15 Feb 2012

We previously talked about the team drilling through Antarctic ice to get to Lake Vostok, finally they have reached the lake (after 20 years of drilling).  The team finally made it to the “alien” lake, so now the search for submerged UFO’s can begin.  Well, maybe not submerged UFO’s but definitely very unique science possibilities, such as new microbiological life forms.

A Russian news agency recently reported that they stopped drilling at a depth of 3,768 meters (~2 miles) and reached the surface of the lake.  There was a period of time where there was initial concern regarding the crew’s safety as they hadn’t heard back from the team for over 5 days.

Many scientific discoveries await the team as the lake has been isolated from outside influence, including possibly, air, for over 20 million years.   One area of interest is to study the lake to help scientists better understand climate change.

As I mentioned in the first article related to this subject, studying this lake and its conditions can be useful in understanding Jupiter’s moon Europa.

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18 Jan 2012

Scientists are attempting to get to a lake that exists under 2 miles of Antarctica’s ice.  The lake is called Lake Ellsworth and is 7 miles long by 1 mile wide and 500 feet deep.  This lake is isolated from outside influence for hundreds of thousands of years.  They are expecting to find microorganisms.  Scientists say this is just one of many lakes that have been discovered in the region. 

They began drilling early this year, but work has since stopped and may not resume until November 2012.  They use a hot water drill, one of the largest ever built, with a hose 2.2 miles long.

It would seem logical, that such drilling could be used as a practice and a model for such drilling on many of the ice covered moons, such as Jupiter's Europa.  Europa's ice is actually much thicker at around 6 to 19 miles thick.  NASA hopes to explore and drill such locations via robotic instruments in the near future in similar searches for life, but budget cuts have prevented such missions from occurring, at least for now.

Further details on this topic can be found here.

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12 Jan 2012

                                             2012 Apocalypse as depicted in the movie 2012
Well we have arrived in the year 2012, which many predict will be the last year for Earth, as it is supposed to end on December 21st, 2012.  Have you gathered up your paper products and canned foods yet?  Folks, rest assured that the rumors of our demise have been greatly exaggerated.  We will most likely see December 22nd and 2013 so sleep easy.  The Earth is always under various threats from Mother Nature and space, but there are no known threats to this magnitude for 2012.

3 main reasons why there will not be an apocalypse in 2012:

  • The Earth has been around for 4 billion years, there is no known threats for 2012.

  • The origin of this theory for 2012 is related to a planet called Nibiru, a planet discovered (or claimed to have been) by the Sumerians.  This planet was to head for Earth and cause mass destruction (Sounds like a few movies doesn't it).  Originally predicted for 2003 it now got bumped up to 2012.  This was linked to the end of the Mayan calendar at the winter solstice in 2012, so therefore arose the claims of a 2012 Apocalypse.

  • So, that brings us to the next question, does the Mayan calendar really end December 21st 2012?  No, this calendar does not just end and vanish on that date.  The date Dec 21st, 2012 is just the end of the Mayan long-count period, however, then a new long-count period begins for the Mayan calendar after this.

You can read more on this subject in greater detail in the article published by Space.com.

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22 Dec 2011

The Top 11 in 11

Here is a brief survey of the top technology, gadgets and science articles that made headlines in 2011.  We could not include everything in this list, but here are the top 11 of 2011.

This list includes the iPAD2, CPUs that operate like a brain, the Higgs Boson, Neutrinos faster than light and the Kindle Fire to name a few:

Up first...

11.  iPad2 launched


22 Nov 2011

The newest and biggest NASA mission to the Red Planet to date is about to take off.  It will be the first one to land under controlled flight.  It is going to use a multistage landing system, lowering the one-ton rover, via a tether.  NASA is hoping to use this mission as a prototype for rover landings on Mars and other locations.  See the video clip below depicting the animation of the rover landing and operation.

NASA has a window of opportunity that began November 18th and lasts three weeks, with the rover arriving at Mars in the August 2012 timeframe.

18 Nov 2011

Giant Magnet part of the LHCb experiment at the Large Hadron Collider

The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) was created in 2008 to give physicists a glimpse into the mystery of the universe.  The question of why there is an abundance of normal matter, but hardly any opposite matter, called antimatter.  Back then, some groups believed this atomic smasher would usher the end of the world and create a black hole swallowing the Earth.  Everything is still holding together, years later, but what may not be intact is our understanding of modern physics.

New information, possibly explaining why there is more normal matter in the universe could be coming as the result of recent experiments.

15 Nov 2011

Australian physicists have created a new artificial material that changes its structure, in response to light and other forms of radiation.

Unlike natural substances, it doesn’t have fixed physical properties. Under one set of circumstances it may be transparent, but then apply an electromagnetic force, it would compress and become less transparent.  They are calling this material, “Magnetoelastic metamaterial” and it will respond to various levels of electromagnetic radiation, such as visible light or microwaves.

The material works by using a series of "split ring resonators" embedded in the material.  Those resonators become attracted to each other compressing the material itself, after exposure to certain electromagnetic waves.

One example they say, is shining light on glass, it will allow most of the light through, then this mater can allow lower power light through, but high power light (brighter light) and the light passing through becomes diminished.  We are bound to see many commercial applications of this technology in the future.

 Source: Abcscience

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15 Nov 2011

The Higgs boson is a particle which has been theorized, but yet to be observed in the   lab.  This particle is thought to give all other particles their mass and is often referred to as the "God Particle".  Scientists have been searching for it via the LHC (Large Hadron Collider) in Switzerland since 2008.  Future attempts to observe the particle using the LHC have will have to wait until 2012, as they have wrapped up their work for 2011 in relation to Higgs.

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