The Earth from Space

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The Earth from Space The photograph on the next two pages is the most revealing yet made of the earth. It was exposed in a rocket at a height of 143.4 miles, which for all practical purposes is outside the earth s atmosphere One of the many programs of the International Geophysical Year will be to fire large rockets high above the stratosphere of the earth. The U. S. will launch 45 rockets; the French, 12. The art of photographing the earth from rockets has recently been developed to a high degree. The remarkable pictures on this and the next two pages were made from a Navy Viking rocket sent aloft from the White Sands Proving Ground in New Mexico on February 4. The rocket reached an altitude of 143.5 miles, a tenth of a mile below which the photograph on the next two pages was made. This is not the highest aerial photograph: an earlier Viking lifted a camera to a height of 158.4 miles. But advances in mounting the camera made the picture the clearest and most extensive of its kind. The photograph bEllow was made from a height of 101 miles, while the rocket was on the way down. It shows about 300,000 square miles of New Mexico, Arizona, California and the Mexican province of Sonora. The photograph on the next two pages shows about 600,000 square miles. From left to right the photograph extends about 800 miles; the horizon is more than 1,000 miles away. The photograph contains many clearly recognizable geographical features. The large body of water nearest the camera on the left-hand page is the Gulf of California. Beyond it is Lower California, and beyond that a broad expanse of the Pacific. The relatively small body of wa-ter near the center of the right-hand page is the Salton Sea. At its left end may be seen the cultivated area of the Imperial Valley. Above and to the right of the Salton Sea are snow-capped peaks in the Coast Ranges of California. Just above them is Los Angeles. The haze drifting out to sea from this area is presumably smog. Near the bottom of the right-hand page is the cultivated area around Phoenix, Ariz. The small body of water at the lower right is the artificial Lake Roosevelt in Arizona. The horizon clearly delineates the curvature of the earth. The luminous band along the horizon shows the limit of that part of the atmosphere which contains an appreciable amount of water vapor. Beyond this is space. 1955 SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN, INC 1955 SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN, INC 1955 SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN, INCVIKING ROCKET from which the photographs on the preceding pages were made is launched at White Sands Proving Ground. This ROCKET FELL 42 miles away from its launching site. The rocket fell in two sections. The section at left housed the camera, which 112 rocket is the Viking 12, the latest in a long series fired by the Naval Research Laboratory. It is 45 feet long and weighs 15,000 pounds. was a modified K25 aerial type using fourbyfive.inch film. The film was wound in an armored case to prevent exposure on impact. 1955 SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN, INCDoubling Univac's Speed! The famous Univac of Remington Rand has widened even further its lead over other electronic business computing systems. Univac is still the only completely self-checked system ... the only one which can read, write, and compute simultaneously without extra equipment. And now, the Univac II adds to these superior features the speed of a magnetic-core memory. The Remington Rand magnetic-core memory is more than a laboratory promise. It has been in actual customer use for over a year, passing all tests with flying colors in the first commercially available electronic computer to use core storage successfully. The size of the internal memory of Univac has also been doubled, giving instantaneous access to 24,000 numeric characters. (If needed, this capacity can be increased to 120,000 characters.) Univac's external memory-magnetic tape-now has greater capacity too, increasing input and output to 20,000 characters per second ... the equivalent of reading or writing every character on this page more than 1,000 times a minute. These new Univac developments can be incorporated into any existing installation to double its speed and to increase its economy still further. ELECTRONIC COMPUTER DEPARTMENT ROOM 1915, 315 FOURTH AVE., NEW YORK 10, N. Y. DIVISION OF SPERRY RAND CORPORATION 1955 SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN, INC