Another Habitable Planet Found!

This is becoming sort of a regular occurrence lately, every other month or so scientist find a new planet that is in the “habitable” zone. Like wise, the planet is always WAY to far out to really mean anything special. In this case, NASA found a planet that is 600 light years away, and is in the habitable zone. Being in the habitable zone means that it has all the right ingredients to possibly sustain life. The temperature is also at a very comfortable 70 degrees, but they don’t know if it has green house gases yet, without the gases the planet is not able to really sustain a chemical balance for life.

Kepler-22b, as it was called, has a 290 day long year, meaning it has seasons like the Earth. Every time that they find a planet like this one, everyone goes head over heals over the new find. While it is true that a planet with life would completely break the news and force us to start a new space age, you need to look at the other side of the story.

The planet is about 2.4 times the mass of the Earth, this means that while you won’t die in the surface of the planet, you’re not going to be pretty happy about living there. Then you have to find out exactly what kind of gases are found in the planet. Not to mention the distance from the earth, it’s several thousand years away. The astronomers are going to start looking at the planet a bit closer next summer to figure out if the planet is made out of gas, water, or rock. Until then, the picture I posted above is just another dud planet.

AP, via PopSci

Moving our Entire Solar System – Are We Getting To Far Ahead With our Selves?

Honestly, I think it’s a little boring to be sitting out in the annex areas of our galaxy. We, as a human race, are sent to the back from where all the fun is – like Toby from the office – we’re cool, but the rest of the galaxy doesn’t see that. No one comes our way and says “Hey Earthiens, here’s where all the fun is!” And even if they did we have no way of transporting every single human to the “party.”

Eventually, we’re all just going to sit here and die – a little morbid I know.  If we want to live, the only alternative that we have is to go out and look for a new place to live, eventually our planets will begin to die, our sun will start to die but not before destroying the Earth first, and the rest of our galaxy will never even know we’re gone. Because of that, some scientists have brought up an idea that’s out of this world – if we can’t move humans, let’s just move our entire solar system.

Currently our only options of actually finding people, or other intelligent life, are to send out astronauts to explore our galaxy, send out radio waves hoping for a signal, or send out a probe to other planets – and we’re not good at any of those. We can’t even send out a probe to mars without having that probe crash down to Earth full of poison.  We can’t send an astronaut to Mars, but even if we could, we wouldn’t be able to bring them back. So if we can’t do that, how exactly are they planning on moving our entire galaxy?

According to the researchers, stars like our sun generate enough energy to effectively move themselves; all they need is for the sun to direct that energy towards one direction to help it move. The current method these “smart masses” have on the table is to create a sail called – The Shkadoy Thurster – this sail is a massive piece of metal — or whatever type of solar resistant material we may have. I’m not a scientist or anything, but the image I posted above is a representation of how big this “sail” needs to be. I don’t think we have enough of whatever material they need in our planet to build such a thing. And here is a better idea, why don’t we add some heaters, thrusters, and windows then just move our civilization on that thing? This thing is going to be twice the size of the sun – with that size; it may have some gravity to help us live.

A Shkadov thruster is so massive, that it can reflect 50% of the light emitted by the star that it’s built next to. Then, all of the light that hits the sail is re-directed back towards the sun effectively moving the start towards one direction. This sail will generate enough pressure that the star will effectively supply an infinite amount of net thrust in the direction of the sail. I think I’ve seen this before somewhere … check this image out.

The researchers say that the thrust will move the Sun at a speed of 45 miles per hour, but after several million years, that speed will be increasing faster and faster. Eventually one BILLION years after the project starts, the star would be traveling at 44,000 miles per hour – by that time we’d be about 34,000 light years away from our current location and since the sun has such a strong gravitational pull, it’d be dragging all of our planets along with it. Once we get to an area that we like, we can stop and run experiments on the planets around us – because one billion years from now —- that’s what we care about…

Creating a Shkadoy thruster is not going to be an easy task, even they believe that our species is about 1,000 years from having enough knowledge and technological advancements to build something this massive. But honestly, I hope that by that time, we have other more “reasonable” type of technology. Heck, one Billion years from now, we’re not even going to remember where in the hell Earth was.

Our scientist are thinking of the problems that we have right now, finding solutions that are thousands of years into the future. Instead of finding out a solution to a problem in the future, where no one is even going to remember what the problem was, why not focus on solutions that can be achieved with our current technology, something that we can solve right now?

Shkavod Thruster, via NBF

Phobos-Grunt Failure Means the Russian Satellite Will Likely Come Crashing Back to Earth

Earlier this month Russia launched Phobos-Grunt, a probe that was going to “probe” Phobos, one of Mars moons. The launch was a success, and the probe was going to make two engine burns to send it out towards Mars, unfortunately, the engines failed, and once again we have to deal with a satellite full of poison dropping down over our heads.

Russian engineers are working day in and day out to try and figure out a solution to the engine malfunction, if they fail to come up with a solution within the next few weeks, the satellite may get sucked down by the Earth’s gravitational force.  The satellite, according to an Ex-NASA expert, is carrying one of the most toxic payloads ever:

“About seven tons of nitrogen teroxide and hydrazine, which could freeze before ultimately entering, will make it the most toxic falling satellite ever,” he said. “What was billed as the heaviest interplanetary probe ever may become one of the heaviest space derelicts to ever fall back to Earth out of control.”

Wired stated that the vehicle weighs about 15-tons, most of which will get burned up during re-entry, but the size of the satellite means that we’ll have some debris landing in our back yards.  Awesome Times to be alive!

Scientists found Pristine Big Bang Gas

The Big Bang theory states that only the lightest elements, like hydrogen, helium, lithium and the hydrogen variant deuterium were formed minutes after the universe’s creation, but no such samples had ever been found, but US scientist found two interstellar clouds that contain the original gas that started it all. The gas only contains original elements created moments after the universe’s creation.  This gas is the equivalent of our stem cells; we could technically forge it into anything that we would want. According to previous research, all of the elements of the earth were forged in the cores of stars. So theoretically, all we would need is a couple of hundred pounds of this gas and forge it into gold, or any other metal we would need.

Unlike anything else in the universe, this “pure” gas has never mixed in with any other element in the galaxy. The existence of this gas, formed minutes after the Universe was created over 13 billion years ago, had been predicted by scientist, but never before observed.

The clouds are located about 12 billion light years away from the Earth inside the Ursa Major and Leo constellations. According to Jason Prochaska from the University of California’s Lick Observatory, they were analyzing the light coming from quasars, when they noticed that the light was passing through a gas that contained nothing but hydrogen and deuterium elements. He said “In some respect we were searching for this, but we had been doing so for years and had been unsuccessful so the discovery was a very welcome surprise,”

I guess is great that we finally have virgin gas, but at 12 billion light years away, This means the gas is probably gone and not even there anymore! You can read the full article in this week’s Science.

Space Crew Emerges from Simulated Mars Journey After 520 Days in Isolation

For nearly a Year and a Half, a crew of volunteer astronauts who joined the Mars500 mission, were locked up in a small capsule. NASA wanted to see if the isolation was going to have some sort of psychological effects on the astronauts. The Mars mission technically, never really left the Earth, but they did go through the isolation problems that they would have to go through if they really did made a trip to Mars.

After they “landed” in Mars on February, they suit up and followed the appropriate procedure. The scientist wanted to make sure the crew’s brain stress levels were good enough to make important decisions. The crew conducted a couple of experiments on a simulated martian terrain, and was then sent back home.

Turns out the mission was a success.

“But Patrik Sundblad, the human life sciences specialist at the ESA, says the simulation has proved a complete success. “Yes, the crew can survive the inevitable isolation that is for a mission to Mars and back,” Sundblad stated. “Psychologically, we can do it.”

But technologically were still years behind, scientist don’t have a way to get humans there, much less, bring them back. Even though the astronauts phased the same problems they would face if they were actually traveling in space, not having anything to see through the windows, no cellphone communication, no “facebook or social media,” they did have the ability to e-mail their family members. The e-mails, however,  were delayed on purpose – based on a simulated distance from Earth to add that extra bit of reality. The researchers believed that in order to keep the astronauts sane in the space craft, they needed to have some sort of contact with their family members back home, and that e-mailing was crucial for a successful mission.

The simulator’s door officially opens at 5 p.m. EST and can be watched live streamed on the ESA’s website, after they step out of the capsule, they will have to go through another 4 days of health checks to really make sure everything went okay. The only problem I see with this is that they should have done this experiment in outer space next to the ISS. The effects of anti gravity could add an added challenge to the astronauts. I guess once we figure out how to make a space craft that can get us there, they’ll focus on that problem, but in the mean time, a capsule will have to do. Via ArsTechnica

This Asteroid is Getting To Close, on November 8th It Will Pass Between Us and the Moon

Click on the image to the left to see an animated image about how close the asteroid is going to get to the earth. According to NASA, they just recently took a picture of an asteroid that has been rushing towards the Earth for some time now. Using the Arecibo Planetary Radar Facility in Puerto Rico, they were able to locate an asteroid the size of an aircraft carrier that is actually going to be closer to the earth than the moon.

The asteroid is about 1300 feet wide, it’s called the 2005 YU55 asteroid, and it will passing by about 201,700 miles from the earth. Nothing to close, but still very close to get NASA scientist to feel uneasy in their stomachs. The Asteroid will be here on the 8th of November, but don’t worry. NASA said that the trajectory path of the asteroid is very well understood, the gravitational influence will not harm the planet, and we won’t even feel it was even here. NASA

NASA Arrest Moon Rock Bandit – Why Selling Moon Rocks is Illegal

Several month’s ago NASA arrested a 74 year-old grandmother who was trying to sell a piece of the Apollo-era moon rock the size of a grain of rice for $1.7 million dollars. Imagine if you had a piece the size of a golf ball. Here is the thing though, apparently NASA is very very stingy when it comes to moon rocks. When the Apollo Missions came back to Earth, they brought back several pounds of rocks. NASA then split the rocks and gave each nation and US State a different rock as a symbolic gesture. Since then, several rocks have gone missing and no one really knows where they went to. Attempting to sell a moon rock has two consequences:

1) If the rock is fake, then you go to jail for fraud
2) If the rock is real, then you go to jail for stealing government property

Either way, you’re going to end up inside the “state hotel” where a big guy or gal named Bubba is going to look at you and say “you’re my little puppy now.” Joann Davis, the Grandmother who was trying to sell the rock, claimed that she obtained the rock from her now deceased husband who worked as an engineer on an Apollo mission. She went on to tell police that it was Neil Armstrong himself who gave the rock t her husband.

She claimed that she didn’t know she was committing an offence,  and was only selling the rock to help out her sick son and then leave an inheritance for her family after her death. Apparently, Davis went out and started to find buyers on the internet, unknown to her, a NASA contractor ended up stumbling onto the little old lady and immediately notified his employers. NASA quickly set up a sting operation and got down to busting the old lady. According to NASA documents, she was using words like “black market” and “underground,” leading investigators to believe that she knew she was doing something illegal.

She eventually came up with a price and a location for the transfer of goods, a Local Denny’s Restaurant. Once at the restaurant the story doesn’t get better, the usual things happened. She pulls out the rock from her nickle purse, she gives it to the buyer, NASA comes out of nowhere to arrest her… Davis get’s scared, pees her pants (yes this really did happen) and then she get’s taken away.

Since the incident, Davis has been released, and apparently never received any real charges. According to NASA, employees do actually give small paperweight gifts out to other employees like the small rice size moon rock, but Armstrong stated that he NEVER gave a moon rock away. But none of the less, NASA takes Moon Rock sales extremely serious, they are still trying to find the missing rocks so what ever little rock they do find, they are going to make a big deal out of it.

Davis learned her lesson, NASA got their piece of rice back, Deny’s cleaned a dirty mess, and everyone is happy…

Telegraph U.K.

Something Just Happened to Uranus, Something Exploded and Scientist Want to Know What it Was

Well earlier this week something happened to Uranus, when scientist were looking at the planet to see if anything had changed in the boring planet, they found that something had erupted. Scientist are kind of confused at what it was but since we don’t know anything about the planet they are jumping to speculations, like every good scientist should. This “explosion/eruption” made Uranus cool again in the science realm. You’ll be surprised to know that the only cool things that Uranus has going for it is the fact that it’s sideways on it’s axis, meaning that it rolls around the universe rather than spin around it. Secondly, it has clouds and the planet it self are very temperamental and the seasons are horrible. One side of the planet gets sunlight for 42 years straight.

“The reason we care about the clouds on the planet Uranus is that they seem to be seasonally driven,” said planetary scientist Heidi B. Hammel over at MSNBC.com. “Uranus spins tipped over on its side, giving rise to extreme changes in sunlight as its seasons progress. The changes are therefore much more dramatic than for other planets. Uranus thus gives us unique insight into the energy balance in a planetary atmosphere.”

So now that the explosion, of what ever it was, happened in Uranus, the planet is starting to look a little cooler to scientist here at home. Still Looks like Uranus to me.

MSNBC