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Old 05-21-2012, 09:43 PM  
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Science is Cool....

This is a repository for all cool scientific discussion and fascination. Scientific facts, theories, and overall cool scientific stuff that you'd like to share with others. Stuff that makes you smile and wonder at the amazing shit going on around us, that most people don't notice.

Post pictures, vidoes, stories, or links. Ask questions. Share science.

This is in support of the Penny 4 NASA project. If you enjoy anything you learned from this thread, consider making a donation and signing the petition.

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Old 11-19-2012, 06:36 PM   #346
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Old 11-20-2012, 11:13 PM   #347
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Interdasting....

Curiosity's Mars discovery called 'one for history books'

NASA's Mars rover Curiosity has apparently made a discovery "for the history books," but we'll have to wait a few weeks to find out what the new Red Planet find may be, media reports suggest.

The discovery was made by Curiosity's Sample Analysis at Mars instrument, NPR reported Tuesday. SAM is the rover's onboard chemistry lab, and it's capable of identifying organic compounds the carbon-containing building blocks of life as we know it.

SAM apparently spotted something interesting in a soil sample Curiosity's huge robotic arm delivered to the instrument recently.

"This data is gonna be one for the history books," Curiosity chief scientist John Grotzinger, of Caltech in Pasadena, told NPR. "It's looking really good."

Grotzinger said the rover team won't be ready to announce just what SAM found for several weeks yet, NPR reported. The scientists want to check and double-check the results, to make sure they're for real.

The $2.5 billion Curiosity rover landed inside Mars' huge Gale Crater on Aug. 5, kicking off a two-year mission to determine if Mars has ever been capable of supporting microbial life.

The car-size robot carries 10 different instruments to aid in its quest, but SAM is the rover's heart, taking up more than half of its science payload by weight.

In addition to analyzing soil samples, SAM also takes the measure of Red Planet air. Many scientists are keen to see if Curiosity detects any methane, which is produced by many lifeforms here on Earth.

A SAM analysis of Curiosity's first few sniffs found no definitive trace of the gas in the Martian atmosphere, but the rover will keep looking.
Space news from NBCNews.com

Curiosity began driving again Friday after spending six weeks testing its soil-scooping gear at a site called "Rocknest." The rover will soon try out its rock-boring drill for the first time on the Red Planet, scientists have said.
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Old 11-22-2012, 10:50 AM   #348
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Old 11-22-2012, 10:51 AM   #349
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Old 11-26-2012, 01:47 PM   #350
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Progress on warp drive tech.

http://io9.com/5963263/how-nasa-will...rst-warp-drive
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Old 11-26-2012, 02:58 PM   #351
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Sweet holy Moses.


"A few months ago, physicist Harold White stunned the aeronautics world when he announced that he and his team at NASA had begun work on the development of a faster-than-light warp drive.

His proposed design, an ingenious re-imagining of an Alcubierre Drive, may result in an engine that can transport a spacecraft to the nearest star in a matter of weeks — and all without violating Einstein's law of relativity. We contacted White at NASA and asked him to explain how this real life warp drive could actually work."
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Old 11-26-2012, 03:13 PM   #352
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The Alcubierre drive has always fascinated me. I can remember being at Emporia State University, and we had some physicist come in and speak to our Engineering club. He explained the idea behind the Alcubierre drive, and its effect on time and space, and it completely blew my mind. At the time, it seemed so completely unfathomable and I never ever thought that humans would be capable of such a thing for another 1000 years. My, did I have a lot to learn...
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Old 11-26-2012, 03:34 PM   #353
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The Alcubierre drive has always fascinated me. I can remember being at Emporia State University, and we had some physicist come in and speak to our Engineering club. He explained the idea behind the Alcubierre drive, and its effect on time and space, and it completely blew my mind. At the time, it seemed so completely unfathomable and I never ever thought that humans would be capable of such a thing for another 1000 years. My, did I have a lot to learn...

Yeah, I had heard of this idea before, but of course the amount of energy required to make it work was a seemingly insurmountable barrier to ever building one.

And now, this scientist may have had a breakthrough making it feasible.

Is there anything mankind cannot achieve?
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Old 11-26-2012, 05:20 PM   #354
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High Tech is Sorcery and the people who are really powerful are literally telling people to commit crimes using the psychic interspace created by the WWW and Wireless. They are controlling peoples actions like drones . The two things are deeply intertwined. The more man's brain interfaces with machines the creepier it gets. They use brains separate from a human body in a supercomputer and you have The Image of the Beast. The military has been doing this since the 50s
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Old 11-26-2012, 08:01 PM   #355
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Old 11-26-2012, 08:06 PM   #356
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Scat-Firing Caterpillars Elude Predators

Several species of caterpillars have developed an interesting system for waste disposal; they fire their fecal pellets a distance of up to 40 times their body length away from their homes, at a speed of 4.2 feet (1.3 meters) per second. The equivalent distance for a 6-foot-tall (1.8 meter) human would be around 240 feet (73 meters).

Scientists have long speculated on the evolutionary factors that would favor the development of this extraordinary behavior.

"While studies of foraging have been a cornerstone of ecological research, analogous issues related to defecation have received much less attention," said Martha Weiss, an ecologist at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.

A lot of animals distance themselves from their waste, usually for reasons of hygiene. Some nestling birds, for example, package waste into mucilage-coated sacs ready for convenient disposal by the adults in the nest. Other animals are known to use scat for surprising purposes; larval tortoise beetles pile fecal shields on their backs to protect them from predators. Some caterpillar species climb onto silk strings decorated with fecal pellets, which are known as frass. The frass helps protect them from ants.

In Weiss's research of scat-launching caterpillars, she found the first experimental evidence that the adaptation serves to protect the caterpillar larvae from wasps and other predators.

Scat-Throwing Launch Pad

Skipper butterfly caterpillars are able to fire frass pellets by pumping up blood pressure directly under an anal "launching pad" on which extruded fecal pellets rest.

"It's the equivalent of the mechanism involved in flicking a pea," said Stanley Caveney, a biologist at the University of Western Ontario in London, Canada.

Caveney discovered the "scatapulting" mechanism, leaving scientists with questions about its purpose.

One explanation favored by scientists was that the caterpillars are just good housekeepers and keep their silk-stitched leaf shelters spotless for hygienic purposes.

Weiss's research provides the first experimental evidence for the predator avoidance idea.

"Until now, there has been no direct evidence to suggest the idea that fecal firing behavior in caterpillars helps them to avoid being caught by [predators]," Caveney said.

To test the link between wasp attack and frass accumulation, Weiss introduced the leaf shelters of the silver-spotted skipper caterpillar (Epargyreus clarus) into captive paper wasp (Polistes fuscatus) colonies. The roomy leaf pockets contained either hidden frass pellets or similar-looking black glass beads.

She found that the wasps that visited leaf shelters spent more than 70 percent of their time on those containing frass.

When caterpillar larvae were added to the leaf shelters, the evidence was equally as dramatic. During 5-minute trials, 14 of the larvae housed with frass were devoured by wasps. In contrast, only three were eaten in the shelters containing the black beads.

Related experiments showed that accumulation of frass in their leaf shelters did not affect the caterpillars in terms of crowding or disease. Skipper caterpillars in close contact with 30-day accumulations of frass were no less likely to make it to a healthy adulthood than those in frass-free homes.

The findings are reported in the April issue of the journal Ecology Letters.

Sniff Test

Predatory wasps appear to be attracted to the odor of caterpillar frass, said Weiss. "Evolutionarily, it seems that frass ejection helps to protect larvae from predation by natural enemies," she said. "If they retained frass in their shelters they would be more likely to be killed by wasps or other enemies."

The findings are "novel, interesting, and significant," said Caveney. "[The study] shows convincingly that frass may be used as a homing signal to locate prey."

Predator avoidance is a significant factor driving the evolutionary development of silver-spotted skipper caterpillars. Earlier experiments conducted by Weiss have shown that up to 30 percent of caterpillars in some wild populations can be killed by predators over just a few days.

In fact the risk of being found by predators is so great that many distantly related caterpillar lineages have independently developed the ability to fire frass, said Weiss.

That leaves just one question: Why are pellets ejected so far, so fast?

"A shot distance of a few centimeters or so would generally be sufficient to propel the pellet off the leaflet surface," said Weiss. "Perhaps it's just a by-product of caterpillar physiology."
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Old 11-28-2012, 09:20 AM   #357
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Life... will find a way....



Lake life survives in total isolation for 3000 years
20:00 26 November 2012 by Andy Coghlan



It is seven times as salty as the sea, pitch dark and 13 degrees below freezing. Lake Vida in East Antarctica has been buried for 2800 years under 20 metres of ice, but teems with life.

The discovery of strange, abundant bacteria in a completely sealed, icebound lake strengthens the possibility that extraterrestrial life might exist on planets such as Mars and moons such as Jupiter's Europa.

"Lake Vida is a model of what happens when you try to freeze a lake solid, and this is the same fate that any lakes on Mars would have gone through as the planet turned colder from a watery past," says Peter Doran of the University of Illinois, Chicago. He is co-leader of a team working in the Dry Valleys of Antarctica where Vida is situated. "Any Martian water bodies that did form would have gone through this Vida stage before freezing solid, entombing the evidence of the past ecosystem."

The Vida bacteria, brought to the surface in cores drilled 27 metres down, belong to previously unknown species. They probably survive by metabolising the abundant quantities of hydrogen and oxides of nitrogen that Vida's salty, oxygen-free water has been found to contain.

Co-research leader Alison Murray of the Desert Research Institute in Reno, Nevada, is now investigating this further by growing some of the extracted cells in the lab. "We can use these cultivated organisms to better understand the physical or chemical extremes they can tolerate that might be relevant to other icy worlds such as Europa," she says.

Surprise composition

Murray and her colleagues were surprised to find so much hydrogen, nitrous oxide and carbon in the water. They speculate that these substances might originate from reactions between salt and nitrogen-containing minerals in the surrounding rock. Over the centuries, bacteria denied sunlight may have evolved to be completely reliant on these substances for energy. "I think the unusual conditions found in the lake have likely played a significant role in shaping the diversity and capabilities of life we found," she says.

But the existence of life in Lake Vida does not necessarily increase the likelihood that life exists in much older, deeper lakes under investigation in Antarctica, most notably Vostok and Ellsworth, which are 3 kilometres down and have been isolated for millions rather than thousands of years.

"It doesn't give us clues about whether there's life in Vostok or Ellsworth, but it says that under these super-salty conditions, life does OK," says Martin Siegert of the University of Bristol, UK, and leader of an expedition to Ellsworth which set off on 25 November. "We'll be drilling down 3 kilometres into the lake," he says.
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Old 11-28-2012, 10:01 AM   #358
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High Tech is Sorcery and the people who are really powerful are literally telling people to commit crimes using the psychic interspace created by the WWW and Wireless. They are controlling peoples actions like drones . The two things are deeply intertwined. The more man's brain interfaces with machines the creepier it gets. They use brains separate from a human body in a supercomputer and you have The Image of the Beast. The military has been doing this since the 50s
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Old 11-28-2012, 10:05 AM   #359
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Old 11-28-2012, 04:01 PM   #360
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NASA... making boob pics less blurry. It's just part of what they do....

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