The Undying Appeal of Nikola Tesla’s “Death Ray”

Despite a lack of evidence, many have been captivated by the electrical whiz’s most mysterious project.

Illustration of a large laser

U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency concept illustration of a Soviet anti-satellite laser, 1986. Wikimedia Commons


By the 1930s Nikola Tesla was in dire straits.

The onetime savant who had revolutionized the world with his electrical inventions was now a decrepit old man shuffling between hotels in Manhattan, hoarding newspapers and birdseed. When the unpaid bills at one hotel grew too large, he’d simply move on to another, his waning fame his only currency.

From the height of his celebrity, Tesla’s decline had been slow but steady. After his innovative work on electrical power in the late 1800s (specifically on alternating current), the young Serbian immigrant had branched out into radio and wireless power transmission in the early 1900s. Newspapers worldwide reported on his every undertaking, even the most eccentric, such as a 20-story tower in Colorado that built up huge electric charges and shot lightning bolts 135 feet long. The thunder generated was audible 15 miles away.

Black and white photo of elderly man

Nikola Tesla, age 76, October 1933.

Smithsonian Institution

So later, when Tesla started talking about even wilder projects—including a powerful new weapon he was working on—folks paid attention. “Tesla’s New Device Like Bolts of Thor,” thundered the New York Times in 1915. In fact, this new device would come to dominate the last decades of Tesla’s life.

Instead of lightning, Tesla said his new weapon would harness a beam of metal ions hurtling along at 270,000 miles per hour. As for how this beam was possible, Tesla was always coy, citing new laws of physics that “no one has ever dreamed about.” He nevertheless bragged about his work to any reporter who would listen: the “all-penetrating” beam would pack 100 billion watts into just one one-hundred-millionth of a square centimeter.

Tesla teased his “teleforce” weapon for decades, saying it could shoot down airplanes from 250 miles away. The press landed on a different name for the invention: death ray. Despite claims to the contrary, Tesla never provided much proof that the death ray worked. But no one could quite dismiss the idea, either. After all, this was Tesla.

Hype about the weapon really took off in the run-up to World War II as Nazi Germany assembled a fearsome air force. The ability to shoot down airplanes from 250 miles away seemed like a godsend, and people in Tesla’s homeland, then called Yugoslavia, begged him to return home and install the rays to protect them from the Nazi menace.

Black and white photo of seated man surrounded by lightening

Photograph showing Nikola Tesla seated in his Colorado Springs lab while his high-voltage generator emits bolts of electricity. The image was created using double exposure, December 1899.

By the time the war began in 1939, Tesla’s health had deteriorated. He was deathly skinny and prone to fainting. By early 1943 he was living in a room on the 33rd floor of the New Yorker Hotel near Penn Station, a do not disturb sign permanently fixed to his door. On January 8 a maid ignored the sign, walked into the room, and found the old man dead—reportedly naked except for his socks. He was 86 years old. And with the fate of his death ray unclear, a massive scramble began.


Again, no one knew whether the death ray was real, but it might be the breakthrough the Allies needed to win the war. At the very least, American officials were terrified of Nazi Germany getting the weapon first, so they decided to seize Tesla’s papers. But someone beat them to the punch.

The Yugoslavian ambassador to the United States was actually Tesla’s nephew, Sava Kosanović, who had ridden his uncle’s coattails to his current post. Kosanović happened to be stationed in New York in 1943, and when he heard of his uncle’s passing he rushed over to the hotel.

Newspaper headline

While hotel managers looked on, Kosanović instructed a locksmith to crack open a safe in Tesla’s room. Inside, he found some honorary degrees, a gold medal, and a memorial book from Tesla’s 75th birthday. Kosanović took the memorial book, changed the safe combination, and left. All in all, it was a fairly innocent act—Tesla’s rightful heir inspecting his uncle’s things. But to paranoid types in the U.S. government, the visit didn’t seem innocent at all. They feared Kosanović was a spy. The FBI even considered arresting Kosanović for burglary.

Two days later another government agency, the Office of Alien Property, seized all of Tesla’s belongings and impounded them in a storage unit in Midtown Manhattan. (Tesla was a naturalized U.S. citizen, not an alien, so the agency probably didn’t have jurisdiction, but they weren’t about to let legal niceties interfere with national security.) The government then summoned an expert on high-voltage physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to go through Tesla’s papers and see whether the old inventor had actually harnessed the bolt of Thor.

The physicist arrived in New York on January 26 and spent two days going through the papers. He was not impressed. He said the ray work was mainly “speculative, philosophical, and promotional” in nature and included no “sound, workable principles or methods.” In short, a half-baked fantasy.

Illustration of war scene

Tesla proposed a number of frightening weapons during the latter half of his life.  This illustration, from the February 1922 issue of Science and Invention, depicts his vision of future wars—waged by crewless ships and aircrafts, which would be controlled and powered by radio waves.

Wikimedia Commons

But then came word from another hotel a few blocks away, where Tesla had lived before. He had left a mysterious package in the vault there—a supposed prototype of his death ray.

While the physicist and a few others looked on, the hotel manager opened the vault, bracing for an explosion. Inside stood a small cabinet covered in brown parcel paper. It was the physicist’s job to open it and determine what was inside.

But before he could, the hotel manager handed him a note penned by Tesla. It claimed the prototype inside was worth $10,000. More ominously, it said the box would detonate if opened incorrectly.

At this point the hotel staff scampered away—no doubt feeling lucky to escape with their lives. This left the physicist to face Tesla’s box. Despite himself, he was scared. What if Tesla really had come up with something? Or what if he’d booby-trapped the box, out of sheer paranoia?

After collecting his thoughts, the physicist steeled himself and began tearing off the brown paper. He must have laughed at what he saw underneath: a Wheatstone bridge, a tool for measuring electrical resistance. It was a common, mundane device—some old junk, really. It was certainly not a death ray, not even close.

illustrated movie poster

French poster for the Italian spy movie Il Raggio infernale (The Infernal Ray), 1967. While beam weapons have been a bust scientifically, they have had great success in popular culture.

CineMaterial

So did Tesla really believe he could create death rays? Perhaps. Plenty of geniuses have gone off the rails and become delusional in old age.

Or perhaps the whole thing was a swindle, a ploy to scare up funds for research on real science. (The Soviet government did, in fact, pay him $25,000 to investigate beam weapons in 1939.) Equally likely, the device in the vault, supposedly worth $10,000, might have been bogus collateral for hotel bills he couldn’t afford to pay.

Regardless, the physicist had seen enough. “I am willing to stake my professional reputation,” he said, that the death ray was bunk. Most government officials believed him—but not everyone.


After World War II ended, the Cold War ramped up quickly. American military leaders were desperate for an edge against the Communist Soviet Union, and some of them—dazzled by the name of Nikola Tesla—talked themselves into believing that death rays were real. They even started a top-secret military operation to build one, Project Nick.

Apparently nothing ever came of Project Nick—the military never released any details about the work. A frightening new development, however, quickly renewed American interest in beam weapons.

In 1952 Tesla’s nephew convinced a court to release his uncle’s papers. The U.S. government owned classified copies of the important ones, but the nephew sent the originals to a museum in Belgrade, in Communist Yugoslavia. Soviet scientists suddenly had access.

Illustration of orbiting laser weapons

U.S. Air Force artist’s concept of a ground-and-space–based anti-satellite weapons system, 1984.

Wikimedia Commons

Ominously, between the 1950s and 1970s, the Soviets made several cryptic announcements. Premier Nikita Khrushchev, for instance, once bragged that “a new and fantastic weapon was in the hatching stage.” In another case, a long exposé in Aviation Week & Space Technology included some leaked diagrams of a weapon that looked alarmingly similar to some then-unpublished work of Tesla’s. American officials were left trembling: were the Soviets on the brink of a superweapon?

The Americans ultimately responded with a new beam-weapon program under Ronald Reagan called the Strategic Defense Initiative—popularly known as Star Wars. It consisted of an array of orbiting satellites that would shoot down incoming missiles with lasers or particle beams. Star Wars was billed as a purely defensive measure, but, of course, any beam that powerful would make a heck of a weapon, too.

Three people in lab coats working on a satellite

Naval Research Lab technicians working on the Low-Power Atmospheric Compensation Experiment satellite, part of President Ronald Reagan’s Star Wars program, October 1990.

Michael Savell/Wikimedia Commons

Star Wars, however, turned into a boondoggle. All told, the U.S. government spent billions on it—the program’s 1988 budget of $5.7 billion exceeded that of both NASA ($4.7 billion) and the National Science Foundation ($1.7 billion)—and to this day we have nothing to show for it. It simply didn’t work.

Nevertheless, the idea has continued to fire the imaginations of American hawks. Just last year Donald Trump proposed pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into another space-based defense program that would shoot down rogue nuclear missiles with particle beams.

That proposal seems ridiculous enough—wasting more money on a bum technology. But the idea is even more ludicrous coming from Donald Trump. Why? Because the MIT physicist who exposed the death ray as fake news was none other than Trump’s paternal uncle, John.


John Trump assembled a brilliant scientific résumé over his career. During World War II he served as a director at the famed MIT Radiation Lab, which played a crucial role in developing radar. John also worked directly with General Eisenhower’s team and rode into liberated Paris with Eisenhower in 1944. Scientifically, he spent decades teaching and doing research at MIT—one of the most prestigious institutions in the world. More importantly, he figured out ways to harness high-voltage physics for humanitarian projects, such as shrinking tumors with targeted radiation and zapping pathogens in sewer sludge.

When the military went looking for scientists to build Star Wars, John Trump refused to help.

“John, over a period of three decades, would be approached by people of all sorts because he could make megavolt beams of ions and electrons—death rays,” remarked his MIT colleague James Melcher in a 1988 article in Science for the People. “What did he do with [this knowledge]? Cancer research, sterilizing sludge . . . all sorts of wondrous things. He didn’t touch the weapons stuff.”

His career culminated with the National Medal of Science in 1983.

Black and white photo of two men looking at a machine

Physicist John Trump (left) and MIT colleague Robert Van de Graaff inspect an electrostatic generator, ca. 1960s.

Nikola Tesla secretly discovered an extraterrestrial language that he didn’t understand, Tesla’s biographer revealed

Nikola Tesla secretly discovered an extraterrestrial language that he didn’t understand, Tesla’s biographer revealed..

I n 1899, Nikola Tesla was testing a transmitter he built to track storms 1,000 km away, when suddenly, he believed he had received a kind of transmission from an unknown source. He thought it was an extraterrestrial signal originating somewhere within our solar system, possibly coming from Mars. Tesla’s transmitter was ultrasensitive enough to receive radio waves from far beyond Earth. Nikola Tesla firmly believed that it was absurd to think that we are the only intelligent beings in the universe. He also believed that intelligent beings would naturally look for ways to communicate with other intelligent beings.

Tim R. Swartz, a well-known biographer of Nikola Tesla, also says there may have been a connection between the futuristic inventor and intelligent aliens, according to his semiautobiographical book “The Lost Papers of Nikola Tesla”. This hypothesis does nothing more than accentuate the mystery surrounding Tesla, whose personal documents and notes, for the most part, were confiscated by the US government. Many people think that his inventions could be potentially dangerous to the interests of the industry.

As explained by Swartz, during the test of one of his many inventions, Tesla detected radio transmissions that adjudged to extraterrestrial communications. After this event, the inventor would have become obsessed with building better and more powerful radio receivers.

While testing the device, Swartz claimed in an interview, Nikola Tesla overheard radio transmissions he believed were actually attributed to extraterrestrial communications: “H e wondered at the time if he wasn’t listening to ‘one planet greeting another,’ as he put it. From that point on, it became somewhat of an obsession of his, to build better and better radio receivers to try to see if he could repeat what he heard. He got to the point where he claimed that he was actually receiving voice transmissions. He said it sounded just like people talking back and forth to each other. He made notes saying that he was actually hearing an intelligence. At the time, it was surmised by prominent scientists that Mars would be a likely haven for intelligent life in our solar system, and Tesla at first thought these signals may be originating from our red planet. Beings from another planet talking to each other, although he didn’t know what language they were speaking. But he still felt he understood them.”

While Tesla’s most prominent records and personal notes are in the hands of the United States Army, Swartz claims to have acquired a number of private records at a 1976 auction. The author claims that all this information was missing from the face of the Earth after the visit of the alleged “Men in Black”. As noted by National Geographic, most of Tesla’s were taken by the government but most of his belongings were later released to his family, and many ended up in the Tesla Museum in Belgrade, which opened in the 1950s. But some of Tesla’s papers are still classified by the U.S. government.

When interviewed in February 1901 by Colliers Weekly (American magazine, founded in 1888 by Peter Collier), Tesla gave this account and recorded his belief in extraterrestrials. Here, in his own words, he described, “W hile I was improving my machines for the production of intense electrical currents, I was also perfecting the means to observe the small effects. One of the most interesting results and also of great practical importance, was the development of certain devices to indicate an approaching storm from a distance of many hundreds of kilometres, its direction, speed and distance covered.

It was by doing this work that, for the first time, I discovered these mysterious effects that aroused such unusual interest. I had perfected the device so much, that from my laboratory in the mountains of Colorado I could observe all the electrical changes that occurred within a radius of more than 1,000 km away I will never forget the first sensations I experienced when I realized that I had seen something of incalculable consequences for humanity. I felt as if I was present at the birth of new knowledge or in the revelation of a great truth. My first observations positively terrified me, because there was something mysterious, if not supernatural, about them, and I was alone in my laboratory at night but at that time the idea that these disturbances were intelligently controlled signals had not yet presented itself to me The changes I noticed were occurring periodically and with such clear precision, in terms of number and order, that they were not traceable to any cause known to me. I was familiar, of course, with the types of electrical disturbances produced by the Sun, Northern Lights and terrestrial currents, and I was absolutely certain that these variations were not due to any of these causes.

The nature of my experiments prevented the possibility of the changes being produced by atmospheric disturbances, as has been wrongly stated by some. It was sometime later when the thought came to my mind that the disturbances I had observed could be due to intelligent control. The crucial point was that, although Nikola Tesla could not decipher the meaning of the messages he received, he believed that aliens were interested in Earth and being more technologically advanced left their marks on our planet. He was absolutely convinced that somewhere in the universe there were intelligent life forms and that they were trying to communicate with us. Although I was unable, at the time, to decipher their meaning, it was impossible to think of them as having been entirely accidental. The feeling that I was the first to hear a greeting from one planet to another has been growing steadily in me. A purpose was behind these electrical signals.”

The Birth of Jupiter’s Mysterious Auroral Storms Has Been Observed For The First Time

Just as Earth has spectacular auroras, so too do other Solar System planets have their own versions of the atmospheric light show.

Jupiter, in fact, has the most powerful auroras in the Solar System – invisible to our eyes, but glowing brilliantly in ultraviolet wavelengths.

Because Jupiter is so wildly different from Earth, scientists are deeply invested in learning what drives these incredible atmospheric phenomena – and they just got a new clue. Thanks to the Juno orbiter, we’ve now observed for the first time the onset of Jupiter’s mysterious auroral dawn storm.

Jupiter’s auroras are produced by a constant rain of high-energy electrons mostly stripped from Io’s atmosphere. These are accelerated along magnetic field lines to Jupiter’s poles, where they fall into the upper atmosphere and interact with the gases to produce a glow.

This is unlike Earth’s auroras, which are produced by particles from the solar wind. Also unlike Earth’s auroras, Jupiter’s auroras are permanent, and can behave quite differently.

One of these behaviors is the dawn storm – an intense brightening and broadening of the aurora at dawn, first observed in 1994. However, these dawn storms start on the night side of the pole, and we’d never been able to see them forming until NASA’s Juno probe arrived on the scene.

“Observing Jupiter’s aurora from Earth does not allow you to see beyond the limb, into the night side of Jupiter’s poles,” explained astronomer Bertrand Bonfond of the University of Liège in Belgium.

“Explorations by other spacecraft – Voyager, Galileo, Cassini – happened from relatively large distances and did not fly over the poles, so they could not see the complete picture. That’s why the Juno data is a real game-changer, allowing us a better understanding of what is happening on the night side, where the dawn storms are born.”

dawn storm evolution

The emergence of a dawn storm. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/UVS/ULiège/Bonfond)

Dawn storms are really something. They start on the night side of the planet, rotating into view as dawn breaks, transforming Jupiter’s aurora into a blazing ultraviolet beacon, giving off hundreds to thousands of gigawatts of light – at least 10 times more energy than the usual Jovian aurora. They persist for a few hours before subsiding into more normal energy levels.

Because the two planets have such differences between their auroras, the process that generates the dawn storm was expected to be unlike any processes seen in Earth’s auroras. Surprisingly, however, the data from Juno’s ultraviolet spectrograph looked oddly familiar.

“When we looked at the whole dawn storm sequence, we couldn’t help but notice that the dawn storm auroras at Jupiter are very similar to a type of terrestrial auroras called substorms,” said astronomer Zhonghua Yao of the University of Liège.

Earth’s auroral substorms are amazing to see. They occur when Earth’s magnetosphere is disturbed by electric currents, resulting in an explosive release of energy into the ionosphere. There, the energy is dissipated as a complex, dancing aurora that can last several hours.

Substorms are strongly influenced by the solar wind and the orientation of the interplanetary magnetic field. But Earth’s magnetosphere is dominated by interactions with the solar wind; Jupiter’s is filled with plasma stripped from Io, which is controlled by the planet’s location.

According to the team’s analysis, Jupiter’s auroral dawn storms are influenced by an over-spill of plasma from Io, rather than the solar wind; but the result is the same, a disturbance of the magnetosphere resulting in an explosive release of energy.

In both cases, a build-up of plasma and energy gradually increases instability in the system until boom – auroral storm.https://www.youtube.com/embed/jQNLMoot-Bs

This can only increase our understanding of the auroral processes on both planets, and could help us better understand aurora on other bodies in the future – including brown dwarfs, which have strong enough auroras to detect across interstellar space, even when they are nowhere near a star.

“Although the ‘engine’ of the auroras on Earth and Jupiter is very different, showing for the first time the links between the two systems allows us to identify universal phenomena and to distinguish them from the particularities relative to each planet,” Yao said.

“The magnetospheres of the Earth and Jupiter store energy through very different mechanisms, but when this accumulation reaches a breaking point, the two systems release this energy explosively in a surprisingly similar way.”

The research has been published in AGU Advances.

Microbes Unknown to Science Discovered on The International Space Station

The menagerie of bacterial and fungal species living among us is ever growing – and this is no exception in low-gravity environments, such as the International Space Station (ISS).

Researchers from the United States and India working with NASA have now discovered four strains of bacteria living in different places in the ISS – three of which were, until now, completely unknown to science.

Three of the four strains were isolated back in 2015 and 2016 – one was found on an overhead panel of the ISS research stations, the second was found in the Cupola, the third was found on the surface of the dining table; the fourth was found in an old HEPA filter returned to Earth in 2011.  

All four of the strains belong to a family of bacteria found in soil and freshwater; they are involved in nitrogen fixation, plant growth, and can help stop plant pathogens. Basically, good bacteria to have around if you’re growing things.

You might wonder what such soil bacteria were doing all the way up on the ISS, but the astronauts living on the space station have been growing small amounts of food for years, so it’s unsurprising that we’ve found plant-related microbes aboard.

One of the strains – the HEPA-filter find – was identified as a known species called Methylorubrum rhodesianum. The other three were sequenced and found to all belong to the same, previously unidentified species, and the strains were named IF7SW-B2T, IIF1SW-B5, and IIF4SW-B5.

The team, lead by University of Southern California geneticist Swati Bijlani, has proposed calling the new species Methylobacterium ajmalii after Ajmal Khan, a renowned Indian biodiversity scientist. This new find is also closely related to an already known species called M. indicum.

“To grow plants in extreme places where resources are minimal, isolation of novel microbes that help to promote plant growth under stressful conditions is essential,” two of the team, Kasthuri Venkateswaran and Nitin Kumar Singh from NASA’s JPL, explained in a press statement.

Considering we already know that these microbes can survive the harsh conditions of the ISS, the team put the four strains through genetic analysis to look for genes that could be used to help promote plant growth.

“The whole genome sequence assembly of these three ISS strains reported here will enable the comparative genomic characterization of ISS isolates with Earth counterparts in future studies,” the team writes in their study.

“This will further aid in the identification of genetic determinants that might potentially be responsible for promoting plant growth under microgravity conditions and contribute to the development of self-sustainable plant crops for long-term space missions in future.”

The researchers found that one of the ISS strains – IF7SW-B2T – had promising genes involved in plant growth, including a gene for an enzyme essential for cytokinin, which promotes cell division in roots and shoots.

There’s much more research to be done here – the researchers acknowledge that they’ve barely scratched the surface of microbial diversity on the space station. Around 1,000 samples have already been collected on the ISS, but are still awaiting a trip back to Earth.

Just imagine the exciting space-faring microbes we are yet to discover!

The research has been published in Frontiers in Microbiology.

The Fermi Paradox Revisited

If we haven’t heard from extraterrestrials, maybe it’s because we’re not using the right technology—yet

800px-Enrico_Fermi_1943-49.jpg
More than 60 years after Fermi posed his famous question, “they” still haven’t shown up. (National Archives and Records Administration)

The Fermi Paradox is one of the major unanswered questions in astrobiology. It started with physicist Enrico Fermi, who in 1950 asked his co-workers over lunch: “Where are they?” What he meant was intelligent extraterrestrials. If there are billions and billions of stars and probably even more planets, why have we not already been in contact with extraterrestrial (ET) civilizations?

This is even more puzzling since our Sun and Earth are relatively young, meaning that life could have originated on other worlds long before it did here, and intelligent beings on those planets could easily be millions of years ahead of us.

There are two principle answers to the paradox: The alien civilizations are (1) present but for some reason we can’t detect them, or (2) they simply are not there, or at least not in our vicinity. In regard to the first option, Star Trek’s prime directive comes to mind, or perhaps a scientific variation of the Zoo hypothesis (aliens don’t interfere with us because we are an unstable emerging civilization).

There are in fact so many possible solutions to the Fermi Paradox that whole books are written about it. Nevertheless, assuming aliens are around us, shouldn’t there be some evidence? Well, not necessarily. Carl Sagan pointed out that if an ET civilization is far ahead of us, their actions would appear to us as magic. Just imagine us flying a spy drone over our Stone Age ancestors!

What about the so-called UFO sightings that we astrobiologists are sometimes asked about (see, for example, the top UFO cases of 2012 as judged by the Mutual UFO Network). On one hand, I believe that we scientists are sometimes too dismissive of eyewitness reports, and too quick to rationalize them away as natural phenomena or hallucinations. On the other hand, we rely on the scientific method, and reported sightings are not reproducible events that we can test in the laboratory.

What about the second answer—that aliens simply do not exist? The Drake equation, which is usually used to estimate the number of extraterrestrial civilizations in the universe, includes a term for the probability of life originating on a planet. If this term is near zero, the number of expected ET civilizations is near zero. Usually we assume that life on Earth was not a singular event, and that it would have happened elsewhere under similar conditions, but we don’t know for sure. We still don’t know how life occurred on Earth, and what ingredients were needed. It’s possible that the rise of intelligent civilizations is such a rare event that the next civilization with our kind of technology is thousands or even millions of light years away.

Or perhaps there’s another possibility, which I raised once at a SETI meeting when we were examining the question of why we haven’t had a positive detection yet. Imagine using a walkie-talkie in modern New York, and wondering why no one responds on your frequency. It’s because everyone is on Facebook or Twitter! So it might be with ET, who may be using technology well advanced of our own.

A new runway could be coming to an airport near you… in 2050

Could CIRCULAR runways take off? Aerospace tests show circle designs would increase capacity, allow for simultaneous landings and take-offs and remove the risk of crosswinds

  • The runway would be built as a 2.2 mile wide circle around an airport terminal
  • Aircraft can avoid risky crosswinds by landing in any direction, says scientist
  • It would allow for a high volume of traffic as several takeoffs and landings could take place simultaneously

Circular runways could revolutionise commercial aviation while increasing the capacity of airports by 2050, according to a leading Dutch scientist.   

Built as a 2.2mile-wide circle nearly seven miles in circumference around an airport, the runway would allow for a high volume of traffic as several takeoffs and landings could take place simultaneously. 

The design is safer than conventional airports because aircraft can avoid dangerous crosswinds by landing in any direction, according to Henk Hesselink, an engineer at Royal Netherlands Aerospace Centre (NLR). Circular runways Circular runways could revolutionise commercial aviation while increasing the capacity of airports by 2050, according to a leading Dutch scientist+3

Circular runways could revolutionise commercial aviation while increasing the capacity of airports by 2050, according to a leading Dutch scientist

Built as a 2.2 mile wide circle around an airport terminal, the runway would allow for a high volume of traffic as several takeoffs and landings could take place simultaneously

Built as a 2.2 mile wide circle around an airport terminal, the runway would allow for a high volume of traffic as several takeoffs and landings could take place simultaneously

Without crosswind holding up flights and causing delays, planes would be able to land and take off more frequently, increasing airport capacity. 

Being able to land from any direction also means planes are not required to fly over residential areas as often, lowering noise pollution.

Even when airports are in heavily-populated areas, the flights can be spread out over a greater number of flight paths so homes around the airfield would ‘share’ the noise between them rather than the same households having to put up with all of the noise.  

The endless runway design has a slight incline and curve as it surrounds the entire airport, similar to high-speed car test tracks.

‘We need to rethink the way we are dealing with airports, with capacity, with the environment,’ Hesselink told Mashable

‘We are looking for a solution where aircraft can take off and land under any weather conditions.’ 

A singular circular runway could handle the traffic of four conventional runways and takes up less space, according to Hesselink.

 The design is safer than conventional airports because aircraft can avoid dangerous crosswinds by landing in any direction, according to Henk Hesselink, an engineer at Royal Netherlands Aerospace Centre (NLR)+3

The design is safer than conventional airports because aircraft can avoid dangerous crosswinds by landing in any direction, according to Henk Hesselink, an engineer at Royal Netherlands Aerospace Centre (NLR)

The landing aircraft can also be routed away from residential areas to reduce noise pollution because they are not dependent on a standard approach path

The landing aircraft can also be routed away from residential areas to reduce noise pollution because they are not dependent on a standard approach path

There have already been some trials on a circular track with fighter pilots who have landed there.

‘These pilots reported in the beginning it was a bit strange but after two or three trials they reported it is very well possible,’ Hesselink added.   

The radical circular runway is part of an effort to increase capacity at airports amid increasing levels of traffic. Scientists believe mobility will be stressed in the coming decades and new technology will be necessary. 

‘We can keep on optimizing the system, but at a certain moment, small steps don’t work any more and we really need a new idea to cope with the anticipated traffic,’ said Hesselink.

The circular design is part of ‘The Endless Runway‘ project, led by a team of Dutch scientists from the NLR.  

The work has been carried with partners in The Netherlands, Germany, Spain and Poland.   

Is It Actually Possible To Travel To Parallel Universes?

Shutterstock

Theoretically, how can I travel to a parallel universe?

You’re doing it every time you make a decision.

Let me explain, before going all reality based on me.

While only hypothetical, there is a possibility that there are an infinite number of universes out there. I know, I know… universe technically means “everything”. But there is at least one prevailing theory with some compelling evidence… We exist.

There are an infinite number of possibilities for physical laws. A universe may have any number of gravitational strengths, energy may behave differently, matter might be non existent. The fact that we are in this “Goldilocks” universe, not too hot or too cold, suggests there may be an infinite number out there. In fact, if the strength of gravity was changed just a very minute amount (I’m talking by trillionths of a fraction), our universe would be very different than it is now, without stars, or crushed back to a singularity before it could inflate for more than a few years.

This is called the Many Worlds Interpretation, or MWI, originally formulated by Hugh Everett in 1957.

In MWI, there is a view that every action that has the possibility of one outcome or another, will actually produce two, each diverging into a new, and alternate universe.

Take the Schrodinger’s Cat mind experiment. A cat is placed in a box that is sound proof and completely enclosing, preventing any indication of what is happening inside the box from reaching an outside observer. Inside this box is a device that will release a deadly poison that can kill that cat. The release of this poison is dependent upon a very small amount of a radioactive substance in which the chance of one atom decaying in one hour is 50/50. If the atom decays, the poison is released and the cat is killed.

Erwin Schrodinger posited that while the cat was in the box, it was neither alive or dead, but in a state somewhere in between. It wasn’t until the box was opened and the fate of the cat observed that the actual state coalesced into one of either dead or alive. In other words, the observation actually dictated an outcome.

MWI says that upon observation, the cat is both alive and dead, but in a divergent universe. If we observe the cat as alive, a parallel universe is created at that moment in which our dopplegangers are observing a dead cat.

These are all mind experiments, admittedly, but seriously considered in some circles.

If this is the case, we are travelling into parallel universes all the time, but we just don’t know it, since it appears to be continuous from the previous moments we have experienced.

Largest asteroid to pass Earth this year will zoom by on March 21

2001 FO32 won’t come any closer than 1.25 million miles

The largest asteroid predicted to pass by Earth this year will reach its closest point on March 21.

The space rock, which formed at the dawn of the solar system and was discovered in March 2001, is called 2001 FO32.

According to a Thursday NASA release, the asteroid won’t come any closer than 1.25 million miles — five and a quarter times the distance from the Earth to the moon — and will fly by at 77,000 miles per hour.

Researchers believe the asteroid’s diameter is likely less than 1 kilometer.

There is no present threat of a collision with Earth, nor will there be for centuries to come. 

That said, 2001 FO32’s path will present astronomers with a rare opportunity to closely observe the planetoid because 1.25 million miles is still relatively close in astronomical terms. 

NASA explained that this technicality is the reason why the asteroid has been designated “potentially hazardous” and the agency assured that NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s Center for Near Earth Object Studies (CNEOS) works to “help precisely characterize every NEO’s orbit to improve long-term hazard assessments.”

“We know the orbital path of 2001 FO32 around the Sun very accurately, since it was discovered 20 years ago and has been tracked ever since,” CNEOS Director Paul Chodas said. “There is no chance the asteroid will get any closer to Earth than 1.25 million miles.”

In addition, the asteroid’s speedy approach is due to its steeply inclined and elongated orbit around the sun.

After its March 21 fly-by, 2001 FO32 won’t come close to the Earth again until 2052. The asteroid will be visible with a moderate-sized telescope with apertures of at least 8 inches in the nights leading up to the closest approach.

The last notably large asteroid close to the Earth was 1998 OR2 in April of last year. 

More than 95% of near-Earth asteroids the size of 2001 FO32 have been discovered and tracked and none of the large asteroids has any chance of impacting Earth over the next century, according to the agency.

2020 saw a record number of asteroids fly past the Earth, according to the scientific journal Nature

It reported on Thursday that scientists had cataloged 2,958 previously unknown near-Earth asteroids despite the COVID-19 pandemic, at least 107 of which had passed Earth at a distance less than that of the Moon.

The current known asteroid count is 1,068,721.

US Intelligence Has Less Than 6 Months To Share Information On UFOs, 11 Reported Sightings In Maryland In 2021

WASHINGTON (WJZ) — If you dig deeper into the big pandemic bill and spending package passed in December 2020, you’ll see an unusual demand. U.S. intelligence agencies have less than six months to tell Congress what they know about “unidentified aerial phenomena” or what’s better known as UFOs.

Marc Gershuny remembers his first sighting like it was yesterday.

“I looked up at the sun and right under the sun was a black UFO,” Gershuny said. “It was the standard saucer shape with a little dome on the top.”

Credit: MUFON

It happened while he was with his son.

“He couldn’t see it but I could see it as clearly as the nose on your face,” he said.

Since then he’s had multiple sightings.

“I’ve seen UFOs right here on the corner by my house — a ball of molten metal glowing white plasma ball that just you know gently floated overhead and then past over the trees,” Gershuny said. “My wife and I both saw that.”

Gershuny is now the president of Maryland’s chapter of the UFO Network, also known as MUFON. They investigate sightings in the state.

Maryland has seen eleven cases already this year.

And soon his belief in UFOs could be corroborated. As a part of the COVID-19 relief and spending bill, intelligence agencies have less than six months to tell Congress what they know about UFOs.

“If it’s something from outside this planet that might actually be better than the fact that we’ve seen some technological leap on behalf of the Chinese or the Russians or some other adversary,” said Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.)

But for Gershuny, he hopes this report will shed light on what may loom in our universe.

“I think it’s good though for the country and I think it’s good for civilization as we evolve to understand what’s really going on out there,” he said.

WATCH: Mysterious Flying Object caught on Ring Doorbell camera in Florida

LYNN HAVEN, Fla. (WMBB) — Lynn Haven resident, Chris Miller sent in a video where a mysterious flying object is caught on his Ring Doorbell camera.

Miller said his wife was at the gym when she told him to check the doorbell’s camera because there was something on it.

He said it sounded like a jet engine but was shocked to see the size of the object.

Miller says he has no idea what it could be and even asked friends their opinions who said they didn’t know either.

So tell us, what do you think it is?

Meteor seen over New England, Canada explodes with force of 440 lbs of TNT

The space rock was seen hurtling through the Earth’s atmosphere on Sunday afternoon

fireball flashed through the night sky in New England on Sunday, releasing the energy of around 440 pounds of TNT. 

NASA Meteor Watch reported on Monday that as residents witnessed the meteor streaking over Vermont and Massachusetts, the space rock “fragmented violently, producing a pressure wave that rattled buildings and generated the sound heard by those near the trajectory.”

Fireball over northern Vermont
Eyewitnesses in the NorthEast and Canada are reporting seeing a bright fireball this evening around 5:38 PM Eastern Standard Time. Analysis of their reports shows that the meteor occurred over northern Vermont, first appearing at a height of 52 miles (84 kilometers) above Mount Mansfield State Forest. Moving northeast at 47,000 miles per hour (21 kilometers per second), it traversed 33 miles (53 kilometers) through the upper atmosphere before burning up 33 miles (53 kilometers) above Beach Hill in Orleans County south of Newport.
We hope to refine the trajectory as more reports and hopefully some videos filter in.

Although the agency had initially believed the meteor — which was likely a fragment of an asteroid — to have been moving at a rate of 47,000 miles per hour when it appeared at around 5:38 p.m. ET, further analysis slowed that rate down to 42,000 miles per hour. 

NASA Meteor Watch had first reported that the meteor was visible at a height of 52 miles above the Green Mountain State’s Mount Mansfield State Forest and moving northeast as it traversed 33 miles through the upper atmosphere until it burned up 33 miles above Beach Hill.

“As the object … penetrated deeper into the atmosphere, pressure built up on its front while a partial vacuum formed behind it. About 30 miles up, the pressure difference between front and back exceeded its structural strength,” NASA Meteor Watch wrote.

Furthermore, the pressure wave experienced after its fragmentation could cause minor tremors and be detected by infrasound stations.

“In the case of last night, we were obtained infrasound measurements from three nearby stations — the amplitudes and durations of the signals put the energy of the fireball fragmentation at 440 pounds (200 kilograms) of TNT,” the government organization wrote. “We can combine this energy with the speed to get a mass and size of the object — 10 pounds (4.5 kilograms) and 6 inches (15 centimeters) in diameter.”

More than 100 reports were made to the American Meteor Society from New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts and Canadaaccording to WMUR.

In a video of the incident posted by Twitter user Jeremy LaClair, the fireball was captured on a webcam at Burlington International Airport, with other witnesses chiming in with their own accounts. 

Even more people commented on NASA’s post on Facebook and user Shannon Lemley-Willis wrote she had heard the “boom” in Johnson, Vermont. 

“Kids were playing outside and described it as ‘big trucks crashing,'” she wrote.

“I didn’t get a video, but I definitely saw it in Watertown, MA. It was dusk, so the sky was fading to a deeper blue, and I saw a bright red, orange and yellow streak to the north of me,” wrote Dan Nystedt. “I thought it must have been something much bigger than a standard ‘shooting star’ to be so visible when not totally dark yet.”

A fireball is a meteor with a magnitude of brightness that’s greater than -4, or the brightness of the planet Venus in the morning or night sky, according to the American Meteor Society.

Whereas, a meteor is the streak of light seen when an asteroid or meteoroid enter’s the Earth’s atmosphere, according to NASA. If an asteroid or meteoroid does not burn up before impact, it is called a meteorite.

First Video of an Actual Time Crystal Produced – But What Are They?

Physicists Directly Image Space-Time Crystal

Space-time crystals are time-periodic self-organized structures postulated by the Nobel laureate in physics Frank Wilczek in 2012. In new research, physicists from Germany and Poland transferred this concept to quasiparticles called magnons and experimentally demonstrated a space-time crystal at room temperature; they also directly imaged it using a scanning transmission X-ray microscope.

“We took the regularly recurring pattern of magnons in space and time, sent more magnons in, and they eventually scattered,” said first author Nick Träger, a doctoral student at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems.

“Thus, we were able to show that the time crystal can interact with other quasiparticles.”

“No one has yet been able to show this directly in an experiment, let alone in a video.”

In their experiment, Träger and colleagues placed a strip of magnetic material on a microscopic antenna through which they sent a radio-frequency current.

This microwave field triggered an oscillating magnetic field, a source of energy that stimulated the magnons in the strip.

Magnetic waves migrated into the strip from left and right, spontaneously condensing into a recurring pattern in space and time.

Unlike trivial standing waves, this pattern was formed before the two converging waves could even meet and interfere.

The pattern, which regularly disappears and reappears on its own, must therefore be a quantum effect.

Träger et al. experimentally demonstrated a driven space-time crystal at room temperature: (a) sketch of the sample with one magnonic permalloy (Py) stripe and a coplanar waveguide; (b) snapshot of a time-resolved scanning transmission X-ray microscopy movie; the gray scale represents the mz component; (c) phase and amplitude map at fcw after FFT in time through each pixel of the scanning transmission X-ray microscopy movie; the color code shows the amplitude and phase information. Image credit: Träger et al., doi: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.126.057201.

“Not only can it make the wavefronts visible with very high resolution, which is 20 times better than the best light microscope,” said Dr. Gisela Schütz, also from the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems.

“It can even do so at up to 40 billion frames per second and with extremely high sensitivity to magnetic phenomena as well.”

“We were able to show that such space-time crystals are much more robust and widespread than first thought,” said co-author Dr. Pawel Gruszecki, a scientist in the Faculty of Physics at the Adam Mickiewicz University.

“Our crystal condenses at room temperature and particles can interact with it — unlike in an isolated system.”

“Moreover, it has reached a size that could be used to do something with this magnonic space-time crystal. This may result in many potential applications.”

“Classical crystals have a very broad field of applications,” said senior author Dr. Joachim Gräfe, also from the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems.

“Now, if crystals can interact not only in space but also in time, we add another dimension of possible applications. The potential for communication, radar or imaging technology is huge.”

The results were published in the journal Physical Review Letters.

First Ever Space Hurricane Spotted in Earth’s Upper Atmosphere

The 600-mile-wide swirling cloud of charged particles rained down electrons from several hundred miles above the North Pole

space hurricane
An illustration based on the satellite observation data from the first confirmed instance of a space hurricane. (Qing-He Zhang, Shandong University)

Researchers have used satellite observations to identify what they’re calling a “space hurricane” in Earth’s upper atmosphere, Nature reports. The results, published last month in the journal Nature Communications, represent the first time a space hurricane has ever been detected over our planet.

The team spotted the churning mass of charged particles—ionized gas called plasma—hovering several hundred miles above the North Pole during a retrospective analysis of data collected in August 2014, reports Doyle Rice for USA Today.

“Until now, it was uncertain that space plasma hurricanes even existed, so to prove this with such a striking observation is incredible,” Mike Lockwood, an astrophysicist at the University of Reading and co-author of the paper, in a statement.

The space hurricane described in the paper measured roughly 600 miles across and rained down charged electrons instead of water for nearly eight hours as it spun counter-clockwise at speeds up to 4,700 miles-per-hour, per the paper.

The 2014 space hurricane occurred during a period of relatively low geomagnetic activity, which created a puzzle, since it meant the space hurricane wasn’t the result of Earth’s ionosphere being lashed by the solar winds of a stormy sun.

“Tropical storms are associated with huge amounts of energy, and these space hurricanes must be created by unusually large and rapid transfer of solar wind energy and charged particles into the Earth’s upper atmosphere,” explains Lockwood in the statement. To try to figure out what was going on the team created a computer model, which suggested that the rapid transfer of energy may have occurred because of reconnecting interplanetary magnetic field lines, reports Michelle Starr for Science Alert.

The researchers say finding a space hurricane during a period of low geomagnetic activity increases the likelihood they are a common occurrence in the universe.

“Plasma and magnetic fields in the atmosphere of planets exist throughout the universe, so the findings suggest space hurricanes should be a widespread phenomena,” says Lockwood in the statement.

Researchers say this first observation is unlikely to be the last. Qing-He Zhang, a space scientist at Shandong University who led the new research, tells Becky Ferreira of Vice that his team has already identified “tens of space hurricane events” in the same trove of satellite data that produced this first confirmed instance of the phenomenon.

Studying these other space hurricanes is of interest not just for the sake of gaining knowledge about the universe, but because it could help us get better at predicting space weather, which can disrupt satellites, radar and communication systems vital to life on Earth.

The moon has a tail that sends beams across Earth, researchers say

The tail made of sodium particles is not visible to the naked eye

The moon has a “comet-like” tail made of millions of sodium atoms, researchers reported this week.

While the lunar surface is hit by solar wind, UV photons and meteorids, atoms liberated by the impact are pushed by light pressure into “a long comet‐like tail” opposite the sun, according to a study published Wednesday in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets.

“Near [a] New Moon, these atoms encounter the Earth’s gravity and are ‘focused’ into a beam of enhanced density,” the Boston University astrophysicists wrote in their abstract

When the New Moon shifts between the Earth and the sun, the downflowing structure’s “beam” shoots around the Blue Marble’s atmosphere as well as out into space.

Although the tail is invisible to the naked eye — sunlight reflected from the moon’s surface is perhaps a million times brighter — it can be viewed using sensitive cameras equipped with filters tuned to the orange light emitted by the sodium atoms.

While ground-based spectrographs detected sodium atoms in the moon’s thin atmosphere in 1998, data gathered from the El Leoncito Observatory’s All-Sky-Imager revealed details about changes to the shape and brightness. 

For example, the spot is brighter when the New Moon occurs at the point of orbit at which it is closest to the Earth, when the New Moon is north of the ecliptic path and approximately five hours after the New Moon.

Dr. Luke Moore, a senior research scientist at Boston University and the study’s co-author, told Fox News on Saturday that Boston University’s Imaging Science Lab maintains a global network of similar cameras that was crucial to the study.

“This network turned out to be ideal for studying the ‘Sodium Moon Spot’ (SMS), or the lunar sodium tail that can be seen near New Moon, however, because they are constantly operating,” he said.

“Thus, while this study focuses on understanding the long-term variation of the SMS from one site, it is also possible to see the lunar tail from multiple observatories simultaneously.”

After long-term study, researchers found a correlation between the brightness of the SMS spot and the rate at which meteors hit the planet, controlling the spot’s brightness and flicker.

An airplane flies against the backdrop of the rising moon after taking off from Miami International airport, Sunday, Feb. 12, 2017, above Surfside, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

An airplane flies against the backdrop of the rising moon after taking off from Miami International airport, Sunday, Feb. 12, 2017, above Surfside, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee) (AP)

While annual meteor showers can coincide with a brighter beam, impacts by sporadic meteors are more closely related to its brightness — potentially due to the amount of energy they produce.

SpaceX’s Starship SN10 Successfully Lands After Amazing Flight. Dismantles Itself Spectacularly.

Two earlier flights of the Starship rocket crashed spectacularly. This one returned to the ground in one piece, then blew up.

SpaceX Lands Starship Rocket for the First Time

SpaceX successfully launched and landed its Starship rocket prototype on Wednesday, an important milestone for the company’s founder, Elon Musk, and his hope to one day send humans to Mars and beyond.

Five, four, three, two, one, ignition. We have liftoff. Acknowledge software. FC2 please prepare for Section 35, OAC, SE1 and LVN. SpaceX Lands Starship Rocket for the First Time. SpaceX successfully launched and landed its Starship rocket prototype on Wednesday, an important milestone for the company’s founder, Elon Musk, and his hope to one day send humans to Mars and beyond.

Two spectacular flights, two spectacular crash landings. The third time was almost the charm.

On Wednesday, SpaceX launched another high-altitude flight of Starship, a huge next-generation spacecraft that Elon Musk, the founder and chief executive of the private rocket company, dreams of sending to Mars. It returned to the ground and set down in one piece, but then lit up in another fiery blast minutes after the landing.

As the sun set over the test site in Boca Chica, Tex., close to Brownsville, the latest prototype, designated SN10, lifted off, its stainless steel exterior gaining a purple hue as it ascended toward an altitude of just over six miles, well below the orbital heights that SpaceX one day intends to achieve.

It was the second launch attempt of the day. Three hours earlier, liftoff was aborted with just a fraction of a second left in the countdown. The engines had already ignited but were then shut off when the computer on board the Starship detected too much thrust from one of the engines. The engineers decided that the problem was not significant, adjusted the software, refueled the rocket and tried again.

At about 6:15 p.m. Eastern time, the three engines ignited again, and this time they stayed on. The rocket rose into the Texas sky, and, by design, the engines shut down one by one as the rocket approached an altitude of six miles.

“Very nice, very nice,” said John Insprucker, a SpaceX engineer narrating the company’s webcast.

SpaceX’s Starship prototype launched and landed in one piece on Wednesday in Boca Chica, Tex., but exploded shortly after setting back down at its test site.
SpaceX’s Starship prototype launched and landed in one piece on Wednesday in Boca Chica, Tex., but exploded shortly after setting back down at its test site.Credit…SpaceX, via Associated Press

The Starship then tipped over to a horizontal position, in essence belly flopping through the atmosphere in a controlled fall back toward the ground. The rocket then fired its engines again to flip back into a vertical position and slowed down to a gentle landing.

As the smoke cleared, SN10 was still standing, but tilted. Mr. Insprucker declared the test a success. While earlier flights to this altitude had ended in fiery crashes, this time the rocket landed in one piece. But the landing legs appeared to fail, leaving the rocket standing but leaning at the landing pad.

“The key point of today’s test flight was to gather the data on controlling the vehicle while re-entering,” Mr. Insprucker said on the webcast. “And we were successful in doing so.”

A few minutes later, after SpaceX began its recovery operations of the vehicle and had concluded its video feed, video cameras operated by the website NASA Spaceflight captured an explosion that sent the rocket on an unplanned second hop, disintegrating in flames.

The SN10 prototype burst into flames and exploded soon after landing.
The SN10 prototype burst into flames and exploded soon after landing.Credit…NASASpaceflight

A leak in a propellant tank may have caused the explosion.

The previous test, on Feb. 2, occurred after a skirmish between SpaceX and the Federal Aviation Administration, which regulates rocket launches. The F.A.A. said that the earlier December launch had occurred without the agency’s approval. SpaceX had requested a waiver to conduct that flight even though it had not shown that a pressure wave that could be generated by an explosion during the test would not pose a danger to the public. The F.A.A. denied the request. SpaceX launched anyway.

After an investigation, the F.A.A. allowed SpaceX to go forward with the February launch. When that flight ended in another crash, the agency again asked for an investigation, which appears to have proceeded with less difficulty. The agency granted approval for the test on Wednesday.

Spectators who gathered at Isla Blanca Park on South Padre Island, Texas, for the test flight in February got a fiery, explosive finale.
Spectators who gathered at Isla Blanca Park on South Padre Island, Texas, for the test flight in February got a fiery, explosive finale.Credit…Miguel Roberts/The Brownsville Herald, via Associated Press

Mr. Musk’s company has become successful in the launch business, and it is now one of the world’s most valuable privately held companies. Its Falcon 9 rockets have become a dominant workhorse for sending satellites to orbit. It routinely transports cargo to the International Space Station, and lifted NASA astronauts there twice in 2020, with more trips planned this year.

However, many are skeptical about Mr. Musk’s assertion that the company is just a few years from sending a Starship to Mars, saying he has repeatedly set timelines for SpaceX that proved far too optimistic in how quickly they have come to pass.

In 2019, when he provided an update on the development of Starship, he said a high-altitude test would occur within months and that orbital flights could occur early in 2020.

Instead, several catastrophic failures happened because of faulty welding. When the propellant tanks stopped rupturing, two of the prototypes made short successful flights last year. Those earlier Starship prototypes resembled spray paint cans with their labels removed, rising nearly 500 feet using a single rocket engine before setting back down at the Texas test site.

In a video released on Tuesday night, Mr. Musk said Starship would be ready to launch people to orbit and beyond by 2023. He made the remarks in a video released by Yusaku Maezawa, a Japanese entrepreneur who is helping to financially underwrite the development of Starship. Mr. Maezawa intends to fly on an approximately weeklong trip around the moon and back to Earth.

In the Tuesday video, Mr. Maezawa announced that he wanted to bring eight passengers on the lunar voyage, and invited applications from people wishing to go. On Wednesday, he said more than 100,000 people have already expressed interest.

‘God of Chaos’ asteroid to pass by Earth this week

The rock will be visible on Friday at around 8:15 p.m. ET

The asteroid Apophis, nicknamed the “God of Chaos,” will pass by Earth on Friday.

Named for the Egyptian deity and scientifically known as 99942 Apophis, the more-than 1,000-foot-wide space rock will skate past the blue marble at around 8:15 p.m. ET traveling at a distance of about 10 million miles away, according to NASA.

The Near-Earth Object (NEO), made of both rock and metal, will then continue on a path around the sun.

However, while interested spectators can watch through their telescopes or using a live feed with images of the asteroid using the European-based Virtual Telescope Project at 00:00 UTC, scientists are monitoring Apophis’ diameter, velocity and other factors. 

They’ll use planetary radar — although no longer having access to Puerto Rico’s Arecibo Observatory radio telescope — as a kind of sonogram to detect the asteroid’s shape, orbit and whether or not there are boulders on its surface, according to Space.com.

Some believe there’s a chance Earth’s gravity will be strong enough to scatter boulders or stretch the rock, the site reported.

The asteroid, which was first discovered in 2004, will make another trip near Earth in April 2029. Apophis is projected to hurl by Earth while just about 19,000 miles away, according to The Planetary Society. It’s a distance that’s around 90% closer to Earth than the moon.

However, while researchers originally said there was a close to 3% chance of collision in 2029, additional data gathered over the years has shown it will not hit the Earth in either 2029 or during its return visit in 2036.

In addition, odds for its approach in 2068 are small, but Friday will help present experts with a clearer prediction of future events.

The University of Hawaii Institute for Astronomy’s Dave Tholen said in a statement last year that observations made with the Subaru telescope showed the Yarkovsky acceleration of Apophis — an effect caused by solar heating resulting in a slight orbit change — and that the asteroid was drifting away from a purely gravitational orbit, which was “enough to keep the 2068 impact scenario in play.”

Nevertheless, astronomers are not fortunetellers — they won’t be able to read the asteroid’s future over long periods of time without uncertainty.

That said, more than 100 asteroids have come closer to the Earth than the Moon in the past year, KSL.com reported Tuesday.

UK doorbell cameras and dashcams capture meteor on video

The blaze tore through the night sky within seconds

Residents of the U.K. were surprised over the weekend when a slow-moving meteor blazed across the night sky.

Videos posted to social media taken from doorbells and dashcams across Britain show the fireball just before 10 p.m. on Sunday.

A video from UK Meteor Network now has more than 100,000 views on YouTube.

“Was so clear,” Twitter user @JillHemingway wrote on Twitter alongside her own footage from Yorkshire.

Another user, @Lafford_MK, shared his nine-second video from his doorbell in the town of Milton Keynes.

@gingerssnap wrote to her followers: “Anyone else see the #meteor burn up over the UK just before 10pm tonight? I first thought it was a bright star or plane, then it got bigger & faster, then a huge flash lit up the sky & it burst into a massive tail of orange sparks trailing behind like a giant firework! So cool!”

The falling object flashed flight as it began to burn up and break down.

The meteor is likely to have been a small piece of a comet or asteroid entering the planet’s atmosphere, U.K. Meteor Network co-founder Richard Kacerek told The New York Times, noting that some pieces of it were believed to have survived the fall.

Some witnesses reported hearing a sonic boom or rumbling

Scientists from the UK Fireball Alliance (UKFall) agreed and told Yahoo News that the bright light was speeding at around 30,000 miles per hour.

Hundreds of people took to the internet with eyewitness reports of the incident.

In general, meteors are common, though less than 5% make it to the ground, according to NASA.

The Planetary Science Institute reports that approximately 500 meteorites make it to the Earth’s surface annually, but less than 10 are found.

More than 50,000 meteorites have been found on Earth, most from asteroids, they report.