean.
  • Low-level (850-hPa) westerly anomalies were observed over parts of the western and central equatorial Pacific.
  • Upper-level (200-hPa) easterly anomalies were observed across most of the equatorial Pacific.

HC evo eq Pacific

200-hpa Vel Pot Anom

Pacific Niño 3.4 SST Outlook

  • Most ENSO models indicate El Niño will continue through the Northern Hemisphere winter 2009-10.
  • The models disagree on the eventual strength of El Niño (SST anomalies ranging from +0.5°C to greater than +2.0°C), but a majority indicate at least a moderate strength El Niño (greater than +1.0°C) during November-December-January 2009-10.

SST Outlook: NCEP CFS Forecast Issued 1 November  2009
The CFS ensemble mean predicts El Niño will last at least through Northern Hemisphere spring 2010.


  • El Niño is present across the equatorial Pacific Ocean.
  • Sea surface temperatures (SST) were at least 1.0ºC above-average across much of the central and east-central equatorial Pacific.
  • Based on current observations and dynamical model forecasts, El Niño is expected to strengthen and last at least through Northern Hemisphere spring 2010.

Information and images on this page are sourced from Climate Prediction Center/NCEP/NOAA. Edited by FEWW

Related Links:

El Niño Updates:

Posted in Climate Prediction, El Niño, ENSO, Indian Ocean SST, Ocean SST, Pacific Ocean | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

E. coli in Beef May Have Killed Two

Posted by feww on November 3, 2009

Another outbreak of E. coli bacteria in ground beef sickens 28 people with two deaths suspected

New York Firm Forced to Recall about 250 Metric Tons (546,000 lbs) of Ground Beef Products Due To Possible E. coli O157:H7 Contamination

Ecoli bacteria
An image of E.coli bacteria provided by the USDA. The bacteria can cause diarrhea, dehydration, kidney failure and death.The Agriculture Department, which oversees meat safety in the US, said it concluded  “there is an association between the fresh ground beef products and illnesses in Connecticut, Maine and Massachusetts,” after a cluster of food-borne illnesses in New England was reported, and a New Hampshire resident had died consuming ground beef that may have been infected with the deadly E. coli bacteria. More images

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC),  25 of those sickened  were in the Northeast, with 18 of them living in the six New England states. It’s believed that a common strain of E. coli bacteria was responsible for the infections, but tests are being carried out to eliminate other causes.

One of the two deaths  in New Hampshire was linked to the ground beef that was distributed by Fairbank Farms of Ashville, New York, State officials said. The second death in the Albany area from possible E. coli O157:H7 infection was being investigated, the New York State Health Department reported.

The following information is mirrored from the USDA site:

Fairbank Farms, an Ashville, NY, establishment, is recalling approximately 545,699 pounds of fresh ground beef products that may be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today.

FSIS became aware of the problem during the course of an investigation of a cluster of E. coli O157:H7 illnesses. Working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state health and agriculture departments, FSIS determined that there is an association between the fresh ground beef products subject to recall and illnesses in Connecticut, Maine and Massachusetts. FSIS is continuing to work with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, the Connecticut Department of Public Health, other state health and agriculture departments and the CDC on the investigation. Anyone with signs or symptoms of foodborne illness should consult a physician.

The products subject to recall include: [View Labels, PDF Only]

For product list click here: Fairbanks Farms Food Feast

E. coli O157:H7 is a potentially deadly bacterium that can cause bloody diarrhea, dehydration, and in the most severe cases, kidney failure. The very young, seniors and persons with weak immune systems are the most susceptible to foodborne illness. Individuals concerned about an illness should contact a physician.


From: USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline

  • Wash hands with warm, soapy water for at least 20 seconds before and after handling raw meat and poultry. Wash cutting boards, dishes and utensils with hot, soapy water. Immediately clean spills.
  • Keep raw meat, fish and poultry away from other food that will not be cooked. Use separate cutting boards for raw meat, poultry and egg products and cooked foods.
  • Consumers should only eat ground beef or ground beef patties that have been cooked to a safe internal temperature of 160° F, whether prepared from fresh or frozen raw meat products.
  • Color is NOT a reliable indicator that ground beef or ground beef patties have been cooked to a temperature high enough to kill harmful bacteria such as E. coli O157:H7.
  • The only way to be sure ground beef is cooked to a high enough temperature to kill harmful bacteria is to use a thermometer to measure the internal temperature.
  • Refrigerate raw meat and poultry within two hours after purchase or one hour if temperatures exceed 90° F. Refrigerate cooked meat and poultry within two hours after cooking

Related Links:

Posted in E coli outbreak, E.coli O157:H7, Foodborne Illness, Foodborne infections, foodbourne infections, tainted beef | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »