How Scientists Will Use the Transit of Venus to Find Alien Worlds
By measuring the planet's atmosphere as light from the sun refracted against it, scientists will be better equipped to find and analyze the composition of planets outside our solar system.
What's the Latest Development?
For the National Solar Observatory, yesterday's transit of Venus was an opportunity to do cutting edge science that will help in finding and analyzing alien worlds. Telescopes in Arizona, New Mexico, California, Hawaii, Australia and India took measurements of the planet's thick, carbon-dioxide-rich atmosphere as light refracted against it. "Because the composition of Venus' air is relatively well known, such observations should provide a benchmark for studying details of exoplanet atmospheres during transits." Astronomers can use transits to detect foreign planets because they cause a dip in the brightness of their parent star.
What's the Big Idea?
The transit of Venus, which occurs in pairs separated by more than a century, has been used by scientists to study the day's important astronomical questions. "For example, scientists mounted huge expeditions to view the 18th century's two transits, which occurred in 1761 and 1769. The goal was to time the transit precisely from many different points around the globe, then calculate the Earth-sun distance using the principles of parallax. With this information in hand, the scale of the entire solar system would follow." While those expeditions failed, scientists got the data they wanted in the transits of 1874 and 1882.
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Could this be the long-awaited solution to economic inequality?
Under capitalism, the argument goes, it's every man for himself. Through the relentless pursuit of self-interest, everyone benefits, as if an invisible hand were guiding each of us toward the common good. Everyone should accordingly try to get as much as they can, not only for their goods but also for their labour. Whatever the market price is is, in turn, what the buyer should pay. Just like the idea that there should be a minimum wage, the idea that there should be a maximum wage seems to undermine the very freedom that the free market is supposed to guarantee.
Humans evolved to live in the cold through a number of environmental and genetic factors.
- According to some relatively new research, many of our early human cousins preceded Homo sapien migrations north by hundreds of thousands or even millions of years.
- Cross-breeding with other ancient hominids gave some subsets of human population the genes to contend and thrive in colder and harsher climates.
- Behavioral and dietary changes also helped humans adapt to cold climates.
It's unlikely that there's anything on the planet that is worth the cost of shipping it back
- In the second season of National Geographic Channel's MARS (premiering tonight, 11/12/18,) privatized miners on the red planet clash with a colony of international scientists
- Privatized mining on both Mars and the Moon is likely to occur in the next century
- The cost of returning mined materials from Space to the Earth will probably be too high to create a self-sustaining industry, but the resources may have other uses at their origin points
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