In case you missed it, the European Space Agency made history this week. On Wednesday, Philae, a robot probe launched by the satellite Rosetta, stuck a two-point landing after bouncing twice on the comet 67P, coming to rest about 1 km from its intended landing site.
Unfortunately, Philae should have made a three-point landing. The robot is resting on only two of its legs and scientists believe it’s tucked up against the wall of a cliff. This position means Philae’s power cells won’t get enough sunlight to completely charge its battery. It’s projected to run out of charge on Saturday, unless scientists can figure out a way to move it more into the open. What a sad thing for the robot to end its ten-year journey this way.
Researchers hope to find out more about the early history of our solar system by analyzing the data Philae sends back, but the data may be limited based on Philae’s position. Even so, I’m looking forward to their reports. I always love to learn more about how God made such a glorious universe. The earth and the heavens declare His name.
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As I said on Wednesday, I’ve decided to make all the Fun Science Facts in October examples of scientific hoaxes as well. The first one is one you’ve probably never heard of—The Great Moon Hoax of 1835. In August of 1835, a series of six articles was published over a week’s time, in New York’s The Sun newspaper, detailing the discoveries of astronomer Sir John Herschel.
The articles claimed he used a high-powered telescope to find the first signs of life on the moon. And not just small signs of life either. Supposedly, he found colonies of creatures living together, including man-bats, biped beavers and bluish goat-like creatures. The creatures had made a structure, which the articles called the Sapphire Temple.
Sir John Herschel was in South Africa at the time and had no idea what was being perpetrated in his name. When he first heard, he laughed, having no doubt assumed the public would not be taken in by this sham. Unfortunately, he was wrong. The Moon Hoax was believed to be genuine by a great many people. It soon became infamous, even after being proved a hoax.
Sir Herschel was an innocent victim of the press, more specifically Richard Adams Locke, the newspaper reporter who started the hoax. He eventually said the hoax was meant as a satire (although he claimed it to be truth for years). His intended target for the satire was the unchecked influence of religion in science, which he felt should be entirely separate.
Do you think we’re more enlightened here in the 21st century and would never fall prey to a hoax like this? Maybe. But then again, maybe not. For most of us, it’s way too easy for us to accept the word of someone with a PhD rather than take the time to investigate for ourselves.
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The giant red spot on Jupiter has always fascinated me. It’s a humongous storm that is twice the size of Earth and turns at 310 miles per hour (500 km/hr). That’s twice the speed of a category 5 hurricane! It has enough power to level cities here on Earth. Praise the Lord that He didn’t put anything like this on our planet.
This storm on Jupiter has lasted for over 300 years. Why? We don’t know. Scientists can only study the cloud cover of the storm to try to find out why it has such longevity. Jupiter’s atmospheric pressure would crush any probe sent to investigate the center of the storm. In lieu of studying the storm itself, some scientists have taken to studying the next best thing here on Earth–ocean eddies. These can last up to 8 years and they have mathematical similarities to the storms on Jupiter.
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Did you know that in 2012 a solar storm narrowly missed earth? A solar storm, otherwise known as a coronal mass ejection (CME) can fry satellites and affect power grids. A direct hit could have a catastrophic effect on the world’s power. As in, the power going out for months. Long enough that even the toilets would stop working since the water treatment plant runs on electricity.
Think the chances of this happening are slim? You might be right. I don’t tend to worry about doomsday scenarios myself. But then again, I get frustrated with a power outage that lasts overnight.
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Did you know that space dust rains down on us constantly? And a lot of it, too. Scientists estimate as much as 40,000 tons per year. Space dust is thought to originate mainly from collisions between comets and asteroids and is composed of fine particles made of mostly silicate minerals with some sulfides, metals and carbonaceous material.
No wonder my central vacuum gets such a workout every week. And to think, I blamed the hairy dog and my crumb-dropping kids.
Reference: http://www.universetoday.com/443/constant-rain-of-space-dust-adds-up/, http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/139217/interplanetary-dust-particle-IDP
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Other than lie, cheat, steal or any other evil thing, I would never dare to say something is impossible for God to do. He can create or destroy at His discretion with simple words. The Bible says He spoke and created the entire universe, all out of nothing.
Does that sound a little familiar? Maybe you heard about it in astronomy class. They call it the Big Bang.
Although, I disagree with the timing astronomers give to the Big Bang and the order of creation (the Bible says God created the earth first), I think it’s interesting that astronomy points to the unexplainable (which is actually explained in the Bible). No astronomer around can tell you where the matter came from to create the Big Bang. If you ask, they’ll say it’s a mystery they have yet to unravel. In fact, for many astronomers this mystery keeps them going. I’m not surprised. The thought of discovering the origin of the universe is an intoxicating idea.
While I understand their motivation, trying to describe a supernatural act with natural laws leads to real problems. The Big Bang theory as it’s currently described has a major flaw. It violates the Law of Conservation of Mass (rightly called a law because we have never seen an example which violates this principle). This law says matter cannot be created or destroyed, although it may undergo changes in form. The fundamental premise of the Big Bang is that somehow matter was created, in a point smaller than a pin head, which then exploded. What created this matter? Again, that’s a mystery.
When even scientists have to draw on supernatural means to establish a theory, you can be pretty sure something supernatural happened.
What do you think? If you were an astronomer, how would you explain where matter came from?