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James Webb Space Telescope will observe TRAPPIST-1 planets – The Space Reporter

Following its October 2018 launch, NASAs James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) will observe the seven Earth-sized planets discovered orbiting the red dwarf star TRAPPIST-1, NASA announced last week.

Discovered in February, these planets are ideal targets for JWST because of their relatively nearby location just 40 light years away.

The star is small, so signals from the planets should be large, making it possible for scientists using JWST to detect atmospheric components.

Three of the planets, designated e, f, and g, are located in the stars habitable zone, where temperatures would allow liquid water to exist on their surfaces.

Scientists will use JWST to probe the planets atmospheres to determine the proportion of particular molecules, such as carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, methane, oxygen, ozone, and water. Knowing the proportions of these molecules will inform researchers as to whether the planets environments are conducive to supporting life.

JWST will observe in the infrared and will use spectroscopy, a technique in which light is split into distinct wavelengths, and their spectra analyzed, in its study of the system. These tools will extend its capabilities beyond those of the Hubble Space Telescope.

Each molecule has its own unique wavelength signature, so spectroscopy will enable scientists to identify the specific chemical components and their proportions in these worlds atmospheres.

These are the best Earth-sized planets for the James Webb Space Telescope to characterize, perhaps for its whole lifetime, said Hannah Wakeford, a postdoctoral fellow at NASAs Goddard Space Flight Center, where the telescope is currently located.

The Webb telescope will increase the information we have about these planets immensely. With the extended wavelength coverage, we will be able to see if their atmospheres have water, methane, carbon monoxide/dioxide, and/or oxygen.

Scientists will specifically look for evidence of ozone or methane, both of which are biomarkers, or signs of biological activity.

Ozone is produced when oxygen emitted by plant life via photosynthesis is released into the atmosphere and interacts with sunlight. Tracking methane will lead researchers to biological sources that could be producing oxygen.

The TRAPPIST-1 system will make it possible for scientists to engage in comparative planetology, a new field that involves comparing processes and compositions of different worlds.

Engineers and scientists are now conducting various tests on JWST, whose mirrors were installed last year.

For thousands of years, people have wondered, are there other planets like Earth out there? Do any support life? Now, we have a bunch of planets that are accessible for further study to try to start to answer these ancient questions, emphasized Sara Seager of MIT in the NASA statement.

Laurel Kornfeld is a freelance writer and amateur astronomer from Highland Park, NJ, who enjoys writing about astronomy and planetary science. She studied journalism at Douglass College, Rutgers University, and earned a Graduate Certificate of Science in astronomy from Swinburne Universitys Astronomy Online program.

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James Webb Space Telescope will observe TRAPPIST-1 planets – The Space Reporter

Probing Seven Worlds with NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope – Astrobiology Magazine (registration)

Credit: NASA

With the discovery ofseven earth-sized planets around the TRAPPIST-1 star40 light years away, astronomers are looking to the upcoming James Webb Space Telescope to help us find out if any of these planets could possibly support life.

If these planets have atmospheres, the James Webb Space Telescope will be the key to unlocking their secrets, said Doug Hudgins, Exoplanet Program Scientist at NASA Headquarters in Washington. In the meantime, NASAs missions like Spitzer, Hubble, and Kepler are following up on these planets.

These are the best Earth-sized planets for the James Webb Space Telescope to characterize, perhaps for its whole lifetime, said Hannah Wakeford, postdoctoral fellow at NASAs Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. At Goddard, engineers and scientists are currently testing the Webb telescope which will be able to view these planets in the infrared, beyond the capabilities we currently have.

The Webb telescope will increase the information we have about these planets immensely. With the extended wavelength coverage we will be able to see if their atmospheres have water, methane, carbon monoxide/dioxide and/or oxygen.

When hunting for a potentially life-supporting planet, you need to know more than just the planets size or distance from its star. Detecting the relative proportions of these molecules in a planets atmosphere could tell researchers whether a planet could support life.

For thousands of years, people have wondered, are there other planets like Earth out there? Do any support life? said Sara Seager, astrophysicst and planetary scientist at MIT. Now we have a bunch of planets that are accessible for further study to try to start to answer these ancient questions.

This rendering of the James Webb Space Telescope is current to 2015. Upon request we can provide a high-resolution image without a background. Credits: Northrop Grumman

Launching in 2018, one of Webbs main goals is to use spectroscopy, a method of analyzing light by separating it into distinct wavelengths which allows one to identify its chemical components (by their unique wavelength signatures) to determine the atmospheric components of alien worlds.

Webb will especially seek chemical biomarkers, like ozone and methane, that can be created from biological processes. Ozone, which protects us from harmful ultraviolet radiation here on Earth, forms when oxygen produced by photosynthetic organisms (like trees and phytoplankton) synthesizes in light. Because ozone is largely dependent on the existence of organisms to form, Webb will look for it in alien atmospheres as a possible indicator of life. It will also be able to look for methane which will help determine a biological source of the oxygen that leads to ozone accumulation.

The discovery of the planets in the TRAPPIST-1 system means that Webb will be able to use its immense capabilities on a relatively nearby system. Researchers recently identified three promising planets in the TRAPPIST-1 system e, f and g which orbit in the habitable zone and would make good candidates for Webb to study. Depending upon their atmospheric composition, all three of these Earth-like exoplanets could have the appropriate conditions for supporting liquid water. Because the planets orbit a star that is small, the signal from those planets will be relatively large, and just strong enough for Webb to detect atmospheric features.

Shawn Domagal-Goldman, an astrobiologist at NASAs Goddard Space Flight Center said, Two weeks ago, I would have told you that Webb can do this in theory, but in practice it would have required a nearly perfect target. Well, we were just handed three nearly perfect targets.

The number of planets in the system will also enable new research in the field of comparative planetology, which uncovers fundamental planetary processes by comparing different worlds.

This is the first and only system to have seven earth-sized planets, where three are in the habitable zone of the star, said Wakeford. It is also the first system bright enough, and small enough, to make it possible for us to look at each of these planets atmospheres. The more we can learn about exoplanets, the more we can understand how our own solar system came to be the way it is. With all seven planets Earth-sized, we can look at the different characterisitics that make each of them unique and determine critical connections between a planets conditions and origins.

NASA is exploring the solar system and beyond to better understand the universe and our place in it. Were looking to answer age-old questions, like how did our universe begin and evolve; how did galaxies, stars, and planets come to be; and are we alone.

Link:

Probing Seven Worlds with NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope – Astrobiology Magazine (registration)

NASA’s Search for Alien Atmospheres –"James Webb Space Telescope to Probe Exoplanet Discoveries in the Infrared" – The Daily Galaxy (blog)

“For thousands of years, people have wondered, are there other planets like Earth out there? Do any support life?” said Sara Seager, astrophysicst and planetary scientist at MIT. “Now we have a bunch of planets that are accessible for further study to try to start to answer these ancient questions.”

“These are the best Earth-sized planets for the James Webb Space Telescope to characterize, perhaps for its whole lifetime,” said Hannah Wakeford, postdoctoral fellow at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. At Goddard, engineers and scientists are currently testing the Webb telescope which will be able to view these planets in the infrared, beyond the capabilities we currently have. “The Webb telescope will increase the information we have about these planets immensely. With the extended wavelength coverage we will be able to see if their atmospheres have water, methane, carbon monoxide/dioxide and/or oxygen.”

When hunting for a potentially life-supporting planet, you need to know more than just the planet’s size or distance from its star. Detecting the relative proportions of these molecules in a planet’s atmosphere could tell researchers whether a planet could support life.

Launching in 2018, one of Webb’s main goals is to use spectroscopy, a method of analyzing light by separating it into distinct wavelengths which allows one to identify its chemical components (by their unique wavelength signatures) to determine the atmospheric components of alien worlds. Webb will especially seek chemical biomarkers, like ozone and methane, that can be created from biological processes. Ozone, which protects us from harmful ultraviolet radiation here on Earth, forms when oxygen produced by photosynthetic organisms (like trees and phytoplankton) synthesizes in light. Because ozone is largely dependent on the existence of organisms to form, Webb will look for it in alien atmospheres as a possible indicator of life. It will also be able to look for methane which will help determine a biological source of the oxygen that leads to ozone accumulation.

The discovery of the planets in the TRAPPIST-1 system means that Webb will be able to use its immense capabilities on a relatively nearby system. Researchers recently identified three promising planets in the TRAPPIST-1 system – e, f and g – which orbit in the habitable zone and would make good candidates for Webb to study. Depending upon their atmospheric composition, all three of these Earth-like exoplanets could have the appropriate conditions for supporting liquid water. Because the planets orbit a star that is small, the signal from those planets will be relatively large, and just strong enough for Webb to detect atmospheric features. Shawn Domagal-Goldman, an astrobiologist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center said, “Two weeks ago, I would have told you that Webb can do this in theory, but in practice it would have required a nearly perfect target. Well, we were just handed three nearly perfect targets.”

The number of planets in the system will also enable new research in the field of comparative planetology, which uncovers fundamental planetary processes by comparing different worlds. “This is the first and only system to have seven earth-sized planets, where three are in the habitable zone of the star,” said Wakeford. “It is also the first system bright enough, and small enough, to make it possible for us to look at each of these planets’ atmospheres. The more we can learn about exoplanets, the more we can understand how our own solar system came to be the way it is. With all seven planets Earth-sized, we can look at the different characterisitics that make each of them unique and determine critical connections between a planet’s conditions and origins.”

NASA is exploring the solar system and beyond to better understand the universe and our place in it. We’re looking to answer age-old questions, like how did our universe begin and evolve; how did galaxies, stars, and planets come to be; and are we alone.

The James Webb Space Telescope is the scientific successor to NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope. It will be the most powerful space telescope ever built. Webb is an international project led by NASA with its partners, ESA (European Space Agency) and the Canadian Space Agency.

The Daily Galaxy via NASA Exoplanets

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NASA’s Search for Alien Atmospheres –"James Webb Space Telescope to Probe Exoplanet Discoveries in the Infrared" – The Daily Galaxy (blog)

The Secrets of Pluto’s Thin Blue Line | Planetary Science | Sci-News … – Sci-News.com

Like a summers evening here on Earth just after sunset. A faint blue glow follows the Sun below the horizon the only bit of color within an otherwise black sky, Tanguy Bertrand imagines a view from the surface of Pluto, a picture more fully realized following recent man-made visitors to the icy dwarf planet, and further enhanced through new modeling from his team 4.7 billion km away in Paris.

Plutos haze layer shows its blue color in this picture taken by the New Horizons Ralph/Multispectral Visible Imaging Camera (MVIC). The high-altitude haze is thought to be similar in nature to that seen at Saturns moon Titan. The source of both hazes likely involves sunlight-initiated chemical reactions of nitrogen and methane, leading to relatively small, soot-like particles called tholins that grow as they settle toward the surface. This image was generated by software that combines information from blue, red and near-infrared images to replicate the color a human eye would perceive as closely as possible. Image credit: NASA / Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory / Southwest Research Institute.

Plutos atmosphere was characterized scientifically during 2015s New Horizons flyby that analyzed both its emissions into space (its airglow), and the dimming of background stars viewed through it.

However, it was the view from Plutos far side, the atmosphere backlit by our own Sun, which provided a more illustrative, even familiar picture of a thin blue line encircling the dwarf planet.

That illuminated sky blue ring results from the scattering of sunlight by layers of organic haze within the atmosphere, making Pluto the latest in a growing list of hazy solar system bodies.

A world where haze is a far more pronounced atmospheric feature, tinting the sunlight illuminating its frozen host, can be found orbiting Saturn.

Titans thick orange-brown haze was captured by the Huygens probe during its descent and time on the surface.

Described like L.A. smog on steroids, by Scott Edgington, Cassini deputy project scientist, the solid organic molecules are suspended in Titans atmosphere for far longer than on Pluto due to intense Earth-like vertical winds, creating a thicker haze.

On Pluto, haze particles quickly fall to the surface after their production.

Clues to the origin of atmospheric hazes have mostly come from the analysis of Titan, where evidence suggests methane and nitrogen molecules are dissociated and ionized by the suns UV radiation, a process known as photolysis. The molecules then react with each other to form larger precursor hydrocarbon and nitrile molecules which eventually, through aggregation, produce solid organic aerosols heavy enough to form a haze.

Similar processes are also thought to occur on Neptunes moon Triton, but like on Pluto, yield less haze, whilst organic chemistry models suggest the early Earths nitrogen and methane heavy atmosphere might have been hazy too.

In fact, it has been suggested our own ancient haze may have played a role in the formation of life, protecting the surface from deadly UV and countering the build-up of greenhouse gases to ensure a habitable temperature.

Despite their misty nature, organic hazes are thought to be extremely revealing of the surface and atmospheric state of the bodies they envelope. Their ability to produce and deposit complex hydrocarbons, known as tholins, is thought to give Plutos surface its reddish appearance.

To aid the investigation of Plutos haze and what it might reveal about its host dwarf planet, Bertrand and his team at the Laboratoire de Mtorologie Dynamique in Paris set out to reproduce New Horizons flyby observations.

The model they used was developed 30 years ago for the Earths own atmosphere, before versions were created for Mars, Venus, the gas giant planets, their satellites and recently discovered exoplanets.

We worked hard to have models ready in anticipation of the New Horizons flyby in the hope we could provide explanations of any observations made.

In a new paper, published in the journal Icarus, Bertrand used aerosol properties similar to those observed in the upper layers of Titan, which most closely resemble Plutos haze to get a close enough fit to constrain certain haze parameters on Pluto. These include haze particle size, to around 10-50 nm, and the amount of time the haze precursor molecules took to become solid, to around 3 months.

This paper is a nice example of the power of comparative planetology where we apply what we learn from one planet to discover new things about another, says Giada Arney from NASA Astrobiology Institutes Virtual Planetary Laboratory, who has herself looked at models of Earths ancient haze to study similar atmospheres around exoplanets.

This paper an important step forward in understanding the processes that occur in Plutos atmosphere.

Bertrands model also showed that the methane photolysis reactions peak at an altitude of 250 km, and occur mostly in the sunlit summer hemisphere, which the team believes explains the higher density hazes observed in the current sun facing north.

Despite this uneven production, the team suggest that the low level of atmospheric circulation should still be sufficient, when combined with indirect UV flux from the interplanetary medium to ensure haze material is falling down to the surface everywhere at all times, covering any icy surface material with a thin layer of darker organics.

This really confirms our inclination that shiny parts of Pluto must be evidence of recent resurfacing,

However, the wide scale reddening of Plutos equatorial region remains a mystery.

Previous suggestions that direct photolysis of the surface could be a cause are contradicted by Bertrands model, which shows Plutos entire UV flux would be blocked through absorption by its atmospheric methane.

Earlier this year an alternative mechanism was proposed that linked the dark equator to the impact that formed Plutos moon Charon.

As well as answering these questions, Bertrand hopes that refined versions of their model could be applied to another wispy atmosphere at the edges of our solar system.

We have very little data on Triton if we understand what is going on with Pluto we may better understand what is going on there as well.

_____

Tanguy Bertrand & Franois Forget. 2017. 3D modeling of organic haze in Plutos atmosphere. Icarus 287: 72-86; doi: 10.1016/j.icarus.2017.01.016

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The Secrets of Pluto’s Thin Blue Line | Planetary Science | Sci-News … – Sci-News.com

NASA funding crucial to Earth’s future – Virginia Tech Collegiate Times

Planet Earth is our home the only known location in the universe where humans can live unaided by sophisticated technology. Given the fact that we are the fruit of this worlds soil, it follows that we are also its caretakers. Whether or not life started here or hitched a ride on a comet from elsewhere is irrelevant. We evolved here. We call it Mother Earth for a reason.

Climate change is real, and it is caused by human actions. It has been reassuring to see the majority of politicians on both sides of the aisle endorse this statement. The Trump administration, however, has given indications that it will look to cut NASAs funding for research into environmental concerns like global warming.

This crusade against science is reminiscent of a dictatorship and comes at a critical time in the progression of climate change. At a certain point, it will become irreversible. In order to preserve our ecosystem, we must adapt our infrastructure and lifestyles. Humans are not wired to be long-term thinkers, but this is one situation in which we must overcome our basic instincts.

The problem is that climate change will not kill the Earth as such, though it will likely make her barren. The Earth as a celestial sphere is simply too massive to be affected by anything that humans can do, at least at this point in our technological development. However, it will surely make the planet unfit for human life.

In comparison to any other celestial body within a reasonable voyage, Earth is a veritable Garden of Eden, and we must not squander it.

One only has to look at Venus to visualize what the Earth would look like after a runaway greenhouse effect. The average surface temperature is 462 degrees Celsius and the atmosphere, made of poisonous carbon and sulfur dioxides, creates an average surface pressure of a whopping 90 Earth atmospheres. Venus is about as inhospitable as it gets in our solar system.

Mars, on the other hand, shows what the Earth would look like if it got too cold, where most of its atmosphere is frozen at the poles and in the soil itself. As a result, Mars has less than 1 percent of the atmosphere of Earth, and a human would have about a minute to live if exposed to it. Like Venus, Mars atmosphere is 98 percent carbon dioxide. Additionally, the average surface temperature is a balmy -63 degrees Celsius, and in places it can drop below -140 degrees Celsius. Thus, with the exception of Earth, this trend of less-than-ideal living conditions continues in our solar system.

While our two closest planetary neighbors would prove extremely difficult to colonize in their current states, they can offer insight into the workings of planetology and the cause and effect relationships of climatology that have proven so elusive to understand fully.

Interestingly, part of NASAs Earth science budget supports missions to these planets to study them, such as the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Exploration Mission (MAVEN). These data are then compared with data taken from our own planet, and suddenly there are three data points with which to extrapolate planetary trends instead of just one.

Any scientist would be able to appreciate that. In political science, for example, the prominent scholar Ken Waltz developed an international relations theory called neorealism. One of the largest criticisms of the theory is that most of its tenets such as the fact that a bipolar world system is the most stable are based on a single period of history. In this case, the Cold War was the only period where such a system existed. Such theories are very inconsistent when used to try to to predict the future.

Predicting the future reliably is an ability we must have when we are talking about the fate of the human race. Climate change is real, and it has very relevant consequences that will only get worse. According to NASA, the past three years have all set new global surface temperature records respectively and scientists observed record low total Arctic ice sheet areas. So far, 2017 seems to be continuing that trend.

Warmer temperatures are the most readily observed effects, but the problem is that we do not fully understand what those temperature changes will do to the fragile balance of our ecosystem. For example, some areas, like northern Africa, Brazil and, more recently, southern California, have experienced widespread droughts, threatening the viability of their water supply systems and draining their aquifers at unsustainable rates. In the past two years, Sao Paulo, South Americas largest city, experienced a drought that pushed it to the brink of a water crisis.

A contributing factor to these droughts is the troubling rate of rainforest clearing across the tropical zone. Rainforests are not only the largest producers of oxygen on the planet, but they also transpire huge quantities of water vapor into the atmosphere. Their deforestation for short-term economic benefits is utterly reckless.

While regions such as these are becoming more arid and deserts are expanding, other areas are quite literally drowning in excesses of water. Rising sea levels are threatening to erase some small island nations from the map, such as the Republic of Kiribati and the Maldives. Combined with storms of ever-increasing ferocity, coastal population centers are more and more at risk of catastrophic flooding, as we saw in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina and in New York City after Hurricane Sandy.

In southern Asia, millions were displaced in the aftermath of Cyclone Komen in 2015 and there was widespread infrastructure collapse. Consider the devastation in New Orleans and the amount of time it took for the city and its population to recover, especially given the fact that the disaster occurred in the worlds wealthiest country. Now consider Bangladesh, a relatively poor country where most of the 150 million people live in and around the Padma (Ganges) River delta. The destruction there is unimaginable.

The answer to the question of whether or not the human race has the capacity to facilitate the reversal of these trends is an unequivocal yes. We have the knowledge and the technology. What is lacking is the political will and, in large part, the initiatives of individuals. Climate change seems so abstract that most people either are not aware of the true threat that it poses, or put it out of mind because that is easier and more pain-free. But if we want to preserve the habitability and cleanliness of our planet, everyone has to be on board.

There needs to be widespread consensus that action must be taken and a clear outline of what that action should be. For example, as a college student, turning off your power strip in your room when you arent there saves a great deal of power, and remembering to turn off the faucet when youre washing dishes or brushing your teeth does the same for water.

When youre making decisions in your daily life, consider your own impact on the environment and dont forget that you have the potential to make the world a better place through simple actions.

Analyzing the behavior of the Earth and her processes is absolutely critical to understanding the nature and progression of global warming. Removing the funding for NASA to carry out this research is like going into a boxing match blindfolded. It is completely idiotic and contrary to hundreds of years of respect for the scientific process. It also sends the message that science is not legitimate when it exposes the detrimental side of business practices and their effects.

Trump should leave the science to the scientists, which includes not telling them what they can and cannot research, and focus on the innumerable other problems he should be worrying about as the president of the United States.

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NASA funding crucial to Earth’s future – Virginia Tech Collegiate Times

Viscosity Data Tables – University of Hawaii

Hawai’i Space Grant Consortium, Hawai’i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology, University of Hawai’i, 1996 Type of Fluid Fluid density (p) Density of sphere (p) Density Contrast Radius of sphere (a) gravity (g) 10 meters per second second Fall distance (d) Measurement number Time (t), (seconds) Velocity (v), (meters/seconds) Viscosity (Pa s) 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 Average

delta p = difference in density between the sphere and the liquid

g = acceleration of gravity

a = radius of sphere

v = velocity = d/t = (distance sphere falls)/(time of it takes to fall)

Excerpt from:

Viscosity Data Tables – University of Hawaii

Andromeda is acting weird, and it could mean dark matter – Blastr

Something strange is going on in the Andromeda galaxy, and it could mean something even stranger.

NASAs Fermi Gamma Ray Space Telescope recently observed a super-powered gamma ray signal of indeterminate origin at the center of Andromeda (aka M31). While emissions of these penetrating high-energy beams often occur in galaxies and are typically scattered throughout, the gamma radiation issuing from Andromeda is unusually strong and concentrated at its core. Pulsars clustered in the middle of Andromeda could be one explanation for the mysterious surge of energy. So could dark matter.

Astrophysicist and research team lead Pierrick Martin of the National Center for Scientific Research and the Research Institute in Astrophysics and Planetology in Toulouse, France, is optimistic about what this find could reveal about the unknown.

“We expect dark matter to accumulate in the innermost regions of the Milky Way and other galaxies, which is why finding such a compact signal is very exciting, said Martin. M31 will be a key to understanding what this means for both Andromeda and the Milky Way.”

Dark matter is a scientific conundrum. Invisible because it is non-luminous and does not interact with any form of light, it can still have its presence inferred from its gravitational influence on its surroundings. Hypothetical particles of dark matter otherwise known as WIMPs (Weakly-Interacting Massive Particles) supposedly go kamikaze and release bursts of gamma radiation when they crash into each other and self-annihilate. High concentrations of gamma rays therefore could indicate dense dark matter. Enter Fermi.

What Fermi, which can see photons with up to hundreds of billions of times more energy than anything visible to the naked human eye, captured in Andromeda reflects similar (though not as intense) emissions in the Milky Way. Mirrors between the two galaxies mean that what is already known about phenomena in the Milky Way especially pulsars can be applied to X-ray and radio observations of Andromeda when testing to determine where the gamma rays originate. Fermi is also able to observe Andromeda from a point of view impossible to attain within the Milky Way, and vice versa.

Illuminating an answer to the question of where exactly Andromeda’s gamma rays emerge from is still problematic. Our neighboring galaxy is 2.5 million light years away, which will make it difficult to single out individual pulsars from its perceived cluster if that is confirmed to the source. Not to mention that for all the theorizing about its existence, anything definite about dark matter still eludes science. The mystery can only continue to unravel with more observations.

“We still have a lot to learn about the gamma-ray sky,” said Regina Caputo, research scientist at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. “The more information we have, the more information we can put into models of our own galaxy.”

(via Space.com)

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Andromeda is acting weird, and it could mean dark matter – Blastr

Modeling The Universe And The Polar Lights From Aristotle To Iowa – Forbes


Forbes
Modeling The Universe And The Polar Lights From Aristotle To Iowa
Forbes
A century after Birkeland's original Terrella model and four decades after Van Allen's discovery of radiation belts, a group of CNRS researchers led by Dr. Jean Lilensten at the Institute of Planetology and Astrophysics in Grenoble (IPAG) began to

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Modeling The Universe And The Polar Lights From Aristotle To Iowa – Forbes

Signals from Andromeda may indicate presence of mysterious dark matter – The Siasat Daily

Washington: A signal detected from the neighboring Andromeda galaxy may indicate presence of the mysterious dark matter the elusive substance that is believed to make up most of our universe NASA said on Wednesday.

The signal is similar to one seen by the NASAs Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope at the centre of our own Milky Way galaxy in 2014.

Gamma rays are the highest-energy form of light, produced by the universes most energetic phenomena.

They are common in galaxies like the Milky Way because cosmic rays, particles moving near the speed of light, produce gamma rays when they interact with interstellar gas clouds and starlight.

Surprisingly, the latest Fermi data shows the gamma rays in Andromeda also known as M31 are confined to the galaxys centre instead of spread throughout.

To explain this unusual distribution, scientists are proposing that the emission may come from several undetermined sources. One of them could be dark matter, an unknown substance that makes up most of the universe.

We expect dark matter to accumulate in the innermost regions of the Milky Way and other galaxies, which is why finding such a compact signal is very exciting, said Pierrick Martin, an astrophysicist at the National Centre for Scientific Research and the Research Institute in Astrophysics and Planetology in France.

M31 will be a key to understanding what this means for both Andromeda and the Milky Way, said Martin.

Another possible source for this emission could be a rich concentration of pulsars in M31s centre. These spinning neutron stars weigh as much as twice the mass of the sun and are among the densest objects in the universe.

One teaspoon of neutron star matter would weigh a billion tons on Earth. Some pulsars emit most of their energy in gamma rays. Since M31 is 2.5 million light-years away, it is difficult to find individual pulsars.

To test whether the gamma rays are coming from these objects, scientists can apply what they know about pulsars from observations in the Milky Way to new X-ray and radio observations of Andromeda.

Now that Fermi has detected a similar gamma-ray signature in both M31 and the Milky Way, scientists can use this information to solve mysteries within both galaxies.

We dont fully understand the roles cosmic rays play in galaxies, or how they travel through them, said Xian Hou, an astrophysicist at Chinese Academy of Sciences.

M31 lets us see how cosmic rays behave under conditions different from those in our own galaxy, said Hou.

The similar discovery in both the Milky Way and M31 means scientists can use the galaxies as models for each other when making difficult observations.

While more observations are necessary to determine the source of the gamma-ray excess, the discovery provides an exciting starting point to learn more about both galaxies, and perhaps about the still elusive nature of dark matter.

The study was published in The Astrophysical Journa.

PTI

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Signals from Andromeda may indicate presence of mysterious dark matter – The Siasat Daily

A Potential Dark Matter Signature Has Been Seen in The … – Lifeboat Foundation (blog)

NASAs Fermi Telescope has looked at the gamma-ray emission of M31, the Andromeda Galaxy, and discovered the largest fraction of this powerful radiation comes from the core of the galaxy, very much like in our own Milky Way. The international team of researchers has considered this signature as potential indirect evidence of dark matter.

Some theoretical models predict gamma-ray emissions when dark matter particles interact with each other. Dark matter doesnt like interacting at all, it doesnt form clumps or clouds, so these gamma-ray signals might only happen in dense regions, like at the core of galaxies.

We expect dark matter to accumulate in the innermost regions of the Milky Way and other galaxies, which is why finding such a compact signal is very exciting, said lead scientist Pierrick Martin, an astrophysicist at the National Center for Scientific Research and the Research Institute in Astrophysics and Planetology in Toulouse, France, in a statement. M31 will be a key to understanding what this means for both Andromeda and the Milky Way.

More here:

A Potential Dark Matter Signature Has Been Seen in The … – Lifeboat Foundation (blog)

Fermi finds possible dark matter ties in Andromeda galaxy – Phys.org – Phys.Org

February 21, 2017 by Claire Saravia The gamma-ray excess (shown in yellow-white) at the heart of M31 hints at unexpected goings-on in the galaxy’s central region. Scientists think the signal could be produced by a variety of processes, including a population of pulsars or even dark matter. Credit: NASA/DOE/Fermi LAT Collaboration and Bill Schoening, Vanessa Harvey/REU program/NOAO/AURA/NSF

NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope has found a signal at the center of the neighboring Andromeda galaxy that could indicate the presence of the mysterious stuff known as dark matter. The gamma-ray signal is similar to one seen by Fermi at the center of our own Milky Way galaxy.

Gamma rays are the highest-energy form of light, produced by the universe’s most energetic phenomena. They’re common in galaxies like the Milky Way because cosmic rays, particles moving near the speed of light, produce gamma rays when they interact with interstellar gas clouds and starlight.

Surprisingly, the latest Fermi data shows the gamma rays in Andromedaalso known as M31are confined to the galaxy’s center instead of spread throughout. To explain this unusual distribution, scientists are proposing that the emission may come from several undetermined sources. One of them could be dark matter, an unknown substance that makes up most of the universe.

“We expect dark matter to accumulate in the innermost regions of the Milky Way and other galaxies, which is why finding such a compact signal is very exciting,” said lead scientist Pierrick Martin, an astrophysicist at the National Center for Scientific Research and the Research Institute in Astrophysics and Planetology in Toulouse, France. “M31 will be a key to understanding what this means for both Andromeda and the Milky Way.”

A paper describing the results will appear in an upcoming issue of The Astrophysical Journal.

Another possible source for this emission could be a rich concentration of pulsars in M31’s center. These spinning neutron stars weigh as much as twice the mass of the sun and are among the densest objects in the universe. One teaspoon of neutron star matter would weigh a billion tons on Earth. Some pulsars emit most of their energy in gamma rays. Because M31 is 2.5 million light-years away, it’s difficult to find individual pulsars. To test whether the gamma rays are coming from these objects, scientists can apply what they know about pulsars from observations in the Milky Way to new X-ray and radio observations of Andromeda.

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Now that Fermi has detected a similar gamma-ray signature in both M31 and the Milky Way, scientists can use this information to solve mysteries within both galaxies. For example, M31 emits few gamma rays from its large disk, where most stars form, indicating fewer cosmic rays roaming there. Because cosmic rays are usually thought to be related to star formation, the absence of gamma rays in the outer parts of M31 suggests either that the galaxy produces cosmic rays differently, or that they can escape the galaxy more rapidly. Studying Andromeda may help scientists understand the life cycle of cosmic rays and how it is connected to star formation.

“We don’t fully understand the roles cosmic rays play in galaxies, or how they travel through them,” said Xian Hou, an astrophysicist at Yunnan Observatories, Chinese Academy of Sciences in Kunming, China, also a lead scientist in this work. “M31 lets us see how cosmic rays behave under conditions different from those in our own galaxy.”

The similar discovery in both the Milky Way and M31 means scientists can use the galaxies as models for each other when making difficult observations. While Fermi can make more sensitive and detailed observations of the Milky Way’s center, its view is partially obscured by emission from the galaxy’s disk. But telescopes view Andromeda from an outside vantage point impossible to attain in the Milky Way.

“Our galaxy is so similar to Andromeda, it really helps us to be able to study it, because we can learn more about our galaxy and its formation,” said co-author Regina Caputo, a research scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. “It’s like living in a world where there’s no mirrors but you have a twin, and you can see everything physical about the twin.”

While more observations are necessary to determine the source of the gamma-ray excess, the discovery provides an exciting starting point to learn more about both galaxies, and perhaps about the still elusive nature of dark matter.

“We still have a lot to learn about the gamma-ray sky,” Caputo said. “The more information we have, the more information we can put into models of our own galaxy.”

Explore further: No trace of dark matter in gamma-ray background

Researchers from the University of Amsterdam’s (UvA) GRAPPA Center of Excellence have just published the most precise analysis of the fluctuations in the gamma-ray background to date. By making use of more than six years …

A University of Oklahoma team has detected for the first time the most luminous gamma-ray emission from a galaxythe merging galaxy Arp 220 is the nearest ultraluminous infrared galaxy to Earth, and it reveals the hidden …

A newly discovered dwarf galaxy orbiting our own Milky Way has offered up a surpriseit appears to be radiating gamma rays, according to an analysis by physicists at Carnegie Mellon, Brown, and Cambridge universities. The …

Bursts of gamma rays from the center of our galaxy are not likely to be signals of dark matter but rather other astrophysical phenomena such as fast-rotating stars called millisecond pulsars, according to two new studies, …

(Phys.org) — Gamma-ray photons seen emanating from the center of the Milky Way galaxy are consistent with the intriguing possibility that dark-matter particles are annihilating each other in space, according to research …

The SLAC-built Large Area Telescope (LAT), the main instrument of theFermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope, has been studying the gamma-ray sky for almost four years. During that time, the LAT has identified hundreds of gamma-ray …

NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope has found a signal at the center of the neighboring Andromeda galaxy that could indicate the presence of the mysterious stuff known as dark matter. The gamma-ray signal is similar to …

ESA’s XMM-Newton has found a pulsar the spinning remains of a once-massive star that is a thousand times brighter than previously thought possible.

A team led from the Instituto de Astrofsica de Canarias (IAC) has found the most precise way ever to measure the rate at which stars form in galaxies using their radio emission at 1-10 Gigahertz frequency range.

The dynamical properties of these asteroids, observed spectroscopiccally for the first time using the Gran Telescopio CANARIAS, suggest a possible common origin and give a clue to the existence of a planet beyond Pluto, the …

New planetary formation models from Carnegie’s Alan Boss indicate that there may be an undiscovered population of gas giant planets orbiting around Sun-like stars at distances similar to those of Jupiter and Saturn. His work …

(Phys.org)A pair of researchers with the Physical Research Laboratory in India studying data sent back from NASA’s Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) probe has found possible evidence of the development of …

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All sources of radiation are due to the motion of charge. Dark Matter?

M31 is 2.537 million light years away. What I see in that image coming from the center of the largest galaxy in our immediate group with three times as many stars as in our own Milky Way and over twice its size, is a high concentration of energy coming from a relatively small field of view which instruments have compacted into an image that fits on top of this article. I don’t think that there is a precedent for DM being a candidate for why it looks like this to us and any physicist would be hard-pressed to describe the mechanism whereby this would be the case, as we have no empirical evidence to back this idea up. The comparative ray curve for the two probably shows a steeper curve as the size of a galaxy increases and on the cosmic scale, M31 is relatively close to us.

Odd, isn’t it? In the 1930’s Dark Matter godfather Fritz Zwicky used just the reverse logic for locating accumulations of DM. His hypothesis was that we should expect that DM would exist in giant enveloping halos surrounding Spiral Galaxies, ostensibly functioning as a counter gravitational force preventing the spiral & radial arms from imploding into the central hub.

So now what do we have? Just the reverse hypothesis. So now what does Pierrick Martin think prevents Spiral Galaxies from imploding if the DM is concentrated in the “innermost regions of the Milky Way”, a spiral galaxy. I guess he forgot to read Zwicky’s paper.

Anyone interested in Dark Matter (DM) should Google “Emergent Gravity” (EG) and see if observations fit with in that theoretical framework. The compartmentalization of the Gama sources to the core of the galaxies certainly does imply the space/time curvature is steeper, and more energetic, it also implies the link EG has to 3D spacetime curvature. The obvious is the concentration of gravity to major wells, like the center of galaxies, implicates DM or in the case of EG a more energetic compacted quantum distribution of space.

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Fermi finds possible dark matter ties in Andromeda galaxy – Phys.org – Phys.Org

Life’s building blocks found on dwarf planet Ceres – Fox News

The dwarf planet Ceres keeps looking better and better as a possible home for alien life.

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft has spotted organic molecules the carbon-containing building blocks of life as we know it on Ceres for the first time, a study published Feb. 16 in the journal Science reports.

And these organics appear to be native, likely forming on Ceres rather than arriving via asteroid or comet strikes, study team members said. [Photos: Dwarf Planet Ceres, the Solar System’s Largest Asteroid]

“Because Ceres is a dwarf planet that may still preserve internal heat from its formation period and may even contain a subsurface ocean, this opens the possibility that primitive life could have developed on Ceres itself,” Michael Kppers, a planetary scientist based at the European Space Astronomy Centre just outside Madrid, said in an accompanying “News and Views” article in the same issue of Science.

“It joins Mars and several satellites of the giant planets in the list of locations in the solar system that may harbor life,” added Kppers, who was not involved in the organics discovery.

The $467 million Dawn mission launched in September 2007 to study Vesta and Ceres, the two largest objects in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.

Dawn circled the 330-mile-wide Vesta from July 2011 through September 2012, when it departed for Ceres , which is 590 miles across. Dawn arrived at the dwarf planet in March 2015, becoming the first spacecraft ever to orbit two different bodies beyond the Earth-moon system.

During its time at Ceres, Dawn has found bizarre bright spots on crater floors, discovered a likely ice volcano 2.5 miles tall and helped scientists determine that water ice is common just beneath the surface , especially near the dwarf planet’s poles.

The newly announced organics discovery adds to this list of achievements. The carbon-containing molecules which Dawn spotted using its visible and infrared mapping spectrometer instrument are concentrated in a 385-square-mile area near Ceres’ 33-mile-wide Ernutet crater, though there’s also a much smaller patch about 250 miles away, in a crater called Inamahari.

And there could be more such areas; the team surveyed only Ceres’ middle latitudes, between 60 degrees north and 60 degrees south.

“We cannot exclude that there are other locations rich in organics not sampled by the survey, or below the detection limit,” study lead author Maria Cristina De Sanctis, of the Institute for Space Astrophysics and Space Planetology in Rome, told Space.com via email.

Dawn’s measurements aren’t precise enough to nail down exactly what the newfound organics are, but their signatures are consistent with tar-like substances such as kerite and asphaltite, study team members said.

“The organic-rich areas include carbonate and ammoniated species, which are clearly Ceres’ endogenous material, making it unlikely that the organics arrived via an external impactor,” co-author Simone Marchi, a senior research scientist at the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado, said in a statement .

In addition, the intense heat generated by an asteroid or comet strike likely would have destroyed the organics, further suggesting that the molecules are native to Ceres, study team members said.

The organics might have formed via reactions involving hot water, De Sanctis and her colleagues said. Indeed, “Ceres shows clear signatures of pervasive hydrothermal activity and aqueous alteration,” they wrote in the new study .

Such activity likely would have taken place underground. Dawn mission scientists aren’t sure yet how organics generated in the interior could make it up to the surface and leave the signatures observed by the spacecraft.

“The geological and morphological settings of Ernutet are still under investigation with the high-resolution data acquired in the last months, and we do not have a definitive answer for why Ernutet is so special,” De Sanctis said.

It’s already clear, however, that Ceres is a complex and intriguing world one that astrobiologists are getting more and more excited about.

“In some ways, it is very similar to Europa and Enceladus,” De Sanctis said, referring to ocean-harboring moons of Jupiter and Saturn, respectively.

“We see compounds on the surface of Ceres like the ones detected in the plume of Enceladus,” she added. “Ceres’ surface can be considered warmer with respect to the Saturnian and Jovian satellites, due to [its] distance from the sun. However, we do not have evidence of a subsurface ocean now on Ceres, but there are hints of subsurface recent fluids.”

Follow Mike Wall on Twitter @michaeldwall and Google+ . Follow us @Spacedotcom , Facebook or Google+ . Originally published on Space.com .

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Life’s building blocks found on dwarf planet Ceres – Fox News

Nasa’s Dawn finds key ingredients for alien life on dwarf planet Ceres – Expat Newswire

Home Desporto Nasas Dawn finds key ingredients for alien life on dwarf planet Ceres

The spacecraft contains a Viable or InfraRed Mapping Spectrometer (VIMS) that is able to detect organic materials on the planets surface. The discovery was made by the Dawn mission, which has previously found evidence of water ice at the planets poles and carbonate minerals, that appear to be responsible for the mysterious bright spots on the surface.NASAs Dawn spacecraft recently detected organic-rich areas on Ceres. Dr Simone Marchi, from the Southwest Research Institute, and an author of the study, said: This discovery of a locally high concentration of organics is intriguing, with broad implications for the astrobiology community. With this new finding Dawn has shown that Ceres contains key ingredients for life. The material was found near a almost 50-km-wide crater in the planets northern hemisphere. Kim Kardashian Goes Platinum Blonde Again & Flaunts Major Cleavage So shaken is the mother of two, she said she struggles to even speak about what happened. The second time she went blonde it was a wig . The exact compounds cant be identified but they do match tar-like minerals such as kerite or asphaltite. Organic compounds are volatile and would be easily destroyed by the intense heat of an asteroid impact. The compounds wouldnt have survived such a powerful, high-heat impact, the study says, but its not fully understood how exactly they moved from inside the planet to the surface. Ceres was formed about 4.5 billion years ago.Put Ceres down on the list of places in the solar system that could have once harbored life or may be hiding it now, alongside Mars, Titan, Enceladus, Europa and some other far-out locales. The dwarf planet is also believed to have an under-surface ocean.The discovery indicates that the starting material in the solar system contained the essential elements, or the building blocks, for life, Russell said. New origami-inspired shield deflects handgun bullets When expanded which takes only five seconds it can provide cover for officers and stop bullets from several types of handguns. Kevlar fabric is very flexible, but it is susceptible to fraying and abrasion, whilst also being sensitive to sunlight and water. At around 600 miles across, Ceres is the largest object in the asteroid belt found between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. Such a find would also snatch away the title of Coolest Dwarf Planet from Pluto, dealing that plucky iceball yet another degrading blow. Instead, scientists think the asteroids core continues to be hot, retaining some of the heat from its formative days, and this heat interacts with other materials within the asteroid to create the organic compounds.We can not exclude that there are other locations rich in organics not sampled by the survey, or below the detection limit, study lead author Maria Cristina De Sanctis, of the Institute for Space Astrophysics and Space Planetology in Rome, told Space.com via email. The addition of organic material makes the dwarf planet a promising environment for prebiotic chemistry.Composite image of the area around Ernutet Crater. Dawn spacecraft data show a region around the Ernutet crater where organic concentrations have been discovered (labeled a through f). Teenage boy badly hurt after shark attack off Australian coast He was quickly hauled onto a boat where a tourniquet was applied to his leg to stem heavy bleeding which left him unconscious. Ballantyne called Dickson an awesome person and also someone who cares about his friends and family. This is the first clear detection of organic molecules from orbit on a main belt body, said researcher Maria Cristina De Sanctis from the National Institute of Astrophysics in Rome. Indeed, Ceres shows clear signatures of pervasive hydrothermal activity and aqueous adjustment, they wrote in the new study. The finding helped researchers explain that water ice existed beneath the surface of the dwarf planet, especially in the regions near the planets poles.

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Nasa’s Dawn finds key ingredients for alien life on dwarf planet Ceres – Expat Newswire

Former Mikado resident named candidate for Canadian Space Agency astronaut – Kamsack Times

Tim Haltigin, the former Canora area resident who is in the running to become a Canadian astronaut, credits much of his journey to the Canora Composite School, his fellow students and their teachers.

Tim is one of a special group of young people fostered by CCS teachers who had encouraged competition and achievement, his mother, Linda Osachoff, said last week when asked about her son having been named one of 70 astronaut candidates selected by the Canadian Space Agency (CSA).

Astronauts are modern-day explorers, said information on the CSA website. They courageously travel beyond the Earth to help acquire new scientific knowledge. Their courage and determination are an inspiration to many.

Despite their unique journeys, astronauts have a few things in common: an academic background in science or technology, excellent health and outstanding qualities and skills, the information said.

Born in Toronto, Haltigin was raised in Canora from nursery school until his graduation from CCS. Now living in Saint-Constant, Que., with his wife Melissa Triottier and two daughters, Nora, 5, and Sasha, 3, he obtained a bachelor of science degree in environmental geography from Concordia University, a masters degree in geography (fluvial geomorphology) from McGill University and a Ph.D in geography (periglacial geomorphology and comparative planetology) from McGill. He is the senior mission scientist for planetary exploration for the CSA.

Readers of the Courier read about Haltigin in September when he was about to take part in the first NASA-led mission that will bring asteroid material to Earth. Heis part of the team which launched the satellite Origins Spectral Interpretation Resource Identification Security Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) on September 8 in order to take a sample of matter from the asteroid Bennu. The satellite consists of a camera system named OCAMS, a thermal emission spectrometer named OTES, a visible and infrared spectrometer known as OVIRS, an X-ray named REXIS, and the laser altimeter known as OLA, of which Haltigin is the mission manager.

The satellite will reach the asteroid in July of 2018 and use OLA to measure the shape and surface of the asteroid, which is 492 metres in diameter and spins like a top, according to Haltigin. The laser altimeter will take about a billion different measurements in order to find an area that is safe for the spacecraft to take a sample. Once an acceptable spot is found, the satellite will collect between 60g and two kg of dust and small fragments from the surface of the asteroid and should return with the sample in September of 2023.

As the senior mission scientist for planetary exploration with the CSA, I get to work helping Canada find new and different ways to understand the evolution of objects in the solar system, he said, adding that he gets to plan Canadian contributions to future missions, and to design and run student exercises that help train the next generation of Canadian planetary scientists and engineers.

Becoming an astronaut represents two of the values I hold most dear: the constant pursuit of knowledge and using that knowledge to inspire those around you, he said. Essentially, the job description is to learn how to do awesome things and then share it with people afterwards.

I have always loved taking on new and exciting challenges, whether in science, sports, or music. Not only have I benefitted greatly from all of the experience I’ve gained, but I’ve particularly appreciated the opportunities I’ve had to share my work and hopefully help out a few people along the way.

Astronauts are modern-day explorers, the CSA website says. They courageously travel beyond the Earth to help discover new scientific knowledge. Their courage and determination are an inspiration to many. Their unique experience helps advance scientific research and technology development.

Canada’s active astronauts support space missions in progress and prepare for a future mission by taking extensive training, it said. They mainly work at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. However, they return to Canada periodically to participate in various activities and encourage young Canadians to pursue their education in STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and mathematics).

Growing up at the time he did, most boys had wanted to be a superhero or a space guy, his mother said. He was interested, in the way lots of young people are: with boundless enthusiasm.

Tim showed a lot of qualities at a young age, she said. He was focused; academically, in sports and in music. He was a team player with friends and family.

Osachoff said that the first time she had noticed an interest that could have led to his desire to become an astronaut was one time when he had come home from university in Montreal and he had stood aside, with his head looking straight up at the beautiful winter sky for about 15 minutes.

But, it had started with his interest in water and geography, which opened many channels, she said, shaking her head at the thought of the many theses that she had been asked to proofread for her son.

Hisfirst research had focused on the study of malaria, but eventually he had decided to switch degrees to geography, and studied rivers and trout habitats.

While completing his masters degree, some friends of his entered a contest held by the European Space Agency. Teams were instructed to determine how scientists could find water on Mars, and Haltigins friends asked him to join in. Their team eventually travelled to Barcelona, Spain for the finals, and the professor organizing the team asked Haltigin if hed like to pursue a PhD on the nature of Mars.

He then did research up north, Osachoff said, referringto her sons research that had led him to make nine expeditions beyond the Arctic Circle in order to compare the conditions of the land and climate to Mars. The expeditions were funded by the CSA, which allowed him to make contact with people involved in space research, and just before graduating, he decided to apply for work in the agency.

Asked how his grandparents, the late Evelyn and Bill Osachoff, might have received the news of their grandsons pursuits, Linda said that they had been very close to him and were a part of his upbringing.

Tim had qualities early that indicated that he would be able to do anything he had wanted, she said, adding that her son remains very humble and thanks his blessings for his opportunities.

Having spoken to her son recently, Linda said that he had told her that no matter what happens, he has become a better person with the self examination, rigorous training, both mental and physical, and for having met many peers across the country.

Asked how she feels, thinking that one day she may very well be looking at the sky, knowing that her son is out there beyond the Earth, and Linda said she vacillates between pride and panic.

After all, that is the final frontier, she said, adding that she was reminded that at a recent family get-together around a bonfire, Tim had his daughter on his lap and together they were looking at the sky. He was pointing out to her the satellites and the International Space Station as they had moved across the sky.

When Tim had asked his mother for advice regarding his possible selection as an astronaut, Linda said she had told him to remember the music festivals.

Focus on your unique skills, dont over prepare and save the thunder for the final performance, she had told him.

Tim is a great communicator. Hes down to earth, a sound guy and a joker, she said, adding that as he works with the CSA, he will be on speaking tours.

Osachoff is currently the CEO of Crossroads Credit Union in Canora. She and her husband Alfredo Converso operate La Compangna Bed and Breakfast near Mikado.

View post:

Former Mikado resident named candidate for Canadian Space Agency astronaut – Kamsack Times

Former resident named candidate for Canadian Space Agency astronaut – Canora Courier

Tim Haltigin, the former Canora area resident who is in the running to become a Canadian astronaut, credits much of his journey to the Canora Composite School, his fellow students and their teachers.

Tim is one of a special group of young people fostered by CCS teachers who had encouraged competition and achievement, his mother, Linda Osachoff, said last week when asked about her son having been named one of 70 astronaut candidates selected by the Canadian Space Agency (CSA).

Astronauts are modern-day explorers, said information on the CSA website. They courageously travel beyond the Earth to help acquire new scientific knowledge. Their courage and determination are an inspiration to many.

Despite their unique journeys, astronauts have a few things in common: an academic background in science or technology, excellent health and outstanding qualities and skills, the information said.

Born in Toronto, Haltigin was raised in Canora from nursery school until his graduation from CCS. Now living in Saint-Constant, Que., with his wife Melissa Triottier and two daughters, Nora, 5, and Sasha, 3, he obtained a bachelor of science degree in environmental geography from Concordia University, a masters degree in geography (fluvial geomorphology) from McGill University and a Ph.D in geography (periglacial geomorphology and comparative planetology) from McGill. He is the senior mission scientist for planetary exploration for the CSA.

Readers of the Courier read about Haltigin in September when he was about to take part in the first NASA-led mission that will bring asteroid material to Earth. Heis part of the team which launched the satellite Origins Spectral Interpretation Resource Identification Security Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) on September 8 in order to take a sample of matter from the asteroid Bennu. The satellite consists of a camera system named OCAMS, a thermal emission spectrometer named OTES, a visible and infrared spectrometer known as OVIRS, an X-ray named REXIS, and the laser altimeter known as OLA, of which Haltigin is the mission manager.

The satellite will reach the asteroid in July of 2018 and use OLA to measure the shape and surface of the asteroid, which is 492 metres in diameter and spins like a top, according to Haltigin. The laser altimeter will take about a billion different measurements in order to find an area that is safe for the spacecraft to take a sample. Once an acceptable spot is found, the satellite will collect between 60g and two kg of dust and small fragments from the surface of the asteroid and should return with the sample in September of 2023.

As the senior mission scientist for planetary exploration with the CSA, I get to work helping Canada find new and different ways to understand the evolution of objects in the solar system, he said, adding that he gets to plan Canadian contributions to future missions, and to design and run student exercises that help train the next generation of Canadian planetary scientists and engineers.

Becoming an astronaut represents two of the values I hold most dear: the constant pursuit of knowledge and using that knowledge to inspire those around you, he said. Essentially, the job description is to learn how to do awesome things and then share it with people afterwards.

I have always loved taking on new and exciting challenges, whether in science, sports, or music. Not only have I benefitted greatly from all of the experience I’ve gained, but I’ve particularly appreciated the opportunities I’ve had to share my work and hopefully help out a few people along the way.

Astronauts are modern-day explorers, the CSA website says. They courageously travel beyond the Earth to help discover new scientific knowledge. Their courage and determination are an inspiration to many. Their unique experience helps advance scientific research and technology development.

Canada’s active astronauts support space missions in progress and prepare for a future mission by taking extensive training, it said. They mainly work at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. However, they return to Canada periodically to participate in various activities and encourage young Canadians to pursue their education in STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and mathematics).

Growing up at the time he did, most boys had wanted to be a superhero or a space guy, his mother said. He was interested, in the way lots of young people are: with boundless enthusiasm.

Tim showed a lot of qualities at a young age, she said. He was focused; academically, in sports and in music. He was a team player with friends and family.

Osachoff said that the first time she had noticed an interest that could have led to his desire to become an astronaut was one time when he had come home from university in Montreal and he had stood aside, with his head looking straight up at the beautiful winter sky for about 15 minutes.

But, it had started with his interest in water and geography, which opened many channels, she said, shaking her head at the thought of the many theses that she had been asked to proofread for her son.

Hisfirst research had focused on the study of malaria, but eventually he had decided to switch degrees to geography, and studied rivers and trout habitats.

While completing his masters degree, some friends of his entered a contest held by the European Space Agency. Teams were instructed to determine how scientists could find water on Mars, and Haltigins friends asked him to join in. Their team eventually travelled to Barcelona, Spain for the finals, and the professor organizing the team asked Haltigin if hed like to pursue a PhD on the nature of Mars.

He then did research up north, Osachoff said, referringto her sons research that had led him to make nine expeditions beyond the Arctic Circle in order to compare the conditions of the land and climate to Mars. The expeditions were funded by the CSA, which allowed him to make contact with people involved in space research, and just before graduating, he decided to apply for work in the agency.

Asked how his grandparents, the late Evelyn and Bill Osachoff, might have received the news of their grandsons pursuits, Linda said that they had been very close to him and were a part of his upbringing.

Tim had qualities early that indicated that he would be able to do anything he had wanted, she said, adding that her son remains very humble and thanks his blessings for his opportunities.

Having spoken to her son recently, Linda said that he had told her that no matter what happens, he has become a better person with the self examination, rigorous training, both mental and physical, and for having met many peers across the country.

Asked how she feels, thinking that one day she may very well be looking at the sky, knowing that her son is out there beyond the Earth, and Linda said she vacillates between pride and panic.

After all, that is the final frontier, she said, adding that she was reminded that at a recent family get-together around a bonfire, Tim had his daughter on his lap and together they were looking at the sky. He was pointing out to her the satellites and the International Space Station as they had moved across the sky.

When Tim had asked his mother for advice regarding his possible selection as an astronaut, Linda said she had told him to remember the music festivals.

Focus on your unique skills, dont over prepare and save the thunder for the final performance, she had told him.

Tim is a great communicator. Hes down to earth, a sound guy and a joker, she said, adding that as he works with the CSA, he will be on speaking tours.

Osachoff is currently the CEO of Crossroads Credit Union in Canora. She and her husband Alfredo Converso operate La Compangna Bed and Breakfast near Mikado.

The rest is here:

Former resident named candidate for Canadian Space Agency astronaut – Canora Courier

Ceres Just Got A Lot More Interesting to Astrobiologists – Air & Space Magazine

Ahuna Mons, shown in this simulated view as it might appear to someone standing on the surface of Ceres, is thought to be an ice volcano. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA/PSI)

airspacemag.com 3 hours ago

Maria de Sanctis from the Institute of Astrophysics and Planetology in Rome and her colleagues report in todays issue of Science that theyve found organic compounds on Ceres. Whats more, the organics originated on the dwarf planet itself, rather than arriving with an impacting comet or asteroid. The findings are based on their spectral analysis of about 1,000 square kilometers close to a crater called Ernutet on the objects surface. NASAs Dawn spacecraft is currently in orbit around Ceres, the largest body in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.

Water ice and organics were already known to be present there, but learning that they are indigenousformed most likely by hydrothermal activityis critical. When we consider that Ceres has clay minerals, carbonate rocks, and salts on or near its surface, the environment is similar to the one that prevailed on Earth some four billion years ago. In fact, organic compounds, plus energy, plus building blocks such as clay could make Ceres crust conducive to the origin of life.

Ceres appears to be a rather unique case study of a hybrid between a terrestrial planet and an icy moon, which might have been warmer and friendlier to life a long time ago. How far might chemistry have evolved toward biology before it was frozen in place? The spectral similarity of the detected organics to ones found in carbonaceous chondrites suggest that we may find some intriguingly complex molecules if we send a probe to Ceres for a closer look.

If the dwarf planet has a subsurface ocean as some have speculated, the existence of life today is not out of the question. In this scenario, hydrothermal energy would likely power volcanoes that push liquid water from deep below onto the surface of Ceres. If so, we might find molecules consistent with biology on the surface.

Since Ceres is closer than any other high-priority astrobiological target besides Mars, and is not exposed to huge radiation fluxes like Europa is, sending a lander there would be relatively quick and easy. Indeed, Ceres may very well become one of the new favorite targets for astrobiologists.

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Dirk Schulze-Makuch is a Professor at the Technical University Berlin, Germany and Adjunct Professor at Arizona State University and Washington State University. He has published seven books related to astrobiology and planetary habitability.

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Ceres Just Got A Lot More Interesting to Astrobiologists – Air & Space Magazine

Strong Evidence of Extraterrestrial Artificial Surface Interventions Found On Mars, According To New Study – Collective Evolution

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A new study published in theJournal of Space Exploration titled The Mounds of Cydonia: Elegant Geology, or Tetrahedral Geometry and Reactions of Pythagoras and Dirac?has added to the already robust evidence pointing toartificial surface interventions on Mars. The main premise of the article is that these structures, if indeed artificial, provide an elegant and concise way for an intelligent species to transmit to another intelligence evidence that it understands the basics of tetrahedral geometry, prime numbers, and the quantum mechanics of the electrons spin, thereby giving additional evidence for the possibility of intelligent intervention.

In 1976, the United States sent a pair of space probes, known as Viking 1 and Viking 2, to Mars. Viking 1 was launched on August 20th, 1975, and Viking 2was launched in September of the same year. Both probesphotographed the surface of Mars from orbit, and one studied the planet from the surface. Since then, more pictures have been taken, and this particular study is based on high resolution images from the ESA Mars express and NASA orbiter HiRise cameras, and deals with the structures thathave been found in the Cyndonia region of Mars.

An initial analysis, published in theJournal of Scientific Explorationin 1999, was conducted by Dr. Horace Crater, a physics professor at the University of Tennessee Space Institute (UTSI), alongside Professor Stanley V. McDaniel. During this time,only the 1976 Viking photos were available, taken from many kilometres above the surface of the planet, with a resolution of 47 metres per pixel. In 2006, the European Space Agency (ESA) rephotographed the same area at a much better resolution, confirming the existence of the mounds as well as the tight, precise mound layout.

The recent paper, published inSpace Exploration, andalso authored by Horace Crater alongsideProfessor Stanley V. McDaniel, the Founder ofThe Society for Planetary SETI Research.

McDaniel andAnanda Sirisena,reinforces the strange configuration by comparing three datasets. The resolution of the ESA 2006 photos is 13.7 metres per pixel and that of NASAs MRO HiRise 2014 images is 5 metres per pixel. This is compared to the original 47m per pixel Viking shots. Presented below are the mounds from all three spacecraft, showing clearly the parallel lines and right-angled triangles formed by their layout. Is there a message implicit in this ground plan?

Below is a set of slides sent to me by one of the authors that he commonly uses in his presentations to elaborate on the uniqueness of the layout and it implications.

Be sure to check out the details in the actual studyfor an in-depth analysis and more photos of why this geology and these mathematicalmeasurements are so intriguing.

As Viking 1 spacecraft was circling the planet, it spotted the shadowy likeness of a human face. An enormous head nearly two miles from end to end seemed to be staring back at the cameras from a region of the Red Planet called Cydonia. Apyramid structure was also seen. This will be the main topic of this article.

As a quick side note here, for years weve been made to believe that Mars is a dry and arid planet, completely devoid of life, but thats just not the case. Mars actually used to be an Earth-like planet, with giant oceans and extensivegreenery. The soil is moist and wet, and there is a very high likelihood that some type of life exists within the interior of Mars today. You can watch that full press conference HERE.

The question to ask here is, did NASA know this information from the Viking data in 1976? According to multiple insiders who have worked for the agency, NASA is not always honest,and we are only being told this now because they believe we are ready toprocess and accept these facts. For example, Bob Dean, a retiredUnited States Army Command Sergeant Major who also served at the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) of NATO as an intelligence analyst, gave a lecture on footage and photos that had been erased and kept hidden for decades:

Ladies and gentlemen, my government, NASA, which many of us in the United States say stands forNever A Straight Answer,proceeded to erase 40 rolls of film of the Apollo Program the flight to the Moon, the flight around the Moon, the landings on the Moon, the walking guys here and there. They erased, for Christs sake, 40 rolls of film of those events. Now were talking about several thousand individual frames that were taken that the so-called authorities determined that you did not have a right to see. Oh, they were disruptive, socially unacceptable, politically unacceptable. Ive become furious. Im a retired Command Sergeant Major. I was never famous for having a lot of patience.

You can watch the full lectureHERE.

He is one of multiple people accusing NASA of doing this. The Russian government did the same last year. You can read more about that here.

Above, youll see the original picture taken by Viking which, as you can imagine, created quite the buzz when the world got to see it. To the left, you can see a closeup of the face, as well as a pyramid in close proximity, taken by Viking. To the right, you will see the original picture taken by NASA,straight from their website in 1976. Above the picture to your left and right you will see three different images which, according to NASA, are clearer versions of the pictures taken with improved instruments.In their original caption of the picture, NASA described it as a huge rock formation . . . which resembles a human head . . . formed by shadows giving the illusion of eyes, nose and mouth. The authors reasoned it would be a good way to engage the public and attract attention to Mars.

Well, according to multiple insiders with extensive backgrounds, this is not the case, and NASA lied about the images and data they collected, as well as fudged data and images. Based on thesetestimonies, among others, the photos released in 1998 and 2001 were meant to debunk rumours and put the issue to rest.

Dr. John Brandenburg

The picture above, which includes the pyramid, was taken from a lecture given by Dr. John Brandenburg (atthe 26:46 mark). Any scientist who publicly shares information that challenges commonly held belief systems, as well as whats been put out by mainstream media, will always come under public scrutiny and ridicule. But when you have worked on space plasma technologies, nuclear fusion, and advanced space propulsion, and invented the Microwave Electro-Thermal plasma thruster using water propellant for space propulsion,you deserve to be taken seriously.

This is the case with Dr. John Brandenburg. Hehas also worked for the government with top-secret security clearances on various projects. He worked on the Rocket Plume Regolith Interactions on the Moon and Mars, Vortex theory of Rocket engine design, and the combined Sakharov-Kaluza-Klein theory of Field Unification for purposes of space propulsion and Mars science.

Brandenburg was alsothe Deputy Manager of the Clementine Mission to the Moon,which was part of a joint space project between the Ballistic Missile Defence Organization (BMDO) and NASA. The mission discovered water at the Moons poles in 1994. (Source: page 16 of 18)(source)(source)

He currently works as a consultant to Morningstar Applied Physics. Here is one of his latest research endeavours. Brandenburg also works as a part time instructor of astronomy, physics, and mathematics at Madison College, and other learning institutions in Madison, Wisconsin.

Heres what he had to say:

Someone complained to me, John, why do you have to bring Cydonia into this? And I said, because I can read a map. . . . Heres whats at Cydonia Mensa. Theres the face on Mars, theres the D & M pyramid. . . . Here it is in a second shot, this was taken July 25th, this was taken 30 days later, the government was apparently doing a follow-up investigation. These two pictures (pictures above to your left) tell you everything you need to know about whats at Cydonia Mensa (region of Mars). If you see on a planet that used to be Earth-like, a carved human face and a pyramid within 5 km of each other . . . it doesnt take a rocket scientist to figure out what this all means, you can connect the dots. . . . I mean sometimes, and I can tell you as a scientist and Ive seen other scientists do this, if youre cornered, youre just brazing it out, you hold up a picture of a buffalo and insist that its a dog.

You can watch his entire lecture, or read THIS article we recently published on it to get his main points.

Dr Brain OLeary

Dr. Brian OLeary was a NASA astronaut, and a member of the sixth group of astronauts selected by NASA in 1967. After this, he was recruited by Carl Sagan to teach at Cornell University in the late 1960s, where he researched and lectured in the Department of Astronomy and Physics. After Cornell, he taught physics, astronomy, and science policy assessment at various academic institutions, including the University of California Berkeley, Hampshire College, and finishing off at Princeton University from 1976 to 1981. After that, he went on to Washington, where he would become an advisor to various political leaders, presidential candidates, and the United States Congress. OLeary was also a member of theAmerican Association for the Advancement of Science, as well as secretary of the American Geophysical Unions Planetology Section. Furthermore, he was the team leader of the Asteroidal Resources Group for NASAs Ames Summer Study on Space Settlements. He was a founding board member of the International Association for New Science as well as founding president of the New Energy Movement.

OLeary was always skeptical about Mars, and there are several others within these circles who were as well. I will be focusing on three.

He had some interesting things to say during alive interview with Kerry Cassidy of Project Camelot(view full live interview here, read transcript of video here).OLeary and Carl Sagan were close for a number of years, but had a falling out when OLeary decided to leave Cornell.

In the interview, he remarked:It was One very cold snowy day in May, I landed in Syracuse, and there was a horizontal blizzard in May and I said:Thats it for upstate New York. And Carl thought that was very frivolous. Because, of course, he was kind of an empire-builder kind of guy; and he also had a huge ego.

After he left, OLeary started to examine some of Carls work. He said that the famous Face in Cydonia on Mars photographed by Viking in 1975, this enormous formation (about a mile across) resembled a human face and created a major buzz at the time was tampered with by Sagan before being releasedto the public: It was very, very disappointing to me, because not only was Carl wrong, he also fudged data. He published a picture of the Face inParade Magazine, a popular article, saying that the Facewas just a natural formation, but he doctored the picture to make it not look like a face.

At this time,Sagan and OLeary were arguably the worlds two leading experts on Mars, and they entered into manydisagreements over that face. This rift was made clear inOLearys publication in 1998, Carl Sagan & I: On Opposite Sides of Mars. It can be found inThe Case for the Face: Scientists Examine the Evidence for Alien Artifacts on Mars, eds. Stanley V. McDaniel and Monica Rix Paxson. Kempton, IL: Adventures Unlimited Press.

InMay of 1990, OLeary releaseda paper titled Analysis of Images of the Face on Mars and Possible Intelligent Originwhich only further demonstrated his skepticism. It was published in the Journal of the British Interplanetary Society,Vol.43 No.5.

OLeary also went on the record and stated:

I began to realize, just directly from the scientific point of view, not only hearsay, that this man was colluding with NASA, that there might be more to this than before. . . .Carl was on a committee with a number of notable people. There was a report issued by the Brookings Institution in 1961 and thats about when I knew Carl, during those years; the 60s mostly was when I worked closely with him that he and this other group said:Well, if any ETs ever showed up on the Earth, it has to be covered up. Thats the only way were going to be able to manage this, because if we cant, then it would be too much of a culture shock.

Quite a shocking statement from someone of Brians stature, isnt it? In the interview, he goes on to say that Carl and his colleagues recommended that the governments cover up the UFO phenomenon, and that hebelieves this provided justification for the ongoing coverup.

When it comes to Mars, as mentioned earlier in the article, Sagan was a big debunker of the face, publishing multiple works stating that it was not a face, there were no pyramids, and that these are allthe stuff of conspiracy theories.

Whats interesting here is that not only does OLeary mention Sagan and his relationship with him, but so does Dr. John Brandenburg. In the lecture he gave, cited earlier in the article, Brandenburg also mentionsthat he was in contact with Sagan, that he sent Sagan the images of Mars with an analysis of the Face and Pyramids, and thatit was clear that thats what they were. The response from Sagan to Brandenburg? I never received them.

Dr. Norman Burgrun

Amechanical engineer, Dr. Bergrun has worked forAmes Research Laboratory, NACA (National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics), andLockheed Missiles and Space Company, now known as Lockheed Martin. He thenwent on to foundBergrun Engineering and Research. Obviously, he is another qualified individual with an impressive background. You can view some of his publications for NASA, where he worked for more than a decade,here.

In THIS interview, Bergrun accuses that agency of garbling photos and fudging data, as well as the face that was found in Mars in 1976.

We live in an age where more and more people are waking up to the secrecy that plagues our planet. Ten years ago, if you were to mention that we are being watched throughvarious high tech means, it would have been unbelievable, but thanks to people like Edward Snowden, we know this to be true.

Its unfortunate to realize that so many facts about our world are kept hidden from us, supposedly for the sake of national security, but its quite evident that there are also special interests at stake, and secrecy is used to preserve and uphold these interests, whatever they may be.

Today we have many whistleblowers with verified credentials from various agencies and branches of government who are spilling the beans on several different topics, as well as other evidence to corroborate and back up what the say. Our website is full of examples; the ones presented in this article representjust a select few.

While witness testimony is not always deemed credible,when you have up to, arguably, more than one thousand qualified people coming forward, it becomes difficult to ignore.

Today, in 2016, its important to keep an open mind, because information will keep emerging that threatens the belief systems of many. Too often we completely shut down any chance of even entertaining this type of information, and thats done out of fear. When weve been shielded from the truth for so long it can indeed be scary, and sometimes downright unbelievable, to wake up to the truth.

Secrecy is a great way for the establishment to keep us in line and prevent the human race from growing, expanding, and exploring, but our consciousness is shifting. We are becoming more aware, more curious, and more passionate about creating a better human experience for the entire race. We are constantly distracted with our own lives, trying to put food on the table and make it through another work week, having our minds, thoughts, and wants programmed into our brains through mass marketing, butmany people are no longer resonating with this type of human experience.

Its time to start asking the bigger questions. Its time for the human race to leave its infancy and grow into adulthood, and transparency is the first step. Proper progress cannot be made if a civilization tries to move forward blindly, unconscious of the true nature of reality.

Thanks for reading.

Read more:

Strong Evidence of Extraterrestrial Artificial Surface Interventions Found On Mars, According To New Study – Collective Evolution

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On October 14th 2015, the Italian Ministry of Education, University and Research (MIUR) appointed Professor Nicol D’Amico as President of the Italian National Institute for Astrophysics (INAF). Full professor in Astrophysics at University of Cagliari, D’Amico has been previously director of the INAF Astronomical Observatory in Cagliari and the director of the Sardinia Radio Telescope (SRT) Project.

Below, the latest news on the president:

See the original post:

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Theoretical planetology – Wikipedia

Theoretical planetology, also known as theoretical planetary science[3] is a branch of planetary sciences that developed in the 20th century.[4]

Theoretical planetologists, also known as theoretical planetary scientists, use modelling techniques to develop an understanding of the internal structure of planets by making assumptions about their chemical composition and the state of their materials, then calculating the radial distribution of various properties such as temperature, pressure, or density of material across the planet’s internals.[4]

Theoretical planetologists also use numerical models to understand how the Solar System planets were formed and develop in the future, their thermal evolution, their tectonics, how magnetic fields are formed in planetary interiors, how convection processes work in the cores and mantles of terrestrial planets and in the interiors of gas giants, how their lithospheres deform, the orbital dynamics of planetary satellites, how dust and ice are transported on the surface of some planets (such as Mars), and how the atmospheric circulation takes place over a planet.[5]

Theoretical planetologists may use laboratory experiments to understand various phenomena analogous to planetary processes, such as convection in rotating fluids.[5]

Theoretical planetologists make extensive use of basic physics, particularly fluid dynamics and condensed matter physics, and much of their work involves interpretation of data returned by space missions, although they rarely get actively involved in them.[7]

Typically a theoretical planetologist will have to have had higher education in physics and theoretical physics, at PhD doctorate level.[9][10]

Because of the use of scientific visualisation animation, theoretical planetology has a relationship with computer graphics. Example movies exhibiting this relation are the 4-minute “The Origin of the Moon”[8]

One of the major successes of theoretical planetology is the prediction and subsequent confirmation of volcanism on Io.[1][2]

The prediction was made by Stanton J. Peale who wrote a scientific paper claiming that Io must be volcanically active that was published one week before Voyager 1 encountered Jupiter. When Voyager 1 photographed Io in 1979, his theory was confirmed.[2] Later photographs of Io by the Hubble Space Telescope and from the ground also showed volcanoes on Io’s surface, and they were extensively studied and photographed by the Galileo orbiter of Jupiter from 1995-2003.

D. C. Tozer of University of Newcastle upon Tyne,[11] writing in 1974, expressed the opinion that “it could and will be said that theoretical planetary science is a waste of time” until problems related to “sampling and scaling” are resolved, even though these problems cannot be solved by simply collecting further laboratory data.[12]

Researchers working on theoretical planetology include:

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Theoretical planetology – Wikipedia


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