Gentlemachines
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Gentlemachines
What's new at the crossroads of culture, technology and science
Curated by Artur Alves
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Should We Keep a Low Profile in Space?

Should We Keep a Low Profile in Space? | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it
There are fears that sending messages into space could provoke alien aggression.
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Broadcasting is likened to “shouting in the jungle” — not a good idea when you don’t know what’s out there. The British physicist Stephen Hawking alluded to this danger by noting that on Earth, when less advanced societies drew the attention of those more advanced, the consequences for the former were seldom agreeable.

It’s a worry we never used to have. Victorian-era scientists toyed with plans to use lanterns and burning pools of oil to contact postulated Martians. In the 1970s, NASA bolted greeting cards onto spacecraft that will leave our solar system and wander the vast reaches between the stars. The Pioneer and Voyager probes carry plaques and records with information about what humans look like and where Earth is, as well as a small sampling of our culture.

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NASA OKs Citizen Science Attempt to Rescue a Vintage Spacecraft | Science | WIRED

NASA OKs Citizen Science Attempt to Rescue a Vintage Spacecraft | Science | WIRED | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it
A hardy little spacecraft is about to come home after an incredibly long journey and an unexpected mission that it had not been built for. As it flies by Earth next month, scientists will have a brief window to attempt to communicate with the vintage NASA craft and put it back to work on its original mission. Because of a tight budget, NASA was unable to muster the resources to make this revival happen. So, a group of citizen scientists stepped forward to take on the challenge.
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Arecibo Observatory Detects Mysterious, Energetic Radio Burst – Phenomena

Arecibo Observatory Detects Mysterious, Energetic Radio Burst – Phenomena | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it
A brief, blazing burst of radio waves detected by the Arecibo Observatory could herald a turning of the tide for a peculiar class of cosmic signals. Until recently, the signals had only ever been d...
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A stunning image of four galaxies smashed together in one tiny corner of the universe

A stunning image of four galaxies smashed together in one tiny corner of the universe | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it
When you see multiple galaxies right on top of each other, like in this image, it's usually an optical illusion, and the galaxies are actually millions of light-years apart.
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The Long, Strange Trip to Pluto, and How NASA Nearly Missed It

The Long, Strange Trip to Pluto, and How NASA Nearly Missed It | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it
The flyby of Pluto was a triumph of human ingenuity and the capstone of a mission that unfolded nearly flawlessly. It almost did not happen.
Artur Alves's insight:

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New Horizons overcame skeptical NASA officials, repeated threats to its funding, laboratory troubles that constricted the amount of plutonium available to power the spacecraft and an unforgiving deadline set by the clockwork of the planets. Though none of the obstacles packed the drama of space-exploration crises like the Apollo 13 mission, their number and magnitude seemed unbelievable.

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An animation of asteroid explosions on Earth in the last decade

Between 2000 and 2013, a network of sensors that monitors Earth around the clock listening for the infrasound signature of nuclear detonations detected 26 explosions…
Artur Alves's insight:

«Between 2000 and 2013, a network of sensors that monitors Earth around the clock listening for the infrasound signature of nuclear detonations detected 26 explosions on Earth ranging in energy from 1 to 600 kilotons – all caused not by nuclear explosions, but rather by asteroid impacts. These findings were recently released from the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization, which operates the network.

To put this data in perspective, the atomic bomb that destroyed Hiroshima in 1945 exploded with an energy impact of 15 kilotons. While most of these asteroids exploded too high in the atmosphere to do serious damage on the ground, the evidence is important in estimating the frequency of a potential “city-killer-size” asteroid.«

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Why the North Star is getting brighter

Why the North Star is getting brighter | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it
Researchers found monitoring Polaris's brightness difficult when they found that new technology was too sensitive to photograph the bright star.
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Distant 'waterworld' is confirmed

Distant 'waterworld' is confirmed | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it
Astronomers have confirmed the existence of a new class of planet - a waterworld with a thick, steamy atmosphere.

«"The high temperatures and pressures would form exotic materials like 'hot ice' or 'superfluid water', substances that are completely alien to our everyday experience," said Dr Berta.«

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