This Spacespiracy Moment

August 15, 2016

 

Anthrax Can Survive Sub-Zero Temperatures? 

It’s true. “Anthrax spores can survive in frozen human and animal remains for hundreds of years, waiting to be released by a thaw.” And that’s exactly what’s happening Siberia. This summer, the region has experienced unusually high temperatures, and frozen anthrax particles have been released into the groundwater, killing one child.

 

Despite It’s Short Life, Hitomi Continues to Inform:

Before it died in March, the Hitomi, an X-ray telescope, collected data that when combined with data collected by the XMM-Newton satellite, disproves a 2014 theory that sterile neutrinos are the strangely elusive dark matter astronomers have been searching for.  The satellites showed no signs of X-ray photons.

 

Interstellar Travel, Oh the Possibilities!

Well this article certainly brought out the science fiction lover in me! “The field equations of Einstein’s General Relativity theory say that faster-than-light (FTL) travel is possible”...taking that as a truth, this article explores many different ways one might travel through space with the idea of inhabiting another planet. From suspended automation to propulsion to a “generation starship,” some methods are definitely more feasible than others, but ALL are entertaining. Click the link above to learn more!

 

Mercury Has Been Dead for a WHILE:

By studying pictures of the surface of Mercury, taken by NASA’s Messenger spacecraft, researchers have found that volcanic activity, once very active, ended about 3.5 billion years ago. Because we don’t have any samples of Mercury’s surface (I mean, can you imagine trying to get it?), astronomers used “crater-sized frequency analysis” to study the tiny planet.

 

The Methane Oceans of Titan:

We’ve known for a while that Titan, one of Saturn’s many moons, is covered with ice, but thanks to data collected by the Cassini spacecraft, we now know its canyons are filled with liquid methane. It is the only known moon with a thick atmosphere, but now that we know it has moving bodies of organic matter on its surface, it has an even greater potential for life.

 

Niku Is Going the Wrong Way:

Just when you thought space couldn’t get any weirder, enter Niku. Niku is a newly discovered trans-Neptune object (TNO), similar in size and make-up to other objects in the Kuiper belt and beyond, but it’s behaving differently than expected. It’s 110 degrees above the ecliptic, which is extremely unusual for objects of its size, causing it to orbit the wrong way.

 

No Man’s Sky Could Be The Best Game Ever:

Last week, the game No Man’s Sky was released for both PC and Playstation 4, and it has left many of its users with existential thoughts and feelings. The game itself is very similar to Minecraft, but in No Man’s Sky, the lands to discover and potentially conquer, is exponentially greater. The computer game has a built-in algorithm that randomly creates new planets. So far, there are 18 quintillion of them, and that number will only continue to grow. Meaning that No Man’s Sky simply isn’t conquerable. It’s just too big. And that leaves many feeling unbelievably small.

 

The Physics of Climbing Trump Tower:

Remember when that guy decided to scale Trump Tower in order to get an in-person meeting with the Republican party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump? Yeah, that was crazy...but what’s even cooler is the science behind those now infamous suction cups. Click the link to read more!

 

The Search for Dark Matter:

While the calculations are most likely tabulation errors, scientists have noticed that certain types of stars (white dwarf variables and red giants) are cooling at unexpectedly fast rates, which may indicate the presence of hypothetical particles called axioms. Some astronomers believe that axioms could be a “candidate for dark matter, the unknown substance that makes up most of the matter in the universe.”

 

The Sun’s Slow Magnetic Fields:

A recent study, published by Aaron Birch of the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research in Göttingen, Germany, reports that magnetic fields rise to the surface of the sun at a rate of 500 kilometers an hour, about a third as slow as previously theorized. That rate matches the rate at which gas rises and falls within the sun, suggesting that gas particles help move those magnetic fields.

 

Tabby's Star Continues to SLAY:

Tabby’s Star is quite the mystery. For a while now, we’ve observed the star’s infamously eerie dips in light, but new research shows that the star’s brightness is also fading overall. One scientist measured that the star has faded by 19% in the past 100 years, which apparently is a HUGE percentage. They can’t explain it yet, but with a Kickstarter campaign fully funded to observe this star in greater detail for the upcoming year, it might happen soon.

 

Talk About a Photo Overload, Mars!

Get those externals hard drives ready! NASA just SLAMMED us with 1,035 NEW images of Mars. Since its launch in 2005, the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) has been taking pictures of the Red Planet to aid in the selection of future landing sites, as well as make note of surface events like sand dunes. For access to the entire collection, click the link above!

 

The Universe Gets LIT:

No, I’m not talking about the universe partying hard, I’m talking about the moment light was first created, and the universe’s Dark Ages officially ended. The Big Bag took place nearly 14 billion years ago, and we’ve been able to estimate an approximate timeline, but now, the European Space Agency’s Planck Satellite, has given us more precise data that helps pinpoint that moment in time more accurately.

 

This Week with SpaceX:

This week, from Cape Canaveral, SpaceX is launching its 28th Falcon 9 rocket to bring JCSat-16, a telecommunications satellite, into space. Naturally, as is the fashion with SpaceX launches, they will attempt to land the Falcon 9, back on Earth.

 

Venus Was Once Tropical and Lush?

Using climate modeling software, scientists have been able to reconstruct the Venus of the past, and their findings show that the hot planet once may have been like Earth. Considering obtaining topological data from Venus is near impossible, it will be very difficult to prove, but researchers theorize that Venus was once tropical, damp, and lush with vegetation...and that it stayed that way for two million years.

 

 

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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