Tag Archives: astronomy

In search of a new life: The Mars planet

Life has been existing over for 3.5 billion years ago. There were significant events in the past, like the extinction of dinosaurs about 66 million years ago. We also know about the start of agriculture, human-made tools used for several purposes. Now in the 21st century, we’ve accomplished a lot of achievements. Still, yes, we are slowly destroying the planet Earth. The nature around us earlier was so satisfying maybe a decade or before that. Suddenly, humanity started constructing buildings, complexes, resorts, artificial reservoirs, etc. This list never ends. They are even cutting down the trees to get more residential areas leading to deforestation. After all, this will all lead to a concrete jungle in the future, there will be no oxygen for survival, the animals will start disappearing, and soon everything will come to an end. This sequence of incidents can be a nightmare for someone, but this can turn into a reality. It’s in our hands to save the planet.

A dinosaur statue.
A dinosaur statue.

On the other side, they’re positive things going around the globe. Scientists and researchers have continuously been looking for existence in life in the other planets. Several space programs have been successfully executed and are still in progress. We know our solar system consisting of eight planets, but we’ve been more interested in the planet Mars. The first mission on Mars on 14th July 1965, Mariner 4, followed by Mariner 9, entered into the orbit. Though the first landing was by Mars 2 but crashed due to a malfunction which later on 2nd December 1971, Mars 3 became the first spacecraft to land on the Mars surface, that too interrupted after 14.5 seconds after its signal transmission failed.

A Mars rover.
An animated Mars rover.

Now in search of water on Mars, there are several types of research claiming that it is in the form of ice caps and many more theories. Still, of these findings, scientists, namely John G. MacDonald, Karien Rodriguez, and Stephen Quirk, developed something unique by which plants can be grown. You heard it right, a polymer through which it can deliver oxygen for the germinating sprout. They claim that regolith has nutrients for plant growth, but not oxygen, the prior requirement of a sapling as 95% of the Martian atmosphere is carbon dioxide. They described two methods of extracting oxygen, either from the metal oxides pre-existing in the regolith and electrolysis, but both processes are time-consuming. The proposed idea is that when the polymer combines with sodium hydroxide and hydrogen peroxide, it becomes an oxygen infused foamed hydrogel. It has the potential to deliver controlled amounts of gaseous oxygen. The foamed matrix, along with regolith, can form the base or be directly coated around the seed to grow plants.

A plant is in a hand.
A person is holding a plant.

The most crucial mission among them was MOM, an interplanetary mission by ISRO, India called Mangalyaan, orbiting since 24th September 2014, becoming the 4th space agency to reach the planet Mars with the lowest cost. This mission has fascinated the kids in India, it got picturised in a movie called “Mission Mangal” in the Hindi language, premiered on 13th August 2019 in theaters. Imagination never ends, everything has a route, and hence it becomes a success, a part of the movie’s storyline. I hope you adhere the same in reality.

For more details about the research, you can visit the site mentioned below:

https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/10.1089/ast.2019.2056

Ring of Fire: Mystery of the dark sky

Solar eclipse captured by a professional photographer.
An image of a solar eclipse captured on a camera.

Nature has hundreds, thousands, and many more of underlying mysteries unsolved. It has left us astonished, including the researchers, scientists, and even us, while endorsing the creation of the beautiful environment around us. Let us decode the riddle all about the ring of fire. Ring of fire may confuse you with the area in the Pacific Ocean, but here it’s about the solar solstice.

This year, you will observe one of the rarest eclipses, the ring of fire. But what is the solar solstice, you might have come across this term while you’ve studied environmental science in your childhood. The word originated from the Old French solstice and from the Latin sōlstitium where sōl means the Sun and sistō refers to stand still. The solstice happens two times every year in June and December when the Sun arrives at its one of the unique positions in the sky as we can see from the North Pole or the South Pole. Solar Eclipse, on the other hand, refers to when the Moon is directly between the Sun and the planet Earth, which usually occurs twice in a year and can go up to 5 of them in a year occasionally.

The most significant thing is that how do you observe this spectacular event. During this occasion, wearing proper eye protection is a must, or else it can cause retinal burns. Even a slight revelation to this light can destroy cells in the retina: vision, one of the essential senses through which we can watch the world around us through the brain, you cannot risk to lose it. We can use a pinhole projector, which can be your next science-related DIY project, as one of the methods to observe it properly. There are other methods like telescope attached with solar filters, or you can even watch them online when the various astronomical organisations broadcast it around the world.

We always had a desire to look into the Sun directly in the sky and go blank for a while, unable to see things for the next few minutes. But this opportunity allows us to see the Sun in its most enthralling form. On June 21, 2020, the first solar eclipse in the year full of events like the recent pandemic, which affected everyone directly and indirectly. Now when Mother Earth has been recovering to its fullest, this will be one of the most awaited moments of the year to capture and create some positive memories. You can check the path of the eclipse on the official NASA site mentioned below.

https://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/SEgoogle/SEgoogle2001/SE2020Jun21Agoogle.html

Eclipses have occurred several times throughout the history of humanity. There are several myths which leads to a reason that some of us take it in a positive manner or vice-versa. In the end, it teaches us the fact that there is always a way to light after every darkness, no matter how deep or bad memories do you go through, there is still a way to recover from it. In the 21st century, where science and technology are advancing day by day, but watching out nature’s fantasies, is what still keeps us connected to the field of astronomy, history, and beliefs and can be a motivational factor for the growth of a positive character within you.