Thursday, January 1, 2009

Bill Cooper mentioned in his book that the JASON Group is behind 'The LUCIFER PROJECT'

JASON Group | Membership list
Part-time defense think tank for university professors

* Wilson was CEO of General Motors and proposed a "permanent war economy" after WWII to prevent another great depression. Together with John Foster Dulles he had been responsible for picking the committee members that turned the Psychological Strategy Board into the Operations Coordinating Board.

The purpose of IDA was to take over WSEG from the Joint Chiefs of Staff and to supply it with new ideas and technology concepts. Killian became chairman of the board of trustees of IDA. Other early members of the think tank were Eric A. Walker, mainly associated with the Office of Naval Research, and later JASON scholar Charles H. Townes, who had recently co-invented the maser, the predecessor of the laser. Both became leading officers of IDA, just as General Maxwell D. Taylor and the CIA's Richard M. Bissell, Jr. in later years. Someone like Admiral Harry Train also became involved with IDA after his retirement, although only as a regular trustee. The official history of IDA continues:

"In 1958, at the request of the Secretary of Defense, IDA established a division to support the newly created Advanced Research Projects Agency. Shortly thereafter, the mandate of this division was broadened to include scientific and technical studies for all offices of the Director of Defense, Research and Engineering. Subsequent divisions were established to provide cost analyses, computer software and engineering, strategy and force assessments, and operational test and evaluation... Throughout its history, IDA also has assisted other federal agencies." (3)

Although several subsidiary groups were created within IDA, it is almost certain that the newly created division to support the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA; later DARPA) was the JASON Group. ARPA appears on JASON documents under the heading 'Controlling Office Name' and JASON was created in the same 1958-1959 time period. IDA also talks about the mandate of the division expanding to perform studies for the DoD and such, which is also what happened with the JASON Group.

Three different JASON studies: 1967, 1978, and 1988. JASON started out at IDA. SRI became independent of Stanford University in 1970 and at this moment JASON might have moved over there until about 1978-1979 when its headquarters were relocated again, this time to the MITRE Corporation. A leaked 1973 membership list of the JASON Group, which is accurate, shows JASON had already been incorporated within SRI in 1973.

The above compilation of three different JASON studies shows how the organization it was part of changed over time (4). In the late 1960s it was incorporated within IDA; in the late 1970s it had been moved to Stanford Research Institute International (SRI); and in the late 1980s the JASONs had become part of the MITRE Corporation. Most studies were commissioned by DARPA, but other contractors have been the Department of Energy, the Department of Defense, the U.S. Army Research Office, the NRO, and a few other organizations.

James Killian was the most central player in the creation of all these civilian research institutions under Eisenhower. He not only founded IDA in 1957, but also the President's Science Advisory Committee (PSAC), both of which he became chairman. In 1958, he founded ARPA and as head of IDA, he approved the proposal to create the JASON Group. In 1958, Killian was also asked to create the Communications Research Division (CRD) within IDA, a Princeton-located top secret think tank for the NSA. Then, in 1959, Killian oversaw the creation of MITRE. He became a trustee of MITRE in 1960 and from 1967 to 1969 he was chairman of the board of trustees of this think tank, which was very similar to IDA and RAND. He remained on the board until 1982. In 1960, together with the earlier-mentioned William O. Baker and JASON scholars Richard Garwin and Sidney Drell, Killian was a co-founder of the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), an intelligence agency that remained secret for about a decade; although its existence was only announced officially after the Cold War had ended (5). Back in 1957, Vannevar Bush is said to have suggested Killian as the follow-up of defense secretary Charles E. Wilson. That didn't go through as Neil McElroy became Eisenhower's new secretary of defense.

Vannevar Bush was chairman of MIT from 1957 to 1959 and would be followed up by Killian. Both had long careers at MIT. Killian was involved in founding PSAC, DARPA, MITRE, NRO, IDA, JASON, CRD, and possibly IDA's Research and Engineering Support Division and its Economic and Political Studies Division. JASON, as a part time group, would do studies for many of these organizations.

Most JASON studies have to do with the development of new cutting edge technology concepts for the electronic battlefield. The contractors evaluate the papers written by JASON members and then decide whether or not to do something with it. Many other studies have to do with the nuclear weapons arsenal. In the early 1990s, a couple of studies were done on climate change; in the mid 1990s studies started into the human genome; and still a couple of years later this science was combined with nanotechnology. Almost all studies are conducted to see if these technologies can be used to maintain a military advantage over the enemy. Recent studies have also involved the concept of Homeland Security. A good example of this is the 2002-2003 study 'Biodetection Architectures'. Since a lot of JASONs are university professors, most studies are conducted in the summer months when students are on leave. It is believed that each year about 15 studies are conducted, half of them classified. A study can be done by as little as two or three JASON members to as many as 17 or 18.

In the JASON membership list you will find 11 Nobel prize winners, usually received for achievements in physics (6). The vast majority of JASONs have Ph.D.'s in this field although some have chosen to specialize in electrical engineering, mathematics, oceanography, chemistry, or biological sciences. Generally, JASONs, especially the older ones, are very well rounded and can be involved in a wide variety of studies spanning multiple decades. One of its founders, Sidney Drell, was still active in 2003. Freeman Dyson is another member whose career with the JASONs spans four decades. Some other long time members are Stanley Flatte, Richard Garwin, Curtis Callan, and Alvin Despain. These were active since the 1970s or the early eighties and were still performing studies at the beginning of the 21th century. According to different sources, JASON consisted of about 45 to 50 members at any given time. Counting the members manually per decade in the membership list confirms that and seems to indicate the list is almost complete. Information about the 1960s remains scarce though, but the group started out with about 15 members and rapidly expanded.

The universities below are represented by the 119 JASON members that can be found in the membership list. The list below refers to the universities these individual JASON
University Percentage
California 50%
Princeton, Princeton (NJ) 14%
Stanford, Silicon Valley (CA) 13%
Harvard, Boston 8%
MIT, Boston 8%
Columbia, New York 7%
Chicago 5%
Cornell, Ithaca (NY) 4%
Texas 4%
Maryland 4%
Michigan 4%
Washington 3%
Rockefeller, New York 2%
Yale, New Haven 1%
Dartmouth, Hanover (NH) 1%
members have been employed, not where they got their education.

Los Alamos, Lawrence Livermore, Caltech, the Scripps Institution for Oceanography, and a bunch of faculties in the Los Angeles area are all managed by the University of California. This is one reason for the large amount JASONs affiliated with this university. A second reason is that Los Alamos and Lawrence Livermore are the most important labs in the United States for research in nuclear energy and nuclear weapons, which has always been a primary occupation of JASON members. The South-West is also the location where most of the weapons systems and other cutting edge technology is
developed. Stanford, although many times smaller than the UC complex, is another university really focused on science and technology. It is located right in the middle of Silicon Valley and quite a few JASON members have been employed at its Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC); and more often than not, they held the senior positions. Another significant portion of JASON members have been employed at Princeton and some of its most veteran members worked at the physics lab of this university: Curtis Callan, Freeman Dyson, and Francis Perkins. They were all active for JASON from the sixties or the early seventies until the turn of the century. Another prominent physicist at Princeton was John Wheeler.

Most JASONs never played any significant role in politics. There are a few exceptions of course and these exceptions tend to be members of the Council on Foreign Relations. Of the 119 individuals in the membership list, only 11 are members of the CFR. These 11 are the ones who usually chair all kinds of national science committees, advise presidents on scientific matters, and work for a variety of large corporations. Non-CFR JASONs often have impressive biographies too, but they tend to focus on other things than Washington politics or Wall Street business.

Even though there are not a whole lot, below you can find a short list of some of the more interesting individuals in the JASON Group. Take a look at the membership list for additional details.

Luis W. Alvarez 60's-70's Developed the detonators for 'Fat Man' during the Manhattan Project. On board the Enola Gay as it dropped the bomb. Pushed for the development of thermo-nuclear weapons. Together with J. Allen Hynek he was a member of the January 1953 Durant Panel Report in which the recent UFO waves were debunked as paranoia and considered no threat to national security. According to the panel the phenomenon should be ignored because the "irrelevant reports" were "clogging the channels of communication". According to Hynek the Pentagon wouldn't allow any other position on the subject. Joined the board board of IDA and stayed until 1967. In 1965, Alvarez X-rayed the great pyramid of Khafre (Giza) in search for hidden chambers. Initially the team reported all kinds of anomalous behavior which made their data unreadable, but quickly thereafter they reported that there weren't any problems. Analyzed the Zapruder film in 1967, which convinced the Church Committee in 1976 that Kennedy's headshot could have been caused by a bullet from behind, indicating Oswald was the sole assassin. Received the Nobel Prize in 1968. In 1980, together with his son, Alvarez published the theory that an asteroid wiped out the dinosaurs 65 million years ago.
Lewis M. Branscomb 1960's Recipient of the Vannevar Bush Award of the National Science Board and the Rockefeller Public Service Award in 1957. Vice president and chief scientist of IBM Corporation. Director at IBM. President's Science Advisory Committee (PSAC) 1964–1968. Has been a director of Mobil Corp., RAND, MITRE, Lord Corp., C.S. Draper Laboratories and Arcturus Pharmaceutical. Member of the American Ditchley Foundation. Prominent in the War on Terror movement since 9/11.
Sidney D. Drell
60's - 21th
Member of the CFR and the President's Science Advisory Committee (PASC). Co founder of the NRO and the JASON Group. Worked with the CIA. Member National Security Council. Very influential individual, especially in things pertaining to the nuclear weapons arsenal.
Richard L. Garwin
60's - 21th
Co founder of the NRO. Director of Science and Technology of the CFR. Served on the President's Science Advisory Committee (PSAC) and chaired its panels on Military Aircraft, Anti-submarine and Naval Warfare. Informed Henry Kissinger on certain science topics. Expert in electromagnetic weaponry, but admitted he didn't have access to all the of the compartmented programs that are going on.
Murray Gell-Mann 60's - 80's Received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1969 for his work in creating the 'standard model' in physics. Concerned with global policy matters such as population growth, conservation and biodiversity, sustainable economic development, and geopolitical stability. Co-chairman of the Science Board of the Santa Fe Institute. Member of the CFR and the Royal Society of London. Trustee of the World Conservation Society together with the Astors, Rockefellers, Phipps, Schiffs and other elite Pilgrims Society families. In February 2006, Gell-Mann attended The Amazing Meeting in Las Vegas, a benefit for the James Randi Educational Foundation. Phil Plait (the "bad astronomer" and nemesis of Richard Hoagland) also spoke at the conference.
Joshua Lederberg
Member of the CFR. Throughout his career a science advisor to the government and employed by the Rockefellers. President of the Rockefeller University 1978-1990. Chairman of Jimmy Carter's President's Cancer Panel in 1979. In 1994, he headed the Defense Science Board Task Force on Persian Gulf War Health Effects, which investigated Gulf War Syndrome. It concluded that there was no evidence of a "specific Gulf War Syndrome" and no evidence of biochemical exposures.
Gordon J.F. MacDonald
70's - 90's
Member of the CFR. Consultant to NASA. President's Science Advisory Committee (PSAC). Expert in weather control technology who predicted it would be able to cause droughts or severe rain by the year 2018. In the 1970s, according to Nexus Magazine, Zbigniew Brzezinski wrote: "Political strategists are tempted to exploit research on the brain and human behavior. Geophysicist Gordon J. F. MacDonald-specialist in problems of warfare-says accurately-timed, artificially-excited electronic strokes 'could lead to a pattern of oscillations that produce relatively high power levels over certain regions of the Earth... In this way, one could develop a system that would seriously impair the brain performance of very large populations in selected regions over an extended period..."
William A. Nierenberg 70's - 90's Member of the CFR. Director of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography from 1965 to 1986. Member of the Board of Science Advisors at Science and Environmental Policy Project (SEPP). Science advisor to NATO and the U.S. State Department. Served on the advisory board of the Electric Power Research Institute. Chairman of the first National Academy of Sciences study (1983-1984) on the greenhouse effect, possible sea-level rises, and climate change, which was conducted in the early part of the eighties (titled: 'Changing Climate' and 'Acid Rain'). Frequent visitor of New York and well known at the Rockefeller University. He was a protege of Detlev Bronk, president of the Rockefeller University.

Back in early 1970s there was a group called Scientists and Engineers for Social and Political Action (SESPA). They criticized the JASONs for their support of the Vietnam war. Some myths were helped in the world by this group, mainly that the JASONs were an "elite group" with "extremely high levels" of clearance. They indicated that JASONs had above top secret clearances by adding that "Top Secret is a low level of clearance" (7).

JASON scholar Richard Garwin, director of Science and Technology at the CFR, basically summarizes the story of JASON in the following statement:

"In my analyses of the effect of radiowaves on people [for the DoD], I have never found any significant effect other than heating of the tissues... So I don't think there is much in the threat of electromagnetic signals to control or disorient people by the effect on the human brain... [but] there are always 'compartments' to which even people with high-level security clearances do not have access." (8)

Most JASONs do not have any significant background in the military, in intelligence or as engineers and directors in private defense-oriented corporations as TRW, Lockheed, Northop, E-Systems, Bechtel or SAIC. Quite a bit of evidence has surfaced to indicate this is where all the real action has been going on, at least since the 1950s and 1960s. In case of electromagnetics, someone like Col. John Alexander would be much better suited to be put in charge of these black projects. Not only his high level background in Military Intelligence would qualify him for that, but also his controversial history and associates at, for example, the US Global Security Council, a private institution filled with generals, admirals, directors of every intelligence agency, SAIC executives, politicians, hawkish neoconservatives, Opus Dei members, Knights of Malta and supporters of the Unification Church. Edward Teller, a friend of Col. Alexander, used to be a member of that think tank (9).

The career of JASON scholar Luis W. Alvarez, one of the more interesting early members. Update, Dec. 2008: Alvarez was also part of a Los Alamos committee in 1979 which in all likelyhood covered up Israeli nuclear bomb tests in the Indian Ocean by claiming the detected flashes could have been due to "unusual weather conditions". (2006, Michael Karpin, 'The Bomb in the Basement'). It is known that one of Alvarez's colleagues, the rabid anti-communist hardliner and father of the hydrogen bomb, Edward Teller, was close to the Israeli leadership and advised this country on nuclear matters. It is also known that Israel received enormous support from elements in French and U.S. intelligence in setting up a secret nuclear weapon program.

A small portion of the JASONs might have been privy to the nation's biggest secrets back in the 1950s and maybe 1960s, but there's no indication of that in the past few decades. They are a group of university professors doing defense-oriented research for the DoD on a part-time basis. Their papers indicate they are working on what is generally considered the cutting edge of science; but these are still the kind of things you can read about in every popular science magazine. It's a far cry from technology descriptions that have come from the deep black programs located in the military-industrial complex. The problem of course of that last category is that you can never be completely sure where misinformation and disinformation ends and reliable statements begin. In any case, the academic-civilian structure from which JASON emerged remains interesting as this was established during the exact time when president Eisenhower is said to have lost control over the blackest programs within the US government. As the story goes, his intention was that the civilian-government structure, represented by such institutions as IDA and MITRE, were at all times aware of the nation's deepest secrets. Something seems to have gone wrong with that idea (10), hence Eisenhower's last speech to the nation in January 1961 in which he warned for the rise of the military-industrial complex. An excerpt of that speech can be read in the column on the left.


[1] February 10, 1986, American Institute of Physics, Interview with Kenneth M. Watson (Drell is mentioned as a co-founder in some of his biographies)
[2] 2005, Institute for Defense Analyses, IDA's History
[3] Ibid.
[4] Federation of American Scientists (FAS), 'JASON Defense Advisory Panel Reports'
[5] August 18, 2000, NRO news, 'NRO Honors Pioneers of National Reconnaissance'
If you click on the link to Storming Media you will find a list of JASON studies. In each individual description you can find several of the authors. When you compare all these names with other sources you'll find the same names. It turned out to be so easy it's almost embarrasing.

[7] December 1972, Scientists and Engineers for Social and Political Action (SESPA), 'Science Against the People - The Story of Jason'
[8] Email conversation between Mind Justice and Richard Garwin
[9] More information and sources in PEHI's article on Le Cercle
[10] Disclosure Project testimony of Master Sergeant Dan Morris, USAF (Retired)/ NRO Operative:
"Now, Eisenhower wanted somebody to be in charge, he tried the CIA Director, and it didn’t work. The CIA was working primarily for itself. Most of the intelligence directors of the services were working for themselves. So he said, “I want it to be independent, I want it to be civilian. I want it to be some of our top scientists.” So it was organized but the name of the NRO was kept secret for years."
Disclosure Project testimony of Brigadier General Steven Lovekin, who was part of Eisenhower's and Kennedy's staff:
"I served under Eisenhower from May of 1959 until he got out of office and then I served under Kennedy until I left the service in August of 1961... Bluebook was discussed quite openly in the office... One afternoon when we were just about ready to finish up training, Colonel Holomon brought out a piece of what appeared to be metallic debris... He went on to further explain that this was the material that had come from a New Mexico crash in 1947 of an extraterrestrial craft... When he would get these [UFO] reports it would excite him [Eisenhower]. He was just a kid. He would get so excited and give orders like D-day was happening all over again. He was very, very interested in the shapes and sizes of the UFOs and what made them go... But what happened was that Eisenhower got sold out. Without him knowing it he lost control of what was going on with the entire UFO situation... I think he felt like he trusted too many people. And Eisenhower was a trusting man. He was a good man. And I think that he realized that all of a sudden this matter is going into the control of corporations that could very well act to the detriment of this country. This frustration, from what I can remember, went on for months. He realized that he was losing control of the UFO subject. He realized that the phenomenon or whatever it was that we were faced with was not going to be in the best hands. As far as I can remember, that was the expression that was used, “It is not going to be in the best hands”."

Additional references

[1] March 1967, Jason Division of IDA, 'Tactical Nuclear Weapons in Southeast Asia'
[2] March 3, 1968, New York Times, Sane Bids the U.S. Uphold Atom Ban'
[3] April 29, 1972, New York Times, 'Lab Occupation Ends'
[4] June 6, 1985, Washington Post, 'CIA Studies Sub Vulnerability'
[5] November 12, 1985, LA Times, 'Scientists Dispute Test of X-Ray Laser Weapon Livermore Lab...'
[6] June 4, 1986, LA Times, 'X-Ray Laser Test Data Inaccurate, GAO Study Finds'
[7] June 20, 1986, LA Times, 'Defense Expert Physicist Expected to Be Named as Scripps Director'
[8] February 18, 1990, Washington Post, 'Board Responded to a Narrow Question'
[9] November 1994, JASON & The MITRE Corporation report, 'Science Based Stockpile Stewardship' (JSR-94-345)
[10] August 4, 1995, JASON & The MITRE Corporation report about Nuclear Testing (JSR-95-320)
[11] August 15, 1995, Washington Post, 'Relevancy, at Last'
[12] October 1, 1995, Washington Times, 'Should we sign on to a nuclear test ban treaty?'
[13] October 28, 1995, San Francisco Chronicle, 'Bechtel Lands Nuclear Test Job'
[14] November 26, 1997, Washington Times, 'Ratifying the nuclear test ban treaty is a step toward nonproliferation'
[15] September 27, 1999, United Press International, 'US Not Ready for Bio-War Attack'
[16] December 17, 1999, LA Times, 'Adrift at a Tender Age'
[17] September 18, 2001, San Francisco, Chronicle, 'Bacteria, viruses pose grave threat, experts say'
[18] March 9, 2003, San Francisco Chronicle, 'Battlefield nukes Secret Vietnam-era report, just declassified, highlighted dangers'
[19] March 9, 2003, LA Times, 'MILITARY STRATEGY; Making the Case Against Calamity'
[20] March 9, 2003, LA Times, 'NUCLEAR WEAPONS; A Bad Idea in Vietnam, an Even Worse Idea Today'
[21] March 9, 2003, Washington Post, ''67 Study Discouraged Use of Nuclear Weapons in Vietnam War'
[22] December 15, 2004, United Press International, 'Report: Govt secrecy hurting warfighters'
[23] December 19, 2004, United Press International, 'Group slams unwieldy security'
[24] May 26, 2005, FAS, 'JASON on Sensors to Support the Soldier'
[25] Wikipedia, 'JASON Defense Advisory Group'
Author: Joël van der Reijden
Original: August 20, 2005
Version 2.0: November 17, 2006

JASON Global Grid Study

File Format: PDF/Adobe Acrobat - View as HTML
Required for a country's good standing in the new world order ...

JASON Study Debunks Gravitational Wave “Threat”
Secrecy News, DC - Dec 15, 2008
The elite JASON defense science advisory panel dismissed claims that high frequency gravitational waves (HFGW) could pose any kind of national security ...
Report: HFGW not a threat to security Middle East Times
all 3 news articles »

Discover Magazine
The Father of Dark Matter Still Gets No Respect
Discover Magazine, NY - Dec 31, 2008
When Einstein wrote that according to general relativity a star could, through its gravitational pull, bend the light of a more distant object, Zwicky noted ...

Apollo 8 Required A Leap Of Faith
American Daily, OH - Dec 31, 2008
Apollo 8 was the first manned voyage to reach a velocity allowing escape from the gravitational field of Earth. It also was the first to enter and later ...
'Earth' has a gravitational pull
Hollywood Reporter, United States - Dec 15, 2008
After this weekend, 20th Century Fox's "The Day the Earth Stood Still" and Paramount/DreamWorks' "Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa" are the strongly positioned ...

Gravitational Instability Is Dead, Long Live Stellar Storms
Softpedia, Romania - Dec 15, 2008
This phenomenon would be triggered by the gravitational instability and would occur in the middle of the disk, stated the old theory. But the new study, ...
Forming a planet via fluid instabilities Ars Technica
all 3 news articles »

Alternate energy from gravitational force can power transportation ! (press release), MA - Dec 7, 2008
It is simpler than wind/solar energy and very economical more reliable , in fact as reliable as the earth itself. it is the gravitational force- ...OTC:ARGY (press release)
Newton and Climate Change (press release), MA - Dec 27, 2008
But as the mass moves beyond under its momentum, it starts to experience the gravitational force as resistance to rise and the kinetic energy gets consumed ...
US Military Actually Investigated Gravitational Waves Physicists ...
Softpedia, Romania - Dec 19, 2008
By Tudor Vieru, Science Editor Basically, a gravitational wave is a “ripple” in the universal space-time continuum, which occurs when an establish magnetic ...
US investigation into gravity weapons 'nonsense' New Scientist
Gravitational Wave Invesitigation 'Nonsense' RedOrbit
all 4 news articles »

US Military Actually Investigated Gravitational Waves Physicists ...
Softpedia, Romania - Dec 19, 2008
The JASON Defense Advisory Group was in charge of conducting the study, but, as expected, it came up empty, because any sane physicist could tell you that ...

New Year Honours list, United Kingdom - Dec 30, 2008
Chair, Independent Advisory Beacon Panel. For services to Local Government. (Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire) Dr Ursula Howard. ...

Radio waves from Earth clear out space radiation belt

Radio transmitters on Earth cause charged particles to leak out of the inner Van Allen radiation belt in space, new observations confirm.

Future satellite transmitters may take advantage of the effect, which had been predicted theoretically, to help clear the belt of charged particles from intense solar outbursts or nuclear explosions in space that could threaten satellites.

The Earth's geomagnetic field traps charged particles in two concentric belts that gird the planet. Particles can escape the outer belt in about a week, but the inner belt can hold onto particles for about a year.

That could potentially lead to a dangerous buildup of particles after solar storms or a nuclear blast in space. High levels of charged particles could damage global positioning and other types of satellites that orbit in the Van Allen zone.

Previous observations had suggested that very-low-frequency (VLF) radio waves (from 5 to 25 kilohertz) transmitted on Earth were helping to clear particles from the inner belt. "But it was very hard to nail down," says Craig Rodger of the University of Otago in New Zealand.

Now, he and colleagues have compared simultaneous observations taken on the ground and in space to confirm the effect.

Satellite plan

Van Allen radiation belt (Part1)

Buzz Aldrin (Apollo 11) and Alan Bean (Apollo 12) NASA didnt inform the crew on Apollo 12 about the Van Allen radiation belt and shooting stars that was a big concern on Apollo 11. it make no sense. Part 2 NASA know about the Van Allen radiation belt, astronauts dont

At night, when more VLF signals can pass through the Earth's atmosphere, a French satellite called DEMETER measured more electrons near the inner belt when a powerful transmitter in Australia was turned on than when it was off.

"It seems convincing to me that the . . . transmitter is helping to scatter electrons," says Jay Albert of the US Air Force Research Laboratory. But he says the strength of the effect remains to be determined, noting that the radiation belts did not change noticeably during several months in 2004 when the transmitter was shut down.

The Air Force plans tests with a satellite-based VLF transmitter at about the time of the next solar maximum, expected around 2011.

Interestingly, the new work suggests researchers have never observed the Van Allen belts as they are "naturally". That's because VLF radio transmitters have been used since at least the 1920s to send telegraph messages and communicate with submarines, and the belts' existence was only confirmed in 1958.

"Electron lifetime [in the belts] now must be different than it was before the transmitters were built, but we don't know how different," Rodger told New Scientist.

Doughnut Around the Earth - TIME

Escaping the Earth's gravitational field

© National Aeronautics & Space Administration/Science & Society Picture Library

If a rocket moves away from the Earth and then stops some distance away, there will still be a force of gravitational attraction that will start it moving back towards the Earth. As it is drawn closer, the attracting force gets greater and greater, so the rocket will move faster and faster (i.e. it will accelerate – Newton's second law).

The only way a rocket can escape this gravitational force, in theory, is to move an 'infinite' distance away from the Earth.

© National Aeronautics & Space Administration/Science & Society Picture Library

In order to do this, the rocket must (initially) reach a very high speed. This is known as the 'escape velocity'. Using Newton's law of gravitation and the law of conservation of energy, it can be shown that the initial speed, v, required in order to escape the gravitational force of a planet of mass M, with radius r, is the square root of (GM/r).

For the Earth, this works out at about 11.100 km/s. For smaller masses such as the Moon, escape velocity is much less. Therefore, the rocket would need more energy when leaving the Earth than it will when leaving the Moon.

NASA Announces a New Gravity Field Mission to the Moon

Written by Fraser Cain

Artist impression of GRAIL. Image credit: NASA/JPL

Just in case you'd forgotten that the focus is going to be on the Moon for the next few decades, here's another mission announcement: the Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL). Due to launch in 2011, this mission will fly a pair of spacecraft around the Moon to measure its gravity field in precise detail. By the time GRAIL's done with the Moon, we'll know every lump and bump 1,000 times better than before

This new mission was announced by NASA on December 10th at the meeting of the American Geophysical Union. The mission was selected out of a possible two dozen proposals.

If all goes well, the two spacecraft will launch together some time around September 6, 2011 transferring directly into a lunar orbit. After a few days of orbiting, they'll conduct a 90-day study of the Moon's gravity field.

This mission will be very similar to NASA's previously launched Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE). These twin spacecraft were launched 5 years ago, and have measured the Earth's gravity field in incredible detail. It allows scientists to track melting glaciers, and the changes in the Earth's crust after powerful earthquakes.

GRAIL will measure the gravity field at certain points around the Moon, finding any changes which are 1 million times less than the Earth's overall gravity. This data should be about 1,000 times better than the best gravity maps ever made of the Moon.

NASA is estimating that the total budget for the project will be $375 million, including design, development, launch and staffing.

In addition to the handy gravity field information, GRAIL should give scientists better information about the formation of the Moon and the rest of the rocky planets in the Solar System.

Original Source: NASA/JPL News Release

Thursday, January 01, 2009 - Shalhevet Bar-Asher

A Goddard Space Flight Center physicist and other researchers have revealed more about the sun-earth connection via a magnetic portal. Earth’s magnetosphere is full of particles from the sun, and now it seems they arrive in flux transfer events occurring every eight minutes. These events occur when Earth’s magnetic field presses against the sun’s field, causing a merger of the fields enabling particle transfer. Various spacecrafts and probes have studied these mergers, providing theorists with information that may help explain the events.

The fact that a sun-earth connection exists is no big surprise. Since earth’s magnetosphere is filled with particles from the sun, carried by the solar wind, there must be a connection allowing them through. The mechanism of the particle transfer has recently become clearer, and was presented at the 2008 Plasma Workshop in Huntsville, Alabama.
On the side of earth closest to the sun, earth's magnetic field presses against the sun's magnetic field. Approximately every eight minutes, the two fields merge briefly, creating a tunnel through which particles may pass. This magnetic cylinder is about as wide as Earth. The European Space Agency's four Cluster spacecrafts and NASA's five THEMIS probes have flown through and around these tunnels, measuring their dimensions and sensing the particles that pass through, verifying these events.

This channeling is called a flux transfer event, or FTE. Space physicist David Sibeck of the Goddard Space Flight Center said, "Ten years ago I was pretty sure they didn't exist, but now the evidence is incontrovertible.” Not only do they exist, they seem to be happening in a different manner than previously suspected. "We used to think the connection was permanent and that solar wind could trickle into the near-Earth environment anytime the wind was active," says Sibeck. "We were wrong. The connections are not steady at all. They are often brief, bursty, and very dynamic.”

The Cluster and THEMIS measurements can be used by theorists to create computer simulations of the FTEs. These simulations can offer possible scenarios as to the events’ behavior and effects. University of New Hampshire space physicist Jimmy Raeder presented such a simulation at the Plasma Workshop. He explained that the magnetic portals tend to form above Earth's equator and then roll over Earth's winter pole. This means that in December they roll over the North Pole and in July they roll over the South Pole.

Sibeck says there seem to be two kinds of FTEs. "I think there are two varieties of FTEs: active and passive." Active FTEs are magnetic tunnels allowing particles to flow through rather easily, and are important energy conduits for Earth's magnetosphere. Passive FTEs are magnetic tunnels offering more resistance due to their internal structure that do not admit such an easy flow of particles and fields. Sibeck has calculated the properties of passive FTEs and is encouraging his colleagues to look for them in THEMIS and Cluster data. "Passive FTEs may not be very important, but until we know more about them we can't be sure.”

Additional questions regarding the FTEs, both the passive and active types, remain. Why do they occur every eight minutes? How do the magnetic fields in the tunnel behave? These questions were addressed at the workshop and additional work will be needed before they are answered.
TFOT reported on Space Shuttle Discovery’s photograph of the Aurora Borealis, also known as the Northern Lights, which are caused by an interaction between particles from the sun and the Earth’s magnetosphere. TFOT also covered the release of photos of the Solar Corona taken with the Hinode space telescope. The Solar Corona is a plasma from which solar wind originates and X-rays are emitted.
The full report on the FTEs can be found in the NASA press release.

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