M Thomas Apple Author Page

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

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

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/

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/

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

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