The galaxy may be filled with planets that are not orbiting any sun.
(Above–Interstellar planet as depicted by NASA.)
“Astronomers… have discovered a new class of Jupiter-sized planets floating alone in the dark of space, away from the light of a star. The team believes these lone worlds were probably ejected from developing planetary systems. The discovery indicates there are many more free-floating Jupiter-mass planets that can’t be seen. The team estimates there are about twice as many of them as stars. In addition, these worlds are thought to be at least as common as planets that orbit stars. This would add up to hundreds of billions of lone planets in our Milky Way galaxy alone….it is likely that some planets are ejected from their early, turbulent solar systems, due to close gravitational encounters with other planets or stars.”
I can relate to these interstellar planets. I’m certain many people can relate to these planets.
While you may be in a secure orbit in many aspects of your life, it still can be difficult to find a place in existence.
Close encounters with bad people and selfish people can send us out on an uncharted trajectory.
The general tone of our society can make you want to detach yourself from what is taking place.
The good news is that even when flying around on your own, you are in the company of many other such planets.
You are still part of the galaxy as a whole.
In your life, look for those on a similar flight path through existence.
Remain loyal to the things you value and to the best aspects of our society , while seeking out others like yourself who may orbit no specific star.
Many in Houston are upset that the Obama administration did not locate one of the three soon-to-be retired space shuttle orbiters at the Johnson Space Center in Houston.
(Above–The Space Shuttle Endeavour flying over the Johnson Space Center and Houston. It will not be landing in Houston.)
It is hard to imagine that anybody thought one of these shuttles would come to Texas. Given all the anti-government talk in Texas, you’d think that we would not want anything at all from the feds.
The Johnson Space Center is in Texas in the first place due to the efforts of the New Deal-inspired Lyndon Johnson.
Maybe the federal government has not deserted the space program in Texas, so much as Texas has embraced an extreme politics that rejects the things that have helped Texas grow over the years.
(John Coby at Bay Area Houston says that Republican U.S. Rep. Pete Olson, who represents the Johnson Space Center area, did a poor job working to get the shuttle for Houston.)
The name of the probe is Messenger. Messenger is sending data and pictures back to Earth about conditions on Mercury.
If Messenger is sending messages to beings on Mercury, I’m sorry to the great degree that this blog post is missing the real story.
(Above—Messenger orbiting Mercury as seen by an artist.)
I’m glad I live in a time where we’ve been able to learn about the planets in our solar system.
Even more amazing, we’ve been learning about planets outside our solar system. I never thought that would be possible in my lifetime.
If intelligent aliens exist on these distant planets, I implore them to stay away.
They will bring terrible diseases. They will enslave us. They will steal our oceans.
What is it like on Mercury?
Mercury is a terrible place.
At least it is in the context of human existence.
I imagine that in the full scheme of existence, Mercury is just like it needs to be.
“Temperatures on Mercury’s surface can reach 800 degrees Fahrenheit (430 degrees Celsius). Because the planet has no atmosphere to retain that heat, nighttime temperatures on the surface can drop to -280 degrees Fahrenheit (-170 degrees Celsius).”
Below is a picture of Mercury sent from Messenger.
A book about the solar system I enjoy is called The Grand Tour–A Traveler’s Guide To The Solar System by Ron Miller and William Hartmann.
Grand Tour has many pictures, drawings and facts about all aspects of our solar system. The book is currently in a third edition.
Some people say government should only pertain to the most minimal functions.
Yet it is only government that could fund missions to understand distant space.
There are no minerals on Mercury that we will be mining from private profit. There are no advertising jingles that Messenger will be sending from Mercury.
There is so much to learn about existence. There is so much context to understand as we consider our views about the world.
Every person has the ability to learn about any subject.
Take the time it requires to learn about our world.
The more we learn, the better we will understand all that is taking place.
NASA reports that the years between 2000 and 2009 were the warmest decade in the world on record so far.
(Above—Fallen Angels in Hell. Painted in 1841 by John Martin.)
From the New York Times story on the issue—
“The decade ending in 2009 was the warmest on record, new surface temperature figures released Thursday by theNational Aeronautics and Space Administration show. The agency also found that 2009 was the second warmest year since 1880, when modern temperature measurement began. The warmest year was 2005. The other hottest recorded years have all occurred since 1998, NASA said…James E. Hansen, director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, said that global temperatures varied because of changes in ocean heating and cooling cycles….“When we average temperature over 5 or 10 years to minimize that variability,” said Dr. Hansen, one of the world’s leading climatologists, “we find global warming is continuing unabated.”
From the NASA release—
“Climate scientists agree that rising levels of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases trap incoming heat near the surface of the Earth and are the key factors causing the rise in temperatures since 1880, but these gases are not the only factors that can impact global temperatures….Three others key factors — including changes in the sun’s irradiance, oscillations of sea surface temperature in the tropics, and changes in aerosol levels — can also cause slight increases or decreases in the planet’s temperature. Overall, the evidence suggests that these effects are not enough to account for the global warming observed since 1880.”
I don’t have kids. I’m 42. I’ll be here for whatever remaining amount of time. Many years hopefully. I’ll get by one way or another. And I will remain involved because I think it is important to remain involved.
For those of you with kids, you can decide to take part in politics or not. You can have your kids live in a good world or a bad world. You can ask people you know to be involved in politics and advocacy.
You can leave your kids a world of rising oceans and a nation where nobody has health insurance, or you can do your best to make our nation and our world a decent place to live.
It is your call.
A new administrator for NASA seems to be in the works.
Retired Marine Corps Major General Charles Bolden will be meeting with President Obama today to discuss the post.
General Bolden has flown on the space shuttle four times.
Here is astronaut Bolden’s NASA profile. Above you see his picture.
NASA has plans to go back to the moon and to go to Mars.
I oppose these plans because I feel it costs too much money and because I don’t see any clear reason to send people back to the moon and to Mars.
It could be that the manned space program is at core a giant government jobs program. Okay. I do support government jobs programs.
Yet is it sure will cost a lot of money to send people back to the moon and to Mars. I think that money could be better spent on Earth.
My hope is that if these missions are going to be conducted in any event, that they be as international as possible.
The costs should be spilt between nations and the missions should be flown by an international crew. In fact, there is no reason that an American would have to command these missions or would have to be the first one to take a step on Mars.
I suppose Florida has too many electoral votes for President Obama to go after one of its leading industries. And Democrats have hope of winning Texas some day. The Johnson Space Center is in Texas.
I’m certain NASA has contractors all over the country who are eager for new and expensive missions to the moon, Mars and to the center of the galaxy if that were possible.
Still, we can move past a global space race and move towards cooperation. The advance of peaceful global cooperation would give taxpayers around the globe a more certain return on their money than the nationalistic pursuit of glory for no clear purpose other than that of national glory.
As Planet Mercury Is More Interesting Than We Knew, Maybe The Same Holds True For People In Our Lives
A NASA probe says the planet Mercury is more lively than people imagine.
It’s more than just a dusty black and white place. That’s been the image of Mercury over the years. Now we know that there is blue stuff (Above) on Mercury and that it was once a volcanic hotbed—
“Astronomers used to dismiss Mercury, the planet closest to the sun, as mere “dead rock,” little more than a target for cosmic collisions that shaped it, said MIT planetary scientist Maria Zuber. “Now, it’s looking a lot more interesting,” said Zuber, who has experiments on the Messenger probe. “It’s an awful lot of volcanic material.” New images of filled-in craters — one the size of the Baltimore-Washington area and filled in with more than a mile deep of cooled lava — show that 3.8 to 4 billion years ago, Mercury was more of a volcanic hotspot than the moon ever was, Zuber said. But it isn’t just filled-in craters. Using special cameras, the probe showed what one scientist called “the mysterious dark blue material.” It was all over the planet. That led Arizona State University geologist Mark Robinson to speculate that the mineral is important but still unknown stuff ejected from Mercury’s large core in the.”
Maybe as we learn that Mercury is more than we imagined, there are people in our lives that we need to reconsider. People may have previously unknown talents or insights that we have simply missed over the years.
Think about somebody you know and give them a new look.