Articles in Space
In Hawaii six people are living in a geodesic dome, experimenting with they types of food that astronauts can eat when they journey to Mars. NASA have five meat products that have a long shelf life, and it is not surprising that one of them is Spam.
One of the the problems with long-distance space travel is that people soon get bored. One way of alleviating that is to add variety to their meals. Here’s one idea that was cooked up in Hawaii:
Recipe Ingredients: (serving of 6)
2 cups cooked short grained Japanese rice
1 cans Spam
3 sheets nori, cut in 2″ strips lengthwise
1/3 cup shoyu
3/4 cup sugar
Cut Spam into 6 slices per can.
Combine sugar and shoyu in a pan over medium-low heat.
Fry spam in sugar and shoyu until mixture has thickened and Spam is slightly crispy.
Drain on absorbent towel.
Cut sheets of nori into 2 inch strips.
Using a Spam can, cut out …
Note: this is unlikely to affect us here on Earth, but you never know…
…a gas cloud with three times Earth’s mass heading towards the usually placid supermassive black hole at the centre of the galaxy. The collision won’t be visible to the naked eye, but X-ray telescopes will pick up radiation from the shock wave created as the cloud slams into the halo of hot gas around the hole.
As the black hole, called Sagittarius A*, sits a mere 25,000 light years away – on our cosmic doorstep – the crash should provide an unprecedented view of material ploughing into a black hole. It could even yield important clues about what happened 300 years ago, when the black hole was much brighter than now.
Source: New Scientist
The black hole at the centre of the galaxy, formally known as Sagittarius A*, fascinates scientists. By mid-2013 a gas cloud is expected to pass in …
Until now the largest recorded solar storm has been the Carrington Event of 1859. Scientific discussions of solar storm risks typically refer to this event. What they often neglect to mention is that we have only been observing solar storms since just before that date. The frequency of these massive storms has impossible to tell without more data.
“In the 160-year record of geomagnetic storms, the Carrington event is the biggest.” It’s possible to delve back even farther in time by examining arctic ice. “Energetic particles leave a record in nitrates in ice cores,” he explains. “Here again the Carrington event sticks out as the biggest in 500 years and nearly twice as big as the runner-up.”
These statistics suggest that Carrington flares are once in a half-millennium events. The statistics are far from solid, however, and Hathaway cautions that we don’t understand flares well enough to rule out a repeat …
To be fair, I’m probably going to write a blog post in the next few days, for release after Dec 21, explaining how the doomsday could still come even if the exact day provided by the ancient Maya was incorrect. And of course the media prepare obituaries for people who are still alive and kicking.
So, nothing wrong with it really, but here’s the video NASA are releasing when the world doesn’t end next week:
Recently, NASA scientists gathered for a Google Hangout to debunk the multiple end-of-world theories alleged to transpire later this month. NASA even put together a YouTube video titled “Why the World Didn’t End Yesterday” clearly meant to be released on December 22, after the winter solstice doomsday the day before. [via CNet]
Interestingly, this debunk gets several things wrong:
They mention that the Maya believe the world began 5,000 or so years ago. They completely neglect to mention that there were …
The source of the disinformation (once again) is David Morrison from NASA. Over at the SETI Institute is a 2012 Doomsday Fact Sheet. I’ve reproduced it in full, with my more expert opinion in red:
There is widespread and unnecessary fear of doomsday on December 21, 2012. Some people worry about a Maya prophesy of the end of the world, others fear a variety of astronomical threats such as collision with a rogue planet. Opinion polls suggest that one in ten Americans worry about whether they will survive past Dec 21 of this year, and middle-school teachers everywhere report that many of their students are fearful of a coming apocalypse. Following are brief facts that address these doomsday fears.
Mayan Calendar: The Maya calendar, which is made up different cycles of day counts, does not end this year. Rather, one cycle of 144,000 days (394 years) ends and the next cycle begins. …
An “electric universe” makes for an interesting alternative to standard theories. It has a lot of followers and few debunkers, and I really want to study it one day, although it is currently in my too hard basket. Not too hard for me to understand, but more too hard for me to find someone who explains it well enough for me to understand. If Michio Kaku were to write a book on it (unlikely) I’d be happy.
But, basically, electricity and plasma are major forces in the universe… in the same way orthodox scientists regard gravity.
For anyone that is interested, there is an excellent community at Thunderbolts.info, with a busy forum, videos and books. Here are some recent topics they have discussed in the forum, and above is one of their Pictures of the Day.
Some 460 light-years away in the constellation Centaurus, a thick disk of dust swirled around a young …
I’ve just been reading Parallel Worlds by Michio Kaku. He is very skilled at making complex topics easy to follow. And that helps me to generate ideas rather than just trying to keep up. This is from page 126:
Gamma Ray Bursters… releasing within seconds the entire energy output of our Sun over its entire life history (about 10 billion years).
That amount of energy is hard to imagine. The current thinking is that a GRB is the result of a hypernova – a super supernova. And all the energy would be released in two narrow directions which are known as a jets. The closest potential hypernova that we know of is Eta Carinae.
This from Wikipedia:
It is possible that the Eta Carinae hypernova or supernova, when it occurs, could affect Earth, about 7,500 light years away. It is unlikely, however, to affect terrestrial lifeforms directly, as they will be protected from gamma …
We can’t see our galactic center properly because of the interstellar dust that is in the way. While it might take a very long time for that dust to move out of the way, it appears that it could just vanish one day.
Dust surrounding a star has disappeared in the space of a year, without any known mechanism causing the disappearance:
“The disappearing act appears to be independent of the star itself, as there is no evidence to suggest that the star zapped the dust with some sort of mega-flare or any other violent event.”
“Nothing like this has ever been seen in the many hundreds of stars that astronomers have studied for dust rings,” Zuckerman said. “This disappearance is remarkably fast, even on a human time scale, much less an astronomical scale. The dust disappearance at TYC 8241 2652 was so bizarre and so quick, initially I figured that our observations …
I don’t know much about our Galactic Center, and scientists don’t know that much more. Here are some concepts that are mostly agreed:
Most galactic centers harbor black holes, and it looks like they probably all do
Those black holes are generally very energetic
The source of the energy is anything that gets sucked in
Our galactic center is very quiet in comparison
Maybe it is just hungry? Well, it is about to be fed:
Scientists have determined a giant gas cloud is on a collision course with the black hole in the center of our galaxy, and the two will be close enough by mid-2013 to provide a unique opportunity to observe how a super massive black hole sucks in material, in real time. This will give astronomers more information on how matter behaves near a black hole.
“The next few years will be really fantastic and exciting because we are probing new territory,” said Reinhard …
It amazes me how contradictory orthodox scientists can collectively be. When discussing the future of our planet, they typically regard their current understandings to be certainties that are set in stone. A good example is that we are not close enough to any potential supernova for harm to come to us. But that’s not fact, that’s an opinion based on a very short period of observations. So while I hear cosmic doomsday scenarios being dismissed all the time, I also come across many instances where scientists admit they have a lot to learn.
The pulsar at the centre of the famous Crab Nebula is a veritable bundle of energy. This was now confirmed by the two MAGIC Telescopes on the Canary island of La Palma. They observed the pulsar in the very high energy gamma radiation from 25 up to 400 gigaelectronvolts (GeV), a region that was previously …
Better late than never!
In my recent article on the incredible harm a solar storm could inflict on infrastructure, I pointed out that we only have a single line of defense, and the solar storms it detects could kill it:
When warning us about incoming geomagnetic storms, the NOAA’s only source of data is the Advanced Composition Explorer (ACE) satellite. It was launched in 1997, and according the the U.S. National Academy of Sciences in 2009, it is “well beyond its planned operational life”. I take this to mean it could fail any time, and there is no backup satellite! And all current safety measures become redundant – we won’t be able to remove vulnerable equipment from the grid before it is too late. “ACE is a single point of failure and it’s old,” said William Murtagh, program coordinator for NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction …
These two things are certain:
Nothing has completely eradicated life on Earth (so far)
Natural catastrophes may vary in size, type and location – but they always repeat
An explosion from our Galactic Core is certainly survivable, although you might need a bunker and supplies to last decades… Paul LaViolette explains such explosions in his books, especially Earth Under Fire. When asked for a prediction regarding the next explosion, he says:
A conservative guess would be that there is a 90% chance that a superwave will arrive in the next four centuries. I cannot rule out the possibility that one might arrive around the time of the Mayan calendar end date of 2012, as some proclaim.
Since he wrote Earth Under Fire, the Fermi telescope has been looking for “extremely short wavelengths on the far end of the electromagnetic spectrum”. And when they are mapped we get this:
See the full size image here.
At EarthSky.org a …
I feel like running a contest… how many more articles and videos debunking 2012 will NASA release? I’ve lost count of how many they’ve made to date. Here’s the latest:
An article has been appearing in blogs and at forums. It says, in part:
To avert a possible catastrophe – this time set for February 2013 – scientists suggest confronting asteroid 2012 DA14 with either paint or big guns. The stickler is that time has long run out to build a spaceship to carry out the operation.
NASA’s data shows the 60-meter asteroid, spotted by Spanish stargazers in February, will whistle by Earth in 11 months. Its trajectory will bring it within a hair’s breadth of our planet, raising fears of a possible collision.
The asteroid, known as DA14, will pass by our planet in February 2013 at a distance of under 27,000 km (16,700 miles). This is closer than the geosynchronous orbit of some satellites.
There is a possibility the asteroid will collide with Earth, but further calculation is required to estimate the …
At the heart of every galaxy there is thought to be a supermassive black hole. Our black hole is known as Sagittarius A*, and as far as these go, it is very quiet. But that could change in 2013 when a “suicidal gas cloud” gets sucked into it, causing the release of a lot of radiation. This is the first time I have heard of such an event in our galaxy, so it is interesting that they predict it to occur so close to 2012.
The kilo-electronvolt X-ray emission of Sgr A* may brighten significantly when the cloud reaches pericentre. There may also be a giant radiation flare several years from now if the cloud breaks up and its fragments feed gas into the central accretion zone. [Nature]
Since Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics (MPE) first started observing Sgr A* in 1992 they have seen just two stars …