byPublished on 03-09-2014 08:15 AM
Why would NASA want to visit Europa, Jupiter's fourth largest and the solar system's sixth largest moon? Beyond curiosity, the simple answer is: water.
Europa is believed to have 2 to 3 times more water than we do here on Earth, making it appealing in an age where water is not only a sign of life but a commodity nations will not stop to fight over.
Europa is believed to have a water layer 62 miles thick, a portion of which is believed to be frozen.
According to Michael Shara of the Museum of Natural History:
"If we can figure out a way of putting a probe through [Europa's] ice — and the ice may be hundreds of yards thick, it could be very difficult to do this — but if we could put a probe down that could melt its way through the ice, and then send out little submarines, who knows what we could find down there. It would be fascinating to go look. I think we have no choice but to go look. We must do it."
The latest budget proposal from NASA has some 15 million set aside to send a probe to Europa. No confirmation has been made yet regarding how this proposal is moving forward.byPublished on 02-22-2014 02:57 AM
SETI Astronomer Seth Shostak is predicting that alien, extra terrestrial life will be discovered within two dozen years.
His reasoning being that scientists will have scanned millions of star systems by that period of time, giving us a "strong chance" to find E.T.
"Instead of looking at a few thousand star systems, which is the tally so far, we will have looked at maybe a million star systems" 24 years from now, Shostak said. "A million might be the right number to find something."
It is traditionally believed that one in five star systems has a planet where life might spring up.
"That's a fantastically large percentage. That means in our galaxy, there's on the order of tens of billions of Earth-like worlds."
It all sounds good in theory, however obtaining the funding to scan star systems for the next 20 to 25 years will cost a large sum of money -- for the SETI, an organization that is allegedly run through private donations.
byPublished on 02-09-2014 09:39 PM
The Mars Rover has captured this shot of the Earth almost perfectly aligned with the moon.
If a human were standing on the Mars' surface, both the Earth and its moon would look like "very bright evening stars" according to space ref.
The distance of the Earth from Mars is an approximate 99 million miles from the time the photo was taken.
More information on the photo can be found on the NASA JPL site here.byPublished on 01-27-2014 05:48 AM
Many science and space enthusiasts are familiar with the DARPA project -- ostensibly it is a government subsidized program which funds defense research (which reportedly has a cozy $3 billion budget).
Meet the latest endeavor, Robosimian, a cross between a chimp and a spider and a chimpanzee. The four legged machine was constructed to provide disaster relief, by a team of NASA-JPL engineers.
It's part of the DARPA Robotics challenge, which emerged from the Fukushima 2011 disaster -- as an attempt to use robotics as a means to help during natural or man-made disasters.
"During the first 24 hours there, if [robots] had been able to go into the reactor buildings and vent the built-up gas that was accumulating inside the reactors, those explosions might have been prevented, and the disaster might not have been as severe," Gill Pratt, program manager of the DARPA Robotics Challenge told Space.com
To see video of the robot in action (hopefully just as a demo) view the video from JPL below.
byPublished on 01-23-2014 09:10 PM
Here is the info that I can provide. Please understand that this does not represent all the information that I would like to give you, but as you know, there are other concerns that limit the scope of what I can discuss. All will come in due time, rest assured. In the meanwhile (and in brief):
Yes, it's been a "long time" since the initial announcement. Of course it only seems like a long time because normally tv companies don't announce projects that they are working on that early on. As some of you know, I originally come from the video game industry and this kind of timing of early project announcements are the norm. There is no secret here, and there have been no problems, disruptions, time limits, or anything else that has taken place since the initial announcement to cause a "delay" of any kind. There has been no actual project "delay." It has all been good.
During all this time, the primary thing that has been worked on is the story/writing/script(s). Space:2099 is very character centric set against huge backdrop that is loaded with implications and discovery. The overall universe setting is very robust.
What this means is that the writing has been approached from two different angles. 1.) Who are the characters and what are their physical, personal and emotional journeys? - And (2.) What is the universe/environment/situation that this is all taking place in? How did it come to be? What are the larger scale machinations? Who/What/Why? Does it all make sense?
We have been big believers in plausibility and making sure that the premise and bible is as detailed and as carefully thought through as possible (even if it is never depicted in series.) This is the stage that we are placing our characters in and if it doesn't make sense, then our characters probably won't either.
So anyway, all that takes time. We have been working with ITV very closely during all this. Their TV development people have been bringing great ideas to the table and we have been going back and forth with script drafts for many months. It has been, and continues to be, a comprehensive process.
Where we are now:
We have reached a point in the development process where we are all comfortable with the amount that has been written and the direction of the project. ITV itself is very excited about what they have on their hands and the team at HDFILMS is appreciative of all of ITV's help and support as Space: 2099 has developed. Obviously I am personally excited too. It is in great shape. Visual effects tests and etc. are all part of what is complete.
As of last week, ITV has initiated discussions with various networks/distributors/destinations in regard to what will be the right home for this tremendous series. (Over the last year and a half we have had many networks/destinations inquire about the project, so in addition to reaching out to new networks we are also following up.) We will see where that takes us. Feedback and interest has been extremely positive because as you know Space: 1999 is now one of the last unexplored major science fiction television brands there is and is a big opportunity for a network/destination to distinguish itself with it.
Regarding the actual CONTENT of Space: 2099:
To be clear, Space: 2099 is not Space: 1999. It is not a continuation of Space: 1999 in any way. There is a reason it is called Space: 2099 and not Space: 1999. In the Battlestar Galactica reboot, the new series was called BATTLESTAR GALACTICA. Same title. "V" kept the same title as "V." It is important to understand this distinction.
With that being said, as I mentioned in a previous interview,
Space: 2099's goal is not to attempt to re-tell the specific story of Space: 1999. We are not trying to make some "dark and gritty" version of Space: 1999. There is no reason to re-tell the Space: 1999 story since we already have Space: 1999! However, through our new story and presentation, Space: 2099 hopes to re-kindle and remind fans of those memories of a show from 35 years ago, but more importantly help bring back to all science fiction fans that sense of awe, fear and incredible spectacle that is the unknown, unexplored universe. It is important that we endeavor to bring something new and exciting to the table.
Additionally, we have gained some insight by reading and listening to the Space: 1999 community in terms of some thoughts, concerns, fears, and assumptions that can and will be made as the Space: 2099 story is digested. Knowing some of this has helped us craft an even more compelling story and universe, putting in twists and turns that specifically will tap into some of these fan assumptions and then suddenly shatter them with a completely unexpected turn of events. It's exciting stuff. In some ways, established fans will have more fun with Space: 2099 because of this factor -
"Oh god, I totally can see that the show is going to be all about this now… I knew it would go in this direction. I just knew it. So lame. See, that's what I was telling you in the first place, hollywood always has to ruin and do the traditional… OH MY GOD NO WAY THATS CRAZY!! WHAT? NO WAY? NO WAY! THEY LET THEM DO THAT???"
At this point, that is all the information I can provide. I know it's not a lot, but please understand that I am not authorized to discuss much about the project at this point. First and foremost I am a fan of Space: 1999 so please know that it is extremely hard for me not to share more information about the story and everything. I have to sit and see everyone get frustrated and watch people write personal attacks on me as they vent. I don't mind the personal attacks, because I understand. Just know that I'm doing everything I can.
For those fans who are hugely disappointed that these efforts are not specifically about making a new, exact, Space:1999 or a continuance of the Space: 1999 from the 70's- I understand your wish and desire in this area and I hope that one day such a vision can get put together in a way that can attract a large sustainable audience. People are always free to make that case to ITV. I am certainly not against it in any way. The Space: 2099 project was never intended to be that and ITV is the ultimate entity that decides what they believe is viable in the marketplace at this time. Perhaps in great success of Space: 2099, a Space: 1999 series or film such as the one described above might get an opportunity.
That's it for now. Please know that we all really appreciate all of the fan patience and support. We are collectively working hard to make something great and no time is being wasted.
JacebyPublished on 01-20-2014 04:08 AM
2013 was a very big year for privatized space exploration. ...byPublished on 01-11-2014 04:44 AM
This remarkable clip records the ambient sounds of electrons deflecting off of the Earth's outer atmosphere.
What results is a slew of sounds that are eerily reminiscent, dare we say identical, to animals walking and birds chirping in a tropical rainforest.
More information on the video and the recording process is available here.
byPublished on 01-04-2014 04:35 AM
NASA has published their perspective on what it would take to
achieve warp drive.
But recent speculation and research amongst astrophysicists has once again sparked the question as to the plausibility of warp drive (i.e. traveling at a speed faster than light).
“Space has been expanding since the Big Bang 13.7 billion years ago,” said Dr. White, 43, who runs the research project told the New York Times.
“And we know that when you look at some of the cosmology models, there were early periods of the universe where there was explosive inflation, where two points would’ve went receding away from each other at very rapid speeds. Nature can do it,” he added. “So the question is, can we do it?”
This leads us to a discussion over the Alcubierre Warp Drive, which stretches spacetime in a wave causing the fabric of space ahead of a spacecraft to contract and the space behind it to expand.
How will it work with a spaceship?
“In this way, the spaceship will be pushed away from the Earth and pulled towards a distant star by space-time itself,” Dr. Alcubierre wrote. Dr. White, the NYT reports, has likened it to stepping onto a moving walkway at an airport.
Richard Obousy, a physicist who is president of Icarus Interstellar, a nonprofit group composed of volunteers collaborating on starship design, said “it is not airy-fairy, pie in the sky. We tend to overestimate what we can do on short time scales, but I think we massively underestimate what we can do on longer time scales.”
Perhaps one of the foremost names in the field of astrophysics, Neil Degrasse Tyson has spoken out about the issue in the past:
“Routine travel among the stars is impossible without new discoveries regarding the fabric of space and time, or capability to manipulate it for our needs…By my read, the idea of a functioning warp drive remains far-fetched, but the real take-away is that people are thinking about it — reminding us all that the urge to explore continues to run deep in our species.”
Every idea and advancement that we call “modern” or “mainstream” has at one time been considered far-fetched – from flying a plane at Mach 1 to skydiving from space.
What makes warp drive any different?
For more on the quotes and discoveries mentioned above, view the story here on the daily galaxy.byPublished on 12-28-2013 05:28 AM
NASA has included a tidy, 3 minute video highlighting their major space accomplishments this year.
No surprises to see the Mars Rover landing and the Space X launch -- bonus content includes the Chelyabinsk meteor that hit Russia back in February. Anything else they missed?
byPublished on 12-14-2013 02:00 AM
Scientists are communicating to the United States Congress that they have the technology to find life on alien planets…they just need the money to pay for it.
"This is the first time in human history we have the technological reach to find life on other planets," Sara Seager, a planetary scientist at MIT, said at a House Committee on Science, Space and Technology hearing today.
"People will look back at us as the [generation] who found Earth-like worlds."
At the root of these advancements is the field of astrobiology, which is the study of the evolution and origin of life in the universe. Said Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D., Texas) “Astrobiology has become a crosscutting theme of all NASA space science endeavors..”
Thusly continued funding is important. The Kepler Mission, led by the 550 million Kepler spacecraft, has identified more than 3,500 potential planets outside Earth's solar system, including 10 that are Earth-size and lie within their star's habitable zone.
Almost 50 years after we’ve landed on the moon, humanity is now in an era when it can provide data for whether life exists elsewhere in the universe. The question is, do politicians want to fork over the money to pay for it?
If we do, finding alien life could be a realistic accomplishment within the next decade, but that would most likely require a next generation telescope that goes beyond the James Webb. Currently the Webb is priced at around 9 billion dollars or approximately half of NASA’s overall budget.
All of this adds up to a lot of money, and a lot of what if’s particularly if we do actually find intelligent life.
Then what are we supposed to do…and would that be considered a good or a bad thing?byPublished on 10-09-2013 09:43 PM
It was a question posed by Neil deGrasse Tyson, in response to the success of the film Gravity:
Why would our society shrug our shoulders at the current strides being taken to expand our harbors deeper into space (sometimes going to great lengths to cut our space budget) but remain fascinated by fictional tales of space exploration?
It was Alfred Hitchcock who said that “drama is life with the dull bits cut out.” Certainly this provides a rationale to why fictional accounts of space exploration are more interesting than real life events – I can’t recall a film based on space exploration that pushed a launch back three days because of cold weather.
But that explanation is of course a bit simple, dare we say trite. The real reason most people would seem to prefer seeing a sci-fi film is that our society hasn’t been able to successful conceptualize the importance of space exploration in real life. Modern day sci-fi films put characters in situations where it is a matter of life and death, and outer space more often than not just happens to provide the setting for the external conflict.
Space exploration in the real world has almost never been about our immediate survival, save for the occasional event where a mission has gone wrong. We haven’t needed to throw together a two month mission to stop an asteroid or fight off an alien invasion. Space exploration has simply been a privilege to quell our curiosity, not help us survive.
Because of this, the stakes have been painted as low, and thus "not interesting."
This reveals one of the most fundamental features of our modern society: our interests are very short term. It’s why so many people prefer the slot machines to betting long. Why day traders aim for buying a nice condo, but investors seek to purchase a city block.
We don’t appreciate the slow burn, the journey of learning and potentially traveling towards a new destination, we care for short lived thrills, ones that are almost never based in reality because we don’t want to think that we’re in a truly vulnerable position floating around on this planet we call Earth.
While NASA is replaced by various, privatized space industries, which continue to grow, they do so under the radar, outside of the occasional mention of a hyperloop (which, by the way, helps us reduce our journey and move us along quicker).
But what’s the rush?
Why is a fictional event painted as life or death, with little to no base of reality, more exciting than advancing our real life explorations?
Why would we invest in one and seemingly ignore the other?
It’s who we’ve become. We’re a society of impulse buyers driven by online merchants who accelerate us into one-click buys. Love stories that are driven by lust and not love, because one’s quicker to tell than the other.
It’s too bad; if we sat back and enjoyed the ride more often we’d see everything we’re accomplishing. We’d realize our investments are paying off, and it might not be a bad idea to shift our focus away from the sights and sounds of fiction and more towards the trials and accomplishments of reality.byPublished on 09-20-2013 05:57 PM
The moon. It’s one of the most fascinating objects in the night sky, and forever close to the hearts of Space 1999 fans.
But who owns it?
In 1967, the Outer Space Treat declared that everything in space is “common heritage of mankind.” Meaning everyone is entitled to the land, and it belongs to no specific individual.
But that didn’t stop Dennis Hope from sending a letter to the United Nations discussing his intent to acquire hundreds of millions acres on the moon.
"I sent the United Nations a declaration of ownership detailing my intent to subdivide and sell the moon and have never heard back…There is a loophole in the treaty—it does not apply to individuals."
He didn’t hear anything back.
The main reason his response fell on deaf ears was most likely because the Treaty applies to both the Nations and the PEOPLE of the nation (after all what’s a nation without its people).
That hasn’t stopped Hope from selling off millions of acres for 20 dollars a pop, his biggest sale being a 2.6 million acre piece of land for a whopping quarter of million dollars. Hope has also formed his own Galactic Government, to regulate his purchases on the moon and on Pluto, Mars, Venus, and Jupiter’s fourth largest moon, Lo. All of which he has declared his own property.
Technically, what he’s doing isn’t illegal. At any given time, you can go the moon, set up your own camp, and you will not be arrested for trespassing or squatting. Logistics of course prevent us from doing this – but what happens when technology evolves to where this becomes a possibility?
The United Nations does not recognize the ownership of extraterrestrial bodies, mainly because it doesn’t want to force the hands of countries to have to defend their citizens in a battle of international real estate.
What is specified however is that in order to own anything in space, you either have to a) have put it there or b) be the rightful owner of the orbit. The latter meaning you have to request permission with the United Nations to send an object into orbit, AND use the space that you request. Ostensibly, you can’t declare an area your orbital space and then do nothing with it, creating your own no-fly zone.
The bottom line is that humans are still too focused on our own internal boundaries on Earth to discuss the legalities of life beyond our port.
But that could change very quickly, especially if, say, an alien landed on our planet and INVADED our boundaries. What if they came in peace (unlikely) but a human decided to execute them, anyway?
It’s considered animal cruelty to murder an animal for no humane reason, would the same accord not be upheld for an extra terrestrial species?
All of these points are explicated and laid out in the below video from YouTuber Vsauce. They aren’t questions that are impending in 2013, but that doesn’t make them irrelevant.
We could be discussing them sooner than we think.
byPublished on 07-29-2013 07:12 AM
elastic battery." Today, we get a look at how researchers are using similar technology to turn your skin into a computer, more specifically, a digital interface.
The key is extremely thin elastic foils that can stick to almost anything, ostensibly turning any object, or part of your body, into an electric circuit board. In a recently published article in Nature Magazine and on i09, scientists have "manufactured integrated organic circuits onto ultrathin (1 micron) plastic films, also known as polymer foils."
The electronic foils are just 2 microns thick, or roughly one fifth as thick as kitchen plastic wrap, and are 30 times lighter than office paper. We couldn’t find any word on cost, but given that the film comes in “big rolls”, the foils can be manufactured on a large scale.
The foils, which to the untrained eye appear as basic stickers, can be applied almost anywhere in the body, including the roof of a person's mouth. One of the engineers behind the foils, Martin Kaltenbrunner, said "If you imagine a person that cannot communicate with anything but their tongue, this would be a nice interface...They could give yes or no answers by touching different spots of the sensor, and the device can conform so nicely that it wouldn't be painful to wear."
The ability to place a circuit board almost anywhere on the human body, or a robot for that matter, creates an amazing level of simplicity, not to mention the amount of materials saved from a circuit board that is about as thin as a piece of paper. With the upcoming “Google Glass” growing in anticipation, one has to wonder if there are any bounds to where computing and digital engineering can literally stretch (or take place).
Kaltenbrunner already sees the advancement in a more futuristic approach, one that could perhaps borrow from many sci-fi movies in the past:
"I really like the idea of making thin-film plastic electronics that you can place on everything...We are getting really close to what I've seen in sci-fi movies, where you just touch a surface and it does something."byPublished on 07-15-2013 06:23 PM
According to a pair of researchers, it’s possible there could have been two moons lighting up the night sky – approximately four billion years ago. The theory was originally established and published in 2011, but has since gained steam as a point of discussion.
Said Dr. Erik Asphaug, one of the co-authors of the thesis:
"All planets except the Earth, that have a moon, have more than one…So it is unusual that we have only 'the Moon,' so this itself is an oddity that would need to be explained."
But the theory expands beyond a simple numbers game. The giant impact theory hypothesizes the impact of a planet-sized meteor on Earth resulted in coalesced fragments to form the moon. This would explain how the moon was created, but also assert that MORE than one moon originally formed.
"When this happens, the usual end result is not a single moon, but several moons (or even dozens of them), that then gobble each other up until there is one.
The end result would have been craters that collided over millions of years to form one moon.”
That theory has been put to test in NASA’S GRAIL Mission, which found no CONCLUSIVE evidence to support OR DENY the theory. Something Dr. Asphaug, the original author saw as a positive.
“In science we earn a living by falsifying hypotheses, not just coming up with them…so I have no grudge against those who are working hard to disprove it -- that's the name of the game!"
While there is neither definite evidence tosupport a second moon or to declare where it “may have gone”, we in the sci-fi community, particularly as Space 1999 fans can generate plenty of hypothesis (storylines) of our own.
Instead of a collision, could an external force have caused it to abandon/leave its orbit?
If an object that shared the organic compounds (life) of earth was sent off into nearby or distant galaxies, what possible consequences could this event have caused?byPublished on 07-01-2013 08:11 PM
It was announced and later unveiled late last week that Japan will be sending their first talking space robot into orbit. Kirobo, which in Japanese translates to “Hope Robot”, will launch towards the International Space Station on August 4th of this year.
While on board, Kirobo will have the first ever conversation between veteran Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata. Standing at little over a foot, Kirobo possesses voice-recognition technology, natural language processing, facial and emotion recognition and the ability to speak Japanese.
Kirobo realizes a major step in partnering artificial intelligence with earthlings endeavors in outer-space, something science fiction hasn’t always taught us to be the best idea (must we remember 2001 a Space Odyssey and Aliens).
Some of our fondest moments of Space 1999 featured the presence and PERSONA’S of artificial intelligence, particularly Brian the Brain in Season 2.
While it turned out his moral compass was off, his musings provided a light-hearted humor one usually would not connote with technology, at least not in the modern age. But primarily, theepisode represented how mis-understood and potentially dangerous artificialintelligence can become for humans, especially within the bounds of outer space.
With this, Sci-Fi has often taught us that artificial intelligence can be both good and bad -- as JAXA (Japanese Space Agency) takes a major step towards assimilating robots withtheir human astronauts (an act that it should be noted was commercially driven by Toyota) we’d be remiss to not examine the possible consequences that could accompany this advancement.
In the infant stages of Kirobo, its most likely too soon to project any substantial damage a robot of Kirobo’s size and nature could present, but as we project the role of Kirobo towards the year 2099, what worries should be present?
What possible role could robots play in the year 2099?