A new form of life is discovered – living together as crystals. These may give hints to new forms of life in space.
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A solid crystal is an array of atoms held in a precise geometric arrangement by electromagnetic attraction, but now researchers have discovered a kind of crystal made of living bacteria. The cells are held together by the hydrodynamic suction the bacteria generate with their flagella. The 2D “bacterial crystals” formed on the surface of a glass slide, but the researchers don’t yet know whether such crystals form in the natural world or what function they might serve. The team mathematically modeled the behavior of the crystals and identified three characteristics of the cells that allow them to crystalize.
READ MORE via Physics – Focus: Bacteria Stick Together as Living Crystals.
Oceans trapped under ice appear to be pretty common in the solar system and one of them, on a small moon of Saturn’s, appears to be quite hot.
This week in the journal Nature, an international team of scientists reported evidence for hydrothermal vents on the Saturnian moon Enceladus, with temperatures of its rocky core surpassing 194 degrees Fahrenheit (90 degrees Celsius) in spots. The discovery, if confirmed, would make Enceladus the only place other than Earth where such chemical reactions between rock and heated water are known to be occurring today — and for many scientists, it would make Enceladus a most promising place to look for life.
CONTINUE READING via Suddenly, It Seems, Water Is Everywhere in Solar System – NYTimes.com.
Scientists believe they have come up with a solid model for a new type of methane-based, oxygen-free life form that could thrive in the harsh, icy conditions of Saturn’s mysterious freezing moon, Titan.
The researchers at Cornell University reckon they have come up with “the first concrete blueprint of life not as we know it.”
Chemical engineering graduate, James Stevenson, said he had been partly inspired by sci-fi writer Isaac Asimov, who wrote the essay Not as We Know It about the concept of non-water based life in 1962.
Stevenson worked with chemical molecular dynamics boffin, Paulette Clancy, and Cornell’s director for radiophysics and space research, Jonathan Lunine, on the project.
As The Register previously reported, Saturn’s giant moon Titan is the only other planetary body in the Solar System that has naturally occurring surface liquids – it contains vast seas of methane.
The university’s researchers theorised that such a celestial body “could harbour methane-based, oxygen-free cells.”
The boffins came up with a cell membrane that they said was composed of small organic compounds and capable of functioning in liquid methane temperatures of 292 degrees below zero.
CONTINUE READING via BOFFINS: Oxygen-free, methane-based ALIENS may EXIST on icy SATURN moon • The Register.
SESE is training the next generation of explorers and citizen scientists. We engage the minds of our students, and by making our research available to all, we also engage the minds of our community. Through a variety of informal science education and public outreach (E/PO) activities, field trips, teacher workshops, and partnerships with local schools, we are increasing the science literacy of our community.
Have a science-related question? Visit our Ask SESE page!
For school groups, we offer a K-12 field trip experience that includes a variety of science-themed activities and a 3-D astronomy show.
Those visitors interested in seeing our various labs and facilities should schedule a tour as many of our facilities have limits on how many visitors can be accommodated. Our new building ISTB 4 offers several interactive exhibits on the first two floors which are open during normal business hours.
READ MORE> via Field trips, events and tours | School of Earth and Space Exploration.
Humanity’s journey to become a spacefaring civilization is not a sprint. It is not one giant leap. It is the greatest marathon in history. It requires perseverance and grit. A slow crawl against all odds to fight our way out of Earth’s gravity well and gain a foothold in space…and eventually on another world. The cosmos is a truly inhospitable place, and we will need all of our technology and willpower to survive as a species. You will not wake up one day and realize that humans colonized the solar system. This is aspiration unlike any other…one that can only be achieved by stacking experience and technological advancement on top risk-taking, huge investments, and cutting edge engineering. To get there we need to see profitable growth and big returns as private companies forge partnerships with governments to open new markets. State Space agencies must begin rethinking their strategic goals as a the commercial space economy begins to emerge. 2014 was a hallmark year for the space industry — one filled with both triumphs and tragedy in pursuit of the stars. There were more space launches in 2014 than in any year in the previous two decades. It was a year greater than the sum of its parts, and one that will go down in history as one of the foundation years for our spacefaring civilization. Humanity is finally developing the framework and infrastructure necessary to become make the impossible…possible. Big things are starting to happen and the public and the investment community is becoming engaged in a way we have not seen since the space race of the 20th century. Over the next three weeks, we will show you why you should be so excited. We will start with rockets:
READ ON > via FuelSpace.
The Van Allen Probes, the second mission of NASA\’s Living With a Star program, are providing unprecedented insight into the physical dynamics of the radiation belts and are providing scientists the data they need to make predictions of changes in this critical region of space.
Since their launch on Aug. 30 2012, the two Van Allen Probes have orbited the Earth, sampling the harsh radiation belt environment where major space weather activity occurs and many spacecraft operate.
via The Van Allen Probes Web Site.
Posted in Earth
Tagged Space Weather
The Advanced Composition Explorer (ACE) is an Explorer mission that was managed by the Office of Space Science Mission and Payload Development Division of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). More on the ACE personnel, including scientific Co-Investigators can be found here.
ACE launched on a McDonnell-Douglas Delta II 7920 launch vehicle on August 25, 1997 from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
The Earth is constantly bombarded with a stream of accelerated particles arriving not only from the Sun, but also from interstellar and galactic sources. Study of these energetic particles contributes to our understanding of the formation and evolution of the solar system as well as the astrophysical processes involved. The Advanced Composition Explorer (ACE) spacecraft carrying six high-resolution sensors and three monitoring instruments samples low-energy particles of solar origin and high-energy galactic particles with a collecting power 10 to 1000 times greater than past experiments.
ACE orbits the L1 libration point which is a point of Earth-Sun gravitational equilibrium about 1.5 million km from Earth and 148.5 million km from the Sun. From its location at L1 ACE has a prime view of the solar wind, interplanetary magnetic field and higher energy particles accelerated by the Sun, as well as particles accelerated in the heliosphere and the galactic regions beyond.
ACE also provides near-real-time 24/7 continuous coverage of solar wind parameters and solar energetic particle intensities (space weather). When reporting space weather ACE provides an advance warning (about one hour) of geomagnetic storms that can overload power grids, disrupt communications on Earth, and present a hazard to astronauts.
via ACE Mission.
Posted in Earth
Tagged Space Weather