Today in New West news: NASA’s Juno probe reaches Jupiter, National Geographic’s “Unique Lodges,” an update on the Glacier-area grizzly attack, and Simon Ramo passes away.
According to the Denver Business Journal, NASA’s Juno probe entered Jupiter’s orbit Monday night, after flying 1.7 billion miles over the course of five years—a coup for one Jefferson County firm. From the DBJ:
While many watched 4th of July fireworks, teams of engineers at the Lockheed Martin Space Systems Co. headquartered southwest of Denver and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, listened on edge to transmissions from the $1.1 billion science probe for indications Juno successfully made it into the giant planet’s orbit.
Juno, flying on its own computers, fired its main engines for 35 minutes to slow from 165,000 miles-an-hour and executed its instructions with such precision that it broke into Jupiter’s orbit within one second of when NASA engineers calculated.
“That’s how good this team is. You’re the best — you nailed it,” said researcher Scott Bolton, giddy at a press conference late Monday night.
Bolton, a scientist with San Antonio-based Southwest Research Institute, conceived of and is leading Juno’s research mission meant to unlock mysteries about Jupiter.
Lockheed Martin Space Systems Co. built Juno for NASA, developing a thick titanium-shielded body to protect the electronic components on board from the intense radiation put off by the gas planet.
Juno is the first solar-powered spacecraft to reach the solar system’s outer planets. Previous probes to venture so deep into space used nuclear power.
Juno launched in 2011 atop an Atlas V rocket made by Centennial-based United Launch Alliance.
The spacecraft has a series of instruments meant to map Jupiter’s magnetic structure, its gravity, how energy particles move through Jupiter’s depths and other details that are unknown about a planet that has 2.5 more mass than the solar system’s other planets combined.
The probe may reveal whether or not there’s a solid core inside Jupiter’s gaseous interior.
Meanwhile, back on planet Earth, National Geographic has unveiled their list of Unique Lodges of the World, highlighting international travel destinations of all climes and character. Several North American lodges made the cut, but you may be surprised which portions of the Rocky Mountain region National Geographic chose to highlight. Any guesses? Here’s your first (perhaps shocking) clue: none of the lodges are in Colorado.
Rather, you have to look in Montana and Wyoming.
According to the Bozeman Daily Chronicle, Lone Mountain Ranch in Big Sky (built in 1915 but renovated in 2013 by California-based Makar Properties) was one of three “lower 48” properties chosen by National Geographic for representation on their Unique Lodges list. Indeed, in their description of the property, NG offered effusive praise for both the Ranch and the adjoining landscape:
Just beyond the northwest border of Yellowstone, the peaks of the Montana Rockies descend into patches of rolling ranchland, threaded by a sinuous network of shimmering rivers. In one such valley sits Lone Mountain Ranch, a cluster of hand-built cabins, many of which date back to the property’s earliest days as a cattle and horse ranch. Now a wilderness retreat, Lone Mountain is a celebration of the region’s Old West heritage—its historic structures restored to their former glory and opening to one of the most rugged and pristine wildernesses on the continent.
Here, the mountains are big and the sky is even bigger, stretching above the wilderness known as the “Serengeti of North America,” where burly bison and elusive wolves roam. Venture out from your cabin into dense forests of pine and sweeping meadows of prairie grass. Explore by horseback, foot, canoe, and—in the winter—cross-country ski or snowshoe. Then join a lodge naturalist to explore the hidden corners of Yellowstone National Park, located a mere 18 miles downstream.
Besides Lone Mountain, National Geographic also chose to highlight The Ranch at Rock Creek (just south of Glacier National Park) and the Bentwood Inn in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Most of the other North America picks were in western Canada and Alaska.
Keeping with Montana, we previously reported a mountain biker (Brad Treat, 38, of West Glacier) had been killed by a grizzly bear in Halfmoon Flats, just outside Glacier National Park. Treat was a law enforcement officer with the U.S. Forest Service.
Since the attack, law enforcement officers were working to find the bear. However, according to the Missoulian, officials have called off a search for the bear, saying they believe Treat accidentally collided with the animal, and that the grizzly reacted defensively:
Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks spokesman Ron Aasheim said it was a tragic accident. Investigators are still trying to determine if it was a black bear or a grizzly, and whether it might have been a female bear trying to protect her cubs. Investigators have removed cameras that were being used to find the bear, along with traps that were placed in the area.
“This is an area of pretty high density of bears, and the bear didn’t return,” Aasheim said. “It was just a horrible accident. The bear was in a defensive mode responding.”
Authorities are still awaiting DNA tests that will show if the bear was male or female, and whether records show it might have been responsible for previous attacks.
National Forest spokeswoman Janette Turk said the attack occurred in a heavily forested area, and the area has been closed off.
The Missoulian also reports that a memorial service has been scheduled for Thursday morning at Legends Field in Kalispell. His family has agreed to set up a scholarship fund through the Flathead High School Athletic Division in his memory. Treat ran track throughout high school, and was one of the state’s best long-distance runners.
Finally, over in Utah, Simon Ramo, a renowned scientist and “chief architect of the Unites States’ intercontinental ballistic system,” has passed away at the age of 103, according to the Salt Lake Tribune. Born in Salt Lake City, Ramo kept close to his home state, establishing a scholarship fund through the University of Utah’s College of Engineering in 1998 for qualifying juniors and seniors. From the Tribune:
The New York Times and Los Angeles Times published extensive obituaries about Ramo, who was the “R” in the aerospace giant TRW and helped make California a center of high-tech weapons research.
In the New York Times piece, he was called “an engineer and entrepreneur who helped develop the rocket technology that changed the nature of the Cold War’s nuclear face-off and powered the first Americans into space.”
The Los Angeles Times story noted that Ramo was born to Lithuanian immigrant parents on May 7, 1913, in Salt Lake City, where his father operated a clothing store.