Another demonstration of just how much “space” is in space.
Edit: Tumblr has led me to this wonderful (and slightly terrifying) video…
…as well as this info:
“What if the moon was the same distance away as the ISS? … While we think of the International Space Station as being, well, way out there in space, it’s not that far. Only around 400 km up, actually. If the Earth was a basketball, then the ISS would only be about a centimeter off its surface.
“On average, our moon resides 384,400 km away from Earth. … Even at that incredible distance, the moon can warp the liquid on the surface of Earth! Which brings me to a major problem with this video … in order to see this, we’d all be dead, and Earth would be very messed up indeed.”
Well what the hell.
Thanks to a discussion I had with my mom yesterday concerning blue moons, I of course had the moon as the main star of my dream last night.
In the dream, it was the point in the future where our helium reserves had run out (real thing that’s happening, by the way). The top scientists had determined that mining the moon for helium was our most feasible option for replenishing the element, so we’d sent up a bunch of scientists/miners to do so. We’d set up these huge plots on the moon in which we mined the helium.
All was well and good, but as we started carting the helium back to earth, we realized that taking the element from the moon’s surface was actually eliminating the moon’s ability to reflect the sun. It had gotten to the point where the mining plots were resulting in huge black non-reflecting squares on the moon’s surface that could be seen from earth.
Representative pic (made with MS Paint so it’s crappy, but this is really what it looked like in the dream. Original from here):
I actually think the dream itself lasted like 2 minutes, but I remember feeling like we’d been waiting for days for the news to report whether the reflective nature of the moon would ever return in full or if we’d have to live with a patchy satellite.
The first human being to set foot on our moon died yesterday as a result of complications following a heart surgery that was performed earlier this month.
Rest in peace, Neil Armstrong. You may have been a modest and humble man, but your actions and courage certainly impacted and inspired the entire planet.
As tribute, I present the ever awesome, ever hilarious Brian Regan and his “I walked on the moon” skit.
Way back when these weekly science blogs started (or maybe it was before that?) I discussed the issue of the helium shortage we’re experiencing here on earth. Within the last year, thanks to this shortage, the price of the isotope helium-3 has risen from $150 per liter to $5,000 per liter. Nearly all of the helium on the planet exists within a single storage area within 250 miles of Amarillo, Texas. And that’s probably the least safe place for any rare commodity (‘cause Texans, man, Texas…). Helium experts (assuming such people exist) are afraid that we’ll run out of helium completely within 20 years if we remain at our current consumption rate.
Oh crap! What do we do?
Answer: mine the hell out of the moon.
After bombarding the moon in 2009, NASA scientists found—among other things—that the lunar soil is very rich in helium thanks to solar winds showering it for however long the moon’s been around (I think it’s like 4.4 billion years old or something, but don’t quote me on that). Not only does our natural satellite have helium, but it also apparently contains a bunch of rare earth elements (common-moon elements?), including europium and tantalum, both of which have applications in solar panels, hybrid cars, and other green energy applications. Right now China is the biggest exporter of such elements, but is currently reducing such exports, indicating the possibility of a shortage.
So yeah. It’ll be interesting if we ever decide to actually utilize the moon as an orbiting mine and if doing so would ever be a cost-effective procedure. The funniest part is the fact that NASA utilizes—guess what? helium—to pressurize space shuttle fuel tanks.
Leibniz’ crater on the moon is bigger than Newton’s.
This makes me happy.
Yes, I’m that obsessive, deal with it.
You know what’s entirely underappreciated?
It’s closest to us, it’s the fifth largest satellite in the Solar System, and we’re sitting down here going “OMFG MARS!”
Other reason’s why it’s awesome:
– We don’t know exactly how we acquired it.
– It screws around with the oceans.
– It’s under the same jurisdiction as international waters. According to Wiki, “this treaty also restricts the use of the Moon to peaceful purposes, explicitly banning military installations and weapons of mass destruction.”
And that’s just freaking great.