Most people in the U.S. woke up to a spectacular sight this morning: videos from Russian dashboard cameras showing a fireball in the sky crashing down to the Earth, reports Wired Science. “The 15-meter meteorite impacted the atmosphere and exploded above the Chelyabinsk region of central Russia, injuring an estimated 1,200 people and causing roughly 1 billion rubles ($33 million U.S.) in damage. It was the largest meteorite to hit the country in more than a century.
“It’s hard to know what’s stranger about the event. That a substantial meteorite hit the Earth on the same day as a 50-meter asteroid is making a record-breaking (and completely safe) close pass, that people have been thinking more and more about how to deflect potentially killer space rocks, or that we live in a day and age when dozens of videos of a fairly rare event can be uploaded to the internet and instantly seen worldwide. Continue reading “Death by asteroid”
Last week Worlding.org brought you the story of the Iranian monkey reportedly launched into outer space. Now we are worried about the little guy.
“The United States expressed doubt on Monday about Iran’s claim that it safely returned a monkey from space, saying it is questionable that the monkey survived — or if the flight happened at all,” reports today’s Salon.com.
“State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said a lot of questions remained ‘about whether the monkey that they reportedly sent up into space and reportedly came down was actually the same monkey, whether he survived.’
“’The Iranians said they sent a monkey, but the monkey that they showed later seemed to have different facial features,’Nuland told reporters. ‘He was missing a little wart.’ Tehran blames the confusion on Iranian media for initially using a photo of a backup monkey. It says the monkey orbited and returned safely, and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad added Monday that he would consider being Iran’s first astronaut in space.Nuland described Ahmadinejad’s proclamation as an “interesting choice,” but was more diplomatic than Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who joked about Ahmadinejad’s ruminations earlier Monday. Continue reading “Worries about Iran’s space monkey”
Iran claimed Monday to have sent a monkey into space. The country previously launched smaller animals into the final frontier, including a rat, worms, and two turtles. “What do space programs look for in animal astronauts?” asks an essay in Slate.com
“Portability, experience in the lab, and coolness under pressure. For more than 60 years, space programs have sent animals into space for the same reason coal miners sent canaries into the coal mine: to test for dangerous conditions. To select which species to send, scientists have long looked for a few key traits. First, the animal astronauts should be small, to fit in a spacecraft’s necessarily compact
quarters. Second, they should be light, to avoid burdening the rocket.Third, scientists choose animals that they’re already used to studying. For example, scientists used Continue reading “Here come the space monkeys”
No, this isn’t a joke. A group of billionaires are going to launch a fleet of starships to mine asteroids. Then still in space they will make what they mine into stuff using 3-D printers. As Wired Science tell the story:
“Last year was thick with audacious private spaceflight company unveilings, including the announcement from Planetary Resources, Inc. of their plans to mine relatively valuable platinum group metals from asteroids. With the formation of Deep Space Industries, it seems that 2013 could see a new crop of private space companies with lofty goals.
“We are about prospecting, exploring, harvesting, extracting, and manufacturing based on the resources of space,” said Rick Tumlinson, founder and chairman of DSI, during a press conference on Jan. 22. Tumlinson has been an ardent space advocate for many years, helping foundMirCorp, which brought space tourist Dennis Tito to the International Space Station. Continue reading “Let the asteroid mining begin”
New research was unveiled in the study of time. As reported in ArsTechnica, “Unlike our daily experience, the world of elementary particle physics is mostly symmetrical in time. Run the clock backward on your day and it won’t work; run the clock backward on a process in particle physics and things are just fine. However, to preserve certain fundamental aspects of space-time the Standard Model predicts that certain reversible events nevertheless have different probabilities, depending on which way they go. This time-reversal asymmetry is remarkably hard to observe in practice since it involves measurements of highly unstable particles. Continue reading “Don’t look back in space-time”