This Spacespiracy Moment

August 23, 2016

 

A View of the Perseids Shower from the ISS:

The Perseid Meteor Shower hit hard last week, but for most stargazers, the light show was almost entirely obscured by clouds...dagnabit! However, scientists aboard the ISS, had a completely unobstructed view. Using an HD camera installed on the station’s Window Observational Research Facility, the crew took spectroscopic images of the shower, allowing researchers to learn more about where the meteors came from. Thank GOODNESS.

 

Black Holes Aren’t Entirely Black:

Jeff Steinhauer, from the Technion–Israel Institute of Technology, has created a table-top, black hole simulation machine. In 1974, Stephen Hawking claimed that black holes shouldn’t be able to suck in everything, because according to quantum theory, particles form in pairs (a particle and its antimatter counterpart), all over the universe. Typically, one half of the pair destroys the other, but in the case of a black hole, one would be sucked in and one would be released out into the universe. Steinhauer’s experiment is the first to reveal evidence of these escaped particles, which have produced light, also known as Hawking radiation.  

 

DNA Hacks:

Modern genetics has taken a sharp turn...because scientists can now determine which genes are responsible for which traits, horse breeders can have the DNA of their newly bred horses, tested. The gene hacking is so specific, that breeders can find out how tall their horse will be and even whether or not it prefers turf to dirt. So far, Equinome, an equine performance genetic testing company, has tested 13,000 horses, many will stats listed on their website. Weird...

 

 

Illumina and DNA Sequencing:

DNA sequencing is all the rage, and Illumina, is ahead of the curve. They have created DNA sequencing machines that they are now trying to sell to companies around the world. To support this goal, the biotech company has created an incubator to support, with cash, DNA sequencing start-up companies. The idea is that the more DNA sequencing becomes mainstream (it’s really big with agriculture right now), the more machines Illumina will sell.

 

Katherine Johnson - An American Aerospace Hero:

Did you know that an African-American woman was partly responsible for the success of 1958’s Project Mercury, the mission that sent John Glenn into space where he orbited the Earth three times, before returning? Her name is Katherine Johnson, she is currently 97-years old, and she is a physicist, space scientist, and mathematician. A new movie titled, “Hidden Figures,” showcases Johnson’s journey, and her fundamental contribution to US space and aeronautics programs, specifically Project Mercury. The film is due to be released in January of 2017.

 

MACHOs Do NOT Create Dark Matter:

Astronomers are OBSESSED with dark matter, probably because we still don’t know very much about it! We don’t know where it comes from or how it’s formed...but a recent observation of a very dim star cluster in the galaxy, Eridanus II, has debunked one theory, at least. Based on the observed “puffiness” of the cluster, we now know that it is very unlikely that dark matter comes from MACHOs, massive compact halo objects.

 

 

Making Money in Space:

With all the space exploration progress private organizations are making these days, it’s no wonder that many of these corporations want to mine asteroids for their resources. The problem? We are still many, MANY years from being able to successfully mine space rocks. Deep Space Industries, a company developing the tech to actually mine in space, has a plan to travel to an asteroid by the end of the decade, but in the meantime, in order to support their long-term vision, they have created short-term revenue models similar to models used by NASA. They plan to license their technology and sell access to their platform to companies as well as countries. Luxembourg has already signed-up...who’s next?

 

More on Martian Gullies:

A couple of weeks ago, scientists theorized that the “gullies” on Mars were formed by carbon dioxide, as opposed to water. Today, scientists are re-examining that theory, and evidence suggests that the gullies were formed by a complex combination of carbon dioxide, water, and debris flows.

 

The Next Solar Eclipse:

YOU GUYS. This time next year, for the first time since 1979, a solar eclipse will grace our presence and travel through 12 states across the US. Because solar eclipses offer scientists the rare opportunity to observe the entire sun (typically the full-corona is masked by the sun’s brightness), they are already preparing for the event. The next solar eclipse won’t happen until 2024...and who knows when the next coast-to-coast solar eclipse will occur - the last one happened in 1918.

 

 

This White Dwarf Just Exploded:

Scientists have just witnessed a dormant, white dwarf-companion star, explode. Researchers using the University of Warsaw’s OGLE (Optical Gravitational Lensing Experiment) sky survey have, for the first time, “measured the changes in the rate that the companion sends mass to the white dwarf before, during and after a nova.”

 

The World’s Tiniest Storage Device:

By manipulating individual chlorine atoms (removing some and leaving others), scientists from the Netherlands’ Delft University of Technology have created the smallest storage device EVER. They used a scanning, tunneling microscope to encode information into the spots where chlorine atoms were removed, storing an entire kilobyte of information. ”If scaled up, the researchers say, the technology could store the full contents of the U.S. Library of Congress in a cube a tenth of a millimeter on each side.”

 

Sources: Science News, Wired, Astronomy Magazine

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Lisa Caskey

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