SCIENCE
NASA considers sending quadcopter drone to look for life on Titan
Category: SCIENCE
Tags: NASA Science Space USA

NASA considers sending quadcopter drone to look for life on Titan

Credit: NASA

RT June 19, 2014 ShortURL

While one NASA probe whizzes by Saturn’s moon Titan on Thursday to analyze its atmosphere, the American space agency is also considering a plan to send a quadcopter drone capable of searching for life.

The ambitious idea was outlined by Larry Matthies, a research scientist and supervisor at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab in California, and involves a drone that would be capable of flying out of a lander or balloon. The drone would explore the moon’s landscape and seas, collect samples, and return to the “mothership” in order to recharge its batteries and submit whatever it collects for analysis.

If successful, the new plan could drastically change the way humans explore space. Current rovers on Mars are akin to moving laboratories, but their grounded nature means they can be rather limited when it comes to exploring terrain. The 22-pound drone conceived by Matthies would eliminate that barrier with flight capability, allegedly at much lower costs than other options.

As quoted by Gizmodo, he described the plan as follows:

“We propose a mission study of a small (< 10 kg) rotorcraft that can deploy from a balloon or lander to acquire close-up, high resolution imagery and mapping data of the surface, land at multiple locations to acquire microscopic imagery and samples of solid and liquid material, return the samples to the mothership for analysis, and recharge from an RTG on the mothership to enable multiple sorties.”

 

Cassini delivers this artificially colored yet stunning vista showing small, battered Epimetheus and smog-enshrouded Titan, with Saturn's A and F rings stretching across the scene. Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute

Cassini delivers this artificially colored yet stunning vista showing small, battered Epimetheus and smog-enshrouded Titan, with Saturn's A and F rings stretching across the scene. Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute

 

Matthies also noted that while this kind of plan would not have been feasible even just a few years ago, advancements in drone technology and other robotics have “revolutionized” older mission concepts, meaning sending a drone capable of exploring Titan is now a real possibility. Options are also available regarding exactly what form the mission takes. NASA could either have the drone operate out of an airborne balloon-like mothership or out of a land-based vehicle.

“For a lander mission, it enables detailed studies of a large area around the lander, providing context for the micro-images and samples; with precision landing near a lake, it potentially enables sampling solid and liquid material from one lander,” he said.

 

Cassini spacecraft with the Huygens probe (AFP Photo / NASA / Getty out)

Cassini spacecraft with the Huygens probe (AFP Photo / NASA / Getty out)

 

“For a balloon mission, it enables surface investigation and sampling with global reach without requiring a separate lander or that the balloon be brought to the surface, which has potential for major cost savings and risk reduction.”

According to the Huffington Post, NASA has awarded Matthies’ team $100,000 to continue working on designs for the unmanned concept, which includes a mothership outfitted with a nuclear reactor.

Still, any lift-off dates are still a long ways into the future. Although technology has gotten to the point where such a plan can be planned, it still needs to be developed further. The agency is hoping a launch sometime in the 2040s would be possible.

Meanwhile, NASA’s Cassini probe is scheduled to fly by Titan on Thursday and bounce radio signals off its surface for the second time in two months. The mission is intended to reveal more information about the moon’s atmosphere and lakes, which could come in handy for future missions and determining whether life could exist in its hydrocarbon seas.

"We held our breath as Cassini turned to beam its radio signals at the lakes," Cassini radio science team member Essam Marouf said, referring to the May mission, according to Space.com. "We knew we were getting good quality data when we saw clear echoes from Titan's surface. It was thrilling.”

Although Titan’s landscape presents one of the more intriguing potential habitats for life in our solar system, there are plenty of reasons to be skeptical. The moon’s seas are comprised of liquid ethane or methane, while the atmosphere is much colder than Earth’s and made up of hydrogen cyanide. Cassini has, however, revealed the possibility that liquid water may exist under the moon's icy shell, and there's speculation other forms of life could be present.

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Note by SiNeh~

I' laughing at the moment because just a few minutes I posted following BLOG  Why Is Evil In A Hurry? and there it is said at the beginning

"Titan! to thee the strife was given.

Between the suffering and the will, which torture where they cannot kill; and the inexorable Heaven; and the deaf tyranny of fate, the ruling principle of hate.

Which for its pleasure doth create, the things it may annihilate,"

Hollow Earth Evidence? Massive Ocean Discovered Inside Our Planet
Category: SCIENCE

[There are many myths, legends and even suppressed historical accounts regarding our planet being hollow and even inhabited by various species of humanoids. Amongst the accounts is the presence of a large ocean within the planet as well as an inner sun. The apocalypse, or revealing, will include many wonderful and amazing truths that have been kept secret for millennia. Is this one of them? - Zen]

NewScientist

A reservoir of water three times the volume of all the oceans has been discovered deep beneath the Earth’s surface. The finding could help explain where Earth’s seas came from.

The water is hidden inside a blue rock called ringwoodite that lies 700 kilometres underground in the mantle, the layer of hot rock between Earth’s surface and its core.

The huge size of the reservoir throws new light on the origin of Earth’s water. Some geologists think water arrived in comets as they struck the planet, but the new discovery supports an alternative idea that the oceans gradually oozed out of the interior of the early Earth.

“It’s good evidence the Earth’s water came from within,” says Steven Jacobsen of Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. The hidden water could also act as a buffer for the oceans on the surface, explaining why they have stayed the same size for millions of years.

Pinging the planet

Jacobsen’s team used 2000 seismometers to study the seismic waves generated by more than 500 earthquakes. These waves move throughout Earth’s interior, including the core, and can be detected at the surface. “They make the Earth ring like a bell for days afterwards,” says Jacobsen.

 

By measuring the speed of the waves at different depths, the team could figure out which types of rocks the waves were passing through. The water layer revealed itself because the waves slowed down, as it takes them longer to get through soggy rock than dry rock.

Jacobsen worked out in advance what would happen to the waves if water-containing ringwoodite was present. He grew ringwoodite in his lab, and exposed samples of it to massive pressures and temperatures matching those at 700 kilometres down.

Sure enough, they found signs of wet ringwoodite in the transition zone 700 kilometres down, which divides the upper and lower regions of the mantle. At that depth, the pressures and temperatures are just right to squeeze the water out of the ringwoodite. “It’s rock with water along the boundaries between the grains, almost as if they’re sweating,” says Jacobsen.

Damp down there

Jacobsen’s finding supports a recent study by Graham Pearson of the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada. Pearson studied a diamond from the transition zone that had been carried to the surface in a volcano, and found that it contained water-bearing ringwoodite, the first strong evidence that there was lots of water in the transition zone (Nature, doi.org/s6h).

“Since our initial report of hydrous ringwoodite, we’ve found another ringwoodite crystal, also containing water, so the evidence is now very strong,” says Pearson.

So far, Jacobsen only has evidence that the watery rock sits beneath the US. He now wants to find out if it wraps around the entire planet.

“We should be grateful for this deep reservoir,” says Jacobsen. “If it wasn’t there, it would be on the surface of the Earth, and mountain tops would be the only land poking out.”

Journal reference: Science, DOI: 10.1126/science.1253358

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ZenGardner.com


 

The Artificial Intelligence Program That’s Learning Everything
Category: SCIENCE
Tags: Big Brother Science and Technology

Nicholas West

Contributor
Activist Post

If all of your browsing habits and scroll-overs haven’t been sufficient enough for current algorithms to pre-determine your wants, and needs, and product purchases, there is a new child coming of age who, simply put, is a prodigy.

Meet LEVAN (Learning EVerything About ANything) in the video below, the Artificial Intelligence program accompanied by cheery acoustics that is apparently in training to become the Forrest Gump/Bubba of the virtual realm…

In reality, it’s all a part of the agenda to get us to emote when interacting with our non-humanoverlords companions. It’s not enough to simply receive information; we have to feel like it’s a trusted friend, a family member, imparting words of life-changing importance.

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