Ironically, as part of its mission Columbia captured high-speed video of "cosmic lightning," but was apparently destroyed by it upon re-entry. The mission even observed in orbit a bolt of ionospheric energy above the Indian Ocean that came out nowhere, nowhere near a thunderstorm. Turns out there's a whole menagerie of creatures lurking in the ionosphere called elves, blue jets, tigers and sprites.
Perhaps it was a case of Promethean Fire...
Cosmic bolt probed in shuttle disaster
Scientists poring over 'infrasonic' sound waves
Friday, February 7, 2003
Federal scientists are looking for evidence that a bolt of electricity in the upper atmosphere might have doomed the space shuttle Columbia as it streaked over California, The Chronicle has learned.
Investigators are combing records from a network of ultra-sensitive instruments that might have detected a faint thunderclap in the upper atmosphere at the same time a photograph taken by a San Francisco astronomer appears to show a purplish bolt of lightning striking the shuttle.
Should the photo turn out to be an authentic image of an electrical event on Columbia, it would not only change the focus of the crash investigation, but it could open a door on a new realm of science.
"We're working hard on the data set. We have an obligation," said Alfred Bedard, a scientist at the federal Environmental Technology Laboratory in Boulder, Colo. He said the lab was providing the data to NASA but that it was too early to draw any conclusions from the sounds of the shuttle re-entry.
The lab has been listening to the sounds of ghostly electromagnetic phenomena in the upper atmosphere, dubbed sprites, blue jets and elves. For some time, scientists have speculated on whether these events could endanger airliners or returning spacecraft.
A study conducted 10 years ago for NASA found that there is a 1-in-100 chance that a space shuttle could fly through a sprite, although it concluded that the consequences of such an event were unclear. And in 1989, an upper- atmospheric electrical strike "shot down" a high-altitude NASA balloon 129,000 feet over Dallas.
See haunting video here: (You can see the video in Quicktime or Real Video on Duke University's Web site.)
Real didn’t work on my computer; A small Quicktime Alternative file is here:
NASA officials have said they are looking for a "missing link" to explain the shuttle's breakup that killed seven astronauts Saturday, and they are downplaying the theory that foam insulation falling from the shuttle's extra tank may have contributed to the shuttle's demise...
Originally, it was thought that the electrical charges in the thin atmosphere 50 miles above Earth were too dispersed to create infrasound. But Los Alamos National Laboratories physicist Mark Stanley said that, on closer inspection, "we've seen very strong ionization in sprites" indicating that there were enough air molecules ionized to cause heating and an accompanying pulse -- a celestial thunderclap, as it were…
...On June 5, 1989, before the first sprite was ever photographed, a NASA balloon carrying a heavy pack of instruments suffered "an uncommanded payload release" at 129,000 feet, according to Lyons. It landed in an angry Dallas resident's front yard.
Investigators found scorch marks on the debris and considered it one of the first bits of solid evidence that sprites exist. As a result of the accident, NASA no longer flies balloons over thunderstorms.
Ironically, the balloon was launched from a NASA facility in Palestine, Texas, one of the towns where debris from the space shuttle Columbia fell Saturday.
The observations show that sprites normally start nearly 50 miles high. Streamers rain down from the bottom of an initial, diffuse halo. The streamers branch out on the way down. As all this is unfolding in the blink of an eye, a bright column of light expands vertically from the starting point, reaching toward both Earth and space.
Bright streamers then shoot higher into the night.
Bright dots appear. Other researchers have spotted these but nobody knows what they are. The dots glow longer than the rest of the sprite. Some of the dots occur where streamers collide, the new images reveal.
"Electrons with enough energy to produce light can also produce interesting chemical species not normally generated," Cummer said. "Such chemicals might be long-lived and could be transported to other locations through the atmosphere."
Transient Luminous Events
Large thunderstorms are capable of producing other kinds of electrical phenomena called transient luminous events (TLE's). The most common TLE's include red sprites, blue jets, and elves.
Red Sprites can appear directly above an active thunderstorm as a large but weak flash. They usually happen at the same time as powerful positive CG lightning strokes. They can extend up to 60 miles from the cloud top.
"Tiger" detection from doomed Columbia Mission
hi res sprites movie
Elves and Sprites over Australia:
Plasma-based weaponry is any group of weapons designed to use high-energy ionized gas or "plasma", typically created by superheating or lasers or superfrequency devices. There has, been notable interest in its development. one plasma prototype weapon exists in Russia which was developed by The Radio Instrument Building Research Institute under the supervision of Academician A. Avramenko .Their action is based on focusing beams of electromagnetic energy produced by laser or microwave radiation into the upper layers of the atmosphere. These beams would be able to defeat any target flying at supersonic or near-sonic speeds in the near future. A cloud of highly ionized air arises at the focus of the laser or microwave rays, at an altitude of up to 50 kilometers. Upon entering it, any object--a missile, an airplane, is deflected from its trajectory and disintegrates in response to the fantastic overloads arising due to the abrupt pressure difference between the surface and interior of the flying body. What is fundamental in this case is that the energy aimed by the terrestrial components of the plasma weapon--lasers and antennas--is concentrated not at the target itself but a little ahead of it. Rather than "incinerating" the missile or airplane, it "bumps" it out of trajectory.
Last edited by Hootad Binky; 20th March 2007 at 08:28. Reason: Automerged Doublepost
said photograph was then seized by 'officials' and never seen again...what are they hiding?Originally Posted by Hootad Binky
Is it me, or does the third pic look like a string of intergalactice ropey jiz? What a way to go, killed by THAT!
Sorry to lower the tone (but then it's what I do best, and I believe we should play to our strengths)
Anyway if we give the saprite some kanom he will be happy and leave us alone chai mai?
Um, Challenger exploded a few moments after launch, way back in '84 I think it was
It never even made it into orbit, so it wouldn't have been able to capture those images.
Columbia fell apart during re-entry over Texas.
doh! Good catch...hell I should have caught that!Originally Posted by Norrad
Yes it was Columbia that the photo of the "strange lightning" was all about. I see the OP mentions plasma weaponry and if I remember right there were a couple of stories floated about that being another country(Russia) using plasma weaponry technology(Tesla tech actually, no?) against us and the Columbia at the time. This was supposedly the secret weapon that Kruschev and later on our own Sec. of Defense Cohen were on about in speeches and quotes that they made.
"We have a new weapon, just within the portfolio of our scientists, so to speak, which is so powerful that, if unrestrainedly used, it could wipe out all life on earth. It is a fantastic weapon." Khrushchev, to the Presidium, Jan. 1960
more on that here:
They both start with a capital "C," they both look the same and they both blew up!Originally Posted by Norrad
Last edited by Hootad Binky; 20th March 2007 at 09:09.
Very interesting stuff Hootad regardless of the Columbia.
We could all sit outside on banana lounges discussing the best way to rebuild a 4WD transmission and agree, through shared stories of conquests supporting our assertions, that there is no basis to the proposition that those least assured of their persuasions are the first to condemn others for theirs.
I think the natural explanation works for Columbia. The late U.S.S.R. would have little to gain strategically from shooting down a heavily-monitored, multiple-satellite tracked space shuttle with civilians in it. Also, they would have had needed a power source (i.e. spy satellite) very close by and I'm fairly certain the technology hadn't been invented yet!Originally Posted by esoteric1
However, it is certainly scientifically possible. Also, sprites are associated with bursts of energy at x-ray and even gamma-ray wavelengths. But you'd need a battery with the power of a super-cell thunderstorm. Then you'd essentially have a plasma anti-satellite/anti-missile ray gun that would be amplified in the ionosphere. Fun!
Anyway, I got interested after seeing a documentary about this last night. They're almost sure, now. Not only that, this angle was simply never reported to a credulous public and unprofessional media. But to be fair, there's no angle here. It just some bizarre, hitherto unknown form of unpredictable, super-powerful lightning:
And that's cool!
Nothing anyone can do about it. And the shuttle re-entering the atmosphere would leave an ionic, plasma trail, surely at that velocity. Hence a conductor, like flying a metal kite in an inonic electrical strom. Bad idea.
And hey, IT'S A CONSPIRACY THEORY WE CAN ALL EMBRACE!!!!!!
Last edited by Hootad Binky; 20th March 2007 at 09:03.
Originally Posted by Hootad Binky
Actually I think the only place you messed up was in the thread title.
Shit, beautiful pix. May nick one or two for my desktop background pic
Just so.Originally Posted by esoteric1
shit...i wondered why he hadn'tbeen posting for a while.
get well soon mate!
"...ever wonder why they kill the weak ones, baby?"
Actually moi ol' booty I was trying to light one of my farts after a particularly dodgy Muslim Ruby from Khon Kaen night market and accidentally set fire to my arse hair. We have to get our kicks somehow in Isaan after they roll up the pavements at 8 pm.Originally Posted by Unwell
It ain't me, it ain't me, I ain't no Interior Minister of Thailand's son.
Col' I too saw the headline, and thought, has he got so bored in KK that he's doing some mad experiments with dangerous elements...turns out I was right!!!
Have some green, ya daft fugger.
I'm everywhere you've never been and better than I've ever been