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Showing posts with the label Astronomy

Can we really colonize Mars?

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Artist's depiction of a colony on Mars Image Source: Mars-One.com  Contrary to the scare that comes along with the thought that aliens might be interested in visiting our planet, humans , as a race, are quite enthusiastic when it comes to possibilities of inhabiting other planets in our solar system.  Whether we are eager to do this, in the name of science, or probably to quench our age old traits of conquering newer lands (something that is no longer an option on Earth ), is matter of debate. But since, most people agree to this thought of colonizing other planets, we thought we could scientifically discuss, whether this was really possible.  First and foremost, where do we go?  Before we can decide what we would really need on this campaign for colonization, we need to first decide, where we need to go. Do, we go towards the Sun or away from it? Or do we just pick up the nearest planet to the Earth and start our preparations? We can simply look at our immedia

Space weather today! Chances of a solar storm?

Mars Mission, Rosetta , International Space Station and the myriad number of man made satellites orbiting the planet, have already made it obvious that the human race has reached an age where it is looking further beyond its home, the Earth . And now, with companies like Virgin Galactic closer to offering sub orbital space trips to one and all (who can afford it), it has become paramount that we look at the weather outside our Earth before embarking on a journey beyond our clouds. But what is space weather like ?  We do know that outer space is a cold cold space and lacks any air. Astronauts head out for space walks in protective suits and a sufficient supply of oxygen, just the way we all saw in the movie Gravity. But it is not just the temperature and lack of air that we need to worry about, it is solar and magnetic activity in outer space that can impact us.  What is Space weather ?  Space weather studies the impact of solar radiation and other high energy part

Rosetta Update: Landing site options not very safe [Coffee-byte]

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In an interesting turn of events, scientists at the European Space Agency are having a difficult time determining the perfect landing spot for Rosetta 's probe, Philae . An earlier update from the agency at the beginning of the month had revealed that 5 landing spots had been shortlisted from the the probable list of 10 chosen first.  Comet 67P. Image source: www.dailymail.co.uk But further analysis of these sites has shown that none of them seem safe enough for Philae to land. Rosetta has been returning high resolution images of these probable sites of landing and the comet 67P seems to have layered cliffs along most of the landing sites that have been identified so far. Philae needs a landing strip close to 1 km long and hitting one of the layered cliffs might end its mission prematurely.  The comet's duck shaped body does not make life easier as well. There is sufficient landing space on some other sites on the comet but due to their location, they do not h

5 reasons that make Rosetta a SUPERSTAR!

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Artist's rendition of Rosetta approaching comet 67P Image Source: ESA For the next few days (and probably many many years), you are likely to come across people speak of the greatness of 'Rosetta' and about her achievements and before you start thinking that the Rosetta is some entrepreneur, social worker, sportswoman or the worst, a movie star, let us make it very clear that Rosetta is actually a spacecraft. and still a Superstar! Here are 5 things that have make Rosetta famous! Rosetta, is a spacecraft built by the European Space Agency , at a cost of 1.3 billion Euros, with the aim to study the comet 67P/ Churyumov- Gerasimenko. Discovered in 1969, the comet orbits around our Sun every 6.6 years and Rosetta's mission to understand what this comet is made up. The mission will give us scientists further information on how our Solar System originated and evolved, since our Sun, planets and all the comets are made up of the same pre-solar nebula that existed ov

Blogger traces meteroid steps, Scientists use blog as a starting point for their research

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Image credit:  thelibertarianrepublic.com Further to our post about the significance of the Russian meteroid , we found something today that had to be shared right away. Just a day after the impact of the asteroid, Stefan Gees, an expert on digital maps and geospatial imagery, reconstructed the path of the meteor using some very simple school level mathematics, a selection of videos available on YouTube and his area of interest, Google Earth.How Mr. Gees reconstructed the path of the meteor is thoroughly explained in this blog post  and totally worth reading. What we found out today was that scientists Jorge I. Zuluaga & Ignacio Ferrin used this very blog post as a starting point for their further work to reconstruct the path of the meteroid before it hit the Earth. While these scientists had advanced software developed by the U.S. Navy Observatory that allowed them to factor in gravitational forces of 8 planets of our solar system as well as the Earth, they definitel

Meteor in Russia, why should I care?

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The meteor that slammed near the Ural mountains in Russia on Friday, 15th February, sent waves that not only broke some glass windows in the neighboring area but also shook news agencies that flashed amateur footage for the next day or two. Here's a an amateur footage if you missed it. While astronomers and star gazers were busy waiting  for 2012 DA14 's, a near-Earth Asteroid , fly-by our planet, the 'Russian meteor'  as it is called now, moved in swiftly into our atmosphere and made its presence felt , before hitting a frozen lake in the Chelabinysk area. So, what difference does it make to our lives, if a two-meter wide rock falls from the sky? Broadly speaking, the Russian meteor incident raises three questions: First,  of New Life! According to theory of Panspermia , life originated elsewhere (in the solar system or outer space ) and came to the Earth via meteroids and developed here. Analyses and experiments have shown that bacteria can survive