Thursday, August 14, 2008

Reading notes

In the Lord of the Rings, the king has gotten married, and everyone is ready to go home at last. {Smile}

I've been kind of stuck there for about a week. I got a coffee table book, The World of the Dark Crystal by Brian Froud, and immediately started to look it over. It's about the background of the movie The Dark Crystal. That is really nice, and not just because I have a weakness for coffee table books. I'll have to write that one up soon; I finished it in less than a week. Reading it while soaking my toe helped, but I read it at other times, too. {SMILE}

After that I expected to get back to The Lord of the Rings. This shows I don't always know my own mind. {Smile} Instead, I picked up The Hazards of Space Travel. This covers hazards astronauts and space tourists can reasonably expect as they travel out into our solar system. It includes historical incidents astronauts have contended with, as well as ones they're likely to encounter but haven't yet. {small smile} I just finished a chapter on air. It started with a (fictional) account of a traveler whose friend's oxygen got switched off, and how the traveler saved his friend by turning it back on. The book then explained the need for a proper amount of oxygen. It mentioned the hazards of having too much, including the Apollo 1 fire that burned so fast no one survived, even tho they were just testing the capsule on earth. They mentioned an incident where a Cosmonaut's suit got over inflated during a space walk, and he had great difficulty getting back into his space craft at the end. They also mentioned the problem of getting the bends from switching between our oxygen-nitrogen* atmosphere and the pure oxygen atmospheres in modern space suits too quickly. The book says they're currently trying to develop hard space suits that will allow an oxygen-nitrogen atmosphere without risk of over-inflation. That does sound like an improvement! {SMILE}

Anne Elizabeth Baldwin

* Oops; carbon dioxide is a trace element in our atmosphere, so I removed it. {Smile}

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