Tag Archives | NASA

Why Aren’t You Working On An Asteroid Shield?

An excellent and timely question, asked by Emi Kolawole at the Washington Post:
Seriously, why aren’t all of America’s best and brightest working feverishly to keep us from being struck by an asteroid that could wipe a city (or more) from the face of the Earth? A cure for cancer, balancing the nation’s federal budget, and eliminating world hunger would all be rendered moot if an asteroid pulverized the planet. Granted, as the Post’s Brian Vastag reports, neither a city-destroying nor Earth-ending space rock is on anywhere near an immediate collision course with the planet — for now. (Seriously, don’t panic.) But the anticipated near-miss of asteroid 2012 DA14 by 17,000 miles on Feb. 15 should inspire every innovator to want to figure out how to make Earth asteroid-proof, right? Now, of course, there are a number of people working on how to keep Earth safe from asteroids and other potentially Earth-threatening debris. There are so many, in fact, that there is an internationalPlanetary Defense Conference in Flagstaff, Ariz., in April. And, as NASA Spokesman David Agle wrote...
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NASA’s Curiosity Rover Finds Unexplained Shiny Object On Mars

A mineral deposit? Crystal formation? Abandoned alien ray gun? Universe Today writes:

The Curiosity Mars rover has imaged a small metallic-looking protuberance which projects a shadow on the rock below. The image was taken with the right Mastcam on Curiosity on Sol 173 — January 30, 2013 here on Earth — and was pointed out to us by Elisabetta Bonora, an image editing enthusiast from Italy.

The protuberance seems different than the rock on which it sits – it could be composed of material more resistant to erosion than the rest and similar material could be within the rock, or it could be something that is “grown” on the rock. It looks fairly smooth, and is not covered by dust as is the case for metal surfaces that tend to clean easily.

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Did NASA Delete Possible UFO Evidence From Its Archives?

Is NASA covering its tracks in regards to images that could reveal what is truly out there? Or simply reorganizing its archives of photos of space trash? io9 writes:

UFOlogists are freaking out today over the removal of several photos from a NASA archive. These photos [see right] have been used by various UFO groups to support their belief that aliens have been visiting Earth and governments are covering it up. NASA identifies these as images of “space debris.”

Believers say the removal of the photos is tantamount to admitting that NASA is trying to cover up extraterrestrial visitors. More likely is that they were removed after the space agency realized that they were fueling alien conspiracy theories.

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NASA’s 100 Year Starship Project

Picture: Andrew Z. Colvin

From BBC.com:

Is a Pentagon plan for a spaceship travel outside our solar system a crackpot idea, or a visionary blueprint for reaching the stars?

The Pentagon’s premiere research agency has chosen a former astronaut to lead a foundation that is designed to take humanity to the stars.

When Jack Sarfatti was 13 years old, he began receiving phone calls from a strange metallic voice that told him he would someday become part of an elite group of scientists exploring uncharted territory. Those calls, which he believes may have come from a computer on a spacecraft, proved a seminal influence on his life and led him to pursue a career that combined mainstream physics with an enduring interest in UFOs and the far-out reaches of science.

For those who might dismiss Sarfatti as a crank, he is quick to point out that he is not interested in debating the reality of little green men, but rather whether the existence of UFOs might prove that the technology required for interstellar travel is possible.

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New Photos Suggest That Planet Mercury Is Hollow

The hollows appear to have formed relatively recently. The next question is, what lies inside? Phys.org writes:

A recent image acquired by NASA’s MESSENGER spacecraft shows the interior of Eminescu, a youngish 80-mile wide crater just north of Mercury’s equator. Eminescu made science headlines last year with MESSENGER’s discovery of curious eroded blotches called “hollows” scattered across its interior and surrounding its central peak, and now it looks like the spacecraft may have spotted some of these strange features in their earliest stages of formation along the inner edge of the crater’s rim.

First announced in September 2011, hollows have now been identified in many areas across Mercury. The lack of craters within hollows indicates that they are relatively young. It was suggested that they may be the result of an ongoing process on Mercury.

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Don’t Panic! Asteroid You Would’ve Never Heard of Otherwise Won’t Destroy Earth

Looks like you’ll need to keep saving for retirement: NASA has announced that incoming asteroid 2011AG5 will not impact Earth during a 2040 flyby, So no need to worry about that thing you had no idea might end life on Earth in the first place.

Via CNN:

Uncertainties about the orbit of the asteroid, known as 2011 AG5, previously allowed for a less than a 1% chance it would hit the Earth in February 2040, NASA said.

To narrow down the asteroid’s future course, NASA put out a call for more observation. Astronomers from the University of Hawaii at Manoa took up the task and managed to observe the asteroid over several days in October.

“An analysis of the new data conducted by NASA’s Near-Earth Object Program Office at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, shows that the risk of collision in 2040 has been eliminated,” NASA declared Friday.

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All Charges Dropped Against British ‘UFO Hacker’ Gary McKinnon

Gary McKinnon can now be referred to as “the man who hacked NASA and the Pentagon and got away with it all.” Via the Daily Mail:

Gary McKinnon’s ten-year nightmare was finally over yesterday after police and prosecutors decided he will not stand trial in Britain. The computer hacker won his fight against extradition two months ago when Theresa May blocked US demands to send him there. Now Director of Public Prosecutions Keir Starmer has announced that the 46-year-old Asperger’s sufferer will not face criminal charges in this country either.

His mother Janis Sharp said: ‘This will be the 11th Christmas since his arrest and it is the first time we can celebrate. If extradited, Mr McKinnon, from Wood Green, North London, faced up to 60 years behind bars for hacking into Pentagon and NASA computers looking for the existence of ‘little green men’.

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