Tag Archives: astronaut neurons

Futurology ~ Zombie Stars, Pillars of Creation, Comet pic, astronaut neurons, Infrastructure Age, morphin’ wings, Social Media and forests on climate change

This  image of the 3km wide comet was captured by the European Space Agency’s Rosetta spacecraft on April 15th.
This image of the 3km wide comet was captured by the European Space Agency’s Rosetta spacecraft on April 15th.

Zombies at the centre of the galaxy — NASA spotted the x-ray glow with its NuSTAR telescope array. X-rays in the area aren’t uncommon, but this particular patch was different: stronger, brighter, more intense than anything surrounding it, and, strangest of all, seemingly with no cause.
Now, researchers have come up with a series of ideas that might explain them, and almost all of them involve dying stars that feast on their neighbours.
~ So, not Egg from Our Walking Dead Up North, then.

Goodbye to the Pillars of Creation — One way or another, the Pillars of Creation in the Eagle Nebula are toast. Based on new observations at the European Southern Observatory, these awe-inspiring structures have another three million years before their ghostly image fizzles away into cosmic nothingness. Actually, there’s a good chance they were already destroyed over a thousand years ago.
~ But what are they holding up?

Nicest picture of comet so far — A stunning view of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko shows what happens when it moves closer toward the Sun: it ejects gas and dust that gets left in its wake. And it looks gorgeous too (main picture).

Radiation in space may alter astronaut’s neutrons — NASA hopes to send the first round-trip, manned spaceflight to Mars by the 2030s. But a study in mice suggests particles from cosmic rays could alter the shape of neurons, impairing astronauts’ memories and other cognitive abilities.
~ They leave as people. They arrive as damaged mice. With damaged memories, they may wonder why they wanted to go there, which I’m already wondering now.

New test suggests NASA’s “impossible” EM Drive will work in space — Last year, NASA’s advanced propulsion research wing made headlines by announcing the successful test of a physics-defying electromagnetic drive, or EM drive. Now, this futuristic engine, which could in theory propel objects to near-relativistic speeds, has been shown to work inside a space-like vacuum.
~ I get it! Space is also a ‘space-like vacuum’!

The Information Age is over. Please welcome the Infrastructure Age — The age of information tech isn’t exactly finished, it has just matured to the point where all we keep getting better iterations of the same thing: better cameras and apps for our phones, VR that actually works. But these are not revolutionary gadgets, just realizations of dreams that began in the 1980s, when the information revolution transformed the consumer electronics market.
But now we’re we’re entering the age of infrastructure gadgets
~ It will transform our relationship to energy. 

Morphing wings could  turn planes into fuel-savers — NASA’s new wing design adjusts its flaps mid-flight. NASA teamed up with the US Air Force Research Lab (AFRL) and Michigan-based engineering firm FlexSys Inc to create a new type of wing that tailors its flap angles from -2 degrees to 30. These flexible wings can be adjusted up and down to make the aircraft more aerodynamic to make aircraft lighter, and also less noisy during takeoff and landing.
~ The airline industry must be in a flap about this. 

Instragrammed climate change — Social media’s ability to so easily capture and share observations has inspired a new citizen science project to use tools like Instagram and Twitter to document evidence of climate change. It’s called ISeeChange.
~ Why not? Citizen Reporting has already replaced journalism.

China’s Great Wall of Trees — China’s monster, 32 million-acre army of trees is a step in the planet-saving direction. According to a recent study in Nature Climate Change from researchers at the University of New South Wales, Australia, humans have planted enough vegetation since 2003 to consume four billion tons of carbon worldwide, thanks largely to China.
~ Always nice to hear something positive about China’s environment.