Archive for March, 2016

Cosmic Radio Bursts Repeatedly Recorded

Astronomers at the McGill University have been recording repeating short bursts of radio waves from an enigmatic source in outer space. The originating point of these radio wave bursts is still shrouded in mystery. Fast radio wave bursts usually come from a powerful object such as an exploding star or a star collapsing into a black hole and the one associated with these recordings seems to be well beyond the edge of the Milky Way galaxy.

Fast Radio Bursts or FRBs are being studied by the Arecibo radio telescope in Puerto Ricowhich is also the world’s largest radio telescope. The 305 m  telescope and its suspended support platform of radio receivers is a unique device which has been providing a lot of unusual data for astronomers to process. Arecibo is the first telescope to see repeat bursts from the same source.

Currently there is great ongoing debate as to the source of these FRBs. Some believe that it is from supernova star, others feel that it is more likely to be a rotating neutron star. Others believe that there may be more than one source for the FRBs that are located close to each other. Needless to say that till further evidence comes to light the mystery of this science project will remain to be solved.

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What’s On The Menu For Mars?

Growing crops on Mars is going to play an important part of being able to colonize the red planet. Scientists at the Wageningen University and Research Centre in the Netherlands have been working on growing different crops on Mars and Moon soil simulations. After they gained knowledge from their first experiment they were able to grow ten different types of crops in the second science experiment.

Tomatoes, peas, rye, garden rocket, radish and garden cress were harvested successfully at the culmination of this experiment. The eventual goal of these experiments is to provide the basis for growing crops on Mars and on the moon, in order to feed the first settlers who will eventually be part of the first colonization efforts. Needless to say that the success reflected here will have a direct bearing on just what these people will be able to grow as fresh supplies.

Dr Wieger Wamelink said that the total above ground biomass produced on the Mars soil simulant was not significantly different from the potting compost they used as a control. They used trays instead of pots in the second lot and also added cut grass as an organic manure. The science project showed that the Mars soil simulant has great potential when properly prepared and watered

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InSight To Reach Mars by 2018

Rick Gilbrech, director of NASA’s Stennis Space Center in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi says that they have exciting days ahead with a return to deep space and a journey to Mars, and the engine test they just successfully completed is a very big step in that direction. At the same time InSight is likely to have a launch window in May 2018 which would bring it to Mars by November 2018.

The InSight Mission is the Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport mission to study the deep interior of Mars. Basically this mission is out to find out what lies below the surface of the Red Planet using these different methods of scientific study. Findings will help us understand how rocky planets developed and should give us some insight into how the Earth was also formed.

John Grunsfeld, associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington said, “The quest to understand the interior of Mars has been a long standing goal of planetary scientists for decades. We’re excited to be back on the path for a launch, now in 2018.” Needless to say there are still a whole number of challenges to be overcome before the successful culmination of this science project.

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Engine to Fly to Mars Tested

Recently rocket engine No. 2059 was fired and tested by NASA for 500 seconds successfully. Why is the testing of a deep space RS-25 rocket engine being treated as a major milestone by these celebrating researchers? That is because the next time this rocket is operated for this duration it will be carrying humans on their first deep-space mission in more than 45 years.

Yes, the mission to make humans land on Mars is not just science fiction any more. It is a mission with a deadline that will actually make it in your lifetime with just a couple more years of preparation to go. These engines have been used by the Space Launch System (SLS) missions and have powered more than 135 space shuttle missions from 1981 to 2011.

Steve Wofford, engines manager at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama said that not only does this test mark an important step towards proving our existing design for SLS’s first flight, but it’s also a great feeling that this engine that has carried so many astronauts into space before is being prepared to take astronauts to space once again on SLS’s first crewed flight.

Needless to say that the world waits with eagerness to see just how this science project is going to take off into outer space.

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Would You Buy Bulletproof Furniture?

Gun totting enthusiasts have always gone a bit overboard in the guns and ammunition that needs to be stored safely and securely. After all one can hardly shove a couple of spare riffles and cartridges into the storage space in the garage. John Adarain came up with a solution to this problem by making his bed a safe in which he could store his firearms and extra supplies.

In 2000 he created the prototype of what he called the BedBunker and today his company Heracles Research Corporation has a full range of concealed safes called CouchBunker, TableBunker, ClosetBunker, and ConsoleBunker even as the BedBunker remains popular.  The furniture is made of fabric that can stop a bullet and the items can sell for twice the price of traditional furniture.

The manufacturers even test their furnishings in control environments. What a great science experiment that would be. Wouldn’t it be fun to be a part of that quality control team? Even the sofa cushions are designed with handles and are light enough to lift, but can be used as a shied against a bullet. The popularity of Adarain’s product range has even seen new players entering the somewhat small niche market and as more people buy guns, the more safes they are going to need.

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