ORBITING NEEDLES To Aid Communication (Jan, 1961)

ORBITING NEEDLES To Aid Communication

A MAN-MADE ionosphere—composed of millions of tiny metal needles—soon may replace the ionized layer of atmosphere presently used in radio communication. The artificial ionosphere, actually two narrow bands of needles, 3,000 to 6,000 miles from Earth, will make possible for the first time reliable, high-quality and low-cost, television, voice radio and teletype communication between any two points on Earth.

Unlike the natural ionosphere, the bands will stay at the same distance from Earth, have a constant density and the same radio-reflecting qualities undisturbed by storms and sunspots. The system has been developed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Air Force Air Research and Development Command.

The Man Who Opened the Door to Space (May, 1959)

The Man Who Opened the Door to Space

NO MAN made a greater personal contribution to this fearsome and challenging era of missiles than the late Robert H. Goddard, an ailing, publicity-shy physics professor from Worcester, Mass., who sought only peaceful scientific uses for his epochal inventions.

This month, 14 years after his death at 62, the entire U. S. missile industry will honor him at a conference.

“He was just as surely the father of modern rockets as the Wright brothers were of the airplane,” Henry F. Guggenheim, noted patron of aeronautical research, has declared.

Getting More Light On the Moon (Aug, 1933)

This shows you how fast technology can change. Only 36 years after this article declared that a trip to the moon was “apparently impossible”, Neil Armstrong actually walked on it.

GETTING More LIGHT On the Moon

By Calvin Frazer

IT IS unwise to dogmatize about the future, and hence a cautious man of science “would hardly make the positive assertion that human beings will never visit the moon, though the difficulties involved in such a journey now appear insuperable. On the other hand it is quite safe to assert that, without leaving his own planet, man will learn much more about the earth’s satellite in days to come than he knows today. This expectation is based upon the remarkable progress accomplished in the study of the moon in recent years.

Simple Experiment Shows How the Universe Was Formed (Jul, 1936)

Yes, all you need to recreate the universe is a hand-drill, a thumb tack and some oil. Amazing!

Simple Experiment Shows How the Universe Was Formed

By Gaylord Johnson

A TINY globule of machine oil, spinning around in a beaker of wood alcohol, will reenact for you one of the most stupendous dramas of the universe—the formation of a giant spiral nebula.

Photographs of these far-off galaxies of stars made through giant telescopes show that, in spite of minor physical differences, they all have one feature in common: the main structure consists of two curving arms spiraling out from opposite sides of a central mass.

Obviously, this structure is the result of a whirling, centrifugal force. But why should there always be just two arms? That is what this simple demonstration will show you.

Photo Lens Registers Rays Predating Dinosaurs (Feb, 1938)

Photo Lens Registers Rays Predating Dinosaurs

BELIEVED by its makers to be the fastest in the world, a new astronomical photographic lens has been used at Mount Wilson Observatory in Pasadena, Calif., for taking pictures of light rays which, scientists claim, left distant stars before dinosaurs trod the earth. In conjunction with the 100-inch reflector at Mt. Wilson, the new lens has photographed spectra of nebulae 30,000 times fainter than the faintest star visible to the unaided eye.

Dr. M. L. Humason, who conducted the Mt. Wilson Observatory tests, reported that the speed of the observatory’s spectrograph was doubled through use of the new lens, which has a speed of F. 0.59. Astronomical data placed the nebulae observed by Dr. Humason as being an estimated distance of 80 million light years from the earth. Through use of the new lens, scientists can now observe faint objects which have previously been deemed hopeless from an astronomical viewpoint, according to Dr. Humason.

How Tiros Photographs the World (including Russia) (Aug, 1960)

How Tiros Photographs the World (including Russia)

The day of the high-flying spy plane may be over. America’s camera-toting satellites will soon be ready to take over security reconnaissance work


IS America’s first military reconnaissance satellite already orbiting the earth? Tiros I—launched in April—was called a “weather observation satellite.” But it has disturbed top U. S. officials the way weather never could.

Nobody expected the camera-carrying Tiros to do more than demonstrate the feasibility of weather satellites (it actually has come up with significant, although not new, information about weather). But Tiros has embarrassingly done more for military spy satellites than it has for weather satellites.

The Stay-Putnik (Mar, 1963)

After Telstar, what?

The Stay-Putnik

It’s our new Syncom, a satellite that promises a better bounce for world-wide TV and telephone

THE newest U.S. communications satellite—scheduled for launch this month or sooner, in an attempt to top Telstar— can’t be expected to streak across the sky at regular intervals. To the operators of a tracking station, it won’t even seem to be in orbit. Instead, the unnatural instrument package will hang around over the Atlantic, tracing a lazy north-south figure-8 every 24 hours.

Amazing Turbine-Rocket to Explore Outer Space (Dec, 1931)

Amazing Turbine-Rocket to Explore Outer Space

By Lew Holt

Prof. R. H. Goddard, famous rocket experimenter, has just patented a remarkable turbine-rocket which makes the age-old dream of traveling in space mechanically possible. Details of this astonishing invention and of other experiments which pave the way for regular lines of ships traveling through the earth’s stratosphere at 1000 miles an hour are presented in this absorbing article.

DOWN in a secluded section of New Mexico a scientist who has for years been experimenting with rockets has succeeded in devising a mechanism combining the principles of the rocket and the turbine, giving the world an entirely new vehicle of transportation capable of traveling hundreds of miles above the earth’s surface— and perhaps, some day, of making a trip to the moon or nearby planets.

Queer Facts about Star Gazers (Jul, 1936)

Queer Facts about Star Gazers

HAVE you ever seen a picture of a square star? Why do astronomers live longer every year than anyone else? Would you believe it is impossible to look through the world’s largest telescope? Do you know astronomers don’t always point their telescopes at the stars they really want to observe?

There are no square stars, of course, although the scientists make photographs that show them as squares. They do it with a special camera equipped with a traveling back that moves up and down so the rays from separate stars are recorded as square patches on the film. This makes it easier to measure their comparative brilliance.

Blast of Giant Atom Created Our Universe (Dec, 1932)

This is a pretty amazing article. It’s a concise summary of the big bang theory published only 3 years after Edwin Hubble made his famous observations about the redshifts of distant galaxies. Yet it’s pretty much identical to one you’d see today. Only a few details like the size of the initial “atom” and the age of the universe seem off. Keep in mind it took another 35 years or so before the scientific community came to accept that the big bang really happened.

Blast of Giant Atom Created Our Universe

By Donald H. Menzel
Harvard Observatory

OUT of a single, bursting atom came all the suns and planets of our universe!

That is the sensational theory advanced by the famous Abbe G. Lemaitre, Belgian mathematician. It has aroused the interest of astronomers throughout the world because, startling as the hypothesis is, it explains many observed and puzzling facts.

According to Lemaitre’s theory, all the matter in the universe was once packed within a single, gigantic atom, which, until ten thousand millions years ago, lay dormant. Then, like a sky-rocket touched off on the Fourth of July after having remained quietly for months on a store shelf, the atom burst, its far-flung fragments forming the stars of which our universe is built.