Space news stories
Bill Nye, who left his Emmy-winning series after around 100 episodes, has embraced a new mission: educating an older generation as he champions space exploration and challenges creationists and climate-change deniers. This article from the New York Times reviews the new documentary film entitled Bill Nye: The Science Guy. Article contains an official PBS trailer video clip.
A book recently made public in India centers on Maharashi Bharadwaja, one of the greatest Hindu Sages in the ancient world, said to have described an aviation system even more advanced than what we currently have today.
The orb certainly had a ghostly quality, almost like a specter of the moon. Witnesses also claim that as it hung in the sky, it began to expand, giving the initial impression that it might consume the night sky, before eventually forming into an arc and dissipating. One witness said they went outside for a smoke and thought it was the end of the world.
Three months after Apollo 17 returned home in December 1972, then-US President Richard Nixon ordered the distribution of fragments from the rock that astronauts Cernan and Schmitt collected to 135 foreign heads of state, and to all 50 US states and its provinces. Each rock, encased in an acrylic button, was mounted to a plaque with intended recipient’s flag, also flown to the Moon. This article is a painstaking inventory of where all those fragments are located today, complete with photographs in situ.
The Smithsonian has revealed plans to revitalize the National Air and Space Museum over the next seven years. The $900 million USD project will be achieved on a phased schedule so that many of the artifacts remain on view as the construction continues. In addition, the National Air and Space Museum plans to privately raise the $250 million USD it needs for new exhibitions.
For the first time that we know, an interstellar visitor has zoomed through our solar system. The small space rock, tentatively called A/2017 U1, is about a quarter of a mile long and was first spotted by a telescope in Hawaii. It travels faster than any known comets or asteroids, and astronomers across the world are racing to study it before it departs just as quickly as it arrived.
It looks like the Rosetta mission’s comet is a bit of a tooter. A fart from the comet — which scientists called “a bright plume of dust blowing away like a fountain” — likely originated from the comet’s interior, maybe from ancient gas vents or unseen ice was photographed in 2016. Scientists estimate the jet burst spewed 39 pounds of dust per second.
To reveal the elusive sounds of space, NASA converted the radio emissions collected across the various missions into sound waves. The collection, shared in a new playlist on Soundcloud includes everything from the roaring warble of lightning on Jupiter to the eerie boom of starlight. Article contains a hyperlink to that Soundcloud recording.
The women featured in LEGO’s Women of NASA mini-figurine set span the first five decades of the US space agency’s 60-year history. The 231 piece building toy set is recommended for ages 10 and older. It goes on sale 1 November 2017, and will retail for $24.99 USD.
NASA’s JPL Dawn team found that Ceres’ crust is a mixture of ice, salts, and hydrated materials that were subjected to past and possibly recent geologic activity, and that this crust represents most of an ancient ocean. A second study suggests there is a softer, easily deformable layer beneath rigid surface crust which could be the signature of residual liquid left over from the ocean, too. The dwarf planet may have had a global ocean in the past. What became of that ocean? Could Ceres still have liquid today?
China’s defunct Tiangong-1 space lab is headed for an uncontrolled self-destructing nosedive into Earth’s atmosphere early next year. Exactly when and where on Earth the multi-ton craft will make its plunge cannot now be predicted.
An event never seen on any star in the Universe, it was as if the hand of God had turned a giant dimmer in the sky. Science proffered no explanations for what was causing the star to wane, how long it would last, or how much light the star would lose. After the star had faded by 2 percent over the course of five days, the lights mysteriously rebounded more slowly than they dimmed… Article also contains a 30 minute video.
Time for artificial planet coolers? A cooling sunshade for the planet could reduce harmful coral bleaching and the number of hurricanes, which damage reefs. With the effects of climate change becoming increasingly apparent, the idea of squirting a cloud of sulphate aerosols into the upper atmosphere is being investigated by several groups of scientists. This geoengineering would scatter some of the sun’s rays back into space, reducing the rate at which the Earth is warming.
Dr. William Sokeland, a heat transfer expert and thermal engineer from the University of Florida, has published a paper in the Journal of Earth Science and Engineering that proposes rapid ice melt events and ice age terminations, extreme weather events leading to mass die-offs, and even modern global warming can be traced to (or at least correlate well with) supernova impact events.
If you have long suspected the mainstream is being less than honest or simply delusional when they describe comets as “dirty snowballs”, or more recently “icy dirtballs”, then you might be interested to discover that close cometary encounters are associated with sudden spikes in the level of Thorium-232.
Oral traditions of Australian Aborigines may by extremely ancient, as they have inhabited the fifth continent for more than 65,000 years. They probably observed the cyclical changes in the brightness of pulsating red giant stars such as Antares, Betelgeuse, and Aldebaran. They integrated their observations into their oral traditions – cultural narratives that served as a system of laws, social rules, and general knowledge transmission. Research examining oral tradition for geological events, such as volcanic eruptions or meteorite impacts, has shown that such oral traditions can survive for thousands of years.