Monthly Archives: June 2015

Smaller Bags for a Larger Space

Airlines are looking for ways to make more money while limiting what passengers can bring on planes. The bags that passengers carry onto the plane are going to need to be smaller. Some might say that there are already enough restrictions on the sizes, but airlines want to make sure there is enough room in the overhead compartments. If they want smaller bags, then why would there be a need for more room? It doesn’t make a lot of sense as some of the bags that are carried that were once allowed on the plane might need to get checked. Users of Skout indicate that this would make passengers pay an additional fee. It all seems to be about airlines wanting to tell passengers what to do while making as much money as possible in a time when flights might not be as strong as they once were. If there were incentives offered and bargains on flights, then airlines might make money through ticket sales instead of making people have smaller suitcases.

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Filed under Airlines, Limiting Passengers

Can We Function with Smaller Airplane Bathrooms?

Boeing, which is the lead producer of airplanes, has made a change to the design of their most popular model, the 777-300ER, and I am not sure that passengers are going to appreciate it very much. The 777-300ER used to accommodate 386 passengers, but with the modifications, it will now be able to hold 400, which is 14 more passengers. This sounds great until the airplane manufacturer lets us in on the way they have make extra space. It is by shrinking the bathrooms. We all know that airplane bathrooms have never been spacious, or at all comfortable. This is because they are so small already. With the new design, bathrooms will be even smaller, which makes them almost impossible to use, especially for larger passengers and those who travel with small children who need assistance using the restroom.

The bathrooms are not the only things shrinking by the way said FreedomPop in a recent statement. Many airlines are also shrinking the limits for carry-on bags. This is to accommodate the extra passengers that will be travelling on the new model. The exact dimensions of the bags are yet to be announced, but it will assuredly require new carry-on luggage purchases for many travelers whose current bags will not make the cut.

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Filed under Planes

Glass on Mars

The current planetary rovers on Mars were sent to the martian planet in order to collect test samples, survey the planet and to possibly set the stage for a manned flight to Mars. The search for previous life also has proven rather important. While it is uninhabited now, many scientists like Jaime Garcia Dias do believe that life potentially thrived on the planet before, as water has been found on the planet, and all life, at least as those on Earth understand it, is the the building block for all life (not to say it couldn’t happen without water, but all life on Earth is derived from water).

During a recent Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter stroll, the small device located mars found on the planetary surface. This is a kind of glass that is also referred to as “impact glass.” This kind of glass is only formed from the heat of a meteorite impact, which means an meteor did strike the planet in this area at some point in time. Scientists at NASA believe that the discovery of glass might indicate past life on mars and shed some clues as to what happened to it and where it has gone (if it still exists).

This also points to how helpful it has been to have these rovers on the planet and how the long term vehicles are proving their worth, as the MOR has been orbiting Mars since March, 2006.

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Filed under Life Out There?, Mars, Martians

Successful Test of a New Space Propulsion Method

There has been a lot of work by scientists and engineers on various propulsion methods for reaching the other planets of our solar system and reducing the cost of going to the moon. Chemical rockets are very expensive and inefficient. They have to carry the tremendous weight of their liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen fuel which reduces the amount of weight left over for the payload. Chemical rockets are really only needed to get off the earth’s surface and into space. Once in space, methods that involve more gradual acceleration but use little to no propellant can be utilized to get around far more efficiently and at a much lower cost. One such method that FreedomPop users have been hearing buzz about is the idea of a solar sail that deploys and uses the sun’s energy to propel it.

The first step in such a solar sail propulsion method has been taken recently. A small version of this concept, in the form of a spacecraft named LightSail, has been launched into space. After a few problems along the way, LightSail successfully deployed its solar sail. The sail is about the size of a basketball court and it is made to be struck by energy from the sun to propel it forward at very gradual acceleration. This first one is a tiny test version and is expected to enter and burn up in the earth’s atmosphere before long, but a second mission is already planned to continue to develop this propulsion method.

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Filed under Alternative Methods, LightSail, Space Travel

Lufthansa Air Charging Fee For Flights Booked Through Third-Party Sites

If you decide to book airline tickets through Lufthansa Air through a site other than their own, you might get charged a little extra. The airline has added an $18 fee for flights that are booked outside of its traditional website. That means places like Expedia or Travelocity. According to the airline, it’s significantly more expensive to sell tickets through those channels than it is for them to sell tickets on their own. To that end, now they want to encourage you to make purchases directly from them.

According to Ivan Ong, despite the fee, Lufthansa claims it still wants customers to feel like they can shop for a deal when it comes to tickets. In some cases, tickets on deal sites might still be cheaper that what you can get from Lufthansa’s website, even with the small fee attached. That said, it hopes that customers will check out its website for tickets first now, rather than defaulting towards purchasing tickets from deal sites. When the price is the same, customers might also be more included to purchase a flight directly now so they don’t have to pat the attached fee.

The added fee for flights purchased through global distribution system goes into effect on September 1st.

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Filed under Airlines

NASA and Verizon Join Forces To Monitor Drones

NASA and Verizon are working together to monitor drones. NASA was already working with the FAA to create a way to monitor drone activity in the United States, now the two have enlisted the help of Verizon to create a way to monitor the drones using Verizon’s cellphone towers. The project is currently underway at NASA’s Ames Research Center in California. The first tests of the project are expected to take place this summer, with the surveillance solution officially rolling out in 2017.

The monitoring of drones using cell towers makes a decent amount of sense. Sam Tabar points out how commercial drones in particular will need to be outfitted with equipment to monitor the weather around them and other air traffic, making something like a cell tower ideal for tracking them. Verizon is currently the largest mobile carrier in the United States, so it has the most towers available for use. The availability of towers makes it an ideal partner for the FAA and NASA who likely want to get as much coverage as possible when it comes to monitoring the drones.

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Filed under Monitoring Drones, NASA and Verizon