Archive for January, 2009

Kepler to Launch Soon

Friday, January 9th, 2009 by Bellatrix

The Kepler Spacecraft is one step closer to launch. The Kepler spacecraft is set to launch in March of 2009, and its now packed up and ready to ship off to Cape Canaveral.

The launch of the Kepler Spacecraft will be an exciting one for planet hunters. It is named for the Dutch astronomer/mathematician Johannes Kepler who back in the 1500s derived some very important empirical laws describing planetary orbits. This spacecraft will be the most advanced piece of technology in the ever-growing arsenal used to detect exosolar planets. Kepler will monitor more than 100,000 stars simultaneously for signatures of planets of all sizes and orbital distances including earth sized planets. It will have the ability to detect rocky planets like Earth and ones that are located in the habitable zone of a star. For those unaware, the habitable zone is the area surrounding a star where the temperature i.e. distance from the star is such that life is possible. So in our solar system the habitable zone is more or less where Earth is and out to Mar’s orbit. So Kepler is not only expected to be the first to measure a Earth sized planet around a similar star but hopefully it should be able to tell us if they are rare or common, and thus whether possible life is rare or common.

Kepler is currently at the Ball Aerospace & Technology Corporation in Colorado, ready to leave for Florida. It hasp assed all its environmental tests and its pre-ship review. It will be launched atop a Delta 2 rocket and sent into an earth trailing solar orbit. It will be a solar orbit as opposed to the usual earth orbit so that earth will not obstruct its view of the stars since it will need considerably long exposure time to see such small planets. The telescope will be pointed at Cygnus, which is outside the elliptic of the solar system, which will prevent sunlight from obstructing the view of outside stars. Looking at Cygnus will also keep objects form the Kuiper Belt and asteroid belt from obstructing the starlight. The telescope will have a 1.4-meter mirror on it, the largest of any space based telescopes yet.

So with any hope the mission will launch as scheduled on March 5th. It has already been delayed several times due to budget issues (it was originally scheduled to launch in 2006 and is costing an estimated $467 million dollars). NASA other original mission to hopefully find earth-sized planets, the Terrestrial Planet Finder, was cancelled due to budget issues. But I think that this is one area in astronomy right now that has the most public support, so the most chance to receive funding. The general public may not be so concerned with something like WMAP (a spacecraft used to study the cosmic microwave background radiation) but the general public knows about finding other planets, about finding life outside of here; that is something easy to understand and still very exciting. So hopefully if Kepler is successful it will not only renew some lost passion for astronomy by the general public but also generate funding for future projects.

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KIRKUS DISCOVERIES PROCLAIMS OUR UNDISCOVERED UNIVERSE ‘A WELL-WRITTEN, PROVOCATIVE RE-IMAGINING OF THE WORLD’

Wednesday, January 7th, 2009 by Aridian PR

Terence Witt’s book is called a bold and controversial new physics theory.

The scientific community is talking about Terence Witt. Kirkus Discoveries declared Our Undiscovered Universe a “brave book.” They praised him for challenging the status quo and called his book “accessible to both the professional and layman.” Kirkus Discoveries is a service that allows authors and publishers to receive authoritative, careful assessment of their books.

In addition to this review, Witt has released his latest podcast about Null Physics . Topics discussed include: how physics addresses new concepts and a discussion about how Null Physics evolved from concept to reality.

The hour-long podcast goes into great detail about chapter one of Our Undiscovered Universe. It is entitled “Something from Nothing.” Some details include Witt’s perspective about how the scientific community analyzes empirical evidence and what he considers physics’ number one problem — “Why does the universe exist?”

“This podcast evolved into one of the most interesting discussions thus far,” said Witt. “The issues it presents are sweeping and controversial, and no one else is tackling them in a public forum.”

To listen to the Our Undiscovered Universe podcasts, go to www.ourundiscovereduniverse.com and click on the podcast link.

About Terence Witt
Terence Witt is the founder and former CEO of Witt Biomedical Corporation. He holds a BSEE from Oregon State University and lives in Florida. Our Undiscovered Universe: Introducing Null Physics is his first book. To read more about Terence Witt and his latest breakthroughs go to OurUndiscoveredUniverse.com .

Victoria Lansdon
Public Relations Director
Aridian Publishing
(321) 773-3426
vlansdon@aridian.org

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Could life exist on Super-Earths?

Wednesday, January 7th, 2009 by Evan Finnes

The search for extraterrestrial life within our solar system has mainly been focused on Mars, and there has been speculation that some the moons of the outer solar system may also be a good place to look for life. Outside of our solar system, planet hunters and astrobiologists have been searching for Earth-like planets to help answer one of mankind’s most profound questions, “are we alone?” To date, no such planets have been discovered, so a team of scientists have now set their sights on a relatively abundant group of extrasolar planets known as “super-Earths”.

The term “super-Earth” is slightly misleading because the only thing that these planets have in common with the Earth is the fact that they are terrestrial. A super-Earth is typically classified as a terrestrial planet with a mass of 5 to 10 Earth masses. Thus far, Super Earths have not been found within the habitable zone of their host star, with orbits much too far or much too close to sustain life as we know it. The super-Earths with orbits far from their host star are the places that astrobiologists now believe could harbor some form of life.

It is estimated that one-third of all solar systems contain super-Earths, and some scientists believe that it may be possible to find some that have liquid water either on the surface, or below a thick layer of ice. This water could theoretically exist on a super-Earth if one of three conditions were met. 1) If the planet had a thick enough atmosphere it may be possible that enough solar radiation could be by greenhouse gases to prevent water from completely freezing. 2) If the planet was massive enough or young enough, there may still be enough primordial heat available to sustain some amount of liquid water.

Currently, the best technique for discovering super-Earths is by using gravitational microlensing. This phenomena occurs when an object in the foreground has enough mass, its gravitational field will bend the incoming light of a much more distant object. This results in the magnification of the distant object, no matter how faint it may seem.

It is not unfathomable to predict that an extrasolar super-Earth outside of its host stars habitable zone could contain water, at least as ice. Much of the ice in our own solar system is located outside of the habitable zone. There is no super-Earth in our solar system, but there are icy bodies that could contain liquid oceans. It is hypothesized that Jupiter’s moon, Europa, may have enough heat due to tidal flexing to permit a liquid ocean.

Traveling amongst the stars and exploring extrasolar planets is unfortunately not in the near future, but we can test hypothesis such as this one by exploring the planets within our solar system, and isn’t it about time we send a probe to Europa?

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OUU Podcast #5: Something from Nothing

Monday, January 5th, 2009 by Aridian PR
Our Undiscovered Universe Podcasts

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OUU Podcast #5: Something from nothing

Welcome to the fifth in a series of podcasts that explore Null Physics as presented in the book, Our Undiscovered Universe, written by Scientist and Engineer, Terence Witt.

The topic of discussion today is “Something from nothing”, discussing various cosmology theories like the big bang and how they compare to the theory presented using Null Physics.

Also in Episode 5:

  • How does science address new ideas?
  • What role does the Big Bang play when scientists are looking for an alternative theory?
  • How did Null Physics evolve to the theory it is today?
  • What is the difference between a steady state universe of null or zero, and the theory that one began as zero then exploded with a bang?
  • Also available on iTunes! Search “Null Physics” and Subscribe Now!

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