Advertisements
Image via Universe Today

Image via Universe Today

You may have heard about the killer asteroid aptly named Apophis, which had a chance of hitting earth in 2036 and potentially devastating a good chunk of the human population. Thankfully, scientists have now made more accurate observations of Apophis and ruled out the possibility of it hitting earth.

The asteroid has been on a watch list for many years because in 2029 it will pass very VERY close to earth. So close that it will actually be inside the orbit of some of our satellites! The fear was that if the asteroid passed through a very specific spot as it passed us, the earth’s gravity would tug on it just right so that its orbit would be altered and it would hit earth on its next pass in 2036. Due to limited observations of Apophis, astronomers didn’t know its exact orbit accurately enough to determine if it would pass through this very specific gravitational “keyhole.” Even before this latest observation, which occurred during its latest flyby of earth, the odds of Apophis passing through that keyhole were very slim (about 1 in 100,000 if I remember correctly, but don’t quote me on that) but significant enough to worry. Further observations a few years ago lessened the odds considerably to about 1 in 1,000,000. Now, astronomers are absolutely positive the rock will not pass through that gravitational keyhole, and the rock will never hit earth. They also learned from these latest observations that Apophis is actually larger than originally thought- about 325 meters in diameter, vs. 270. So it’s a really good thing that this rock won’t hit us!

This does not mean we can sit back and relax, however. There are probably thousands of asteroids flying around out there that we haven’t even seen yet, and any of them could be on a collision course with us. It’s a very real threat, and based on our knowledge of past extinctions and impacts, statistically it’s only a matter of time before we get smacked by another one. We just have be able to detect it before it hits us, and have the technology in place to deflect it.

More detailed info can be found at Bad Astronomy and Universe Today.

Advertisements

Combined science/music post today. Not much time….

A meteorite about the size of a fist crashed through the roof of a doctor’s office in Virginia on monday. Reports say that it was traveling about 220 MPH when it hit the roof. There’s a common misconception that all meteorites hit the ground as a fireball and cause a crater. The truth is only the really big ones, about car-size and up, actually have enough inertia to keep up those kinds of speeds all the way to the ground. The smaller ones that reach the ground have long since been slowed by the friction of the atmosphere, and usually hit at speeds anywhere from 100 to 300 mph, depending on the size and weight. I don’t want to spend much time on this so go here or here for more info.

Now for the music.

I mentioned a while back that beloved Nashville scrap-punkers Meemaw decided to end their hiatus. Well, the time has come! It all goes down tonight at The End, along with Marj!, So Jazzy, and JEFF the Brotherhood. I don’t really know if you can quite call it an interview, but please do check out this gem of a video segment of them talking/playing a new song/goofing off over at Nashville’s Dead. Good times.

Unfortunately this had to happen the same night as a ton of other good stuff in town.

One of the aforementioned other things is the special edition of Happy Valley at the Cannery Ballroom, where I will be running the Generation Domination photobooth. It’s part of Mercy Lounge’s 7-year anniversary party, but unlike the other show upstairs, it will cost a meager $5 to get into. The FREE show upstairs will consist of The Non-commissioned Officers, The Ettes, De Novo Dahl, Apollo Up, and the two secret guests have now been revealed- The Features and Turbo Fruits. That has to be the most amazing lineup of local rock I’ve seen in a long time.

On Saturday Mercy is once again the place to be, as the last day of their week of free shows consists of Space Capone, How I Became the Bomb, Heypenny, Madi Diaz, Tallest Trees, and Armed Forces. This amazing lineup will be followed by the return of BFF, featuring yours truly and Fan Fiction of Nashville Nights on the decks, and we promise to keep your butt on the dancefloor till the wee hours.

In case you missed the memo, BFF was a weekly dance party held by me (Burgers) and Joseph (Fan Fiction) at Mad Donna’s in east Nashville. That location turned out to be not quite right for what we were trying to do, so instead of keeping BFF as a monthly staple, we decided to just let it be the branding we use whenever/wherever we spin together. There are two upcoming BFF-related events, the first of which I just mentioned, and the other is Feb. 5th at La Paz. More details are in the pipeline about that, but I’ll say now that it’s probably going to be the official afterparty for the Features’/Cortney Tidwell/Majestico show which just a block away at Exit/In. It’s gonna be a blast y’all.

Have a great weekend!

Science-y tibits 10/13/09

October 13, 2009

I haven’t posted any science-related stuff on here in waaaay too long. Part if it has been Next Big Nashville, which I’m still recovering from, along with other general business. That being said, here are some goodies for you:

NASA has a renewed focus on the moon, especially to determine how much, if any, water is there.  One of the ways they decided to do that was to smash the rocket stage of the current satellite into the surface and analyze the result plume of dust and debris. Sunday they did just that, and the results are still coming in, but it was definitely a successful impact. Check out more about the LCROSS mission here.

I’ve mentioned the 2012 doomsday myth on here before and linked to various website that thoroughly debunk it, but today one article caught my eye. I’d never even thought to research what the Mayan descendants have to say about this issue. Turns out they are pretty smart and fully understand that the world won’t end just because their Long Count calendar ends. The whole steaming pile of bullshit that is the 12/21/2012 doomsday myth is entirely a creation of modern Western culture that’s been imposed on the Mayan culture and one of their many calendars. The point to drive home here is that THE VERY PEOPLE WHO INVENTED THE CALENDAR DON’T EVEN BELIEVE THE HYPE BECAUSE IT’S BULLSHIT! They simply take it for what it is: an anniversary of sorts, a time when the Long Count calendar starts over again. Read the article at Discovery News.

Remember when Stephen Colbert lead a huge campaign to get the newest node for the Space Station named after him? While he did win the popular vote, NASA had the final say and didn’t name it after him, but they did come up with a ridiculous name for the new treadmill for the ISS that, when abbreviated, spells C.O.L.B.E.R.T. and the astronauts just completed its assembly. Here’s a pic of them using it for the first time:

Via Space.com

NMDinosaurs01The theory that the dinosaurs were wiped out from an asteroid impact near the modern-day Yucatan Peninsula is beginning to face major challenges. There’s no doubt that a huge impact caused the Chicxculub Crater, but some recent findings suggest that the impact may have occurred some 300,000 years earlier than originally thought. This comes as a second blow to the impact theory, with the first being the discovery/dating of the Deccan Traps in India. This gigantic volcanic feature is the result of a huge eruption that is believed to have lasted around 30,000 years. Can you imagine a massive volcano erupting for 30,000 years and covering an area equivalent to 1/2 of modern India with lava? Trust me, something on that scale is hard for the human mind to comprehend, but that much volcanic ash and gas in the atmosphere would’ve had a devastating effect on the ecosystem, and almost certainly played a major role in the extinction of the dinosaurs. Get ready for science textbooks to be re-written, because the asteroid impact theory is about to see the same fate as the dinosaurs themselves. (Via Daily Galaxy)

NASA recently teamed up with the Air Force Office of Scientific Research to test a new, Earth-friendly type of solid rocket fuel. I’m not exactly sure of the details, but somehow they’ve managed to make rocket fuel out of aluminum powder and ice. Yes ice… as in frozen water. The secret apparently is that the aluminum powder is so finely ground that it’s considered “nanoscale.” The nanoscale aluminum has so much surface area in contact with the water ice that the exothermic reaction when it burns is more efficient than normal solid rocket fuel, which is usually powdered aluminum (not nanoscale) mixed with an oxidizer such as ammonium perchlorate and a binding agent. Seriously though, who would’ve ever thought you could make rocket fuel out of ice and aluminum? It just sounds crazy, but it’s true. (Via EurekAlert)

When you think of the type of person who becomes an astronaut, you don’t typically think of race car drivers or musicians, but two of the astronauts about to launch on Space Shuttle Discovery tomorrow morning are just that- a former off-road truck racer and a drummer. Check out this Space.com article to find out more about Commander Rick Struckrow, formerly a Baja off-road race driver, Pilot Kevin Ford who is also a drummer, and several other astronauts who come from surprising backgrounds.

Advertisements