Tag Archives | Outer Space

Bill Proposed To Create National Park On The Moon

national park on the moonA bill to make summer vacations of the future much more exciting, Space.com reports:

A new bill introduced into Congress would establish the Apollo Lunar Landing Sites National Historical Park on the moon. The bill was introduced Monday by Rep. Donna Edwards of (D-Md.) and co-sponsored by Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas).

The bill calls for no later than one year after the date of enactment of the act, “there shall be established as a unit of the National Park System the Apollo Lunar Landing Sites National Historical Park.”

Creating such a park will expand and enhance the protection and preservation of the Apollo lunar landing sites, the bill states, “and provide for greater recognition and public understanding of this singular achievement in American history.”

The Secretary of the Interior would work with NASA to ensure the proper monitoring of the Apollo lunar landing sites; managing access to the sites; and ensuring an accurate cataloguing of items in the park.

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PayPal And SETI Are Working On An Off-Planet Currency

off-planet currencyEarthly problems are being spread to outer space. The International Business Times reports:

On Thursday, the online payment giant PayPal announced PayPal Galactic, a collaboration with the SETI Institute aimed at developing new payment systems for the final frontier. The frontier is here: Virgin Galactic is launching its first public flight this Christmas, and space hotels could be in orbit around Earth as early as 2016.

“As space tourism programs are opening space travel to ‘the rest of us,’ this drives questions about the commercialization of space,” PayPal President David Marcus said. “One thing is clear: We won’t be using cash in space.”

There are lots of questions about what form a space-friendly money system might take. Will spaceships and habitats have the communications technology needed to transfer money? How will banks manage accounts for people living off-planet? How will government financial regulations pertain to people in space (perhaps to curtail a new kind of “offshore banking”)?

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Why A Genocidal Attack On Earth By Extraterrestrials Is Unlikely

genocidal attack on earthIt may seem as if the world is going to pieces, but here’s some heartening news from Parapolitical, explaining why it would make little sense for an advanced alien race (assuming one exists) to attack humanity:

“MAD with Aliens? Interstellar Deterrence and its Implications” by Janne Korhonen of Finland’s Aalto University, published in the current edition of Acta Astronautica – the journal of the International Academy of Astronautics – explores motivating and demotivating factors for an alien assault against the Earth (or anyplace) and concludes that the conditions of interstellar warfare make such an adventure “too hazardous for an attacker.”

Korhonen identifies key concerns that could preclude a potentially aggressive civilization from choosing to launch a genocidal attack on humanity. “If the light speed limit holds,” Korhonen posits, “all intelligence gathered before an attack is launched will be very much out-of-date by the time the attacking force arrives to the target system.”

Another issue is the inherent inefficiency of attacks with less than one-hundred-percent lethality: “An average growth rate of 1% could repopulate the Earth to seven billion people from only five thousand survivors in little more than 700 years.

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Russia Launches A Variety Of Animals On A Space Journey

space animalsWe know what kinds of rodents and lizards we are sending up into space, but the question is, what sort will return? Yahoo! News:

Geckos, mice and gerbils and other animals launched into orbit Friday to begin a month-long Russian experiment to study how space travel affects living creatures. The space mission, scientists assure, will return the animals to Earth alive.

A Russian-built Soyuz 2 rocket carried the Bion-M1 space capsule, with 45 mice, eight Mongolian gerbils, 15 geckos and numerous other species. They are expected to spend a month in orbit, flying 357 miles above Earth while scientists on the ground monitor the health of the capsule’s passengers.

While the project is run by Russia’s Federal Space Agency, an international team of scientists is overseeing the mission’s many experiments. Bion-M1 is Russia’s first mission dedicated to launching animals into space in 17 years. The last Bion mission carried rhesus monkeys, geckos and amphibians into orbit for 15 days in 1996.

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Mars One To Begin Application Process For One-Way Tickets To Mars

mars oneThe Mars One website lists necessary traits to be eligible, including mid-range height, blood pressure below 140/90, and a curious, resilient personality. The New York Daily News explains:

Mars One, the private company that hopes to land a person on the surface of the red planet by 2023, will begin accepting videos made by prospective astronauts along with a $25 application fee that will go toward funding the ambitious colonization project.

“We expect a million applications with 1-minute videos,” said Bas Lansdorp, Mars One co-founder. So far, 45,000 people have registered on the company’s mailing list, and 10,000 aspiring astronauts have expressed a desire to apply.

The 24 astronauts will be selected to establish a permanent Martian colony, as there are no current plans for a return journey from Mars. At a New York news conference scheduled for April 22, Mars One will further detail how those who are ready to abandon Earth can proceed.

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The Nazi Plan To Build A Deadly Sun-Reflecting Space Mirror

On a more peaceful note, the device would also be used to turn the Arctic and Antarctic poles into verdant gardens. Via io9:

In 1945, Life magazine revealed how “U.S. Army technical experts came up with the astonishing fact that German scientists had seriously planned to build a ‘sun gun’…a gigantic orbital mirror that would “focus the sun’s rays to a scorching point on the earth’s surface.” The German army, readers were told, “hoped to use such a mirror to burn an enemy city or to boil part of an ocean.”

The idea had been originally proposed by the seminal rocket scientist Hermann Oberth in 1923. Oberth thought it might take ten to fifteen years to assemble a complete mirror at a cost of $3 billion. The pressure of sunlight on the vast surface would be used to maneuver it in orbit, with steering accomplished by adjusting the angles of the individual mirrors.

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NASA’s Strangest UFO Anomalies Caught On Film

From LunaCognita, a handy overview of extraterrestrial strangeness:

This compilation includes many of my favorite NASA UFO encounters/sightings that I have archived over the years. All of these examples (with the exception of the second-to-last one) were captured on film by NASA astronauts or Russian Cosmonauts over the past half-century – showing many amazing examples from different eras – Gemini, Apollo, Apollo/Soyuz Test Project, Skylab, STS, the ISS, plus a couple Russian-source additions from their unmanned Zond and Mir Space Station programs as well thrown in to round things out.

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Libra The 21st Century Libertarian Space Colony

Dreaming of planned libertarian communities seems to be all the rage. But perhaps the only place they can succeed is in outer space. Via Smithsonian Magazine, Matt Novak on the 1978 think-tank-produced movie Libra:

Produced and distributed by a free-market group based in San Diego called World Research, Inc., the 40-minute film is set in the year 2003 and gives viewers a look at two vastly different worlds. On Earth, a world government has formed and everything is micromanaged to death, killing private enterprise. But in space, there’s true hope for freedom. Viewers get an interesting peek into what daily life is like when a Libra resident shows off her Abacus computer,  which is a bit like Siri.

The film’s vision for 2003 isn’t very pleasant — at least for those left on Earth. The people of Libra seem happy, while those on Earth cope with the world government’s dystopian top-down management of resources.

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NASA Planning Mission To Search For Life On Jupiter’s Moon Europa

Mars gets the attention, but apparently a moon in the far reaches of our solar system is the spot with the greatest chance of harboring extraterrestrial beings. Via the Sydney Morning Herald:

US astronomers looking for life in the solar system believe that Europa, one of the moons of Jupiter, which has an ocean, is much more promising than desert-covered Mars, which is currently the focus of the US government’s attention.

“Europa is the most likely place in our solar system beyond Earth to possess …. life,” said Robert Pappalardo, a planetary scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). “Europa is the most promising in terms of habitability because of its relatively thin ice shelf and an ocean … And we know there are oxidants on the surface of Europa.”

The JPL and the Applied Physics Laboratory at Johns Hopkins University in Maryland developed a new exploration project named Clipper with a total coast of two billion US dollars minus the launch.

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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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