The Planets Of The Solar System-Some Links

Thanks for stopping by: I’m just a layman, and these links are for people who might know more, who might know less, or about as much as me. I’m not specially trained in any space-science, but whenever I get a few extra minutes, I learn a little bit more.

Dear Reader, maybe you’ve got some time to kill. Maybe you’re waiting on someone and they haven’t shown up yet. Maybe you’re at the airport and your flight got delayed a few more hours.

S.E.T.IAliens!

Frank Drake brings some realism to the S.E.T.I. (Search For Extraterrestial Intelligence) debate.  The space-time distances are a huge hurdle, and the challenges of becoming a spacefaring civilization make the journey to nearby star systems fairly impractical at the moment.

The less evidence and fewer data points there are, the more rampant the speculation, inventive the Sci-Fi imaginings, and important the foundation to create such new fields of knowledge.

I maintain a healthy, healthy skepticism. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence..

The Sun-(George Gamow)

As consequential as it is, it’s just another G class star:

We owe our lives, our weather, and our current home to this thing.

To be honest, I’ve stared at the sun for a few seconds with only some airy cirrus clouds, about 10 miles of atmosphere, and 93,000,000 million miles between me and this fiery furnace. I felt my retinas burn, blinking and blinking, and minutes later I still saw a bright patch in my field of vision, where my rods and cones were overloaded.

Maybe don’t do that.

It’s normally hard to see this ball of hydrogen, helium close-up.

Enjoy!

Mercury-Tidally locked (the same side always faces the Sun), small, and blasted by all that radiation (all the short-wave stuff we can’t see). Not too friendly.

Venus-The former Soviets/Russians have done the most work so far.

Imagine an Earth-sized twin, but with a runaway greenhouse effect, and such enormous pressures and temperatures at the surface as to melt lead. Toxic, acidic clouds.

Maybe high enough in those Venutian clouds there’s a belt of reasonable temperatures.

Kinda like hell, but interesting.

Earth-What can you say? It’s all most of us will ever know, and as much experience as we gather in our short lifetimes and can hope to pass on to our kids and their kids, it’s not so much.

As for me, while driving up to Mt. St. Helens (having erupted in 1980), I had a realization: The cone of this still-active volcano was still smoking.

Could…this thing blow again?

Nah, don’t be scared now, the odds are miniscule.

But…still.

Seeing the miles and miles of devastation, the valley still relatively barren 30 years on, and hearing the stories of lost lives and swift death, I thought for a few minutes.

Maybe conditions on Earth can get so bad that the Earth ain’t no permanent home, or maybe this place is a temporary home at best.

Earth’s Moon (our Moon):

Which kinds of people have the experience, training, temperment and balls to go on such a trip?:

Bob Zubrin at The New Atlantis: ‘Moon Direct‘.  He’s a fan of creating a moon-base.

‘If we want to explore the Moon, and prepare to go beyond, we don’t need a space station in lunar orbit — but we could use a base on the Moon itself.’

There was a pretty tense atmosphere these past generations, as the primary geopolitical contest was between the United States and the Soviet Union:

Here’s actual video (just kidding):

Mars-What happened there will tell us a lot about what’s happened here. It used to have liquid water (billions of years ago), and it has ice beneath the surface, but with 1% the atmosphere and just 40% the gravity it not’s very nice now.

Mars has got some dust devils and what we might call seasons, but no water cycle (like ours). The Martian surface is blasted by the sun’s radiation and rusted toxic red.

Think of the driest desert, the coldest ice-field, and imagine yourself hanging around a mine-shaft with no oxygen nor air to breathe. No help is coming.

Would you sign-up?

Did we already find traces of microbial life on Mars?:

Jupiter: The ol’ 1994 Shoemaker Levy comet impact.

‘Holy shit!’:

Jupiter’s (Jovian) Moon Europa: It’s got an icy shell 5-20 km thick, and it very likely has liquid water beneath that ice. It’s pretty tiny compared to Earth.

In fact, Jupiter is so enormous, spewing out so much radiation, and warping space-time so much that these moons (what little to no atmospheres they have) are toxic places. Some mass sizes larger and Jupiter could have become a star.

Life very likely needs water, and a source of energy (heat energy), and at least a few hundred million years to get going and stick around.

Maybe….just maybe:

and:

Saturn-Another gas giant, tilted over and with rings and rings of rocks an dust around it.

Saturn’s Moon Titan

Yeah, it’s got a surface, and liquids on that surface and an atmosphere, but it’s liquid methane, man. It’s so very cold and so very strange, yet so very familiar…

We floated a probe right down to the surface, thank you very much:

Saturn’s Moon Enceladus: Even tinier and further away than Europa, it’s another ice-shell with liquid water beneath.

Big ol’ Saturn and tiny Enceladus do a dance, and this dance pulls and pushes and creates heat energy on Enceladus. The heat energy emerges through an ocean floor and rises. This heated water erupts out of the surface ice on the South Pole. Through that icy plume emanating into space, we flew a spacecraft.

What could be down there?

Uranus-Okay, this is freaky:

Neptune-I hear summers are nice.

Pluto-Listen to one of the guys who helped design the ‘New Horizons’ mission to Pluto. What a weird place.

Oumuamua-Sometimes random stuff just passes through, and we don’t have much time to notice.

Related On This Site: Repost-’More On “Dark Flow” From Space.com’Repost: Richard Feynman at NASAA Short Post On Red Sprites And Blue Jets: Cosmic Origins Of Lightning?.Via Hulu: NASA Mission To The Moon And Mars..

Via Youtube: ‘Space Shuttle Launch From The Perspective Of A Solid Rocket Booster After Detachment”From Listverse: ‘Top 10 Incredible Sounds’

Venus & Enceladus-A Few Humble Links

Phosphine gas could still be produced by some yet unknown non-living process, but it’s an interesting, and potentially important, find.

From Nature:

Measurements of trace gases in planetary atmospheres help us explore chemical conditions different to those on Earth. Our nearest neighbour, Venus, has cloud decks that are temperate but hyperacidic. Here we report the apparent presence of phosphine (PH3) gas in Venus’s atmosphere, where any phosphorus should be in oxidized forms.

Despite being a near twin in size to Earth-mass and gravity, Venus spins too slowly for an electro-magnetic dynamo to create a EM field, enveloping and protecting the planet. With ninety times the surface pressure of Earth, and temperatures up to nine-hundred degrees Farenheit, to say it would be hellish would be an understatement.

Yet, it once harbored liquid water oceans, and maybe, just maybe, some kind of microbial life has migrated up into the fast-moving clouds. Click through for a visual.

Or listen to a podcast while you work, walk, or clean:

Addition: Anton Petrov sheds some light:

Next to Enceledaus, a tiny moon being warped by Saturn, this is probably the most important indicator of extra-terrestial life going right now:

Jordan Peterson And Slavoj Zizek-Some Weather And Space Links

Challenges to many post-Enlightenment radicals, true-believers and narrow ideologues continue apace.  Hopefully, colonizing the Arts & Sciences for reasons other than making good art and doing good science will not come so easy.

Who’s got the Truth?  Who’s got the better models?

Jordan Peterson & Slavoj Zizek will be debating on April 19th:

On this site, see: Adam Kirsch responds to Zizek’s responses.  Kirsch reviewed Zizek’s In Defense Of Lost Causes in a New Republic piece entitled ‘The Deadly Jester.’

Interesting quote from Roger Scruton here:

So, what is all this Nothing-ness about? ‘My view’, says Scruton, ‘is that what’s underlying all of this is a kind of nihilistic vision that masks itself as a moving toward the enlightened future, but never pauses to describe what that society will be like. It simply loses itself in negatives about the existing things – institutional relations like marriage, for instance – but never asks itself if those existing things are actually part of what human beings are. Always in Zizek there’s an assumption of the right to dismiss them as standing in the way of something else, but that something else turns out to be Nothing.’

On that note, keep living a good life and keep learning:

Via Eric Weinstein, Science On A Sphere has got to be a dream of all weather and map geeks, no matter their level of commitment:

High-fidelity photographic images and satellite loops give you snatches of the bigger picture.  Get enough data sets and processing power together to build a basic model of Earth, however, and and you can start mapping months of actual data over the model.  Then you can start doing the same for other planets.

Perhaps with the cheaper availability of AI modeling, costs will come down enough to allow localized and predictive weather observations and modeling.  Amateur weather geeks can start adding input channels and competitive, real-time knowledge which strengthen and/or challenge the big models in real-time.

Engage your visual cortex along with actual recorded weather data.  Choose a particular weather event from your own memory, and align it with this visual representation of the data on the macro-level:

You probably already knew: If you keep scrolling out of Google Maps from your lat/long (https://www.google.com/maps) in satellite view, you will eventually see a similar Earth model.  You can then choose other planets from a sidebar if you can’t afford $45K!

I’ve been enjoying Event Horizon lately; good questions and good answers from Astronomers and serious practitioners.  Subscribe!:

The Weather At Home & Journalists In Egypt-Two Tuesday Links

Alexis Madrigal At The Atlantic-Talking About The Weather: The Next Level:’

Some good weather links and a nod to climate science, but also climate science as a defining and organizing worldview for a healthy percentage of the readership, I imagine:

‘There are three general types of resources here. First, there are people and institutions that analyze the weather and tell us about them. The second category is unfiltered public weather data and imagery. And the last tranche of resources deliver forecasts or computer models on which forecasts are based.’

Joshua Hersh at the New Yorker: ‘Journalism Becomes A Crime In Egypt:’

‘For foreign journalists, who were tolerated under the Brotherhood but have never been viewed with great affection in Cairo, the steep decline in working conditions hit bottom in December, when the police busted down the door of an upscale hotel suite that served as the offices for Al Jazeera’s English-language channel and dragged away the staff.’

The democratically-elected/peaceful uprising vision of the Arab Spring would have been nice (inside every Egyptian is a freedom-desiring human waiting to get out and possibly build democratic institutions), but we’ve gone from Mubarrak to Al-Sisi most likely, and a deep-State still controlled by the military.

At what cost our current committments?  How are we best able to secure and advance our interests?

What’s our strategy?

Quote by Jeanne Kirkpatrick:

In his essay Representative Government, John Stuart Mill identified three fundamental conditions which the Carter administration would do well to ponder.  These are: “One, that the people should be willing to receive it [representative government]; two, that they should be willing and able to do what is necessary for its preservation; three, that they should be willing and able to fulfill the duties and discharge the functions which it imposes on them.”

-From Dictatorship And Double Standards.

Related On This SiteNancy Okail At Freedom House: “‘Muslim Rage’ and the Politics of Distraction in Egypt’From Al Jazeera English: ‘Morsi Wins Egypt’s Presidential Election’Adam Garfinkle At The American Interest on Egypt: ‘Still More of the Same—and Something New’…are we still on a liberalizing, Westernizing trajectory?, however slow the pace? Adam Garfinkle At The American Interest: ‘What Did The Arab Spring Really Change?’

R.I.P. StormChasers-Tim Samaras, Paul Samaras & Carl Young

NBC video here.

National Geographic had what would be a final interview with Tim Samaras.

Some final tweets.  Weatherspace has more here, with information about the El Reno tornado.

Addition: The El Reno tornado was a record 2 1/2 miles wide.  Video here.  It’s easy to see when a few miles wide tornado spins off multiple vortices, hits in the evening, and is rain-wrapped, that even veteran chasers can underestimate it.    It’s like the supercell is dragging its belly on the ground.

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As a blogger and writer and weather-interested layman:

I suspect everyone’s been moved by the beauty of nature, and felt wonder, fear, and awe at its power and mystery. Some people keep going back and try to figure out how it works as well. There’s an element of thrill-seeking to the hunt, and adrenalin, no doubt. It’s extremely risky chasing down tornadoes time and again, putting yourself so dangerously close, but the goal is to know more, and to stay as safe as possible under the circumstances.

There’s been a lot of data gathered and science done that has drastically improved forecasting, preparation and warning time, and our understanding of tornadoes. That’s no doubt saved many lives. Storm-chasers also bear witness to the death and destruction in the wake of tornadoes, so to everyone who’s suffered, my condolences.

It might be helpful to the Samaras family to visit his site as he has a DVD for sale.

Here’s Tim Samaras discussing his work in 2004. R.I.P.

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And Tim Samaras at work:

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Related On This Site:  The Greensburg Tornado on Doppler Radar…Tornadoes In Major Cities: Atlanta

From The Weather Channel: 3D Image Of The Tuscaloosa Tornado April 27th, 2011Tornadoes! Some LinksThe Greensburg Tornado on Doppler RadarTornadoes In Major Cities: AtlantaFrom NOAA: Tornado Safety GuideFrom CBS St. Louis: ‘UPDATED: Video of the Joplin Twister’

From Weather Underground: Moore/Oklahoma City Tornado May 20th, 2013

From Weather Underground: Moore/Oklahoma City Tornado May 20th, 2013

Update here.

A revised 24 deaths. Video taken by local man and posted on Facebook.  Before and after photo.

Uncut video.

WMCTV in Memphis has video footage of the tornado from a helicopter.

Stu Ostro has a high-res color image of the storms.

KFOR TV in Oklahoma City livestream here.  CNN has good coverage.  If you want to help, the local chapter of the American Red Cross here.  Shelters open. More on tornado safety here.

Thoughts and prayers to the victims and their families.

A mile wide, EF5, the track here, moved just south of Oklahoma City, through Moore, devastating some neighborhoods.

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The scope of the damage, or debris zone, is three times greater than the May 3rd, 1999 tornado.  Here’s a video of that tornado.

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Related On This Site:  The Greensburg Tornado on Doppler Radar…Tornadoes In Major Cities: Atlanta

From The Weather Channel: 3D Image Of The Tuscaloosa Tornado April 27th, 2011Tornadoes! Some LinksThe Greensburg Tornado on Doppler RadarTornadoes In Major Cities: AtlantaFrom NOAA: Tornado Safety GuideFrom CBS St. Louis: ‘UPDATED: Video of the Joplin Twister’

Via Youtube: November 15th, 2012 Mars Curiosity Rover Report

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They’ve made a wind map of Gale Crater based on the data received, and there are possibly dustless dust-devils, or convective vortices that occur around noon of a Mars day passing over the Rover.  The Rover has stopped at a place called Rocknest, and from this article:

‘Scientists theorize that in Mars’ distant past its environment may have been quite different, with persistent water and a thicker atmosphere. NASA’s Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution, or MAVEN, mission will investigate possible losses from the upper atmosphere when it arrives at Mars in 2014.

With these initial sniffs of Martian atmosphere, SAM also made the most sensitive measurements ever to search for methane gas on Mars. Preliminary results reveal little to no methane. Methane is of interest as a simple precursor chemical for life. On Earth, it can be produced by either biological or non-biological processes.

Methane has been difficult to detect from Earth or the current generation of Mars orbiters because the gas exists on Mars only in traces, if at all.’

Still driving towards Mt. Sharp.  Some cool pics in slideshow format.  Link to NASA videos.

Addition:  Have they already found some data suggesting proof of sub-surface microbial life at Rocknest?  Stay tuned.

Related On This Site:  Via The Mars Science Laboratory At NASA: ”Mount Sharp’ On Mars Links Geology’s Past And Future’Via Youtube: ‘The Challenges Of Getting To Mars: Selecting A Landing Site

NASA Via Youtube: ‘The Martians: Launching Curiosity To Mars’NASA Via Youtube: ‘Mars Science Laboratory (Curiosity Rover) Mission AnimationRepost: Richard Feynman at NASA

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Ronald Bailey At Reason: ‘A 16 Year Pause In Global Warming?’

Full post here.

Yet:

‘Late last year, a study by Grant Foster (for those in the know, Grant is the climate blogger Tamino) and Stefan Rahmstorf from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research analyzed temperature data from 1979 to 2010 taking into account the effects of El Ninos, volcanoes, solar variation and found a consistent upward temperature trend of +0.014 per year.’

I’d say to the skeptics, keep an open mind.  I’d say to the scientists and physicists thinking about this:  there are hordes of people who are signing on to your research because of political, politically philosophical, and various other reasons that will drive social and economic change the way they want it to go.  You may be useful to them, for a while.

Addition:  I should add that I recognize a Burkean defense of tradition, stretching across time, and maintaining a robust functioning of our institutions and political freedoms by people entering into arrangements more freely, may be at odds with climate change which requires subsequent changes in our economy, politics, and institutions, often from the top down.   I think this naturally appeals to many modern liberals, some of whom are turning climate change into political opportunism, a cause celebre etc.  Many such people want social change anyways, and will appeal to climate data to implement more equality through a regulated economy, or use this research to steer education and popular sentiment toward their preferred ideals for running our institutions.  For some, its a mere cap upon a desire for greater power and political influence.

For many on the other side, a reasoned skepticism of climate research is not head-in-the-sand ignorance (though it can be), but often a conservative approach to change, what we see as continued maintenance of our political and social institutions as well as a healthy skepticism of the demands being made to change them drastically, according to climate research.  There are ideas, and perhaps, actual natural processes unfolding outside of the scope of current climate research (the typical skeptics’ approach, I grant, and a metaphysical discussion which presents a much more difficult challenge I certainly haven’t met here).  You don’t throw climate research out wholesale, and you don’t sign on blindly.  You try and keep an open mind.

My two cents.

Related On This SiteJonathan Adler At The Atlantic: ‘A Conservative’s Approach to Combating Climate Change’ …Ronald Bailey At Reason: ‘Delusional in Durban’A Few Links On Environmentalism And Liberty

From Chris Colose: Lindzen On Climate Feedback

From The Access Resource Network: Phillip Johnson’s “Daniel Dennett’s Dangerous Idea’…I don’t think Dinesh D’Souza is up to the job:  Repost-Dinesh D’Souza And Daniel Dennett at Tufts University: Nietzsche’s Prophesy

From Edge: ‘Re: What Makes People Republican? By Jonathan Haidt’…Evolutionary psychology and moral thinking: Franz De Waal At The NY Times 10/17/10: ‘Morals Without God?’

From Darwinian Conservatism By Larry Arnhart: “Surfing Strauss’s Third Wave of Modernity”

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Via Youtube: August 24th, 2012 Curiosity Rover Report

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They’ve moved the rover forward and back about 3 meters each way.  They’ve fired up the laser.  List of instruments here.  Some more Mars facts.

Addition: Neil Armstrong R.I.P.

Related On This Site:   Via The Mars Science Laboratory At NASA: ”Mount Sharp’ On Mars Links Geology’s Past And Future’Via Youtube: ‘The Challenges Of Getting To Mars: Selecting A Landing Site

NASA Via Youtube: ‘The Martians: Launching Curiosity To Mars’NASA Via Youtube: ‘Mars Science Laboratory (Curiosity Rover) Mission AnimationRepost: Richard Feynman at NASA

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