SpaceJibe

August 22, 2011

From the Edge of a Crater, Amazing New Pics of Mars

Filed under: Inner Solar System, Mars, Space Exploration — bferrari @ 8:35 pm

NASA’s Mars rover Opportunity has finally arrived at the giant crater Endeavour, after nearly three years of intrepid driving across the surface of the Red Planet — and what a view!August 11, 2011: A portion of the west rim of Endeavour crater sweeps southward in this color view from NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity.

This crater — with a diameter of about 14 miles (22 kilometers) — is more than 25 times wider than any that Opportunity has previously approached during the rover’s 90 months on Mars.

New stunning views of Mars

New stunning views of Mars

See More Stunning Photos!:
http://www.foxnews.com/slideshow/scitech/2011/08/11/from-edge-crater-amazing-new-pics-mars/#slide=2

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August 19, 2011

New Report: Aliens Will Fix Global Warming… Or Kill Us

This photo of 'Earthrise' over the lunar horizon was taken by the Apollo 8 crew in December 1968, showing Earth for the first time as it appears from deep space. (NASA)

This photo of 'Earthrise' over the lunar horizon was taken by the Apollo 8 crew in December 1968, showing Earth for the first time as it appears from deep space. (NASA)

If or when intelligent extraterrestrials discover us, it’s anybody’s guess what they’ll do. They might befriend us. They might eat us. As Carl Sagan once noted, they might find amusement in some talent we have that they lack and use us as entertainment, just as we keep sea lions in captivity because of their remarkable ability to balance rubber balls on their noses.

All of these scenarios and more are fleshed out in a new article in the journal Acta Astronautica by researchers at Pennsylvania State University. One possibility they’ve raised has garnered more attention than any other: An extraterrestrial civilization might notice our planet by detecting changes in the spectral signature of Earth — the light radiated by our planet and atmosphere — caused by greenhouse gas emissions. And they might frown upon our behavior.

If or when intelligent extraterrestrials discover us, it’s anybody’s guess what they’ll do. They might befriend us. They might eat us. As Carl Sagan once noted, they might find amusement in some talent we have that they lack and use us as entertainment, just as we keep sea lions in captivity because of their remarkable ability to balance rubber balls on their noses.

All of these scenarios and more are fleshed out in a new article in the journal Acta Astronautica by researchers at Pennsylvania State University. One possibility they’ve raised has garnered more attention than any other: An extraterrestrial civilization might notice our planet by detecting changes in the spectral signature of Earth — the light radiated by our planet and atmosphere — caused by greenhouse gas emissions. And they might frown upon our behavior.

The group’s thinking goes like this: From the rate of change of the chemical composition in our atmosphere, the aliens will deduce our rapid expansion and, because of that, possibly view us as a threat, thinking we’ll soon pursue resources on other worlds.

“If [they] doubt that our course can be changed, then they may seek to preemptively destroy our civilization in order to protect other civilizations from us,” the researchers write. (Several media outlets have inaccurately reported that NASA is behind the new report. One of its authors, astrobiologist Shawn Domagal-Goldman, recently began working at NASA, but wrote the paper with former colleague Seth Baum and others at Penn State, whose institution was solely responsible for funding their research.) [Look! Up in the Sky! A Recent History of UFOs]

“This is a highly unlikely scenario,” Jacob Haqq-Misra, a meteorologist and astrobiologist at Penn State and a co-author of the new paper, told Life’s Little Mysteries. “We’re not really saying this is going to happen, but it’s a possibility. The motivation for explaining this possibility is that we are doing this technology already. We are looking at other planets and their spectral signatures.”

Haqq-Misra explained that astronomers are currently capable of detecting spectral changes in light coming from large (Jupiter-size) planets up to 200 light-years away. In galactic terms, this is a very small neighborhood (the Milky Way is 100,000 light years across). However, more advanced civilizations would be capable of seeing much farther. “How far you can see depends on how big your telescope is,” he said. “So this is a realistic scenario: What if ET looked at Earth?” [Could Extraterrestrials Really Invade Earth, and How?]

In fact, we already know what they would see. “People have looked at Earth’s radiation reflected back to us from the moon, and you can actually observe the oxygen and methane and ozone in our atmosphere. So we know the spectral signature they would see, and the changes,” said Haqq-Misra, whose primary research involves studying the atmospheric changes caused by life.

That aliens would react negatively to seeing signs of our rapid expansion is only one hypothetical outcome, he explained. Perhaps aliens are actually nice. “They might think: These guys are not going to make it. They might need our help.”

“But, to delve into some alien sociology, we are extrapolating human civilization to some future point and saying what we might do,” Haqq-Misra said. Humans don’t work well with others whom we view as a threat. After all, we seem to have killed off all our prehistoric competitors.

Whatever the outcome, the new research is another reminder that you don’t survive long in this universe if you can’t figure out how to live within your means. “The bottom line is, if there are intelligent civilizations out there, they pretty much have to have figured out how to grow in a sustainable way,” Haqq-Misra pointed out. “We’re not doing that, and [other civilizations] might make some moral judgment on how we’re managing our resources.”

Source

First look at the Space Hotel offers aliens aplenty, but no booze allowed

Filed under: Cool, Gadgets, Life, Space Ships, Wierd — bferrari @ 2:15 pm

A company called Orbital Technologies has big plans to put a hotel in space, 217 miles above the Earth. Take a look at the cozy station where you could dream among the stars, for a mere $511,000.

Forget spring break trips to Cancun — in the future everyone will holiday in the Commercial Space Station created by Orbital Technologies (assuming it ever gets constructed). Space hotel guests will have access to the stars, via Russian Soyuz rockets. It only costs about $164,000 to stay for five days in the CSS. But getting you there will put you back another large chunk of change. The Daily Mail rounds out the total costs (including travel) to be a around $511,000.

Each room can fit up to seven guests (nestled away in sleeping sacks as the zero gravity makes beds fairly useless). The station also includes a microwave, fridge, a shower cubicle and an air toilet (as a water toilet would be pretty nasty in space). Alcohol is strictly forbidden. Orbital Technologies hopes to have the facility up and running in just five years time — good luck with that!

Source

August 3, 2011

Dawn eyes Vesta’s Full Charm

Filed under: Asteroids, Cool, Inner Solar System, Space Ships — bferrari @ 8:40 am

NASA has released the first “full-frame” image of asteroid Vesta, an impressive view of the Clanger homeworld captured by the Dawn spacecraft on 24 July at a distance of roughly 3,200 miles (5,200 kilometres).

Vesta

Vesta

Marc Rayman, Dawn‘s chief engineer, enthused: “Now that we are in orbit around one of the last unexplored worlds in the inner solar system, we can see that it’s a unique and fascinating place.”

Jim Green, planetary division director at NASA HQ, agreed. He said: “The new observations of Vesta are an inspirational reminder of the wonders unveiled through ongoing exploration of our solar system.”

Dawn is now poised to carry out four “intensive science orbits” of the asteroid belt giant, kicking off on 11 August at an altitude of 1,700 miles (2,700 kilometres) above Vesta’s 330 mile (530 kilometre) diameter bulk.

NASA explains that as well as cameras, the spacecraft is packing instruments including “the gamma ray and neutron detector and the visible and infrared mapping spectrometer”.

The agency elaborates: “The gamma ray and neutron detector uses 21 sensors with a very wide field of view to measure the energy of subatomic particles emitted by the elements in the upper yard (meter) of the asteroid’s surface.

“The visible and infrared mapping spectrometer will measure the surface mineralogy of both Vesta and Dawn’s next target, the dwarf planet Ceres.”

Dawn is due to depart Vesta after a year, heading off to a 2015 rendezvous with Ceres – the largest asteroid belt object, measuring an imposing 606 by 565 miles (975 by 909 kilometres).

Source

August 2, 2011

Science Swedish Man Builds Nuclear Reactor in His Kitchen

Filed under: Big Bang, Black Holes, Cool, Gadgets, Government Policies, Wierd — bferrari @ 12:33 pm
Homer Simpson from popular TV cartoon 'The Simpsons' handles an inanimate carbon rod in the local nuclear reactor.

Homer Simpson from popular TV cartoon 'The Simpsons' handles an inanimate carbon rod in the local nuclear reactor.

ANGELHOLM, Sweden –  Too many chefs spoil the broth — but how many nuclear reactors?

Swedish authorities have detained a man who attempted to build a nuclear reactor in his kitchen, Helsingborgs Dagblad reported Tuesday.

“I was arrested and sent to jail when the police and the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority searched my apartment,” the unnamed nuclear enthusiast wrote on a blog detailing his project. “They took all my radioactive stuff, but I was released after a hearing. But I am still suspect for crime against the radiation safety law.”

Police in the western town of Angelholm were alerted when he contacted Sweden’s nuclear authority and asked if it was permitted for an individual to build a nuclear reactor in his home.

The unnamed enthusiast brought radioactive materials, as well as a Geiger counter which he ordered from the US. He also dismantled smoke detectors, which contain small amounts of nuclear material.

A spokesman for the local city council told FoxNews.com that people in the city of Angelholm were largely unfazed by the potential nuclear reactor.

“The reactions I have encountered about citizens in Angelholm is that the whole thing seems innocent,” Anders Clark told FoxNews.com. “Some have questioned his ability to feel a sense of responsibility, but I haven’t met any particular concern over the incident.”

He posted requests for information online and posted photos of experiments in his kitchen. But his attempts to build a reactor fell some way short, he told the newspaper.

Not so the work of Mark Suppes, a New York web designer for fashion house Gucci who surprised his neighbors in June of 2010 by revealing he had built a nuclear reactor in a Brooklyn warehouse.

The 32-year-old amateur physicist constructed the $40,000 homemade fusion reactor in his spare time, and became the 38th independent physicist in the word to achieve nuclear fusion from a self-built reactor and forms part of a growing community of “fusioneers.”

Source

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