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  • Michael shared from Space Chronicles: Facing the Ultimate Frontier by Neil deGrasse Tyson, Avis Lang
    So here’s what I recommend for the next time you’re abducted into a flying saucer. You’re there on the slab, where of course the aliens do their sex experiments on you, and they’re poking you with their instruments. Here’s what you do. Yell out to the alien who’s probing you, “Hey! Look over there!” And when the alien looks over there, you quickly snatch something off his shelf—an ashtray, anything—put it in your pocket, and lie back down. Then when your encounter is over and done with, you come to my lab and say, “Look what I stole from the flying saucer!” Once you bring...
    Note: what to do if you are abducted by aliens so you can prove it later #spacechronicles
  • Michael shared from Space Chronicles: Facing the Ultimate Frontier by Neil deGrasse Tyson, Avis Lang
    Hubble’s scientific legacy is unimpeachable. More research papers have been published using its data than have ever been published for any other scientific instrument in any discipline. Among Hubble’s highlights is its settling of the decades-old debate about the age of the universe. Previously, the data were so bad that astrophysicists could not agree to within a factor of two. Some thought ten billion years; others, twenty billion. Yes, it was embarrassing. But Hubble enabled us to measure accurately how the brightness varies in a particular type of distant star. That information, when plugged...
    Note: maybe because of the bailouts, but 13.7 billion years sounds like a young universe #spacechronicles
  • Michael shared from Space Chronicles: Facing the Ultimate Frontier by Neil deGrasse Tyson, Avis Lang
    Until the day arrives when bioneurophysiological computer engineers can do a human-brain download on a robot, the most we can expect of the robot is to look for what it has already been programmed to find. A robot—which is, after all, a machine for embedding human expectations in hardware and software—cannot fully embrace revolutionary scientific discoveries. And those are the ones you don’t want to miss.
    Note: Bioneurophysiological. It's a word. #SpaceChronicles
  • Michael shared from Space Chronicles: Facing the Ultimate Frontier by Neil deGrasse Tyson, Avis Lang
    Modern analysis demonstrates that on timescales of hundreds of millions of years—periods much longer than the ones considered by Laplace—planetary orbits are chaotic. That leaves Mercury vulnerable to falling into the Sun, and Pluto vulnerable to getting flung out of the solar system altogether. Worse yet, the solar system might have been born with dozens more planets, most of them now long lost to interstellar space.
    Note: pluto isn't a planet and can be thrown out of the solar system... poor pluto #spacechronicles
  • Michael shared from Space Chronicles: Facing the Ultimate Frontier by Neil deGrasse Tyson, Avis Lang
    Microwave telescopes, which were not actively used to study the universe until the late 1960s, enable us to peer into cool, dense clouds of interstellar gas that ultimately collapse to form stars and planets. The heavy elements in these clouds readily assemble into complex molecules whose signature in the microwave part of the spectrum is unmistakable because of their match with identical molecules that exist on Earth. Some of those cosmic molecules, such as NH3 (ammonia) and H2O (water), are household standbys. Others, such as deadly CO (carbon monoxide) and HCN (hydrogen cyanide), are to be...
    Note: we are made of stardust. science fact is better than science fiction sometimes #spacechronicles
(Knoxville, TN USA)
Michael C. Neel