Google maps the solar system for armchair space travelers

October 17, 2017 by  
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Google has recently added 12 celestial bodies to its Google Maps application. Although armchair space travelers have been able to virtually cruise around the Moon and Mars for years, the list of planets and moons to discover now includes Mercury, Venus, the dwarf planets of Ceres and Pluto, six of Saturn’s moons, and three moons of Jupiter, including Io and Europa. The additional content would not have been possible without Cassini, the recently deceased spacecraft that captured hundreds of thousands of images as it traveled the galaxy over the past two decades. To compile these digital versions of objects in our solar system, the team at Google Maps used images captured by NASA, ESA, and other space agencies and combined them to create a seamless scrollable map, if enough high quality images were available, or a general overview of the planet or moon. Through these maps, earthbound space travelers can explore the mountains , valleys, and wide open plains of planets like Mars or moons like Titan. To reach the outer space section of Google Maps, all you have to do is zoom out far enough from Earth. Related: Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic is almost ready to launch into outer space Many of the images used to create the Google Maps of our solar system were gathered through the Cassini-Huygens mission, commonly referred to as Cassini for the Cassini orbiter probe which traveled from Earth to Saturn. Huygens refers to the Huygens lander, which achieved the first landing ever in the outer solar system when it arrived on Saturn’s moon of Titan in 2005. In its 20-year flight,  Cassini  captured countless, invaluable photographs of the solar system and was widely recognized as a “mission of firsts” for the way in which its discoveries revolutionized the way we understand our solar system. Thanks for  Cassini, Google’s Maps are filled with breathtaking images for people to explore from wherever there is Internet access. Via New Atlas and Google Images via Google Maps

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Google maps the solar system for armchair space travelers

Scientists discover ingredient for life on Saturns moon

July 31, 2017 by  
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Will Titan, one of Saturn’s moons, be the next rock humans aspire to reach after visiting Mars ? According to new research published today in Science Advances , possibly so. This is because researchers have found a complex molecule in the atmosphere of the moon that could very well lead to the formation of life. The molecule is vinyl cyanide and researchers believe it could be the key to developing cell membranes in Titan’s environment . Unlike Earth, Titan’s atmosphere is extremely cold. As a result, lipids can’t form and create cell membranes as is common on this planet. However, vinyl cyanide mixed with liquid methane — a substance Titan has lakes of — could very well foster the development of those essential cell membranes. The discovery was made by NASA’s Cassini probe, which has been exploring the Saturn system for 13 years. According to The Verge , evidence of the molecule was found on Titan but the probe wasn’t able to provide any conclusive measurements. To circumvent this, researchers used data collected from the Atacama Large Millimeter Array in Chile . Scientists were able to read the radio waves emitted by different types of frequencies which result from various gas molecules jumping back and forth from one level of energy to another to determine that similar to Earth , Titan has periodic rainfalls. Of course, unlike showers of water, rainfall on Titan is liquid methane. Because of this fact, it was concluded there is a likely chance vinyl cyanide can also be found in the moon’s methane lakes. While no evidence yet exists that there are cell membrane-like structures forming on Titan , the researchers discovered at the minimum that it is possible for life to develop on the moon. As a result, scientists feel encouraged to continue studying it. Related: Saturn’s biggest moon has enough energy to power a US-sized space colony Said Martin Cordiner, co-author of the study, ”This is a far cry from saying [life] definitely happens on Titan and these cells are involved in some kind of primitive life . But it gives us a starting point in that discussion. If there was going to be life in Titan’s oceans, then it’s plausible vinyl cyanide could be a component of that.” + Science Advances Via The Verge Images via NASA  and Deposit Photos

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Scientists discover ingredient for life on Saturns moon

Shell Oil CEO says his next car will be electric

July 31, 2017 by  
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You know the electric vehicle era has arrived when even oil execs are giving up their gas-powered cars for battery-powered cars. Royal Dutch Shell CEO Ben Van Beurden just announced that his next car will be an electric Mercedes-Benz S550e. Beurden will be ditching his diesel car when he purchases the plug-in hybrid this September. When Beurden goes electric, he will be joining Chief Financial Officer Jessica Uhl, who already drives a BMW i3. “The whole move to electrify the economy, electrify mobility in places like northwest Europe, in the U.S., even in China, is a good thing,” Van Beurden said on Bloomberg TV. “We need to be at a much higher degree of electric vehicle penetration — or hydrogen vehicles or gas vehicles — if we want to stay within the 2-degrees Celsius outcome.” Related: Electric cars could reach cost parity with conventional cars by next year Shell is moving into the EV market, announcing in February that it will start installing chargers at its gas stations this year. Britain and the Netherlands are the first two countries that will see electric vehicle chargers at Shell gas stations with the battery charging infrastructure eventually being deployed at all of the 25,000 Shell-branded gas stations in the world. Bloomberg New Energy Finance predicts that a third of the world’s cars will be plug-in by 2040, the same year that both Britain and France  plan to ban the sale of new diesel and petrol cars. Via Autoblog Image via Flickr

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Saturn’s biggest moon has enough energy to power a US-sized space colony

July 13, 2017 by  
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Feeling like you’ve had enough of this planet? Saturn’s biggest moon , Titan, is an attractive option for a space colony, according to new research. Amanda Hendrix of the Planetary Science Institute and Yuk Yung of the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) say the moon has enough energy sources to power a settlement the size of the United States. Saturn is home to 53 moons. But Titan, the largest, possesses its own atmosphere , which according to NASA is rare for a moon. It turns out Titan could also have an abundance of energy sources, according to Hendrix and Yung. They say there are options for solar power , wind power , hydropower , and nuclear power on the moon. They drew on the information we know about Titan and mathematics based on technologies we currently have on Earth. Related: Scientists Discover an Ocean of Water and Potential for Life on Saturn’s Moon The scientists said, “Once propulsion challenges are overcome, allowing humans to travel great distances quickly without incurring significant radiation damage, Saturn’s moon Titan is the optimal location in the solar system for an off-Earth human settlement.” Researchers know there are oceans of methane on Titan, which could offer a source of power or rocket fuel. Tidal power could also potentially energize some of the colony as experts have observed strong tides on the moon. In particular, an area called the Throat of Kraken, which John Hopkins University planetary scientist Ralph Lorenz likened to the Strait of Gibraltar, could be the perfect location for a settlement. Lorenz, who was not involved with the research, told New Scientist, “We’re pretty sure there’s a very strong flow of liquid back and forth every Titan day. If you want reliable power that you know is going to be accessible, that’s where I would go.” Hendrix and Yung did say they overlooked some details, because there’s still a lot we don’t know about Titan, but view their research as a first step. Their study was published in the Journal of Astrobiology and Outreach this week. Via ScienceAlert Images via Wikimedia Commons and NASA/JPL-Caltech/USGS

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This Titan 1 3D Printer Can Make Towering Objects in Half the Time

June 2, 2014 by  
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The 3D printing revolution has begun, and there’s no shortage of hardware available – from a printer that costs just $150 to a portable printer you can carry with you on the go . But if you’re looking to create large objects in record time, look no further than the Titan 1 . Kudo3d claims the Titan 1 is the fastest stereolithography-based 3D printer, and it can also fabricate the tallest prints with a maximum height of 9.5 inches. Read the rest of This Titan 1 3D Printer Can Make Towering Objects in Half the Time Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: “Making” , 3d printer , 3D printing , additive manufacturing , DIY , Kudo 3D , Kudo 3D Titan 1 , Kudo 3D Titan 1 3D printer , plastic , resin , SLA , stereolithography , Titan 1 , Titan 1 3D printer

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This Titan 1 3D Printer Can Make Towering Objects in Half the Time

Make Your Own Electric Bicycle With the Ultimate DIY Ebike Guide

June 2, 2014 by  
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Electric bicycles have become a popular form of transportation for many in cities across the world. As a green alternative to cars and public transit, ebikes offer many other advantages due to their small size, lack of insurance or license requirements, free parking and low operating costs. However as convenient as ebikes are, it’s the high sticker price that usually keeps people from enjoying their benefits. Now a custom ebike builder is trying to change that. Micah Toll, from southwest Florida, has been building ebikes for years and teaching classes to help beginners learn to convert their own bicycles to electric drive. Toll has now written a book, The Ultimate DIY Ebike Guide , which is the culmination of his years of experience working with ebikes. The article above was submitted to us by an Inhabitat reader. Want to see your story on Inhabitat ? Send us a tip by following this link . Remember to follow our instructions carefully to boost your chances of being chosen for publishing! Read the rest of Make Your Own Electric Bicycle With the Ultimate DIY Ebike Guide Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags:

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The Alunaris Project: A Tree Temple in the Heart of Colombia’s Sierra Nevada Mountains

June 2, 2014 by  
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Rising over 18,000 feet near Colombia’s Caribbean coast, the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta mountain range is the highest coastal range in the world, and in dire need of conservation and protection. A group of folks has started a project to bring attention to the importance of this ancient, sacred land that is home to countless plant, animal, and insect species:  The Alunaris Tree Temple Project aims to create a magical space that will encourage visitors to interact with majestic trees in new, conscious ways. Many ancient trees had been decimated by logging and herbicides, including harvesting timber for the blossoming tourism trade, but conservationists want to bring awareness to the importance of the region’s majestic, towering trees. The article above was submitted to us by an Inhabitat reader. Want to see your story on Inhabitat ? Send us a tip by following this link . Remember to follow our instructions carefully to boost your chances of being chosen for publishing! Read the rest of The Alunaris Project: A Tree Temple in the Heart of Colombia’s Sierra Nevada Mountains Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Alunaris , Alunaris project , Andes , caribbean , coastal mountains , colombia , conservation , IndieGoGo , monkeys , mountains , Sierra Nevada , toucans , Tree , tree house , treehouse , Treehouses , Trees

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The Alunaris Project: A Tree Temple in the Heart of Colombia’s Sierra Nevada Mountains

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