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

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

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

Water moves on the Moon — well, molecules do, at any rate

March 13, 2019
MThomas

NASA and other scientific groups have discussed the potential of using the Moon as a sort of jumping-off point for missions deeper into space. If water could be collected on the Moon it could prove to be a great resource for manned missions headed deeper into the solar system.

Interesting, but I have a feeling that Lunar Base occupants will need slightly more than a few “bouncing” molecules to drink (or to create hydrogen for rocket fuel or colony energy needs).

bgr.com/2019/03/11/water-on-the-moon-surface-lunar-regolith/

Black holes, Hawking radiation, and quantum physics: Feeling dense yet?

March 8, 2019
MThomas

Modern physics dictates that, after being consumed, information about this matter should be forever lost to the universe. But a new experiment suggests that there might be a way to use quantum mechanics to gain some insight into the interior of a black hole.

Black hole sun / won’t you come / to drive away the rain? 🎶

www.space.com/black-hole-information-paradox.html

Why bother looking for aliens? Because we’re probably not all that smart

March 5, 2019
MThomas

[A]n obvious obstacle to identifying our neighbors is the tendency to limit our imagination to what we already know. But this should not necessarily remain the case in the future.

Frankly, I think it’s high time that somebody invent the warp drive so that the Vulcans will finally notice us.

blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/are-we-really-the-smartest-kid-on-the-cosmic-block/

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