Bible Prophecy Research
Title: "...great hail...about the weight of a talent...'
Submitted by: firstname.lastname@example.org
Date: August 18, 2000
Updated: December 14, 2003
"...great hail...about the weight of a talent...'
And there fell upon men a great hail out of heaven, every stone about the
weight of a talent: and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail;
for the plague thereof was exceeding great.--Rev 16:21 (KJV)
And huge seventy-pound hailstones fell on people from the sky. But the
people cursed God for the plague of hail, that it was such a terrible
plague.-- Rev 16:21 (Jewish New Testament)
1) a weight or worth of a talent
1a) a talent of silver weighed about 100 pounds (45 kg)
1b) a talent of gold, 200 pounds (91 kg)
Talmud - Avodah Zarah (footnote)
"A talent was about 57lbs in weight."
Sky May Fall on Iridium
By Mary Motta
Senior Business Correspondent
08 March 2000
WASHINGTON - Chicken Little could be in for a big surprise.
Itīs not the sky that will be falling, but if a suitor doesnīt rescue the
debt- riddled Iridium satellite-telephone company by March 17, its 66
communication satellites are going to make a rather early reentry.
That deadline was set by Motorola, which has lost nearly $1 billion in the
operation and maintenance of the $5 billion, 10- year-old Iridium constellation.
Motorola, the founding investor and majority shareholder, holds an 18 percent
stake in Iridium.
To stem the bloodletting of cash, Motorola, based in Schaumberg, Illinois,
has declined to provide any more funding and has threatened to yank the
Volkswagen-size satellites from orbit and send them on a fiery suicide dive
through Earth's atmosphere.
"That is a realistic scenario," said Scott Wyman, a Motorola
The move came after cellular communications pioneer Craig McCaw and his Eagle
River investment group begged off a plan to buy beleaguered Iridium last Friday.
In a desperate move Monday, Iridium asked a federal bankruptcy court in
Manhattan for interim financing to keep afloat as it sought out another backer.
The court threw the company a lifeline and approved its request for $3 million.
But as the March 17 deadline looms, no savior has yet emerged to rescue
Despite industry rumors, itīs unlikely that McCaw and his group of investors
will step in at the last minute -- making more likely the prospect of a
celestial light show of satellite debris.
"Our decision on Friday was final," said Roger Nyhus, a spokesman
for Teledesic. The Bellevue, Washington satellite- communications company was
co-founded by McCaw and Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates to build a satellite-based
"internet in the sky."
What can be expected from these Iridium satellites being brought back to
Motorolaīs Wyman says that the company has a "very controlled
process" for bringing down the satellites. "They will be brought down
in stages, not all at once," he said.
It is expected to take a few years for all 66 satellites to come down.
But the reentry business is an imprecise one at best because objects can
survive and make it all the way to the ground, said Bill Ailor, director for the
Center for Orbital and Reentry Debris Studies at The Aerospace Corporation in
Objects typically enter the atmosphere at a blazing 6 miles (9.7 kilometers)
per second and are often incinerated by friction with Earth's atmosphere. But
materials designed to be heat-resistant often can survive the plunge all the way
to the ground. "Typically what we look for are titanium spheres and objects
made of stainless steel (to survive)," Ailor says. Glass also can survive.
Itīs unlikely, though, that debris from Iridiumīs satellites will hit a
"The Earth is a big place," he said. "But the satellites
burning up in the atmosphere will probably be visible to the eye."
About 10,000 objects bigger than the size of a basketball are tracked by the
Air Force Space Command. So far, only one person ever has been hit by falling
debris. In 1997, Lottie Williams (below) was hit on the shoulder by a 6-inch
(15-centimeter) charred piece of metal mesh that came from a tank of a Delta 2
rocket. Lottie, who is from Tulsa, Oklahoma, was hit while walking in nearby
The tank ... had fallen from the sky hours before and crashed 150 feet (45
meters) from a Georgetown, Texas farmer's house, about 391 miles (629
kilometers) from Tulsa. The giant fuel tank had been spinning in space since
April 1996 after helping propel the McDonnell Douglas rocket from Vandenberg Air
Force Base in California.
One high note, however, is that the age of random reentries may be coming to
As the number of satellites is expected to increase dramatically because of
the current boom in the telecommunications industry, new rules are being
considered that would require companies to safely take their satellites out of
orbit at mission's end, Ailor said.
Lucky for us because Iridiumīs future seems to be getting dimmer. On the
heels of the bankruptcy court authorizing the sale of furniture, fixtures and
equipment at Iridiumīs headquarters in Washington, an e-mail was sent out
Wednesday that seems to have driven another nail in the companyīs coffin.
"Please note that as of March 16, the Iridium.com e-mail address for me
will no longer be valid," said the e-mail sent to reporters from Iridium
spokesman David St. John.
Clues to Mysterious Meteor Sounds Sought In Iridium Satellite Suicides
By Robery Roy Britt, Senior Science Writer and Mary Motta, Senior Business
posted: 12:56 pm ET 28 March 2000
While playing stickball one evening in the early 1970s in Dover, Delaware,
Chuck Bonner and his playmates heard a loud, abnormal whistling noise
accompanied by a buzz. The teenagers ran around the house, expecting to find an
airplane plunging earthward.
Instead they spotted a green fireball as large as a full moon streaking
across the sky.
Ever since, Bonner (now a software designer who runs a website called Lunar
Colony) has wondered how he could have heard the apparent meteor before he saw
it, since sound travels much slower than light.
Scientists have been wondering the same thing -- for a lot longer. And now
they have the opportunity to study this phenomenon in a giant lab experiment in
At Bonner's suggestion, researchers will keep their eyes and ears open to
monitor what happens when 66 Volkswagen- sized Iridium spacecraft will be
deorbited into a fiery suicide dive to Earth. Scientists hope the artificial
meteors will simulate real space rocks burning up in the atmosphere, yielding
clues to what causes this mysterious cacophony of sounds.
Mystery meteor sound
There are only a handful of "earwitness" accounts of these
melodious symphonies in the sky. One account from China in 817 AD tells of a
noise "like a flock of cranes in flight."
A common and curious thread in these tales is that the sound seems to travel
at the speed of light -- even faster in some cases, arriving before there was
anything to see.
The accounts have confounded scientists for centuries. Assuming a meteor is
many miles away as it burns up --most begin vaporizing around at 60 miles (97
kilometers) high -- light would arrive several seconds before sound.
In the early 1700s Sir Edmund Halley, who has a comet named after him,
attributed the reports to the observerīs imagination. More recently, one
scientist spent decades developing an obscure theory suggesting that these
electrophonic sounds, as they are now called, are the results of magnetic
Australian researcher Colin Keay uses the term to describe a theory he
developed in the early 1980s.
As the theory goes, when a space rock plunges earthward, friction caused by
the atmosphere creates a trail of electrically charged particles, or plasma, in
which Earth's invisible but potent magnetic field lines become trapped, tangled
and twisted like strings of cooked spaghetti.
This magnetic spaghetti is thought to generate very low frequency radio
waves, says Keay, a researcher at the University of Newcastle who, though not
famous like Halley, does have an asteroid named after him.
The waves are thought to travel at the speed of light and are converted into
sound when they interact near the ground with what are called "dielectric
media" or "transducers," which can be massive ordinary objects or
electrical activity in the lower atmosphere.
"It's coming out of the realm of myth and into the realm of
possibility," said Donald Yeomans, a respected and typically moderate voice
on matters of meteors and asteroids. "But there are some serious
Yet evidence favoring Keay's idea is mounting, and Yeomans said he senses a
consensus building among serious scientists that electrophonic sounds from
fireballs are something that should be looked into.
Thatīs where Dejan Vinkovic, head of the Global Electronic Fireball Survey
at the University of Kentucky, enters the arena. Vinkovic says there are some
700 known reports of electrophonic fireballs. His survey has collected five
since the beginning of this year, and he's tracking down another 20 he's heard
Because the odds of witnessing the phenomenon are about as likely as hitting
it big in the lottery, Vinkovic is going to use Iridiumīs necklace of
satellites to simulate the experience.
Based on Chuck Bonner's suggestion via a scholarly newsletter known as CCNet,
Vinkovic will suggest to his colleagues around the world that they point their
video cameras and radio receivers at the falling satellites, most of which
Iridium plans to bring down over the Pacific.
Motorola, which operates the Iridium satellites, is hatching a plan with the
input of NASA to bring the giant birds back toward Earth sometime this year.
The satellites, primarily made up of graphite epoxy, fiberglass and aluminum,
will be yanked from orbit one by one.
The satellitesī on-board propulsion system, which helped it place it in low
Earth orbit, will be used to bring it back down. By slowing its orbit, the
satellite is pulled closer to Earth. Once it gets to a couple thousand feet
above the surface, aerodynamic forces cause a drag, putting stress on the
spacecraft and causing it to break up and burn.
While much of the spacecraft will vaporize, there is a chance some pieces
will survive and fall to the planet.
"You can never be sure how a satellite is going to break up," said
George Levin, director of the Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board at the
National Research Council. "You can only make an educated guess because
these satellites were not built as reentry vehicles."
But Vinkovic points out the positive side of deorbiting Iridiumīs
"One of the problems with meteors is that we don't know what exactly
they are," Vinkovic explained. "So, with the Iridium satellites we
already know the properties, and we can reduce the number of unknown parameters
in our modeling."
By monitoring reentries from around the world, researchers will be able to
study whether the local environment or ground configuration affects any possible
sounds, Vinkovic told SPACE.com.
How's that sound?
Chuck Bonner would love it if Vinkovic and the other scientists could solve
the mystery that has dogged him since the early 70s. Though he struggles to
remember his exact age when he saw and heard the apparent meteor, he is clear
about details of the streaking green object.
Bonner tells of ridges and depressions on the object, from which green dust
or smoke emanated.
"This dust remained as a glowing green trail across the sky that rapidly
faded to black or gray, then dissipated," Bonner recalled the other day.
"The sound continued long after the fireball was out of sight. I would
guess that from the time I first heard it until it faded to inaudibility was
about 30 seconds."
no longer active; please contact us if URL is redirected to a questionable
24 March 2000: Save Iridium
"Who we are: Save Our Sats is a group of concerned individuals joining
together with the common goal of creating the world's first orbiting Open Source
We believe that destroying orbiting resources worth billions of dollars is an
egregious error of epic proportions. With effort, dedication, money and
commitment, we can save these 66 satellites and turn them into a network that
will serve the people who utilise it in ways yet unimagined by today's current
8/9/00 Space: The Final Junkyard The Learning Channel
Narrator: "...Commercial exploitation of space now threatens to become a
major source of debris. The Iridium Corporation has recently launched scores of
telecom satellites. Some have already failed adding to the junk [so far about 13
of 70 have failed]..."
"...a new constellation of nearly 300 satellites is planned for
near-earth orbit. Teledesic [http://www.teledesic.com], the brainchild of
computer mogul Bill Gates, will provide high-speed internet services world-wide.
But will these commercial ventures accelerate environmental disaster? With so
much more material in space what scientists now fear is a chain reaction--a
catastrophic pile-up with unstoppable clouds of wreckage smashing everything in
Scientist: "There are predictions that as objects collide in space they
produce, say, 1,000 fragments. Each of those fragments has the potential to go
on and collide with other satellites with each of those producing 1,000
fragments. So we can get a run-away situation called a cascade. This would lead
to a debris belt forming around the earth..."
[add to this equation the space station and the Narrator continues:]
"If a catastrophic break-up of the space station triggered a major
cascade, vital satellites would be wiped out, manned spaceflight would be
suicidal and the fragments would eventually fall to earth in a rain of burning
metal junk. Orbiting around us would be rings of glinting debris; the shiny new
bars of our planetary prison."
The whole program spoke to the effects already plaguing space flights and
satellites orbiting the earth. They've had to worry about space junk which
includes waste ejected from Mir's "back door," gadgets that
accidentally floated away from astronauts and uranium laced projectiles that
supposedly have already fallen to Earth (landing somewhere in Canada) spewing
radiation into the atmosphere.
From the TLC website:
"Spent rockets, discarded fuel tanks and millions of other fragments,
all traveling at 20,000 mph, litter our solar system. Because a fleck of paint
is capable of shattering a shuttle windshield, scientists fear a collision of
Scientists try to crack the mystery of falling ice balls
By MICHAEL WOODS
December 10, 2003
BARCELONA, Spain - A Spanish-American scientific team is monitoring ice events in the United States this winter
following research on a baffling phenomenon first detected here.
They're not watching for ordinary ice storms or slick roads, but incidents involving "megacryometeors," great balls of
ice that fall out of the clear blue sky - possibly due to global warming.
"I'm not worried that a block of ice may fall on your head," said Jesus Martinez-Frias of the Center for Astrobiology, in
Madrid. "I'm worried that great blocks of ice are forming where they shouldn't exist."
Heads, however, have very nearly been cracked by megacryometeors, a term coined from "mega," which means
"big," "cryo" for "ice" and "meteor," the extraterrestrial debris that streak through the atmosphere. Most weigh 25 to 35
pounds, but one whopper found in Brazil tipped the scales at 440 pounds.
Ice balls have punched holes in the roofs of houses, smashed through car windshields and whizzed right past
people's heads. Last winter, an ice chunk that eyewitnesses described as "half the size of a car" ripped through the
roof of an automobile dealership in Lawrenceville, Ga.
Incidents like those may be just the beginning, according to David Travis, who researches atmospheric conditions that
foster megacryometeor formation. He chairs the department of geography and geology at the University of
"If megacryometeor formation is linked to global warming, as we suspect, then it is fair to assume that these events
may increase in the future," Travis said.
Martinez-Frias pioneered research on megacryometeors in January 2000, after ice chunks weighing up to 6.6 pounds
rained on Spain out of cloudless skies for 10 days. A government scientific research agency thought the ice might be
extraterrestrial, from a comet, and asked him to investigate.
At first, scientists thought the phenomenon was unique to Spain. But they've accumulated strong evidence that
megacryometeors are a global event, Travis said. They've documented ice balls falling from cloudless skies
everywhere from China to the United States and studied about 20 events outside Spain.
More than 50 falls have been confirmed, and researchers believe that's a small fraction of the actual number, since
most may hit unoccupied areas or melt before discovery.
Travis said there appears to be a seasonal pattern to such falls, with most occurring in January, February and March.
"I am anxiously waiting to see what will happen this winter," Travis said. "We'll be keeping a lookout, and we want to
make people in every state aware and ask their help. We strongly encourage eyewitnesses to preserve samples, in a
freezer if need be, and contact us."
Researchers had samples from the 2000 incidents to analyze, thanks to quick-thinking eyewitnesses who kept the
Martinez-Frias' team quickly ruled out obvious explanations.
The ice balls, for instance, were not frozen water from toilets flushed on jetliners. The ice contained no human waste
and none of the blue disinfectant used in airplane toilets.
Air-traffic-control records showed that no planes overflew the areas near the ice falls, so the ice was not shed from
aircraft wings or fuselages.
Chunks of debris from a comet? Comets, after all, are composed partly of extraterrestrial ice. But lab tests showed
that ice in megacryometeors had the distinctive chemical signature of ice in ordinary terrestrial hailstones.
When sawed in half, they also showed the physical profile of hailstones.
"These occurrences are not the result of hoaxers, either," Travis said. "There are too many similarities in the
atmospheric conditions associated (with) their occurrences that hoaxers would have no knowledge or interest in."
That leaves monster hailstones forming in a cloudless sky, a notion that defies more than a century of research on hail
"Scientists are naturally reluctant to say something never can happen," noted Charles Knight, a hail expert at the
University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, a university consortium in Boulder, Colo. "But oh, dear. I would be
tempted to say 'never' on this."
Knight said he has reviewed scientific papers published on megacryometeors, and thinks the explanation, which
involves unusual atmospheric conditions possibly linked to global warming, is wrong.