This Spacespiracy Moment

May 30, 2016

 

Luna’s Got Some Young Craters: 

Researchers have discovered that two of the Moon’s craters are relatively young - created 16 and 75-420 million years ago. Understanding the age of craters on planets in our solar system aids our scientists in their quest to create accurate space collision timelines.

 

Humans to Mars Summit:

Scientists and space enthusiasts from around the globe met at the Humans to Mars Summit to discuss just that...getting a crew on Mars in the 2030’s. The biggest argument for a crewed mission to the Red Planet? That when it comes to exploration and discovery, humans are still better than robots.

 

Mars is Saying Goodbye to Its Ice Age:

Ice has been moving on the surface of Mars. So much so, that scientists now think the Red Planet is coming out of an Ice Age. We have known, for years now, that Mars’ polar ice caps shrink and grow with its seasons, similar to Earth...but this new discovery may allow scientists to better understand climate changes on our own planet.

 

Remembering Spirit, NASA’s 2004 Martian Rover:

It’s been five years since Spirit was officially declared “dead.” The Martian rover rolled along the Red Planet 20 times longer than expected, cataloguing impressive, and important, scientific discoveries. Another Rover, the Opportunity, is trucking along the surface of Mars as I type this...but Spirit will forever be in my heart…

 

Juno is Prepped to Stalk Jupiter: Since NASA launched Juno in 2011, the spacecraft has been in a gravitational love triangle with Jupiter, Earth, and the Sun. At the beginning of July, Juno will make its choice and propel itself into Jupiter’s orbit. There, it will circumnavigate the planet 37 times, staying just above the cloud line. While in flight, the spacecraft will send probes down below Jupiter’s infamous cloud cover to collect additional data.

 

Cracking Europa’s Icy Shell:

In the early 2020’s, NASA plans to launch the Europa Multiple Flyby Mission, which will hurtle a rocket, roughly the size of an SUV, into Jupiter’s icy moon. They’re hoping the rocket will impact the surface enough to crack through its ice, and give scientists the ability to measure its thickness.

 

Tidal Pull Cracks Icy Outer Planet Moons:

There are pretty large cracks on several of the moons orbiting our outer planets...Saturn’s Dione and Tethys, Uranus’ Ariel, and Pluto’s Charon, just to name a few. A new model, created by professors at the University of Rochester, suggests that because the moons are known for “brittle, elastic behavior,” these cracks may be a result of tidal pulls, as opposed to impacts on the surface.

 

These Atmospheres are STIFLING:

The number of livable planets just shrunk considerably as a report from Imperial College London shows many are too hot for life. But if they’re in the “habitable zone,” how can that be? Using data from both the TRAPPIST and Kepler planet finding telescopes, the study shows that some of these planets have atmospheres that are too thick to maintain livable temperatures on the surface.

 

ALMA Finds Some Baby Planets:

ALMA, the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array Observatory, has been analyzing data from young star, HL Tauri, of the Taurus constellation, approximately 450 million light years away. Their 2016 observations are in line with a photograph taken in 2014 - in the gas disk around the star, there are gaps located in the exact same locations. This indicates that there are young planets already in orbit around the star, calling into question previous theories about planet formation.

 

Your New Home Planet Could Be Only 1,200 Light Years Away!

In the direction of the constellation, Lyra, approximately 1,200 light years away, sits Kepler-62f, a planet that could be habitable for life as we know it. About 40 times larger than Earth, not only does the planet demonstrate atmospheric conditions that would allow liquid water to form, its size indicates that the planet is likely rocky. Scientists think there might be oceans there too!


Supernova’s Return:

Last year, we saw the biggest supernova in recorded history...only problem is the dimming star started to get brighter, something supernovas aren’t supposed to do. Based on observations, scientists think that a massive black hole might be the culprit. We might be witnessing it tear a star apart.

 

From Seed to Full Blown Black Hole:

Using data from three major sources, Chandra X-ray Observatory, Hubble Space Telescope, and Spitzer Space Telescope, scientists have identified three potential black hole seeds, formed directly from the collapse of a giant gas cloud. If confirmed, scientists will be able to explain how black holes are born.

 

The Mysteries of Galactic Warming:

The discovery of a new class of galaxies was announced today. The Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) calls them “red geysers” and they’re different because they supposedly harbor ginormous black holes with “winds that have the power to keep dormant galaxies quiet.” This helps answer the mysteries of galactic warming, and why there are more and more galaxies showing up that are too hot for star formation.

 

Elements of Life, Found in Space:

Space continues to amaze me and make me feel small, insignificant even. Two elements, glycine and phosphorus, required for life as we know it, were found on Comet 67P. The elements have been seen in space, in trace amounts, before, but the European Space Agency’s Rosetta spacecraft has now detected enough to make it official.  
 

How Does SpaceX Do It? -

On Thursday of last week, SpaceX attempted to land another rocket on another barge. In case you think it looks easy, it isn’t. It’s a little hard to summarize, so...If you’re curious on just how difficult it is to land a rocket on a barge AND/OR you’re interested in how SpaceX is able to do just that, read this article.

 

SpaceX, Back At It Again With the Barge Landings -

In case you missed last week’s SpaceX barge landing, check out the video here! This is their third landing IN A ROW. Damn, Daniel.

 

Deflate-Gate - Space Edition:

At the beginning of April, SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft delivered an inflatable module to the International Space Station (ISS). The module is meant to act as a habitable extension of the ISS...as well as a precursor to a potential habitat on the surface of Mars. BUT...the ISS wasn’t able to inflate the module on Thursday...bummer.

 

Let’s Get This Woman Into Space:

On June 24th, Kate Rubins, a molecular biologist from Napa, will realize a life-long dream of becoming an astronaut. She will fly aboard a rocket departing from Kazakhstan, and will land on the ISS, where she will live and work for five months. While there, she will run tests on gravitational effects and DNA, not only on test subjects and objects, but also on herself.

 

A Super-Bacteria Has Emerged, and It Could Eventually Kill Us All:

For the first time in the US, doctors have discovered an antibiotic resistant gene, mrc-1, in a strain of the e-coli bacteria, Escherichia coli. The bacteria is resistant to Colistin, an antibiotic that was shelved back in the 1970’s. Colistin is often prescribed as a “last resort,” after other antibiotics have failed to work...meaning there is now nothing to prescribe for infections carrying a Colistin resistant gene. Uh oh…

 

Nanoparticles Take On Cardiovascular Disease:

Scientists are now bioengineering nanoparticles to target plaque in blood vessels, a cause of cardiovascular disease. As the nanoparticles swim through the bloodstream, they locate and attach themselves to the plaque and slowly begin to break it down. Medical researchers have been using nanoparticles for cancer treatments for decades, but this is the first time the tech is being used to treat heart disease.

 

The Future of Colonoscopies:

Want to swallow a sensor? Well, if you’re getting a colonoscopy, you might not have a choice. The future of medicine involves swallowing sensors to create a world of incision-free surgery. MIT researchers have developed a frozen sensor made of pig intestine that unfolds as it moves through the bowls. But don’t worry...the tech has only been tested in pigs. It will likely be some time before human trials.

 

In 2030, Cab Drivers May Be Out of a Job For Good:

Yeah, yeah, yeah. I know this article is sponsored by Ford...but that doesn’t mean the information isn’t interesting. The story takes us through the history of vehicle automation, starting all the way back in 1896 when Henry Ford first introduced a “horseless carriage,” and ending in the 2030’s, when the automotive company predicts that the idea of fully automated cars will be realized.

 

AI, In the White House:

Government is finally trying to keep up with technology. Recent reports state that the Obama Administration is pushing an agenda that allows lawmakers to regulate Artificial Intelligence, before it gets out of hand, and while humans still control the machines.

 

Sources: Science News, Wired, Astronomy Magazine

 

 

 

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writer | author | sci-fi storyteller

Lisa Caskey

writer | author | sci-fi storyteller
© 2016 by Lisa Caskey
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