24 Apr 2012

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Planetary Resources craft captures small water-rich asteroids for extraction of resources
Planetary Resources' craft captures small water-rich asteroids for extraction of resources. Credit: Planetary Resources

"There be gold in them hills" or so the saying goes.  In this case it's platinum and other precious metals on asteroids and the moon.  Two start-up companies are attempting to enter the science realm and make a business and entertainment out of the idea that these sources in space can be mined and brought back to Earth. Such metals can be used in cell phones and other electronics. Water that can be extracted also can be used for space missions.

Mining Asteroids

Planetary Resources, backed by such names as James Cameron and Google executives Larry Page and Eric Schmidt, will hold a press conference today at 1:30 p.m. ET to announce what it calls a "new space venture with a mission to help ensure humanity's prosperity." 

"The company will overlay two critical sectors - space exploration and natural resources – to add trillions of dollars to the global GDP. This innovative start-up will create a new industry and a new definition of natural resources," the press conference details states. 

23 Apr 2012

Credit:  NASA/STScl/Ann Feild

Scientists differ on how the universe will end, some aren't even certain it will ever end.  What is generally accepted is that the universe is expanding and that the likely scenario is that of the Big Freeze.  While the Big Freeze may be the leading theory supported by many, other more radical theories take a different approach and show a different outcome.  Although for many scientists its comes down to either Dark Flow or Dark Energy.   

13 Apr 2012

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Did the NASA HiRISE camera photograph an alien monolith or simply a rock?  (Credit:  NASA/HiRISE)

An interesting object, found by amateurs, has been spotted sticking out of the surface of Mars.  In the image the object appears perfectly rectangular and upright.  It can be found in NASA images of Mars and looks strikingly similar to the monoliths placed by aliens in the classic Stanley Kubrick/Arthur C. Clarke film "2001:  A Space Odyssey."  (Queue the music)

The object was photographed several years ago by the HiRISE camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter but has made for fun commentary on the Internet recently.  

12 Apr 2012

Tech-Stew Podcast Episode 13:  Tech Stew Unlocked, recorded on Thursday April 12th, 2012

Summary

North Koreas rocket blows up, skyrim gets Kinect support, the Sony SmartWatch, the Google Plus redesign, a working Nintendo controller coffee table, Facebook buys instagram for $1billion, Viking detected life on Mars and more.  

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12 Apr 2012

Viking 2 Lander, 1976 showing Utopia Planitia (Credit: NASA)

New analysis of 36 year old data from the Viking robots shows that NASA had found life on Mars in 1976.  This conclusion was published by an international team of mathematicians and scientists this week.

Even more, NASA doesn't need a human expedition to Mars to verify this claim, says neuropharmacologist and biologist Joseph Miller with the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine.  "The ultimate proof is to take a video of a Martian bacteria. They should send a microscope -- watch the bacteria move," Miller told Discovery News.  Miller goes on to say that "On the basis of what we've done so far, I'd say I'm 99 percent sure there's life there."

These statements are derived from the new study that has re-analyzed results from a life-detection experiment done by the Viking Mars robots in 1976.  

03 Apr 2012

Possible remnants of fires used to cook by humans 1 million years ago were found inside the Wonderwerk Cave in South Africa.  (Credit: Greatstock Photographic Library-ALAMY)

Scientists have uncovered the remains of an ancient fire that is at least 1 million years old at the Wonderwerk Cave in South Africa.  It is speculated that the fire was used for cooking.  This is according to a report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The investigation was led by Michael Chazan of the University of Toronto.  The team located burned bones and ash plant material that included grasses, leaves and twigs.  The bones were from animals ranging from small rodents to horselike mammals. 

02 Apr 2012

Data was collected in the 1870s by the Challenger vessel and compared to modern data from the Argo project, which uses 3500 free-drifting floats like the one shown here to show oceans have been warming for over 100 years.  (CREDIT:  Argo Project)

It had been previously suggested by climate models and other data that the world's oceans have been warming for 50 years.  Now new research seems to indicate that the oceans have been warming for more than 100 years.

Scientists have been trying to understand the Earth's sea-level rise, that has been partly due to the heating of the water and consequently its expansion as a result.  Now these new findings may help scientists better understand this process. 

01 Apr 2012

Tech-Stew Podcast Episode 12:  Science Spectacular, recorded on Sunday 04-01-12

Summary:  The Nokia Lumia 900 is coming, Google Drive becomes a reality, Best Buy to close 50 store-fronts, strange clouds on Mars, aliens land in Arizona, SpaceX can get us to Mars for cheap, billions of habitable planets in our galaxy, antibody kills cancer in mice and more  

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