99942 Apophis

brennan space blog

In space, objects move at untold speeds through solar systems and galaxies. In our own solar system, thousands of objects soar through the void of space. Surprisingly, these objects never collide with Earth; that is, until 2029.

In 2004, scientists discovered an asteroid about the size of three football fields speeding toward Earth. Panic began to set in as the asteroid, named 99942 Apophis, had a probability of colliding with Earth. But before the conspiracy theorists began digging bunkers in their backyards, scientists found the probability of 99942 Apophis hitting Earth to be a whopping 2.7%.

Then, in 2006, new information revealed that the asteroid will have no chance of hitting Earth when it flies by in 2029. However, there may still be cause for concern. The path of the asteroid takes it closer to Earth than any other extraterrestrial object has been within the past 800 years. Apophis will come between the Moon and Earth at only 22,000 miles from Earth (whereas the moon is 238,900 miles from Earth). This will be the closest any asteroid the size of Apophis has come near Earth in recorded history.

If you happen to be on the side of the planet Apophis passes, there may be a chance that you can see the object with the naked eye. If you are unlucky enough to be on the other side of the planet, you will miss out on its arrival to Earth.

But here is where things get a little strange. Apophis will pass Earth twice in the next 18 years: first in 2029 and the next in 2036. It will not come by our corner of the solar system neighborhood until 2060, with the closest being its flyby in 2029. However, surprisingly, both trips in 2029 and 2036 will occur on April 13th. One of which, the 2029 occurrence, will be on Friday the 13th (spooky). Thankfully, the trip of Apophis by Earth in 2036 (this time a safe 35 million miles away) will be on a Sunday. There was, at one point, a chance that Apophis could hit a “keyhole” in its orbit in 2029 and come back around and hit Earth in 2036. However, most scientists believe that there is no realistic chance that this will happen, but there is still technically a chance.

So what would happen if Apophis did connect with Earth?

Apophis is 450 meters high, making it taller than the Empire State Building. The blast of an asteroid that size connecting with Earth in, say, New York City would destroy everything within a radius of around 14 miles. That would take out ⅘ of all New York. Then buildings within another 6.5-mile radius would be stripped to their foundations. That’s a big hit.

Even with scientists saying that the chances of this would be similar to the chances of winning the lottery, let us remember that people do win the lottery. Realistically, there is nothing to be afraid of, though the jury is still out on the passage of 99942 Apophis in 2060, which will hopefully be in our lifetimes. Will this asteroid ever collide with Earth? We will have to wait and see.

 

*written by Brennan Kress

Reading List: Science Fiction

sci fi

Space, experiments, artificial intelligence, aliens, genetics: science fiction is a fascinating genre where almost anything can happen. We have both science fiction classics (like Jurassic Park) and new science fiction (like The Martian) available at the library. Skim through this list to find your next sci-fi read!

*book descriptions are from the library website and/or the publishers

 

2001, A Space Odyssey by Arthur Clarke

This allegory about humanity’s exploration of the universe and the universe’s reaction to humanity was the basis for director Stanley Kubrick’s immortal film, and lives on as a landmark achievement in storytelling.

 

Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer

Through journal entries, sixteen-year-old Miranda describes her family’s struggle to survive after a meteor hits the moon, causing worldwide tsunamis, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions.

 

Foundation by Isaac Asimov

For twelve thousand years, the Galactic Empire has ruled supreme. Now it is dying. But only Hari Sheldon, creator of the revolutionary science of psychohistory, can see into the future–to a dark age of ignorance, barbarism, and warfare that will last thirty thousand years.

 

Contact by Carl Sagan

Astrophysicist Rebecca Blake deciphers long-awaited signals from space, persuades world leaders to construct a machine that many consider a Trojan Horse, and journeys into space for an epochal encounter.

 

sci fi 1

 

Timeline by Michael Crichton

A Yale history professor travels back in time to 15th century France and gets stuck, unable to return to the present. His colleagues organize a rescue and upon landing in France become involved in the Hundred Years War.

 

Kindred by Octavia E. Butler

Dana, a modern black woman, is celebrating her twenty-sixth birthday with her new husband when she is snatched abruptly from her home in California and transported to the antebellum South.

 

Double Helix by Nancy Werlin

Eighteen-year-old Eli discovers a shocking secret about his life and his family while working for a Nobel Prize-winning scientist whose specialty is genetic engineering.

 

Flowers For Algernon by Daniel Keyes

Charlie, realizing his intelligence is not what it should be, ponders over the possibility of an operation, similar to one making a mouse into a genius.

 

Birthmarked by Caragh O’Brien

In a future world baked dry by the sun and divided into those who live inside the wall and those who live outside it, sixteen-year-old midwife Gaia Stone is forced into a difficult choice when her parents are arrested and taken into the city.

 

To find more science fiction books and movies, explore the “science fiction” subject through our library catalog.

Matthew’s Monday Series: “Firefly”

In a bit of divergence this week, I would like to review a series that unfortunately only aired for one season but had a profound impact on the sci-fi genre and still inspires an extremely loyal fan base. Firefly was written and directed by Josh Whedon, who has developed many successful series and films, most notably: Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, and the first two Avengers films.

Firefly takes place in the distant future of 2517, where mankind has left earth due to chronic overpopulation and has since settled in a different star system with many habitable worlds and terra-formed moons. In this future, China and America fused together and now are collectively referred to as the Alliance. The Alliance sought to control and rule over all planets in the galaxy and recently fought and won a brutal war against The Independent Faction, a group of worlds that wished to remain free and self-governing. The culture and style is a blend of American, European, and East Asian in the core worlds under Alliance control. In contrast, the outer rim worlds are Rustic and filled with poverty and refugees and more akin to the Wild West than an advanced futuristic society.

Our main character is Malcom “Mal” Reynolds played by Nathan Fillion. Mal is captain of the spaceship Serenity and a former Sergeant who fought for the Independent faction during the war. Mal leads his ever-expanding crew in search of fortune while on the run from government forces, criminal organizations, and crazed cannibalistic monstrosities known as Reavers.

Firefly was a big hit with fans of science fiction and those who enjoy a classic underdog tale set as a space western. However, due to this odd setup, the series was canceled after just one season of 14 episodes. It has since developed a cult following and maintained a diehard fan base. On a positive note, in 2005 the feature film Serenity regenerated interest and also attempted to please fans in wrapping up plot points and finishing the story. I highly recommend this exciting pioneering series and the film as well. If you would like to binge this awesome series, it is available at the Union University Library.

 

 

Book Review: “Ender’s Game” by Orson Scott Card


ender's game

 

*mild spoilers for Ender’s Game are in this review

Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card was recommended to me by my husband and two of my student assistants. Unfortunately, as this review will reveal, I didn’t like it.

Here’s a brief, spoiler-free summary: Ender’s Game is about a young boy, Ender Wiggins, who is chosen to train at Battle School. His teachers hope that he will be the missing link in the fight between aliens and humans. Orson Scott Card wrote several books after Ender’s Game and has made different series that correspond with the Ender’s Game universe.

What Ender’s Game gets right: The beginning really pulls you in and sets the stage for the rest of the book. We witness a moment in Ender’s life that turns out to be an important test, and Ender remembers this moment throughout his training.

I find Ender easy to sympathize with. He seems like an Enneagram type 9 (“peacemaker”) in a world that is forcing him to act like an 8 (“boss”). (I could also see Ender as a 5- he enjoys games, strategies, and alone time to figure things out.) Ender is constantly trying to end conflict once and for all- he does not enjoy hurting others or commanding them, he simply wants everything to work out for the best of all involved.

What Ender’s Game does wrong: Where are all of the women? There are only three woman characters in the whole book, and only one of them gets a point of view narration.

Another qualm that I have with Ender’s Game is Card’s writing style. He switches between third person, third person omniscient, and first person narratives without much transition at all. It’s like he decided to have every kind of point of view possible in his story- which is fine, if it makes sense within the context (it doesn’t).

Who should read Ender’s Game: People who enjoy reading political commentaries, arguments on Facebook, and/or deterministic plots. Alternately, people who will read it for the science fiction aspects and won’t dig much deeper than that.

Who shouldn’t read Ender’s Game: Parents who are already worried about their children growing up in a scary world and don’t like reading about the abuse and manipulation of children. People who don’t enjoy constant social conflict (me). I can read about crazy, militant societies, but only if it’s clear that it’s a satire and that it’s not a good thing (like 1984 or Brave New World). Ender’s Game doesn’t convince me that the book is actually against the fanatical survival-of-the-fittest messages that are preached. Ender as a character certainly does not condone this kind of society (even though he enables it), but the book’s overall tone and destruction of free will points to total annihilation as the only means of human survival- and that’s not fun to read about.

Ender’s Game is available in the library’s Recreational Reading section.

How To Reserve The Recording Studio

pex headphones

The library’s recording studio, with seating for five, is a space that will allow current Union students, faculty, and staff the ability to make audio recordings. The studio is lined with sound-dampening acoustic treatment and contains professional audio equipment for the user to make high quality sound recordings. Possible uses for the studio include the recording of voice-overs, narrations, podcasts, tutorials, and the digitizing of analog media.
*Please note, this is not a live music recording studio and, therefore, musical instrument recording and singing recording are prohibited.*
The studio is available to all current Union students, faculty, and staff on a reservation only basis and will be open Monday-Thursdays 8:00 a.m.-10:00 p.m., Fridays 8:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m., Saturdays Noon-4:00 p.m., and closed on Sundays. The patron should have a basic working knowledge of audio equipment and editing software and must comply with Copyright law.

FAQ

  • Who can use the studio? All current Union students, faculty, and staff.
  • Are reservations required? Yes. Reservations must be made 24 hours in advance. NO WALK-INS ARE ALLOWED. Using the Room Reservation System, located on the library’s home page, a patron can make reservations by clicking the Recording Studio box.
  • How long can the studio be reserved? The studio can be reserved for two one-hour time blocks per day. A time block can be reserved for back-to-back use or reserved to use at two separate times during a given day. Either way, a patron can reserve the studio for a total of two hours per day.
  • What are the studio’s hours?
    • Monday-Thursday 8:00 a.m.-10:00 p.m.
    • Friday 8:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.
    • Saturday Noon-4:00 p.m.
    • Closed on Sundays.
  • How many microphones and seats does the studio have? The studio has three microphones and five seats.
  • Does the studio allow for video recording? No, the studio is only outfitted for audio recording. However, a patron can do screen capture recording and editing in the studio using the available Camtasia Studio software.
  • Does the studio allow for live music recording? No. Given the nature and size of the studio, and the library environment in which it is housed, neither musical instrument nor singing recording is practical and, therefore, not allowed.
  • What type of computer does the studio use? The studio uses a Lenova all-in-one computer running Windows 7.
  • What type of audio recording software does the studio use? Audacity and Adobe Audition are both installed on the recording studio’s computer.
  • What about video editing software? The studio computer does not have video editing software such as Adobe Premiere Pro, Sony Vegas, etc. installed. However, Camtasia Studio, a screen capture recording and editing program, is available.
  • What type of equipment does the studio offer?
    • Mixer Board: Behringer XENYX QX1222USB
    • Microphones (3): Shure SM7B
    • Microphone Boom Mounts (3): Heil Sound PL2T
    • Speakers: Fostex PMO.4n
    • CD/Cassette Player: Tascam CD-A550 MKII
    • Turntable:audio-technica AT-LP60
    • Headphones (3):Sennheiser HD201
    • Headphone Amp: Behringer Mini Amp AMP800
    • Acoustic Treatment: Auralex
  • Is food or drink allowed in the studio? Food is not allowed; however, water (and water only) is permissible as long as it’s in a covered container.
  • Will someone from the library be available to assist in the recording process? Yes, someone from the library will be available to help the patron get going and offer limited assistance thereafter. However, the patron should have a basic knowledge of audio equipment and software and be prepared to produce his/her own project.
  • What storage device is recommended to save the finished audio project? A USB drive.
  • Can a patron’s audio project be saved to the studio’s computer? No, a patron’s audio project should never be saved to the studio computer. The patron should always save his/her project to a USB drive or a cloud service.
  • Can a library studio patron make digital files of analog media? Yes, digitization of analog sources is possible. It is up to the user to confirm that the reproduction complies with copyright law.
  • Can the library studio make CD or DVD copies? Like many of the computers on campus, the computer in the studio is equipped to burn an individual CD or DVD.

 

You can reserve the Recording Studio ahead of time via our website. Click here to get started!

Contact Paul Sorrell at psorrell@uu.edu if you have any Recording Studio questions.