Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Space-time drama

Drama in the universe. A star orbits too close to a black hole. The gravity within a black hole is so powerful even light cannot escape, and this gravity destabilizes the star’s own gravity. The force, the pull, and the star is ripped apart by the power of the black hole. Sends out strong ultraviolet flares as it disintegrates. This news from NASA scientists, who have been observing this scenario for about two years. What happens to the star's energy? Does it accumulate within the black hole, add to its gravity? Or does its energy spray across the universe as it’s deconstructing? Brings to mind episodes of Star Trek where some of the ships used worm holes to zip to other parts of the universe.

But what if they got too close to a black hole?

Scotty: "Captain, her engines are goin’! I don’t know how long before she’s gonna blow!"
Jim: "Set ship to overdrive and accelerate immediately—around the edge of the black hole. Follow the edge; the counter force will throw us back out again, like a boomerang. Or ‘like a Rhinestone Cowboy…’"
Spock: "It is not logical to sing at this time."
Scotty: "I kinna hold her any more!"
Jim: "Lucy in the sky with diamonds, Lucy in the sky with diamonds…"
Spock: "Captain, I believe your singing is causing the ship to disintegrate. The vibrations from your voice, coupled with the pressure of the gravitational pull of the black hole. I’m sorry to have to do this, Captain, but I have no choice."
Jim: "I’m not the man you think I am at all, oh no, I’m a rocket man, rock—arggggggg.

In other celestial news, NASA has just released preliminary plans to set up a permanent human settlement on the moon by 2024. This is the first part of a plan to send (hu)manned expeditions to Mars and beyond.

According to some theories of physics, people who travel in space do not age as much as people who stay on Earth (although only by a few seconds).

I can see the ads now: Look younger, feel younger! Spend your next vacation on Mars! Lavish your body at the Saleté Rouge Spa and reclaim that youthful glow, then in the evening, enjoy dining under the stars at Chef Xenon’s Meteor Dome. Reserve your space today!

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