A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘moon

[BLOG] Some Tuesday links

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  • blogTO notes a new union for Toronto freelancers.
  • Dangerous Minds notes a Chinese ban on live streams of women eating bananas seductively.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze notes a paper purporting to provide ways for telescopes to distinguish between exo-Venuses and exo-Earths.
  • The Dragon’s Tales links to a study modelling the collision between Theia and the proto-Earth that created the moon.
  • Language Log notes Chinese colloquialisms.
  • The LRB Blog reflects on the environmental and political implications of the Fort McMurray fire.
  • Marginal Revolution recommends postponing tourism to some exotic destinations until they build up the needed infrastructure.
  • The NYRB Daily introduces readers to the Weimar-era novel Grand Hotel.
  • I disagree with Peter Watts’ argument that things need to get worse before they get better.
  • North!’s Justin Petrone reflects on his experience of the esoteric in Estonia.
  • Window on Eurasia notes the importance of the Soviet victory in the Second World War as a way of justifying Russian hegemony.

[BLOG] Some Sunday links

  • blogTO notes the continued delays with Bombardier’s streetcar deliveries to the TTC, looks at the expansion of WiFi to Toronto stations, and has hope for independent bookstores.
  • The Crux notes a proposal to make the Moon a solar energy power centre for the Earth.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze notes Venus analog Gliese 832d and observes the mass of material in orbit of WD 1145+017.
  • The Dragon’s Tales studies the atmosphere of Pluto.
  • At The Fifteenth, Steve Roby reviews one book on Blondie’s Parallel Lines and another on an in-universe Alien book.
  • The LRB Blog mourns Prince and reflects on the Swedish take on Brexit.
  • The Map Room Blog maps immigrants in France.
  • Towleroad shares the new Roísin Murphy single “Mastermind.”
  • Window on Eurasia notes the transition of Russian to a polycentric language.

[BLOG] Some science links

  • Centauri Dreams looks at the nascent planets of HL Tauri, notes the water ice mountains of Titan, and notes the implications of red dwarfs for SETI searches.
  • Discover‘s The Crux looks at the moving frontiers of nuclear fusion research.
  • D-Brief suggests the Moon has a critical influence on Earth’s magnetic field and notes a new effort to track down the Wow signal in two of our solar system’s comets.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze notes that 55 Cancri e is likely a lava world and looks at starless planet PSO J318.5338−22.8603.
  • The Dragon’s Tales studies the magic islands of Titan’s Ligeia Mare and notes that world’s ethane cycle.
  • The Map Room Blog shares new maps of Switzerland and a gravity map of Mars.
  • The Planetary Society Blog’s Emily Lakdawalla reports on Ceres, while elsewhere the massive cuts to the Russian space budget are explored.

[BLOG] Some Friday links

  • Centauri Dreams notes that the early Earth’s magnetic field could protect it from a violent young sun.
  • D-Brief notes some British storks have abandoned seasonal migration in order to stay year-round at landfills.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze looks at the WASP 94AB binary, a system with two stars each with a hot Jupiter.
  • The Dragon’s Tales reports Russia has slashed its space program’s budget by 30%.
  • Marginal Revolution suggests poor Americans could benefit from being more open to moving around.
  • The NYR Daily is not optimistic about the 2016 American presidential election.
  • Strange Maps divides the world into zones defined by income.
  • Torontoist looks at Ireland Park, built to commemorate the Famine refugees.
  • Transit Toronto notes that today, the 18th of March, is Transit Driver Appreciation Day.
  • The Financial Times‘ The World wonders what would happen if Russia cut natural gas supplies to the European Union.
  • Arnold Zwicky shares an amusing St. Patrick’s Day cartoon.

[BLOG] Some Thursday links

  • Dangerous Minds notes a petition to make Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs” the American national anthem.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze looks at a study looking for exoplanets in the galactic bulge.
  • The Dragon’s Tales notes a study suggesting that the very early Earth and the impactor which created the Moon were both water-rich.
  • The Everyday Sociology Blog looks at the fragility of gender.
  • The Honourary Canadian notes the terrible ABC translation of Justin Trudeau’s French.
  • Language Log considers ancient Chinese.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money argues that Hillary Clinton is bad for the labour that supports her.
  • The LRB Blog notes a Syrian refugee held in an Istanbul airport in terrible conditions.
  • The Map Room Blog notes a Super Mario Brothers-style map of the Ottawa light rail network.
  • Marginal Revolution notes that support for women boosts fertility.
  • Peter Rukavina looks at news articles revealing the life of an Island man going through divorce.
  • The Russian Demographics Blog noted the recent mass emigration from Ukraine.
  • Towleroad reports on Samantha Bee’s attempt to interview Donald Trump supporters.
  • The Volokh Conspiracy argues in favour of open borders.

[LINK] On the first harvests from simulated lunar and Martian soil

The Dragon’s Tales linked/u> to this Universe Today article noting progress to date.in simulated space agriculture.

We’re a long ways away from colonizing another planet—depending on who you talk to—but it’s not too soon to start understanding how we might do it when the time comes. Growing enough food will be one of the primary concerns for any future settlers of Mars. With that in mind, researchers at the Wageningen University and Research Centre in the Netherlands have created simulated Martian soil and used it to grow food crops.

This is actually the second experiment the team has performed with simulated soil, and the results were promising. The team harvested not only tomatoes and peas, but also rye, garden rocket, radish, and watercress. But it’s not just the edibles that were promising, it was the overall ability of the simulated soil to produce biomass in general. According to the researchers, the soil produced biomass equal to that produced by Earth soil, which was used as a control.

The team also grew crops in simulated Moon soil, to understand how that soil performed, but it produced much less biomass, and only the humble spinach was able to grow in it. The simulated Martian and Lunar soils were provided by NASA. The Martian soil came from a Hawaiian volcano, and the Lunar soil came from a desert in Arizona.

The soil used was not exactly the same as the soil you would scoop up if you were on the Moon or Mars. It was amended with organic matter in the form of manure and fresh cut grass. While this may sound like a ‘cheat’, it’s no different than how gardens are grown on Earth, with gardeners using manure, compost, grass clippings, leaves, and even seaweed to provide organic matter.

Of course, none of these soil amendments will be available on the Moon or Mars, and we won’t be sending a supply ship full of manure. Colonists will have to make use of all of the inedible parts of their crops—and human feces—to provide the organic material necessary for plant growth. It’ll be a closed system, after all.

Written by Randy McDonald

March 11, 2016 at 8:45 pm

[LINK] “ESA Planning To Build An International Village… On The Moon!”

Universe Today’s Matt Williams explores the European Space Agency’s interest in building an outpost on the Moon.

With all the talk about manned missions to Mars by the 2030s, its easy to overlook another major proposal for the next great leap. In recent years, the European Space Agency has been quite vocal about its plan to go back to the Moon by the 2020s. More importantly, they have spoken often about their plans to construct a moon base, one which would serve as a staging platform for future missions to Mars and beyond.

These plans were detailed at a recent international symposium that took place on Dec. 15th at the the European Space Research and Technology Center in Noordwijk, Netherlands. During the symposium, which was titled “Moon 2020-2030 – A New Era of Coordinated Human and Robotic Exploration”, the new Director General of the ESA – Jan Woerner – articulated his agency’s vision.

[. . .]

In the past, Woerner has expressed his interest in a base on the Moon that would act as a sort of successor to the International Space Station. Looking ahead, he envisions how an international community would live and perform research in this environment, which would be constructed using robotic workers, 3D printing techniques, and in-situ resources utilization.

The construction of such a base would also offer opportunities to leverage new technologies and forge lucrative partnerships between federal space agencies and private companies. Already, the ESA has collaborated with the architectural design firm Foster + Partners to come up with the plan for their lunar village, and other private companies have also been recruited to help investigate other aspects of building it.

Going forward, the plan calls for a series of manned missions to the Moon beginning in the 2020s, which would involve robot workers paving the way for human explorers to land later. These robots would likely be controlled through telepresence, and would combine lunar regolith with magnesium oxide and a binding salt to print out the shield walls of the habitat.

Written by Randy McDonald

March 3, 2016 at 5:39 pm


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