Space and The wonders/mysteries of The Universe

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Post by chris63 Sat Feb 20, 2021 1:11 am

I can't believe that 7 months ago they launch a rocket and say it will land on Mars on such a date and at this time and they get it right to the second. Unbelievable! Only traveled 207.34km. You would have thought it would of lost a few minutes here and there if it ran into a head wind or the lights had turned red or something?

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Post by halfwise Sat Feb 20, 2021 2:01 am

I think if they don't tune everything to the preset schedule they have to massively recalculate everything, which doesn't work so well with a 9 minute transmission delay. So in the acceleration and deceleration burns they carefully tweak things until it fits. Not total precision from the moment of liftoff.

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Post by Lancebloke Mon Feb 22, 2021 12:59 pm

Pettytyrant101 wrote:{{ I find it hard to get excited now I know that they delibretely dont go where the interesting stuff might be for fear of contamination- almost every Mars misison therefore is almost guaranteed to find nothing much more than same old rocks weve seen every other time. Im just not much more impressed by looking at a rock thats from 2 million miles away than I am going for a walk and picking up a rock thats 2 million years old. In fact Im more impressed by something exisiting for that long than I am impressed by something just being very far away.
Now if NASA were to go to a location where there was a high probability of life having existed, and where it might still in microbes or something- thats interesting. This just seems like another 'well theres a one in a million chance we might find signs of life as we're deliberetly looking in the wrong place.' }}

I thought the whole point of this one was to find signs of life... that is why they have chosen the ancient lake bed and river delta system where certain elements have been mapped that equates to where life is commonly found here.

Am I missing something?
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Post by chris63 Tue Feb 23, 2021 3:18 am

Great footage of the landing.


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Post by halfwise Thu Feb 25, 2021 10:51 pm

I remember Az had posted a shot of what it would look like if the moon were the size of saturn (can't find it now), and I thought it looked small.  The shot here looks better to me, but I realized looking out my window that the moon does look awfully small when away from the horizon, and that previous shot had saturn away from the horizon.  So maybe so.

https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2013/06/what-the-night-sky-would-look-like-if-the-other-planets-were-as-close-as-the-moon/277247/

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Post by Pettytyrant101 Thu Mar 18, 2021 7:08 pm

{{ Halfy- got a question for you. Is there a thread for quesitons only idiots need to ask? (Thats not the question by the way) Because this really belongs in such a thread I know.

If I had two markers, say 4 metres apart, and say a sand or water clock to measure time with, what can I find out about an object if I can follow its movement between one pillar and the other? }}

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Post by halfwise Thu Mar 18, 2021 8:28 pm

Um....speed?

If you're talking about free projectile type motion, then sand or water clocks would be fairly inadequate to get dynamical variables like acceleration.  This is why Galileo slid things down a long ramp to slow things down, then extrapolated what would happen if straight up and down.  He had success because he was measuring a constant acceleration, but if acceleration is changing you need more advanced instrumentation.  

The reason you want acceleration is to relate it to force, which may indeed change with the properties of your object.  Larger mass/surface area ratio would tell you something about air resistance, for example.

There's some confusion here if balls are being rolled because kinetic energy goes into rotation motion as well as translational motion.  But if not rolling then friction looms large.  There's a reason why everyone accepted Aristotelian physics for nearly 2 millenia, even though we can point out obvious problems with it from simple observation. Pulling numbers out of observations is hard! That's why math was used in astronomy first: everything happens on the order of days as opposed to seconds.

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Post by Pettytyrant101 Thu Mar 18, 2021 11:28 pm

{{ What I was trying to envsion was say you were standing in the middle of stone circle and looking at the sky bewteen two of the stones. You could observe the movement of say a planet across the space between them over however much time it took, and if you had a means or recording how long it took to happen, what else could you work out about the object? }}

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Post by halfwise Fri Mar 19, 2021 12:19 am

What you are actually measuring is angular change per time. Since distance = radius x angle, this is equivalent to speed, but objects that are further away are travelling a longer distance across the same angle, so are moving faster if doing it in the same amount of time.

BUT we are on a rotating earth, so everything has this built-in angular speed, or I should say velocity because it depends on what direction you are looking. So all that I say above depends on you subtracting out this fixed angular velocity, which is not as hard as it sounds because the stars are so far away that even though they may be moving very fast, they are covering such small angles that you can treat them as fixed points in the rotating sky. So all you have to do is see how objects are moving relative to the stars. Your fixed obelix ends up not being all that useful except to help mark where the earth is in its complex self rotation plus orbit around the sun.

But let's go back to that planet you are observing. From how long it takes to cross a particular part of the star field (best measured in days rather than hours) you can figure out how much time the total orbit will take (though it's more complicated because the earth keeps changing position making the planet sometimes appear to be moving in retrograde). Once you have the orbital period figured out, you can figure out it's distance from the sun relative to the earth's distance to the sun.

Figuring out the earth's distance from the sun is no easy feat, but Aristarchus of Samos figured out a method, and though he was off by a factor of 60 his reasoning was totally valid, it was the measurements to a fraction of a degree that were off.

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Post by Mrs Figg Tue Mar 23, 2021 2:31 pm

https://www.theguardian.com/science/2021/mar/23/large-hadron-collider-scientists-particle-physics


Shocked new physics yikes!
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Post by halfwise Tue Mar 23, 2021 2:48 pm

Yeah, just saw that - it's very exciting!  Will probably take a couple decades to sort out, at least.

though the 'standard' physics isn't making sense to me either right now. They are claiming a B meson (which contains quarks from the first and third family) should decay into electrons and muons - but muons are associated with the second family of quarks. So either the B meson statement is wrong or I have no idea how this is supposed to work.

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Post by halfwise Sat Apr 17, 2021 3:33 pm

Update on the Mars rover, things be moving slow.

https://www.yahoo.com/nasa-mars-flight-test-030634860.html


Last edited by halfwise on Sat Apr 17, 2021 9:01 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Post by Pettytyrant101 Sat Apr 17, 2021 8:20 pm

{{ Sadly that link just takes me to the Yahoo main news page not any particular news story. }}

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Post by halfwise Sat Apr 17, 2021 9:05 pm

Hmm - does the same thing to me. I looked back in my history to see if I didn't copy the whole thing, but it disappeared from there too. Link must have broken somehow.

All it's saying is that in the past two weeks the rover dropped off the helicopter, backed away, and did a slow rotation test of the propellers. A high rotation test is scheduled for next week.

Seems like anything they do has to go through six committee meetings before it's put on the schedule. Which way to navigate around a basketball sized rock, etc.

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Post by Pettytyrant101 Sat Apr 17, 2021 9:08 pm

{{ This is one of those areas Terry Pratchett got it spot on with his comparison between the wizards and any goup of super smart specicialist academics. Put them in a room together to sovle a problem and you can be gauranteed bickering, disagreements and a thousand contradictory reasons to do or not do something, but very rarely an actual decision or action taken. }}

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Post by halfwise Sat Apr 17, 2021 9:50 pm

They can't do anything in real time and they don't want to get stuck. But it seems they might have done better if they programming some simple intelligence into it. When you send a dog to chase a ball, it will dither around, sniff a rock that needs sniffing, perform a simple search pattern and eventually find the ball. Piddle on the way back. It's just doing things dogs know how to do, it doesn't need to be micromanaged.

But they've got limited power and a very expensive dog. I suppose careful planning makes sense.

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Post by halfwise Mon Apr 19, 2021 2:13 pm

So they flew the helicopter this morning.  Too data intensive to send video from Mars, so what you have is the control crew reacting to images and telemetry data.  What strikes me about this is how young the crew is: I don't see a face that looks older than 35.  I can see how the helicopter was seen as a non-essential training mission for young engineers.  Look how excited they are!  Cute.


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Post by Mrs Figg Tue Apr 20, 2021 12:04 am

er...so I just watched a TV programme which said the Universe is infinite and there are infinite bubbles of other infinite Universes which bump into ours. The only reason my mind isn't blown, is because it refuses to contemplate anything so freaking impossible.

Shocked
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Post by Lancebloke Tue Apr 20, 2021 10:45 am

Well, take that with a grain of salt Figgy. Nobody actually knows and there are competing theories of what goes outside of our version if space-time as there isn't a current way to actuallt explore that.

I think a harder theories to contemplate are an infinite universe that takes different forms as circumstance allows and the other that outside of our universe time operates differently and may not exist... so "before" the universe doesn't really make sense as time stared when the universe started.
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Post by Lancebloke Tue Apr 20, 2021 10:48 am

On a separate note, I got my telescope out for the first time in over a year this week. 

Hoping to have some more interesting deep sky images to show you over the next couple of weeks.
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Post by halfwise Tue Apr 20, 2021 12:14 pm

Looking forward to those, Lance.

Figgy - I agree with Lance about taking such statements with a good dose of salt.  Reporters tend to take anything that looks interesting that happens to be published anywhere and file it under "scientists say" instead of "there are some untested theories out there that speculate".

The "infinite universe" is already debatable.  The other bubble universes even more so.

https://phys.org/news/2015-03-universe-finite-infinite.html

https://www.forbes.com/sites/startswithabang/2017/10/14/ask-ethan-is-the-universe-finite-or-infinite/

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Post by Mrs Figg Tue Apr 20, 2021 12:35 pm

But in a way if the Universe is finite, that is equally as weird because what is beyond the Universe? and if there is nothing and no time, how did the Big Bang happen with 'nothing' ?

That's almost as impossible to contemplate. Shocked
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Post by halfwise Tue Apr 20, 2021 1:00 pm

Speaking of which:

Mrs Figg wrote:https://www.theguardian.com/science/2021/mar/23/large-hadron-collider-scientists-particle-physics

Shocked new physics yikes!

I think this is the best explanation I've seen of why it may NOT be new physics, but calculational disagreement.

https://medium.com/starts-with-a-bang/why-you-should-doubt-new-physics-from-the-latest-muon-g-2-results-fda1ffc159e6

to summarize: Experiments are measuring something called the magnetic moment of the muon.  Exactly what that is doesn't matter, but it needs to be compared to an extremely difficult theoretical calculation.  Parts of this calculation are so difficult that traditionally people borrow parts of it from experimental measurements made of electrons: essentially "why should we calculate this hard part when we already measured it somewhere else?".   This blended experimental/theory calculation does not agree with the new measurements.

But some theoretical physicists have done the entire calculation using supercomputers, and came up with an answer that matched the new experiment.  They claim the old way of doing the calculation was flawed because the experimental measurement of the electron can not be used for the muon. (I've read elsewhere that this is related to treating the electron as a point particle, but this doesn't work for the much larger muon).  Until the discrepancies between the two ways of doing the calculation are hammered out it's premature to declare new physics.

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Post by Lancebloke Wed Apr 21, 2021 10:08 am

Mrs Figg wrote:But in a way if the Universe is finite, that is equally as weird because what is beyond the Universe? and if there is nothing and no time, how did the Big Bang happen with 'nothing' ?

That's almost as impossible to contemplate. Shocked


We are currently constrained by the Universe we are in so it is very hard to understand what could be beyond, before, after our current iteration.

Even the universal constants that underpin the physics of the universe (see the fine tuning argument for god) are not things we understand could be different or what would happen should they change.

Is a universe of some kind necessary? Is it possible to have a true "nothing" or is that impossible? If it is impossible, how did it exist in the first place? 

Wonder if we will ever understand it all....?
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Post by Mrs Figg Wed Apr 21, 2021 12:44 pm

But can the thing before the Big Bang have always been there, and what created the thing before the BB, is it possible that it is immortal and had always existed before the BB, it was 'nothing' and then from nothing came the atom which created the BB, but what created the atom if there was nothing. can nothing exist? I think its all about consciousness, if you have that these things matter, if you are a rock or the wind, it doesn't. It is only humans who need answers, but what if there aren't any answers.
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