This is a great update from Wired Science about our favorite space probe Voyager 1 (V’Ger) and how it is baffling scientists. Even though I’ve written science fiction based on solar winds and ion flows I didn’t know they were real till I read this report. It seems that there are predicted regions between and around solar systems where different energies flow and interact. Interestingly, the data coming back from V’Ger is not at all what scientists predicted.
Intergalactic researchers had a map of what they thought the boundaries between our solar wind and the galactic cosmic rays would look like, but they are wrong. Our protective solar wind died of much more quickly than anticipated and, even more unexpected, the galactic cosmic rays are not coming from random sides, but seem to come mainly from one direction…
This fuels the scifi part of my brain. What else could they be wrong about? What else will they find when V’Ger makes its way further outside our solar system. Could interstellar travel be closer than we think?
(OK, OK so V’Ger was actually Voyager 6. Give me a break, I’m a nerd not a Trekkie.)
Back in January I started posting bite sized pieces of a short story entitled ‘Shard Seeker’. I just uploaded the compiled story to my other Blog for your reading pleasure:
A shard seeker on the frontier of space is haunted by her past and hounded by her employer. Will her wits and skills be enough to strike a deal that will put her back into space and onto the trail of what was lost?
Read ‘The Shard Seeker’ and find out.
Nano-suit is just a cool word.
The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, published yesterday on a new technology that enables insect larvae to survive in a vacuum thanks to ‘Nano-suits’. If your mind is not already swimming with the implications you are not a sci-fi fan…
I’m guessing that the discovery was made by accident, as almost all good discoveries are. The group was using an electron microscope to take submicroscopic pictures of fruit fly larvae. This is usually done in a vacuum to prevent the electron beam from being disrupted from molecules in the air. Someone (a grad student most likely), probably forgot to turn OFF the electron beam before turning ON the vacuum. Under normal conditions the vacuum sucks the moisture and gases out of the subject desiccating and destroying it. This time, however, the larvae was fine. It actually survived the vacuum and grew to maturity.
Apparently, the larvae had an organic film on its surface that was polymerised, or hardened, by the electron beam into a thin membrane that trapped the moisture and gasses inside where they belonged. The group further tested the method and found that they could make ‘Nano-suits’ on other bugs using a common detergent as the organic film.
It wouldn’t take much, evolutionarily speaking, to imagine a such a film protecting a living organism in an interplanetary journey. Maybe that’s how the Zerg do it…
In its investigation of Martian Rock the Mars Rover seems to have found that not only did Mars have water, but it also but that water was not intolerably acidic/basic or overly salty. Scientists seem to think that Chemotrophs, bacteria that get their energy from chemicals around them as opposed to sunlight or eating sugars or other bugs, could have survived in the conditions of ancient Mars. However, no signs of actual life have been found as of yet.
Cool article discusses the subsurface oceans on Europa and their possible mineral content. Also discusses how sulfer from the sister moon Io gets littered on Europa. Jupiter’s moons are cool, lots of good scifi material here…
The world’s first space tourist, Dennis Tito is planning to launch a manned mission to Mars in January 2018 on a round-trip journey lasting 501 days.