Can You Imagine?

I recently visited the Bigfoot Museum in Felton, California, and my mind is not totally recovered from the experience. I have no idea whether or not Bigfoot is real, but I can tell you that there are an awful lot of very dense forests out there that have not been totally explored. There are also a lot of things in space that remain unexplored. One recent effort to explore space was the launching of Elon Musk’s red Tesla Roadster with a starman mannequin at the wheel.

A website called Time Traveller Wiki recently reported:

The red electric car and its spacesuit-clad mannequin driver, which launched on the maiden mission of SpaceX’s huge Falcon Heavy rocket in February, have made it beyond the orbit of Mars, company representatives said Friday night (Nov. 2).

“Starman’s current location. Next stop, the restaurant at the end of the universe,” SpaceX posted on Twitter Friday, along with an orbit diagram.

The article continues:

Musk has said that he launched the Roadster and Starman because the duo is a lot more fun than the typical inert-mass dummy payload (pun intended; sorry). Launching a satellite or other valuable spacecraft wasn’t an option, given the risks inherent in maiden flights. (Musk also runs Tesla, so publicity was probably a factor as well.)

Starman and his ride — which once belonged to Musk — won’t stay beyond Mars forever. As you can see in the diagram, the pair will loop back on their heliocentric orbit, eventually coming about as close to the sun as Earth does. 

The Roadster and Starman will come within a few hundred thousand kilometers of our planet in 2091, according to an orbit-modeling study. The authors of that study determined that the car will slam into either Venus or Earth, likely within the next few tens of millions of years. They give the space car a 6 percent chance of hitting Earth in the next 1 million years, and a 2.5 percent chance of smacking Venus in that span.

If you follow the link to the website, you can track the journey of the Roadstar and Starman as they traverse the universe.

My final thought on this is to wonder if there is life on Mars, what is the average Martian thinking when he looks up and sees a Tesla and a driver going by  his planet. I have no idea if there is life on Mars, but if there is, can you imagine their surprise when they see a Tesla go by?

An Unexpected Answer

Hot Air posted a very interesting article today on climate change. There is a theory from the University of Wisconsin that was included in the journal Nature.

The article quotes a press release from the University of Wisconsin:

Using evidence from alternating layers of limestone and shale laid down over millions of years in a shallow North American seaway at the time dinosaurs held sway on Earth, the team led by UW–Madison Professor of Geoscience Stephen Meyers and Northwestern University Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences Brad Sageman discovered the 87 million-year-old signature of a “resonance transition” between Mars and Earth. A resonance transition is the consequence of the “butterfly effect” in chaos theory. It plays on the idea that small changes in the initial conditions of a nonlinear system can have large effects over time.

In the context of the solar system, the phenomenon occurs when two orbiting bodies periodically tug at one another, as occurs when a planet in its track around the sun passes in relative proximity to another planet in its own orbit. These small but regular ticks in a planet’s orbit can exert big changes on the location and orientation of a planet on its axis relative to the sun and, accordingly, change the amount of solar radiation a planet receives over a given area. Where and how much solar radiation a planet gets is a key driver of climate.

The article includes the following:

There is no doubt that the climate has gone through various changes over the centuries. We need to have a serious apolitical discussion about climate change to see if we have the power to influence or prevent it (or if we want to prevent it). This new information should be part of the discussion. This also might explain the period of global warming during the Middle Ages which was obviously not caused by carbon emissions.