Space: News | Strange Ideas
2/7/2006 Space / Comets / Panspermia. Water Ice found on comet. You can join the search for comet particles...
Some believe life on our planet was seeded from comets, that space is swimming with life. In July 2005 a NASA mission hurled an 820-pound projectile into the comet Tempel-1, producing a crater and a dust cloud to analyze. The results:
"We ... saw absorption-spectrum bands that are very characteristic of the structure of water ice," Sunshine said. "The surface is about 5 percent ice, and the rest is just dark dirt. So it's like a very dirty skating rink." - natgeo
What about the other 95%? Will organic molecules (ethanol, carbon dioxide, etc.) be discovered in the "dark dirt"l? The comet dust collected and returned to Earth by another mission is still being examined. In fact, you can help. Pre-register at Stardust@home to help scientists search millions of photos to find particles captured in the Stardust Probe's gel. I'm like totally doing this dude. Geek out! What if there is like a little super small UFO in there or something!? Any one of us could be the first to see something awesome. I want to see this stuff.
"The job is roughly equivalent to searching for 45 ants in an entire football field, one 5cm by 5cm (2 inch by 2 inch) square at a time! More than 1.6 million individual fields of view will have to searched to find the interstellar dust grains. We estimate that it would take more than twenty years of continuous scanning for us to search the entire collector by ourselves." - berkeley
1/20/2006 Space. Captured dust from comet returned to Earth!
Aerogel is 99.8 percent air! Amazing.
Humanity got its first close-up look at particles from a comet this morning, as thrilled scientists unveiled images of the microscopic grains at a NASA press conference. ... "This exceeded all of our grandest expectations," said Stardust scientist Don Brownlee of the University of Washington. "We're absolutely thrilled." Considering all the things that can go wrong in spaceflight, he said, "it's totally remarkable to have a fully successful mission." The seven-year Stardust mission ended Sunday, when the robotic space capsule plunged to Earth and landed by parachute in Utah. During its mission it flew by a comet, Wild 2. Like a tennis player raising his racket, Stardust extended a waffle iron-like capturing device filled with a super-lightweight substance called aerogel. Cometary particles -- possibly millions of them -- flew into, and were trapped within, the aerogel. Stardust also captured a far smaller number of particles of interstellar dust from the Milky Way outside our galaxy. When NASA scientists gingerly opened the Stardust capsule at a lab in Houston on Tuesday, they "were totally overwhelmed" by what they saw, Brownlee told reporters at the press conference. In the translucent capture material, "you could see hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of tracks" of particles that had rammed into the aerogel faster than rifle bullets, Brownlee said. Some particle impact tracks are so big that they're visible across a room." - sfgate
7/5/2005 Space. Movie of Tempel 1 Approach.
This is pretty neat. Best ever view of a comet up close. Looks pretty much like an asteroid. Click image for Quicktime Video.
7/2/2005 Space. Earth Strikes Back! Watch Live Tomorrow as the Earth (USA) Attacks a Real Space Comet!
Comets have been frightening people on our planet for thousands of years. Now we are striking back, for the first time in human history, we are going up to attack one. The lucky winner? Comet Tempel 1. This is like "hitting a bullet with a bullet while watching from another bullet".
This 5.5 year mission will return the most detailed comet pictures ever and scientists hope to learn what is inside this comet by hitting it with a 317 pound hunk of copper. Many think comets, in one way or another, are the source of life on Earth. Read about panspermia, a very old and new idea.
6/10/2005 Space / Blog / Satire. Earth (the USA, that is) Plans Attack on Comet for Independence Day.
When the Deep Impact probe fired a missile at the Tempel 1 comet in the early hours of July 3, 2005, we were on an innocent mission of exploration. Unfortunately, the Galactic Council viewed our attack on a harmless comet and the peaceful intelligent Comacians inside as an aggressive first strike. They therefore directed a large lifeless meteor at the Earth as a mild slap on the wrist. I guess that is why there were no humans left on the planet in the year 2006, son.
"A direct hit from the 800lb projectile could blow a crater the size of a football stadium into the 3.7-mile comet nucleus, throwing out clouds of debris. The mother ship will watch the collision from 300 miles away as its instruments analyse the cosmic smash for insights into the structure and composition of comets." - timesonline
1/13/2005 Space: Deep Impact was launched yesterday, 12 January 2005, from Launch Pad 17-B, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. Photos and data will be returned to Earth when the Impactor crashes onto the surface of Comet Tempel 1 on 04 July, 2005.
See our article on Panspermia to see why this is very interesting indeed. Will Deep Impact's data support the idea that life on Earth came from comets?
1/7/04: Panspermia: Rferel.org says Dr. Richard Taylor of the Probability Research Group studies solar-system phenomena. Microscopic life preserved inside comets, deep beneath the surface, where it can be protected from radiation and other hazards, he said, is "almost certain. At least 10 of the bodies in the solar system -- ranging from the polar regions around Mercury, out to the satellite of Pluto -- have subsurface conditions in which microbial life can exist. On Earth, 56 percent of all the mass of life is microbial, very deep under the surface." See our article on Panspermia. For example, 200 meters (656 feet) below Idaho, nature reports, bacteria are living on basalt rock.
1/5/2004: Danger From Space Comets: Looking out for nature's weapons of mass destruction: University astronomer warns about danger from above.
Read Plato. "... after the usual interval, the stream from heaven, like a pestilence, comes pouring down, and leaves only those of you who are destitute of letters and education; and so you have to begin all over again like children, and know nothing of what happened in ancient times, either among us or among yourselves." - Timaeus
1/2/2004: Comet Photo: January 2, 2004 PASADENA, Calif. (AP) -- NASA has released the first picture taken from its Stardust spacecraft of the comet Wild (pronounced "vilt") 2 as the vehicle scooped up less than a thimbleful of dust from the heavenly body. The black-and-white image was taken at a distance of about 311 miles from the comet. ... The visit is going on 242 million miles from Earth.
The space craft is called stardust. Are the folks in charge of this mission are aware of the panspermia hypothesis that life on earth originated as bacterial / fungal spores from comets? Yes, but they don't seem to consider in their analysis that the inside of comets could have liquid water because when they are born they contain aluminum-26 which decays with enough nuclear energy to keep them melted for several million years. Anyway, here is an amazing close up of the above picture. Hey, where is the tail?