Posts Tagged ‘NASA’

One of Nasa’s partners has said that he is “absolutely convinced” aliens exist – and that they are living on Earth right now.

Robert Bigelow, an entrepreneur who is working closely with Nasa on future space missions, has suggested that he knows that our planet has an alien presence that is “right under our noses”.

Mr Bigelow made the announcement during an episode of the show 60 Minutes that focused on his work with the space agency.

His company, Bigelow Aerospace, is developing an expendable craft for humans that can inflate and might provide the space habitats of the future.

They have already been tested out in journeys to the International Space Station. And the two organisations are working on further co-operation.

But during that episode Mr Bigelow began to talk about his belief in aliens – and his claim that UFOs have come to Earth and extraterrestrials have an “existing presence” here.

“I’m absolutely convinced [that aliens exist],” he told reporter Lara Logan. “That’s all there is to it.”

Asked by Ms Logan whether he also thought that UFOs had come to Earth, he said he did.

“There has been and is an existing presence, an ET presence,” Mr Bigelow said. “And I spent millions and millions and millions – I probably spent more as an individual than anybody else in the United States has ever spent on this subject.”

Ms Logan then asked if Mr Bigelow thought it was “risky” to say that he believes such things. He said that he doesn’t care what people think because it wouldn’t “change the reality of what I know”.

Mr Bigelow didn’t give any details about whether the research and private space travel that he is funding had revealed anything about aliens to him.

But he said that the hugely expensive work his company and Nasa are doing won’t be required to meet them – he said that people “don’t have to go anywhere”, because the aliens are “right under people’s noses”.

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/nasa-robert-bigelow-aliens-extraterrestrials-earth-aerospace-space-international-station-a7763441.html

Thanks to Kebmodee for bringing this to the It’s Interesting community.

by Bec Crew

Strange microbes have been found inside the massive, subterranean crystals of Mexico’s Naica Mine, and researchers suspect they’ve been living there for up to 50,000 years.

The ancient creatures appear to have been dormant for thousands of years, surviving in tiny pockets of liquid within the crystal structures. Now, scientists have managed to extract them – and wake them up.

“These organisms are so extraordinary,” astrobiologist Penelope Boston, director of the NASA Astrobiology Institute, said on Friday at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in Boston.

The Cave of Crystals in Mexico’s Naica Mine might look incredibly beautiful, but it’s one of the most inhospitable places on Earth, with temperatures ranging from 45 to 65°C (113 to 149°F), and humidity levels hitting more than 99 percent.

Not only are temperatures hellishly high, but the environment is also oppressively acidic, and confined to pitch-black darkness some 300 metres (1,000 feet) below the surface.

In lieu of any sunlight, microbes inside the cave can’t photosynthesise – instead, they perform chemosynthesis using minerals like iron and sulphur in the giant gypsum crystals, some of which stretch 11 metres (36 feet) long, and have been dated to half a million years old.

Researchers have previously found life living inside the walls of the cavern and nearby the crystals – a 2013 expedition to Naica reported the discovery of creatures thriving in the hot, saline springs of the complex cave system.

But when Boston and her team extracted liquid from the tiny gaps inside the crystals and sent them off to be analysed, they realised that not only was there life inside, but it was unlike anything they’d seen in the scientific record.

They suspect the creatures had been living inside their crystal castles for somewhere between 10,000 and 50,000 years, and while their bodies had mostly shut down, they were still very much alive.

“Other people have made longer-term claims for the antiquity of organisms that were still alive, but in this case these organisms are all very extraordinary – they are not very closely related to anything in the known genetic databases,” Boston told Jonathan Amos at BBC News.

What’s perhaps most extraordinary about the find is that the researchers were able to ‘revive’ some of the microbes, and grow cultures from them in the lab.

“Much to my surprise we got things to grow,” Boston told Sarah Knapton at The Telegraph. “It was laborious. We lost some of them – that’s just the game. They’ve got needs we can’t fulfil.”

At this point, we should be clear that the discovery has yet to be published in a peer-reviewed journal, so until other scientists have had a chance to examine the methodology and findings, we can’t consider the discovery be definitive just yet.

The team will also need to convince the scientific community that the findings aren’t the result of contamination – these microbes are invisible to the naked eye, which means it’s possible that they attached themselves to the drilling equipment and made it look like they came from inside the crystals.

“I think that the presence of microbes trapped within fluid inclusions in Naica crystals is in principle possible,” Purificación López-García from the French National Centre for Scientific Research, who was part of the 2013 study that found life in the cave springs, told National Geographic.

“[But] contamination during drilling with microorganisms attached to the surface of these crystals or living in tiny fractures constitutes a very serious risk,” she says. I am very skeptical about the veracity of this finding until I see the evidence.”

That said, microbiologist Brent Christner from the University of Florida in Gainesville, who was also not involved in the research, thinks the claim isn’t as far-fetched as López-García is making it out to be, based on what previous studies have managed with similarly ancient microbes.

“[R]eviving microbes from samples of 10,000 to 50,000 years is not that outlandish based on previous reports of microbial resuscitations in geological materials hundreds of thousands to millions of years old,” he told National Geographic.

For their part, Boston and her team say they took every precaution to make sure their gear was sterilised, and cite the fact that the creatures they found inside the crystals were similar, but not identical to those living elsewhere in the cave as evidence to support their claims.

“We have also done genetic work and cultured the cave organisms that are alive now and exposed, and we see that some of those microbes are similar but not identical to those in the fluid inclusions,” she said.

Only time will tell if the results will bear out once they’re published for all to see, but if they are confirmed, it’s just further proof of the incredible hardiness of life on Earth, and points to what’s possible out there in the extreme conditions of space.

http://www.sciencealert.com/ancient-life-has-been-found-trapped-inside-these-giant-cave-crystals

A new deep-space study by NASA shows the vast void beyond our home is dotted not only with countless galaxies and stars, but also a stunning number of supermassive black holes.

Using data collected over 80 days of observations by NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory spacecraft, the agency released an image that shows the largest concentration of black holes ever seen. According to scientists, the density as viewed from Earth would be equivalent to about 5,000 objects that would fit into the area of the sky covered by the full moon.

“With this one amazing picture, we can explore the earliest days of black holes in the Universe and see how they change over billions of years,” study leader Niel Brandt of Pennsylvania State University in University Park, said in a statement.

The image above shows black holes emitting x-ray energy at a variety of intensities. Red indicates low energy, medium is green, and the highest-energy x-rays observed by Chandra are blue. About 70 percent of the objects in the image are supermassive black holes, with masses estimated to range anywhere from 100,000 to 10 billion times the mass of our sun. Many date back billions of years, forming just after the Big Bang.

While invisible to the naked eye, black holes emit x-rays due to captured matter heating up as it spins faster and faster towards the object’s all-consuming center or event horizon.

http://www.mnn.com/earth-matters/space/blogs/deep-space-photo-reveals-thousands-supermassive-black-holes

by Robby Berman

All the scientific studies in the world of this one mysterious star have so far ruled out every theory except one, and it’s the wildest one. The whole thing started when Yale astronomer Tabetha Boyajian located star KIC 8462852, unofficially known as “Tabby’s star,” after Boyajian. Tabby’s star is doing something very strange.

In 2009, NASA launched its Kepler probe to keep a close watch on a small section of the sky — the idea was to learn more about a smaller area than less about a larger one. The probe tracks how light reflected from stars dims and grows brighter. Generally, when a star dims, a planet has passed in front of it, and will again and again as it travels its orbital path.

Kepler’s found some 2,000+ planets orbiting stars and published its data to allow citizen scientists to confirm their findings. A group of people affiliated with Yale called Planet Finders started going over the data, and Boyajian found her star.

To start with, it’s unexpectedly dim for a star of its its size and age. But what really got her attention was this chart.

Each vertical dip represents a holy-cow reduction in the star’s brightness, more than 10 times the dimming that astronomers would expect from a planet even as big as Jupiter crossing in front of the star. So it appears it’s not a planet causing Tabby’s star to dim, which is why it’s also called the “WTF star,” after the paper they published about it titled “Where’s the Flux?”

The data suggests something huge is orbiting the star, but what?

The reason the WTF star is famous is the hypothesis put forward to explain the dimming by Penn State astronomer Jason Wright: That what’s orbiting the star could be a “swarm of megastructures,” alien-built energy collectors, much like terrestrial solar panels. Wright told The Atlantic, “When Boyajian showed me the data, I was fascinated by how crazy it looked. Aliens should always be the very last hypothesis you consider, but this looked like something you would expect an alien civilization to build.” He was imagining something like a Dyson sphere.

Crazy, right? Well, since then scientists have been frantically pushing out other hypotheses to explain the anomaly.

Here are some of the more normal theories, and why they’re probably wrong:
•Kepler was malfunctioning — Nope.
•It’s a cloud of dust from star formation — But the star isn’t young. It shows no sign of the infrared light that indicates a new star.
•It’s a swarm of comets — But the dimming is too extreme to be caused by comets.
•It’s debris from colliding planets — But that matter would get sucked into the star so quickly it would be unlikely to linger long enough for us to see it.

http://bigthink.com/robby-berman/science-keeps-not-debunking-the-alien-dyson-sphere-idea?utm_source=Big+Think+Weekly+Newsletter+Subscribers&utm_campaign=344e51650c-Newsletter_081716&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_6d098f42ff-344e51650c-41106061


An image from Hubble of Proxima Centauri, which is our nearest neighbour and could be the home of another Earth ESA/Hubble & NASA

Scientists might have found the closest ever candidate for another Earth that could support life, according to reports. But nobody will say whether it’s true.

The new-found planet orbits around a now well-investigated star in Proxima Centauri, near us, according to reports. It is similar to Earth and could support life, it is claimed.

The researchers that found the planet are expected to show it off at the end of this month. But until then they are saying nothing.

One report said the planet will be the closest ‘second Earth’ ever found. The Proxima Centauri star is part of the Alpha Centauri system, which includes our solar system.

“The still nameless planet is believed to be Earth-like and orbits at a distance to Proxima Centauri that could allow it to have liquid water on its surface — an important requirement for the emergence of life,” German newspaper Der Spiegel reported.

The report didn’t give any more details on the planet itself.

A spokesperson for the European Southern Observatory has refused to comment on the report, but said that he was aware of it.

Nasa revealed a second Earth to much fanfare last year. That planet was called Kepler 452b, and is just 60 per cent larger than Earth and in many other ways is almost identical to our planet.

But since it is so far away – 1,400 light years – the chance of ever getting there or learning much more about it is limited. The new discovery is far, far nearer, at just 4.24 light years from us.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/second-earth-discovery-nasa-esa-space-solar-system-scientists-a7192341.html

The crew of an Apollo mission to the moon were so startled when they encountered strange music-like radio transmissions coming through their headsets, they didn’t know whether or not to report it to NASA, it’s been revealed.

It was 1969, two months before Apollo 11’s historic first manned landing on the moon, when Apollo 10 entered lunar orbit, which included traversing the far side of the moon when all spacecraft are out of radio contact with Earth for about an hour and nobody on Earth can see or hear them.

As far as the public knew, everything about the mission went smoothly.

Almost four decades went by before lost recordings emerged that revealed something unsettling that the three Apollo astronauts had experienced while flying above the far side of the moon.

The taped recordings contained “strange, otherworldly music coming through the Apollo module’s radio,” according to the upcoming Science Channel series, “NASA’s Unexplained Files.”

The conversation between the three astronauts indicated they heard sounds like they had never heard before:

“It sounds like, you know, outer space-type music.”

“You hear that? That whistling sound? Whooooooooo!”

“Well, that sure is weird music!”
The unexplained “music” transmission lasted almost an hour, and just before the astronauts regained radio contact with Earth, they discussed whether or not to tell Mission Control what they had experienced:

“It’s unbelievable! You know?”

“Shall we tell them about it?”

“I don’t know. We ought to think about it.”

“The Apollo 10 crew was very used to the kind of noise that they should be hearing. Logic tells me that if there was something recorded on there, then there was something there,” Apollo 15 astronaut Al Worden says on the Science Channel program. “NASA would withhold information from the public if they thought it was in the public’s best interest.”

The transcripts of the Apollo 10 mission were classified and untouched in NASA’s archives until 2008, producing an ongoing debate as to the nature and origin of the strange sounds heard by the astronauts.

“You don’t hear about anything like that until years after the incident occurs, and then you kind of wonder, because it’s such an old memory of those things that you get concerned about if they were making something up or was there something really there? Because you never really know,” Worden told The Huffington Post.

“If you’re behind the moon and hear some weird noise on your radio, and you know you’re blocked from the Earth, then what could you possibly think?” Worden said.

“We’d had a lot of incidents where guys who flew in space saw and heard things that they didn’t recognize, and you wonder about all of that. I have a very open mind about what could’ve happened. It’s somebody’s hearsay evidence — it’s only a visual or audio event, which is hard to pin down. Recollection is one thing, but actual proof is something entirely different.”

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/apollo-10-astronauts-reported-unexplained-music-at-moon_us_56c80662e4b0928f5a6c0679

by Alfredo Carpineti

On Sunday, January 24, NASA’s Mars rover Opportunity reached 12 Earth years on the surface of Mars, having landed on the same day in 2004.

It was budgeted to last 90 days, with a lifespan of a few months, before it was thought its solar panel would be covered in dust and stop working. But thanks to a number of factors, including wind on Mars, the tenacious rover has been able to endure the harsh Martian environment for much, much longer.

The rover has begun to show its age, becoming more difficult to maneuver and having memory storage problems. Also, two of its scientific instruments have now stopped functioning completely. Problems aside, though, Opportunity continues to produce an abundance of science.

Opportunity is currently exploring a region rich in clay minerals that would have formed in wet conditions. The area is called Marathon Valley, since it’s 42 kilometers (26 miles) – the Olympic marathon distance – from Opportunity’s landing site in Eagle Crater.

“With healthy power levels, we are looking forward to completing the work in Marathon Valley this year and continuing onward with Opportunity,” Exploration Rover Project Manager John Callas said in a statement.

The rover is currently removing surface crust from rocks in the valley, and the texture and composition are being examined with the use of its robotic arm.

The Martian winter started in January, so the solar energy that the rover is currently receiving is significantly lower than usual. The team positioned the rover in a more favorable sun-facing orientation, which has increased the amount of power the solar panels are generating, allowing for power-consuming operations like drilling and rock-grinding.

“Opportunity has stayed very active this winter, in part because the solar arrays have been much cleaner than in the past few winters,” said Callas.

The rover is fully funded until the end of 2016, and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory is currently working on the next extension proposal. In the last review, Opportunity received the highest rating of any ongoing Mars mission.

http://www.iflscience.com/opportunity-s-twelve-years-red-planet