Friday, October 29, 2010

Another generation...

Life on Earth has survived for millions of years and undergone genetic changes because of evolutionary processes that coincided with climate conditions. Even when the Siberian traps and out pouring of volcanic gases occurred 250 million years ago or with the Deccan traps 65 million years ago, plant life and animal life continued.

Humanity may try to geoengineer the planet and in the process may find beneficial aspect to continue on several other planets in this solar system, especially Mars or Venus.

Yet, the philosophical question and aspect would be "Why should humanity have dominion over the Earth?" when the reality is that humanity is part of the Earth. Over the last 700 years many species have gone extinct because of human settlement and human population that has needed the space for their own living. In the next 100 years many of the larger species of animals will become extinct in the wild with only genetic material frozen and stored.

The Earth cannot support the current population of 6.7 Billion individuals indefinitely, even with proper allocation of resources of food and water. How can humanity expect that the Earth is going to support 9.1 Billion individuals in the next 50 years with a life-span of those individuals at 70 years? With the aspect of raising the poverty levels of the people in every Nation on the planet, over that 120 year time frame is unrealistic?

Cutting down the forests to "Pave Paradise and Put up a Parking Lot" is going to leave the world very impoverished. Well see what the next 50 years brings upon the Earth.

(Initially posted on Cosmic Log). JMW

Sunday, October 24, 2010

NGC 6210 Nebula

Hubble took a deep look at NGC 6210, which is 6,500 light years away, in the constellation of Hercules

At the heart of NGC 6210 is a star slightly less massive than our sun that is in the last fitful stage of its life cycle. The star's death spasms have kicked off multiple shells of material with different degrees of symmetry, giving the NGC 6210 nebula its odd, bulbous shape.

The new Hubble image shows the inner region of the planetary nebula in unprecedented detail, where the central star is surrounded by a thin, bluish bubble that reveals a delicate filamentary structure. The glowing bubble appears to be intertwined with an asymmetric, reddish gas formation where holes, filaments and pillars are clearly visible.

Planetary nebulas are shells of gas and dust expelled by stars near the end of their lives. They are typically seen around stars comparable or smaller in size than the sun. Planetary nebulas are not related to planets as their name suggests, but instead earned the moniker because they resembled giant planets when viewed through early telescopes.

A star's life ends when it runs out of fuel for its thermonuclear engine. The estimated lifetime for a sun-like star is about 10 billion years.

What's left behind is a tiny, but very hot, star remnant known as a white dwarf. The white dwarf inside NGC 6210, which is visible in the center of the Hubble image, will cool down and fade very slowly.

According to stellar evolution theory, our own sun will experience a similar fate in approximately 5 billion years.

How long does the 'cooling down and fade slowly away" last? Is it 10,000 years or 1/2 a billion years?

What happens to the existing solar system around such a star, are the planets obliterated? Do they continue to orbit a common baricenter?

Do the planets gain substantial mass because of all the ejected stellar material that forms the nebula? Would a Jupiter size world in such a nebula gain enough mass to become a star out of the ashes to the prior star?