A few weeks back, I wrote a piece on the concerns that some are having regarding an asteroid slamming into Earth and their subsequent petitioning of the world’s governments to create a disaster-response system to deal with such an event. I very much expressed the opinion that such an undertaking is likely a huge waste of time considering the more relevant problems that we are having down here on the planet. Others, however, are taking this concern to the next level. Soon, a telescope known as the Sentinel may be built and launched into space to keep an eye out for any asteroids that might prove to have an interstellar grudge against our little planet.
There was a time in the past when most things having to do with space travel and the technology involved was kept strictly under wraps. In an effort to out-think our perceived enemies, NASA didn’t really share the finer details of their missions with the average citizen. But the cold war is long over, space travel is becoming more and more privatized and now NASA is reaching out and using the technology of the internet to help people learn more about what’s going on miles above the surface of our planet.
Nearly nine months and $2.5 billion dollars later, NASA’s Mars Rover Curiosity is fast approaching its landing date in August of this year. This latest exploration will be an attempt to gain even more information regarding the mysterious red planet, with particular attention being paid to finding traces of life. So far everything has been going smoothly, but scientists are still a little worried that the rover may contaminate the samples it will be taking and make it hard to gain an accurate picture.
The rover is going to be drilling into rocks on Mars in order to collect samples from their interior. The drill, however, may end up mixing traces of Teflon and other materials into the collected samples. Scientists are looking for evidence of organic carbon to determine whether Mars has or had life at some point. Since the analysis of the samples is going to be made by the rover itself, any trace contamination will make the information being sent back to Earth for examination that much harder to decipher.
We’ve all seen the movies where a giant asteroid is hurtling toward Earth on a collision course that will devastate civilization and destroy life as we know it. These seem the fanciful tales of Hollywood more than a true reality, though some are saying that the threat of an outside celestial object hitting the planet is very much a real threat. A recent report from the Secure World Foundation is stressing that the governments of the world need to get prepared for such an event, just in case.
Their recommendations consist of developing a system of communication to warn people when an asteroid crash looks likely as well as maintaining world connectivity post-impact. They also wish to educate people on the threats that asteroids and other wandering space objects may pose to the people of Earth. They hope to achieve this by using a combination of television and social media.
People of Earth beware, for the end of our galaxy is coming! The Milky Way is on a collision course with the Andromeda galaxy at a rate of 250,000 MPH. It is an impact that will smash up many solar systems and leave in place of the two original galaxies a new and exciting one. But don’t go out and sell all your property and run up your charge cards just yet, as this projected impact won’t be occurring for another 4 billion years and will take about 2 billion more to run its course.
Scientists have known for a while that the two galaxies were on their way toward each other, but couldn’t tell for sure due to all the various factors involved. With new technologies they’ve been able to examine the movement of the Andromeda galaxy closer and have determined that it is indeed happening. Of course, this sort of thing is believed to have happened several times in the past (albeit with small galaxies) and we appear to have made it through in one piece.