If It’s Sunday, It Is Space News

I know it has been a helluva week….but since I am one of the few bloggers with an eye on space I need to report the stuff happening.

Was that a message?

On December 18, 2020, Ian Sample of the Guardian published a report about a tantalizing radio signal at 982.002MHz that was detected within the Breakthrough Listen project by the Parkes telescope in Australia from the nearest star to the sun, Proxima Centauri. This infrared star hosts an Earth-size planet, Proxima b, in its habitable zone, where liquid water could allow the chemistry of life on the planet’s surface. There was no scientific paper accompanying the report, and therefore it’s too early to draw any inferences.

Astronomers must verify that the signal cannot originate from radio interference on Earth or some natural emission mechanism. Terrestrial interference should be different for telescopes at different locations on Earth. If the radio source repeats and resides on Proxima b, then it should show an 11-day modulation associated with the planet’s orbital (and spin) period. As soon as I saw the news report, I wrote to the publisher of my forthcoming book Extraterrestrial on the search for intelligent life: “We might have friends out there. Better than a five-star review is getting reassurance for the book’s content from an actual star on the sky.”

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/did-we-receive-a-message-from-a-planet-orbiting-the-nearest-star/

The question is asked….have we been contacted in the past?

Canadian astronomer named Robert Weryk was reviewing images captured by a telescope known as Pan-STARRS1 when he noticed something strange. The telescope is situated atop Haleakalā, a ten-thousand-foot volcanic peak on the island of Maui, and it scans the sky each night, recording the results with the world’s highest-definition camera. It’s designed to hunt for “near-Earth objects,” which are mostly asteroids whose paths bring them into our planet’s astronomical neighborhood and which travel at an average velocity of some forty thousand miles an hour. The dot of light that caught Weryk’s attention was moving more than four times that speed, at almost two hundred thousand miles per hour.

Weryk alerted colleagues, who began tracking the dot from other observatories. The more they looked, the more puzzling its behavior seemed. The object was small, with an area roughly that of a city block. As it tumbled through space, its brightness varied so much—by a factor of ten—that it had to have a very odd shape. Either it was long and skinny, like a cosmic cigar, or flat and round, like a celestial pizza. Instead of swinging around the sun on an elliptical path, it was zipping away more or less in a straight line. The bright dot, astronomers concluded, was something never before seen. It was an “interstellar object”—a visitor from far beyond the solar system that was just passing through. In the dry nomenclature of the International Astronomical Union, it became known as 1I/2017 U1. More evocatively, it was dubbed ‘Oumuamua (pronounced “oh-mooah-mooah”), from the Hawaiian, meaning, roughly, “scout.”

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2021/01/25/have-we-already-been-visited-by-aliens

Is this guy one of those Ancient Alien conspiracists?

Trump admin has been ordered to explore the possibility for nukes in space….

the White House released an executive order Jan. 12 seeking to promote the development of small nuclear reactors for space and defense applications.

The executive order, “Promoting Small Modular Reactors for National Defense and Space Exploration,” includes separate directions for NASA and the Defense Department to pursue small nuclear reactors for their uses, while cooperating on common technologies for those systems.

For space exploration, the executive order directs the NASA administrator to prepare a report within 180 days defining “requirements for NASA utilization of nuclear energy systems for human and robotic exploration missions through 2040 and analyze the costs and benefits of such requirements.” Those requirements include details such as power levels, reactor size and mass, and specific issues associated with operating such reactors in the space environment

White House executive order promotes development of space and defense nuclear power systems

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More Covid News

If you are like me then you are weary of all the negative news around the pandemic that is raging the planet.

I wish I could be the bearer of good news about the virus but so far there is not much positivity.

Now the numbers so far…..25,00,000 cases and 420,000 deaths nation wide….My state of Mississippi….263,000 cases and 5,750 deaths.

All tragic numbers…..tragic because some of it is unnecessary…..

The positive news is that the vaccine is becoming more and more available…..and the shots are starting to make it into the public domain.

Sorry to be a downer…..but the new strains are starting to appear and the effect on the known vaccine is not good.

Scientists are reporting troubling signs that some recent mutations of the virus that causes COVID-19 may modestly curb the effectiveness of two current vaccines, although they stress that the shots still protect against the disease, the AP reports. Researchers expressed concern Wednesday about the preliminary findings, in large part because they suggest that future mutations could undermine vaccines. The research tested coronaviruses from the United Kingdom, South Africa, and Brazil, and was led by Rockefeller University in New York with scientists from the National Institutes of Health and elsewhere

One way vaccines work is to prompt the immune system to make antibodies that block the virus from infecting cells. The Rockefeller researchers got blood samples from 20 people who had received either the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine and tested their antibodies against various virus mutations in the lab. With some, the antibodies didn’t work as well against the virus—activity was one-to-threefold less, depending on the mutation, said the study leader, Rockefeller’s Dr. Michel Nussenzweig. “It’s a small difference but it is definitely a difference,” he said. The antibody response is “not as good” at blocking the virus. Earlier research established that the two vaccines are about 95% effective in preventing COVID-19 illness. The latest findings were posted Tuesday on a website for researchers and have not yet been published in a journal or reviewed by other scientists.

We need some good news…..good news that remains good news around this pandemic.

Remember Operation Warp Speed?

That was the Trump plan to get the vaccine out as quickly as possible…..what it did was create chaos…..

Hospitals and clinics across the country are canceling vaccine appointments because the Trump administration tells states how many doses they’ll receive only one week at a time, making it all but impossible to plan a comprehensive vaccination campaign.

The decision to go week by week was made by Operation Warp Speed’s chief operating officer, Gen. Gustave Perna, because he didn’t want to count on supplies before they were ready. Overly optimistic production forecasts turned out to be a major disappointment in the rollout of the H1N1 vaccine more than a decade ago, also leading to canceled appointments and widespread frustrations with the government’s messaging.

https://www.propublica.org/article/how-operation-warp-speed-created-vaccination-chaos

Let’s hope that Biden’s plan is a better fit for us.  (More on this plan next week)

Then there are the criminals that look for favoritism…..like the doctor that stole the vaccine…

A Houston doctor is out of work this morning after reports that he was allegedly fired after being charged with stealing several doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to give to his friends and family.

Dr. Hasan Gokal, who worked for Harris County Public Health, is accused of stealing a vial of about 9 doses of the Moderna vaccine while working at a vaccination site in Houston.

Prosecutors say Gokal gave the vaccines to several people, including his wife.

Gokal was fired after an investigation by the health department. He’s facing a charge of theft by a public servant and if convicted, faces up to a year in jail and a $4,000 fine.

A statement put out Thursday from Harris County DA Kim Ogg says Gokal “abused his position,” and will be held accountable.

(radio.com)

I say burn his ass!

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A Thank You

I would like to thank all my readers for the kind words and condolences for our dear “Little Man”……

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And a belated thank for your sympathies for my confidant Jaz……she left us June of 2018…….

Please know that your kind words are much appreciated…..I am blessed with so many good caring readers.

Thank you!

May you always know joy.

Be Well….Be Safe….