Category Archives: comets

Wanted: Asteroid Miners


“Do you want to be an Asteroid Miner? Well, here’s your chance!” — an email we just received.

“We’re looking for passionate college students for paid coop positions to help us mine asteroids this spring and summer,” it reads. “If you love space and want to contribute directly to the development of the next generation of space exploration technologies, we want to hear from you (or from anyone you know that you think would be interested). Click here to apply today!

— Chris Lewicki, President & Chief Asteroid Miner, Planetary Resources, Inc.

Planetary Resources’ Asteroid Miners Wanted page reads:

If you are a college student passionate about space and want to be a part of history by helping us develop the technologies that we’ll use to mine asteroids, we want to hear from you today.

This your chance to join our team onsite in Bellevue, Washington for a paid cooperative education position and get hands on experience working with our team.

PRI provides a unique and intimate work environment where you can make an immediate impact on product development and the fulfillment of primary company objectives. Join us in changing the way we explore the solar system!

Click here to apply now and be a part of history in the making!

I hope this is for real, hiring future asteroid miners might be a glamor job now, but it will be a top blue-collar occupation of the 21st century.

At last!

Planetary Resources ‘now hiring asteroid miners’

NASA’s EPOXI Hartley 2 Encounter

Yesterday NASA’s recycled spacecraft EPOXI (which was the second part of the spacecraft that released the probe that collided with comet Tempel 1 on July 4, 2005) encountered it’s second comet (Hartley 2) on a close fly-by, thus saving money by reusing expensive space-probes.

Even though no collisions were planned, the close fly-by produced several good photos that will keep astro-physicists happy for decades.

I wonder if they can reuse this probe for further missions.

With this new GOPer Congress that just got, no new monies are going to be forthcoming for NASA IMHO.

NASA’s EPOXI Hartley 2 Encounter


Interstellar Red Rain

Red Rain is a phenomenon that seems to be rare and has strange properties. Many papers have been written and this one in 2001 by Rajkumar Gangappa, Chandra Wickramasinghe, Milton Wainwright, A. Santhosh Kumar and Godfrey Louis theorize that Red Rain cells when nurtured and incubated actually start to grow.
This is interesting since they also theorize that Red Rain has an interstellar origin:
Following incubation at 121oC for 1 hour and longer, a marked change occurs in the internal appearance of the Red Rain cells (Fig.4 c (i) and d (i)), as small cells appear in the original larger cells. These small cells can be regarded as “daughter cells” having the same morphology as their “mother cells”. The size of the daughter cells ,after 1h exposure to 121oC, ranges from 30 nm to 120 nm in size (Fig 4 c (i), (ii) and b (i), (ii)). The cell wall of these daughter cells is seen to thicken following incubation for 2hours (Fig.5 (i) and (ii)).
In conclusion, the results of the present study clearly establishes that red cells discovered in the Kerala rain, replicate at 121oC and that there is a significant increase in the number of cells after incubation at 121oC. Furthermore, optical microscopy and electron microscopy of post-incubated red cells confirms that these cells are hyperthermophiles. The formation of daughter cells having the same morphology as the mother cells clearly shows that Red Rain Cells are not single endospores, such as those seen in bacteria, such as species of Bacillus and Clostridium.
The optimum growth conditions and upper temperature limit of these cells is yet to be determined. Although autoclaving at 121oC for 20 mins kills most microorganims, some spores of Bacillus and Clsotridium species can resist this treatment and germinate to form vegetative cells when incubated at lower temperatures (Hyum et al,1983,Vessoni,et al.1996). Here, however, we have shown that, unlike heat resistant bacterial spores, Red Rain cells grow and produce daughter calls when incubated at 121oC for 2 hours. The results of these experiments show the remarkable ability of Red Rain cells to grow and replicate at 121oC and thereby supports the hyperthermostability of red cells, as reported by Louis and Kumar (2003); no attempt however, was made to confirm their claims that Red Rain cells grow at 300oC.
The origin of Red Rain, and the cells that it contains, has yet to be discovered, although the results of this study suggest that, since such cells are adapted to growth and reproduction at high temperatures, they likely originate in an extreme environment which is at times exposed to high temperatures; whether such environments occur on Earth, or elsewhere, has yet to be determined. (Emphasis mine).
While the origin of the red rain cells remains uncertain, the possibility of their astronomical relevance has been suggested in several papers (Louis and Kumar, 2003, 2006). In this connection, the hyperthermophile properties discussed in the present paper and the unusual fluorescence behaviour are worthy of note.
We conclude this section by comparing spectra in Fig 7 with astronomical spectra of a fluorescnence phenomenon (ERE emission) for which no convincing abiotic model is still available, Fig 9 shows normalised ERE emission in several astronomical objects and Fig 10 shows the same emission in the famous Red Rectangle, a nebulosity associated with a planetary nebula (Witt and Boronson, 1990; Furton and Witt, 1992, Perrin et al, 1995, Hoyle and Wickramsinghe, 1996). Although non-biological PAH explanations are still being attempted their success has so far been minimal.
A spectrum of starlight from a blue star could provide the range of excitaton wavelengths that corresponds to those involved in Fig. [7]. The correspondence of profile and peak fluorescence wavelength between the red rain spectra and the ERE spectrum of the red rectangle is impressive. We conclude this paper with a recollection of an earlier comment published by Hoyle and Wickramasinghe:
“Once again the Universe gives the appearance of being biologically constructed, and on this occasion on a truly vast scale. Once again those who consider such thoughts to be too outlandish to be taken seriously will continue to do so. While we ourselves shall continue to take the view that those who believe they can match the complexities of the Universe by simple experiments in their laboratories will continue to be disappointed.” (Emphasis mine).
Very interesting indeed. Red cells from interstellar space that resemble red blood cells ?
Do we live in a biological Universe where Panspermia runs wild?
Or are we reading the signs wrong?

Comet 17P/Holmes Appearance

Now that I stirred up the pot with ETs, ancient gods and Nibiru, here’s a little touch of the secular with some video of the comet 17P/Holmes. It has quite an impressive tail and “coma” around it now. It has also exploded some gas pockets from it, expanding it’s coma to planetary width.

Historically, comets have been messengers of apocalypse and doom. And boy, 17P/Holmes has had some tales told about it! But today, it’s just observational videos. It’s up to the viewer to interpret the message, if there is one.

Here’s an informational vid telling the potential observer how to locate the comet:

This will probably be the last posting until after the Thanksgiving holiday. Time to feast on whatever beast is at hand and gossip about…er…with family. If you are a fellow U.S. citizen, have a happy and if you are one of my worldly commentors/readers, be thankful you’re getting a break from my lousy grammar and prose! 😎