Archive of 2012 February

17Feb2012

The Universe, Dark Energy and Us

The Universe, Dark Energy and Us Almost every scientific talk or seminar in astronomy today starts from the idea that we live in a universe in which a mysterious force known as dark energy makes up about 70 percent of the total

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17Feb2012

Are We The First E.T.

Are We The First E.T. Intelligent life may be in it's "very young" stage in the observable Universe. Its 200 billion galaxies show a clear potential to continue on as we see them today for hundreds of billions of years, if not mu

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17Feb2012

Nasa Loses Two Mars Missions

 Nasa Loses Two Mars Missions The most successful Mars exploration program in human history appears headed for serious downsizing as the White House and Congress struggle to tackle America's fiscal woes. (more…)

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17Feb2012

Aussie’s SKA Plus/Download A Billion Terabytes

Australia's SKA Push With a momentous decision imminent on whether Australia will become home to the world's biggest telescope, the federal government has stepped up its last-minute lobbying. Australia and New Zealand are competing against a consortium of nine African countries, led by South Africa, to host the $2 billion Square Kilometre Array, one of the most ambitious scientific projects yet conceived. The giant radio telescope, with it 3000 antennae, will be so sensitive it would be able to detect an aircraft radar 50 light years away. This week the Minister for Science, Chris Evans, will lead a delegation to China and Italy, two members of the international organisation that is due to make the final decision by April. Senator Evans said he would stress that Australia not only had the best site - the radio-quiet Shire of Murchison in the West Australian desert - in which to locate the telescope's centr

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17Feb2012

Nasa’s Super Science/Space Taxis

Nasa's Super Science NASA has created an implant that when inserted into an astronaut, it can "diagnose" and pass medicine into their body without them knowing. Known as NASA Biocapsules, the technology breakthrough could also be used on Earth to treat cancer victims and diabetics. The implant was created by Dr. David Loftus at The Space Biosciences Division at NASA Ames, and has been described as a “doctor under your skin” by technology website Gizmodo. Dr. David Loftus said a Biocapsule containing cells to treat a number of potential medical threats could be inserted into astronauts prior to launch. For example, the capsule could contain cells to sense high levels of radiation and automatically disperse medicine to help the body compensate. The capsules are capable of delivering many doses over a period of years, as there is currently no known enzyme that can break down their nanostructures, Dr

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16Feb2012

Russia, USA & Europe Manned Moon Base

Russia To Create Manned Moon Base with USA & Europe Officials from Russia’s Space Agency, Roscosmos, are reportedly in talks with Europe’s ESA and NASA over possibly establishing a collective an orbital station around the moon, or a manned lunar research base. According to Russian news site RIA Novosti, while the country intends on making the moon its focal point, Russia’s plans calls for more than merely putting boots on the lunar surface. According to Roscosmos chief, Vladimir Popovkin, that leaves only two options: “setup a base on the Moon, or launch a station to orbit around it. We don’t want the man to just step on the Moon,” Popovkin stated in an interview with Russian radio station Vesti FM. “Today, we know enough about it, we know that there is water in its polar areas,” he said of the moon, adding “we are now discussing how to begin exploration with NASA and the Europe

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16Feb2012

Space Junk Problem Solved?

Space Junk Problem Solved? The tidy Swiss want to clean up space. Swiss scientists said Wednesday they plan to launch a "janitor satellite" specially designed to get rid of space junk, the orbiting debris that can do serious and costly damage to valuable satellites or even manned space ships. The 10-million-franc ($11-million) satellite called CleanSpace One -- the prototype for a family of such satellites -- is being built by the Swiss Space Center at the Swiss Federal Institute for Technology in Lausanne, or EPFL. Its launch would come within three to five years and its first tasks will be to grab two Swiss satellites that were launched in 2009 and 2010 but will be phased out of use, EPFL said. The U.S. space agency NASA says over 500,000 pieces of spent rocket stages, broken satellites and other debris are orbiting Earth. The debris travels at speeds approaching 17,500 miles per hour (28,000 kilometers

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16Feb2012

Human and Robot Shake Hands In Space

Human and Robot Shake Hands In Space Astronauts and robots have united in space with a healthy handshake. The commander of the International Space Station, Daniel Burbank, shook hands Wednesday with Robonaut. It’s the first handshake ever between a human and a humanoid in space. NASA’s Robonaut was launched aboard space shuttle Discovery last February. Crews have been testing it to see how it one day might help astronauts perform space station chores. On Wednesday, ground controllers activated computer software that enabled the robot to extend its right hand, fingers outstretched. Burbank took the mechanical hand and pumped it up and down, as the robot’s fingers tightened around his hand. “The first human-humanoid handshake in space,” Burbank proclaimed. A cheer went up in the control room in Huntsville, Ala. “For the record, it was a firm handshake,” Burbank radioed. “Quite an impres

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14Feb2012

Why Do The Stars Twinkle?

Why Do The Stars Twinkle? Most of us are familiar with the song “Twinkle, twinkle, little star”. So, why do stars twinkle? First of all, though, lets define what me mean by twinkle. When astronomers go out and look at the night sky, we like to see the stars as tiny and very steady pinpoints of light. However, all too often they seem to sort of blink in and out and to dance around slightly. Sometimes, they seem to flash different colours and sparkle. The stars do not appear completely steady and unchanging. This is what amateur astronomers and most people in the general public would call twinkling. Naturally, professional astronomers can’t use such a simple term as twinkling, though! Instead, we call this twinkling effect scintillation. So, what causes twinkling or scintillation? Well, as it turns out, the stars don’t really twinkle. Rather, this is an effect of our atmosphere. In space, the sta

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14Feb2012

The Little Spacecraft That Could

The Little Spacecraft That Could Decades after their launch, Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 are approaching the edge of the solar system and still expanding our knowledge of the universe. A message appeared on Twitter a few weeks ago: "News from the edge of our solar system: @NASAVoyager shuts off a heater, saves power, plans work through 2025." The tweet came from Voyager 1, a rugged little spacecraft that left Earth nearly 35 years ago and is now approaching the area in space where our sun's influence fades to nothing. Twitter didn't exist when Voyager 1 and its sister craft Voyager 2 were launched back in 1977. Many tweet-ers weren't even born yet. The mission was designed to visit Jupiter and Saturn over five years. Scientists hoped to visit Uranus and Neptune as well - seven more years. But the two NASA spacecraft from the era of Ford Pintos and John Denver have defied expectations, going on and on

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14Feb2012

Evaporating Exoplanet/Richard Dawkins ‘Life in Universe’

An Evaporating Exoplanet?  The first exoplanet ever discovered to transit in front of its star, the gas giant HD 209458b also wowed astronomers when they found evidence that it was evaporating, sending a tail of material into space. Now astronomers wonder if they may have found a small, rocky exoplanet dissipating away in the same fashion. ESA / Alfred Vidal-Madjar (Institut d’Astrophysique de Paris, CNRS, France) Astronomers found what looks like an evaporating gas giant in 2003, but if real KIC 12557548’s world would be the first solid exoplanet seen dematerializing. So far there isn’t a lot of information to go on. The transits’ regularity argues against wildly off-kilter orbits, and observations seem to rule out anything larger than three Jupiter masses. The comet-like tail the researchers suggest as an explanation can’t be made of hydrogen, like the tail seen from the 2003 disc

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14Feb2012

Why is NASA Sending a Penny To Mars?

Why is NASA Sending a Penny To Mars? A penny in today's economy does not go very far, but that has not stopped NASA from making a 1-cent piece stretch all the way to another planet: Mars. The copper coin is attached to a smartphone-size plaque at the end of the robotic arm on Curiosity, NASA's Mars Science Laboratory car-size rover. The plaque, which was added to the vehicle as a calibration target, looks like an eye chart supplemented with color chips and the attached penny. NASA launched the Curiosity rover last November and it is scheduled to touch down on Mars in August. Targeted for a landing inside the Red Planet's Gale Crater, Curiosity will then begin its two-year mission to determine whether the area's environment has ever been favorable to support microbial life. Researchers will use Curiosity's calibration plaque to test one of the six-wheeled rover's five science cameras, the Mars Hand Len

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10Feb2012

Book Release – IQ Smith Saving Mankind

New  BOOK RELEASE 'The Adventures Of IQ Smith - Saving Mankind' Author: Don Stallman. I normally don't review a lot of books but when it comes to anything penned by Don Stallman I make an exception. Here is a talented local writer (Brisbane Qld.) who cares so much, not only about the story lines and characters he writes about, but also the reaction he has on his readers. Feedback is what fuels Don Stallman's literary skills and inspires him to go on to  bigger and better things. Do yourself and a great community service a favour and buy this book. It's just $2.95 and boy, this is the best value work I have EVER seen! We'll leave it to Don to fill in the details: Iqbal Smith, IQ to some, is a shy teenager when his life is turned upside down by events outside his, in fact anyone's, control. His famous father is chosen for a very special task by a very important and powerful person, and IQ and some ne

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10Feb2012

God Loves The Big Bang/Double Alien Suns

Big Bang Theory In Tune With Creation History The director of the Vatican Observatory said that the Church is open to the scientific theory that the world began from a cosmic explosion billions of years ago. “The Big Bang is not in contradiction with the faith, ” Father Jose Gabriel Funes said during a Feb. 2 announcement of a Vatican exhibit that will feature photos, research tools and minerals from the Moon and Mars. The exhibit titled “Stories from another world: The Universe within us and outside us,” will be on display March 10 - July 1 in Pisa, the birthplace of Galileo, the father of modern astronomy. Fr. Funes told CNA at the event that the Big Bang explanation “is the best theory we have right now about the creation of the universe.” The theory holds that creation began some 14 billion years ago with a colossal explosion in which space, time, energy and matter were created, and ga

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10Feb2012

Building A House on Mars/ Mars ‘Crew’ Wanted

The Challenges of Building A House on Mars    Going to Mars? Expect to stay a while. Because of the relative motions of Earth and Mars, the pioneering astronauts who touch down on the Martian surface will have to remain there for a year and a half. For this reason, NASA has already started experimenting with a habitat fit for the long-term exploration of Mars. Last year, students at the University of Wisconsin won the XHab competition to design and build an inflatable loft addition to a habitat shell that NASA had already constructed. The final structure now serves as a working model that is being tested in the Arizona desert. Like any home, it's a sacred bulwark against the elements; but not just the cold, heat and pests of Arizona. A Mars habitat will have to protect astronauts from cosmic rays, solar flares and unknown soil compositions all while keeping inhabitants happy and comfortable. "Radiat

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10Feb2012

U.S. Readers – KSC ’50 Years of Americans in Orbit”

 ATTENTION - Our U.S. Readers NASA Mercury Astronauts Glenn and Carpenter Headline Day “Celebrating 50 Years of Americans in Orbit” Tickets Available to See Legendary Astronauts during the Feb. 18 Celebration at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex In 1962, NASA’s Project Mercury made history by sending an American into orbit for the first time. To mark the 50th anniversary of this historic achievement, Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is inviting the public to a celebration that will be headlined by Mercury astronauts John Glenn and Scott Carpenter, the first two Americans to orbit Earth.  The 50th anniversary event, entitled “Celebrating 50 Years of Americans in Orbit,” will feature a full day of activities on Saturday, Feb. 18, providing guests with the chance to indulge their nostalgia for an earlier era of American manned spaceflight, and to inspire their curiosity about NASA’s

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