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Thread: Cosmos reboot

  1. #1
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    Default Cosmos reboot

    Grateful to whomever it was here who pointed out some time back that there is already a Cosmos reboot, narrated and hosted by Neil DeGrasse Tyson. I persuaded my Wife to watch the first episode last night instead of the usual serial rapist killer cop lawyer fiction series.

    I learned a lot, but the coolest thing, is a near future likelihood. According to the show, there is a plan to accomplish this in the next couple of decades. NASA (or some other agency) has a plan to build a facility in the Atacama Desert (on the western slope of the Andes in Peru, where it is so dry it hasn't rained at all in recorded history!) where the sky is super clear because of the lack of humidity. (Which is why the large millimeter/submillimeter array, the most powerful Earth-based space observatory, is located there.)

    The facility will launch a device that will carry a thousand micro probes, each smaller than a pea, weighing less than a gram, each equipped with a light sail, and more electronics than the original Voyager. When the launch vehicle gets to some near-Earth elevation, the thousand probes will be released.

    Each one is built with a reflector that will act as a light sail, such that a powerful array of lights will project focused beams that will push the tiny objects to twenty percent of the speed of light—in a matter of only minutes!

    The tiny probes are aimed at Proxima Centauri, Earth's nearest neighbor, only four light years away, which has been discovered to include orbiting planets in the habitable zone. At twenty percent of the speed of light, it will take the probes about twenty years to reach the star to begin gathering data about the star and the orbiting planets to transmit back to Earth. The data transmission, travelling via radio waves will then reach Earth in only four years. Round trip for the mission to deliver the probes and return the data is only twenty-four years. The reason for sending a thousand of the tiny probes, is because the light sail is extremely fragile, and even though interstellar space is vastly empty, there are still the occasional solid particles moving at high speed relative to the probes, and the odds of them being hit by one and damaging the probes is relatively high, so sending that many means some at least should make it all the way still operational. I won't be around for it, but my grandkids may get to see the results of the mission.

    The Cosmos reboot is excellent, Tyson is watchable and the script is written by Carl Sagan's widow, Ann Druyan, who wrote the original series. You can almost hear Carl saying, 'billions and billions.'

    And it wasn't just about the future of space exploration, that was near the end of the episode, and the rest was about the evolution of the cosmos, and culminating in how life on Earth began and we eventually evolved. There was some very cool stuff about early civilization (and all the rest of the episode) that I didn't know before. Like the history of the very first proto-cities, where ten thousand people built mud houses cheek by jowl, because the concept of windows and streets hadn't been invented, such that the way to get into your house was to walk across the rooftops of the adjacent dwellings until you got to yours and then descend on a ladder through an opening in the flat roof. And apparently, according to the consensus of anthropologists and archeologists, the population was completely egalitarian, no rulers, no strong-men, no minority of rich guys in charge. Everyone, regardless of size or strength, ate the same things and lived in the same basic structures.

    So a very warm thank you to whomever for the link. I'm jazzed.


  2. #2
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    Default Re: Cosmos reboot

    you're welcome jim
    Simpler is better, except when complicated looks really cool.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Cosmos reboot

    You're welcome. Jim.
    Gerard>
    Albuquerque, NM

    Next election, vote against EVERY Republican, for EVERY office, at EVERY level. Be patriotic, save the country.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Cosmos reboot

    Currently reading Tyson’s latest book, “Starry Messenger”, about taking a more cosmic view of things. He’s a very good explainer.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Cosmos reboot

    Dyson has a brother who is just as smart as he is . .

    but in a sort of different way.


  6. #6
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    Default Re: Cosmos reboot

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Mahan View Post
    The facility will launch a device that will carry a thousand micro probes, each smaller than a pea, weighing less than a gram...begin gathering data about the star and the orbiting planets to transmit back to Earth. The data transmission, travelling via radio waves will then reach Earth in only four years.
    The most distant man-made objects are the Voyager spacecraft and they are about 24 light hours away. Their transmitter has the power of an everyday light bulb, the Voyager dish is 12 feet in diameter, and there is something like one receiver on Earth that is large enough to receive the signal. I'm skeptical.
    "Where you live in the world should not determine whether you live in the world." - Bono

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  7. #7
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    Default Re: Cosmos reboot

    Quote Originally Posted by CWSmith View Post
    The most distant man-made objects are the Voyager spacecraft and they are about 24 light hours away. Their transmitter has the power of an everyday light bulb, the Voyager dish is 12 feet in diameter, and there is something like one receiver on Earth that is large enough to receive the signal. I'm skeptical.
    Stars produce a lot of "noise" for a signal to be extracted from. I am also skeptical.
    Life is complex.

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    Default Re: Cosmos reboot

    And yet we're getting data back from Webb and Hubble, frinstance, that includes seismology and acoustic signals—sound—from the stars in distant galaxies. Read that again; I'm not making it up. Stars with perturbations of their cores send waves across vast interstellar space that our instruments can detect and discern, enough to ascertain things like the physics and chemistry of those distant bodies. Or those guys in the white lab coats are just lying to obtain more funding and all that glory and fame because they're all just in it for the money. Scentists and rock stars. Right?

    BTW, watch the Cosmos episode and listen to Dr Tyson relate the whole point of human curiosity and the scientific method and why imagination and scepticism are equally important. You only have to watch the first five minutes or so to get that much.


  9. #9
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    Default Re: Cosmos reboot

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Mahan View Post
    And yet we're getting data back from Webb and Hubble, frinstance, that includes seismology and acoustic signals—sound—from the stars in distant galaxies. Read that again; I'm not making it up. Stars with perturbations of their cores send waves across vast interstellar space that our instruments can detect and discern, enough to ascertain things like the physics and chemistry of those distant bodies. Or those guys in the white lab coats are just lying to obtain more funding and all that glory and fame because they're all just in it for the money. Scentists and rock stars. Right?

    BTW, watch the Cosmos episode and listen to Dr Tyson relate the whole point of human curiosity and the scientific method and why imagination and scepticism are equally important. You only have to watch the first five minutes or so to get that much.
    The probes weigh 1 gram - 2 peanut M&Ms. You might ask: How does the signal they produce relate to the "noise" we can detect?

    Planets we can detect are really big. Stars are even bigger. If they can do what you claim, they are bigger rock stars than geologists.
    Life is complex.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Cosmos reboot

    Quote Originally Posted by CWSmith View Post
    The most distant man-made objects are the Voyager spacecraft and they are about 24 light hours away. Their transmitter has the power of an everyday light bulb, the Voyager dish is 12 feet in diameter, and there is something like one receiver on Earth that is large enough to receive the signal. I'm skeptical.
    And the Voyagers were launched forty some years ago when a computer with a whole megabyte of memory was state-of-the-art, and the only way to phone home was to have a quarter in your pocket and hope the phone booth hadn't been vandalized by punks who don't believe in science.

    What do you think of NASA's attempt to smack an asteroid to nudge it out of it's orbit, this week: http://npr.org/2022/09/26/1124340144/nasa-dart-shove-asteroid-first-test-planetary-defense?


  11. #11
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    Default Re: Cosmos reboot

    I could probably learn a lot from it, too. But every time I've tried watching any of the educational science shows made for tv they are always so full of filler that I get impatient waiting for the facts and I give up on them.
    There is no rational, logical, or physical description of how free will could exist. It therefore makes no sense to praise or condemn anyone on the grounds they are a free willed self that made one choice but could have chosen something else. There is no evidence that such a situation is possible in our Universe. Demonstrate otherwise and I will be thrilled.

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