Tag Archives: technology

Tardigrades… and what humans can learn from them

Tardigrades are one of the most adaptable lifeforms in existence. The tardigrade is classified as an extremophile, or one who can live in extreme conditions, because of its ability to enter cryptobiosis. Cryptobiosis is a condition that results from slowing down an organisms metabolic and reproductive processes to almost a complete halt. The closest state […] Continue reading

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The Future of Space Travel – The Skyhook

Infrastructure is everywhere. Most every way of transport that we consider using regularly has immense infrastructure. Cars have roads, trains have rails and stations, and airplanes have airports and runways. But with space travel, we take the brute force method, spending immense amounts of money and forcing a rocket to defy gravity and get itself …

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Blog Post 8: The Golden Record

The golden record is a collection of songs, messages, and symbols placed on a golden disk that was sent out on the voyager spacecrafts. The record also has imprinted on it a small encoded map about where Earth is or how far away it is, as well as messages telling whatever species that obtains this […] Continue reading

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Bracewellvon Neumann Probes

Human space travel is slow and each mission must be meticulously planned. What if there were a way we could learn more about the universe more efficiently? John Von Neumann, in charge of computing the design of a bomb, wondered how else he could use his computing skills. He developed the idea of self-reproducing automation. […] Continue reading

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Blog #8: Antarctic Astronauts

This fall (summer in the southern hemisphere!) I will be spending two months in the McMurdo Dry Valleys (MDV) in Antarctica collecting rock samples and later using zircon dating to better understand glacial movement and exposure times of the MDVs. I will be spending 3 out of my 8 weeks at McMurdo Station training and […] Continue reading

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Blog #7: Sara Seager Ted Talk

I watched the 2015 Ted Talk from Sara Seager (of the Seager Equation) called The Search for Planets Beyond our Solar System. She sets out to introduce what we currently know about our solar galaxy and extra solar planets. She presents a few interesting artist conceptions of the various exoplanets we know of (mainly from […] Continue reading

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Using Variable Stars to Find Exoplanets

One of the preeminent methods for finding exoplanets is tracking periodic variations in stellar brightness. In class, we practiced this technique by examining the light curves of certain variable stars and identifying the presence of orbiting exoplanets. In the real world, scientists must first identify variable stars and then determine which of these variable stars’ […] Continue reading

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Blog #5: AR Aur b (protoplanet formation caught in action!)

As we have been able to look farther outside of our neighborhood of the solar system, our understanding of extrasolar planets and the formation of other planetary systems has had to undergo questions and testing to ensure that our hypothesis is reasonable. The surprising orbits of some extrasolar planets has caused some such questioning, such […] Continue reading

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Asteroid Mining

Picture of Asteroid With the current rise of privatized space travel, one industry that may very well likely be popularized within our lifetimes is asteroid mining. However the initial investment cost of getting to a profitable asteroid will be enormous, the payoff of mining and bringing back the metals that these asteroids contain would be …

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The Future of Exoplanet Analysis

The search for extrasolar planets and alien life is a fascinating research focus that sits at the intersection of astronomy, physics, planetary science, and biology. As we have discussed in class, discovering exoplanets is a very difficult task, but we have discovered roughly 5,000 exoplanets to date and are making significant progress in that area.Continue reading “The Future of Exoplanet Analysis” Continue reading

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