Within that terrifyingly tiny space is contained every single human being who was alive at the time.
Think of it as the most epic selfie ever taken.
Sagan’s monologue about the photograph—given at Cornell University in 1994—is poetic, hopeful, even a bit mocking at times:
"We succeeded in taking that picture, and, if you look at it, you see a dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever lived, lived out their lives. The aggregate of all our joys and sufferings, thousands of confident religions, ideologies and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilizations, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every hopeful child, every mother and father, every inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every superstar, every supreme leader, every saint and sinner in the history of our species, lived there on a mote of dust, suspended in a sunbeam.
The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that in glory and in triumph they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of the dot on scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner of the dot. How frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the universe, are challenged by this point of pale light.
Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity—in all this vastness—there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves. It is up to us. It’s been said that astronomy is a humbling, and I might add, a character-building experience. To my mind, there is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly and compassionately with one another and to preserve and cherish that pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known."
And they sing a new song, saying: “You are worthy to take the scroll and open its seals, for you were slaughtered and with your blood you bought people for God out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, 10 and you made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God, and they are to rule as kingsHello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. over the earth.”Rev 5:9,10 - NWT
As a JW, this sounded accurate to me, since it fit the supporting doctrine that the “144,000” will rule strictly from heaven – “over” the earth...not within its vicinity, but from the spiritual realm. What I have since learned about this scripture and Christ’s truth regarding where the anointed will be “ruling” from, has been an important turning point for me.
Notice how the organization’s own Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the Greek Scriptures breaks down vs. 10:
“and you made them to the God of us kingdom and priests and they are reigning upon the earth”
Here are a few other examples:
“And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.” Scripture4all.org
“…they will reign upon the earth”. Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content.
It is very rare to find a Bible translation using the phrase “over the earth” in this scripture. The organization’s latest pictorial depiction of the 144,000 kings/priests ruling in heaven was of a vast array of emerald green thrones where men appearing identical to one another and to Christ, gazed over the earth as Christ’s “co-rulers”. I wonder what the anointed JW women feel about a female’s apparent transition into a man, who are clones of each other. This teaching sounds ridiculous to me today. However, since the role of JW women is repeatedly slighted, should we expect any acknowledgement of the anointed being both male and female? I could be in error, but I haven’t seen any photos of women partaking in the magazines.
There is no Jew or Greek, slave or free, male or female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. Gal 3:28
To be one in Christ does not mean the faithful sealed anointed take on the same physical appearance as Christ. All of the members of a fleshly body are distinctly different in appearance; working separately yet collectively, with the unified goal to allow the body to work efficiently. It is the same in the Body of Christ. 1 Cor 12:15-20 All are given various gifts, and all are individuals with individual personalities. They have abilities reflecting the gift they receive.
Paul described it this way:
There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. 5 There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6 There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work. 1 Cor 12:4-6
If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body. 1 Cor 12:19,20
Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For we were all baptized byone Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. 14 Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many. 1 Cor 12:12-14
15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. 16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work. Eph 4:11-16
The 144,000 are the Bride of Christ under the New Covenant “woman”/promise. (2 Cor 11:2; Eph 5:29-32; Gal 4:26) It is curious that the WT's leaders rarely go into detail about this. When I recall their latest illustration described above, I don’t believe the artist had the idea of “bride” in mind. I could only sense an aura of steely authority, without the needed compassion and love that Jesus exhibited and taught his disciples to nurture within themselves. (Isa 42:3; Matt 14:14; John 13:34,35; 1 John 4: 17; Heb 4:15)
Just as a bride and groom are not identical to each other, neither is Christ’s Bride of many members; either to Christ, or to one another, as the illustration erroneously shows. (1 Cor 12:29,30; Eph 4:11-13) Marriage partners compliment and support each other in love. It is the same with the Body of Christ, being united in one Spirit that imparts love, faith and knowledge of Christ and the Father.
The organization’s leaders are unable to perceive this spiritual unity, since they have rejected the Spirit of Christ, in exchange for the spirit of Satan. (John 15:4-7;1 Cor 6:15-17; 2 Cor 11:3; 2 Pet 1:10; Rev 2:4; 8:10;13:11)
Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.13 These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. 14 But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. 1 Cor 2:12-14
In order to “rule on the earth”, God’s priests must be on the earth. If we can shed the false belief that once the 144,000 are sealed in “heaven” they will remain there, we are then able to grasp how such “heavenly” angel/messenger/priests will be found ruling, teaching, and helping God’s future children on the earth. (Mal 2:7; 1 Pet 2:5,9; Heb 1:14; Rev 5:9,10)
We can comprehend God’s “new creation” as having two “births”; one by fleshly parents through Adam and Eve, (Gen 2:7) and one by spiritual parents. (John 3:3,5; 1 Cor 15:50; John 15:45; 20:22; Gal 4:26)
Once Jesus was resurrected, he appeared many times to his disciples in the flesh; and just as easily, disappeared into the spirit realm. His example set the precedence of what it means to be a “new creation”. (Mark 16:12; John 21:14; 1 Cor 15:3-8)
By combining this event with Pearl Doxsey's help from her article, “Who are the gods?”, we can visualize the 144,000 “angels” present not only in the spirit realm, but on earth as well:
The sons of God ("gods") inherit the promises given to Abraham. What promises are these?
"I will make you very fruitful (John 15:8) I will make nations of you (Rev 5:9,10), and kings will come from you (Rev 20:4; 1:5; 3:21; 19:16,15; 2:26,27)".
“Jacob had a dream in which he saw a stairway resting on the earth, with its top reaching to heaven, and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it.
There above it stood the Lord, and he said: "I am the Lord, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac. I will give you and your descendants the land on which you are lying
(Ps 37:29; Heb 2:5,16; Gal 3:29; Heb 11:8-10; 13:14; Rev 21:2; Heb 12:22,23; Luke 10:20) (Gen.17:6).
Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east, to the north and to the south. All peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring (Rev 22:2). I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go (Matt 28:20), and I will bring you back to this land (Rev 21:7).
I will not leave you (John 14:18) until I have done what I have promised you (John 16:22).
Jacob was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place (Heb 12:22,23,28)! This is none other than the house of God (1 Cor 3:9,16; Isa 56:7; Eph 2:19,10); this is the gate of heaven (Rev 11:6; Matt 16:19; Rev 3:12; John 10:9; 2 Cor 5:20)." (Gen.28:12-15,17)
"Jesus added, “Very truly I tell you, you will see ‘heaven open (Luke 24:32; Rev 2:17; Matt 13:11; Rev 4:1; 1:1)
(John 3:12; 1 Cor 2:12,13; Col 3:2), and the angels of God ascending and descending (Heb 12:22; Eph 2:6; Rev 3:21) "on* (Greek--*"in service to") the Son of Man.” (John 1:51)
The "angels" (Lit. Greek, "messengers" – Isa 43:10,21; 1 Pet 2:9; Mal 2:7; Acts 1:8) referred to here, could not have served before the time of Christ (John 3:13)
Jesus specifically said that they are in service on "the Son of Man" (1 Cor 4:1).
The "Son of Man" is Jesus in the flesh (John 1:14). Therefore, these angels serve Christ, after his coming down from heaven.
To be a messenger of Christ ("ambassador") who harbors God's spirit of life within...
who has been made new (Rom 12:2; 8:11) as a part of God's new creation (2 Cor 5:17) by means of incorruptible seed, the Word of God (1 Pet 1:23; Luke 8:11)...
…who has been reborn as a Son of the Most High (John 3:3,5; Rom 8:16,17,19,28-30)...
who has been made an immovable pillar in the eternal heavenly Temple of God (Rev 3:12; Prov 9:1; Jer 1:18)...
...is a "god" (Ps 82:6; Rom 8:14; 1 Cor 8:5).
I do hope readers here find this information to be a personal turning point as it was for me, in learning that both Christ and the 144,000 kings and priests/ Bride of Christ, will have access to heaven as well as on earth, and living among God’s future children in the Kingdom.
“You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.” Matt 5:14
Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. 2 I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. Rev 21:1-3
“But I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple” Rev 21:22
And there shall be no more curse, but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His servants shall serve Him. 4 They shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads. 5 There shall be no night there: They need no lamp nor light of the sun, for the Lord God gives them light. And they shall reign forever and ever. Rev 22:3-5
Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? 1 Cor 3:16
Pearl Doxsey: (type in her name and the title of the article in the search bar. The link should appear)
“End of the New Covenant”
“Those not anointed – what benefit now?”
“The Holy City”
And again, when God brings his firstborn into the world, he says,
“Let all God’s angels worship him.” (Heb.1:6)
"Jesus will again, be brought into the world. At that time, the totality of his angels/messengers, will worship him... and be in service to, the Son of Man." Pearl Doxsey
Evidently the North pole is heading fast toward Siberia....
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By Guest Nicole
The US space agency Nasa has landed a new robot on Mars after a dramatic seven-minute plunge to the surface of the Red Planet.
The InSight probe aims to study the world's deep interior, and make it the only planet - apart from Earth - that has been examined in this way.
Confirmation of touchdown came through on cue at 19:53 GMT.
It ended an anxious wait in which the robot radioed home a series of updates on its descent.
Nasa's mission control at California's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) erupted into cheers when it became clear InSight was safe on the ground.
Read more: https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-46351114
By Guest Nicole
WASHINGTON (AP) — Earth’s protective ozone layer is finally healing from damage caused by aerosol sprays and coolants, a new United Nations report said.
The ozone layer had been thinning since the late 1970s. Scientists raised the alarm and ozone-depleting chemicals were phased out worldwide.
As a result, the upper ozone layer above the Northern Hemisphere should be completely repaired in the 2030s and the gaping Antarctic ozone hole should disappear in the 2060s, according to a scientific assessment released Monday at a conference in Quito, Ecuador. The Southern Hemisphere lags a bit and its ozone layer should be healed by mid-century.
Read more: https://www.apnews.com/835094e7af61414981259ed69dbb185e
By Guest Nicole
Global warming is said to be bringing temperatures last seen during an interglacial era, when sea level was 6-9 meters (20-30ft) higher than today
A coal-fired power station. ‘Massive CO2 extraction’ costing trillions is needed in order to avoid runaway temperature rises, says a new paper. Photograph: Florian Gaertner/Photothek via Getty Images
The global temperature has increased to a level not seen for 115,000 years, requiring daunting technological advances that will cost the coming generations hundreds of trillions of dollars, according to the scientist widely credited with bringing climate change to the public’s attention.
A new paper submitted by James Hansen, a former senior Nasa climate scientist, and 11 other experts states that the 2016 temperature is likely to be 1.25C above pre-industrial times, following a warming trend where the world has heated up at a rate of 0.18C per decade over the past 45 years.
This rate of warming is bringing Earth in line with temperatures last seen in the Eemian period, an interglacial era ending 115,000 years ago when there was much less ice and the sea level was 6-9 meters (20-30ft) higher than today.
In order to meet targets set at last year’s Paris climate accord to avoid runaway climate change, “massive CO2 extraction” costing an eye-watering $104tn to $570tn will be required over the coming century with “large risks and uncertain feasibility” as to its success, the paper states.
“There’s a misconception that we’ve begun to address the climate problem,” said Hansen, who brought climate change into the public arena through his testimony to the US congress in the 1980s. “This misapprehension is based on the Paris climate deal where governments clapped themselves on the back but when you look at the science it doesn’t compute, it’s not true.
“Even with optimistic assumptions (future emissions reduction) will cost hundreds of trillions of dollars. It’s potentially putting young people in charge of a situation that is beyond their control. It’s not clear they will be able to take such actions.”
The paper, submitted as a discussion paper to the Earth System Dynamics journal, is a departure from the usual scientific process as it has yet to be peer reviewed and has been launched to support a legal case waged by a group of young people against the US government.
Last year, 21 youths aged between 8 and 19 years old filed a constitutional lawsuit against the Obama administration for failing to do enough to slow climate change. Hansen and his granddaughter are parties to legal challenge, which was filed in Oregon and asserts that the government has violated young people’s rights to life, liberty and property.
Hansen, who has become increasingly outspoken on climate change since retiring from Nasa in 2013, said he recognized some scientists might object to publicizing the paper so soon but that “we are running out of time on this climate issue.”
The courts need to step in to force governments to act on climate change because they are largely free of the corrupting influence of special interests, Hansen said. He repeated his call for a global tax to be placed upon carbon emissions and said that fossil fuel companies should be forced to pay for emissions extraction in the same way the tobacco industry has been sued over the health impact of cigarettes.
“The science is crystal clear, we have to phase out emissions over the next few decades,” Hansen said. “That won’t happen without substantial actions by Congress and the executive branch and that’s not happening so we need the courts to apply pressure, as they did with civil rights.”
Several recent studies have cast doubt over whether the world will stay with an aspirational target set in Paris of a 1.5C limit on the average global temperature rise. This guardrail, and even the 2C limit agreed by 195 nations, appears dependent on as-yet undeveloped technology that would remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere.
Under this scenario, huge emissions cuts would be supplemented by a widespread conversion to biofuels that would be burned for energy. The emissions from this energy would then be buried underground. Some sort of futuristic technology that sucks CO2 directly from the atmosphere may also be required.
Hansen said this is a “dubious” proposition because it requires a vast change in land use at a time where a growing global population will require more food. There are also major doubts whether technology to capture CO2 and lock it underground, often touted as a panacea by the fossil fuel industry, will be developed in time to help avoid the dangerous sea level rise, drought, heatwaves and disease spurred by warming temperatures.
Last week, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said that carbon dioxide levels will not drop below the symbolic 400 parts per million (ppm) mark in our lifetimes – the highest concentration of CO2 since the Pliocene era 3m years ago.
The environment of this time, where sea levels were around 65ft higher than today and trees were able to grow near the north pole due to a lack of ice, is a “bellwether for what future climate might be like,” according to Bruce Bauer, a scientist with NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information.
Michael Mann, a prominent climatologist at Penn State University, agreed that CO2 removal will be required if the world was to avoid 1.5C warming although the 2C limit “could likely be achieved without negative emissions, but it would require urgent action, as I have argued myself is necessary.”.
Mann added that Hansen’s paper is “interesting” but tackles a huge range of topics and is unconventional in its use as a tool to support a legal case.
“Along with the paper being publicized prior to peer review, this will certainly raise eyebrows about whether or not this breaches the firewall many feel should exist wherein policy agenda should not influence the way that science is done,” Mann told the Guardian via email.
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By James Thomas Rook Jr.
Wednesday's headline-making announcement from Italian scientists about a possible lake underneath the Martian south pole adds to a growing list of other worlds we believe have liquid water. But it also adds to a deepening mystery about what it all means – especially to us on this lonely Blue Planet teeming with life and strife.
About 70 percent of Earth’s surface is covered by water, most of it in oceans. The rest is found in rivers, lakes, frozen in glaciers, and inside the bodies of every known plant, animal, and micro-creature on the planet.
Life, it appears, is not possible without H2O – and for good reason. Among its many unique properties, water is an extraordinary solvent that greases the wheels of life’s biological machinery.
It’s exciting, therefore, whenever we discover evidence for liquid water “out there” somewhere. For instance, Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. of Jupiter’s moon Europa or Saturn’s moon Enceladus, whose phenomenal geysers shoot more than 100 miles into the air. Some research suggests even lowly Pluto – demoted in 2006 to the status of a dwarf planet – harbors subterranean pockets of water, Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. from its five nearby moons.
Above all, there’s our storied neighbor Mars. It has polar caps – both north and south – made of regular and dry ice (i.e., frozen carbon dioxide). It also has surface features that look a lot like dry river beds, suggesting the elixir of life once flowed abundantly and freely there.
And now this latest headline: bright reflections detected by the European Space Agency’s Mars Express, a ground-penetrating-radar-equipped spacecraft that’s been orbiting the Red Planet since 2003. The Italian scientists interpret the signals to mean there’s a twelve-mile-wide lake of salty water several feet deep sloshing around Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. .
Surely, this now raises the possibility that, at the very least, Little Green Microorganisms dwell there. After all, exotic, insanely hardy, Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. live in sub-glacial lakes in our own Antarctic.
Ah, if only it were that simple.
For starters, the inferred lake beneath the Martian south pole might be nothing more than an aquiver of sludge. Both brine and sludge produce bright radar signatures.
It’s also possible the reputed lake is just an optical illusion. Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. , which is also equipped with ground-penetrating radar, has been circling Mars since 2006 and sees no reflections implying the existence of a subterranean lake.
Even if the announcement is substantiated by future missions – and I personally hope it is – water is not a smoking gun. Where there’s water, there’s not necessarily life.
Still, every alleged discovery of water on other worlds represents an invaluable experiment that tests the veracity of biology’s current notions about how life came about on Earth. If we keep racking up evidence for water out there, but no life, it will deal a serious blow to the belief in abiogenesis – that life arose from scratch in a primordial soup of ordinary, inorganic chemicals. That would be a big headline.
If, however, we do find life inhabiting far-flung, water-borne venues, it will strengthen the abiogenesis thesis. That, too, would be a huge headline.
It’d also be a very sobering one. Why? Because, if water and life do prove to be abundant throughout the cosmos, then we’ll be forced to ask: “Where, then, is everyone??”
It’s a question I addressed in a Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. and that leads to many disquieting possibilities. One of them is this: simple water-borne organisms that develop into complex, intelligent life forms inevitably self-destruct.
The late writer and futurist Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. had that possibility in mind when he stated, “It has yet to be proven that intelligence has any survival value.”
With every passing year in our search for extraterrestrial water and life, we are getting closer to finding, if not outright proof, then a resolution to Clark’s assertion.
Shortly following a transmission sent by the Mars Express spacecraft verifying that its instruments had detected a subglacial lake a mile below the planet’s surface, the European Space Agency confirmed Thursday that the orbiter’s surface-penetrating radar had disturbed the eternal and unspeakable dreaming of an aeons-old, world-ravaging malevolence, waking it from its 500-million-year slumber in the underground Martian reservoir.
The abhorrent trans-dimensional beast then rose from the stygian depths of its lightless subaquatic lair, unleashing a hideous ululation that caused the red planet to fissure and burst into billions of molten fragments, an event recorded as a magnitude 18.5 quake by ESA scientists. The terror-struck astronauts of the International Space Station, evidently drained of their sanity by the sight of the accursed, star-spawned abomination, managed to inform ground control through increasingly incomprehensible transmissions that Earth’s moon had been devoured by the ravening behemoth before all communication with the crew was cut off suddenly and completely.
ESA administrators, initially optimistic about the discovery of liquid water on Mars and its positive implications for future colonization, changed their message to one of warning earlier today, shrieking barely comprehensible messages of doom as they clawed their living eyes from their sockets in a vain effort to escape contemplation of the vast horror descending upon the world at this very moment to drink our insignificant lives as it will one day drink the light of the stars.
Is intelligence ultimately a blessing or a curse? Surely, the answer will make for the biggest headline of all.
For the first time, the European Space Agency (ESA) has tested a novel air-breathing electric thruster that could allow near-Earth orbiting satellites to stay in space almost indefinitely. The thruster, designed to harvest atmospheric molecules and use them instead of onboard propellant, could also make future Mars exploration easier, ESA officials said.
Satellites need propulsion to hold their position or move around in space. Conventionally, satellites use rocket-like chemical propulsion, but electrical thrusters are becoming increasingly popular due to their better efficiency. However, current electrical propulsion systems still need to use a propellant,Â such as xenon, and their mission lengths are therefore limited by how much propellant they can carry. Due to weight constraints, satellites can carry only a limited amount. Those orbiting close to the Earth, in the range of a few hundred kilometers (about 125 miles), consume it at a higher rate, as they need to compensate for the atmospheric drag that slows them down and pulls toward the Earth.
Instead of carrying its own propellant, a satellite using ESA's new system would skim air molecules from the top of Earth's atmosphere. The molecules turn into plasma when compressed. An electric field is then used to accelerate the stream of plasma to provide thrust for the satellite.
"Providing atmospheric drag compensation without the use of carry-on propellant, this kind of electric propulsion would let satellites orbit at very low altitudes around Earth for very long operational time," Louis Walpot, who leads the project at ESA, told Space.com in an email.
"Normally their orbit would decay rapidly and they'd reenter the atmosphere," Walpot said.
Together with the thruster, ESA tested an innovative collector that captures incoming air as it hits the thruster at the staggering orbital speeds of about 4.9 miles per second (7.8 kilometers per second). The collector strips nitrogen and oxygen molecules from the air, and turns them into fuel. It's this collector that makes the system the first of its kind, demonstrating how an air-breathing thruster would actually work in orbit.
"This design of the collector was challenging because the air molecules tend to bounce out again, rather than be retained and compressed to a point where they turn into plasma, capable of being accelerated with an electric field," Walpot said. "The collector-plus-thruster design is entirely passive in nature Â— the air enters the collector due to the spacecraft's velocity as it orbits around Earth. All it needs is electric power to ionize the compressed air."
The electric power, he said, could be easily obtained from solar panels.
Walpot said the system would also work at the outer edges of the atmosphere of Mars, harvesting carbon dioxide molecules that make up the Red Planet's atmosphere instead of Earth's nitrogen and oxygen.
"This is more than a hundred times less dense than Earth's atmosphere of course, so any such air-breathing spacecraft would fly lower Â— about 120-180 km," Walpot said.
ESA, which funds the thruster's development through its Technology Research Programme, started working on the project in 2015 in collaboration with the Polish firm QuinteScience and Italy's Sitael. Researchers tested the technology in a vacuum chamber in Italy, simulating the surroundings at 200 kilometers (120 miles) altitude, according to the statement.
The agency now plans to scale up the technology to a more realistic flight configuration.
"This would increase the Technology Readiness Level," Walpot said. "Efforts will start to look at potential applications for the technology, future missions where it would be a good fit."
He said the air-breathing thruster would work up to altitudes as low as 160 km (100 miles), since it can only operate in vacuum or near vacuum. For comparison, ESA's Gravity Field and Steady-State Ocean Circulation Explorer (GOCE) orbited at about 250 km (150 miles). GOCE used a similar electric thruster to keep itself in the orbit, but its thruster relied on the propellant xenon. The mission ran out of fuel after four years and seven months, after which the spacecraftÂ plunged into the atmosphere.
Using air as a propellant "opens up near-Earth space for new missions, which could be used for instance for very high-resolution imaging, or even to studyÂ the ever-changing conditionsÂ prevailing at the top of the atmosphere," Walpot said.
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By Bible Speaks
Jehovah asked Job on his creation wonders, like the snow? Where does it come from? Where are his storehouses of snow and hail for war? Do you know?
38 Then Jehovah answered Job out of the windstorm:
2 “Who is this who is obscuring my counsel And speaking without knowledge?
3 Brace yourself, please, like a man; I will question you, and you inform me."
4 Where were you when I founded the earth?"
Tell me, if you think you understand?"
22 "Have you entered the storehouses of the snow,
Or have you seen the storehouses of the hail,".
23 Which I have reserved for the time of distress,
For the day of battle and war?"
(Job 38:1-4,22,23) jw.org
By Bible Speaks
FEAR OF NUCLEAR WAR NOW COULD MEAN DESTRUCTION OF THE EARTH AND ALL LIFE? Will these nations on the horizon fulfill their efforts to destroy all life?
Does God care? What now?
Human efforts at unity—no matter how sincere—have proved futile. This comes as no surprise to Bible students, for God’s Word says: “It does not belong to man who is walking even to direct his step.” (Jeremiah 10:23)
The Bible also candidly states: “There exists a way that is upright before a man, but the ways of death are the end of it afterward.” (Proverbs 16:25)
Human governments can go only so far in achieving unity. Still, we are not left without hope.
The Source of True Unity
The Bible contains God’s promise that the world will be unified but not by man’s efforts. The Creator, who purposed that mankind would live in peace worldwide, will accomplish what man cannot. To some, all of that might seem far-fetched.
Yet, God’s purpose from the very beginning has been for mankind to live in peace and harmony.
Many scriptures in the Bible give evidence that bringing the human race into a unified condition is still God’s purpose. Consider just a few examples:
• “Come, you people, behold the activities of Jehovah, how he has set astonishing events on the earth. He is making wars to cease to the extremity of the earth. The bow he breaks apart and does cut the spear in pieces; the wagons he burns in the fire.”—PSALM 46:8, 9.
• “They will not do any harm or cause any ruin in all my holy mountain; because the earth will certainly be filled with the knowledge of Jehovah as the waters are covering the very sea.”—ISAIAH 11:9.
• “He will actually swallow up death forever, and the Sovereign Lord Jehovah will certainly wipe the tears from all faces. And the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth, for Jehovah himself has spoken it.”—ISAIAH 25:8.
• “There are new heavens and a new earth that we are awaiting according to his promise, and in these righteousness is to dwell.”—2 PETER 3:13.
• “[God] will wipe out every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be anymore. The former things have passed away.”—REVELATION 21:4.
These promises are reliable. Why? Because as the Creator, Jehovah God has the power and the ability to bring unity to mankind. (Luke 18:27)
He also has the desire to do so. In fact, the Bible calls it God’s “good pleasure . . . to gather all things together again in the Christ, the things in the heavens and the things on the earth.”—Ephesians 1:8-10.
God’s promise of “a new earth” in which “righteousness is to dwell” is not mere wishful thinking. (2 Peter 3:13)
Regarding what he promised, Jehovah God states: “It will not return to me without results, but it will certainly do that in which I have delighted, and it will have certain success in that for which I have sent it.”—Isaiah 55:11.
By Bible Speaks
"Then Jehovah answered Job out of the windstorm:
2 “Who is this who is obscuring my counsel
And speaking without knowledge?
3 Brace yourself, please, like a man; I will question you, and you inform me.
4 Where were you when I founded the earth?
Tell me, if you think you understand.
5 Who set its measurements, in case you know,
Or who stretched a measuring line across it?
6 Into what were its pedestals sunk,
Or who laid its cornerstone,
7 When the morning stars joyfully cried out together, And all the sons of God began shouting in applause?
8 And who barricaded the sea behind doors
When it burst out from the womb,
9 When I clothed it with clouds And wrapped it in thick gloom,
10 When I established my limit for it And put its bars and doors in place,
11 And I said, ‘You may come this far, and no farther;
Here is where your proud waves will stop’?
12 Have you ever commanded the morning Or made the dawn know its place,
13 To take hold of the ends of the earth And to shake the wicked out of it?
14 It is transformed like clay under a seal, And its features stand out like those of a garment.
15 But the light of the wicked is held back from them,
And their uplifted arm is broken.
16 Have you gone down to the sources of the sea
Or explored the deep waters?
17 Have the gates of death been revealed to you, Or have you seen the gates of deep darkness?
18 Have you understood the vast expanse of the earth?
Tell me, if you know all of this.
19 In which direction does the light reside?
And where is the place of darkness,
20 That you should take it to its territory
And understand the paths to its home?
21 Do you know this because you were already born
And the number of your years is great?
22 Have you entered the storehouses of the snow, Or have you seen the storehouses of the hail,
23 Which I have reserved for the time of distress,
For the day of battle and war?
24 From what direction is light dispersed,
And from where does the east wind blow on the earth?
25 Who has cut a channel for the flood
And made a path for the thunderous storm cloud,
26 To make it rain where no man lives, On the wilderness where there are no humans,
27 To satisfy devastated wastelands
And cause the grass to sprout?
28 Does the rain have a father, Or who fathered the dewdrops?
29 From whose womb did the ice emerge,
And who gave birth to the frost of heaven
30 When the waters are covered as if with stone,
And the surface of the deep waters is frozen solid?
31 Can you tie the ropes of the Kiʹmah constellation Or untie the cords of the Keʹsil constellation?
32 Can you lead out a constellation in its season Or guide the Ash constellation along with its sons?
33 Do you know the laws governing the heavens, Or can you impose their authority on the earth?
34 Can you raise your voice to the clouds
To cause a flood of water to cover you?
35 Can you send out lightning bolts?
Will they come and say to you, ‘Here we are!’
36 Who put wisdom within the clouds
Or gave understanding to the sky phenomenon?
37 Who is wise enough to count the clouds,
Or who can tip over the water jars of heaven
38 When the dust pours into a mass
And the clods of earth stick together?
39 Can you hunt prey for a lion
Or satisfy the appetites of young lions
40 When they crouch in their lairs Or lie in ambush in their dens?
41 Who prepares food for the raven
When its young cry to God for help
And wander about because there is nothing to eat?
By Bible Speaks
THE BIBLE TEACHES THAT GOD WILL DO AMAZING THINGS ON THE EARTH.
People will no longer feel pain, grow old, or die.—Revelation 21:4
“The lame will leap like the deer.”—Isaiah 35:6
“The eyes of the blind will be opened.”—Isaiah 35:5
The dead will be brought back to life.—John 5:28, 29
No one will get sick.—Isaiah 33:24
Everyone on earth will have plenty to eat.—Psalm 72:16. The Bible does more than that. It tells us what we need to know in order to be truly happy and enjoy life right now. Think for a moment about the things that make you worry. These may include money or family matters, bad health, or the death of someone you love. The Bible can help you to cope with these problems, and it can comfort you by answering such questions as these:
Why do we suffer?
How can we cope with our problems?
Can our family be happy?
What happens to us when we die?
Will we ever see our dead loved ones again?
Why can we be confident that God will do everything that he has promised? Go to JW.Org to learn these answers.
By Guest Nicole
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.”
This is a story that gives new meaning to "The Little Engine That Could" in a profound way.
One source explains:
In what is called the "Great Oxidation Event," something very little appeared that started making the earth habitable for us through photosynthesis. What happened? This:
Cyanobacteria is responsible terraforming earth, transforming it from an iron-rich water world with a choking, impenetrable carbon-dioxide atmosphere to one with blue water and a clear oxygenated atmosphere. They also enlarged the coastlines of the nascent continents, called cratons. It took these little guys millions of years to accomplish this! Cyanobacteria is also very nutritious for human consumption. Where did cyanobacteria come from, being able to terraform a planet and provide humanity with nutrition? Humanity's best friend from the Creator.
 The Event that Transformed Earth http://www.bbc.com/earth/story/20150701-the-origin-of-the-air-we-breathe