Archive for the ‘space’ category: Page 827

Jun 4, 2015

Our Universe is Fine Tuned for Life—Why?

Posted by in categories: astronomy, chemistry, cosmology, gravity, physics, space

Consider how many natural laws and constants—both physical and chemical—have been discovered since the time of the early Greeks. Hundreds of thousands of natural laws have been unveiled in man’s never ending quest to understand Earth and the universe.

I couldn’t name 1% of the laws of nature and physics. Here are just a few that come to mind from my high school science classes. I shall not offer a bulleted list, because that would suggest that these random references to laws and constants are organized or complete. It doesn’t even scratch the surface…

Newton’s Law of force (F=MA), Newton’s law of gravity, The electromagnetic force, strong force, weak force, Avogadro’s Constant, Boyle’s Law, the Lorentz Transformation, Maxwell’s equations, laws of thermodynamics, E=MC2, particles behave as waves, superpositioning of waves, universe inflation rate, for every action… etc, etc.

For some time, physicists, astronomers, chemists, and even theologians have pondered an interesting puzzle: Why is our universe so carefully tuned for our existence? And not just our existence—After all, it makes sense that our stature, our senses and things like muscle mass and speed have evolved to match our environment. But here’s the odd thing—If even one of a great many laws, properties or constants were off by even a smidgen, the whole universe could not exist—at least not in a form that could support life as we imagine it! Even the laws and numbers listed above. All of creation would not be here, if any of these were just a bit off…

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Jun 3, 2015

Elon Musk Rebuffs Critics with Fundamentals

Posted by in categories: business, economics, environmental, government, innovation, policy, science, solar power, space, transportation


“If he was paid by the oil and gas industry lobby he couldn’t have written a more favorable article for them.”—Elon Musk

Video & Article on Criticism about Incentives

Jun 1, 2015

Journey to the center of the moon: Samuel Ximenes at TEDxSanAntonio 2013

Posted by in category: space

It is human destiny to become a multi-planet species. The space frontier is opening up to private citizens and interplanetary entrepreneurs are redefining th…

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May 28, 2015

Pioneering Space

Posted by in category: space

Great philosophers, thinkers and writers have embraced the pioneering spirit—full of wonder, risk and great ventures into the unknown.

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May 26, 2015

The House just passed a bill about space mining. The future is here. — Brian Fung | The Washington Post

Posted by in categories: business, space, space travel

“What could the FAA, an agency whose chief concern is air travel, want with outer space? Well, the FAA is the agency that grants licenses for commercial space launches (the ones that aren’t performed for NASA or the Defense Department, anyway). This potentially gives the nation’s aviation regulators a tremendous amount of power over the fledgling private space industry.” Read more

May 21, 2015

NASA and The Planetary Society Launch the LightSail

Posted by in categories: astronomy, cosmology, education, energy, habitats, physics, science, solar power, space, space travel

The Planetary Society’s LightSail launched yesterday, May 20th, 2015.

May 19, 2015

Will we ever understand the beginning of the universe? — Ross Andersen | AEON

Posted by in category: space

“People are wedded to these ideas, because they grew up with them. Scientists don’t like to change ideas unless they’re forced to. They get involved with a theory. They get emotionally attached to it. When an idea is looking shaky, they go into defensive mode.” Read more

May 10, 2015

Watching This Simulated Star Die Is Mesmerizing…and Good Science Too

Posted by in categories: physics, space

By — SingularityHub

Traditionally, we’ve done science by observing nature in person or setting up experiments in the lab. Now, a relatively new scientific technique is proving a powerful tool—simulating nature on supercomputers.

A few years ago, Caltech astrophysicists released a supercomputer simulation of a supergiant star’s core collapsing just prior to going supernova. Apart from a stunning visual, simulations like this hinted that Type II supernova explosions were asymmetrical—a guess just recently backed by empirical observation.

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Apr 30, 2015

Should We Arm the International Space Station With Lasers to Destroy Space Junk?

Posted by in category: space

By — SingularityHub

If you look closely enough, Earth has rings. NASA estimates there are some 500,000 pieces of space debris in orbit. Space junk, traveling up to ten times the speed of a bullet, endangers satellites and spacecraft—and it is very, very hard to remove. A team of scientists, however, think they have a way: Lasers.

A recent paper by Tokyo’s Riken institute proposes using a telescope on the International Space Station (ISS) to track small bits of space junk. A laser on the telescope would target and zap the junk, sending it crashing into the atmosphere, where it would vaporize—no longer a threat to humans or satellites. Read more

Apr 24, 2015

To be a Space Faring Civilization

Posted by in categories: astronomy, cosmology, human trajectories, innovation, science, space, space travel, transportation

Until 2006 our Solar System consisted essentially of a star, planets, moons, and very much smaller bodies known as asteroids and comets. In 2006 the International Astronomical Union’s (IAU) Division III Working Committee addressed scientific issues and the Planet Definition Committee address cultural and social issues with regard to planet classifications. They introduced the “pluton” for bodies similar to planets but much smaller.

The IAU set down three rules to differentiate between planets and dwarf planets. First, the object must be in orbit around a star, while not being itself a star. Second, the object must be large enough (or more technically correct, massive enough) for its own gravity to pull it into a nearly spherical shape. The shape of objects with mass above 5×1020 kg and diameter greater than 800 km would normally be determined by self-gravity, but all borderline cases would have to be established by observation.

Third, plutons or dwarf planets, are distinguished from classical planets in that they reside in orbits around the Sun that take longer than 200 years to complete (i.e. they orbit beyond Neptune). Plutons typically have orbits with a large orbital inclination and a large eccentricity (noncircular orbits). A planet should dominate its zone, either gravitationally, or in its size distribution. That is, the definition of “planet” should also include the requirement that it has cleared its orbital zone. Of course this third requirement automatically implies the second. Thus, one notes that planets and plutons are differentiated by the third requirement.

As we are soon to become a space faring civilization, we should rethink these cultural and social issues, differently, by subtraction or addition. By subtraction, if one breaks the other requirements? Comets and asteroids break the second requirement that the object must be large enough. Breaking the first requirement, which the IAU chose not address at the time, would have planet sized bodies not orbiting a star. From a socio-cultural perspective, one could suggest that these be named “darktons” (from dark + plutons). “Dark” because without orbiting a star, these objects would not be easily visible; “tons” because in deep space, without much matter, these bodies could not meet the third requirement of being able to dominate its zone.

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