Archive for the ‘Space’ Tag

Fire-Wolves of Io (©2010 Revised Re-post)   32 comments

Fire Wolves of Io (Revised Re-post)

Copyright Europa’s Icewolf – All Rights Reserved

 

Jupiter and moon Io (Copyright Europa's Icewolf)

Silent cosmic explosion of shattered worlds colliding. Volcanic furls of solar fire lighting up the burnt golden worldscape displaying in flaming bursts of moulton gold heralding the birth of the “Fire Wolves of Io.” Melting plumes of moon- fire moulding the dancing array of DNA into burning smouldering embers of life-giving essences, forming and changing in an altered reality, until the birthing cry of the founding Fire Wolf of Io resounded in a wild, agonised shriek through the roaring maelstrom of a world newly and violently born.

 

FirewolfBurnished gold orbs surveying the smouldering world the first of the Fire Wolves had been brutally and dreadfully born into. Its cindered moon- black mask was in startling eclipse to its sun-bronzed coat, an otherworldly glint caught the astral light, shadowing across the volcanic land forms dotted across the newly formed solar terrain. The air tasted hot and of sulphur, twisting pockets of flames still flaring from the cracks and crevices of the scorched surface ground. Shaking itself tentatively, testing each newly formed limb, tasting the alien atmosphere it was born to with sensitive nose it tensed in its own sense of power, feeling the call of its sun-fired heritage to run and hunt and know the furnace of exhilaration that threatened to explode from deep within its burning, sultry-golden form.

It uttered a strange and involuntary noise – a deep rumbling growl of anticipation. An unfamiliar sound to the new born of Io, before leaping away untouched by the pockets of flames that were an integral part of its Fire Wolf make-up. It moved in moulton luxury feeling the flow of bone and muscle, sliding under glittering cosmic coat, searing wind currents lifting it hotly as the star wolf itself flew on winged paws across red-tinged terrain, caught in the joy of being, of its own wild untamed vitality,untouched and all instinct and wild primal hunter. “FIRE WOLVES OF IO….”

All too often in life we cling with the utmost urgency onto the very thing we cannot keep hold of and even when we know it is lost to us our lives are shaped by that all-consuming longing and the fierce refusal to give ourselves over to the process of adaptation. So it is with those who become like fired moulton rock – they are trapped in an unchanging form. We force ourselves into the form of unyielding moulton rock because we FEAR TO CHANGE.

Snow White And The Frozen Dwarf   27 comments

 

Snow White – World of Ice and Methane

Snow White (Photo Credit: NASA)US Astronomers at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) have discovered that the dwarf planet 2007 OR10 known as Snow White –once a small volcanically active world firing slushy water ice from ancient volcanoes, and boasting an atmosphere, is today an icy, frozen, dead world, tinged red and enveloped in a thin layer of methane that is slowly slipping away to be lost into space.

Snow White — orbits the sun at the edge of the solar system and is about half the size of Pluto, making it the fifth largest dwarf planet. Part of a larger group of icy bodies called Kuiper Belt Objects (KBOs).Ironically Snow White has actually proved to be one of the reddest objects in the solar system.

However last autumn using a newly designed instrument called the Folded-port Infrared Echellette (FIRE), with the 6.5-meter Magellan Baade Telescope in Chile, Adam Burgasser, a former graduate student and now a professor at UC San Diego, and Wesley Fraser, postdoctoral scholar were shocked to find out although Snow White was indeed red, it’s surface was also covered in water ice.

“Water ice is not red! Although ice is common in the outer solar system, it’s almost always white~ Mike Brown, the Richard and Barbara Rosenberg Professor and professor of planetary astronomy.

One other dwarf planet that shares these characteristics is Quaoar, discovered in 2002. Slightly smaller than Snow White, Quaoar is still big enough to have had an atmosphere and a surface covered with volcanoes that sent-up and slush and ice, which as with Snow White flowed over the surface before freezing solid.

But smaller than dwarf planets like Pluto or Eris, it was unable to hold onto volatile methane, carbon monoxide, or nitrogen compounds as long. And two billion years after its formation Quaoar inevitably began to lose its atmosphere to space; now, and today all that remains is the space-irradiated methane which rests on the icy surface Quaoar’s, giving it a glowing reddish hue.

It is clear from indications on the spectrum of Snow White 2007 OR10 which clearly shows the presence of water ice that it too for the last ½ billion years it has followed in the footsteps of Quaoar, still and silent amongst the stars, slowly losing its atmosphere into space until now only a small part remains."

The existence of methane is still open to debate. But the use of a large telescope such as the Keck Observatory will show clearly whether methane exists on Snow White or not. If this proves to be so it will join Quaoar as one of only two dwarf planets that bridge the gap between the tiny selection of entities large enough to hold onto hazardous composites, and the smaller entities that constitute the vast majority of KBOs.

2011 The Year of the Solar System   26 comments

NASA YEAR OF THE SOLAR SYSTEM!

(January 2011 to August 2012)

 

NASA has designated New Year 2011 the YEAR OF THE SOLAR SYSTEM. Spanning a Martian year of 23 months The Year of the Solar System honours the unparalleled discoveries made during NASA’s missions to explore both our neighbouring planets and also the outer edges of the Solar System. Throughout 2011 and into 2012 there will be new missions in the pipeline for the continued exploration of Jupiter, Earth’s satellite – the Moon, and Mars. Other exploratory missions will include ones to the asteroids and comets, the Sun, Mercury, Saturn and our home world Earth.

FEBRUARY 14 STARDUST NExT SPACECRAFT encounters COMET TEMPL 1, and MESSENGER enters orbit around MERCURY ON MARS 18 FEBRUARY 2011.

Comet Templ 1 NExT_spacecraft Messenger_Mercury

JULY 2011 DAWN SPACECRAFT will enter orbit round giant ASTEROID VESTA. The space probe has will spend one full year hopefully impressing researchers with ground breaking new information from this alien world.

 Dawn_spacecraft_Vesta clip_image011 

AUGUST 11TH JUNO SPACECRAFT TO JUPITER will be launched. And the roving SCIENCE LAB’ CURIOSITY will be launched to MARS IN NOVEMBER 2011.

Juno_Jupiter ScienceLab_Curiosity Mars

2012 Mars Rover OPPORTUNITY will head out into the heart of city sized impact crater ENDEAVOUR having travelled almost 2 miles from Opportunity’s original landing site.

 MarsRover_Opportunity Opportunity_Landing Heading out for Endeavour Crater

 

The DAWN SPACECRAFT will fire up its ion engines and prepare to leave ASTEROID VESTA and for the first time in space history a spacecraft orbiting an alien world will break orbit and head out for another.

Spacecraft on its way to the Asteroids

 

MarsCuriosityThe YEAR OF THE SOLAR SYSTEM ends in August 2012 when the roving nuclear-powered SCIENCE LAB CURIOSITY lands on MARS. CURIOSITY with its advanced sensors and unmatched mobility is expected to open a whole new chapter in the exploration of the Red Planet. 

 

 

 

 

News Flash!!…New Moon Rising!

(Start Howling!!!)

 

New_Moon_WolfWolfMoon (2)WolfMoonRising_Quadrantids

Start Howling! New Moon rising (4 Jan) marks the first phase of the 2011 JANUARY FULL WOLF MOON (19 Jan)

Early morning January 4th will see the New Moon passing in front of a portion of the Sun creating a PARTIAL ECLIPSE, one of four throughout the year but the only one visible from Europe, Africa and E Asia, and from London at 07:47.

Also the darkness of the New Moon makes this an ideal time to view the QUADRANTID METEOR SHOWER on 3/4th January which with up to 90 meteors/hour will be the best and brightest shower of the New Year. So don’t forget to go check it out!

Posted January 2, 2011 by europasicewolf in Astronomy

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Solar Sails   14 comments

Solar Sail Space Crafts

 

Space craft propelled directly by the power of sunlight (solar cells are indirect power).

clip_image002

Two projects are set for launch this year:-

  •   IKAROS – launched by Japanese Space Agency JAXA
  •   SOLARSAIL-1 by US based Planetary Society

(These are demonstrations to show that it can work, but they are very tiny!)

Solar Sail Craft Basics

gossamer_solar_sail

Constructed from Gossamer – thin reflective sails capture photons

  •   Photons are packets of energy that make up sunlight

The sails gain momentum from the photons as they are reflected from their surface. Energy gained pushed the craft forwards gently. The force of sunlight is very little but this is fine as their CO2 acts against it in the vacuum of space.

Future sails could be made of nanotube mesh – 30 times lighter, and could increase acceleration dramatically.

nanotube_mesh

Travel and Speeds

With the Sun set to shine for a good billion years or so yet, it can be considered an endless fuel supply therefore a Solar Sail Craft could in theory, reach speeds of hundreds of kilometres per hour making travel to Pluto a mere three years and to the outer limits of the Solar System years rather than decades. NASA’s Voyager craft took thirty years to reach these limits. A Solar Sail Craft launched today would pass it in ten years.

                                               voyager_1 voyager_2

Other Solar Sails

They would need sails 100m across and a boost from a large and unrealistically expansive laser system as the Sun’s energy decreases with distance. However laser-boosted systems could see a Solar Sail Craft travelling at speeds of up to 20% speed of light (60,000km/hr or 45,000mph) every second. This would make visiting neighbouring stars in our lifetime our best possibility.

Brief History

  1. Concept first proposed by German astronomer Johannes Kelper in seventeenth century
  2. 1862 Scottish physicist James Clark Maxwell discovers that light exerts a pressure on a surface.
  3. 1867 Jules Vernes suggests light pressure could provide a mechanical means of propulsion.

solarsail4. 1924 Russian scientist Fridrickh Arturovich Tsander wrote “For flight in Interplanetary Space I am working on the idea of flying using tremendous mirrors of very thin sheets capable of achieving favourable results.“

Mariner Probe

5. 1971 When NASA’s probe Mariner ran low on steering thrusters fuel en route to Venus engineers angled its solar panels into the Sun and used solar radiation pressure to steer it back on course.

Cosmos-1

6. 2005 Cosmos-1 a Solar Sail designed by US Planetary Society failed its test, due to rocket failure on launch vehicle, resulting in it being unable to reach its intended orbit.

                                                                         Nanosail-DNanosail-D_(2)

7. 2008 NASA’s Nanosail-D mission, to test the Solar Sail’s deployment techniques. Lost during launch failure.

Fire in the Sky   15 comments

 

  

Fire in the Sky

Great Solar Storm of 1849
 
250 years ago fire lit up the skies of our predecessors world, turning night into day, wreaking havoc with the technology of the time.  Now, in the  closing days of the year 2009 and as we roll inexorably closer to New Year 2010 we stand on a pinnacle between worlds, a centre-point between past and future.  As in the year 2349, if humankind still inhabits the Earth, they, the children of the future will see once again that fire that will light up the skies. Because when 500 years of our time has passed the Great Solar Storm of 1849 is set to return to that future world…
 

This spectacular event was caused by a period of intense solar activity….
 

London saw curtains of light dancing in the skies above the Houses of Parliament.  In Cheshire newsprint could be read by its light. In Manchester people throughout the city had curtains of fire.

·         Two massive solar events; Coronal Mass Ejections (CME) sent millions of tonnes of supercharged solar gases hurtling towards Earth at 2,000+ km/sec.  Arriving in less than 18 hours they struck with enough force to throw our protective magnetic field into chaotic fits.

 ·       This magnetic disruption caused the readings on worldwide scientific instruments recording changes in Earth’s magnetic field to go completely off their scales. The communication system of the time became inoperable.

Night became day in the Northern Hemisphere and the resulting lights in the sky were reported by half the world as far South as the Caribbean and Venezuela……

 

The Coronal Mass Ejections may have been triggered by flare events resulting in a massive ejection of plasma from the Sun’s atmosphere (Corona)

 

Since we live in an electronic society the effects on modern society would be disastrous.  

·         Satellites would fail and potentially fall out of orbit

 

 

  • Electricity grids would be overwhelmed
  • Country-wide blackouts
  • Global communication systems would simply stop working

 

Following the Solar Storm the magnetic field was so distorted and overwhelmed that the Northern Lights appeared all over the planet.  This happens every 500 years or so. Next Storm expected in the year 2349.

Mining the Moon   34 comments

  
Free Energy! But At What Cost? 

  

 

Forty years after man first walked on the Moon the people of Earth are now considering their options for making a new and potentially devastating use for our nearest neighbour “The Moon” running the risk of destroying one world in the name of saving another.

Just three space shuttles full of lunar soil heated to create Helium-3, could power the whole planet for years…BUT AT WHAT COST?  The Outer Space Treaty of 1967 says no-one owns the Moon.  It is free for both exploration and for use.  As such this leaves plenty of opportunity for the world’s super-powers to exercise their plans for mining the Moon.

 

Mankind the Destroyer of Worlds

 

Helium-3 is a potent, safe fuel which could be used to power nuclear power fusion reactors to produce clean electric.  It is created by heating vast quantities of lunar soil (regolith).  One ton of Helium-3 currently valued at $5billion (£3.27billion) and could power New York for one year.  Three fully loaded space shuttles could meet the entire planet’s annual energy needs.

China leads the way followed by India and Russia, and US plans to build a Moon Base by 2021.  Private investors are also funding missions.  Gerald Kulcinski, director of Fusion Technological Institution at the University of Wisconsin, is convinced it’s the future.  “Very small environmental impact on the Moon is far outweighed by the impact of green-house gases and having proliferation-free power sources that could last 1000 years.”

Mining the Moon

BUT!

It takes one million tons of regolith to produce one ton of Helium-3.  Large scale mining will scar the lunar landscape.  Fundamentally changing the Moon’s atmosphere and destroying its surface.

  

The Moon also has other areas of important scientific value – it will be from here that future missions into deeper space, will launch, and there are also those who seek to use the ‘radio quiet’ zone on the Moon’s far side to build long-range radio telescopes…. it is not inconceivable they may find signs of Extra Terrestrial Intelligence.

BUT!

If we start mining one world where will it end? 

  

  We should use the Moon but not exploit it.  The Moon is only a three day trip away, likely one day we’ll call it home…..

 

 

Remember! The Moon and the Earth are  intricately bound together. The Moon has much influence over the tides and seas of Earth.

Damage the Moon….and who knows what damage we may do to the homeworld and the future of the human race?….

 

SETI Project   13 comments

“SETI  Project”
The Search For Extra Terrestrial Intelligence 
There are 100billion trillion planets that can host life.  Researchers have studied the conditions necessary to support life and calculated there could be between 361 and 38,000 ‘intelligent civilisations’ on other planets although what  form they would take remains unknown.  It is ‘inevitable that Earth-like planets exist and that we will find a planet able to support life, possibly within the next 4 years. 
 
The chances of finding intelligent life are only fleeting because in terms of the universe it only exists for a fraction of time.  Extra Terrestrial life could be living unnoticed amongst us right now because it would consist of microbes and DNA structure that humans would not recognise.
 
  
 

SETI researchers aren’t actually looking for the Extra Terrestrials themselves; they are hunting for evidence of their technology.  They do this by scanning the skies for radio or light signals that would tell us that creatures of high enough intelligence to build a transmitter on a high-powered laser, exist out there.  These experiments try to detect intelligence hundreds or thousands of light-years away, and because of that considerable distance any immediate concerns that the SETI quest might be dangerous can be ruled out.

 

The reasons for doing this, given that any signals discovered would be from life we will probably never meet:

 

            • We might learn something.
            • We would know we are not alone – of great philosophical importance
            • Knowing there is other intelligent life out there would also answer the question of how likely is it that a planet with life that would produce intelligent life.

SETI@HOME:  The SETI home project has been running since May 1999. It was the first project to analyse a vast amount of data, in this case gathered by radio telescopes around the world, by cutting it into packets of data (work units) and sending to millions of idle computers connected to the Internet, where it is analysed by downloadable software that operates on your computer as a screensaver. 

  SETI@home screen saver at work

 

Once analyzed results are sent via the internet back to the project HQ in Berkeley and another work unit is down-loaded onto your PC.  The screen saver looks for signals of various narrow bandwidths and pulse rates, and signals that might drift slowly up or down the dial.  If it’s your PC that finds that signal, then you will be the first person in all history to prove the existence of intelligent beings.

 

To get involved in actually doing SETI research log on to http://setiathome.berkeley.edu/. Fill in your details and take a few moments to download Uni of California at Berkeley’s popular screen saver, SETI@home.

 

 

The next generation SETI@home is 500 times more powerful than anything anyone has done before.  That means we are 500 times more likely to find ET than with the original SETI@home.  

 

 

Cosmic Christmas   5 comments


 


The Tree At The Top Of The Stars!


Cosmic Christmas


 


 




 


Dramatic new images of a cluster of stars known as the “Christmas Tree” in the constellation of Monoceros the Unicorn, not far from the more familiar constellation “Orion-The Hunter” have been captured by astronomers. Dr Robert Massey from the Royal Astronomical Society says “This is a genuinely stunning object.” 


 




 

     


                                                                                     


These sparkling blue stars look like christmas tree baubles and are located 2,600 light years from Earth. (Somewhat further than your local pub!) To see the tree it is necessary to view the image lying on your side!?! (sorry about this!).  The cosmic christmas decorations are located in an area of Monoceros known by astronomers as NGC 2264.


 



     


                                                                                     


These sparkling blue stars look like christmas tree baubles and are located 2,600 light years from Earth. (Somewhat further than your local pub!) To see the tree it is necessary to view the image lying on your side!?! (sorry about this!).  The cosmic christmas decorations are located in an area of Monoceros known by astronomers as NGC 2264.


 




Posted December 19, 2008 by europasicewolf in Astronomy

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