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

Aliens are among us! Um, apparently…

April 30, 2019
MThomas

oxford-invisible-aliens-breeding-humans-1200x630

Still, the fact that someone as highly educated as Chi wrote an entire book based on salvation by extraterrestrials could be a sign of how daunting our future is starting to look.

Or, conversely, how wack some Oxford dons really are…

https://futurism.com/the-byte/oxford-invisible-aliens-breeding-humans?fbclid=IwAR16jgOZNhpe6Q4tQrjDD7myYRF7vhC3ZJhf15GoPxrYPbMDxMF7fH5Xz2o

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

First ever black hole image (not counting Disney)

April 10, 2019
MThomas

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“What we see is larger than the size of our entire Solar System,” he said.

“It has a mass 6.5 billion times that of the Sun. And it is one of the heaviest black holes that we think exists. It is an absolute monster, the heavyweight champion of black holes in the Universe.”

So this demonstrates two things.

One – Einstein was right (when wasn’t he, at this point).

Two – We need a Disney remake.

MV5BOGEzN2M5YTItZDRkZS00OWMxLTk3MTktZjZkNzExYWRjYjA5XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMjI4MjA5MzA@._V1_

Calling Christopher Nolan!


www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-47873592

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