Mountain Views News, Sierra Madre Edition [Pasadena] Saturday, August 26, 2017

MVNews this week:  Page A:11

Mountain Views-News Saturday, August 26, 2017 11THE WORLD AROUND US 
Mountain Views-News Saturday, August 26, 2017 11THE WORLD AROUND US 
Breakthrough Starshot, a multi-facetedprogram to develop and launch practicalinterstellar space missions, successfullyflew its first spacecraft—the smallest everlaunched. 

On June 23, a number of prototype“Sprites”—the world’s smallest fullyfunctional space probes, built on a singlecircuit board—achieved low Earth orbit, 
piggybacking on OHB System AG’s ‘Max 
Valier’ and ‘Venta’ satellites. The 3.5-by-3.5centimeter 
chips weigh just four grams butcontain solar panels, computers, sensors,
and radios. These vehicles are the next stepof a revolution in spacecraft miniaturizationthat can contribute to the development ofcentimeter- and gram-scale “StarChips”
envisioned by the Breakthrough Starshotproject.

The Sprite is the brainchild of BreakthroughStarshot’s Zac Manchester, whose 2011 
Kickstarter campaign, “KickSat,” raisedthe first funds to develop the concept. TheSprites were constructed by researchers atCornell University and transported intospace as secondary payloads by the MaxValier and Venta satellites, the latter built bythe Bremen-based OHB System AG, whosegenerous assistance made the missionpossible.

The Sprites remain attached to thesatellites. Communications received 
from the mission show the Sprite systemperforming as designed. The spacecraftare in radio communication with groundstations in California and New York, as well 
as with amateur radio enthusiasts around 
the world. This mission is designed to testhow well the Sprites’ electronics perform inorbit, and demonstrates their novel radio 
communication architecture. 

Breakthrough Initiatives—includingmost notably, Breakthrough Starshot andBreakthrough Listen—are a set of longterm 
astronomical programs exploringthe universe, seeking scientific evidence oflife beyond Earth, and encouraging public 

debate from a planetary perspective.

Breakthrough Starshot, announced 
on April 12, 2016, by Yuri Milner andStephen Hawking, is a $100 million 
research and engineering program aimingto demonstrate proof of concept for light-
propelled spacecraft that could fly at 20percent of light speed and, in just over 20years after their launch, capture imagesand other measurements of the exoplanetProxima b and other planets in our neareststar system, Alpha Centauri.

The Starshot concept envisions launchinga “mothership” carrying about a thousandtiny spacecraft (on the scale of centimeters)
to a high-altitude orbit and then deployingthem. A phased array of ground-basedlasers would then focus a light beam on thecrafts’ solar sails to accelerate them one byone to the target speed within 10 minutes,
with an average acceleration on the orderof 100 km/s2, and an illumination energyon the order of 1 TJ delivered to each sail, 
estimated to have a surface area of 4 m . 4 

If an Earth-size planet is orbiting withinthe Alpha Centauri system habitable zones,
Breakthrough Starshot will try to aim itsspacecraft within 1 astronomical unit (93million miles) of it. From this distance, acraft’s cameras could potentially capturean image of high enough quality to resolvesurface features. 

The fleet would have about 1000 
spacecraft, and each one would be a verysmall centimeter-sized vehicle weighing afew grams. They would be propelled by asquare-kilometer array of 10 kW ground-
based lasers with a combined output of upto 100 GW. Each spacecraft would transmitdata back to Earth using a compact on-
board laser communications systemusing its solar sail as an antenna and thepropulsion array as the receiver. 

You can contact Bob Eklund at: b.eklund@ 



[Nyerges is the author of 
many books including 
“Extreme Simplicity:
Homesteading in the 
City” and “How to 
Survive Anywhere.” 
He also leads outdoor 

expeditions. For more information, he can be 
reached at, or Box 
41834, Eagle Rock, CA 90041].

Last Tuesday, I gave an early-morning lectureto the Sierra Madre Rotary club, one of the city’sservice organization. Just to get to the meetingrequired hardiness and orienteering skills, sinceI had to arrive at 7 a.m. (that’s way earlier than

I usually get up) and then I had to search for anearly-hidden small room in Sierra Madre Park. But 
I found the place, and was greeted by the friendlymembers, including the excellent chef Mario whocreated a top-notch omelette for me as I watched andgave directions. I was thinking, the omelette alone is agood reason to be a Rotarian.

My presentation revolved around the topics that Ihave been teaching all my life – ethnobotany, native usesof plants, and some of the ways that past civilizationsutilized the natural flora to provide not only food, butmedicine, fire, even clothing and cordage.

I brought many of the seasonal wild plants to showthe assembled members, such as native wild cherries 
which were in season. These are thin-fleshed fruit 
which are tasty, though the leaves are toxic.

We also saw some of the most nutritious plants inthe world, according to the USDA: lambs quarter, curlydock, and dandelion. These are all despised by farmersbecause they are invasive weeds, but each is highlynutritious. Lambs quarter – a relative of the popularquinoa – has edible leaves and seeds and eating it islike taking a mineral tablet. Curly dock is the highestsource of vitamin A, and dandelion is the highest sourceof beta-carotene. 

The members also got to see the remarkable yuccaleaves, and see sandals, rope, and brushes that weremade from this desert plant.

I also shared some of my thoughts about some of thepast civilizations of North America, such as the Cahokia(they had the largest pyramid north of Mexico City, inpresent day Illinois), the Adena, and the Anasazi. I 
shared some ideas about what caused the demise of the 

vast Anasazi empire, and wondered if our civilizationcould one day suffer a similar fate. In fact, recognizingthe non-sustainability of many of the our current socialpractices is why I got interested in ethno-botany andsurvival in the first place.

Through osmosis, I also learned a lot about theRotary Club by being there. For one, they are greatfund-raisers for the club, and a can was constantlybeing passed around with many dollar bills going intoit. I also learned that Rotarians will drop everything ata moment’s notice and help people in need, even peoplein a distant country.

At the meeting, they all pledged allegiance to the flag,
they sang songs, and they eagerly shared some of theirpersonal business enterprises. Oh, and did I mention 
Mario who makes an incredible omelette? At the end 
of the meeting, they all recited the Rotarian Code foranalysis of activities and events: Is it the truth? Is it 
fair to all concerned? Will it build goodwill and betterfriendship? Will it be beneficial to all concerned? What 
a great code! It’s too bad that everyone doesn’t live bythe Code of the Rotary Club.

I realized as I left and walked over the Bean Town for 
another cup of coffee, that Sierra Madre is a really greattown. I got to see some of my favorite people on mywalk. Steve Hardy, Sierra Madre’s resident artist, greetedme as he looked up from another art work. And ChrisLeclerc, Sierra Madre’s famous dog walker and caninecolumnist, let me pet her beautiful little puppy she waswalking.

Sierra Madre is a great town, and everyone can feelgood to be a part of it. Get to know your neighbors andvolunteer in activities that help the community. 


A Weekly Religion Column by Rev. James Snyder 


I have just celebrated my birthday, my wife’s 
birthday and our wedding anniversary. I am not 
sure how old I am or how long we have been 
married and I won’t even go to my wife’s age. I’m 
old enough to know better.

I have long past the idea of candles on my 
birthday cake representing one candle per year. 
The fire department will not give us a permit to do 
Someone asked me how long we have been 
married and without even thinking, I said, 
“Forever.” Once that word danced out of my lips I 
knew I was in trouble with the Gracious Mistress 
of the Parsonage. One look from her, and I knew 
that my forever had ended.

All seriousness aside, celebrations are 
wonderful opportunities, at least from my point 
of view, to gorge myself with cake. After all, if it is 
my birthday or anniversary or my wife’s birthday, 
I should be respectful enough to eat the cake 

At my age, I’m not too concerned about eating 
healthy. That’s why I love the holidays.

Between holidays, my wife insists on eating 
healthy. I cannot even name all of the vegetables 
that appear on our table at suppertime. I think they 
are vegetables, my wife says they are vegetables, 
but I am not so sure about it. My wife believes that 
if it is green and leafy it must be a vegetable.

I, on the other hand, with a fork in each hand, 
have had enough vegetables I want to get to the 
celebratory cake. After all, what is the sense in 
celebrating a birthday or an anniversary if you 
cannot eat the cake presented? Especially if it is 
my birthday.

I will give my wife the latitude to put vegetables, 
so-called, on our dinner table between our 
celebrations. The problem is, my birthday, her 
birthday and our anniversary are within three 
weeks of each other. That means, there are 49 
weeks that I have to put up with vegetables.

Therefore, I am a great one when it comes to 
celebrating something. Anything. I am so glad 
that our culture is assisting me in this. It has come 
to the point where there is a celebration for every 
day of the year. I do not care what I’m celebrating, 
as long as cake is involved, I’m right there. After 
all, I certainly don’t want to offend anybody.

In my carefulness to not offend anybody in 
this regard, I have on occasion offended my wife. 
She is a vegetableaholic if ever there was one. She 
even eats vegetables as a snack. Once at a church 
fellowship, she brought in a huge plate of raw 
vegetables, insinuating it was a snack tray.

Recently, I was sitting in my lazy-boy chair, 
drinking a nice hot cup of coffee and reflecting on 
the important issues of life. I cannot tell you how 
many problems in this world I have solved if only 
somebody would listen to me. 

However, in my muse a wonderful thought 
embraced several grey cells. What if, and I don’t 
have any legitimate documentation on this, when 
we get to heaven, it is a celebration every day with 
cake only an angel could bake? And what if, every 
day it was somebody’s birthday and we needed to 
celebrate it? That certainly would make heaven for 

Further, in my muse, what if there were no 
vegetables whatsoever to be found at the Marriage 
Supper of the Lamb? That too would make heaven, 
heaven for me. What if all we had at that table was 
cake, pie, ice cream and soda pop? Wouldn’t that 
just be divine?

I think most people, particularly my wife, take 
this matter of eating healthy too seriously. I think 
when a person eats it should be an enjoyable 
experience and not a ragged old duty.

I wonder what kind of soda pop they will have 
in heaven? I’m sure it will not be a diet soda. Why 
would we be dieting in heaven?

What if, and again, I am speculating, everyone 
in heaven is fat? Everyone is fat, eating, laughing 
and enjoying themselves. Wouldn’t that be a shock 
to some people? I’m not saying it is, but who’s to 
say it isn’t? A person can dream, can’t they?

That certainly would be something worth 

In the midst of all this musing, my wife 
happened to walk in and said, “What in the world 
are you smiling at?”

I confess it caught me a little off guard. I looked 
at her, still smiling and said, “I was thinking about 
heaven and the great time we are going to have 
celebrating up there.” 

I did not give her any particulars, because it 
was my dream. All she said was, “I think it’ll be a 
wonderful time up there celebrating.” 

Her idea of celebrating may not be exactly my 
idea of celebrating, but then why get caught up in 
particulars. Her celebration may be different from 
my celebration, but if both of us are happy in that 
celebrating atmosphere, what’s the harm?

I couldn’t help but think of what Jesus once said 
to his disciples. “I am the living bread which came 
down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he 
shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is 
my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world” 
(John 6:51).

The best celebration that I know of is feasting 
upon that “living bread” which is none other than 
Jesus Christ. 

Dr. James L. Snyder is pastor of the Family of 
God Fellowship, 1471 Pine Road, Ocala, FL 34472. 
He lives with his wife in Silver Springs Shores. Call 
him at 352-687-4240 or e-mail jamessnyder2@att.
net. The church web site is www.whatafellowship. 

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