Space News: Moons galore! Toxic, noisy, & oddball

Brian G Turner

Fantasist & Futurist
Staff member
Supporter
Joined
Nov 23, 2002
Messages
21,846
Location
Highlands
#1
moon.png


Our Moon made a couple of stories this week - with others following after:

1. How dangerous is Moondust?

That's what the European Space Agency (ESA) wants to find out, as unlike the weathered and rounded dust of Earth, Moondust is effectively tiny shards of volcanic glass that has caused breathing problems for every astronaut who walked the lunar surface: The toxic side of the Moon


2. Israel could be next on Moon

Just when you thought it might be a race between China, India, or Japan to put a lander on the Moon, an Israeli company has come from nowhere to announce it's launching one later this year: Israeli spacecraft to land on Moon in 2019


3. Jupiter has more moons!

Jupiter has been found to have an additional 12 moons. Though most are little more than big rocks, they form an intriguing pattern of prograde and retrograde orbits: Jupiter's moon count reaches 79, including tiny 'oddball'


4. Saturn's noisy moon

Enceladus, one of the more intriguing moons around Saturn, has been found to create a lot of noise as it moves through Saturn's electromagnetic field: Sound of electromagnetic energy moving between Saturn, Enceladus

You can listen to it directly here:


5. Radio Galaxy

On the topic of noise, South Africa has completed the first stage of building the world's largest radio telescope: South Africa unveils super radio telescope

The first test image is quite stunning - astronomer Phil Plait provides a write-up of what it all actually means: Stunning chaos in the galactic core


6. Diamonds are for everyone

Diamonds hit the headlines twice:

i) The Earth's crust could contain "quadrillions of tons of diamonds": Sound waves reveal diamond cache deep in Earth's interior
ii) Scientists try to recreate conditions on "diamond planets": Tiny planets full of diamonds have been created in the lab


7. Exoskeletons coming of age?

A group of researchers think so - for general work use, rather than for bashing queen aliens: Exoskeletons promise superhuman powers


8. BONUS! Jumping genes and pink life!

i) Horizontal Gene Transfer may be far more common than we think: Cross species transfer of genes has driven evolution

Not only does this directly life on Earth, but it could also be a major feature of any alien life...

ii) Which, if we catch it early enough, might look pink: World's 'oldest biological colours' found
 

Robert Zwilling

Well-Known Member
Supporter
Joined
Jun 12, 2018
Messages
176
#5
Martian dust will have its own set of problems besides the jaggedness of it. That is more chemically active by the types of substances in it. The dust is a goldmine marked by a skull and crossbones.
Just the physical properties of the dust makes a problem for how people would get in and out of lunar surface and Martian buildings. A simple airlock isn't going to work. Probably a triple lock to make sure none of the dust gets inside. It's not healthy for people or some machines. I think that might be a deciding reason for going underground and doing whatever is going to done insulated from the surface, early on anyway. I am assuming ordinary dust from underground excavations would be similar to newly formed rock dust here on Earth. The dust will have to harvested by remote control. If ice is able to be mined from under the surface it too might be contaminated. Handling the dust will require machinery able to take the constant grinding. The dust brought back from the moon ruined the seals of the containers it was in so it was contaminated by ordinary air possibly causing some chemical changes to the dust. Lucky it was all chemicals and no biologicals. When people first smelled it inside the landers after coming back inside from the lunar walks the dust stuck to them was said to smell like burnt gunpowder. Back on Earth it didn't smell like anything. Perhaps body odor in the lander also contributed to the reaction of moon dust, moisture, and the air.
 

Robert Zwilling

Well-Known Member
Supporter
Joined
Jun 12, 2018
Messages
176
#6
I think horizontal gene transfer is very common, and just goes to show that whenever we think we have a firm handle on the situation, the handle isn't going to be attached to anything like what we imagined it was attached to. Perhaps the purpose of ticks and other creatures that use blood is to transfer genetic material between different kinds of species in a beneficial way. It has only been in recent times that the ticks are carrying multiple types of bacteria and viruses that are not good for us. When we get infected by a good virus or bacteria we never think we got sick, instead we congratulate ourselves for how our bodies started functioning better. Most mother ticks block the transmission of microbes they are carrying from being passed on to the baby ticks, they are born clean and have to crawl around to find an already infected creature to bite for them to get infected. Blocking the transmission of microbes at birth requires energy and genetic instructions. When the environment the ticks are in becomes over run by certain kinds of microbes, a decision is probably made in the ticks body to quit wasting energy by blocking something that is already a common element in their environment. Instead of a "clean" tick crawling around having to bite infected creatures before it could randomly pass a disease onto an uninfected creature, there would be 2,000 little ticks pre-infected right out of gate ready to pass along the bad news, unless they were carrying something good.
 

Robert Zwilling

Well-Known Member
Supporter
Joined
Jun 12, 2018
Messages
176
#7
"Exo-skeletons coming of age" I've always wondered why more effort wasn't put into exo-skeleton development a long time ago so people who couldn't walk would be able to get around. There is no way it could be said that not enough people could use it to make it a worthwhile endeavor. Its also the base of robot mobility. The two fields should have been merged right from the start. Both would have benefited from the interaction.
 

Justin Swanton

Loving the view from up here.
Joined
Aug 18, 2015
Messages
331
Location
Durban, South Africa
#8
Sutherland is just north of the Western Cape province - not too far from Cape Town. Good place for a telescope. A typical South African dorpie. No crime problems I see (low walls, no electric fences and no street guards). Nice.

sutherland.jpg
 

Similar threads

Top