Earth Tech News TooCool

The Astronaut Smart Glove Was Field-Tested and It’s a Go!

The NASA Haughton-Mars Project (HMP) has successfully field-tested the astronaut smart glove. It’s deliberately designed for exploration on Mars, the Moon, and other destinations. The Smart Glove is a model for a human-machine interface or HMI, allowing astronauts to wirelessly operate robotic equipment such as drones through simple hand gestures.

Just last month, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration revealed their new Artemis Generation spacesuit, created to keep astronauts comfortable and safe on the Moon’s surface.

That said, SETI Institute claims spacesuits will still remain cumbersome, limiting the ability of astronauts to perform precise tasks. Pascal Lee, a planetary scientist with SETI and the Mars Institute, said a smart glove-equipped spacesuit might just be the solution.

Lee believes astronauts could easily control a number of robotic assets, making science and exploration on Mars, the Moon, and other destinations more effective and productive. The Norwegian University of Science and Technology’s startup Ntention, which is run by students, developed the smart glove that was tested in HMP’s 2019 field campaign.

Intuitive Human-machine Interfaces

Moina Medboe Tamuly, COO at Ntention, said their philosophy is to create technology that will allow human-machine interfacing intuitive and seamless. They are very excited to see their technology has potential applications in space exploration.

Lee suggested that after seeing the demonstration of the glove for space applications, it could be applied to an astronaut’s spacesuit. Lee added when he first saw the smart glove in action, he immediately thought of Arthur C. Clarke’s Third Law, saying any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

With Tamula as lead designer, the Ntention team accepted his challenge to create a prototype that uses a microcontroller to read subtle motions. These subtle motions are transferred to a mobile device to control a robot. The smart glove was interspersed into an existing Collins Aerospace spacesuit and then put through a series of field tests involving the teleoperation of commercial drones.

When astronauts are on Mars or the Moon, they want to fly drones for a number of reasons, including collecting a sample that is out of reach or must be isolated from contamination. Another reason could be to perform a search and rescue operation. Other purposes might include mapping, sampling, surveying, fetching, scouting, and inspecting.

Further assessment of the Astronaut Smart Glove for Mars and Moon exploration will continue along with applications to control other kinds of robotic equipment including robotic manipulators and rovers.

The NASA Haughton-Mars Project (HMP) has successfully field-tested the astronaut smart glove. It’s deliberately designed for exploration on...

Earth Nature & Tech Tech News

US Scientists Develop Sunflower That Can Collect Solar Energy

A new artificial sunflower has been created by US Scientists.

The tiny flower is under 0.04” wide and their ability to turn towards the light source makes them 400% more effective than their stationary counterparts.  This is a development that shows much promise in the sphere of solar power, potentially being used to power spaceships.

Researchers based in the University of California, Los Angeles, led the research which was aiming to raise the amount of energy that could be collected using a similar movement as that used by plants that move towards the sun.  This phenomenon, known as phototropism, enables the plant to optimize the amount of solar energy it gets.

Flower Power

The study has been published in the journal Nature Nanotechnology, and indicated that the team had encountered significant challenges trying to replicate the behavior artificially which they overcame by developing a special type of polymer.

This material is responsive to light and the system has been called the SunBOT, a slightly catchier abbreviation of the full technical name:  sunflower-like bio-mimetic omnidirectional tracker.  The SunBOT works in multiple temperature ranges and does not need a power supply or human intervention.

The ‘stem’ of the plant was created using the polymer and topped with the ‘flower’ which is comprised of solar cells.  As the light shone at the SunBOT, the polymer stem got hotter and shrank.  This is what makes the flower turn towards the light.

These tiny sunflowers were then tested for efficiency and it was found that, compared with materials that remained stationary (non-phototropic materials), they were up to 400% more efficient.

There are likely to be numerous ways that the SunBOTs can be used, however, for it to make commercial sense the technology still has a way to go.  Once it does move forward, the research team are confident that it could be of use across multiple industries.Things like smart windows, solar sails, and intelligent energy generation have been highlighted and the study does show that the concept is sound.  We will likely see a lot more of these tiny flowers in the future.

A new artificial sunflower has been created by US Scientists.

The tiny flower is under 0.04” wide and their ability to turn towards the light...

Cool Stories Earth

Rare Photos of Atmospheric Gravity Waves

Life is often full of amazing little treats that, to the untrained eye, would go entirely unseen. Phenomena are commonly found in all walks of life, and this can give us some of the most truly life-changing sights and scenes. However, one phenomenon that has so far been invisible to humans is known as atmospheric gravity waves.

These are ripples that you would not be able to see in the sky, but definitely have taken place. Such waves can take place in various locations but are often most commonly found during thunderstorms.

Indeed, it’s apparently not too dissimilar to what happens when you throw a rock across the water – you see that little ripple, that change. That is also a gravity wave; what is happening in the sky is similar.

Our Atmosphere is Liquid

Any disturbance to fluid can make these waves take place. Given that our atmosphere is a liquid, too, though, it can contribute to the development of similar wave effects later on in time. It’s a big reason why this kind of atmospheric wave has long been sought after by scientists looking to see it happen in real-time.

The person behind making this happen was Adam Morgan, a meteorologist at the Australian Bureau of Meteorology. Speaking to ABC News, Morgan said: “Essentially gravity waves are disturbances in any sort of fluid, so we see them often in water, but the atmosphere is a fluid as well, so any sort of disturbance in there can generate waves.”

Asked why this has taken place to begin with, Morgan said: “There was a big thunderstorm over the northwest of Western Australia and the disturbance, in this case, was the cold air falling out of the thunderstorm and into the warmer air near the surface,” Morgan said.

“The difference in density there causes the disturbance and then the gravity wave can travel out as the cold air spreads out,”

Indeed, he also noted that such waves can travel exceptionally large distances before they begin to dissipate and return to normal. Speaking further about the experience, Morgan said: “The disturbance will exist until everything rebalances itself, that’s why they can travel a long way,

“If you’ve ever been to the swimming pool and someone jumps in and does a dive bomb at one end of the pool, you might get the wave right at the other end of the pool after a bit of time.”

The main reason why we cannot normally see these, though, is due to the fact that they must produce some kind of cloud. Otherwise, there is not enough moisture in the air to try and give us an insight into what is going on in the background.

Still, we can now finally say that we have visual proof of an atmospheric gravity wave taking place. For many in the science community, this will be seen as a hugely impressive level of progress.

Life is often full of amazing little treats that, to the untrained eye, would go entirely unseen. Phenomena are commonly found in all walks of life...

Category - Earth

Animals Earth Nature & Tech

A Swarm of Ladybugs in California That Shook the World!

The National Weather Service in San Diego said a huge “echo” appeared on the SoCal radar but discovered it was not rain, instead it was a cloud of ladybugs!  The swarm showed up on the California weather service’s radar map as an 80-mile-wide mass.

This is a phenomenon known as a “bloom”.  Meteorologist Miguel Miller said the bloom appeared on their screen as an amazing 80-miles wide and 80-miles long.  It seems the mass was moving from the San Gabriel Mountains toward San Diego.

The mass of ladybugs was seen moving from Barstow in San Bernadino County, 80 miles south of Riverside which is near Los Angeles.  It literally covered an area over 1,000 square miles.

Meteorologist Mark Moede from the weather service said ladybugs were everywhere and a weather spotter in the San Bernadino Mountains reported an abnormal population of ladybugs which was then linked by the weather service to the sighting.

Bugs, not Clouds!

Casey Oswant, San Diego weather service meteorologist, told the Palm Springs Desert Sun there were a lot of clouds at the time along with this massive bloom.

She said the size of the mass could not have been created by the clouds.  She followed the patch that was heading south in the morning and then disappeared from the screen by noon.  It is not known for certain where the ladybugs were traveling from.

Senior scientist at James W. Cornett Ecological Consultant believes the number of ladybugs needed to create such a massive movement would have turned the skies dark.

Whether this event happened or not, we are all relieved to know they were ladybugs!  Legend has it, if a ladybug lands on your shoulder, you are blessed with luck! Imagine a swarm of ladybugs this massive, that must be luck for a lifetime!

The National Weather Service in San Diego said a huge “echo” appeared on the SoCal radar but discovered it was not rain, instead it was a cloud of ladybugs!  The swarm showed up on the California weather service’s radar map as an 80-mile-wide...

Earth Inspiring Stories

‘World’s Smallest McDonald’s’ Restaurant for Bees Is Now Open

It’s always a joy to travel the world, see different sights, and explore foreign cultures. One of the reasons we travel is to see things that are different from what’s familiar to us. However, some things are all over the world, and one of those is the famous fast-food chain McDonald’s.

Now the restaurant has just done something most marvelous – it’s opened up a new restaurant!

“Now, wait a minute,” you may be thinking. “What’s so novel about that?” Well, this isn’t just any McDonald’s. This one is ‘the world’s smallest’ McDonald’s, and was created just for bees.

Though it’s obviously not serving food since it was created to be a beehive, the detail is amazing. McDonald’s cut no corners with their smallest of restaurants, providing it with signage, seating, drive-thru bays, and the famous golden arches.

This tiny restaurant in Sweden is the first of what the company hopes to be many, many – thousands, even – beehive McDonald’s. This first is a tribute to all of the Swedish McDonald’s, many of which have beehives on their roofs as an effort to assuage the effects of global warming.

Earth can’t live without bees

Bees play an absolutely crucial role in our planet’s ecosystem. They pollinate three quarters of our planet, but the bee population has experienced a serious decline as a result of pesticides and climate change. And no bees means no food.

McDonald’s currently has over 37,000 restaurants open all over the world, and if every one of those hosts a beehive, the positive impact could potentially be astronomical. The company hopes, therefore, that the initiative is taken up not just by Sweden but by every McDonald’s restaurant.

Christoffer Rönnblad, marketing director of McDonald’s Sweden, described it as a ‘great idea’.

According to Adweek, he said: “We have a lot of really devoted franchisees who contribute to our sustainability work, and it feels good that we can use our size to amplify such a great idea as beehives on the rooftops.”

The danger of pesticides to bees

Just last year, a ban on pesticides was put into effect by the EU just after the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) reported that neonicotinoids were a serious threat to bees, no matter where or how they were used.

Vytenis Andriukaitis, the EU commissioner for Health and Food Safety, said: “The Commission had proposed these measures months ago, on the basis of the scientific advice from the European Food Safety Authority.

“Bee health remains of paramount importance for me since it concerns biodiversity, food production and the environment.”

It’s always a joy to travel the world, see different sights, and explore foreign cultures. One of the reasons we travel is to see things that are different from what’s familiar to us. However, some things are all over the world, and one of those is the...

Earth Science

Did Water on Earth Come From the Moon?

The origination of water on the earth has long been a quandary for scientists, but a new research published in the journal Natural Astronomy poses a new theory.

Scientists from the University of Münster in Germany are suggesting from their study that the debris of a Mars-sized body called Theia which has been thought to form the moon also brought water to our planet. The Theia theory is called the “giant impact hypothesis.”

Since our planet is thought to have formed in a dry inner solar system which lacked substance, scientists have long been unable to figure out where the source of water originated.

“The formation of the moon and the origin of Earth’s water are two of the fundamental open questions in cosmo-chemistry,” Gerrit Budde, the study’s lead author, told Newsweek. “Unraveling these processes is essential to understand the early evolution of the solar system, the formation of planets and the development of life.”

The solar system split in half

Scientists have previously surmised from the little they know about the world’s origin that the solar system was split in half for the first million years – that is, if their timeline is correct. When Jupiter formed, it was like a barrier against the exchange of materials between the inner and outer regions. Most of what they know about these matters is speculation, however.

The outer solar system was populated by meteorites containing water-rich “carbonaceous” material. Meanwhile, the inner solar system was filled mostly with non-carbonaceous meteorites that lacked water.

One of the more popular explanations for where the Earth first got water is that the “carbonaceous” bodies from the outer solar system brought large amounts of carbonaceous material to the earth. This explanation is still yet to be proven, however, and scientists haven’t been able to figure out when it could have happened or what the quantities involved may have been.

Scientists have attempted to get to the bottom of this issue by analyzing data on variants of a silvery-white metal called molybdenum which they obtained from a meteorite as well as terrestrial rock samples.

Fortunately, isotopes, which are variants of a chemical element that differ in the number of neutrons, allowing the scientists to clearly distinguish between carbonaceous and non-carbonaceous materials, which has given them slight leeway in discovering the truth.

“By comparing the molybdenum isotope composition of Earth and meteorites, for the first time we were able to constrain the timing and amount of the addition [of] outer solar system material to the Earth, as well as the origin of the moon-forming impactor and Earth’s water,” Budde said.

“In short, Earth’s water was delivered by water-rich carbonaceous material that derived from the cold outer solar system, probably beyond the orbit of Jupiter,” he said. “This happened relatively late at the end of Earth’s main growth history, and this material was delivered most likely by the giant impactor—Theia—that also caused the formation of the moon.

In turn, this means that the impactor itself originated from the outer solar system—it is generally assumed that Theia originated in the inner solar system near the Earth.”

All in all, it’s clear that there is much more to this issue than meets the eye. With so many things unclear about how our planet came to be, it makes one speculate about the theory of one Designer who planned it all.

The origination of water on the earth has long been a quandary for scientists, but a new research published in the journal Natural Astronomy poses a new theory.

Scientists from the University of Münster in Germany are suggesting from their study that the...

City Life Earth

Could We Put AC Units To Better Environmental Use?

When you feel the heat of the sun beating down on you and your home, the last thing you want to do is just sit and sweat. Rather than perspire until we expire, most of us do what you would be expected: you put on the AC unit.

But, rising energy costs and rising worries about the impact of such hardware on the environment leaves us with both financial and moral considerations. However, despite being vilified by some, air conditions could play a more active, meaningful role in turning around atmospheric carbon dioxide: some believe we could use it as a source of fuel.

This problem has been one that is spoken about on a regular basis. Excess carbon dioxide in the air is not a good thing. It can be used for numerous things, such as for pumping into a greenhouse to feed plants or feed the growth of trees. However, we could also find other uses for it – including the potential for turning atmospheric carbon dioxide into a fuel.

The ideas been going around for some time and could be delivered in the near future. Analytical scientists have started to argue that using AC units that can pull in the carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and turn it into fuel could be a goer. These would be hugely useful for solving excess carbon dioxide in the air, and for dealing with rising energy bills.

This would be a much more effective alternative to using things like fossil fuels to help power our lifestyles. For many, it would be the perfect antidote to both stabilizing the cost of living and in making a more conscious effort to help the environment.

Is this going to be possible?

Sadly, for now, it’s more theory than a possibility. It’s still something that is being worked on. Thankfully, major names such a Climeworks, Siemens AG and various other firms, such as Green Energy, are getting involved in correcting this issue.

More resources are going into the creation of this kind of green tech, which could go a long way to making sure we have more of an opportunity to stop such needles wastage moving forward.

According to researchers on the project, the aim would be to create a system that is going to separately capture the CO2 from the air and then isolate the hydrogen from the water. This would then be used to produce the fuels needed.

The challenge, then, is creating a system that can do all of this at once. While it’s apparently not difficult to do in theory, the practice is seemingly a fair bit tougher.

It’ll be interesting, then, to see what comes next. If these were able to be created, then we could be producing enough fuel to help run many cities, according to research in the Nature Communications journal.

With the need for more renewable forms of fuel that can also cut down on our production of carbon, this could be a fantastic solution to turn the tide in the battle for a healthier planet.

When you feel the heat of the sun beating down on you and your home, the last thing you want to do is just sit and sweat. Rather than perspire until we expire, most of us do what you would be expected: you put on the AC unit.

But, rising energy costs and...

Earth

Atlantic Set to Shrink Due to ‘Peeling’ Tectonic Plate?

As we move into an era of the climate change emergency where terrifying news comes out daily, another fine (read: horrifying) example of this has been laid bare. New stories come out all the time that show us just where the problems of the planet are starting from, and it’s often in the most important, foundational areas.

Scientists have recently revealed that a tectonic planet that is ‘peeling apart’ could lead to a significant shrinking of the Atlantic. As you might imagine, this is not a good thing.

With new stories breaking all the time, it’s hard to keep up with what new ways this environmental apocalypse is going to play out. Indeed, according to the Instituto Dom Luiz at the University of Lisbon, and their scientist Joao Duarte, we could be about to see something horrifying take place.

Indeed, he has found a location around 155-miles from Cape St. Vincent, Portugal, that is “peeling” apart.

Previously Unknown Process

This process was previously unknown and was previously only something that was found to have taken place underneath continents. This is quite a big thing, despite the peeling area being somewhat flat. This location, the Horseshoe Abyssal Plain, is peeling, and it’s not a good thing.

Duarte, a lead researcher on a study that was given to the European Geosciences Union in Vienna, Australia, has been involved in this research for some time. They found that an earthquake that had taken place off Portugal sometime in 1755, which played a role in the destruction of the city of Lisbon at the time, could be involved in this happening. It’s also linked to a 1969 earthquake that took place near Lisbon, too.

According to Duarte, speaking to Fox News: “The 20 upper kilometers [12.4 miles] of the plate is made of soft rocks that are light and the bottom is dense and heavy (because the plate is very old, more than 100 million years),

“This causes this lower part to detach from the upper part and sink in the mantle by the pull of gravity,” he added, noting that the process is aided by the infiltration of water that softens the upper part of the plate.

This could be caused by a subduction zone – when a tectonic plate falls beneath another. Duarte explained, saying: “We know that there are some margins of continents that do not have subduction zones, such as the margins of the Atlantic, and some margins of continents that have subduction zones, such as the margins of the Pacific (the ring of fire),

“But we do not understand yet very well how they form.

“This situation here may correspond to a rare example in which one subduction zone is just starting. And for that one of the plates has to slowly start peeling down, which is what we see (both in our observations/imaging and with some computational models with which we managed to reproduce the process).”

In terms of a potential shrinking of the ocean, Duarte said that: “It makes sense that a new supercontinent will form in the future as the result of the closing of the Atlantic,”

So, I think it would be safe to say that, for the near future, we should probably watch this new environmental change take place with crossed fingers. In generations to come, this could have a pretty significant role to play in how the world is shaped.

As we move into an era of the climate change emergency where terrifying news comes out daily, another fine (read: horrifying) example of this has been laid bare. New stories come out all the time that show us just where the problems of the planet are starting...

Earth

Coral Bleaching – Threat to the Caribbean? Experts Believe So

When it comes to the concept of coral bleaching, many see it as a harmless trick to pull. It has become a major part of the impact of climate change, though, and has started to have a pretty significant impact on the quality of the Caribbean.

Indeed, climate change is bringing about massive coral bleaching, and the coral reef ecosystems that are so essential to Caribbean communities are being thoroughly decimated at present.

Indeed, a study in February 2019 in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B scientific journal showed us just how damaging this is. Built on data taken from 30 Caribbean islands, the data that came back was startling. It showed that coral bleaching was taking place at a pretty rapid scale in various parts of the Caribbean.

Smaller islands such as Saint Barthelemy are the most likely to be impacted, while more robust nations like Jamaica look less likely to suffer such impact.

The worry, though, is that this is not going to get any better. According to Ph.D candidate in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management at UC Berkeley, Katherine Siegel: “We were surprised to find that independent islands have lower social-ecological vulnerability than territories,

“Territories—such as the Dutch islands of Sint Maarten and Saba— tend to be left out of global assessments of climate change vulnerability. But our results suggest that they need to invest in improving their ability to adapt to environmental changes.”

A Worrisome Change

There should, then, be an immediate desire to do something about this. Coral bleaching leads to various problems, not least the fact it removes much of the beauty from the coral reefs. If the bleaching happens for long enough, then it will kill off a large chunk of the corals, and this could mean that the entire ecosystem in that region could become compromised.

The impact would be felt not just in the sea, but in the various communities which rely upon the sea to survive. The study shows that there are several issues at play here, and that those who are most likely to suffer from coral bleaching are those who have their entire economies and communities built around the sea around them.

The study recommends, then, that more is done to help give these communities the tools needed to look out for and then act upon any coral bleaching taking place. The sooner a solution can be put in place, the better for the wider sea community. Rest assured, though, that active work is going on to find a solution to this problem and to put an end to the growing threat of the problem.

This study, though, will hopefully help to serve as a wake-up call for anyone who wants to better understand the immense risks which are at play here. With so little time to act, let’s hope this does not just become another study consigned to the ‘we’ll deal with it later’ pile – there might not be enough time to act later.

When it comes to the concept of coral bleaching, many see it as a harmless trick to pull. It has become a major part of the impact of climate change, though, and has started to have a pretty significant impact on the quality of the Caribbean.

Indeed, climate...

Earth

Yellowstone Super Volcano Explored Further With Amazing Results

As one of the most prominent pieces of nature, the Yellowstone Super Volcano is, for many, a catastrophe waiting to happen. Should it ever blow its top, we could be in for a transformative change to the entire world.

The sheer change that it would produce would be incredible, and it would be a world-altering issue. However, the volcano itself is always being explored and investigated further. A new thermal area has just been found through these discoveries – and the thermal area appears to be relatively new, at around 20-years old.

The Yellowstone Volcano Observatory keep a close eye on the volcano. They found a new pocket of warmth that has been found near the West Tern Lake and the Tern Lake thermal area. This was found using infrared imagery and was picked up on images taken from April 2017.

Comparing the Vegetation Over Time

By checking other imagery, they found a series of dead trees and brightly lit soil on high-resolution programs. They compared that with an image from 1994, which showed a rich, vibrant and happy location: compared with a 2006 image, the damage was already starting. 11-years on, the whole area that was once so lush and vibrant is burnt out.

Therefore, the belief is that the new thermal area formed sometime in the late 1990s or the early 2000s. Most of the location where it has popped up is not heavily explored. Therefore, it’s probably likely to be one of the new thermal areas appearing in more rural locations.

With around 10000 thermal features found across around 120 thermal areas, then, this is not the only thermal area which is found in a hard to reach location.

If you wish to check out this thermal area, then you can head on over to 44.6635 N latitude and 110.278 W longitude. This would help you to see the new thermal area found on major mapping tools such as Google Maps.

Indeed, this is a period of regular discovery about the Yellowstone Super Volcano. In 2018, it was found that it was a record-breaking year for the tallest active geyser in the world. Eruptions took place a whopping 32 times, breaking the 29-time record set in 1964.

This is quite an interesting time for those who feel passionate about this particular piece of land. In time, who knows what else we might find out about this incredible piece of nature?

Let’s hope we find out everything we can about it before the day arrives where it finally goes pop!

As one of the most prominent pieces of nature, the Yellowstone Super Volcano is, for many, a catastrophe waiting to happen. Should it ever blow its top, we could be in for a transformative change to the entire world.

The sheer change that it would produce...

Earth Science

White Dwarf System Gives Glimpse into Our Solar System’s Demise

Ever wonder what our sun will look like in a few billion years? Or what our planet and the entire solar system has in store? Sure, it won’t happen in our lifetime, but because of the planet-like object scientists have discovered orbiting a white dwarf star, we can take a look at what our solar system will look like in about 5 billion years.

It’s been common in the last few decades to find planets beyond our own solar system orbiting stars. Just like our sun, these solar systems have main-sequence stars that get their energy from core nuclear reactions. When these stars run out of fuel, they become red giants.

When our sun begins this process, it will consume Mercury, Venus, and most likely Earth, as well, and expand into the solar system. Once the core collapses, it becomes a white dwarf, too. For those of you who may not know, a white dwarf is an extremely dense, faint star that’s about the size of a planet.

Planets that orbit white dwarfs gradually move closer to the star until they collide, smash, and become floating debris.

Christopher Manser, of the U.K.’s University of Warwick, published a study done with his colleagues in Science. They presented evidence of a small, intact planetary body orbiting the white dwarf SDSS J122859.93+104032.9.

“The gaseous planetary disc around this white dwarf was the first discovered, and is currently still the brightest disc known, making it great for observations,” Manser told Newsweek. “The observations were taken as a pilot test to see if we could detect anything happening on the time it takes material to orbit the white dwarf (roughly hours).”

A Planetesimal

The team was astonished to discover a planetesimal, which is a solid object formed through colliding rocks that have clumped together. The only way it wasn’t torn apart by the white dwarf’s gravitational pulls was because it was 370 miles in diameter and very dense. They’ve surmised that this planetesimal could be the core of one of the solar system’s planets.

“To survive so close to the white dwarf, the body either has to have a large density, or a high internal strength to avoid being ripped apart,” Manser said. “Currently, we cannot distinguish between the two, only that it requires some minimal amount of internal strength and a density around that of iron—if the internal strength is greater, our density estimate can be reduced.”

 Scientists are fascinated to see a glimpse into the destiny of our own solar system. It seems as though the three inner planets will be destroyed while the rest stay intact.

“By studying systems like SDSSJ122859.93+104032.9, we can learn more about the future of the solar system, and the majority of all known exoplanetary systems, which orbit stars that will themselves eventually become white dwarfs,” Manser said. He also mentioned they plan to find more planetesimals like this one.

A professor in University College London’s physics and astronomy department who was not involved in the study, Jay Farihi, said the planetesimal was similar to a “ring moon”—an object orbiting in the disc of rock and dust surrounding the star.

“This likely means the disks or rings around white dwarfs are highly dynamical and changing environments that will continue to do interesting things and elucidate more exoplanetary science,” he said.

“Continued monitoring of these real-time events should give insight into the total masses of the rings, the planetary parent bodies that were disrupted or otherwise destroyed to create the dust and gas, and most of all how they compare to Earth and the terrestrial planets.”

Ever wonder what our sun will look like in a few billion years? Or what our planet and the entire solar system has in store? Sure, it won’t happen in our lifetime, but because of the planet-like object scientists have discovered orbiting a white dwarf star...

Earth

Changing Climate Could Melt Tons of Human Poop

Climate change with global warming is doing more and affecting us differently than we may have ever expected. Decades of hikers have been leaving their poop on Denali, North America’s tallest mountain located in Alaska, and with the warmer climate, these feces might become exposed on the glacier.

It’s been surmised that this Alaskan summit has 66 tons of frozen feces as it’s, by far, one of the most popular climbs in America. Over the future years, this excrement will become more and more visible, USA Today reported.

As a result of this recent discovery, some guide companies are doing what they can to alleviate the situation. These businesses that take climbers up year after year have changed their policy to require climbers to pack their waste down the mountain.

Updated Policy

Just a year ago, the National Park Service had made a new policy stating that all human waste below 14,000 feet must be taken off the mountain.

“Climbers and particularly guide services are really embracing the new policy and are even exceeding it. It has become kind of an informal badge of merit to carry off all your waste,” Michael Loso, a National Park Service glaciologist, told USA Today.

However, there’s more at stake than we realize. From his research, Loso has discovered that bacteria and bugs that thrive in human feces can survive snow, cold, and time. Tests of water melt from Denali revealed small amounts of fecal coliform bacteria.

The poop will be brought to sight, regardless. “The waste will emerge at the surface not very different from when it was buried. It will be smushed and have been frozen and be really wet,” Loso told USA Today. “It will be biologically active, so the E. coli that was in the waste when it was buried will be alive and well. We expect it to still smell bad and look bad.”

Climate change with global warming is doing more and affecting us differently than we may have ever expected. Decades of hikers have been leaving their poop on Denali, North America’s tallest mountain located in Alaska, and with the warmer climate, these...

Earth

The Earth Just ‘Rang Like A Bell’ And Nobody Knows Why

It seems like the earth is up to something, and no one can tell what exactly it was. Some sort of “event” originating near an island between Madagascar and Africa, as far as Chile, New Zealand, and Canada was picked up by sensors.

What’s phenomenal is that 11,000 miles away in Hawaii, the “event” was also picked up by sensors.

So, what exactly was it? An earthquake? Some sort of volcanic activity?  A nuclear test?  A meteorite? Scientists are having a hard time identifying its cause.

Göran Ekström, a seismologist from Columbia University, gave his two cents to National Geographic:

“I don’t think I’ve seen anything like it. [However] it doesn’t mean that, in the end, the cause of them is that exotic.”

The “event,” beginning around 15 miles off the shores of Mayotte, on November 11 wasn’t just a short occurrence that popped up and then disappeared instantly; it had sensors ringing for twenty minutes, but without the sensors, we may have never known it happened. Not one single human felt it!

Wave Train

Researchers are identifying it as a “monotone, low-frequency ringing,” but they still haven’t put their fingers on what caused it.

The possibility of an earthquake has altogether been ruled out. What normally happens in an earthquake is a sudden jerk lasting just a few seconds as a result of tension built up between earth’s plates. This occurrence was nothing like that.

The waves following an earthquake’s initial jolt are a sort of “wave train” according to Stephen Hicks, a seismologist at the University of Southampton. The “primary waves” move forward quickly in bunches, and the “secondary waves” that follow have more of a side-to-side motion. Both these waves possess a high-pitched frequency which Hicks refers to as “a sort of ping rather than a rumbling.” Finally, surface waves similar to the “event” that recently occurred happen, and these can travel the planet more than once. They “ring Earth like a bell,” as Hicks so eloquently put it.

The problem with the waves coming from Mayotte is that no earthquake happened to trigger them, so scientists are saying it was a monochromatic event, meaning it possessed only one type of wave which repeated itself every seventeen seconds.

However, Mayotte has been plagued with frequent seismic activity over the last year. Since May of 2018, the island has experience hundreds of quakes originating approximately 31 miles offshore, a location just east of the recent “event.”

The French Geological Survey suggests that a “new center of volcanic activity may be developing” off the island’s coast as they’ve been monitoring Mayotte’s seismic activity.

Though it’s been over 4,000 years since the island experience any major volcanic eruptions, the French Geological Survey thinks it’s possible that there could be a new movement of magma offshore.

However, results are still unclear and inconclusive. Researchers continue to look into the “event” and figure out the origin and potential effect of this seismic activity.

It seems like the earth is up to something, and no one can tell what exactly it was. Some sort of “event” originating near an island between Madagascar and Africa, as far as Chile, New Zealand, and Canada was picked up by sensors.
What’s phenomenal is...

Earth

Cut & Save: What To Do If You’re Caught In Rising Waters

According to the National Weather Service, flood-related deaths account for the majority of storm hazards.  Out of these flood-related deaths, over half will occur from driving a car into floodwaters.

As the National Weather Service explains on its website, many people do not have any concept of how strong the currents are in a flooding situation.  The deaths occur as drivers’ cars are swept away.

The saddest part is that these deaths are almost always preventable.  Drivers place their lives at risk when they choose to ignore warning signs and drive around barriers blocking flooded roadways.  According to the National Weather Service, it is never safe to walk through flooded areas, or to drive through flooded roadways.

Flooding can occur through a gradual buildup of water, as seen in many hurricanes.  If flooding happens quickly, within three to six hours of rainfall, it is called a flash flood.  Flash floods can occur from thunderstorms with heavy rainfall, broken levees or dams, or mudslides.

The rapid onset of a flash flood is what makes it dangerous.  People can be caught off guard and be unprepared for how quickly their situation becomes dangerous.

Get Ready For Hurricane Season

Flash flooding can occur across the United States, but the time of year can pose bigger risks for some areas. Coastal areas are high risk for flooding, especially during hurricane seasons, but heavy spring and summer rains place the Midwest at risk.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency, FEMA, states that if you live in low-lying areas near water you should always be prepared for a flood situation.

Here are a few tips to prepare in case of flooding, as recommended by the Ready Campaign:

  • Don’t drive across any bridge that spans fast-moving floodwaters. The force of the flood can make the bridge footings under the structure very unstable.
  • It doesn’t take much to sweep away an adult; your car can be swept along by only one foot of moving water while it only takes six inches to knock you off your feet.
  • Get yourself out of danger and move to higher ground if flooding is predicted.
  • Stay in your car if the car is being swept along by moving waters. If the water isn’t moving, abandon the car and seek safety.
  • Don’t park or camp along the banks of streams, creeks or rivers if heavy rainfall is expected. These areas will flood quickly and take a victim by surprise.
  • Never drive or walk through floodwaters, even if they don’t seem to be moving.
  • Turn Around, Don’t Drown! ®

According to the National Weather Service, flood-related deaths account for the majority of storm hazards.  Out of these flood-related deaths, over half will occur from driving a car into floodwaters.
As the National Weather Service explains on its website...

Earth

The Real Cause For The Ice Ages

The past three leading ice ages which happened over 540 million years ago, were followed by massive tectonic build-up all across the equator.  A team of U.S. researchers’ findings were published in the Journal of Science offering new insight into the causes of ice ages that were believed to be related to volcanic eruptions, until now.

A team from the University of California, led by Francis Macdonald, had been looking at the collision of tectonic plates that created the Himalayas.  The team discovered that when an oceanic plate pushes against a continental plate, a mountain range of rock is created.

They also discovered the two collisions that created the Himalayas happened in tropical zones near the equator.  They found both collisions were immediately followed by global atmospheric cooling.

This led to questioning if the exposure of new rock caused a chemical reaction that led to global cooling?  After examining the rate at which the rock from the oceanic plate reacted with carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, it could have removed enough of the greenhouse gas to trigger an ice age.

The team further researched if there were similar patterns in other ice ages. They traced back the cooling events from the last 540 million years and were able to match them to locations of continental collisions.  Their findings revealed that before each ice age, there were collisions in the tropics.

More Than One Reason

They believe that the combination of heat and humidity in the tropics aided in spurring a chemical reaction between calcium and magnesium found in rocks and atmospheric carbon dioxide causing gas to be sucked out of the atmosphere.  Atmospheric carbon dioxide has a warming effect on the planet, creating a barrier around the Earth.

This prevents heat from escaping back into space which means its removal led to Earth’s temperature dropping. What this means, we are presently living in an ice age that started over 2.5million years ago.  We are in an interglacial period in which the earth goes through a warming period with this ice age.

Right now, there is a zone in Indonesia in which two tectonic plates are colliding.  It’s believed this could potentially be responsible for our current ice age along with why we have a cool climate along with ice caps.

It’s believed this will end in approximately 10 million years and it is believed the Earth will return to a non-glacial climate.  Macdonald said that due to the current movements of the plates, they can project arc-continent collisions and their latitude will become more uncertain the further the projection.

With further studies, the team hopes to clarify records regarding continental collisions and be able to calculate the changes more clearly regarding carbon dioxide concentrations. Their study shows a coincidence but in order to test causality, they need a better understanding of the chemical mass balance.

Macdonald believes what they have gotten from their work is the geography in the tropics which is particularly important for the chemistry of the oceans and setting the global climate condition.

From the Laboratory of Climate and Environmental Sciences in France, William Gray said even though he was not involved in the study, the findings contributed to their understanding of what causes ice ages over a period of time – volcanic eruptions and/or the chemical breakdown of rocks.

He said it has been long debated which side of this balance is more important for driving the variations in CO2 and climate.  The results from the study by Macdonald and his colleagues suggest the changes in the level of CO2 removed from the atmosphere by the weathering of rocks could have driven variations in atmospheric CO2 and the climate over the past 500 million years.

This suggests changes in CO2 emissions from volcanoes may only play a minor role.

The past three leading ice ages which happened over 540 million years ago, were followed by massive tectonic build-up all across the equator.  A team of U.S. researchers’ findings were published in the Journal of Science offering new insight into the...