Showing posts from August, 2010

Citizen Scientists Discover Rotating Pulsa

Source:   NSF Release 10-140 Excerpt: ...Three citizen scientists--an American couple and a German--have discovered a new radio pulsar hidden in data gathered by the Arecibo Observatory. This is the first deep-space discovery by Einstein@Home, which uses donated time from the home and office computers of 250,000 volunteers from 192 different countries.... The new pulsar--called PSR J2007+2722--is a neutron star that rotates 41 times per second the Milky Way, approximately 17,000 light years from Earth....

Defending Planet Earth: Near-Earth Object Surveys and Hazard Mitigation Strategies, 2010

Source:   National Academy Press The United States spends approximately $4 million each year searching for near-Earth objects (NEOs) to detect those that may collide with Earth and a small amount of funding investigating ways to protect the Earth from such a potential collision. The funding is insufficient in detecting the majority of NEOs that may present a tangible threat to humanity. In 2005, a Congressional mandate called for NASA to detect 90 percent of NEOs with diameters of 140 meters of greater by 2020. There is a need for detection of objects as small as 30 to 50 meters as these can be highly destructive.   Mitigation strategies include civil defense, "slow push" or "pull" of the asteroid, kinetic impactors and nuclear explosions.

Ancient Mars rocks may be remains of life

Source:   Holly Hight, Cosmos Online Excerpt:  ...Rocks in the Nili Fossae region of Mars are similar to the earliest evidence of life on Earth – the ‘stromatolites’ of Western Australia – scientists said. “We have found a location on Mars that is very similar to an ancient part of the Earth that is known to have been inhabited,” said Adrian Brown of the SETI Institute in California.  …“The question that remains now is - we know Mars was habitable, but was it ‘inhabited’ by life?

The tiny moon with the long reach

Source:   Discover Magazine   Excerpt: When I was a kid, Saturn had one big, flat ring system divided up into maybe three or four broad sections separated by gaps, and that was it. Turns out, we were wrong. Saturn has thousands of rings made up of billions upon billions of tiny ice particles. There aren’t just a handful of gaps, there are thousands of them, too, and there are moonlets in those gaps. Those tiny moons tug and pull on the rings, distorting them into weird and fantastic shapes. And "flat"? Not quite. The Cassini mission apparently delights in showing us just how wrong we were: [see photos in article]