M Thomas Apple Author Page

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

Who wants a hotel on Mars??

February 25, 2019
MThomas

Hotels near MarsSeek and ye shall find!

Ah, a place to crash on Mars.

No, not a lander. A hotel.

I won’t mention the web site where this automated (probably Google) ad popped up.

But they often have extreme -ly interesting tech -nology information.

Just in time for spring break, too!

Barnard’s Star has a Hoth. No Tauntauns, though.

February 12, 2019
MThomas

In their presentation, the researchers jokingly compared the planet to Hoth – the icy planet made famous in one of the “Star Wars” movies, when Luke Skywalker’s steed (a fictional lizard species called a Tauntaun) dies and he must stay warm by burrowing into its intestines.

Yay, science. And only six light years away!

Which, since Alpha Centauri at four light years away only takes 137,000 years to get to, would only take…er…just a few ten thousand more years…Hmm…

So when do we invent warp drives?

www.seeker.com/space/newly-found-planet-could-host-primitive-life-study-suggest

Planet Nine may not be a planet? Um. Right.

February 2, 2019
MThomas

A new paper suggests that the so-called “Planet Nine” – thought responsible for the screwy orbits of Trans-Neptune objects – might actually be a really big disc.

Um. Yeah. Okay.

How about we actually focus on technology that will allow us to construct spaceships so we can go out that far in person to find out? Theoretical astrophysics is all fine and dandy, but how does this help our species expand out into space?

link.medium.com/dzXxC7X8YT

The Stainless Steel Musk Strikes Again!

January 23, 2019
MThomas

He described the concept as a “stainless-steel sandwich” that can “bleed water…fuel” through tiny holes on its surface to keep it cool as it enters the Martian atmosphere at breakneck speeds.

screen shot 2019-01-23 at 2.17.40 pm

Not sure, but I don’t think there are a lot of people who want to travel to Mars inside a sandwich…

www.inverse.com/article/52605-starship-spacex-elon-musk-stainless-steel

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

The Ultima Thule Awakens! (Well, OK, New Horizons Awakens, Fine…)

December 31, 2018
MThomas

It’s been a long 13 years.

Remember New Horizons? The Little Probe That Could?

No?

You know, the photos of Pluto, Formerly Known As the Ninth Planet?

Doesn’t ring a bell?

Hmpf. Go read about about it.

Anyway, by sheer chance, New Horizons happens to be close enough to grab some pictures of an object in the Kuiper Belt (which looks like KEW-per or KWEE-per but is actually pronounced KAI-per and is completely unrelated to former SF Giants player and current announcer Duane).

Ever wanted to see a peanut-shaped tiny rock (or rocks)

Only half a day left!

Read all about it, uh, pretty much anywhere online, really:

The Verge

Space.com

BBC

Globe and Mail

WIRED

Farout is, like, far out, man

December 19, 2018
MThomas

Farout

A newly discovered object is the most-distant body ever observed in the solar system—and the first object ever found orbiting at more than 100 times the distance from Earth to the sun.

Keep in mind this is in addition to several other dwarf planets — Eris, the “Goblin,” and Sedna. Oh, and of course Ceres (which is much closer than the others). And Pluto. Which used to be a “planet” and not a “dwarf planet” (I say COUNT THEM ALL! Planet / dwarf planet / who cares).

So why is 2018 VG18 important?

Because it adds to the existing body of knowledge indicating the possible existence of a mysterious “Planet 9” (which used to be Planet X before Pluto got demoted) — which still has not been actually observed (emphasis!) and yet is the source of endless internet hoaxes, influencing all the whackadoodles who think we’re about to be invaded by alien hordes and/or that the Nibiru Apocalypse is coming / has come / will have had already been coming repeatedly (the date keeps getting changed when the end fails to occur).

Like, far out, Farout.

www.scientificamerican.com/article/farout-newfound-object-is-the-farthest-solar-system-body-ever-spotted/

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