NASA Scientist

Dr Richard Hoover

claims to have found

evidence of alien life

  • From: NewsCore
  • March 06, 2011 10:10AM
Alien life

While some scientists are excited by the finds, others say more evidence is needed that we have found alien life. File picture Source: Supplied

  • Astrobiologist claims to have found alien life
  • Rare class of meteorites “prove life exists”
  • Scientists call for more evidence over claim

WE are not alone and alien life forms may have more in common with life on Earth than we had thought, according to a NASA scientist.

The out-of-this-world research by Dr Richard B. Hoover, an astrobiologist with NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Centre, was published in the March edition of the Journal of Cosmology.

In the report, Dr Hoover describes the latest findings in his study of an extremely rare class of meteorites, called CI1 carbonaceous chondrites – only nine such meteorites were known to exist on Earth.

The scientist was convinced that his findings revealed fossil evidence of bacterial life within such meteorites and by extension, suggests we are not alone in the universe.

“I interpret it as indicating that life is more broadly distributed than restricted strictly to the planet Earth,” Dr Hoover said.

This field of study has just barely been touched because quite frankly, a great many scientists would say that this is impossible.”In what he called “a very simple process,” Dr Hoover fractured the meteorite stones under a sterile environment before examining the freshly broken surface with the standard tools of the scientist: a scanning electron microscope and a field emission electron scanning microscope, which allowed him to search the stone’s surface for evidence of fossil remains.

He found the fossil remains of micro-organisms not so different from ordinary ones found underfoot on Earth.

“The exciting thing is that they are in many cases recognisable and can be associated very closely with the generic species here on earth,” Dr Hoover said.

But not all of them. “There are some that are just very strange and don’t look like anything that I’ve been able to identify, and I’ve shown them to many other experts that have also come up stumped.”

Other scientists say the implications of this research were shocking, describing the findings variously as profound, very important and extraordinary.

But Dr David Marais, an astrobiologist with NASA’s AMES Research Centre, said he was very cautious about jumping on the bandwagon.

These kinds of claims have been made before, he noted and found to be false.

“It’s an extraordinary claim, and thus I’ll need extraordinary evidence,” he said.

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha

Huge X-class solar flare

could jam satellite signals

February 18, 2011

A powerful solar eruption that has already disturbed radio communications in China could disrupt electrical power grids and satellites used on Earth in the next days, NASA said.

The massive sunspot, which astronomers say is the size of Jupiter, is the strongest solar flare in four years, NASA said.

The Class X flash – the largest such category – erupted at 12.56pm [AEDT] on Tuesday, according to the US space agency.

A powerfuil solar eruption could disrupt satellites on Earth.A powerful solar eruption could disrupt satellites on Earth. Photo: AFP

“X-class flares are the most powerful of all solar events that can trigger radio blackouts and long-lasting radiation storms, disturbing telecommunications and electric grids,” NASA said.

NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory saw a large coronal mass ejection (CME) associated with the flash that is blasting towards Earth about 900 kilometres per second, it said.

The charged plasma particles were expected to reach the planet’s orbit at 2.00pm [AEDT] yesterday.

The flare spread from Active Region 1158 in the sun’s southern hemisphere, which had so far lagged behind the northern hemisphere in flash activity. It followed several smaller flares in recent days.

“The calm before the storm,” read a statement on the US National Weather Service Space Weather Prediction Service.

“Three CMEs are enroute, all a part of the Radio Blackout events on February 13, 14, and 15 [UTC]. The last of the three seems to be the fastest and may catch both of the forerunners about mid to late … February 17.”

Geomagnetic storms usually last 24 to 48 hours, “but some may last for many days”, read a separate NWS statement.

“Ground-to-air, ship-to-shore, shortwave broadcast and amateur radio are vulnerable to disruption during geomagnetic storms. Navigation systems like GPS can also be adversely affected.”

The China Meteorological Administration reported that the solar flare had jammed shortwave radio communications in southern China.

It said the flare caused “sudden ionospheric disturbances” in the atmosphere above China, and warned there was a high probability that large solar flares would appear over the next three days, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

In previous major disturbance of the Earth’s electric grid from a solar incident, in 1973, a magnetic storm caused by a solar eruption plunged six million people into darkness in Canada’s eastern-central Quebec province.

The British Geological Survey [BGS] said meanwhile that the solar storm would result in spectacular Northern Lights displays starting on Thursday.

One coronal mass ejection [CME] arrived on February 14, “sparking Valentine’s Day displays of the Northern Lights [aurora borealis] further south than usual”.

“Two CMEs are expected to arrive in the next 24-48 hours and further … displays are possible some time over the next two nights if skies are clear,” it said.

The office published geomagnetic records dating back to the Victorian era which it hopes will help in planning for future storms.

“Life increasingly depends on technologies that didn’t exist when the magnetic recordings began,” said Alan Thomson, BGS head of geomagnetism.

“Studying the records will tell us what we have to plan and prepare for to make sure systems can resist solar storms,” he said.

AFP Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha

Find Global warming lesson Information Read the facts on global warming.

On October 26, 2006, NASA launched two STEREO (Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory) spacecraft. Using the Moon’s gravity for a gravitational slingshot, the two nearly identical spacecraft, STEREO-A and STEREO-B, split up with one pulling ahead of the Earth and the other gradually falling behind. It’s taken over four years but on February 6, 2011, the two spacecraft finally moved into position on opposite sides of the Sun, each looking down on a different hemisphere. The probes are now sending back images of the star, front and back, allowing scientists for the first time to view the entire Sun in 3D.

Each of the probes captures images of half of the Sun and beams them back to Earth where researchers combine the two opposing views to create a sphere. To track key aspects of solar activity such as flares, tsunamis and magnetic filaments, STEREO’s telescopes are tuned to four wavelengths of extreme ultraviolet radiation.

Space weather forecasting

The resultant 3D images will allow researchers to improve space weather forecasts to provide earlier and more accurate warnings for potentially damaging coronal mass ejections (CMEs) that can impact aircraft navigation systems, power grids and satellites. Previously, an active sunspot could emerge on the far side of the Sun before the Sun’s rotation turned that region toward Earth, spitting flares and clouds of plasma with little warning.

“Not anymore,” says Bill Murtagh, a senior forecaster at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Space Weather Prediction Center in Boulder, Colorado. “Farside active regions can no longer take us by surprise. Thanks to STEREO, we know they’re coming.”

As part of NASA’s ‘Solar Shield’ project, the NOAA is already using 3D STEREO models of CME’s to improve space weather forecasts, but the full Sun view should improve these forecasts even more. And the forecasting benefits aren’t just limited to Earth. The global 3D model of the Sun also allows researchers to track solar storms heading for other planets, which is important for NASA missions to Mercury, Mars and even asteroids.

“With data like these, we can fly around the Sun to see what’s happening over the horizon—without ever leaving our desks,” says STEREO program scientist Lika Guhathakurta at NASA headquarters. “I expect great advances in theoretical solar physics and space weather forecasting.”

More answers

NASA also expects the 3D images of the Sun to shed light on previously overlooked connections. For instance, researchers have long suspected that solar activity can “go global,” with eruptions on opposite sides of the Sun triggering and feeding off each other. The global images will allow them to actually study the phenomenon.

In conjunction with NASA’s Earth-orbiting Solar Dynamics Observatory, the STEREO-A and STEREO-B probes should be able to image the entire globe of the Sun for the next eight years. Therefore, these initial images are just the beginning of what should be some truly stellar images and movies that NASA says will be released in the weeks ahead as more of the data from the STEREO probes is processed.

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha

First exoplanet from beyond our galaxy discovered

Astronomers have been discovering planets outside of our solar system – or exoplanets – at a steady rate in recent years. The number has now topped 500 and with earth-bound detection improving all the time and the Kepler mission out hunting with the largest camera ever sent into space, the rate is not likely to slow down anytime soon. Among these discoveries are some extraordinary finds like the first “potentially habitable” exoplanet, but what’s different about this latest discovery is not the Earth-like qualities of the planet, it’s the fact that it originated from outside the Milky Way – which makes it an extragalactic exoplanet. Read More

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha

Next phase of Space Fence in motion

There are tens of thousands of pieces of space debris currently orbiting the Earth which pose a potential hazard to satellites, the International Space Station and other space hardware. Since the early 1960s, the existing Air Force Space Surveillance System, also known as the VHF or Space Fence, has been used to track orbital objects passing over America. Proposals are now being taken for the next phase of a new Space Fence that will better detect, report and track orbiting space junk as well as commercial and military satellites. Read More

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha

Massive International Space Station to be built

The ISS is one of the largest projects ever conceived and will take 45 space missions to provide the materials necessary to build the station.
Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha

Improved Telescope Sees Through

Atmosphere With Pinpoint Sharpness

ScienceDaily (June 28, 2010) — A sharp view of the starry sky is difficult, because the atmosphere constantly distorts the image. TU/e researcher Roger Hamelinck developed a new type of telescope mirror, which quickly corrects the image. His prototypes are required for future large telescopes, but also gives old telescopes a sharper view.

Contains ‘bubbles’ of hot and cold air, each with their own refractive index, which distort the image. As a result, the light reaching ground-based telescopes is distorted. Hamelinck’s system tackles this problem with a deformable mirror in the telescope. Under this ultrathin mirror there are actuators, which can wherever necessary quickly create bumps and dimples in the mirror. These bumps and dimples correct the continuously changing distortion created in the atmosphere. This is of crucial importance to the new generation of large telescopes in particular. Hamelinck: “In principle, larger telescopes also have a higher resolution, but attaining an optimal optical quality is hampered by the atmosphere. Therefore you absolutely need these corrections.”

The principle of the ‘adaptive deformable mirror’ has been known some fifty odd years, but was limited especially by the technology. Thus, the actuators of earlier systems generated much heat, which caused the systems themselves to become a source of distortion. “Contrary to the old systems, this new system has an ultrathin mirror, so that very little power is needed for its deformation ,” Hamelinck explains. “In combination with the efficient, electromagnetic reluctance actuators, this reduces the heat generation of the system to a very low level. Thanks to this, no active cooling is required.” Hamelinck’s working prototype has a five-centimeter diameter. Given that the design is scalable and expandable with modules, the system is suited for very large telescopes, such as the future 42-meter-big E-ELT (European Extra Large Telescope). The E-ELT is fitted inter alia with an adaptive mirror of 2.4 meters.

Research institute TNO is so enthusiastic about Hamelinck’s work, that the institute is going to market it. Not only so for new telescopes, but also for existing ones. “It can be built into any telescope in the world,” says Ben Braam, business developer Space & Science of TNO. “When you turn on the system, the image is suddenly enhanced. As if it is putting on new spectacles at long last.” Affordable spectacles, in Braam’s opinion. “I’m thinking in terms of fifty to one hundred thousand euro. Which is relatively cheap for that world.”

Admittedly, the system does not correct for everything. Clouds continue to be a problem, for example. Consequently the best places for telescopes are still locations where one can enjoy a clear, cloudless sky most of the time. That would exclude the Netherlands, then.

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha


A view inside the National Ignition Facility’s target chamber, a space easily big enough for technicians to stand inside. It is hoped the NIF will eventually be a major source of carbon-free energy.

(Credit: Lawrence Livermore National Lab)

LIVERMORE, Calif.–Think clean energy is a fantasy? What if the power of a star was applied to the problem?

That’s the approach being explored at the National Ignition Facility, a huge-scale experiment in laser fusion based at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory here. Scientists are looking at NIF as a potential key to producing large amounts of carbon-free power.

It’s not known if the system will ever bear the kind of fruit the scientists and administrators who run NIF would like. Still, the facility is a scientific wonder that can transform a single laser beam no wider than a human hair into 192 beams–each of which is 18 inches wide. Together, the beams are designed to produce 4 million joules, the amount of power that would produce 4 million watts of power in a single second.

Using star power for a clean-energy future (photos)

The NIF was completed in early 2009 and eventually will be used by the U.S. Department of Energy, as well as technicians from national laboratories, fusion energy researchers, academics, and others. It is “the world’s largest and highest-energy laser, [and] has the goal of achieving nuclear fusion and energy gain in the laboratory for the first time,” according to the Lawrence Livermore National Lab, “in essence, creating a miniature star on Earth.”

This is serious high technology. The NIF employs a series of amplifiers and mirrors known as switchyards to route and split the original hair’s-width laser beam over a total distance of 1,500 meters. After being separated by pre-amplifiers into 48 beams, each beam is then split into four beams, and then all are injected into the 192 main laser amplifier beamlines, according to the NIF.

The hope is that NIF will be online as a power plant within 15 to 20 years. For now, the facility is a proof-of-concept system, albeit one comprising two 10-story buildings and more than $3 billion of investment. Eventually, the 192 laser beams reunite to focus on a target fuel pellet that is just millimeters in size, yet placed inside a target chamber that towers over the technicians who sometimes work inside.

And 192 laser beams of this magnitude create some serious heat. The theoretical maximum, according to LLNL retiree and docent Nick Williams, is 100 million degrees Celsius.

For now, because of the amount of power necessary to produce the beams, and the heat created, scientists are only able to fire the laser system once every two or three hours. Eventually, the idea would be to fire it many times a second.

And by 2030, it is hoped, the NIF will be helping produce commercial power and helping scientists and researchers better understand the nature of the universe. That, it would seem, would be a main benefit of producing what amounts to a small star, right here in the middle of Northern California.

On June 24, Geek Gestalt will kick off Road Trip 2010. After driving more than 18,000 miles in the Rocky Mountains, the Pacific Northwest, the Southwest and the Southeast over the last four years, I’ll be looking for the best in technology, science, military, nature, aviation and more throughout the American northeast. If you have a suggestion for someplace to visit, drop me a line. In the meantime, you can follow my preparations for the project on Twitter @GreeterDan and @RoadTrip.

Sourced and published by Henry Sapiecha 7th June 2010

Electromagnetic Rail Motor
Tim Cormier
Beavercreek, OH


altThe Electromagnetic Rail Motor (ERM) can power anything from aircraft and cars, to artificial human limbs. The ERM is based on the modern rail gun. By taking the two rails and forming a ring, a continuous rotational force is created that is easily managed and controlled. The speed of rotation can be directly controlled by adjusting the voltage, similar to a gas pedal. Once the ERM powers up, the motor rotation will accelerate to its terminal speed. The blades act as both rotational shafts and as propeller blades to help cool the motor during extremely high speeds. The rail housing holds the assembly together and keeps the rails in place to counter the immense separation force.

Sourced and published by Henry Sapiecha 8th Sept 2009


Imax 3-D camera to film Hubble mission


WASHINGTON (UPI) — The U.S. space agency says it will join the Imax Corp. and Warner Bros. Pictures to film the upcoming Hubble Space Telescope mission in 3-D.

The Imax cameras will be used to document what the National Aeronautics and Space Administration calls one of its most complex space shuttle operations — the final servicing mission to the Hubble Space Telescope.

“The cameras will launch aboard space shuttle Atlantis, which is scheduled to lift off May 11,” NASA said. “Astronauts will use the cameras to film five spacewalks needed to repair and upgrade Hubble.

Officials said the footage will be used in the movie “Hubble 3D” that is scheduled for release in the spring of 2010.

The Atlantis’ crew has been trained to operate the cameras, one of which will be mounted outside the crew cabin in the shuttle’s cargo bay to capture images of the historic final servicing mission. The commander and pilot will double as filmmakers as two teams of spacewalking astronauts “perform some of the most challenging work ever undertaken in space as they replace and refurbish many of the telescope’s precision instruments,” the space agency said.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Sourced and published by Henry Sapiecha 11th May 2009