Scientists locate half of the universe’s missing ordinary matter

October 10, 2017 by  
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Scientists have discovered the location of the universe’s missing matter, the other half of ordinary matter that could not be previously observed but which scientists knew to exist. Two independent teams of astronomers, one at  the Institute of Space Astrophysics (IAS)  in Orsay, France and the other from the University of Edinburgh, have recently released studies that outline how they may have uncovered this missing matter and where it may be. Spoiler alert: it isn’t between the cushions of your couch. Both teams concluded that the universe’s previously astray ordinary matter can be located in the filaments of hot dispersed gas between galaxies . The teams’ work focused on the universe’s ordinary matter, matter composed of protons, neutrons and electrons, as opposed to mysterious dark matter , which make up most of the known universe. Up until these studies were released, we knew approximately how much ordinary matter existed in the universe, but we did not know where this matter was found. Now that it has been accounted for, scientists can feel more confident in their work. “This goes a long way toward showing that many of our ideas of how galaxies form and how structures form over the history of the universe are pretty much correct,” said Ralph Kraft, a professor at Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Massachusetts . Related: Scientists say ice may fizz and bubble like champagne when floating in outer space Although strands of baryon, the ordinary-matter holding gas linking galaxies, were thought to exist, the phenomenon was not observable through X-ray telescopes . To solve this challenge, both teams incorporated the Sunyaev-Zel’dovich effect, which occurs when enduring light from the Big Bang travels through hot gas. This interaction leaves behind markers of the gas that can be captured and studied. Using data from over 1 million pairs of galaxies, both teams discovered that the baryon gas strands were three to six times denser than normal matter in the universe. This breakthrough confirms what scientists have suspected for decades. “Everybody sort of knows that it has to be there,” said Professor Kraft, “but this is the first time that somebody – two different groups, no less – has come up with a definitive detection.” Via Futurism Images via NASA (1)

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Scientists say ice may fizz and bubble like champagne when floating in outer space

October 5, 2017 by  
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A group of scientists now believe that ice fizzes and bubbles like champagne when floating in outer space . This discovery was made when researchers at Hokkaido University in Sapporo, Japan first created a mixture of three substances commonly found on comets and interstellar clouds from which stars form: water, ammonia, and methanol. Next, the team exposed this mixture to ultraviolet radiation to imitate the harsh environment beyond the atmosphere. As the ice temperature increased to -213 degrees Celsius, it started to crack, but at only five degrees beyond, bubbles began to form and pop within the ice. This bubbling ceased when the ice warmed to -123 degrees Celsius, and returned to its fully solid form. When the experiment was repeated under different circumstances, the ice’s behavior changed substantially. There were fewer bubbles in ice with less amounts of ammonia and methanol; without UV radiation, there were no bubbles at all. When exposed to radiation, the scientists noticed an increase in hydrogen gas. This suggests that the ice bubbles are formed by hydrogen, which had split off from the methane and ammonia molecules under radiation. In addition to its unusual bubbling, space ice also assumes the viscous quality of refrigerated honey at temperatures between ?185° C and ?161° C. Related: New NASA discovery hints at water elsewhere in the solar system Previous experiments, such as those conducted by Cornelia Meinert of the University Nice Sophia Antipolis in France and her colleagues, have shown that irradiated ice contains a large amount of organic molecules, including ribose, an essential ingredient in DNA . Previously, skeptics of life within space argued that the complex molecules essential for life may have been contamination. “Now [these new results are] helping us argue that at this very low temperature, the small precursor molecules can actually react with each other,” said Meinert, who was not involved in the new experiment. “This is supporting the idea that all these organic molecules can form in the ice, and might also be present in comets.” Via Science News Images via Hubble ESA/Flickr and Science News

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Scientists say ice may fizz and bubble like champagne when floating in outer space

NASA is hiring a Planetary Protection Officer and the job pays six figures

August 3, 2017 by  
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If you grew up loving Men in Black and Independence Day , we may have found the gig for you. NASA is hiring a “planetary protection officer” to defend Earth from alien contamination, and the job comes with a six-figure salary. The individual chosen for the position will be tasked with ensuring humans in space do not contaminate planets and moons, as well as making sure “alien matter” does not infect Earth. All in all, the ideal candidate can expect to make $187,000 (£141,000) annually with benefits. The NASA job post reads: “Planetary protection is concerned with the avoidance of organic-constituent and biological contamination in human and robotic  space exploration .” It continues, “Nasa maintains policies for planetary protection, applicable to all space flight missions that may intentionally or unintentionally carry Earth organisms and organic constituents to the planets or other solar system bodies, and any mission employing spacecraft , which are intended to return to Earth and its biosphere with samples from extraterrestrial targets of exploration.” Related: NASA video of the aurora borealis from space will make you catch your breath The Independent reports that the three-year-position was created after the United States signed the Outer Space treaty of 1967. The document vowed to “pursue studies of outer space … and conduct exploration of them so as to avoid their harmful contamination and also adverse changes in the environment of the Earth resulting from the introduction of extraterrestrial matter.” Some speculate that the new hire will be part of the upcoming NASA expedition to Europa , a moon of Jupiter. The $2.7bn (slightly over £2bn) mission seeks to map the moon’s surface and analyze whether or not it is habitable. The probe will probably crash-land, but the planetary protection officer will likely be prepared for such an arrival. Though the gig might be a dream job for many, only select individuals may apply. Candidates must have at least one year’s experience as a top-level civilian government employee, as well as an advanced degree in physical science, engineering or mathematics. They must also have “advanced knowledge” of planetary protection, which we assume NASA will supply. Furthermore, the position requires “demonstrated skills in diplomacy that resulted in win-win solutions during extremely difficult and complex multilateral discussions.” Finally, only US citizens or US nationals may apply. + NASA Job Post Via The Independent Images via Pixabay,  USA Jobs

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NASA is hiring a Planetary Protection Officer and the job pays six figures

SpaceX is sending two private citizens to the moon next year

February 28, 2017 by  
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Since humans first walked on the moon in 1969, many people have gazed up at the night sky and longed to do the same. Leave it to SpaceX CEO Elon Musk to make those dreams reality. SpaceX announced yesterday they’ll be sending two tourists, who have reportedly paid the company quite a bit of money up front, to the moon. The groundbreaking mission could happen as soon as 2018. SpaceX didn’t say who the two private citizens are, although, according to Musk, they aren’t Hollywood celebrities. The two unnamed travelers will start with fitness and health tests, and commence training this year. According to SpaceX, “…these individuals will travel into space carrying the hopes and dreams of all humankind, driven by the universal human spirit of exploration.” Related: Watch Elon Musk’s emotional rollercoaster during successful SpaceX Falcon 9 landing They’ll be aboard a Crew Dragon, or Dragon Version 2, which has not yet ventured to space. Dragon capsules have made their way to the International Space Station (ISS), but the crew version of the vessel, with life-support equipment, won’t blast off until the end of this year, in an unmanned demonstration mission to the ISS. A manned mission could come early in 2018, before the tourists journey to the moon from the exact launch pad Apollo missions utilized near Cape Canaveral. According to the BBC, the moon trip could be at least six to seven days long. SpaceX said in a statement, “This presents an opportunity for humans to return to deep space for the first time in 45 years and they will travel faster and further into the Solar System than any before them.” This historic trip will also serve as a stepping stone for the company on their target of sending humans to Mars . NASA released a statement on SpaceX’s announcement, saying they commend their “industry partners for reaching higher.” Musk and SpaceX said the moon mission wouldn’t be possible without the agency. Via SpaceX and the BBC Images via SpaceX on Flickr ( 1 , 2 )

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SpaceX is sending two private citizens to the moon next year

The UAE joins race to build first city on Mars

February 16, 2017 by  
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The race to colonize Mars first is in full swing, with everyone from Mars One to Elon Musk angling for the prize. Now the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has announced their intention to build Mars’ first city within 100 years. Their plan, called Mars 2117, aims to inspire, and act as a seed for future generations to grow. Mars 2117 was launched on February 14 , on the sideline of World Government Summit in Dubai, where a Mars 2117 virtual reality experience was offered. UAE Prime Minister and vice president Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum announced the plan : “We aspire to great things, so my brother Mohammed bin Zayed and I today decided the UAE will join the global effort to send humans to Mars. Mars 2117 is a seed we are sowing today to reap the fruit of new generations led by a passion for science and advancing human knowledge.” Related: Elon Musk reveals his big plan for colonizing Mars Mars 2117 isn’t just a dream for the UAE. In a statement Al Maktoum said, “The landing of people on other planets has been a longtime dream for humans. Our aim is that the UAE will spearhead international efforts to make this dream a reality.” The UAE government plans to create an international scientific consortium to pursue research for the project. Thus far only the United States has been able to land a craft on Mars – Europe and Russia have both failed. And the UAE just started their space agency in 2014, but they already plan to send a spacecraft, Hope, to orbit the red planet in 2021. Popular Science notes although the country lacks rockets, they have plenty of money and have shown they can move swiftly to achieve large goals, such as transforming Dubai from the pearl-fishing village it was around 40 years ago to the architectural wonder it is today, boasting the world’s tallest structure in the Burj Khalifa . Via International Business Times , Popular Science , and Government of Dubai Media Office Images via Dubai Media Office on Twitter

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Japan successfully orbits giant space junk collector

December 12, 2016 by  
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Around 100 million pieces of trash cast off from satellites and rockets are circulating in space, causing hundreds of potentially dangerous collisions each year. Now Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) just blasted into orbit a space garbage collector, constructed with the help of a 106-year-old fishing net manufacturer, to help remedy the mess we humans have created. Secure aboard the HTV6 or KOUNOTORI6 vessel, the space trash collector reached its destination successfully Friday. Now the world waits to see just how well the garbage gatherer works. Made of an aluminum and stainless steel mesh with the help of fishing net manufacturer Nitto Seimo , the gatherer’s tether should generate electricity as it passes Earth’s magnetic field to slow junk. Scientists think this action will cause the junk to move into lower orbits so it can burn up in our planet’s atmosphere without harming anyone on Earth. Related: Japan Prepares to Launch Giant Net into Orbit to Sweep up Space Debris The tether made with Nitto Seimo’s fishnet plaiting technology is 2,300 feet long. But engineer Katsuya Suzuki said ultimately such a tether would need to be much longer – as much as 16,400 to 32,800 feet long – “to slow down the targeted space junk.” For now, the shorter tether will test how the design functions, with more trials likely to follow. A JAXA spokesperson said they hope to start regularly using the trash collector by 2025. Garbage can rocket through space at as much as 17,500 miles per hour, damaging expensive equipment and putting astronauts at risk, as harrowingly depicted in the 2013 movie Gravity . JAXA researcher Koichi Inoue told Bloomberg, “We need to take action on this massive amount of debris. People haven’t been injured by the debris yet, but satellites have. We have to act.” The cargo ship carrying the innovative trash collector also ferried drinking water and six lithium-ion batteries to replace nickel-hydrogen batteries that currently store energy from the International Space Station’s solar array. Via Phys.org and Bloomberg Images via JAXA ( 1 , 2 )

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New research suggests an unseen 9th planet may be tilting the solar system

October 24, 2016 by  
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Astrophysicists have long wondered why our sun is tilted at a different angle than the rest of the known solar system . While all eight known planets rotate on a flat plane within only a few degrees of one another, the sun itself appears to be tilted roughly six degrees off of the planets. Now, new research shows that a massive, undiscovered ninth planet at the edge of the solar system might actually be causing the other planets to “wobble” in their orbit around the sun. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h72tABvkLAo This isn’t the first time scientists have speculated about the existence of “Planet Nine” – earlier this year researchers from Caltech predicted its existence due to the abnormal bunching of several objects orbiting near Neptune, an effect which could only exist if a large, unknown planet were exerting a gravitational influence. Planet Nine has yet to be observed directly, but more and more evidence is beginning to point to its existence as the answer to some of our solar system’s enduring mysteries. Related: Astronomers may have discovered a ninth planet in our solar system If you’ve never heard about the fact that the planets are slightly off-kilter compared to the sun, you’re not alone. Mike Brown, one of the authors behind the Planet Nine theory, explains, “It’s such a deep-rooted mystery and so difficult to explain that people just don’t talk about it.” The as-yet unseen planet is estimated to be about 10 times the size of Earth, with an orbit 20 times farther from the sun than Neptune . It also appears to orbit about 30 degrees off of the orbital plane of the rest of the solar system – an angle that, along with its massive size, could be slowly pulling objects within the solar system off-balance. That’s not too surprising, considering scientists believe Planet Nine might eventually destabilize the solar system once the sun balloons into a red giant. Related: Mysterious ninth planet could one day tear apart the solar system What is still unknown is exactly how Planet Nine came to occupy its unusual orbit in the first place. It’s possible it may have once sat with the gas giants near Jupiter before being ejected. The gravitation pull of other stellar bodies might have also had an influence at some point in the solar system’s distant past. The new study will be published in an upcoming issue of Astrophysical Journal . Via Phys.org Images via Caltech

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New research suggests an unseen 9th planet may be tilting the solar system

Astronomers just discovered an alien planet with three suns that shouldn’t exist

April 4, 2016 by  
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The planet KELT-4Ab shouldn’t exist. This alien world is a ‘hot Jupiter’ – a huge gas planet that orbits closer to its parent planet than Mercury does to our Sun . Not only that, but it has three suns – an incredibly rare and thrilling discovery . Astronomers hope that KELT-4Ab may provide crucial clues as to how hot Jupiter planets exist at all. Read the rest of Astronomers just discovered an alien planet with three suns that shouldn’t exist

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Astronomers just discovered an alien planet with three suns that shouldn’t exist

Green-roofed home sinks into a beautiful UNESCO-protected riverside landscape in India

April 4, 2016 by  
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Total solar eclipse will sweep across Southeast Asia and Pacific today

March 8, 2016 by  
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Get your glasses ready, because in the wee  hours of March 8th , the moon is set to pass in front of the sun, causing a total solar eclipse . Sadly, if you’re not located in Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Borneo, or the middle of the Pacific Ocean, you’re going to miss out on the full effect. Bu other areas of Southeast and East Asia will still be treated to a partial eclipse, along with some parts of Australia and even Hawaii. If you’re located elsewhere in the world, not to worry – the Exploratorium will be live-streaming the eclipse on their website. Read the rest of Total solar eclipse will sweep across Southeast Asia and Pacific today

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