Wil je een videoclip bekijken en stoort het X-files-deuntje jou daarbij. Schakel het deuntje gewoon uit door in deze kolon, helemaal beneden op de 2 witte balkjes in het blauwe cirkeltje te klikken, tot een pijltje verschijnt. Veel kijk- en luisterplezier en bedankt voor jouw bezoek.
The purpose of this blog is the creation of an open, international, independent and free forum, where every UFO-researcher can publish the results of his/her research. The languagues, used for this blog, are Dutch, English and French.You can find the articles of a collegue by selecting his category. Each author stays resposable for the continue of his articles. As blogmaster I have the right to refuse an addition or an article, when it attacks other collegues or UFO-groupes.
UFO'S - MET HET LAATSTE NIEUWS OVER UFO'S BOVEN BELGIË EN IN ANDERE LANDEN...
UFO's in België en de rest van de wereld In België heb je vooral BUFON of het Belgisch UFO-Netwerk, dat zich met UFO's bezighoudt. BEZOEK DUS ZEKER VOOR ALLE OBJECTIEVE INFORMATIE ww.ufo.be.
Verder heb je ook het Belgisch-Ufo-meldpunt en Caelestia, die prachtig, doch ZEER kritisch werk leveren, ja soms zelfs héél sceptisch...
Voor Nederland kan je de mooie site www.ufowijzer.nl bezoeken van Paul Harmans. Een mooie site met veel informatie en artikels.
MUFON of het Mutual UFO Network Inc is een Amerikaanse UFO-vereniging met afdelingen in alle USA-staten en diverse landen.
MUFON's mission is the analytical and scientific investigation of the UFO- Phenomenon for the benefit of humanity...
Je kan ook hun site bekijken onder www.mufon.com.
Ze geven een maandeliiks tijdschrift uit, namelijk The MUFON UFO-Journal. Since 02/01/2013 is Pieter not only president (=voorzitter) of BUFON, but also National Director MUFON / Flanders and the Netherlands. We work together with the French MUFON Reseau MUFON/EUROP.
The Most Interesting Science News Articles of the Week
The Most Interesting Science News Articles of the Week
By Live Science Staff
Each week we uncover the most interesting and informative articles from around the world, here are 10 of the coolest stories in science this week.
A shrine built over a cave that is revered as the tomb of Jesus is in danger of "catastrophic" collapse, according to a report by National Geographic.
Repair and restoration work at the Edicule has been going on for the past year, during which the limestone bed that Jesus' body was supposedly buried on was revealed. Today (March 22), National Geographic reported that the Edicule is in danger of "catastrophic" collapse if further repairs are not undertaken soon. [Read more about the dangers at the shrine.]
It's a group thing
Female cockroaches don't need a mate to lay eggs, but they do like company. New research finds that virgin female cockroaches housed together are quicker to produce offspring than virgin females living alone.
To test the effect of social milieu, the researchers put female cockroaches in different situations. In the control group, a male and a female were housed together and were allowed to mate. In other cases, females were kept with one, two, three or four other females. Other female roaches were kept with castrated males. The researchers also tested the effects of adding pheromones, chemicals that insects use for communication, to all-female cockroach groups. [Read more about the strange habit.]
Hundreds of World War I-era liquor bottles have been uncovered at a buried British barracks in Israel.
The excavators unearthed the foundations of an agricultural building from the Ottoman Empire — which ruled Israel from 1517 until the end of World War I — that had apparently been repurposed as housing for British soldiers during the war. [Read more about the British bottles.]
Cancer is caused by mistakes in DNA, and a new study finds that in most cancer cases, these mistakes are completely random; they're not due to heredity or environmental factors, but rather the result of random errors.
Scientists had thought these mutations resulted mainly from two things: Either the mutation was inherited, or it was caused by outside factors that can damage DNA, such as cigarette smoke or ultraviolet radiation, the researchers wrote. But a third cause — random mistakes — actually accounts for two-thirds of these mutations, said the new study, published today (March 23) in the journal Science. [Read more about the dangerous mistakes.]
A face for the man
The face of a British man who died about 700 years ago has been brought to life using reconstructive technology.
The medieval man was buried along with hundreds of others in a graveyard underneath what is now the Old Divinity School building of St. John's College at the University of Cambridge, in the United Kingdom. [Read more about the reconstruction.]
The sprawling Refinería del Pacífico is an enormous industrial complex stamped out of the tropical forest in Ecuador. So, when herpetologists discovered a new species of snake outside the petrochemical plant's gates, their minds went immediately to the underworld.
Advertisement NEWS TECH HEALTH PLANET EARTH SPACE STRANGE NEWS ANIMALS HISTORY HUMAN NATURE NEWS TECH HEALTH PLANET EARTH SPACE STRANGE NEWS ANIMALS HISTORY HUMAN NATURE Live ScienceAnimals Rare 'Snakes from Hell' Lurk Near Petrochemical Plant in Ecuador By Stephanie Pappas, Live Science Contributor | March 22, 2017 10:56am ET 154 29 8 2 18 MORE Partner Series Rare 'Snakes from Hell' Lurk Near Petrochemical Plant in Ecuador Two adult male Cerberus groundsnakes (Atractus Cerberus), newly discovered near the gates of the Refinería del Pacífico, a massive petrochemical complex that reminded the snake's discoverers of hell. Credit: Arteaga, et al./ZooKeys The sprawling Refinería del Pacífico is an enormous industrial complex stamped out of the tropical forest in Ecuador. So, when herpetologists discovered a new species of snake outside the petrochemical plant's gates, their minds went immediately to the underworld. And thus, Atractus cerberus was born. The brown-and-yellow ground snake — named after Cerberus, the mythological three-headed hound who guards Hades, the god of the underworld in ancient Greek mythology — is one of three new serpents discovered in Ecuador. All three newfound species are members of the genus Atractus, a secretive bunch that tends to evade scientific scrutiny, said Alejandro Arteaga, the scientific director of the conservation organization Tropical Herping who co-discovered and helped describe the new snakes. [Read more about the unique serpent.]
A 10-month-old girl who was born with a rare "parasitic twin" attached to her body has undergone a successful surgery to separate her from this underdeveloped twin.
Parasitic twins are very rare, occurring at the rate of about 1 in 1 million live births, according to the 2010 review. [Read more about the procedure.]
Stephen Hawking and Trump
Stephen Hawking does not feel welcome in Donald Trump's America. The renowned physicist made this unhappy claim in a recent interview, and he expressed particular concern about how the Trump administration is treating the issue of climate change.
Hawking, who once called Trump a "demagogue," said the new U.S. president was elected by "people who felt disenfranchised by the governing elite in a revolt against globalization." [Read more about the his fears.]
New family ties
The dinosaur family tree, used by paleontologists and dinosaur buffs for the past 130 years, has just been transformed.
The new study completely reorganizes this setup. According to new analyses, theropods and ornithischians are more closely related than scientists previously thought, and both fit into a previously unknown group called Ornithoscelida, the researchers said. [Read more about the family tree.]
Greek archaeologists have found the ancient military harbor of the island of Salamis — the very physical space from which the largest and most decisive naval battle ever fought in antiquity was launched.
The survey identified remains of port structures, fortifications and other buildings dating from the Classical period (from the fifth to fourth centuries B.C.) and Hellenistic period, on all three sides — north, west and south — of the bay. (The beginning of the Hellenistic period is usually marked by the death of Alexander the Great in 323 B.C.) [Read more about the ancient base.]
Last year I wrote an article here at Mysterious Universe titled “UFOs: Extraterrestrial? Probably Not.” One of the reasons I gave for suggesting that the UFO phenomenon is far stranger than anything of an E.T. nature, is the fact that many UFO incidents seem to be staged for the benefit of the witness. As if “they” are trying to convince us they are extraterrestrials. But, they are trying way too hard. I made mention of one particular angle of the UFO phenomenon that, in my opinion, is a perfect example.
QUOTE:“There’s the nature of the entities themselves: they practically overemphasize who, or what, they claim to be. Take, for example, all those ‘soil-sampling’ aliens of the 1950s and 1960s. You know the ones: someone is working in their field, or driving down a stretch of road, when they encounter a couple of diminutive aliens collecting specimens of local plants, flowers, and vegetables. E.T. on a scientific mission, right? No, not in my view.
“We only have to take a careful look at such cases (and there are more than a few on record – here’s a link to a number of classic cases) to see that these ‘incidents’ are clearly stage-managed. It’s a game, a scenario that has nothing to do with real soil-sampling, but everything to do with trying to emphasize the ET meme. Are we to believe that, time and time again, aliens are so stupid that they can’t collect a few of those aforementioned samples without having their cover blown? Of course, they could easily avoid us! But, here’s the deal: they want to be seen. It’s not an accident. It’s carefully planned. And it’s designed to plant an image of ‘E.T. scientists’ in the mind(s) of the witness(es).” END OF QUOTE.
Today, I’m going to highlight another – equally absurd – aspect of Ufology. I’m talking about the many reports of people stumbling on aliens “repairing” their craft. Like the supposed extraterrestrials who endlessly take soil samples, “the repairers from beyond” are also spectacularly useless when it comes to the issue of avoiding being seen. Of course, the truth is (as per my words above) that they want to be seen. Yet again, to add weight to the E.T. meme. Let’s take a look at a few incidents.
The late UFO researcher Richard Hall recorded a couple of such cases: “November 25, 1964 New Berlin, NY: Twelve humanoids observed at distance after two discs landed on hill; appeared to be engaged in repair operation for hours. September 18, 1978 G. Filiputti, Melaria, Porto Nogaro, Italy 3:30 P.M.: One 1-meter-tall humanoid, silver tight-fitting coveralls, almond eyes, emerged from disc with dome, appeared to be making repairs on rim.”
Then, there is this at UFO Evidence, from March 30, 1995: “When a local farmer from Groot Marico in the western Transvaal plains region first observed the saucer-shaped object on Thursday morning, he noticed that it had a distinctly visible hole in its hull. The farmer, Mr. Jan Pienaar (45), is of the opinion that this ‘vehicle’ landed on a remote country road between Coligny and Brakspruit to have its damaged hull repaired. However, his arrival probably prompted the ‘vehicle’s’ hasty retreat and rapid ascent into the sky.”
In 1976, John Brent Musgrave wrote an article for Flying Saucer Review magazine titled “Saskatchewan, 1933: UFO Stops For Repairs.” Musgrave said in his article: “During the summer of 1933 stories drifted into Nipawin [Canada] that some homesteaders, as well as a forest tower ranger, had been observing strange lights in the sky and near the ground. Whatever it was, they had been seeing it for the better part of a week.” Musgrave added that according to three witnesses to a landed UFO in Nipawin: “The Occupants appeared to be slightly shorter than the average man, and were all dressed in what appeared to be silver colored suits or uniforms. All appeared to be wearing helmets or ski caps, and all were busy running around ‘repairing’ the craft.”
I could go on and on. But, you get the picture. Aliens are so advanced that they can travel the Universe, but when they come here, to Earth, they are endlessly plagued by problems of the “mechanical” kind. And when and where there just happens to be someone around to see them replacing the equivalent of a spark-plug or changing a tire. Nope. Something else is afoot. I don’t know why the UFO phenomenon plays such bizarre mind-games with us. But, it does. If we can figure out why, we may be halfway towards figuring out the real nature of the UFOphenomenon.
We wrap up the controversy surrounding the reveal of the “Roswell Kodachrome slides” and invite Red Pill Junkie to share his thoughts on the image allegedly depicting an extraterrestrial body. We also feature…
A Dragon returns, North Korea tests a rocket engine, a wheel breaks on Mars and a spacewalk streak begins — it's Space.com's top news stories of the week.
U.S. President Donald Trump signed a bill authorizing a $19.5 billion budget for NASA in 2017, setting its priorities for the year. Vice President Mike Pence also announced that he would head a re-established National Space Council, which will advise the president on space issues. [Full Story: President Trump Signs NASA Authorization Bill]
NASA's Curiosity Mars rover has two small breaks in the treads of one of its six heavy wheels. Curiosity has already lasted well beyond its original two-year mission lifetime, and it should be able to continue unhindered by this latest wear and tear. [Full Story: Breaks Found in Curiosity Mars Rover's Wheel]
(Tiny) thrusters, on!
New, dime-size ion thrusters could keep constellations of small satellites in orbit — or, working together, propel astronauts to Mars. The newly-developed "thruster chips" eject ions drawn from a salt-based propellant solution. [Full Story: Dime-Size Thrusters Could Propel Satellites, Spacecraft]
Three observant satellites, called Swarm, have mapped the complex magnetic field of Earth's crust and outer mantle, known as its lithosphere. The signal is tiny, but illuminating about the Earth's history. (And one city in Africa has a mysteriously sharp and strong magnetic spike.) [Full Story: Earth's Magnetic Cocoon Mapped in Extreme Detail]
Jake Gyllenhaal in a scene from the alien sci-fi thriller "Life".Sony Pictures Entertainment, Inc.
Warning: Some spoilers for "Life" are ahead if you haven't seen the movie.
"Life" is a space horror movie starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Ryan Reynolds, Rebecca Ferguson, and more.
The plot is about a Mars sample return mission gone terribly wrong.
The film's creators worked with real scientists to make it more believable.
NASA is actually working on getting a Mars sample to Earth and is worried about contaminating the planet.
Big-budget science-fiction movies aren't supposed to be documentaries.
They are, however, supposed to take us on journeys to far-flung places, immerse us in vivid alternate realities, and make us wonder "what if?"
But reality itself is a powerful filmmaking spice that, justly applied, helps suspend our disbelief — and sometimes scream our guts out.
Such is the case with the new movie "Life", whose makers consulted a NASA-trained medical doctor, a Mars spacecraft engineer, and a geneticist to help produce their horrifying spectacle.
While the film, directed by Daniel Espinosa, whiffs on quite a lot of science, it does go far enough to be wildly entertaining. In fact, Business Insider's Jason Guerrasio even argues it may be a cult classic in the making.
We join the story just as a Mars sample return spacecraft is being caught by a small crew aboard the International Space Station (ISS). With red dirt in hand, NASA astronauts go about analyzing the grit behind several "firewalls" of protection.
After an extraterrestrial microbe is discovered in the soil, it's revived in a soup of water and nutrients. Then, to the astonishment of the crew, it springs to life. "Calvin," as the life form is soon called, quickly divides and grows into a starfish-size creature with incredible strength and intelligence.
What could possibly go wrong?
To understand what doses of reality went into the movie, we called up Dr. Kevin Fong ― a medical doctor, space medicine expert who's trained with NASA and ESA for about a decade, and a paid science consultant for the new Sony Pictures film.
And to answer some of those "what if?" questions on aliens, we spoke to Catharine A. Conley, a planetary protection officer for NASA who gets paid to help humankind avert extraterrestrial disasters in the real world.
Astronaut doctor on set
Jake Gyllenhaal plays the role of Dr. David Jordan in "Life".Sony
Pictures Entertainment, Inc.
"Life" features not one but two characters who are doctors, so filmmakers brought Fong on board to answer their pressing questions.
A lot of the early work happened by email, he says, but soon enough Fong was invited to join the set: an elaborate and modular reconstruction of the space station inside a giant green-screen studio.
"They paid more attention to detail than I'd seen in the space agencies," Fong told Business Insider. "Although the modules are different than what they actually are on the space station, it was very close."
The producers occasionally asked Fong to lend his expertise in physiology and emergency care to actor Jake Gyllenhaal (who plays long-duration astronaut David Jordan), actress Rebecca Ferguson (who plays Center for Disease specialist Miranda North), and others in various scenes.
Rebecca Ferguson in "Life".
Sony Pictures Entertainment, Inc.
"There are a couple of quite dense medical scenes, where I'd say, 'I'd hold this tool like that,' or 'I wouldn't hold that in the way you are,' and 'here's some terminology I'd use in this situation.' On the set, it came across as a very believable," Fong says.
He was especially impressed with a cardiac arrest scene, saying it was "about as faithful as one could be" in a movie.
While he hadn't seen the movie, at least at the time Business Insider interviewed him, Fong didn't walk away thinking it'd be a documentary.
"I think it pays dividends to any movie producer to go as far as you can in suspending disbelief," he says. "But I'm not expecting 'Apollo 13.' You have to make the drama more realistic without getting in the way of the story."
Fong also said that while there are definitely parallels to the "Alien" space horror movie franchise, "Life" is imminently more believable.
"Around the time 'Alien' was made, you needed to imagine some far-flung place," he says. But with the ISS floating just 250 miles above Earth, he added, "this is happening right on your back door."
Fortunately for us, NASA has put decades of thought into protecting planet Earth.
Defending the planet from real-life Martians
Ryan Reynolds in "Life".
Sony Pictures Entertainment, Inc.
At first blush, the idea of a Mars sample return mission might seem far-fetched. But NASA researchers hope to do just that in the future.
The first line of defense for a Mars sample is Catharine Conley, who is NASA's sole planetary protection officer. She has worked in that role since 2006, and helps ensure Earth's microbes don't reach other worlds — and other worlds' microbes don't reach Earth, at least in an uncontained way. (And that includes keeping dead bodies off of other worlds.)
"The phrase that we use is, 'break the chain of contact with Mars,'" Conley told Business Insider.
Catharine "Cassie" A. Conley, NASA's sole planetary protection officer.
Paul E. Alers/NASA
Conley also hadn't seen the movie, but said if a Mars sample was flying toward Earth, it would be aimed slightly off-course from the planet. That way if something goes wrong, the capsule full of red dirt (and maybe a harmful microbe) wouldn't enter our atmosphere in an uncontrolled way, break open, and induce panic.
Yet before such a capsule would ever leave Mars, she says,international guidelines require that an multi-governmental, multi-space agency committee convene to review the mission and make a recommendation on what to do.
"You'd want the international community to weigh in because it's a of a high-enough concern," she said. "There's a lot of checks and balances."
A Mars sample return mission — ostensibly to seek fossilized signs of ancient life, not actual microbes — wouldn't be the first to test the mettle of protections for Earth: Apollo 11 astronauts had to stay quarantined for three whole weeks in a trailer before emerging.
Apollo 11 astronauts quarantined in their "Hornet 3" trailer meet then-President Richard Nixon.
In fact, she says, planning for a Mars sample return mission started with the nuclear-powered Viking landers of the 1970s and has been going ever since.
Plans "got the most carefully laid out" in the early 2000s, she said, but by then, bringing a sample to the space station had long been ruled out.
Thereason? It seemed far too expensive to ship equipment and experts into space, where they'd be ask to excel in a free-floating (and very foreign) environment). Also, containing a disastrous microbe inside the ISS seemed like a pointless step.
"The space station is going to fall down at some point," she said.
Instead, Conley says scientists would make sure an extra-robust capsule carefully reenters Earth's atmosphere, is quickly retrieved, and hurried away to a Biosafety Level 4 laboratory — the most high-security grade of research facility on the planet. There, scientists could meticulously analyze their invaluable prize to no end.
"I would love to find life elsewhere," Conley said — if for no other reason than to compare it to life here on Earth, where the only organisms we know of exist. "If Earth and Mars life are related, that makes things a lot more complicated."
ALIEN APPEARING CLEARLY ON OLD NASA APOLLO 11 PHOTO
Alan Bean, 85, was the lunar module pilot on Apollo 12 in November 1969 – just months after Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin.
And the time he spent up in space has led him to a fascinating theory about alien life.
Mr Bean said he is utterly convinced that aliens are out there – despite scientists finding no real evidence of their existence.
MOON: Alan Bean was on the Apollo 12 mission to the moon in 1969
SPACE: Alan Bean became the fourth man ever to set foot on the moon
“There must be statistically many planets around many stars that have formed life”
He told news.com.au: “There're so many billions of stars and these stars have planets around them so there must be statistically many planets around many stars that have formed life,” he said.
“Maybe some of them are like our life was 100,000 years ago, and some of them are like we are now, and there are probably some out there that are 10,000 years in the future from where we are now.”
However, he does not believe extraterrestrials have touched ground – just yet.
REVEALED: Astronaut Alan Bean revealed his theory about aliens
He said: “I do not believe that anyone from outer space has ever visited the Earth.
“One of reasons I don’t believe they have been here is that civilisations that are more advanced are more altruistic and friendly – like Earth, which is better than it used to be – so they would have landed and said ‘we come in peace and we know from our studies you have cancer that kills people, we solved that problem 50 years ago, here’s the gadget we put on a person’s chest that will cure it, we will show you how to make it’.
“Just like some day, say 1000 years from now, when we can go to another star and see a planet, that’s what we would do because we will know how to cure cancer, cure birth defects, so we would teach them.”
The UFO-hunter posted the video on YouTube on Wednesday, March 22. The description of the video says: "This appeared on camera at the ISS and stayed for 7 minutes. I thought it's only lens flare, forget it, but certain things were happening as it progressed. Lights appearing later on and as you can see flashes at the beginning of the piece near the second item as it appeared. As the video progresses the items appear to turn slightly and light up while keeping the same orbital speed as the space station."
You can watch the video footage of the 2 UFOs here:
This is not the only incident of a UFO sighting taking place at the ISS. A few more incidents have taken place recently, which were revealed by another alien hunter whose YouTube channel goes by the name secureteam10.
In a recent incident, two mysterious UFOs can be spotted passing by in the background in a video footage captured by Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti. She was unaware of these objects passing by, and she had just uncovered the window of the ISS to show the conditions prevailing outside.
You can check out the footage here:
In yet another footage, a giant UFO was spotted hovering near the ISS at a distance, the lights were suddenly dimmed after the strange craft was spotted by the authorities.
Many UFOlogists have been slammed by astronomers and researchers, who say the objects appearing in the footages are "light flares" or "camera disturbances".
"I thought I was seeing things. I had to be quick. This should appear in the archive later for those wanting verification. The dimming at the end was sudden and my guess is they turned down the brightness a little because they spotted it. Sorry about quality, but it was hundreds of miles away," StreetCap1 stated in the description of the video.
Check out the stunning footage of the mega UFO spotted from the ISS:
VIDEOGisteren is de eerste commerciële vlucht naar het zuiderlicht geland in Nieuw-Zeeland. De 134 passagiers waren op zijn zachtst uitgedrukt onder de indruk van het groene licht, vergelijkbaar met het noorderlicht, en deelden hun prachtige ervaring op sociale media.
Het acht uur durende avontuur begon donderdagavond op het Zuidereiland, een van de twee grote eilanden waaruit Nieuw-Zeeland bestaat. De Boeing 767 vloog zuidwaarts, waar de passagiers volgens expeditieleider Ian Griffin, directeur van het Otago Museum, "een spectaculaire vertoning" kregen.
"Niemand heeft dit ooit eerder gedaan", zegt hij aan de BBC. "Dit was een wereldprimeur in het zuidelijke halfrond." Griffin benadrukt dat de expeditie niet zo eenvoudig te organiseren valt als een normale vlucht. "Het zuiderlicht verschijnt niet zomaar op een specifieke locatie. Het beweegt in het rond, en we probeerden het achterna te jagen boven de Zuidelijke Oceaan."
Het chartervliegtuig ging meerdere keren door het zuiderlichtgebied en vloog tot 66 graden zuiderbreedte.
Voor de passagiers was het tripje zeer gedenkwaardig. "Onze levens zijn voor altijd veranderd door deze ongelooflijke ervaring. We zijn eeuwig dankbaar dat we deel konden uitmaken van dit opmerkelijke gebeuren", wordt Roz Charlton geciteerd door The Guardian.
Daar moesten de deelnemers uiteraard iets voor over hebben. Een ticket voor de speciale vlucht kostte 4.000 Nieuw-Zeelandse dollar (2.600 euro) in economy en 8.000 dollar (5.200 euro) in business class.
Geïnteresseerden kunnen alvast beginnen sparen, want gezien het succes plannen de organisatoren volgend jaar een nieuwe expeditie.
VIDEOOp 24 maart 1992, vandaag/vrijdag precies 25 jaar geleden, werd Dirk Frimout aan boord van het Amerikaanse ruimteveer Atlantis de eerste Belg in de ruimte. Hij wentelde 143 keer rond onze planeet, goed voor een missie van 8 dagen 22 uur 9 minuten 28 seconden. Waarnemers hadden het over een "Amerikaans-Belgische vlucht", want nagenoeg de helft van het wetenschappelijk lab Atlas-1 in de vrachtruimte van de shuttle was (co-)Belgisch. Onder de instrumenten was er onder meer een rasterspectrometer die Frimout als wetenschapper van het Belgisch Instituut voor Ruimte-Aëronomie mee had ontwikkeld. Overigens kreeg de West-Vlaamse burggraaf het instrument na een panne tijdens de missie weer aan de praat.
Frimout, geboren te Poperinge op 21 maart 1941, maakte geen deel uit van het astronautenkorps van het Europese Ruimtevaartbureau ESA. Precies door zijn wetenschappelijke bagage bovenop een reeks toevalligheden kon Frimout zijn droom waarmaken. Dat hij alsnog als wetenschappelijk astronaut kon vliegen, was naar zijn zeggen "niet het winnen van een lot in de tombola, maar het resultaat van 25 jaar voorbereiding en hard werken", plus blijven volhouden.
Tot nu toe is geen enkele Belg via de geijkte procedure in de ruimte geraakt. Zo werd bijvoorbeeld Frank De Winne later "heropgevist" nadat hij niet voor de tweede "astronautenklas" van ESA was geselecteerd. Frimout schrijft deze gang van zaken toe aan het feit dat de selectiecriteria voor astronauten bijzonder streng zijn terwijl er zeer veel - valabele - kandidaten zijn. "Het zijn de besten" die uiteindelijk effectief de aarde van bovenaf gaan bekijken, beklemtoont hij. Tegelijk stipt de astronaut aan dat er wel degelijk "subjectieve" elementen (voor een selectie) kunnen meespelen, zoals "ondersteuning door een land".
Dat een geselecteerde astronaut soms lang moet wachten op een vlucht, is dan ook weer geen zeldzaamheid, leerde Frimout uit gesprekken met astronauten. "Je moet volhouden, zelfs bezeten zijn".
Wat Frimout het meest is bijgebleven van zijn historische missie, is het moment dat de hoofdmotoren van de shuttle uitfloepten, het moment dat hij voelde net in de ruimte te zijn aangekomen en dus de gewichtloosheid te voelen. "Dat is uniek", zegt hij. "Het is de droom die je had en hij begint dan nog maar", aldus Frimout, die aangeeft dat de in 1986 ontplofte shuttle Challenger op dat moment ook wel in zijn hoofd zat.
Zijn zes collega's heeft hij - ondanks de "speciale band" die zij met elkaar hadden - voor het eerst weer samen ontmoet bij het vieren van de twintigste verjaardag van hun missie. Onder hen zijn gezagvoerder Charles Bolden, die later en tot voor kort hoofd van het Amerikaanse ruimtevaartbureau NASA was. Onder Bolden maakte de NASA een grote transformatie door, door de privésector uitdrukkelijker bij de ruimtevaart te betrekken.
Frimout zegt dat deze transformatie "zeer positief" is uitgedraaid. De inbreng van bedrijven als SpaceX was een "boost" voor de ruimtevaart.
Gevraagd of een privé-initiatief als Mars One, waarbij gegadigden een enkele reis naar de Rode Planeet zouden kunnen maken, geldklopperij is, beaamt hij. "Dit is niet ernstig, er zit niets achter, ze hebben zelfs nog geen raket", aldus Frimout die de "zelfmoord" van de kandidaten ook "ethisch niet verantwoord" vindt. "Dit geeft een verkeerd beeld".
Hij juicht toe dat er wel ernstige programma's zijn om naar analogie van het Apollo-Maanproject een mens veilig naar Mars te brengen en te laten terugkeren. Frimout verwelkomt in dit verband ook de inbreng van de privé-sector, want bijvoorbeeld de NASA "kan dit niet alleen". Dat er in 2040 voor het eerst een mens voet op Mars kan zetten, acht hij haalbaar. Maar daarvoor "zijn er nog de nodige inspanningen vereist".
ESA schrapte in 1992 de plannen voor zijn eigen ruimteveer Hermes waarmee Europa de facto geen autonome bemande toegang tot de ruimte kreeg. Frimout wijst de mening af dat dit een onjuiste beslissing was. Hij wijst erop dat het Europese ruimtevaartbudget bijvoorbeeld maar een zevende van het Amerikaanse bedraagt en dat Europa wellicht niet te middelen heeft voor autonome bemande ruimtevaart. Toch heeft ESA wat bemande ruimtevaart betreft volgens de Belg "zeer goed werk" gedaan, bijvoorbeeld via de onbemande Europese cargo's voor het Internationaal Ruimtestation ISS en de servicemodule die het heeft ontwikkeld voor de toekomstige bemande capsule Orion.
Frimout betreurt dat er in de media weinig of geen aandacht voor wetenschappen en ruimtevaart is. "De mensen hebben de indruk dat er niets meer gebeurt, maar dat is niet zo", beklemtoont hij.
De eerste Belg in de ruimte hekelt dat er in het middelbaar onderwijs bij wijze van spreken "geen woord valt" over ruimtevaart en dat die geen deel uitmaakt van de eindtermen voor het secundair onderwijs in Vlaanderen. Hoewel er initiatieven zijn van bijvoorbeeld ESA om ruimtevaart tot in de scholen te brengen, is Vlaanderen "een van de enige" onder de lidstaten die daaraan niet meedoen. Wel zijn er veel leraars die enthousiast zijn om initiatieven te (willen) nemen, en merkt Frimout zelf bij bezoek aan scholen hoe leerlingen geboeid zijn. Maar een omkadering is er niet.
De pogingen van zijn eigen Euro Space Society om heuse "space teachers" in de Vlaamse scholen te lanceren, botsen ook op een institutioneel obstakel en een "gebrek aan openheid van geest": ruimtevaart is federaal, onderwijs is een bevoegdheid van de gemeenschappen.
Alan Bean maakte deel uit van het tweede team astronauten dat naar de maan gestuurd werd. Hij hoort ook bij het selecte clubje van amper twaalf leden die ooit voet hebben gezet op de maan. De nu 85-jarige Bean zegt in een interview met news.com.au dat aliens nog nooit onze planeet aandeden. En waarom hij dat denkt.
De Apollo 12 had maar drie crewleden aan boord toen het ruimtetuig op 14 november 1969 aan zijn missie begon. Tien dagen later landde de toen 37-jarige piloot van de maanlander, Alan Bean, terug op aarde en had hij als vierde man ooit op de maan gewandeld. De twee maanwandelingen die hij samen met zijn collega Charles 'Pete' Conrad had volbracht, duurden in totaal 7 uur 45 minuten 18 seconden.
Vanuit zijn ervaring heeft Alan Bean zo zijn eigen theorieën als het over buitenaards leven gaat. "Ik denk niet dat er ooit iemand vanuit de ruimte de aarde heeft bezocht", zegt hij aan news.com.au. "Een van de redenen waarom ik dat denk, is dat beschavingen die meer geavanceerd zijn ook altruïstischer en vriendelijker zijn - zoals de aarde zelf vandaag beter is dan ze ooit was. Als ze dus hier zouden landen, dan zouden ze zeggen: 'Wij komen in vrede en we weten dat jullie moeten afrekenen met de ziekte kanker die mensen doodt. Wij hebben dat probleem 50 jaar geleden opgelost. Dit is het apparaatje dat wij op iemands borst plakken en dat kanker geneest. We zullen jullie leren hoe je het moet maken'."
Kanker genezen Bean gaat verder: "Net zoals wij zouden doen als we pakweg over 1.000 jaar naar een andere ster kunnen reizen en een planeet zien, omdat wij zelf dan weten hoe we kanker en aangeboren afwijkingen moeten genezen en we het hen willen aanleren." Lees hieronder waarom hij zeker is dat aliens bestaan
De voormalige astronaut - sinds 1981 overigens voltijds kunstenaar met de maan als thema - twijfelt er wel geen seconde aan dat aliens bestaan. "Er zijn miljarden sterren met allemaal planeten errond, dus statistisch gezien moeten er vele planeten zijn rond heel wat sterren waar er leven is", meent Bean. "Sommige zitten misschien in het stadium waar wij 100.000 jaar geleden zaten, andere staan dan weer waar wij nu staan en waarschijnlijk bevinden nog andere zich 10.000 jaar verder in de toekomst ten opzichte van ons."
Schilder Alan Bean, net 85 geworden, schildert vandaag nog altijd dagelijks. Hij werkt met maangereedschap en gebruikt onder meer "stukjes van Apollo-ruimtetuigen en een snuifje maanstof" voor zijn kunstwerken. Die gaan van de hand voor tienduizenden - soms zelfs honderdduizenden - dollars. "Ik ben dan ook de enige op aarde die dit soort schilderijen met levensechte ervaring kan maken", zegt hij.
A crew member of an offshore supply vessel in the Gulf of Mexico claims he saw a UFO ‘fives times’ the size of his vessel and UFO trackers are now looking for more witnesses to come forward with any information possibly related to the sighting.
The UFO sighting reportedly occurred on Tuesday in the Gulf of Mexico approximately 80 miles southeast of New Orleans.
The sighting was submitted to the National UFO Reporting Center, which apparently tracks UFO sightings and data, by the chief engineer of an OSV working the Gulf of Mexico on Thursday afternoon. According to the eyewitness report:
“Close to 7:00 pm on March 21st, just before dusk, myself and 4 of the crew members aboard our vessel saw a craft that appeared to be five times our 240 ft vessel in length. My line of sight was about 1/4 mile from our vessel. There was a rig behind the craft about a 1/2 mile. i used this to help gauge size of craft. Sighting was approximately 80 miles SE of New Orleans, Louisiana.
The scene lasted about 40 seconds. The craft rose up out of the water (Gulf of Mexico) about 40 feet, no water was dripping from the craft. Within a split second the craft disappeared at a 30 degree angle into the sky. Speed appeared to faster than speed of a light turning on in a room. Within seconds it had disappeared completely.
I can say for sure that the craft was dark colored, oval in shape and made no sound whatsoever.
With as many rigs (2), there has to be more witnesses than just the four on our vessel.
The NUFORC has even highlighted the sighting as being of particular interest among the 246 reports of UFOs received in March alone. And after speaking with the witness by phone, the NUFORC said the report seems legit and has urged more witnesses to come forward.
“We spoke via telephone with this witness, and he seemed to us to be unusually sober-minded,” NUFORC wrote in a note added to the original report. “We suspect that he is a very capable, and very reliable, witness. He estimates that upwards of perhaps 50 people, who were aboard nearby vessels, may have witnessed the event, as well. We would urge those other witnesses to submit reports of what they had witnessed.”
So, did you see a UFO in the Gulf of Mexico earlier this week?
West Country Experiences Sudden Increase In UFO Sightings
West Country Experiences Sudden Increase In UFO Sightings
It appears that aliens have taken a renewed attention in the paranormal hotspot of the West Country. The increases in sightings and strange events in the part of the country have also gotten the interest of regional media as they reported the latest development in mysterious happenings, crop circles, and legends. Crop circles, in particular, are allegedly created or caused by alien visitors.
Regional media recorded two UFO sightings in just weeks after the news of an alien being spotted in country town Yeovil in Somerset broke off.
In December, there were reports of an alien being observed wearing a Stetson Hat close to Yeovil College vicinity.
Just recently, two more unexplained sightings have been reported over the internet.
A witness said to have seen a UFO in the sky above Lysander Road and the A3088 on March 4 in Yeovil.
The witness, who chose not to be named, said he did not notice anything at the time when he took a photo of the scenery around Lysander Road. He described the environment as so bright that he could not see anything.
He just noticed something strange in the photo when he got home. He saw an object that he thought was flying towards west.
Another witness reported his sighting on February 21 at around 6:30 in the morning over Yeovil. The person managed to get a video recording using a static camera in his garden. He stated in his report that he caught eight strange lights flying in an east to southeasterly direction.
People in Gloucestershire also reported bizarre incidents.
A video shows a mysterious light reportedly filmed above Gloucester at around 5 am on March 13. It is the second one showing unusual lights in the sky over the city.
A day earlier, a video by Rob Wheatman shows an unknown light above Elmbridge. The witness said that it was sparkling like a star from the garden in Elmbridge.
He also saw an orange light from it and flew at speed. He used his video camera with 40x zoom to get images of the light.
Disc UFO over New Jersey was ‘football field’ size, claims witness
Disc UFO over New Jersey was ‘football field’ size, claims witness
A New Jersey witness at Lakehurst reported a 2014 incident where a disc-shaped object the size of a “football field” moved overhead and then quickly moved away, according to testimony in Case 82734 from the Mutual UFO Network (MUFON) witness reporting database.
The object was seen hovering over Joint Base McGuire–Dix–Lakehurst.
(Credit: Wikimedia Commons)
The witness was driving home from work on December 10, 2014, when the incident began.
“At the end of this one long, hilly road, you come to a four way stop,” the witness stated.“Diagonally, there is a large, empty field. And beyond that is the base. Once I got to the stop sign there was another car in front of me and we simultaneously saw something in the sky and hit the brakes immediately in the middle of the road.”
The object was as large as a football field.
The witness described the object.
“There were 12 or more lights lined up in an oval shape larger than a football field. It could have been much bigger if it was further way. Similar to the Phoenix Lights. I just found that real quick as an example. But the oval shape was more pronounced. The ring or halo of lights were almost tilted on an angle. The lights lit up in a row. The oval sped up quicker and quicker until it vanished completely without a trace. The reason why I decided to write about this now is because I was driving past that field the other day and realized you can see stars everywhere in the sky, except for where those lights were above the base.”
The object moved away very quickly.
Pictured: Lakehurst, NJ. (Credit: Google)
Lakehurst is a borough in Ocean County, New Jersey, population 2,654. Lakehurst Maxfield Field, sitting just north of the city, is the naval component of Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, a United States Air Force-managed joint base headquartered approximately 25 miles (40 km) east-southeast of Trenton in Manchester Township in Ocean County, New Jersey, United States. It is primarily the home to Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division Lakerhurst, although the airfield supports several other flying and non-flying units as well.
New Jersey MUFON Chief Investigator Ken Pfeifer is investigating. Please remember that most UFO sightings can be explained as something natural or man-made. The above quotes were edited for clarity. Please report UFO activity to MUFON.com.
Euclid: ESA's Search for Dark Matter & Dark Energy
Euclid: ESA's Search for Dark Matter & Dark Energy
By Elizabeth Howell, Space.com Contributor
Euclid is a mission planned by the European Space Agency (ESA) that aims to learn more about the parts of the universe we can't see — specifically, dark energy and dark matter. These form most of the universe and are thought to be responsible for phenomena such as the acceleration of the universe's expansion.
Euclid is expected to launch in 2020 from French Guiana aboard a Soyuz rocket. It will take roughly 30 days for Euclid to make its way to its planned location in space, which is a gravitationally stable area known as a Lagrange point. Euclid will be at L2, which lies about a million miles from Earth but in the opposite direction of the sun. At this point, with the Earth, moon and sun behind it, a spacecraft can get a clear view of deep space.
As a survey mission, Euclid will last at least six years and cover 15,000 square degrees of sky. Its survey will be performed as a "step and stare," meaning that the telescope will do measurements on about 0.5 square degrees of the sky at a time.
The ESA's current guideline for science missions is called Cosmic Vision 2015-2025. In 2007, a proposal process for Cosmic Vision resulted in two missions that were intended to measure the geometry of the universe: DUNE (Dark Universe Explorer) and SPACE (Spectroscopic All Sky Cosmic Explorer.)
DUNE was supposed to image the sky across a wide field to study dark energy and dark matter. Its primary measurement method was weak gravitational lensing. SPACE was supposed to create a 3-D evolutionary map of the universe across 10 billion years, by measuring galaxy redshifts and spectra. However, after an assessment study those two missions were combined into one: Euclid. (Euclid is named after an Ancient Greek mathematician who is sometimes called the "father of geometry.")
In 2011, ESA selected Solar Orbiter and Euclid as the first two of its medium-class or M-class missions, among several proposals. Solar Orbiter is expected to launch in 2018, and Euclid in 2019.
In 2013, NASA signed a memorandum of understanding with ESA to provide 20 detectors for Euclid's near-infrared instrument. NASA also nominated 40 U.S. scientists to join the Euclid consortium, which builds the instruments and will later parse the mission's science data. Later that year, Italy's Thales Alenia Space was selected as prime contractor for the mission. Euclid passed its preliminary design review in 2015, and the first parts of the flight hardware — four detectors for the visible imager – were delivered to ESA in early 2017.
We can only see a fraction of the known universe. Ordinary matter makes up about 4 percent, while dark matter makes up 20 percent and dark energy makes up 76 percent. Understanding more about dark matter and dark energy could help scientists, for example, learn why the universe is accelerating in its expansion. There is not enough "ordinary" matter to account for the acceleration.
Euclid will show scientists more about the dark universe. One of its main goals is to accurately map galaxy redshift, which occurs when an object moves away from us. The light shifts to the red end of the spectrum, as its wavelengths get longer. If an object moves closer, the light moves to the blue end of the spectrum, as its wavelengths get shorter. The mission will look back to galaxies that formed as early as 10 billion years ago, or more than double the solar system's age. In its prime mission, Euclid will map about half of the sky.
Specifically, Euclid's detectors are supposed to conduct two cosmological probes. One will study weak gravitational lensing, which happens when a concentration of matter bends light as light travels toward the observer. This is useful for mapping dark matter and for inferring dark energy by measuring how much galaxy images are distorted by the lensing.
The other probe will study baryonic acoustic oscillations (BAO), which measures the spatial distribution of galaxies. Across very large scales, galaxies tend to cluster in pairs separated by a standard distance. This standard distance is linked to sound waves in plasma (supercharged gas) from the early universe; the sound waves propagated from dark matter halos, or concentrations of dark matter associated with galaxies. BAOs are therefore a standard ruler to measure the universe's expansion, and dark energy as well.
Euclid's science will be performed by two instruments, and the spacecraft's 1.2-meter mirror will split light between them for analysis:
A visible imager (VIS), which will include dozens of charge-coupled devices specially formulated for the mission. ESA said the devices will include high efficiency, low noise and good radiation tolerance. The field of view of VIS is a little larger than the area covered by two full moons.
The Near-Infrared Spectrometer and Photometer (NISP), which will provide near-infrared photometry of galaxies. The aim is to combine NISP's and VIS's observations to show the galaxy redshift observed by Euclid.
The overall goals of Euclid (in ESA's words) are:
Investigate the properties of the dark energy by accurately measuring both the acceleration as well as the variation of the acceleration at different ages of the universe;
Test the validity of general relativity on cosmic scales;
Investigate the nature and properties of dark matter by mapping the 3-dimensional dark matter distribution in the universe;
Refine the initial conditions at the beginning of our universe, which seed the formation of the cosmic structures we see today.
Other dark-matter missions
Dark matter is still a relatively young science, but there have been some observations by other space missions to assist with Euclid's work.
The Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope launched in 2008. One of its science goals is to look at dark matter, specifically by probing phenomena such as excess gamma-rays from the Milky Way's center. In 2014, NASA announced that the excess emission seen in that area "is consistent with some forms of dark matter." In 2017, observations of the nearby Andromeda Galaxy revealed the same phenomena.
Other space missions have glimpsed dark matter, even though it wasn't in their primary missions. One example is a 2015 study of 72 galaxy cluster collisions that used data from both the Hubble Space Telescope and the Chandra X-Ray Observatory. At the time, scientists said the study helped set limits on the nature of dark matter. "Astronomers can map the distribution of dark matter by analyzing how the light from distant sources beyond the cluster is magnified and distorted by gravitational effects," the Harvard University Chandra X-Ray Observatory page said in a press release.
ESA's Gaia mission launched in 2013 to create the most accurate map of star locations in the sky. It is thought that charting their movements will reveal more information about the nature of dark matter, and how it influenced the universe's history.
Gliese 581c is a super-Earth planet that was discovered in 2007. It resides in the Gliese 581 system, which at 20 light-years from Earth is relatively close to our planet (in celestial terms). While early research suggested that Gliese 581c may have liquid water on its surface because it resides in its star's "habitable zone," more recent research suggests it may have a Venus-like environment.
The existence of Gliese 581c was announced in 2007 in the journal Astronomy and Astrophysics. The paper was led by Stephane Udry, an astronomer at Geneva Observatory. Gliese 581c was one of two super-Earth planets his team found, both at the edge of the star's habitable zone.
Gliese 581c was found using the radial-velocity method, meaning that it was detected through tugs on its parent star. The instrument that made the discovery was the HARPS spectrograph on a 3.6-meter telescope managed by the European Southern Observatory in Chile. (HARPS is one of the more prolific planet-hunting instruments available to astronomers today.)
At the time, the researchers said Gliese 581c is "the known exoplanet which most resembles our own Earth" because it was only five times the mass of our planet. (Subsequent searches have found many planets much closer to our Earth's mass.)
While Gliese 581c was classified as Earth-like, the researchers cautioned that actual conditions on the planet may be very different than our own. The surface temperature, for example, would depend on the composition and thickness of the atmosphere. The atmosphere also determines how much light is reflected off the planet, and the magnitude of the greenhouse effect.
The parent star of Gliese 581c, called Gliese 581, is an M-class dwarf star. It's cooler than the sun, which means its habitable zone would be closer in than our own solar system. M dwarfs are favored for planetary searches because they are dimmer, meaning that planets passing across the star would be easier to see. There also is a smaller relative size between the planet and the star, making their gravitational effects more obvious.
Characteristics and habitability
Researchers examining Gliese 581 have had different opinions over the years about how many planets were there; one example was the discovery of Gliese 581g in 2010. Signatures of the planet did not show up in independent searches, and today most astronomers in that field consider that the planet does not exist.
Not knowing the number of planets exactly makes it difficult to determine the radius of Gliese 581c. The planet has not been seen directly passing across the face of its star, so astronomers can only learn about its characteristics from Gliese 581c's influence on other planets and the star. The radius would in turn determine such matters as whether the planet is closer to an Earth-like planet (with a smaller atmosphere) or closer to a Neptune-like planet (with a much thicker atmosphere).
Gliese 581c takes about 13 days to orbit its parent star. (By contrast, Mercury's orbit around our much larger sun takes about 88 days.) Because Gliese 581c is so close to its star, a common belief is that the planet is tidally locked. This means that as it orbits, the planet always keeps the same side toward the sun. This phenomenon is common among moons of Jupiter and Saturn in our own solar system. Earth's moon is also tidally locked to our own planet.
If a planet is tidally locked, this means that one side (the star-facing side) is always warmer than the other side (which always faces away from the star.) Any considerations of habitability would have to take this into account. The only firm example of a habitable planet that we know of – our own Earth – has a regular day-night cycle in most areas of the planet, except the poles. Over billions of years, lifeforms have adapted to this cycle. It's unclear how life would survive in an area of perpetual day or perpetual night, but studies are ongoing.
A 2007 follow-up paper in Astronomy and Astrophysics, led by Werner von Bloh at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, suggested that Gliese 581c is too hot to support life because it is so close to its parent star. This means that the planet may have more of a Venus-like environment, with an extremely hot surface and a runaway greenhouse effect under a thick atmosphere. This was confirmed in a 2011 study in Astronomy and Astrophysics led by Y. Hu, who is with Peking University's laboratory for climate and ocean-atmosphere studies.
While Gliese 581c has not been discussed much in scientific literature in recent years, astronomers are working more generally to improve their models of planets that are close in to their parent stars. An example is a 2013 article published in the journal Nature, in which a team led by Jeremy Leconte examines the conditions under which runaway greenhouse effects happen on Earth-like planets. This line of research is receiving increased attention again after the discovery of Proxima Centuari b, a potentially habitable planet just four light-years from Earth, in 2016.
Dwarf Planet Ceres' Water-Ice Deposits Tied to Its Changing Tilt
Dwarf Planet Ceres' Water-Ice Deposits Tied to Its Changing Tilt
By Elizabeth Howell, Space.com Contributor
The location of newfound water-ice deposits on Ceres is linked to wild swings in the dwarf planet's tilt over the eons, a new study suggests.
Ice on Ceres — the largest body in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter — survives in permanently shadowed regions that don't receive sunlight. But these regions change drastically over a period of just 24,500 years, researchers determined.
Ceres' tilt relative to the plane of its path around the sun changes tenfold, from 2 degrees to about 20 degrees, in that time. The dwarf planet's current tilt, also known as obliquity, is 4 degrees; by contrast, Earth's tilt (which is responsible for the seasons) is 23.5 degrees. [Amazing Photos of Dwarf Planet Ceres]
"We found a correlation between craters that stay in shadow at maximum obliquity, and bright deposits that are likely water ice," study lead author Anton Ermakov, a postdoctoral researcher at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California, said in a NASA statement. "Regions that never see sunlight over millions of years are more likely to have these deposits."
The last time Ceres reached its maximum tilt was 14,000 years ago. When the tilt of Ceres is at a minimum, which is close to the conditions happening right now, there are large portions of the dwarf planet — roughly 800 square miles (2,000 square kilometers) — that don't receive direct sunlight, most of which are near the poles, study team members said.
But when Ceres' tilt gets closer to 20 degrees, the regions protected from sunlight diminish to just 0.4 to 4 square miles (1 to 10 square km). Those regions that remain in shadow even during maximum obliquity could be the same areas that maintain surface ice, the researchers said.
The new study used data from NASA's Dawn spacecraft, which has been orbiting the 590-mile-wide (950 km) Ceres since March 2015, to take measurements of the dwarf planet's shape and gravity, and to try to reconstruct its history. It focused on polar craters and looked at how the shadowing shifts in these regions as Ceres' axial tilt changes.
The researchers found that, in the northern hemisphere, only two of the persistently shadowed regions that exist today will still be dark when Ceres reaches a 20-degree tilt. Both regions have bright deposits today, which could indicate water ice. Two persistently shadowed regions are also present in the southern hemisphere, and one of those regions has a bright area, the researchers said.
In 2016, a study that analyzed Dawn data indicated that there is bright material in 10 craters on Ceres. Dawn's Visible and Infrared Mapping Spectrometer determined that one of these regions contains water ice.
Ceres isn't the only spot in the solar system known to have permanently shadowed regions on its surface; Mercury and Earth's moon also have these zones. However, Ceres has much more variability in its tilt because it is not stabilized by the sun (as Mercury is) or a planet (as Earth's moon is), the researchers said.
While scientists believe that Mercury and Earth's moon both received most of their surface water from small, impacting asteroids and comets, there is more debate regarding Ceres. The European Space Agency's Herschel Space Observatory detected a tenuous water atmosphere around the dwarf planet in 2012 to 2013. This means that the ice could come from water falling back from Ceres' atmosphere, scientists have said, though the stuff could also come from small impactors.
"The idea that ice could survive on Ceres for long periods of time is important as we continue to reconstruct the dwarf planet's geological history, including whether it has been giving off water vapor," study co-author and Dawn deputy principal investigator Carol Raymond, also of JPL, said in the same statement.
The new study was published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.
'Life' Brings Alien Terror to the International Space Station
'Life' Brings Alien Terror to the International Space Station
By Hanneke Weitering, Staff Writer-Producer
No science-fiction movie that takes place at the International Space Station has been quite as terrifying as "Life," a new space thriller that comes out in theaters today (March 24).
In the film, a Mars sample-return mission delivers the first proof of alien life to a group of astronauts at the International Space Station (ISS). What is at first a harmless, single-celled organism sealed inside a box in the lab grows bigger, stronger, smarter and bloodthirsty. When it breaks out of its container and comes after the astronauts, all hell breaks loose. ['Life' Movie Brings Terrifying Space Thrills (Photo Gallery)]
The all-star cast who play the astronauts in "Life" do not disappoint. Jake Gyllenhaal stars as a doctor who has spent more than 473 days aboard the ISS. Rebecca Ferguson plays a microbiologist whose job it is to protect everyone at the station and on Earth from possible contamination by the alien. Ryan Reynolds plays the role of a spacewalk specialist and provides some necessary comedic relief to this gruesome story.
The plot of "Life" is a bit of a mashup between the movies "Gravity" and "Alien." Just like in the "Alien" saga, the extraterrestrial in "Life" (which is nicknamed Calvin after school children on Earth won a naming contest) is out to kill every living thing aboard the spacecraft — in this case, the ISS. As the astronauts fight for their lives, they demolish the ISS. Though Calvin is the reason for their panic, the astronauts create more problems trying to kill it.
At times, the astronauts do things that would be considered foolish in real life, such as using fire to try to kill Calvin. (Starting fires is strictly forbidden at the ISS.) However, watching Ryan Reynolds blast flames at an octopus-like monster while chasing it around the ISS was worth the slight technical inaccuracy.
While the film is more of a horror flick than a science-driven narrative about extraterrestrial life and the International Space Station, there's plenty of real space science throughout the story to keep even hard-core space geeks entertained. The ISS is accurately and brilliantly rendered, and space-savvy viewers may recognize some of its features, such as the Canadarm robotic arm, the Cupola window and the docked Soyuz crew capsules.
Despite the superb acting and production that went into the making of this film, the story left me feeling a bit unsettled and unsatisfied near the end. For a group of highly intelligent astronauts at the space station, the astronauts made a lot of bad decisions that only make matters worse. I would have expected better from a group of trained professionals with "the right stuff." Then again, it's hard to guess how astronauts in the real world would deal with a situation as crazy as this. After all, they are still humans.
Overall, the film is worth a watch for anyone who's into space, horror, or both. But if you're expecting a heroic story of six brave astronauts who save the day, you might be disappointed with the ending.
"Life" is rated R (for violence, gore, terror and profanity) and opens in theaters nationwide today (March 24).
Breaking the 'Speed Limit': Simulation Shows Monster Black Holes' Rapid Growth
Breaking the 'Speed Limit': Simulation Shows Monster Black Holes' Rapid Growth
By Sarah Lewin, Staff Writer
The massive black hole shown at left in this drawing is able to rapidly grow as intense radiation from a galaxy nearby shuts down star-formation in its host galaxy.
Illustration Courtesy of John Wise, Georgia Tech
They grow up so fast: A new simulation shows how supermassive black holes could have gotten so large, so quickly in the early universe — by taking a shortcut via a star.
Supermassive black holes form the cores of many galaxies, including the Milky Way, and researchers have found evidence of them dating to very early in the universe's history. In fact, seemingly too early — supermassive black holes take a long time to form, and researchers have been searching for explanations of how they were able to grow so massive (several billion times the sun's mass) within the first billion years after the Big Bang, surpassing their apparent "speed limit" on growth.
According to a new simulation, black holes can only grow so fast, but stars can expand to incredible size even faster in certain conditions before collapsing down into a black hole. That way, the energetic galactic centers can form earlier than expected. The researchers also explained their simulation in a new video.
"It turns out that while supermassive black holes have a growth speed limit, certain types of massive stars do not," Joseph Smidt, a researcher at the theoretical design division of Los Alamos National Laboratory and the first author on the new work, said in a statement. "We asked, what if we could find a place where stars could grow much faster, perhaps to the size of many thousand suns; could they form supermassive black holes in less time?"
The researchers compared their models to the most distant known energetic galactic center, called a quasar, and one of the most massive of those objects, which is also ancient, to see whether that method could have quickly grown them to full size. If ultralarge stars are born in the right environment — one with the ideal combination of rapidly incoming material and local conditions — they could indeed collapse and form quasars of that mass and age, the researchers found.
The simulation also ended up accurately modeling star formation and other phenomena that happen around black holes, the distribution of galaxy densities, gas temperature changes and ionization, the researchers said in the statement.
"This was largely unexpected," Smidt said. "I thought this idea of growing a massive star in a special configuration and forming a black hole with the right kind of masses was something we could approximate, but to see the black hole inducing star formation and driving the dynamics in ways that we've observed in nature was really the icing on the cake."
The new work has been submitted to The Astrophysical Journal, and it is currently available online at arXiv.org.
Former Nasa astronaut Alan Bean has said he does not think an advanced alien civilisation has ever visited Earth – because if they had they would have made contact.
Bean, now 85, was the fourth man to walk on the Moon with the Apollo 12 mission. In an interview with news.com.au, he said there is little doubt in his mind that we are not alone in the universe – with billions of stars and planets orbiting them, statistically speaking, life must have evolved on some of them.
However, he does not think they have ever been to Earth – and suggests a few reasons why: "I do not believe that anyone from outer space has ever visited the Earth. One of reasons I don't believe they have been here is that civilisations that are more advanced are more altruistic and friendly – like Earth, which is better than it used to be – so they would have landed and said 'we come in peace and we know from our studies you have cancer that kills people, we solved that problem 50 years ago, here's the gadget we put on a person's chest that will cure it, we will show you how to make it'.
"Just like some day, say 1000 years from now, when we can go to another star and see a planet, that's what we would do because we will know how to cure cancer, cure birth defects, so we would teach them."
Discussing what other habitable exoplanets – and the aliens on them – might be like, Bean said it would depend on how long life has had to emerge. "Maybe some of them are like our life was 100,000 years ago, and some of them are like we are now, and there are probably some out there that are a 10,000 years in the future from where we are now," he said.
The potential for finding alien life took a step forward recently with the discovery of the Trappist 1 star system 40 light years away. This star was found to have seven planets orbiting it – three of which appear to be in the "habitable zone" – where it is not too hot or cold for liquid water to exist.
Over the coming years, scientists will be able to better identify planets with the potential to host life with the launch of the James Webb Telescope. This is due to launch next year and will be able to study the atmospheres of exoplanets, providing the opportunity to identify the building blocks of life.
As well as missions to Mars and Alpha Centauri (our closest neighbouring star), space agencies across the world are planning to return to the Moon. The ESA, for example, hopes to build a lunar base in the coming decades.
Speaking about what it was like to land on the Moon, Bean said: "It was hard to believe (we) were 235,189 miles from home. I never heard any astronaut say that he wanted to go to the Moon so he would be able to look back and see Earth.
"We all wanted to see what the Moon looked like close up. Yet, for most of us, the most memorable sight was not of the Moon, but of our beautiful blue and white home, moving majestically around the sun, all alone in infinite black space."
On the future of space travel, he added: "Humans can do a lot of amazing things. President Kennedy said we were going to go to Moon by the end of the decade [1960s]. It was an impossible dream and human beings got behind the whole idea and planned and worked to achieve it."
By Paul RinconScience editor, BBC News website, The Woodlands, Texas
After two decades of development and "heartbreak", scientists are on the verge of sending missions to explore the ocean world of Europa. Could this be our best shot at finding life elsewhere in the Solar System?
Orbiting the giant planet Jupiter is an icy world, just a little smaller than Earth's moon.
From a distance, Europa appears to be etched with a nexus of dark streaks, like the product of a toddler's chaotic scribbling.
Close up, these are revealed to be long linear cracks in the ice, extending in some cases for thousands of kilometres. Many are filled with an unknown contaminant that scientists dub the "brown gunk". Elsewhere, the surface is tortured and irregular, as if massive slabs of ice have drifted, spun and flipped over in slush.
Jupiter's immense gravity helps generate tidal forces that repeatedly stretch and relax the moon. But the stresses that created Europa's smashed up terrain are best explained by the ice shell floating on an ocean of liquid water.
"The fact that there's liquid water underneath the surface which we know from previous missions, in particular from the magnetometer observations made by the Galileo spacecraft as it flew past [in the 1990s], makes it one of the most exciting potential targets to look for life," says Prof Andrew Coates of UCL's Mullard Space Science Laboratory in Surrey, UK.
Europa's briny deep might extend 80-170km into the moon's interior, meaning it could be holding twice as much liquid water as there is in all of Earth's oceans.
And while water is one vital prerequisite for life, Europa's ocean might have others - such as a source of chemical energy for microbes. What's more, the ocean may communicate with the surface through a number of means, including warm blobs of ice from below rising up through the ice shell. So studying the surface could provide clues to what's going on in the ocean.
The first is a flyby mission called Europa Clipper that would likely launch in 2022. The second is a lander mission that would follow a few years later.
Dr Robert Pappalardo, from Nasa's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, is Clipper's project scientist.
"We're really trying to get at Europa's potential habitability, the ingredients for life: water, and whether there's chemical energy for life," he tells me. "We do that by trying to understand the ocean and the ice shell, the composition and the geology. And mixed into those is the level of current activity at Europa."
Clipper carries a payload of nine instruments, including a camera that will image most of the surface; spectrometers to understand its composition; ice-penetrating radar to map the ice shell in three dimensions and find water beneath the ice shell; and a magnetometer to characterise the ocean.
However, since the Galileo spacecraft provided evidence for an ocean in the 1990s, we've learned that Europa isn't one of a kind.
"One of the most amazing and significant discoveries of the past decade or so in planetary exploration is that you can't swing a dead cat in the outer Solar System without hitting an ocean world," says Clipper's programme scientist Curt Niebur, from Nasa headquarters in Washington DC.
At Saturn's moon Enceladus, for example, ice from a subsurface ocean gushes into space through fissures at the south pole.
The saturnian satellite could also get a dedicated mission in the 2020s, but Dr Niebur believes Europa stands out: "Europa is much larger than Enceladus and has more of everything: more geological activity, more water, more space for that water, more heat, more raw ingredients and more stability in its environment."
But there's something else that marks the moon out: its neighbourhood. Europa's orbital path takes it deep into Jupiter's powerful magnetic field, which traps and speeds up particles.
The resulting belts of intense radiation fry spacecraft electronics, limiting the durations of missions to months or even weeks. That said, this radiation also drives reactions on Europa's surface, yielding chemicals called oxidants. On Earth, biology exploits the chemical reactions between oxidants and compounds known as reductants to supply the energy needed for life.
However, the oxidants made on the surface are only useful to Europan microbes if they can get down into the ocean. Fortunately, the process of convection that pushes warm blobs of ice upwards might also drive surface material down. Once in the ocean, oxidants could react with reductants made by seawater reacting with the rocky ocean floor.
"You need both poles of the battery," explains Robert Pappalardo.
For scientists like Dr Pappalardo, the impending missions are the realisation of a two-decades-long dream. Since the first Europa mission concepts were drawn up in the late 1990s, one promising proposal after another has been thwarted.
During the noughties, the US and Europe even pooled resources on a mission that would have sent separate spacecraft to Europa and Jupiter's larger ice moon Ganymede. But the plan was cancelled amid budget cuts, with the European part evolving into the Juice mission.
"I don't think there's been a Europa mission over the past 18 years that I have not either had my fingers in or has not passed under my eye," says Curt Niebur.
"It's been a long road. The road to launch is always a rocky one, and it's always full of heartbreak. We've experienced that more than most on Europa."
Exploring Europa is costly - though no more so than other Nasa "flagship" missions such as Cassini or the Curiosity rover.
There are inherent engineering challenges, such as operating within Jupiter's radiation belts. Spacecraft instruments need to be shielded with materials such as titanium metal but, says Dr Pappalardo, "you can only shield them so much because they have to be able to see Europa".
So to keep Clipper safe, Nasa is going to stray from the rulebook somewhat. "The assumption always was: Galileo flew past Europa, so the next mission has to be an orbiter. That's just how we do business," says Dr Niebur. But rather than orbit Europa, Clipper will instead reduce its exposure to mission-shortening radiation by orbiting Jupiter, and make at least 45 close flybys of the icy moon over three-and-a-half years.
"We realised we could avoid those technical challenges of orbiting Europa, make the mission much more achievable and still get the science we want if we fly past it a lot," says Clipper's program scientist.
The strength of sunlight near Europa is about a 30th of what it is at Earth. But Nasa decided it could power Clipper with solar panels rather than the radioactive generators some other outer planet missions have used. "All those years of study forced us to burn away our pre-conceptions and get us to really focus on reality, not on our wish-list... to focus on the best science," says Curt Niebur.
In 2011, following the cancellation of the US-European mission, a National Research Council report restated the importance of exploring the icy moon. Even so, Nasa remained wary because of the cost.
But the support on Capitol Hill has been pivotal. A Europa venture has bipartisan backing, and in Republican Congressman John Culberson - the chair of the House Appropriations Subcommittee, which has jurisdiction over Nasa's budget - the mission has had a unique champion.
The 60-year-old Texan lawmaker has been entranced by Europa ever since observing it through the Celestron 8 telescope he bought himself as a high school graduation present. Over the last four years, the subcommittee he chairs has channelled money to scientists working on Europa, even when the space agency's chief wasn't asking for it.
Generous investment means that much more of the technical work has been completed on Clipper than is normal for a mission at its stage (phase B) in the Nasa project cycle. The lander is at an earlier stage of development, called pre-phase A, but a report on the mission's science value was discussed at a workshop here at the LPSC.
The lander has received no funding in the President's 2018 budget request for Nasa. But Dr Jim Green, director of planetary science at the agency, tells me: "That mission in particular is tremendously exciting, because it tells us the science we have to do from the surface of a moon that's really hard to get to.
"We still have quite the process to go through, do the due diligence, understanding the kind of measurements we need to make. Then we'll work with the administration in the future at the right time to see if, budgetarily, we can move forward with it."
Some innovative Europa lander concepts have been proposed over the last two decades, reflecting the scientific bounty to be had by touching down. Dr Geraint Jones of the Mullard Space Science Laboratory has worked on one concept called a penetrator.
"They haven't been flown in space before, but it's a really promising technology," he explains. A projectile deployed from a satellite hits the surface "really hard, at about 300m/second, about 700 miles an hour", exposing pristine ice for analysis by onboard instruments, which could be designed to withstand the impact.
By contrast, Nasa's forthcoming lander would put down softly with the help of the Sky Crane technology used to drop the Curiosity rover safely on Mars in 2012. During the touchdown, it will use an autonomous landing system to detect and avoid surface hazards in real time.
Clipper will provide the reconnaissance for a landing site. "I like to think of it as finding that right oasis, where there might be water close to the surface. Maybe it's warm and maybe it has organic materials," says Bob Pappalardo.
The craft would be equipped with a sensitive instrument payload and a counter-rotating saw to help get at fresher samples below the radiation-processed surface ice.
"The lander is all about hitting the freshest, most pristine sample possible. One way to do that is to dig deep, another way is going to where there is some kind of eruption on the surface - like a plume - that's dropping very fresh material onto the surface," says Curt Niebur.
In recent years, the Hubble telescope has made tentative observations of plumes of water-ice erupting from beneath Europa, much as they do on Enceladus. But there's no point in the lander going to the site of a decades-old eruption, it would need to visit the location of a much more recent plume.
So scientists need to understand what's controlling these geysers: for example, Clipper will determine whether the plumes are correlated with any hot spots on the surface.
Earth's seas are teeming with life, so it can be hard for us to contemplate the prospect of a sterile, 100km-plus deep ocean on Europa. But the scientific threshold for detecting life is set very high. So will we be able to recognise alien life if it's there?
"The goal of the lander mission is not simply to detect life [to our satisfaction], but to convince everyone else that we have done so," Dr Niebur explains. "It does no good for us to invest in this mission if all we create is scientific controversy."
Thus, the lander's science definition team came up with two ways to address this. First, any detection of life has to be based on multiple, independent lines of evidence from direct measurements.
"There's no silver bullet; you don't do one measurement and say: 'aha, eureka we've found it'. You look at the sum total," says Dr Niebur. Second, the scientists have come up with a framework to interpret those results, some of which might be positive, while others negative: "It creates a decision tree that marches through all the different variables. Following all these different paths, the end result is: yes, we've found life, or no we haven't," he says.
At the lander workshop here at the LPSC, Nasa's Kevin Hand described the process as "biosignature bingo". Now, the team will have to see if the scientific community is persuaded.
Curt Niebur explains: "I want to have that discussion now, today, years before we launch so that we can all be focused on analysing the data once we land."
Beste bezoeker, Heb je zelf al ooit een vreemde waarneming gedaan, laat dit dan even weten via email aan email@example.com of aan www.ufo.be. Deze onderzoekers behandelen jouw melding in volledige anonimiteit en met alle respect voor jouw privacy. Ze zijn kritisch, objectief maar open minded aangelegd en zullen jou steeds een verklaring geven voor jouw waarneming! DUS AARZEL NIET, ALS JE EEN ANTWOORD OP JOUW VRAGEN WENST, CONTACTEER OLIVER. BIJ VOORBAAT DANK...
Druk op onderstaande knop om een berichtje achter te laten in mijn gastenboek
Alvast bedankt voor al jouw bezoekjes en jouw reacties. Nog een prettige dag verder!!!
Ik ben Pieter, en gebruik soms ook wel de schuilnaam Peter2011.
Ik ben een man en woon in Linter (België) en mijn beroep is Ik ben op rust..
Ik ben geboren op 18/10/1950 en ben nu dus 66 jaar jong.
Mijn hobby's zijn: Ufologie en andere esoterische onderwerpen.
Op deze blog vind je onder artikels, werk van mezelf. Mijn dank gaat ook naar André, Ingrid, Oliver, Paul, Vincent, Georges Filer en MUFON voor de bijdragen voor de verschillende categorieën...
Veel leesplezier en geef je mening over deze blog.