Archive for August 2010

Raptor-Lizards of Mythology   35 comments

 

Mythological Reptiles

Reptiles have always been associated with mythology and have been credited with magical and supernatural powers. The Egyptians considered the snake to be the Pharaohs reptile and the Cobra was credited with the gift of immortality. Lizards are also associated with the Sun. The movement of a lizard was thought to be able to return sight to a blind person and it also represented good luck and divine knowledge.  Turtles were associated with drought and viewed as the enemy of the Sun God. And Crocodiles are associated with deceit, two-facedness, passion and betrayal.

Dragons – The Lizard Kings

The dragon is the most feared and esteemed of beasts. The beast that all the world knows and the creature that never was. It is the impossible creature that exists in art, mythology, religion and legend. 

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Belonging to the family of extremely large, long-lived winged lizards, true dragons constitute the most advanced race of lizards known, far surpassing other orders in size intelligence and life-span.

Classical Dragon – Common European Dragon (Draco magnificens)

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Four-legged creature with tough, scaly hide, an eagles talons, a long sinuous tail, a reptilian snout crowned with a pair of horns. Bat-like wings spring from extended rib-bones just behind the front legs and fiery breath typical of most world dragons.

Dragons in Mythology

The three predators who most threatened our ancestors The Eagle, the Leopard and the Snake, merge in mythology to become a single creature The Dragon. Classical Greek mythology is alive with Dragons… One of the twelve tasks of Hercules was to defeat a fearsome dragon and Zeus also had an unwelcome encounter…

Typhon the Hydra

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After defeating Cronus, his father, Zeus was confronted by Typhon, Demon of the Whirlwind, a creature created from hundreds of coiled snakes, hundreds of serpents writhing from its shoulders, vast leathery wings and eyes that flashed fire; its roar shook the Earth and flames shot from its gaping mouth.

Fearful of Typhon Zeus fled, taking refuge in Egypt but accused of cowardice, Zeus return to face his formidable mountain hurling enemy. Zeus won the battle at Thrace, wounding and chasing Typhon to Sicily where he crushed him under Mount Aetna.

  

Gaea, the ancient Greek earth goddess was impregnated by just one drop of blood that fell from Typhons’s head and gave birth to Actaeus, first King of Athens.

Norse myth (Scandinavian Vikings) of Midgard Serpent – Jormungander

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Jormungander, a huge winged serpent with a dragons head and son of Loki and Angerboda, the gods of evil. “Odin the All Wise” recognised its potential danger and threw it into the depths of the sea. He ordered it to stay there, tail in mouth encircling the world until Ragnarok – the Day of the Last Battle when giants, monsters and warrior gods would engage in final battles. The outcomes would define eternity.

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At this time Jormungander rose from the sea to battle Thor – the mighty god of thunder. A raging thunderous battle ensued…midgard_serpent (3)Thor hurling thunderbolts Jormungander roaring with mind shattering blasts but eventually both were killed when Thor’s great hammer Miolnir struck Jormungander’s head and Jormungander’s poisoness breath caused Thor’s demise minutes later 

Timat

Babylonian-Sumerian Mythology

 

Timat, mother of the gods sought revenge for her husband’s killing transforming into a dragon with impermeable scales, two heavily clawed forelegs, a long snake-like neck and head, and a pair of horns. Timat’s battalions comprised of Sirrush – terrifying creatures, a hybrid mix of bird of prey, lion and Scorpion.

 

 

 

 

Japanese Myth – The Koshi Dragon Japanese_dragon

The impossibly huge Koshi dragon, could drape its body over eight hills and valleys simultaneously was slain by Storm god,  Susa-no-ow, a wild and footloose warrior- hero. Trees and bushes grew on its scaly back as did its eight heads with blood-red eyes and eight serpentine tails.

Japanese Dragon Birds (hai-riyo)

Locals claim a scaled serpent with a dragons head and features and a bird’s wings Jap_dragon_bird and body, lives in the centre of Lake Ukisima. Every 50 years it appears as O-gon-cho, “Golden Plumed Bird” from the lake to sing its terrible song – more howling-wolf than singing-bird. When heard, the season of sickness falls on the people. Last heard in 1834, famine and disease soon spread over the local area…  

  

Wyverns and Drakes

Both are closely related to dragons but do not belong to the same order.   wyvern2

Wyverns have true wings like bats or birds (derived from their forelimbs) and look like miniature dragons but with only two legs. They live in forests and woods and sport Eagle-like talons and tails tipped with barbed stings. wyvernAggressive by nature they attack potential prey on sight, and breeding females should never be approached when with their young.

Drakes have dragon like wings –developed from extended ribs and look like typical dragons. They are more timid than Wyverns and live in remote mountain areas. Their blood is toxic and they’re saturated in highly corrosive sulphur salt. This is flammable on contact with air; consequently the Drake does not breathe fire! Drakes are also known as Fire Drakes.

 

Griffons (Raptopanthera gryphos)

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In ancient times Griffons were symbols of safeguarding, protection and fair-dealing of justice. For over 5000 years these fierce highly dangerous wild creatures of India Middle East and N Russia have proved both inspiring and terrifying. One of nature’s most majestic creations and the emblem of sovereigns and kingdoms.

Most Griffons live in high unscaleable mountain crags and rocky overhangs, though North Russian Griffgriffon_gryphonons differ from Indian Griffons in that they live in hilly forests and mountains. Likened to a combination of reptile, feline and raptor, griffon-dragons stand around 2.4 m (8 feet) high at the shoulder. Their rear half is all lion including paws, and long tail, which acts as a rudder in-flight and a violently lashing expression of pleasure, anger or lust.

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Its front half is eagle. With viciously curved front claws, a cruelly hooked beak and powerful wings classed as a genuine third pair of limbs spanning 5.5 m (18 ft) the Griffon is probably descended from an exotic branch of the bird family. An authentic six-limbed creature with long, pointed ears and fiery eyes it can fly at tremendous speeds and easily lift off again carrying heavy-weight prey. Its colours vary from burnished-gold through to the exotic gaudy colours commonly seen on the Indian griffon. 

  

SunBlog credit to Kïrstin…she who flies on silver wings! Thank you for this blog suggestion… Smile

Sun May your scales shine forever bright! Hot smile

gryphon

Flying Close To Another Sun   48 comments

Project Icarus ~ Flying Close To Another Star

 

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Icarus and Daedalus in Mythology

Icarus and Daedalus were characters from ancient Greek mythology. Icarus’s father Daedalus was a famous architect, inventor and master craftsman. In order to escape imprisonment by King Minos of Crete Daedalus built wings for himself and Icarus, out of feathers, held together with wax. Daedalus warned his son not to fly too close to the sun, as it would melt his wings, and not too close to the sea, as it would dampen them and make it hard to fly. Caught in the thrill of flying successfully from Crete Icarus became careless. He flew too close to the sun god Helios, “touching the sky” and the wax holding his wings together melted in the heat and he fell to his death drowning in the Icranian Sea, which was named after him. 

img_01Purpose of Project Icarus 

Project Icarus is a joint initiative with the Tau Zero Foundation and British Interplanetary Society (BIS). The aim of Project Icarus is to design and power an Interstellar probe to “touch the stars” and escape the boundaries of Earth. Over 30 years has now passed since its predecessor, the Daedalus Project. This was a BIS project in late 1970’s conducted over several years, to design an interstellar probe for a flyby mission to Barnards Star. In light of scientific and technological advances the time has come to re-assess the unique concept of the Daedalus design in the hope that such studies will bring closer the day when mankind reaches out to the stars.

Without such an assessment it is difficult to realistically project when and what might be possible, and exactly what will be involved to make it possible. The Project Daedalus study will inject a much needed dose of reality into what was previously nothing more than speculation on interstellar probes/travel. And whilst still at the design stage the Project Icarus concept is its successor that Tau Zero Foundation and BIS scientists are working on.

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Project Daedalus

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      • Began January 1973 as a study to determine the feasibility of Interstellar Space Flight
      • It was concluded in 1978 that Interstellar flight was possible
      • It would be powered by fusion rockets using radio-active pellets (Deutrium and Helium-3)
      • And ignited by electronic beams to create plasma to push Daedalus through space
      • Helium-3’s rarity on Earth would have meant 20 years of mining from Jupiter’s atmosphere by hot air balloon – supported by robotic factories
      • Designed to accelerate for approximately 4 years until speeds 12% speed of light were achieved, then to spend the next 46 years cruising

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      • 5 year design study that began 30 September 2009 with aim of creating a credible interstellar probe and supporting the vision of manned space exploration. 
      • Icarus has two design power options:

  1.     Fusion Propulsion Engines:

Microwaves would be used to heat plasma to approximately 600 million degrees. This would fuse hydrogen nuclei to create Helium and the hot charged particles it produced would provide the necessary thrust. Presently the engineering necessary to set off a fusion reaction is unrealistically high, but Icarus designers are considering an experimental plasma engine ~ Vasimi. Besides demonstrating the concept it could also reduce to less than 40 days, the 9 month journey to Mars.

  2.      hypothetical_antimatter_rocket_NASA's Marshall Space Flight Cenyter Antimatter driven sail for deep space mission to the Kuiper Belt Cred Hbar TechnosLLCElizabeth laguna Antimatter Propulsion Engines:

300 X more powerful than nuclear fusion reactions. The matter~antimatter reaction occurring in the antimatter engine would be the ultimate power source for Interstellar crafts. 100% mass of an Antimatter reaction is converted into energy. This releases billions of times more energy than a similar quantity of converted rocket fuel.

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        • It would travel at minimum 18 per cent of the speed of light (FAST!) to the nearest star, Epsilon Eridani, an orange sun-like star ~ 10.7 light years away
        • Communicating with it would necessitate bending radio signals around the Sun.
        • This involves a process known as Gravitational Lensing where light (radio waves) are bent around massive objects like stars and galaxies. In Icarus’s case ~ THE SUN. The same effect can be seen when light passes through a prism. At the focal point the signal is drastically amplified, making communication distance between Icarus and Earth much shorter.
        • It has however been conceded that it would not be likely to launch till the end of next century and even at the above speeds still take decades to reach its destination.

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There are many different approaches necessary when striving for Inter-stellar flight ranging from the apparently simple Solar Sail to the warp drives of sci fi. Project Icarus is a half-way point taking an in-depth, no holds barred look at the “edge of projected technology in the context of a realistically demanding inter-stellar mission. It is a sequel to the seminal 1978 “Project Daedalus” of the BIS.”(Marc Millis – Icarus Consultant and Former Project Manager of the NASA Breakthrough Propulsion Physics Project, March 2010, and President of the Tau Zero Foundation)