How Much Might Asteroid 2012 DA14 Be Worth?
One mining company speculates it's in the low nine figures; astronomers think that's a stretch. There's no way to be sure, of course, but its Friday fly-by has both groups thinking about future close encounters.
What's the Latest Development?
Asteroid mining company Deep Space Industries said yesterday in a statement that 2012 DA14, scheduled to pass within less than 18,000 miles of Earth on Friday, could be worth as much as $195 million in water and minerals. However, they stressed that the amount was based on the estimated size of the rock -- 150 feet wide -- and that its true composition was not known for sure. Astronomer Michael Busch says that an infrared spectrum reading of the asteroid revealed "a stony composition, made of iron-magnesium-silicates, and minimal water and accessible metal content." He says the miners are "far too optimistic" about 2012 DA14's value.
What's the Big Idea?
Deep Space is one of two firms that have revealed their mission to mine asteroids for resources that can be used for off-Earth fueling and construction, reducing the cost and effort involved in transporting them from the planet. The company plans to start launching small robotic probes to nearby asteroids in 2015, with actual mining hopefully beginning around 2020. This week, 2012 DA14 will fly on by, but Deep Space chairman Rick Tumlinson says that when other asteroids come near, "we want to be ready when they arrive."
Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com
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It's one of the most consistent patterns in the unviverse. What causes it?
- Spinning discs are everywhere – just look at our solar system, the rings of Saturn, and all the spiral galaxies in the universe.
- Spinning discs are the result of two things: The force of gravity and a phenomenon in physics called the conservation of angular momentum.
- Gravity brings matter together; the closer the matter gets, the more it accelerates – much like an ice skater who spins faster and faster the closer their arms get to their body. Then, this spinning cloud collapses due to up and down and diagonal collisions that cancel each other out until the only motion they have in common is the spin – and voila: A flat disc.
It turns out, that tattoo ink can travel throughout your body and settle in lymph nodes.
In the slightly macabre experiment to find out where tattoo ink travels to in the body, French and German researchers recently used synchrotron X-ray fluorescence in four "inked" human cadavers — as well as one without. The results of their 2017 study? Some of the tattoo ink apparently settled in lymph nodes.
Image from the study.
As the authors explain in the study — they hail from Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility, and the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment — it would have been unethical to test this on live animals since those creatures would not be able to give permission to be tattooed.
Because of the prevalence of tattoos these days, the researchers wanted to find out if the ink could be harmful in some way.
"The increasing prevalence of tattoos provoked safety concerns with respect to particle distribution and effects inside the human body," they write.
It works like this: Since lymph nodes filter lymph, which is the fluid that carries white blood cells throughout the body in an effort to fight infections that are encountered, that is where some of the ink particles collect.
Image by authors of the study.
Titanium dioxide appears to be the thing that travels. It's a white tattoo ink pigment that's mixed with other colors all the time to control shades.
The study's authors will keep working on this in the meantime.
“In future experiments we will also look into the pigment and heavy metal burden of other, more distant internal organs and tissues in order to track any possible bio-distribution of tattoo ink ingredients throughout the body. The outcome of these investigations not only will be helpful in the assessment of the health risks associated with tattooing but also in the judgment of other exposures such as, e.g., the entrance of TiO2 nanoparticles present in cosmetics at the site of damaged skin."
Do you have a magnetic compass in your head?
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