Category: NASA and SETI

Supermassive black holes found in the universe

Supermassive black holes found in the universe

Astronomers have found evidence of hidden supermassive black holes in the universe.

Using NASA’s Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR) satellite observatory, the team detected the high-energy x-rays from five supermassive black holes previously clouded from direct view by dust and gas.

The research, led by astronomers at Durham University in Britain, supports that potentially millions more supermassive black holes exist in the Universe, but are hidden from view.

“We have been able to clearly see these hidden monsters that were predicted to be there but had been elusive because of their ‘buried’ state,” said lead author George Lansbury, post-graduate student in the centre for extragalactic astronomy.

Although only five of these hidden supermassive black holes have been detected, “when we extrapolate our results across the whole universe, then the predicted numbers are huge and in agreement with what we would expect to see”, Lansbury said.

The scientists pointed NuSTAR at nine candidate hidden supermassive black holes that were thought to be extremely active at the centre of the galaxies.

High-energy x-rays found five of the black holes, and confirmed that they had been hidden by dust and gas.

The five were much brighter and more active than previously thought as they rapidly feasted on surrounding material and emitted large amounts of radiation.

The results were presented at the Royal Astronomical Society’s national astronomy meeting in Llandudno, Wales on July 6.

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Dark matter arises questions about creation of universe

Dark matter arises questions about creation of universe

Dark matter continues to confound astronomers, as NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory demonstrated with the detection of an extensive envelope of dark matter around an isolated elliptical galaxy. This discovery conflicts with optical data that suggest a dearth of dark matter around similar galaxies, and raises questions about how galaxies acquire and keep such dark matter halos.

Dark matter is a mysterious kind of glue that holds not only the mysterious together, but is theoretically responsible for their creation. It was originally suggested in 1933 to explain discrepancies math by calculating the mass of galaxies, essentially, more material is needed to keep the galaxies together, we can see. Since then, we have not learned a whole hell of a lot more about dark matter.

In fact, we seem to know more about this itisn’t than it is. We know there is no antimatter. We also know that there is no dark clouds of normal matter. Many physicists believe that it represents about 83% of matter in the universe – even if we still have to prove that it exists!

The tricky thing with the dark matter is that we can not be detected directly, it is invisible. Dark matter is revealed by its severity, so we have, instead of measuring it through its interaction with normal matter. Currently, there are two contradictory experiments conducted in an attempt to confirm the existence of dark matter.

The Cryogenic Dark Matter Search (CDMS) detector Sudan mine in Minnesota is the search for weakly interacting massive particles, or WIMPs, whose discovery could resolve the problem of dark matter. Although the dark matter should be everywhere, it is estimated that some WIMPs can pass through the galaxy without interacting with normal matter, making it very difficult to discover. Although scientists have not yet detected WIMPs directly, they found significant evidence that they exist.

In direct conflict with these results, the XENON100 experience in Gran Sasso Laboratory in Italy has so far yielded negative results with respect to the WIMP. This does not mean that WIMPs exist, but simply that they are harder to detect than scientists had previously assumed.

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Listening for Aliens: Are We Alone in the Universe?

Listening for Aliens: Are We Alone in the Universe?

For 50 years now humans have been scanning the skies in hopes of answering the question: Are we alone in the universe?

That mystery will be the topic of discussion during this weekend’s SETIcon, a convention for scientists, sci-fi writers, celebrities and fans to discuss every aspect of the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI). caught up with Jill Tarter, director of the Center for SETI Research (and the basis for the main character Ellie Arroway portrayed by Jodie Foster in the film “Contact” based on the book by astronomer-author Carl Sagan), to discuss the last 50 years since the first effort to listen for extraterrestrial intelligence in the universe, and the outlook for the future:

After 50 years, what’s the status of the search for extraterrestrial intelligence?

It is interesting that at age 50, what we’re doing is reinventing ourselves. I think that’s a good sign. We’re not going to stop doing what we’ve done — radio searching still makes a lot of sense. But optical searching also makes a lot of sense.

We’re going to try to get away from doing it all ourselves, and ask the world to join in. The world has shown an interest over the past decade in participating.

We haven’t really succeeded in getting people involved internationally. You’re skimming only the technological top of the global population. I’m actually hoping that the enormous prevalence of cell phones and social networking will finally allow us to.

Has the journey of SETI over the last 50 years played out like you thought it would?

I don’t think any of us were smart enough 50 years ago to anticipate how rapidly the capability of our searches was going to improve. Fifty years ago was pretty much pre-digital revolution. I can count almost 15 orders of magnitude improvement in the tools of radio observing.

Fifty years ago optical search was out of the question. We couldn’t count photons fast enough. When that technology got there, wow, we just jumped on it.

Fifty years ago nobody thought you could or should build an array of 50 small telescopes. Now the right thing to do is use inexpensive antennas and inexpensive electronics and combine them together. You get your value that way.

Back then, what got you interested in looking for life out there in the universe?

The thing that got me hooked on SETI about 40 years ago was the fact that we suddenly had some tools. These tools called radio telescopes could allow us to do an experiment to explore, rather than ask philosophers what we should believe. It’s all about replacing the [idea] of what should we believe, with ‘let’s explore.’

What do you say to people who think there’s no hope of finding extraterrestrials and that searching is a waste?

We appear to be the results of the laws of physics and chemistry. It’s not unreasonable to wonder whether elsewhere, the same sorts of processes led to other intelligence and technologies.

Fifty years is a very small time in the lifetime of a galaxy which is 12 billion years old. We’re a very young technology in a very old galaxy. We kind of shouldn’t be surprised we haven’t found them yet. It’s a big search. We don’t go to bed disappointed, we wake up in the morning excited.

How do you think you’d feel if we did discover evidence of alien life?

The feeling would be phenomenal. To have posed a question and gotten an answer that no one else has been able to come up with. That would tell us something about the universe that we didn’t already know. Just a proof of existence; that would be amazing for me.

If extraterrestrials do exist, what do you imagine they might be like?

Who knows? Extraterrestrial psychology is one notch above where I’m prepared to go. I will say it’s statistically overwhelmingly likely that they are much older than we are. If they were younger than we are, then there isn’t any technology of theirs we could detect.

If we detect a signal we’ll know it’s possible for us to have a long future.

What do you predict the next 50 years might hold for SETI?

I’m pretty darn sure that long before 50 years from now Kepler or some other mission will have detected earth-size planets in the habitable zones of their stars and we will have been able to look remotely for biosignatures.

We may have understood whether or not there’s some sort of life on the planet. We may not be able to tell the difference between microbes and mathematicians, but at least we’ll have places to study from afar.

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China UFO sparks rampant speculation

China UFO sparks rampant speculation

A mysterious light forces an airport closure and is photographed by many residents.

On July 7, something unusual happened near the Xiaoshan Airport in Hangzhou, China. An oddly shaped bright light appeared, forcing the airport to close down and delay 18 flights. Things are now back to normal, but people are wondering, what was that “thing”?

An ABC News article on the mysterious sighting explains that some who witnessed the light are calling it a UFO. But, keep in mind, a UFO doesn’t necessarily mean little, green men.

There is plenty of speculation on whether or not the object was some sort of military aircraft or missile. The ABC article explains that a day following the sighting, “an anonymous source told China Daily that authorities already discovered the identity of the UFO after an investigation but could not publically disclose the information because ‘there was a military connection.’”

Authorities are continuing to look into the incident, but no public conclusions have yet been made. Despite, or perhaps because of the mystery, Web searches on “china ufo” quickly soared 576%. Related queries on “china ufo video 2010,” “china ufo sightings,” and “hangzou china ufo” also posted triple digit gains. Even now, a week after the sighting, online lookups remain high.

Truth be told, there’s not much left to be said. Something weird happened. Nobody knows what it was. And if they do, they aren’t saying.

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All About Moon Landing on July 20th, 1969

All About Moon Landing on July 20th, 1969

A Moon landing is the arrival of a spacecraft on the surface of the Moon. This includes both manned and unmanned (robotic) missions. The first human-made object to reach the surface of the Moon was the Soviet Union’s Luna 2 mission, on 13 September 1959.

The United States’ Apollo 11 was the first manned mission to land on the Moon, on 20 July 1969. There have been six manned U.S. landings (between 1969 and 1972) and numerous unmanned landings, with no soft landings happening from 22 August 1976 until 14 December 2013.

To date, the United States is the only country to have successfully conducted manned missions to the Moon, with the last departing the lunar surface in December, 1972.

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Neil Armstrong, moon’s mystery man

Neil Armstrong, moon's mystery man

“A lot of people couldn’t figure out Armstrong.”

With those words Tom Wolfe introduced Neil Armstrong, the astronaut hero of his nonfiction masterpiece, “The Right Stuff.” Armstrong, of course, was a masterpiece himself: the commander of the 1969 Apollo 11 mission and the first man ever to walk on the moon. Armstrong died Saturday from complications relating to heart surgery. He was 82.

All these decades, Armstrong, the lunar Adam, has represented a code his admirers knew better than to try to crack. Not that, early on, great literary minds—besotted by the baby-faced genius—didn’t try.

Wolfe continued: “You’d ask him a question, and he would just stare at you with those pale-blue eyes of his, and you’d start to ask the question again, figuring he hadn’t understood, and— click —out of his mouth would come forth a sequence of long, quiet, perfectly formed, precisely thought-out sentences.”

So Wolfe warned against understanding Armstrong in “The Right Stuff.” And that warning was more or less heeded, somewhat miraculously, until Armstrong’s dying day. Profilers kept their mitts off him. Hollywood starlets didn’t swoop in to wreck his family. And, most mercifully of all, Carson and Merv Griffin and Dinah Shore and Ali G and Oprah didn’t demand that he couch-surf with them.

This is astounding. In the 1960s and ’70s , the national pastime was psychologizing postwar celebrities—John F. Kennedy, Marilyn Monroe, Muhammad Ali. And once a hero is cracked open by one Vanity Fair profile, the pile-on never ends. This one had a sex addiction; this one had a chip on her shoulder; this one could never live up to his big brother.

Let’s not do that to Armstrong, Wolfe pleaded. In any case, the great man simply would not succumb. Armstrong was simply, at heart, not homo psychologico. He was homo machinator, homo ingeniator. The engineering man.

In an era when everyone was expected to evince the adolescent emotionality of Marlon Brando or Allen Ginsberg, Armstrong was resolutely adult and elegantly square. He was a Navy pilot from a small town who married a home-ec major at Purdue whom he had no recollection of courting or even proposing to. (Janet Armstrong, with whom he had three children, evidently didn’t remember any courtship either.)

Though astronauts in the time were represented as hard-partying matinee idols, Armstrong always described himself as a “white-socks, pocket-protector, nerdy engineer.” He wasn’t boasting, though engineers are, of course, the hotshots of today: the hackers and technologists who keep pushing into the new breach—the postfinal frontiers of cyberspace.

Once in 1969, Norman Mailer bullied Armstrong into saying something—anything—romantic about going to the moon. (Armstrong would have to cough up the romance, Mailer wrote, or be considered “a spiritual neuter.”) Armstrong stood his ground like a Buddha. “I think we’re going to the moon because it’s in the nature of the human being to face challenges,” he said, defying Mailer. “It’s by the nature of his deep inner soul… We’re required to do these things just as salmon swim upstream.”

Those words are perhaps the most gorgeous words the press-shy astronaut ever said, including his famous scripted line about the giant leap.

Michael Collins, an Apollo 11 crewmate, wrote that Armstrong “never transmits anything but the surface layer, and that only sparingly… I like him, but I don’t know what to make of him, or how to get to know him better.”

Maybe we weren’t meant to fully understand Armstrong. Only to hold him in awe. Like the moon itself.

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Massive telescope begins galaxy probe

Massive telescope begins galaxy probe

The world’s biggest astronomy project provides a view of space unmatched by other observatories.

A powerful telescope affording a view of the universe unmatched by most ground-based observatories gazed onto distant galaxies for the first time Monday from deep in Chile’s Atacama desert.

The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array, a joint project between Canada, Chile, the European Union, Japan, Taiwan and the United States, officially opened for astronomers after a decade of planning and construction.

The world’s biggest astronomy project, ALMA is described as the most powerful millimeter/submillimeter-wavelength telescope ever and the most complex ground-based observatory.

The first images arrived at the mega-site in northern Chile from 12 of the 66 radio telescopes.

“Today marks the recognition of the successful coalition of thousands of people from all over the world all working with the same goal: to build the world’s most advanced radio telescope to see into the universe’s coldest, darkest places, where galaxies and stars and perhaps the building blocks of life are created,” said ALMA director Thijs de Graauw.

ALMA differs from visible-light and infrared telescopes by using an array of linked antennas acting as a single giant telescope, and detects much longer wavelengths than those of visible light, rendering images unlike most others of the cosmos.

Read more

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New moon pictures show astronaut tracks

New moon pictures show astronaut tracks

NASA releases the sharpest images ever of walking paths and debris at the Apollo landing sites.

A spacecraft around the moon broke the highest ever pictures of the tracks and debris left by the Apollo astronauts on their visits from 1969 to 1972.

Orbiter images taken by NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance of 13 to 15 miles up the road show when astronauts walked on the moon, and the ruts left by a moon buggy. Experts could even identify the astronauts back to lunar landers acute prior to their return to Earth.

“What we see is a track,” said Arizona State University geology professor Mark Robinson, chief scientist for the orbiter. “It’s really great.” However, the photos are not close enough to see individual Bootprints said Robinson.

The photos were taken two weeks ago and to show the landing sites of Apollo 12, 14 and 17. The images are closer to the Apollo 17 site in 1972, the last lunar mission.

Apollo 17 commander Eugene Cernan wrote in an email to the Associated Press that the picture gives him a chance to review these days “, this time with a bit of nostalgia and disappointment. Nostalgie because these special days are fondly etched in my memory and disappointment, as it now looks like we will not be back in the days I have left on this planet. ”

Two years ago, images of the same spacecraft 30 and 60 miles showed blurred images. But this year, the orbiter dropped to about 300,000 to more close-ups. The traces left by the astronauts are clear, but where the backpacks were rejected, moon buggy Apollo 17 and the lower parts of lunar landers three are unclear.

“You really have to look long to find what you’re looking at,” said Robinson. For example, when it comes to the moon buggy he said, “if you squint real hard, you can solve the wheels and that the wheels are turned slightly to the left.”

At first, scientists thought they had a bit of a mystery: They saw more things than expected. It turned out to be packing material and an insulating blanket, said Robinson.

After 40 years it does not seem to be much of moon dust covering the synthetic tracks. It will probably take about 10 to 100 million years for the dust cover, said Robinson.

The photos were released a few days after the start of the new feature film “Apollo 18” and above to be launched Thursday from the NASA spacecraft to explore robotic doubles the gravity of the moon.

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Apollo 18 mission still being denied by NASA!

Apollo 18 mission still being denied by NASA!

Apollo 18 movie which The Weinstein Company has been touting as a “found footage” thriller, which consists of “actual footage” from a mysterious moon mission that never ‘officially’ took place, although many conspiracy theorists believe it did.

NASA has now taken its official stance, insisting Apollo 18 is a work of fiction. Here’s what NASA spokesperson Bert Ulrich had to say below.

“Apollo 18 is not a documentary. The film is a work of fiction, and we always knew that. We were minimally involved with this picture. We never even saw a rough cut. The idea of portraying the Apollo 18 mission as authentic is simply a marketing ploy. Perhaps a bit of a Blair Witch Project strategy to generate hype.”

However, Bert Ulrich does believe that NASA’s exposure in projects like Apollo 18 are beneficial for the agency, even if fictional. “It’s a wonderful way to reach the public through these huge media means like feature films and television shows, and it can inspire people in an interesting way, and it also can instruct people about what space exploration is all about.”

Apollo 18 was released September 2nd, 2011 and stars Warren Christie, Lloyd Owen. The film is directed by Gonzalo López-Gallego.

Apollo 18

Directed by: Gonzalo López-Gallego
Starring: Warren Christie, Lloyd Owen
Screenplay by: Brian Miller, Cory Goodman
Studio: The Weinstein Company
Release Date: September 2nd, 2011

Officially, Apollo 17, launched December 17th, 1972 was the last manned mission to the moon. But a year later, in December of 1973, two American astronauts were sent on a secret mission to the moon funded by the US Department of Defense. What you are about to see is the actual footage which the astronauts captured on that mission. While NASA denies its authenticity, others say it’s the real reason we’ve never gone back to the moon.

Everything you want to know about Apollo 18 Movie

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Apollo 18: The story of secret mission to the moon

Apollo 18: The story of secret mission to the moon

There’s a reason we’ve never gone back to the moon.

Officially, Apollo 17, launched December 17th, 1972 was the last manned mission to the moon. But a year later, in December of 1973, two American astronauts were sent on a secret mission to the moon funded by the US Department of Defense. What you are about to see is the actual footage which the astronauts captured on that mission. While NASA denies its authenticity, others say it’s the real reason we’ve never gone back to the moon.

Apollo 18 is a found-footage style film set in December 1974, about a post-Apollo 17 mission to the Moon that takes on a premise of why NASA discontinued the Apollo Moon missions. The plot involves a government coverup of the Apollo 18 mission after parasitic lifeforms on the Moon discovered the crew and began to attack them. Much of the back-story remains unknown; however, the movie posters in English indicate the KGB’s role in Soviet lunar conspiracy and the Russian movie posters show inscriptions in English suggesting an American government cover up in lunar conspiracy. In the trailer, an American astronaut discovers the foot prints made by the Soviet cosmonaut and also found a helmet, a dead cosmonaut, and a Soviet LK Lander on the lunar surface.

The film was shot in Vancouver, British Columbia and stars actors Lloyd Owen and Warren Christie. However it has been promoted as a “found footage” film that does not use actors. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Dimension Films head Bob Weinstein denied the film was a work of fiction, stating that “We didn’t shoot anything, we found it. Found, baby!” The film will be distributed by Dimension Films.

Apollo 18: The story of secret mission to the moon

Apollo 18

Directed by: Gonzalo Lopez-Gallego
Starring: Lloyd Owen, Warren Christie, Ryan Robbins, Michael Kopsa, Ali Liebert, Erica Carroll, Kim Wylie, Andrew Airlie
Screenplay by: Brian Miller
Production Design by: Andrew Neskoromny
Cinematography by: José David Montero
Film Editing by: Patrick Lussier
Costume Design by: Kate Main, Cynthia Ann Summers, Beverley Wowchuk
Set Decoration by: Erik Gerlund, Oliver Zentner, Ugo Serrano
Art Direction by; Peter Bodnarus, Tyler Bishop Harron
Film Editing by: Patrick Lussier
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for some disturbing sequences, and language.
Studio: Dimension Films
Release Date: September 2, 2011

Related Link: View the Froduction Notes for Apollo 18

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