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(CNN) Planets, like people, go through phases. We try new things.
And right now, astronomers are watching Saturn, our gassy neighbor in the sky, give one of its poles a seasonal makeover.
Its hexagon cloud-like barrier, that once posed for NASA pictures as blue, is appearing in Cassini spacecraft photos a shade of sunshine gold.
And, of course, these types of changes intrigue academics for reasons complex and esoteric.
"Scientists are investigating potential causes for the change in color of the region inside the north-polar hexagon on Saturn," NASA reported.
"The color change is thought to be an effect of Saturn's seasons," the US space agency said.
This change is complicated.
But here's what's up, literally:
Saturn has four seasons. They last about seven Earth years.
The planet has photochemical haze, or particles in its atmosphere.
Between November 1995 and August 2009, Saturn underwent a "winter polar darkness," according to Hampton University Assistant Professor Kunio Sayanagi.
Saturn a few years back, when there was a lot less action going on.
What does this do?
Well, the northern cloud-like barrier, which scientists call a six-sided jet stream, is affected.
During the winter, particles are not produced. There's no sunshine.
They can't reach the hexagonic jet stream. And the jet stream itself blocks them.
It goes blue.
"The hexagon jet acts as a barrier and when when there is nothing produced inside, the atmosphere clears up and the inside looks blue," Sayanagi explained.
Summer is slowly approaching (May 2017) for the ringed sixth planet.
Inside the jet stream, particles are building up.
It's turning gold.
The folks at NASA say, "Since the planet experienced equinox in August 2009, the polar atmosphere has been basking in continuous sunshine, and aerosols are being produced inside of the hexagon, around the north pole, making the polar atmosphere appear hazy ... "
In other words, Saturn's getting a tan.
CNN's Sophie Lewis contributed to this report.
Scientists cooking up test with potato pros in Peru; 65 varieties, red desert dirt
NASA says the Pampas de La Joya Desert in southern Peru has soil conditions like Mars. PHOTO: RYAN DUBE/THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
PAMPAS DE LA JOYA, Peru—As humans prepare to blast off to Mars, there is still the question of what they’ll eat once they colonize the red planet. Scientists who have traveled here to the Peruvian desert say they have the answer. Potatoes.
Researchers at the Lima-based International Potato Center and scientists at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration are studying which type of potato could be best suited for extraterrestrial farming to support a human settlement on Mars. If everything goes as planned, the Martian colonies could be munching on french fries, chips and mashed potatoes one day.
“It’s got to be a Martian potato that tastes good,” Julio Valdivia-Silva,a Peruvian astrobiologist with NASA, said while surveying the reddish-brown desert on a trip to collect soil. “It’s a big challenge to take a living organism somewhere else. We’ve never done this before.”
The idea is literally science fiction, included in the Hollywood blockbuster “The Martian,” where Matt Damon played a stranded astronaut and botanist who plants potatoes to survive on Mars. It’s also not so far-fetched.
Mars One, a Dutch nonprofit foundation, plans to send individuals to the planet in about 10 years on a one-way trip to establish a permanent colony. Inventor Elon Musk says his spacecraft company, SpaceX, also hopes to send humans within a decade but warned during a startup conference in Hong Kong in January that it would be “hard and dangerous and difficult in every way you can imagine.”
NASA, which landed the Curiosity rover on Mars in 2012 and found last year that water flows there, has recently announced plans to land astronauts.
That will be when the potato comes in handy.
“When humans go to Mars, they will want to grow things. They’ll need food,” said Chris McKay, a planetary scientist at NASA’s Ames Research Center in California and participant in the potato study. “I think we’ll be able to find varieties of potatoes that will grow at cold and low-pressure conditions. That would be interesting to know for Mars applications.”
The potato is a major global crop thanks to its ability to adapt to a variety of climates and its abundance of carbohydrates, as well as protein, vitamin C, iron and zinc. Peru, birthplace of the humble tuber, is home to over 4,500 varieties, more than anywhere else, according to the International Potato Center. Potatoes here also have another advantage: They’re not just for eating.
Reddish, purple and yellow spuds are used as dyes. Potatoes can be used as a battery. In Peru’s rural highlands, a lumpy potato called “the weeping bride” is given by the groom’s mother to the bride-to-be to test how good a wife she will be (it all depends on how neatly she peels the hard-to-peel spud).
In ‘The Martian,’ Matt Damon played a stranded astronaut trying to grow potatoes on Mars. PHOTO: 20THCENTFOX/EVERETT COLLECTION
Peru is good for the experiment because of the Pampas de La Joya Desert, one of the driest spots on Earth, which receives about a millimeter of precipitation a year. It is part of South America’s vast Atacama Desert that has long been studied by NASA for its Mars-like conditions, in particular its dirt.
For the potato study, scientists selected 65 varieties of spuds known to be the most resilient.
The first step will be to plant the tubers in over 1,300 pounds of soil transported from this desert to Lima. If they grow successfully, the potatoes will then be planted in a simulator that factors in the atmospheric conditions on Mars.
Walter Amoros, a Peruvian scientist at the International Potato Center, said he thinks half of the potatoes will grow in the desert soil, but only about 10 will yield a good-sized tuber. The flavor could change under the stress, he warned, which is common on Earth when potatoes are exposed to severe drought and high temperatures. That sometimes makes them so bitter they are inedible.
On Mars, the temperature averages minus 84 degrees Fahrenheit, with lows of minus 284 degrees, according to NASA. It has high levels of radiation and over 60% less gravity than Earth. Its atmosphere has 96% carbon dioxide, with only a tiny amount of oxygen. Then there are the dust storms and salty water.
Mars and Peru. The landscape is very similar.PHOTOS: NASA, RYAN DUBE/THE WALL STREET JOURNAL;
The potatoes “are going to pass through an acid test. I’ve done tests under stressful conditions, but never so stressful,” Mr. Amoros said. “I don’t think they’ll grow in the open air [on Mars]. They will have to plant them under controlled conditions, in domes.”
Early space travelers relied on paste-like food squeezed from aluminum tubes. Today, astronauts have a more appetizing menu: chicken, beef and even salmon jerky. Salt and pepper are provided in liquid form, to prevent them from floating away. There is coffee, orange juice and lemonade, consumed through straws.
NASA’s plant studies are currently focused on leafy greens like lettuce, which has been grown in small plant chambers on the international space station. They also plan to study Chinese cabbage and dwarf tomatoes. While less nutritious than potatoes, researchers hope the greens will be able to complement astronauts’ diet during space flights.
Scientists say growing food—should humans colonize Mars—would reduce costs and mitigate risks of transporting food by shuttle.
“If something goes wrong, if you can produce some of your own food in situ, then you have that as a means to sustain yourself,” saidRaymond Wheeler, a plant physiologist at NASA.
Until cultivating begins, scientists foresee transporting potatoes to Mars in refrigerated tubes. They could be planted by machines in a controlled environment before humans arrive. If Martian soil proves to be too hostile, there are options of growing them without soil by hydroponics and aeroponics, which deliver nutrients in water and air, respectively.
They will still need fertilizer, which scientists say could be resolved on Mars by recycling nutrients from urine and inedible plant parts.
“This will be important for achieving sustainable-type systems,” Mr. Wheeler said, “regardless of the approach.”
Abel Yapo, a student volunteer who helped dig up the desert soil, said he hopes one day to eat potatoes on Mars. “It would be a dream,” he said. “With my potatoes from the results we get here.”
Oh, thank you so much! Then, what's the meaning of this word I've just invented? Perhaps something bad? I hope not! So, please, help me to correct this mistake. By the way, as I'm a newcomer to this forum, I think al made other errors, because in spite I was trying to put two question in the general questions folder, it seems that I put them under "Controversial Posts", and in spite I've been trying I have not succeeded The two posts were:
How many letters did Paul write to the Corinthians? and
while the fireworks exploded around them Thanks again! Do not doubt that I appreciate your help.
QUESTIONS FROM READERS When were God’s people held captive by Babylon the Great? That spiritual captivity lasted from the second century C.E. to 1919. Why is this adjusted view warranted? All the evidence indicates that this captivity ended in 1919 when anointed Christians were gathered into the restored congregation. Consider: God’s people were tested and refined during the years following the establishment of God’s Kingdom in the heavens in 1914.*(Mal. 3:1-4) Then, in 1919, Jesus appointed “the faithful and discreet slave” over God’s cleansed people to give them spiritual “food at the proper time.” (Matt. 24:45-47) This was the year that God’s people started to return to their God-given spiritual estate. It was also the time when they were released from symbolic captivity to Babylon the Great. (Rev. 18:4) But when did that captivity actually begin? For a number of years, we explained that this captivity began in 1918 and involved a brief period of time when God’s people came under the control of Babylon the Great. For example, The Watchtower of March 15, 1992, stated: “Yet, as God’s ancient people were taken into Babylonian captivity for a time, in 1918 Jehovah’s servants came into a measure of bondage to Babylon the Great.” However, further research has shown that this captivity began much earlier than 1918. For example, let us consider one of the prophecies that foretold this captivity and release of God’s people. It is recorded at Ezekiel 37:1-14. In a vision, Ezekiel sees a valley filled with bones. Jehovah explains to Ezekiel that these bones represent “the whole house of Israel.” In its larger fulfillment, this restoration prophecy applies to “the Israel of God.” (Gal. 6:16; Acts 3:21) Next, Ezekiel sees the bones come to life and become a large army. What a fitting way to describe the spiritual resurrection of God’s people that culminated in the events of 1919! But what does this vision reveal to us concerning the length of time involved? First, we note that the bones are described as either “dry” or “very dry.” (Ezek. 37:2, 11) This indicates that those to whom the bones belonged had been dead for a very long time. Second, the restoration is described as a gradual process, not something that happens suddenly. Initially, there was a noise, a rattling sound, and “the bones began to come together, bone to bone.” Then, “sinews and flesh” were added. Next, the bones, sinews, and flesh were covered with skin. Eventually, “breath came into them, and they began to live.” Finally, Jehovah settled the revived people on their land. All of this would take time.—Ezek. 37:7-10, 14. The captivity of the ancient nation of Israel lasted a long time. It began in 740 B.C.E. with the fall and exile of many from the ten-tribe northern kingdom. Then, in 607 B.C.E., Jerusalem was destroyed and people of the southern kingdom of Judah were also taken into exile. This period of captivity ended in 537 B.C.E. when a remnant of the Jews returned to rebuild the temple and reestablished pure worship in Jerusalem. With these Scriptural details in mind, it becomes clear that the captivity of God’s people to Babylon the Great must have been much longer than the events of 1918-1919. The captivity parallels the time when the symbolic weeds would grow together with the wheatlike “sons of the Kingdom.” (Matt. 13:36-43) That growing season refers to the period during which genuine Christians were greatly outnumbered by apostates. The Christian congregation, in effect, was held captive by Babylon the Great. That captivity began sometime in the second century C.E. and continued until the cleansing of the spiritual temple in the time of the end.—Acts 20:29, 30; 2 Thess. 2:3, 6; 1 John 2:18, 19. During that extended period of spiritual captivity, the clergy and their political associates, who were desirous of maintaining their power, kept the Word of God from the people under their control. At times, it was a crime to read the Bible in a common language. Some people who did so were even burned at the stake. Any who expressed an opinion contrary to what the clergy taught were dealt with harshly, thus stifling any attempts to spread the light of the truth. What about the second development, the restoration? When and how did that occur? This spiritual restoration work was a gradual process. It was accompanied by “a rattling sound” during the centuries leading up to the time of the end. Although false religious teachings held sway for the most part, some faithful individuals stood up in behalf of true worship to the extent that they were able to do so. Some of them endeavored to produce Bibles in the languages of the common people. Others declared the truths that they had discovered in the pages of God’s Word. Then, in the late 1800’s, Charles Taze Russell and his associates worked zealously to restore Bible truths. It was as if symbolic flesh and skin were starting to be put on spiritual skeletons. Zion’s Watch Tower and other publications helped honesthearted ones to discover spiritual truths. Later, such tools as the “Photo-Drama of Creation” in 1914 and the book The Finished Mystery in 1917 also strengthened God’s people. Finally, in 1919, God’s people were given life, spiritually speaking, and were settled in their new spiritual land. As time has progressed, this remnant of anointed ones has been joined by those with an earthly hope, and together they have become “an extremely large army.”—Ezek. 37:10; Zech. 8:20-23.* Given these facts, it becomes clear that God’s people went into captivity to Babylon the Great with the growth of the apostasy in the second century C.E. This was a dark period of time, similar to what the ancient Israelites experienced while in exile. How happy we can be, though, that after God’s people experienced centuries of spiritual oppression, we are living in the time when “those having insight will shine . . . brightly” and “many will cleanse themselves” and they “will be refined”!—Dan. 12:3, 10. pdf Questions From Readers - babylon.pdf When were God’s people held captive by Babylon the Great?
You have apologized for your English, and this was unnecessary, because it is very easy to understand. However, it would be good to get this one word, quoted above, changed from "scatology" to "eschatology." It creates a pretty funny joke in context, but I don't think that's what you were aiming for. If you want it changed, I can get an admin to edit it, and then remove this comment.
Annual assembly set to take place Jehovah’s Witnesses to hold annual assembly. 4 hours ago The Midrand Assembly Hall is the new venue where Jehovah’s Witnesses from Germiston will gather for this year’s annual assembly. Over 400 residents from Germiston, Primrose, Edenvale and Johannesburg East will be travelling to the Jehovah’s Witnesses annual assembly. The event takes place on January 29 at the Assembly Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses, 50 Strelitzia Road, Country View, Midrand from 9am (gates open at 7am). This year the importance of the greatest commandment to love God and our fellow man will be explored and developed. Topics like: “Remember the Greatest Commandment”, “Whoever loves God must also love his brother” and “Do not lose the love you had at first” will be discussed. For more information contact Phillip Gossel on 083 458 2210. Annual assembly set to take place