IST Space News Round-Up

It is another weekend of another year and I am keeping the lines open so that my readers can be updated on the news from space.

First the prediction on alien contact……

Avi Loeb, the chair of the Harvard Astronomy Department, has long been preoccupied with the question of whether humans are alone in the universe. He’s speculated that fast radio bursts could be messages from extraterrestrials, theorized about alien megastrucutres, and suggested that an interstellar object that cruised through our solar system could be a probe from another civilization.

Now, in a new interview with the German magazine Der Spiegel, Loeb opened up further about his thoughts about the hunt for alien life — and what First Contact would mean for human civilization.

https://futurism.com/harvard-astronomer-predicts-first-alien-contact/

Next that contact could come from a near-by planet……….

A planet near our own could support primitive life, scientists have announced.

The nearby world – orbiting around Barnard’s Star, the second closest star system to our own – is known as a super-Earth and has the potential to serve as a home for simple alien life, researchers have said.

The planet is probably very cold, at minus 170 degrees centigrade. But it could be a better home than we had realised when it was discovered: if it has a big iron and nickle core and geothermal activity, as scientists predict, it might be able to harbour primitive life.

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/exoplanet-alien-life-barnards-star-b-latest-discovery-breakthrough-solar-system-a8723741.html

The big news last week was that the Chinese had landed a vehicle on the dark side of the moon and sent back some amazing pics…….but the big news was to come…..

For the first time anybody is aware of, seeds have sprouted on a celestial body beyond Earth. The China National Space Administration released a photo Tuesday showing that cotton seeds brought to the far side of the moon by the country’s Chang’e 4 lander had germinated, the South China Morning Post reports. Liu Hanlong, chief of the first biological growth experiments on the moon, said rapeseed and potato seeds have also sprouted, but cotton was first. The lander also brought rock cress, fruit fly eggs, and yeast to the moon, all chosen because they were small, hardy organisms that could thrive in a confined space.

Chinese authorities say the seeds, dormant during the 20-day journey to the moon, started growing after ground control activated the watering system in the probe’s “mini biosphere,” which contains air and soil. Fred Watson, the Australian Astronomical Observatory’s astronomer-at-large, tells the BBC that the growth could represent a big leap for mankind. The sprout “suggests that there might not be insurmountable problems for astronauts in future trying to grow their own crops on the moon in a controlled environment,” he says. “I think there’s certainly a great deal of interest in using the moon as staging post, particularly for flights to Mars, because it’s relatively near the Earth.” (China has released a panorama of the moon’s far side.)

Remember your history?  Steam power locomotives, cotton gins, etc etc…..but what about a steam powered spaceship?

Come one, come all and behold the future of space travel: steam power!

No, seriously; half a century after the world’s first manned space mission, it seems that interplanetary travel has finally entered the steam age. Scientists at the University of Central Florida have teamed up with Honeybee Robotics, a private space and mining tech company based in California, to develop a small, steam-powered spacecraft capable of sucking its fuel right out of the asteroids, planets and moons it’s exploring.

https://www.nbcnews.com/mach/science/steam-powered-spaceship-could-cruise-cosmos-indefinitely-without-running-out-ncna958486

Speaking of alien life……then there is the Harvard dude that thinks we have been contacted……

On October 19, 2017, astronomers at the University of Hawaii spotted a strange object travelling through our solar system, which they later described as “a red and extremely elongated asteroid.” It was the first interstellar object to be detected within our solar system; the scientists named it ‘Oumuamua, the Hawaiian word for a scout or messenger. The following October, Avi Loeb, the chair of Harvard’s astronomy department, co-wrote a paper (with a Harvard postdoctoral fellow, Shmuel Bialy) that examined ‘Oumuamua’s “peculiar acceleration” and suggested that the object “may be a fully operational probe sent intentionally to Earth’s vicinity by an alien civilization.” Loeb has long been interested in the search for extraterrestrial life, and he recently made further headlines by suggesting that we might communicate with the civilization that sent the probe. “If these beings are peaceful, we could learn a lot from them,” he told Der Spiegel.

https://www.newyorker.com/news/the-new-yorker-interview/have-aliens-found-us-a-harvard-astronomer-on-the-mysterious-interstellar-object-oumuamua

Stay tuned for updates on space as we come across them…..

Now I feel I need a taste of some wine and some snacks and watch MoMo attack a tree limb.

Have a day my friends.

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Space News–2019

Baby its cold outside!

MoMo keeps watch for that damn cat!

My weekend begins and there has been some amazing news on our final frontier (as they say)……SPACE.

First, China is making their presence known in space……

A Chinese spacecraft on Thursday made the first-ever landing on the far side of the moon, state media said. The lunar explorer Chang’e 4 touched down at 10:26am, China Central Television said during its noon broadcast. The far side of the moon faces away from Earth and is relatively unexplored. It is also known as the dark side of the moon. The mission of Chang’e 4, which is carrying a rover, includes carrying out low-frequency radio astronomical observations and probing the structure and mineral composition of the terrain, the AP reports. The spacecraft will also carry out biological experiments, including cultivating vegetables in an airtight container, the South China Morning Post reports.

The pioneering landing demonstrates China’s growing ambitions as a space power. In 2013, Chang’e 3 was the first spacecraft to land on the moon since the Soviet Union’s Luna 24 in 1976. The Long March 3B rocket carrying Chang’e 4 blasted off on Dec. 8 from Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southern China. In May, a relay satellite “Queqiao,” or “Magpie Bridge,” named after an ancient Chinese folk tale, was launched to provide communications support between Chang’e 4 and Earth. China plans to send its Chang’e 5 probe to the moon next year and have it return to Earth with samples—the first time that will have been done since 1976.

Among the images is a 360-degree panorama stitched together from 80 photos taken by a camera on the lander after it released the rover onto the lunar surface,

Now the US made history in space as well……

A NASA spacecraft traveling 4 billion miles from Earth has sent back its first close-up pictures of the most distant celestial object ever explored, and it looks like a reddish snowman. Ultima Thule, as the small, icy object has been dubbed, is an elongated body about 20 miles long, consisting of two fused-together spheres. NASA’s New Horizons, the spacecraft that sent back pictures of Pluto 3.5 years ago, swept past the ancient, mysterious object early on New Year’s Day. It is a billion miles past Pluto.

The pictures from Ultima Thule were revealed Wednesday, reports the AP. Scientist Jeff Moore says that the two spheres formed when small, icy pieces coalesced in space billions of years ago. Then the spheres slowly spiraled closer to each other and stuck together. Ultima Thule has a mottled appearance the color of light brick. Scientists say no impact craters could be seen in the latest photos. An earlier, fuzzier image made it look like a bowling pin. (Read more on the discovery here.)

Would believe some scary news from space?

News came out that there is a “space bacteria” circulating the planet…..and it is mutating…..sound like a SciFi movie coming to a theater near you?

It is not…it is true……

Microbes stuck in the International Space Station are adapting to survive in the harsh environment of space, scientists say.

A new study sheds light on how the bacteria floating above Earth is changing as a result of its difficult environment.

And it found it is not mutating into especially dangerous or antibiotic-resistant superbugs that humans could not kill. Instead, it is just changing to deal with the difficulties of floating above Earth, they said.

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/space-bacteria-earth-alien-mutating-survive-disease-international-station-a8717976.html

It seems every year our knowledge of the universe we live in gets greater…..and then there is the proposal of a Space Force on the drawing boards……but that is another post all together.

Have a day my friends.

Space Force–2019

I do hope that my readers take the time to read my posts on the possible creation of another branch of our military, a space force, this is another way to tap into taxpayer money, your money.

In case my reader would like to get caught up with my posts on the Space Force…….https://lobotero.com/2018/12/28/space-late-2018/

An article I read about the US and China in a possible “space race” to control space…..

China and Iran both are hard at work launching and lobbing rockets into space to show that America no longer has a monopoly on technological leadership. They are also using these blast-offs and landings to warn us of their ability to match and surpass America’s scientific prowess. For good measure, they also want to remind us that they can easily land a nuke on the U.S. homeland.

https://www.miamiherald.com/opinion/op-ed/article223636065.html

The opinion piece makes it sound like the US has the best intentions for space….and that China is set to weaponize space….but does anyone Remember Ronald Reagan?  If so how about SDI?

No?

Then watch and learn!

Sorry but SDI was weaponizing space…The US is not the “good guy” in this…..we have had a long history of trying to weaponize space….the Chinese are just following suit.

Space…..where will the advantage lie…offense or defense?

Where does the advantage lie in space, with the offense or the defense? Why does it matter? Put simply, perceptions of the balance between offense and defense determine doctrine. Doctrine, in turn, drives acquisition, and what military space operators acquire further reinforces the existing perception of the offense-defense balance.

As a result, a nation’s military is equipped and prepared to fight based on its perception of whether the offense is stronger or the defense, not the reality. It’s only when war starts that a nation’s doctrine and equipment are tested against the reality of its perceptions. The wrong equipment and doctrine often determine the winner and loser in any conflict (see France in 1940). So accurately assessing the strength of the offense and defense before conflict even begins is one of the fundamental determiners of success in war.

http://purview.dodlive.mil/2018/12/26/space-an-offense-dominant-environment/

This situation is something that I am watching…..taxpayer dollars will be pissed away and someone has to care.

Speaking of pissing taxpayer cash away……look no further than the re-establishment of the “Space Command”…..

Last year, much of the U.S. national security space community’s attention was focused on the Trump administration’s proposal to create a sixth military service, the Space Force, which would be responsible for training and equipping military space forces. While most experts agree that the changes in the threat environment, especially Russia and China’s development of anti-satellite weapons, require the United States to think differently about how we operate in space, no consensus has emerged as to whether creating a Space Force is the right solution to the problem.

https://www.brookings.edu/blog/order-from-chaos/2019/01/07/re-establishing-u-s-space-command-is-a-great-idea/

All this news but what is the chances the Space Force bill will make it out of Congress?

The outgoing chairman of the House Armed Services Committee predicts there will be bipartisan support for a new military branch for space even in a Democratic-led House of Representatives. But the Trump administration should expect its Space Force proposal to be thoroughly vetted and challenged.

“Our job is not to just swallow whatever they send us,” Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) told reporters on Capitol Hill on Tuesday.

Thornberry’s committee passed legislation in 2017 to establish a Space Corps within the Air Force, and the language made it into the House version of the National Defense Authorization Act for 2018. The Space Corps provision was not supported by the Senate and ultimately was removed from the NDAA.

https://spacenews.com/thornberry-predicts-space-force-will-have-bipartisan-support-in-the-house/

Time to make this a priority…..time to make this an important situation to be watched.  This may seem like a story that does not need so much attention….then you would be mistaken….this will cost the taxpayer and cost them BIG!

Can we afford this without a major structure rehab?

“Skynet” Awaits

MoMo having fun on a winter’s day…..

I have been the one that has been writing about the different trends in the field …..and yes I am one, I guess because I am old, that does not see a bright future with the AI project.

And then I read another story that did nothing but reinforce my fear of the coming revolution in AI.

Depending on how paranoid you are, this research from Stanford and Google will be either terrifying or fascinating. A machine learning agent intended to transform aerial images into street maps and back was found to be cheating by hiding information it would need later in “a nearly imperceptible, high-frequency signal.” Clever girl!

But in fact this occurrence, far from illustrating some kind of malign intelligence inherent to AI, simply reveals a problem with computers that has existed since they were invented: they do exactly what you tell them to do.

The intention of the researchers was, as you might guess, to accelerate and improve the process of turning satellite imagery into Google’s famously accurate maps. To that end the team was working with what’s called a CycleGAN — a neural network that learns to transform images of type X and Y into one another, as efficiently yet accurately as possible, through a great deal of experimentation.

https://techcrunch.com/2018/12/31/this-clever-ai-hid-data-from-its-creators-to-cheat-at-its-appointed-task/

Yes, I know….but it all reminds me of “Skynet”….I think we should be very careful with the technology that we are embracing….as they say….”there is no going back”.

Time for some cheese, fruit and nuts and a very nice Spanish white wine…..it is cloudy and cool today…perfect weather for streaming something on the Tube……

Enjoy your day….be well, be safe……chuq

It’s In Your DNA

My weekend continues….and as my tradition I try to be an FYI blog on the weekends…..posting on stuff that is either informative or entertaining….today it is FYI…..

A friend got as a present from his daughter one of those DNA testing thingys so that we can learn all about our ancestors…..were your ancestors on the Mayflower….were they a Teutonic knight……maybe a French nobleman….a viking raider…etc etc……

Before I get started I would like to say that I would NEVER use one of these things……my DNA is not on file and will never be on file…..this reminds me of a CIA scam in Pakistan, in the border lands where between them and Afghanistan…….some NGO was giving the children polio shots and at the same time taking DNA from the patients trying to isolate “bad guys” for future identification and observation.

That said I told my friend that I do not believe the claims that these companies present….you know like your DNA can tell if you drink coffee…..tell if you have a propensity to be obese….and so on…..claims too outrageous to be believed…..

I told him my concerns about my DNA on file somewhere for future use…..but I also turned him onto some research into this scam…

For some people, that task is relatively easy because there are oral legends or written words that go back at least several generations (assuming family history is passed down accurately). But for most people, the path backwards is rocky, cluttered with confusing detour signs, or simply blank.

For Americans, citizens of the quintessential melting pot, the quest for identity often propels older people (it’s interesting that we often search for our dead relatives while looking death square in the face) to the lists of immigrants into Ellis Island or other ports of entry into the United States and to the repository of genealogy in Salt Lake City.

https://www.livescience.com/2084-dna-kits-secrets-scientific-scam.html

There is more……

But when Inside Edition had a set of triplets send their spit in to Ancestry.com and 23andMe, they got wildly different results from both services. Neither gave each triplet the same ancestry results — which, considering they all came from the same womb, is pretty weird.

“Tests can be a crapshoot. For DNA tests, they use genetic markers, which are little variations in the DNA one or several groups may have, but others do not. The more markers there are, the more accurate the test will be.”

http://www.cracked.com/personal-experiences-2522-inside-shady-world-dna-testing-companies.html

People these are not as accurate as the companies claim….save your money and do some research into your family….DO NOT TAKE THE LAZY WAY OUT!

The day is the chance of a rainy one…..cooler weather and time for the honey dos……..

It’s Alive!

Pentagon has a R&D unit called DARPA and some news has come out about one of their projects…..

How do you detect submarines in an expanse as large as the ocean? The U.S. military hopes that common marine microorganisms might be genetically engineered into living tripwires to signal the passage of enemy subs, underwater vessels, or even divers.

It’s one of many potential military applications for so-called engineered organisms, a field that promises living camouflage that reacts to its surroundings to better avoid detection, new drugs and medicines to help deployed forces survive in harsh conditions, and more. But the research is in its very early stages, military officials said.

https://www.defenseone.com/technology/2018/12/us-military-genetically-engineering-new-life-forms-detect-enemy-subs/153200/

This is fascinating news!  But after thinking about this situation….this is basically genetic engineering……is that ever a good thing?

Somewhere down the road this could go completely off track.

DARPA also was considering influencing people through their Twitter account…..does that sound familiar?

The activities of users of Twitter and other social media services were recorded and analysed as part of a major project funded by the US military, in a program that covers ground similar to Facebook’s controversial experiment into how to control emotions by manipulating news feeds.

Research funded directly or indirectly by the US Department of Defense’s military research department, known as Darpa, has involved users of some of the internet’s largest destinations, including Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Kickstarter, for studies of social connections and how messages spread.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jul/08/darpa-social-networks-research-twitter-influence-studies

I would like everyone’s thoughts on this thing…please.

More rest and care for my better half for the virus hit her a lot worse than it hit me…..she has been fighting it for almost a week…..she cares for me when as a man I am sick and we know how that is, huh?

I really would like a beer but I think I will wait a few more days before that happens…..

TTFN!

A Smile To Die For!

Good Morning on this Saturday after the Christmas excitement….now we  wait for the New Years Party…..and dread the day after……

I was dragged along for a shopping spree after the holiday….no I was not going without protest but as usual my better half won that argument….

Any way we were in this major store and a young lady was standing at a mirror in the “Beauty” department hold  Kleenex next to her mouth and smiling…..holy crap!  I realize she was doing that thing where self-centered little turds are comparing their tooth color to that of a tissue (the tissue test)…..it was a source of amusement for me….I was chastised for enjoying others stupidity….and then I read something that I wish I had when this poor young lady was so concerned…..

As usual I attempt to be an FYI blog on the weekends….trying to get away from the mind numbing news of the week….on that note…..

We Americans are worshipers of youth and beauty……we have our fad diets, our addiction to exercise machines that become clothes racks after a couple of months, always looking for that magic pill to turn us into that perfect image of youth and beauty……one of the biggest markets is that of dental care…….

OMG!  The products that are now available……if you are not sure which one you need then it will take an hour or more to go through the retail offerings to find that special product.

There is a new report about something new on the horizon….

In a recent study, researchers find a new product can use proteins to rebuild tooth enamel and treat dental cavities.

The new biogenic dental products can—in theory—rebuild teeth and cure cavities without costly and uncomfortable treatments.

Cavities are more than just a nuisance. Dental cavities affect nearly every age group and are accompanied by serious health concerns, according to the World Health Organization.

Additionally, direct and indirect costs of treating dental cavities and related diseases are a huge economic burden for people and health care systems.

Although tooth decay is relatively harmless in its earliest stages, once the cavity progresses through the tooth’s enamel, serious health concerns arise.

https://knowridge.com/2018/12/new-material-could-rebuild-teeth-and-cure-cavities/

I am an old fart…..so trying to look younger or more beautiful is just not that damn important anymore…..but that is me.

Now time for some more rest and some french bread, cheese and OJ….OJ?  Yep cannot decide which wine I want on this day….so go with OJ for now…..hope all have a good day and I will be back for more stuff.