Hubble Telescope Spots Complex Organic Molecules On Surface Of Pluto

Published December 21, 2011 | Space.com

NASA, ESA, and M. Buie (Southwest Research Institute)
Dwarf planet Pluto is seen in an image taken by the Hubble Space Telescope.

The Hubble Space Telescope has spotted new evidence of complex organic molecules — the carbon-containing building blocks of life as we know it — on the frigid surface of Pluto, a new study finds.

Hubble observations revealed that some substances on Pluto’s surface are absorbing more ultraviolet light than expected. The compounds in question may well be organics, possibly complex hydrocarbons or nitrogen-containing molecules, researchers said.

The dwarf planet Pluto is known to harbor ices of methane, carbon monoxide and nitrogen on its surface. The ultraviolet-absorbing chemical species may have been produced when sunlight or super-speedy subatomic particles known as cosmic rays interacted with these ices, researchers said.

“This is an exciting finding because complex Plutonian hydrocarbons and other molecules that could be responsible for the ultraviolet spectral features we found with Hubble may, among other things, be responsible for giving Pluto its ruddy color,” study leader Alan Stern, of the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colo., said in a statement.

Pluto circles the sun in a distant ring of icy bodies known as the Kuiper Belt. Many other Kuiper Belt objects are also quite red, and researchers have previously speculated that organics are responsible for their ruddiness as well.

Stern and his colleagues also found that Pluto’s ultraviolet spectrum has changed compared to Hubble measurements taken during the 1990s. They used Hubble’s powerful Cosmic Origins Spectrograph instrument to make the find.

These differences may be related to changes in the dwarf planet’s terrain since then, researchers said. It’s possible that a steep increase in Pluto’s atmospheric pressure has caused changes in Pluto’s surface, they added.

Overall, the new Hubble observations shed further light on Pluto a few years ahead of the first-ever spacecraft visit to the cold, distant world.

“The discovery we made with Hubble reminds us that even more exciting discoveries about Pluto’s composition and surface evolution are likely to be in store when NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft arrives at Pluto in 2015,” Stern said.

New Horizons launched in January 2006 on a 4-billion-mile (6.4-billion-kilometer) journey to Pluto. The probe is due to make its closest approach to the dwarf planet on July 14, 2015. On that date, New Horizons will be just 7,767 miles (12,500 km) away from the frigid world.

Copyright 2011 Space, a TechMediaNetwork company. All rights reserved.

via Hubble Telescope Spots Complex Organic Molecules On Surface Of Pluto | Fox News.

Scientists, telescope hunt massive hidden object in space

February 15th, 2011
09:03 AM ET

Some scientists think a brown dwarf or gas giant bigger than Jupiter could be at the outer reaches of the solar system. In this image showing relative size, the white object at the upper left edge represents the sun.

You know how you sometimes can sense that something is present even though you can’t see it? Well, astronomers are getting that feeling about a giant, hidden object in space.

And when we say giant, we mean GIANT.

Evidence is mounting that either a brown dwarf star or a gas giant planet is lurking at the outermost reaches of our solar system, far beyond Pluto. The theoretical object, dubbed Tyche, is estimated to be four times the size of Jupiter and 15,000 times farther from the sun than Earth, according to a story in the British paper The Independent.

Astrophysicists John Matese and Daniel Whitmire from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette think data from NASA’s infrared space telescope WISE will confirm Tyche’s existence and location within two years.

The presence of such a massive object in the solar system’s far-flung Oort Cloud could explain a barrage of comets from an unexpected direction, according to a December article at Space.com.

Its 27 million-year orbit could also explain a pattern of mass extinctions on Earth, scientists say.

Brown dwarfs are cold “failed” stars; their dimness and lack of heat radiation can make them hard to detect. Gas giants are huge planets – like Saturn, Jupiter and Neptune – that are made up of gases and may lack a solid surface like Earth’s.

Whitmire told The Independent that Tyche will probably be composed of hydrogen and helium and have colorful spots, bands and clouds like Jupiter.

“You’d also expect it to have moons,” he said. “All the outer planets have them.”

Tyche was first hypothesized in 1984 as Nemesis, a dark companion star to the sun. It’s been the subject of astronomical research and debate ever since. In July, another Space.com article said the celestial evidence suggests Tyche could not possibly exist.

To distinguish it from the Nemesis star theory, Matese and Whitmire are calling their object Tyche, after the good sister of the goddess Nemesis in Greek mythology.

Their research is published in Icarus, the International Journal of Solar System Studies.

Scientists, telescope hunt massive hidden object in space – This Just In – CNN.com Blogs.

Three giant spaceships to attack Earth in 2012?

22.12.2010

UFO encounters became especially frequent in the middle of the 20th century, when it became impossible to disregard incidents of UFO sightings anymore. Special services started establishing special departments for air defense troops, secret laboratories were organized to study the phenomenon. It is not ruled out, that secret services have already had chances to study fragments of alien spaceships or even aliens themselves.

It is about time science should say its word regarding the problem, and it did. SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence), an independent non-commercial organization, released a sensational statement.

Three giant spaceships are heading towards Earth. The largest one of them is 240 kilometers wide. Two others are smaller. At present, the objects are beyond the orbit of Pluto.

The spaceships were detected by HAARP search system. The system, based in Alaska, was designed to study the phenomenon of northern lights. According to SETI researchers, the objects are nothing but extraterrestrial spaceships. They will be visible in optical telescopes as soon as they reach Mars’s orbit. The US government has been reportedly informed about the event. The ships will reach Earth in December 2012.

The date of the supposed space contact with extraterrestrial civilization brings up thoughts about the Mayan calendar, which ends on December 21, 2012. Is it just a coincidence? Most likely, though, SETI researchers mistake the wish for the reality: fifty years of constant monitoring of space have not yielded any results.

Nevertheless, mankind only begins to explore space. We are just newcomers in this huge and unexplored world. Many believe that there are many other civilizations in space beside our own civilization.

Rumor has it that the Americans classified a lot of information about findings on the Moon. In 1988, a prominent Chinese official, a member of the nation’s space program, unveiled pictures of human footprints on the lunar surface. The official stated that he had received the information from a reliable source and accused the Americans of concealing that information. The photos were dated from August 3, 1969 – two weeks after Armstrong and Aldrin stepped onto the surface of the Moon on July 20, 1969. Therefore, the materials of the lunar mission were studied and classified by NASA.

On March 15, 2009, The New York Times produced another sensation. The same Chinese official, Mao Kan, stated that he had obtained over than 1,000 secret NASA photographs depicting not only human footprints, but even a human carcass on the surface of the Moon. Some of the bones in the carcass were missing, the official said. The human corpse must have been dropped on the Moon from an alien spaceship, whereas the extraterrestrials kept some tissue samples for research.

The photos were taken by a lunar probe. The absence of air makes it possible to capture minute details from the lunar orbit. The pictures of the carcass were very clear.

Dr. Ken Johnston, former Manager of the Data and Photo Control Department at NASA’s Lunar Receiving Laboratory, said that US astronauts had found and photographed ancient ruins of artificial origin on the Moon. Supposedly, US astronauts had seen large unknown mechanisms on the Moon. The data were classified by the US government.

Is all of that just spam or is it fantastic truth? Will we ever know?

via Three giant spaceships to attack Earth in 2012? – English pravda.ru.