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Ep. 28, Page 23
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Comic 2073 - Ep. 28, Page 23

4th Feb 2016, 12:53 AM in Episode 28 :: Save My Place | Load My Place
Average Rating: 5 (1 votes)

Author Notes:

smbhax 4th Feb 2016, 12:53 AM edit delete
Luxembourg to support space mining (BBC): Luxembourg's government wants to take the lead in getting a European asteroid mining operation underway, after several American commercial ventures were announced last year. The Luxembourg government will be looking to fund companies and R & D into the appropriate technologies; the article points out that Luxembourg isn't new when it comes to space: they host SES, "the world's largest commercial satellite telecommunications company." There was also this interesting discussion of considerations of international law in space mining: "Last year, their activities [of the hopeful American commercial space mining companies] were bolstered by US legislation that sought to cement the rights of any American operations that started to exploit asteroids. Some commentators at the time suggested this legislation might contravene the UN's Outer Space Treaty, signed in 1967. But Luxembourg's economic minister, Etienne Schneider, is relaxed about the move. 'These rules prohibit the appropriation of space and celestial bodies but they do not exclude the appropriation of materials which can be found there,' he said. 'Roughly, the situation is equivalent to the rights of a trawler in international waters. Fishermen own the fish they catch but they do not own the ocean.'"

Black hole's twin jets shine bright, somehow (BBC): The active supermassive black hole at the center of galaxy Pictor A, 500 million light years away, is firing a jet of material moving at near light speed from both of its poles; the jet firing somewhat in our direction is "long enough to cross the Milky Way three times" (that would be 300,000 light years, I guess); the one firing in the opposite direction is moving so quickly away from us that it was very dim and hard to detect: "'It's like the Doppler effect only more so,' said Prof Hardcastle. 'In special relativity it actually effects the amplitude as well as the frequency of the emission.'" The jets are blowing huge hot bubbles in the thin intergalactic medium around them, and there's also a "hotspot" visible at the end of the nearer jet, where "the material first piles up in collision with that medium." But what really puzzles the scientists is why the jets themselves are visible (radiating X-rays): "the light we can see shining from the twin jets is apparently produced by electrons spinning around in very small circles. Just like what happens when electrons are piped around in much bigger circles in a synchrotron, here on Earth, that motion produces radiation in the form of bright X-rays. But a mystery remains, because the electrons must be re-accelerated along the length of the jet; the mighty shove delivered back at the black hole is not enough. 'Everywhere you see light, you've got some sort of process that's taking energy out of the jet and dumping it into those very high-energy electrons,' Prof Hardcastle said. 'We don't know what that is. But we can study the process in Pictor A much better than anywhere else.'"


moizmad 4th Feb 2016, 12:04 PM edit delete reply
I can only hope she knows what she's doing.
smbhax 5th Feb 2016, 1:56 AM edit delete reply
Or that she's good at faking it!