Space Colonization – 2

Cannot believe with all those stars in the heavens that there isn’t a one with a planet suitable for colonization close by and of course having no unfriendly aliens to clash with. ( Aside: I can’t help wondering if our creators deliberately planned the growth of humankind  to reach the point of insufficient available resources on earth and thus to force our race to colonize space).

More to come (I hope).

Compact solar destinations nuclear power system

Initial tests in Nevada on a compact nuclear power system designed to sustain a long-duration NASA human mission on the inhospitable surface of Mars have been successful and a full-power run is scheduled for March, officials said on Thursday.

At a news conference in Las Vegas, officials from the NASA and the U.S. Department of Energy detailed the development of the nuclear fission system under NASA’s Kilopower project.

Months-long testing of the system began in November at the energy department’s Nevada National Security Site, with an eye toward providing energy for future human and robotic missions in space and on the surface of Mars, the moon or other solar system destinations.

A key hurdle for any lengthy human mission on the surface of a planet or moon, as opposed to NASA’s six short lunar surface visits from 1969 to 1972, is possessing a power source strong enough to meet the various energy needs to sustain a base but small and light enough to allow for transportation

“Mars is a very difficult environment for power systems, with less sunlight than Earth or the moon, very cold nighttime temperatures, very interesting dust storms that can last weeks and months that engulf the entire planet,” said Steve Jurczyk, associate administrator of NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate.

“So Kilopower’s compact size and robustness allows us to deliver multiple units on a single lander to the surface that provides tens of kilowatts of power,” Jurczyk added.

See: NASA compact nuclear power 

Global Warming – Trends

“We’re in a long-term warming trend,” Gavin Schmidt of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies said at a news conference on Thursday. “The planet is warming remarkably uniformly.”

“There is year-to-year variability, but the long-term trends are clear,” Deke Arndt, chief of the global monitoring branch of NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information, said.

And the Arctic is feeling the heat. Arndt noted that the region is warming “much faster than the global average.”

Over the past century, Earth’s global temperature has risen by more than 1 C, largely due to an increase of carbon dioxide and other human-made emissions, NASA said in its report.

“Basically all of the warming in the last 60 years is attributable to human activities, and carbon emissions is the No. 1 component of that,” Schmidt said.

While El Nino and La Nina can play a role in global temperatures, they contribute to short-term changes in global temperatures, as was evident in both 2015 and 2016. El Nino causes a rise in global temperatures, while La Nina tends to cause some cooling.

There was no El Nino in 2017, but La Nina began at the end of the year. NASA noted that an analysis which removed both patterns concluded that 2017 would have been the warmest year on record.

“It’s the long-term trend that’s pushing these numbers up,” Schmidt said.

Space Colonization – 1

One of the major environmental concerns of our time is the increasing consumption of Earth’s resources to sustain our way of life. As more and more nations make the climb up from agricultural to industrial nations, their standard of life will improve, which will mean that more and more people will be competing for the same resources. While NASA spinoffs and other inventions can allow us to be more thrifty with Earth’s resources, we nevertheless must come to grips with the problem that humanity is currently limited to one planet.

Space colonies could be the answer to this problem, if we can solve the medical problems posed by microgravity (also called weightlessness) and the high levels of radiation to which the astronauts would be exposed after leaving the protection of the Earth’s atmosphere. The colonists would mine the Moon and the minor planet and build beamed power satellites that would supplement or even replace power plants on the Earth. The colonists could also take advantage of the plentiful raw materials, unlimited solar power, vaccuum, and microgravity in other ways to create products that we cannot while inside the cocoon of Earth’s atmosphere and gravity. In addition to potentially replacing our current Earth-polluting industries, these colonies may also help our environment in other ways. Since the colonists would inhabit completely isolated manmade environments, they would refine our knowledge of the Earth’s ecology.

From NASA. See: NASA on Space Colonization (More to come I hope)

Universal Micro-organic Life?

A new analysis of the oldest known fossil microorganisms provides strong evidence to support an increasingly widespread understanding that life in the universe is common.

The microorganisms, from Western Australia, are 3.465 billion years old. Scientists from UCLA and the University of Wisconsin–Madison report today in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that two of the species they studied appear to have performed a primitive form of photosynthesis, another apparently produced methane gas, and two others appear to have consumed methane and used it to build their cell walls.

The evidence that a diverse group of organisms had already evolved extremely early in the Earth’s history — combined with scientists’ knowledge of the vast number of stars in the universe and the growing understanding that planets orbit so many of them — strengthens the case for life existing elsewhere in the universe because it would be extremely unlikely that life formed quickly on Earth but did not arise anywhere else.

“By 3.465 billion years ago, life was already diverse on Earth; that’s clear — primitive photosynthesizers, methane producers, methane users,” said J. William Schopf, a professor of paleobiology in the UCLA college, and the study’s lead author. “These are the first data that show the very diverse organisms at that time in Earth’s history, and our previous research has shown that there were sulfur users 3.4 billion years ago as well.

Taken from the following: Universal Micro-organic Life