Space For A Saturday

There seem to be a bunch of stuff happening in space these days……so I feel I must let my readers know the stuff they may have missed……

Since my younger days watching the serials “Flash Gordon”, “Rocky Jones” and “Buck Rogers” I have been fascinated with space and the exploration of planets……

Mars is getting more attention these days… maybe a quick history of the many missions to Mars would help…..

Since 1960, humankind has launched dozens of missions to Mars in an effort to get to know our planetary neighbor better. Some of the missions were flybys, gathering information in brief bursts. Others were long-standing orbiters that lasted years as they traveled around the Red Planet. 

Since the first successful flyby in 1965, four space agencies have successfully made it to Mars: NASA, the former Soviet Union space program, the European Space Agency and the Indian Space Research Organization, while others, including the space agencies in Japan and China, have tried.

A report came out that life may be developing close (a relative term) to home…..

A few decades ago, we didn’t know if there were any planets outside our solar system. Thanks to advances in astronomy like Hubble and the Kepler Telescope, we now know there are uncountable planets in the universe, including at least one in the solar system next door. Researchers from Cornell University are taking a closer look at that planet, known as Proxima-b to determine if it might harbor life. They believe that it very well may, and the proof they cite is Earth.

Proxima-b orbits the red dwarf star Proxima Centauri, a mere 4.24 light years away from Earth. Scientists announced the discovery of Proxima-b in 2016. It orbits its parent star every 11.2 Earth days and has a mass at least 1.3 times that of Earth, suggesting that it has a rocky surface. As a red dwarf, Proxima Centauri is smaller and cooler than the sun, so liquid water might exist on Proxima-b even though it orbits very close to the star.

Life May Be Evolving on the Closest Alien Planet to Earth

Venus at one time could have been as water rich as the Earth……

Venus may have once been a water-rich, Earth-like world whose raging volcanism morphed it into the overheated planet it is today. But it didn’t become a nightmarish planet overnight. The fingerprints of its gradual shift may be present in some of the oldest surface features, hidden in plain sight.

To understand what happened on the neighboring world billions of years in the past, researchers are turning to tesserae, complex geologic features on the Venusian surface whose origins remain a mystery. Tesserae are broad plains where rocks have been folded and broken by geologic activity.

Speaking of life on other worlds…….There have been many years to debate on whether we should be sending invites out in space…..think Independence Day movie……

Today, scientists around the world are trying to phone, well, whatever‘s out there — and fighting over whether it could spell our doom. 

Nearly seven in 10 Americans think there’s intelligent life out there. Will they be cute and sweet like “E.T.”? Or ruthless like the “Independence Day” creatures in giant spaceships blowing us to smithereens? 

It’s not just theoretical. It’s a giant debate raging in the scientific community. Stephen Hawking, the renowned astrophysicist, fell into the “Independence Day” camp, warning: “Such advanced aliens would perhaps become nomads, looking to conquer and colonize whatever planets they could reach. Who knows what the limits would be?”

I have been asked what I think……and I usually ask people if they remember a Twilight Zone episode (the original not some cheesy knock-off)…

Does that answer any questions?

Finally….help name a planet……

A dwarf planet discovered over a decade ago is the largest body we know of in our solar system without a proper name – but that’s about to change.

Meg Schwamb, an astronomer at Gemini Observatory in Hawaii, and her colleagues have opened a public vote to name the distant world, which is currently known only as 2007 OR10. They have selected three potential names that fit the International Astronomical Union’s (IAU) rules on official names for minor planets, and will recommend the winner to the IAU, which will then select the formal name.

So why now, instead of when the researchers discovered OR10 in 2007? “You can’t name something when you don’t know anything about it,” says Schwamb. “When we found it, I knew the orbit and generally the size.” Now, after lots of follow-up observations, we know more than just that it is about 1250 kilometres across and orbits beyond Pluto in the Kuiper belt.

I gave them two names……Tango U-Rella and Klandathu…….what are your choices?


10 thoughts on “Space For A Saturday

  1. The most accepted hypothesis regarding Venus attributes its runaway greenhouse effect to the planet’s very slow rotation (i.e. spin around its axis) which is actually retrograde in motion (i.e. clockwise, instead of counter-clockwise like most of the planets). This lack of rotation cannot generate a strong enough magnetic field through the “dynamo effect” to protect the lighter elements in Venus’ atmosphere from being stripped away by the solar wind. Hydrogen and oxygen, the elements of water, were therefore lost to space over time. As Venus lost its water, plate tectonics – which allows the planet’s internal heat to gradually escape through the fracturing and movement of its surface crust – dramatically slowed down due to the lack of geologic lubrication provided by the presence of liquid water. This in turn triggers the buildup of heat in the interior of Venus which episodically erupts (according to the hypothesis) with great force and resurfaces vast regions or even the entirety of the planet. With each eruption, massive quantities of carbon dioxide and sulfur compounds are released into the atmosphere. CO2 is the main cause of greenhouse warming.

  2. Good posting! Thank you Chuq! I wish we would solve the problems on earth first. Fight against poverty, hunger and war. Next time this world will get into war, we will not be able to save something for the future, no cathedral like Notre Dame. Happy Easter! Michael

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