Saturday, December 13, 2014

Omnimax planetarium short "To Space and Back" shows how satellites predict superstorms like Sandy

I need a place to mention the 20-minute short “To Space and Back”, shown in the Planetarium at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington DC and at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia. In fact, it was produced by the latter, and a lot of the “Omnimax” photography touts downtown center city Philadelphia around Independence Hall.
The theme of the film is the layers of space satellites that have been launched over the past six decades, and how space technology has been adopted to life on earth.  There is a detailed explanation of how satellite analysis gave a thorough dire prediction on the course of Hurricane Sandy in October 2012.  Remember how on CNN Chad Myers was explaining how a big Noreaster would pick up a tropical Hurricane as its core, producing a bizarre hybrid superstorm?

There is also a detailed demonstration on how space technology figures into making stents to relieve coronary artery blockages as well as pacemakers, along with a detailed animation showing how a typical angioplasty and stent placement is done, with use of a laser to dissolve the plaque, rather than an older use of a balloon, when a patient has a lower end “heart attack”.  The use of this technology can greatly expand life spans of the elderly, but it means that their adult children will spend much more time and money caring for them than in the past. 
Franklin link is here. Smithsonian link is here has non-embeddable video.

Here's another one-hour BBC documentary about Hurricane Sandy. 

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