VIEW HEADLINES ONLY

Mars as Anomalous Runt

The Mars rover Spirit is now dead in its tracks, but the planet under it continues to rumble, in theoretical overhauls and anomalies. Mars has been much on the mind of news reporters this week after a new paper speculated that the red planet grew up fast and then stopped as a runt.

Earth Still Privileged Planet

Astronomers have found over a thousand extrasolar planets now. How does our solar system compare? Thanks to the Kepler spacecraft, we now have a catalog of 1,235 alien planet candidates after just four months of operation. Of the 408 that have been found in multiple-planet systems, 170 of these containing two to six planets have been pictured in a “Kepler Orrery” posted by the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. The press release says, “most of those look very different than our solar system”.

Ups & Downs of SETI

The Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence arouses excitement in some, boredom in others.  The SETI Institute has taken lumps recently; due to a $5 million shortfall in funding, they had to mothball a search using the Allen Telescope Array.  But PhysOrg announced that an unspecified group of astronomers will be using the Green Bank Radio Telescope […]

Eye on Io

Jupiter’s volcanic moon Io continues to erupt, its heat flowing into science journals.  Planetary scientists are mapping its surface and devising new ideas about what drives its activity.     A paper in Icarus presented a new global geologic map of Io’s surface.1  The most common feature is plains (65.8%), followed by lava flow fields […]

Science Out of Touch

When science became a profession instead of an avocation, there were some unintended consequences.  Scientists began to lose touch with the public.  When a scientist goes to work doing science for a living, he or she sometimes takes public support for granted, thinking the work is justified for its own sake.  Recent articles, however, warn […]

Saturn’s Titan Is Changing

The giant smog-shrouded moon of Saturn, Titan, is changing – both in situ and in the minds of planetary scientists.  Several news stories show not only dynamic processes in play, but revolutions in what scientists think about the moon and its history.  Readers will need to determine which ideas are solidly based on observational evidence. […]

Spiral Galaxy Upset

In 1964, C. C. Lin and Frank Shu looked at the galaxy’s curvaceous arms and said, “You are my density.”  The density-wave theory of spiral arm formation was married to galactic astronomy for nearly a half century.  Now, however, we are back to the future, where theories do not always fulfill their destiny.  An upstart […]

SETI in Reverse

The SETI Institute has had to close down its search with the Allen Telescope Array (08/12/2010) due to lack of funds.  But while incoming messages might be missed, outgoing messages are still en route.  The Voyager record is approaching interstellar space.     PhysOrg, Live Science and the BBC News all told about the budget […]

Was Einstein Wrong?

Relativity and quantum mechanics are among the weirdest ideas that educated people have taken seriously.  They required suspending belief in the most intuitive concepts we have of time, space, and matter.  But just because they appear to work does not necessarily mean they are true.  In fact, physicists continue to beat on one or the […]

Upsets in Space

Three different astronomy teams have announced findings that upset long-held beliefs.  What does this portend about the confidence we can have in other theories? Galaxy growth: direct challenge:  “Galaxies are thought to develop by the gravitational attraction between and merger of smaller ‘sub-galaxies’, a process that standard cosmological ideas suggest should be ongoing,” announced the […]

Complexity Appears “Earlier than Thought”

Widely-separate branches of science seem to converge on a common puzzle: complexity goes farther back than scientists expected – evolutionary scientists, that is. Cosmology:  More evidence has come that galaxies formed very early.  A mature galaxy detected through gravitational lensing was announced by the Hubble Telescope team, with an estimated redshift of 6.027.  In the […]

Is This What Darwin Had in Mind?

Evolution is a word loosely used in science these days.  Reporters and scientists talk about “the evolution of” this or that sometimes carelessly, without regard to how the explanation fits old Darwinism or neo-Darwinism.  Has the word evolution become a kind of catch-all hypothesis, for which rigor is no longer necessary? Survival of the discreetist:  […]

More Youth on Titan

Hopes that Saturn’s giant moon Titan might have volcanoes just dropped.  A new paper in Icarus1 concludes Titan gets its geology from the outside, not the inside.  If confirmed, it implies all the surface features were created by wind, impacts and weather – not by active geology.  The hopeful cryovolcano announced last year (Sotra Facula, […]

Poison Comets Brought Life to Earth

You don’t drink formaldehyde; you stick dead things in it.  Why on earth would some evolutionists claim that “Poison could have set the stage for the origins of life?”  That’s exactly a headline on Science Daily and PhysOrg, with Live Science chiming in that the poisonous chemical has been “linked” to the origin of life […]

Assuming Reality: Can Crater Dating Be Tested?

Two astronomers in Paris have come up with a new crater chronology for the moon and offered it as a way to date other objects in the inner solar system.  Their paper in Icarus,1 however, assumes so many unobservable things, the reader may wonder if it talks about the true history of the moon or […]
All Posts by Date