Tag: Science TravelView All Tags
Oh heck—here we go with another big ash problem. This time it’s some volcanic activity down in Mexico that’s creating the problems, as Popocatepetl is the one messing up the atmosphere this time. This sucker is kind of half way between spots like Mexico City and Puebla, so if you have flights in or out of the area just be aware.
The delays and cancellations were all over the place last week, as carriers like Delta, United, American Airlines, and US Airways all had to mess with their schedules to accommodate the stuff up in the skies. At one point there were around 40 flights cancelled on just one day, so Popocatepetl is certainly less than friendly.
Last time we went over this nonsense we included the line "yes of course this is idiotic," before stepping back and promising to watch our language because "this is a family blog." But now those same moronic 2011 anecdotes are being recycled as proof that cell phones and tablets can interfere with the navigation systems of gigantic airliners? And now Bloomberg is declaring that "more than a decade of pilot reports and scientific studies" imply that it's true? Fuck. That.
Listen. If you believe that something you bought off the shelf at an Apple Store has the ability to interfere with a Boeing 747... well, we're not going to do the stand-up comedian thing where we tell you to kill yourself. But at a minimum, as a public service, consider chemical castration. "A decade of pilot reports and scientific studies"? Holy. Shit.
In case you missed it, over the weekend there was explosion over in Cleveland—but don’t worry—it wasn’t that Cleveland.
Apparently it’s time again for the annual volcanic eruption, and that means potential disruption to air travel. This time the ash and smoke is doing its thing up in Alaska, as the Cleveland volcano is getting a little cranky.
In case you want to know where to look for the troublemaker on the map, this volcano is roughly 940 miles southwest of Anchorage, stuck on Chuginadak Island within the Aleutian chain of islands.
Space Tourism / Virgin Galactic / Science Travel / Richard Branson / Space Travel / Travel News / → All Tags
We haven’t heard that much from Virgin Galactic recently, but that doesn’t mean the space ship team hasn’t been hard at work behind the scenes. They’re still doing their very best to ensure that space tourism becomes a reality sooner than later. That’s definitely good, since from what it sounds like, the space flight carrier already has more than a few customers on the books and ready to go.
Virgin Galactic's SpaceShip Two just finished its latest round of testing, and thankfully things all went according to plan. The latest aerial endeavor was known as a "cold flow” test. They haven't lit the rocket engines on this sucker just yet, but it means they've completed pretty much everything else—so that means they’re ready for the next step. The ship’s contrail was even visible for the first time, so now we know how awesome the thing will look like when it blasts away from earth.
If you’re tying to figure out how the world moved around prior to Google Maps, then now’s a good time head down to the museums of the Smithsonian. The Air and Space Museum is holding a new exhibit all about getting from here to there—and back again—so set your GPS to Gallery 213 on the second floor of the east wing.
The exhibit–Time and Navigation–aims to transport visitors back hundreds of years, for a sneak a peek into the tools of the trade from the past. Clocks, compasses, and other navigation devices will be on display, basically anything which deals with keeping accurate time. In total there’s around 144 different objects on display, and they’ve got things broken down into five sections: Navigation for Everyone; Navigating at Sea; Navigating in the Air; Navigating in Space; and Inventing Satellite Navigation. No word on if they have a special place to discuss the bummer that is Apple Maps.
We’re all about in-flight comfort—from fine wining and dining to the latest in sleeper suites, it's all of interest to us, and of course we want to try it. However, that doesn’t mean that we aren’t interested in something a little more adventurous when climbing aboard an aircraft. That’s why we’re pretty intrigued about the Zero-G flights now available to the paying public over in Europe.
You’ve probably heard of the “Vomit Comet” before, as aircraft flying wild courses to experience reduced gravity is hardly a new concept. Space agencies have been using airplanes for years to simulate varying degrees of weightlessness, but you no longer need to be an astronaut to climb aboard. Trips like this have been available in the United States and Russia, but this is the first time these kinds of flights have been open to one and all in Europe.
Know what's cool? Space. Know what's even cooler? When things floating around in the vastness of space come pay a visit to earth. Ok, that's only cool when it happens thousands of years ago and doesn't hurt anyone. Luckily for us, that's exactly what happened near Winslow, Arizona 50,000+ years ago.
Formerly known as "Canyon Diablo Crater," this meteor crater, now known as the "Barringer Crater," is said to be the world's (that's right, world's) first proven and best preserved meteor crater. It's so well preserved that NASA used it in the '60s to train astronauts preparing for Apollo missions to Earth's moon. They did this because the crater very closely matches those found on the moon.
Delta / Tech Travel / Travel Tech / In-Flight Comfort / Jet Lag / Travel Health / Science Travel / → All Tags
We thought Delta was hard at work adding plenty of those Economy Comfort seats as well as WiFi on each and every flight, but apparently they also have a little extra time to work on some other projects. They’re actually trying to solve the problem of jet lag, and they just showed off some of their most recent ideas at the Technology, Entertainment and Design—TED—conference out in Long Beach, California.
This stuff might be a little bit above our pay grade when it comes to understanding the science behind things, but basically what Delta has created is some kind of light shower. Photon light rains down upon you, and then like magic you’re cured from any and all jetlag—at least in theory.
Disaster Tourism / Russia Travel / Tourism / Tourism Boards / Space Travel / Science Travel / → All Tags
A Russian region once shunned as the site of the world's third-worst-ever nuclear disaster, in which hundreds of people were killed, has now become a potential tourist destination because it was hit by a giant space rock that injured thousands of additional people. The local tourism board is actually talking about making parts of the territory into a "Meteor Disneyland," a reference to last month's Russian meteor.
So they’re not exactly launching any space shuttles out of Florida anytime soon, but the Kennedy Space Center is still plenty busy these days. In fact they’ve got so much going on that they’d love to have you swing by and check things out for yourself.
The next piece of space stuff departing earth is the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, and if things stay on schedule—and the weather cooperates—it’ll blast off on Friday, March 1. Those heading over to the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex can score a front row seat for the event, with viewing right along the NASA Causeway.
If you’re looking to set a reminder on your phone, it’s all scheduled to go
down up at 10:10am EST from Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
We always try to rise above and be mature adults, but sometimes we just can’t avoid reverting to our 12-year old mindset—especially when it comes to fart jokes. Usually bathroom humor isn’t something that makes its way into the travel news, but apparently scientists have been hard at work studying airplane flatulence while we’ve been writing about stuff like in-flight WiFi and airplane paint jobs. Now that the research has been completed and the data has been analyzed, it looks like letting one rip at 35,000-feet is actually encouraged—at least according to science.
Thanks to the scholarly journalists over at the New York Daily News, we learned about the findings arriving out of New Zealand. It sounds like the air pressure up in the air causes all kinds of side effects including an increase in gas; however, trying to maintain one’s best behavior keeps that gas inside most passengers. In an article entitled Flatulence on airplanes: just let it go scientists think that we should just let our bodily functions prevail, and they’re actually—at least somewhat—encouraging passengers and pilots to participate in mile-high farts.
That meteor doing its thing over—and into—Russia was kind of neat in a crazy kind of way, huh? Still, we’re pretty sure that we’d prefer that the space rocks stay out of the atmosphere for a bit. However, it's totally possible to check out some of the space stuff that’s made its way down to earth already, which is why we were intrigued to learn about one museum where you can safely check out some astronomical debris.
The best preserved meteorite impact site in the whole world is just outside Winslow, Arizona. The one mile across, 550-foot deep crater is yours for the checking out, as the site and museum are open between 8am and 5pm daily. It’s not just a huge hole in the ground—although it is that first and foremost—as they’ve got hunks of space junk on display as well. There’s a meteorite fragment that weighs a cool 1,400 pounds, and there’s plenty of space this and astronaut that. They’ve even got some training items on display from the Apollo space missions.