All posts by Val

Jim vs. First Mars tomato: Scientists announce edible space harvest!

Our president, Jim Jenkins is an avid gardener and known to his family and friends as “Farmer Jim”.  He was the first of our “gardening club” to get a big red tomato this year!  The news below should be of interest to our readers especially of a gardening conviction.


Several groups including NASA, Elon Musk and Mars-One hope to take people to Mars in the next ten to fifteen years. Returning to the Moon may happen in the next five years. If we get there it will be to stay for extended periods. People will also have to eat there and what is more logical than to grow your own food locally? In 2013 and 2015  the scientists conducted two experiments to investigate whether it was possible to cultivate peas, radishes and tomatoes on Mars and moon soil simulant supplied by NASA. The 2015 experiment provided the first radishes, peas, tomatoes and rye, but it is also safe to eat them?


The Mars and lunar soils contain several heavy metals that are toxic to humans such as lead, cadmium and arsenic. Plants are not too bothered by these and just carry on growing. We don’t know if the harvested fruits contain heavy metals and we don’t know if it is safe to eat them – which is what we aim to address in this project. If the project is successful, and shows that it is indeed safe to eat the plants and fruits, it brings the journey and the establishment of a long term human presence on Mars and a more or less permanent base on the moon one step closer.


Researchers at Wageningen University and Research Centre in the Netherlands are growing edible space vegetables in soil similar to the surface of Mars and the moon.


The new experiment will be carried out according to a procedure developed in 2015, with some improvements. It will use experimental trays, with one crop per tray, containing respectively peas, tomatoes and radishes and two other crops. The experiment will be replicated five times and the soils (Mars and lunar simulants and terrestrial control) will be enriched with organic material in order to improve the structure and nutrient supply. For Mars the nutrient will consist of the parts of the plants that would not be eaten and human faeces. Fruits and edible parts will be harvested and analysed for heavy metals at the Wageningen UR institute Rikilt.



Jim and Fun At Sea or The Best Fishing Trip Ever 2. This time in Maryland!



Jim Jenkins, Susan McCarthy, Ed McCarthy, Pat McCarthy, Carolyn Jenkins & Julie Jenkins

The Jenkins House a.k.a. The Ruling Clan of ATI are avid fishermen.  Their fishing prowess has been proven by many years of bringing home large and yummy fish of all varieties.  Their latest jaunt took them out of Chesapeake City into the water of the Chesapeake Bay.

The weather was perfect!  Sun was shining, fish were biting and the good natured taunts exchanged.

The rest of us (good landlubbers) were waiting ashore sharpening our knives and shining our silver.

Sure thing, the fishing party has returned victorious!

Eleven big rockfish were caught, out of the limit of 12. Many smaller rockfish were released. Julie Jenkins caught the biggest rockfish today, 28 inches. The next trip is scheduled in August off the coast of Delaware.

Our share of the catch was prepared on the grill and served with Chili Lime Dressing.  The recipe is to die for!  While this recipe for grilled rockfish with an Asian chile-lime dressing is super-fast and easy, it doesn’t taste or look super-fast and easy. Your guests will be impressed, and it will be our little secret.



Grilled Rockfish with Chili-Lime Dressing


  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced, or more to taste
  • 1 lime, zested
  • 2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Asian fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon Asian chile pepper sauce (such as sambal oelek)
  • 1 teaspoon Asian (toasted) sesame oil
  • 4 (4 ounce) fillets rockfisth
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil, or as needed
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tablespoon coarsely chopped cilantro leaves, or to taste


  1. Preheat an outdoor grill for high heat and lightly oil the grate.
  2. Whisk garlic, lime zest, rice vinegar, fish sauce, lime juice, chile pepper sauce, and sesame oil in a glass bowl.
  3. Brush both sides of rockfish fillets with vegetable oil and sprinkle lightly with salt.
  4. Cook on the preheated grill until fish is opaque, shows good grill marks, and springs back when pressed lightly, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer fillets to a serving platter.
  5. Whisk dressing again; taste and and adjust seasoning. Drizzle dressing over warm fish. Sprinkle fillets with cilantro leaves.


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You decide – The Best Technical Training for You!



You can make a difference. Applied Technology Institute is scheduling new courses for September 2016 through July 2017. Please let us know which courses you would like to see on our schedule or brought to your facility.

·         If you have a group of 3 or more people, ATI can schedule an open enrollment course in your geographic area.

·         If you have a group of 8 or more, ATI can schedule a course on-site at your facility.

On-site training brings our experts to you — on your schedule, at your location. It also allows us to plan your training in advance and tailor classes directly to your needs.

You can help identify courses to suit your training needs and bring the best short courses to you! ATI courses can help you stay up-to-date with today’s rapidly changing technology.

Boost your career. Courses are led by world-class design experts. Learn from the proven best.

ATI courses by technical area:

Satellites & Space-Related courses

Acoustic & Sonar Engineering courses

Engineering & Data Analysis courses

Radar, Missiles and Combat Systems courses

Project Management and Systems Engineering courses


Contact us: or (410) 956-8805

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China deploys missiles on disputed South China Sea island

Applied Technology Institute (ATI Courses) offers a variety of courses on Radar, Missiles and Combat Systems. We believe the news below would be of interest to our readers.

China’s People’s Liberation Army has deployed an advanced surface-to-air missile system on one of the disputed islands in the South China Sea, according to Taiwan and US officials, adding to growing tensions in the region about Beijing’s territorial ambitions.

Fox News initially released images showing two batteries of eight surface-to-air missile launchers, as well as a radar system on Woody Island, part of the Paracel Island chain in the South China Sea. The reports were subsequently confirmed by Taiwanese and US defense officials.

The Chinese defense ministry told Reuters in a statement that defense facilities on “relevant islands and reefs” had been in place for many years, adding that the latest reports about missile deployment were nothing but “hype”.
China claims 90 per cent of the 3.5 million sq km South China Sea, and its maritime ambitions have led to tensions with its neighbors, angry at what they see as Beijing’s militarization of the region. Many neighbors have rival claims to sections of the maritime region, including Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, the Philippines and Taiwan.

The Paracel Island chain is a largely unpopulated archipelago administered by China for the past 40 years. It has become the flashpoint in an increasingly aggressive territorial dispute between China and Vietnam, while Taiwan also claims the islands.

“Interested parties should work together to maintain peace and stability in the South China Sea region and refrain from taking any unilateral measures that would increase tensions,” Taiwan defense ministry spokesman Major General David Lo told Reuters.

The report used images from ImageSat International, a civilian agency. The images show an empty beach on February 3rd, but missiles are clearly visible on February 14th.

A US official said the photographs appeared to show the HQ-9 air defense system, which would pose a threat to any planes, civilian or military, flying nearby.

China is also reportedly building a helicopter base at Duncan Island in the Paracel chain.

In 2014, there was a stand-off between China and Vietnam in the area after China’s Haiyang Shiyou 981 oil rig was drilling between the Paracels, and Vietnam said the vessel was within its 200-nautical mile exclusive economic zone and on its continental shelf, while Beijing insisted it was operating within its waters

China has built a series of artificial islands in the Spratly archipelago to underline its territorial claims to most of the South China Sea, a key trade route through which more than $5 trillion  of world trade passes each year, including a large part of the world’s oil shipments.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei said China was entitled to deploy self-defense facilities on the islands, a right granted by international law, and criticized the Philippines for bringing the South China Sea dispute to a Hague tribunal.

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Raytheon Unveils New High-Tech Sonar System to Detect Submarines


Applied Technology Institute (ATICourses) offers a variety of courses on Acoustic & Sonar Engineering.

Raytheon reported that DARPA has received the prototype of a new underwater submarine detection system to be mounted on unmanned trimaran hulls.

The Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has received the prototype of a new underwater submarine detection system to be mounted on unmanned trimaran hulls, Raytheon said in a news release.

“Raytheon Company has completed delivery of its latest… fifth-generation hull-mounted sonar system, for… DARPA’s Anti-Submarine Warfare Continuous Trail Unmanned Vessel program,” the release, issued on Wednesday, stated.

A prototype trimaran built by Leidos is designed to serve as the program’s unmanned vehicle, Raytheon explained.

The Raytheon report followed published claims that Russia is apparently developing an underwater drone that will be able to inflict massive damage to coastal areas as part of a top secret project known as Ocean Multipurpose System: Status-6 carrying a torpedo equipped with a nuclear warhead.

This weaponized drone will be capable of causing “assured unacceptable damage” to an enemy by contaminating vast coastal areas, rendering them completely unusable for long periods of time, and will be able to bypass NATO’s missile defense system.

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Astronauts & Their Pets: How To Care For Your Pet From Space

Applied Technology Institute (ATI Courses) offers a variety of courses on Satellites & Space-Related courses.

We thought this could be of interest to our readers.

Space: the final frontier, the dark expanse, the great unknown. It’s a place only a few brave humans have traveled, and one that mystifies most others. For the astronauts who spend time among the stars, outer space is a realm that offers them amazing and unique experiences.

Full of unknowns, space also offers its fair share of distinct problems. Science Channel’s new showSecret Space Escapes features some of the bizarre and terrifying issues that can occur when you leave Earth. But not all of the struggles of space are this extreme; some are as simple as home sickness or missing your furry best friends.

Three astronauts featured on Secret Space Escapes about how they dealt with being committed spacemen and pet owners.

Image above: Mission Specialist Clayton Anderson made his first shuttle flight on STS-117. Anderson served as a flight engineer on Expeditions 15 and 16.










Clayton Anderson

He was a mission specialist on the STS-117 mission aboard Atlantis.  He stayed on the ISS for five months before returning to earth with the crew of STS-120.

Clayton has two dogs: Cosmo (a mini dachshund) and Lizzy (a dachshund/Yorkie combo).

His main means of communication with his furry friends were video chats.

Astronaut and medical doctor Scott Parazynski was a crewmember on STS-86, the seventh shuttle mission to dock with Mir.









Scott Parazynski

Scott was also on mission STS120.

He is a proud owner or Mare ( a planetary scientist dog). Mare’s name generates from the maria on the moon, the black parts on the moon that you can see with the naked eye.

Scott mainly communicated with Mare via phone calls.

Daniel Toni

Daniel has a total of 132 days in space about ISS.

He has an 18 year old cat named Koshka (Russian for cat) and a dog named Tayto (after the Irish brand of chips).

He doesn’t have a memory of seeing them in a video conference, but he is sure they were around. Like many things, the meowing and barking just go in the background.


All of them would have loved to have their pets in space, but are afraid that potty functions and dog breath could be an issue…





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Unidentified Space Object Will Fall to Earth Nov. 13

An unidentified space object will fall to Earth on Friday Nov. 13, but don’t be alarmed; it poses very little risk.

The unidentified object was first spotted in 2013 by astronomers in Arizona and it was appropriately dubbed WT1190F. It is believed to only be a couple feet in diameter and not very dense, which could mean it’s a leftover piece of a rocket.

The European Space Agency said the object has been orbiting Earth every three weeks in a “highly eccentric, non-circular orbit.”

Both ESA and NASA are excited to see the object reenter Earth’s atmosphere because it’ll help with research. ESA said the event will provide an opportunity to gather data and improve space agencies’ knowledge of how objects interact with Earth’s atmosphere.

“The first goal will be to better understand the reentry of satellites and debris from highly eccentric orbits,” Marco Micheli, astronomer at ESA’s NEO Coordination Centre, said in a statement. “Second, it provides an ideal opportunity to test our readiness for any possible future atmospheric entry events involving an asteroid, since the components of this scenario, from discovery to impact, are all very similar.”

WT1190F is expected to reenter Earth’s atmosphere around 6 p.m. (Sri Lanka time) and fall into the Indian Ocean about 62 miles off the southern coast of Sri Lanka.

Astronomers said the object will put on a spectacular show to those nearby as it turns into a bright strike against the mid-day sky.

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Halloween asteroid 2015 TB145 will fly by Oct. 31 at 12 p.m. CST

Plenty of people are getting spooked by the news giant asteroid 2015 TB145 is set to buzz by Earth on Halloween night, Oct. 31. There’s no reason to worry about the space happenings on the bewitching night, according to NASA, who is keeping an eye on the space rock they’ve dubbed “The Great Pumpkin.”

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California said they are tracking 2015 TB145 through several optical observatories as well as by radar. The asteroid will fly by the Earth at a safe distance slightly farther than the moon’s orbit on Oct. 31 at around 12:05 p.m. CST. The asteroid, which was only discovered Oct. 10 by the University of Hawaii’s Pan-STARRS-1 system, has a width of about 1,300 feet.

Scientists are excited about the asteroid’s Earth close buzz since it’s the closest currently known approach by an object this large until asteroid 1999 AN10 makes its debut in August 2027. That asteroid is about 2,600 feet wide.

Size aside, the Halloween space rock poses no danger to the Earth, according to NASA.

“The trajectory of 2015 TB145 is well understood,” said Paul Chodas, manager of the Center for Near Earth Object Studies at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.. “At the point of closest approach, it will be no closer than about 300,000 miles — 480,000 kilometers or 1.3 lunar distances. Even though that is relatively close by celestial standards, it is expected to be fairly faint, so night-sky Earth observers would need at least a small telescope to view it.”

Scientists said the asteroid should have no “detectable effect” on the moon on anything on Earth, including the  tides or tectonic plates.

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The Future Is Here: $75,000 Will Get You Into Space In 2017

World View Enterprises plans to offer balloon flights into space for private citizens. The trip into the stratosphere would give passengers a great view of Earth and a unique experience. reports that World View will carry a capsule containing six paying customers and two crew members to the edge of space using a huge helium balloon. The capsule containing the space tourists weighs about 10,000 pounds (over 4,300 kilograms). The complete flight will last between five and six hours. The first 90 to 120 minutes involve the ascent to the stratosphere as the capsule is carried slowly up and up the balloon. The balloon will then cruise at 100,000 feet for about two hours.

The return to Earth involves the separation of the balloon and the capsule. The capsule will be returned to Earth with the help of a device called a parafoil. World View has partnered with United Parachute Technologies (UPT) for the parafoil system. The companies announced earlier this year a successful flying of the first parafoil from the edge of space at a height of 102,200 earlier this year. This is right around the top height World View plans for its manned space tourist flights. says World View’s goal is start launching paying customers into space by late 2017. Tickets will cost $75,000 per seat. World View provides this video that shows what a trip aboard one of its flights might be like. Take a look:

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MARS FOUR: Alarming Facts About Extraterrestrial Life On Mars

Last weekend, NASA called for a press conference to announce a major discovery regarding the planet Mars. During the meeting, they revealed some pretty shocking information, completely changing what we once thought about the “red” planet that, suddenly, doesn’t seem so red anymore.

1. Mars Has Flowing Rivers Of Water On It

NASA announced that Mars actually has rivers of flowing water on it. What we once believed to be an arid and rocky desert of a planet is actually seasonal, not unlike our own planet Earth.

2. Mars Could Have Had Extraterrestrial Life Living On It

Obviously, with the announcement that there is water on Mars, the possibility of life near the surface becomes ever more plausible.

Another interesting fact is that the possibility of life in the interior of Mars has always been quite high.

“The possibility of life in the interior of Mars has always been very high. There’s certainly water somewhere in the crust of Mars … It’s very likely, I think, that there is life somewhere in the crust of Mars.” – Alfred McEwen, Principal Investigator, HiRISE, University of Arizona

3. Mars Was Once A Planet Very Much Like Earth, With A Giant Ocean

Mars is the planet most like Earth … [and in the past,] Mars was a very different planet, it had an extensive atmosphere, and in fact it had what is believed to have been a huge ocean, perhaps as large as two thirds the Northern Hemisphere. And that ocean may have been as much as a mile deep. So Mars indeed three billion years ago had extensive water resources. But something happened. Mars suffered a major climate change and lost its surface water.

4. Something Happened To The Planet That Drastically Changed Its Climate

Did historical intelligent life on the planet Mars have something to do with its drastic climate shift? At this point it’s impossible to say, but according to Dr. John Brandenburg, PhD, and plasma physicist, life on Mars was eradicated by nuclear war. He believes that a couple of intelligent civilizations from ancient history were responsbile for this, and in his published works, argues that the coloration and composition of Martian soil points to a series of “mixed-fission explosions” which lead to nuclear fallout on the planet.

Regardless of what caused Mars’ climate shift, we’ve certainly been left with some fascinating information to consider.

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