Tag: matter (page 21 of 62)

Ripples in Space-Time Could Reveal ‘Strange Stars’

Two Neutron Stars Collide
Scene from a NASA animation showing two neutron stars colliding.

Excerpt from

By looking for ripples in the fabric of space-time, scientists could soon detect "strange stars" — objects made of stuff radically different from the particles that make up ordinary matter, researchers say.

The protons and neutrons that make up the nuclei of atoms are made of more basic particles known as quarks. There are six types, or "flavors," of quarks: up, down, top, bottom, charm and strange. Each proton or neutron is made of three quarks: Each proton is composed of two up quarks and one down quark, and each neutron is made of two down quarks and one up quark.

In theory, matter can be made with other flavors of quarks as well. Since the 1970s, scientists have suggested that particles of "strange matter" known as strangelets — made of equal numbers of up, down and strange quarks — could exist. In principle, strange matter should be heavier and more stable than normal matter, and might even be capable of converting ordinary matter it comes in contact with into strange matter. However, lab experiments have not yet created any strange matter, so its existence remains uncertain. 

One place strange matter could naturally be created is inside neutron stars, the remnants of stars that died in catastrophic explosions known as supernovas. Neutron stars are typically small, with diameters of about 12 miles (19 kilometers) or so, but are so dense that they weigh as much as the sun. A chunk of a neutron star the size of a sugar cube can weigh as much as 100 million tons.

Under the extraordinary force of this extreme weight, some of the up and down quarks that make up neutron stars could get converted into strange quarks, leading to strange stars made of strange matter, researchers say.

A strange star that occasionally spurts out strange matter could quickly convert a neutron star orbiting it in a binary system into a strange star as well. Prior research suggests that a neutron star that receives a seed of strange matter from a companion strange star could transition to a strange star in just 1 millisecond to 1 second.
Now, researchers suggest they could detect strange stars by looking for the stars' gravitational waves — invisible ripples in space-time first proposed by Albert Einstein as part of his theory of general relativity.

Gravitational waves are emitted by accelerating masses. Really big gravitational waves are emitted by really big masses, such as pairs of neutron stars merging with one another.

Pairs of strange stars should give off gravitational waves that are different from those emitted by pairs of "normal" neutron stars because strange stars should be more compact, researchers said. For instance, a neutron star with a mass one-fifth that of the sun should be more than 18 miles (30 km) in diameter, whereas a strange star of the same mass should be a maximum of 6 miles (10 km) wide.
The researchers suggest that events involving strange stars could explain two short gamma-ray bursts — giant explosions lasting less than 2 seconds — seen in deep space in 2005 and 2007. The Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) did not detect gravitational waves from either of these events, dubbed GRB 051103 and GRB 070201.

Neutron star mergers are the leading explanations for short gamma-ray bursts, but LIGO should, in principle, have detected gravitational waves from such mergers. However, if strange stars were involved in both of these events, LIGO would not have been able to detect any gravitational waves they emitted, researchers said. (The more compact a star is within a binary system of two stars, the higher the frequency of the gravitational waves it gives off.)

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Japanese probe’s study of asteroid matter could help explain Earth’s evolution

Excerpt from 

The Hayabusa 2, a robotic Japanese spacecraft is due to launch on Monday in Japan from the Tanegashima Space Center. The take-off was originally set for Saturday, but because of unfavorable elements it was not able to launch. Fortunately, on Monday, the launch of Hayabusa 2 will continue and in mid-2018 it will reach its destination, Asteroid 1999 JU3.

Asteroid 1999 JU3 is 3,000 foot in circumference and circles the sun on an orbit that crosses through Earth’s. In past research, the belief that organic matter existed on JU3 was brought up by NASA, the U.S. Air Force and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Carbon, amino acids and water-rich minerals were all believed to be located on the asteroid, which might help to provide fundamental evidence on evolution and where oceans were first created on Earth.

Due to the substantial evidence brought back in the original Hayabusa mission, JAXA and the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency have partnered with planetary scientist Paul Abell from NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. They are to carry out the Hayabusa 2 mission on Monday in hopes that the H-2A rocket will bring back evidence of organic material on Asteroid 1999 JU3.

With the right samples and evidence, they may be able to prove the correlation between asteroids, how the solar system formed, and how life started on Earth. This could greatly impact the theories of evolution and the solar system. The Hayabusa 2 mission for organic matter on the JU3 is important for furthering scientific study.

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Elusive dark matter may be detected with GPS satellites

This two-clocks-illustration shows the pattern of how two atomic clocks would desynchronize and then resynchronize due to a lump of dark matter sweeping through a Global Positioning System or other atomic clock based network. Photo courtesy of Andrei Derevianko, University of Nevada, Reno.

Excerpt from

Global Positioning System, or GPS for short, devices are typically used for navigation purposes. But this satellite network could also alert us to something else: the presence of dark matter.

Dark matter is thought to form 80% of the universe, but is difficult to detect because it rarely interacts with ordinary matter. Its makeup is unknown, as it has never been viewed by science. Some have suggested that dark matter is a particle; however, a new study indicates that dark matter may consist of kinks in the quantum field.

According to Andrei Derevianko at the University of Nevada, Reno, and Maxim Pospelov at the Perimeter Institute in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, dark matter may be made of quantum field cracks that can be detected by GPS. The theory is a revolutionary one, and would change the nature of time and space where the kinds are located.

One of these elements is time, which is tracked by the extremely accurate GPS system. With a network of satellites spanning 50,000 kilometers and traveling through space at 300 kilometers a second, a cosmic kink could disturb the GPS clocks. This quantum crack would require 170 seconds to jump across the networks.

GPS clocks could be interrupted by other factors, but Deverianko and Pospelov believe that only dark matter could disturb the system’s timekeeping in a certain way.

Derevianko is currently pulling data from 15 years of GPS records to search for signs of dark matter’s presence. If no fingerprints are detected, he will use the ground-based atomic clocks belonging to the Network for European Accurate Time and Frequency Transfer.
If dark matter is nothing more than cosmic kinks, it could give some people a new thing to grumble about. “I hear these stories about people getting lost using GPS,” said Derevianko. “Now they could have another excuse: maybe it was dark matter that caused them to lose their way.”

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The Mission to land robot on comet to take final step

Excerpt from  theglobeandmail.com
By Ivan Semeniuk

Half a billion kilometres from Earth and 10 years into its remarkable journey, a small robot is about to plunge into space history.

Pending a final green light from mission controllers on Tuesday night, the robot – nicknamed Philae (fee-lay) – will detach from its mother ship and try to hook itself onto one of the most challenging and mysterious objects in the solar system.

It’s a high-risk manoeuvre with plenty of unknowns. But if it works, then the probe will be able to show us what no one has ever experienced: what it’s like to stand on the surface of a comet.

“Comets are new territory,” said Ralf Gellert, a professor of physics at the University of Guelph. “There could be some big surprises.”

Prof. Gellert should know. Fifteen years ago, he helped build one of the instruments on the dishwasher-size lander that will reveal the comet’s composition. No such direct measurement has been made before. Even designing how the instrument should work was fraught with challenges since there was so little known about what kind of surface the lander might find itself on.

“Is it an ice ball with rock and trace metals, or a rock ball with ice on it … or ice below the surface? We didn’t know,” he said.
And scientists still don’t.

When the European Space Agency launched the Rosetta mission in 2004, the mission’s target – Comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko – was little more than a fuzzy blip in astronomers’ telescopes. But Rosetta just arrived in August and it’s been in orbit around the comet since then.

What was assumed to be a single, homogeneous lump of ice and rock has turned out to be a bizarre-looking object in two parts, arranged a bit like the head and body of a rubber duck. By October, scientists had zeroed in on the head portion, which is four kilometres across at its widest point, and settled on a landing site.

Remote sensing data from Rosetta suggest that the comet is quite porous, with a surface that is as black as coal and somewhat warmer than expected. In other words, Philae will probably not be landing on skating-rink-hard ice. Yet, whether the surface will be crusty like a roadside snowbank, fluffy like cigarette ash, or something else entirely is anyone’s guess.

And while scientists and engineers say they’ve done everything they can think of to maximize the lander’s chance of success, they acknowledge it’s entirely possible that Philae will encounter something it can’t handle and smash to bits or sink into oblivion.

Yet the landing is more than a daring jaunt to see what has never been seen before. Comets are also among the most primitive bodies in the solar system. Each one is an amalgam of ice and rock that has been around since Earth and its sister planets formed billions of years ago. In a sense, comets are the leftovers of that process – primordial fossils from the birth of the solar system.

The instrument Prof. Gellert worked on, known as the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer (APXS), will help illuminate this early period by making precise measurements of the comet’s elemental ingredients.

It is carried on a robot arm that will place a radioactive source near the comet’s surface. The particles and X-rays the comet material gives off as a result of this exposure will provide detailed information about what chemical elements the comet contains. This will be augmented by another experiment designed to drill and extract a comet sample for analysis inside the lander.

Prof. Gellert, who has also been closely involved in NASA’s Mars rover missions, said Rosetta’s long timeline and the many unknowns related to the comet makes this week’s landing a trickier proposition than landing on Mars – but also a tremendously exciting one.

“I think it’s a matter of hope for the best and see what happens.”

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The New American Dream ~ The Case for Colonizing Mars

Excerpt from Ad Astra

by Robert Zubrin

Mars Is The New World

Among extraterrestrial bodies in our solar system, Mars is singular in that it possesses all the raw materials required to support not only life, but a new branch of human civilization. This uniqueness is illustrated most clearly if we contrast Mars with the Earth's Moon, the most frequently cited alternative location for extraterrestrial human colonization.

In contrast to the Moon, Mars is rich in carbon, nitrogen, hydrogen and oxygen, all in biologically readily accessible forms such as carbon dioxide gas, nitrogen gas, and water ice and permafrost. Carbon, nitrogen, and hydrogen are only present on the Moon in parts per million quantities, much like gold in seawater. Oxygen is abundant on the Moon, but only in tightly bound oxides such as silicon dioxide (SiO2), ferrous oxide (Fe2O3), magnesium oxide (MgO), and aluminum oxide (Al2O3), which require very high energy processes to reduce.

The Moon is also deficient in about half the metals of interest to industrial society (copper, for example), as well as many other elements of interest such as sulfur and phosphorus. Mars has every required element in abundance. Moreover, on Mars, as on Earth, hydrologic and volcanic processes have occurred that are likely to have consolidated various elements into local concentrations of high-grade mineral ore. Indeed, the geologic history of Mars has been compared to that of Africa, with very optimistic inferences as to its mineral wealth implied as a corollary. In contrast, the Moon has had virtually no history of water or volcanic action, with the result that it is basically composed of trash rocks with very little differentiation into ores that represent useful concentrations of anything interesting.

You can generate power on either the Moon or Mars with solar panels, and here the advantages of the Moon's clearer skies and closer proximity to the Sun than Mars roughly balances the disadvantage of large energy storage requirements created by the Moon's 28-day light-dark cycle. But if you wish to manufacture solar panels, so as to create a self-expanding power base, Mars holds an enormous advantage, as only Mars possesses the large supplies of carbon and hydrogen needed to produce the pure silicon required for producing photovoltaic panels and other electronics. In addition, Mars has the potential for wind-generated power while the Moon clearly does not. But both solar and wind offer relatively modest power potential — tens or at most hundreds of kilowatts here or there. To create a vibrant civilization you need a richer power base, and this Mars has both in the short and medium term in the form of its geothermal power resources, which offer potential for large numbers of locally created electricity generating stations in the 10 MW (10,000 kilowatt) class. In the long-term, Mars will enjoy a power-rich economy based upon exploitation of its large domestic resources of deuterium fuel for fusion reactors. Deuterium is five times more common on Mars than it is on Earth, and tens of thousands of times more common on Mars than on the Moon.

But the biggest problem with the Moon, as with all other airless planetary bodies and proposed artificial free-space colonies, is that sunlight is not available in a form useful for growing crops. A single acre of plants on Earth requires four megawatts of sunlight power, a square kilometer needs 1,000 MW. The entire world put together does not produce enough electrical power to illuminate the farms of the state of Rhode Island, that agricultural giant. Growing crops with electrically generated light is just economically hopeless. But you can't use natural sunlight on the Moon or any other airless body in space unless you put walls on the greenhouse thick enough to shield out solar flares, a requirement that enormously increases the expense of creating cropland. Even if you did that, it wouldn't do you any good on the Moon, because plants won't grow in a light/dark cycle lasting 28 days.

But on Mars there is an atmosphere thick enough to protect crops grown on the surface from solar flare. Therefore, thin-walled inflatable plastic greenhouses protected by unpressurized UV-resistant hard-plastic shield domes can be used to rapidly create cropland on the surface. Even without the problems of solar flares and month-long diurnal cycle, such simple greenhouses would be impractical on the Moon as they would create unbearably high temperatures. On Mars, in contrast, the strong greenhouse effect created by such domes would be precisely what is necessary to produce a temperate climate inside. Such domes up to 50 meters in diameter are light enough to be transported from Earth initially, and later on they can be manufactured on Mars out of indigenous materials. Because all the resources to make plastics exist on Mars, networks of such 50- to 100-meter domes could be rapidly manufactured and deployed, opening up large areas of the surface to both shirtsleeve human habitation and agriculture. That's just the beginning, because it will eventually be possible for humans to substantially thicken Mars' atmosphere by forcing the regolith to outgas its contents through a deliberate program of artificially induced global warming. Once that has been accomplished, the habitation domes could be virtually any size, as they would not have to sustain a pressure differential between their interior and exterior. In fact, once that has been done, it will be possible to raise specially bred crops outside the domes.

The point to be made is that unlike colonists on any known extraterrestrial body, Martian colonists will be able to live on the surface, not in tunnels, and move about freely and grow crops in the light of day. Mars is a place where humans can live and multiply to large numbers, supporting themselves with products of every description made out of indigenous materials. Mars is thus a place where an actual civilization, not just a mining or scientific outpost, can be developed. And significantly for interplanetary commerce, Mars and Earth are the only two locations in the solar system where humans will be able to grow crops for export.

Interplanetary Commerce

Mars is the best target for colonization in the solar system because it has by far the greatest potential for self-sufficiency. Nevertheless, even with optimistic extrapolation of robotic manufacturing techniques, Mars will not have the division of labor required to make it fully self-sufficient until its population numbers in the millions. Thus, for decades and perhaps longer, it will be necessary, and forever desirable, for Mars to be able to import specialized manufactured goods from Earth. These goods can be fairly limited in mass, as only small portions (by weight) of even very high-tech goods are actually complex. Nevertheless, these smaller sophisticated items will have to be paid for, and the high costs of Earth-launch and interplanetary transport will greatly increase their price. What can Mars possibly export back to Earth in return?
It is this question that has caused many to incorrectly deem Mars colonization intractable, or at least inferior in prospect to the Moon.

For example, much has been made of the fact that the Moon has indigenous supplies of helium-3, an isotope not found on Earth and which could be of considerable value as a fuel for second generation thermonuclear fusion reactors. Mars has no known helium-3 resources. On the other hand, because of its complex geologic history, Mars may have concentrated mineral ores, with much greater concentrations of precious metal ores readily available than is currently the case on Earth — because the terrestrial ores have been heavily scavenged by humans for the past 5,000 years. If concentrated supplies of metals of equal or greater value than silver (such as germanium, hafnium, lanthanum, cerium, rhenium, samarium, gallium, gadolinium, gold, palladium, iridium, rubidium, platinum, rhodium, europium, and a host of others) were available on Mars, they could potentially be transported back to Earth for a substantial profit. Reusable Mars-surface based single-stage-to-orbit vehicles would haul cargoes to Mars orbit for transportation to Earth via either cheap expendable chemical stages manufactured on Mars or reusable cycling solar or magnetic sail-powered interplanetary spacecraft. The existence of such Martian precious metal ores, however, is still hypothetical.

But there is one commercial resource that is known to exist ubiquitously on Mars in large amount — deuterium. Deuterium, the heavy isotope of hydrogen, occurs as 166 out of every million hydrogen atoms on Earth, but comprises 833 out of every million hydrogen atoms on Mars. Deuterium is the key fuel not only for both first and second generation fusion reactors, but it is also an essential material needed by the nuclear power industry today. Even with cheap power, deuterium is very expensive; its current market value on Earth is about $10,000 per kilogram, roughly fifty times as valuable as silver or 70% as valuable as gold. This is in today's pre-fusion economy. Once fusion reactors go into widespread use deuterium prices will increase. All the in-situ chemical processes required to produce the fuel, oxygen, and plastics necessary to run a Mars settlement require water electrolysis as an intermediate step. As a by product of these operations, millions, perhaps billions, of dollars worth of deuterium will be produced.

Ideas may be another possible export for Martian colonists. Just as the labor shortage prevalent in colonial and nineteenth century America drove the creation of "Yankee ingenuity's" flood of inventions, so the conditions of extreme labor shortage combined with a technological culture that shuns impractical legislative constraints against innovation will tend to drive Martian ingenuity to produce wave after wave of invention in energy production, automation and robotics, biotechnology, and other areas. These inventions, licensed on Earth, could finance Mars even as they revolutionize and advance terrestrial living standards as forcefully as nineteenth century American invention changed Europe and ultimately the rest of the world as well.

Inventions produced as a matter of necessity by a practical intellectual culture stressed by frontier conditions can make Mars rich, but invention and direct export to Earth are not the only ways that Martians will be able to make a fortune. The other route is via trade to the asteroid belt, the band of small, mineral-rich bodies lying between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. There are about 5,000 asteroids known today, of which about 98% are in the "Main Belt" lying between Mars and Jupiter, with an average distance from the Sun of about 2.7 astronomical units, or AU. (The Earth is 1.0 AU from the Sun.) Of the remaining two percent known as the near-Earth asteroids, about 90% orbit closer to Mars than to the Earth. Collectively, these asteroids represent an enormous stockpile of mineral wealth in the form of platinum group and other valuable metals.

Historical Analogies

The primary analogy I wish to draw is that Mars is to the new age of exploration as North America was to the last. The Earth's Moon, close to the metropolitan planet but impoverished in resources, compares to Greenland. Other destinations, such as the Main Belt asteroids, may be rich in potential future exports to Earth but lack the preconditions for the creation of a fully developed indigenous society; these compare to the West Indies. Only Mars has the full set of resources required to develop a native civilization, and only Mars is a viable target for true colonization. Like America in its relationship to Britain and the West Indies, Mars has a positional advantage that will allow it to participate in a useful way to support extractive activities on behalf of Earth in the asteroid belt and elsewhere.

But despite the shortsighted calculations of eighteenth-century European statesmen and financiers, the true value of America never was as a logistical support base for West Indies sugar and spice trade, inland fur trade, or as a potential market for manufactured goods. The true value of America was as the future home for a new branch of human civilization, one that as a combined result of its humanistic antecedents and its frontier conditions was able to develop into the most powerful engine for human progress and economic growth the world had ever seen. The wealth of America was in fact that she could support people, and that the right kind of people chose to go to her. People create wealth. People are wealth and power. Every feature of Frontier American life that acted to create a practical can-do culture of innovating people will apply to Mars a hundred-fold.

Mars is a harsher place than any on Earth. But provided one can survive the regimen, it is the toughest schools that are the best. The Martians shall do well.

Robert Zubrin is former Chairman of the National Space Society, President of the Mars Society, and author of The Case For Mars: The Plan to Settle the Red Planet and Why We Must.

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Dark matter may be massive & collide with Earth every billion years

 Excerpt from zeenews.india.com A new study has revealed that no evidence has been found that dark matter is made of tiny exotic particles, and it might be more massive.Researchers from Case Western Reserve University found that dark matter ...

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Terminally Ill Woman Brittany Maynard Has Ended Her Own Life

Terminally Ill Woman Brittany Maynard Has Ended Her Own Life
Brittany Maynard ~ Courtesy Brittany Maynard
Excerpt from People
by Nicole Weisensee Egan
Brittany Maynard, who became the public face of the controversial right-to-die movement over the last few weeks, ended her own life Saturday at her home in Portland, Oregon. She was 29.

"Goodbye to all my dear friends and family that I love. Today is the day I have chosen to pass away with dignity in the face of my terminal illness, this terrible brain cancer that has taken so much from me … but would have taken so much more," she wrote on Facebook. "The world is a beautiful place, travel has been my greatest teacher, my close friends and folks are the greatest givers. I even have a ring of support around my bed as I type … Goodbye world. Spread good energy. Pay it forward!"

Doctors told Maynard she had six months to live last spring after she was diagnosed with a likely stage 4 glioblastoma. She made headlines around the world when she announced she intended to die – under Oregon's Death with Dignity Act – by taking a fatal dose of barbiturates, prescribed to her by a doctor, when her suffering became too great.

"My glioblastoma is going to kill me and that's out of my control," she told PEOPLE last month. "I've discussed with many experts how I would die from it and it's a terrible, terrible way to die. So being able to choose to go with dignity is less terrifying."

On Oct. 6, she launched an online video campaign with Compassion & Choices, an end-of-life choice advocacy organization, to fight for expanding death-with-dignity laws nationwide.

"For people to argue against this choice for sick people really seems evil to me," she told PEOPLE. "They try to mix it up with suicide and that's really unfair, because there's not a single part of me that wants to die. But I am dying."

Terminally Ill Woman Brittany Maynard Has Ended Her Own Life| Cancer, Health, Medicine, Real People Stories, Brittany Maynard
Brittany Maynard
Nigel Parry

A Heartbreaking Choice

Arriving at her decision was a gradual one, she said.

"It's not a decision you make one day and you snap your fingers," she told PEOPLE.

"Really, from the beginning, all the doctors said when you have a glioma you're going to die," she told PEOPLE. "You can just Google it. People don't survive this disease. Not yet."

After researching her options, she decided not to try chemotherapy or radiation.

"They didn't seem to make sense for me," she said, because of "the level of side effects I would suffer and it wouldn't save my life. I've been told pretty much no matter what, I'm going to die – and treatments would extend my life but affect the quality pretty negatively."

In June, she moved to Oregon with her husband, Dan Diaz, 43, her mother, Debbie Ziegler, 56 , and her stepfather, Gary Holmes, 72, so she could have access to the state's Death with Dignity Act, which allows physicians to prescribe life-ending medication to certain terminally ill patients.

"I still smile and laugh with my family and friends enough that it doesn't seem like the right time now," she said in the video recorded Oct. 13 and 14, "but it will come because I feel myself getting sicker; it's happening each week."

Terminally Ill Woman Brittany Maynard Has Ended Her Own Life| Cancer, Health, Medicine, Real People Stories, Brittany Maynard
Brittany Maynard and Dan Diaz at Olympic National Park in Washington state in August
Courtesy Brittany Maynard

Her Final Months

Maynard spent the last months of her life making the most of the time she had left. She traveled to Alaska, British Columbia and Yellowstone National Park with her loved ones and explored more local attractions like Olympic National Park in Washington.

On Oct. 21, she and her family took a helicopter ride to the Grand Canyon, a place she'd been longing to see before she died.

"It was breathtakingly beautiful," she said in a statement.

The following morning, though, she had her "worst seizure" so far, she said: "The seizure was a harsh reminder that my symptoms continue to worsen as the tumor runs its course."

Maynard said she was deeply touched by the "outpouring of support" she got after going public with her diagnosis and her decision.

"I want to thank people for that, for the words of kindness, for the time they've taken in personal ways," she told PEOPLE.

"And then beyond that, to encourage people to make a difference," she said. "If they can relate to my story, if they agree with this issue on a philosophical level, to get out there and do what we need to do to make a change in this country."

Terminally Ill Woman Brittany Maynard Has Ended Her Own Life| Cancer, Health, Medicine, Real People Stories, Brittany Maynard
Brittany Maynard and her mother, Debbie Ziegler, in Alaska in May
Courtesy Brittany Maynard

Maynard also talked to PEOPLE about her legacy.

"For me what matters most is the way I'm remembered by my family and my husband as a good woman who did my best to be a good wife and a good daughter," she said.

"Beyond that, getting involved with this campaign, I hope to be making a difference here," she said. "If I'm leaving a legacy, it's to change this health-care policy or be a part of this change of this health-care policy so it becomes available to all Americans. That would be an enormous contribution to make, even if I'm just a piece of it."

Before she died, Maynard asked her husband and her mother if they would carry on the work she started to get death with dignity passed in every state.

"I want to work on the cause," Ziegler told PEOPLE last month. "I have so much admiration for people who are terminally ill and just fight and fight. They are so dignified and brave. This is a different choice, but it is also brave and dignified."

She also shared with them her hopes and dreams for their future. Upstairs in the home she shares with her family are neatly wrapped Christmas and birthday gifts for her loved ones for the next year.

"She made it clear she wants me to live a good life," Ziegler says.

In her second video, Maynard, who is an only child, said she hoped her mother does not "break down" or "suffer from any kind of depression."

And for Diaz, "I hope he moves on and becomes a father," she said. "There's no part of me that wants him to live out the rest of his life just missing his wife."

Terminally Ill Woman Brittany Maynard Has Ended Her Own Life| Cancer, Health, Medicine, Real People Stories, Brittany Maynard
Brittany Maynard (third from left) and her family at the Grand Canyon Oct. 21
Courtesy Brittany Maynard

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Partial Solar Eclipse Thursday ~ Next Eclipse Not Until 2017

This gives you an idea of how much of the sun will
This chart will give you an idea of how much of the sun will be blocked by the moon at the height of the eclipse, depending on where you live. (Photo: Doyle Rice and Frank Pompa, USA TODAY; Source: NASA)
Excerpt from usatoday.com

Don't forget to look up Thursday.

In the afternoon, a partial solar eclipse — where the moon covers a part of the sun — will be visible across much of the USA, barring any pesky clouds that could block the show. 

The eclipse will occur over most of North America — except for a small slice of eastern Canada and eastern New England, said meteorologist Joe Rao of Space.com.

In most of the eastern half of the USA and Canada, the eclipse will still be in progress at sunset — offering dramatic views if you can find a low western horizon, according to Sky and Telescope. In New York City, the eclipse starts at 5:49 p.m. ET and will last until the sun sets at 6:03 p.m. ET.

However, "people who live east of a line running from roughly Quebec City to Montauk Point, N.Y., will miss out on the solar show, since the sun will set before the dark disc of the moon begins to encroach upon it," Rao said.

During a solar eclipse, the sun, moon and Earth form a nearly straight line, with the moon in the middle. The moon temporarily blocks the sun in select areas on Earth.
Unless you use a special filter, such as welder's glasses, never look directly at the sun during the eclipse, or at any time for that matter. Universe Today warns that dangerous ultraviolet and infrared light focused on your retinas will damage your vision for the rest of your life.

Your camera also needs a special filter in order to photograph the eclipse.

The USA's next solar eclipse — which will be a total eclipse — won't occur until August 2017.

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