Tag Archives: Saturn

Futurology ~ Proxima Centauri, Jupiter, Saturn, AI jobs, tiny lights, DNA vid, ancient tattoos

This is either the exact spot the Cassini spacecraft cashed through Saturn’s atmosphere, or a random circle drawn on an image coz, what would we know?

Stellar flare dulls hopes for life on planets around Proxima Centauri — Scientists have discovered a flare from the sun’s closest stellar neighbour, Proxima Centauri. Many are reporting it could spell trouble for any hope for life on its exoplanet, Proxima b, and might also kill off a presumed set of other planets around the star. Last year, there were many reports that evidence of dust rings around Proxima Centuari would imply the star could have an elaborate planetary system alongside its confirmed exoplanet, Proxima b. But a new analysis of the same dataset calls those past results into question.
~ All that speculation at such distance could only ever be aProximate.

Jupiter’s Red Spot may disappear — The Great Red Spot has been a fixture of Jupiter ‘s cloudy visage for centuries and is among the most recognizable features in the solar system. But the Great Red Spot is shrinking, and recently, news stories reported it could vanish within the next 10 or 20 years. The storm’s shape is changing, most significantly in width, and as time marches on it’s becoming less oval and more circular.
~ The Great Red Spot is in fact a gigantic storm. It’s red because of the, uh, colour. 

Cassini crashed into Saturn — On 15 September 2017, the Cassini spacecraft ended its valiant 13-year mission by performing a kamikaze dive into Saturn’s upper atmosphere. A new image released by NASA shows the exact spot (main picture, above) where the Cassini craft was lost to us forever.
~ Got that Saturnians? It wasn’t an attack, just callous disregard. 

Saturn’s moon Enceladus has become an alien-hunting hot spot — Thought to be a barren cue-ball until NASA’s Cassini mission found both active geysers and a liquid ocean beneath its frozen surface, the icy little moon is now one of the likeliest places to encounter extraterrestrial life in our solar system. Last year, when scientists analyzed Enceladus’ ocean (actually a small drop of it blasted skyward in a geyser) they found evidence of hydrothermal reactions, which produce H2: just the kind of molecular food some little Enceladian organism might like to munch on. On Earth, similar microbes live in a deep sea hydrothermal vent off the coast of Japan.
~ Sounds yummy … maybe with a little mustard, anyhoo. 

Artificially Intelligent jobs — AI will create more jobs than it destroys was the not-so-subtle rebuttal from tech giants to growing concern over the impact of automation technologies on employment. Execs from Google, IBM and Salesforce were questioned about the wider societal implications of their technologies during a panel session at Mobile World Congress.
~ I don’t yet opt in to their conclusions, myself. 

Japanese engineering researchers have created a tiny electronic light the size of a firefly — They can ride waves of ultrasound, and could eventually figure in applications ranging from moving displays to projection mapping. Named Luciola for its resemblance to the firefly, the featherweight levitating particle weighs 16.2mg, has a diameter of 3.5mm (0.14 inch), and emits a red glimmer that can just about illuminate text. But its minuscule size belies the power of the 285 microspeakers emitting ultrasonic waves that hold up the light, and have a frequency inaudible to the human ear, allowing Luciola to operate in apparent total silence.
~ It’s going to annoy beings with better hearing, though – dogs, maybe? 

DNA organises itself in a video — DNA, when unravelled, can span more that two meters in length, but your body’s cells whip it into tidy bundles.
We’ve long known that the body can do this. But how it accomplishes this biological feat is another thing. Now, researchers from Delft University in the Netherlands and EMBL Heidelberg in Germany have succeeded in actually catching the process on video, observing how DNA gets structured in real time.
~ Thus also solving a debate.

More early tattoos revealed — A new analysis of two ancient Egyptian mummies has uncovered the earliest known examples of ‘figural’ tattoos on human beings – that is, tattoos meant to represent real things rather than abstract symbols. What’s more, at around 5000 years old, it’s the earliest evidence of tattoos on a woman.
~ The mummies were on display for decades without anyone noticing.


Futurology 22 ~ Nemesis, Saturn, space, healing Antimatter, Dolby Vision, charge-snakes, Nazi nuclear

Spaceplanes are another option to get us into space
Spaceplanes are another option to get us into space

Happy New Year! A dangerous nemesis star may visit our solar system many years from now — A stellar orange dwarf has a 90% chance of passing through the outer reaches of our solar system no earlier than a quarter of a million years from now. Sure, that’s a long way off, but this unwelcome guest could perturb the Oort cloud, flinging dangerous comets towards Earth.
~ I plan to be dead, but good luck.

Three-kilometre-high structures rising on Saturn’s rings — Someone on Reddit just posted an old November 2010 image by the Cassini spacecraft which shows 3.5-kilometre structures rising on Saturn’s B ring’s outer edge.
~ I always associate rings with Uranus. Hope the ring doesn’t unbalance and develop a wobble – could be calamitous.

How humanity will conquer space without rockets — Getting out of Earth’s gravity well is hard. Conventional rockets are expensive, wasteful, and as we’re frequently reminded, very dangerous. Thankfully, there are alternative ways of getting ourselves and all our stuff off this rock. Here’s how we’ll get from Earth to space in the future. (That’s a ‘Spaceplane’, main picture above).
~ I’m all for telekinesis.

Antimatter is already used in hospitals — In Pet scans. True.
~ Antimatter where it matters.

Researchers use gps to track antarctica’s ice migration in real time — Antarctica’s melting ice sheets have been a major contributor to global sea level increases over the last decade, and the losses are expected to accelerate over the next two centuries. A team from the UBL’s Laboratoire de Glaciologie has gone ahead and connected one such ice sheet to the Internet of Things.
~ I reckon that’s cold comfort.

How Dolby Vision works, and how it could revolutionise tvs forever — There are three ways television displays can be improved, two of which you’re probably already familiar with: you can up the density of the pixels or increase the refresh rate. But Dolby has taken to improving the third factor: it’s building a better and brighter pixel.
~ I still remember Dolby on my cassette player: muffle-muffle-muffle …

Tesla building robotic snakes that emerge from walls to charge cars — Elon Musk just tweeted some pretty exciting news. In the future, Tesla owners won’t have to worry about plugging in their cars. Robot snake arms will do it for them
~ Other orifices beware.

‘Futuristic’ Japanese city was planned for Australia In 1989, but nobody knew why — Cabinet documents from 1989 show that the plans to develop a futuristic (by 1989 standards) new city based on a Japanese proposal were shrouded in mystery and confusion.
The story of the Multifunction Polis is a fascinating one from a political standpoint: it was mooted, discussed, pitched for, awarded to Queensland, withdrawn, awarded to South Australia … then finally abandoned.
~ They may need an Aussie super-genius like Tony Abbott to work that out. 

Nazi nuclear — Suspiciously high radiation levels around the Austrian town of St Georgen an der Gusen had long fuelled [ha ha] theories there was a buried bunker nearby where Nazis had tested nuclear weapons during WWII. Those suspicions came one step closer to being confirmed last week after the opening of a 75-acre underground complex concealed behind earth and granite.
~ ‘Deep’, ‘dark’ and ‘Nazi’ always go together, don’t they? 

Futurology 14 ~ Mimas, Saturn, ancient comet, Mars, Solar Civ, Sun, Tesla, Ebola, life-raft, Cheerios, ash, Titanic

Comets from the Oort cloud are both ancient and rare. This one will bathe Mars in its light tail
Comets from the Oort cloud are both ancient and rare. This one will bathe Mars in its light tail

Mimas might have a subterranean ocean — It’s not the prettiest thing in the solar system, but Mimas — a pockmarked moon in orbit around Saturn — exhibits an odd wobble. A team of astronomers reckon there are two possible explanations: a subterranean ocean or it has an irregularly shaped core. Another Saturn moon looks frighteningly like a wasp nest
~ I vote we call the underground sea ‘Marcel M’.

Ancient comet will bathe Mars in light — Our Monday, something historical will happen: An ancient rare comet will arrive to Mars after millions of years travelling at 53km/s from the Oort cloud. It will look like you can see at this link, passing to within just a third of the distance from Earth to the moon and engulfing the Red Planet in its large tail.
~ Mars Bath.

Dark Matter sends a signal for the Sun — Astronomers from Leicester University have detected a strange signal in the X-ray spectrum that appears to be a signature of ‘axions’ — a hypothetical dark matter particle. It could take years to confirm, but this may be the first direct detection and identification of dark matter.
~ Scientists think it exists but they can’t prove it. It’s like the National Party’s conscience.

White House seeks advice on ‘Bootstrapping A Solar System Civilisation’ — The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy is planning ahead — way ahead. The agency wants you to email ideas for how “the Administration, the private sector, philanthropists, the research community and storytellers” can develop “massless” space exploration and a robust civilization beyond Earth.
~ It will end up ‘Let the market run it’, no doubt.

Mystery space ship lands on Earth after record time away — America’s spy space drone the X-37B has landed safely after a record-setting orbit of 675 days. The fact that this spacecraft has been in orbit for almost two years and has returned to Earth intact is an amazing technological feat, apparently.
~ It’s amazing? The Moon stays up there all by itself. 

Tesla S has iPhone 6 supplier internals — Well, sort of: the Tesla Model S gets attention because it’s an EV that can go from from 0 to 96kph in 4.2 seconds and can travel 265 miles on a single charge. But, a teardown of the vehicle by IHS Technology has also revealed that Elon Musk went for two 1.4Ghz, quad-core NVIDIA Tegra processors. IHS called the Tesla’s head unit the most sophisticated it’s ever seen, with 1000 more components than any it has previously analysed.
~ Now for the drivers …

Ebola robots — US robotics researchers from around the country are collaborating to build autonomous vehicles that could deliver food and medicine, and telepresence robots that could safely decontaminate equipment and help bury victims of Ebola.
~ Minimise contact – and then remote-sterilise the robots, too. 

Tipping rescue raft makes it easier to pull people from the water — Water rescues can be particularly tricky because you’re on the exact opposite of stable ground while you’re trying to pull someone to safety. But getting enough leverage to pull a heavy body out of the water looks a little easier with this clever inflatable raft that can be tipped backwards for easier access to the water, without that whole sinking issue.
~ And it’s back-packable.

Cheerios inside bags grow new Antifungals — Scientists grew a soil fungus for four weeks in a bag full of Cheerios and discovered a new compound that can block biofilm formation by an infectious yeast. The chemists claim that Cheerios are by far the best in the cereal aisle at growing chemically productive fungi.
~ So why am I not surprised?

Cigarette ash water filters — Among the long, long list of reasons why we shouldn’t smoke lies cigarette ash: it’s an unsavoury chemical cocktail that also happens to be a major eyesore around any popular smoking spot. But thanks to a team of chemists, we could use that same cocktail of horrific chemical to make water clean.
~ And it tastes like …?

A single breakthrough could cut costs on solar energy by 25% — Costs on solar are coming down steeply, and now they’re about to get even cheaper. A group of chemists at Ohio State University has invented a solar panel that stores energy without an external battery. The self-contained tuner/capacitor panels are already being licensed to industry.
~ We welcome the forthcoming Epic of Solarmesh.

New pictures of Titanic launch have emerged — There’s a new exhibition at an Irish museum showcasing previously unpublished sepia-tinged photos of the ill-fated Titanic as it’s being launched to sea. The goose-bump inducing images show the luxury liner as it’s going down the Belfast shipyard’s slipway, along with excited spectators cheering on.
~ 117 prints in all!