Archive for May, 2012

Will I Ever Be Able To Afford A Space Flight?

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012

While space flights may seem like a far flung fantasy, the first commercial galactic flights will depart later this year.

Once again genius businessman Richard Branson is first of the mark in terms of commercial space flight development and it will be a Virgin Galactic vessel that will create history by ferrying the first commercial ticket holders into orbit.

Celebrity Space Race

Photo Jeff Foust

You’ve probably seen the news stories about which celebrities have purchased tickets with Virgin Galactic and they include famous characters as diverse as Stephen Hawking and Ashton Kutcher. Russel Brand and Katie Perry added fuel to rumours about their less than amicable split when it was revealed that Ms Perry had purchased a pair of tickets for her then husband and now wants them back. However it’s not just scientists and super rich entertainers that are getting in on the act, the pull of purchasing space flight tickets has proved too strong for several dot com millionaires too, including the creator or paypal.

If you’re thinking about the list of soon to be celeb astronauts then you’ve probably noticed that despite the diversity of those who are alleged to have bought tickets, they all share one thing in common – they’re loaded.

A ticket with Virgin Galactic is reported to cost up to £200,000 dollars for what is in effect a pretty short flight. Ticket holders will also receive a couple of days training before they’re launched into the stratosphere but it’s still a pretty hefty cost that is well out of the price range of the ordinary Joe.

Will a space flight always cost the Earth?

When you consider that just a few short decades ago the price of an air ticket was unobtainable for 99% of people, but now people can fly for ridiculously small amounts of money, it seems clear that within a few decades space flight will become cheaper and more availably to the general public.

There are several other commercial aerospace companies that are developing commercial space ships all over the world and the more ships that are built the cheaper it will become to fly. When technology is new it is more expensive to manufacture so the costs of the separate components such as aerospace springs, computer systems and landing gear all adds up into one massive expense.

However, as technology develops it becomes cheaper to manufacture component parts and so prices for tickets can be reduced in accordance with that.

If we take a lesson from history then it’s perfectly viable that the average person could be able to afford a trip into space within the next two decades.

Jade Coleman is a qualified journalist that works as a marketing consultant at The Blue Cube in Birmingham, UK. Jade enjoys blogging about many topics including celebrity, home renovation, furniture and gardening.

Metro-2: Moscow’s Secret Subway System

Friday, May 11th, 2012

Photo: Travlang.com

The Cold War may have been rife with propaganda on all sides but, as with any war, there were rumours and mysteries that persisted. Many of Russia’s secretive operations during this time have been well documented, regarding military machines and technology, but one aspect of Russia’s mysterious side has yet to be solved or confirmed. That is the so-called Metro-2, which is held by many to be a fully functioning secret subway system deep below Moscow.

The interesting rumour has been around for decades and apparently connects the Kremlin with the FSB headquarters via four lines which are longer than that of the public metro. The Metro2 is said to have been built when Joseph Stalin was in power – which is interesting in itself. It’s been described as ‘Stalin’s best kept secret’, but while no confirmation from the Russian government has ever been given, we’re left with very little on which to speculate if such a secret underground subway system does (or even could) exist.

Below is a picture of the Metro-2 system as imagined by the United States military intelligence, and while it’s a head-scratching image, it doesn’t really prove anything at all. As with any conspiracy theory or rumour, the ‘dark legend of Russia’ is just that – a legend. But does that mean it doesn’t exist? Well, no. There’s no denying Russia, under the power of Stalin, were an ultra-secretive outfit that did what they wanted with the technology they had access to, and the Cold War proved this best as the U.S continued to find unidentifiable pictures from high-flying aircraft of weird and never-seen-before military machines.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

So yes, the existence of the Metro-2 is a distinct possibility. After all, building an underground system isn’t exactly the most technologically advanced practice this side of a Nuclear-bomb. And with Stalin’s prowess for secrecy, it’s likely the Metro-2 could have been in place and working order for decades. This is all speculative, of course.

There are even rumours (far less plausible) of there being underground towns which the Metro-2 links to, meaning there is a possibility of underground and secret communities which are still living next to the lines to this day. Whatever the rumours, many believe the lines were used to help transport supplies and new technologies across Russia without any American eyes watching their every move. It’s alleged that the KGB codenamed the Metro-2 “D-6” and the Russian government refuse to confirm or deny its existence – which does make you think there’s something fishy going on.

So with all these rumours, is it possible that the Metro-2 is still in working order to this day? Are the Russians still using the lines for secretive transportation? Well, in a world of new found peace between the West and the Russian governments, it seems unlikely, though an existing network would no doubt. Having said that, you never know; and we’ll probably never have a confirmation whether it’s real or not. At least it keeps the rumour-mills busy, though!

This speculative peek was written on behalf of official hotel provider Thorpe Park Breaks – bringing you heart-pounding thrills (and comfy beds).

Amazing Energy and Force at Huka Falls New Zealand

Tuesday, May 1st, 2012

“Huka” translates from Maori as “long white water” and “foam,” which is what the largest falls on the Waikato River near the town of Taupo on New Zealand’s North Island appropriately resemble, particularly during flood conditions.

Huka Falls New Zealand are made up of a set of falls that drain into Lake Taupo, starting at the top with 8-foot cascades.

A spectacular show of colliding water manifests in powerful falls and rapids as a result of the river’s abrupt narrowing from its usual 100 meter width to just 15 meters over a volcanic ledge crossing. The pressure bursts into an amazing display of energy and force as 220,000 liters per second culminate in an 11-meter plunge back into the river.

A footbridge spanning the Waikato River and great viewing platforms exist in several parts for breathtaking vistas. Onlookers will notice a unique blue color in the falls and river, intensified by air bubbles in the clear water that reflect blue light.

The sound of the falls is overpowering with strength and sound. As I stood there watching this magnificent natural ongoing occurrence, I was so taken by its beauty.

Powerful Huka Falls New Zealand is among the many travel attractions not to be missed on your vacation. While this landmark makes for awesome photo opportunities, there are other ways to experience its natural beauty.

Adventure tours such as Hukafalls Jet features the falls in conjunction with a thrilling jet boat ride with 360° spins at exhilarating speeds. The half hour ride also journeys through the river past the Wairakei Thermal Power Station, Huka Prawn Park, and Aratiatia Dam.

Another way to see Huka Falls New Zealand is on foot via the Spa Park Walk and Aratiatia Rapids Walk. The first facilitates easy walking with a two hour return and many photo opportunities of cliffs, mid-channel islands, and rain forest along the way.

The second offers cliff top views of the Waikator River on the way down to the Aratiatia hydro dam and rapids, with a picnic area stop. The spectacular sight of rapids flowing through the control gates occurs several times daily. The Taupo Visitor Centre can advise on opening times.

A most extravagant and memorable way to enjoy this landmark is to arrive by helicopter at Huka Lodge where lucky guests on New Zealand holidays may experience a unique wedding in its picturesque setting.

Such natural Kiwi attractions are must see stops in your travel. Huka Falls New Zealand is no exception.