NASA is setting its sights on the Moon in the 2020’s. The Artemis Program (Apollo’s twin sister) will send men and women into space to set up an outpost on the lunar surface and begin testing new equipment and technologies that could pave the way to Mars in the 2030’s
So far, Earth is the only planet we know of that has the necessary conditions for life to thrive: water, oxygen, a temperate climate, and protection from solar radiation.
Mars and the Earth have in common an iron core surrounded by a layer of molten rock that erupted at the surface for millions of years. As Earth’s core rotates, it creates an electric current that flows through metals in the mantle and crust, forming a protective magnetic field that extends approximately 65,000 miles (40,000 km) above the planet. This is what protects us from the dangerous solar winds.
Scientists believe that Mars similarly had a magnetosphere in the past but doesn’t any longer.
If life has ever existed on Mars, this means that at some time in the past it’s magnetosphere was strong enough to form a protective atmosphere
Scientists are hoping that by analyzing the soil of the red planet they’ll find the telltale “biosignatures” of bacteria that once thrived in a watery environment.
The terrestrial planets, Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars, are composed of three types of rock: igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic. They differ in the elements they’re made of and the process by which they were formed.
Igneous rock, for instance, contains high amounts of the elements silicon and oxygen (silica is classified as a “metalloid”; both a metal and a non-metal) and forms when molten lava cools and crystalizes. Igneous rock makes up approximately 15% of the earth’s crust above sea level and a major portion of the oceanic crust. An example of igneous rock is basalt; the type of rock predominately found on Mars.
Sedimentary rock is formed when minerals and the detritus of plants and animals are pressurized over time and become compacted into flat layers. This is the portion of the earth’s crust where oil and natural gas is found and also where fossils dating back millions of years are preserved.
Metamorphic rock results from igneous and sedimentary rock that has been modified at a molecular level by heat and/or pressure. This occurs deep within the earth, so metamorphic rock is found in regions where plate tectonics have caused mountains and valleys to form. Examples of this type of rock are slate and marble.
Mars is mostly known for the covering of iron oxide that gives the “red planet” it’s crimson color. From past missions we know that the subsurface rocks on Mars are igneous basalt, resulting from volcanic activity millions of years ago.
Congratulations NASA! Perseverance landed on Mars this afternoon (Feb 18, 2021) as scheduled. The rover was designed to study the rocks and soil on Mars in much greater detail and with cutting edge technology. Cameras, spectrometers, and ground penetrating radar will identify the precise minerals found in the soil and continue to search for organic compounds. Perseverance has the capability to drill and extract core samples that will be brought back to earth in a later mission.
The battery-powered Ingenuity drone will fly through the thin atmosphere on Mars at a height of about 30 feet (10 meters). It will take images of the surrounding landscape, identifying obstacles for Perseverance to avoid and mapping a travel route to exit the crater.
Is it really possible to reverse the damage caused by a heart attack? Lower blood pressure naturally? Treat emotional imbalances without medication? Although the term “lifestyle medicine” might sound like the latest marketing ploy used to hit the best-seller list, it encompasses much more than just dietary changes.
Besides diet and exercise, the lifestyle factors this emerging field of medicine is focused on include sleep patterns, stress levels, and healthy social connections … things we often consider secondary to the work pressures, family obligations, or financial stress that we face daily.
The premise seems to be that each of these components plays such an important role in our health that a more unified approach yields the greatest benefits. It’s both common-sense and evidence-based and experts believe that with continued awareness, many chronic diseases could be completely eliminated in the younger generation, and in older populations treated and possibly even reversed.
Dr. Dean Ornish has been promoting these ideas since the 1990’s and is considered one of the “pioneers” of lifestyle medicine. In his newest book, “UnDo It!” co-written with his wife Anne, he recommends that that if a person were to (1) Eat Well (2) Move More (3) Stress Less (4) Love More then overall health would be optimized.
He advises that this process could not only transform healthcare on a global basis, it would protect the environment and slow the process of global warming that experts have warned is now happening at an accelerated pace
He explains that 30 years of research has proven that a whole food, plant-based, low fat diet is the healthiest – although fish, chicken, and lean cuts of beef contain many important nutrients that our bodies need on a daily basis. Dr. Ornish believes that growing and processing the types of food that are healthiest for human beings is also healthiest for the environment.
The evidence for this involves the animal agribusiness; what it costs to mass produce sources of animal protein in terms of the amount of grain fed to livestock, the land that could be used instead to farm legumes and plant-based sources of protein, and the output of methane that contributes to greenhouse gas levels.
Dr. Ornish’s global view is that many chronic diseases could ultimately be eradicated by “loving yourself, your family, your community, and your planet.”
If you’ve ever – just for fun – read your horoscope to find out what the universe has in store for you, don’t forget that the signs of the Zodiac are real constellations in the night sky. Astrology and Astronomy are very different things, but within the boundaries set by the International Astronomical Union, are the luminous stars, star clusters, galaxies and planetary nebulae that astrologers believe are connected to the month you were born.
Thousands of years ago, our human ancestors first observed that celestial objects seemed to move across the night sky in a precise pattern that set the boundaries for a day, a month, and a year on their calendar.
They interacted with the heavens as if it allowed them to communicate with their gods. Often, they would slaughter a goat, sheep, or a ram and offer it up as a sacrifice to the stars in order to express thanks or to ask for special favors. Sumerians living on the Tigress and Euphrates rivers 5,000 years ago envisioned the constellation Aries to represent an “agrarian” or “worker,” most likely associating that region of the night sky with the planting of their spring crops.
And of course, the story that has endured the centuries is the figure of Aries as the mythical ram with the “golden fleece” famously sought by Jason and the Argonauts.
Within the boundaries of Aries are three really bright stars and 62 other named stars, at least five of which are being orbited by extra-solar planets. The brightest stars within this relatively small constellation are light years away from the earth and from each other.
- Hamal, with a Bayer designation of “alpha Arietas,” is the brightest star in Aries. It’s an orange giant 68.2 ly from earth. Hamal is orbited by a planet twice the size of Jupiter
- The second brightest star in the constellation is Sheratan. It’s categorized as a spectroscopic binary, meaning the two stars are too far from earth and too close to each other to view them separately. Spectroscopic binaries are observed by analyzing their spectral lines
- Mesarthim, gamma Arietis, is a binary star system easily viewed with a telescope. The more luminous of the two is a B-type main sequence star
Within Aries, at a distance of about 130 million light years from earth, is NGC 772, a spiral galaxy estimated to be about 200,000 light years in diameter, twice the size of the milky way.
The galaxy has an asymmetrical appearance because it’s outer spiral is gravitating towards a smaller galaxy, NGC 770.
Two supernovas have been observed within NGC 772, evidence that in the past the galaxy was once home to large, hot stars that burned away within a few million years.