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Monthly Archives: April 2016
As Arthur C. Clarke once famously said, “Two possibilities exist. Either we are alone in the universe or we are not. Both are equally terrifying.” This quote is relates in a very basic way to the Fermi Paradox. The paradox is that through the Drake Equation and the sheer size of the universe, there should […] Continue reading → Continue reading
One of the greatest difficulties interstellar, or even just interplanetary, travel faces today is the problem of fuel storage. In order to accelerate to fast enough speeds to travel between planets in a reasonable amount of time, as well as to later decelerate, ships would need to hold a tremendous amount of fuel, which would […] Continue reading → Continue reading
captain’s blog, Stardate 69786.0 Well friends, this is it. This blog has covered a lot of ground and explored a lot of territory. Topics of discussion include the Cosmic Calendar, the theory of relativity, groundbreaking new research in astrophysics, and aliens. Lots of talking about aliens. But I think the most important thing I’ve learned from […] Continue reading → Continue reading
Tardigrades are amazing extremophiles! They are minute animals that are the only organism proven to withstand the vacuum of space. Recently, thousands of them were attached to a satellite that was spent into space, and were exposed into the vacuum of space to see how they would survive. As they dried out in space, their DNA broke […] Continue reading → Continue reading
Wow. In these last few months, we have gone over the entire cosmic calendar. The last topic of the class, life elsewhere in the universe, covered stuff that hasn’t even happened on this calendar yet. In this class, I really believe I’ve learned a lot of material, rather than memorizing a lot. Studying for this upcoming… More What’s Next? Continue reading → Continue reading
The Drake Equation is an equation that was developed to help us determine what life exists in our universe beyond planet Earth. In class, we have been doing much work with the Drake Equation, including filling it out ourselves using our own estimates. But…is the Drake Equation useful or even worth our time? If you are […] Continue reading → Continue reading
On the weekend of April 15th, the Vanderbilt Aerospace Design Lab (VADL) traveled to Huntsville, Alabama to compete in NASA’s Student Launch Initiative. We competed against 40 other colleges and universities. While in Huntsville, we participated in a rocket fair where we had the opportunity to showcase our rocket as well as learn about rockets […] Continue reading → Continue reading
Earth’s most resilient organism has once again astounded the scientific community. Tardigrades, also referred to as “waterbears”, have successfully demonstrated the ability to survive deep freezing for decades. In November of 1983 a Japanese research team harvested moss while on an anarctic expedition, contained within this harsh environment (as with many other equally harsh areas) […] Continue reading → Continue reading
Humans inhabiting Mars has been a much debated topic amongst engineers, astronomers, and scientists for decades. Stories of manned missions to Mars can be found in film, books, and other forms of popular culture. The notion of colonizing Mars is often accompanied by the imminent doom of our home planet. However, in order for a […] Continue reading → Continue reading
A recent and exciting discovery for scientists is the existence of extremophiles. Extremophiles are organisms that thrive in environments previously thought to not support life. Currently, the prevailing thought is that the first forms of life were some form of extremophile – potentially thermophiles. However, what if most extremophiles (or all of them for that […] Continue reading → Continue reading