- Never Give Up!
- Tesla to unveil 'mystery' life changing product tonight!
- "Catastrophic end" for out-of-control space cargo ship ~ Video from Spacecraft Cockpit
- Pluto images reveal intriguing bright spot near pole
- The Messenger of fate: NASA spacecraft smashes into planet Mercury
- Hubble's Other Telescope And The Day It Rocked Our World
- Why Did NASA Crash A Satellite Into Mercury?
- Near Death Experiences, Consciousness & PTSD on Coast To Coast Radio with George Noory
- The 'Why the F*** Are We So Fat?!' 30 Day Experiment' Day 10 ~ Frustration
- World's Oldest Science Journal ~ Objectivity #17
Posted: 30 Apr 2015 06:46 PM PDT
Posted: 30 Apr 2015 06:46 PM PDT
Tesla's expected home battery announcement could spark energy revolution. SolarCity has already installed 300 Tesla-made batteries in California homes.
Excerpt from CBC News
Tesla CEO Elon Musk is set to make an announcement later tonight. There's been speculation that a large-scale battery announcement is expected, but it's not clear if that will be the case.
While the battery will likely slash power bills for consumers, some say it's also a move toward democratizing energy systems.
Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors, teased the announcement on Twitter a month ago, saying a major new Tesla product line will be unveiled at Hawthorne Design Studio at 8 p.m. local time Thursday. "Not a car," he wrote, sparking speculation that it may be a home battery.
Musk, who moved to Canada from South Africa and who briefly studied at Queen's University in Kingston, Ont., before transferring to the University of Pennsylvania, is also chairman of SolarCity, a solar power provider.
SolarCity has already run a pilot program where it installed 300 home batteries made by Tesla in California homes. Another 130 systems were being installed in early 2015, according to the company's website.
The product will be available again in late summer, the company says, as it's working on "the next phase" of the program.
Tesla is also in the midst of building its gigafactory, which has added to the speculation that the company is unveiling a home battery. Musk says that by 2020, the factory will produce more lithium-ion batteries than all the current factories producing them today.
A home battery attaches to a home's electrical system and collects energy gathered by solar panels when the sun is out, Michael Ramsey, a Wall Street Journal automotive reporter, told CBC's The Current. That energy can then be used when the sun is no longer out.
'This is this shift away from very large centrally operated plants towards everybody owning their own little power grid or part of a small power grid in a condo building.'-— Warren Mabee, of Queen's University"The idea is that you purchase this system and it allows you effectively to cut the cord," he says of a consumer's ability to forgo energy from the grid. The consumer's electricity bills would be significantly reduced because they would be paying for less electricity from the grid.
This innovation could move the world toward a future where power is generated where we need it and where we use it, says Warren Mabee, director of the Queen's Institute for Energy and Environmental Policy.
"This is this shift away from very large centrally operated plants towards everybody owning their own little power grid or part of a small power grid in a condo building," Mabee says.
In this system, centralized power generation becomes more of a backup than a driver, he says.
Costs remain highHowever, the current systems are still very expensive, says Ramsey. The 300 home batteries installed in California cost upward of $20,000, he says.
"It would take years and years and years to cover the utility costs," he says. "It doesn't make sense unless the costs come down."
Ramsey views businesses as having the highest possible economic advantage from this development. The battery could offer businesses a surge of electricity when they have a high demand for power and cut their bills.
Mabee compares the cost of solar panels to cellphones. Smartphones were once very expensive, but each new generation has brought the cost down, he said.
Each year, solar panels become better and cheaper. Solar panels are getting close to their grid parity moment — when the cost of generating solar power is the same or cheaper than buying energy off the grid.
Another grid parity moment may be close, says Mabee. It won't be long before the cost of a solar panel and battery system will match the cost of purchasing electricity from the grid, he estimates.
"That magic grid parity moment is coming faster and faster," he said.
Posted: 30 Apr 2015 06:30 PM PDT
Excerpt from cbsnews.com
A Russian Progress cargo ship bound for the International Space Station spun out of control Tuesday. Engineers were unable to direct the wayward ship and soon gave up any hope that it would be able to dock to deliver the 3 tons of equipment and supplies it was carrying for the space station crew. Now, it's a waiting game, as the craft tumbles back toward Earth, and specialists on the ground can't say for sure when it will return -- or where it might be heading.
A NASA statement released Thursday said, "...the Progress currently is expected to reenter Earth's atmosphere within the next two weeks. Russian ballistics specialists, working in conjunction with flight controllers in Mission Control Houston and ESA, are continuing to track the vehicle's path and will provide updates on its anticipated reentry date."
Upon reentry, the ship will burn up and come apart, and though there will be no salvaging the cargo on board, some material could survive the trip and reach the ground.
Russia's Progress supply crafts always end their missions with a fiery reentry into the Earth's atmosphere that typically leaves just some remnants of the ship falling to ground. Under normal circumstances, ground control targets the timing of reentry so that debris won't land in populated areas. But in this case, with the ship out of a stable orbit and engineers unable to regain control of its propulsion system, where pieces may end up is almost anyone's guess.
"The Progress is going to come down where it comes down," said CBS News Space Consultant William Harwood. "And while I can't say that the chance of getting hit by debris is zero, it's very close to zero. Remember, the Earth is three-quarters water, so there's a very good chance it's going to land in an ocean somewhere, whatever manages to survive."
He added that given population density, even if material does hit land, the odds of someone being in danger are "extremely low, but they're not zero."
NASA said the United States Air Force Joint Functional Component Command for Space's Joint Space Operations Center is tracking Progress as it gets pulled down toward the lower atmosphere and will provide "warning of any potential collisions in space."
Experts still don't know what caused the ship to go haywire as it approached the ISS carrying 3 tons of water, food, fresh air tanks, propellant and supplies including clothing for three new members who will soon join the space station crew. Shortly after the Progress separated from the third stage of the Soyuz booster that rocketed it into space, it seemed some "propulsive event" sent the ship into a strange and unstoppable spin.
NASA has confirmed that crew members will be fine without their expected shipment and that "the break up and reentry of the Progress poses no threat to the ISS crew."
The same can't be said for Progress herself.
Said Harwood, "It will be a catastrophic end for Progress, no doubt about it."
Posted: 30 Apr 2015 06:16 PM PDT
Excerpt from latimes.com
Check out the best images yet of the dwarf planet Pluto.
The moving images of Pluto and its Texas-sized moon Charon you see below were taken by NASA's New Horizons spacecraft, which has spent nine years on a high-speed journey to the outer reaches of the solar system.
They are just marginally better than the previous best images of Pluto collected by the Hubble Space Telescope, but this is the first time that New Horizons has been able to make out distinct features on the surface of this distant body.
"The images you see are my 'Meet Pluto moment,'" said Alan Stern, principal investigator on the mission. "It was actually a little bit emotional, if I'm allowed to say that."
Especially tantalizing to Stern and his team is the highly reflective area around one of the dwarf planet's pole. (It's the bright white area in the 3 o'clock position in the image).
"We can only say that it is very suspiciously suggestive of a polar cap," Stern said. "That could be very exciting."
He said it will still be a few months until New Horizons flies close enough to Pluto to determine exactly whether it is indeed frozen ices that are causing the bright spot, or whether it is perhaps something else.
As you watch the moving images, it may look a bit as though Pluto is tumbling, and that it is not a perfectly spherical shape. Actually, Pluto is pretty close to a sphere. Hal Weaver, project scientist for New Horizons, explains that what you are seeing is the bright and dark patches rotating into and out of view.
"When the dark patches are in view, it will look like a piece is eaten out of the image and it looks nonspherical," he said.
It should also be noted that the dwarf planet rotates almost on its side, like Uranus or a rotisserie chicken.
These black and white pictures were collected over four days in mid-April when the spacecraft was still 60 million miles away from its destination. Stern said the quality of the images will get significantly better in the coming weeks. However, the very best pictures of Pluto won't come until the middle of July when New Horizons will fly just 7,700 miles from the surface.
Posted: 30 Apr 2015 06:15 PM PDT
Excerpt from usatoday.com
Its fuel tanks empty and its options gone, NASA's Messenger spacecraft smashed into planet Mercury on Thursday afternoon after valiantly fighting off the inevitable.
Engineers calculated that the spacecraft, traveling a scorching 8,700 mph, bombed into the planet's heavily pockmarked surface at 3:26 p.m. ET Thursday. It was not a gentle goodbye: The impact was expected to pulverize the car-sized spaceship and gouge out a 50-foot crater -- big enough to accommodate a school bus -- near Mercury's north pole.
Engineers calculated that the spacecraft belly-flopped onto the cratered terrain on the far side of Mercury, when the ship was out of contact with Earth.
They confirmed its death when they could not pick up a signal from the craft.
"We monitored Messenger's beacon signal for about 20 additional minutes," said mission operations manager Andy Calloway of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. "It was strange to think during that time Messenger had already impacted, but we could not confirm it immediately due to the vast distance across space between Mercury and Earth."
"We're really sad to see this, because Messenger has been a fabulous mission," Brown University's James Head, a co-investigator on the mission, said before the impact. "It's an exhilarating time, but also really poignant."
At least Messenger went down with a fight and in a blaze of glory. Edging ever closer to Mercury because of the effects of the sun's gravity, the ship, its fuel tanks dry, was supposed to meet its destiny in March. But creative engineers bought their craft an extra month of life by repurposing Messenger's stockpile of helium, used to pressurize the fuel tanks. Leftover helium was expelled from the spacecraft's thrusters, nudging the ship away from the looming surface.
Posted: 30 Apr 2015 06:00 PM PDT
Excerpt from hnpr.org
The Hubble Space Telescope this week celebrates 25 years in Earth's orbit. In that time the telescope has studied distant galaxies, star nurseries, planets in our solar system and planets orbiting other stars.
But, even with all that, you could argue that the astronomer for whom the telescope is named made even more important discoveries — with far less sophisticated equipment.
A young Edwin Hubble at Mount Wilson's 100-inch telescope circa 1922, ready to make history.
Edwin Hubble Papers/Courtesy of Huntington Library, San Marino, Calif.
In the 1920s, Edwin Hubble was working with the 100-inch Hooker telescope on Mount Wilson, just outside Los Angeles. At the time, it was the largest telescope in the world.
On a chilly evening, I climb up to the dome of that telescope with operator Nik Arkimovich and ask him to show me where Hubble would sit when he was using the telescope. Arkimovich points to a platform near the top of the telescope frame.
"He's got an eyepiece with crosshairs on it," Arkimovich explains. The telescope has gears and motors that let it track a star as it moves across the sky. "He's got a paddle that allows him to make minor adjustments. And his job is to keep the star in the crosshairs for maybe eight hours."
"It's certainly much, much easier today," says John Mulchaey, acting director of the observatories at Carnegie Institution of Science. "Now we sit in control rooms. The telescopes operate brilliantly on their own, so we don't have to worry about tracking and things like this."
The headquarters of the Carnegie observatories is at the foot of Mount Wilson, in the city of Pasadena. It's where Hubble worked during the day.
A century's worth of plates are stored here in the basement. Mulchaey opens a large steel door and ushers me into a room filled with dozens of file cabinets.
"Why don't we go take a look at Hubble's famous Andromeda plates," Mulchaey suggests.
The plates are famous for a reason: They completely changed our view of the universe. Mulchaey points to a plate mounted on a light stand.
"This is a rare treat for you," he says. "This plate doesn't see the light of day very often."
This glass side of a photographic plate shows where Hubble marked novas. The red VAR! in the upper right corner marks his discovery of the first Cepheid variable star — a star that told him the Andromeda galaxy isn't part of our Milky Way.
Courtesy of the Carnegie Observatories
The plate shows the spiral shape of the Andromeda galaxy. Hubble was looking for exploding stars called novas in Andromeda. Hubble marked these on the plate with the letter "N."
"The really interesting thing here," Mulchaey says, "is there's one with the N crossed out in red — and he's changed the N to VAR with an exclamation point."
Hubble had realized that what he was seeing wasn't a nova. VAR stands for a type of star known as a Cepheid variable. It's a kind of star that allows you to make an accurate determination of how far away something is. This Cepheid variable showed that the Andromeda galaxy isn't a part of our galaxy.
At the time, most people thought the Milky Way was it — the only galaxy in existence.
"And what this really shows is that the universe is much, much bigger than anybody realizes," Mulchaey says.
It was another blow to our human conceit that we are the center of the universe.
Hubble went on to use the Mount Wilson telescope to show the universe was expanding, a discovery so astonishing that Hubble had a hard time believing it himself.
If Hubble could make such important discoveries with century-old equipment, it makes you wonder what he might have turned up if he'd had a chance to use the space telescope that bears his name.
Posted: 30 Apr 2015 05:54 PM PDT
Posted: 30 Apr 2015 05:52 PM PDT
Posted: 30 Apr 2015 05:49 PM PDT
Posted: 30 Apr 2015 05:37 PM PDT