M Thomas Apple Author Page

Science fiction, actual science, history, and personal ranting about life, the universe, and everything

Super-Earth! Um. Yay?

August 3, 2019
MThomas

SuperEarth?

After completing its first year of observations in the southern sky, NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite has spotted some intriguing new exoplanets only 31 light-years away from Earth.

Um. “Only” 31 light years.

One planet is 22% larger than Earth, has a surface average of around 490ºF, and a year of just under 4 days.

Another is more than 6 times the size of Earth, is a balmy -64ºF, and a year of about 56 days.

But has liquid, and so might have life.

Don’t pack your bags yet….
— Read on www.cnn.com/2019/08/01/world/tess-nearby-super-earth-scn-trnd/index.html

The Trappist Family of Planets has a hard core!

August 2, 2019
MThomas

Trappists

In February of 2017, a team of European astronomers announced the discovery
of a seven-planet system orbiting the nearby star TRAPPIST-1. Aside from
the fact that all seven planets were rocky, there was the added bonus of
three of them orbiting within TRAPPIST-1’s habitable zone. Since that time,
multiple studies have been conducted to determine whether or not any of
these planets could be habitable.

What’s up with the boring names?

I propose we call them Liesl, Friedrich, Louisa, Kurt, Brigitta, Marta, and Gretl. The most habitable is Kurt, because he’s so magnetic.

But the star, of course, is Maria.

Buh-DUM-dum.

Trappist-1
— Read on www.universal-sci.com/headlines/2018/5/5/one-of-the-trappist-1-planets-has-an-iron-core

Full Metal Asteroid! Um. Maybe.

June 24, 2019
MThomas

Psyche

“Final planning stages” usually translates into “we have no idea when, if ever, this thing will work.”

Psyche!

Yes, actually.

Let’s hope NASA doesn’t resort to this:

FullMetal-bail

techcrunch.com/2019/06/11/nasa-moves-to-final-planning-stages-for-mission-to-explore-16-psyches-full-metal-asteroid/

Vulcan does not exist — but 40 Eridani does

June 13, 2019
MThomas

vulcan

As a kid I remember reading about “Vulcan,” which people used to think existed between Mercury and the Sun but always orbited on the opposite side.

Completely fictional, of course.

But…

Vulcan made a comeback as the fictional home of Spock in Star Trek. It was said by Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry to be orbiting around 40 Eridani (also called HD 26965), a triple star system in the constellation of Eridanus “the river” in the southern hemisphere just 16 light years distant. In September 2018, astronomers at the University of Florida in Gainesville found a “super-Earth” exoplanet orbiting exactly where Vulcan was said to be.

There is only one logical conclusion…

Spock-Amok

www.forbes.com/sites/jamiecartereurope/2019/05/24/return-of-the-planet-vulcan-how-the-fire-planet-was-destroyed-by-science-and-how-its-been-reborn/

The Moon is a Shining Ball of…uh…Nickel?

June 11, 2019
MThomas

deep-structure-mass-moon-crater-1200x630

“Imagine taking a pile of metal five times larger than the Big Island of Hawaii and burying it underground…”

Uh. OK. That’s a LOT of metal. Nickel and iron? Ancient asteroid impact? 300 kilometers deep?

Sounds like a “golden” mining opportunity…

…even enough to totally justify “the Moon is a part of Mars“?

https://futurism.com/the-byte/deep-structure-mass-moon-crater?fbclid=IwAR194QoShlhP8Cxo0bZZJOndG2ylWBHOQxcFA1AdzxtKfl6oxnU7RWZRIZQ

Interstellar Travel Tech — oh, Really?

April 27, 2019
MThomas

Interstellar

“It is time to venture beyond the known planets, on toward the stars.”

Yes, I agree, but I don’t see how any of the ideas in this article will help us achieve that goal. I think the problem is the reliance on conventional means of propulsion. Clearly some sort of bending of space/time is needed to leave the solar system faster than, say, a decade, let alone reach other star systems.

Dawn already used an ion engine (way too slow). The solar gravitational lens is neat but it won’t take us there physically. The “space-based laser” idea is funky but impractical.

Getting off Earth should help (Moon Base, Mars, somewhere else like Triton). Escaping our own planet’s gravity well takes way too much effort. But after that, it’s time to forget about rockets and start thinking of truly “wacked out” ideas.

For starters, Discover, how about dumping your absolutely awful page design? Yeesh, this page is hard to read.

http://discovermagazine.com/2019/apr/new-technologies-could-let-us-explore-beyond-the-solar-system

No “Planet McPlanetface” option. Sorry.

April 15, 2019
MThomas

planetoid

The three choices fit IAU naming regulations and are associated with mythological creatures and figures that reflect aspects of 2007 OR10’s physical properties, which include rock, water ice, possibly methane ice, and a surface that’s red in color.

Your three choices?

Gonggong (共工, the bringer of floods 洪 and chaos)

Holle (which I always thought was Hulda or Holda)

Vili (which I knew as Wela in English class)

At least these scientists learned an important lesson from our recent past…

22xp-boaty-articleLarge

Info here: www.digitaltrends.com/cool-tech/scientists-launch-public-vote-for-the-name-of-a-distant-world/

Vote here: https://2007or10.name

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