These diamonds from outer space hint at a long-lost planet

April 17, 2018 by  
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Diamonds in a meteorite  that crashed into Earth years ago have now given scientists a glimpse into the universe’s past. Recently, a team of scientists led by the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland used transmission electron microscopy to examine the diamonds contained in a slice of the Almahata Sitta meteorite. Based on their research, the scientists think the meteorite came from a planetary embryo, between the size of Mercury and Mars , that was destroyed in a collision around 4.5 billion years ago. Nearly a decade ago, an asteroid exploded over the Nubian Desert in Sudan. Scientists collected fragments from what’s now called the Almahata Sitta meteorite, and these fragments have yielded intriguing new information. EPFL materials scientist Farhang Nabiei told The Washington Post , “These samples are coming from an era that we don’t have any access to…This is part of the story of how we came to be.” The meteorite fragments are largely ureilites, which EPFL said are “a rare type of stony meteorite” in which nano-sized diamonds can be found. Related: New theory suggests the Moon may have formed “from a giant donut of vaporized rock” Embedded in the diamonds were chromite, phosphate, and iron-nickel sulfides; the scientists call these inclusions, and they hold signatures of the mysterious long-lost planet . According to EPFL, the “particular composition and morphology of these materials can only be explained if the pressure under which the diamonds were formed was higher than 20 GPa (giga-Pascals, the unit of pressure). This level of internal pressure can only be explained if the planetary parent body was a Mercury- to Mars-sized planetary embryo, depending on the layer in which the diamonds were formed.” What exactly happened to the long-lost planet? Nabiei couldn’t say for sure. Researchers think that, in the early solar system , large protoplanets pulled on others’ orbits until they coalesced, crashed, or broke up into pieces. The ureilites could have come from the same protoplanet that existed for a few million years before its demise in a collision. Nature Communications published the research online this week; scientists from institutions in France and Germany contributed. + Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne + Nature Communications Via The Washington Post Images via NASA/JPL-Caltech and copyright EPFL/Hillary Sanctuary

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These diamonds from outer space hint at a long-lost planet

NASA confirms asteroid came from another solar system – and it’s incredibly bizarre

November 21, 2017 by  
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The presence of an unidentified object hurtling through our solar system recently prompted a call to action from observatories throughout the world. NASA has confirmed that it’s the first object to arrive from another star – and it may be as long as a quarter mile. While the rocky asteroid, dubbed ‘Oumuamua, is definitely not piloted by aliens, it could give us clues into the formation of other solar systems. In late October, scientists thought they might have observed an object that came from outside the solar system with the aid of the University of Hawaii’s Pan-STARRS1 telescope. The International Astronomical Union reclassified the object from a comet to an interstellar asteroid, per a November 14 release . NASA’s Science Mission Directorate associate administrator Thomas Zurbuchen said in a November 20 press release : “For decades we’ve theorized that such interstellar objects are out there, and now – for the first time – we have direct evidence they exist.” Related: Scientists might have spotted the first object from outside our solar system Yesterday the journal Nature published a study on the find , led by scientists at the Institute for Astronomy in Hawaii. NASA helped fund the work. The bizarre asteroid could have been “wandering through the Milky Way , unattached to any star system, for hundreds of millions of years before its chance encounter with our star system,” according to the agency. ‘Oumuamua – Hawaiian for “a messenger from afar arriving first” – has a slightly reddish hue, and is around 10 times as long as it is wide, according to NASA, which said the asteroid’s aspect ratio is bigger than any other asteroid or comet we’ve ever observed. And it varies widely in brightness: “by a factor of 10 as it spins on its axis every 7.3 hours.” It’s likely dense, comprised of metals or rock, without ice or water, and could have been reddened by irradiation from cosmic rays . A few of Earth’s big ground-based telescopes are still tracking ‘Oumuamua. It’s around 124 million miles away from our planet and will probably be too faint for detection around mid-December. It will head for the constellation Pegasus after exiting our solar system. Via NASA Images via European Southern Observatory/M. Kornmesser and the International Astronomical Union

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NASA confirms asteroid came from another solar system – and it’s incredibly bizarre

Brilliantly renovated Rusty House is wrapped in a layer of rusted steel

November 21, 2017 by  
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Exposed raw steel wraps around this small house in the Czech Republic , renovated by OK PLAN ARCHITECTS . Covered with a vibrant layer of pre-rusted sheet metal (CorTen), the Rusty House is a minimalist residence that surprises passersby with its unusual exterior and layout maximizes the potential of its tiny plot. After living in the house for twelve years, the owner decided to renovate the interior of the house and “soften” the appearance of the main living space. OK PLAN ARCHITECTS helmed the renovation process which included landscaping  the surrounding garden. Related: Rusty tin shed transformed into beautiful two-story studio in Sydney Exposed concrete, galvanized steel and corrugated sheet metal dominate the house. The architects added layers to the interior, including oak ceiling panels, in order to improve the organization of the interior and its acoustic performance . Custom-made furniture and fixtures were added to bring an element of modernity to the place. Older kitchen cabinets were replaced, and a new fireplace installed in the living room. The architects blended the old and the new to respond to new functional and aesthetic demands, while preserving the rawness of the original structure. + OK PLAN ARCHITECTS Photos by BoysPlayNice Photography

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Brilliantly renovated Rusty House is wrapped in a layer of rusted steel

Tardigrades will be the last surviving creatures on earth after the sun dies

July 14, 2017 by  
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In the event that Earth is struck by an asteroid , the sun goes supernova or the planet is soaked in gamma ray bursts in an extreme energetic explosion, the last surviving creatures won’t be cockroaches – they will be tardigrades. Oxford University researchers recently discovered this after exposing the microscopic water bears to the only astrophysical phenomena likely to eradicate life on Earth . Not only did the team learn that the tardigrade can endure temperature extremes of up to 150°C (302°F), they discovered that the eight-legged animals can resist radiation levels of 5000 to 6200 Gy (around the dose used in some forms of chemotherapy), making them the most indestructible creatures on this rock. Dr. Rafael Alves Batista, a researcher at the department of physics at Oxford University, told the Daily Mail that the goal was to “study what is necessary to kill all life, not just humans. Batista added that the scientists were pleasantly surprised to learn that the water bear is incredibly resilient to most threats. Co-author of the study, Dr. David Sloan, wrote: “To our surprise, we found that although nearby supernovae or large asteroid impacts would be catastrophic for people, tardigrades could be unaffected. Therefore it seems that life, once it gets going, is hard to wipe out entirely.” Related: Water bear brought back to life after being frozen for 30 years Unlike humans, the tardigrade is extremely durable. As previously mentioned, the animals are resistant to high levels of radiation and can endure astronomically high temperatures. Additionally, the water bears were once frozen for thirty years, thawed out and were found to still be alive . Said Batista, “Without our technology protecting us, humans are a very sensitive species. Life on this planet can continue long after humans are gone.” As a result of the findings, the researchers concluded that the water bears could live on Earth for at least ten billion years and would only be wiped out when the sun exploded. “Huge numbers of species, or even entire genera may become extinct, but life as a whole will go on,” said Sloan. Some are unsurprised by the water bear’s hardiness, considering Russia found the species clinging to the International Space Station — alive — even while exposed to the vacuum of space. Regardless, the finding is exciting for scientists who desire to find life on other planets. Said Batista, “Tardigrades are as close to indestructible as it gets on Earth, but it is possible that there are other resilient species examples elsewhere in the universe . If Tardigrades are Earth’s most resilient species, who knows what else is out there. There might exist other creatures similar to tardigrade in other places. We have to keep searching.” Sloan added, “Our work suggests that the search for life in such places is justified even if the planet doesn’t seem hospitable.” The study will be published soon in the journal Nature . Via Daily Mail , Engadget Images via Depositphotos 1 , 2 , YouTube , Wikimedia

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Tardigrades will be the last surviving creatures on earth after the sun dies

Worlds tallest skyscraper design hangs off an orbiting asteroid

March 24, 2017 by  
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What if your daily commute involved parachuting down to earth rather than being stuck in vehicular traffic? That’s the vision in Clouds Architecture Office’s incredible proposal for a skyscraper suspended off an orbiting asteroid. The design, called Analemma, would be powered by space-based solar panels and capture water in a semi-closed loop system that draws from the moisture in clouds and rainwater. While some may write off Analemma as an early April Fools’ Day joke, we think the unusual design is a fun and unconventional thought experiment worth exploring, if only to get our creative juices flowing. The conceptual design begins with the placement of a large orbiting asteroid set on a figure-eight geosynchronous path that moves between the north and southern hemispheres on a predictable daily loop. The skyscraper , suspended from the asteroid via a high-strength cable, would allow residents to parachute down to work when the orbit slows down and gets closest to midtown Manhattan. The proposed building is split into four main areas: business activities at the lower end of the tower, sleeping quarters placed approximately two-thirds of the way up, prayer rooms at the very top of the building, and surface transfer points at the bottom. The tower would be prefabricated in Dubai —which the architects say is “a specialist in tall building construction at one-fifth the cost of New York City construction”—and the modules transported and assembled above earth. Related: This 3D-printed space igloo just won NASA’s Mars habitat competition “Analemma Tower is a proposal for the world’s tallest building ever,” writes CAO. “Harnessing the power of planetary design thinking, it taps into the desire for extreme height, seclusion and constant mobility. If the recent boom in residential towers proves that sales price per square foot rises with floor elevation, then Analemma Tower will command record prices, justifying its high cost of construction.” + Clouds Architecture Office Via Dezeen Images via Clouds Architecture Office

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Worlds tallest skyscraper design hangs off an orbiting asteroid

Scientists to drill for answers in Mexico’s dinosaur-killing asteroid crater

March 8, 2016 by  
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This month scientists will drill deep into the seafloor off the coast of the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico in an effort to learn more about the beginning of the end for dinosaurs. A nine-mile wide asteroid smashed into the Earth 65.5 million years ago at that location, leaving behind what is known as the Chicxulub crater. Researchers from the University of Texas will lead the exploration, which seeks to collect samples from nearly 5,000 feet beneath the seafloor. Read the rest of Scientists to drill for answers in Mexico’s dinosaur-killing asteroid crater

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Obama signs controversial asteroid mining bill into law

December 1, 2015 by  
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Proving that we are definitely living in the future that science fiction imagined, President Obama signed asteroid mining rights into law last week. Called the US Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act (CSLCA), the law gives companies the rights to the natural resources that they mine from outer space. The law is controversial because it basically gives private US companies free rein in space, which goes against the policy of international cooperation that has been in place since space exploration became a thing. Read the rest of Obama signs controversial asteroid mining bill into law

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NASA Could Use a Solar-Powered Satellite to Capture an Asteroid

April 17, 2013 by  
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Last week, NASA unveiled a $17.7 billion spending plan for 2014 that included proposals to capture a small asteroid and position it near the moon so that astronauts could explore it by 2025. In order to pull off this audacious mission the administration is considering developing a Solar Electric Propulsion (SEP) satellite, which allows for greater flexibility than traditional crewed spacecraft. Read the rest of NASA Could Use a Solar-Powered Satellite to Capture an Asteroid Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: asteroid , ion thruster , mars 2030 , nasa , Satellite , SEP , Solar Electric Propulsion , solar propulsion , space exploration , spacecraft        

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NASA Could Use a Solar-Powered Satellite to Capture an Asteroid

IEA Report States Clean Energy Uptake is Too Slow to Calm Global Warming

April 17, 2013 by  
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Photo via Shutterstock Despite significant gains in both large scale solar and wind energy throughout the globe , a new report released by the International Energy Agency (IEA) states that the rapid uptake of renewables is not enough to stop global warming . The goal of keeping global temperatures from rising above two degrees celsius – considered by scientists to be crucial to maintaining some kind of normality – is still a long way off, because most of the world’s energy is still derived from coal. Read the rest of IEA Report States Clean Energy Uptake is Too Slow to Calm Global Warming Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: “solar energy” , biofuel , carbon capture and storage , ccs , Climate Change , coal , dirty energy , Environment , global warming , IEA , International Energy Agency , News , nuclear , renewable energy , two degrees , wind energy        

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IEA Report States Clean Energy Uptake is Too Slow to Calm Global Warming

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