Category Archives: Science
Mr. Eccles Presents: Neil deGrasse Tyson responds to a six-year-old: “How can first graders help the Earth?”
Here is a brief something on a new space mission to be launched from Baikonur, Kazakhstan, on the 23rd of this month. Forwarded to me by my Twitter friend @LLStarlight
Comets… Once the cause of great fear in ancient civilizations, considered omens of ill fortune that inspired the word “disaster” or “bad star,” they were thought to foretell the fall of rulers, nations, and sometimes the very end of the world itself.
But today, we get to land on one, or at least one of our robot surrogates, to tell us more about these objects that have only been somewhat better understood within the last few hundred years. Now we can get to know even more about them through this mission!
Mostly residents of the Oort cloud, far, far from the sun, these “dirty snowballs” of ice and rock may have brought water to the young Earth billions of years ago as well as the stuff of life itself.
While mercilessly pummeling the crap out of our planet’s then-tortured surface, fresh with the marks of collisions from other bodies, wee, and not so wee — some carrying organic matter — comets and asteroids may have begun life in a process using initially simple molecules building upon themselves in complexity, and limited only by the laws of chemistry and a molecular version of natural selection.
Perhaps. We simply don’t know with certainty yet, but that’s no reason not to think about it!
Now, one of our proxies, the Rosetta probe’s Philae lander will tell us more about these icy objects, illuminating the search for our origins, and that for the early history of our humble and remote solar system. There’s an interactive game on the BBC website here.
This was forwarded to me by my Twitter friend @LLStarlight.