M Thomas Apple Author Page

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

What’s more valuable than gold? This rock

December 27, 2019
MThomas

If you find a big rock in your backyard, and you can’t break it open with normal tools, guess what?

The researchers argue that the Maryborough meteorite is much rarer than gold. It’s one of only 17 meteorites ever recorded in the Australian state of Victoria, and it’s the second largest chondritic mass, after a huge 55-kilogram specimen identified in 2003.

This next bit is more interesting to me:

“Other rare meteorites contain organic molecules such as amino acids; the building blocks of life.”

Hmmm… 🤔 Sounds like a storyline…

flip.it/PjaS-D

Khufu, I mean, Cheops is a go!

December 20, 2019
MThomas

Ever wonder this about “Super Earths”?

Do they have atmospheres and how thick are they? What kind of clouds? Do they possess oceans on their surface? Do they have rings and moons? Cheops ought to be able to address such questions just from looking for these tiny dips in light during a transit.

ESA finally does something! Wow. Go Europe!

I love how BBC says “The Americans” when referring to NASA, as if a) American is an ethnic group and b) all NASA scientists are American.

But anyway…

Prof Didier Queloz, who won this year’s Physics Nobel for discovering the first planet orbiting a Sun-like star in 1995, was on hand to watch the launch.

You can watch/listen to his interview here.

https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-50804258

ESA and NASA? Airbus? Still not ready? 🤦‍♂️

December 6, 2019
MThomas

Right now, engineers have got a dummy rover practising the business of retrieving packaged rock samples. And, yes, the stand-ins really are whiteboard markers.

Yay! Whiteboard markers. Um. OK.

But different agencies and companies are finally working together?

Great!

Wait. What’s the catch?

It is, though, going to take more than a decade to achieve.

Sigh.

https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-50663278

Exoskeletons in the house! Sorry, no mechas (yet)

November 8, 2019
MThomas

The “Every Muscle Suit” has a lot going for it. Weighing just 3.8 kilograms (2.2 pounds), the pneumatic artificial muscle suit is powerful enough to generate up to 25.5 kilogram-force and effectively relieves pressure on users’ backs when performing activities like heavy lifting.

And no batteries. That’s right: it uses air pressure only. Sells for the low low price of ¥149,600 (US$1,380)!

Well, OK, it’s not cheap. But compared to the robots used in heavy industries, this one’s close to affordable. And you can even test-run at the Bic Camera store in Shinjuku, Tokyo.

No mention of mounted laser rifles yet, though. Sorry.

Maybe V. 2.1?

https://soranews24.com/2019/11/05/assistive-exoskeletons-now-available-in-japanese-electronic-stores-lets-you-do-serious-lifting/

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

Have Gravity Link Spaceship, Will Travel?

October 16, 2019
MThomas

Youtuber smallstars has proposed a concept that he calls the Gravity Link Starship (GLS), a variation of SpaceX’s Starshipthat will be able to provide its own artificial gravity.

Hm, I guess we’re at the point where YouTubers have better ideas than NASA…

But who pays for this? is the several billion dollar question. Not just the construction of the “hub and truss” system, but the expense of getting it into space in the first place.

Seems like science fiction at this point. But still worth a read/look:

www.universetoday.com/143368/real-artificial-gravity-for-spacexs-starship/

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

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