National Museum of the United States Air Force

A couple of weeks ago, the first stealth fighter of China made its first test flight. As I know, the United States has exhibited its stealth fighters and bombers, such as F-117A, B-2A, and F-22A, in the National Museum of the United States Air Force, which locates in Dayton, OH1,2. All of those three kinds of airplanes interest me a lot since I got to know them long time ago. Before I started the journey from Rolla, MO to New York City, I decided to visit the museum and take pictures of those planes if I had opportunity to stop at Dayton.

In the early morning of Jan. 14, my friend and I stopped at a motel in Dayton after around 500 miles ride. After a rest, around 11 o’clock we left the inn for the museum. We supposed to reach the site in minutes, but my friend missed an exit on the highway. When we got to the place, it was almost 11:30. Along the Springfield St., near the Harshman Rd., a symbol made of a plane in front of a series of hangars came into my eyes as seen below.

Fig. 1 Symbol of the museum

We continued driving the car following the road, and then we saw a huge concrete wall with the museum’s name.

Fig. 2 Concrete wall with the name of the museum

After having turned right at the corner, some aircrafts exhibited on the field could be seen, such as the retired USAF Lockheed C-141C Starlifter.

Fig. 3 Lockheed C-141C Starlifter

Due to limited time, I directly went to Modern Flight Gallery(including Korea War and Southeast Asia War), where F-22A is shown. In fact I do not know why the museum put the most advanced fighter in this gallery.

Fig. 4 Lockheed Martin F-22A Raptor

Thus, I entered the Cold War Gallery, where I took a lot of pictures. In this building, almost all the aircrafts in service could be found except for F-22A and some unmanned aircrafts. In the museum, it was very crowded. In addition, I brought a long focus lense with me. The above picture of F-22A looks fine, but as for B-2A, only part of the aircraft could be taken into the lense.

Fig. 5 Northrop B-2A Spirit

Fig. 6 Lockheed F-117A Nighthawk

Except for those stealth fighters or bombers, I also took pictures of some other aircrafts, such as F-15, F-16A, A-10A, B-1B, SR-71, and Mig-29A. Last year when I went to tour the Intrepid Aircraft Carrier, I have taken a picture of F-16, actually which was borrowed from this museum I visited this time. But I am not sure whether they are the same one or not. The picture of SR-71 is very blur, then I won’t upload here. It is very easy to recognize the tank killer, A-10A.

Fig. 7 McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle

Fig. 8 General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon

Fig. 9 Fairchild Republic A-10A Thunderbolt II

Fig. 10 Rockwell B-1B Lancer

I was surprise to see Mig-29A, a former Soviet Union two engine light fighter in the museum. In Jun 1989, a Mig-29 crashed while doing a high-performance aerobatic routine at the Paris Air Show. The most impressive thing is that the pilot was saved by the great rocket ejector since the chute didn’t open due to the low elevation since the fighter fell into two pieces and then hit on the ground3.

Fig. 11 Mikoyan MiG-29

The 30 minute tour could never satisfy me at all. Before I left the museum, I talked to an assistant in the Cold War Gallery and explained the reason why I had such a quick tour. Also, I told him that sometime later I will make a long visit to the biggest military aviation museum in the world.

References:

1. National Museum of the United States Air Force(official website).

2. National Museum of the United States Air Force(wikipedia).

3. MIG-29 Crashes at Paris Air Show Pilot Ejects From Soviet Fighter Plane Before Jet Explodes.

Advertisements

Snowstorm is Hitting East Coast of America

This winter was predicted as the coldest winter ever because of global warming1~3. Snowstorms have hit Europe4, and Asia5, even the Oceania which is on another hot hemisphere6. Now the snowstorm is approaching to east coast of America7. Weather “pros” announced a blizzard warning for New York City from early Sunday morning till 6PM on Monday, with a forecast of 11 to 16 inches of snow and strong winds that will make visibility to near zero at times8. Government prepared salt for this snowstorm, and transportation administrative shut off the railway and cancelled hundreds of flights already8.

Fig. 1 Snow Began Hitting on the Grass

Fig. 2 Snow at 11AM on Dec. 26, 2010

Fig. 3 Snow at 6PM on Dec. 26, 2010

Fig. 4 Blizzard Around My Apt At 6PM on Dec. 26, 2010

Fig. 5 Footprint of Mine on Accumulated Snow at 6PM on Dec. 26, 2010

Fig. 6 Accumulated Snow at 10PM on Dec. 27th, 2010

Fig. 7 Channel through Snow Pile that Near the Window

Initially weather.com showed the snow would begin at 6AM, actually I checked the outside at 11:15 (15 minutes after the corrected time) and found there was snow on the ground9. I took several pictures of the snow for memory. I guess that is the first time for me to witness the very beginning of a snow. I still remember the white Christmas on the Junior High School English textbook. Three years ago, I went to see my cousin in Boston. To be honest, I love New England so much. As you know, the trees, the lake, and the snow, since I had to help my cousin to dig a driveway for my brother-in-law. Last night I sent a message to my cousin to express that I miss them very much, also the time that her daughters and I played with snow.

Fig. 8 Local Weather Report on 2010 December 26(www.weather.com)

References:

1. THE COLDEST WINTER FOR 100 YEARS – SO WHERE ARE THE GRITTERS.

2. Another Record Breaking Winter, What Happened to Global Warming?

3. It’s official, coldest winter in 130 years in Ireland.

4. Europe Is Off To A Flying Start.

5. La Niña, Strong St. Baby Girl (in Chinese, “拉尼娜”:“强壮的圣女婴”).

6. Australia Summer Marked By Snow, Heavy Flooding (VIDEO).

7. Snow storm bears down on Mid-Atlantic, Northeast.

8. Blizzard Warning for New York as Storm Heads Up East Coast.

9. Blizzard Warning for Richmond (staten Is.), NY.

Applied Microbiology and Molecular Biology in Oilfield Systems

The first and second International Symposium on Applied Microbiology and Molecular Biology in Oil Systems were held in Colchester, United Kingdom from September 17-18, 2007 and Aarhus, Denmark from June 17-19, 2009, respectively. The next symposium will be held in Calgary, Alberta from June 13-15, 2011.

The first symposium was co-organized by University of Exxex and Danish Technological Institute, and the details about it could be found at International Symposium on Applied Molecular Microbiology in Oil Systems (ISMOS), especially the slides presented at the conference.

The second symposium was mainly held by the Danish Technological Institute, and the details could be found at its website, since it is temporarily not available now. Once I can access it, I will update the information here as soon as possible. Fortunately, the proceedings of the symposium has been published as Applied Microbiology and Molecular Biology in Oilfield Systems. The book was divided into five parts: 1 Introduction, Sampling and Procedures; 2 Application of Molecular Microbiological Methodsto the Oil Industry; 3 Problems Caused by Microbes to the Oil Industryand Treatment Strategies; 4 How Specific Microbial Communities Benefit the Oil Industry; 5 Fuel for the Future. The author started the book from the most probable number(MPN) technique, which is the traditional and fundamental method to count the number of microbes in media. In the second part several papers introduced the application of molecular microbiological methods to the oil industry, such as qualitative (which microbial communities are presented) and quantitative (how many microorganisms are present)analysis of microbes in the oil reservoirs. The problems (bio-corrosions and bio-fouling) caused by microbes and treatment technologies were presented in the third part. The benefits of microbes to the oil industry (upgrading the oil in processing and MEOR in E&P) were described in the following part. Finally, the applications of microbes in biofuels also were mentioned. A brief description of each method used by some of the contributing authors in this book was also attached.

The information for the next symposium could be reached at its official website. I am glad to see more progress of applied microbiology and molecular biology in oilfield.

Scientists Found Oil on the Gulf of Mexico Floor

Two months ago, I discussed two inconsistent articles about the destiny of oil plume from Well Macondo 242 in the Gulf of Mexico which were published on Science Express. In the post, I listed the ideas of the parties and did not support anyone of them. The White House claimed that the oil had gone by several oil-spill clean technologies, including the breakdown of the bacteria. Researchers from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and University of Oklahoma confirmed that later. Shortly before the confirmation, the results of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution failed the claim. I suspected the claim because of the quick degradation rate by the bacteria in such an environment without enough oxygen.

The latest news make people tend to believe that the oil is still in the ocean. Yesterday, it is reported that scientists found a large amount of oil accumulated at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico. The research ship Cape Hatteras found the oil in samples dug up from the seafloor in a 140-mile around the Deepwater Horizon well site1,2. It is highly possible that the oil came out from the Well Macondo 242.  While, oil spill environmental forensic tests are needed to fingerprint the oil, identify its source, and verify the hypothesis1~3.

References:

1. Research teams find oil on bottom of Gulf.

2. Scientists find lots of oil on gulf floor.

3. Oil Spill Environmental Forensics: Fingerprinting and Source Identification.

Chang’e 2 Is Flying to the Moon

The Chinese Lunar Exploration Program, a three-step moon mission, was named after the legendary Chinese goddess of the moon, Chang’e1, 2. Chang’e 2, the second lunar orbiter of the program, is an unmanned lunar probe3. The probe is similar to its predecessor, Chang’e 1, with some improvements including a better camera with a resolution of 1 meter3. It is going to inaugurate the second phase of the mission4.

Fig. 1 Animation of Chang’e 2

At 18:59:57 on Oct, 1st, 2010, the 61st anniversary of People’s Republic of China, Chang’e 2 blasted off on a Long March 3C carrier rocket from No. 2 launch tower at the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwest China’s Sichuan Province4.

Fig. 2 Long March 3C rocket carrying China’s second unmanned lunar probe, Chang’e II, lifts off from the launch pad at the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwest China’s Sichuan Province, at 18:59:57 (Beijing time) on Oct. 1, 2010. (Xinhua/Li Gang)

Shortly after the blast off, Chang’e-2 entered the orbit with a perigee of 200 kilometers and apogee of 380,000 kilometers as scheduled as it separated from the carrier rocket5. It was the first time that a Chinese lunar probe directly entered the earth-moon transfer orbit without orbiting the earth first4. It is expected to take about 112 hours, or nearly five days, to arrive at its lunar orbit, compared with 12 days taken by the Chang’e 1 three years ago, which orbited the earth for 7 days first5.

Chang’e 2 will orbit 100 kilometers above the moon as a preparation for a soft landing by Chang’e 3, compared with 200 kilometers for Chang’e 13, 4. It will then orbit the moon in an orbit at a distance of 15km closest to the moon and at 100 km at its farthest distance from the moon6. It is planned sending back high-resolution photos of the Bay of Rainbows area, where Chang’e 3 will behave a soft landing in the future7. Other than places around the equator of  the moon have already been landed on, the Bay of Rainbows, or Sinus Iridium, is located at about 43 degrees north latitude and 31 west longitude with a width of 300 kilometers. It is considered one of the most beautiful features on the Moon7.

According to media reports, the mission of Chang’e 2 has a total cost of about 00 million yuan(134.33 million U.S. dollars)3, 8.

References:

1. Chang’e 1.

2. Chinese Lunar Exploration Program.

3. Chang’e 2.

4. China’s 2nd lunar probe Chang’e-2 blasts off.

5. China’s 2nd moon probe Chang’e-2 enters earth-moon transfer orbit.

6. China’s second lunar probe ready to launch.

7. China’s lunar probe to target rarely explored Bay of Rainbows.

8. China Launches Second Robotic Moon Probe.

Science vs. Technology (Engineering), Scientists vs. Engineers

A couple of days ago, Sung Cheung in the Energy (Energy industry expertise) Group of Linkedin.com introduced a post “The Anti-Engineering Crowd” within a discussion “The Dark Side of Green“. When I wrote a comment on his post, I agreed with his comment that “Engineers Vs Scientists do see things differently”, but “something the author mentioned in the post is not exactly correct. ”

First, both of science and technology play extremely important role in the world. The target or function of science is to find the truth behind the phenomena. While, that of engineering is to find the optimum solutions to a certain problem. As we know, there are a lot of empirical equations in engineering, which could be obtained by scientific methods but may not be science.

Second, science is more theoretical while engineering is more practical. There are much more constraints to engineering than those to science. For every engineering project, we must consider the budget at first.

Third, science is more strategical but engineering is more tactical. Science could explain some sort of phenomena with common characteristics. Engineering has to solve a certain problem the project faces to.

In the post “The Anti-Engineering Crowd“, the author said “they (scientists) can toy around with ideas and models and concepts, normally without consequence for being wrong.” I cannot agree with this at all. If the engineers made some mistakes in a project, the bridge may fall down, or the computer may not work. If the scientists drew wrong conclusions, the world may go the wrong direction. I am not sure whether the theory of global warming is correct. Now the governments and scientist have spent a lot of money and energy on this issue. Also, engineers have taken a lot of efforts to reduce the effects of global warming, such as CO2 sequestration projects. There is still argument on global warming issue, especially people found out that some scientists manipulated the data on global warming recently. If the theory was completely wrong, all the efforts we have done are nothing. That is the worse and more enormous consequence than that caused by an engineering project.

Genetically Modified Food

Last week, I read an article “Would You Eat Genetically Altered Meat? ” by Allie Townsend via Time NewsFeed. In this article, the author discussed that a genetically modified salmon, AquAdvantage Salmon, was going to approved as a safe food product by the Food and Drug Administration, which would be the first genetically modified animal approved for human consumption. This kind of salmon is based on an Atlantic salmon with a gene from the ocean pout that prevents freezing and a growth gene from the Chinook salmon. In fact, The New York Times has reported this news as “Genetically Altered Salmon Get Closer to the Table” on June 25th this year. Ms. Allie wrote the article for Time NewsFeed after reading the report “FDA Considers Approving Genetically Modified Salmon for Human Consumption” on Washington Post. Maybe because the approval is approaching, the report on Washington Post arouse much more attention recently. Also, the continuous arguments on genetically modified food (GMF) have been prompted again. The scientists who developed the salmon are trying to prove the fish is safe by eating them for years. From now on, not only the scientists working for AquaBounty, the Massachusetts-based biological company, also the FDA claim the salmon is safe. As described in Emily Sohn’s “Is Genetically Modified Salmon Safe?” on DiscoveryNews, several major scientific panels have found no sign that the salmon would harm human health in any way. While independent scientists, consumer groups and environmental organizations are concerning about both the pending decision and the process that the FDA uses to determine whether this kind of salmon is safe for human health and the environment. Rick Moonen expressed his opposite opinions on the bio-engineered salmon via “Say No to Genetically Engineered Salmon” on CNN.

In this regard, I have mixed feelings. Obviously GMF has several advantages, such as possible higher yield, quicker growth, more resistance to virus, more economical, bigger business, etc. But the potential risks to human health and the environment are concerned by myself. A couple of days ago, I discussed this issue with several friends, one of which is biologist. She is now working for a company, which is developing the virus-resistant crop by genetically engineering method. She told me that there is big difference on the GMF policy between US and EU. EU requires that the developer need to prove the GMF is completely safe, while US requires that the consumers need to prove the dangerous if a certain of GMF to be banned. Unfortunately, GMF is on the phase between the above two.

In Ms. Allie’s article, she mentioned that no word on if food suppliers, grocery stores or restaurants will be required to label genetically altered animals before they’re sold to customers. While Jenifer Goodwin, the author of “New On the Menu: Genetically Modified Salmon“, said that FDA would considered the issue that whether the genetically modified salmon is required a specific label on the package if on market during the public hearings. I am not sure which one is true, but I believe it is a good way to label the GMF, which could protect consumers’ rights to choose GMF or natural food. In addition, strict supervision is a must because the characteristics, physiology, and behavior, also the tastes of the salmon is no different from normal Atlantic salmon as Ronald L. Stotish, the company’s president and chief executive, told the Washington Post.