Ever looked through a telescope? Today we take the amazing pictures returned by nasa’s Hubble Space Telescope as routine. Launched in 1990, this super telescope orbits Earth with a view of the universe far more advanced than any telescope here on Earth.
The original launch date was October 1986, but the horrific Challenger shuttle disaster earlier that year delayed the program. These events prevented the telescope from reaching orbit until April 1990.
A few months later, it failed its focus test and sent back blurry images.
This was because the company that produced the mirrors ground them to the incorrect measurement. They were off by just 2.2 microns—a mere fiftieth of the width of a hair on your head.
Hubble was in crisis. Serious questions arose in Washington, DC, about the project in light of the Challenger explosion and the loss of the Mars Observer in 1993. The media lambasted nasa, with one newsmagazine calling it a “$1.5 billion blunder.” The focusing problem had to be repaired—and quickly.
The race to save Hubble came to mission sts-61 and the specially selected crew of the space shuttle Endeavor. Built in Southern California, Endeavor was the fifth orbiter to be constructed and was a direct result of the mid-flight destruction of Challenger. It was named after 18th-century British explorer Captain James Cook’s ship, on which he traveled to discover Australia and New Zealand.
“The mission’s major challenge was the amount of work that must be completed during the space shuttle flight,” recalled nasa in its mission data. “To minimally satisfy the mission’s overall objectives, astronauts needed to replace one gyroscope pair (either pair number 2 or pair number 3) and install either an operational Wide Field/Planetary Camera ii or the Corrective Optics Space Telescope Axial Replacement (costar), the other corrective optics package on the sts-61 manifest.
“With its very heavy workload, the sts-61 mission was one of the most sophisticated in the shuttle’s history. It lasted almost 11 days, and crew members made five evas: an all-time record at that time.”
nasa later posted the mission video narrated by the crew, which showed the amazingly successful mission from launch to landing. The scope and impact of sts-61 cannot be understated. It saved Hubble from certain failure and the astronomy junk pile, thrusting it beyond anything imaginable into the number one supplier of mind-expanding images of an unknown universe to Earth’s inhabitants. Today, these amazing images have expanded our view of the universe and left us asking deeper questions about this architectural and engineering mastery.
On Sept. 21, 2012, a historic and momentous era in space travel and exploration came to an end as Endeavor landed at Los Angeles International Airport, transported atop a Boeing 747 jet. As the youngest of the shuttle fleet, it had cost $1.7 billion, performed 25 flights, and carried over 170 crew members into space for 283 days, covering 123 million miles, flying at 17,400 miles per hour to maintain orbit, and completed over 4,423 orbits.
The Los Angeles Times produced a stunning time-lapse view of the transportation of the shuttle to its resting place at the California Science Center.
It’s truly amazing how the mission of nasa’s sts-61 technical staff and the crew of space shuttle Endeavor saved the Hubble Space Telescope. However, there still remain answerable questions—questions you need answers to (Psalm 19:1; Romans 1:19-23).
To gain a deeper understanding of the impact of this mission, watch Gerald Flurry’s recent two-part Key of David series, “Our Awesome Universe Potential.”
Latest Chinese Cyberattack May Be ‘Most Dangerous Yet’
The cyberattack that breached the United States’ Department of Energy (doe) servers last week may have been the most dangerous yet, according to an assessment by Business Insider published Monday.
Unnamed government officials claim that the Chinese hackers behind the breach did not retrieve any “sensitive” information from doe databases. Still, since the doe is responsible for monitoring and maintaining the U.S.’s nuclear arsenal, the implications of this breach are especially sobering.
This assault comes on the heels of several major cyberattacks—on the New York Times, Washington Post, Twitter and the Wall Street Journal—all originating in China.
Washington has said cyberattacks on U.S. infrastructure are considered acts of war. But, even though experts have said the attack on the doecould only have been coordinated by a “nation-state,” there is no hard evidence definitively implicating the Chinese government. Beijing seems to know that the U.S. no longer has the stomach for real confrontation, so it is likely that these “acts of war” will continue unabated.
Computer dependence is the most vulnerable point in America’s military defense system. Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry has warned of this vulnerability since January 1995, when he wrote: “America is the greatest superpower this world has ever known. But we have a very vulnerable point in our military—our own Achilles heel. … Exploiting this vulnerable point may trigger the greatest shock in the history of warfare! … Computer dependence is the Western world’s Achilles heel, and within a few years this weakness could be tested to the full.”
This new development could be “a most unfortunate game changer,” said Mark Fitzpatrick, a nuclear expert at the International Institute for Strategic Studies. The 3,000 centrifuge machines may take up to a year to install and operate, but after that, Tehran will be much closer to developing a nuclear weapon. “Once installed and in operation, the centrifuges could give Iran the capability to make a dash for the bomb faster than the U.S. and its allies could react,” wrote cbs News.
Israeli officials estimate a time frame even shorter than that. Former head of Israel’s military intelligence and now head of the Institute for National Security Studies, Amos Yadlin, said on Monday that Iran has all it needs to build a nuclear bomb in a matter of four to six months.
The blatant announcement came amid on-going wrangling between Iran and the group of six world powers—the United States, France, Germany, Britain, Russia and China—over when and where they may resume stalled negotiations aimed at curbing Iran’s enrichment activities and submitting the Islamic Republic to stricter United Nations nuclear inspections.
But, as a senior official from the Israeli prime minister’s office said, “While the world is discussing where and when the next meeting with Iran will be, Iran is rapidly advancing towards obtaining a nuclear bomb.”
Iran is a state sponsor of terrorism, and is hasting to enhance its weapons arsenal with weapons of mass destruction. It has masterfully used deception to avoid too much confrontation while still maintaining its belligerence. Little wonder that White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters that Iran’s “provocative step” did not come as a surprise. The economic sanctions on Iran, while debilitating, have not deterred its mullahs from speeding up nuclear enrichment, and from doing so well beyond the level necessary for mere civilian purposes.
The six world powers still expect to engage Iran in fruitful talks this month. But a decade of history shows that Iran will not surrender its nuclear weapons ambitions. Moreover, Bible prophecy indicates that Iran will increase its pushy belligerence to a point where Europe—not America—will retaliate. To understand more about this development and what is prophesied to happen beyond that, request our free booklet The King of the South.
The tragic school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, capped off a record year of school shootings in the United States. In 2012, there were 10 school shootings that left a total of 41 people dead and 13 wounded. Though the Newtown shooting was the deadliest one of the year, also tragic was that three of these shootings were suicides carried out on school grounds, one of them in front of a group of 9th-grade students.
But as terrible as 2012 was, 2013 has been even more deadly. In the month of January alone, a mind-staggering eight, yes, eight school shootings took place.
January 10, Taft, California: A gunman entered a science classroom of Taft Union High School with a 12-gauge shotgun and opened fire. A 16-year-old male student was shot in the chest and critically wounded while a teacher was also slightly injured. The classroom teacher, Ryan Heber, convinced him to drop his weapon, and the gunman was later arrested.
January 11, Detroit, Michigan: A 16-year-old boy was shot after an altercation during a pickup game of basketball in a field across from Osborn High School after a school basketball game. He was hospitalized in serious condition.
January 15, Hazard, Kentucky: Two people were shot and killed, and a third person, a 12-year-old girl, was wounded and succumbed to her wounds the next day. The shooting took place in the parking lot of the Hazard Community and Technical College.
January 16, Chicago, Illinois: A 17-year-old boy was shot to death in a parking lot of Chicago State University after a high school basketball game. The game between two powerhouse high schools was being held on the university campus to provide a “neutral setting” for the game.
January 22, Houston, Texas: Two men got into an argument and one of the men pulled out a gun and shot the other, a student, injuring him, at the Lone Star College, near Houston. A nearby maintenance man suffered a gunshot wound to the leg, while the gunman accidentally shot himself.
January 29, Midland City, Alabama: A gunman boarded a school bus and shot and killed the bus driver, Charles Albert Poland Jr., 66. The gunman abducted a 5-year-old child and held him hostage in an underground bunker. The child was still being held hostage three days later.
January 31, Atlanta, Georgia: A 14-year-old male student was shot and wounded in the back of the neck at Price Middle School in Georgia. The gunman, a student, was believed to be arguing with the other student before taking out a handgun and firing it at him. In addition, a teacher received cuts and bruises in the chaos that followed.
What should we make of this rapid increase in violence? Undoubtedly, some politicians will use this as additional evidence to push through gun control laws. But what is the real cause of this senseless violence that is creeping down into middle schools? It’s no longer just the older teens. There are 14-year-olds who are committing these crimes.
Back in 1999, the Trumpet warned about this deadly trend. “Over 30 years ago, the United States was sucked into a destructive, costly and unpopular war,” Stephen Flurry wrote. “I am not referring to Vietnam. I’m talking about the cultural revolution. It was waged by an American minority—mostly young people. The fundamental premise of their revolt was simply rebellion—rebellion against traditional standards, against high morals, against virtually any form of authority—especially parents.”
Back in the ’60s and ’70s, the “cool” thing was to rebel. And now, 40 years later, we are reaping the results. What is the underlying cause of all these shootings? The Trumpet has been giving the answers for 20 years: rebellion, and the breakdown of families. Dysfunctional homes are producing dysfunctional children. God said through the Prophet Haggai that He had a controversy with the people of Israel because there was no knowledge of God in the land (Hosea 4:1). Because the people had forgotten God, God said He would forget their children (verse 6). And this is exactly what we see today.
Gun regulations will not reverse this trend. It will take repentance. If you want to learn how to protect your children, read our article “Why Kids Kill.”
Students of Bible prophecy are aware that in the latter days a northern power is set to spread its imperial reign “south and east” and ultimately into Jerusalem (Daniel 8:9).
Yet, just how far south and east will this monolithic power project its influence?
Perhaps we can catch a glimpse of that by observing a seemingly unusual strategic alliance that is forming between Germany and Australia.
For the third time since the signing of the initial trade alliance between Germany and Australia in 1995, that agreement has been recently updated and strengthened.
In 1995 Australia and Germany signed the Australia-Germany Partnership 2000 Action Plan. This agreement, vigorously supported by Australia’s prime minister at the time, Paul Keating, and the then German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, mapped out Germany’s future in Australia.
The Germans wanted to use the Western outpost of Australia as their regional headquarters of operations, in a cash-for-power-base deal. To Australian leaders, the deal sounded almost too good to be true. Sorely in need of foreign capital investment, like a kid in a candy store they agreed to the deal.
As a result, German investment in Australia more than doubled between 1995 and 1997. Germany began to flood Australia with goods and services, becoming the country’s third-largest importer behind the United States and Japan.
Then, in February 1999, German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer, in cooperation with Australia’s Liberal-National government, revised the Australia-Germany Partnership 2000 Action Plan, expanding economic relations between the two countries significantly. The revamped deal covered a huge array of industries, from trade, investment, tourism, education, the environment and science to technology, culture and the arts.
Deutsche Bank soon decided to establish its regional Asia-Pacific headquarters in Sydney for euro currency trading. Deutsche then purchased Bankers Trust Corp. Australia, becoming the country’s largest foreign bank.
In late 1999, Deutsche Bank turned over its Australian-based Bankers Trust Corp. for au$2.1 billion, netting a handsome profit. In the meantime, the Munich-based Allianz AG, the world’s largest insurer, increased its stake in Australian insurance giant mmi Ltd. to take control of that company.
As time progressed, Thyssen, Daimler-Benz, Hochtief, Lurgi, Bilfinger, Berger, vdo, Hoechst, Siemens and Hella all created networks of partnerships throughout the country, and the German airline Lufthansa established its Asian booking headquarters in Melbourne.
Considering the outcome of World War ii, it is an intriguing paradox that Germany now exports more material to Australia than does Australia’s founding mother country, Britain. Not only that, German-dominated Europe now exports more to Australia than does the United States.
In 2011, Germany’s Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle visited Australia, and at that time discussions took on a tone more geared to mutual cooperation in security and defense matters.
“Germany and Australia are both members of the international group to support nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. Kevin Rudd took part in the most recent meeting of this group in Berlin at the end of April. Additionally, the two countries are both represented in the Libya Contact Group and their foreign ministers will likely encounter each other again in the coming week at the group’s next meeting. Events in North Africa and the broader region, including the brutally suppressed unrest in Syria, were thus also on the agendas of both foreign ministers in Canberra” (German Embassy, May 31, 2011).
Last week it was Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr’s turn to visit Berlin and shore up the agreement of cooperation between the two countries.
During their meetings, the two foreign ministers addressed questions relating to the further expansion of bilateral, regional and security policy. In the process they signed the Berlin-Canberra Statement.
So it is that, using its classic postwar tactic, Germany first established a dependency by Australia on the provision of needed services and sources of capital and trade, only to then turn to the real motivation behind such moves, which is to establish a strategic platform from which to extend its political influence throughout a wider region.
“Berlin is preparing itself for the decentralization of world politics from the Atlantic to the Pacific and is strengthening its position in Australia. The land is a ‘strategic trampoline into the Asian-Pacific room,’ explained Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle while signing a ‘declaration of intent on a strategic partnership’ with Canberra at the beginning of this week in Berlin.
“The ‘strategic partnership’ will make it possible for Germany to take much more influence over Australia than before in the immediate environment of the unbroken rising People’s Republic of China and so play a more active role in future central conflicts between the West and Beijing. This document includes references to specifically military and political measures in the planning for a ‘strategic partnership’” (German-Foreign-Policy.com, January 31; translation ours).
“South and east”—one could hardly get further south and east on this planet when it comes to strategic possessions than Australasia.
Are we witnessing the leading EU nation setting up its farthest southeastern outpost as a springboard into Asia?
It certainly seems that’s the case.
This is a situation worth watching as the two great “marts” prophesied to dominate the globe at this time vie for influence in the Far East. It is but another powerful sign of the imminence of the fulfillment of a host of Bible prophecies leading up to the return of the world’s Savior in the very near future (Isaiah 23).
Study The United States and Britain in Prophecy and Australia—Where to Now? for a deepened understanding on this subject.