M Thomas Apple Author Page

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

“I can’t believe we pulled this thing off.”

October 21, 2020
MThomas

“The spacecraft did everything it was supposed to do.”

https://www.theguardian.com/science/2020/oct/21/nasa-osiris-rex-spacecraft-lands-on-asteroid-bennu-in-mission-to-collect-dust

Um. OK. That’s some confidence in your own project you got there, dude.

Now all we have to do is wait a couple of weeks to find out if it actually grabbed anything!

Hey, Bennu, gimme a “High-Five”!

October 20, 2020
MThomas

Why are 3D objects always compared to the Empire State Building?

Researchers understand it to be what they call a carbonaceous asteroid, meaning its rocks still retain a lot of the chemistry that was present when the Sun and the planets came into being more than 4.5 billion years ago. Hence the desire to bring some of its material home for analysis in sophisticated Earth laboratories.

https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-54592163

If it’s a spinning top, I don’t see how showing it in comparison to the Eiffel Tower will help us understand how big it is…

Then again, usually media compare things like this to a football field (US) or a football pitch (UK). Or they say things like “as long as [insert type of moving vehicle here] end to end.”

Honestly, just say “510 m3” and leave it at that. All we care about is what the probe will do: Vacuum up and bring back at least 60g of materials from the beginning of the solar system.

Now how about THAT, Hayabusa-2?

OK, granted, this is not related to Bennu. And we’re not dragging an asteroid back “in the 2020s” just yet, Spectrum. But it’s still neat. https://spectrum.ieee.org/automaton/robotics/space-robots/heres-how-nasa-will-grab-an-asteroid

Bennu’s Intergalactical Glitterspray Show!

March 27, 2019
MThomas

asteroidmoons

OK, not actually glitterspray. Lots of tiny moons. Micromoons?

Exploding out of Bennu, which is an asteroid circling way out near Pluto right now, but will intersect Earth’s orbit in September 2060. And in 2135. And in 2175. And maybe soon again after that.

Doomsayers, prepare yourselves!

(Cumulative 1 in 2700 chance it’ll hit Earth by then. Too bad Bruce Willis won’t be around to save us.)

www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2019/03/nasa-bennu-osiris-rex-asteroid/585256/

From dust to dust — asteroid, that is

January 16, 2019
MThomas

517_bennubeautyshot_main

What came before the planets? What are the origins of life? And how much of a threat do asteroids pose to life on Earth today?

There’s plenty of evidence to suggest that asteroids have (or used to have) hydrocarbons. If they have amino acids and nucleic acids…

Hmm. Sounds like a science fiction story based on science…

https://www.sciencenews.org/article/asteroid-sample-missions-hayabusa2-ryugu-osiris-rex-bennu?tgt=nr

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