Our sun has been more active lately as it enters a new phase in its 11-year cycle, which is one reason we've seen a bunch of enormous coronal mass ejections and solar explosions in the past few months. But it's actually a pretty weak solar maximum, as solar maximums go, so heliophysicists believe the sun is entering a prolonged hibernation unseen since the 17th century. This has some major implications for climate changes — on Earth and in the heavens, according to one new study.
A chilled-out sun would spew fewer particles into space, meaning the sun's protective moat around the solar system would be less powerful. Galactic cosmic rays could have an easier time getting through, which means they could pose an increased radiation risk to astronauts and air passengers. Under these space weather conditions, a crewed asteroid or Mars mission would be far more dangerous, if not impossible.
This makes sense, given the sun's role in shielding Earth from invading galactic particles. Charged particles from the sun encase the entire solar system in a protective sheath called the heliosphere. Scientists believe frothy bubbles of charged particles create a moat at the border between the sun's sphere of influence and that of interstellar space; cosmic rays from other stars have a hard time getting across. But when the sun is less active, this moat, called the heliosheath, is weaker.
To test whether this is really happening, you would need to study galactic cosmic ray penetration over the centuries. Michael Lockwood and colleagues at the University of Reading in the United Kingdom looked at a 9,300-year record from ice core samples from the north and south poles.
Galactic cosmic rays and solar energetic particles tend to channel at the poles, and Lockwood et. al looked for different chemicals that serve as a proxy for cosmic ray and SEP abundance. They found in times of low solar activity, more galactic cosmic rays reach the Earth, and there were fewer SEP events, according to ScienceNow. But in an odd twist, they also noted that the SEP events were more intense. This was especially true during transition times — just like the one we're thought to be in right now. So just as the sun is letting more particles cross its moat, it, too, is spewing out more harmful stuff.
The study was published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.
Solar physicists say this could expose astronauts to unsafe levels of radiation, especially astronauts leaving the protective influence of Earth's own magnetic field. Lockwood believes radiation exposure could increase two-fold during this solar hibernation, according to ScienceNow. And that hibernation could last between 40 and 200 years, so a Mars mission might be even further out than we all hoped.
Perhaps new designs that could shield astronauts from radiation — like the slush tanks onboard Nautilus — could be a solution.
Damn Space, you scary!
I knew someone else out there was aware of the beauty in that design (Nautilus-X).
So instead of an increase in solar intensity, we are seing a decrease that will weaken solar effectiveness. I guess this negates the coming predictions of Mayan apocolyptic 2012 events.
we will just invent/make some better protection then...
(not that we have any other choices ^^"")
bored? lets go mine the stars... ^^
There is the Patriarch Point of view of society and then there is the Matriarch Point of view of society. I like to see life more towards a Matriarch point of view and see time as cycles. The Mayan calendar as much as it may end for some, I see it as one cycle and a new beginning to another cycle. I am optimistic towards the future and a new and promising cycle of change is coming our way.
I also see it less likely that earth would be disrupted by a giant mystery planet showing up from a 26000 to 36000 year wide cycle. NASA and other world observatory would of seen it and mention it by now of such a large object in the stars.
If anything we may get visited by space aliens from the constellation Orion.
Woah! Who said a planet was coming! I just thought the world was going to end! Could we be talking about the "giant aaliens?" lol j/k
2012 is only significant in that fashion. The new solar cycle is actually suppose to start with increased intensity from 2013 to 2018. For this, this news seems to contradict the established solar cycle that occur over fixed time periods. That is in case they are implying the next increase of solar active to occur between 2013 and 2018 will be significantly less than in the past or predicted. That would make some sense.
so is it too bad?
i would realy like to see a manned mission by 30s
or those are just some vague predictions?
bored? lets go mine the stars... ^^
I thought there were astronaut suits that can block radiation from entering and causing the astronaut to get radiation posioning.
Even if the galatic cosmic rays are entering the galaxy, should that really delay an ambitious space crew from exploring Mars and beyond? I think not.
It seems that fear is becomming too much of a friend to astrophysicists and even the writer of this article.
There are quick ways to develop tools needed to protect those involved in space flight. The problem here is the expected cost by the ones creating those items.
"This makes sense, given the sun’s role in shielding Earth from INVADING GALACTIC PARTICLES. Charged PARTICLES FROM THE SUN encase the entire solar system in a protective sheath called the heliosphere."
Would have helped if you briefly explained the difference between the good sun particles and evil outsider particles.
Also, the sheath metaphor makes more sense than "the moat," because a moat sounds 2-D, whereas the helioSPHERE implies we have 3-D protection.
Us Humans need some type of material from Star Trek that we can build our starships out of that will block radiation...we also need a magnetic field/force field on our ships...someone please invent this soon. ;p
well UK have already those "power shields" to protect their tanks...
i guess we still have to wait a little bit longer for a better radiation protection
bored? lets go mine the stars... ^^
I made a mistake and thought your reference to Nautilus-X was a reference to often sighted planet X. I do not really believe in planet X for all the myth that is said about it. If another planet was out there that was as big as the earth or as others say much larger, I feel our scientist would of notice it by now. Nautilus-X is “Non-Atmospheric Universal Transport Intended for Lengthy United States eXploration,” this craft could be built in orbit and ready for space missions by 2020.
And I do not believe in the notions of the world coming to an in December 21, 2012 either. I just see it as a end date to a cycle of time. No dooms day scenario in my mind. It like December 31st and suddenly we have Jan 1st, Tada NEW YEAR!
This article is speaking about destabilization of our frothy bubbles heliosheath. Michael Lockwood and colleagues at the University of Reading in the United Kingdom noted in an odd twist, that the SEP events were more intense. As just as the sun is letting more particles cross its moat, it, too, is spewing out more harmful stuff. Lockwood believes radiation exposure could increase two-fold during this solar hibernation and that hibernation could last between 40 and 200 years.
With the destabilization of the froth bubbles heliosheath, we need to come up with better radiation proof space craft so our astronauts do not get radiation spewed upon them, seeming that all this radiation will be coming across the moat for the next 40 to 200 years!
Oki doke, got it! ;)
The prophesy say cme will turn on a poison. A third will die. most of the survivors will die of war
I vote we blow up the sun. It causes us nothing but trouble, such as global warming and em disturbances!
Please correct me if I am wrong. But they have found and confirmed planet x a good while ago!!! It is now called Eris.
To all you wise and intelligent people out there,there has been and was plenty of research and funding and blue print's and prototype propulsion system's built in 50s-60s. those are rocket,nuclear,thermal nuclear,ion drive's,proton rocket,electric drive propulsion,attemp's and possibly and i quote highly possible antigravity propulsion's from third rike in world war 2.Come on you got too be kidding not me but 99% of people around you. THEY HAD THE FUNDING THE BLUE PRINT'S THE MONEY TAX PAYER MONEY AND THEY BUILT THE PROPULSION SYSTEM'S IN THE 1950S AND 60S.There about 33 spaceship design draft plans from Russia,us,Europe and other European country's.The point is if i had blue print's for a 2011 ford mustang and all it's tech and funding you must be blind not to think i'll build it,and not to brilliant to think that it will not be driven truth of the matter is they were built and were flown and was not reported to the people it's called black project's.So from 50s-60s the only thing we have is rocket's bull,we have new computer's every six month's new car's rolled out every year!! Do you get it the only thing you think we have is the space shuttle some old ass f-16s,f18 ect. IT'S BECAUSE WE BEEN THERE ALREADY THE HUMAN RACE HAS NOT STOPED AT 24,000-35,OOO MPH OF A ROCKET YOUR KIDDING NOT ME FIRMLY BELEIVE WE HAVE TO HAVE SECRETLY ALREADY HIT 100,000 MPH OR DAMN NEAR IT!!!!!!!!
Eris was discovered in January 2005 by a Palomar Observatory-based team led by Mike Brown, and its identity was verified later that year.
Eris, formal designation 136199 Eris, is the largest known dwarf planet in the Solar System and the ninth-most-massive body known to orbit the Sun directly. It is estimated to be approximately 2300–2400 km in diameter, and 27% more massive than Pluto or about 0.27% of the Earth's mass.
It was not declared to be the mythical planet X planet.
Human space travel is silly without Advanced modifications to our bodies. Robotic space travel and exploration makes the most sense and would be cheaper. Humans are stuck on this rock at our current level of modification.
We already know how to shield from radiation - radiation is shielded when it hits the nucleus of an atom.
Unfortunately, the nuc is a small percentage of the volumn of an atom, so the thicker it is the better it shields.
Also, the larger the nuc and the greater the density, the thinner the shield can be.
Thus, lead is a better shield than carbon (bigger nuc). Liquid is a better shield than air (density). A four foot layer is better than a three (thickness - # of interviening atoms).
So, if you were building a ship with 8' thick lead walls, radiation would not be an issue. The cost of getting that much lead into space, however, would be extream. Also, increased mass = increased fuel cost for movement in space as well.
My imagination just wonders. What if we capture a good quality solid iron asteroid? Convert this asteroid into space station and later add a guidance propulsion system. The humans would live in the center of the asteroid. Yes, our space station maybe ugly, but I like to call it stealthy as we sneak up on our alien friends.
I agree with you.
I was joking with the 2012'isms.
So I guess this increased solar activity in effect will destabilize the heliosphere. That makes a decent deal of sense.
I still say it doesn't change anything because solar radiation is deadly to us just like cosmic radiation. Cosmic radiation is just the compilation of radioactive particles that escape the heliospheres of other stars and the extreme jets spewed by pulsars and black holes (which I would assume has a magnitude of lethality greater than the radioactivity of a common star).
You gotta admit. That Nautilus-X concept sounds like the direction all manned spaceflight to distant destinations beyond orbit should take. A platform for continued space operation. If they'd build more than one we could create an infrastructure which could be used to effectively establish our presence beyond this earth within most of our lifetimes.
Ionic propulsion and electric propulsion are the same thing. Ionic is a type of electric.
While many concepts have existed for several years, all of them have not had the chance to go beyond the blueprint, technical, or executive proposal.
Europe is a continent not a country.
No human has gone any faster than Mach 29 in orbit on the Space Shuttle (and that's ground speed which equals something far slower in airspeed -- so to speak). The fastest people fly into space on a space shuttle is 18,000 mph (max Q) for LEO insertion. Anything faster wouldn't be human rated as the acceleration would kill a human.
Although new cars come out every year, no real revolutionary technological changes have been made in vehicle propulsion other than most non sport cars have the ability to reach sport car like speeds. Real revolutionary advancement worthy of recognition would be a car that could fly without the need for wings or rotor blades (i.e. some commercial anti-gravity device causing them to fly) or a vehicle engine that does not operate on the same parameters as a reciprocating engine. Even though an electric car doesn't use gasoline, its engine works the exact same way.
CIA Skunk Works in conjunction with Lockheed Martin produced the Blackbird, Nighthawk, and Spirit between the 1950s and 1980s. Black projects these days tend to take on the roles of large scale cyber-networks and robotic military hardware. For this mankind has slowed down significantly sense the Space Shuttle.
The fastest umanned spacecraft made were Helios A and B (157,078mph). The fastest umanned spacecraft of the highest escape velocity from the launch pad was New Horizons (38,373mph after the last engine fired). This is no secret, you can look it up on Wikipedia.
Well.. the other 2012 theory was that the ejecta from the super massive at our galaxic center (aka the "death ray") will be swiping past us in 2012, and it seems that we'll be right in it's path. And if the heliosheath/shield is weakened during this time.... Well, I guess it could do some damage.
The planet X thing, whereas it makes for great scifi, we all know that was pretty much bogus. The only thing that I have wondered is, what if we are in a dual orbit with another planet and that planet is always 180 degrees from us in our orbit, wouldn't it hide behind the sun from our point of view at all times? And lets for conspiracy sake, say it has life, do you think whatever military agency found it would actually tell us? I don't.
In all reality, we are going to wake up on 12/21/2012 do our normal grind, laugh a bit, then go to sleep and wake up 12/22/2012 much like we did for Y2K.
Playing Devil's Advocate since 1978
"The only constant in the universe is change"
-Heraclitus of Ephesus 535 BC - 475 BC
@vt007 the “shields that European and Israeli tanks have are not really “force fields” in the truest sense. The tanks are equipped with sensors that detect anything moving towards the tanks at more than 100mph (projectiles) Once projectiles are detected, then a high power laser is beamed at the RPG, detonating it in mid air. However real force fields are being developed right now using electromagnetism.
They say planet X is only visible from the South Pole. That’s why the Vatican, NASA have telescopes down there. If planet X was real, there is no way the government would tell the population. They would not want to induce panic because it would make their survival that much harder.
I don’t think anything major is going to happen on Dec.21st 2012. But I plan on booking the day off…LOL
I did a search on the internet to see the speed of earth.
Using the The "Doppler shift" and looking at something far away in the COSMOS, it is estimated the earth and we on it are moving 600 km per second works out to 2,160,000 km/hr (1,342,000 mi/hr)!
Yes - over 2 million km/hr! (but this is still only about 0.2% of the speed of light).
Space Ship Earth is crusing through the COSMOS!
@mp one thing great about humans is that at all times in our individual lives, or as a civilization we think we know-it-all. The truth is we know very little. What makes you think that if there was a second binary star that we would have discovered it? Given that scientific discoveries are happening daily, maybe it’s just a matter of time. We just started looking for it in the 90’s.
Check this out….this perfectly explains scientifically, why we could be in a binary star system. The 4 minute mark shows the orbit of our sun and it’s little sister brown dwarf
Aldrons Last Hope,
Sure there could be another gigantic planet way out there waiting to be discovered, but I do not believe it going to collide with us December 21, 2012 and it will be " OH LOOK SURPRISE, THERE IT IS and WE ALL GONNA DIE, ARG! " kind of deal.
I believe if a planet killer was coming our way this soon, we on earth would be aware of it.
None of the spacesuits in service today significantly shield astronauts from gamma rays. That said, I don't think it will make too much difference (at most, a few years) for manned Mars missions to take place. Even in the years of greatest exposure, the amount of cosmic rays can be mitigated by design and trajectory adjustments. Also,though the sun will be quieter, it won't go out altogether.
@mp...at least you’re open minded about it. Just remember that over 60% of the stars observed in the Milky Way are in a binary system, which means that chances are we are in a binary system.
Our sister star could be a brown dwarf, which explains why it’s so hard to detect. The link provided outlines a wealth of evidence that we may be in a binary system. I think this model will be adopted in the future because it explains away all the anomalies in our solar system. The Space between Jupiter and mars, the asteroid belt, irregular orbits of objects in the Kuiper belt, the procession of the equinox, Earth’s “wobble” that has yet to be observed but is taken as fact, the formation of our moon etc etc.
Now it may not be coming to 2012. But if that sister star ever makes its way close to our solar system and it has planets or moons orbiting it and they come into our solar system….expect havoc.
Aldrons Last Hope, fyi, I believe I was the first to say you are no common sheep. I like when you think out of the box. ;)
What if there is massive dust cloud in space, bigger in size than the earth and has a hugh orbit that cycles between us and the sun say ever 2600 to 3600 years or just a long cycle of time. When it does come close to the earth, it passes between the earth and the sun, passing slowly, the earth goes into a deep dark ice age.
Nobody would see it coming, woa.
@mp thanks....yes that's possible. We are in a 280 million year galactic orbit, we are in space that no human in history has witnessed. I wouldn't be surprised if all the mass extinctions that happened on earth were a result of cosmic rays, nebulous clouds blocking the sun, or some other phenomenon that hasn't been thought of yet.
DID YOU SEE THE PICTURE OF THE SUN?!
IT SURE LOOKS PISSED!
Its goanna be hot tamales tomorrow!
Oh my! ;)