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.
Deze blog is opgedragen aan mijn overleden echtgenote Lucienne.
In 2012 verloor ze haar moedige strijd tegen kanker!
In 2011 startte ik deze blog, omdat ik niet mocht stoppen met mijn UFO-onderzoek.
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 maandelijks 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.
Near-Sighted Kids of Martian Colonists Could Find Sex With Earth-Humans Deadly
Near-Sighted Kids of Martian Colonists Could Find Sex With Earth-Humans Deadly
Life on Mars will be an evolutionary roller coaster.
The famous Star Trek refrain — actually acommon misattribution— aptly describes humanity’s future on Mars. And as more and more tech entrepreneurs outline visions for how to erect settlements on the Red Planet by the 2050s, Rice University professor Scott Solomon is already starting to worry about what’s going to happen to the first Martian settlers and, more interestingly, their babies.
“What’s interesting to me as an evolutionary biologist is thinking about, what if we’re actually successful?” Solomon tells Inverse. “I don’t think there has been nearly as much discussion about what would become of the people that are living in these colonies generations later.”
Solomon’s 2016 book, Future Humans: Inside the Science of Our Continuing Evolution, argues that evolution is still a force at play in modern humans. In an awe-inspiring TEDx talk in January 2018 — which inexplicably still has fewer than 1,000 views — Solomon outlined how humans would change — literally — after spending a generation or two living on Mars.
Far from waiting thousands of years to witness minuscule changes, Solomon instead believes that humans going to Mars could be on the verge of an evolutionary rollercoaster. He expects, among other things, that their bones will be stronger, their sight shorter, and that they’ll, at some point, have to stop having sex with Earth-humans.
“Evolution is faster or slower depending on how much of an advantage there is to having a certain mutation,” Solomon says. “If a mutation pops up for people living on Mars, and it gives them a 50-percent survival advantage, that’s a hugeadvantage, right? And that means that those individuals are going to be passing those genes on at a much higher rate than they otherwise would have.”
Outside of Solomon’s field, discussion of this topic is relatively sparse. Elon Musk’s SpaceX team is holed up in Florida and Texas working on a stainless steel spaceship to send the first humans to Mars in the 2020s, establishing a city by 2050. Dubai has designed dramatic concepts for its own Martian city, and the Matt Damon sci-fi flick The Martian depicted how first trips to the Red Planet would take the form of research missions.
These are all fascinating ideas, but they’re curiously short on how humans may change under the treacherous, radioactive conditions of the solar system’s fourth planet.
Mars City: How Humans Could Change Over Time
Solomon outlined a number of ways — many of them covered in his Ted Talk — about how humans could change.
Humans may develop denser bones to overcome the effects of Mars’ gravity, which is just a third of Earth’s. The reduced force could make bones more brittle, which could lead to complications like fractured pelvises during childbirth.
The inhabitants of smaller spaces may become more near-sighted, as they no longer need to see as far as they would on Earth. Solomon cites cavefish in deep trenches that have gone blind with no need for vision, and studies that show children who spend more time indoors are likely to become more near-sighted.
Mars inhabitants may develop a new skin tone to adjust to the higher levels of radiation. Humans use melanin to fight against ultraviolet rays, while other species use carotenoids. Mars residents may some day have to develop another pigment entirely to fight off radiation.
Residents may perhaps learn to use oxygen more efficiently. A similar change has been observed on the Tibetan plateau, where oxygen is 40 percent lower than it is at sea level. To adjust, Tibetans have denser beds of capillaries to more efficiently move blood, and have the ability to dilate their vessels to get more oxygen to the muscles.
One change that could occur relatively fast? Non-Earth dwelling humans may quickly lose their immune system. In a sterile environment with no microorganisms present, the residents may have no need for a body capable of fighting germs. But this may not be such a bad thing, Solomon suggests it could be an opportunity to eradicate diseases, treating the ship flying to Mars as a sort of quarantine zone and ensuring the new inhabitants can lead healthier lives.
It’s this latter change that may force humans to eventually splinter irreversibly from their Earth-based counterparts. With no immune system, sex between Martian humans and Earthlings would be lethal. That could impose an artificial limit on how the two populations will be able to interact and co-mingle. The inability to form families or send offspring back and forth between the two planets could drive the two groups even further apart, assuming the whole issue of “who pays who taxes” hasn’t created an irreparable rift already.
Mars City: How This Human Takes Form
Solomon argues these changes will happen relatively quickly. Radiation on Mars is extraordinarily high, he notes, without any sort of magnetosphere to protect the humans. Children are normally born with between 20 to 120 genetic mutations, but radiation could cause this figure to spike and accelerate changes in genes.
Humans could also accelerate changes even more through gene editing. CRISPR/Cas9 is a tool that could enable humans to ready our bodies for Martian life more quickly, but with our current limited knowledge of the human genome, random changes could have unexpected consequences. Still, it could represent an avenue for alterations in the near future.
“Why wait around for this mutation to occur if you can just go in and make them yourself?” Solomon says.
Another is the founder effect, which is the theory that gene traits of the first inhabitants of a new area have a huge influence on the future trajectory of the species. That means if we send up the most physically capable humans to Mars, their offspring may be more genetically predisposed to physical strength than humans on Mars.
It also means Musk and others will need to consider genetic diversity, to ensure a good mix throughout the population. Solomon argues for around 100,000 people migrating to Mars over the course of a few years, with the majority from Africa, as that is where humans see the greatest genetic diversity.
“If I were designing a human colony on Mars, I would want a population that would be hundreds of thousands of people, with representatives of every human population here on Earth,” Solomon says.
Hopefully the architects of these new worlds are listening.
Fifty years after the first moon landings, a new generation of space travellers, from Xi Jinping’s taikonauts to Jeff Bezos, are racing to colonise our nearest neighbour. Is reality catching up with sci-fi?
‘Magnificent desolation’ … the moon.
Photograph: Chinese State Media/ZUMA Wire/REX/Shutterstock
The moon is rising again above the horizon of the imagination, waxing into worldly relevance. Fifty years afterNeil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin first stepped on to what Aldrin called the “magnificent desolation” of the Sea of Tranquility, the possibility of a human return to their dusty stamping ground is greater than it has been at any time since the Apollo programme reached its end just three years later.
The robot vanguard has already set forth. Later this year India will attempt to become the fourth nation to land a probe on the moon; an Israeli attempt to get there failed in April, but its backers plan to try again. China has landed two robot rovers on the moon’s surface in the past five years. One visited the near side, the familiar pockmarked face seen from Earth; the other went to the overflown-but-never-before-visited far side. The Chinese space agency has talked of sending humans in their wake, perhaps in the early 2030s.
They may be beaten to it. Last year Yusaku Maezawa, a Japanese fashion entrepreneur and art collector, signed a contract with SpaceX, the rocket firm founded by Elon Musk, for a flight around the moon. He intends to take a crew of as-yet-unspecified artists with him. The chances of this happening in 2023, as notionally planned, are small; SpaceX has yet to fly any humans anywhere. The chances of it happening sometime, though, are at least middling; for the most part, SpaceX has eventually delivered on its promises. Meanwhile, Jeff Bezos is spending some of the riches he has accrued as boss of Amazon on Blue Origin, a space company that aims to surpass SpaceX. Earlier this month he unveiled Blue Moon, a lander designed to place scientific equipment on to the lunar surface. After it has been upgraded, he says, it will be capable of landing people there, too.
On 26 March vice-president Mike Pence told an audience at the US Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama: “The first woman and the next man on the moon will both be American astronauts, launched by American rockets, from American soil.” He challenged Nasa to make the first of these crewed missions by 2024. One of the clearest reasons he gave for this new commitment was that China had “revealed their ambition to seize the lunar strategic high ground”.
Our imagined moon has long inspired fear, excitement, hubris and political ambition – fact and myth, science and science fiction have always intertwined. Some of the engineers who advised Fritz Lang on his 1929 film, Frau im Mond went on to develop the first rocket capable of reaching space, Germany’s V-2. When they later moved to Huntsville, they took with them not just their know‑how but also Lang’s anticipation-quickening innovation of counting down the seconds before the rocket’s launch.
Science fiction is often seen as an anticipation – a fiction peculiarly expected to graduate into fact. But if technologies once found only in SF do sometimes become real they do not, in so doing, always cease to be science fictional. SF is not, after all, simply a literature about the future; it is a literature about the shock of new capacities and new perspectives, about transcendence, estrangement and resistance in the face of the inhuman. Its ideas shape and constrain the ways in which technological possibilities are seen, understood and experienced long after those possibilities are first tentatively realised. It illuminates the dreams of Musk, Bezos and all the other new moon-rushers.
Take the origins of Pence’s reference to the “lunar strategic high ground”. In one of the first moon novels written after the second world war, Robert Heinlein’s Rocket Ship Galileo (1947), an atomic scientist and his teenage crew discover, on what they believe to be the first mission to the moon, a base from which the Third Reich’s rump intends to rain nuclear vengeance on to Earth. Heinlein, an aeronautical engineer who was one of the first American science fiction writers to gain a mainstream audience, had seen the V-2 and the Manhattan Project make real the rocket ships and superweaponry that had been his prewar stock in trade. Such authors were highly exercised by the strategic implications. In the same month that Heinlein’s book was published, John W Campbell, the preeminent American science fiction editor of the age, published an essay by his and Heinlein’s friend L Ron Hubbard on the strategic necessity of America being the first nation to build such a moonbase for its missiles. A year later Colliers, a mass market magazine, was warning of a “Rocket Blitz from the Moon”.
The idea rode high for a decade. “He who controls the moon, controls the Earth,” General Homer A Boushey told the American press in 1958. The US air force investigated the possibility of demonstrating that control, and adding to the moon’s craters, by conducting a nuclear test on its surface, one that would be ominously and spectacularly visible to most of the world below (Carl Sagan, later to be prominent in the fight for nuclear disarmament, was one of those who worked on the project).
It did not happen. Though the Apollo programme was a crucial piece of cold war strategy, its goal was not to occupy the moon or use it as a missile base. Rather, it was to show the world the remarkable resources the US was willing to invest in advancing its technological power; the means, not the end, were the message. But Hubbard’s megalomaniacal dreams of an Earth controlled from the moon still lurks in that idea of the “strategic high ground”.
Rocket Ship Galileo used the moon not only as a way of thinking about the prospect of nuclear war, it also made it a way of understanding the aftermath. (“The moon people ... ruined themselves. They had one atomic war too many.”)
These visions of existential dread led Arthur C Clarke to argue in Prelude to Space (1947), a novel about the preparations for a moon mission, that “atomic power makes interplanetary travel not just possible but imperative. As long as it was confined to Earth, humanity had too many eggs in one rather fragile basket.” That feeling informs dreams of space travel today. Musk, in particular, talks of war, pandemics, rebel AIs and asteroid Armageddons all making it vital for humans to become a multiplanetary species. A more junior Silicon Valley space mogul told me he wants to help build a moonbase for the same reason that, before cloud computing, he would back up his files to a second hard disk: something might happen. (Of course, such plutocratic panic feels dangerously close to the idea of a bolthole for the select.)
As active proponents of the new space age, Clarke and Heinlein realised that linking the moon only with nuclear catastrophe would be a poor sales pitch. To get the public on board, a more fertile idea was the dream of building human settlements on the moon, which could somehow be portrayed as both wonderful and mundane. In Heinlein’s short story “Space Jockey”, the problem facing the astronaut protagonist is not Ming the Merciless or a swarm of comets but the amount of time he has to spend away from home; the resolution is his decision to take a desk job in comfortably domestic Luna City, built under the surface of the moon. A teenager whines that “nothing ever happens on the moon”. This dualism of the familiar and the fantastic is epitomised in the motif of Earth playing the same role in the moon’s sky as the moon does in Earth’s, lighting the landscape’s darkness.
It is not a new insight; Galileo realised that nights on the nearside of the moon would be earthlit, just as earthly nights are moonlit. All early lunar fiction draws the reader’s attention to Earth waxing and waning in the alien sky as the clearest possible indication of the revolutionary Copernican insight. Twentieth-century heirs made a similar use of the image of worlds reversed. Earthlight (1955), Clarke’s first moon-set novel, opens with the accountant Bertram Sadler, new to the moon, looking out of his train window at the “cold glory of this ancient, empty land” illuminated by “a light tinged with blues and greens; an arctic radiance that gave no atom of heat. And that, thought Sadler, was surely a paradox, for it came from a world of light and warmth.”
Clarke’s paradox was made plain to see in the famous image Earthrisecaptured by Apollo 8: a world of warmth and light rising above the cold glory of ancient emptiness. The contrast was strong enough – the blasted basalts below unworldly and unappealing enough – that the colonised, normalised moon which Clarke and Heinlein had imagined fell back into the realm of fancy, if not that of the absurd.
So why does returning to the moon now seem plausible again? For one thing, China, or any other country, can put a man or woman on the moon with far less effort than it took the US in the 1960s: as a way to claim parity with a fading superpower, that relatively modest effort has obvious attractions. And as the effort involved has been reduced the resources in the hands of private individuals have increased: Bezos may choose, in the near-term, to yoke his dreams of expansion into space – unlocking untold wealth – to the more parochial ambitions of the US government. But that is convenience, not necessity. Being the richest person on the planet brings with it its own superempowerment.
Science fiction, too, has cast space travel in economic, rather than political, terms. Once again it is hard to avoid Heinlein, this time his novella The Man Who Sold the Moon (1950). Its main character is DD Harriman, a tycoon who, having made his fortune from other technologies, persuades and cons investors of all sorts to provide the further resources he needs to realise his true dream, the founding of a moon colony. After the sheer Soviet Union-surpassing, 2.5%-of-GDP scale of the Apollo effort became manifest in the 1960s, the story seemed quaint. Moon missions were the work of nations, not cigar-puffing wheeler dealers. Now it seems oddly prescient.
If strategic rivalry, existential fear and plutocratic caprice were the only narratives science fiction had lent the moon, one might feel justified in taking a dim view of the whole affair. But there is more. A lifeless world may again provide new insights into a living one, as it did with Earthrise. It is in such changed perspectives on worlds and their peoples that the true promise of science fiction surely lives. Heinlein’s most successful lunar novel, The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress (1967), is driven by a thrilling plot. But the reason it continues to be loved by many, especially in Silicon Valley, is the strange, contradictory, savage but cosy, polyamorous, Malthusian, libertarian, utopian and carceral society it conjures as its cyborg setting. Similarly, the most striking recent novel about the moon, John Kessel’s The Moon and the Other (2017) sets itself in the “Society of Cousins”, a matriarchy inspiring and troubling, idealistic, indulgent and somewhat stifling. It is, to borrow the subtitle of Ursula K Le Guin’s The Dispossessed (1974), an ambiguous utopia.
Which is as much as you can hope for. The moon, as it becomes a target for politicians, billionaires and enthusiasts inspired by science fictions past, should remain ambiguous, longed for and desolate, always the same and yet shockingly new, a strangeness sitting in the sky for all to see.
Oliver Morton’s The Moon: A History for the Future is published by Economist.
For years, scientists have been hunting for the stable lava tubes that are believed to exist on the Moon. A remnant from the Moon's past, when it was still volcanically active, these underground channels could very well be an ideal location for lunar colonies someday.
Not only would their thick roofs provide naturally shielding from solar radiation, meteoric impacts, and extremes in temperature. They could also be pressurized to create a breathable environment.
But until now, evidence of their existence has been inferred from surface features such as sinuous rilles – channel-like depressions that run along the surface that indicate the presence of subterranean lava flows – and holes in the surface (aka “skylights”).
The presentation was led by Rohan Sood, a graduate research assistant from the department of Aeronautics and Astronautics at Purdue University in Indiana.
For some time now, Sood and his research colleagues have been examining data obtained from NASA's twin Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) mission in order to get a better sense of what the Moon's interior looks like.
Launched in 2011, the purpose of the GRAIL mission – which consists of two orbiters, Ebb and Flow, working in tandem – was to map the Moon's gravity with extreme precision.
Over time, the information it gathered has provided scientists with the opportunity to gain a better understanding of the Moon's subsurface features, particularly the buried lava tubes that are believed to exist.
In 2009, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency's (JAXA) Kaguya spacecraft (aka Selene) confirmed the presence of a skylight in the Marius Hills region, which has since come to be known as the "Marius Hole."
In 2011, it was photographed in more detail by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, which showed that it was approximately 65 meters wide and 80 meters deep.
The fact that this hole sat between two rilles indicated that it was evidence that lava once flowed beneath the region.
Using the GRAIL gravity data that was collected at different altitudes, the Purdue team went about assessing the presence and extent of ancient lava tubes beneath the surface of Marius Hills.
What they determined was rather interesting. As Sood told Universe Today via email:
"Thanks to NASA's GRAIL mission, we now have derived the lunar gravity field to an unprecedented resolution and accuracy. The data allows us to dig below the lunar surface, with our objective being to recognize signatures that may correspond to those of empty lava tubes."
To assess the possibility of lava tubes, Sood and his team relied on a two-tiered strategy of gradiometry and cross-correlation specific regions.
Whereas gradiometry calculates the gravitational potential from a spherical harmonics data set, cross-correlation utilizes the individual track data based on the relative acceleration between the two spacecraft as they move along their respective orbits.
Much like Earth, the moon's gravitational field is affected by masses below the surface. "Any gravitational field is affected by the density of material," said Sood. "If you are flying the spacecraft over a block of dense material, it will experience an increase in gravitational pull in contrary to flying over a lava tube void, in which case there will be a decrease in gravitational attraction experienced by the spacecraft."
Where the Marius Hole is located, the team spotted a gravitational signature that was indicative of a subsurface cavity.
But that was not all. Distributed across the Moon's near side, Sood and his colleagues also noted that the GRAIL data indicated at least ten signatures that could resemble lava tubes.
All are located near the dark areas left by ancient volcanic seas, with some measuring more than 100 km long and several kilometers wide.
Naturally, there are some doubts as to whether or not the readings are indicative of actual lava tubes.
As a result, it was difficult to determine whether or not the signals they spotted were in fact a sign of an underground recess, or a numerical artifact in the data.
Because of this, proving the existence of stable, subsurface lava tubes will require a next-generation mission, one that has instruments which will be able to penetrate the lunar surface and confirm the presence of recesses.
"[W]e have to remember that gravity is non-unique," Sood added, "which means, in order to support our findings and to add to our ongoing efforts, our team is considering a ground penetrating radar that will probe the lunar subsurface from orbit.
"The goal of the radar would be to confirm the presence of the potential lava tube candidates that we have detected so far, and in addition, look for smaller lava tubes that were beyond the resolution of GRAIL gravity data."
Designed to build upon the success of the GRAIL mission, the concept calls for a spacecraft equipped with ground-penetrating radar to conduct a sounding mission that would potentially confirm both the presence and size of the Moon's buried empty lava tubes.
This is not the first time that researchers from Purdue have presented a case for stable lunar lava tubes at the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference.
These latest findings, which not only produced more evidence of such subsurface spaces, but indicated that they may be even larger than previously expected, is good news for advocates of lunar settlement.
It is also worth noting that since it began surveying the moon, the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter has imaged over 200 pits that show signs of being skylights.
Each of these holes could lead to subsurface voids or caverns, which range in diameter from about 16 feet (5 meters) to more than 2,950 feet (900 m).
Assuming that just a fraction of these lead to underground tubes that are large enough to house an entire Earth city, there would be no shortage of possible settlement sites if and when it comes time to colonize the Moon.
After all, one of the biggest challenges in settling on a body where there is no atmosphere to speak of is creating a sturdy and airtight protective shelter.
Another major challenge is shielding the occupants of these and other shelters from incoming cosmic rays and solar radiation since their is no ozone layer to filter them out.
Where better than in an underground tunnel that will not only shield inhabitants from harmful radiation, meteoric impacts, and extremes in temperature, but also has immensely thick walls to keep the air in?
In all likelihood, if and when there is such a thing as "Lunies," they will dwell in elongated caverns beneath the Moon's surface.
Plans are being made for colonization of the moon and it must be ready before 2029.
Countries like the US, Russia, China as well as large private companies like SpaceX and Blue Origin are engaged in a sort of race to the moon. And it is not just a race, but more a total plan, in which human colonies will be built on the moon.
NASA revealed a new name for its moon program:Artemis. She is a Greek goddess of the moon and twin sister of Apollo. NASA astronauts are going to land on the surface of the Moon by 2024, including the first woman and next man.
Last week, Jeff Bezos, the founder of the Blue Origin, unveiled alunar landerat a mysterious invite-only event in Washington D.C. and suggests his firm will hit VP Pence's 2024 deadline for putting humans back on on the moon by 2024.The plan could ultimately serve as a stepping stone for colonization of the moon and deeper space targets, Bezos suggested.
Since 2009, NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) has spotted hundreds of conspicuous holes on the Moon. These steep-walled "pits" might lead to underground environments sheltered from radiation, meteorite impacts, and extreme temperatures, making them valuable sites for future exploration
As space agencies prepare to return humans to the Moon, top engineers are racing to design a tunnel boring machine capable of digging underground colonies for the first lunar inhabitants. Analysis of images of the lunar surface show lava tubes capable of housing large cities underground.
Rostami, director of the Earth Mechanics Institute at the US Colorado School of Mines said that the idea is to actually start underground, using a mechanism we already use on the earth, a tunnel boring machine, to make a continuous opening to create habitats or connect the colonies together.
Then, on February 22 Israel launched a lunar probe towards the moon. The small lunar probe carries a 30-million-page archive of human knowledge etched into a DVD-size metal disc. (See above image). The Lunar Library, as the archive is known, constitutes a ‘civilization backup’ to help ensure that our distant descendants never lose humanity’s collective wisdom.
We may wonder why all these organizations are in such a rush to go to the moon. Is it only a space race between the US, Russia and China or is it all about the survival of humankind and time is running out?
This pit in the Moon's Marius Hills is big enough to fit the White House completely inside.
Credit: NASA/ LROC/ ASU
These Kaguya images show the Marius Hills pit in the context of a meandering system of volcanic rilles. Because the pit is in the middle of a rille, it likely represents a collapse in the roof of a lava tube.
Credit: JAXA/SELENE [more]
This cavern in Mare Ingenii is almost twice the size of the one in the Marius Hills.
A declassified CIA document called The Adam and Eve Story has generated much controversy over predictions of an upcoming pole shift (aka crustal displacement) and catastrophic events that may sweep the planet in the not distant future. The57-page documentis based on abook authored by Chan Thomas in 1963. In it, Thomas proposed a pole shift scenario that differed in significant ways with what Charles Hapgood had earlier proposed in his pioneering 1958 book, The Earth’s Shifting Crust.
Hapgood’s theory, which was endorsed at the time by Albert Einstein, proposed that the geophysical poles periodically move by as much as up to 40 degrees through crustal displacements. This phenomenon was brought about by the increasing weight of the polar ice caps which accumulate more and more ice over the millennia until they eventually generate sufficient centrifugal force due to the planet’s rotation, to make the crust move over the mantle as Einstein explained in the book’s foreword.
In The Adam and Eve Story, Chan proposed that the pole shift was much greater, as much as 90 degrees with the poles shifting into the equatorial zone in less than a day. Chan has proposed the poles would flip back and forth in this way so that Antarctica would eventually return to the South Pole region, and the Arctic would do likewise.
Each time the geographical poles did one of these 90 degree flips, there would be catastrophic winds and tidal waves all over the planet, especially in the equatorial region where the Earth’s spin was 1000 mph. Water and wind would continue to move in the westerly direction through the law of inertia, sweeping over the landmasses that traveled over the equatorial region during the shift as Thomas explained:
In ¼ to ½ a day the poles move almost to the equator, and all hell lets loose. The atmosphere and oceans don’t shift with the shell – they just keep on rotating West to East – and at the equator that speed is 1000 miles per hour. It has to be, normally, to make one rotation per day. So, while the shell shifts with the poles going toward the equator, the winds and oceans go eastward, blowing across the face of the earth with supersonic speeds, inundating continents with water miles deep….
You can see, then, that ice ages are not a matter of advancing and retreating ice; it’s simply that different areas of the Earth are in polar regions at different times, for different durations of time, with the changes between positions taking place in a fraction of a day. [The Adam and Eve Story, pp.13-14]
The following video illustrates what happens during one of these 90 degree shifts, and what Thomas was proposing for what’s to come. One can easily see how devastating such a 90 degree shift could be and why the CIA may have been motivated to suppress such information.
According to Ben Davidson, author of the popular Earth Catastrophe series, this flipping back and forth would address paleomagnetic studies that show that the magnetic poles have been in their present locations for millions of years. Davidson concluded that this made Thomas’ pole shift theory much more compelling than Hapgood’s. In fact, Davidson believed Hapgood was putting out his theory as a “limited hangout” by the CIA in order to put the truth out in a way that later could be easily discredited.
Unfortunately for Davidson, ice core samples from Antarctica clearly support Hapgood and not Thomas’ theory. Ice core samples from East Antarctica date back as much as 1.5 million years. The following diagram illustrates ice core samples taken from different Antarctic regions and show how far back in time the ice sheets date.
Figure 1. Antarctic ice core drill sites with depth and record duration. From the US ITASE project.
The results from the ice core drill sites show that East Antarctica has been covered by ice for hundreds of thousands years, with Lake Vostok having some of the oldest discovered ice (220,000 years). Older ice core samples than those recorded in the above map have subsequently been found both at Lake Vostok (400,000 years), and the Dome C area (800,000 years) as shown in NOAA records.
A subsequent 2013 study asserted that ice core samples of up to 1.5 million years are most likely to be found in the Dome C area of East Antarctica. Put simply, scientists agree that East Antarctica has been covered by ice sheets for at least 1.5 million years, and likely much longer than that.
In contrast, the ice core samples in West Antarctica are only a few centuries old, with only one so far matching the age of many of the East Antarctic sites. This site is in the drilling area designated Boyd whose ice was found to be 70,000 years old as the above map illustrates.
The ice core records show conclusively that much of the Antarctic continent has been located in the polar zone (latitudes greater than 66 degrees) for at least 1.5 million years, and not in the equatorial zone (O-23 degrees latitude) as proposed by Thomas. Hapgood’s theory offers a better explanation for why only part of Antarctica has been ice-free for significant periods. But how do we explain the 70,000 year old ice sample found in the Byrd region of West Antarctica?
To find a definitive answer to where the geographical poles have been located and then move via crustal displacements to new positions, preserving some but not all the ice accumulated before the displacement, we can turn to the work of Rand and Rose Flem-Ath, authors of When the Sky Fell.
In their well-documented book, they used a range of archeological and fossil records to show where ice sheets have been found over the last 100,000 years, and how these positions had changed due to crustal displacements as first proposed by Hapgood. To date, I have found no other authors laying out such a compelling case for using available scientific data to track the respective positions of the geographic poles during the last 100,000 years.
Their findings provide a clear explanation for the varying ages found in the ice core samples extracted from different regions of Antarctica; and why Hapgood, rather than Thomas, provides a more accurate explanation for how the crustal displacement theory works.
First, I begin with Flem-Aths’ illustration of the positions of the North and South poles prior to 91,600 BC. It shows how the bulk of East Antarctica was inside the Antarctic circle, while West Antarctic lay in the temperate zone – similar to the present day location of New Zealand. Note the South Pole was located just off the coast of East Antarctica at the time, while the North Pole was located in Alaska.
Importantly, the Dome C area containing some of the oldest ice core samples found to date was located within the Antarctic circle, thereby preserving much of the ancient ice sheets acquired over the previous 1.5 million years or more.
Figure 2. p. 83 from Rand and Rose Flem-Ath, When the Sky Fell
The next diagram shows the Antarctic continent in relation to the South Pole after a crustal displacement led to a pole shift around 91,600 BC. Consequently, during the period from 91,600 BC to 50,600 BC, much of lower region of West Antarctica, along with the Transantarctic mountains, lay within the Antarctic circle, while the Palmer peninsula and significant areas of East Antarctica lay within the temperate zone.
Once again the physical South Pole was located over the ocean, rather than the Antarctic continent – this time off the coast of West Antarctica – adjacent to the Ross Sea. The geophysical pole had moved approximately 40 degrees from off the coast of East Antarctica to just off the West Antarctic coast during the 91,600 BC pole shift.
This is very close to what Hapgood had proposed was the crustal displacement that would occur during a pole shift. Significantly, it is far less than the 90 degree pole shift claimed by Thomas.
Importantly the Dome C area remained entirely within the Antarctic circle thereby preserving its ancient ice sheet. Furthermore, the Byrd area where the 70,000 year old ice sample was found, had been moved from its prior location in the temperate zone prior to the 91,600 BC pole shift, to deep inside the Antarctic circle. This allowed the accumulation of ice to begin, thereby accounting for its estimated age.
Figure 3. p. 84 from Rand and Rose Flem-Ath, When the Sky Fell
The next pole shift occurred around 50,600 BC, and an illustration provided by the Flem-Aths shows the approximate locations of the poles from 50,600 BC to 9,600 BC.
Around 50,600 BC, the South Pole has flipped back to the other side of the Antarctic continent, where it again lay just off the coast of East Antarctica. An approximate 30 degree pole shift had occurred, which is again consistent with Hapgood’s estimate for the cyclic crustal displacements that the Earth undergoes. It’s important to emphasize that the 50,600 BC pole shift was far less than the 90 degree shift predicted in Thomas’ theory.
Most of East Antarctica was again located inside the Antarctic circle, both preserving its ancient ice sheets and allowing them to expand. The Byrd region, containing the 70,000 year old ice core sample, was now located just outside the Antarctic Circle. Its marginal position marginally inside the temperate zone, which would allow the Byrd region to preserve the bulk of its ice sheets similar to the glaciers of southern New Zealand.
Figure 4. p. 85 from Rand and Rose Flem-Ath, When the Sky Fell
The period from 50,600 BC to 9600 BC is significant since it corresponds to the last time major portions of the Antarctic continent lay outside the polar circle. The bulk of West Antarctic lay in the temperate zone, and its coastal area would therefore have been ice free. Significantly, West Antarctica’s coastline and interior would have been navigable, just as the 1513 Piri Reis Map showed.
In the following diagram, the Piri Reis map is superimposed over a map of the globe showing how the Antarctic coastline from the tip of the Palmer Peninsula, all the way down its eastern flank to East Antarctica was known to ancient sea captains.
Fig 5. Piri Reis Map superimposed over map of the globe
Also vital to understand is that this period, 50,600 BC to 9600 BC corresponds to the Atlantean civilization that Plato wrote about in his famous dialogues, Critias and Timaeus. Plato explainedAtlantis’ extensive island system and waterways deep into its interior, and how it was the hub for a mighty empire that ruled over much of Africa, Europe, and Asia.
This finally takes us to the 9600 BC pole shift that led to the entire Antarctic continent, being moved to wholly inside the Antarctic circle. The magnitude of the Earth crustal displacement moving the South Pole from its previous location just off the East Antarctic coast to its present location was approximately 20 degrees. Again, significantly less than what Thomas was proposing in his crustal displacement theory.
The Flem-Aths contend that Atlantis was located in Antarctica and that the remnants of this legendary lost civilization today lie under the West Antarctic ice sheets. This is consistent with what several whistleblowers and insiders have been revealing concerning the discovery of a flash-frozen civilization under the ice sheets.
If the Flem-Aths and others are right that Plato’s Atlantis is buried under the Antarctic ice, this gives us a means of estimating the devastation that would be caused by a crustal displacement of approximately 20 degrees. It would be sufficient to wipe out the coastal regions all over the globe such as the low-lying archipelagos such as Atlantis, but allow those living in elevated or mountainous regions to survive the subsequent tsunamis, earthquakes, and hurricanes accompanying a pole shift.
When ice core samples are examined in relation to what we know about Earth crustal displacement theories proposed by Hapgood and Thomas, they lead to a clear conclusion. The examination of ice core samples from different parts of Antarctica support Hapgood’s theory that earth crustal displacements happen periodically, and involve Pole Shifts of up to 40 degrees.
The Flem Aths book, When the Sky Fell, gives us a means of tracking the most significant pole shifts over the last 100,000 thousand years, and illustrates how these have occurred in a manner that is consistent with what ice core samples tell us.
Thomas’ theory that the Earth regularly experiences 90 degree pole shifts that flip the poles back and forth from equatorial regions is not supported by Antarctic ice core records. While it is comforting to know that the Earth is unlikely to experience anything like the cataclysmic 90 degree pole shift predicted by Thomas, it is sobering to know that even a 20 degree pole shift devastated the worldwide Atlantean civilization 11,600 years ago.
The likelihood that we will soon experience a pole shift due to another crustal displacement caused by solar activity, cosmic rays, collapse of the Earth’s magnetic field, activity from the Earth’s core, and/or a rapid melt off of the West Antarctic, appears to be quite high as I have suggested in previous articles examining Davidson’s Earth Catastrophe series.
This calls for an unprecedented level of transparency by governments in sharing data about Antarctica’s history, what is known about prior pole shifts, and the disclosure of suppressed technologies that would enable the bulk to humanity to prepare and escape from impending cataclysmic events.
Did We Really Just Find Terrifying Misshapen Skulls on Mars?
Did We Really Just Find Terrifying Misshapen Skulls on Mars?
Written by:Ian StephensEstimated Reading Time:4minutes
When you read about aliens on the web, it’s easy to find stories that make the eyebrows arch throughout the duration of the reading. Just take a brief look at what kind of concoctions are floating around today based on aliens and UFOs.
From reading about aliens abducting people in the night to whacky stories of alien interaction, it’s easy to find. What’s not easy to do, though, is believe these stories. It’s simply too common for alien-based stories and theories to be built on exceptionally contextual, rather rickety evidence.
One of the most recent stories that has happened to capture the attention of the public, though, is a little different. It seems to move a little further away from the normal stories in terms of what they usually show, in that this one might have something shocking in it.
It’s called “proof”!
Well, it would appear that UFO hunters have come across some terrifying elongated skulls. We’ve come across some rather odd shaped heads in our time, but these are something else. Elongated skulls are always something that draws a second glance, but these skulls appear to show heads out of a cartoon!
According to many conspiracy theorists, though, this is all the proof we need. This just goes to show how crazy science can be, though. Just recently we spoke of how it may take 1,500 years to be found by aliens as we are so unremarkable. Then, almost right after, we apparently find massive skulls on Mars!
So, what’s the story here?
Well, for many years we’ve all been reading alien hunters and conspiracy theorists tell us “this” is the big one. That the latest discovery is going to shatter the whole world’s knowledge of UFOs and the like. If these turn out to be true and aren’t a work of fiction then, yeah, it might finally be true.
The massive skills that have been found bear resemblance to the same kind of giant skulls we’ve been finding on ancient human civilizations for a long time now. People claim that these are actually an ancient alien species who visited years ago.
The Skull found on Mars
As the theories go, these creatures with the huge heads came to visit us when we were still developing. It was these people that showed us how to build incredible monuments that still trump anything we can build today, such as the Egyptian pyramids. Others claim that they left us things like Stonehenge and many other ancient pyramid-like structures found elsewhere.
Some believe these aliens might even have, at one stage, served as our rulers or being seen as Gods. Whatever the case, we’ve been finding weird-shaped heads for a long time now.
What Does This Mean?
Going on the old theories, it would be hard to say. There have been elongated skulls before found in the ruins of these amazing ancient structures, believing they came from ancient alien visitors. Now, this latest discovery – spotted on Mars – has UFO hunters even more certain they have a piece of gold.
This was discovered by popular YouTube channel, Paranormal Crucible. They spend hours checking out NASA imagery of Mars, and have since released a short film about what they found during their fine-toothcomb searches of the Red Planet. This short film, titled Alien Egyptian Skull Found on Mars, can be viewed on their official channel.
Not only is this video really exciting to look at, but it’s become very interesting in terms of its potential authenticity. They claim to have found a massive skull on Mars, and have spoken further about why they investigated so much.
Basically, they decided it would be important to have a closer look at what it may be once spotted. They enhanced the image and mastered it to try and get a closer, higher resolution image. The short blurb that comes with the video states that it’s “possibly thousands of years old”.
Another amazing find, though, was when the image was mirrored. This showed what could potentially be a skull-encrusted altar, with a pyramid sitting on either side. It’s hard to see exactly from the footage but, if you watch the video back, you’ll see it.
First off, having viewed it ourselves, we agree it looks nuts. This large rock that is shaped like the old ones found at Egyptian sites immediately caught the eye. However, there is one problem…
Like any other paranormal website and video channel, the team have come under immense criticism. One of the major critiques thrown at them was that they digitally manipulate discoveries to make it appear to look more like what they believe to have found. In this case, it appears that this might be what they have done. If so, that’s incredibly disappointing.
Not only does it create a false talking point, but it contextualizes evidence to the point of it no longer being worthy of discussion.
The idea seems to be that by using digital manipulation, they should be ignored. It makes it seem more appealing to those who aren’t into the paranormal, but it’s like edited photos of the Loch Ness Monster. It’s a waste of time.
This casts major doubts on the veracity of the images that have been concocted, and sadly takes away from the story somewhat. However, this does not mean that all imagery and bizarre images found on Mars are false.
Indeed, they’ve had strong academic support in the past. Dr. John Brandenburg, for example, believes that there is enough evidence to show that Mars was hit with major nuclear attacks in the past. Why? Because there are strong traces of both uranium and thorium found on the surface of the planet. This adds yet more mystery to the planet, but at least it’s not come from a doctored image – it’s come from a genuinely trustworthy academic source.
One thing is for sure, though; there is more to Mars than meets the eye. From weird boulders with significant carvings in them right through to odd structures that seem to protrude from the service, there’s plenty of imagery to look at. It’s not just this one group who have found some images – plenty of people, who aren’t doctoring pictures, post great legitimate shots of what Mars seems to look like.
Whether this is all one big hiding story by NASA or it’s all a major troll to hide “the truth” from us, we don’t know. What we do know is that there is plenty of misinformation out there, and we’ll always try and get to the bottom of any perceived finds or discoveries.
Curiosity will be coming 'round the Martian mountain when it comes — and a colorful new animation highlights where exactly the mission is headed.
Since 2012, scientists at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) have been exploring Mars with the car-size rover called Curiosity. A sixth grader named this robotduring a contest run by the space agency 10 years ago. And, oh, the places Curiosity will go!
The rover has been climbing Mount Sharp, which rises about 3 miles (5 kilometers) from the base of Gale Crater, since 2014. Curiosity is currently analyzing rock samples in a place called the ''clay-bearing unit'' and might someday reach rocky cliffs with sulfate minerals, according to a May 15 statement by the space agency.
NASA officials say each region represents a different period in the mountain's history, and the ''sulfate-bearing unit,'' for example, might reveal if the area once had liquid water that dried up billions of years ago.
Curiosity isn't just studying the ground below. Two months ago, the rover's Mast Camera captured each of Mars' tiny moons crossing the face of the sun. The instrument is fitted with a solar filter that lets it look directly at the star.
CIA REMOTE VIEWING PROGRAM DISCOVERS ANCIENT CIVILIZATION ON MARS
CIA REMOTE VIEWING PROGRAM DISCOVERS ANCIENT CIVILIZATION ON MARS
By: Gaia Staff
DECLASSIFIED TOP SECRET REMOTE VIEWING CIA DOCUMENTS REVEAL THE DISCOVERY OF AN ANCIENT CIVILIZATION THAT ONCE INHABITED THE RED PLANET.
It’s hard to fathom the number of esoteric programs that the CIA has or is currently funding and researching. The clandestine organization has been known to explore myriad outlets for conducting its operations, ranging from sinister to strange. But often the strange ones, particularly those that become declassified because the general populace finds them too bizarre to actually be true, are the most intriguing. When certain programs come to light, it always begs to ask the question, what else are they doing that they aren’t telling us about and what else haven’t they disclosed?
During the Cold War, the CIA conducted several experimental programs involving the human psyche. MKUltra was one of the more malevolent programs aimed at mind control using drugs and other techniques for torture and interrogation purposes. One element of the program involved administering LSD surreptitiously to subjects with the goal of turning them into robot agents that they could then control. The horrific intent of the program eventually came to light and was exposed, despite an attempted cover-up and destruction of all evidence pertaining to it.
But one of the more intriguing (and humane) programs that produced some interesting results was one known as Stargate, which trained operatives in astral projection and remote viewing. These psychic abilities that allow for perception and, if you’re well-practiced, the ability for your astral body to travel anywhere, including distant planets, has cultivated striking imagery and details that often have been confirmed.
Secrets of Remote Viewing
A PSYCHIC JOURNEY TO MARS
During the Cold War, one of the members of Stargate, Joseph McMoneagle, was able to perceive details, which were later confirmed by satellite imaging, of a new type of Russian nuclear submarine being constructed, based simply on coordinates provided to him. The submarine was one of the largest ever built and when he described its magnitude to military engineers, he was scoffed at. It turned out that McMoneagle’s impression was right.
McMoneagle was one of a key group of remote viewing in CIA’s participants that focused on military targets, missing persons and occasionally attempts to see into different time periods. But those attempts were all mundane compared to an unexpected, otherworldly astral journey he would take in 1984. One day he was awoken from a nap and given a sealed envelope that couldn’t be opened until the end of a subsequent viewing session, during which his colleague dictated coordinates for him to view. Soon McMoneagle found himself astral projecting to an unfamiliar locale.
Somewhat recently, the CIA released the transcript of McMoneagle and an agent conducting the viewing. When McMoneagle went into his viewing state, he described a world inhabited by a civilization in dire shape. He described seeing an infrastructure consisting of intersecting roads, aqueducts, channels and pyramids. The transcript is interesting and describes a baffled McMoneagle who often struggles to report the ‘raw data’ his colleague consistently reminds him to stay focused on. Throughout the viewing his astonishment overtakes him leading to tangential periods, sometimes as long as 30 minutes, trying to maintain his focus.
When McMoneagle eventually reports contact with living entities his colleague tells him to initiate communication with them. He describes their situation as being in a critical state, seemingly on the brink of apocalypse. Having purportedly sent members of their civilization on a mission to find a new place to inhabit, these tall shadowed figures appear to be in a state of hibernation awaiting the return of their search party. When he asks if these entities can perceive him, they describe him as something of a hallucination. At the end of the viewing McMoneagle opened his envelope to see where he supposedly projected to – Mars, approximately 1 million years B.C.
Skeptics have written off Stargate and other programs of its ilk as diversionary tactics to steer the Soviets in the wrong direction during the Cold War. The logic being that if the U.S. could subversively convince the Soviets that they were having success in phony psychic programs, the Soviets might then waste time and resources funding similar programs. And of course, there’s no way to know if McMoneagle’s account has any validity without sending a manned mission to Mars to explore the coordinates he was viewing. This probably isn’t going to happen very soon, but McMoneagle said he’d be willing to go, though he is in his 70s.
Whatever the CIA’s original intent may be, many of the members of the Stargate program still practice remote viewing or are willing to talk about it an all seriousness. With the program now having been disclosed and that era of the Cold War being over, it seems there would be no need to continue to maintain secrecy or continue playing along. We would also be remiss to think that the Russians weren’t researching remote viewing long before the U.S. There’s even evidence that they were researching it before Stalin’s reign.
There are other declassified remote viewing CIA documents that were once deemed ‘top secret’ by the CIA, including some that resulted in accurate descriptions of secret Soviet bases on an esoteric island in the middle of the Indian Ocean and another in the middle of the Ural Mountain range. The viewer described details of the bases and their geographic locations in details that were later confirmed. Though the evidence surrounding these particular sessions is somewhat conflicting, the reports affirming the results show astonishment from agents analyzing the program at the amazing accuracy of some of these viewings. And while astral projection and remote viewing are similar in nature, but much different in their scope, the confirmation of results from the remote viewing CIA sessions increases the likelihood that astral projections could have significant accuracy.
NEMESIS STAR THEORY; DOES THE SUN HAVE AN EVIL TWIN?
NEMESIS STAR THEORY; DOES THE SUN HAVE AN EVIL TWIN?
By: Gaia Staff
Many people remain anxious about the threat posed from a hidden nemesis planet, known as Nibiru, that has been prophesied to collide with Earth. Though many of the proposed dates for this collision have come and gone, there is another celestial body that may be more likely to lead to an apocalyptic event: The Nemesis Star.
Clues of the Sun's Twin
THE NEMESIS STAR THEORY
Binary star systems occur frequently and are actually more common than single stars. At least that’s what we thought, until a recent hypothesis proposed the possibility that every star starts out as a binary pair or multi-pair system. While the theory hasn’t been confirmed, there is significant evidence that our Sun likely has a twin, an evil twin.
The majority of stars in the galaxy are red dwarfs, which are a fifth of the size of the sun and up to 50 times fainter. These types of stars are pretty commonly paired with another star in a binary system, leading astronomers to believe that Nemesis would be the Sun’s red dwarf star companion. But due to the small size and faintness of these stars, they can be hard to find, making Nemesis all the more elusive.
binary stars courtesy wired.com
This star is thought to be responsible for 12 cyclical extinction events on Earth, including the one that killed the dinosaurs. The Nemesis Star Theory’s roots can be traced to two paleontologists, David Raup and Jack Sepkoski, who noticed that there was a periodicity to major die-outs throughout Earth’s history, occurring in 26 million year intervals. This led to a number of astrophysicists and astronomers, postulating their own Nemesis Star hypotheses.
So how would the sun’s twin be responsible for mass extinctions? The Nemesis Star Theory proposed the idea that the Earth’s binary twin must be in a large 1.5 light-year orbit, retaining just enough gravitational pull between it and the Sun so as not to drift off. But the issue with the orbit of Nemesis is the possibility that it occasionally passes through a cloud of icy debris on the fringe of our solar system, known as the Oort Cloud.
DON’T PERTURB THE OORT
The Oort Cloud is a theoretical sphere that is believed to orbit our solar system, consisting of planetesimals, the small icy building blocks of planets, comets, and asteroids. These planetesimals are sticky and collide with each other until they become large enough to have a significant gravitational pull, eventually becoming as large as a moon or a planet. They also create asteroids and comets which can be knocked out of orbit and sent hurtling toward the center of the solar system, crashing into planets.
There is a binary star system that once passed close enough to nearly perturb the Oort, and it was likely visible from Earth. Scholz’s Star made a flyby some 70,000 years ago, at a distance of 50,000 astronomical units (AU), with one AU being the distance from Earth to the Sun. The Oort is thought to extend from anywhere between 5,000 and 100,000 AUs and is believed to contain up to two trillion celestial objects. Astronomers are 95% certain that Shulz’s star passed within half of a light year of us, possibly perturbing the Oort, though apparently not enough to cause a mass extinction event.
Comets are believed to exist within the Oort and are the product of a thief model, a give-and-take of celestial bodies between stars when they’re formed. In this process comets get pulled back and forth between the gravitational field of stars. It was for this reason that the Oort was theorized, due to the number of comets coming from it, there had to have been a sibling star that pulled them out to the Oort.
The Oort courtesy of space-facts.com
Astronomers also found a dwarf planet in the Kuiper Belt, a region just before the Oort that also contains icy, celestial bodies. This planet, named Sedna, orbits the Sun in a long, drawn-out elliptical path and is one of potentially hundreds. Sedna may help to explain the Nemesis star theory, in that its far-flung orbit was likely caused by our Sun’s twin, pulling it out as it drifted off into the depths of space. Imagine if instead of 9 planets in our solar system, there were a few hundred?
So where is this Nemesis star? Several years ago, the E.U. launched the wonderfully named, Gaia satellite, to map out the stars in the Milky Way and look specifically at stars that have had a close encounter with our solar system or that might come close in the future. But whether or not Nemesis will be found is unknown; it’s possible that it could make a return for the next mass extinction, or it is possible that it drifted off, perturbing the Oort of another star.
Starlink, SpaceX’s ambitious plan to bring high-speed internet to practically anywhere in the world, is about to take shape.
On Wednesday, the company plans to launch 60 test satellites to help develop its planned giant constellation. Elon Musk, the CEO behind the plan, could help redefine how people think about internet access — no longer tied to fixed lines, where satellite internet moves from a last-resort curiosity to a viable service for tens of millions. With the FCC abolishingnet neutrality, Starlink also has an opportunity to save it for its customers — or continue to ignore the concept as terrestrial ISPs have done. There’slots of discussion, but we don’t know yet.
Starlink is a planned constellation of 12,000 satellites, eclipsing the size of existing satellite internet systems operating at a relatively low orbit. Musk has claimed that, unlike other systems, latency will be low enough to power the lightning-fast response times necessary for video games. Using a ground terminal, customers could get connected from practically anywhere in the world with a view to the constellation.
The prospect is so enticing it could eclipse SpaceX’s current revenue streams and rapidly transform the company — providing even more funds for flying to Mars and making humans a multi-planetary species.
SpaceX Starlink: When Is the Launch Date?
SpaceX is expected to launch 60 satellites on Wednesday at 10:30 p.m. Eastern from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Weather conditions were at 70 percent favorable the Sunday prior to the launch. The booster will attempt to land on the Of Course I Still Love You drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean.
Musk shared an image of the Falcon 9 packed with the 60 satellites ready to go.
When compared with the Tesla Roadster that Musk sent up on the Falcon Heavy’s maiden voyage, the sheer scale becomes clear.
Unfortunately, it appears these satellites won’t be used for the final constellation. SpaceX president Gwynne Shotwell said at the Satellite 2019 conference in Washington, DC on May 7 that the first launch would lack the intersat links present in future crafts, meaning these 60 will only be used for tests.
“They’re capable, but there’s no intersatellite links on it,” Shotwell said at the event. “I call them ‘test class’ satellites. The antennas are pretty hot on these things. They are very capable systems.”
Although they’re test-class crafts, they should provide more information about how the constellation will work than previous trials. Musk confirmed the craftsare “production design, unlike our earlier Tintin demo sats.” The company previously launched two demo satellites in February 2018 to communicate with six ground stations.
If successful, it could pave the way for multiple Starlink launches later this year. Shotwell stated at the same conference that SpaceX could hold between two and six Starlink launches this year depending on the results from the May 15 launch.
Once SpaceX has completed a few launches, its network could soon take shape. Musk said on Sunday via Twitter that around six more launches of 60 satellites could be enough for “minor” coverage, while 12 launches would be enough for “moderate” coverage. That means by the end of this year, SpaceX could have a basic constellation up and running.
The satellites use lasers to communicate with each other. Mark Handley, a professor of networked systems at University College London, previously explained to Inverse that this could make communications between two points on the planet up to 50 percent faster, as the light would move faster through the vacuum than through fiber optic glass cables.
SpaceX plans to launch 4,409 satellites in its initial constellation. Each one weighs around 850 pounds. Around 1,584 of these will orbit 550 kilometers above the surface of the Earth, while the rest will run at 1,150 kilometers. The company was granted permission for this setup from the FCC in May.
As for space junk, the company claimed to the FCC that there is “zero” chance of pieces hitting anyone on Earth, as the satellites are expected to burn up through the atmosphere.
SpaceX Starlink: What Is the Price for Starlink Internet?
As Starlink has already slipped from its initial plans, it’s perhaps understandable that SpaceX has not yet released definitive pricing. FCC chairman Ajit Pai’s support for the plan draws to mind net neutrality horror stories, where firms charge higher prices for faster access to preferred sites.
Starlink could save consumers billions, even if they don’t choose to go with SpaceX for internet. A BroadbandNow report claims such constellations could save American households up to $30 billion per year. The logic is that increased competition will drive prices down. Around 104 million Americans have one wired broadband provider in their area, and prices cost around $68 per month. Around 75 million have two choices, and they pay around $59 per month. The 14 million with five or more choices pay just $47, so adding Starlink into the mix could push people into the next lower bracket as the competition increases.
Existing satellite offerings come to around $50 per month for service. If SpaceX wants to compete with other providers, a price around this area may not be unreasonable.
SpaceX Starlink: Who Is Competing With Starlink?
SpaceX has a number of competitors vying to kickstart their giant satellite constellations. OneWeb, which launched its first six satellites back in February, is aiming for up to 900 satellites with a goal of switching on by 2021.
Another plan by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos would send 3,236 satellites up as part of Project Kuiper. SpaceX and Blue Origin both have similar end goals of using their current projects to fuel space colonization, but Bezos envisions floating structures orbiting the Earth rather than cities on Mars. The success of one internet constellation over another could power these visions and bring them closer to reality.
Another factor working against SpaceX is time. The FCC gave the firm until March 29, 2024 to launch 50 percent of its planned constellation. Around three years later, the firm needs to complete its constellation.
Musk has just eight years to potentially kickstart the future of internet access.
Follow the route of NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover, as it moves to a new part of Mount Sharp, into an area scientists call the “clay-bearing unit”.
This NASA video,releasedWednesday (May 15, 2019), shows what it would be like to soar over Mars’ Mount Sharp, following the route of theCuriosityrover, which has been climbing Mount Sharp since 2014, and has now moved to a new area that the science team calls the “clay-bearing unit”.
In the video, Project Scientist Ashwin Vasavada gives a tour of the rover’s new home in the clay-bearing unit – or “clay unit” for short – where Curiosity has just started analyzing rock samples. The clay-bearing unit has been an important scientific destination since even before Curiosity launched. NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter(MRO) spied a strong clay signal in this region, suggesting that water might have played a role in its formation. On its long trek since landing on Mars in 2012, Curiosity has discovered many examples of mudstones containing clay minerals.
Curiosity has been on the road for nearly seven years. Finally drilling at the clay-bearing unit is a major milestone in our journey up Mount Sharp.
This animation shows a proposed route for NASA’s Curiosity rover, which is climbing lower Mount Sharp on Mars. The annotated version of the map labels different regions that scientists working with the rover would like to explore in coming years.
The aerial tour also shows the rover’s proposed path in the years ahead. Targets that are intriguing to scientists include the rocky cliffs of the “sulfate-bearing unit,” where sulfate minerals might indicate the area was drying up or becoming more acidic in ancient times, and an area called Gediz Vallis, where a river may have carved a path through the sulfate unit.
Each region represents a different period in the history of Mount Sharp, which rises about 3 miles (5 km) from the base of Gale Crater. Curiosity’s scientists want to visit these places to learn more about the history of water on the mountain, which slowly dried up as the climate changed.
Bottom line: Video shows current route of NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover.
A surprisingly gentle merger between two small primordial bodies formed the distant objectUltima Thule, a new study suggests.
These two progenitors themselves likely coalesced from the same cloud of icy material at thedawn of the solar system, billions of miles from the newborn sun. They initially circled a common center of mass but spiraled closer and closer, eventually meeting up in decidedly leisurely fashion.
"These guys look like they came together at literally spacecraft-docking speed," said study lead author Alan Stern, of the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado. "This really is informative about the origin of planetesimalsout there."
Stern is principal investigator of NASA's New Horizons mission, which flew by Ultima Thule on Jan. 1 of this year. The new study, which was published online today (May 16) in the journal Science, describes the initial science returns from that flyby, the most-distant planetary encounter in the history of spaceflight.
New Horizons launched in January 2006 to get the first-ever up-close look at Pluto, which had remained largely mysterious since its 1930 discovery. The spacecraft checked off this main mission goal in July 2015, zooming within 7,800 miles (12,500 kilometers) of the dwarf planet and capturing amazing images of its stunningly complex and diverse surface.
The New Horizons team then turned its attention to Ultima Thule (official name: 2014 MU69), a small object that currently lies about 4 billion miles (6.5 billion km) from Earth — 1 billion miles (1.6 billion km) more distant than Pluto.
The Jan. 1 flyby, the centerpiece of New Horizons' extended mission, was an even more challenging spaceflight feat than the Pluto encounter.
Ultima Thule is much smaller than the dwarf planet, spanning just 22 miles (35 km) in its longest dimension. And New Horizons gave Ultima Thule a much closer shave than it did Pluto, cruising a mere 2,200 miles (3,540 km) above the small object's frigid surface. The probe was barreling along at 32,280 mph (51,950 km/h) relative to its target at the time.
So far, New Horizons has beamed home just 25% of its flyby data, which should all be in hand by mid-2020. The new study is based on just 10% of the expected total haul — the amount available when the researchers submitted the paper in late February, Stern said. But even this limited first look at New Horizons' imagery and measurements has produced some very intriguing results, as the new paper shows.
New Horizons found that 2014 MU69 is a "contact binary" composed of two lobes, which the team dubbed Ultima (the bigger one) and Thule. The object therefore looks like a snowman — a crushed and bloody one, anyway.
Ultima Thule is the reddest object ever explored by a spacecraft, with the exception of Mars, Stern said. The Red Planet owes its hue to iron oxides (rust), but something else is going on with 2014 MU69. The New Horizons team thinks the color comes from complex organic molecules known as tholins, or something like them.
This would not be unheard of; tholins are thought to be responsible for the reddish swaths that New Horizons spotted on Pluto and its biggest moon, Charon.
And then there's the crushed bit: Ultima Thule, especially the Ultima lobe, is notably flattened — "something that really no one expected or predicted with models, sending the theorists back to the drawing board," Stern told Space.com.
The team isn't sure how Ultima Thule got its pancake-esque shape. It's possible that rapid rotation played a role, Stern said. (The object currently completes one spin every 15.9 hours, but the two constituent lobes may have rotated much faster in their youth, before the merger.)
"Or maybe there was a lot of aerodynamic erosion," Stern said, invoking the possibility that gas and grains of material that didn't get incorporated into Ultima or Thule could have scoured them down.
Many other mysteries remain as well. For example, Ultima sports a number of similar-sized abutting mounds, which may be the outlines of the smaller pieces that built up the lobe. No such mounds are visible on Thule, however.
That may be because the two lobes formed in slightly different ways. But Thule has a 4.3-mile-wide (7 km) crater called Maryland. So, it's possible that the lobe had mounds as well, but these features were buried when the Maryland-gouging impact resurfaced Thule, Stern said. (New Horizons did not spy any big craters on the Ultima lobe.)
In addition, both lobes have numerous small pits, whose origin remains undetermined. And multiple formation processes are likely involved, study team members said.
"Our assessment is that the chains of similarly sized pits are more likely to be formed by internal processes than by cratering, but the isolated pits that show approximately circular planform outlines, bowl-shaped interior depressions, and, in some cases, raised rims, are more consistent with impact crater morphology," the researchers wrote in the new study.
The New Horizons team has not yet spotted any satellites or rings orbiting Ultima Thule, and the object has shown no signs of an atmosphere or any comet-like outgassing. But the researchers will keep looking as more and more data comes down to Earth.
A primordial object
Ultima Thule's two-lobed shape strongly suggests that the object is primordial, going all the way back to the solar system's birth.
Impact speeds in 2014 MU69's neighborhood — the cold, dark depths beyond Neptune known as the Kuiper Belt — are currently around 670 mph (1,080 km/h). A modern meetup of two objects out there would thus be too violent to produce the Ultima Thule we see today; its two lobes would have been destroyed or misshapen, Stern and his colleagues found.
Indeed, modeling work the team presented at a conference last month suggests the collision likely occurred at around 5.5 mph (8.9 km/h) — slower than most joggers go. Such a "gentle dynamical environment" was present long ago, shortly after the sun had formed.
Other lines of evidence bolster the notion that Ultima Thule is an ancient and relatively unchanged object. For example, its two lobes are similar in both brightness and color, suggesting that they formed from the same swirling cloud of gas and dust long ago.
"This is the first unquestionably primordial contact binary that we've seen up close with a spacecraft," Stern said.
New Horizons team members may end up cracking more Ultima Thule mysteries one day; most of the flyby data still hasn't come down to Earth, after all.
And even when that information has all been analyzed, there may be yet more work to do. The spacecraft is healthy and has enough fuel left to fly by yet another deep-space object, Stern said.
NASA would have to grant another mission extension for this to happen, and the New Horizons team can't apply for such an extension until next year, Stern said. But the researchers definitely plan to do so.
"We came all the way out here to the Kuiper Belt, and we're going to try to squeeze every last thing we can [out of this mission]," Stern said.
More spacecraft will explore the outer solar system in the future, "but they're not going to be here anytime soon," Stern said. "We're here, and we're going to milk it."
We don’t know what it is. We don’t even know if it’s made of regular matter — but we do know that something blasted a series of holes through some stars in the Milky Way.
“It’s a dense bullet of something,” said Ana Bonaca, a researcher at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, who discovered evidence for the impactor.
Bonaca analyzed a series of stars called GD-1 — a very long and thin, Milky Way star stream. Normally, the stream would appear as a straight line, stretched out by the Milky Way’s galaxy. GD-1 stars have been studied ever since they were discovered in 2006, and Bonaca has been using data from the recently launched Gaia telescope to analyze them in more detail.
This type of stellar stream is created by the tidal (gravitational) force of the Milky Way, which bends and stretches the stream, producing a gap in its approximate middle.
This image from Bonaca's presentation shows the most detailed map yet of GD-1, revealing the apparent second gap and spur.
Credit: New Astrophysical Probes of Dark Matter, Ana Bonaca/GAIA
But when Bonaca looked at GD-1 more recently, she found a second gap — and a weird one at that. The second gap is not smooth as the first one but has a ragged edge — as if something was shot through it.
“It’s a dense bullet of something,” Bonaca said.
The “bullet” would have to be something absolutely massive, much bigger than a star, and more massive than all but the largest black holes. It’s not out of the question for a supermassive black hole to be the culprit, but if this is the case, it would have to be one at the scale of the supermassive black hole at the center of our galaxy. There isn’t a clear reason why such a black hole would exist towards the edge of our galaxy, and astronomers haven’t seen any effects from it.
This leaves another tantalizing possibility: a massive object made of dark matter.
Dark matter is a hypothetical form of matter that is thought to account for approximately 85% of the matter in the universe and about a quarter of its total energy density. We don’t know what dark matter is and we’ve never seen it — but we have seen its effects, and astronomers are quite confident in its existence. We also have no idea how dark matter might be distributed through the universe — is it thin and diffusive, or large and clumpy? If dark matter was indeed shot through GD-1 stars, it would suggest the latter. However, a large ball of dark matter is still speculative at this point, although it seems to line up with the evidence quite nicely.
The results have not yet been peer-reviewed, though they were met positively at the conference of the American Physical Society in Denver where they were presented.
At this point, the turbulent history of GD-1 stars is just not well enough known to draw a definite conclusion. But whatever it is, is Bonaca’s hypothesis is true, something shot a massive “bullet” straight through our galaxy — and we don’t know what it is.
CHINA’S ROVER COLLECTS FIRST-EVER SAMPLES FROM UNDER LUNAR CRUST
CHINA’S ROVER COLLECTS FIRST-EVER SAMPLES FROM UNDER LUNAR CRUST
Yutu 2, the Chinese rover that landed on the far side of the Moonearlier this year, just examined the first-ever samples of the Moon’s mantle.
The samples are believed to have been dug out by a meteorite impact so strong that it crashed through the Moon’s crust, according to research published in the journal Nature on Wednesday. With further study, these subsurface rocks could reveal how the Moon formed in the first place.
Extremely Heavy Metal
In its earliest days, the Moon was likely comprised by a vast ocean of magma. During that period, the scientists suspect that heavy metals like iron and magnesium — both of which were prevalent in the new samples — sank below the surface while lighter compounds floated upward, eventually forming the Moon’s crust.
“This is the first ground truth of what the interior of the moon is really made of,” Purdue University scientist Briony Horgan, who did not contribute to the new research, told New Scientist. “I would say the really important thing is that it’s different from the Earth.”
Studying the Moon’s mantle could give scientists new insights into how a large space body forms when the mantle doesn’t interact with water, as it did on Earth — and could help understand how other celestial bodies formed as well.
NASA's first-everplanetary defense missionis preparing to launch in June 2021, making sure all the pieces are in place for the spacecraft to successfully slam into the small "moon" of a binary asteroid.
That mission, called the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART), will culminate in October 2022 with the much-anticipated impact with the binary asteroid Didymos. But mission staff have plenty to keep them busy between now and then, and they know they will be in the spotlight as the mission continues. That's in part because DART represents NASA's first foray beyond scientific and human spaceflight missions; instead, this mission will test a technology that could theoretically save Earth from a dangerous collision with a threatening asteroid.
"People can really get into the whole, 'Oh my god, you're trying to move the what?'" Elena Adams, of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, told Space.com during the International Academy of Astronautics' Planetary Defense Conference, held earlier this month in College Park, Maryland. Adams is the mission systems engineer for DART. "I think people are very excited, too, because they wouldn't want to be dinosaurs."
As mission systems engineer, Adams' job is to communicate and coordinate between all the different pieces of the DART mission — from the spacecraft itself to the launch vehicle to how the team members will work together over the course of the mission.
A key recent development in that equation is the rocket. The DART team had been assuming the craft would be piggybacking on a launch, which would have lengthened the journey from Earth to Didymos, but NASA decided to buy a SpaceX Falcon 9 launch dedicated to the mission.
"Before, we had to spend a lot of time spiralling around Earth; we didn't know where we were going to get dropped off," Adams said. "Now, we have a dedicated launch vehicle and we'll be able to just go where we want to go."
In the wake of that decision, Adams and her colleagues are meeting with SpaceX this month to begin coordinating for the launch, which will blast off from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California in June 2021.
Adams is also looking ahead to a series of crucial mission milestones happening this year. DART's final review by NASA will happen in June. The pieces of the spacecraft will also start coming together this summer, with the body of the probe arriving at the Applied Physics Laboratory in June for testing. Then, the spacecraft will go back out again to pick up its propulsion system, a new electric ion engine that DART will test.
Unlike traditional NASA missions that are packed with scientific devices, DART will carry just one instrument, an advanced camera that will capture a spacecraft's-eye view of the approach. "It will take amazing images along the way," Adams said. "But really, it's a targeting camera." For now, the main priority with that camera is making sure that the unwieldy roll-out solar arrays the mission will test don't smear the camera's images.
And then, of course, there's the people component, making sure the team behind the mission is ready to kick into high gear as the DART spacecraft approaches its target in October 2022.
"For the last 10 days, you need to have 24-hour staffing, and it's a small mission — there are only a few of us," Adams said. "So, we're trying to figure out what's the best way of breaking out all the maneuvers and what are we doing in contingencies."
Artemis is the goddess of the moon in Greek mythology.
Artist’s concept of a future moon landing carried out under NASA's newly named Artemis program. The space agency is working to return men and send the first women to the lunar surface by 2024, as has been directed by the White House.
"It turns out that Apollo had a twin sister, Artemis. She happens to be the goddess of the moon," said Bridenstine, referring to Greek mythology. "Our astronaut office is very diverse and highly qualified. I think it is very beautiful that 50 years after Apollo, the Artemis program will carry the next man — and the first woman — to the moon."
The Artemis program, which was previously only referred to by its component names — including the Space Launch System heavy-lift rocket, Orion crew vehicle and Gateway lunar outpost — began when President Donald Trump signed Space Policy Directive 1 in 2017, directing NASA to return astronauts to the moon.
Two years later, in March 2019, Vice President Mike Pence further defined the program by announcing a five-year deadline for the first crewed lunar landing. The 2024 mission, he said, should land at the south pole with the "first woman and the next man on the moon."
On Monday, Trump amended his Fiscal Year 2020 budget request to account for the accelerated schedule and new mission objectives.
"As you know, the President has given our agency the bold charge to land the next man and the first woman on the lunar south pole by 2024, and now President Trump has extended his vote of confidence in our work with an amended budget request for fiscal year 2020," said Bridenstine in a video address to employees. "It includes $1.6 billion in additional funding."
"Among other things, it will allow us to accelerate our development of the Space Launch System and Orion, it will support the development of a human lunar landing system and it will support precursor capabilities on the lunar surface, including increased robotic exploration of the moon's polar region," he said.
To achieve the 2024 goal, NASA intends to scale back its plans for a crew-tended, multi-module Gateway to include only the basic parts needed to support an initial landing. Support for a long-term, sustainable lunar presence, as had been NASA's priority, has been deferred to 2028.
In Greek mythology, Apollo and Artemis were the twin children of Zeus and Leto. In addition to being the goddess of the moon, Artemis was also the goddess of the hunt, with Orion her hunting companion.
The name "Apollo" was first proposed for the 1960s moon landing program by Abe Silverstein, NASA's then-director for spaceflight development. He chose the name because of its connection to Greek mythology and its "attractive connotations," per the space agency.
Before being assigned to the current moon landing program, NASA used Artemis to refer to a pair of lunar probes studying the moon's interactions with the sun. The ARTEMIS — or "Acceleration, Reconnection, Turbulence and Electrodynamics of the Moon's Interaction with the Sun" — spacecraft were reassigned from NASA's THEMIS mission in 2010.
Artemis was also selected by a team competing for NASA's Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) contract. The team, led by Draper, named their proposed lunar lander Artemis-7 in honor of the Greek goddess. (The number 7 signified Draper's seventh lunar landing, having a heritage in Apollo.)
The name has also been used for a European communications satellite (retired in 2017) and was the fictional title given to the first city on the moon in author Andy Weir's ("The Martian") 2017 science fiction novel "Artemis." There is also a small crater with the name in Mare Imbrium, or the Sea of Showers, on the moon.
Bridenstine said the name Artemis represents the program's goal of inclusion.
"I have a daughter who is 11 years old, and I want her to be able to see herself in the same role as the next women [who] go to the moon see themselves in today," he said. "This is really a beautiful moment in American history, and I am very proud to be a part of it."
2-3 Billion Years Ago, Star Formation Was Bursting in The Milky Way
2-3 Billion Years Ago, Star Formation Was Bursting in The Milky Way
The region of the stellar formation Rho Ophiuchi observed by ESA Gaia satellite. The shining dots are stellar clusters with the massive and youngest stars of the region. The dark filaments track the gas and dust distribution, where the new stars are born. This is not a conventional photographic image but the result of the integration of all the received radiation by the satellite during the 22 months of continuous measurements through different filters on the spacecraft.
Credit and Copyright: ESA/Gaia/DPAC, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO
A team led by researchers of the Institute of Cosmos Sciences of the University of Barcelona (ICCUB, UB-IEEC) and the Besançon Astronomical Observatory have found, analysing data from the Gaia satellite, that a severe star formation burst occurred in the Milky Way about to and three thousand million years ago. In this process, more than 50 % of the stars that created the galactic disc may have been born. There results come from the combination of the distances, colors and magnitude of the stars that were measured by Gaia with models that predict their distribution in our Galaxy. The study has been published in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics.
Just like a flame fades when there is no gas in the cylinder, the rhythm of the stellar formation in the Milky Way, fuelled by the gas that was deposited, should decrease slowly and in a continuous way until using up the existing gas. The results of the study show that, although this was the process that took place over the first 4,000 million years of the disc formation, a severe star formation burst, or “stellar baby boom” –as stated in the article published in the Nature Research Highlights-, inverted this trend. The merging with a satellite galaxy of the Milky Way, which is rich in gas, could have administrated new fuel and reactivate the process of stellar formation, in a similar way to when a gas cylinder is changed. This mechanism would explain the distribution of distances, ages and masses that are estimated from the data taken from the European Space Agency Gaia satellite.
“The time scale of this star formation burst together with the great amount of stellar mass involved in the process, thousands of millions of solar mass, suggests the disc of our Galaxy did not have a steady and paused evolution, it may have suffered an external perturbation that began about five billion years ago”, said Roger Mor, ICCUB researcher and first signer of the article.
“We have been able to find this out due having –for the first time- precise distances for more than three million stars in the solar environment”, says Roger Mor. “Thanks to these data –he continues- we could discover the mechanisms that controlled the evolution more than 8-10 billion years ago in the disc of our Galaxy, which is not more than the bright band we see in the sky on a dark night and with no light pollution”.
Like in many research fields these days, these findings have been possible thanks to the availability of the combination of a great amount of unprecedented precision data, and the availability of a great amount of hours in computing in the computer facilities funded by the FP7 GENIUS European project (Gaia European Project for Improved data User Services) –in the Center for Scientific and Academic Services of Catalonia (CSUC).
Distribution of 3 million stars used in this stdy to detect the star formation burst from 2-3 billion years ago. Gaia provided the distance for each of these objects on the gallactic disc. Below, a scheme of the spiral arms of the Milky Way.
Credit; University of Barcelona
Cosmologic models predict our galaxy would have been growing due the merging with other galaxies, a fact that has been stated by other studies using Gaia data. One of these merges could be the cause of the severe star formation burst that was detected in this study.
“Actually, the peak of star formation is so clear, unlike what we predicted before having data from Gaia, that we thought necessary to treat its interpretation together with experts on cosmological evolution of external galaxies”, notes Francesca Figuerars, lecturer at the Department of Quantum Physics and Astrophysics of the UB, ICCUB member and signer of the article.
According to the expert on simulations of galaxies similar to the Milky Way, Santi Roca-Fàbrega –from the Complutense University of Mardid and also signer of the article, “the obtained results match with what the current cosmological models predict, and what is more –he continues- our Galaxy seen from Gaia’s eyes is an excellent cosmological laboratory where we can test and confront models at a bigger scale in the universe”.
Gaia mission until 2020
This study has been conducted with the second release of the Gaia mission, which was published a year ago, on April 25, 2018. Xavier Luri, director of ICCUB and also signer of the article states: “The role of scientists and engineers of the UB has been essential so that the scientific community enjoys the excellent quality of data from the Gaia release”.
More than 400 scientists and engineers from around Europe are part of the consortium in charge of preparing and validating these data. “Their collective work brought the international scientific community a release that is making us rethink many of the existent scenarios on the origins and evolution of our galaxy”, notes Luri.
In one year, more than 1,200 peer review articles published in journals show the before and after Gaia in almost all fields of astrophysics, from the recent detection of new stellar clusters, new asteroids, to the affirmation of the star extragalactic origin in our Galaxy, going through the calculus of the Milky Way mass and the findings that show compact stars end up slowly solidified.
“The satellite continues to operate optimally and this July the five nominal years of scientific operation will be completed”, notes Carme Jordi, UB researcher and member of the Gaia Science Team, the scientific advisor body of the European Space Agency (ESA) for this mission. ESA has approved of the extension of the mission until late 2020 –one more year than expected- and engineering teams estimate that there is enough fuel to continue working until 2024. “There is no doubt this mission has passed a technological unprecedented challenge in space missions of all time”, concludes Carme Jordi.
Astronomically speaking, it’s tough to beat the discovery of a comet or asteroid from another solar system, as all of the hubbub over ‘Oumuamuahas proven. However, this just might do it. Astronomers studying the chemical compositions of stars in our Milky Way Galaxy have discovered a star in the Big Dipper with a combination of elements that exists nowhere else in the galaxy. An invader? Interloper? Can we charge it rent?
“Here we report on the discovery of a metal-poor star with an extreme r-process enhancement and α-element deficiency. In this star, the abundance ratio of the r-process element Eu with respect to Fe is more than one order of magnitude larger than the Sun and the metallicity is 1/20 of solar metallicity.”
That’s astronomer-speak for “Hey! Put down your beer and come look at this!” According to the press release for a new study published in the journal Nature Astronomy, a group of astronomers from China and Japan using the Large Sky Area Multi-Object Fiber Spectroscopic Telescope (LAMOST) in Xinglong Station, Hebei Province, China, discovered a star, now named J1124+4535, just below the bowl of the Big Dipper, also known as the Ursa Major constellation, with an unusual chemical signature. Specifically, it has a very low level of elements such as magnesium compared with an excessively high level of Europium, a soft metal similar to lead. That high-low ratio is not found in the Milky Way but matched the chemical composition of stars in dwarf galaxies orbiting our own.
So, how did J1124+4535 end up in the Big Dipper? It’s believed that there were once many more dwarf galaxies orbiting the Milky Way, but our greedy galaxy likes to gorge on them and absorbed them completely – destroying their identities and assimilating them into its own. Somehow, J1124+4535 managed to survive. As we found with interstellar asteroids, if there’s one, there’s probably more, and that’s already the case with this prisoner from another galaxy. Astronomers have discovered non-Milky Way hypervelocity stars speeding through after being spun off by those orbiting dwarf galaxies, particularly the Large Magellanic Cloud. However, J1124+4535 seems to be the only one so far to arrive via complete absorption.
Speaking of the Large Magellanic Cloud, it’s scheduled to be absorbed via collision in about 2 billion years, followed by the Andromeda Galaxy in another 2 to 3 billion years.
In space, no one can hear you scream, but someone in the future may hear the Milky Way chew, swallow and belch.
The moon doesn’t do that that much. Sure, it’s responsible for the tides and all, but that’s really a function of gravity and the messy ball of duct tape and chicken wire we call “the laws of physics.” As a celestial body, the moon just kind of hangs around. It does do some cool stuff, though. For one, it’s the perfect size to let us earthlings view total solar eclipses, which is a pretty spectacular luxury we have. Some have suggested that the perfect size of the moon in relation to the sun and Earth is a bittoo much of a coincidence, and thus evidence that the moon is fake. Unfortunately, the moon is real, and just like every other real thing in this universe it’s growing up to be a disappointment. You see, it turns out the moon is shrinking.
Tectonic activity—the push and pull of tectonic plates in a planet’s mantle—in our solar system has, for a long time, seemed to be mostly confined to the Earth. We feel the results of this tectonic activity as earthquakes. We know that the moon used to have tectonic activity, but it was though to have stopped millions of years ago. According to a study published this week, the moon may still be tectonically active, and so-called “moonquakes” are shrinking Earth’s satellite like a raisin.
What if you landed on the moon, stepped out, and were just utterly disappointed? That would be awful.
These moonquakes were first recorded by the Apollo missions between 1969 and 1977. Until now, they’ve been unexplained. A study published in Nature Geoscience found that the epicenters of the mysterious moonquakes seem centered around jagged lines of cliffs called scarps. These scarps were first discovered in 2010, and while researchers suggested that they were the result of tectonic activity, they believed that it had died down around 50 million years ago. Based of the apparent connection between these scarps and modern recorded moonquakes, the new study concludes that the moon is probably still tectonically active, which came as a shock to researchers. Co-author of the study Thomas Watters says:
“The whole idea that a 4.6-billion-year-old rocky body like the moon has managed to stay hot enough in the interior and produce this network of faults just flies in the face of conventional wisdom.”
As its interior cools with age, the moon shrinks like a raisin. Its brittle crust compresses and breaks forming the scarps we can see running along the surface. Previously we had thought that this cooling and shrinking process had completed a very long time ago, but the links between the scarps and moonquakes suggest that this shrinking process is still ongoing today. Watters says:
“The connection between the location and timing of shallow moonquakes and known young faults is further evidence that our moon is a dynamic world.”
It’s not going to shrink out of existence any time soon, of course. Rocks don’t feel time the same way we do. But it’s good to know that the moon is still doing something. It’s also good to know we won’t run out of the always entertaining fake-moon arguments any time soon either, because you can bet dollars to donuts that the moon being tectonically active 50 million years after it should be is going to be seen as proof-positive that it’s not as old as they want you to think it is.
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