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PostPosted: Sat Apr 14, 2018 1:56 pm 
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457 years ago today:

1561 celestial phenomenon over Nuremberg

The 1561 celestial phenomenon over Nuremberg was a mass sighting of celestial phenomena or unidentified flying objects (UFO) above Nuremberg, Germany. The phenomenon has been interpreted by some modern UFO enthusiasts as an aerial battle of extraterrestrial origin.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 26, 2018 2:17 am 
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Liquid water 'lake' revealed on Mars

By Mary Halton Science reporter, BBC News

Researchers have found evidence of an existing body of liquid water on Mars.

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What they believe to be a lake sits under the planet's south polar ice cap, and is about 20 km (12 miles) across.

Previous research found possible signs of intermittent liquid water flowing on the martian surface, but this is the first sign of a persistent body of water on the planet in the present day.

Lake beds like those explored by Nasa's Curiosity rover show water was present on the surface of Mars in the past.

However, the planet's climate has since cooled due to its thin atmosphere, leaving most of its water locked up in ice.

The result is exciting because scientists have long searched for signs of present-day liquid water on Mars, but these have come up empty or yielded ambiguous findings. It will also interest those studying the possibilities for life beyond Earth - though it does not yet raise the stakes in the search for biology.

The discovery was made using Marsis, a radar instrument on board the European Space Agency's (Esa) Mars Express orbiter.

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The proposed lake sits beneath ice near the south pole of Mars

"It's probably not a very large lake," said Prof Roberto Orosei from the Italian National Institute for Astrophysics, who led the study.

Marsis wasn't able to determine how thick the layer of water might be, but the research team estimate that it is a minimum of one metre.

"This really qualifies this as a body of water. A lake, not some kind of meltwater filling some space between rock and ice, as happens in certain glaciers on Earth," Prof Orosei added.

How was it found?

Radar instruments like Marsis examine the surface and immediate subsurface of the planet by sending out a signal and examining what is bounced back.

The continuous white line at the top of the radar results above marks the beginning of the South Polar Layered Deposit; a filo pastry-like accumulation of water ice and dust.

Beneath this, researchers spotted something unusual 1.5km under the ice.

"In light blue you can see where the reflections from the bottom are stronger than surface reflection. This is something that is to us the tell tale sign of the presence of water," says Prof Orosei.

What does this mean for life?

Nothing definitive. Yet.

Dr Manish Patel from the Open University explained: "We have long since known that the surface of Mars is inhospitable to life as we know it, so the search for life on Mars is now in the subsurface.

"This is where we get sufficient protection from harmful radiation, and the pressure and temperature rise to more favourable levels. Most importantly, this allows liquid water, essential for life."

This principle of following the water is key to astrobiology - the study of potential life beyond Earth.

So while the findings suggest water is present, they don't confirm anything further.

"We are not closer to actually detecting life," Dr Patel told BBC News, "but what this finding does is give us the location of where to look on Mars. It is like a treasure map - except in this case, there will be lots of 'X's marking the spots."

The water's temperature and chemistry could also pose a problem for any potential martian organisms.

In order to remain liquid in such cold conditions (the research team estimate between -10 and -30 Celsius where it meets the ice above), the water likely has a great many salts dissolved in it.

"It's plausible that the water may be an extremely cold, concentrated brine, which would be pretty challenging for life," explained Dr Claire Cousins, an astrobiologist from the University of St Andrews, UK.
What next?

While its existence provides a tantalising prospect for those interested in the possibility of past or present life on Mars, the lake's characteristics must first be verified by further research.

"What needs to be done now," explained Dr Matt Balme from the Open University, "is for the measurements to be repeated elsewhere to look for similar signals, and, if possible, for all other explanation to be examined and - hopefully - ruled out.

"Maybe this could even be the trigger for an ambitious new Mars mission to drill into this buried water-pocket - like has been done for sub-glacial lakes in Antarctica on Earth," he added.

Scientists have previously claimed to find bacterial life in the buried depths of Antarctica's Lake Vostok, but drilling on Mars would make for an ambitious project indeed.

"Getting there and acquiring the final evidence that this is indeed a lake will not be an easy task," said Prof Orosei.

"It will require flying a robot there which is capable of drilling through 1.5km of ice. This will certainly require some technological developments that at the moment are not available."

The findings were reported in Science.

https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-44952710

...don't touch that dial, coming next: Life on Mars...

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 26, 2018 3:38 pm 
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 26, 2018 4:18 pm 
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Good stuff GG keep it coming!


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2018 2:39 pm 
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Harvard Researchers: ‘Oumuamua Could Be an Alien Probe After All

Our first confirmed interstellar visitor was a tough nut to crack. Scientists puzzled over ‘Oumuamua when it appeared in the sky last year. The classification flipped back and forth a few times before eventually landing on “comet,” but it’s a weird comet. Now, researchers from the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics have revived the idea that ‘Oumuamua could be an alien spacecraft.

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While we’ve recategorized ‘Oumuamua a few times, we can say with utmost certainty that it came from another solar system. It has an orbital eccentricity of 1.20, which is far past the sun’s escape velocity. Nothing in the solar system could reach that speed naturally without a cataclysmic release of energy that we would have noticed.

‘Oumuamua was already on its way out of the solar system and moving at high speed when we spotted it, so there was no time to build and launch a mission to intercept it. We haven’t even gotten a very good look at the object. Scientists believe ‘Oumuamua is cigar-shaped and up to 120 meters in length. That’s an unusual shape for an asteroid (at least in this solar system) so the discoverers initially categorized it as a comet. Then, scientists looked closer and saw no coma, the cloud of dust and gas that surround a comet when it nears the sun. So, an asteroid? Upon even closer examination, researchers found ‘Oumuamua’s orbit was being nudged by a force consistent with gas release. Currently, ‘Oumuamua is considered a low-activity comet.

The newly released paper (which hasn’t been peer-reviewed yet) suggests another option. What if the small force acting on ‘Oumuamua is not from gas release? The study suggests that ‘Oumuamua could have an odd orbit because it’s an alien space probe with a solar sail. A solar sail is a concept for a low-power propulsion system currently in testing at a number of companies and space agencies around the world. The sail would use the pressure of the solar radiation to propel a craft forward continuously. Over time, a solar sail could reach high speeds, possibly even leaving the solar system.

The researcher making this proposal are not presenting evidence that ‘Oumuamua actually has a solar sail — there’s no way to know that with current technology. Instead, they seek to demonstrate that it is possible based on what we know of the physics of solar sails and the orbit of ‘Oumuamua. The study concludes that it’s possible that ‘Oumuamua is being dragged along by a solar sail, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s an active alien probe.

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Researchers scanned ‘Oumuamua back in 2017 to look for any electromagnetic emissions, finding nothing. At that point, they deemed it not an alien ship. The new study suggests ‘Oumuamua could be non-functional debris with a bit of light sail material clinging on. Alternatively, it could be a probe in a low-power mode that we cannot characterize. Unfortunately, we’ll probably never know for sure what ‘Oumuamua is — it’s already long gone.

https://www.extremetech.com/extreme/280217-researchers-suggest-oumuamua-could-be-an-alien-probe-after-all

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 13, 2018 12:02 am 
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Several pilots spot UFOs off Irish coast
13:49, Nov 13 2018

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Was it a UFO that the pilots saw? (file photo)

An investigation has been launched after several pilots spotted mysterious lights off the south-west coast of Ireland.

The incident happened on November 9 as the pilot from British Airways flight BA94 from Montreal to London, and a Virgin Airlines pilot of VS76 from Orlando to Manchester noticed the objects. Other unidentified pilots also saw the lights.

The pilot from BA94 queried air traffic controllers in Shannon if military exercises were taking place.

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AIRLIVE
The Virgin flight was heading to Manchester when a pilot saw the lights.

They said no, and that nothing was showing on the radar.
"OK. It was moving so fast," said the BA pilot.


She said it came along the left-hand side of the plane before veering rapidly north.

"It was a bright light and then just disappeared at very high speed."

The pilot on VS76, who also witnessed two bright lights, offered a possible explanation.

"Meteor or another object making some kind of re-entry - multiple objects following the same sort of trajectory – very bright from where we were."

Both planes were said to be in high-level airspace - which is an altitude between 28,500ft and 42,000ft.

Airlive reports that the Irish Aviation Authority is "investigated under the normal confidential occurrence investigation process".

Stuff

https://www.stuff.co.nz/travel/news/108 ... land-coast

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 13, 2018 12:50 am 
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Nice. Would a "meteor or another object" be shown on radar?

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 13, 2018 9:44 am 
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Mr_Green_Genes wrote:
Nice. Would a "meteor or another object" be shown on radar?


It would be obvious from trajectory and speed that it was, my Dad was one of the first Radar Operators and did between 2 and 3 years in the South Pacific during WWII...back in the 60's and 70's when they would say that a radar hit was a weather inversion layer, or some other thing or object he would say that was bullshit because any radar operator who knows what he is doing can tell the difference, his life depended on knowing they were stationed behind enemy lines on an island during the war... :idea:


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