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NASA's Next Trip to Saturn Will Be to Search for Alien Life

NASA's Next Trip to Saturn Will Be to Search for Alien Life | definiciones. | Scoop.it

As the Cassini spacecraft executes its final daredevil maneuvers, scientists on both sides of the Atlantic are already thinking about the next mission to Saturn. But this time around, nobody’s talking about studying the gas giant itself. They’re talking about hunting for life in Saturn’s rings.

 
Two Saturnian moons—Titan, a world of frigid methane seas, and Enceladus, a cratered ball of ice wrapped around a liquid water ocean—are on the shortlist of places in our solar system where alien life might exist. And scientists are determined to find out if it does. That much was clear at last week’s American Geophysical Union conference, where American and European researchers presented proposals for two future spacecraft that would determine if Saturn’s strangest moons are habitable.
 
On the American side, there’s the Enceladus Life Finder (ELF), a proposed NASA New Frontiers-class spacecraft whose mission is in its name. ELF’s flight plan is simple: ten low-altitude (30 mile/50 km) passes over Enceladus’ south pole, where cracks in the moon’s icy crust spew frozen ocean water into space.
 
Diving through Enceladus’ south polar geysers, ELF would sample the moon’s ocean water like Cassini has already done, but with fancier instruments. Two state-of-the-art mass spectrometers would search for key indicators of habitability, including hydrogen gas (an energy source). The spacecraft would also hunt for life directly by profiling amino acids and carbon isotopes, which occur in specific patterns when microorganisms are present.
 

“The biggest hope for ELF is to fully characterize the habitability of Enceladus’ ocean,” Cassini project scientist and ELF co-proposer Linda Spilker said. “I would like to know if the Enceladus ocean can support life, and better yet, to find evidence for that life.”

 

Enceladus’ subsurface ocean is one of the most Earth-like environments we know of out there. But it’s also possible that a different form of biology—a far stranger onecould have sprung up in Titan’s methane seas. A hypothetical model allows for methane-based cellular organism living in Titan’s oceans. So, why only search for life-as-we-know-it when we can visit both moons on the same trip?


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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Donald Schwartz's curator insight, January 12, 2017 6:02 PM

Fly-by may not be enough, but maybe the Europeans pitch once again for the lander.

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The 4 Steps to Keyword Analysis: How to Prioritize Your Resources

The 4 Steps to Keyword Analysis: How to Prioritize Your Resources | definiciones. | Scoop.it
'For the vast majority of blogs and business websites, you’ll be able to create only a few really great pieces of content a month. That means you’ll never get to every single keyword you dug up in your research. In fact, you may never get past 10% (but you can still be incredibly successful). So, what do you do? You prioritize. Some keywords are better than others to go after for your business. I’m going to show you a 4-step process you can follow to analyze the keywords you came up with and decide which keywords to pursue'. Read More: https://www.quicksprout.com/2016/04/27/the-4-steps-to-keyword-analysis-how-to-prioritize-your-resources/
Via Antonino Militello
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Spacio-descripción -alguienen.
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Minted Marketing's curator insight, May 5, 2016 3:07 PM
Which keywords to pursue to get the best conversion for your business- well worth a read
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NASA:'Cry' of a Shredded Star Heralds a New Era for Testing Relativity

NASA:'Cry' of a Shredded Star Heralds a New Era for Testing Relativity | definiciones. | Scoop.it
Last year, astronomers discovered a quiescent black hole in a distant galaxy that erupted after shredding and consuming a passing star. Now researchers have identified a distinctive X-ray signal observed in the days following the outburst that comes from matter on the verge of falling into the black hole.

 

This tell-tale signal, called a quasi-periodic oscillation or QPO, is a characteristic feature of the accretion disks that often surround the most compact objects in the universe -- white dwarf stars, neutron stars and black holes. QPOs have been seen in many stellar-mass black holes, and there is tantalizing evidence for them in a few black holes that may have middleweight masses between 100 and 100,000 times the sun's.

Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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Is the universe fine-tuned for life to evolve?

Is the universe fine-tuned for life to evolve? | definiciones. | Scoop.it
Geraint F. Lewis’ day job involves creating synthetic universes on supercomputers. They can be overwhelmingly bizarre, unstable places. The question that compels him is: how did our universe come to be so perfectly tuned for stability and life?
 

For more than 400 years, physicists treated the universe like a machine, taking it apart to see how it ticks. The surprise is it turns out to have remarkably few parts: just leptons and quarks and four fundamental forces to glue them together.

But those few parts are exquisitely machined. If we tinker with their settings, even slightly, the universe as we know it would cease to exist. Science now faces the question of why the universe appears to have been “fine-tuned” to allow the appearance of complex life, a question that has some potentially uncomfortable answers.

 


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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Black holes could grow as large as 50 billion suns before their food crumbles into stars

Black holes could grow as large as 50 billion suns before their food crumbles into stars | definiciones. | Scoop.it

Los agujeros negros en el centro de galaxias podría aumentar a 50 mil millones de veces la masa del Sol, antes de perder los discos de gas que dependen para su sustento, según una investigación de la Universidad de Leicester.


En un estudio titulado '¿Qué tan grande puede crecer un Agujero Negro? publicado en la revista  mensual Avisos Letras de la Royal Astronomical Society, el profesor Andrew King de la Universidad de Departamento de Física de Leicester y Astronomía explora los agujeros negros supermasivos en el centro de galaxias, alrededor de los cuales son regiones del espacio donde el gas se instala en un disco orbital.


Este gas puede perder energía y caer hacia el interior, alimentando el agujero negro. Pero estos discos son conocidos por ser inestable y propenso a que desmenuza en estrellas.  Profesor Rey calcula qué tan grande tendría un agujero negro que por su borde exterior para mantener un disco de la formación, dar con la cifra de 50 mil millones de masas solares.


El estudio sugiere que sin disco, el agujero negro podría dejar de crecer, lo que significa 50 mil millones de soles que más o menos será el límite superior. La única forma en que podría ser más grande es si una estrella pasó a caer directamente en o otro agujero negro se fusionó con él.


El profesor King dijo: ". La importancia de este descubrimiento es que los astrónomos han encontrado los agujeros negros de casi la masa máxima, al observar la enorme cantidad de radiación emitida por el disco de gas que cae en el límite de masa significa que este procedimiento no debe subir cualquier masa mucho más grandes que las que conocemos, porque no habría un disco luminoso.


"Más grandes masas del agujero negro son en principio es posible - por ejemplo, un agujero cerca de la masa máxima podría fusionarse con otro agujero negro, y el resultado sería más grande todavía. Pero la luz no se produce en esta fusión, y el agujero negro resultante de la fusión más grande no podría tener un disco de gas que haría que la luz.


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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