Can we actually say anything about the far future? If we can’t predict when it will rain next month, forecasting billions of years hence might seem impossible.
However, not everything is as chaotic as the weather: even predictions very far ahead are sometimes possible, especially in astrophysics and cosmology. We can be confident that there will be a total solar eclipse in the UK on 23 September 2090 because the Moon, Sun and Earth move in stable, predictable orbits with very minor disturbances, and the laws of gravity are now well-tested. Similarly, we can use known astrophysics to predict what will likely happen across the Universe as it expands.
Continue reading on BBC Future
“…For many people, the idea of a “garbage patch” conjures up images of an island of trash floating on the ocean. In reality, these patches are almost entirely made up of tiny bits of plastic, called microplastics. Microplastics can’t always be seen by the naked eye. Even satellite imagery doesn’t show a giant patch of garbage. The microplastics of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch can simply make the water look like a cloudy soup. This soup is intermixed with larger items, such as fishing gear and shoes.”
Fifty years after Apollo 11 astronauts deployed the first seismometer on the surface of the Moon, NASA InSight’s seismic experiment transmits data giving researchers the opportunity to compare marsquakes to moon and earthquakes.
Seismologists operating the Marsquake Service at ETH Zurich literally rocked and rolled as they experienced, for the first time, two “marsquakes” in the university’s quake simulator. Researchers uploaded actual data from marsquakes detected on Martian solar day or Sol 128 and 173.The marsquakes were detected by the SEIS seismometer, whose highly sensitive electronics were delivered by the Aerospace Electronics and Instruments laboratory at ETH.
My two cents (2) about the July 2019 Southern California earthquake: recorded Richter magnitude M 7.1. Not bad huh? Pretty “high.” It makes me think sadly to some of our most recent earthquakes in my country, Italy: central Apennines in 2016 and northern Apennines in 2012. The magnitudes recorded were respectively M 6.0 and M 5.9. Seen this way they would seem just a bit weaker but they did a lot of damage and deaths…. I don’t know about you, but it makes me think.
Continue reading on SubStack…
Fifty years ago, when astronauts first landed on the moon, they carried not only humanity’s highest hopes but an important experiment from Columbia.
On the afternoon of July 20, 1969, Gary Latham ’65GSAS, a thirty-three-year-old geophysicist at Columbia’s Lamont-Doherty Geological Observatory, arrived at NASA’s Manned Spaceflight Center (now the Johnson Space Center) in Houston to witness the fulfillment of thousands of years of curiosity and wonder: humanity’s first attempt to land men on the moon…
I am now coming out of a short teaching experience in an international school in Italy. For a year I taught science and geography in their middle school. Today is my last day and while the kids are relaxing in their own way I am reflecting on a few things that this short experience has brought to my mind. Starting with the last one: all the kids, indiscriminately, relax using their mobile phones. One of my generation is immediately reminded of how we would have done, 45 years ago in middle school, to relax in an hour left free for leisure. I used to draw. Nobody had computers at home. Very rarely there were the first, now ridiculous, electronic games. I never had a game console in my entire life.