Virginia Fireball Now Said to Be Meteor, Not Rocket
A loud boom rattled Hampton Roads and the Eastern Shore but the source is a mystery.
Media outlets report that the mystery boom occurred Tuesday night. It was reported in Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Chesapeake and Suffolk.
Some residents reported that the disturbance shook their homes.
The U.S. Geological Survey’s reports show no seismic activity at the time.
A spokeswoman at Oceana Naval Air Station says a sonic boom from the base wouldn’t be heard as far away as Suffolk.
A NASA spokesman says there wasn’t any rocket activity at the Wallops Island facility that could cause such a noise.
National Weather Service meteorologist Mike Rusnak says there wasn’t any severe weather at the time. Continue reading at WashPost
A brilliant fireball in the Virginia sky on Sunday was likely a natural meteor event and not the remnants of a Russian rocket, scientists now say, a reversal from yesterday’s initial analysis.
On Monday, Geoff Chester of the U.S. Naval Observatory told SPACE.com that the loud boom and flash of light seen in the skies over Norfolk and Virginia Beach was likely the second stage of the Soyuz rocket that launched Expedition 19 to the International Space Station last Thursday.
However, U.S. Strategic Command has since reported that the rocket re-entered Earth’s atmosphere near Taiwan, on the other side of the world, several hours after the reports of the fireball. So both its timing and entry location rule out the rocket as the explanation for the fireball.
“Well, we’re all entitled to a ‘mulligan’ now and then, right,” Chester wrote SPACE.com in an email, adding that he deferred Strategic Command. (A mulligan is a do-over in golf.)
“However, it is still a remarkable coincidence that a random rock would fall out of the sky along a path that is very similar to the ground-track of a decaying rocket body,” Chester added. “But this is what makes science fun!”
The evidence now suggests, he said, that the loud boom and streak of light was created by a natural meteor, or bolide, burning up as it plummeted through Earth’s atmosphere.
“I’m confident that this was a meteoric event,” Bill Cooke of NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama said this morning. Continue reading at space
Earth's Technology May be Too Primitive to Detect Advanced ET Life (Uh...I've been saying that for years)
dailygalaxy - Some of the world's leading astronomers -- including Great Britain's astronomer royal, Sir Martin Rees -- believe aliens, rather than using different radio waves or visible light to signal, may be using an entirely different communication medium such as ghostly neutrinos or with gravitational waves (ripples in the fabric of space-time) or using communication mechanisms we cannot begin to fathom.
“The fact that we have not yet found the slightest evidence for life -- much less intelligence -- beyond this Earth," said Arthur C. Clarke, "does not surprise or disappoint me in the least. Our technology must still be laughably primitive, we may be like jungle savages listening for the throbbing of tom-toms while the ether around them carries more words per second than they could utter in a lifetime."
Lord Rees, a leading cosmologist and astrophysicist who is the president of Britain’s Royal Society and astronomer to the Queen of England believes the existence of extraterrestrial life may be beyond human understanding.
“They could be staring us in the face and we just don’t recognize them. The problem is that we’re looking for something very much like us, assuming that they at least have something like the same mathematics and technology."
“I suspect there could be life and intelligence out there in forms we can’t conceive. Just as a chimpanzee can’t understand quantum theory, it could be there as aspects of reality that are beyond the capacity of our brains.”
Frank Drake, the founder of SETI and Drake's Equation, believes that satellite TV and the “digital revolution” is making humanity invisible to aliens by cutting the transmission of TV and radio signals into space. The earth is currently surrounded by a 50 light year-wide “shell” of radiation from analogue TV, radio and radar transmissions. According to Drake, digital TV signals would look like white noise to a race of observing aliens.
Although the signals have spread far enough to reach many nearby star systems, they are rapidly vanishing in the wake of digital technology, said Drake. In the 1960s, Drake spearheaded the conversion of the Arecibo Observatory to a radio astronomy center. As a researcher, Drake was involved in the early work on pulsars. Drake also designed the Pioneer plaque with Carl Sagan in 1972, the first physical message sent into space. The plaque was designed to be understandable by extraterrestrials should they encounter it.
Milan Cirkovic of the Astronomical Observatory in Belgrade, points out that the median age of terrestrial planets in the Milky Way is about 1.8 gigayears (one billion years) greater than the age of the Earth and the Solar System, which means that the median age of technological civilizations should be greater than the age of human civilization by the same amount. The vastness of this interval indicates that one or more processes must suppress observability of extraterrestrial communities.
Since at this point, there is no direct and/or widely apparent evidence that extraterrestrial life exists, it likely means one of the following:
We are (A) the first intelligent beings ever to become capable of making our presence known, and leaving our planet. At this point, there are no other life forms out there as advanced as us. Or perhaps extraterrestrial life does exists, but for some reason extraterrestrial life is so very rare and so very far away we’ll never make contact anyway -- making extraterrestrial life nonexistent in a practical sense at least.
Or is it (B) that many advanced civilizations have existed before us, but without exception, they have for some unknown reason, existed and/or expanded in such a way that they are completely undetectable by our instruments.
Or is it (C) There have been others, but they have all run into some sort of “cosmic roadblock” that eventually destroys them, or at least prevents their expansion beyond a small area.
Since Earth’s placement in space and time appears to be unremarkably random, proposition “A” seems fairly unlikely. Assuming humans evolved like other forms of life into our present state due to natural selection, then there's really nothing all that mystical, special or remarkable about our development as a species either. Due to the sheer numbers, there are almost certainly other planets capable of supporting at least some form of life. If that is so, then for Earthlings to be the very first species ever to make a noticeable mark on the Universe, from a statistical perspective, is incredibly unlikely.
For proposition “B” to be correct would defy all logic. If potentially thousands, or even millions of advanced extraterrestrial civilizations exist in the known Universe, then why would all of them, without exception, choose to expand or exist in such a way that they are completely undetectable? It’s conceivable that some might, or perhaps even the majority, but for all of them to be completely undetectable civilizations does not seem likely either.
Proposition C in some ways, appears to be more likely than A or B. If “survival of the fittest” follows similar pathways on other worlds, then our own “civilized” nature could be somewhat typical of extraterrestrial civilizations that have, or do, exist. Somehow, we all get to the point where we end up killing ourselves in a natural course of technological development and thereby self-inflict our own “cosmic roadblock”.
Weird bird carcass found in Iran
The dead body of a strange dinosaur-like bird has been reportedly found near the city of Meshginshahr in the northwestern Iranian province of Ardebil.
The locals found the feathered bipedal creature, which seemed to have died a few days ago, near a remote village of Meshginshahr, IRNA reported on Sunday.
A team of officials of Iran's Environment Protection Organization (EPO) were dispatched to the region to investigate whether the reports were true.
One of the villagers has reportedly hidden the carcass and the EPO team is trying to find it. The team has managed to obtain a photo of the creature taken by one of the locals.
The team has also found evidence that confirmed the locals' claims the bird lived in a cave near the village.
The creature has a reptilian skull with long canine teeth and large molars. It has small wing bones like those of flightless birds.
The avifauna of Iran includes a total of 527 species, none of which are similar to the found creature; however, the discovery needs ornithologists to verify the claims.
Scientists believe that fossil evidence demonstrates birds and dinosaurs shared many features such as hollow bones, gastrolith in the digestive system, nest-building and brooding behaviors.
The discovery of fossilized Tyrannosaurus rex soft tissue also suggests that the 68-million-year-old dinosaur and birds are closely related to each other. - presstv
Mountain Lion Sighting Confirmed in Oregon County, Missouri
The Missouri Department of Conservation has confirmed a mountain lion sighting earlier this month.
MDC says a tuft of hair was left on a barbwire fence along Highway M on March 9. It was collected and tested following a report from a neighbor who saw the animal run across the road and stumble while trying to jump the fence.
Those DNA tests on the cotton ball-sized tuft of hair confirm the sighting of a full-grown mountain lion, "Puma concolor."
The department says the University's laboratory does not have adequate reference material to evaluate the cat's possible relationship to mountain lions from different geographic areas.
"We want to find out as much as possible about where the animal might have come from," says MDC Resource Scientist Jeff Beringer, in a statement, "so we will send the remaining hair sample to a genetics lab in Montana to determine the cat's likely origin."
Beringer says testing could take several weeks to months.
This is the sixth verified mountain lion sighting in Missouri since late November and the 16th in modern time.
MDC says in cases where carcasses have been available for examination, most have been young males. Young male mountain lions go in search of new territories when they mature.
Beringer said MDC has no evidence to suggest that a breeding population of mountain lions exists in Missouri.
Mountain lions, also called cougars, panthers and pumas, were present in Missouri before pioneer settlement. The last documented Missouri mountain lion was killed in the Bootheel in 1927. The closest populations of mountain lions to Missouri are in South Dakota and a small population in northwest Nebraska.
Beringer said that MDC has never stocked or released mountain lions in Missouri and has no plans to do so. - ozarksfirst