Six Essential Reasons Why We Need to Send Humans to Mars

Today, as America plans to lead efforts to send humans to Mars in the early 2030s, it is important to clearly articulate the rationale for undertaking such ambitious missions.

This often has been a challenge, as there are dozens of compelling reasons to pursue such a goal.  However, those reasons can be succinctly organized into the six categories set forth below.  In addition, unlike the Cold War motivation of the 1960s that led us to the moon, the reasons for going to Mars are likely to result in a program that is far more sustainable than the Apollo lunar program, which ended in 1972 after only a handful of missions.

The reasons for sending humans to Mars fall within the following categories:

Discovery and Scientific Knowledge, Mars is the most scientifically interesting location in our solar system that humans can reach in the foreseeable future. Although robotic exploration of Mars over the past 50 plus years has provided us with a wealth of information and incredible discoveries, most experts agree that it will probably take human explorers to determine whether there ever was or even still is life on Mars and to conduct many other scientific investigations that are not possible with robots alone.

Inspiration and Innovation, Space exploration is widely recognized to be one of the most effective ways to inspire students to become interested in STEM education and it is a well-known driver of technology and innovation. Returning to the Moon after 50 years is unlikely to require major advancements in technology. In contrast, an ambitious mission to the next frontier of Mars will inspire new generations of engineers, scientists, physicians, innovators, educators, and industrialists to reach for the stars.

Continue reading →

German Tanks Stand No Chance Against Advanced Russian Tanks

This is not my original post, but since i love reading about military news and Indonesia currently purchased lot of Leopard Tanks, I’d like to share it in my blog.

Leopard vs ArmataArmata (Pic 1 above and 2 below) vs Leopard (Pic 2 above and 1 below)

German Tanks Stand No Chance Against Advanced Russian Tanks – The German Armed Forces in its current state would not be capable of repelling a hypothetical attack by Russian tanks, the German media outlet Focus reported.

Armata Vs Leopard 2: Germany’s Main Battle Tank Could Be in Trouble

According to the article, although the Bundeswehr has some of the best tanks in the world in service, their combat system is ageing and not that effective.

Actual tank projectiles of the German military are incapable of producing enough kinetic energy to hit the armor of Russia’s modern T-90 and updated T-80 machines, Focus explained.

Currently, Russia is implementing a modernization program for its tanks. The armor and weapons of T-90 tanks have been heavily upgraded since they entered service back in the 1990s. In 2017, the state-of-the-art Armata tank is scheduled to join the Russian military.

Due to a reform of its military Germany has reduced the number of Leopard-2 tanks in service to 225.

However, with the Ukrainian crisis sparking concerns in the West, German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen ordered to buy back 100 Leopard-2 tanks for €22 million, which were to be recycled. As a result, the total number of Leopards in the Bundeswehr reached 328.

According to German military analyst Hans Ruhle, the build-up of Germany’s armored forces is pointless as the combat system of the Leopard-2 is ineffective.

In order to increase combat effectiveness, tank shells with depleted uranium are required, the expert pointed out. However, politically this is unacceptable.

Armata: New Secrets of Russia’s ‘Future Tank’ Unveiled
Most German operational tanks are of the A-6 and A-5 series. Some 100 Leopard-2 tanks are of the A-4 series. The Leopard-2 has been in production since 1979, and has been modernized several times. According to Focus, in 2017 Germany is expected to modernize tank ammunition which will exclusively involve the A-7, the latest version of the tank. Currently, Germany has only 20 tanks of the series in operation.

Original news: sputniknews.com

Continue reading →

Myths About the German Invasion of Poland – 1 September 1939

From: madefromhistory.com

On 1 September 1939 Adolf Hitler, reassured by his secret agreement (Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact) with Stalin, launched a massive invasion of Poland. Scything through the Polish defences the Nazi juggernaut encountered little substantial resistance, and the intervention of the Soviet Union on 17 September sealed the fate of a plucky but doomed nation.

This account holds to the most general facts, but is coloured by a number of misconceptions, primarily that the Polish resistance was ephemeral and its forces totally outclassed by their German opponents. There are three myths in particular that require addressing:

Polish Cavalry Charged the Panzers

The myth that Polish cavalry units charged armoured Panzer divisions seems to reinforce the broader idea of a modern German force sweeping aside a weak, antiquated army. The image of lances glancing off the tank armour aptly encapsulates the futility of Polish resistance.

Polish Cavalry 1939

Polish Cavalry 1939

In its very convenience to the Nazi agenda lies the origins of this myth. It originates from a single event, fortuitously captured by journalists and distorted at the behest of the Germans.

Italian war correspondents at the Battle of Krojanty, where a Polish cavalry brigade was fired upon in ambush by Panzers after it had mounted a successful sabre-charge against German infantry, were encouraged to exaggerate the event. Duly it became an accepted and unexceptional account.

Continue reading →

Hitler Invaded Poland – 75 Years of World War 2

From: fox.com

On September 1, 1939, the German army under Adolf Hitler launched an invasion of Poland that triggered the start of World War II (though by 1939 Japan and China were already at war). The battle for Poland only lasted about a month before a Nazi victory. But the invasion plunged the world into a war that would continue for almost six years and claim the lives of tens of millions of people.

Poland Invasion

Hitler salutes as he oversees troops during the Nazi occupation of Poland. The troops march in formation toward a wooden bridge, constructed by the Nazis across the San River, near Jarolaw, Poland

Today, 75 years later, Hitler is regarded as one of history’s great villains. So it’s easy to forget how slowly and reluctantly the worlds most powerful democracies mobilized to stop him. France and Britain did declare war on Germany two days after the invasion of Poland, but it would take them another eight months before they engaged in full-scale war with the Nazis. The United States wouldn’t join the war against Hitler until December 1941, a full two years after the war began.

Why did Adolf Hitler invade Poland?

The short answer is that Adolf Hitler was a ruthless dictator with dreams of conquering all of Europe. Annexing Poland was a step in that larger plan. The Polish military wasn’t powerful enough to resist him, and Hitler calculated — correctly, as it turns out — that Europe’s other powers wouldn’t intervene in time.

This map shows how World War I reshaped Europe. The red lines show the new borders drawn by the victorious Allies at the Paris Peace Conference of 1919

This map shows how World War I reshaped Europe. The red lines show the new borders drawn by the victorious Allies at the Paris Peace Conference of 1919

The invasion of Poland occurred almost exactly 25 years after the start of World War I in August 1914. That war ended in Germany’s defeat, and in 1919 the victorious allies carved up territory that had been part of Germany, Austria-Hungary (Germany’s defeated ally), and Russia (which had fallen to the Bolsheviks) into an array of new countries.

One of these new countries was Poland, which before 1919 had last existed as an independent nation in 1795. Another was Czechoslovakia — its awkward name reflects the Allies’ decision to combine areas dominated by two different ethnic groups, Czechs and Slovaks, into a single nation.

Hitler was contemptuous of these new nations, which he regarded as artificial creations of the Allies. There were significant German populations in both countries, and Hitler used trumped-up concern for their welfare as a pretext to demand territorial concessions.

In the infamous 1938 Munich Agreement, British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain agreed to Hitler’s annexation of the Sudetenland, portions of of Czechoslovakia with ethnic-German majorities (Czechoslovakia itself was excluded from the negotiations). Chamberlain claimed that the deal had averted another massive European war, but it only delayed the conflict while making Hitler more powerful when the war finally came.

Continue reading →

Global Trends In Defence Economics 2013 – 2014

From: The Military Balance IISS

Global economic growth slowed from 5.1% in 2010 to 3.8% in 2011 and an estimated 3.3% in 2012, as advanced economies continued to struggle with high levels of sovereign, bank and household indebtedness. Heightened financial contagion emanating from the eurozone – the 17 countries using the euro as a common currency – adversely affected European growth, while the unwinding of various domestic stimulus packages enacted in Asia in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis served to limit the extent to which Asia was able to drive global demand. High oil prices, an anaemic US economic recovery, and the lagged effects of incremental monetary tightening instituted across Asia and Latin America throughout 2011 acted as further constraints to 2012 activity.

global-spending-changes

Global Spending Changes 2011 – 2012

Despite the global downshift, emerging economies in Asia, the Middle East and Latin America are projected to maintain steady rates of growth, while advanced economies continue to address the weakness of their public finances. According to the International Monetary Fund’s April 2012 World Economic Outlook,

Gross debt-to-GDP ratios will rise further in many advanced economies, with a particularly steep increase in the G7 economies, to about 130% by 2017. Without more action than currently planned, debt ratios are expected to reach 256% in Japan, 124% in Italy, close to 113% in the US and 91% in the euro area over the forecast horizon. … In a striking contrast, many emerging and developing economies will see a decline in debt-to-GDP ratios, with the overall ratio for the group dropping to below 30% by 2017.

Defence Spending 2011–12

Reflecting these macroeconomic trends, global defence spending fell in real terms for a second year running in 2012. After a 1.5% real reduction in 2011, real defence spending declined by a further 2.05% in 2012 (constant 2010 prices and exchange rates).

Despite the overall reduction, defence spending trends varied considerably across regions. Real defence spending rose in Asia by 2.44% in 2011, before accelerating to 4.94% in 2012. In a similar vein, real defence spending in Russia and Eurasia grew by 3.11% in 2011, before rising by 13.28% in 2012. In Latin America, after a 0.71% real reduction in 2011 regional spending (caused in part by higher-thanexpected rates of inflation), real defence spending grew in 2012 by 4.0%. Similarly, after high oil prices in 2011 contributed to greater-than-anticipated inflation in the Middle East and North Africa, real defence spending is estimated to have fallen by 3.06% in 2011, before rising by an estimated 4.57% in 2012.

 

nato-vs-asia-military-spending

NATO vs ASIA Military Spending

Meanwhile, defence austerity in Europe saw real defence spending in Europe decline in both 2011 and 2012, falling by 2.52% in 2011 and by a further 1.63% in 2012. In North America, real military spending declined by 2.6% in 2011, and a further 7.5% in 2012. Sub-Saharan Africa saw a 0.3% real decline in 2011 spending (2012 trend unavailable at time of publication due to incomplete data availability), and continued to account for just 1% of global defence spending. (Note: real figures used here are measured at constant 2010 prices and exchange rates, see Figure 1 for further details.) See also ‘Comparative Defence Statistics’, pp. 41–2.

Asian and European Spending Converges

These general macroeconomic and defence-spending trends illustrate a broader shift in the underlying balance of global defence spending. This is highlighted by the convergence between Asian and NATO European defence-spending levels since the onset of the financial crash of 2008. As shown in Figure 2, between 2005 and 2007 (i.e. prior to the 2008 financial crisis), nominal defence spending in Asia (excluding Australia and New Zealand) rose from around US$148.1 billion to US$178.4bn, an average annual rate of increase of 9.8%. Nominal defence spending in NATO Europe rose at a broadly similar rate over the same period – from US$252.7bn in 2005 to US$298.5bn in 2007, an average annual rate of increase of 8.8%.

However, after the 2008 financial crisis, a marked convergence began between Asian and NATO European spending levels. Nominal NATO European defence spending fell from a peak of US$305.6bn in 2008 to a post-crisis low of US$262.7bn in 2012, declining by an average of 3.6% per annum in each of the four years since the crisis. By contrast, nominal Asian defence spending post-2008 has continued to rise at just under pre-crisis rates, with spending increasing from US$207.4bn in 2008 to US$287.4bn in 2012, equivalent to an average annual growth rate of 8.6%. In the process, nominal Asian spending overtook that of NATO Europe, with the former rising from US$268.8bn in 2011 to US$287.4bn in 2012, while the latter fell from US$290.0bn in 2011 to US$262.7bn in 2012.

Continue reading →