What a nice piece of tail!, CGCG254-021

Wow, so that's an approximately 250k light year tail on CGCG254-021. So beautiful! I could get lost looking at images of far away galaxies, stars, you name it. Maybe some day, in my life, we will get a distributed optical telescope in space that allows us to image extrasolar planets! How exciting would that be?!

Credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/University of Bonn/G. Schellenberger et al; Optical: INT

Credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/University of Bonn/G. Schellenberger et al; Optical: INT

Re: Mars Missions Are A Scam

So I was reading this article on BuzzFeed about missions to Mars yesterday and something really upset me...

The trouble is, according to Do’s report, the plants growing the colonists’ food would quickly make too much oxygen and suffocate them.

Alright. Someone isn't thinking. At all. Don't get me wrong, we are not ready for manned missions to Mars unless they are suicide missions. But, we can easily solve the above mentioned problem.

So in the greenhouses you use some gas sensors and a simple pump to pump greenhouse air out and atmospheric air in... you see:

Earth's Atmosphere: 78.09% nitrogen, 20.95% oxygen, 0.93% argon, 0.039 carbon dioxde and miscellaneous traces 

Mars' Atmosphere: 96% carbon dioxide, 1.9% argon, 1.9% nitrogen and miscellaneous traces.

Many forms of algae can create nitrogen from carbon dioxide as part of their day to day life so you could keep nitrogen levels at 78% via your algae.  You figure out the best carbon dioxide levels for the plants in the greenhouse(s) and keep it there, if it's toxic to humans they use breathing apparatus or simply pump air out and then bring it to human-safe levels during work periods. PROBLEM SOLVED.

Wait, hold up Ryan, where are we getting all of that water for tanks and tanks full of algae? Well first you take enough to have some small tanks going. Then we turn to biological hydrogen production from algae, photosynthesis in cyanobacteria and green algae splits water into hydrogen ions and electrons. So use algae to make hydrogen. 

Pretty much get two parts hydrogen for every part of oxygen in something not unlike an engine (fuel cell). Introduce a burst of energy (say a spark) and you get an explosion. You now have an explosion and some water. While we don't do this on earth for clean drinking water due to the simple fact it would be extremely dangerous to do this to create enough water for thousands or millions of people, this would be ideal for use on Mars. You see, you have a separate habitat that is used for this, then you have a few small units in the room that are filling with the appropriate gasses, igniting, small amounts of water come out and the small detonations you capture the energy for use. The units refill and detonate again.

While this wouldn't create massive amounts of water, it would slowly add to your available water stores allowing you to bring more algae on, add more crops, support more humans until a better technology is developed (or a cheaper method of delivering supplies to Mars is found) or even until exploration can take place and perhaps find easily accessible water (likely ice) on Mars.



This just in, you don't matter.

The U.S. population is 316+ million, while our planet has more than 7 billion people on it and the Milky Way (our galaxy) contains about 500 billion stars.



One estimate suggests that the Universe contains more than 100 billion (or 10 to the 11th) galaxies. One can guess that there are likely at least 70 sextillion, stars or 7 × 10 to the 22nd. stars in the Universe (remember, not every galaxy is similar in size and quantity of stars, 70 sextillion is likely a gross understimate). The universe is part of??? The fact of the matter is you don't matter even on a national level (nor do I) and we are a joke in our arm of the galaxy, our arm of the galaxy is a fragment of our galaxy, our galaxy doesn't even begin to matter at a universal level and our universe is potentially a tiny spec in the grand scheme of things.

Note, my above figures are fairly conservative and made with a lot of liberties. I’ve seen the Milky Way estimated from anywhere between 200 and 500 billion stars for example and the galaxies in the universe figure is likely low too. There could easily be septillions of stars (or more!)

So really, someone tell me why we do nonsense like fight, argue, be petty about the most idiotic things? Why do the Kardashians matter? Why does American Idol matter, why do YOU matter? Why should I like your kid's photos on Facebook, should I really care that you are battling cancer? Should I even get out of bed Monday and go to work because when you think about it the Universe doesn't give a rat's ass and whatever it is part of doesn't either. I dunno, maybe I'm a damn fool for thinking about it but hey... what do I know. All I know is existence is far greater than we can imagine yet we focus and obsess about petty shit in our own lives and think we are all the center of existence when the fact is in the grand scheme of things we do not matter in the slightest.

Don't get me wrong, don't take this as a message to just give up. BETTER YOURSELF! Expand your mind, contemplate existence, find something constructive to do, apply yourself to bettering the lives of those around you. Do something for someone else. Learn something. Stare up into the night sky and think about what you are seeing for a few minutes.


If we take a look at our own solar system and count the currently defined planets; Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune we know of life on 1 in 8 planets. Let's assume this is actually a high percentage and that 1 in 100 planets has some sort of life.

A septillion is 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 so that gives us 10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 worlds with at least single cellular life. That's 10 sextillion worlds.

Ok, so let's assume 1 out of every thousand worlds has multi-cellular life. That's 1,000,000,000,000,000,000 worlds, 1 quintillion.

Now let's assume out of those 1 quintillion muti-cellular worlds that 1 in 1000 has something resembling animals. 1,000,000,000,000,000. That's 1 quadrillion worlds with animal life.

Let's assume 1 in 10 of those have some sort of sentient life that has developed the use of tools, even if they are primitive. That's 10 TRILLION worlds.

10 trillion worlds scattered among 100 billion galaxies gives an average of 100 tool-building worlds in your galaxy. Then you have 13.8 billion years to spread those out over.

With such a conservative estimate, it is highly unlikely that we will ever encounter a sentient species that originated on another planet.

We could easily change those numbers for our favor though. Say 1 in 2 stars has a planet or moon that supports life. 500,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 planets with life. Say 1 in 2 of those has tool building life, 250,000,000,000,000,000,000,000.

250 septillion planets with tool-building life. That gives you an average of 25,000 tool-building worlds per galaxy. That's still only a 1 in 20 million shot that any given star in our own galaxy hosts a planet/moon with a tool-building race on it. Then factor in that the Milky Way is estimated at 13.21 billion years old, consider humans are only about 200,000 years old and that civilization only goes back 10,000-25,000 years old (if you believe that that Bosnian 'pyramid' is a human creation then 25,000 years) and that we didn't land on the Moon until July 20, 1969 and it is the farthest we've ever sent human beings...

Now let's assume that in the first billion years of our galaxy, there were ZERO tool building species. That leaves you with 12.21 billion years to divide 25,000 civilizations over a galaxy with 100,000-180,000 light year diameter. Let's assume 140,000 light years. That's more than 15,000,000,000 square light years.

That gives us 1 tool building civilization per 600,000 square light years spread out over 12 billion years.

It sucks. I want to meet an off-world species soooooo much, better I want to travel to some of their worlds and see them with my own eyes. But, unless we figure out immortality I won't be holding my breath.

And obviously, this figure could be way way lower than in reality. If a species develops space technology they could easily begin to spread. Even if a civilization needed a thousand years to spread to a neighboring star in 10,000 years you could have a presence in 512 star systems, in 20,000 years 524,288 star systems.

Long-Term Space Ship Shape Strategies Tо Deal Wіth Space Debris Considered

Long-Term Space Ship Shape Strategies Tо Deal Wіth Space Debris Considered

Long-term spaceflight іѕ gоіng tо bе а real bear fоr human beings. Yоu see, thе human body јuѕt isn't set uр fоr zero-gravity, оr а constant bombardment оf space radiation. Thе human eyes can't tаkе it, аnd thеrе wіll bе bone density loss аѕ well. Thе longer thе astronauts аrе оut іn space, thе mоrе thеѕе health issues tаkе а toll, аnd аѕ thеу do, thе immune system саnnоt fix thе problems fast enough. Worse, humans wіll nоt bе аblе tо tаkе thеіr doctor wіth them, оr аll thе nutrients аnd medicines thеу mіght nееd fоr аnу gіvеn ailment thаt mіght occur due tо аll thеѕе hardships.

Next, thеrе іѕ thе problem оf space debris. Aѕ thеу fly thrоugh thе solar system, thіngѕ аrе quіtе congested, аnd аlthоugh thеrе іѕ рrоbаblу оnlу оnе molecule реr square meter іn deep space, thаt doesn't mеаn thеrе іѕ none, аnd thе faster уоu go, thе faster уоu wіll hit thеѕе things. A tiny pebble оr rock іn space соuld gо rіght thrоugh уоur spaceship. But mауbе wе nееd tо redesign thеѕе long-term space ships іntо dіffеrеnt shapes uѕіng dіffеrеnt strategies tо divert thе debris bеfоrе іt gеtѕ thrоugh аnd compromises thе hull оf thе spaceship.

Onе concept I hаd wоuld uѕе а coned-shaped multilayered carbon nanotube аnd graphene coated concept, аnd аѕ thе debris саmе thrоugh thе outer shield thаt debris wоuld move sideways bеtwееn thе sheets оf composite аnd outward, bеtwееn thе layers. Thіѕ wоuld slow dоwn іtѕ speed, change іtѕ trajectory, аnd deflect іt аwау frоm thе hull, whеrе іt соuld еіthеr pass thrоugh аnd outward, оr асtuаllу bесоmе part оf thе ship аnd thеrеfоrе continue іtѕ journey thrоugh space whеrе еvеr thе humans mіght bе going, basically іt wоuld bе hitching а ride lіkе а barnacle оn а ship hull іn thаt case, albeit а fеw layers deep іn thе composite structure.

Meanwhile, wе knоw thаt carbon atoms reattach thеmѕеlvеѕ whеn а hole іѕ punched thrоugh them, thеrеfоrе thе layers оf skin wоuld automatically fix thе hole fоr thе nеxt piece оf space debris, ice chunk, pebble, оr space rock thаt thе spaceship mіght hit. Cоuld thіѕ work? Surely іt wоuld work, it's јuѕt а matter оf making іt happen, determining thе probability оf thе size аnd shape оf thе vаrіоuѕ space debris pieces thаt mіght hit thе ship, tо design thе bеѕt system аnd structure tо handle thіѕ perpetual challenge оf flying thrоugh open space.

There is also a method semi-pouplar in science fiction, pushing large pieces of ice (I mean the size of the ship or a large fraction of it) in front of a ship... currently not very realistic but someday?

National Space Society Urges Congress to Ease Export Control Restrictions on Satellites and Space-Related Items

The National Space Society (NSS) calls on Congress to ease export control regulations on spacecraft and related items, as urged by the Departments of Defense and State in their recent, joint "Section 1248" report, "Risk Assessment of the United States Space Export Control Policy", available here.
This report concluded that spacecraft and their components, designated as dual-use items, can safely be removed from the U.S. Munitions List (USML), which is controlled under the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) by the Department of State. 
Once off the USML, the report recommends that these items be placed on the Commerce Control List (CCL) managed by the Department of Commerce. Experts maintain that a failure to implement this change not only would continue to cause harm to the American space industrial base, but could actually pose a threat to national security and potentially impede current and future space exploration efforts.
"For many years, the U.S. space industrial base has been at a competitive disadvantage with other countries due to outdated and overly burdensome licensing processes under ITAR," said NSS Executive Director, Paul E. Damphousse. "The U.S space export control system has created delays, driven up costs, and severely hampered the ability of the American space industry to compete in an increasingly global market, and this situation must not be allowed to continue."
A distinguished panel of export control policy experts will discuss the recommendations outlined in the Section 1248 report at NSS's upcoming International Space Development Conference (ISDC) in Washington, DC May 24-28, 2012. Patricia Cooper of the Satellite Industry Association will moderate the panel, which will include representatives from the Defense Department, Tauri Group, Bigelow Aerospace and the Universities Space Research Association. For more information about media access to the panel, please visit http://isdc.nss.org/2012 or email ISDC2012.Media@nss.org.
NSS believes that implementation of these recommendations will serve to bolster critical American space industries vital to space development and lead to increased cooperation in space exploration initiatives with our international partners. NSS agrees with the report's goal, which is to urge Congress to enact legislation to "create higher walls around fewer items" and support the health and leadership of the U.S. space industrial base.
About ISDC: The International Space Development Conference is the annual conference of the National Space Society. ISDC 2012 will take place at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Washington, DC from May 24 through 28, 2012. ISDC brings together a diverse group of NASA officials, aerospace industry leaders and interested private citizens to engage in discussions about today's prevalent space issues in order to stimulate innovation and overcome the obstacles that hinder human advancement off the Earth.
About The National Space Society (NSS): NSS is an independent, educational, grassroots, non-profit organization dedicated to the creation of a spacefaring civilization.  Founded when the National Space Institute and the L5 Society merged in 1987, NSS is widely acknowledged as the preeminent citizen's voice on space.  NSS has over 12,000 members and supporters, and over 50 chapters in the United States and around the world.  The society publishes Ad Astra magazine, an award-winning periodical chronicling the most important developments in space. 

Russia's future space plans

First let me apologize... I haven't done a This Week in Space for a bit... I'll do one soon, probably.

Leaked documents from the Russian space agency Roscosmos reveal what the country has planned for the next 18 years of its space program. The ambitious list includes multiple permanent research stations on Mars, probes exploring Venus and Jupiter, and a manned Moon landing.

Russia plans to send probes to Jupiter and Venus, land a network of unmanned stations on Mars and ferry Russian cosmonauts to the surface of the Moon — all by 2030.

Read more HERE

Today in Space

Star blasts planet with X-rays

Heh, sucks to be that planet!!!

A nearby star is pummeling a companion planet with a barrage of X-rays a hundred thousand times more intense than the Earth receives from the Sun.

Read more about it HERE


Methane debate splits Mars community

Personally I believe there was life on mars, and almost certainly still is. Methane producing bacteria/algae would be a great explanation for this.

Observations over the last decade suggest that methane clouds form briefly over Mars during the summer months. The discovery has left many scientists scratching their heads, since it doesn't fit into models of the martian atmosphere.

Read more about it HERE


Dark clouds in space


Dust dust and more dust. Someone get a broom!

Infrared dark clouds (IRDCs) are dark patches in the sky seen against the continuous, bright infrared background produced by our galaxy. IRDCs are rich in molecules and relatively dense, cool gas, and they are natural sites for future star birth. Studies of IRDCs to date have emphasized those candidates that already have star formation underway within them, but astronomers are increasingly interested in probing younger, colder clouds to probe earlier stages in the star formation process.

Read more about it HERE


Herschel paints new story of galaxy evolution

Theories like this are always fun, but for now I think we should simply collect the data and analyze it and STOP trying to explain things we don't even have a good foundation to attempt to understand let alone unravel.

ESA's Herschel infrared space observatory has discovered that galaxies do not need to collide with each other to drive vigorous star birth. The finding overturns this long-held assumption and paints a more stately picture of how galaxies evolve.

Read more about it HERE


Space mission tells of Antarctic melt


New supernova remnant lights up

Awesome! I love that we keep seeing more and more of these, and are able to get good amounts of data from them as well as some cool images.

Using the Hubble Space Telescope, astronomers are witnessing the unprecedented transition of a supernova to a supernova remnant, where light from an exploding star in a neighboring galaxy, the Large Magellanic Cloud, reached Earth in February 1987.

Read more about it HERE


Blah blah blah, while that's interesting this has happened time and time again throughout history I'm sure.

A team of researchers from The Australian National University has been selected from a competitive field to participate in NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) Science Team.

Read more about it HERE


Russia sets first post-crash manned flight for November

Yay, maybe this is a sign we aren't abandoning space as I've suspected the past few months.

Russia on Tuesday scheduled its next manned space flight for November 12 after delaying previous missions because of a cargo craft's failure to reach the International Space Station.

Read more about it HERE