The Thirty Minute Blogger

Exploring Books and the Writer's Life, Faith and Works, Culture and Pop Culture, Space Science and Science Fiction, Technology and Nostalgia, Parenting and Childhood, Health: Physical and Emotional ... All Under the Iron Hands of the Clock and That 30 Minute Deadline

Friday, August 30, 2013

We May Be Martians and Other Unusual Science Stories from Flipboard: 5 Minute Response

The Flipboard App, that colorful, high tech, self-selected multi-subject tablet magazine available from the Apple Store and Google play, provided a number of startling short articles under the Space heading. Here's the 5 minute rundown.

  • We're Martians! So speculates Steve Benner, molecular biochemist and biophysicist from the Foundation for Applied Molecular Evolution at the Goldschmidt conference. The short, short version is that early Mars was drier and better supported one of the early elements necessary for life. Here on Earth with more water, we end up with tar instead of life. Life gets blasted off Mars's surface in meteors and arrives on Earth and finds things friendly enough to continue while Mars dries out. Is that why we look to the skies at night and feel lonely ... and want to get back to Mars so badly. ET phone home???
  • Space X will experiment with their new Falcon 9 1.1 rocket, which is more powerful AND begins their strides towards a fully reusable rocket. It'll slow itself down after delivering a Canadian satellite and bring itself down to a soft, reusable landing in the Pacific Ocean. First step toward their Grasshopper experiment where all parts land back on a landing pad on pillars of fire. 
  • LADEE satellite heading to the Moon to seek a very thin Moon atmosphere evidenced by astronauts back in the 1960s and 1970s who say streaks as the sun sets, suggesting something in the void other than vacuum. Further, it will have a wonderful high tech laser system on board that will download huge amounts of data on beams of light. If this system succeeds, it will lead to astronauts floating in comfy ships over planets to explore while they search out the surface with sturdy, robotic avatars using telepresence guided by those laser beams! 
  • New Horizons robot probe headed for Pluto (yeah, it's still going and will arrive in 2015) has photographed her largest moon while still a couple years out. It's a good sign for the big flyby of 2015. 
  • Voyager 1 may or may not have yet reached the far edge of the solar system. 
  • We lost a great man with the death of Neil Armstrong, our first man to step on the Moon. RIP Neil. Thanks for the wonderful adventure! 
Check it out. There's a lot more ... and life just keeps getting stranger!!!

That's the 5 minute response!

For more unusual news, see:, and

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