CONTRARY BRIN: Space updates – mostly great science… and a bit of UFOs

Is this worth pondering as another worry on our plate? A year or so ago astronomers were saying “Don’t worry (much) about Betelgeuse going supernova any time soon,” despite the earlier nerves set off by the Great Dimming Episode. Now? A new paper says “Never mind that nevermind!”

This is from the conclusion: “We conclude that Betelgeuse should currently be in a late phase (or near the end) of the core carbon burning. After carbon is exhausted in the core, a core-collapse leading to a supernova explosion is expected in a few tens years.”  

Yipe, do bear in mind there are many sage astronomers who disagree. Anyway, we’re told that 150 pc seems a reasonably safe distance. It’d need to be within 50pc (160 light years) to have appreciable effects, except maybe to astronauts. Uh, one hopes. Still here’s an interesting question!  Ron Paludan on my FB feed asked “Do we know of any other stars with probable exoplanets that would be closer to Betelgeuse?”

Good one! I’d give it high priority! In fact I am making this an open call for anyone out there to check which known exoplanets might be closest to Betelgeuse! It should be easy to start by eliminating any that aren’t in the upper half of Orion!

If we do find a life world in the danger zone, then it suddenly becomes among our top reasons to forge ahead to interstellar flight! What better job for our g-g-grandkids than as protectors!

== Closer to home ==

A new ‘quasi-moon’ discovered near Earth has been traveling in tandem with our planet since 100 BCE.  

Congratulations ESA/Europe for launching the JUICE mission to study Jupiter’s moons and maybe confirm oceans under the ice!

Do the moons of Uranus hold water? A re-analysis of 1980s Voyager data has led NASA scientists to conclude that four of Uranus’ largest moons—Ariel, Umbriel, Titania, and Oberon—probably contain water oceans below their icy crusts. These oceans are likely dozens of kilometers deep and probably fairly salty in being sandwiched between the upper ice and inner rock core, heated by radioactive decay.  This raises to double digits the number of likely ‘ice-roofed oceans’ in the Solar system. Implying that such worlds might be the principal sites of liquid water all across the universe…

…rendering talk of ‘goldilocks zones’ to specialized speculations of only Earth-style ‘open oceans’ exposed to the sky. That’s still an important distinction… it seems unlikely we’ll find tech-using peers under any of those ice roofs. But simpler life is another matter. It is likely everywhere.

Data from the Cassini spacecraft points to the presence of phosphates on Saturn’s icy moon Enceladus. A key ingredient for life.

The NASA/JPL mission to the metal asteroid Psyche appears to be back on! Set for launch in October of 2023.

NASA’s Juno spacecraft has spotted short bursts that make up lightning bolts on Jupiter, showing that Jovian lightning works in much the same way as it does on Earth. 

A Webb telescope image of Uranus shows the planet’s rings in detail and its unique inclination. Unlike Earth, which spins on an axis of 23.4 degrees, Uranus rotates at an angle of almost 90 degrees, NASA says. This extreme tilt makes Uranus the only planet to rotate almost completely on its side. Images also of storm clouds and a polar ice cap!

This particular cave “…is located near the moon’s South Pole, an area rich in water ice and other valuable resources that could be used for life support, fuel, and construction materials.” Um, what ‘other’ resources? The only ‘lunar resources’ with any near term validity are those potential ice fields. But sure. we’ve funded robotic cave explorer designs at NASA’s Innovative & Advanced Concepts program – (NIAC). See other potentially useful pit caves

“During its relatively short time monitoring the interior of Mars, NASA’s  InSight seismographic lander detected hundreds of marsquakes, giving us detailed information about the Martian interior. From this, scientists were able to compile the first detailed map of the guts of Mars, and learn more about the state of Mars’ interior activity. In 2021, InSight logged two tremendous events on the opposite side of the planet: a giant marsquake bigger than anything the lander had detected, and a meteorite impact that rattled Mars.” Result: Mars’s center is a liquid iron alloy, with surprisingly large amounts of sulfur and oxygen mixed in.

Fascinating and gorgeous new images of details of the Sun’s surface, especially around sunspots.

A space probe operated by the United Arab Emirates has taken the most detailed photos yet of the Martian moon Deimos. Flying within 62 miles of the little moon, the probe, called Hope, got the closest to Deimos of any spacecraft since NASA’s Viking 2 mission in 1977.”  Alas, ultraviolet and infrared readings indicate Deimos is more similar in composition to Mars’ surface than to a carbon-rich space rock. Too bad. Had they been carbonaceous with volatiles beneath the surface, they might have become important ISRU filling stations for Mars missions.

== Oy… why is it always aliens? ==

Among the many cult misconceptions spread by Hollywood is that – of course – ‘aliens have already picked up our radio and TV.” 

In fact, Jim Benford and others showed that even when Earth was at its ‘noisiest’ in the 1980s, our tech emissions faded into background unless you aimed a dish at us the size of Connecticut. Now a research team has updated this result for today’s proliferation ofd cell phone radio. Folks at Mauritius U in Africa, and Manchester U, and SETI in California “…conclude that any nearby civilization located within 10 light years of Earth and equipped with a receiving system comparable to ours would not detect the Earth’s mobile tower leakage.”  The article cites me in several places. 

As for the damned UFO mania? Well, this time I’ll limit my response. Though Again and again I repeat:

I’ve studied ‘the alien’ for 60 years from astrophysics to SETI to sci fi. I’ve got an ‘open mind’ to notions of other being!  Alas, I do NOT see any evidence for (nor want) contact with silvery teaser jerks violating every physical law while acting exactly (exactly!) like nasty forest elves feared by our ancestors. Today a MILLION times as many active cameras as the 50s catch ever-fuzzier ‘images’, mostly explicable easily – though for those ‘tictacs’ — those that haven’t already been easily explained by Mick West — see my ‘cat-laser’ theory that does not require loony-sadistic superduper silverguys breaking every physical law. 

(And my theory – in my posting: What’s Really up with UAPs/UFOs? offers a very, very easy and straightforward experimental test.)

Worst of all about this cult mania that erupts like bad acne, about twice per decade, is the insult to the tens of thousands of TOP people who by now would have studied any crashed ships, across eighty years

The cult yammerers never tabulate that. Tens… of… thousands of our best people!  (I know a lot of our ‘best people’ who feel snubbed, ’cause THEY were never invited to study no UFOs!)

Learn to recognize when you are in a cult.


Oh… finally… someone tell Zach Weinersmith that there’s more to his story about Svetlana Savitskaya than he might have worked out with the beautiful brunette here

Source link