April 17, 2012
By Natalie Wolchover
“Have you noticed the slow drip of information about weird things on Mars lately? There is a new rover landing there in August. Could NASA be setting us up for the big announcement that they found life in … December of 2012?” –KTRN
Amateur stargazers have discovered an intriguing object jutting out from the surface of Mars. The seemingly perfectly rectangular, upright structure, found in NASA images of the Red Planet, bears a striking resemblance to the monoliths planted on Earth and the moon by aliens in the classic sci-fi film “2001: A Space Odyssey.”
The object in question was first spotted several years ago after being photographed by the HiRISE camera onboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, a NASA space probe; every so often, it garners renewed interest on the Internet. But is it unnatural — a beacon erected by aliens for mysterious reasons, and even more mysteriously paralleled in the imaginations of Stanley Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke, creators of “2001″? Or is this rock the work of nature? [Photo ]
According to Jonathon Hill, a research technician and mission planner at the Mars Space Flight Facility at Arizona State University, who processes many of the images taken during NASA’s Mars missions, the object in question is no more than a roughly rectangular boulder.
The HiRISE camera that photographed it has a resolution of approximately 1 foot (30 centimeters) per pixel — impressive considering the 180-mile (300-kilometer) altitude from which it photographs the Martian surface, but not quite sharp enough to capture the cragginess of a mid-size boulder. “When your resolution is too low to fully resolve an object, it tends to look rectangular because the pixels in the image are squares. Any curve will look like a series of straight lines if you reduce your resolution enough,” Hill told Life’s Little Mysteries.
April 16, 2012
By Irene Klotz
“NASA has known about life on Mars since the 1970s, yet they continue to keep the information to themselves. This report does not come from some ‘conspiracy theory weirdo,’ it’s from Discovery News.” –KTRN
New analysis of 36-year-old data, resuscitated from printouts, shows NASA found life on Mars, an international team of mathematicians and scientists conclude in a paper published this week.
Further, NASA doesn’t need a human expedition to Mars to nail down the claim, neuropharmacologist and biologist Joseph Miller, with the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine, told Discovery News.
“The ultimate proof is to take a video of a Martian bacteria. They should send a microscope — watch the bacteria move,” Miller said.
“On the basis of what we’ve done so far, I’d say I’m 99 percent sure there’s life there,” he added.
Miller’s confidence stems in part from a new study that re-analyzed results from a life-detection experiment conducted by NASA’s Viking Mars robots in 1976.
Researchers crunched raw data collected during runs of the Labeled Release experiment, which looked for signs of microbial metabolism in soil samples scooped up and processed by the two Viking landers. General consensus of scientists has been that the experiment found geological, not biological, activity.
The new study took a different approach. Researchers distilled the Viking Labeled Release data, provided as hard copies by the original researchers, into sets of numbers and analyzed the results for complexity. Since living systems are more complicated than non-biological processes, the idea was to look at the experiment results from a purely numerical perspective.
April 12, 2012
By Ted Thornhill
“This isn’t the only NASA footage from space that are obvious UFOs. Yes – NASA is hiding the truth.” –KTRN
To the ground control commentator on Nasa’s live public feed, they’re merely ‘reflections on the camera lens’ – but the crew of the Space Shuttle Atlantis don’t sound so convinced.
A spooky YouTube video appears to show three ‘orbs’ moving slowly around the Atlantis, as it floats in orbit during a 2006 mission.
The footage, which is a segment of the feed, begins with one of the astronauts describing to ground control what they’re seeing.
The unnamed crew member says: ‘It’s a structure that’s definitely not rigid. Doesn’t look like anything I’ve ever seen on the outside of the Shuttle, that’s for sure.’
He describes how the object ‘quickly moved to the nose of the orbiter, moving away at least 100 feet’.
For a few minutes nothing of note happens, but then at 4.45 the camera looks beyond the shuttle and focusses on three orbs that appear to be hovering in a triangular formation nearby.
The ground control commentator immediately passes them off as ‘reflections in the camera lens’ – but the shuttle crew members seem far less dismissive, with one confirming that they’re seeing ‘three or four objects’ and asking: ‘Can you confirm it’s just the one that’s moving?’
April 10, 2012
By Paul Joseph Watson
“A global tax? Really? Talk about an over-the-top and global elitist solution to a miniscule problem.” –KTRN
NASA global warming alarmist James Hansen, who previously endorsed a book that called for acts of environmentalist terrorism and genocide to return the planet to the agrarian age, is set to call for a global tax on carbon emissions in an upcoming speech.
“In his lecture, Hansen will argue that the challenge facing future generations from climate change is so urgent that a flat-rate global tax is needed to force immediate cuts in fossil fuel use,” reports the Guardian.
Echoing rhetoric that skeptics of the political agenda behind man-made climate change are akin to racists, Hansen characterizes alleged human-induced climate change a “great moral issue” on a par with slavery.
The report admits that the tax would “greatly increase the cost of fossil fuel energy” even as people struggle with soaring energy costs and that the “the carbon levy would increase year on year.”
The report gives little indication as to how the tax would be collected and by whom, but hints at some kind of hair-brained redistribution of wealth scheme with the promise that the tax would be “paid directly back to the public as a dividend, shared equally, rather than put into government coffers.”
April 6, 2012
By Jason McClellan
Various discoveries by NASA and other organizations during the past few years have generated considerable interest within the mainstream media and the general public in the search for extraterrestrial life.
NASA’s Kepler space telescope has been on a planet-hunting mission since 2009, searching for Earth-like planets. The mission has already confirmed the discovery of 61 planets and found more than 2,000 planetary candidates. And recent data from the European Southern Observatory’s HARPS (High Accuracy Radial velocity Planet Searcher) planet-hunting telescope suggests that there are tens of billions of Earth-like planets in our galaxy alone, many thought to have the correct conditions to support life.
These recent discoveries have excited scientists, and are fueling additional efforts to search for life elsewhere in the universe. The Canadian Astrobiology Network (CAN), centered at the University of Western Ontario, announced today a partnership with NASA. The press release from CAN stated, “A number of extraterrestrial targets, including Mars and the moons Europa and Titan, have been identified by NASA as having the potential to host life or to provide valuable insight for researchers and scientists into the conditions that may have been present on Earth when life started.” As an affiliate within the NASA Astrobiology Network, CAN hopes to “strengthen existing ties, facilitate the establishment of new collaborations, and enhance training opportunities for both Canadian and American researchers and students,” according to CAN chair Neil Banerjee.
April 3, 2012
By Tuan C. Nguyen
“If we are still discovering pyramids, just imagine what is still buried under the sand. We still don’t know anything.” –KTRN
In a recent satellite survey of Egypt, archaeologists have reported the unexpected discovery of as many as 17 lost pyramids.
Also among the findings were more than 1,000 tombs and 3,000 ancient settlements. Ground level excavations have already confirmed the existence of two of the pyramids. These details were released in advance of “Egypt’s Lost Cities,” a documentary produced by the BBC that chronicles the research and is scheduled to air on Monday.
The research team, led by University of Alabama’s Sarah Parcak, made the discovery after analyzing NASA satellite images taken from 435 miles above the earth. Ancient Egyptian buildings were comprised of mud brick that are denser than the soil surrounding them, allowing scientists to make out the shapes of houses, temples and tombs. While the cameras used were powerful enough to scan the earth’s surface and locate objects less than a meter in diameter, many of these structures — buried thousands of years ago — were also uncovered using infrared imaging technology.
Many of us have become familiarized with infrared from medical scans that show various levels of heat emanating from human bodies. But some people may be surprised to learn that the same principle can also be used to reveal objects hidden beneath the earth’s surface. This is because the sun and the earth’s hot core generates geothermal radiation that moves outward, causing objects beneath the sand to give off their own signature level of infrared light. These signatures can be measured by special instruments and used to identify ancient relics.
Parcak, an Egyptologist, suspects that there are even more structures left to be discovered — including artifacts that belong to entire a lost city — and that sophisticated space technology will likely be the way forward in the field of archaeology.
March 28, 2012
By Jeffrey Kluger
“It’s pretty amazing just how much we DON’T know about even our own solar system. Just imagine what lies beyond Pluto. To think we are the only intelligent species in the universe is ridiculous.” –KTRN
It’s hard enough for kids to remember all the known oceans and seas — Atlantic, Pacific, Indian, Norwegian, Barents — and now they can add one more to the list: the Enceladan Ocean. The name is lovely, and the place is nifty, but there’s not much chance of visiting it soon. It’s located on Enceladus, one of Saturn’s 66 known moons. While Enceladus has been familiar to us since it was first spotted in 1789, the discovery of its ocean, courtesy of the venerable Cassini spacecraft, is a whole new and possibly game-changing thing.
(MORE: Secrets of the Rings)
Enceladus has always been thought of as one of the more remarkable members of Saturn’s marble bag of satellites. For one thing, it’s dazzlingly bright. The percentage of sunlight that a body in the solar system reflects back is known as its albedo, and it’s determined mostly by the color of the body’s ground cover. For all the silvery brilliance of a full moon on a cloudless night, the albedo of our own drab satellite is a muddy 12%, owing mostly to the gray dust that covers it. The albedo of Enceladus, on the other hand, approaches a mirror-like 100%.
Such a high percentage likely means the surface is covered with ice crystals — and, what’s more, that those crystals get regularly replenished. Consider how grubby and gray a fresh snowfall becomes after just a couple of days of splashing road slush and tromping people. Now imagine how a moon would look after a few billion years of cosmic bombardment by incoming meteors.
When the Voyager probes barnstormed Enceladus in 1982, they found that the moon is indeed covered in ice and being constantly repaved. Vast valleys and basins were filled with fresh, white cosmic snow. Craters were cut clean in half, with one side remaining visible and the other covered over. Most remarkably, Enceladus orbits within Saturn’s E ring — the widest of the planet’s bands — and just behind the moon is a visible bulge in the ring, the result of the sparkly exhaust from ice volcanoes that trails Enceladus like smoke from a steamship. It’s that cryovolcanism that’s responsible for the regular repaving.
March 27, 2012
By Alan Boyle
“Mars is far from being a dead planet. It is alive and well.” –KTRN
Amateur astronomers are puzzling over a seemingly anomalous cloud that has shown up on images of Mars taken over the past few days. Is it really a cloud, or a trick of the eye? Does it really extend 150 miles up from the surface, as some of the observers suggest? And what churned up all that stuff, anyway? The amateurs and the pros will be trying to resolve those questions before the phenomenon fades away.
“It’s not completely unexpected,” Jonathon Hill, a member of the team at the Mars Space Flight Facility at Arizona State University, told me today. “But it’s bigger than we would expect, and it’s definitely something that our atmosphere guys want to take a look at.”
Hill and his colleagues will be looking at the area where the cloud was spotted using the Thermal Emission Imaging System, or THEMIS, which is one of the instruments on NASA’s Mars Odyssey orbiter.
“In the command upload we’re preparing to send today, we’ve included observations that will hopefully capture some of these recent clouds,” Hill wrote in an email. “Our THEMIS camera on Mars Odyssey is capable of acquiring simultaneous visible and thermal infrared images, so our atmospheric researchers are pretty excited about the possibility of not only getting a good look at the cloud structures, but also their temperatures.”
March 20, 2012
By Dauna Coulter, Dr. Tony Phillips
“This is pretty cool. Just imagine what’s out in the universe that we can’t see.” –KTRN
The human eye is crucial to astronomy. Without the ability to see, the luminous universe of stars, planets and galaxies would be closed to us, unknown forever. Nevertheless, astronomers cannot shake their fascination with the invisible.
Outside the realm of human vision is an entire electromagnetic spectrum of wonders. Each type of light–from radio waves to gamma-rays–reveals something unique about the universe. Some wavelengths are best for studying black holes; others reveal newborn stars and planets; while others illuminate the earliest years of cosmic history.
NASA has many telescopes “working the wavelengths” up and down the electromagnetic spectrum. One of them, the Fermi Gamma-Ray Telescope orbiting Earth, has just crossed a new electromagnetic frontier.
March 16, 2012
“No one from KTRN is saying that the world is coming to an end on 12/21/2012. But don’t you find it odd that NASA would even acknowledge it in this video? Seems a bit strange.” –KTRN