Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Scientists Proposed a Nuclear 'Tunnelbot' to Hunt Life in Europa's Hidden Ocean


Nuclear Powered `Tunnelbot’

To produce a path through the thick shell of ice, researchers’ are intending to send a nuclear-powered `tunnelbot’ to Europa to hunt for life. Being the 4th largest of Jupiter’s 53 moons, Europa has been considered as the best choice in the solar system to introduce alien life. Europa, Jupiter’s icy moon is said to be somewhat smaller than Earth’s moon. Europa circles every 3.5 days around Jupiter and is tidally locked similar to the Earth’s moon. In this manner it is on the same side, wherein Europa tends to face Jupiter all the time. It is presumed to have an iron core, a surface ocean of salty water and a rocky mantle resembling the Earth. This ocean unlike on earth is considered to be adequately deep covering the entire surface of Europa. Moreover being away from the sun, the surface of the ocean is said to be globally frozen all over. Specialists are of the opinion that the hidden ocean encircling Europa and warmed by powerful tidal forces owing to the gravity of Jupiter could have favourable conditions for life.

Extra-Terrestrial Life

The plan has been initiated by scientists at NASA. The concept is to drill into the moon with the help of nuclear-powered robot tunnelbot, in an attempt to locate signs of aliens. This effort would provide an opportunity of probing below Jupiter’s moon Europa. According to the researchers, it would give them some insight of any aliens lurking there. The water concealed below Europa seems to be the likely areas for hidden alien life which could be trapped in a crust of ice thereby making it tough to explore. Hence, the researchers’ are set on in drilling through the crust and navigate for extra-terrestrial life. The researchers are of the opinion that the icy crust tends to conceal a kind of liquid water ocean which vents through that crust and could deliver the essential heat and chemical ingredients necessary for life in that particular ocean.


To get some insight below the thick layer of ice, researchers of NASA Glenn Research COMPASS team which is said to be a team of scientists and engineers around the country and engaged in resolving problems for NASA, believe that they can come up with tunnelbot. A meeting of the researchers had been conducted in December with the American Geophysical Union wherein a proposal had been presented for a tunnelbot. The tunnelbot could utilize nuclear power for melting a path through the shell of Europa.

 This would be carrying a cargo which could be helpful in tracing for indications for existing/nonexistent life Researchers are of the opinion that the tunnelbot can be utilized as an advanced nuclear device or some radioactive `general-purpose heat bricks of NASA to create heat and power. However, the radiation could bring about some design challenges. The tunnelbot can move in the ice on the frozen moon, hunting for small lakes with the shell or signs of life in the ice. As it tends to get immersed deeper it would branch out into a fiber optic cable. This could rise to the surface, setting up communication transmit at a depth of 3, 6 and 9 miles.

Mystery & Challenge

Researchers have mentioned that when the tunnelbot reaches the liquid ocean it would arrange cables or launch a device to refrain from falling through and to lock itself in position. At this point of time it is at an initial speculative proposal. The payload to sample Europa’s water and ice or how to get the tunnelbot on the moon has not yet been reckoned out by the researchers. This seems to be a significant mystery and challenge. This plan poses as an amazing insight into the future robotic mission to Europa. Moreover, ultimately it would also explore to see if the distant moon tends to have any indication of life.

American Geophysical Union

The researchers had mentioned in a proposal at the 2018 meeting of the American Geophysical Union that they had performed a concept study for a nuclear powered tunnelbot which would navigate through the ice shell reaching the ocean. The tunnelbot would assess the habitability of the ice shell together with the underlying ocean. The researchers have observed that there would be some issues with the plan. It comprises of how the tunnelbot tends to get all the way to that part of the world to be navigated. They have noted on `how initial deployment on the surface would occur, though not addressed and seems to be a challenge for further progress.

Two Prospects

Based on this, they have considered two prospects, one which could be driven by a nuclear reactor while the other through heat source bricks. Both utilize heat produced from these sources for melting through ice sources. However another issue also arises from embedding deep in the world. It would be complex for message to be sent through the ice. This means that the robot would be carrying cable that could send messages to and fro, to Earth. Moreover, researchers would also have to safeguard that the tunnelbot would have to leave a cable or even float on reaching the ocean ensuring that the cable does not touch the water while digging through the ice.

Preparing Two Analyses

According to Andrew Dombard associate professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of Illinois at Chicago, thickness of the ice is likely to be between 2 and 30 kilometres. This could be a main hurdle for anyone to overcome to explore these areas and have some insight of bio-signature representative of life on Europa.

Mr Dombard together with his colleagues had come up with a solution and believed that a nuclear powered tunnelbot would be the best solution for this plan. Mr Dombard had commented that they were not worried of how the tunnelbot would get to Europa or get deployed in the ice. They had presumed that it would get there and hence focused on its operation of descent to the ocean. The space agency has stated that it is preparing two analyses, comprising of one which would be landing on the surface exploring the distant moon within the next year.

The New Era of Genealogy

In recent years, there's been an overwhelming interest in genealogy among people who want to find out more about their family history. With new technology and advanced scientific research, finding out about past generations and unknown living relatives is a simple process that's affordable, or in some cases even free.

Getting in touch with known relatives can be easy with phone lookup, but finding out information about dead relatives is much more complicated, especially if they died hundreds of years ago. Today, advanced research tools and networking sites used in genealogy can help you link to long, lost relatives and their tie to your family history. It's now possible to build a family tree that dates back through many generations with detailed, documented information.

By viewing a variety of documented records on births and deaths, marriages, migration, and military service, you can trace your ancestry back thousands of years. Birth and death records give you accurate information on the age of your ancestors and when they lived and died. Marriage records are especially helpful in tracing a last name that's different from your own. Migration records often chart movements to different towns, cities, countries, and continents. Military records contain detailed information about a person's military experience through various conflicts and World Wars. By discovering this valuable information about your ancestors, you find out important information about your past that has shaped your present.

Genealogy can help you build a family tree that reflects a vivid picture of your past. It's a valuable memento for your present family, as well as future generations. A family tree can include priceless family history, generational photos, and important documents about your relatives. Building a family tree is often easier than most people think. On many ancestry sites, the search begins by simply entering your last name, or your mother's or father's names. As soon as you enter information, most sites can pull up certain ancestry data through various records. As the search continues, research tools look through billions of records, documents, and photos about your family. The further back you go, the more difficult the search becomes. However, advanced technology and networking links can trace your family tree back through many generations.

If you have living relatives you want to get in touch with, a phone lookup can help your find them. If you want to find out more about your past and your ancestors, research through genealogy can help you. A journey into your past can tell you a lot about your life and how you became the person you are today. A family tree that reflects your past is a wonderful legacy for your family and future generations.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Clues of Heart Disease Found in 16th-Century Mummies

 16th-Century Mummies
It is always fascinating to see what we can learn from our ancestors. How they lived without intervention or use of modern utilities, the knowledge that we have today and much more that are home to the current time. But what about looking at diseases present today? Were the same diseases, found today, present in our ancestors too? Well that may be a question that is hard to answer since asking our ancestors is totally out of the question. So what about CT scans? Researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital did just that.

Researchers found evidence of heart disease in mummies from the 16th century.

CT Scan on 16th century Mummies to Discover Heart Disease: 

Researchers subjected 5 mummies from 16th century Greenland to a CT scan and the results were astounding. The research team began to look for evidence of plaque in the mummies and were not disappointed. Plaque in the arteries is indicative of atherosclerosis, one of the leading causes of death in the US today.

The high resolution scans showed that there were calcium deposits in the blood vessels in the chest of the mummies. There were four adults and a child from the Inuit community that were tested for heart disease and in all four were these telltale deposits of calcium discovered.

The images from the five mummies was scanned and even shown on National Geographic in a show titled “Explorer”. The research into the mummies from Greenland was only a small part of the main research project. A project to discover heart disease in early hunter gatherer or pre industrial civilization is the main project behind the research into mummies form 16th century Greenland.

A Look at the Past and Heart Disease: 

Researchers have looked at mummies form Egypt to Mongolia and now more recently to Greenland for evidence of atherosclerosis- a heart disease. The Greenland mummies were of particular interest to researchers because of their particular diet. The Inuit community mainly consumed fish and small sea mammals.

A fish diet is considered good for a healthy heart, so finding heart disease in a community thought to have had a largely fish diet seems somewhat surprising. While others may be surprised with the findings, researchers were not. The relationship between a fish diet and a healthy heart is not really proven. Finding heart disease in these mummies would require further investigations.

Fish rich in omega 3 is good for the heart but certain other fish are rich in cholesterol and contain things such as mercury and PCBs that are touted as causes for heart disease.

Other Factors that may have Caused Heart Disease: 

While diet may be a main cause of causing heart disease, there could be other factors at play that can cause heart disease. Lifestyle factors such as excessive smoke while cooking could also be one of the reasons why these mummies showed signs of heart disease.

Researchers are not taking the results seriously as they are based on a small sample of population and not indicative of the entire population.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Supernova Remnants: Secret Seeds of the Galaxy

A massive star that has reached the end of its life explodes and becomes a supernova. The force of the explosion causes matter to be expelled into the interstellar medium. The celestial object that forms as this explosion is called a supernova remnant.

Supernova remnants determine the structure of the interstellar medium by providing kinetic and thermal energy. Particles accelerate to relativistic speeds as the matter heats up and produce very high-energy gamma radiation when they interact with light and gas. According to an article in the Open Physics Journal published online by Bentham Science Publishers, supernova remnants can trigger the formation of new stars.

Different Means of Detection

A number of different variables must be measured in order to determine the effect of supernova remnants, include the energy of the explosion, the density of the interstellar medium in the location of the explosion, and the rate at which SNRs occur.

However, in order to measure any of these phenomena, it is first necessary to locate the supernova remnants, and that can be a difficult task. Despite their size, as large as the full moon according to one researcher, they are invisible to the naked eye, and conventional optical telescopes are useless for detecting them as well. SNRs can only be located and measured based on what they put out into the universe, specifically gamma radiation and other emissions.

Special Telescopes Detect Previously Unknown Objects

Used for studying the galaxy for the last 15 years, H.E.S.S. telescopes detect gamma radiation with very high energy, specifically in the range of 1,012 electron volts, also known as the TeV energy range, using the radiation emissions to detect celestial objects inside as well as outside of the galaxy. Researchers often correlate the data to objects studied with conventional telescopes to discover the source of the radiation. If there was no visible object with which to correlate the object, the data relating to TeV gamma radiation was not enough to determine the type of object from which the radiation originated.

Identifying Objects With High Probability

Recent advances delivering detailed data have now allowed researchers to identify three of the unidentified sources of gamma rays as supernova remnants on the basis of TeV data alone. They have not made the identification with absolute certainty, but the probability is high.

These are not the first supernova remnants that scientists have discovered with the H.E.S.S. telescopes, and researchers are now asking why these three went undetected until now. One theory that has scientists particularly excited is that there may be a substantial difference of some kind between the SRNs that the H.E.S.S. telescope has investigated in the past, and that the difference complicated detection and identification. Other possibilities are that gas in the foreground partially obscured them, or that they were indistinguishable from many other objects in the galaxy because of their large extension and position in the Milky Way galaxy.

Determining Distance

Once supernova remnants have been identified, another important step in determining their ages, sizes, evolutionary states and explosion energy is to measure their distance from Earth. In another study, this was accomplished using astronomical spectroscopy, which analyzes electromagnetic radiation emitted and absorbed by different objects in order to determine their distances, yielding new distances for objects that previously had none and laying the groundwork for further study of the SNRs origins, according to an article published online by The Bentham Science Publishers.

The Significance of Supernova Remnants

According to NASA, in addition to triggering the formation of stars, supernova remnants also distribute heavy elements throughout the galaxy. These elements are formed by the explosion of the star, also known as a supernova. SNRs contain these elements and then introduce them into the interstellar medium, altering its chemical makeup, and thereby altering the chemical make-up of any planets or stars that form out of the interstellar medium.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

The Charlotte Dymond Story

Charlotte Dymond

Tragic Tale of Charlotte Dymond

This is a tragic tale of Charlotte Dymond a pretty young servant working on Penhale farm on the outskirts of Bodmin Moor. The farmhouse was located in the midst of Camelford and Davidstow. The farm was owned by an elderly woman and her son. Charlotte together with two other young servants, named John Stevens and Matthew Weeks both in their 20s, lived at the farm.

Weeks had been working on the farm for around seven years. The entire town knew that Charlotte had been dating Matthew much before she had started working at the farm. Matthew though an ordinary looking man having a scar and walked with a limp, seemed to amaze others with his well-dressed clothing.

According to some, Charlotte seemed to be pretty though a flirtatious girl. Thomas Prout the 26 year old nephew of the farm owner, working on several occasions with Weeks also admired Charlotte. It was rumoured that he had intention of taking her away from Weeks. However it was later disclosed that Weeks planned to elope with Charlotte from the farm.

Disappearance of Charlotte from Farm 

The tragedy took place on April 14th 1844. It was a Sunday and most of them had their best outfit. Charlotte had been wearing a green striped dress accompanied by a red shawl. She was last seen with Weeks when they had left the farm together walking towards the moor which did not seem unusual. They had been spotted by an old farmer through the fog and Weeks had been recognised due to his limp. Everyone was of the opinion that Charlotte was with Weeks since they had been seen leaving the farm together.

Later in the evening, Weeks had returned to the farm all alone. When Charlotte did not return for some days, people began noticing her absence. As the days went by suspicion of Charlotte’s disappearance started increasing. Weeks informed the family that Charlotte had a job in Blisland. This was a few miles away from the farmand Charlotte had intention of staying at her friend’s place.

After a period of one weeks of her absence, the household decided to investigate about Charlotte. They checked on the job offer to Blisland and found that she had not been offered any job position. On that same day Weeks had put on his Sunday best and left the farm with no plan of coming back.

Weeks - Suspect

The farmer’s wife on taking Weeks’ clothes for laundering the next day, observed the torn collar, with some buttons missing as well as some spots of blood on his shirt. This gave rise to suspicion that Charlotte had been murdered by Weeks. A week after her disappearance from the farm, a search party was organised to locate her. Her body was later found on the banks of the river Alan in the shadow of Roughtor, which is the second highest point of Cornwall.

It was observed that Charlotte had been killed by an awfully deep cut on her throat from one ear to the other. On examination it was discovered that it had been perhaps due to two cuts. With the body traced and on examination of the injuries, it was evident that the culprit had been Weeks. A warrantwas issued to arrest him and he had gone missing from the scene.

 He was eventually located in Plymouth at his sister’s place, with the intention of disappearing to the Channel Islands. On thorough investigation of his belonging, a pair of lady’s gloves together with blood stained kerchief was found.

Decree – Death by Hanging

The locals were completely shocked with the killing of Charlotte away from the farmand they all demanded for justice. On August 2nd, Weeks underwent trial at Bodmin Assize Court. Bodmin had been the county town during that time and thishad been the reason for the case to receive so much attention. Besides this, the evidence portrayed by the coroner revealed that the wound was not self-inflicted. Weeks on his part pleaded of not being guilty and it took more than half an hour for the jury to pronounce a guilt-ridden decree which was death by hanging.

Letter of Confession 

During the ten days period, till his execution, that Weeks spent his time in Bodmin Gaol, he had received two letters. Being illiterate these letters had been dictated where the first was addressed to his family and the second was a confession. The confession in his letter probably drew the attention that Weeks had been innocent. The confession had been written in such a manner that it seemed far more persuasive one would have expected from an illiterate farm labourer. The following is an extract of his confession-

Extract of Confession 

`I hope young men will take a warning by me and put too much confidence in young women, the same as I did; and I hope young females will take the same by young men. I loved that girl as dear as I loved my life, and after all the kind treatment I have showed her and then she said she would have nothing more to do with me.

And after this was done, then bitterly I did lament, thinking what would be my end. And I thank the judge and jury too, far they have given me no more than was my due’.
The Murder – A Mystery

On August 12, 1844, at 12.noon, Matthew Weeks was executed in front of a huge crowd outside Bodmin Gaol and his body lay buried in the coal yard of the prison. From the account of the event that took place, it seemed obvious that Weeks had been guilty. But there has been plenty of debate over the murder mystery of Charlotte at the farm.

One explanation states that it was a suicide and Charlotte may have been pregnant and in order to avoid the disgrace had slit her throat to end her life away from the farm. In the absence of any other suspects and with the confession, the murder that took place near the farm, of Charlotte still seems to be a mystery.