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Solar Energy Satellite May Be First Step In Solving The Energy Crisis

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It’s become abundantly clear that the Earth’s limited supply of oil isn’t going to last forever. Heck, it may not even last us another 50 years. With so much of today’s world powered by gas or built by machines that require gas and oil to function, we’re going to be in for a crude awakening when that last barrel is bled from our planet.

Enter NASA, the horribly under-funded organization that the government would rather forget about. Guess what, government? These guys may have a solution to our energy crisis, so maybe you should cut your war funding, lose the top-tier tax breaks, and give these guys some dough…

I digress. NASA engineer John Mankins has invented a device that will collect solar energy from outer space, then transmit that energy back to Earth to be distributed. According to Phys.org, the large satellite will be shaped like a flower, mimicking the natural process that a flower’s petals use to collect solar energy, and will be covered in small, curved mirrors to help capture as much light as possible to be converted to usable energy. The project is being undertaken by Artemis Innovation Management Solutions and has been given initial funding by NASA.

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Billions Of Super-Earths Discovered Within Our Milky Way

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Our planet isn’t going to be around forever. With solar flares blasting us, the constant threat of an extinction level event like an asteroid, and of course there’s always the issue that humans are not only bleeding the planet dry and poisoning it, but are also pointing big nasty nuclear weapons at each other. One way or another, Earth will end whether we want it to or not.

Scientists have long been on the hunt for habitable planets within reach to maybe evacuate to in the distant future when that technology arrive. They may have just found a bunch more, and pretty close by. The Milky Way is littered with about 160 billion red dwarfs, stars older and smaller than our sun, that have their own networks of planets orbiting them. According to MSNBC, in the past six years, 102 of them have been surveyed which revealed nine Super-Earths, planets roughly resembling to composition of our planet though larger in size, two of which fall within their star’s habitable zone.

Extrapolate that out and you wind up with the possibility of billions of habitable planets within our very own galaxy. Of course, the Milky Way itself is about 100,000 light years across so we’re a little ways away from reaching any of these planets, even for simple drone exploration, but knowing they’re out there means some interesting things for future generations of humans and whatever may already exist on these celestial bodies.

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NASA Has What It Takes To Blow Up Our Sun

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Some day billions of years from now, hopefully long after humanity has left the bounds of Earth and moved out to colonize the depths of outer space, our sun will exhaust its supply of fuel and shrink down into a white dwarf star. White dwarfs are sort of what’s left over, they’re about the size of planet Earth and sometimes… they go boom. Until now, no one really knew why.

In particular white dwarfs usually blow up in something called a Type Ia supernova. I’ll attempt to explain what that is as simply as possible. Scientist types, feel free to correct me in our comments if I get this wrong. In a Type Ia supernova is what happens when a white dwarf is in a binary system, in other words it has a companion star, and the white dwarf explodes. How?

NASA, using X-ray and ultraviolet observations from their Swift satellite, has discovered that what happens is the white dwarf begins siphoning off material from the companion star. When it steals enough it starts to get so hot that a runaway fusion reaction races through the dwarf in a matter of seconds, using up the white dwarf’s carbon and oxygen causing the release of more energy than the worn out little white dwarf can handle. That’s when it blows up.

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Neil DeGrasse Tyson Eloquently Defends The Space Program Before Congress

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Astrophysicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson is one of the most passionate and eloquent proponents of space exploration and science education we have right now. He speaks about the importance of dreaming bigger, of keeping our eyes on the horizon, with a fervor and poetry that makes him the natural successor to Carl Sagan. Recently, Tyson appeared before the U.S. Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation hearing on Priorities, Plans and Progress of the Nation’s Space Program. Video of his appearance has popped up on YouTube, and you can watch it below. It’s a compelling call for us to remember a time when we, as a nation, still dreamt of things bigger than budget priorities and partisan politics. Here’s Neil DeGrasse Tyson:

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Neil de Grasse Tyson On The Costs Of Cutting NASA’s Budget

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We’ve been talking for awhile here on this site about the United States government’s increasingly callous disinterest in funding space exploration. NASA is headed for big budget cuts from a budget which was already pretty miniscule. It’s happening because most voters don’t really understand why they should care. For those people, well here’s the answer.

Neil de Grasse Tyson is not only a brilliant Astrophysicist but a compelling public speaker. He’s talked before on the importance of funding space travel but I don’t think he’s ever made his case quite as simple and succinctly as he does here in this Fox interview. Make it a point to share this with your friends who just don’t get it. Onward to the edge!

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Optimus Prime Speaks Out In Favor Of Space Exploration, We Must Go

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There was a time when exploration was limited by the technology at our disposal to accomplish it. In the early days the distance explorers could go was limited by the kinds of ships they had to cross the ocean. In the 20th century man couldn’t make it to the moon until NASA developed the technology needed to take him there. But things have changed.

Today the limits of exploration are defined not by the technology at our disposal but by our willingness to invest resources in using it. The only thing keeping man from reaching Mars is the voting public’s general disinterest in exploration. The technology is there, the money to use it isn’t. NASA’s biggest challenge in the 21st century is in getting people to care about what they’re doing. So they’ve enlisted Optimus Prime to help bring people around.

They following inspirational video features Peter Cullen, the voice of Optimus Prime, extolling the virtues of exploration. Watch it…