9 de junho de 2017

The Art of Exoplanets

One of the things that amazes me is the ability of making us imagine how outer worlds may look like through the production of credible idealisation of those planets based on available data about the planets' diameters, masses and distances from the host star.

Artist's concept by Robert Hurt and Tim Pyle show us how planetary systems may look like and Hurt and his colleague, multimedia producer Tim Pyle, developed a series of arresting, photorealistic images of what the new system's tightly packed planets might look like.

This film show us some of their projects and no doubt they have helped us to have a detailed perspective about these planets atmospheres, mountain relief and geology.

Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech

5 de julho de 2016

JUNO - Mission to Jupiter

On the 4th of July fireworks can be shown not only to commemorate de independence Day but also to  celebrate the five-year journey to Jupiter by NASA's Juno spacecraft which successfully entered Jupiter’s orbit during a 35-minute engine burn. Confirmation of a successful orbit insertion was received from Juno tracking data monitored at the navigation facility at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California, as well as at the Lockheed Martin Juno operations center in Littleton, Colorado. 

“The spacecraft worked perfectly, which is always nice when you’re driving a vehicle with 1.7 billion miles on the odometer,” said Rick Nybakken, Juno project manager from JPL. “Jupiter orbit insertion was a big step and the most challenging remaining in our mission plan, but there are others that have to occur before we can give the science team the mission they are looking for.”

Preplanned events leading up to the orbital insertion engine burn included changing the spacecraft’s attitude to point the main engine in the desired direction and then increasing the spacecraft’s rotation rate from 2 to 5 revolutions per minute (RPM) to help stabilize it..

The burn of Juno’s 645-Newton Leros-1b main engine began on time at 8:18 p.m. PDT (11:18 p.m. EDT), decreasing the spacecraft’s velocity by 1,212 miles per hour (542 meters per second) and allowing Juno to be captured in orbit around Jupiter. Soon after the burn was completed, Juno turned so that the sun’s rays could once again reach the 18,698 individual solar cells that give Juno its energy.

Over the next few months, Juno’s mission and science teams will perform final testing on the spacecraft’s subsystems, final calibration of science instruments and some science collection.

Juno's principal goal is to understand the origin and evolution of Jupiter. With its suite of nine science instruments, Juno will investigate the existence of a solid planetary core, map Jupiter's intense magnetic field, measure the amount of water and ammonia in the deep atmosphere, and observe the planet's auroras. The mission also will let us take a giant step forward in our understanding of how giant planets form and the role these titans played in putting together the rest of the solar system. As our primary example of a giant planet, Jupiter also can provide critical knowledge for understanding the planetary systems being discovered around other stars.

The Juno spacecraft launched on Aug. 5, 2011 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. JPL manages the Juno mission for NASA. Juno is part of NASA's New Frontiers Program, managed at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, for the agency’s Science Mission Directorate. Lockheed Martin Space Systems in Denver built the spacecraft. The California Institute of Technology in Pasadena manages JPL for NASA.

Credits and more information on the Juno mission is available at:  http://www.nasa.gov/juno

1 de maio de 2016

Some Call Me Nature...

“Some call me Nature. Others call me Mother Nature.
I’ve been here for over 4 and a half billion years. 22.500 times longer than you.
I don’t really need people, but people need me.
Yes, your future depends on me.
When I thrive you thrive. When I falter you falter…Or worse.
But I’ve been here for eons.
I have fed species greater than you. And I have starved species greater than you.
My oceans, my soil, my flowing streams and my forests.
They all can take you—or leave you…
How you choose to live each day weather you regard or disregard me, doesn’t really matter to me.
One way or the other…Your actions will determine your fate. Not mine.
I’m Nature. I’ll go on. I am prepared to evolve.
Are you?”

Julia Robert’s and an other 9 A-list movie stars donated their time and intonations to a stunning public awareness movies evolving the human race dangers of suffering a massive die-off extinction.

The two minutes short films pretend to reach every human being and reflect on the several pure elements of our Planet. Water, Ice, Forests, asking globally why humans pay so little attention to the hazards posed by overpopulation, environmental pollution, deforestation, biodiversity degradation, overheated climate, and other ecological pressures.

Humans are asked here to pay attention to the alarming signs and react before it’s too late.
This is not about saving Nature.
This is about saving Ourselves. 
The Human Race.

12 de novembro de 2014

PHILAE TouchDown on COMET #67P

PHILAE on #67P
After more than 10 years travelling through space, PHILAE the spaceship that got its name from an island on the river Nile, where it was found the obelisk which allowed to decode the Rosetta Stone, has successfully descended on the surface of Comet #67P and grabbed to the rock with 3 harpons that anchored the lander securely to the surface.
PHILAE is full equipped with the latest technology in order to get acquired measures at the surface. Existing jets and geysers will be evaluated, real surface temperatures, gravity and a highly sophisticated equipment will "read" and perform combustion and chemical analysis from the 4.5 billion years old comet composition, sending afterwards its results, through the solar and battery powered ' antennas, first to Rosetta and from there to ESA, on Earth. 

27 de outubro de 2014

ISS - International Space Station

Early, on last Saturday, SpaceX's Dragon Spacecraft splashed down into the Pacific Ocean bringing hundreds of pounds of cargo, as a result of long-term research on board the ISS, and hopefully the experiments made on board could aid in the development of more efficient solar cells and semiconductor-based electronics, the development of plants better suited for space and improvements in sustainable agriculture.

The third commercial re-supply flight by a Cygnus spacecraft to the ISS will transport some 5,000 pounds of supplies and experiments to the orbiting laboratory and it'll be launched next November 2d.

According to Sam Scimemi, director of the ISS division at the NASA headquarters in Washington, “This mission enabled research critical to achieving NASA's goal of long-duration human spaceflight in deep space.”

According to some experts everything is being settled for Mars long journey, and according to Buzz, for a long term stay on the Red Planet.

13 de outubro de 2014

The Dark Side of the Moon

Three Craters on the edge of the Moon in a place called Luna INCOGNITA
ESA/SMART-1/AMIE camera team/Space Exploration Institute

I guess everyone would prefer to see the Rainbow side of the Moon or a glance of the bright side of the small asteroid. Nevertheless ESA got what it can be called a perfect shot of the Dark Side of the Moon where no human telescopic eye can normally reach.

ESA launched a SMART-1 mission which brought us images of Plaskett, Rozhdestvenskiy and Hermitethe, the 3 big craters which stand always hide on the darker side, each one with a surprising size of more than 100 Km wide.

The LUNA INCOGNITA or the undercover side of the Moon can be yearly seen, for a few days, due the Earth's rotation process but never as it was now caught, really closer to our sights.

Who knows if it isn't the right place to simulate a human mission to Mars, without the fear of the distance and the danger of not being able to get back if something doesn't come out according with the plans. Credits: ESA

28 de setembro de 2014

Getting Together

Comet 67P/Churyumov- Gerasimenko on a close shot by Rosetta's NAVCAM
Every shot looks closer, every bit of this Comet seems to wonder where will Rosetta land next November on the day that a small spaceship and the rock will meet.

Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko is being scrutenized for the past few months by Rosetta powerful  cameras, from a distance of 27.8 km above the comet's centre. The image covers an area of about 2 x 1.9 km and focuses on the smaller of the two comet lobes. 

It's visible one of the primary landing sites called  J 'above' located on the distinctive depression. Every thing points out that it will be the chosen spot to dock Philae, the small lander developed by ESA which will be grabbed to the comet in order to perform the first attempt to collect samples from a moving rock comet surface.

November is near and all the incredulous eyes are set on the screen for a new era. 
For now every moment in being set for a major advance in science, that moment when two strangers will meet in space.

17 de agosto de 2014

67P/Churyumov-GERASIMENKO - A Comet with a diversity of surface structures

67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko - Credits: ESA/Rosetta/NAVCAM
67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, the most photographed comet of all times, shows on the last Rosetta shootings a diversity of surface structures

In the image, the comet’s head (in the top half of the image) exhibits parallel linear features that resemble cliffs, and its neck displays scattered boulders on a relatively smooth, slumping surface. 

In comparison, the comet's body (lower half of the image) seems to exhibit a multi-variable terrain with peaks and valleys, and both smooth and rough topographic features.

Comets are time capsules containing primitive material left over from the epoch when the sun and its planets formed. 
Observations planned for this mission will help scientists learn more about the origin and evolution of our solar system, and the role comets may have played in seeding Earth with water. Rosetta's lander will obtain the first images taken from a comet's surface and will provide the first analysis of a comet's composition by drilling into the surface. 
Let's see if we have more clues about what happened on the Big Bang.
Credits: Nasa

6 de agosto de 2014

ROSETTA - August 6th 2014 - Comet CLOSE UP

Stunning close up detail focusing on a smooth region on the ‘base’ of the ‘body’ section of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. 

The image was taken by Rosetta’s OSIRIS narrow-angle camera and downloaded on August 6th clearly showing a range of features, including boulders, craters and steep cliffs. 

Taken from a distance of 130 km, Rosetta will be orbiting the comet till November 9th, the day all ESA scientists are looking forward once it'll be the first day in history when a spacecraft will land on a comet.

On that day, ROSETTA will absolutely be the shinning STAR.



After a 10-year, 4-billion-mile journey through deep space, a European probe will finally arrive at its comet destination this week.

The European Space Agency's Rosetta spacecraft is scheduled to rendezvous with Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko today, August 6th. If all goes according to plan, Rosetta will become the first probe ever to orbit a comet — and, in November, the first to drop a lander onto the surface of one of these icy wanderers.
6th August approach

27 de abril de 2014


Credits: NASA

Astronomers on their searching for Earth like planets have discovered a twin Earth-sized exoplanet caller Kepler-186f. Its radius is 11% larger than Earth and the planet orbits a star habitable zone, 492 light-years from our planet.

The distance does not ensure if its atmospheric characteristics make it a potential habitable planet or not. That will have to be postponent until the next instruments and spacecraft generation can focuses on outer space exoplanets.

Kepler - 186f is part of a solar system with five planets, hosting a star which has only 4% of our Sun's luminosity. Their proximity to the star makes all the planets too hot for living as we understand it, with slower rotations and longer days that could last for weeks or months.

28 de março de 2014

The Slaughter of the AFRICAN PANDAS

It can be read on the poster: Protect the pandas of Africa - The Elephants 
Image courtesy of WildAid

Every day, 100 African elephants are killed illegally for their ivory. China is the final destination for most of this white gold ivory and a single tusk can fetch more than $8,000 on the Chinese black market. 

Worth around $ 4bn annually, the trade funds terrorist organisations such as al-Shabaab, which recently attacked the Westgate shopping centre in Nairobi.

“The Blood Ivory: Behind the Largest Ivory Smuggling Cases in China”, tells us about a surging demand from middle class consumers which led to an alarming killing rate of 100 elephants a day. Conservationists estimate that up to 35,000 elephants may have been killed in 2012 alone.

In September, the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) gave these efforts a boost when it launched a massive push to catalyze support for stopping "blood ivory".

ESAC agreed unanimously to destroy 28 tonnes of Hong Kong’s stockpile by incineration after a four-hour meeting with government officials. The first raft of ivory tusks and trinkets will be destroyed within the next six months and the remaining stockpile will be burned over the next two years.

Will this be enough? Perhaps not, but certainly will create a general awareness that poaching is targeted not only by conservationists but also by governments worldwide.

24 de março de 2014

NEW Potentially HABITABLE Exoplanets

Sthephen Hawking said, some weeks ago, that by 2050 Earth people will be living on other planets, so I found quite enthusiastic to have an idea of the last electible planets and their stars which could give us some clues on our exploring chances in a near future.

Artistic representations of all the planets around other stars (exoplanets) with any potential to support surface life as we know it. All of them are larger than Earth and we are less certain about their composition and habitability, but they represent the best objects of interest for future observations. They are ranked from best to worst with the Earth Similarity Index (ESI), a measure of Earth-likeness, but none yet seems to be a true Earth-like planet. This selection of worlds is also subject to change as new interpretations or astronomical observations are made. Earth, Mars, Jupiter, and Uranus are shown for scale in the right side.
Credits: (CC) Planetary Habitability Laboratory @ UPR Arecibo, 2014

20 de março de 2014


JUPITER - The Stormy Giant
Credits NASA

At about 89,000 miles in diameter, Jupiter could swallow 1,000 Earths. It is the largest planet in the solar system and perhaps the most majestic. 

Vibrant bands of clouds carried by winds that can exceed 400 mph continuously circle the planet's atmosphere. Such winds sustain spinning anticyclones like the Great Red Spot -- a raging storm three and a half times the size of Earth located in Jupiter’s southern hemisphere. 

In January and February 1979, NASA's Voyager 1 spacecraft zoomed toward Jupiter, capturing hundreds of images during its approach, including this close-up of swirling clouds around Jupiter's Great Red Spot. This image was assembled from three black and white negatives.
Credits NASA

12 de fevereiro de 2014

MONARCH Butterflies - SOFT breezes from HEAVEN

Monarch Butterfly Survey Points to Lowest Numbers in 20 Years
They seem to stand in the sky floating like soft coloured breezes. They come in clouds of thousands migrating each year from the US plains to the Mexican forests when cold prepares to install.

Their numbers are calculated having has a reference the Mexican forest total area occupied after arriving from their long winter migration.
Occupied Forest with Monarch Colonies  
Scientists become worried when last year's count reached its lowest levels in two decades. According to a survey carried out during the 2012-2013 winter season by the WWF-Telcel Alliance and Mexico’s National Commission of Protected Areas, the nine hibernating colonies occupied area,  has decreased 59% regarding last year survey.

Reasons have been put forwarded in order to explain the latest decrease in monarch butterflies. A decrease in the
Milkweed Plant
milkweed plant (Asclepias) – a primary food for monarchs – and herbicide use in the butterfly’s reproductive and feeding grounds in the US, as well as extreme climate variations during the fall and summer are among the main reasons which have certainly affected butterfly reproduction. 

“Extreme climate fluctuations in the US and Canada affect the survival and reproduction of butterflies. The monarch’s lifecycle depends on the climatic conditions in the places where they develop. Eggs, larvae and pupae develop more quickly in milder conditions. Temperatures above 95F can be lethal for larvae, and eggs dry out in hot, arid conditions, causing a drastic decrease in hatch rate,” said Omar Vidal, Director General of WWF-Mexico. 
Monarch butterflies which migrate to Mexico feed on milkweed in the soy and corn fields of the US. The use of herbicides to eradicate this plant, considered a toxic weed for cattle, has reduced the amount of available milkweed by up to 58%. 
Monarch Cycle
“The conservation of monarch butterflies is a responsibility shared by Mexico, the US and Canada. By protecting its sanctuaries and practically eliminating large-scale deforestation, Mexico is doing its part. It is necessary that the US and Canada also do their part and protect the habitat of the monarch in their countries,” Vidal added. 

“The WWF-Telcel Alliance celebrates 10 years of supporting the conservation and sustainable management of the natural resources of Mexico and the well-being of the people that depend on those resources. The Alliance has worked with local communities, the government and civil society to conserve the monarch forests in a way that benefits nature, local populations, and those that visit the Reserve. Among these projects is the development of sustainable business such as tree nurseries, mushroom production modules, and handicraft production, as well as the improvement of tourist infrastructure at El Rosario, and Cerro Prieto in Michoacán” said Marcela Velasco, Director of Marketing at Telcel. Source WWF

24 de janeiro de 2014

Saturn MOON ENCELATUS - A Distante Frozen World

Credits: NASA spacecraft CASSINI
CASSINI the unmanned spacecraft launched in 1997 to orbit planet SATURN and its multiple MOONS has arrived, 7 years later, to Saturn system in 2004. 
Since then, Saturn and its many natural satellites have been studied and observed as well as their heliosphere, testing the famous Einstein theory of relativity.

On its way, Cassini captured this still and partially sunlit ENCELADUS, a Saturnian MOON covered in ice that reflects sunlight similar to freshly fallen snow, making ENCELADUS one of the most reflective objects in the solar system. The blue color in this false-color image indicates larger-than-average ice particles. The moon's surface is decorated with fractures, folds and ridges caused by tectonic stresses. 

The image was taken with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on April 7, 2010, using filters sensitive to ultraviolet, visible and infrared light.

20 de janeiro de 2014

January 20th 2014 - Wake UP! Rosetta

Today is the BIG day that ESA has been waiting for to wake up Rosetta which has been hibernating since 2011. 
Let's hope that everything goes well along with scheduled.

15 de janeiro de 2014

Snow Leopards - An Endangered Specie

Snow Leopard

Last December WWF revealed some amazing photos of two snow leopard cubs frolicking in the remote mountains of Siberia. 

Snow leopards are one of the most endangerous wild cat species, and not long ago, on the 90's its population was almost decimated because of their incomparable skin. 
Credits: WWF Russia
The area is estimated to have been home to nearly 40 individuals at its peak, two decades ago, but during the 
90's the snow leopards' population was almost entirely destroyed by poachers. 
Before they became extinct, urgent measures were taken by the Russian Government in cooperation with the Altai Project and the Snow Leopard Conservancy, mainly consisting on several anti-poaching raids, guards and cameras  strategically placed on areas which were previously unpatrolled.

Several expeditions were made in order to collect data and see if the population showed positive signs of increasing on the last 5 years. The Altai Project counted at least 8 snow leopards on the area but anxiety was always present because cubs weren't seen or caught on cameras until now.
Looking at these pictures we cannot help wondering if we are not assisting to a turning point regarding a natural rehabilitation of the specie, on this remote place, in Siberia.

There are up to 6,000 snow leopards in the wild across 12 countries, but its numbers are gradually declining, with hunting and habitat loss among the contributors to its endangered status. 
Stretching across Russia, Mongolia, Kazakhstan and China, the Altai-Sayan ecoregion is one of the last remaining untouched areas on earth and is identified by WWF as a key global ecoregion.

13 de janeiro de 2014

Mission: ROSETTA - Landing on COMET 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko

Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko has its name due to the ukranian scientist who discovered it
(see in 720p HD)

If you were curious about my last post and the scheduled Rosetta's mission, here is a short movie produced by ESA which allows us to know with more detail about what scientists are up to with this mission and what space knowledge can we expect to get further on finding the origins of the universe.

Synthetically this will be the longest duration encounter with a comet. It involves a spacecraft called Rosetta, which will map the comet surface and its magnetic fields.
After 6 months orbiting the comet, which is 4 Km long with the shape of a potatoe, a Lander will be detached. 

This lander, called Philae, got its name from the island on the Nile, in Egypt, where was found the obelisk which allowed to decode the Rosetta Stone, so I'm sure that this name will function as an encouragement for scientists hopefully decoding on this mission some of the mysteries that may lay on the comet' s nucleus.

Philae will descend from Rosetta to the surface and as soon as it touches it, once there's little gravity, there will be 3 harpons that will anchor the lander securely to the surface.

The Lander is full equipped with the latest technology in order to get acquired measures at the surface. Existing jets and geysers will be evaluated, real surface temperatures, gravity and a highly sophisticated equipment will "read" and perform combustion and chemical analysis from the 4.5 billion years old comet composition, sending afterwards its results, through the solar and battery powered ' antennas, first to Rosetta and from there to ESA, on Earth. 

Looking forward for this great space adventure I'm sure that all data collected will give us clues about the origins of the universe and maybe, who knows, life somewhere else.

6 de janeiro de 2014

What about 2014 SPACE MISSIONS?

NASA and ESA presented their main missions for 2014.
More than 24 are active at the moment and others will be launched during this year.

Mission: ROSETTA

ROSETTA is being classified as THE one great expectation mission.
Since 2004 when Rosetta was launched, ESA has been waiting for the right moment to catch an enormous comet, land there and take as many samples and pictures as possible. Rosetta will be the "big star" of 2014, making the first-ever orbit insertion at a comet in August and attempting a landing on it in November. Images will be spectacular for sure! See the film.

In MARS two more spacecraft will be launched and they will arrived at the red planet in September 2014. Japan is also following space targets with theirs HAYABUSA mission.

MESSENGER will go on its mission to Venus and Mercury until 2015.

The twin ARTEMIS spacecraft are still happily operating at the Moon and will continue to do so through 2014.

LADEE is in its prime mission and is planned to crash into the lunar surface in March. No lengthy mission extension is possible for this mission -- its low orbit, necessary for sampling the lunar atmosphere, is a death sentence.

CURIOSITY in Mars has only one goal: TO DRIVE as much as possible in order to explore Mars soil.By the summer of 2014 the rover should be approaching the Murray Buttes, a gap between the basalt sand dunes that will allow them passage to the clay-bearing rocks they landed in Gale crater to explore.

ODYSSEY and MARS EXPRESS have had the most serious problems, but continue to do great imaging and (in the case of Odyssey) valuable relay work. Mars Express' mission is extended through 2016.

Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has developed a spectacular routine of wider-field imaging with its Context Camera with rapid followup of any new features with high-resolution HiRISE images, so I hope to see more new discoveries of fresh impact craters, possible water-carved features, moving sand dunes, and other geomorphology that shows Mars to be an active planet.

OPPORTUNUTY, will have its moment this winter. The rover's activities will be limited by low power. However, they have found themselves a nice north-facing slope to tilt the solar panels at the winter Sun, so they shouldn't have to park for long stretches; they'll make brief journeys from one north-facing "lily pad" to another, exploring Murray Ridge.

CASSINI, in Saturn in planned to have 11 gravity-assist flybys of Titan. All of 2014 will be spent in an inclined phase from which it can observe the effects of springtime sun on the north poles of Titan and Saturn and image the rings, while exploring the magnetosphere and plasma environment of Saturn in three dimensions. Cassini will not return to an equatorial orbit (and frequent opportunities to observe the other moons) until March of 2015. However, Cassini is currently under very real threat of cancellation. If its mission is to be ended in 2015, then a propulsive maneuver to set up that ending will be performed in 2014, canceling all those carefully-laid plans. So for Cassini the most important events of 2014 will be taking place here on Earth, in the halls of Congress and the White House.

ICE will fly past Earth in August. If we want to regain control of this aged-but-still-perfectly-good spacecraft, we must do it early this year. The budget mess is making that seem difficult to achieve. I'll report if I have any further news on that.

Juno, Dawn, and New Horizons will spend 2014 cruising to their next destinations. The latter two will be setting the stage for a spectacular 2015, what I'm calling the Year of the Dwarf Planet, when we will turn three round worlds from astronomical objects to geological objects for the first time: Ceres, Pluto, and Charon.

Voyagers 1 and 2 will be carrying their missions on, into the interstellar medium.
I'll keep on track of their important goals.
from here

31 de dezembro de 2013


Let us wish for 2014 that concrete political measures are taken in order to preserve and defende all Endangered Species.

27 de dezembro de 2013


Biodiversity stands as the result of 3.5 billion years of evolution. 

While records of life in the sea show a logistic pattern of growth, life on land (insects, plants and tetrapods) show an exponential rise in diversity. New species are regularly discovered and many, thought discovered, are not yet classified.

Nevertheless according to a report from "Environment New Service",  dated back from 1999, scientists  predicted that the extinction rate caused by human influence was approaching 1,000 times the average rate and could climb to an alarming number of 10,000 times in a near future.

Are we near to those numbers? 
Is it wise to talk about giving life to extinct species when we are not being able to stop those which are nowadays classified as endangered?

10 de dezembro de 2013

MARS CURIOSITY - Was "Gale Crater" a LAKE?

Since last year, I've been following, with great enthusiasm, the Mission of the Mars Curiosity Rover, a scienthific Laboratory which was planned to determine whether the Red Planet ever was, or is, habitable to microbial life.
The mission, has been a success, compared with all the precedent which many ended in a frustrating manner with engine or technical failures beyond remote repair from NASA Earth basis.

On this mission it was placed the most advanced technologically ever built on a rover. 
After a successfully landing, on August 5th/2012, in Mars' Gale Crater, following a series of complicated landing maneuvers never before attempted, the Rover, (which is about the size of a MINI Cooper), equipped with 17 cameras and a robotic arm containing a suite of specialised laboratory-like tools and instruments, started its work analysing and sending outstanding information to NASA culminating, on the last 2 weeks, with informations that allowed scientists to conclude that Mars was, some million years ago, a planet with water and, why not, where existed some incipient forms of life.
Photo taken by the Curiosity rover shows mudstone that suggests planet's Gale crater held ancient lake.
- Science/AAAS -
At a press conference today, scientists announced that the Curiosity rover had uncovered signs of an ancient freshwater lake on Mars that may have teemed with tiny organisms with tens of millions years, far longer than scientists had imagined. The watering hole near the Martian equator existed about 3.5 billion years ago. Scientists say it was neither salty nor acidic, and contained nutrients — a perfect spot to support microbes very similar to those depots found on our Earth Oceans.

Looking for some explanations for Mars' desertification, scientists also believe that the origins of some drastic climate changes may have been due to the fact that Mars lost its magnetic shield, leaving the Planet vulnerable to solar and cosmic radiation. 
Over the time, the ionizing rays took apart what was believed to have been a thick, protective atmosphere which kept Mars warm and wet.

I'll be posting, whenever some great news about the mission comes out!

15 de novembro de 2013


Changes in Pine Island Glacier over the last 2 weeks

Over the last 2 weeks, Pine Island Glacier, a major ice mass in Antartic, has been revelling an increasing crack which has been followed by NASA scientists.

A large iceberg, with approximately 35Km by 20km, roughly the size of Singapore, is forming and detaching from the main Pine Glacier heading to the Amundsen Sea, freely drifting away from the coast into the Antartic Ocean.
NASA published images, comparing the glacier last October 28th and November 13th, where changes on the ice crack are visible with an increasing open-water between the glacier and the detaching ice mass.

Named B-31, the iceberg will be followed by a team scientists from Sheffield and Southampton universities which will track the 700 square-kilometer chunk of ice and try to predict its path using satellite data.

The shelf of Pine Island Glacier has been moving forward at roughly 4 kilometers per year, so the calving of this iceberg is not necessarily a surprise, noted Tom Wagner, NASA’s cryosphere program manager.
Such events happen about every five or six years, though Iceberg B-31 is about 50 percent larger than previous ones in this area. Scientists have been studying Pine Island Glacier closely because there is evidence that warmer seawater below the shelf will cause the ice grounding line to retreat and the glacier to thin and speed up.

More here
October 28th, 2013

10 de novembro de 2013

BHL - Biodiversity Heritage Library

This is a SnapShot of BHL in my iTunes
Alfred Russel Wallace (1823-1913)
If you enjoy topics related to Biodiversity and the Origin of Species, the Biodiversity Heritage Library has over 64,000 volumes digitalised from known authors, such as Charles Darwin and Russel Wallace.

Authors that with their knowledge contributed to the development of Natural Sciences therefore deserving a special mention here. Using the iTunes application Darwin's personal notes left on his private library estate, at the University of Cambridge, have been digitally reconstructed and placed among the best volumes of the collection. 

For free, you can download almost all of these books and enjoy their original pictures and their authors private comments.

BHL also sponsors a blog full of interesting articles and every week a different perspective of a scientist' work is eligible for his contribution on the scientific outlook community. 
This week the scientific work chosen was the historical framework of the british naturalist Afred Russel Wallace, known as Darwin's man behind the scenes. 

Known in history as second after Darwin, in a position as unfair as Buzz is over Armstrong, BHL brings us some light over Wallace roll in all the process of the natural selection and the transmutation of species theory.
Hope you enjoy as much as I did!
Map from Wallace's book - "ISLAND LIFE"

6 de novembro de 2013

NAUTILUS - The Solitary floating Pump of the deep

They have not evolved much during the last 500 million years. Many were initially straight-shelled, as in the extinct genus Lituites

They mainly developed in the Late Cambrian period and became a significant group of sea predators during the Ordovician period where certain species reached over 2.5 metres (8 ft 2 in) in size.

Abundant in the Middle and Lower Jurassic as well as at the base of the upper Cretaceous the Nautilus floats by pumping gas into their shells which are filled with cameras in order to regulate the float's depth. 

The growth of the radius of their interior's shell obeys to the spiral's logarithmic of the GOLDEN RATIO which is an irrational algebraic real constant denoted by the Greek letter (PHI), in honour to Phideas the Sculptor, which would have used this mathematical scale to design the PARTHENON, with the value rounded to three decimal places 1.618.

14 de outubro de 2013

CASSIOPEIA the NewBorn Star in the Milky Way

Cassiopeia the New born Star on the Milky Way
This extraordinarily deep Chandra image shows Cassiopeia A (Cas A, for short), the youngest supernova remnant in the Milky Way. 

New analysis shows that this supernova remnant acts like a relativistic pinball machine by accelerating electrons to enormous energies. The blue, wispy arcs in the image show where the acceleration is taking place in an expanding shock wave generated by the explosion. The red and green regions show material from the destroyed star that has been heated to millions of degrees by the explosion.  from here

16 de setembro de 2013

Arc Across HEAVENS

Saturn Rings - September 9th 2013 by CASSINI
Saturn's rings appear to form a majestic arc over the planet in this image from the Cassini spacecraft.
Credits JPL