NASA Paying the Fit to Become Less So

If you are an able bodied US legal resident of moderate to amazing physical shape NASA is looking for you to do absolutely nothing!  For 70 short days, or almost ¼ of a year, they simple ask that you remain almost completely still in an almost flat bed.  Don’t worry, you are still expected to exercise while in bed so, you know, walking is still functional at the end of the experiment.  Also all of the highlights of pooping in a pan and washing yourself with a cloth on a stick are just signing bonuses.  All that and more can be yours, plus 18k.

Maybe I have just reached that point in my life that this entire thing sounds horrible, or maybe it was the fact that I would have to poop in a bedpan instead of the toilet—or some special space bed—that made me think this wasn’t a great time.  Also all of the headlines that talk about this also seem to think that just anyone off the street could be taken, including the famous “couch potato”.  If they even bothered to pay attention to the words they typed they would notice that the recruits would have to be in mildly good condition, count me out, or they wouldn’t make it through the application process.

Source: The Hindu

Life on Other Planets besides Mars

For dozens of years now mankind has been convinced that it might be able to prove the existence of life on Mars. As it turns out, it might have been looking in the wrong direction. New photos of Titan (one of Saturn’s moons) reveal that there is a good chance that life has been forming there. At this point the evidence seems to only point to very low levels of life, probably single cells at best, but even if it doesn’t have aliens, it still seems interesting enough to continue investigating. The reason for all of this speculation is massive lakes of methane that have pooled throughout the moon and interesting weather patterns. Due to the location and activity of this liquidized gas, scientists believe it might be a good sign of life.

People have often thought that one of Jupiter’s moons might have good conditions for the formation of life, and theories are always bouncing around about Mars. It seems interesting that the more we look at the solar system around us, the more that it looks like all kinds of conditions are favorable for the formation of life. Who knows — maybe in 100 years we will be able to find out we are not as unique as we once thought. Also, it would be pretty sweet to watch a methane rainstorm. Although it would probably smell.

Source: Wired

Science Finds another More Awesome Planet

So for about the last century there has been talk about a possible 10th planet hanging out in the solar system, (Pluto will always be a planet to me, get over it) and this one isn’t a planetoid like all those other lumps that made news a couple of years ago—this one is thought to have about four times that mass of Earth.  This planet hasn’t been spotted, but the orbits of other planets have been studied enough that someone followed through so very much math and figured out that something, and something big, is messing with their orbits.  The only problem is that the object is probably so distant that it can’t be seen with any satellites on Earth, which would mean borrowing the Hubble or something akin to it to find it.

This is one of those stories that reminds me why I was very unpopular as a child; when we were going through all of the planet names and trying to remember some dumb rhyme to know their order I was reading books talking about people who insisted basically the same thing and demanding to include it in our lessons.  The difference between then and now is that people are trying to avoid calling this discovery Planet X as it most certainly isn’t populated by angst riddled skateboarding turtles.  The problem that can be deduced from all of this is this, we know almost nothing about any planet other than ours, and less the farther they get away from us.  Even if there is a planet out there nothing we can do to research it will yield results for about 20 years.

Source: MSNBC

NASA Breaks Open UFO Files

I think it is a kind of satisfying to know that NASA has tons of files on UFO’s, after all they are in the business of sending people into space so it is nice to know that they are at least interested in things that might be coming from beyond earth.  Sadly the place that seems to be attempting to break this wide open in the Discovery/Science channel, and even if they are attempting to be fair and balanced they seem to be leaning pretty hard on the, “these are probably aliens,” view of things.

The true meaning of skeptic means someone that needs solid proof to believe, mainly someone who isn’t just going to take something at face value.  I try to value myself as someone who believes in aliens, but in the same instance most of the things that are demonstrated during this show seem to be pretty quickly explained away with “that is just common debris around the ship.”  It might also be important to note that most of the people who are debunking the viewings are people who work directly for NASA as a science expert in science, and the Astronauts who claim to see things are pilots not thoroughly trained in the aspects of microgravity.  Granted, most of them are probably a lot smarter than I—I am still inclined to believe the guy who designed the shuttle by pure math than the guy flying it.

Source: Huffington Post

Man Planning to Break Skydiving Record

In a story that might as well be called, “What Won’t Red Bull Sponsor?” someone has decided that he is going to jump from a balloon on the edge of space—brought to you by Red Bull.  The only other people who have ever jumped from a higher elevation than him were back in the 60’s when the government (US and Russia) were testing their equipment on men to make sure that they wouldn’t explode when they went into the outer limits of this world.  Interestingly enough the first person to do it, a US Marine, had an issue with his suit during the experiment and had one of his gloves fill with blood but said nothing because he thought that the test was too important to stop it just because he might be bleeding to death.

The plan is to jump from a height of 120,000 feet, the height of four Mount Everest from sea level to the tip – or 4800 Jawses if you are Kevin Smith and need that terrifying image to process data, and pretty much shatter the previous records.  As someone who has repeatedly gone on record for being afraid of heights I can honestly say that this is the worst idea ever, but it is good to know that if I do ever fall from space I can use a parachute to live.

Source: BBC