Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Daily 2 Cents: Rosetta Ready to Land -- 40th Anniversary of Alleged 'Alien' Incident -- Returning From Death

Rosetta Ready to Land

ESA officials have reported that everything is on schedule for the probe's attempted landing.

The European Space Agency's Rosetta probe made history back in August when it became the first ever spacecraft to orbit a comet.

Now its companion, Philae, is preparing for its descent on to the comet's surface, a maneuver accompanied by a great deal of risk. For it to work Rosetta must head on a specific path and release the probe at exactly the right time for it to hit its target.

If the calculations are not absolutely spot on then Philae will crash.

"The point of separation is fixed in time, in space, velocity and attitude; and we have to reach exactly that point," said ESA flight director Andrea Accomazzo. "So, wherever Rosetta is, we have to design a maneuver to reach that point."

If the landing is successful Philae will deploy foot screws and harpoons to anchor it to the ground.

"It will take a few minutes to really analyse and fully understand that, yes, we are landed; yes, the harpoons are fired and safely anchored," said Stephan Ulamec of the German space agency.

If the probe survives then it will represent a significant success story in the history of space exploration and we should soon be looking at the first ever images from the surface of a comet.


Carbondale celebrates 40th anniversary of 'alien' incident

CARBONDALE, Pennsylvania — Embrace it or ignore it.

That was the advice a tourism planning consultant gave Carbondale a few years ago about how to deal with its mysterious UFO legend that began 40 years ago.

On Nov. 9, 1974, three teenage boys told police they saw "a red, whirring ball fly over Salem Mountain and into the mine pond," and the Carbondale UFO legend was born. It created quite a hubbub, as police, military, UFO enthusiasts and curious spectators from across the country descended on the city and pond. The submerged object glowed for nine hours. Two days later, a diver emerged from the murky waters with a railroad lantern.

Twenty-five years later, one of the former teens admitted he had thrown a battery-powered lantern into the pond to scare his sister.

Some believe that story, but others insist a craft from space landed in the small pond and the government covered it up. One theory holds that the object was a fallen spy satellite, either from the U.S. or Russia.

But whether it was a prank, hoax or satellite, the legend lives on.

"It's one of those things that you fully embrace it or never mention it," said Christine Tocki-Mulvey, the city's Office of Community and Economic Development director and the administrator of Carbondale's Route 6 Task Force on tourism.

Carbondale, nicknamed the Pioneer City, founded in 1822 and known for its anthracite resources and as the site of the first underground mine in 1831, has chosen to embrace — tongue-in-cheek — its 1974 UFO legend.

The city will hold a 40th anniversary celebration Thursday at the Best Western Pioneer Plaza hotel on Main Street from 5 to 8 p.m. A $5 ticket must be purchased in advance, and there will be cash bar and food. For tickets or more information, call City Hall at 570-282-4633.

The "Throwback-Thursday" celebration will feature a UFO/alien theme. Items from the incident, including a 1974 report by the UFO Research Investigation Center in Philadelphia and the railroad lantern that was pulled from the pond, will be on display, said city Clerk Michele Bannon.

The UFO legend has had renewed interest in recent years, particularly after being mentioned in a WVIA "My Town" documentary in 2012 about the city, said Bannon and Tocki-Mulvey. The legend also has spawned a website, carbondalien.com, and a mascot — a green, big-headed extraterrestrial dubbed Carbon D. Alien — that has been digitally added into pictures old and new so he appears ever-present, everywhere.

S. Robert Powell, executive director of the Carbondale Historical Society & Museum, said of the UFO legend, "It's an interesting corollary to the history of Carbondale," and the city's part in the UFO hysteria of that time.

He recalled that around 25 years ago, former Mayor Charlotte Moro entrusted into his hands the railroad lantern that is a tangible artifact of the incident. In 1974, the plastic orange lantern with a hoop handle was a modern-day railroad lantern, he said.

"She had a reverential attitude about the lantern. She said, 'Robert, you ought to have it,'" for the museum, Powell said.

Bannon was 4 years old at the time of the UFO incident and vividly remembers the commotion it caused.

"I remember my grandpa was alive and he walked us to the park and it was all roped off," Bannon said. "There was a whole bunch of agents at the pond. They brought in a lead-lined truck" to cart away an object removed from the pond.

The 40th anniversary celebration is an opportunity to share such memories and hopefully spur some tourism in Carbondale, said Bannon and Tocki-Mulvey.

"Everybody has a little bit of folklore" about the incident, Bannon said. "We're having a blast with it." - The Republic


Brit Couple See Ghost in Cyprus Photo

A British couple claim to have captured a ghostly apparition in photographs they took during their recent holiday in northern Cyprus According to British tabloid the Daily Mail, Michael Holmes, 61, and his wife Wendy, 51, from Buckingham captured the same apparition three times and from multiple angles in snaps they took in broad daylight last month on a cliff near the Saint Hilarion Castle on the Kyrenia mountain range. The Holmes’ said they only noticed the ghostly white figure once they got back to England and insist the photographs have not been manipulated. According to the couple, the castle, close to where the snaps were taken, was once ruled by Prince John who would have traitors thrown to their deaths from the nearby cliffside.  - InCyprus


Returning From Death

Ruby Graupera-Cassimiro says she's "just a normal girl," but her doctors say she's a miracle.

Graupera-Cassimiro's heart stopped beating for 45 minutes. Just as doctors were about to call her time of death, they spotted a blip on the monitor.

"I was dead," Graupera-Cassimiro told ABC News. "My husband tells me, 'You were gray. You were cold as ice, and you were dead. You had no color in your lips.'"

Graupera-Cassimiro, 40, had gone to the hospital for a cesarean section on Sept. 23. The surgery was uneventful and the baby was healthy, but Graupera-Cassimiro started to experience shortness of breath, said Boca Raton Regional Hospital spokesman Thomas Chakurda told ABC News.

The last thing she remembers was being wheeled into the recovery room after the c-section and asking someone for a tissue because her nose felt stuffy. She said it felt like she'd fallen asleep.

Graupera-Cassimiro then stopped breathing. Doctors tried for three hours to revive her but it was no use. She had no pulse for 45 minutes.

During that time, she said she felt herself floating along a tunnel.

"I remember seeing a spiritual being who I believe was my dad," Graupera-Cassimiro said. "I remember the light behind him and many other spiritual beings."

But suddenly a "force" stopped her, and she said she knew she couldn't go any further.

Her heart started beating again on its own even though doctors hadn't touched her in several minutes, Chakurda said.

"I was chosen to be here," she said, adding that she's grateful to come back to her family, including her new baby daughter Taily, who turns seven weeks old on Nov. 11.

She woke up without any brain damage, broken ribs from the chest compressions or burns from the four or five times doctors tried to shock her heart back to life.

Doctors think she had a rare condition called an amniotic fluid embolism, which is what happens when the amniotic fluid leaks into the blood stream, causes blood clots and leads to cardiac arrest, according to Mayo Clinic.

Graupera-Cassimiro said that the experience has taught her not to be afraid of death.

"I realize through all of this that one, we really don't really have control of our lives," she said. "The day you go is the day that you were destined to go." - ABC News



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