Although the main mission of the Rosetta Project is to investigate the history of our solar system and possibly, the origins of life in the universe and on our planet, there is another application of this mission.

The most recent historic landing of a robotic space probe on a comet by the European Space Agency was an encouraging 1st step toward defending the Earth against interplanetary objects.  This was a phenomenal achievement considering the distances involved as well as the speeds and precise control required to hit such a relatively small object hurtling through space.

It was an in-genius use of "sling-shot gravity" to get enough speed and the right trajectory to catch up to the comet that was travelling about 84,000 miles per hour. Our current rocket technology cannot achieve the speeds required catch up to asteroids and comets, so scientists needed to use the gravity of planets to assist in gradually propelling the probe to greater and greater speeds.

The landing was also nothing short of miracle engineering and communication with a robot so far away.

However, the fact that this mission took 10 years to accomplish illustrates how far the human race still has to go to provide an adequate Earth defense against a future potential asteroid or comet strike.

If a comet or asteroid ever threatens the Earth, one of the more likely defense scenarios would involve sending an "Impactor" to collide with the object in an attempt to "nudge" the asteroid or comet out of its flight path, thereby missing the Earth.

The biggest challenges in this defense scenario are:

1) building an impactor with an enormous mass, large enough to make a difference. The mass of the impactor will have to be huge, and likely would have to be built in orbit piece by piece, just like the space station, due to weight-fuel restrictions of escaping Earth's gravity. 

2) After construction is complete, the impactor would have to be propelled to speeds similar to the Rosetta devise (i.e. 84,000 mph). The only way to do this with today's technology is to use gravity of nearby planets and angular momentum (just like Rosetta) to gradually increase its speed and then hit the object at the right moment to change its trajectory. Everything in space seems to be travelling at about 50-100,000 miles per hour, so this is an enormous challenge.

3) The third important challenge is hitting the object at precisely the right time to change its flight path. When we are talking about controlling a robotic devise 100's of thousands of kilometers away, this is a huge challenge. Also,hitting it too soon or too late may be insufficient to cause enough change in trajectory.

Congratulations to the European Space Agency, who just demonstrated that 1 out of these 3 tasks is possible.

Al Maddalena

Maddalena Environmental Inc.




Image is courtesy of

A comet is a remnant of our early solar system. They are generally composed of rock and ice trapped in an elliptical orbit around our Sun and pass by planets on their journey.  

As they fly by the planets, solar particles from our Sun hit the comets that produce instant out-gassing where ice is transformed directly to water vapour.  This out-gassing produces the enourmous Comet tail which is visible as they pass by the planets.

Another comet just passed Mars at an incredibly close distance. The comet was named Siding Spring and was visible near Mars as it reached its closest distance on October 19, 2014.  It was only 136,000 km away from Mars (only 1/3 the distance from Earth to the Moon).

Here is the NASA site where you can see spectacular images: NASA Site

Al Maddalena

Maddalena Environmental Inc.

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Dark Matter X-Ray Image Above Courtesy of NASA/SAO/CXC

There are a number of theories for dark matter, what it is composed of and why we cannot see it.  The only thing astronomers know for sure is that something in the universe is causing galaxies and distant stars to move in ways that cannot be explained and defy detailed calculations.

For example,

-stars at the outer parts of galaxies are moving at the same speed as stars at the inner parts of the galaxy.  These inner stars are travelling much faster that calculated, indicating that there is an additional force at work.

-light from distant galaxies and stars is so immensely distorted by an "invisible mass" that it creates additional "false" images of the distant galaxy or star. This "lensing" was 1st predicted by Einstein but was never seen until viewed by the Hubble Space telescope. The distortions have been calculated to be far greater than can be explained by the visible matter present.

-the most distant galaxies in the universe are travelling away from us at a faster rate than those galaxies that are closer. A possible explanation of this yet unexplained phenomenon, is dark matter which is counter-acting gravity on a large scale.

Dark matter comprises about 25% of all the matter in the universe, dark energy comprises about 70% and all visible matter comprises only 5% of the universe.

Astronomers have not been able to detect dark matter because it does not interact with light of any wave length (i.e. visible, ultra-violet, infra-red, x-ray, radio, gamma ray etc.). 

A new theory postulates that dark matter may consist of particles that are electromagnetic. They are called "Majorana Particles" and create a doughnut shaped electromagnetic field called an "anapole".

This rare form of electromagetic field does not have a positive and negative charge. It is electrically neutral and therefore, has eluded detection thus far.

Al Maddalena

Maddalena Environmental Inc.

P.S. If you are trying to make money online and have yet to succeed, you should check out THE EASIEST WAY TO MAKE MONEY ONLINE.



Image compliments of NASA

Voyager 1 was launched September 5, 1977 and was intended to explore the outer solar system. It has completed its mission, providing the only close-up views of Saturn, Neptune, Uranus and their moons. It continues its mission, getting farther and farther from Earth, but continues to send information back to Earth using its radio antenna.

In 1990 it passed Pluto and the outer part of our solar system. At this point, it turned its camera back toward the Earth to take the famous picture of "The Pale Blue Dot".

This picture (below) inspired by Carl Sagan, shows the Earth from the edge of our solar system, 6 Billion kilometers away.

Image compliments of NASA

It was intended to provide a perspective of the Earth from the edge of the Solar System. When compared with galaxies and the rest of space, we now have a very good appreciation of how small our world really is.

Voyager 1 is now headed for interstellar space and will reach the Oort Cloud in approximately 300 years (see below).

Here are some important facts about Voyager 1:

-Voyager 1 has now travelled farther than anyone or anything in history, finally reaching insterstellar space.

-It is travelling at 37 km/s. It acheived this velocity through the gravitional assistance from Saturn and Jupiter.

-It has a small on-board nuclear reactor to power its systems because it is so far from the sun, that solar cells would not be practical. 

-It uses plutonium 238 for its thermo-electric generators that will continue to operate until 2025. The half-life of this plutonium isotope is short (only 88 years). Therefore its potential nuclear contamination should diminish reasonably quickly and will not likely contaminate other worlds.

This image shows plutonium 238 glowing under its own heat (image compliments of

-plutonium 238 is extracted from spent fuel rods of nuclear reactors.

-Voyager 1 carries a gold plated record of the sounds and languages of Earth. It also provides Earth's approximate location in the Milky Way Galaxy. It is intended to provide information on our world and its mission to any alien intelligent species it may encounter in the future (see below).

-currently it is not headed for any particular star system and will likely travel the Milky Way Galaxy forever until it encounters something.

-it now takes 17 hours for the radio signal from Voyager 1 to reach Earth.

Al Maddalena

Maddalena Environmental Inc.

P.S. If you're trying to make money online and have not yet succeeded, you should check out THE EASIEST WAY TO MAKE MONEY ONLINE



We had a great time fishing for Jumbo Yellow Perch, May 2014. The jumbo perch school up in the spring and in the fall every year in Lake Erie. They school in areas of about 50-60 feet of water off Point Abino, Port Colborne, Port Maitland, and other ports along the north shore of Lake Erie.  Here's a video of a great trip we had in May 2014.

We had a great time during a beautifal calm day on Lake Erie. Check out the good time here.

Al Maddalena

Maddalena Environmental Inc.

P.S. If you're trying to make money online but have had limited success, you should check out the easiest way to make money online.

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