Could Planet Nine Destroy the Earth This Month?

Astronomy circles are all abuzz over speculation that a potential ninth planet – a Jupiter-sized super-planet –has been discovered in our solar system, with some sources reporting that its irregular orbit may have triggered the meteor shower that wiped out the dinosaurs, and may even induce the same level of disaster later this month.

The following report appeared in the New York Post, via a particularly disreputable UK tabloid:

“Planet Nine — a new planet discovered at the edge of the solar system in January — has triggered comet showers that bomb the Earth’s surface, killing all life, says Daniel Whitmire, of the University of Louisiana. The astrophysicist says the planet has a 20,000-year orbit around the sun and, at its closest to us, it knocks asteroids and comets toward Earth.

Fossil evidence has suggested most life on Earth is mysteriously wiped out every 26 million to 27 million years.

Whitmire claims Planet Nine’s passage through a rock-laden area called the Kuiper Belt is responsible for the “extinction events.””

So, could planet nine really destroy the Earth this month? Unlikely. Reports of our imminent destruction have been exaggerated, at worst. Online debunker Snopes contacted Whitmire to verify that the ninth planet poses a danger to our planet. His response? ” No truth to the story at all. That’s quite impossible.”

It seems that Plan(et) Nine From Outer Space won’t be troubling the Earth any time soon. If we really do have a ninth planet again – following the sad demotion of Pluto – we should be far more worried about Mondas

Breathtaking Images From an Astronaut Aboard the ISS

Space has always provided a glimpse into many a fascinating world over the years, from research that has been undertaken by NASA to the Astronauts who have boarded the International Space Station as well as successfully landing on the moon. One such Astronaut, Scott Kelly, has been posting breathtaking images on social media that have included Twitter (1,158 photos and counting) and Instagram (684 posts and counting) during his yearlong visit to the ISS, below is a snapshot of these images.

The first image represents the massive blizzard passing over Chicago on Saturday 23rd January 2016, the image looks awe-inspiring.

The next image below is of what is known as “thundersnow” from the blizzard and was captured, again, on the 23rd January 2016.

The next image below, wow, is of an aurora and was captured on the 27th August 2015, this looks akin to a science fiction film.

The next image below is of Spain, well, more specifically Barcelona and was captured on the 28th July 2015, this is both a stunning and a detailed image.

The next image below is the Astronauts latest Twitter post as of writing (26th January 2016) and has the caption “Day 304. That’s 4,864 orbits a’round’ our beautiful planet #Earth. #GoodNight from @space_station! #YearInSpace”, it is certainly a brilliant image.

The last image is of Scott Kelly undertaking a Q&A on Reddit from space, well, yes, as you do, this image was posted on the 23rd January 2016

Mine An Asteroid and Its Yours – You Just Have to Get There First

We have known for a long while that the resources we have on Earth and under it, are limited. With an expanding population and growing lifespan, it’s becoming more and more necessary to find alternative sources of resources. With a billionaire seeking to mine the moon, we could soon be seeing people launching into space, not for exploration, but to go mining. Its okay, if you can mine it, you can own it according to legislation passed by the US congress.

The US Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act was signed into effect on Tuesday offering a range of pro-business measures for US Citizens that include being able to own resources in outer space. The act also looks to make it easier for commercial groups to get permission to launch craft into space, meaning that going and mining the moon and passing asteroids could become one step closer very soon.

With protection for companies offering space tourism and extending the International Space Stations lifetime to 2024, the act will have long standing effects on anyone and every company that looks to expand their borders to outer space.

There is one problem with any legislation that affects outer space, and if anime and science fiction has told me anything, it’s that no one on Earth can truly own something in space. What if someone in the UK lands on an asteroid and mines it, are they protected under US law? What about the countries that don’t agree to the law and legislations that people believe their actions to be protected by? Not only could you soon see buildings made from asteroids, but the courts could see large legal battles between entire countries for the rights to space rocks.

Encrypted Communications May Make Discovering Aliens Impossible.

Well, it’s taken a bit longer than expected, but Edward Snowden has finally lost his sanity in Russia, this is rather a joke considering the headline sounds quite bizarre, but the cogent statement which Mr Snowden conveyed is, as expected a lot more sensible than that.

Snowden appeared on the astrophysicist and science communicator Neil deGrasse Tyson’s StarTalk Podcast from Moscow via a robot video link called a “beam remote presence system”. Basically this gadget is a virtual presence device which has been conveyed within the medical profession with the aim of allowing doctors to see patients without seeing them in person. The wide-ranging interview included the assertion by Edward Snowdon that “It took a very long time for me to develop any kind of scepticism at all even to the most over-extended claims of the extension of programs or policies [by the US security services],” he said.

This may sound slightly naïve, but when an individual is in an environment as in these case, scenarios and policies become normal, why you would question the day-to-day reality with which you have been accustomed to. Now for the alien bit, according to Snowden, “encrypted communication, if they are properly encrypted, there is no real way to tell that they are encrypted, “You can’t distinguish a properly encrypted communication from random behaviour.” 

What Edward Snowdon was surmising is that if a life form on a distant planet was attempting to identify new signs of life, or vice versa, it would be impossible to decipher where those signals were emanating from if communications were encrypted. Theoretically therefore, if both sides used encrypted communications, it would make it impossible to read them or even recognise them.

This view of a new civilisations communications skills are as good a one as the next person, considering there haven’t been any recent sightings of aliens, or at least proven beyond all doubt 100% bona fide beings and not a 1990s video camera with a blurry shot .

Thank you techworm and startalkradio for providing us with this information.

Do We Inhabit Within A Giant Hologram?

The principles which govern our universe is still open to debate within the science community, from quantum mechanics, which is a theory suggesting that of a formalism underlying the description of all physical systems to the holographic principle.

This principle suggests and “mathematically determines our Universe is just two-dimensional, however it appears three-dimensional due to the holographic effect whereby the Universe behaves like a giant hologram. Due to this giant hologram everything that we see around us is just a projection of a two-dimensional surface”. Still awake? Good, new research which has aimed to test the validity of this principle has been undertaken by Austrian researchers which have been able to show that this holographic principle has validity for a much more realistic outlook of our galaxy.

This latest theory which has been devised by researchers at the Vienna University of Technology describes a “holographic principle which works in a flat spacetime along with the theoretical regions with negative curvature”. This is fascinating but does need to be re read one or two times in order to understand the viewpoint.

It’s incredible that these theories are able to be investigated by the science community with the aim of understanding more about our universe. A compelling statement by Max Riegler of Vienna University explains that “This calculation affirms our assumption that the holographic principle can also be realized in flat spaces” it will be interesting to see further developments within these equations.

Thank you Techworm and tuwien university for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of howstuffworks

Largest Plane on Earth Will Be Airborne as Early as Next Year

Meet Stratolaunch, the largest plane on Earth! Codenamed the “Roc” after the mythical bird of prey, this ‘beast’ looks to be a true king of the sky. In terms of size, it is said to be 65 feet wider than the “Spruce Goose” H-4 Hercules and 95 feet wider than the spaceship-carrying Soviet Antonov An-225, so you can imagine how small you may feel when next to it.

In addition to the size, the “Roc” boasts six Pratt & Whitney jet engines, 28 landing gear wheels and a 385 foot wingspan. But the plane was not made to enter the Guinness record book. Microsoft’s co-founderm Paul Allan, is the guy behind the project and he aims to make the “Roc” the next big alternative to launching rockets into space.

The plane is able to hold a three-stage rocket between its fuselages, as shown in the picture above, which can then be launched at extremely high altitude and detatch its payload into space. So why is this helpful? Well, think about weather conditions. Having to launch a satellite from the edge of Earth’s atmosphere takes away a lot of unwanted variables, so it makes it easier and somewhat safer to launch from up above the clouds.

This is why Stratolaunch was designed so big and massive, weighing in at 1.3 million pounds (including the rocket). But will it do what is expected of it? We won’t know until they do the test runs, which are said to begin as early as next year. If they prove to be a success, Stratolaunch’s first mission is said to be planned for 2018. Until then, here’s a simulation of how the plane and rocket launch should take place. Enjoy!

Thank you Yahoo! for providing us with this information

NASA’s Kepler Telescope Finds New Earth-Like Planet

NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope (above) has discovered an Earth-like planet within our galaxy. The planet, given the designation Kepler-452b, is thought to be older and larger than the Earth, but with a similar atmosphere and gravity that could be capable of sustaining life.

The Kepler Space Telescope was launched in March 2009, and during its lifespan has discovered over 1,000 new planets, but the discovery of Kepler-452b is considered to be its most important discovery to date.

A NASA statement reads, “Today, and thousands of discoveries later, astronomers are on the cusp of finding something people have dreamed about for thousands of years – another Earth.”

Kepler-452b appears to be what NASA calls a ‘Goldilocks’ planet, positioned within a zone not too close and not too far from the star that it orbits, ideal for sustaining life. It has twice the land mass of the Earth, has a 380-day year, and its atmosphere is capable of producing cloud cover and a rain cycle.

Jeff Coughlin, Kepler research scientist at SETI Institute in Mountain View, California, thinks that this discovery is just the beginning. “Is this the end? Hell no!” he said at the press conference announcing the discovery.

Thank you The Independent and NASA for providing us with this information.

Super Rich Asteroid Expected To Pass By Earth

A mega rich asteroid is expected to pass Earth this Sunday (July 19th) which is both extremely large and is also the richest known asteroid is space. The gigantic rock is named UW-158 and has an approximate core weight of 90 million tonnes. To put this into perspective, Guinness World Records estimates that the heaviest structure on earth is the Parliament building in Bucharest which contains 700,000 tonnes of Steel and Bronze. Now here’s the rich part, the asteroid contains around $5 trillion dollars worth of platinum, which is enough to save Greece from defaulting again.

This asteroid is expected to travel to within 1.5 million miles of Earth; this does not pose any danger to us, OR DOES IT!!!! No it really doesn’t, as the Asteroid will be around 6 times the distance of the current length from Earth to the Moon. The coined Platinum asteroid will pass London at approximately 11pm on Sunday (19 July) and will hopefully be captured by an observatory in the Canary Islands.

I may have watched too much science fiction, but it makes you wonder if a genius in the future will devise a way to capture these resources. As the elements are becoming more and more limited, eventually we as beings will have to find new avenues with which to exploit.

Thank you fossbytes and Nasa for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of Metro

Planet Earth Could Get its Own Flag

A design project, in partnership with NASA, may have birthed a new flag to represent the planet Earth, one that pioneers may plant into the surface of Mars on a planned mission for mid-2030. The Earth flag was conceived by graphic designer Oskar Pernefeldt from Beckmans College of Design in Sweden, as part of his graduation project, called ‘The International Flag of Earth’. But this isn’t just any graduation project, as Pernefeldt had help from major companies such as LG and BSmart, while NASA were also involved.

Pernefeldt explained his design in an interview with Wired:

“Centred in the flag, seven rings form a flower – a symbol of the life on Earth. The rings are linked to each other, which represents how everything on our planet, directly or indirectly, [is] linked.

The blue field represents water which is essential for life – also as the oceans cover most of our planet’s surface. The flower’s outer rings form a circle which could be seen as a symbol of Earth as a planet and the blue surface could represent the Universe.”

It’s a sleek design, certainly, but it’s hardly this:


Image courtesy of DeviantArt.

Maybe we’ll have to wait until the United Federation of Planets is formed first.

Thank you Science Alert for providing us with this information.

$400 Per Year Google Earth Pro Now Free

Google Earth, the humble and brilliant digital globe application, has always had a much more professional and expensive cousin. Google Earth Pro includes a host of features that have for years been used by professionals in a number of industries, including broadcasting, meteorology, urban planning and more. Whenever you’ve seen clever little videos of satellite imagery on the news, it’s most likely that it was captured with Google Earth Pro.

But Google Earth Pro has always had a very ‘pro’ price – $400 per year, expensive for those of us who would love to use its amazing video making abilities just for a little YouTube clip. But now, it’s in everyone’s reach, because Google has just made it free to all. Yes, in a decision that will make most of us Google Earth lovers rejoice, the powerful mapping application is free to download right now.

To get it, you’ll need to go here, get a redemption code delivered to your e-mail address and then download the software for Mac or PC.

Source: Gizmodo

Artificial Leaf Could Be The Next Oxygen Source For Space Travel

The main problem faced when talking about sustainability in space travel missions is the lack of oxygen. Due to this, many space-related missions executed so far are close to our planet, since nobody can make a rocket packed with oxygen and expect it to last an eternity.

However, a graduate from the Royal College of Art by the name of Julian Melchiorri has apparently found a solution to the problem at hand. He appears to have created the first man-made, biologically functional leaf which works on carbon dioxide, water and light in order to produce oxygen.

The leaf is said to be made out of chloroplasts, the cell part found in plants to help with photosynthesis, packed in a body made out of silk protein. Taking into account that this is a plant made by human hand, it is absolutely amazing to have somethings such ingenuity providing support for the most basic need in space, namely air.

[vimeo]https://vimeo.com/101734446[/vimeo]

“This material has an amazing property of stabilizing (the chloroplast) organelles,” Melchiorri says. “As an outcome I have the first photosynthetic material that is living and breathing as a leaf does.”

Besides its use in space-related missions, Melchiorri imagines that his invention could be used in the normal household as well. Who wouldn’t mind a breath of fresh air in the morning while sipping a nice warm coffee or tea? Building facades and lampshades could be fitted, according to Melchiorri, with the given technology in order to exhale fresh air with just a thin coating of the leaf material.

The idea is said not to stop at helping space travelers with oxygen. Melchiorri states that his revolutionary technology could also be the key to space colonization. Instead of attempting to grow Earth-like vegetation on Mars for example, these artificial leaves can be fitted inside a dome and provide the breath of fresh air needed by the crew to survive.

Thank you CNet for providing us with this information
Image and video courtesy of CNet

Geologists Say that Earth-like Soils on Mars Could Lead to Microbial Life Discovery

Some geologists have analysed a few sample images captured by the ‘Curiosity’ rover from Mars and tell that there might be Earth-like soils on the red planet. The images show that there might be some ancient fossilized soils deep within an impact crater, which could eventually lead to the discovery of microbial life.

While Mars is filled with landscapes resembling catastrophic floods and rocks from impact craters, there might be signs of smooth soils and soften terrain, much like we have on Earth. Gregory Retallack from the University of Oregon has apparently analysed the mineral and chemical data from Curiosity, leading to the discovery of such soils we are used to stepping on for thousands of years.

The professors states that soils from Gale Crater, dating back to 3.7 billion years ago, appear to have cracked surfaces lined with sulfate and vesicular hollows, both features of soils found on desert terrains on Earth. In addition, the sulphate concentration are said to be comparable with Antarctic Dry Valleys and Chile’s Atacama Desert.

“The pictures were the first clue, but then all the data really nailed it,” Retallack says in a news release. “The new data show clear chemical weathering trends, and clay accumulation at the expense of the mineral olivine, as expected in soils on Earth […] Phosphorus depletion within the profiles is especially tantalizing, because it attributed to microbial activity on Earth.”

Th new soils discovered are said to offer more insight on habitable conditions previously found on Mars. Also, having them date back 3.7 billion years ago tends to put Mars’ water cycle at around the same time as the Earth started diversifying. Further studies are said to take place on geologically younger layers within craters in order to learn the planet’s life story.

Thank you IFLScience for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of IFLScience

More Asteroids Could Hit Earth In The Upcoming Years

With the strike in Chelyabinsk, Russia this year, scientists say it’s time to get serious. Tom’s Hardware states that a couple of articles come to the conclusion that asteroid strikes will be more frequent. For those interested, the articles are published in Nature, one of the most prestigious academic journals.

The guys currently tracking asteroids look for the ones that could cause total disasters and end of human life as we know it scenario. Most asteroids we know of have 1 kilometer in diameter or more. But there are however smaller ones that could devastate cities and even countries, the only thing is that we don’t really know where they are and when they will strike.

A project with its goal set to detect much smaller threats has been formed, named B612, led by former astronaut Edward Lu. According to the project, there are a million “near-Earth asteroids large enough to substantially damage or destroy a major city.” Equivalent to a massive minefield of nuclear warheads, this is not a threat we can simply ignore.

Scenarios like the one at Chelyabinsk are likely to happen once in a decade or two. However, a large surface of the Earth is uninhabited and given that we have more water than land masses, the probability of asteroids hitting large cities is unlikely. But nobody can be certain of that fact.

Thank you Tom’s Hardware for providing us with this information

I Have Some Bad News, We Only Have 1.7 Billion Years Left To Live!

Trust those pesky scientists to ruin my morning by telling me when we are all going to die! Or more importantly the latest estimate of when the earth will become uninhabitable for humans.

Basically this is the first call for us all to start planning our future, building space ships and populating the galaxy (see: Star Trek). With 1.75 billion years to spare before we have to move out we certainly have enough time to invest in the future or to 3D print something suitable to live on.

The new study by the University of East Anglia in Norwich has said that in that time, moving to Mars would become our best chance of survival. Although personally after such a long time I hope and expect we will have developed better technology that we don’t just feel forces to move house to the nearest dusty rock.

Andrew Rushby, from the university’s school of environmental sciences, said: “We estimate Earth will cease to be habitable somewhere between 1.75billion and 3.25billion years from now. After this point, Earth will be in the “hot zone” of the Sun, with temperatures so high the seas would evaporate.’ Well before this, conditions for humans and other complex life would become impossible as a result of man-made climate change. We would be in trouble with even a small increase in temperature, and near the end, only microbes in niche environments would be able to endure the heat.”

Astrobiologists are already looking ahead to space for new home worlds for the human race, or at the very least they’re looking for usable resources and aliens. Recently discovered Gliese 581d looks like it will last another 54.7 billion years and could make a nice home for us, but current technology would mean a journey of hundreds of thousands of years to get there. Given that Mars offers a habitable zone until 6 billion years from now, it’s certainly a tough call.

Thank you Metro for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Trunews.

Telescopes, Lunar Landers And Commercial Developement On The Moon

We are perhaps taking the first step in colonizing our Moon. The last time a human visited the Moon was in 1972, since then only unmanned spacecraft have visited the Moon. Wired.com recently reported that two companies are working together to create a scientific and commercial base on the moon, International Lunar Observatory Association (ILOA ) is heading off the project with help from Moon Express are aiming to start construction as soon as 2016.

The two companies will start off by placing two telescopes as well as a 2-meter radio antenna atop a lunar mountain located on the moon’s south pole. This location would give optimal viewing of the center of the Milky Way galaxy giving us perhaps the clearest view possible .

One main concern will be how to design equipment to sustain the harsh temperatures of the moon, reaching highs over 120 degrees Celsius in the sun, and lows below -170 degrees Celsius. Electricity shouldn’t be much of an issue, as they will be able to collect plenty of energy from solar panels.

Moon Express, which aims to become the FedEx of the stars has yet to land a lunar lander on the moon as of yet, but they aim to land their first payload in 2015 in order to win 20 million dollars from the Google Lunar X-Prize. As well as delivering ILO-X, a small telescope in order to test ILOA’s hardware as well as software.

We have so much that we have yet to discover on Earth, I can’t help but wonder why all of this interest in the Moon, and Mars, why not build factories under the ocean.

Thank you Wired for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Wired.

Earth Day 2013: April 22 How to help

Earth Day is a very special day, even though you might not think about it. Earth Day has been celebrated every year on April 22 since 1970. Some celebrate this special holiday for only the day, some celebrate for a whole week, while others have made it their lifestyle. This beautiful Monday I want you to take a minute to read this article, and then think about life, and our planet. Our beautiful planet Earth.

Why do we celebrate Earth Day?

We celebrate Earth Day to remind everyone of how they impact our Earth, with the goal of informing everyone on how to be more Green conscious.

Though some groups might fight against organizations that hurt our Earth, oil companies, factories and power plants. Other groups focus more on ground toxins such as sewage, toxic dumps, and pesticides. While others fight to protect wildlife and the wilderness.

I feel Earth Day is here more as a reminder that we need to work together to protect our Earth every way that we can. And so I am doing my part to inform you, our readers that there are things you can do to help keep Mother Earth healthy.

How can you celebrate earth day?

Just dimming your lights, or turning off a light that is not in use helps, change out appliances that are not energy efficient, even changing your light bulbs out for newer LED bulbs, recycle your E-Waste products. Find out how you can help even more at The Earth Day Network.

There are lots of ways that we can celebrate, from buying more energy efficient products, to recycling, to picking up trash.

One of the largest organizations, TerraCycle had the idea to eliminate waste and has been working with people from around the world for 12 years. They help you to recycle those oddball items you might have just thrown away. They recycle some electronics as well such as old cellular phones, keyboards, and mice.

TerraCycle is also available in 14 countries in Europe.

You can find out how your can help and find out if terracycle is working with your country by clicking here.

If you’re from the United States: http://www.terracycle.com/
If you’re from the United Kingdoms:  http://www.terracycle.co.uk/en-UK/