Airborne Observatory SOFIA

NASA is developing a world-class airborne observatory, that will complement the Hubble, Spitzer, Herschel and James Webb space telescopes and major Earth-based telescopes. This cool airborne observatory is named as the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA). SOFIA features a German-built 100-inch (2.5 meter) diameter far-infrared telescope weighing 20 tons mounted in the rear fuselage of a highly modified Boeing 747SP aircraft. It is one of the premier space science programs of NASA's Science Mission Directorate.

SOFIA is a joint program by NASA and DLR Deutsches Zentrum fur Luft- und Raumfahrt (German Aerospace Center). Major aircraft modifications and installation of the telescope has been carried out at L-3 Communications Integrated Systems facility at Waco, Texas. Completion of systems installation, integration and flight test operations are being conducted at NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., from 2007 through 2010. SOFIA's science operations are being planned jointly by the Universities Space Research Association (USRA) and the Deutsches SOFIA Institut (DSI) under leadership of the SOFIA Science project at NASA's Ames Research Center at Moffett Field near San Jose, Calif.

SOFIA will continue the legacy of prominent planetary scientist Dr. Gerard Kuiper, who began airborne astronomy in 1966 with a 12-inch telescope aimed out a window of a converted Convair 990 jetliner. His work led to the development of NASA's Kuiper Airborne Observatory, a modified C-141 aircraft incorporating a 36-inch reflecting telescope that flew from 1974 to 1995. During its 21-year lifetime, the Kuiper Airborne Observatory focused on solar system, galactic and extra-galactic astronomy, and discovered the rings of Uranus, a ring of dust around the center of the Milky Way, luminous infrared galaxies, complex organic molecules in space and water in comets.

Once it begins operations in about 2010, SOFIA'S 2.5-meter (100 inch) diameter reflecting telescope will provide astronomers with access to the visible, infrared and sub-millimeter spectrum, with optimized performance in the mid-infrared to sub-millimeter range. During its 20-year expected lifetime it will be capable of "Great Observatory"–class astronomical science.

SOFIA will provide three times better image quality and vastly increased observational sensitivity than the Kuiper Airborne Observatory. From a base at NASA Dryden, SOFIA mission operations will be conducted over virtually the entire globe. Missions will be flown at altitudes of 39,000 to 45,000 feet, above 99 percent of the water vapor in the lower atmosphere that restrict the capabilities of ground-based observatories over most of the infrared and sub-millimeter spectral range.

World's Largest Flower

Take a look at the image. This is an image of World's Largest Flower. It is produced by Rafflesia arnoldii, a member of the genus Rafflesia. Its flower is so big that, it can attain a diameter of nearly a meter (3 ft) and can weigh up to 11 kilograms (24 lb). This rare plant is found only in the rainforests of Sumatra and Borneo in the Indonesia.

Interestingly, Rafflesia arnoldii is a parasitic plant with no visible leaves, roots, or stem. It lives as a parasite on the Tetrastigma vine. The gigantic flower of Rafflesia emits a repulsive odor, wich is similar to that of rotting meat. This This odor attracts insects that pollinate the plant.

Rafflesia arnoldii is rare and fairly hard to locate. It is especially difficult to see in flower, as the buds take many months to develop and the flower lasts for just a few days.

Life on Mars and Salt Deposits

New clues about Life on Mars! NASA's Mars Odyssey orbiter has found evidence of salt deposits on the planet. These deposits point to places where water once was abundant and where evidence might exist of possible Martian life from the Red Planet's past.

Image: The bright blue color marks a deposit of chloride (salt) minerals in the southern highlands of Mars.

A team led by Mikki Osterloo of the University of Hawaii, Honolulu, found approximately 200 places on southern Mars that show spectral characteristics consistent with chloride minerals. Chloride is part of many types of salt, such as sodium chloride or table salt. The sites range from about a square kilometer (0.4 square mile) to 25 times that size.

Scientists used Odyssey's Thermal Emission Imaging System, a camera designed and operated by Arizona State University, Tempe, to take images in a range of visible light and infrared wavelengths. Thermal infrared wavelengths are useful for identifying different mineral and rock types on the Martian surface.

"They could come from groundwater reaching the surface in low spots. The water would evaporate and leave mineral deposits, which build up over years. The sites are disconnected, so they are unlikely to be the remnants of a global ocean." - Osterloo said.

Scientists think the salt deposits formed approximately 3.5 to 3.9 billion years ago. Several lines of evidence suggest Mars then had intermittent periods with substantially wetter and warmer conditions than today's dry, frigid climate.

So, evidence of these salt deposits has once again given some clues about presence of life on Mars. And scientists are happy with the results from a relatively low cost orbiter mission, which is now entering it's seventh year. They hopes that Mars Odyssey orbiter will continue to send more interesting results from planet Mars. NASA

The World's Smallest Fruit

Ever wonder about the smallest fruit in the world? Can you imagine about it's size? The World's Smallest Fruit is just 0.30 mm long and it is produced by the smallest flowering plants on Earth - Wolffia. Let us talk about Wolffia today!

Wolffia is a genus of 9 to 11 species under Duckweed (Lemnaceae) family and it includes include the smallest flowering plants on Earth. The smallest of Wolffia species are the Australian Wolffia angusta and the Asian/African Wolffia globosa. The plant itself measures about 1 mm long and the tiny mature fruit takes up most of its parent plant body. The fruit of Wolffia angusta is only 0.30 mm long and weighs about 70 micrograms. The fruit is no bigger than a grain of salt.

Commonly called as Watermeal, these aquatic plants resemble specks of cornmeal floating on the water. Wolffia species are free-floating thalii, green or yellow-green, and without roots. The flower is produced in a depression on the top surface of the plant body. It has one stamen and one pistil. Individuals often float together in pairs or form floating mats with related plants, such as Lemna and Spirodela species. Most species have a very wide distribution across several continents.

Wolffia species contains about 40% protein. They are a good source of high protein food. Since ancient times they have been collected from the water and eaten as a vegetable, in many parts of Asia.

Online Dating and Some Risks

Dating seems to be a very exciting term. It would mean a new phase of a person’s life a head. Whatever the purpose of dating is, one must always be responsible and by all means be cautious about being into this kind of activity. Since you are getting involved with unknown individuals, you must equip your self with the necessary protection or security whatever risks there are. Yes, there are risks…

Online dating is of course, safe from outside risks since it happens with a distance between the people involved. However, there is a consequence with the majority of those involved to meet the online partner they have. This is when the risks start.

According to studies in the US, Dating violence is rampant among adolescent girls, especially those reporting having had the experience of coitus or sexual intercourse. Adolescent girls who were hurt by a date on purpose in the past year are more likely to experience sexual health risks, such as having the possibility to acquire human immunodeficiency virus infection and other sexually transmitted infections, unwanted pregnancy may also happen out of the blue. Sad to say, unwanted pregnancies resort to abortion in some cases.

Women are physically weak. There are a lot of possibilities that they are being taken advantaged of by their dates. The objective of online dating is noble, but there are these people who are using it as a venue for their worldly wants. The local governments are now integrating this issue in their health programs for women as well as the local agency in responsibility for crime-related aspects must do their share.

As for the adult women who are into dating, most of them are out due to long-term relationship heartbreak and so they are there to meet anyone possible. This reason pushes them to the risks of meeting the wrong man but still believing that he is right. With that, they are prone to possible sexual abuses or other forms of abuse.

The most common risk in online dating is both financial and emotional in nature. Financial risk comes in the form of scam. You must be cautious and try to read between the lines if the person is just playing around. The emotional risks are results of having like a married date and so forth.

Dating, companionship and courtship are really good for us, as we are social animal! But some relationship may come to your life in disguise, with a hidden black agenda. So be careful in online dating. Life is beautiful, if you know how to live it!


What is blogging? Why people go for blogging? In my own view, blogging is an interesting form of art! Because, in blogging you maintain a blog that contains words and other media like images, videos etc. Through these words and medias, you try to express your feelings, desires, wishes, sentiments and almost everything. So, is it not art?

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Why should I start a blog? Why a new blog? Many people asks these questions, before starting a blog. And I am also no exception. Why I am starting this blog? Runjun Blog is my personal blog. But to make it enjoyable to my readers, I will try posting interesting stuffs along with my personal views.

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I need a blog to express something. I need a platform to share something. I need a blog to interact with people. Am I talking much about future? Actually, I think these points are important for a new blog. Without some good content, a blog is not a blog (who will read blank pages?). Without comments, a blog is a dead blog! So, I want to write or share something through my blog and also want to talk with my visitors through comments (be it small in numbers). One more thing! I love Blogging.
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I was thinking to start a blog on blogging. Technically, I am not an expert. But, I love to learn new things. I love tweaking designs and codes. So, I will use this blog to learn new things about blogging. In the mean time, I will share the interesting stuffs that I discovered through Internet. So, there will be a twist in topics of this blog! From Romance to Technology, from Blogging to Shopping, I will write about everything! Because this is my personal blog.

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