Sunday, October 14, 2012

Felix Baumgartner will attempt to survive a freefall jump from 120,000 feet

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Chuck Yeager achieved Mach 1 in the experimental X-1 plane on this day in 1947. Today, Felix Baumgartner plans to ascend to at least 120,000 feet in a stratospheric balloon and make a freefall jump rushing toward earth at supersonic speeds before parachuting to the ground. His attempt to survive extreme atmospheric limits holds the potential to provide valuable medical and scientific research data for future pioneers. This jump procedure may someday be repeated in a space exploration or space tourism emergency. So the data collected today could help save lives.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Asteroid Dust May Help Combat Global Warming

One of mankind's greatest challenges is surviving global climate change. To that end, scientists have been hypothesizing, experimenting and researching various methods of geoengineering. The latest suggestion involves parking a near earth asteroid between Earth and the sun and spraying dust particles into the space surrounding the asteroid. The resulting cloud of dust could help shade the earth and reduce the amount of radiation that reaches earth. The gravitational pull of the asteroid would trap the dust and prevent it from floating out into space.

Source: LiveScience

The idea would be to place an asteroid at Lagrange point L1, a site where the gravitational pull of the sun and the Earth cancel out. This point is about four times the distance from the Earth to the moon.

The researchers suggest outfitting a near-Earth asteroid with a "mass driver," a device consisting of electromagnets that would hurl asteroid-derived matter away from the giant rock. The mass driver could serve both as a rocket to push the asteroid to the L1 point and as an engine to spew out sun-shielding dust.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The real reason why the Pioneer spacecrafts appear to be slowing down

Scientists have been trying to understand why the Pioneer 10 and 11 space probes appear to be decelerating and a new theory could have a profound impact on calculations of space travel across our galaxy and eventually the universe.

Source: io9

The Pioneer spacecrafts aren't slowing down — they're moving exactly as the physical laws would predict. But because space is expanding, and because the Pioneer probes are so faraway,we've been getting the false sense that they're slowing down. Physicists,it now appears, haven't been plugging in all the relevant variables into their calculations.