Space station detectors found the source of weird ‘blue jet’ lightning

A ‘blue bang’ sparks an unusual type of lightning in the upper atmosphere

#lightning #Spacestation #strange
blue jet illustration
The International Space Station spotted an exotic type of upside-down lightning called a blue jet (illustrated) zipping up from a thundercloud into the stratosphere in 2019.DTU SPACE, DANIEL SCHMELLING/MOUNT VISUAL

Scientists have finally gotten a clear view of the spark that sets off an exotic type of lightning called a blue jet.

Blue jets zip upward from thunderclouds into the stratosphere, reaching altitudes up to about 50 kilometers in less than a second. Whereas ordinary lightning excites a medley of gases in the lower atmosphere to glow white, blue jets excite mostly stratospheric nitrogen to create their signature blue hue.

Blue jets have been observed from the ground and aircraft for years, but it’s hard to tell how they form without getting high above the clouds. Now, instruments on the International Space Station have spotted a blue jet emerge from an extremely brief, bright burst of electricity near the top of a thundercloud, researchers report online January 20 in Nature.

Understanding blue jets and other upper-atmosphere phenomena related to thunderstorms, such as sprites (SN: 6/14/02) and elves (SN: 12/23/95), is important because these events can affect how radio waves travel through the air — potentially impacting communication technologies, says Penn State space physicist Victor Pasko, who was not involved in the work.

Cameras and light-sensing instruments called photometers on the space station observed the blue jet in a storm over the Pacific Ocean, near the island of Nauru, in February 2019. “The whole thing starts with what I think of as a blue bang,” says Torsten Neubert, an atmospheric physicist at the Technical University of Denmark in Kongens Lyngby. That “blue bang” was a 10-microsecond flash of bright blue light near the top of the cloud, about 16 kilometers high. From that flashpoint, a blue jet shot up into the stratosphere, climbing as high as about 52 kilometers over several hundred milliseconds.

The spark that generated the blue jet may have been a special kind of short-range electric discharge inside the thundercloud, Neubert says. Normal lightning bolts are formed by discharges between oppositely charged regions of a cloud — or a cloud and the ground — many kilometers apart. But turbulent mixing high in a cloud may bring oppositely charged regions within about a kilometer of each other, creating very short but powerful bursts of electric current, Neubert says. Researchers have seen evidence of such high-energy, short-range discharges in pulses of radio waves from thunderstorms detected by ground-based antennas.

RADAR data confirms: USS Omaha was surrounded by swarm of UFOs


MYSTERY WIRE — Filmmaker Jeremy Corbell has released a new video showing unidentified objects being monitored by Navy personnel on board the USS Omaha on July, 2019.

This new video was recorded during the same event seen in earlier Navy video Corbell released that showed an unidentified sphere disappearing into the Pacific Ocean.

Over a period of hours, crew members on the USS Omaha, which is located in the center of the radar screen seen in the video, monitored the approach of the unknown objects. There were as many as 14 objects on the screen at one point, all around the ship. On the Omaha, two different radar systems watched the objects and estimated their speed.

Below is a transcript of the audio heard on this recording: 

:01 “OOD if you can write a general lat/long of where we’re at.” 
:03 [faint voice] “We do have some X-band RADAR tracks…” 
:05 “Yes sir.” 
:06 “And then… the number of contacts you’ve got. Get the course and speed meters off ’em.” 
:09 “Copy.” 
:10  “You know what I mean? In relative position to us. And bearings. Might be helpful too.”
:15 “Eyes up.”
:16 “Eyes down.”
:18 [intercom] “CSM TAO Maintain track, maintain track as best you can.”
:24 “Track 781 just sped up to 46 knots. 50 knots. Closing in.” 
:33 “138 knots. Holy s***. They’re going fast. Oh, it’s turning around.” 
:36 “That one’s pretty much perfectly zero zero zero relative, right?” 
:39 “Yeah.” 
:40 “263 at 3 miles. 55 knots, speed.”

(Image: @JeremyCorbell)

Corbell obtained the video from sources he declines to identify. The Pentagon’s UAP TASK FORCE considers the Omaha spheres to be true unknowns.

The ships that were under observation by the unknowns were unable to track where they came from or where they disappeared to.

(Image: @JeremyCorbell)

In one part of the video, nine objects were seen around the Omaha, but two of them dropped off, somehow invisible to two radar systems. “It supports the hypothesis that these are not just a balloon dropping into the water or it’s not something that is easily explained,” Corbell said. “These are true unidentified in mass numbers … where you have radar data that goes with FLIR data.”

(Image: @JeremyCorbell)

New video taken from USS Omaha shows spherical UFO splash into ocean off San Diego: Ex-fighter pilot says airmen saw unknown aircraft off Virginia coast EVERY DAY for years calling them a ‘worrying security threat’ ahead of Pentagon report

  • Latest clip shows spherical object dropping into the Pacific Ocean off the coast of San Diego in July 2019
  • The clip was filmed by USS Omaha Navy destroyer and reportedly part of a same incident revealed in April
  • It was leaked hours after a Navy veteran based in Virginia said they could pose a security threat
  • Former Navy Lt. Ryan Graves said he and colleagues spotted objects in restricted airspace off the Virginia 
  • Graves said pilots filmed the sightings but grew so used to seeing them that they took them for granted
  • He said the UFOs, seen between 2015 and 2017, have capabilities far in advance of known US aircraft 
  • An Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force will release a report on ‘UAP’ sightings next month   

A new video has leaked showing US Naval personnel having a close encounter with a UFO – this time a spherical object that makes a controlled descent into the ocean. 

The object was filmed by a camera aboard the USS Omaha as it sailed off the coast of San Diego in July 2019.

Two unidentified crew members could be heard exclaiming: ‘Wow, it splashed,’ after the ball made a controlled flight over the ocean, then splashed into the sea and disappeared underwater.

They filmed the object making a controlled flight above the water for an extended period of time before it finally entered the ocean. Investigative filmmaker Jeremy Corbell shared the footage on Friday with Mystery Wire

Still images from a newly released video show a spherical object diving into the Pacific Ocean off the coast of California+16

Still images from a newly released video show a spherical object diving into the Pacific Ocean off the coast of CaliforniaA map shows the region where fighter jets encountered the UFOs off the coast of Virginia+16

A map shows the region where fighter jets encountered the UFOs off the coast of VirginiaFormer Navy Lieutenant Ryan Graves, who regularly witnessed UFOs in restricted airspace, called them a threat to national security+16

Former Navy Lieutenant Ryan Graves, who regularly witnessed UFOs in restricted airspace, called them a threat to national security

Former Navy Lieutenant Ryan Graves – who refers to UFOs as unidentified aerial phenomena (UAP) – called them a threat to national security in an interview with 60 Minutes that will air on Sunday. 

He and his colleagues spotted the objects hundreds of times in protected air space between 2015 and 2017, and also recorded an encounter off the coast of Jacksonville, Florida, during the same time period. 

The 60 Minutes report comes as the government is expected to release a report in June on UFO sightings after unclassified videos of them were leaked to The New York Times in 2017.

Sen. Marco Rubio called for the detailed analysis after he viewed classified briefings on UAP while he was the head of the Senate Intelligence Committee and asked the Director of National Intelligence for an unclassified report.  

Respected former government officials have conceded that the sightings are credible, and that the UFOs’ origins remains unknown. 

John Ratcliffe, the former director of national intelligence, told Fox News that these are not just eyewitness accounts – they’re videos and measurements taken after ‘multiple sensors that are picking up these things.’ 

‘When we talk about sightings, we are talking about objects that have been seen by Navy or Air Force pilots, or have been picked up by satellite imagery, that frankly engage in actions that are difficult to explain, movements that are hard to replicate, that we don’t have the technology for, or traveling at speeds that exceed the sound barrier without a sonic boom,’ he said.

ShareJohn Ratcliffe, the former director of national intelligence, told Fox News that these are not just eyewitness accounts - they're videos and measurements taken after 'multiple sensors that are picking up these things'+16

John Ratcliffe, the former director of national intelligence, told Fox News that these are not just eyewitness accounts – they’re videos and measurements taken after ‘multiple sensors that are picking up these things’

USS Omaha in 2019 in restricted waters off the coast of southern California (leaked May 2021)

The USS Omaha filmed a round object making a controlled flight above the water for an extended period of time before it finally entered the ocean. Investigative filmmaker Jeremy Corbell shared the footage on Friday with Mystery Wire.

Still images from that video were first released in April as the Pentagon confirmed that a set of images and videos showing unidentified flying objects buzzing over Navy warships off the coast of California in 2019 ‘were taken’ by branch personnel.

Staff could be heard exclaiming excitedly as the object made a controlled, gradual descent into the Pacific Ocean, before disappearing with a splash.

No explanation for the spherical object has been given…   The USS Omaha filmed a round object making a controlled flight above the water for an extended period of time before it finally entered the ocean+16

The USS Omaha filmed a round object making a controlled flight above the water for an extended period of time before it finally entered the ocean

One of the images appears to be a pyramid-shaped object while others were thought to be drones or balloons; however, the Navy has listed them as unknowns.

In a statement, a Pentagon spokesperson told Mystery Wire: ‘I can confirm that the referenced photos and videos were taken by Navy personnel. The UAPTF has included these incidents in their ongoing examinations.’

The confirmation came a week after Admiral Michael Gilday, the chief of naval operations, admitted that he has no idea where the swarm of mysterious Tic Tac-shaped drones that menaced four US destroyers in July 2019 originated.

Gilday led an investigation into the incident in which a group of what some have called unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) chased the destroyers for up to 100 nautical miles off the coast of California.The Independence Class littoral combat ship USS Omaha (LCS 12) transits the Pacific Ocean+16

The Independence Class littoral combat ship USS Omaha (LCS 12) transits the Pacific OceanF/A-18E Super Hornets assigned to the Tomcatters of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 31 returned to their home base at Naval Air Station (NAS) Oceana in Virginia Beach+16

F/A-18E Super Hornets assigned to the Tomcatters of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 31 returned to their home base at Naval Air Station (NAS) Oceana in Virginia Beach

Flight logs revealed as many as six mystery aircraft swarmed the warships close to a sensitive training area at the Channel Islands at speeds of up to 40mph and with a greater maneuverability than US military drones.

When asked directly if the Navy had confirmed the identity of the drones at a media event, Gilday responded: ‘No, we have not.’

The Drive revealed in February that US Navy warships stationed off the coast of Los Angeles had encountered swarms of mysterious drones, which pursued them at high speed in low visibility. 

The outlet obtained ship logbooks and internal emails from the Navy under the Freedom of Information Act, and eyewitness descriptions from the staff on board, to establish the UAVs had a far greater aeronautical capability than any previously known drones.  

Former US Navy Lieutenant Ryan Graves in a F/A-18 fighter off the Virginia coast between 2015 and 2017 

Graves’ F/A-18 fighter squadron spotted the ‘maneuverable’ spherical objects flying in restricted airspace near Virginia Beach almost every day from 2015 to 2017, he said.

‘I am worried, frankly. You know, if these were tactical jets from another country that were hanging out up there, it would be a massive issue,’ Graves told 60 Minutes.

‘But because it looks slightly different, we’re not willing to actually look at the problem in the face. We’re happy to just ignore the fact that these are out there, watching us every day.’ He said pilots for the U.S. Navy saw UFOs off the coast of Virginia so frequently they got used to them despite them 'watching us' every day+16

He said pilots for the U.S. Navy saw UFOs off the coast of Virginia so frequently they got used to them despite them ‘watching us’ every dayGraves' F/A-18 fighter squadron spotted the 'maneuverable' objects flying in restricted airspace near Virginia Beach almost every day from 2015 to 2017+16

He said that pilots who have witnessed what the government calls ‘unidentified aerial phenomena’ have speculated that they might be anything from a secret U.S. technology to an enemy spy plane.

Graves also conceded the aircraft could be something else entirely.  

‘This is a difficult one to explain. You have rotation, you have high altitudes. You have propulsion, right? I don’t know. I don’t know what it is, frankly,’ Graves told 60 Minutes while viewing one of the unclassified videos.

‘I would say, you know, the highest probability is it’s a threat observation program.’A color image shows one of the unidentified aerial phenomena. Their technical capabilities far exceed that of any known aircraft, sparking fears for US national security+16

A color image shows one of the unidentified aerial phenomena. Their technical capabilities far exceed that of any known aircraft, sparking fears for US national security Pilots have speculated that they might be anything from a secret U.S. technology to an enemy spy plane+16

Pilots have speculated that they might be anything from a secret U.S. technology to an enemy spy plane

The outlet noted that Graves did not rule out the possibility they could be some sort of Russian or Chinese technology.

Luis Elizondo, a former official with the Defense Department, told 60 Minutes that the UAPs appear to have ‘far superior’ technology to anything the United States currently has in its known inventory.

‘Imagine a technology that can do 600 to 700 G-forces, that can fly 13,000 miles an hour, that, that can evade radar and can fly through air and water and possibly space,’ Elizondo said.

‘And oh, by the way, has no obvious signs of propulsion, no wings, no control surfaces and yet still can defy the natural effects of Earth’s gravity. That’s precisely what we’re seeing.’

 Pyramid shaped objects spotted by hovering above the USS Russell, July 2019 (footage leaked April 2021) 

Footage filmed around the same time as the spherical ball sighting – but released two months earlier – showed multiple pyramid-shaped objects hovering around 700 feet above the USS Russell Navy Destroyer. 

It is also believed to have been filmed off the southern California coast, although it is unclear why Mystery Wire leaked this sighting before the sphere.   

The April photos were leaked from a Pentagon investigation of UFOs by the UAP Task Force, which has been gathering evidence for a report for Congress that’s due in June, according to Mystery Wire.

The outlet had also previously released video reportedly taken in July 2019 by naval officers using a night vision device, which showed pyramid shaped objects hovering 700 feet above a Navy destroyer+16

The outlet had also previously released video reportedly taken in July 2019 by naval officers using a night vision device, which showed pyramid shaped objects hovering 700 feet above a Navy destroyerMystery Wire says the triangular objects are part of the same incident as the spherical object diving into the sea+16

Mystery Wire says the triangular objects are part of the same incident as the spherical object diving into the seaThe video was taken in July 2019 by naval officers using a night vision device+16

The video was taken in July 2019 by naval officers using a night vision device

US Navy pilot made visual contact with object on November 14, 2004 

At least six Super Hornet pilots made visual or instrument contact with the UFO on November 14, 2004.

The encounters, which are documented in numerous interviews with first-hand witnesses, remain a mystery, and the object’s incredible speed and movements have led to speculation that it was extraterrestrial in origin.

The original FLIR video from the USS Nimitz encounters leaked online as early as 2007.

Witnesses say that clips of the video had been circulated widely on the Navy’s intranet – used to communicate between ships in the carrier group – and an unknown sailor in the group likely first leaked it.The aircraft carrier USS Nimitz and the guided-missile cruiser USS Philippine Sea in formation during a Strait of Hormuz transit on September 18, 2020+16

The aircraft carrier USS Nimitz and the guided-missile cruiser USS Philippine Sea in formation during a Strait of Hormuz transit on September 18, 2020Navy Commander David Fravor and Lieutenant Commander Jim Slaight had been flying about 100 miles off the coast of San Diego (pictured) in each of their F/A-18F Super Hornets (pictured) when they encountered an unidentified flying object described as a 'Tic Tac'+16

The USS Nimitz, a US Navy aircraft carrier, was at the center of a bizarre UFO sighting saga in 2004.

The clip became one of the most-touted pieces of evidence in the UFO community when the Pentagon confirmed its authenticity in 2017.

In January, Chad Underwood, the former Navy aviator who shot the famous leaked video clip, broke his silence in an interview with New York Magazine.

He said the oblong, wingless ‘Tic Tac’ shaped object was spotted off the coast of Mexico over the Pacific.

He also revealed that for about two weeks, the Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruiser USS Princeton, part of Carrier Strike Group 11, had been tracking mysterious aircraft intermittently on an advanced AN/SPY-1B passive radar.

The radar contacts were so inexplicable that the system was even shut down and restarted to to check for bugs – but operators continued to track the unknown aircraft.

Then on November 14, Commander David Fravor says he was flying in an F/A-18F Super Hornet when he made visual contact with the object, which seemed to dive below the water, resurface, and speed out of sight when he tried to approach it.

As Fravor landed on the deck of the Nimitz, Underwood was just gearing up to take off on his own training run.

‘The thing that stood out to me the most was how erratic it was behaving,’ Underwood told the magazine.

‘And what I mean by ‘erratic’ is that its changes in altitude, air speed, and aspect were just unlike things that I’ve ever encountered before flying against other air targets.’

Underwood said the object wasn’t obeying the laws of physics and dropped from 50,000 feet altitude to 100 feet in seconds, which he says, ‘isn’t possible’. He added that he saw no signs of an engine heat plume or any sign of propulsion.

The pilot refuses to speculate as to whether the object is an alien spacecraft or not, however.

‘That’s not my job. But I saw something. And it was also seen, via eyeballs, by both my commanding officer, Dave Fravor, and the Marine Corps Hornet squadron commanding officer who was out there as well.’Read more:

FBI report: Nikola Tesla, inventor of wireless technology, was an alien

Nikola Tesla
Photograph of Nikola Tesla in 1896. (Wikipedia)

#Tesla #Alien #Declassified

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Is the movie “Men in Black” or “Transformers” based on a real-life event? The FBI’s recently declassified document revealed that Nikola Tesla, one of the most brilliant and prolific inventors known, came from Venus. Namely, he was an extraterrestrial.

Tesla’s scientific creations were considered 300 to 1,000 years ahead of his time; all his creations in his later years were subsequently classified as top-secret by the FBI.

Titled “Nikola Tesla Part03 of 3”, the third of 3 declassified FBI reports about Tesla contains 64 pages with certain portions blotted out in black ink.

But one paragraph states the following:

“The ‘Space People’ visited the Tesla engineers many times, and informed us that Tesla was from Venus, brought to this planet as a baby, and was left with Mr. and Mrs. Tesla in a remote mountain province in 1856 in what is now Yugoslavia.”

If this is true, it implies that the United States has had close contact with extraterrestrials from Venus. The questions remain: why did Tesla come to the earth from Venus? Why did beings from Venus contact Tesla so many times? And why did aliens reveal Tesla’s true identity to the FBI?

Alternating Current
Source: wikimedia
Source: wikimedia
Source: wikimedia

Some said that without Tesla’s contributions, the development of the entire world would be at least half a century behind where it is today. Tesla had more than 1,000 invention patents on record. To include the patents he had sold or did not register, the number jumps to over 1,500. These inventions include Tesla’s modern AC system which benefited billions of people, and Tesla’s radio technology, used in today’s smartphones, computers, missiles, navigation, satellites, and spaceships. Other notable inventions include neon lights, remote automation systems, artificial lightning, particle beam energy and X-rays.

Based on these numbers, Tesla would have created over 20 inventions every year. In other words, he created a never before seen invention every 20 days. Just pure genius at work?

More questions emerge: Are Tesla’s inventions simply Venusian technology in the human world? If so, why did aliens teach mankind their technology and what is their ultimate purpose in coming to Earth? Are there other extraterrestrials on Earth? And how much of our modern technology came from them?

In addition to inventions, Tesla made multiple predictions with many coming true.

In 1926, Tesla predicted smartphone, a powerful device that easily fits into a pocket. He believed that if human beings could perfect the use of radio technology, the entire earth would be connected. No matter how far apart people are, they can instantly contact, see and hear one another.

While the first smartphone came out in 1993, Tesla knew its existence 74 years in advance.

Rumors of aliens hiding in the United States, such as in Area 51, have been the focus of public opinion for decades, with some claiming that America uses alien technology to stay ahead of the game.

Presidents of the United States are known to have access to this classified information. In a recent interview with his eldest son Trump Jr., President Trump was asked if there were indeed UFOs and aliens. Smiling and in a tongue-in-cheek reply, Trump said: “I won’t talk to you about what I know about it, but it’s very interesting.”

The Milky Way may have two supermassive black holes

Measurements of stars orbiting our galaxy’s core suggest our 4-million-solar-mass black hole, Sagittarius A*, may have another supermassive companion lurking nearby.

#Space #BlackHole #Galaxy

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An artist’s conception of two black holes entwined in a gravitational tango.NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Christopher Go

Do supermassive black holes have friends? The nature of galaxy formation suggests that the answer is yes, and in fact, pairs of supermassive black holes should be common in the universe.

I am an astrophysicist and am interested in a wide range of theoretical problems in astrophysics, from the formation of the very first galaxies to the gravitational interactions of black holes, stars and even planets. Black holes are intriguing systems, and supermassive black holes and the dense stellar environments that surround them represent one of the most extreme places in our universe.

The supermassive black hole that lurks at the center of our galaxy, called Sgr A*, has a mass of about 4 million times that of our Sun. A black hole is a place in space where gravity is so strong that neither particles or light can escape from it. Surrounding Sgr A* is a dense cluster of stars. Precise measurements of the orbits of these stars allowed astronomers to confirm the existence of this supermassive black hole and to measure its mass. For more than 20 years, scientists have been monitoring the orbits of these stars around the supermassive black hole. Based on what we’ve seen, my colleagues and I show that if there is a friend there, it might be a second black hole nearby that is at least 100,000 times the mass of the Sun.


At the center of our galaxy is a supermassive black hole in the region known as Sagittarius A. It has a mass of about 4 million times that of our Sun.ESA–C. Carreau

Supermassive black holes and their friends

Almost every galaxy, including our Milky Way, has a supermassive black hole at its heart, with masses of millions to billions of times the mass of the Sun. Astronomers are still studying why the heart of galaxies often hosts a supermassive black hole. One popular idea connects to the possibility that supermassive holes have friends.

To understand this idea, we need to go back to when the universe was about 100 million years old, to the era of the very first galaxies. They were much smaller than today’s galaxies, about 10,000 or more times less massive than the Milky Way. Within these early galaxies the very first stars that died created black holes, of about tens to thousand the mass of the Sun. These black holes sank to the center of gravity, the heart of their host galaxy. Since galaxies evolve by merging and colliding with one another, collisions between galaxies will result in supermassive black hole pairs – the key part of this story. The black holes then collide and grow in size as well. A black hole that is more than a million times the mass of our son is considered supermassive.

If indeed the supermassive black hole has a friend revolving around it in close orbit, the center of the galaxy is locked in a complex dance. The partners’ gravitational tugs will also exert its own pull on the nearby stars disturbing their orbits. The two supermassive black holes are orbiting each other, and at the same time, each is exerting its own pull on the stars around it.

The gravitational forces from the black holes pull on these stars and make them change their orbit; in other words, after one revolution around the supermassive black hole pair, a star will not go exactly back to the point at which it began.

Using our understanding of the gravitational interaction between the possible supermassive black hole pair and the surrounding stars, astronomers can predict what will happen to stars. Astrophysicists like my colleagues and me can compare our predictions to observations, and then can determine the possible orbits of stars and figure out whether the supermassive black hole has a companion that is exerting gravitational influence.

Using a well-studied star, called S0-2, which orbits the supermassive black hole that lies at the center of the galaxy every 16 years, we can already rule out the idea that there is a second supermassive black hole with mass above 100,000 times the mass of the Sun and farther than about 200 times the distance between the Sun and the Earth. If there was such a companion, then I and my colleagues would have detected its effects on the orbit of SO-2.

But that doesn’t mean that a smaller companion black hole cannot still hide there. Such an object may not alter the orbit of SO-2 in a way we can easily measure.

The physics of supermassive black holes

Supermassive black holes have gotten a lot of attention lately. In particular, the recent image of such a giant at the center of the galaxy M87 opened a new window to understanding the physics behind black holes.


The first image of a black hole. This is the supermassive black hole at the center of the galaxy M87.Event Horizon Telescope Collaboration, CC BY-SA

The proximity of the Milky Way’s galactic center – a mere 24,000 light-years away – provides a unique laboratory for addressing issues in the fundamental physics of supermassive black holes. For example, astrophysicists like myself would like to understand their impact on the central regions of galaxies and their role in galaxy formation and evolution. The detection of a pair of supermassive black holes in the galactic center would indicate that the Milky Way merged with another, possibly small, galaxy at some time in the past.

That’s not all that monitoring the surrounding stars can tell us. Measurements of the star S0-2 allowed scientists to carry out a unique test of Einstein’s general theory of relativity. In May 2018, S0-2 zoomed past the supermassive black hole at a distance of only about 130 times the Earth’s distance from the Sun. According to Einstein’s theory, the wavelength of light emitted by the star should stretch as it climbs from the deep gravitational well of the supermassive black hole.

The stretching wavelength that Einstein predicted – which makes the star appear redder – was detected and proves that the theory of general relativity accurately describes the physics in this extreme gravitational zone. I am eagerly awaiting the second closest approach of S0-2, which will occur in about 16 years, because astrophysicists like myself will be able to test more of Einstein’s predictions about general relativity, including the change of the orientation of the stars’ elongated orbit. But if the supermassive black hole has a partner, this could alter the expected result.


This NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image show’s the result of a galactic collision between two good-sized galaxies. This new jumble of stars is slowly evolving to become a giant elliptical galaxy.ESA/Hubble & NASA, Acknowledgement: Judy Schmidt

Finally, if there are two massive black holes orbiting each other at the galactic center, as my team suggests is possible, they will emit gravitational waves. Since 2015, the LIGO-Virgo observatories have been detecting gravitational wave radiation from merging stellar-mass black holes and neutron stars. These groundbreaking detections have opened a new way for scientists to sense the universe.

Any waves emitted by our hypothetical black hole pair will be at low frequencies, too low for the LIGO-Virgo detectors to sense. But a planned space-based detector known as LISA may be able to detect these waves which will help astrophysicists figure out whether our galactic center black hole is alone or has a partner.

Why physicist Avi Loeb thinks there’s a “serious possibility” that ‘Oumuamua was an alien spacecraft

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#Oumuamua #Alien #Space

It’s a “serious possibility that we should contemplate,” Loeb says in his new book on the bizarre space object.

It’s been long thought that there are objects out in space moving around between stars, and sometimes they can pass through our solar system, and not long ago, something from deep space made a surprise visit. Some say this visitor was a comet, or maybe an asteroid, but another astronomer strongly believes it is something completely different. Was it the splintered remains of an exoplanet? Or was this interstellar visitor some kind of alien spacecraft in disguise…and why do some believe this?

Are we alone in the universe?

It’s a question humans have been asking for thousands of years—but when a bizarrely fast, cigar-shaped interstellar object jetted past Earth on its trip through our solar system, Harvard professor Avi Loeb believes scientists weren’t ready to seriously consider that it was of artificial origin. But Loeb is beyond consideration — he says it’s very possible that ‘Oumuamua (pronounced “oh moo ah moo ah”) was an interstellar spacecraft. 

Back in October 2017, a postdoctoral researcher named Robert Weryk at the University of Hawaii was sifting through the usual data stream from the Pan-STARRS astronomical survey of the sky when he noticed an unexpected object. It appeared to be highly elongated, like a stick, with a long axis 10 times longer than its short axis — unprecedented for an asteroid. Some hypothesized that ‘Oumuamua swung towards our solar system as a result of a gravitational slingshot of a binary star system; others, that it might be an odd comet, though no tail was evident. Thus the search began to collect and analyze as much data as possible before it left our solar system.

Immediately upon discovering its physical properties, researchers realized its shape — which would minimize abrasions from interstellar gas and dust — would be ideal for an interstellar spacecraft. The idea understandably sent shockwaves through the scientific community and stoked controversy. Ultimately, scientists coalesced behind the idea that it was of natural origin, rather than artificial.  But Loeb, who is the former chair of astronomy at Harvard University, remains certain that it was something akin to a light sail — a form of interstellar propulsion — spacecraft created by an extraterrestrial civilization. So much so that he wrote a whole book about it.

That book would be “Extraterrestrial The First Sign of Intelligent Life Beyond Earth,” in which Loeb argues that the scientific community’s resistance to discussing the possibility of extraterrestrial life has hindered taking seriously his hypothesis that ‘Oumuamua was an alien light sail. Loeb reflects on how what happened with ‘Oumuamua was a bit of a missed opportunity, and that academia must invest more in the search for life in our universe to better prepare us for another interstellar visitor. But perhaps, most importantly, in a time when Earth faces an urgent global warming crisis, Loeb says that it could be finding extraterrestrial life that saves us from ourselves.

As always, this interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.

What makes you think that ‘Omuamua was a light sail spacecraft created by an extraterrestrial civilization?

At first, astronomers assumed it must be a comet, because these are the objects that are most loosely bound to stars. We have mostly comets in the outer parts of the solar system. These are rocks covered with ice, and when they get close to a star they warm up, and the ice evaporates into a cometary tail.

It was natural to assume that about ‘Oumuamua, because it came from outside the solar system, so the assumption was it must be a comet. The problem with that was there was no cometary tail. Some people say, “okay it’s not a comet, maybe it’s just a rock.” But the problem is, about half a year later, it was reported that there was an excess push in addition to the force of gravity acting on it by the sun. It exhibited some additional force. Usually that force comes from the rocket effect of the cometary tail, but there was no cometary tail. So the question was, what produces this excess push?

Moreover, during the time that it was observed, the reflected sunlight [off of ‘Oumuamua] varied by a factor of 10. So, that implied that it has an extreme geometry. Even if you consider a razor-thin piece of paper tumbling in the wind, the amount of area that is projected in your direction is not varying by more than a factor of 10, because the chance of seeing it edge on is really small. It is tumbling in the wind. So it looked like this object has an extreme geometry. The most likely model that explains the reflective sunlight as a function of time — as it was doubling every eight hours — was that it has a flat, pancake-like geometry, not cigar-shaped the way it was depicted in some cartoons.

On top of that, it was on the shinier end of all the objects we have seen from the solar system. It also came from a special frame of reference that is called the Local Standard of Rest. That is sort of the galactic parking lot where, if you find a car, you don’t know what house it came from, because this is the frame of reference where you operate with the motion of all the stars in the vicinity of the sun. Only one in 500 stars is so much addressed relative to that frame as ‘Oumuamua was. So it was just like a buoy sitting on the surface of the ocean and then the solar system is like a giant ship bumping into it.

So there were many peculiar facts. I tried to explain the excess push, especially. The only thing I could think of is it comes from the reflection of sunlight.  Then it needed to be very thin, sort of like a sail on a boat that is pushed by wind. I couldn’t imagine a natural process that would make a lightsail, a sail that’s pushed by light. In fact, our civilization is currently pursuing this technology in space exploration.

If this object came from an artificial origin, the question is who sent it? I should say that in September of this year, 2020, there was another object discovered that exhibited an excess push. It was called 2020-SO by the Minor Planets Center that gives names to celestial objects. It turned out that this one ended up being a rocket booster from a failed mission of lunar lander, Surveyor II, that was launched in 1966. So astronomers figured out that it intercepted the Earth if you go back in time to 1966.

But this object actually also showed an excessive push, because it’s a hollow rocket booster that is very thin and pushed by sunlight. We know that it’s artificially made. It had no cometary tail. We know that we made it. So that provides evidence that we can tell the difference between a rock and an object that is pushed by sunlight. To me, it demonstrated the case that perhaps ‘Oumuamua was artificial, definitely not made by us. because it’s been only a few months close to us. We couldn’t even chase it with our best rockets.

That’s fascinating. Can you explain to our readers what is a light sail?

So a light sail is just like a sail on a boat that reflects the wind, the wind is pushing it. In the case of a light sail, it’s the light reflected off its surface that gives it the kick, the push. Light is made of particles called photons. Just like billiard balls bouncing off a wall, they exert some push on it. So the particles of light — photons — reflect off the surface and push and give it a kick.

The advantage of this technology is that you don’t need to carry the fuel with the spacecraft [as you do with rockets]. Rockets carry the fuel and they expel gas from the exhaust, and that’s how they get pushed forward, just like a jet plane. In the case of a light sail, it is light that is being reflected. That’s why you don’t carry your fuel. You can have a lightweight spacecraft. In principle, you can even reach the speed of light with this technology.

So, as you know, after your paper was published, another one was published in 2019 in Nature Astronomy. That paper proposed a natural origin, that ‘Oumuamua could have been a small asteroid that came from a solar system with a gas giant orbiting a star, and that it could have been fragmented and ejected into our solar system. Is there any part of you that thinks that’s still a possibility— why or why not?

No. And that is one out of three suggestions that were made by astronomers about the astral origin, and I’ll mention all three.


The [theory] that you mentioned has to do with a disruption of an object that passes close to a star. There are problems with that scenario. First of all, the chance of coming close enough to a star to be disrupted like that is small. Most of [these] kinds of objects do not pass close to the star. So you need a huge population of objects to account for those that pass close to the star and fragment. The more important problem is that if you make shrapnel or fragments as the result of the destruction near a star, they would be elongated — like cigar shaped. The best model for ‘Oumuamua was that it was pancake-shaped. You can’t get that from the destruction of a bigger object. It’s not natural to get that.

So that’s my caveat about this scenario — that first, it’s unlikely that you would get so many — I mean, you need a lot of objects to explain that we detected ‘Oumuamua. More than one, you would expect naturally, given all the rocks that exist in planetary systems. Yet, this model even wants ‘Oumuamua-like objects to be produced very close to the host star. So that makes it even less likely to happen.

More importantly, the shape is the issue. How do you get pancake shape?

Then there is another suggestion of a natural origin which is that it’s a “dust bunny,” of the type that you find in a household. But it needs to be like a football size. The dust bunny, the collection of particles, is sort of like a cloud that then is 100 times less dense than air, more rarefied than air, so that sunlight can push it around. To me, that sounds not so plausible. This object was the size of a football field and it was tumbling around every eight hours. So making that out of a dust bunny, a cloud of dust particles, and imagining that this dust bunny would survive for millions of years in interstellar space — I find that hard to believe.

Then the third possibility that was suggested is that it’s frozen hydrogen; that it’s a hydrogen iceberg. We’ve never seen anything like it before. We didn’t see a dust bunny, we didn’t see a hydrogen iceberg. The idea was that if it’s made of hydrogen, then when the hydrogen evaporates, it’s transparent so you can’t see it. So there is a cometary tail you just can’t see. But the problem with this scenario is that we showed in the paper that a hydrogen iceberg would evaporate very quickly in interstellar space because of starlight hitting it. Therefore, it would not survive the journey.

So all together, I find these possibilities less appealing. All of them talk about it being something we have never seen before. So I’m saying, if we discuss it as a natural origin, and it involves something that we have never seen before—then why not also consider an artificial origin? That’s also something we’ve never seen before? That’s all I’m saying. I’m not saying it’s definitely of artificial origin, but that it’s one of the serious possibilities that we should contemplate.

How certain are you that ‘Oumuamua was an object with artificial origin?

I would say, given everything we know, I would give a high likelihood that it could have been artificially made. The only way to know for sure, for certain, of course, is to take an image of something like that or get more data on something like that. We can’t do it with ‘Oumuamua because it’s already too far away. It’s now a million times fainter than it was when it was close to us. So we missed the opportunity. It’s like having a guest for dinner, by the time you realize it’s weird, it’s already out of the front door into the dark street. That was the first guest, and we should look for more.

I definitely get the sense from your book how this was a missed opportunity to collect data. I thought about how, in your book, you described if cave dwellers were to find a modern cell phone, they would dismiss it as, like you said, as a shiny rock.


Is that what we did with ‘Oumuamua?

Exactly. We tend to explain anything new that we see in terms of what we already saw. That’s very natural but it also suppresses innovation, it doesn’t allow us to see new things. As scientists, we should be open-minded.

Your book is about ‘Oumuamua, but it’s also about encouraging people to think differently about the possibility of extraterrestrial life, to be more open to it. I think it’s interesting how you compare the hefty investments made by the scientific community to exploring dark matter to those invested in finding extraterrestrial life. Why do you think the idea of finding dark matter is more publicly acceptable and more interesting to scientists than searching for extraterrestrial life?

I think the reason is because it’s less relevant to our lives. When something is close to home and affects you emotionally, that causes some distress. People prefer not to have that. They prefer to live in peace and be happy.

The point about reality is that it doesn’t care about how uneasy you are with the notion. Reality is whatever it is. By ignoring it, you maintain your ignorance.

When the philosophers didn’t look through Galileo’s telescope, they were happy, because they thought the sun surrounded the Earth and they maintained their philosophical and religious beliefs that we are at the center of the universe. But that was temporary. It only maintained their ignorance for a little while. Eventually we realized that the Earth moves around the sun. The fact that they put Galileo in house arrest didn’t change anything. The number of likes on Twitter or whatever we give each other, awards, or put someone in house arrest or anything, that only affects our relation with each other. Reality is whatever it is. By ignoring it, we don’t gain anything, we just lose because we are more ignorant.

So my point is, the way to make progress is not to stick to your notions and maintain a prejudice. Of course that’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you say I don’t need to search, I know the answer, I don’t need to look through Galileo’s telescope, of course it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. You will never find that you’re wrong because you bully people that will do this kind of search, and you don’t fund the research in that direction. It’s like stepping on the grass and saying look it doesn’t grow. Science is not about that, science is about finding the truth.

In the book you emphasize how great the reward would be if we were to discover extraterrestrial life. I’m wondering if you could share more about that with our readers. I think people think that there would be a negative impact on our life, but you argue that it could have a positive impact on human life and on Earth.

First of all, it gives us a better perspective about ourselves. I think astronomy as a whole teaches us modesty. We are occupying one planet out of 10 to the power of 20 planets in the observable universe. We are really responsible for a tiny real estate piece out of the big landscape. Also, we live for a short time relative to the age of the universe. So this immediately tells us that we are not very significant.

Previously, people thought that an Earth-like planet around a sun-like star was something rare. Now, with the Kepler data, half of the sun-like stars have a planet the size of the Earth, roughly at the same separation. Therefore, if you arrange for similar circumstances, I think that you would get similar outcomes.

It would be arrogant to assume that we are unique and special. You know, I think we are as common as ants are on a sidewalk. They are out there and we need to look for clues. Of course if we maintain the idea that we are special and we are unique we will never find the evidence.

On the other hand, if we have the instruments to examine this — we have the telescopes — and the public is so interested in us finding the answer, I think it would be a crime for scientists not to address this interest from the public. Moreover, the public is funding science, so we should attend to the interests of the public. There are examples from history that on many occasions when we thought we knew the truth and we ended up being wrong.

What kind of evidence would the scientific community need to have incontrovertible proof that there is extraterrestrial life, or more ‘Oumuamua-like light sails, in our universe?

That’s an excellent question. One approach is, of course, to find objects like ‘Oumuamua that we can take a photograph of. By the way, we don’t necessarily need to chase them in space, because every now and then one of them may collide with the Earth. We see those as meteors. One of the meteors that comes from interstellar space may be space junk from another civilization. That offers us the possibility of putting our hands around it. If there is a meteor that lands on the ground, we can tell from its speed that it came from outside the solar system and it looks suspicious in terms of its composition, we can examine it. So there are ways to continue this search, even just on the ground rather than going to space.

Beyond that, we can look for industrial pollution in the atmospheres of other planets around other stars as a technological signature, rather than looking for oxygen from microbes. That would be one way of definitely finding evidence for life, industrial life, because the molecules like [CFCs] that contaminate the atmosphere of Earth cannot be produced naturally. These are complex molecules. If we find evidence for them on other planets, that would indicate that there is definitely life out there.

I think it’s interesting that this book has been published in a time when there’s a lot of anti-scientist sentiment. With the coronavirus pandemic, science has become politicized. Do you think that harms legitimizing the search for extraterrestrial life?

No, I would think the other way around. Because the way I see science is that it could be unifying, rather than divisive. As long as the scientific community attends to the interests of the public, and is honest about how much evidence it has for every statement. Right now what happens in the academic world is that the scientists say we should never approach the public until we are absolutely sure about something, because otherwise they might not believe us when we say there is global warming. I don’t think that’s the right approach.

I think the public should see how science is done in the sense that most of the time there is not enough evidence — and we collect more evidence, more data, and eventually we become convinced that one interpretation is correct. If the public sees that process in motion, then it won’t suspect that there is a hidden agenda behind it because it’s transparent. You look at the evidence and everyone that looks that has enough evidence and believes the evidence would agree on the conclusions.

It should be understandable by anyone, and it should be something that anyone can pursue. And by collecting evidence and therefore it’s not an occupation of the elite. It should not be suspicious. It should not have any political agenda. It should also be independent of which nation conducts it. Indeed, we can bring different nations together. 

I’m wondering what do you think really needs to happen for there to be a shift in the scientific community to take the search for extraterrestrial life more seriously?

Well, more people speaking like me. And I hope eventually it will shift also the funding agencies, the federal funding agencies, to go in that direction. I think that what astronomers need to realize is it’s not speculative given what we know right now, it’s one of the most conservative ideas to fall on. It’s much more conservative than dark matter, where we are in the dark, so to speak, because there are so many possibilities. People speculate that we invested hundreds of millions of dollars in experiments without much success yet. We don’t know what the “darkness” is made of.

Of course, science is a learning experience and nobody regrets trying those experiments, because we rule out possibilities. That is much more speculative because we’ve never seen any evidence for dark matter yet or direct evidence for the nature of dark matter. It’s part of science to search for the unknown. I would regard the search for extraterrestrial civilization — it should be a mainstream activity especially given the interest of the public.

You’ve already received a lot of media attention regarding this book and it hasn’t even been published yet. I’m wondering what you hope people will get from this book and what you hope comes out of it?

I have two messages and you already mentioned them. One is that ‘Oumuamua was unusual. It showed a lot of anomalies that could indicate that it was some technological equipment and we should explore and look for other objects that appear anomalous like it and get more data on them. It’s sort of like looking for plastic bottles on the beach.

The second message is that the scientific culture should change and be more open minded to change. I’m sorry to say, but the commercial sector — companies have had much more open-mindedness, much more blue sky research than the academic world these days.

There are companies like Google or SpaceX or Blue Origins — originally it was IBM — that had a lot of innovations in them. That is surprising to me. It should be the academic world that carries the torch of innovation because it has, in principle, the tenure system that allows people to explore without any risk for their jobs. Unfortunately, many practitioners in academia worry more about their image and their honors, and so forth, and engage much less in risk-taking and in thinking independently and looking for evidence than intellectual gymnastics that demonstrate how smart they are.

Avi Loeb’s book, “Extraterrestrial The First Sign of Intelligent Life Beyond Earth,” is slated to be released on January 26, 2021 from Houghton Mifflin. 

Rare 4000-Year Comets Can Cause Meteor Showers on Earth

#Comet #Meteor #Space


Comets that circle the Sun in very elongated orbits spread their debris so thin along their orbit or eject it out of the solar system altogether that their meteor showers are hard to detect.

From a new meteor shower survey published in the journal Icarus, researchers now report that they can detect showers from the debris in the path of comets that pass close to Earth orbit and are known to return as infrequent as once every 4,000 years.

“This creates a situational awareness for potentially hazardous comets that were last near Earth orbit as far back as 2,000 BC,” said meteor astronomer and lead author Peter Jenniskens of the SETI Institute.

Jenniskens is the lead of the Cameras for Allsky Meteor Surveillance (CAMS) project, which observes and triangulates the visible meteors in the night sky using low-light video security cameras to measure their trajectory and orbit. There are CAMS networks now in nine countries, led by co-authors on the paper.

In recent years, new networks in Australia, Chile and Namibia significantly increased the number of triangulated meteors. The addition of these networks resulted in a better and more complete picture of the meteor showers in the night sky.

“Until recently, we only knew five long-period comets to be parent bodies to one of our meteor showers,” said Jenniskens, “but now we identified nine more, and perhaps as many as 15.”

Comets comprise only a small fraction of all impactors on Earth, but researchers believe they caused some of the biggest impact events over Earth’s history because they can be big and the fact that their orbits are such that they can impact at high speed.

“In the future, with more observations, we may be able to detect fainter showers and trace the orbit of parent comets on even longer orbits,” said Jenniskens.

Every night, the CAMS network determines the direction from which comet debris is entering Earth’s atmosphere. Maps are created on an interactive celestial sphere (posted at that shows the meteor showers as colored blobs. Clicking on those blobs shows the measured orbits in the solar system.

“These are the shooting stars you see with the naked eye,” said Jenniskens. “By tracing their approach direction, these maps show the sky and the universe around us in a very different light.”

An analysis of the data found that long-period comet meteor showers can last for many days.

“This was a surprise to me,” says Jenniskens. “It probably means that these comets returned to the solar system many times in the past, while their orbits gradually changed over time.”

Data also revealed that the most dispersed meteor showers show the highest fraction of small meteoroids.

“The most dispersed showers are probably the oldest ones,” says Jenniskens. “So, this could mean that the larger meteoroids fall apart into smaller meteoroids over time.”

Voyager 2’s Historic Neptune Flyby

#Voyager #Neptune #Space


This picture of Neptune was taken by Voyager 2 less than five days before the probe’s closest approach of the planet on Aug. 25, 1989. The picture shows the “Great Dark Spot” — a storm in Neptune’s atmosphere — and the bright, light-blue smudge of clouds that accompanies the storm.Credits: NASA/JPL-CaltechFull image and caption

Thirty years ago, on Aug. 25, 1989, NASA’s Voyager 2 spacecraft made a close flyby of Neptune, giving humanity its first close-up of our solar system’s eighth planet. Marking the end of the Voyager mission’s Grand Tour of the solar system’s four giant planets — Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune — that first was also a last: No other spacecraft has visited Neptune since.

“The Voyager planetary program really was an opportunity to show the public what science is all about,” said Ed Stone, a professor of physics at Caltech and Voyager’s project scientist since 1975. “Every day we learned something new.”

Wrapped in teal- and cobalt-colored bands of clouds, the planet that Voyager 2 revealed looked like a blue-hued sibling to Jupiter and Saturn, the blue indicating the presence of methane. A massive, slate-colored storm was dubbed the “Great Dark Spot,” similar to Jupiter’s Great Red Spot. Six new moons and four rings were discovered.

During the encounter, the engineering team carefully changed the probe’s direction and speed so that it could do a close flyby of the planet’s largest moon, Triton. The flyby showed evidence of geologically young surfaces and active geysers spewing material skyward. This indicated that Triton was not simply a solid ball of ice, even though it had the lowest surface temperature of any natural body observed by Voyager: minus 391 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 235 degrees Celsius).

 Global color mosaic shows Neptune's largest moon, Triton

This global color mosaic shows Neptune’s largest moon, Triton. Pink-hued methane ice may compose a massive polar cap on the moon’s surface, while dark streaks overlaying this ice is thought to be dust deposited from huge geyser-like plumes that erupt from Triton’s surface.Credits: NASA/JPL-CaltechFull image and caption

The conclusion of the Neptune flyby marked the beginning of the Voyager Interstellar Mission, which continues today, 42 years after launch. Voyager 2 and its twin, Voyager 1 (which had also flown by Jupiter and Saturn), continue to send back dispatches from the outer reaches of our solar system. At the time of the Neptune encounter, Voyager 2 was about 2.9 billion miles (4.7 billion kilometers) from Earth; today it is 11 billion miles (18 billion kilometers) from us. The faster-moving Voyager 1 is 13 billion miles (21 billion kilometers) from Earth.   

Getting There

By the time Voyager 2 reached Neptune, the Voyager mission team had completed five planetary encounters. But the big blue planet still posed unique challenges.

About 30 times farther from the Sun than Earth is, the icy giant receives only about 0.001 times the amount of sunlight that Earth does. In such low light, Voyager 2’s camera required longer exposures to get quality images. But because the spacecraft would reach a maximum speed of about 60,000 mph (90,000 kph) relative to Earth, a long exposure time would make the image blurry. (Imagine trying to take a picture of a roadside sign from the window of a speeding car.)

So the team programmed Voyager 2’s thrusters to fire gently during the close approach, rotating the spacecraft to keep the camera focused on its target without interrupting the spacecraft’s overall speed and direction.

The probe’s great distance also meant that by the time radio signals from Voyager 2 reached Earth, they were weaker than those of other flybys. But the spacecraft had the advantage of time: The Voyagers communicate with Earth via the Deep Space Network, or DSN, which utilizes radio antennas at sites in Madrid, Spain; Canberra, Australia; and Goldstone, California. During Voyager 2’s Uranus encounter in 1986, the three largest DSN antennas were 64-meters (210 feet) wide. To assist with the Neptune encounter, the DSN expanded the dishes to 70 meters (230 feet). They also included nearby non-DSN antennas to collect data, including another 64-meter (210 feet) dish in Parkes, Australia, and multiple 25-meter (82 feet) antennas at the Very Large Array in New Mexico.

Neptune and rings

Voyager 2 took these two images of the rings of Neptune on Aug. 26, 1989, just after the probe’s closest approach to the planet. Neptune’s two main rings are clearly visible; two fainter rings are visible with the help of long exposure times and backlighting from the Sun.Credits: NASA/JPL-CaltechFull image and caption

The effort ensured that engineers could hear Voyager loud and clear. It also increased how much data could be sent back to Earth in a given period, enabling the spacecraft to send back more pictures from the flyby. 

Being There

In the week leading up to that August 1989 close encounter, the atmosphere was electric at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, which manages the Voyager mission. As images taken by Voyager 2 during its Neptune approach made the four-hour journey to Earth, Voyager team members would crowd around computer monitors around the Lab to see.

“One of the things that made the Voyager planetary encounters different from missions today is that there was no internet that would have allowed the whole team and the whole world to see the pictures at the same time,” Stone said. “The images were available in real time at a limited number of locations.”

But the team was committed to giving the public updates as quickly as possible, so from Aug. 21 to Aug. 29, they would share their discoveries with the world during daily press conferences. On Aug. 24, a program called “Voyager All Night” broadcast regular updates from the probe’s closest encounter with the planet, which took place at 4 a.m. GMT (9 p.m. in California on Aug. 24).

The next morning, Vice President Dan Quayle visited the Lab to commend the Voyager team. That night, Chuck Berry, whose song “Johnny B. Goode” was included on the Golden Record that flew with both Voyagers, played at JPL’s celebration of the feat.

Chuck Berry and Carl Sagan

(From left) Chuck Berry and Carl Sagan at a Voyager 2 Neptune flyby celebration at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in August 1989. Berry’s “Johnny B. Goode” is the only rock-and-roll song on the Golden Records currently traveling in interstellar space aboard Voyagers 1 and 2.Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Of course, the Voyagers’ achievements extend far beyond that historic week three decades ago. Both probes have now entered interstellar space after exiting the heliosphere — the protective bubble around the planets created by a high-speed flow of particles and magnetic fields spewed outward by our Sun.

They are reporting back to Earth on the “weather” and conditions from this region filled with the debris from stars that exploded elsewhere in our galaxy. They have taken humanity’s first tenuous step into the cosmic ocean where no other operating probes have flown.

Voyager data also complement other missions, including NASA’s Interstellar Boundary Explorer (IBEX), which is remotely sensing that boundary where particles from our Sun collide with material from the rest of the galaxy. And NASA is preparing the Interstellar Mapping and Acceleration Probe (IMAP), due to launch in 2024, to capitalize on Voyager observations.

The Voyagers send their findings back to DSN antennas with 13-watt transmitters — about enough power to run a refrigerator light bulb.

“Every day they travel somewhere that human probes have never been before,” said Stone. “Forty-two years after launch, and they’re still exploring.”

Scientists create next gen living robots

#Xenobot #AI #Robot

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Last year, a team of biologists and computer scientists from Tufts University and the University of Vermont (UVM) created novel, tiny self-healing biological machines from frog cells called “Xenobots” that could move around, push a payload, and even exhibit collective behavior in the presence of a swarm of other Xenobots.

Get ready for Xenobots 2.0.

The same team has now created life forms that self-assemble a body from single cells, do not require muscle cells to move, and even demonstrate the capability of recordable memory. The new generation Xenobots also move faster, navigate different environments, and have longer lifespans than the first edition, and they still have the ability to work together in groups and heal themselves if damaged. The results of the new research were published today in Science Robotics.

Compared to Xenobots 1.0, in which the millimeter-sized automatons were constructed in a “top down” approach by manual placement of tissue and surgical shaping of frog skin and cardiac cells to produce motion, the next version of Xenobots takes a “bottom up” approach. The biologists at Tufts took stem cells from embryos of the African frog Xenopus laevis (hence the name “Xenobots”) and allowed them to self-assemble and grow into spheroids, where some of the cells after a few days differentiated to produce cilia — tiny hair-like projections that move back and forth or rotate in a specific way. Instead of using manually sculpted cardiac cells whose natural rhythmic contractions allowed the original Xenobots to scuttle around, cilia give the new spheroidal bots “legs” to move them rapidly across a surface. In a frog, or human for that matter, cilia would normally be found on mucous surfaces, like in the lungs, to help push out pathogens and other foreign material. On the Xenobots, they are repurposed to provide rapid locomotion.

“We are witnessing the remarkable plasticity of cellular collectives, which build a rudimentary new ‘body’ that is quite distinct from their default — in this case, a frog — despite having a completely normal genome,” said Michael Levin, Distinguished Professor of Biology and director of the Allen Discovery Center at Tufts University, and corresponding author of the study. “In a frog embryo, cells cooperate to create a tadpole. Here, removed from that context, we see that cells can re-purpose their genetically encoded hardware, like cilia, for new functions such as locomotion. It is amazing that cells can spontaneously take on new roles and create new body plans and behaviors without long periods of evolutionary selection for those features.”

“In a way, the Xenobots are constructed much like a traditional robot. Only we use cells and tissues rather than artificial components to build the shape and create predictable behavior.” said senior scientist Doug Blackiston, who co-first authored the study with research technician Emma Lederer. “On the biology end, this approach is helping us understand how cells communicate as they interact with one another during development, and how we might better control those interactions.”

While the Tufts scientists created the physical organisms, scientists at UVM were busy running computer simulations that modeled different shapes of the Xenobots to see if they might exhibit different behaviors, both individually and in groups. Using the Deep Green supercomputer cluster at UVM’s Vermont Advanced Computing Core, the team, led by computer scientists and robotics experts Josh Bongard and under hundreds of thousands of random environmental conditions using an evolutionary algorithm. These simulations were used to identify Xenobots most able to work together in swarms to gather large piles of debris in a field of particles.

“We know the task, but it’s not at all obvious — for people — what a successful design should look like. That’s where the supercomputer comes in and searches over the space of all possible Xenobot swarms to find the swarm that does the job best,” says Bongard. “We want Xenobots to do useful work. Right now we’re giving them simple tasks, but ultimately we’re aiming for a new kind of living tool that could, for example, clean up microplastics in the ocean or contaminants in soil.”

It turns out, the new Xenobots are much faster and better at tasks such as garbage collection than last year’s model, working together in a swarm to sweep through a petri dish and gather larger piles of iron oxide particles. They can also cover large flat surfaces, or travel through narrow capillaries. These studies also suggest that the in silico simulations could in the future optimize additional features of biological bots for more complex behaviors. One important feature added in the Xenobot upgrade is the ability to record information.

Now with memory

A central feature of robotics is the ability to record memory and use that information to modify the robot’s actions and behavior. With that in mind, the Tufts scientists engineered the Xenobots with a read/write capability to record one bit of information, using a fluorescent reporter protein called EosFP, which normally glows green. However, when exposed to light at 390nm wavelength, the protein emits red light instead.

The cells of the frog embryos were injected with messenger RNA coding for the EosFP protein before stem cells were excised to create the Xenobots. The mature Xenobots now have a built-in fluorescent switch which can record exposure to blue light around 390nm.

The researchers tested the memory function by allowing 10 Xenobots to swim around a surface on which one spot is illuminated with a beam of 390nm light. After two hours, they found that three bots emitted red light. The rest remained their original green, effectively recording the “travel experience” of the bots.

This proof of principle of molecular memory could be extended in the future to detect and record not only light but also the presence of radioactive contamination, chemical pollutants, drugs, or a disease condition. Further engineering of the memory function could enable the recording of multiple stimuli (more bits of information) or allow the bots to release compounds or change behavior upon sensation of stimuli.

“When we bring in more capabilities to the bots, we can use the computer simulations to design them with more complex behaviors and the ability to carry out more elaborate tasks,” said Bongard. “We could potentially design them not only to report conditions in their environment but also to modify and repair conditions in their environment.”

Xenobot, heal thyself

“The biological materials we are using have many features we would like to someday implement in the bots — cells can act like sensors, motors for movement, communication and computation networks, and recording devices to store information,” said Levin. “One thing the Xenobots and future versions of biological bots can do that their metal and plastic counterparts have difficulty doing is constructing their own body plan as the cells grow and mature, and then repairing and restoring themselves if they become damaged. Healing is a natural feature of living organisms, and it is preserved in Xenobot biology.”

The new Xenobots were remarkably adept at healing and would close the majority of a severe full-length laceration half their thickness within 5 minutes of the injury. All injured bots were able to ultimately heal the wound, restore their shape and continue their work as before.

Another advantage of a biological robot, Levin adds, is metabolism. Unlike metal and plastic robots, the cells in a biological robot can absorb and break down chemicals and work like tiny factories synthesizing and excreting chemicals and proteins. The whole field of synthetic biology — which has largely focused on reprogramming single celled organisms to produce useful molecules — can now be exploited in these multicellular creatures.

Like the original Xenobots, the upgraded bots can survive up to ten days on their embryonic energy stores and run their tasks without additional energy sources, but they can also carry on at full speed for many months if kept in a “soup” of nutrients.

What the scientists are really after

An engaging description of the biological bots and what we can learn from them is presented in a TED talk by Michael Levin.

In his TED Talk, professor Levin describes not only the remarkable potential for tiny biological robots to carry out useful tasks in the environment or potentially in therapeutic applications, but he also points out what may be the most valuable benefit of this research — using the bots to understand how individual cells come together, communicate, and specialize to create a larger organism, as they do in nature to create a frog or human. It’s a new model system that can provide a foundation for regenerative medicine.

Xenobots and their successors may also provide insight into how multicellular organisms arose from ancient single celled organisms, and the origins of information processing, decision making and cognition in biological organisms.

Recognizing the tremendous future for this technology, Tufts University and the University of Vermont have established the Institute for Computer Designed Organisms (ICDO), to be formally launched in the coming months, which will pull together resources from each university and outside sources to create living robots with increasingly sophisticated capabilities.

Last year, a team of biologists and computer scientists from Tufts University and the University of Vermont (UVM) created novel, tiny self-healing biological machines from frog cells called “Xenobots” that could move around, push a payload, and even exhibit collective behavior in the presence of a swarm of other Xenobots.

A Star That Will Pass Within 0.065 Light Years of the Sun

#Space #Star #Astronomy

In 1.3 Million Years, a Star Will Come Within 24 Light-Days of the Sun

Within the Milky Way, there are an estimated 200 to 400 billion stars, all of which orbit around the center of our galaxy in a coordinated cosmic dance. As they orbit, stars in the galactic disk (where our Sun is located) periodically shuffle about and get closer to one another. At times, this can have a drastic effect on the star that experience a close encounter, disrupting their systems and causing planets to be ejected.

Knowing when stars will make a close encounter with our Solar System, and how it might shake-up objects within it, is therefore a concern to astronomers. Using data collected by the Gaia Observatory, two researchers with the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) determined that a handful of stars will be making close passes by our Solar System in the future, one of which will stray pretty close!

The study was conducted by Vadim V. Bobylev and Anisa T. Bajkova, two researchers from the Pulkovo Observatory’s Laboratory of Galaxy Dynamics in St. Petersburg, Russia. As they indicated, they relied on astrometric data from the Gaia mission’s Early Data Release 3 (EDR3), which revealed kinematic characteristics of stars that are expected to pass within 3.26 light-years (1 Parsec) with the Solar System in the future.

Gaia mapping the stars of the Milky Way. Credit: ESA/ATG medialab; background: ESO/S. Brunier

To start things off simple: our Solar System is composed of eight designated planets and several minor (aka. dwarf) planets orbiting our main sequence G-type yellow dwarf Sun, which is surrounded by an outer ring of icy objects known as the Kuiper Belt. Beyond this, at a distance of roughly 1.63 light-years from the Sun (0.5 parsecs), is a massive cloud of icy debris known as the Oort Cloud, which is where long-period comets originate.

These comets are generally the result of objects making close flybys with the Solar System and knocking objects loose, to the point that they periodically fly through the Solar System and around the Sun before heading back out. The outer edge of the Oort Cloud is estimated to be 0.5 parsecs (1.6 light-years) from our Sun, which makes them particularly responsive to perturbations from a number of sources. As Dr. Bobylev told Universe Today via email:

“These perturbations include, first of all, the effect of the gravitational attraction of the Galaxy – the so-called galactic tide, secondly, the effect from giant molecular clouds – when the solar system flies at a sufficiently close distance to them, and thirdly – the effect from approaching single stars fields.

“The approach of the solar system with single stars in the field is a very rare event. Moreover, the impact depends (according to Newton’s law of attraction) both on the mass of the passing star and on the distance to which the approach takes place.”

For astronomers, the process of searching for stars that may have flown by our Solar System in the past (and which may pass us by in the future) began in the 1960s. The research has improved as more sophisticated instruments have become available, leading to more detailed catalogs on nearby celestial objects. In order to know which stars will make a close encounter, said Bobylev, you need to know their distance and their three velocities.

The consists of the two properties of proper motion – right ascension, declination – and radial velocity. Once you have all that, you can conduct astrometry, which is the precise measurement of the positions and movements of stars and other celestial bodies. It was for this very purpose that the ESA’s Hipparcos satellite (1989-1993) and Gaia Observatory (2013-present) were created.

Thanks to the precise data they have provided, and the updated catalogs on millions of stars and other celestial objects, astronomers are able to determine which of them are likely to make a close encounter in the future. For the sake of their study, Bobylev and Bajkova relied on the following three methods:

“The methods consist in constructing galactic orbits of the studied stars and the Sun. Then, for each star, two main parameters of approach are determined – the minimum distance between the orbit of the solar system and the star and the moment of approach. Integration occurs on the +/-5 Myr interval.

Therefore, in our work, we used, firstly, the simplest linear method, secondly, the integration of motion in the axisymmetric potential of the Galaxy, and thirdly, in the nonaxisymmetric potential of the Galaxy, where the influence of the spiral structure on the motion of objects was taken into account.”

Gaia’s first sky map. Credit: ESA/Gaia/DPAC. Acknowledgement: A. Moitinho & M. Barros (CENTRA – University of Lisbon), on behalf of DPAC.

In the end, all three methods yielded similar results: one star, designated 4270814637616488064 in the Gaia EDR3 database, would be making a particularly close encounter a little over a million years from now. Better known as Gliese 710 (HIP 89825), this variable K-type orange dwarf star is about 60% as massive as our Sun and located some 62 light-years from Earth in the Serpens constellation.

“What is remarkable about it is that it is a candidate for a very close approach to the solar system in the future,” said Bobylev. “This candidate was first identified by Garcia-Sanchez et al., Astron. J. 117, 1042 (1999) in the analysis of stars from the Hipparcos catalog (1997).”

Specifically, the simulations Bobylev and Bajkova conducted showed that Gliese 710 would be making its close flyby 1.32 million years from now and would pass within 0.02 parsecs (just shy of 24 light days) of our Sun. As for what this could entail for our Solar System (and anything living here by then), Bobylev explained that considerable research has already been done on that, and the indications were not so frightening:

“A very interesting simulation of the close flight of the star Gliese 710 past the solar system was carried out by Berski, F. and Dybczynski, P., A&A, v. 595, L10, 2016. They showed that after the approach, a cometary shower will occur from the outer boundaries of the Oort Cloud towards the inner region of the Solar System. True, the flux is small – about a dozen comets a year, and it will appear with a delay of 1 million years after the flight of the star.”

This artwork shows a rocky planet being bombarded by comets. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

So, assuming human beings (or their genetic progeny) are still living in the Solar System 2.32 million years from now, they will be treated to some added comet activity. This could pose some hazards, depending on the trajectories of these comets and the extent of human infrastructure in space. Or it could just mean more opportunities for backyard astronomy, or whatever the futuristic equivalent is!

In any case, it’s always good to know when shakeups will happen and how serious they will be. Such is the significance of this research, in that it eliminates much of the uncertainty surrounding stellar close encounters and the effect they can have. Said Bobylev:

The main significance of our work is that we know with certainty that, both in the past, and in the future, there may be close encounters of stars with the solar system. There can be all sorts of surprises in the form of the appearance of comets and asteroids near the Earth.

Our Solar System has experienced more than a few in the past, and these played a significant role in its evolution. It’s entirely possible that life as we know it owes its existence to close encounters, so best to keep track of any future events!

Russia’s new Amur rocket sparks claims of ‘stolen’ Falcon 9 design

#Roscosmos #Spacex #Space

SpaceX snub: Russia’s new Amur rocket sparks claims of ‘stolen’ Falcon 9 design

RUSSIA’S Roscosmos space agency has unveiled design plans for the Amur, a reusable rocket that bears striking similarities to SpaceX’s Falcon 9.

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The Falcon 9 has cemented SpaceX’s place in the spaceflight industry when in 2015 it became the first rocket to launch into space and safely land back on Earth. Since then, SpaceX has remained the only company to maintain a fleet of reusable rockets, although Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin is slowly catching up with its New Shepard boosters. Russia’s state space agency Roscosmos has now joined the fray, unveiling plans to develop a reusable, methane-powered rocket that strongly resembles the Falcon 9.

The Amur is a two-stage, medium-class carrier launch vehicle touted as Russia’s “first reusable liquid natural gas-powered” rocket.

Roscosmos aims to launch each rocket up to 100 times, bringing them back for vertical landings along the Sea of Okhotsk in eastern Russia.

According to Alexander Bloshenko, Roscosmos executive director for long-term programs and science, the Amur will “reliable, like a Kalashnikov assault rifle.”

And at first glance, the Amur appears to be eerily similar to the Falcon 9.

SpaceX news: Falcon 9 and Russian Amur rocket

SpaceX news: Russia has unveiled plans for the new Amur rocket (Image: SPACEX/TASS/ROSCOSMOS)

SpaceX news: Amur rocket design

SpaceX news: The Amur will be a two-stage reusable rocket (Image: TASS/ROSCOSMOS INSTAGRAM)

Both rockets feature latticed control fins mounted towards the top of the rocket’s first stage.

The Amur also features folding landing legs similar to those found on the Falcon 9.

The design similarities have led to claims the Amur is a carbon-copy of the Falcon 9.

One person said on Instagram: “Bro, don’t be copying Falcon-9s like that.”

A second commented on Roscosmos’s page: “Stop stealing SpaceX’s rockets.”

SpaceX fact sheet: Incredible facts and figures

SpaceX fact sheet: Incredible facts and figures about the company (Image: EXPRESS)

Other people suggested the design was “oddly familiar” or “inspired by Elon”.

However, there are some key differences between the two rockets that make the Amur stand out.

The Russian rocket will be considerably smaller and less powerful than the Falcon 9.

Once complete, Amur will stand at about 180ft (55m) in height, compared to Falcon 9’s 208ft (63m).

SpaceX news: Roscosmos Amur rocket design

SpaceX news: Some people have accused Roscosmos of ‘stealing’ the design (Image: TASS/ROSCOSMOS INSTAGRAM)

SpaceX news: Falcon 9 booster landing

SpaceX news: Falcon 9 is the world’s first reusable rocket (Image: SPACEX)

Amur will also carry up to 11.6 tons worth of payload into low-Earth orbit (LEO), compared to Falcon 9’s lofty 25.1 tons.

Amur’s booster stage will also feature five RD-0169A methane-oxygen engines, compared to SpaceX’s nine liquid oxygen and kerosene Merlin engines.

And the rocket is still in its design phase, with the first launch expected no earlier than in 2026.

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, 49, welcomed the news and urged Roscosmos to go fully reusable with its rockets.

He tweeted: “It’s a step in the right direction, but they should really aim for full reusability by 2026.

Fast Radio Bursts traced to spiral arms of several galaxies by Hubble

#FRB #Space #Unknown

Astronomers using NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope have traced the locations of five brief, powerful radio blasts to the spiral arms of five distant galaxies.

Called fast radio bursts (FRBs), these extraordinary events generate as much energy in a thousandth of a second as the Sun does in a year. Because these transient radio pulses disappear in much less than the blink of an eye, researchers have had a hard time tracking down where they come from, much less determining what kind of object or objects is causing them. Therefore, most of the time, astronomers don’t know exactly where to look.

Locating where these blasts are coming from, and in particular, what galaxies they originate from, is important in determining what kinds of astronomical events trigger such intense flashes of energy. The new Hubble survey of eight FRBs helps researchers narrow the list of possible FRB sources.

Flash in the Night

The first FRB was discovered in archived data recorded by the Parkes radio observatory on July 24, 2001. Since then astronomers have uncovered up to 1,000 FRBs, but they have only been able to associate roughly 15 of them to particular galaxies.

“Our results are new and exciting. This is the first high-resolution view of a population of FRBs, and Hubble reveals that five of them are localized near or on a galaxy’s spiral arms,” said Alexandra Mannings of the University of California, Santa Cruz, the study’s lead author. “Most of the galaxies are massive, relatively young, and still forming stars. The imaging allows us to get a better idea of the overall host-galaxy properties, such as its mass and star-formation rate, as well as probe what’s happening right at the FRB position because Hubble has such great resolution.”

In the Hubble study, astronomers not only pinned all of them to host galaxies, but they also identified the kinds of locations they originated from. Hubble observed one of the FRB locations in 2017 and the other seven in 2019 and 2020.

“We don’t know what causes FRBs, so it’s really important to use context when we have it,” said team member Wen-fai Fong of Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. “This technique has worked very well for identifying the progenitors of other types of transients, such as supernovae and gamma-ray bursts. Hubble played a big role in those studies, too.”

The galaxies in the Hubble study existed billions of years ago. Astronomers, therefore, are seeing the galaxies as they appeared when the universe was about half its current age.

Many of them are as massive as our Milky Way. The observations were made in ultraviolet and near-infrared light with Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3.

Ultraviolet light traces the glow of young stars strung along a spiral galaxy’s winding arms. The researchers used the near-infrared images to calculate the galaxies’ mass and find where older populations of stars reside.

Location, Location, Location

The images display a diversity of spiral-arm structure, from tightly wound to more diffuse, revealing how the stars are distributed along these prominent features. A galaxy’s spiral arms trace the distribution of young, massive stars. However, the Hubble images reveal that the FRBs found near the spiral arms do not come from the very brightest regions, which blaze with the light from hefty stars. The images help support a picture that the FRBs likely do not originate from the youngest, most massive stars.

These clues helped the researchers rule out some of the possible triggers of types of these brilliant flares, including the explosive deaths of the youngest, most massive stars, which generate gamma-ray bursts and some types of supernovae. Another unlikely source is the merger of neutron stars, the crushed cores of stars that end their lives in supernova explosions. These mergers take billions of years to occur and are usually found far from the spiral arms of older galaxies that are no longer forming stars.

Magnetic Monsters

The team’s Hubble results, however, are consistent with the leading model that FRBs originate from young magnetar outbursts. Magnetars are a type of neutron star with powerful magnetic fields. They’re called the strongest magnets in the universe, possessing a magnetic field that is 10 trillion times more powerful than a refrigerator door magnet. Astronomers last year linked observations of an FRB spotted in our Milky Way galaxy with a region where a known magnetar resides.

“Owing to their strong magnetic fields, magnetars are quite unpredictable,” Fong explained. “In this case, the FRBs are thought to come from flares from a young magnetar. Massive stars go through stellar evolution and becomes neutron stars, some of which can be strongly magnetized, leading to flares and magnetic processes on their surfaces, which can emit radio light. Our study fits in with that picture and rules out either very young or very old progenitors for FRBs.”

The observations also helped the researchers strengthen the association of FRBs with massive, star-forming galaxies. Previous ground-based observations of some possible FRB host galaxies did not as clearly detect underlying structure, such as spiral arms, in many of them. Astronomers, therefore, could not rule out the possibility that FRBs originate from a dwarf galaxy hiding underneath a massive one. In the new Hubble study, careful image processing and analysis of the images allowed researchers to rule out underlying dwarf galaxies, according to co-author Sunil Simha of the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Although the Hubble results are exciting, the researchers say they need more observations to develop a more definitive picture of these enigmatic flashes and better pinpoint their source. “This is such a new and exciting field,” Fong said. “Finding these localized events is a major piece to the puzzle, and a very unique puzzle piece compared to what’s been done before. This is a unique contribution of Hubble.”

What should Americans expect from Pentagon’s UFO report?

#UFO #UAP #Unexplained

What should Americans expect from Pentagon’s UFO report?

Former Pentagon official says ‘the last thing that we need is more obfuscation’ from Pentagon

Former Pentagon official says certain elements of Pentagon have backed themselves into a corner on ‘Tucker Carlson Tonight’

Former Pentagon official Lue Elizondo joins “Tucker Carlson Tonight” to discuss the Pentagon’s highly anticipated UFO report to Congress.

LUE ELIZONDO: What we should learn is exactly that: What the U.S. Government knows about this topic and has known for a while. It’s a threat assessment that is supposed to be conducted at the unclassified level and then provided to Congress, which is a report that is expected to be comprehensive. Certainly, that is a report that Congress deserves. Unfortunately what we might get is something that is more watered down. I think from my perspective, that’s probably the most concerning part of this. The last thing that we need is more obfuscation. 

First of all, why the lying? Probably because the certain elements in the Pentagon have backed themselves in a corner. They spent such a long time and amount of energy trying to obfuscate the truth from the American people that they backed themselves into a corner and they really don’t know how to get out of it. I think the more that we shine a spotlight on this topic, the more people are going to realize that there really is something there. I think with the announcement of the new IG Inspector General evaluation into this topic and more importantly the last three years of Pentagon obfuscation, hopefully, those elements of resistance in the Pentagon will realize that that type of resistance at this point is futile.

Opinion: UFOs may pose a real threat to the United States, and the US military does not care

#UFO #UAP #Unexplained

‘The conflicts the Pentagon says it’s preparing for seem comically small and outdated’

‘Tucker Carlson Tonight’ host questions why military leadership is ‘purging their ranks’ instead of focusing on unknown space threats

The United States has been the most powerful country in the world. That’s the good news. What’s interesting, is that this country has occupied this position for so long, that relatively few Americans have considered what would happen if we slipped from that perch. Would it matter if America became subordinate to other nations? There’s a debate about that. Let’s see. At work, does it matter to you who the boss is? It probably does matter. That’s the person who can fire you. The world isn’t so different from that. The top countries give the orders, the rest of the planet takes the orders, whether they like it or not. We’ve lost sight of that, because, for more than a century, America has effectively been in charge of the world. That’s exactly why we’ve stayed rich and free for that time. Most Americans on some level understand this is an arrangement worth preserving, if only because the options to it are so much worse. How’d you like to be forced to obey the Chinese Communist Party? Not so much. How do you feel about surrendering the U.S. dollar as the world’s reserve currency and going bankrupt? No thanks. Most of us would like to avoid outcomes like that. 

That’s why we spend more than any county in the world on our military. There’s a reason the Department of Defense is our largest government agency. It’s not just because defense contractors are powerful, it’s because we all agree it’s really important. In exchange for all that money and power, we expect, in return, the Pentagon will stay up late thinking of ways to keep America strong. The question is, have they been doing that? You can judge for yourself. Most of the generals we see quoted in the press seem more committed to meeting some counterproductive diversity goal — hiring more pregnant air force pilots, assembling the world’s first transgender SEAL team —  than on defending the United States. The conflicts the Pentagon says it’s preparing for seem comically small and outdated, whether it’s wrangling with illiterate tribesmen in Afghanistan, ramping up for some new “war” against a remote group of buildings in Syria, wherever the hell Syria is. Can poor, irrelevant countries really be America’s gravest enemies? We act like it. But they’re not. And that’s been confirmed tonight, by the way. This nation’s most formidable foe, the new secretary of defense just announced, is the weather itself. Going forward, the U.S. military has declared a hot war on global warming:

LLOYD AUSTIN: Today, no nation can find lasting security without addressing the climate crisis. We face all kinds of threats in our line of work, but few of them truly deserve to be called existential. The climate crisis does.

That’s Lloyd Austin, of course. Austin is a former defense contractor, not surprisingly, and a full-time ideologue as well. Having Lloyd Austin at the Pentagon is like handing control of the US military to the editorial page of the New York Times. Austin that the scariest risk our soldier face is the possibility they might serve alongside Americans who didn’t vote for Joe Biden

LLOYD AUSTIN: And if confirmed, I will fight hard to stamp out sexual assault and to rid our ranks of racists and extremists…The job of the Department of Defense is to keep America safe from our enemies. But we can’t do that if some of those enemies lie within our own ranks.

He’s a joke and a mediocrity, and of course, he was confirmed by the Senate as if he was impressive, but he’s not, and the results are entirely predictable. A new report in Revolver News puts a finer point on what exactly is happening at the Pentagon under Lloyd Austin. Austin has hired an activist called  Bishop Garrison as the head of the military’s vast “diversity and inclusion” apparatus – a group of offices that has nothing to do with fighting and winning wars. Spend five minutes Googling Bishop Garrison. Treat yourself. He’s a lunatic. A few years ago, he announced that anyone who supports Donald Trump — tens of millions of American citizens, many of whom have served in the military — is a white supremacist. And he said “there is no room for nuance” on that question. Garrison wrote a lot of things like that.  You could google them, and you should. Now he’s one of the most powerful officials in the U.S. military. Democrats in Congress are thrilled as they watched this. Their party now has all the tanks and drones. What’s strange is Republicans don’t seem to have noticed that it happened. They’re still giving the same vacuous speeches about “the troops” and signing off on ever-expanding defense budgets with no oversight. The effect: The same fighting force that for generations we have been so proud of – the people who stormed Saipan and Guadalcanal – has been captured without a shot by rejects from the Google HR department, and its defenders, the defenders of the troops, can’t be bothered to say a word about it. Do they have a television? Have they seen the Army’s latest recurring ad?  

AIR DEFENSE ENHANCED EARLY WARNING SYSTEM OPERATOR EMMA: This is the story of a soldier who operates your nation’s patriot missile defense systems. It begins in California with a little girl raised by two moms…Although I had a fairly typical childhood–took ballet, played violin–I also marched for equality. I like to think I’ve been defending freedom from an early age…A way to prove my inner strength, and maybe shatter some stereotypes along the way.

“I also marched for equality.” Oh, shut up. Who cares? Please stop talking about yourself for once. It’s boring and irrelevant and insulting. This is not just your country, it belongs to all of us. Your job is to defend it, please do so. It’s becoming clear they have no interest in defending it. Here’s the latest evidence. It comes from CBS in a clip from a 60 Minutes report on UFOs and the military. 

BILL WHITAKER: A Navy aircrew struggles to lock onto a fast-moving object off the US Atlantic coast in 2015. Recently released images may not convince UFO skeptics but the Pentagon admits it doesn’t know what in the world this is…or this…or this…”

Oh, UFOs, they’re spooky and kinda funny. Crazy people believe in them. Up until you get to the line, “The Pentagon admits it doesn’t know what in the world this is.” That’s all you need to know. From a national security perspective, that’s a very big problem. How big a problem is it? One Navy pilot said military observed unidentified objects maneuvering in restricted airspace off the coast of Virginia “every day” for two years: 

BILL WHITAKER:  The Pentagon confirms these are images of objects it can’t identify. Lt Graves told us pilots training off the Atlantic coast see things like that all the time.

LIEUTENANT RYAN GRAVES: Every day. Every day for at least a couple years.

BILL WHITAKER: Every day for a couple years? 


Flying in restricted airspace is not a small thing. Try that in your Cessna 172 off Virginia Beach sometime. You’ll get very wet, very fast. You’ll be killed, actually. Yet the Pentagon did nothing after two full years of daily incursions. Why didn’t they? We’re guessing, but one possible explanation: they couldn’t. Our military was completely outmatched technologically by whatever these were. And whatever they were, they weren’t weather balloons.  

Here’s what Lue Elizondo, the former director of the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program said: 

BILL WHITAKER: You know how this sounds. It sounds nutty, wacky 

LUIS ELIZONDO: Look I’m not telling you that it doesn’t sound wacky. I’m telling you it’s real…Imagine a technology that can do 600 to 700 G-forces, that can fly 13,000 miles an hour, that, that can evade radar and can fly through air and water and possibly space, and oh, by the way, has no obvious signs of propulsion, no wings, no control surfaces and yet still can defy the natural effects of Earth’s gravity. That’s precisely what we’re seeing. 

Sound like a potential threat? You think? So what has the Pentagon done about it? Well, we don’t know the full story as of tonight. But we don’t know that they’ve done anything about it, and then cover the fact they ignored it by declaring the whole subject classified for decades, then spending the rest of the day thinking about how to bomb Syria again and rid the marine corps of people who voted for Donald Trump.Video

The sad thing is, we have a whole new branch of the military perfectly designed to assess what these things are, and figure out if they’re a threat or not, and maybe respond. If there was ever a reason to have a Space Force, this is it. But Space Force is otherwise occupied these days. They’re busy conducting political purges of their own ranks, as all the branches of the military are. Lt. Col. Matthew Lohmeier, commanded a Space Force unit until the White House decided his politics were unacceptable

MATTHEW LOHMEIER: Since taking command as a commander about 10 months ago, I saw what I consider fundamentally incompatible and competing narratives of what America was, is, and should be. That wasn’t just prolific in social media or throughout the country during this past year, but it was spreading throughout the United States military. And I had recognized those narratives as being Marxist in nature.”

So, every day for two years, unidentified flying objects behaving in ways that seemed to contradict what we know about physics, and the U.S. military is spending its time purging its ranks. What does this remind you of? Maybe the Soviet army 1938: A clear and present threat appears on the horizon, but the people in charge are so obsessed with political purity and loyalty to the Party, they can’t respond, because they’re absorbed in attacking their own organization. When they say that all revolutions are the same, they’re right. 

UFOs, it turns out, are real, and whatever else they are, they’re a prima facie challenge to the United States military. They’re doing things the U.S. military does not allow, and they’re doing it with impunity. And they appear to be focused on the U.S. military. UFOs for decades have appeared to have clustered around our military installations – our ships and aircraft, with no real response from the Pentagon except more secrecy. At one point, unidentified flying objects apparently shut down a nuclear weapons facility at an air force base in Montana. Ten ICBMS – Intercontinental ballistic missiles – were temporarily knocked offline — at the same time base security noticed a glowing red object floating in the sky. It sounds like it was out of a movie, but it happened. That was decades ago. Many more UFOs have been sighted near our nuclear weapons facilities since.  

According to journalist George Knapp, quote, “All of the nuclear facilities—Los Alamos, Livermore, Sandia, Savannah River—all had dramatic incidents where these unknown aircraft appeared over the facilities and nobody knew where they were from or what they were doing there.” For decades this has happened. Apparently, no one knows why. No one seems especially alarmed. In the 1950s some people were worried about this. A declassified FBI document from 70 years ago describes unknown flying objects measuring approximately 50 feet in diameter in the vicinity of the Los Alamos labs.  

More recently, the Pentagon has declassified footage from a UFO incident in 2004, and two UFO incidents from 2015. Those incidents were recorded by Navy pilots during training flights, right now on your screen. We have no explanation for what these objects are. 

Just days ago, the Pentagon confirmed that an 18-second video of three UFOs harassing a U.S. warship — the USS Russell — is real. The footage was shot back in July 2019 and collected by the Pentagon’s UFO Task Force before it was obtained by journalist Jeremy Corbell. 

So the question is: what are these things? Why are they buzzing our skies? Why do they seem attracted to our U.S. military? And above all, why isn’t the Pentagon more focused on this? It seems like a threat if there ever was one. 

Scientists Find Extraterrestrial Isotopes on Ocean Floor

Amazing find on the Ocean Floor – something from out of this world! #radioactive #Space #Extraterrestrial

We saw our first extraterrestrial visitor in 2017 when ‘Oumuamua rocketed across the solar system, but there are extraterrestrial elements hiding right here on Earth. An analysis of isotopes in the ocean crust reveals radioactive materials that could only have arrived here from outside our solar system, and their presence could help us better understand the physics of cataclysmic events like supernovae. 

Most heavy elements are unstable, meaning they decay into smaller, more stable atoms. The amount of time it takes for half of a radioactive material to decay is known as a half-life, and scientists from the Australian National University report finding two important isotopes with short half-lives in high concentrations in samples taken from the ocean floor. 

One of the isotopes, iron-60, has been found in traces on Earth and in higher concentrations elsewhere in the solar system. With a half-life of just 2.6 million years, all the iron-60 that was originally part of Earth has long since decayed into stable nickel atoms. So where’s it coming from? Scientists know that iron-60 is commonly produced in supernovae explosions along with many other heavy elements, and some of it ends up in our solar system. Finding it in higher concentrations on the ocean floor, isolated from artificial human processes, suggests an influx of the isotope in the geologically recent past. 

The team actually detected two spikes of iron-60 within the past 10 million years. Knowing this is most likely the result of nearby supernovae (within a few hundred light-years), they decided to see what other isotopes were present in the same areas of the crust. The team uncovered a small but notable quantity of plutonium-244, which has a half-life of 80 million years. That’s long for plutonium, but all of Earth’s original traces are gone after billions of years. 

supernova head

Unlike iron-60, the story of plutonium-244 is complicated. This unusual isotope has to come from somewhere, but there is disagreement as to whether supernovae are a major driver of plutonium-244 production. Some scientists believe it takes more calamitous events like neutron star collisions to pump out the isotope. Finding plutonium-244 associated with confirmed supernovae products like iron-60 is the first direct evidence that this material does indeed come from dying stars. 

However, we don’t know how much of it came from the same local supernovae as the iron. It’s possible some proportion of this newly identified plutonium came from other celestial events. Plutonium-244 might also be present in the interstellar medium, allowing it to be swept up by supernovae shockwaves. Scientists will need to gather more samples to unravel this mystery, but the end result could be a fuller understanding of the processes at work in supernovae and other space-rending explosions.

Navy pilots describe encounters with UFOs

Navy Reports Describe Encounters With Unexplained Flying Objects

#UFO #UAP #unidentified

While some of the encounters have been reported publicly before, the Navy records are an official accounting of the incidents, including descriptions from the pilots of what they saw.

Lt. Ryan Graves last year described a close encounter off Virginia Beach with what looked like a flying sphere encasing a cube.
Lt. Ryan Graves last year described a close encounter off Virginia Beach with what looked like a flying sphere encasing a cube.Credit…Tony Luong for The New York Times

Navy fighter pilots reported close encounters with unidentified aerial vehicles, including several dangerously close, in eight incidents between June 27, 2013, and Feb. 13, 2019, according to documents recently released by the Navy.

Two happened on one day, according to one of eight unclassified Navy safety reports released in response to requests filed under the Freedom of Information Act by news outlets, including The New York Times.

Last month the Defense Department authenticated three videos of aerial encounters previously published by The Times, accompanying accounts of Navy pilots who reported such close encounters.

U.S. Navy Releases Videos of Unexplained Flying Objects

The U.S. Navy has officially published previously released videos showing unexplained objects.

[radio transmission] “Whoa, got it — woo-hoo!” “Roger —” “What the [expletive] is that?” “Did you box a moving target?” “No, I took an auto track.” “Oh, OK.” “Oh my gosh, dude. Wow” “What is that man?” “There’s a whole screen of them. My gosh.” “They’re all going against the wind. The wind’s 120 knots from west.” “Dude.” “That’s not — is it?” “[inaudible]” “Look at that thing.”00:002:062:06

The incidents in the videos were investigated by a little-known Pentagon program that for years looked into reports of unidentified flying objects, the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program. The existence of the office was first reported by The Times in December 2017.

While some of the encounters have been reported publicly before, the Freedom of Information Act releases include the Navy’s official records documenting the incidents, including descriptions from the pilots of what they saw.

The Navy records, known as “hazard reports,” describe both visual and radar sightings, including close calls with the aerial vehicles, or “unmanned aircraft systems.”

One incident, on March 26, 2014, over the Atlantic Ocean off Virginia Beach, involved a silver object “approximately the size of a suitcase” that was tracked on radar passing within 1,000 feet of one of the jets, according to the report.

Some of the incidents involved fighter squadrons aboard the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt. One of the former F/A-18 Super Hornet pilots, Lt. Ryan Graves, last year described a close encounter off Virginia Beach with what looked like a flying sphere encasing a cube, as recounted by a fellow pilot and later reported to the squadron safety officer.

The incident was documented in a report with few details on June 27, 2013, which stated that the Navy jet crew saw something pass about 200 feet away on the right side. With a visible smoke plume emitting from the rear section, “the aircraft was white in color and approximately the size and shape of a drone or missile,” according to the report.

No other agencies were conducting drone flights or missile launches in the area at that time, the report said. “Unmanned aerial vehicles represent a significant midair collision threat,” the commanding officer reported.

The incidents included more than just that squadron, the VFA-11 “Red Rippers” out of Naval Air Station Oceana, Va. The documents show that the commanders took the incidents seriously, warning of the likelihood of a midair collision.

Defense Department officials do not describe the objects as extraterrestrial, and experts emphasize that earthly explanations can generally be found for such incidents. Even lacking a plausible terrestrial explanation does not make an extraterrestrial one likely, astrophysicists say.

In interviews, five of the pilots involved avoided speculating on the source of the objects. The Navy, in its reports, also avoided any such conjecture.

Three incidents occurred within exclusive use airspace, meaning no other aircraft were authorized to fly in that area.

Another report on an incident on Nov. 18, 2013, expressed alarm. “Due to their small size, many U.A.S.’s are less visually significant and radar apparent and therefore pose a significant risk for midair collision,” the report said, using an abbreviation for unmanned aircraft systems.

Less than a month later, a pilot who had been assured there was no traffic in his area detected a radar track at an altitude of 12,000 feet and less than a mile away. “He was able to identify a small white visual return at the location of the radar track,” the report said.

A “near midair” collision report from March 26, 2014, also in exclusive use airspace, involved two F/A-18E Super Hornet aircraft from squadron VFA-106. One pilot closed in and reported seeing a small, silver metallic object the size of a suitcase. “Pilot passed within 1,000 feet of the object. Could not identify it,” the report says.

The pilot passed the information to the local Fleet Area Control and Surveillance Facility, which had received multiple sighting reports in recent months. “This presents a significant safety concern, given that this unknown aircraft was detected in an exclusive use area,” the commanding officer stated. “I feel it may only be a matter of time before one of our F/A-18 aircraft has a midair collision with an unidentified U.A.S.”

On April 23, 2014, two objects were tracked on radar, not communicating, and two other relatively small objects were observed at the same time flying at high speed off the coast of Virginia, another report states. The events were said to pose “a severe threat to naval aviation.”

“It is only a matter of time before this results in a midair in W-72,” the report said, using the airspace designation. “This was the squadron’s second occurrence in the last 10 months.”

The most recent incident included in the Freedom of Information Act documents did not appear to be related to an unidentified flying object. On Feb. 13, 2019, a red weather balloon was spotted at 27,000 feet by four aircraft, when none were supposed to be in the area. The report concluded “weather balloon released without notifying the appropriate channels.”

China lands on Mars in major advance for its space ambitions

#China #Mars #Space

1 of 9In this photo released by Xinhua News Agency, members at the Beijing Aerospace Control Center celebrate after China’s Tianwen-1 probe successfully landed on Mars, at the center in Beijing, Saturday, May 15, 2021. China landed a spacecraft on Mars for the first time on Saturday, a technically challenging feat more difficult than a moon landing, in the latest advance for its ambitious goals in space. (Jin Liwang/Xinhua via AP)

BEIJING (AP) — China landed a spacecraft on Mars for the first time on Saturday, a technically challenging feat more difficult than a moon landing, in the latest step forward for its ambitious goals in space.

Plans call for a rover to stay in the lander for a few days of diagnostic tests before rolling down a ramp to explore an area of Mars known as Utopia Planitia. It will join an American rover that arrived at the red planet in February.

China’s first Mars landing follows its launch last month of the main section of what will be a permanent space station and a mission that brought back rocks from the moon late last year.

“China has left a footprint on Mars for the first time, an important step for our country’s space exploration,” the official Xinhua News Agency said in announcing the landing on one of its social media accounts.

The U.S. has had nine successful landings on Mars since 1976. The Soviet Union landed on the planet in 1971, but the mission failed after the craft stopped transmitting information soon after touchdown.

A rover and a tiny helicopter from the American landing in February are currently exploring Mars. NASA expects the rover to collect its first sample in July for return to Earth in a decade.

China has landed on the moon before but landing on Mars is a much more difficult undertaking. Spacecraft use shields for protection from the searing heat of entering the Martian atmosphere, and use both retro-rockets and parachutes to slow down enough to prevent a crash landing. The parachutes and rockets must be deployed at precise times to land at the designated spot. Only mini-retro rockets are required for a moon landing, and parachutes alone are sufficient for returning to Earth.

Xinhua said the entry capsule entered the Mars atmosphere at an altitude of 125 kilometers (80 miles), initiating what it called “the riskiest phase of the whole mission.”

A 200 square meter (2,150 square foot) parachute was deployed and later jettisoned, and then a retro-rocket was fired to slow the speed of the craft to almost zero, Xinhua said. The craft hovered about 100 meters (330 feet) above the surface to identify obstacles before touching down on four buffer legs.

“Each step had only one chance, and the actions were closely linked. If there had been any flaw, the landing would have failed,” said Geng Yan, an official at the China National Space Administration, according to Xinhua.

Touchdown was at 7:18 a.m. Beijing time (23:18 Friday GMT; 7:18 p.m. EDT), although more than an hour passed before ground controllers could confirm the landing was a success, Xinhua said. The rover had to open its solar panels and antenna, and then it took more than 17 minutes for its signals to traverse the distance between Mars and Earth.

Chinese President Xi Jinping, in a congratulatory letter to the mission team, called the landing “an important step in our country’s interplanetary exploration journey, realizing the leap from Earth-moon to the planetary system and leaving the mark of the Chinese on Mars for the first time. … The motherland and people will always remember your outstanding feats!”

NASA Associate Administrator Thomas Zurbuchen tweeted his congratulations, saying, “Together with the global science community, I look forward to the important contributions this mission will make to humanity’s understanding of the Red Planet.”

China’s Mars landing was the top trending topic on Weibo, a leading social media platform, as people expressed both excitement and pride.

The Tianwen-1 spacecraft has been orbiting Mars since February, when it arrived after a 6 1/2-month journey from Earth. Xinhua described the mission as China’s first planetary exploration.

The rover, named after the Chinese god of fire Zhurong, is expected to be deployed for 90 days to search for evidence of life. About the size of a small car, it has ground-penetrating radar, a laser, and sensors to gauge the atmosphere and magnetic sphere.

China’s space program has proceeded in a more cautious manner than the U.S. and the Soviet Union during the height of their space race.

The launch of the main module for China’s space station in April is the first of 11 planned missions to build and provision the station and send up a three-person crew by the end of next year. While the module was successfully launched, the uncontrolled return to Earth of the rocket drew international criticism including from NASA Administrator Bill Nelson.

China has said it wants to land people on the moon and possibly build a scientific base there. No timeline has been released for these projects. A space plane is also reportedly under development.

Former Navy pilot recalls seeing hundreds of UFOs, calls them security threat

Ryan Graves tells ’60 Minutes’ the unidentified objects are a security threat

Washington Examiner’s Tom Rogan reacts to UFO seemingly capable of moving through air and water on ‘Tucker Carlson Tonight’

A former Navy pilot says he witnessed UFOs flying in restricted airspace off the coast of Virginia nearly every day for two years beginning in 2019.

Former Lt. Ryan Graves told CBS’s “60 Minutes” that the unidentified objects — like ones seen in a Pentagon-confirmed Navy video near San Diego — are a security threat.

The latest firsthand account comes a month ahead of a report by the national intelligence director and secretary of defense on unidentified aerial phenomena, a measure that was including in a COVID-19 relief bill passed in December.

“I am worried, frankly. You know, if these were tactical jets from another country that were hanging out up there, it would be a massive issue,” Graves said, according to a clip of the “60 Minutes” interview, which is set to air Sunday. “But because it looks slightly different, we’re not willing to actually look at the problem in the face. We’re happy to just ignore the fact that these are out there, watching us every day.” 

Seamen who have seen the unidentified objects believe they could be a secret US technology, enemy surveillance devices, or something entirely different, Graves told CBS.

“This is a difficult one to explain. You have rotation, you have high altitudes. You have propulsion, right? I don’t know. I don’t know what it is, frankly,” the lieutenant told correspondent Bill Whitaker as he watched an unclassified video.

“I would say, you know, the highest probability is it’s a threat observation program,” Graves said, according to the report.

A former defense official who spent years investigating unidentified aerial phenomena told the network program that the vehicles have technology vastly exceeding any human invention.

“Imagine a technology that can do 600 to 700 G-forces, that can fly 13,000 miles an hour, that, that can evade radar and can fly through air and water and possibly space, and oh, by the way, has no obvious signs of propulsion, no wings, no control surfaces and yet still can defy the natural effects of Earth’s gravity.

“That’s precisely what we’re seeing,” Luis Elizondo said.

This story first appeared in the New York Post.

New video from USS Omaha shows unknown aerial sphere vanishing into ocean

#UFO #UAP #Unexplained

Newly released video taken on board the USS Omaha, a littoral combat ship, shows what has been described as a transmedium vehicle (that is, a vehicle capable of traveling through both air and water) moving, hovering, and disappearing into the Pacific Ocean.

The new video has been published by investigative filmmaker Jeremy Corbell. The video is from the same incident Mystery Wire documented in April. Previously, two freeze frame images from the video were made public. A Pentagon spokesperson confirmed last month that one of the freeze-frame images was recorded by US Navy personnel.

During July 2019, several U.S. warships based in San Diego were repeatedly buzzed by unknown aerial intruders. Stories of strange encounters bubbled to the surface last summer, initially focused on the USS Kidd, a Navy destroyer.

In March, more documentation surfaced in the form of ships logs, which confirmed that unidentified objects were seen by crews aboard multiple warships in restricted waters off the coast of southern California. One of those ships was the USS Omaha.

The objects were described as “drones”, also as “UAVs,” generic terms for what are otherwise considered unidentified objects

Navy images showing trans-medium Sphere travel from the air to underwater. (Image sourced by @JeremyCorbell)

This new video and the earlier images were part of a series of bizarre encounters reported by the U.S. Navy during the past two years.

On March 2019 a U.S. Navy F/A-18 jet encounter of three stationary drones of unknown origin, reported earlier by Mystery Wire, off the coast of Virginia above the Atlantic Ocean.

  • The AcornRead More »
  • The Metallic BlimpRead More »
  • The SphereRead More »
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  • The Metallic BlimpRead More »

The Metallic Blimp

Below you can read the transcript of the conversation between George Knapp and Jeremy Corbell and watch the USS Omaha video of the unidentified sphere.

George Knapp   
Jeremy, good to have you back. 2019 remarkable things happening on both coasts. Back in April, you and I jointly released some incredible images starting with the three photographs taken by an F/A-18 crew off the coast of Virginia, still unidentified images that are in the briefing presentation prepared by the UAP Task Force and delivered to members of Congress, joint chiefs, intelligence agencies. And then two days later, April 8, we released some amazing images that you’ve acquired and that we have confirmed regarding several ships in the Pacific Fleet that were surveyed, under surveillance by a number of unidentified. Call them drones, call them UAVs, UFOs, whatever you want to call them. This was a series of events that is well documented. And one of the key ships that was identified by you, and that came from the UAP Task Force briefing document involves the USS Omaha. Now, as we know, the Pentagon came forward (and) confirmed that the images were real. But this slide that you obtained about the USS Omaha seems to be one that they were kind of fuzzy about. You have an idea about why they were sort of reluctant to go as far as they did with this image as opposed to the other images that you presented.

Jeremy Corbell  
Yeah, well, here’s the deal. Let me recap for a second here. We released a lot of content. You released three images from an F/A-18 over the east coast, verified part of the study of the UAPTF UFO studies, you know, then together, we released six new images, three of which were of the pyramidal shape object, the UFOs. And then the other was three of this USS Omaha, which they describe these as spherical, unmanned aerial platforms, maybe UFOs going into the water. Then, we also released the kind of now iconic, pyramid and triangular shaped video. So it’s like a mother lode. Then, a little time after I released another still image, an image that wasn’t contained as a still image in the UAPTF UFO reports from May 1 2020. So why did the Pentagon instantly confirm the USS Russell, pyramidal shaped UFOs and not the USS Omaha? That confused me too.  Why confirm anything? I now suspect that they didn’t have all of that data and information. And upon my search and trying to find people that would know that we’re in a position to know I have heard through word on the wash, you know, that now UAPTF has a lot more data than before. So this is so cool. This is where reporting, you and I are reporting and it’s influencing the knowledge base of governmental organizations that can now take this seriously and put it into hopefully, the summer release of information. So to answer your question very succinctly, the reason I think that the triangular and pyramid shaped UFO footage was confirmed and the USS Omaha USO, Unidentified Submerging Object, was not confirmed directly, although as a play on words, is because I think when we’re breaking news, people are playing catch up, George.


Still images from video recorded by the U.S. Navy showing Pyramid shaped UAPs flying above the USS Russell. (Image sourced by @JeremyCorbell)

George Knapp  
The slide created for the UAP Task Force briefing document shows the USS Omaha, it is a still image. There’s been a lot of speculation, as you know, online and in the UFO world, that it might be a still image taken from a video. We can now confirm that is the fact, right.

Jeremy Corbell  
Yeah. So in fact, what happened was when these huge series of events happened in a warning area off the coast of San Diego, there were so many ships involved. And there were so many things happening, that some of the people on the ships were tasked with putting reports up the chain of command. They didn’t know is going to go to UAPTF. They’re just doing these reports because that’s their job. And these are unknowns unidentifiedes with peculiar functionalities. So all of a sudden, you and I released these UAPTF images that were part of this intelligence report. All unclassified and all of a sudden people realize, well, these are stills that were prepared. It’s a briefing, which means it was brief, there’s a lot more data, there’s full video of this thing, allegedly, or seemingly descending and going into the water without destruction. So the essence of this is, it would be very easy to assume that these images came from video. And you and I can now not only confirm that, but we can release part of that.

George Knapp
Let’s set the stage of where this is happening. We have a map that shows where the USS Omaha is. As mentioned earlier, there were several ships involved. A friend of ours and mutual friend Tyler Rogoway, wrote for The Drive and he got a lot of FOIA information, ship logs that established where various ships were when the things happened to them. In that same time period, the USS Omaha was buzzed by craft at a position that we’ll show on this map just sort of straight west from San Diego, west of the Channel Islands, it was buzzed over a period of days, right, from what you’ve learned?

Jeremy Corbell  
It was. So Tyler Rogoway’s like the only journalist that has got everything right so far, when it comes to ship positions and that kind of thing. He’s very thorough, and I really appreciate, you know, what he put out. Now the Omaha wasn’t listed on his map, but I talked to him about that. It’s possible the Omaha came in from over 100 miles away on the 15th, the next day, but all this activity is in an area and there were more ships involved than people know. And they all had kind of different experiences. Although, you know, there were similarities, but what we’re about to show people is the exact GPS location of the USS Omaha at the height of this event series, particularly the exact time and location when this object drops into the water. Now shows you the location of the USS Omaha to the exact degree with coordinates and you’ll see that in your bottom left of the screen. So what I guess what I’m saying is the footage I have, we’ve confirmed and validated. George and I just so everybody knows, we’ve confirmed and validated. It took us some time and I think everybody’s gonna find out and they’re going to confirm and get it validated for themselves. But we got it confirmed and validated. So this footage you’re seeing is authentic. Whatever it is. It is real Navy footage filmed on the Sapphire which is a FLIR system from the ship, live.

George Knapp  
Here we go, we’ll play the video.

Transcript of USS Omaha video
:05 “Took off, bookin’ it.”
:21 “Break, OMAHA, PINCKNEY, KIDD, RAFAEL PERALTA possibility to launch helo ASAP”. 
:28 “If it splashes you get a bearing and range.”:30 “Yes sir.”
:32 “… keep going bro [inaudible]”:33 [inaudible]
:36 “… it’s windy as f**k out there.”
:42 “… got a lotta white water out there. Six foot swells.”
:43 “Whoa, it’s getting close.”
:50 “We have, uh, 31 knots sustained wind topside, gust of 40 [knots].”
:56 “Whoa, it splashed!”
:57 “Splashed!”
:58 “Mark bearing and range.”

George Knapp
Jeremy, explain where that video is recorded. So it’s not somebody standing on the side of the ship looking over the edge. It’s inside the ship and the command center right?

Jeremy Corbell 
Yeah, what you’re seeing is footage from within the CIC, which is the Combat Information Center. And that’s live, that’s as this was happening. That’s as they’re tracking these targets. And that’s as you’re seeing one of the targets appear to become transmedium, and go into the water.

George Knapp  
So you can hear the excitement of the people who are watching this unfold. They don’t know what this thing is.

Jeremy Corbell 
Oh, yeah, definitely this. This was a very unique event series. This is something that none of them had really experienced prior in this way. You do hear the excitement. So if you think about the iconic footage of the go fast video or you think about the iconic footage of the gimbal video, we are now able as a society to really look at this UFO Footage and understand what FLIR is, what thermal imagery is, why it’s black and white. What we should be seeing if something had rotors or fins or tails and what we’re not seeing. So you do hear the excitement and something I think is worth mentioning is just like how Your hearing, you know, it’s going against the wind at 130 knots, whatever was said in the Gimbal video, we’re hearing and seeing something like that in this video. When they say splash splash, that doesn’t mean there was a physical splash. That means this object went into the water or they suspect it did. And they did carry out, there was a search that was underway, you heard him say, you know, send out hilos or whatever. But the wind was really choppy. And the water was really choppy. But I did report and I’m standing behind it, there was a search by a submarine that was unsuccessful, they did not find wreckage, and this object was not small. I’ll just put it to you that way for now. But there’s ways for me to qualify that. But when you hear their excitement, and they say mark the bearing and range, splash splash, And they say mark the bearing and range, splash splash. Whoa, splash. I mean, that is equivalent to the air footage we have. But this is now going into the sea.

George Knapp  
It occurs to me that this went on for quite a while, an hour. At 11 o’clock at night, right? That’s when it happened. 11 o’clock at night. It’s dark out there in the middle of the ocean. And this object, the dimensions of which we will describe later, but it’s a spherical object that travels right along with the ship for a period of time, like, Hey, take pictures of me.

Jeremy Corbell  
Oh, no, there were a lot of actions. Yeah. So let’s talk about the actions of these craft and what was going on. That’s important to clarify. But just to nail down one point, I told everybody that when I said 11 p.m., I meant 11 p.m., not 11:01. So everybody can now look in the bottom right, you can confirm that it’s the 15th of July 2019. You can also confirm that the object appears to descend into the water at precisely 11 p.m. Pacific time. Now the indicators that you see on screen, you’re going to see I think a different date, you’re going to see the 16th at 6 a.m. because that’s general mean time (GMT). But that ship where it was with those GPS coordinates, you know, they’re in the Pacific Time Zone. So people will be a little confused at first. But understand it’s 11 p.m. sharp, at exactly July 15. At the coordinates you see in the left side of the screen.

George Knapp  
I am not sure how far we can go in this conversation. But there is more to be revealed. So is that object alone, or were there other objects that look like this sphere, traveling with it.

Jeremy Corbell  
Okay, so the object was not alone. This was a swarm. I think it’s fair to say that there was a minimum of 14 objects. And that’s a minimum. There, there could have been more. That’s at one time on the S band radar screens. So yeah, there you go. That’s what I know to the best of my understanding from individuals who have been in a position to know, multiple individuals.

George Knapp  
The USS Omaha is what is called littoral, not literal, but littoral combat ship, built to be small and fast and maneuverable and suitable for multiple kinds of missions that the ships were created to, a lot of different kinds of roles. Anti submarine warfare, anti mines, anti surface warfare, intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, special ops, so it’s jam packed with sophisticated sensors, it should be able to see unidentified craft that are heading its way. It should be able to get it on radar, sonar, various sensors. Can you describe how successful the various sensors on the Omaha were in terms of tracking these things, keeping them in their sights, and then seeing when they leave?

Jeremy Corbell 
Yeah, so I think I should reiterate, everything that we are releasing is unclassified. People are going to understand more about that as we go forward. But I just like to be very clear that it’s possible that this footage is not contained in classified reports that we’ve reported on before. This might be fresh information for a lot of people. So just to back up a second. Everything we’re releasing is unclassified. There are numerous sensor systems on a craft as cool as USS Omaha. The two I think are worth talking about is SPS 77, which is like an air search technology. It’s a very interesting technology. But I would say I’d put a little bit more weight on the S band radar. And that’s something that I think we’re going to report on more later. We know from these systems, the shape is probably very similar to what you’re seeing in that video. Kind of like the Tic Tac video, when Commander Underwood said that look, you should be able to see wings and rotors and plumes and wash and you don’t see any of that. I would argue very successfully, I think, that you would see similar aspects in this footage if they were there. Additionally, there are certain types of, so that’s with the Sapphire FLIR system. With the S band radar, if we were to get more into that in the weeks to come, I would suspect there’s a minimum size that can be picked up by the S band radar. And I would suspect that things getting picked up by S band radar would probably be at least six feet in diameter spherically of solid mass, that means no like sticks with rotors on them reaching out six feet, I’m talking about an actual mass of at least six feet, if that makes sense.

George Knapp 
So there were 14 of these things at any given time. And my understanding is there was difficulty in keeping track of all of them in terms of whatever sensor systems were being used, the one that we’re watching, we’re gonna see the video again in a second, the one that we’re watching on that screen, what technology is showing us that image because it’s pitch black, it’s 11 o’clock at night, it’s dark out there, what system is being used to show that image on screen.

Jeremy Corbell  
Okay, so the way people will understand it is just like you’ve seen in the Tic Tac, the Gimbal, and the Go Fast. It’s a FLIR technology, which is a thermal technology. That’s why you’re seeing in black and white because it is pitch black, you’re out at sea. So it’s showing the differentials of thermal from how I understand it. It’s called a Sapphire system. And that’s something that I think people will start looking into now. But it’s made by FLIR, it’s the same type of system.

George Knapp
Let’s, let’s watch the video again. And we’ll stop at a couple of points to remark about some of what we’re hearing.

*** VIDEO ***

George Knapp
All right, we’re stopping it there, Jeremy. So you know, it’s out in the ocean. It’s at night. Winds are blowing at 35 knots, which is 1.15 times miles per hour, I think is how you calculate it. So roughly 40 miles per hour. And this thing is just sitting there traveling right along.

Jeremy Corbell 
Yeah, so that is interesting. You know, look, I did mention that these were sizable machines. And that’s something to take into consideration. You know, these aren’t commercial drones or even how we understand military drones to be. The gusts of wind were intense at the time. Great. But the big thing that gets me and this is evidence that will be provided at a later date, you know, these objects were in varying speeds from you know, 40, the objects themselves the UFOs, that, you know, from from 40 knots all the way up to 138 knots, like 150 miles an hour. You know, I know the drones we have, the thing that was most interesting to a lot of individuals involved with witnessing and recording and documenting and being part of this event series was the longevity, that the duration, the endurance, as they would say, of these objects. I mean, they lasted way over an hour out there. So to have high powered lights to be that brazen to make all the maneuvers to be fighting against the wind to be hitting speeds like that, and then slowing down. That takes battery power. So this is fascinating. And also they never found where these things came from or went to. So they don’t know where they’re launching from or going from. I mean, maybe it’s the water because that’s what we’re seeing one do. We know for sure one appears to go into the water? I don’t know. There’s more questions than there are answers. I would love for this to be US American technology that just somehow everybody’s miscommunicating on. However, I do see that if that is true, then it doesn’t matter whose they are. This represents a technology that is profound just on the energy conservation of propulsion. So that’s interesting to begin with.

George Knapp  
Also what we’re not seeing, we’re not seeing rotors, or exhaust, any evidence of any known propulsion system. That’s just the flying part. And then something else happens that we’re gonna see now we’ll just continue the video.

*** VIDEO ***

George Knapp 
Alright Jeremy, when they say splash, I don’t see a splash. So splash doesn’t mean literally splash, right?

Jeremy Corbell 
Yeah, correct. This is something just meaning it appears to have gone into the water. And that’s what they’re saying, like a splashdown, it’s just a term that has nothing to do with a splash. You notice that immediately, they want to find out, you know, maybe send out a helicopter, like find out how, you know, retrieve the parts, maybe. But again, I’ll tell you, I’ll stand firmly behind this, there was a sub that went and found nothing. So no destruction. And again, it was a sizable object. So splash means that’s when it appears to descend into the water, like a transmedium vehicle would, where something can go from air to sea to sky to space without resistance in a way, you know, I’m hoping that’s what it was.

George Knapp 
I mean we call it a drone. Or it might be called a UAV or UAS, whatever you want to call it. It’s flying along beside this ship for an hour or so. Then after it figures, it’s got enough close ups, it goes into the water, pretty dramatic little incident there. And then there were attempts to pursue it, to figure out what happened, to look for debris if it crashed, to see where it went. I mean, this is a surveillance ship, it’s packed with surveillance gear, it has other ships and assets around it. They went looking for this thing, did they find it?

Jeremy Corbell 
They did not find it. And really, let’s take a step back. We don’t know when these objects were appearing and disappearing, at one time 14 with this event series over the course of three days, that was the largest number on the screen. We don’t know if they were going in and out constantly of the water, we can’t make the assumption that we know. We’ve got one that appears to be going in the water, again, appears to be because there was no destruction, there was no craft, there was nothing they could find. That’s why people are thinking it’s transmedium. It was going in the water to be able to go. And we just don’t know. We do know that these things were illuminated. And that’s what’s so interesting. It’s so brazen, you know, these things were swarming, not just, you know, kind of like, far off. But there were many that were all around in different areas on the ship, you know, there might be footage from the deck of the ship, you know, filming up into inky darkness of lights, that gives you a reason or an understanding of why these would be designated drones. The people involved that I think would have been in a position to have influence or say on how these things were designated, the biggest comments that I’ve been getting is that drone was just this catch all phrase because of the maneuverability, because of this the size, not of any body that they saw, not have any rotors that they heard, but just of the ball of light that was observable. So this idea that it was a drone was really, some people said to me, that they felt that they had failed in their duties, that this should have been investigated better, that for some reason, it was as if they were more curious than they were threatened. And so this idea that these are drones, okay, cool. Well, the people that actually made that designation, aren’t saying they know they’re drones. So the idea is, who has the capabilities that these technologies represent? That’s what we want to know. Because we can figure out intent once we know who is behind it.

George Knapp   
Well, I mean, I think Chris Mellon, and maybe some others have said, if some foreign power has been able to take this kind of a technological leap, or it can create objects with no known propulsion system that can sneak up on a surveillance ship, a ship designed for surveillance, and then disappear and you can’t track it. You don’t know where it came from. It performs things that we can’t do, it can fly along, and then go into the ocean and just disappear. That’s technology we don’t have and it would represent a massive intelligence failure on our part, if that technology belongs to China or Russia or some other adversary.

Jeremy Corbell   
Yeah, look, if this one particular UFO, USO, UAP, whatever you want to call it if it did go into the water without destruction as it appears. I mean, this is huge. This is transmedium vehicles. We do not have that. So everything is identified. Well, I mean, we have that but not in the capabilities we’re seeing. So everything is unidentified until identified. So even in the UAPTF reports that we have been exposed to, to some degree, the world has, they don’t know what these things are. But we do know what they’re not. And that’s important. These are not conventional drones as we know them, if they are transmedium, just the flight power alone to be out there. It’s very interesting when we start looking at different cases, like the Tic Tac case, the Gimbal case, and you start putting these in that mosaic. Man, this becomes really interesting, because the question is, we can defend against drones, we have that capability. Drones are not a problem for the United States. This is something Lue (Elizondo) has said, this is not me saying it. So with that said, what’s going on here that spans so many ships over the course of so many days, that everybody’s recording and documenting, we have everything from pyramidal shaped objects to these spherical, lit up, transmedium, it appears, vehicles that drop into the water. This is astounding. Whoever has this technology, we got to find out who it is.

George Knapp   
We are jointly releasing this material, you on, and us on Mystery Wire high noon, and the world can look at it and debate. And hopefully, in the days ahead, we’ll get a statement from the Pentagon of whether or not they acknowledge this video as being also recorded by the Navy and whether or not maybe the UAP Task Force is now taking a look at the same images that we have shared with the world.

Jeremy Corbell  
Yeah, look, if we can have a positive influence on the process that is underway right now to inform the American and global public about the nature of the presence of UFOs on planet Earth. If we can provide more information that then has to be included in the UAP Task Force mission in what they’re doing. They can get a full time staff for this and we can get a great report in the summer. Man, that would be so cool. But all we’re doing, you and I are presenting information that we know to be accurate, and that it is real Navy footage that these events happened as we described, it is now up to the public, to analyze, to look, to ask questions, to knock on doors. We’re just providing some information saying we don’t know these are unidentified, but they’re really cool.

George Knapp  
Yeah. All right. And suffice to say, we’ll have further details about this image. There may be some other things coming real soon.

Jeremy Corbell  
Yes, there is.

George Knapp  
Thanks Jeremy.

World first: Oblique wave detonation engine may unlock Mach 17 aircraft

#NASA #SPACE #Hypersonic

UCF researchers have successfully fired up a new hypersonic detonation engine that harnesses the raw power of a sustained, trapped explosion. The new engine could power aircraft up to 17 times the speed of sound.

UCF researchers have successfully fired up a new hypersonic detonation engine that harnesses the raw power of a sustained, trapped explosion. The new engine could power aircraft up to 17 times the speed of sound. Background image credit: NASA. Aircraft and composite image credit: Daniel Rosato, UCFVIEW 4 IMAGES

UCF researchers say they’ve trapped a sustained explosive detonation, fixed in place, for the first time, channeling its enormous power into thrust in a new oblique wave detonation engine that could propel an aircraft up to 17 times the speed of sound, potentially beating the scramjet as a hypersonic propulsion method.

Deflagration – the high-temperature burning of fuel with oxygen – is a relatively slow, safe and controlled way to release chemical energy and turn it into motion, that’s why this nice, peaceful form of combustion underpins so much of our transport technology. But if you want to release the maximum possible energy from a unit of fuel, you get far better bang for your buck from … well, a bang.

Detonation is fast, chaotic and frequently destructive. It doesn’t necessarily require oxygen, just a single explosive material and some kind of energetic poke big enough to break the chemical bonds holding an already-unstable molecule together. It creates exothermic shockwaves that accelerate outwards at supersonic speeds, releasing enormous amounts of energy.

People have been trying to harness the raw power of detonation – the most powerful form of combustion – for more than 60 years, but putting a bridle on a bomb has proven extremely difficult. Pulse detonation engines create a series of repeated explosions in a manner similar to a pulse jet, and these have already been tested in aircraft – notably in the Scaled Composites Long-EZ “Borealis” project built by the US Air Force Research Laboratory and Innovative Scientific Solutions Incorporated back in 2008.

Rotating detonation engines, in which the shockwaves from one detonation are tuned to trigger further detonations within a ring-shaped channel, were thought of as impossible to build right up until researchers at the University of Central Florida (UCF) went ahead and demonstrated a prototype last year in sustained operation. Due for testing in a rocket launch by around 2025, rotating detonation engines should be more efficient than pulse detonation engines simply because the combustion chamber doesn’t need to be cleared out between detonations.

Now, another team from UCF, including some of the same researchers that built the rotating detonation engine last year, says it’s managed a world-first demonstration of an elusive third type of detonation engine that could out-punch them all, theoretically opening up a pathway to aircraft flying at speeds up to 13,000 mph (21,000 km/h), or 17 times the speed of sound.

The standing wave, or oblique wave detonation engine (OWDE), aims to produce a continuous detonation that’s stable and fixed in space, making for a ruthlessly efficient and controllable propulsion system generating significantly more power and using less fuel than current technology allows.

The UCF team claims it has successfully stabilized a detonation wave under hypersonic flow conditions, keeping it in place rather than having it move upstream (where it could cause the fuel source to explode) or downstream (where it would lose its explosive advantage and fizzle out into a deflagration).

A schematic diagram of the experimental HyperReact prototype
A schematic diagram of the experimental HyperReact prototype

To do so, the team built an experimental prototype that it called the High-Enthalpy Hypersonic Reacting Facility – or HyperReact, for short. Less than a meter (3.3 ft) long, the HyperReact can loosely be described as a hollow tube, divided into three sections, each with a precisely shaped interior.

The first section is a 350-mm (13.8-in) mixing chamber – a square-section channel with 45-mm (1.8-in) sides. Here, a pre-burner ignites a jet of hydrogen fuel, pre-mixed with air. Four more air channels around the pre-burner jet accelerate the flow to the appropriate speeds.

The second section is a converging-diverging (CD) nozzle, with an axisymmetric square cross-section all the way down. The main fuel injector adds 99.99 percent ultra-high-purity hydrogen fuel to the hot, fast, high-pressure air coming down the tube just before it enters the CD nozzle, which rapidly tapers down to a 9-mm-high (0.35-in) throat before diverging back out to a 45-mm square again. This shape is designed to accelerate the mix up to Mach 5.0 before heading into the final “test section,” where the detonation takes place.

The test section takes in that hypersonic air/fuel mix and runs it up a ramp with a 30-degree angle on the bottom side of the square tube. Tuning the flow speed and air/fuel mix, the team was able to find parameters that manipulated the pressure wave interactions in the chamber to produce the unthinkable: a stable, continuous explosion that stayed almost still, fluctuating slightly in a cyclical pattern, over the front lip of the ramp.

Overlaid shadowgraph-chemiluminescence images show conditions in the test chamber in a non-reacting Mach 5 airflow, and then with fuel added to create the oblique detonation wave
Overlaid shadowgraph-chemiluminescence images show conditions in the test chamber in a non-reacting Mach 5 airflow, and then with fuel added to create the oblique detonation wave

Compared to conditions measured with the main fuel injector turned off, peak pressure was 2.7 times higher behind the ramp, and the nozzle exit pressure was 10.5 times higher. The flow velocity was calculated at 99.7 percent of the theoretical detonation wave speed for a freely propagating, normal explosion in the given mixture.

“This is the first time a detonation has been shown to be stabilized experimentally,” says Kareem Ahmed, an associate professor in UCF’s Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, and one of the authors on the new research paper. “We are finally able to hold the detonation in space in oblique detonation form. It’s almost like freezing an intense explosion in physical space.”

Where a detonation typically lasts only a matter of micro- or milliseconds, the UCF team managed to sustain this one experimentally until the fuel was turned off after around three seconds. That’s long enough to prove the device works, Ahmed told LiveScience, and if the team kept the fuel flowing any longer it would’ve destroyed the quartz windows on the sides of the test section, which were there to allow optical imaging of the tests. Replacing the test section with something entirely metal-sided would allow the detonation to be sustained much longer.

According to Ahmed, the prototype design is reasonably close to what a full-scale production OWDE would look like. The challenge now will be learning how to dynamically alter the fuel mix, flow speed and ramp angle to keep a detonation stable, reliable and controllable over a wide range of operating conditions and control inputs.

Top: the detonation structure for three phases during the test run. Bottom: the static pressure in the test chamber leaps up and is sustained for the duration of the fuel flow
Top: the detonation structure for three phases during the test run. Bottom: the static pressure in the test chamber leaps up and is sustained for the duration of the fuel flow

The OWDE has been spoken of theoretically for some time, as a potentially superior form of hypersonic propulsion to the scramjet. Scramjets tend to lose efficiency as airspeed rises, potentially topping out around Mach 14. The experimental results released by UCF point toward a “Sodramjet” (standing oblique detonation ramjet) aircraft capable of flying between Mach 6 and Mach 17.

What does it all mean? Well, hypersonic air travel at speeds up to Mach 17 won’t just open the door to potential sub-30 minute flights between New York and Los Angeles. It’ll also enable spaceplanes to efficiently fly themselves right up into orbit without strapping themselves to rocket boosters. And there could of course be some significant implications for national security and the global nuclear balance of power.

As our own David Szondy pointed out in this terrific hypersonic flight explainer from 2017, there’s not a radar or missile defense system in the world that could cope with a hypersonic missile at this point. What’s more, you wouldn’t even need a warhead on it to cause levels of devastation rivaling that of a nuclear bomb. “All that speed and all that inertia turns any research platform, recon unit, or passenger aircraft into a potential kinetic weapon,” writes Szondy. “They don’t need high explosives to destroy a target. All they have to do is hit it. In other words, any hypersonic vehicle is an intrinsic weapon given the proper modifications.”

Indeed, the research was funded not only by the National Science Foundation and the NASA Florida Space Grant Consortium, but by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research. So these bottled explosion engines are clearly a matter of military interest.

Scientists Just Found Evidence for Fifth Force of Nature

Scientists may have found evidence for a fifth force of nature.

#Science #physics # quantum

Listen to this article.
Reider Hahn / Fermilab
Image by Reider Hahn / Fermilab

Researchers at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, or Fermilab, in Illinois, have found new evidence suggesting that a subatomic particle called a muon is not following the known laws of physics, as The New York Times reports.

Muons are a lot like electrons but 207 times as massive. They also tend to decay extremely quickly into electrons and super-light particles called neutrinos.

Exposed to an intense magnetic field by being sent around a 46-foot magnetized ring at Fermilab, the team found that the muons wobbled in totally unpredictable ways that were not at all expected, astonishing researchers.

According to the Standard Model, the fundamental theory of how particles interact established in the second half of the 20th century, these movements can normally be measured and predicted in extreme detail.

It’s a watershed moment for the field of quantum physics. If confirmed, the results obtained by the experiments at Fermilab could rewrite the way we understand the fundamental laws governing physics — at least as we know them today.

“This quantity we measure reflects the interactions of the muon with everything else in the universe,” Renee Fatemi, a physicist at the University of Kentucky and manager of the experiment, said in an official statement. “But when the theorists calculate the same quantity, using all of the known forces and particles in the Standard Model, we don’t get the same answer.”

“This is strong evidence that the muon is sensitive to something that is not in our best theory,” Fatemi added.

That leaves the big question: what force of nature is actually causing the muon to wobble? Researchers suggest it may be sources of matter and energy that are yet to be understood and aren’t explained by the Standard Model — in other words, a fifth fundamental force of nature that would be added to gravity, electromagnetism, as well as strong and weak interactions between nuclei.

The new experiments, laid out in a series of papers submitted to the journal Physical Review Letters, confirm previous results found during experiments at the Brookhaven National Laboratory back in 2001.

“After the 20 years that have passed since the Brookhaven experiment ended, it is so gratifying to finally be resolving this mystery,” Fermilab scientist Chris Polly, who worked on both experiments, said in the statement.

There’s still the chance that Fermilab’s new measurements are wrong: a one in 40,000 chance, to be exact. That means scientists still can’t officially claim it as a discovery by physics standards, as the Times points out.

Polly also said that only less than six percent of the data collected by the Fermilab experiments has been analyzed so far. “Although these first results are telling us that there is an intriguing difference with the Standard Model, we will learn much more in the next couple of years,” he said.

Still, physicists around the world are thrilled. “Clearly, this is very exciting because it potentially points to a future with new laws of physics, new particles and a new force which we have not seen to date,” University of Manchester researcher and UK lead of the experiment Mark Lancaster, told the BBC.

Cambridge University researcher Ben Allanach, who was not involved in the experiments, is hopeful that the results will eventually be verified. “My Spidey sense is tingling and telling me that this is going to be real,” he told the British broadcaster.