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‘Gift to the World’: James Webb Space Telescope – Launched!

Dec. 25 (EIRNS)—Following a flawless launch on Dec. 25, at 7:20 a.m. EST, of the James Webb Space Telescope from the Kourou Space Center in French Guiana, Greg Robinson, NASA Webb program director told a press conference: “The world gave us this telescope, and today we give it to the world.” Indeed, the building and crafting of this precision instrument has involved over 10,000 people from over 14 countries, working together over 25 years.

NASA tweeted, “We have LIFTOFF of the @NASAWebb Space Telescope! … the beginning of a new, exciting decade of science climbed to the sky. Webb’s mission to #UnfoldTheUniverse will change our understanding of space as we know it.” Using optics that can see in the infrared spectrum, this new “gift” to humanity will examine every aspect of our cosmos history, including a look at first galaxies formed 13.5 billion years ago, as well as the atmospheres of exoplanets, and hopefully answer questions about how planets formed and evolved. It also will observe the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way. The Webb telescope is “unequaled in size and complexity,” the Indian web daily NDTV reported. To give the reader a sense of Webb’s magnification power, “#JWST can see the heat signature of a bumblebee in the distance of the moon,” Dr. John Mather Senior Project Scientist on the James Webb Space Telescope, Tweeted.

During the next “29 days on edge” the Webb will perform a series of complex tasks to ready itself for gazing into the deep space of our Universe. On day three its five-layer sunshield will begin to unfurl. It is “the size of a tennis court,” CNN reported. By day five the sunshield is expected to fully deploy, a process using 107 release mechanisms. Then two weeks into its flight the primary mirror will deploy, and its 18 hexagonal mirrors are to align into “precise positions using 126 actuators,” Florida Today reported. Once all the readying tasks are done, Webb will fire its thruster to travel to its destination, nearly 1 million miles from Earth.

Reflecting the “simultaneity of eternity” and man’s role in developing the Universe, it is noteworthy that the Webb telescope’s destination is what is known as the Lagrange 2 point. Its new home is so named after Italian-French mathematician Joseph-Louis Lagrange who in 1772 discovered five unique points of equilibrium between the forces of gravity of the Sun, Earth and the Moon. This L2 point will allow for the Webb to remain in an orbit with Earth, the Sun and the Moon on the same side as its solar shield while being close enough to Earth for communications. Webb project scientist Klaus Pontoppidan pointed to the lasting import of this “gift” when he said, “Webb will probably also reveal new questions for future generations of scientists to answer, some of whom may not even be born yet.”


China Launches Tianzhou Cargo Ship Which Docks With the Space Station

China launched the cargo spacecraft Tianzhou-2 on Saturday, May 29, which has docked with the space station core module Tianhe. It delivered supplies for the first crew, equipment, and propellant. The Long March-7 Y3 rocket, carrying Tianzhou-2, blasted off from the Wenchang Spacecraft Launch Site at 8:55 p.m. (Beijing Time), according to the China Manned Space Agency (CMSA). The launch was a complete success, the CMSA said.

The cargo includes more than 160 large and small packages, including supplies for astronauts, space-science equipment, and two tons of propellant, which are needed to keep the station in a stable orbit. After docking with Tianhe, Tianzhou-2 will replenish Tianhe’s propellant and help test equipment for space application projects.

Three astronauts will be launched on the Shenzhou-12 mission, and will stay in orbit for three months. It will be their job to unpack the goods stowed inside Tianzhou-2. In addition to supplies for the three-astronaut first crew, the gear delivered by Tianzhou-2 also includes two spacesuits for extravehicular activities, each weighing more than 100 kg, which will be needed on future “space walks.” This year, two manned craft will dock with the station.

Tianzhou-2 is also delivering space food, dubbed “space deliveries” by Chinese engineers, including many traditional Chinese dishes. From staple foods to non-staples, from meat to vegetables, the menu is appetizing for Chinese astronauts. Famous stir-fried Chinese dishes like shredded pork with garlic sauce and Kung Pao chicken are both on the menu. (The menu may be an added inducement for non-Chinese astronauts to visit the station.)

Later this year, another cargo vessel will dock with the station, as will a second manned mission. In 2022, the station will be complete, with the addition of the Wentian and Mengtian laboratory modules.

Then it will be open for other countries to send their experiments, their astronauts, or even their entire laboratories, to this truly international space station.


Harvard Scientist: Space Exploration Uplifts and Gives Meaning to Humans’ Lives

Harvard Scientist Says Space Exploration Uplifts and Gives Meaning to Humans’ Lives

May 25 (EIRNS)–In an interview with The Federalist publisher Ben Domenech, on Fox News’s “The Ben Domenech podcast,” Harvard professor Avi Loeb, a renowned theoretical physicist, former chair of Harvard’s astronomy department, and author of the book “Extraterrestrial: The First Sign of Intelligence Life Beyond Earth.” argued that scientific institutions should be taking risks and fund risky research, rather than just promising what they can deliver. “These are the most boring projects,” he said. “If you can tell in advance what you can discover, then it’s not a major advance.” The title of the podcast is “Avi Loeb and the Importance of Inquiry,” in which he discusses an array of subjects.

Loeb argues that Earth’s demise is guaranteed over the long term, so outer space ought to reclaim its fundamental role in the pursuit of academic progress. “Currently, all our eggs are in one basket here on Earth,” he said, “and if any catastrophe happens here it could destroy everything we care about.” Moreover, humans need the inspiration captured by space exploration. “We need something beyond our troubles that lifts us up and gives meaning to our lives,” he said, pointing out that the Apollo program once served that purpose by landing people on the Moon which “changed the psychology of humans.” He also argued that space and religion complement each other: “if you believe in God, then what you want is to appreciate reality to its greatest details. That will give you the wonder and awe that otherwise you would not have.”


China Points to Promethean Nature of Space Exploration–“To Light Up Human Civilization”

China Points to Promethean Nature of Space Exploration–“To Light Up Human Civilization”

May 18 (EIRNS)—At Monday’s Foreign Ministry briefing, spokesman Zhao Lijian responded to a comment about the fact that NASA and Russia had congratulated China for landing its first rover on Mars, with a report about the many congratulations it had received from many other countries around the globe. He also referenced President Xi Jinping’s congratulatory message which pointed out that the Mars landing marked an important step in China’s interstellar exploration–from the exploration of the Earth-Moon system to interplanetary exploration.

In very poetic language, reminiscent of western myth of Prometheus giving fire to mankind, Zhou then said: “The Chinese people have a long-cherished space dream. From Shenzhou, Chang’e and Yutu to Tiangong and Tianwen, these beautiful names are the crystallization of their infinite longing for the distant stars and unknown space. The Mars rover of Tianwen-1 is named Zhurong after the god of fire in ancient Chinese mythology. Fire brought warmth and brightness to the ancestors of humankind, and fire lit up human civilization. Naming China’s first Mars rover after the god of fire signifies igniting the flame of China’s inter-planetary exploration, inspiring those working in this field to surpass themselves and pursue space dreams.

“The universe is also a dream for all humankind. China has always committed itself to peaceful use of space, carried out relevant international exchange and cooperation and shared outcomes in space exploration. With the spirit of seeking benefits for all mankind, China will continue to advance international cooperation in an open and inclusive manner and make greater contributions to the lofty cause of exploring the mysteries of the universe and promoting peace and development for mankind.” (His full remarks are here.)

Compare this beautiful explanation to the pathetic commentary from that NATO outpost in the U.S., the Atlantic Council, in the Fast Thinking daily nuggets it puts out, today entitled, “Mars With Chinese Characteristics.” What does China’s achievement on Mars “mean for the great-power space race?” it asks. “What are the military implications?” It then consults one of its “space experts” who pontificates that Beijing will “continue to challenge U.S. superiority” in space, and warns that if China “pioneers activity beyond low-Earth orbit…the trajectory of U.S. security and prosperity in space comes into question,” calling for the US to lead a NATO-style force into space. (The entire Fast Thinking daily item is here.)


President Xi Awards Highest Science Award to Two Scientists, Including the Developer of China’s Pebble-Bed Reactor

Nov. 3 (EIRNS)–The National Natural Science Award was given in a ceremony on November 3 at the Great Hall of the People by President Xi Jinping to Gu Songfen from the China Aviation Industry Corporation and Wang Dazhong from Tsinghua University. Professor Gu was the first to develop an original design for a Chinese jet fighter in the 1950s. He was also instrumental in pushing China at an early date to move into the area of stealth technology and artificial intelligence.

Professor Wang Dazhong was the chief designer of spherical nuclear fuel elements, which are essential for fourth generation pebble-bed high-temperature reactors. He was leading the work on the first demonstration reactor at Tsinghua University at a time when the world was moving away from this technology. As a result of his work, China has now constructed two commercial pebble-bed reactors in Shandong province, the first of which is to be connected to the electricity grid before the end of this year. With the lead in this technology, China is prepared to become a major producer of these reactors for export.


China Launches Core Module of its Space Station

April 29, 2021 (EIRNS)–With the successful launch today of the Tianhe core module of its space station, China begins to carry out the third phase of its manned space program. That series of missions was a 30-year program, culminating in the operation of an Earth-orbiting space station in 2020.

The first phase had the goal of demonstrating that manned space flight was safe. That was accomplished in 2003.The second phase, which lasted from then until now, demonstrated many of the technologies needed for long-duration spaceflight, such as extravehicular activity and refueling.

The space station will be under construction, requiring eleven launches of spacecraft. These include Shenzhou launches with crews and cargo deliveries. Mid- to late-May the Tianzhou-2 cargo spacecraft is scheduled to dock with Tianhe, after which three astronauts in the Shenzhou-12 mission will arrive at the station in June. As a first, the space station will carry out nine experiments from 17 countries. And China has worked very closely with the United Nations to provide experiments which are for developing countries.


NASA’s Mars Helicopter Sets New Records!

NASA’s Mars Ingenuity Helicopter Sets New Records!

April 25 (EIRNS)—NASA’s Ingenuity helicopter had a third outstanding test flight on Mars—it lifted off at about 1:30 am EDT (12:33 pm Mars Local Time), rising to an altitude of about 16 feet (5 meters), which was the same as its second flight—but then, it {really} took off! Moving at a top speed of 4.5 mph (2 meters/second) it zipped downrange 164 feet (about 50 meters)—nearly half the length of a football field. Its flight lasted about 80 seconds.

As data from Mars started streaming in at around 10:15 am EDT, the mission team at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California was ecstatic, anticipating that the data would not only facilitate additional Ingenuity flights, but possibly inform new designs for rotorcraft on Mars in the future.

To say this involves fine tuning and precise execution of complicated commands is an understatement.

The helicopter’s black-and-white navigation camera tracks surface features below, and the images are processed onboard; its flight computer autonomously flies the craft based on instructions sent up hours before data is received back on Earth—radio instructions to Mars can take anywhere from 5 to 20 minutes, depending on the relative position of the two planets. As Ingenuity flies greater distances, more images are taken, and if it goes too fast, the flight algorithm can’t track surface features. Additionally, the camera needs to track images clearly; dust can obscure the images and interfere with its performance, and the software must perform all of this consistently and flawlessly.

The Mastcam-Z imager aboard NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover, which serves as a communications base station, captured a video of Ingenuity’s flight, and in the days ahead, segments of that video will be sent back to Earth.

NASA reported, “Today’s flight was what we planned for, and yet it was nothing short of amazing,” said Dave Lavery, the project’s program executive for Ingenuity Mars Helicopter at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “With this flight, we are demonstrating critical capabilities that will enable the addition of an aerial dimension to future Mars missions.”

With this third successful flight under their belts, the mission team is looking forward to planning Ingenuity’s fourth flight in a few days’ time.


China’s Space Station Core Module Is on the Launch Pad

April 23 (EIRNS)–The core module of China’s space station, Tianhe, has been mated to its Long March 5b rocket, and the entire stack has been moved to the launch pad at the Wenchang launch base. No date has been announced for the launch, but it will be ready to launch as soon as the rocket and module are checked out on the ground.

Soon after the module is comfortably in low Earth orbit, an unmanned cargo ship will deliver supplies needed by the first crew of three, who will arrive soon after the cargo ship. The core module contains what the crew needs to operate the station, including crew quarters. Over the next year, two Chinese laboratory modules housing scientific experiments will be added to the station.

China has also designed the station to allow other countries to attach their laboratories.


Schiller Institute Internet Dialogue — ‘Need Creative Genius of the World to Bear on Haiti and Afghanistan’

Sept. 25 (EIRNS)—Today the Schiller Institute held an international webinar titled, “Reconstructing Haiti—America’s Way Out of the ‘Global Britain’ Trap. The two-and-a-half-hour discussion featured elements of a proposed development outline for Haiti, as well as immediate emergency action required, and brought together experts, with ties to Haiti, in engineering, medicine and development policy. Today’s deliberations stand in stark contrast to the events of the week, which included the U.S. forced deportation of thousands of displaced Haitians from the Texas-Mexico border, back to Haiti, to disaster conditions from the August earthquake and before.  

The six panelists were Richard Freeman, co-author of “The Schiller Institute Plan To Develop Haiti,” which EIR will publish this week for its Oct. 1 issue; Eric Walcott, Director of Strategic Partnerships, Institute of Caribbean Studies; Firmin Backer, co-founder and President of the Haiti Renewal Alliance; Joel DeJean, engineer and Texas activist with The LaRouche Organization; Dr. Walter Faggett, MD, based in Washington, D.C., where he is former Chief Medical Officer of the District of Columbia, and currently Co-Chairman of the Health Council of D.C.’s Ward 8, and an international leader with the Committee for the Coincidence of Opposites; and moderator Dennis Speed of the Schiller Institute. 

Freeman presented both the dimensions of both the extreme underdevelopment forced for decades on Haiti, and also the essentials of a development program for that nation, in the context of development of all the Island of Hispaniola, and the Caribbean. He presented a map of proposed rail, nuclear power sites, safe water systems and other vital infrastructure. He showed maps of proposals that Chinese firms had made in recent years, but which fell into abeyance.

Firmin Backer pointed out that the USAID has spent $5.1 billion in Haiti over the 11 years since the 2010 earthquake, but what is there to show for it? Now, with the latest earthquake on Aug. 14, we can’t even get aid into the stricken zones, because there is no airport nor port in southern Haiti to serve the stricken people. We should reassess how wrongly the U.S. funding was spent. Firmin reported how Haiti was given some debt cancellation by the IMF years back, but then disallowed from seeking foreign credit! 

Eric Walcott was adamant, “We need the creative genius of the world to bear on Haiti and Afghanistan.” He said, “leverage the diaspora” to develop Haiti. There are more Haitian medics in New York and Miami than all of Haiti. He stressed that Haiti is not poor; the conditions are what is poor. But the population has pride, talent and resourcefulness. Walcott made a special point about elections in Haiti. He said, “Elections are a process,” not an event. He has experience. From 1998 to 2000, Walcott served as the lead observer for the OAS, for elections in Haiti. 

Joel DeJean, an American of Haitian lineage, was forceful about the need to aim for the highest level in that nation, for example, leapfrog from charcoal to nuclear power. He advised, “give China the opportunity” to deploy the very latest nuclear technology in Haiti—the pebble-bed gas cooled modular reactor. We “don’t need more nuclear submarines, we need nuclear technology!” He called for the establishment of a development bank in Haiti, and other specifics. 

Dr. Faggett summed up at many points, with the widest viewpoint and encouragement of action. He served in the U.S. military’s “Caribbean Peace-Keeping Force,” and was emphatic about taking action not only in Haiti, but worldwide. He referenced President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, saying that “you can tell a lot about people, by how they take care of the health of their people.” He reported that, at present, aid workers in Haiti, are having to shelter in place, because of the terrible conditions. 

But, he said, we should mobilize. Have “vaccine diplomacy,” and work to build a health platform in Haiti, and a health care delivery system the world over. He is “excited about realizing Helga’s mission,” referring to Helga Zepp-LaRouche, Chairwoman of the Schiller Institute, who issued a call in June 2020, for a world health security platform. At that time, she and Dr. Joycelyn Elders, former U.S. Surgeon General, formed the Committee for the Coincidence of Opposites


UAE: 2022 Planned Moon Landing

UAE Takes Another Cosmic Step: 2022 Planned Moon Landing

April 18 (EIRNS)–On April 14, mission team members announced that the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the Japanese space company {ispace} will collaborate to land the UAE’s robotic Rashid moon-rover on the surface of the Moon in 2022, via the HAKUTO-R lander.

This will be the first Moon landing for the Arab world and for Japan. Only three nations so far have landed on the Moon – the former Soviet Union, the United States, and China.

Like the naming of the Hope Orbiter, the name of this 22-lb. moon-rover is important: the name Rashid in Arabic means (loosely translated, “rightly guided”), and Rāshid is one of the 99 names of God in the Qur’an. It will land near the equator on the near side of the Moon, but the exact landing site has not yet been announced.

According to space.com, “The little four-wheeled rover will study its surroundings for at least one lunar day, or about 14 Earth days, using a high-resolution camera, a thermal imager, a microscopic imager and a Langmuir probe. This latter instrument could help scientists better understand the electrically charged environment at the lunar surface, which is apparently caused by the solar wind, the stream of charged particles flowing constantly from the sun.”

“The Emirates Lunar Mission represents a milestone in the UAE’s space sector, as the mission will contribute towards providing valuable data and information relating to the moon that will serve the global scientific community as well as test capabilities that would be crucial for manned missions to Mars,” Adnan AlRais, senior director of the [Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre] MBRSC’s Remote Sensing Department.

“We are honored that MBRSC has entrusted ispace’s lunar payload transportation service to play a key role in carrying out this historic moment for the UAE,” ispace founder and CEO Takeshi Hakamada said in a statement.

ispace is planning to launch its second lunar mission, which will also include a rover deployment, in 2023. Both of those flights are expected to lift off aboard SpaceX Falcon 9 rockets.


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