Accessory To War
The Unspoken Alliance Between Astrophysics and the Military
Neil deGrasse Tyson and Avis Lang, 2018, BvtnLib 358.8 TYS
The connections are shared technology, science, funding and researchers. This could have been a much shorter book, while including many more technology examples; most of it is ancient history and contemporary partisan political opinon. Uneven, some is carefully referenced, some asserted without citations. I skimmed most of it, but focused on Chapter 6, "Detection Stories".
- p154-155 Jasons formed in 1960, summertime meetings. An unnamed Jason "thought up" adaptive optics? Wikipedia credits Horace Babcock in 1953.
- p181 Arecibo completed in 1963, funded and operated by DoD for Project Defender until 1969.
p188 Cavity magnetron patented by Russians in 1920s (cite Brown Radar History of World War II)
- p193 cite note 52: 14 tonnes of crated documents in vaulted room in "mine shaft", entrance dynamited and sealed.
- p196 Dopper radar can distinguish moving aircraft from stationary chaff. (cite Brown)
p199 Stealth theory from 1962 Russian monograph by Ufimtsev.
- p205 1960 CORONA KH-1 8 meter resolution, 1966 KH-8 GAMBIT 15 centimeters, 1976 KH-11 KENNAN with first spysat CCD was 2 meters.
- p209 Jodrell Bank 1957 Mark I steerable radiotelescope mounted on two WW1 battleship gun turret bearing assemblies.
- p213 Jodrell Bank tracked Pioneer 5 into solar orbit, 312 day period ( → 0.9 AU semimajor axis )
p215 1964 to 1970 Vela Hotel gamma detectors, "4.25" days (actually 112 hours, 118,000 km near-circular) 12 GRBs between 1967 and 1972 declassified/published 1973
p221 1965 Caltech 2.2μm infrared sky survey, 5600 northern hemisphere objects, published by NASA in 1968
p222 2003 Two Micron All Sky Survey 471 million objects.
- p222 1969 to 1970 Mansfield Amendment, DoD could not fund research without specific military function
- Chaisson quote refers to source with "the woods are lovely, dark, and deep" as a metaphor for spycraft. Huh? This is from Robert Frost's poem "Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening". The phrase is used in the 1977 movie "Telefon" to trigger mayhem by Russian sleeper agents.
p256 BS? 1990 TITAN silo fire, "could have led to the inadvertent detonation of the nine-megaton nuclear warhead ... destruction of practically everything and everyone from Little Rock to New York City" No, H bombs do not ignite like firecrackers, nor can a 9 MT weapon destroy everything for 1100 km.
p272 BS? top secret US report, proposed bomb detonation on Moon, "mushroom cloud so large it would be visible on Earth". No, mushroom clouds form in atmospheres. My guess is a nuclear explosion on the Moon would produce a hemisphere of rapidly expanding (and cooling) plasma, lots of X-rays, briefly cooling through the visible spectrum after a few seconds. cite Anthony Barnett in the May 13, 2000 Guardian
p351 August 2016 Chinese Micius Satellite "... which uses fiber optics to beam signals to Earth...", entangled photons to two mountaintop receiving stations 1200 km apart. QUESS Quantum experiments at space scale, no direct cites.
p353 Canada Dextre robot handyman on ISS
p354 CanadaSapphire space debris tracking satellite "10 cm" (at what elevation and distance?)
- p362 1998 GLONASS faltering, 24 satellites upgraded and completed under Putin in the 2000's
p368-369 2007 Weinberg quote: "... whole manned spaceflight program ... has produced nothing of scientific value" ... except funding. And Moon rocks. And Earthrise photo from Moon. And hi-rel integrated circuits from Fairchild. And ...
p376 Chinese astronauts are yuhangyuan, traveller of the universe
- p380 "The astrophysical history of the Earth-Moon system and the geology of the lunar surface came into sharp focus only after the rocks collected by Apollo astronauts were returned to Earth for analysis.
- p384 "Selected asteroids contain unlimited quantities of metals and minerals". Er, not really. Dilute and very hard to get to, no infrastructure or resources to concentrate ppm ores into pure metals. No minerals generated by plate tectonics and water chemistry.
p385 the Finnish Meteorological Institute proposing a fleet of solar-wind-powered nanosatellites. abstract Propelled? Er, HOW? A 20 km tether with a current through it producing 1 mm/s acceleration of a 5 kg spacecraft, (5 milliNewtons). P Janhunen et al/
- p386 "The way to snare a comet is to match orbits with it, and break off a piece, which should be very easy." Er, no. Comets move very fast in the inner solar system, and matching velocity requires huge delta V, much more than lifting water off the Earth.
p389-90 Curiousity lander ChemCam from LANL
- p398 Hubble 15000 papers, +750K citations
p399 TRAPPIST-1, 39.6 ly away, visual magnitude 3.7 ppm L☉ , 7 tidelocked transiting planets
p402 Cf-254 from Bikini tests 1946-1958 helped Burbidge, Burbidge, Fowler and Hoyle figure out supernova heavy element synthesis. "if ... you read the last few pages of [[ https://link.aps.org/pdf/10.1103/RevModPhys.29.547 | Burbidge et al.'s paper, you cannot help but pick up an implicit expectation or hope that Bikini-like tests will continue, in part because of the notable benefits to astrophysics"
- perhaps Tyson and Lang read all 95 pages of text, and their dozens of subsequent papers, but I "pick up" no such expectation. Cf-254 has been synthesized in macroscopic quantities in colliders since the 1950s; they used the data available, but there are cheaper ways to make more data.