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Interstellar Object `Oumuamua Might Be Derelict Alien Light-Sail

The cigar shaped “interstellar object” sighted tumbling close to the Earth a year ago might really be a reconnaissance probe means to spy on us, claim two Harvard researchers in a recently published study.

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Arthur J. Villasanta – Fourth Estate Contributor

Boston, MA, United States (4E) – The cigar shaped “interstellar object” sighted tumbling close to the Earth a year ago might really be a reconnaissance probe means to spy on us, claim two Harvard researchers in a recently published study.

This fantastic, and much ridiculed, explanation of the true nature of this mysterious hunk of “rock” christened `Oumuamua by astronomers was put forth by Shmuel Bialy and Prof. Abraham Loeb at the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.

These researchers cogently argue `Oumuamua might have an “artificial origin” in their recently published study “Could Solar Radiation Pressure Explain ‘Oumuamua’s Peculiar Acceleration?”

Bialy and Loeb suggest `Oumuamua “may be a fully operational probe sent intentionally to Earth vicinity by an alien civilization.”. They based their conclusion on `Oumuamua’s “excess acceleration,” or its unexpected boost in speed as it traveled through and out of our Solar System in January 2018.

More specifically, they believe `Oumuamua is, in reality, a “light-sail spacecraft.” A light sail is a type of spacecraft that relies on radiation pressure acting on massive “solar sails” to generate propulsion.

“Considering an artificial origin, one possibility is that ‘Oumuamua is a light sail, floating in interstellar space as a debris from an advanced technological equipment,” wrote Bialy and Loeb, suggesting the object is being propelled by solar radiation.

“Light-sails with similar dimensions have been designed and constructed by our own civilization, including the IKAROS project and the Starshot Initiative. The light-sail technology might be abundantly used for transportation of cargos between planets or between stars.”

Another possibility is this mystery object might be debris from an advanced technological equipment. Both scientists theorize `Oumuamua’s high speed and its unusual trajectory might be the result of it no longer being operational.

“This would account for the various anomalies of ‘Oumuamua, such as the unusual geometry inferred from its light-curve, its low thermal emission, suggesting high reflectivity, and its deviation from a Keplerian orbit without any sign of a cometary tail or spin-up torques.”

‘Oumuamua is the first object ever seen in our solar system that is known to have originated elsewhere.

Astronomers first thought the `Oumuamua was just another comet or an asteroid originating in our Solar System. Comets are known to pick-up speed due to a process known as “outgassing,” in which the Sun heats up the surface of the icy comet, releasing melted gas. ‘Oumuamua, however, didn’t have a “coma.”

Bialy and Loeb dismissed the outgassing explanation as causing `Oumuamua’s inexplicable acceleration. They said if `Oumuamua were in fact a comet, why then did it not experience outgassing when it was closest to our Sun?

They also cited other research showing that if outgassing were responsible for the acceleration, it would have also caused a rapid evolution in `Oumuamua’s spin, which wasn’t observed.

Formally designated 1I/2017 U1, `Oumuamua was discovered by Robert Weryk using the Pan-STARRS telescope at Haleakala Observatory in Hawaii, on Oct. 19, 2017, or 40 days after it passed its closest point to the Sun.

Since its discovery, `Oumuamua has exhibited actions inconsistent with a hunk of rock hurtling mindlessly through space. Because of this, scientists have been at odds to explain Oumuamua’s actions, unusual features and precise origins.

Scientists first called this thing that’s been tumbling through space a comet and then an asteroid. Unable to agree, they made `Oumuamua the first member of a new class of thing. They called it an “interstellar object.”

`Oumuamua is an elongated, dark red object that shows no signs of a cometary tail or coma despite its close approach to the Sun. It’s 10 times as long as it is wide and is tumbling along at speeds of 315,000 km/h.

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Start-up Launch Firm Rocket Lab Sends 7 Payloads into Orbit

Rocket Lab, a Huntington Beach, California-based aerospace manufacturer and smallsat launch firm, has successfully completed its first commercial launch.

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Arthur J. Villasanta – Fourth Estate Contributor

Huntington Beach, CA, United States (4E) – Rocket Lab, a Huntington Beach, California-based aerospace manufacturer and smallsat launch firm, has successfully completed its first commercial launch.

Blasting-off from Rocket Lab’s own privately-owned spaceport in New Zealand’s Mahia Peninsula on Nov. 11, the $5.7 million launch vehicle named “Electron” orbited seven spacecraft including “six tiny satellites and a drag sail demonstrator.” Electron is designed primarily to orbit for smallsats and CubeSats or cube satellites.

Now in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) are satellites from Spire Global, Inc.; Tyvak Nano-Satellite Systems; Fleet Space Technologies; GeoOptics; the Irvine CubeSat STEM program, and a drag sail demonstrator. The latter is a prototype for technology to clear away debris in orbit around the Earth.

Electron is a two-stage rocket standing 17 meters tall and delivcering 50,000 pounds of thrust. Its first-stage is powered by nine kerosene-fueled Rutherford main engines. The vehicle is capable of delivering payloads weighing 150 kg into a Sun-synchronous orbit. An Electron mission costs less than US$5 million per launch.

Electron can carry spacecraft up to the size of a refrigerator into orbit at a faster timetable than larger competitors like SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rockets..

Electron blasted-off from Launch Complex 1, Rocket Lab’s privately-operated spaceport on Mahia Peninsula, located on the east coast of New Zealand’s North Island. After the rocket’s booster separated from the second stage and fell into the occean, the second stage’s single Rutherford engine took the payload into orbit. A final stage called the Curie kick stage delivered the payloads into orbit, SpaceFlight now reported:

The Curie kick stage deployed from the Electron second stage in an elliptical parking orbit with a perigee of 200 km and an apogee of 500 km above Earth, at an inclination of 85 degrees.

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Certain Foods Combined with Zinc can Help Make You Healthier

Zinc has been found to activate an organic molecule that helps protect the body against oxidative stress, according to a new study by German and American researchers.

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Arthur J. Villasanta – Fourth Estate Contributor

Nuremberg, Germany (4E) – Zinc has been found to activate an organic molecule that helps protect the body against oxidative stress, according to a new study by German and American researchers.

The study from the Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) in Germany and Auburn University (AU) in Alabama discovered that zinc can protect against the “superoxide” responsible for oxidative stress.

Zinc is a trace mineral humans need to remain healthy. FAU and AU researchers have discovered zinc can protect against the superoxide responsible for oxidative stress when taken together with a component found in foodstuffs such as wine, coffee, tea and chocolate. Ageing and a low life expectancy are partly caused by oxidative stress.

A superoxide is a reactive form of oxygen (or oxygen with an extra electron) that can leak from the respiratory enzymes and damage cells. It can also cause mutations in DNA or attack enzymes that make amino acids and other essential molecules.

Superoxide contributes to the creation of many diseases, and also causes aging via the oxidative damage it inflicts on cells. Superoxide is a by-product of human cell respiration that damages the body’s own biomolecules, such as proteins or lipids, as well as the human genome.

It’s also thought to have a role to play in a number of illnesses such as inflammation, cancer or neurodegenerative diseases.

Zinc triggers the hydroquinone groups, thereby producing natural protection against superoxide. Researchers said hydroquinone alone isn’t capable of breaking down superoxide.

If zinc and hydroquinone combine, however, a metal complex is formed that imitates a superoxide dismutase enzyme (SOD). SODs protect the body from the degradation processes caused by oxidation and have an antioxidative effect. They metabolize superoxide, thereby preventing damage to the organism and avoiding oxidative stress.

For the first time, the function of SOD has been copied without reverting to redox-active transition metals such as manganese, iron, copper or nickel. While the metals might also have an antioxidative effect, any positive effects are quickly diminished by the fact that if too much is taken, these transition metals can even cause oxidative stress to increase.

Zinc is much less toxic than these transition metals, making it possible for new medication or supplements to be developed with considerably fewer side-effects.

It would also be plausible to add zinc to food that contains hydroquinone naturally to boost the consumer’s health. Researchers said it is certainly possible that wine, coffee, tea or chocolate may well become be available in future with added zinc.

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World’s Richest Science Prize Honors Top Scientists at Fabulous Gala

Scientists from around the world conferred the Breakthrough Prize, the “Oscars of Science” and the richest science prize in the world, received their rewards Sunday at a lavish gala ceremony at Silicon Valley, California.

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Silicon Valley, CA, United States (4E) – Scientists from around the world conferred the Breakthrough Prize, the “Oscars of Science” and the richest science prize in the world, received their rewards Sunday at a lavish gala ceremony at Silicon Valley, California.

The 2019 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics was awarded to Charles Kane and Eugene Mele (University of Pennsylvania).

The 2019 Breakthrough Prize in Mathematics was awarded to Vincent Lafforgue (CNRS (National Center for Scientific Research, France) and Institut Fourier, Université Grenoble Alpes).

The 2019 Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences was conferred on Xiaowei Zhuang (Harvard University and Howard Hughes Medical Institute); Zhijian “James” Chen (University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and Howard Hughes Medical Institute); C. Frank Bennett (Ionis Pharmaceuticals) and Adrian R. Krainer (Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory) and Angelika Amon (Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Howard Hughes Medical Institute).

This year, a total of seven $3 million prizes were awarded to nine researchers, including the 2018 Special Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics presented to Jocelyn Bell Burnell (University of Dundee and University of Oxford) for her role some 50 years ago in the surprise discovery of the pulsar and lifetime of inspiring leadership.

In addition, three $100,000 New Horizons in Physics Prizes totaling $300,000 were awarded to seven early-career physicists, and three New Horizons in Mathematics Prizes totaling $300,000 were awarded to five early-career mathematicians.

The Breakthrough Junior Challenge (a global, science-video competition) recognized Samay Godika, with a $250,000 scholarship and an additional $150,000 in educational prizes for his science teacher and school.

The gala also honored the late Stephen Hawking.

“Stephen Hawking urged us to ‘look up,’ – to open our eyes and our minds to the wonder of the Universe. At the heart of all science is that spirit of curiosity,” said Internet investor and science philanthropist Yuri Milner.

The New Horizons in Physics Prize was awarded to: Brian Metzger (Columbia University); Rana Adhikari (California Institute of Technology), Lisa Barsotti (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), and Matthew Evans (Massachusetts Institute of Technology); Daniel Harlow (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), Daniel L. Jafferis (Harvard University), and Aron Wall (Stanford University).

The New Horizons in Mathematics Prize was awarded to: Chenyang Xu (Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Beijing International Center for Mathematical Research); Karim Adiprasito (Hebrew University of Jerusalem) and June Huh (Institute for Advanced Study); Kaisa Matomäki (University of Turku) and Maksym Radziwill (California Institute of Technology).

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