M Thomas Apple Author Page

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

It’s life, Jim, but not as we know it. Maybe.

November 14, 2019
MThomas

The pattern remains a mystery, but researchers are beginning to narrow the possibilities.

While the changes are most likely…geological in nature, planetary scientists can’t completely rule out an explanation involving microbial life.

Just as the Viking landers claimed? Uh-oh.

Or is it just chemicals (perchlorate, bleach-like substances) in the soil, releasing oxygen and methane depending on the amount of sunlight/heat?

How would this affect humans who set up camps in the low-elevations areas, where they could be closer to water?

Hm…

www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-50419917

The exciting world of regolith oxygen extraction

October 25, 2019
MThomas

Future moon settlers might benefit from oxygen extraction from lunar regolith as it can be used to create breathable air as well as a source for fuel. In addition, the newly found extraction method might also be useful for Mars colonization.

Regolith covers the Moon and Mars (and presumably many other potentially habitable rocky bodies).

Of course, the composition of regolith on the Moon differs from that of Mars.

But if the new method can extract sufficient quantities of both oxygen and hydrogen, there should be ample amounts for both human usage and rocket fuel.

(Yawn.) “Dry” science? Sure. But think of the (fictional) possibilities!

https://www.universal-sci.com/headlines/2019/10/17/scientists-discovered-how-to-extract-oxygen-from-the-moons-soil

Richard Branson, Star Trek: Enterprise Called. They Want their Uniforms Back

October 18, 2019
MThomas

Actually, when I first read the real article title, I thought it said “space underwear.”

Under armour. Private space wear.

Seriously, is he getting ready for Space Reality TV or what?

hypebeast.com/2019/10/virgin-galactic-under-armour-private-astronauts-spacewear-news

Factories…In…Space…

October 13, 2019
MThomas

 

 “Once you’ve exploited the solar system, there’s nowhere left to go.”

Frankly, the idea that we puny humans could ever even begin to damage the solar system is laughable.

What would be more worrisome is who – or what – would be doing the work. Why hire people if you could make robots to do the work for you?

https://futurism.com/billionaires-dead-serious-space-factories?fbclid=IwAR1lizqBfz9yQ4zwcdPlHqr4DnWKvf_Me6exwewJ3sPrb2UTksz65YQM_eI

On to Triton. With Trident. Finally.

March 29, 2019
MThomas

IMG_1856We’ve learned a lot about Neptune’s largest moon, Triton, since it was first discovered in 1846. Some scientists believe it could be an “ocean world” with liquid water — and maybe even harbor life.

And now, pending approval, we might soon get our best glimpse yet. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory proposed on Tuesday [19 March 2019] at a conference in Texas to send a spacecraft called “Trident” to Triton — with the goal of sussing out whether it’s a habitable world.

A low-cost mission that would give us decent photos and even video of Triton, Io, and even Venus. Let’s do this.

futurism.com/nasa-mission-neptune-moon-triton/

New Earth discovered only 70,000 years away

March 24, 2019
MThomas

new-earth-2

Welp, it’s official. NASA announced they have confirmed another “Earth” (really, an “Earth-like planet” simply means it has enough water and is in the right orbit from its star to hypothetically support life).

Too bad it’s 500 light years away, which currently would take us a mere 70,000 years to reach.

But it’s a start…

http://www.scienceinsanity.com/2019/03/its-official-astronomers-have.html?m=1&fbclid=IwAR0l7pzDPR1XQvk7Ka4CDZafWuoB6q0RxqTBmb5Yleu0Lx0rAPs3tWKB0sM

Enter the Dragon! It’s a new mating ritual?

March 3, 2019
MThomas

“Attachment was made to a new type of mating adaptor on the ISS’s Harmony module. ”

Yes, we’ve matured so much as a species that we still insist on resorting to sexual metaphors to describe intricate technological details on our space vehicles.

But anyways, good for Space X and NASA. Now let’s hope other companies get into the act so we can kickstart this whole expand and populate the galaxy thing.

www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-47430432

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