Tag: Earth (page 49 of 296)

Is AI a threat to humanity?

Excerpt from cnn.comImagine you're the kind of person who worries about a future when robots become smart enough to threaten the very existence of the human race. For years, you've been dismissed as a crackpot, consigned to the same category of peop...

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Climate Change is Preventing A New Ice Age, says White House Science Advisor





Excerpt from inquisitr.com

Climate change, particularly global warming, might be a good thing, according to President Obama’s science czar Dr. John Holdren.

In a recent online question and answer session from the White House, Holdren suggested that man-made global warming is preventing a new ice age. Holdren’s official government title is Assistant to the President for Science and Technology, and he holds degrees from MIT and Stanford. He has taught at Harvard and the University of California, Berkeley.

While the climate of the earth has changed over the millennia as a result of natural factors — principally changes in the tilt and orientation of the earth’s axis and rotation, and in the shape of its orbit around the sun — those changes occur far too gradually to have noticeable effects over a period of mere decades. In their current phases, moreover, they would be gradually cooling the earth — taking us to another ice age..."

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Ballistic Capture Can Send Spacecraft to Mars at Cheaper Cost

Ballistic capture could be used to reach Mars at a lower cost than current techniques. How does it work, and what are the drawbacks?Excerpt from techtimes.comBallistic capture is a navigational technique utilized by spacecraft, and has been successfu...

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Ursid Meteor Shower Peaks: Here’s How to See It



Image: Geminid meteor shower
December is usually marked by a series of meteor showers. Geminid meteors (like the one seen in this picture of Florida) light up the skies at the beginning of the month, while the Ursids - which peak Monday night (Dec. 22) - put on a show just before Christmas.

Excerpt from space.com
 

The Ursid meteor shower peaks tonight, and it should be a great show. 

When skywatchers think of meteor showers during the month of December, the Geminid shower (which peaked earlier this month) usually comes to mind. But the Ursid meteor shower — peaking tonight and into the wee hours of Tuesday (Dec. 23) morning — should also offer skywatchers a good view this year. 

Even if you can't see tonight's meteor shower due to light pollution or bad weather, you can still catch the Ursids online thanks to the Slooh Community Observatory. Tune in for Slooh's Ursid meteor shower webcast tonight starting at 8 p.m. EST (0100 Dec. 23 GMT) live on Space.com. You can also watch the webcast directly through Slooh.
The Ursids are so named because they appear to fan out from the vicinity of the bright orange star Kochab, in the constellation of Ursa Minor, the Little Bear. Kochab is the brighter of the two outer stars in the bowl of the Little Dipper (the other being Pherkad), that seem to march in a circle like sentries around the North Star, Polaris. These meteors are sometimes called the Umids, in a rather unsuccessful attempt to make clear that their radiant is in Ursa Minor, not Ursa Major. 

The fact that Kochab is positioned so near to the north pole of the sky means that this star almost never sets for most viewers in the Northern Hemisphere. And since the Ursids seem to fan out from this particular region of the sky, you have a reference point to look for these faint, medium-speed meteors all through the night if you care to. 

The fact that the shower peaks tonight is good news for observers braving the cold to see the display. The moon is just one day past its new phase, meaning that light reflected from Earth's natural satellite won't wash out the shower.

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What happens when you point a telescope for black holes at the sun?

The first image of the sun captured by NASA's Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR), which is sensitive to high-energy X-ray light. X-rays seen by NuSTAR show up as green and blue in the photo, which is overlaid on an image taken by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory.

Excerpt from
csmonitor.com


A NASA space telescope designed to peer at faraway black holes has snapped a stunning image of the sun, showing that its sensitive X-ray eyes can investigate mysteries in Earth's own neighborhood.
The new image, which was taken by NASA's NuSTAR spacecraft (short for Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array), is the best-ever view of the sun in high-energy X-ray light, space agency officials said. The photo, and others taken by NuSTAR in the future, should help researchers learn more about our star, they added.

"NuSTAR will give us a unique look at the sun, from the deepest to the highest parts of its atmosphere," NuSTAR team member David Smith, of the University of California, Santa Cruz, said in a statement. 

The new image, which was released Monday (Dec. 22), overlays NuSTAR observations (seen in blue and green) onto an image of the sun captured by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory spacecraft.

NuSTAR solar observations might also reveal more about the nature of dark matter, the mysterious stuff thought to make up most of the material universe.

Dark matter apparently does not emit or absorb light — hence its name — and nobody knows for sure what it's made of. A number of exotic particles have been proposed as dark matter constituents, including weakly interacting massive particles, sterile neutrinos and axions.

If axions exist, NuSTAR may see signs of them — patches of X-rays in the center of the sun — NASA officials said.

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Cloud castles: NASA wants to deploy manned solar-powered airships to Venus


A model of a floating city in the atmosphere of Venus (Image from nasa.gov)
A model of a floating city in the atmosphere of Venus (Image from nasa.gov)


Excerpt from
rt.com 

Despite its hellish surface, Venus turns out to be quite an attractive planet for exploration. NASA scientists are developing a project of conquering its upper atmosphere – a fleet of solar-powered aircraft may build up a whole cloud city in the future.

The challenging conditions on Venus’ surface – that is, 92 Earth’s atmospheres of pressure, the sulphuric acid rain with lightning bolts and temperatures of nearly 500 C – made scientists literally turn to cloud castles. This idea has been recently developed in NASA’s High Altitude Venus Operational Concept (HAVOC) mission that is set to send a series of missions to the planet.

“The vast majority of people, when they hear the idea of going to Venus and exploring, think of the surface, where it’s hot enough to melt lead and the pressure is the same as if you were almost a mile underneath the ocean,” aerospace engineer at NASA Langley Research Center Chris Jones told IEEE Spectrum magazine. “I think that not many people have gone and looked at the relatively much more hospitable atmosphere and how you might tackle operating there for a while.”


First, HAVOC is set to send a robot to explore the atmosphere of Venus. It could be followed by a manned mission to orbit and a mission to the planet’s atmosphere – both would include a 30-day stay. Later on, a crew of two astronauts would spend a year in the atmosphere, and someday a whole human colony in a cloud city might be established. 

The remarkable vehicle that would carry out the mission is designed to be nearly 130 meters long, with a small 21-cubic-meter habitat for the crew and its top covered with more than 1,000 square meters of solar panels. As Venus is the second closest planet to the Sun, it gets 40 percent more solar power than the Earth – and 240 percent more than Mars. 

The astronauts on the Venus mission are unlikely to leave the aircraft, so – 50 kilometers from the planet’s surface – it would be safer than the expedition to Mars. According to the scientists, they would be studying the planet’s advanced greenhouse effect to better understand the Earth’s possible future.

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Discovery Sparks Interest – NASA’s Mission to Mars Gets Its Own New Show

Excerpt from sciencetimes.comOften in the media, it's what's new and fresh that brings in the ratings. But what about looking for something potentially millions of years old? What if it wasn't on this planet even? Peak your interest yet? Well, if so...

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NASA’s Kepler finds massive alien planet 180 light years away

Excerpt from theweek.com NASA's Kepler finds massive alien planet 180 light years away NASA's Kepler space telescope has discovered its first alien planet since malfunctioning in May 2013,...

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