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The new kind of satellite that can change world for the better


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 A private space company from Scotland manufactures special satellites that can observe glacial change from space and can make a lof for scientists who fight against global warming. I guess this is the space project we need. It`s easier to preserve our planet than spend millions of dollars on Mars`colonization missions.

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On 12/22/2020 at 12:26 PM, Hotel26 said:

While I did not understand this phrase, I do think that "home is where your planet is...".  Care to explain in more detail?

Sorry, I did not explain it completely clear. This company has some projects that can help us somehow save Earth. Instead of colonization of other planets we can make some efforts and make really nessecary space projects. For instance, this project is aimed at observing glacial change from space. It can make the work for scientists easier and help to prevent our planet from global warming.

 

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On 12/22/2020 at 6:45 AM, bearnard1244 said:

...It can make the work for scientists easier...

I question whether climate is still a "science" problem. There's already a lot of data from satellites and ground observations. The challenge is in getting society to commit to the scientific experts' interpretation of the data. That makes it more of a communication, political, and economic issue, as opposed to pure science that needs more data.

(Moderators will probably move this thread, since it's about real-world space and not a KSP mod.)

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On 12/27/2020 at 1:25 AM, DeadJohn said:

I question whether climate is still a "science" problem. There's already a lot of data from satellites and ground observations. The challenge is in getting society to commit to the scientific experts' interpretation of the data. That makes it more of a communication, political, and economic issue, as opposed to pure science that needs more data.

(Moderators will probably move this thread, since it's about real-world space and not a KSP mod.)

You`ve made a good point and I agree with you. The challenge is in getting society to commit to the scientific experts' interpretation of the data and this is a much more difficult issue to solve. I just wanted to say that there are space missions that we really need and they really cost money that was invested in them. 

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On 12/28/2020 at 1:42 AM, bearnard1244 said:

You`ve made a good point and I agree with you. The challenge is in getting society to commit to the scientific experts' interpretation of the data and this is a much more difficult issue to solve. I just wanted to say that there are space missions that we really need and they really cost money that was invested in them. 

Galileo di Vincenzo Bonaiuti de' Galilei might have some words of caution to share in regards to panels of "experts in their field" being given positions of considerable power over decision making.

The other issue regarding "climate change" is a whole lot of questioning about scale.

Is part of what we're seeing caused by human activity? Yes. Irrefutably so on the micro scale, with some other macro-scale impacts from land use change being demonstrable.

As to how much any specific factor is contributing to the global impacts? That's open to a very wide range of interpretation.

The climate has been changing for about as long as the planet has existed. And the range of interpretation on "anthropogenic forcings" being involved (and part of that 97%+ number that gets thrown around) runs the gamut from "minor contributions" to "major contributions" to the claim that human activity is the only thing causing the climate to change.

The reality is likely to be somewhere between minor to major contributions being made by humans. Gathering all the real-time data in the world helps quantify what's being seen, but that's still a far cry from being able to properly identify what the data means, or make correct assessments about what is causing what is being observed.

The people claiming that it is only human caused, or conversely, claiming everything observed is completely natural in its causation are equally deluded.

But getting back to Galileo, people fixate on the trial being help by the Roman Catholic Church. What people "forget" when they point that out is that the Roman Catholic Church also had the most prominent and most educated people in "the sciences" for their time.  He didn't stand trial in front of a bunch of theology  majors that knew nothing  of science. He was tried before that era's version of an Academic Review Board(with much more power) at MIT, Stanford, Cal-Tech, Oxford, or insert name of other institutions of higher learning here.

Experts are great, they're generally reliable. Just so long as they haven't built their careers on the dogmatic application of science, be that dogma religious, political, or financial in nature.

Edited by TheDeamon
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On 12/22/2020 at 6:45 AM, bearnard1244 said:

This company has some projects that can help us somehow save Earth. Instead of colonization of other planets we can make some efforts and make really nessecary space projects.

The beauty is science doesn't have to be a zero sum game.  You can have those working on "saving earth" while at the same time looking to the stars.

Edited by goldenpsp
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17 hours ago, TheDeamon said:

The other issue regarding "climate change" is a whole lot of questioning about scale.

Is part of what we're seeing caused by human activity? Yes. Irrefutably so on the micro scale, with some other macro-scale impacts from land use change being demonstrable.

As to how much any specific factor is contributing to the global impacts? That's open to a very wide range of interpretation.

The climate has been changing for about as long as the planet has existed. And the range of interpretation on "anthropogenic forcings" being involved (and part of that 97%+ number that gets thrown around) runs the gamut from "minor contributions" to "major contributions" to the claim that human activity is the only thing causing the climate to change.

The reality is likely to be somewhere between minor to major contributions being made by humans. Gathering all the real-time data in the world helps quantify what's being seen, but that's still a far cry from being able to properly identify what the data means, or make correct assessments about what is causing what is being observed.

The people claiming that it is only human caused, or conversely, claiming everything observed is completely natural in its causation are equally deluded.

This part is mostly repurposed bovine waste. Climate Change (of the last years) is almost completly caused by humans, every expert agrees on this since decades. There are some people on youtube saying otherwise, but looking closely their numbers are flawed, their motivation questionable and their methods awfull. It often takes a lot of effort debunking those (because they are not playing on a level field), but the end result is always the same. 

BTW: At this point denying manmade climate change is a baseless (pruely political) conspiracy theory and thus propably banned according to the forum rules.

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On 12/22/2020 at 11:45 AM, bearnard1244 said:

really nessecary space projects

Exploration is necessary.
Playing the longer game (and assuming we don't broil ourselves first), colonising another planet is also necessary, if we are to avoid the inevitability of statistics in a universe that contains so many ways to obliterate us (such as the obvious big-speeding-rocks dilemma everyone so conveniently forgets about).

If you want something to cannibalise for more navel-gazing earth-observing satellites, I suggest the US military budget. In the meantime, I'm pretty sure we have enough data on climate change to move from "what's going on" to "let's do something about it" already... Actually I'm pretty sure we passed that point quite some time ago.

 

17 hours ago, TheDeamon said:

...the usual...

As for the "needs more quantification/nobody knows for sure/the climate is always changing/don't trust the establishment" conspiracy theorist stall-tactics, I refuse to engage. It's irrelevant. Climate change is a real problem in need of real solutions and more arguing over minutiae achieves nothing.

Edited by steve_v
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On 12/22/2020 at 6:45 PM, bearnard1244 said:

Instead of colonization of other planets we can make some efforts and make really nessecary space projects.

This is a time of abundance of Earth-observation data. Honestly the real question now is to properly understand them (by understand, I don't just mean to see what's causing it, but what would be the side effect of "acting" on it as well) and to actually act on them.

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The technologies necessary to let humans travel to and stay on Mars sustainably are exactly the same as those necessary to sustain the climate, well-being of humans, and biodiversity of Earth. Each benefits the other directly. Both will happen in tandem, and are part of the same overall goal. So we should never discount projects to send humans to Mars, or to the Moon, or to Ceres or Jupiter or Neptune as 'unnecessary' because they actually are critically important.

18 hours ago, TheDeamon said:

The climate has been changing for about as long as the planet has existed.

The last time Earth's temperature changed this fast was when a 10 kilometer asteroid slammed into the Gulf of Mexico and deposited a layer of space dust over the entire planet which can still be found, a few inches thick in the rock layer, 65 million years later. Changes of this magnitude cause ecological issues when they happen over hundreds of thousands of years, let alone decades. 

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50 minutes ago, cubinator said:

The last time Earth's temperature changed this fast was when a 10 kilometer asteroid slammed into the Gulf of Mexico and deposited a layer of space dust over the entire planet which can still be found, a few inches thick in the rock layer, 65 million years later. Changes of this magnitude cause ecological issues when they happen over hundreds of thousands of years, let alone decades. 

PV8UibS.jpg

 

Couldn't resist.

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7 hours ago, goldenpsp said:

The beauty is science doesn't have to be a zero sum game.  You can have those working on "saving earth" while at the same time looking to the stars.

I'm a big fan of solar powered heavy industry... In space. When you consider most of the ecological and environmental impacts we are having on the earth are linked to:
1)  Mining(much of which can be done in space, if we invested in the tech to do so; there are some exceptions involving organic materials, but they're more the exception than the rule)
2) Processing of said mined materials. (Space based electric furnaces, powered by space based solar sounds somewhat viable. Just need to work out the technical issues of either operating an electric furnace in micro-gravity or in a simulated gravity environment. We know how to "simulate" gravity in space through centripetal force, the challenge is getting the resources to build the thing) 
3) Further energy intensive industrial processes also undertaken in orbit, using orbital solar.
4) Deliver said finished product to end users both in orbit, and on the earth's surface. For surface delivery, it could take the form of "one way" capsules with guidance systems that are returned to orbit in due time, but the rest is recycled on earth. Depending on regulatory burdens, being able to deliver to within a couple hundred miles of final destination should be very cost effective.  Given most of our energy use is linked to the transportation of goods, limiting transport distances using "surface transport" (including airplanes) for only a couple hundred miles rather than thousands of miles would make a huge impact in every way possible.

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4 hours ago, cubinator said:

The last time Earth's temperature changed this fast was when a 10 kilometer asteroid slammed into the Gulf of Mexico and deposited a layer of space dust over the entire planet which can still be found, a few inches thick in the rock layer, 65 million years later. Changes of this magnitude cause ecological issues when they happen over hundreds of thousands of years, let alone decades. 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eemian

Makes a nice little vertical spike upwards on the paleo record, the other interglacials also do much the same. You also need to work a bit on the time-scale there. "when they happen over hundreds of thousands of years" is problematic to say the least, when it is rare for an interglacial to last much over 25,000 years. 

But if you want a closer look at the last 120 thousand years(rather than the 20K from XKCD), here's somewhere to start:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Last_Glacial_Period

But this is mostly picking nits and you missing the forest for the trees, I agree humans are contributing to what is happening, I never denied that they are contributing. What I commented on was that how much that contribution may be, or what form it takes, is under dispute. They have all kinds of data, they even have correlations happening with much of that data, although where that data meets modeling has a more colorful track record(and usually biased towards warm).

Correlation can suggest causation, but just because concession stand sales at certain beaches seem to spike just before shark attacks occur on said beach doesn't mean the concessionaire is luring sharks to the area by throwing bloody meat into the coastal waters.

As the high quality data sets cover increasingly large periods of time, the confidence interval can grow, but in terms of climate, the modern instrumentation record is but the blink of an eye. To think we've  identified every variable and accounted for it properly is the height of arrogance, and it's asking for an orthodoxy to be built up around the dogmas of the first people to analyze said (insufficient) data and push agendas with it.

Scientific progress has a history of being more generational in nature than many people would like to acknowledge it to be. Both because of how long it takes to gather the data needed "to make the case" and because of how long it takes for people who built their careers on competing theories to retire. Powerful people don't like to acknowledge much of their life's work was premised on a mistake, the sciences are not immune. As Galileo  found out.

Or as a number of 20th Century geologists can attest to when it comes to such radical ideas as Continental Drift. The guys who initially studied it were viewed as either fakes or insane for the first decade plus of their work. Or we can get into the fights over things like the Missoula Floods, which had considerable resistance among Geologists as it went directly against the idea of Gradualism.

We could also point to Einstein being on both sides of the problem in Physics as well, albeit in less pronounced ways. He spent over a decade fighting entrenched scientists who rejected his Theory of Relativity, and later in his life Einstein himself had a very lukewarm reception to the idea of Quantum Mechanics even as he helped lay the groundwork for the field. The list goes on and on and on.
 

The trope of the "insane scientist" that is spurned by his peers only to be proven right in the end exists for a reason, and it isn't an invention of denialists. Just beware that what's actually causing what we're seeing may not actually be what we believe it to be. Misattribution is also entirely possible, the root cause(human activity) for a fair bit of it is likely to be correct, but not exclusively through the vector that was initially identified.

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13 hours ago, cubinator said:

The last time Earth's temperature changed this fast was when a 10 kilometer asteroid slammed into the Gulf of Mexico and deposited a layer of space dust over the entire planet which can still be found, a few inches thick in the rock layer, 65 million years later. Changes of this magnitude cause ecological issues when they happen over hundreds of thousands of years, let alone decades. 

To be fair, we've found them all, and we're sure that the chance of another one hitting the earth for the next hundred years to be zero. Hope we'll keep track of it beyond that as well.

13 hours ago, cubinator said:

The technologies necessary to let humans travel to and stay on Mars sustainably are exactly the same as those necessary to sustain the climate, well-being of humans, and biodiversity of Earth.

Probably not quite on the travel part, but more correct on the staying there for long periods of time.

Problem is, if you live on Earth using Mars-climate-designed equipments, then the climate here might as well be the exact same as Mars. We'd just survive all the other life forms. What we need to really make sure the Earth survives as is (in the broad definition of "as-is", that is at least it's not just humans who remain here) is to look at the cycles that might be happening if things continue, and help adapt things to it - or accept that that's the new norm and we'll stop there.

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Now this started as an discussion of special satellites. However does not normal earth observation satellites do this? Synthetic aperture radar should also give height of ice. 
Pretty sure its services you can buy. 

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23 hours ago, YNM said:

To be fair, we've found them all, and we're sure that the chance of another one hitting the earth for the next hundred years to be zero. Hope we'll keep track of it beyond that as well.

Probably not quite on the travel part, but more correct on the staying there for long periods of time.

Problem is, if you live on Earth using Mars-climate-designed equipments, then the climate here might as well be the exact same as Mars. We'd just survive all the other life forms. What we need to really make sure the Earth survives as is (in the broad definition of "as-is", that is at least it's not just humans who remain here) is to look at the cycles that might be happening if things continue, and help adapt things to it - or accept that that's the new norm and we'll stop there.

We may know where all the 10 km diameter asteroids currently are... but we certainly don't know where all the 10 km diameter comet nuclei are. One of those can drop on us from the hinterlands of the solar system without much warning.

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45 minutes ago, Brotoro said:

We may know where all the 10 km diameter asteroids currently are... but we certainly don't know where all the 10 km diameter comet nuclei are.

I presume it'd take longer than 100 years to even reach in down here, so there's time. Short-period comets (like those that's only sent in from around Jupiter) might well be within the list of the 10 km size asteroid-objects that we've all found since they're real close. Long-period  comets with perihelion at 1 AU would be rather slow I think ? Plus such massive nucleus passing in so close towards the Sun would be really bright. And given that they're brought in for afar it'd have to be a really precise orbital trajectory.

Maybe discovering Planet 9 would help to reduce the uncertainty too, since we've been predicting it's orbit by perturbed objects, if you're worried they'd be brought in from so far away.

 

However, it doesn't eliminate the uncertainty for bodies the size of kilometers (could wipe out a whole hemisphere), bodies the size of hundreds of meters (could wipe out a few countries), bodies the size of tens of meters (could wipe out a whole countryside) and bodies down as far as a few meters (could wipe out one city through shockwave). Those are the ones we do need to worry about if you're talking the next 100 years - heck, it's the next second for the last category !

Edited by YNM
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Just now, YNM said:

I presume it'd take longer than 100 years to even reach in down here, so there's time. Short-period comets (like those that's only sent in from around Jupiter) might well be within the list of the 10 km size asteroid-objects that we've all found since they're real close. Long-period  comets with perihelion at 1 AU would be rather slow I think ? Plus such massive nucleus passing in so close towards the Sun would be really bright. And given that they're brought in for afar it'd have to be a really precise orbital trajectory.

Maybe discovering Planet 9 would help to reduce the uncertainty too, since we've been predicting it's orbit by perturbed objects, if you're worried they'd be brought in from so far away.

It would take a very long time to fall in from the Oort Cloud, yes, but we may not spot incoming comets until they get near the distance of Jupiter, at which point you may have less than two years before it hits us. The comet nucleus with our name on it may be crossing the orbit of Saturn right NOW, as yet undetected. It also could hit us on the way in, and never get close to the Sun. And, by definition, anything that hits us could be considered to be on a really precise trajectory... but that just means there is a long time between such things happening.

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30 minutes ago, Brotoro said:

And, by definition, anything that hits us could be considered to be on a really precise trajectory... but that just means there is a long time between such things happening.

The mean recurrence period for such objects that caused the K-Pg extinction is on the order of a hundred millions of years, so that's a background possibility of 1 out of one million within any 100 year period. Just happen to be zero right now because we have seen all of it, might change if we find something tomorrow or next year or the next decade. I'm not saying that it's impossible at all, but right now it is not possible.

And the real danger is the fact that something like Chelyabinsk right now is practically impossible to predict. That was only 5 m across, and that flattened out a whole city (well, small town, but by radius might well be the core of a city) by shockwaves alone. This goes up to something like the Barringer Crater impactor, that's on the tens of meters magnitude, that would flat out a whole countryside. The 100 m magnitude sizes are where it might be possible to spot it beforehand, but it's like... if we do have such object on track to kill us all, we barely could do anything about it. Can't even do it to object tens or hundreds of meters in size, so let alone the 10 km (10,000 m) impactors.

And no, the chances don't get better on another planet, if we want to say it simply out of the mere presence of danger. It is slightly better only because they're uninhabitable to start with so you have either very few people to protect, or you can tough out the inferno slightly (because of the few people to protect, and the need to shield against uninhabitable conditions). If we get Mars to become habitable like Earth and have the exact same order of magnitude of population, then it's like populating another sitting duck - one that already have two moons out of captured asteroids, I should say !

Hence why I still think the only proper space habitation/civilisation is the one that's entirely mobile, not tied to any planet.

EDIT : Found at least one pre-print that says impact rates on Mars are higher. Though I've seen ones that say that the size of impactor might not be in the same distribution as the Earth, sadly can't access it straight.

Edited by YNM
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On 1/4/2021 at 11:46 AM, cubinator said:

The technologies necessary to let humans travel to and stay on Mars sustainably are exactly the same as those necessary to sustain the climate, well-being of humans, and biodiversity of Earth. Each benefits the other directly. Both will happen in tandem, and are part of the same overall goal. So we should never discount projects to send humans to Mars, or to the Moon, or to Ceres or Jupiter or Neptune as 'unnecessary' because they actually are critically important.

The last time Earth's temperature changed this fast was when a 10 kilometer asteroid slammed into the Gulf of Mexico and deposited a layer of space dust over the entire planet which can still be found, a few inches thick in the rock layer, 65 million years later. Changes of this magnitude cause ecological issues when they happen over hundreds of thousands of years, let alone decades. 

Sort of?

We have real temperature data over the last few hundred years, and extrapolated data from tree-rings and ice-cores for a few thousand years before that, then we are down to mostly ice cores and glacial expansion debris. 

Before our current ice-age, we have only *very* rough estimates of large scale temperature swings over extended periods.

We have only a single full-complexity model, and we cannot go back and try different things to verify our theories.

It could well be that human-sourced pollution is actually slowing down 'natural' climate change because otherwise the Quaternary ice age would be ending and Alaska would be approaching tropical climates while the rest of the planet would be getting back up to Jurassic or Triassic temperatures.

Don't forget, we are currently in an ice-age where for half the year, much of our land-based carbon-capture/oxygen production goes dormant because it is trying to survive temperatures that would have killed it's ancestors five million years ago.

On top of that, there are a *lot* of politically motivated bills/policies/laws that claim to be fighting climate change, but have a tenuous connection at best, and rarely have the support of scientists who do not have their career/funding on the line.

 

Personally, I would be happy to be done with the Quarternary period where it feels like life is barely hanging on by it's fingernails compared to the much greater available energy budget that allowed megafauna like the dinosaurs to roam the earth.  Sure that means losing the ice caps and glaciers, but those are hardly productive places for life compared to what they were several million years ago when they were warmer.

Sure there would be plenty of societal upheaval if it happens quickly enough, but even that might be a good thing considering how entrenched some of the power-structures are across the world.  (it would certainly move attention away from 'first world problems' and more towards survival, stability and security)

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34 minutes ago, Terwin said:

Sure there would be plenty of societal upheaval if it happens quickly enough, but even that might be a good thing considering how entrenched some of the power-structures are across the world.  (it would certainly move attention away from 'first world problems' and more towards survival, stability and security)

Do you expect to personally live through that time? Because I do, and I am NOT looking forward to it.

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