SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft made history today by becoming the first private space craft to rendezvous with ISS and dock by station Astronauts with the help of the stations robotic arm. Tomorrow astronauts will open the hatch and begin transferring Dragon's cargo to the ISS.The success of this mission so far demonstrates the feasibility and value of privately operated spacecraft. It shows that capitalism can do the job.
SpaceX’s Dragon Flies by ISS
Today SpaceX flew their unmanned Dragon space craft to within a mile of ISS prompting the first picture of the Dragon is space taken from another space craft. They are now preparing for the final rendezvous with the ISS tomorrow culminating the private space craft being mated to ISS bu use of ISS's robotic arm.
At 3:44 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time, on May 22, 2012 SpaceX successfully launched Dragon spacecraft on the COTS2 flight to the International Space Station. It was launched on top of Falcon 9 rocket from the Cape Canaveral launch complex 40. Flying behind the the Dragon was a canister carrying the ashes of James Doohan and others. This flight is the first attempt of a private company rendezvous and also the first attempt private space craft to visit the International Space Station.
A bacteria with an vary slow metabolism have been found 100 feet under the the sea floor of the Pacific Ocean. It was found in a location is isolated from both sunlight, and fresh nutrients. Their metabolism is so slow that if they reproduce at all its on the order of once every thousand years or so. This has lead to speculation the these bacteria could be millions of years old but that is pure speculation. What these bacteria really tell us is far more interesting.
The ability of these bacteria to survive in such low nutrient conditions show that bacteria could also survive in material ejected from a planet into space. One possible way this can occur is an asteroid impact however it has been shown that bacteria are constantly being ejected into space on dust particles. Regardless of how they get into space these space-borne bacteria could later get deposited, as stowaways on another planet. This could occur by them being carried on a meteorite or if the are being carried on dust particles they would have an even better chance of surviving reentry and landing since it would be a gentler process.
This discovery supports the idea that if we we to find life any place else in the Solar System that it most likely originated on Earth and got transplanted by way of the other processes. The reason why it is most reasonable to suspect the Earth as the origin is that the Earth is covered with life all over the place where if life exists on any other planet or moon in the Solar System it would be space at best.
The Rhine River had previously been dated at 10 million years most likely based on erosion rates. However a new study based fossils of at a site associated with the river now adds an extra 5 million years for a total of 15 million years.
This study is yet another demonstration the fact that dating sites by the fossils at them supersedes other dating methods. Using fossil dating not only requires not only assuming evolution but assuming the methods used to date the fossil types was accurate to begin with. One problem that this supremacy of fossil dating causes is that it renders the concept of fauna succession totally un-testable since it eliminates any way of objectively producing a relive date for fossil sites that could be used as a test.
The gene SRGAP2 is found in humans, primates and other mammals that helps control the rate of brain. Human however have two similar genes that has been found to help increase complexity of the human brain by slowing its development.
When the two additional genes were place in mice the proteins made by the human genes bound the SRGAP2 protein slowing the rate of their brains leading to the mice growing additional neuron connections. This shows that the two unique human genes have a huge affect on human brain development making them an important difference between humans and apes.
Transit of Venus, 2012
On June 5-6, 2012 Venus will transit the sun as shown in the above animation. If you miss this you will not live see another because another transit of Venus will not occur until December 2117. The best way view this event it by using a telescope or binoculars to project the sun's image on a peace of paper or some type of screen. Do not look directly at the sun you could go blind. This is an interesting event you will not get another chance. You can watch it on line at: Watch NASA's Sun-Earth Day Web Cast! Click on the Map below to see if you can watch it where you live,
SpaceX Conducts Static Fire Test the Falcon 9 for COTS 2
On April 4th, 2012, SpaceX has succefuly onducted a static firing tes tthe its Falcon 9/ Dragon for the COTS 2 flight.This test paves the way for a may 7th launch SpaceX's Dragon space craft to the International Space Station. This will be the fiirst visit by a private space craft to the ISS. It is also a step twards manned flights of the Dragon. The Falcon 9 / Dragon will most likely be the next U.S. space craft to carry a crew into orbit.See video at the above link.