Astronomy

Has star KIC 8462852's 3 year long Kepler-fading continued after the primary Kepler mission ended?

Has star KIC 8462852's 3 year long Kepler-fading continued after the primary Kepler mission ended?


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BACKGROUND

May 11, 2013 the Kepler space telescope ended its primary mission. Data captured until then showed that the now famous "Tabby's star" or "Boyajian's star" (KIC 8462852) had been fading throughout the Kepler mission by about 3% cumulatively. (This independently of other reports of brief very deep dimmings and restorations during the mission.)

QUESTION

Today when I post this question, about as much time has passed by since the primary Kepler mission ended, as that mission lasted. So this makes me wonder if other telescopes have observed, or should've been sensitive enough to have observed, a continuation of such a fading trend for that star? Another 3%.

DISCUSSION

If not, what could the explanation be for why this 3+ year fading trend was suddenly interrupted when the primary Kepler telescope mission was terminated? And how long would it take to determine from ground based observatories whether this particular dimming trend continues or not?

Fig. 5 from the paper by Montet and Simon 2016.


Well "if no known astrophysical model can explain it" then nobody told Wright & Sigurdsson (2016) who, cognisant of Montet & Simon's results, explore a number of astrophysical models. They conclude by saying that the most "plausible model" is that of small scale intervening material between us and the star that may be responsible for the short-term dips and the secular dimming. Lacki (2016) appears to agree.

Wright & Sigurdsson also consider and largely rule out or class as unlikely a number of other possibilities, including artificial structures.

The Gaia satellite has been observing this star (and a billion others) since December 2013, but so far the photometry time series has not been released. This should become available towards the end of next year and will probably exceed the accuracy of the Kepler data. In the meantime, it has been claimed by Hippke et al. (2016) that the star was relatively constant between 1934 and 1995 in contradiction to previous claims of a progressive dimming over the last century.


Tabby's Star

Tabby's Star (also known as Boyajian's Star and WTF Star, and designated KIC 8462852 in the Kepler Input Catalog) is an F-type main-sequence star in the constellation Cygnus approximately 1,470 light-years (450 pc) from Earth. Unusual light fluctuations of the star, including up to a 22% dimming in brightness, were discovered by citizen scientists as part of the Planet Hunters project. In September 2015, astronomers and citizen scientists associated with the project posted a preprint of an article describing the data and possible interpretations. The discovery was made from data collected by the Kepler space telescope, which observed changes in the brightness of distant stars to detect exoplanets.

Several hypotheses have been proposed to explain the star's large irregular changes in brightness as measured by its light curve, but none to date fully explain all aspects of the curve. One explanation is that an "uneven ring of dust" orbits Tabby's Star. [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11] In another explanation, the star's luminosity is modulated by changes in the efficiency of heat transport to its photosphere, so no external obscuration is required. [12] A third hypothesis, based on a lack of observed infrared light, posits a swarm of cold, dusty comet fragments in a highly eccentric orbit, [13] [14] [15] however, the notion that disturbed comets from such a cloud could exist in high enough numbers to obscure 22% of the star's observed luminosity has been doubted. [16] Another hypothesis is that a large number of small masses in "tight formation" are orbiting the star. [17] Furthermore, spectroscopic study of the system has found no evidence for coalescing material or hot close-in dust or circumstellar matter from an evaporating or exploding planet within a few astronomical units of the mature central star. [13] [18] It has also been hypothesized that the changes in brightness could be signs of activity associated with intelligent extraterrestrial life constructing a Dyson swarm however, further analysis based on data through the end of 2017 showed wavelength-dependent dimming consistent with dust but not an opaque object such as an alien megastructure, which would block all wavelengths of light equally. [17] [9] [10] [19]

Tabby's Star is not the only star that has large irregular dimmings, but all [ citation needed ] other such stars are young stellar objects called YSO dippers, which have different dimming patterns. An example of such an object is EPIC�. [20] [21]

New fluctuations ran from mid-May 2017 until July 2018, assuming their continuance in late-December 2017 to mid-February 2018 when obscured by the Sun. [10]

In September 2019, astronomers reported that the observed dimmings of Tabby's Star may have been produced by fragments resulting from the disruption of an orphaned exomoon. [22] [23] [24] An overall study of other similar stars has been presented. [25] [26] In January 2021, a distant stellar-mass companion was reported, making Tabby's Star a binary stellar system. [2] [27]


Tabby's Star

Tabby's Star (also known as Boyajian's Star and WTF Star, and designated KIC 8462852 in the Kepler Input Catalog) is an F-type main-sequence star in the constellation Cygnus approximately 1,470 light-years (450 pc) from Earth. Unusual light fluctuations of the star, including up to a 22% dimming in brightness, were discovered by citizen scientists as part of the Planet Hunters project. In September 2015, astronomers and citizen scientists associated with the project posted a preprint of an article describing the data and possible interpretations. The discovery was made from data collected by the Kepler space telescope, which observed changes in the brightness of distant stars to detect exoplanets.

Several hypotheses have been proposed to explain the star's large irregular changes in brightness as measured by its light curve, but none to date fully explain all aspects of the curve. One explanation is that an "uneven ring of dust" orbits Tabby's Star. [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11] In another explanation, the star's luminosity is modulated by changes in the efficiency of heat transport to its photosphere, so no external obscuration is required. [12] A third hypothesis, based on a lack of observed infrared light, posits a swarm of cold, dusty comet fragments in a highly eccentric orbit, [13] [14] [15] however, the notion that disturbed comets from such a cloud could exist in high enough numbers to obscure 22% of the star's observed luminosity has been doubted. [16] Another hypothesis is that a large number of small masses in "tight formation" are orbiting the star. [17] Furthermore, spectroscopic study of the system has found no evidence for coalescing material or hot close-in dust or circumstellar matter from an evaporating or exploding planet within a few astronomical units of the mature central star. [13] [18] It has also been hypothesized that the changes in brightness could be signs of activity associated with intelligent extraterrestrial life constructing a Dyson swarm however, further analysis based on data through the end of 2017 showed wavelength-dependent dimming consistent with dust but not an opaque object such as an alien megastructure, which would block all wavelengths of light equally. [17] [9] [10] [19]

Tabby's Star is not the only star that has large irregular dimmings, but all [ citation needed ] other such stars are young stellar objects called YSO dippers, which have different dimming patterns. An example of such an object is EPIC�. [20] [21]

New fluctuations ran from mid-May 2017 until July 2018, assuming their continuance in late-December 2017 to mid-February 2018 when obscured by the Sun. [10]

In September 2019, astronomers reported that the observed dimmings of Tabby's Star may have been produced by fragments resulting from the disruption of an orphaned exomoon. [22] [23] [24] An overall study of other similar stars has been presented. [25] [26] In January 2021, a distant stellar-mass companion was reported, making Tabby's Star a binary stellar system. [2] [27]


FDR and the future

Disabling security on Clinton email server laid out hacker welcome mat

http://www.foxnews.c…or-hackers.html
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#11033 Hillary Clinton Presidential Campaign: post #11033 nchighcountrywx Posted Yesterday, 11:57 PM

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WASHINGTON, D.C. — Republican California Rep. Darrell Issa said that there is enough evidence to indict Hillary Clinton for mishandling national security information on her private email server.

We know that Hillary Clinton broke the law with malice and forethought, for her own nefarious reasons including Clinton Cash, and the deals she and her husband were pocketing in hundreds of millions of dollars in foreign money. She wanted that to be kept behind closed doors. And she also wanted everything she did in an official capacity to be behind closed doors that were never available to this president even. She did that because she doesn’t know where the line is and she didn’t want to take the chance that her official side would expose her corrupt behavior in her personal life.
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#11034 Hillary Clinton Presidential Campaign: post #11034 jburns Posted Today, 12:05 AM
18,859 posts

nchighcountrywx, on 25 Jun 2016 – 11:57 PM, said:
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Republican California Rep. Darrell Issa said that there is enough evidence to indict Hillary Clinton for mishandling national security information on her private email server.

We know that Hillary Clinton broke the law with malice and forethought, for her own nefarious reasons including Clinton Cash, and the deals she and her husband were pocketing in hundreds of millions of dollars in foreign money. She wanted that to be kept behind closed doors. And she also wanted everything she did in an official capacity to be behind closed doors that were never available to this president even. She did that because she doesn’t know where the line is and she didn’t want to take the chance that her official side would expose her corrupt behavior in her personal life.

Issa. lol l’m sorry but he is as crazy as you are. Just richer.

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#11035 Hillary Clinton Presidential Campaign: post #11035 nchighcountrywx Posted Today, 12:23 AM

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jburns, on 26 Jun 2016 – 12:05 AM, said:
Issa. lol l’m sorry but he is as crazy as you are. Just richer.

Issa speaks the truth about Clinton’s actions.

It is corruption at the highest level.
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#11036 Hillary Clinton Presidential Campaign: post #11036 jburns Posted Today, 12:27 AM
18,859 posts

nchighcountrywx, on 26 Jun 2016 – 12:23 AM, said:
Issa speaks the truth about Clinton’s actions.

It is corruption at the highest level.

He’s as shady as your sources.

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#11037 Hillary Clinton Presidential Campaign: post #11037 NortheastPAWx Posted Today, 12:53 AM

Made the Penguins Great Again

nchighcountrywx, on 26 Jun 2016 – 12:23 AM, said:
Issa speaks the truth about Clinton’s actions.

It is corruption at the highest level.
Hillary is corrupt but you’re going to have to do better than Issa and Breitbart, sorry.

Are we really writing signatures or are they…writing us?
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#11038 Hillary Clinton Presidential Campaign: post #11038 PhineasC Posted Today, 08:25 AM
16,662 posts

Issa is just speculating like the rest of us. What he said is all true though. But proving malice and forethought is tough.
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#11039 Hillary Clinton Presidential Campaign: post #11039 pazzo83 Posted Today, 08:35 AM
18,632 posts

PhineasC, on 26 Jun 2016 – 08:25 AM, said:
Issa is just speculating like the rest of us. What he said is all true though. But proving malice and forethought is tough.

If it’s true where is your proof?
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#11040 Hillary Clinton Presidential Campaign: post #11040 Sampson Posted Today, 08:56 AM
2,363 posts

nchighcountrywx, on 25 Jun 2016 – 11:57 PM, said:
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Republican California Rep. Darrell Issa said that there is enough evidence to indict Hillary Clinton for mishandling national security information on her private email server.

We know that Hillary Clinton broke the law with malice and forethought, for her own nefarious reasons including Clinton Cash, and the deals she and her husband were pocketing in hundreds of millions of dollars in foreign money. She wanted that to be kept behind closed doors. And she also wanted everything she did in an official capacity to be behind closed doors that were never available to this president even. She did that because she doesn’t know where the line is and she didn’t want to take the chance that her official side would expose her corrupt behavior in her personal life.

Issa is such a tool. He’s been trynig to bring down Hillary for years. This is not a powerful quote to anyone that knows anything about him.

http://www.salon.com/2014/12/11/good_riddance_darrell_issa_a_wasteful_blowhards_humiliating_history/
There is already proof she had classified emails on her server, appointed someone with zero qualifications to a key nuclear safety board because donated, caused the entire State IT system to be less secure for some amount of time simply to satisfy her own desires for privacy/secrecy, rejected the idea of conducting her State business on a State email account. I can go on.

Fozz, on 25 Jun 2016 – 2:39 PM, said:
No effing way :lmao:
I’m a registered Democrat yes. But both parties suck.

Are we really writing signatures or are they…writing us?
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#11027 Hillary Clinton Presidential Campaign: post #11027 Powerball Posted Yesterday, 02:50 PM

Stebo, on 25 Jun 2016 – 2:47 PM, said:
also even in the case of Eisenhower being better he also inherited a much much better situation than Obama.

FDR inherited (as hard as it is to believe in modern context) a much much worse situation than Obama did, and yet majority of Americans consider him the country’s greatest president because of what he accomplished in spite of his circumstances.

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#11028 Hillary Clinton Presidential Campaign: post #11028 Stebo Posted Yesterday, 02:53 PM

Powerball, on 25 Jun 2016 – 2:50 PM, said:
And?

FDR inherited (as hard as it is to believe in modern context) a much much worse situation than Obama did, and yet majority of Americans consider him the country’s greatest president because of what he accomplished in spite of his circumstances.
He also had 3+ terms and led us out of WWII…
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#11029 Hillary Clinton Presidential Campaign: post #11029 WinterWxLuvr Posted Yesterday, 02:54 PM
16,734 posts

Fozz and trix, like bacon and eggs.
I’d pay more taxes for more snow.
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#11030 Hillary Clinton Presidential Campaign: post #11030 WinterWxLuvr Posted Yesterday, 02:55 PM
16,734 posts

Stebo, on 25 Jun 2016 – 2:53 PM, said:
He also had 3+ terms and led us out of WWII…

And was instrumental in creating many of the problems we have today.

If you like big government, FDR was your man.
I’d pay more taxes for more snow.
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#11031 Hillary Clinton Presidential Campaign: post #11031 Powerball Posted Yesterday, 02:57 PM

Stebo, on 25 Jun 2016 – 2:53 PM, said:
He also had 3+ terms and led us out of WWII…

The point was the amount of crap a leader inherits should not factor into how good or bad they are (as life isn’t fair), but instead how well they clean up that crap.

That’s just my opinion though.

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#11032 Hillary Clinton Presidential Campaign: post #11032 nchighcountrywx Posted Yesterday, 03:05 PM

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Disabling security on Clinton email server laid out hacker welcome mat

http://www.foxnews.c…or-hackers.html
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#11033 Hillary Clinton Presidential Campaign: post #11033 nchighcountrywx Posted Yesterday, 11:57 PM

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WASHINGTON, D.C. — Republican California Rep. Darrell Issa said that there is enough evidence to indict Hillary Clinton for mishandling national security information on her private email server.

We know that Hillary Clinton broke the law with malice and forethought, for her own nefarious reasons including Clinton Cash, and the deals she and her husband were pocketing in hundreds of millions of dollars in foreign money. She wanted that to be kept behind closed doors. And she also wanted everything she did in an official capacity to be behind closed doors that were never available to this president even. She did that because she doesn’t know where the line is and she didn’t want to take the chance that her official side would expose her corrupt behavior in her personal life.
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#11034 Hillary Clinton Presidential Campaign: post #11034 jburns Posted Today, 12:05 AM
18,859 posts

nchighcountrywx, on 25 Jun 2016 – 11:57 PM, said:
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Republican California Rep. Darrell Issa said that there is enough evidence to indict Hillary Clinton for mishandling national security information on her private email server.

We know that Hillary Clinton broke the law with malice and forethought, for her own nefarious reasons including Clinton Cash, and the deals she and her husband were pocketing in hundreds of millions of dollars in foreign money. She wanted that to be kept behind closed doors. And she also wanted everything she did in an official capacity to be behind closed doors that were never available to this president even. She did that because she doesn’t know where the line is and she didn’t want to take the chance that her official side would expose her corrupt behavior in her personal life.

Issa. lol l’m sorry but he is as crazy as you are. Just richer.

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#11035 Hillary Clinton Presidential Campaign: post #11035 nchighcountrywx Posted Today, 12:23 AM

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jburns, on 26 Jun 2016 – 12:05 AM, said:
Issa. lol l’m sorry but he is as crazy as you are. Just richer.

Issa speaks the truth about Clinton’s actions.

It is corruption at the highest level.
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#11036 Hillary Clinton Presidential Campaign: post #11036 jburns Posted Today, 12:27 AM
18,859 posts

nchighcountrywx, on 26 Jun 2016 – 12:23 AM, said:
Issa speaks the truth about Clinton’s actions.

It is corruption at the highest level.

He’s as shady as your sources.

my weather station
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#11037 Hillary Clinton Presidential Campaign: post #11037 NortheastPAWx Posted Today, 12:53 AM

Made the Penguins Great Again

nchighcountrywx, on 26 Jun 2016 – 12:23 AM, said:
Issa speaks the truth about Clinton’s actions.

It is corruption at the highest level.
Hillary is corrupt but you’re going to have to do better than Issa and Breitbart, sorry.

Are we really writing signatures or are they…writing us?
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#11038 Hillary Clinton Presidential Campaign: post #11038 PhineasC Posted Today, 08:25 AM
16,662 posts

Issa is just speculating like the rest of us. What he said is all true though. But proving malice and forethought is tough.
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#11039 Hillary Clinton Presidential Campaign: post #11039 pazzo83 Posted Today, 08:35 AM
18,632 posts

PhineasC, on 26 Jun 2016 – 08:25 AM, said:
Issa is just speculating like the rest of us. What he said is all true though. But proving malice and forethought is tough.

If it’s true where is your proof?
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#11040 Hillary Clinton Presidential Campaign: post #11040 Sampson Posted Today, 08:56 AM
2,363 posts

nchighcountrywx, on 25 Jun 2016 – 11:57 PM, said:
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Republican California Rep. Darrell Issa said that there is enough evidence to indict Hillary Clinton for mishandling national security information on her private email server.

We know that Hillary Clinton broke the law with malice and forethought, for her own nefarious reasons including Clinton Cash, and the deals she and her husband were pocketing in hundreds of millions of dollars in foreign money. She wanted that to be kept behind closed doors. And she also wanted everything she did in an official capacity to be behind closed doors that were never available to this president even. She did that because she doesn’t know where the line is and she didn’t want to take the chance that her official side would expose her corrupt behavior in her personal life.

Issa is such a tool. He’s been trynig to bring down Hillary for years. This is not a powerful quote to anyone that knows anything about him.

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#11041 Hillary Clinton Presidential Campaign: post #11041 PhineasC Posted Today, 09:17 AM
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pazzo83, on 26 Jun 2016 – 08:35 AM, said:
If it’s true where is your proof?
Already posted in this thread.

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#11042 Hillary Clinton Presidential Campaign: post #11042 Brewbeer Posted Today, 10:24 AM

You speculating isn’t proof.
Elev. 150 ft.
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#11043 Hillary Clinton Presidential Campaign: post #11043 PhineasC Posted Today, 01:13 PM
16,662 posts

Brewbeer, on 26 Jun 2016 – 10:24 AM, said:
You speculating isn’t proof.
When I post the emails, depositions, and official government reports I am not speculating.

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#11044 Hillary Clinton Presidential Campaign: post #11044 pazzo83 Posted Today, 01:14 PM
18,632 posts

PhineasC, on 26 Jun 2016 – 1:13 PM, said:
When I post the emails, depositions, and official government reports I am not speculating.

You are speculating as to the intent. Where is your proof?
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#11045 Hillary Clinton Presidential Campaign: post #11045 winterymix Posted Today, 01:30 PM

pazzo83, on 26 Jun 2016 – 1:14 PM, said:
You are speculating as to the intent. Where is your proof?
You are framing the conversation in a manner that dances around the importance of a candidate’s pattern of decision making.

Why not frame the conversation about attitude?

Trump has a crap attitude beyond repair.

Hillary can mitigate her trust worthy-ness “dings” by freshening her attitude.
Her poor showing in trustworthiness polls is not a measure of dummies.
She had done a poor job of appearing squeaky clean.

I could care less about “Oh! Where are the indictments? Keep us posted!”
I care about attitude. Why should we give someone the highest office if their attitude
requires repair?

It isn’t enough to say that the server was a mistake. I’d prefer to hear her assert that going forward, she will eschew contributions from the rich and powerful. I’d prefer to hear that the Clinton Foundation will only accept contributions from US citizens. I’d prefer to hear her state that her personal assistants as well as those involved with the Clinton Foundation will, in no way, be conducting Federal business. I’d prefer to hear her state that all of her email documents that were generated during her tenure in the State Department belong to the US government.

Yeah, I expect an ironclad avoidance of COI.

We are electing an employee. The Prez needs to avoid an attitude of self enrichment and needs to avoid an attitude of hiding their emails and needs to avoid an attitude of influence peddling.

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#11046 Hillary Clinton Presidential Campaign: post #11046 Cary Posted Today, 01:36 PM
4,695 posts

NortheastPAWx, on 25 Jun 2016 – 1:43 PM, said:
Huge wealth gap getting only bigger
Biggest expansion of debt under any president
Racial tensions which he’s only further inflammed
Disrespect for the other side
Disrespect for police
Disrespect for military
Inconsistent, unorganized, disastrous foreign policy
Biggest joke of a “recovery” ever
Using the executive to go past Congress
Least transparent admin ever
Making himself and the country look downright clueless on the world stage

The best way to describe Obama is basically like a typical liberal poster here. No solutions, just complaining.
NortheastPAWx, on 25 Jun 2016 – 2:05 PM, said:
Military: http://www.examiner&#8230.to-the-military
Police: http://www.foxnews.c…ice-deaths.html
NortheastPAWx, on 26 Jun 2016 – 12:53 AM, said:
Hillary is corrupt but you’re going to have to do better than Issa and Breitbart, sorry.

So are you, especially on the bullsh*t about Obama making racial tension worse, hating the police and the military, hating the other side. I’ll save you the effort, none of that garbage is true, except for maybe the debt and wealth inequality stuff, but that isn’t entirely his fault though.
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#11047 Hillary Clinton Presidential Campaign: post #11047 Snowacane Posted Today, 01:47 PM

In a van down by the river

nchighcountrywx, on 25 Jun 2016 – 11:57 PM, said:
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Republican California Rep. Darrell Issa said that there is enough evidence to indict Hillary Clinton for mishandling national security information on her private email server.

We know that Hillary Clinton broke the law with malice and forethought, for her own nefarious reasons including Clinton Cash, and the deals she and her husband were pocketing in hundreds of millions of dollars in foreign money. She wanted that to be kept behind closed doors. And she also wanted everything she did in an official capacity to be behind closed doors that were never available to this president even. She did that because she doesn’t know where the line is and she didn’t want to take the chance that her official side would expose her corrupt behavior in her personal life.
LOL. Figures you would count him as something to admire. He, as you have proven to as crazy and detached from the reality that the rest of us live in. Try to find more reasoned sources and people to get information from.

“The men the American people admire most extravagantly are the greatest liars the men they detest most violently are those who try to tell them the truth.”
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#11048 Hillary Clinton Presidential Campaign: post #11048 winterymix Posted 59 minutes ago

Snowacane, on 26 Jun 2016 – 1:47 PM, said:
LOL. Figures you would count him as something to admire. He, as you have proven to as crazy and detached from the reality that the rest of us live in. Try to find more reasoned sources and people to get information from.

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#11049 Hillary Clinton Presidential Campaign: post #11049 PhineasC Posted 39 minutes ago
16,662 posts

pazzo83, on 26 Jun 2016 – 1:14 PM, said:
You are speculating as to the intent. Where is your proof?
There is already proof she had classified emails on her server, appointed someone with zero qualifications to a key nuclear safety board because donated, caused the entire State IT system to be less secure for some amount of time simply to satisfy her own desires for privacy/secrecy, rejected the idea of conducting her State business on a State email account. I can go on.

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#11050 Hillary Clinton Presidential Campaign: post #11050 Powerball Posted 32 minutes ago

Concerning Hillary’s emails about Benghazi, even if I did have concerns about her criminal culpability in that matter and even if I’m not a fan of her in terms of her leadership style and political views, can someone (who’s a liberal / progressive / Democrat) explain to me what exactly would be gained from trying to bounce her given the alternative, scarier choice we’d have for president?

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#11051 Hillary Clinton Presidential Campaign: post #11051 pazzo83 Posted 28 minutes ago
18,632 posts

PhineasC, on 26 Jun 2016 – 2:20 PM, said:
There is already proof she had classified emails on her server, appointed someone with zero qualifications to a key nuclear safety board because donated, caused the entire State IT system to be less secure for some amount of time simply to satisfy her own desires for privacy/secrecy, rejected the idea of conducting her State business on a State email account. I can go on.

Sure you can go on, but you aren’t ever going to arrive at something objectively qualified as proof.

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#11052 Hillary Clinton Presidential Campaign: post #11052 PhineasC Posted 26 minutes ago
16,662 posts

Powerball, on 26 Jun 2016 – 2:28 PM, said:
Concerning Hillary’s emails about Benghazi, even if I did have concerns about her criminal culpability in that matter and even if I’m not a fan of her in terms of her leadership style and political views, can someone (who’s a liberal / progressive / Democrat) explain to me what exactly would be gained from trying to bounce her given the alternative, scarier choice we’d have for president?
I don’t know anything about Benghazi emails, but the reason Bernie is hanging around and refuses to concede is that he is waiting to see if something happens with the FBI investigation.

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#11053 Hillary Clinton Presidential Campaign: post #11053 nchighcountrywx Posted 14 minutes ago

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The facts on Hillary Clinton:
Attached Files
Attached File ClintonFacts.pdf 1.16MB 2 downloads

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#11054 Hillary Clinton Presidential Campaign: post #11054 Brewbeer Posted 8 minutes ago

PhineasC, on 26 Jun 2016 – 2:33 PM, said:
I don’t know anything about Benghazi emails, but the reason Bernie is hanging around and refuses to concede is that he is waiting to see if something happens with the FBI investigation.

More speculation.
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#11055 Hillary Clinton Presidential Campaign: post #11055 PhineasC Posted 8 minutes ago
16,662 posts

pazzo83, on 26 Jun 2016 – 2:31 PM, said:
Sure you can go on, but you aren’t ever going to arrive at something objectively qualified as proof.
This is all proof of wrongdoing that would have landed you or me in jail. Hopefully you are starting to realize that Clinton is above the law and is avoiding press conferences because her 800 handlers and staffers are telling her to shut up and ride it out because Trump will defeat himself.

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#11056 Hillary Clinton Presidential Campaign: post #11056 PhineasC Posted 8 minutes ago
16,662 posts

Brewbeer, on 26 Jun 2016 – 2:51 PM, said:
More speculation.
It’s the only explanation. The DNC already rejected his platform.

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#11057 Hillary Clinton Presidential Campaign: post #11057 BFF Posted 7 minutes ago
744 posts

PhineasC, on 26 Jun 2016 – 2:33 PM, said:
I don’t know anything about Benghazi emails, but the reason Bernie is hanging around and refuses to concede is that he is waiting to see if something happens with the FBI investigation.

That’s just like, your opinion, man

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#11058 Hillary Clinton Presidential Campaign: post #11058 Brewbeer Posted 5 minutes ago

nchighcountrywx, on 26 Jun 2016 – 2:45 PM, said:
The facts on Hillary Clinton:

When are you going to post some original material?
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Disabling security on Clinton email server laid out hacker welcome mat

http://www.foxnews.c…or-hackers.html
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#11033 Hillary Clinton Presidential Campaign: post #11033 nchighcountrywx Posted Yesterday, 11:57 PM

NC NW High Country Weather

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Republican California Rep. Darrell Issa said that there is enough evidence to indict Hillary Clinton for mishandling national security information on her private email server.

We know that Hillary Clinton broke the law with malice and forethought, for her own nefarious reasons including Clinton Cash, and the deals she and her husband were pocketing in hundreds of millions of dollars in foreign money. She wanted that to be kept behind closed doors. And she also wanted everything she did in an official capacity to be behind closed doors that were never available to this president even. She did that because she doesn’t know where the line is and she didn’t want to take the chance that her official side would expose her corrupt behavior in her personal life.
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#11034 Hillary Clinton Presidential Campaign: post #11034 jburns Posted Today, 12:05 AM
18,859 posts

nchighcountrywx, on 25 Jun 2016 – 11:57 PM, said:
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Republican California Rep. Darrell Issa said that there is enough evidence to indict Hillary Clinton for mishandling national security information on her private email server.

We know that Hillary Clinton broke the law with malice and forethought, for her own nefarious reasons including Clinton Cash, and the deals she and her husband were pocketing in hundreds of millions of dollars in foreign money. She wanted that to be kept behind closed doors. And she also wanted everything she did in an official capacity to be behind closed doors that were never available to this president even. She did that because she doesn’t know where the line is and she didn’t want to take the chance that her official side would expose her corrupt behavior in her personal life.

Issa. lol l’m sorry but he is as crazy as you are. Just richer.

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#11035 Hillary Clinton Presidential Campaign: post #11035 nchighcountrywx Posted Today, 12:23 AM

NC NW High Country Weather

jburns, on 26 Jun 2016 – 12:05 AM, said:
Issa. lol l’m sorry but he is as crazy as you are. Just richer.

Issa speaks the truth about Clinton’s actions.

It is corruption at the highest level.
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#11036 Hillary Clinton Presidential Campaign: post #11036 jburns Posted Today, 12:27 AM
18,859 posts

nchighcountrywx, on 26 Jun 2016 – 12:23 AM, said:
Issa speaks the truth about Clinton’s actions.

It is corruption at the highest level.

He’s as shady as your sources.

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#11037 Hillary Clinton Presidential Campaign: post #11037 NortheastPAWx Posted Today, 12:53 AM

Made the Penguins Great Again

nchighcountrywx, on 26 Jun 2016 – 12:23 AM, said:
Issa speaks the truth about Clinton’s actions.

It is corruption at the highest level.
Hillary is corrupt but you’re going to have to do better than Issa and Breitbart, sorry.

Are we really writing signatures or are they…writing us?
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#11038 Hillary Clinton Presidential Campaign: post #11038 PhineasC Posted Today, 08:25 AM
16,662 posts

Issa is just speculating like the rest of us. What he said is all true though. But proving malice and forethought is tough.
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#11039 Hillary Clinton Presidential Campaign: post #11039 pazzo83 Posted Today, 08:35 AM
18,632 posts

PhineasC, on 26 Jun 2016 – 08:25 AM, said:
Issa is just speculating like the rest of us. What he said is all true though. But proving malice and forethought is tough.

If it’s true where is your proof?
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#11040 Hillary Clinton Presidential Campaign: post #11040 Sampson Posted Today, 08:56 AM
2,363 posts

nchighcountrywx, on 25 Jun 2016 – 11:57 PM, said:
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Republican California Rep. Darrell Issa said that there is enough evidence to indict Hillary Clinton for mishandling national security information on her private email server.

We know that Hillary Clinton broke the law with malice and forethought, for her own nefarious reasons including Clinton Cash, and the deals she and her husband were pocketing in hundreds of millions of dollars in foreign money. She wanted that to be kept behind closed doors. And she also wanted everything she did in an official capacity to be behind closed doors that were never available to this president even. She did that because she doesn’t know where the line is and she didn’t want to take the chance that her official side would expose her corrupt behavior in her personal life.

Issa is such a tool. He’s been trynig to bring down Hillary for years. This is not a powerful quote to anyone that knows anything about him.

http://www.salon.com/2014/12/11/good_riddance_darrell_issa_a_wasteful_blowhards_humiliating_history/
There is already proof she had classified emails on her server, appointed someone with zero qualifications to a key nuclear safety board because donated, caused the entire State IT system to be less secure for some amount of time simply to satisfy her own desires for privacy/secrecy, rejected the idea of conducting her State business on a State email account. I can go on.

Fozz, on 25 Jun 2016 – 2:39 PM, said:
No effing way :lmao:
I’m a registered Democrat yes. But both parties suck.

Are we really writing signatures or are they…writing us?
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#11027 Hillary Clinton Presidential Campaign: post #11027 Powerball Posted Yesterday, 02:50 PM

Stebo, on 25 Jun 2016 – 2:47 PM, said:
also even in the case of Eisenhower being better he also inherited a much much better situation than Obama.

FDR inherited (as hard as it is to believe in modern context) a much much worse situation than Obama did, and yet majority of Americans consider him the country’s greatest president because of what he accomplished in spite of his circumstances.

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#11028 Hillary Clinton Presidential Campaign: post #11028 Stebo Posted Yesterday, 02:53 PM

Powerball, on 25 Jun 2016 – 2:50 PM, said:
And?

FDR inherited (as hard as it is to believe in modern context) a much much worse situation than Obama did, and yet majority of Americans consider him the country’s greatest president because of what he accomplished in spite of his circumstances.
He also had 3+ terms and led us out of WWII…
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#11029 Hillary Clinton Presidential Campaign: post #11029 WinterWxLuvr Posted Yesterday, 02:54 PM
16,734 posts

Fozz and trix, like bacon and eggs.
I’d pay more taxes for more snow.
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#11030 Hillary Clinton Presidential Campaign: post #11030 WinterWxLuvr Posted Yesterday, 02:55 PM
16,734 posts

Stebo, on 25 Jun 2016 – 2:53 PM, said:
He also had 3+ terms and led us out of WWII…

And was instrumental in creating many of the problems we have today.

If you like big government, FDR was your man.
I’d pay more taxes for more snow.
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#11031 Hillary Clinton Presidential Campaign: post #11031 Powerball Posted Yesterday, 02:57 PM

Stebo, on 25 Jun 2016 – 2:53 PM, said:
He also had 3+ terms and led us out of WWII…

The point was the amount of crap a leader inherits should not factor into how good or bad they are (as life isn’t fair), but instead how well they clean up that crap.

That’s just my opinion though.

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#11032 Hillary Clinton Presidential Campaign: post #11032 nchighcountrywx Posted Yesterday, 03:05 PM

NC NW High Country Weather

Disabling security on Clinton email server laid out hacker welcome mat

http://www.foxnews.c…or-hackers.html
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#11033 Hillary Clinton Presidential Campaign: post #11033 nchighcountrywx Posted Yesterday, 11:57 PM

NC NW High Country Weather

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Republican California Rep. Darrell Issa said that there is enough evidence to indict Hillary Clinton for mishandling national security information on her private email server.

We know that Hillary Clinton broke the law with malice and forethought, for her own nefarious reasons including Clinton Cash, and the deals she and her husband were pocketing in hundreds of millions of dollars in foreign money. She wanted that to be kept behind closed doors. And she also wanted everything she did in an official capacity to be behind closed doors that were never available to this president even. She did that because she doesn’t know where the line is and she didn’t want to take the chance that her official side would expose her corrupt behavior in her personal life.
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#11034 Hillary Clinton Presidential Campaign: post #11034 jburns Posted Today, 12:05 AM
18,859 posts

nchighcountrywx, on 25 Jun 2016 – 11:57 PM, said:
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Republican California Rep. Darrell Issa said that there is enough evidence to indict Hillary Clinton for mishandling national security information on her private email server.

We know that Hillary Clinton broke the law with malice and forethought, for her own nefarious reasons including Clinton Cash, and the deals she and her husband were pocketing in hundreds of millions of dollars in foreign money. She wanted that to be kept behind closed doors. And she also wanted everything she did in an official capacity to be behind closed doors that were never available to this president even. She did that because she doesn’t know where the line is and she didn’t want to take the chance that her official side would expose her corrupt behavior in her personal life.

Issa. lol l’m sorry but he is as crazy as you are. Just richer.

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#11035 Hillary Clinton Presidential Campaign: post #11035 nchighcountrywx Posted Today, 12:23 AM

NC NW High Country Weather

jburns, on 26 Jun 2016 – 12:05 AM, said:
Issa. lol l’m sorry but he is as crazy as you are. Just richer.

Issa speaks the truth about Clinton’s actions.

It is corruption at the highest level.
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#11036 Hillary Clinton Presidential Campaign: post #11036 jburns Posted Today, 12:27 AM
18,859 posts

nchighcountrywx, on 26 Jun 2016 – 12:23 AM, said:
Issa speaks the truth about Clinton’s actions.

It is corruption at the highest level.

He’s as shady as your sources.

my weather station
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#11037 Hillary Clinton Presidential Campaign: post #11037 NortheastPAWx Posted Today, 12:53 AM

Made the Penguins Great Again

nchighcountrywx, on 26 Jun 2016 – 12:23 AM, said:
Issa speaks the truth about Clinton’s actions.

It is corruption at the highest level.
Hillary is corrupt but you’re going to have to do better than Issa and Breitbart, sorry.

Are we really writing signatures or are they…writing us?
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#11038 Hillary Clinton Presidential Campaign: post #11038 PhineasC Posted Today, 08:25 AM
16,662 posts

Issa is just speculating like the rest of us. What he said is all true though. But proving malice and forethought is tough.
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#11039 Hillary Clinton Presidential Campaign: post #11039 pazzo83 Posted Today, 08:35 AM
18,632 posts

PhineasC, on 26 Jun 2016 – 08:25 AM, said:
Issa is just speculating like the rest of us. What he said is all true though. But proving malice and forethought is tough.

If it’s true where is your proof?
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#11040 Hillary Clinton Presidential Campaign: post #11040 Sampson Posted Today, 08:56 AM
2,363 posts

nchighcountrywx, on 25 Jun 2016 – 11:57 PM, said:
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Republican California Rep. Darrell Issa said that there is enough evidence to indict Hillary Clinton for mishandling national security information on her private email server.

We know that Hillary Clinton broke the law with malice and forethought, for her own nefarious reasons including Clinton Cash, and the deals she and her husband were pocketing in hundreds of millions of dollars in foreign money. She wanted that to be kept behind closed doors. And she also wanted everything she did in an official capacity to be behind closed doors that were never available to this president even. She did that because she doesn’t know where the line is and she didn’t want to take the chance that her official side would expose her corrupt behavior in her personal life.

Issa is such a tool. He’s been trynig to bring down Hillary for years. This is not a powerful quote to anyone that knows anything about him.

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#11041 Hillary Clinton Presidential Campaign: post #11041 PhineasC Posted Today, 09:17 AM
16,662 posts

pazzo83, on 26 Jun 2016 – 08:35 AM, said:
If it’s true where is your proof?
Already posted in this thread.

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#11042 Hillary Clinton Presidential Campaign: post #11042 Brewbeer Posted Today, 10:24 AM

You speculating isn’t proof.
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#11043 Hillary Clinton Presidential Campaign: post #11043 PhineasC Posted Today, 01:13 PM
16,662 posts

Brewbeer, on 26 Jun 2016 – 10:24 AM, said:
You speculating isn’t proof.
When I post the emails, depositions, and official government reports I am not speculating.

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#11044 Hillary Clinton Presidential Campaign: post #11044 pazzo83 Posted Today, 01:14 PM
18,632 posts

PhineasC, on 26 Jun 2016 – 1:13 PM, said:
When I post the emails, depositions, and official government reports I am not speculating.

You are speculating as to the intent. Where is your proof?
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#11045 Hillary Clinton Presidential Campaign: post #11045 winterymix Posted Today, 01:30 PM

pazzo83, on 26 Jun 2016 – 1:14 PM, said:
You are speculating as to the intent. Where is your proof?
You are framing the conversation in a manner that dances around the importance of a candidate’s pattern of decision making.

Why not frame the conversation about attitude?

Trump has a crap attitude beyond repair.

Hillary can mitigate her trust worthy-ness “dings” by freshening her attitude.
Her poor showing in trustworthiness polls is not a measure of dummies.
She had done a poor job of appearing squeaky clean.

I could care less about “Oh! Where are the indictments? Keep us posted!”
I care about attitude. Why should we give someone the highest office if their attitude
requires repair?

It isn’t enough to say that the server was a mistake. I’d prefer to hear her assert that going forward, she will eschew contributions from the rich and powerful. I’d prefer to hear that the Clinton Foundation will only accept contributions from US citizens. I’d prefer to hear her state that her personal assistants as well as those involved with the Clinton Foundation will, in no way, be conducting Federal business. I’d prefer to hear her state that all of her email documents that were generated during her tenure in the State Department belong to the US government.

Yeah, I expect an ironclad avoidance of COI.

We are electing an employee. The Prez needs to avoid an attitude of self enrichment and needs to avoid an attitude of hiding their emails and needs to avoid an attitude of influence peddling.

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#11046 Hillary Clinton Presidential Campaign: post #11046 Cary Posted Today, 01:36 PM
4,695 posts

NortheastPAWx, on 25 Jun 2016 – 1:43 PM, said:
Huge wealth gap getting only bigger
Biggest expansion of debt under any president
Racial tensions which he’s only further inflammed
Disrespect for the other side
Disrespect for police
Disrespect for military
Inconsistent, unorganized, disastrous foreign policy
Biggest joke of a “recovery” ever
Using the executive to go past Congress
Least transparent admin ever
Making himself and the country look downright clueless on the world stage

The best way to describe Obama is basically like a typical liberal poster here. No solutions, just complaining.
NortheastPAWx, on 25 Jun 2016 – 2:05 PM, said:
Military: http://www.examiner&#8230.to-the-military
Police: http://www.foxnews.c…ice-deaths.html
NortheastPAWx, on 26 Jun 2016 – 12:53 AM, said:
Hillary is corrupt but you’re going to have to do better than Issa and Breitbart, sorry.

So are you, especially on the bullsh*t about Obama making racial tension worse, hating the police and the military, hating the other side. I’ll save you the effort, none of that garbage is true, except for maybe the debt and wealth inequality stuff, but that isn’t entirely his fault though.
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#11047 Hillary Clinton Presidential Campaign: post #11047 Snowacane Posted Today, 01:47 PM

In a van down by the river

nchighcountrywx, on 25 Jun 2016 – 11:57 PM, said:
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Republican California Rep. Darrell Issa said that there is enough evidence to indict Hillary Clinton for mishandling national security information on her private email server.

We know that Hillary Clinton broke the law with malice and forethought, for her own nefarious reasons including Clinton Cash, and the deals she and her husband were pocketing in hundreds of millions of dollars in foreign money. She wanted that to be kept behind closed doors. And she also wanted everything she did in an official capacity to be behind closed doors that were never available to this president even. She did that because she doesn’t know where the line is and she didn’t want to take the chance that her official side would expose her corrupt behavior in her personal life.
LOL. Figures you would count him as something to admire. He, as you have proven to as crazy and detached from the reality that the rest of us live in. Try to find more reasoned sources and people to get information from.

“The men the American people admire most extravagantly are the greatest liars the men they detest most violently are those who try to tell them the truth.”
-H.L. Mencken
“If tyranny and oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy.”
-James Madison
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#11048 Hillary Clinton Presidential Campaign: post #11048 winterymix Posted 59 minutes ago

Snowacane, on 26 Jun 2016 – 1:47 PM, said:
LOL. Figures you would count him as something to admire. He, as you have proven to as crazy and detached from the reality that the rest of us live in. Try to find more reasoned sources and people to get information from.

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#11049 Hillary Clinton Presidential Campaign: post #11049 PhineasC Posted 39 minutes ago
16,662 posts

pazzo83, on 26 Jun 2016 – 1:14 PM, said:
You are speculating as to the intent. Where is your proof?
There is already proof she had classified emails on her server, appointed someone with zero qualifications to a key nuclear safety board because donated, caused the entire State IT system to be less secure for some amount of time simply to satisfy her own desires for privacy/secrecy, rejected the idea of conducting her State business on a State email account. I can go on.

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#11050 Hillary Clinton Presidential Campaign: post #11050 Powerball Posted 32 minutes ago

Concerning Hillary’s emails about Benghazi, even if I did have concerns about her criminal culpability in that matter and even if I’m not a fan of her in terms of her leadership style and political views, can someone (who’s a liberal / progressive / Democrat) explain to me what exactly would be gained from trying to bounce her given the alternative, scarier choice we’d have for president?

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#11051 Hillary Clinton Presidential Campaign: post #11051 pazzo83 Posted 28 minutes ago
18,632 posts

PhineasC, on 26 Jun 2016 – 2:20 PM, said:
There is already proof she had classified emails on her server, appointed someone with zero qualifications to a key nuclear safety board because donated, caused the entire State IT system to be less secure for some amount of time simply to satisfy her own desires for privacy/secrecy, rejected the idea of conducting her State business on a State email account. I can go on.

Sure you can go on, but you aren’t ever going to arrive at something objectively qualified as proof.

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#11052 Hillary Clinton Presidential Campaign: post #11052 PhineasC Posted 26 minutes ago
16,662 posts

Powerball, on 26 Jun 2016 – 2:28 PM, said:
Concerning Hillary’s emails about Benghazi, even if I did have concerns about her criminal culpability in that matter and even if I’m not a fan of her in terms of her leadership style and political views, can someone (who’s a liberal / progressive / Democrat) explain to me what exactly would be gained from trying to bounce her given the alternative, scarier choice we’d have for president?
I don’t know anything about Benghazi emails, but the reason Bernie is hanging around and refuses to concede is that he is waiting to see if something happens with the FBI investigation.

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#11053 Hillary Clinton Presidential Campaign: post #11053 nchighcountrywx Posted 14 minutes ago

NC NW High Country Weather

The facts on Hillary Clinton:
Attached Files
Attached File ClintonFacts.pdf 1.16MB 2 downloads

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#11054 Hillary Clinton Presidential Campaign: post #11054 Brewbeer Posted 8 minutes ago

PhineasC, on 26 Jun 2016 – 2:33 PM, said:
I don’t know anything about Benghazi emails, but the reason Bernie is hanging around and refuses to concede is that he is waiting to see if something happens with the FBI investigation.

More speculation.
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#11055 Hillary Clinton Presidential Campaign: post #11055 PhineasC Posted 8 minutes ago
16,662 posts

pazzo83, on 26 Jun 2016 – 2:31 PM, said:
Sure you can go on, but you aren’t ever going to arrive at something objectively qualified as proof.
This is all proof of wrongdoing that would have landed you or me in jail. Hopefully you are starting to realize that Clinton is above the law and is avoiding press conferences because her 800 handlers and staffers are telling her to shut up and ride it out because Trump will defeat himself.

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#11056 Hillary Clinton Presidential Campaign: post #11056 PhineasC Posted 8 minutes ago
16,662 posts

Brewbeer, on 26 Jun 2016 – 2:51 PM, said:
More speculation.
It’s the only explanation. The DNC already rejected his platform.

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#11057 Hillary Clinton Presidential Campaign: post #11057 BFF Posted 7 minutes ago
744 posts

PhineasC, on 26 Jun 2016 – 2:33 PM, said:
I don’t know anything about Benghazi emails, but the reason Bernie is hanging around and refuses to concede is that he is waiting to see if something happens with the FBI investigation.

That’s just like, your opinion, man

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#11058 Hillary Clinton Presidential Campaign: post #11058 Brewbeer Posted 5 minutes ago

nchighcountrywx, on 26 Jun 2016 – 2:45 PM, said:
The facts on Hillary Clinton:

When are you going to post some original material?
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June 28, 2016 supermanalexthegreatest Leave a comment

Contents

Alien life, such as microorganisms, has been hypothesized to exist in the Solar System and throughout the universe. This hypothesis relies on the vast size and consistent physical laws of the observable universe. According to this argument, made by scientists such as Carl Sagan and Stephen Hawking, [7] as well as notable personalities such as Winston Churchill, [8] [9] it would be improbable for life not to exist somewhere other than Earth. [10] [11] This argument is embodied in the Copernican principle, which states that Earth does not occupy a unique position in the Universe, and the mediocrity principle, which states that there is nothing special about life on Earth. [12] The chemistry of life may have begun shortly after the Big Bang, 13.8 billion years ago, during a habitable epoch when the universe was only 10–17 million years old. [13] [14] Life may have emerged independently at many places throughout the universe. Alternatively, life may have formed less frequently, then spread—by meteoroids, for example—between habitable planets in a process called panspermia. [15] [16] In any case, complex organic molecules may have formed in the protoplanetary disk of dust grains surrounding the Sun before the formation of Earth. [17] According to these studies, this process may occur outside Earth on several planets and moons of the Solar System and on planets of other stars. [17]

Since the 1950s, astronomers have proposed that "habitable zones" around stars are the most likely places for life to exist. Numerous discoveries of such zones since 2007 have generated numerical estimates of many billions of planets with Earth-like compositions. [18] As of 2013 [update] , only a few planets had been discovered in these zones. [19] Nonetheless, on 4 November 2013, astronomers reported, based on Kepler space mission data, that there could be as many as 40 billion Earth-sized planets orbiting in the habitable zones of Sun-like stars and red dwarfs in the Milky Way, [20] [21] 11 billion of which may be orbiting Sun-like stars. [22] The nearest such planet may be 12 light-years away, according to the scientists. [20] [21] Astrobiologists have also considered a "follow the energy" view of potential habitats. [23] [24]

Evolution Edit

A study published in 2017 suggests that due to how complexity evolved in species on Earth, the level of predictability for alien evolution elsewhere would make them look similar to life on our planet. One of the study authors, Sam Levin, notes "Like humans, we predict that they are made-up of a hierarchy of entities, which all cooperate to produce an alien. At each level of the organism there will be mechanisms in place to eliminate conflict, maintain cooperation, and keep the organism functioning. We can even offer some examples of what these mechanisms will be." [25] There is also research in assessing the capacity of life for developing intelligence. It has been suggested that this capacity arises with the number of potential niches a planet contains, and that the complexity of life itself is reflected in the information density of planetary environments, which in turn can be computed from its niches. [26]

Life on Earth requires water as a solvent in which biochemical reactions take place. Sufficient quantities of carbon and other elements, along with water, might enable the formation of living organisms on terrestrial planets with a chemical make-up and temperature range similar to that of Earth. [27] [28] Life based on ammonia (rather than water) has been suggested as an alternative, though this solvent appears less suitable than water. It is also conceivable that there are forms of life whose solvent is a liquid hydrocarbon, such as methane, ethane or propane. [29]

About 29 chemical elements play active roles in living organisms on Earth. [30] About 95% of living matter is built upon only six elements: carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorus and sulfur. These six elements form the basic building blocks of virtually all life on Earth, whereas most of the remaining elements are found only in trace amounts. [31] The unique characteristics of carbon make it unlikely that it could be replaced, even on another planet, to generate the biochemistry necessary for life. The carbon atom has the unique ability to make four strong chemical bonds with other atoms, including other carbon atoms. These covalent bonds have a direction in space, so that carbon atoms can form the skeletons of complex 3-dimensional structures with definite architectures such as nucleic acids and proteins. Carbon forms more compounds than all other elements combined. The great versatility of the carbon atom, and its abundance in the visible universe, makes it the element most likely to provide the bases—even exotic ones—for the chemical composition of life on other planets. [32]

Some bodies in the Solar System have the potential for an environment in which extraterrestrial life can exist, particularly those with possible subsurface oceans. [33] Should life be discovered elsewhere in the Solar System, astrobiologists suggest that it will more likely be in the form of extremophile microorganisms. According to NASA's 2015 Astrobiology Strategy, "Life on other worlds is most likely to include microbes, and any complex living system elsewhere is likely to have arisen from and be founded upon microbial life. Important insights on the limits of microbial life can be gleaned from studies of microbes on modern Earth, as well as their ubiquity and ancestral characteristics." [34] Researchers found a stunning array of subterranean organisms, mostly microbial, deep underground and estimate that approximately 70 percent of the total number of Earth's bacteria and archaea organisms live within the Earth's crust. [35] Rick Colwell, a member of the Deep Carbon Observatory team from Oregon State University, told the BBC: "I think it’s probably reasonable to assume that the subsurface of other planets and their moons are habitable, especially since we’ve seen here on Earth that organisms can function far away from sunlight using the energy provided directly from the rocks deep underground". [36]

Mars may have niche subsurface environments where microbial life might exist. [37] [38] [39] A subsurface marine environment on Jupiter's moon Europa might be the most likely habitat in the Solar System, outside Earth, for extremophile microorganisms. [40] [41] [42]

The panspermia hypothesis proposes that life elsewhere in the Solar System may have a common origin. If extraterrestrial life was found on another body in the Solar System, it could have originated from Earth just as life on Earth could have been seeded from elsewhere (exogenesis). [43] The first known mention of the term 'panspermia' was in the writings of the 5th century BC Greek philosopher Anaxagoras. [44] In the 19th century it was again revived in modern form by several scientists, including Jöns Jacob Berzelius (1834), [45] Kelvin (1871), [46] Hermann von Helmholtz (1879) [47] and, somewhat later, by Svante Arrhenius (1903). [48] Sir Fred Hoyle (1915–2001) and Chandra Wickramasinghe (born 1939) are important proponents of the hypothesis who further contended that life forms continue to enter Earth's atmosphere, and may be responsible for epidemic outbreaks, new diseases, and the genetic novelty necessary for macroevolution. [49]

Directed panspermia concerns the deliberate transport of microorganisms in space, sent to Earth to start life here, or sent from Earth to seed new stellar systems with life. The Nobel prize winner Francis Crick, along with Leslie Orgel, proposed that seeds of life may have been purposely spread by an advanced extraterrestrial civilization, [50] but considering an early "RNA world" Crick noted later that life may have originated on Earth. [51]

Mercury Edit

The spacecraft MESSENGER found evidence of much ice on Mercury. There may be scientific support, based on studies reported in March 2020, for considering that parts of the planet Mercury may have been habitable, and perhaps that life forms, albeit likely primitive microorganisms, may have existed on the planet. [52] [53]

Venus Edit

In the early 20th century, Venus was considered to be similar to Earth for habitability, but observations since the beginning of the Space Age revealed that the Venus surface temperature is around 467 °C (873 °F), making it inhospitable for Earth-like life. [54] Likewise, the atmosphere of Venus is almost completely carbon dioxide, which can be toxic to Earth-like life. Between the altitudes of 50 and 65 kilometers, the pressure and temperature are Earth-like, and it may accommodate thermoacidophilic extremophile microorganisms in the acidic upper layers of the Venusian atmosphere. [55] [56] [57] [58] Furthermore, Venus likely had liquid water on its surface for at least a few million years after its formation. [59] [60] [61] In September 2020, a paper was published announcing the detection of phosphine in Venus' atmosphere in concentrations that could not be explained by known abiotic processes in the Venusian environment, such as lightning strikes or volcanic activity. [62] [63] [64]

The Moon Edit

Humans have been speculating about life on the Moon since antiquity. [65] One of the early scientific inquires into the topic appeared in a 1878 Scientific American article entitled "Is the Moon Inhabited?" [66] Decades later a 1939 essay by Winston Churchill concluded that the Moon is unlikely to harbour life, due to the lack of an atmosphere. [67]

4–3.5 billion years ago, the Moon could have had a magnetic field, sufficient atmosphere, and liquid water to sustain life on its surface. [68] [69] Warm and pressurized regions in the Moon's interior might still contain liquid water. [70]

Several species of terrestrial life were briefly brought to the Moon, including humans, [71] cotton plants, [72] and tardigrades. [73]

As of 2021, no native lunar life has been found, including any signs of life in the samples of Moon rocks and soil. [74]

Mars Edit

Life on Mars has been long speculated. Liquid water is widely thought to have existed on Mars in the past, and now can occasionally be found as low-volume liquid brines in shallow Martian soil. [75] The origin of the potential biosignature of methane observed in Mars' atmosphere is unexplained, although hypotheses not involving life have also been proposed. [76]

There is evidence that Mars had a warmer and wetter past: dried-up riverbeds, polar ice caps, volcanoes, and minerals that form in the presence of water have all been found. Nevertheless, present conditions on Mars' subsurface may support life. [77] [78] Evidence obtained by the Curiosity rover studying Aeolis Palus, Gale Crater in 2013 strongly suggests an ancient freshwater lake that could have been a hospitable environment for microbial life. [79] [80]

Current studies on Mars by the Curiosity and Opportunity rovers are searching for evidence of ancient life, including a biosphere based on autotrophic, chemotrophic and/or chemolithoautotrophic microorganisms, as well as ancient water, including fluvio-lacustrine environments (plains related to ancient rivers or lakes) that may have been habitable. [81] [82] [83] [84] The search for evidence of habitability, taphonomy (related to fossils), and organic carbon on Mars is now a primary NASA objective. [81]

Ceres Edit

Ceres, the only dwarf planet in the asteroid belt, has a thin water-vapor atmosphere. [85] [86] The vapor could have been produced by ice volcanoes or by ice near the surface sublimating (transforming from solid to gas). [87] Nevertheless, the presence of water on Ceres had led to speculation that life may be possible there. [88] [89] [90] It is one of the few places in the Solar System where scientists would like to search for possible signs of life. [87] Although the dwarf planet might not have living things today, there could be signs it harbored life in the past. [87]

Jupiter system Edit

Jupiter Edit

Carl Sagan and others in the 1960s and 1970s computed conditions for hypothetical microorganisms living in the atmosphere of Jupiter. [91] The intense radiation and other conditions, however, do not appear to permit encapsulation and molecular biochemistry, so life there is thought unlikely. [92] In contrast, some of Jupiter's moons may have habitats capable of sustaining life. Scientists have indications that heated subsurface oceans of liquid water may exist deep under the crusts of the three outer Galilean moons—Europa, [40] [41] [93] Ganymede, [94] [95] [96] [97] and Callisto. [98] [99] [100] The EJSM/Laplace mission was planned to determine the habitability of these environments, however, due to lack of funding, the program was not continued. Similar missions, like ESA's JUICE and NASA's Europa Clipper are currently in development and are slated for launch in 2022 and 2024, respectively.

Europa Edit

Jupiter's moon Europa has been the subject of speculation about the existence of life, due to the strong possibility of a liquid water ocean beneath its ice surface. [40] [42] Hydrothermal vents on the bottom of the ocean, if they exist, may warm the water and could be capable of supplying nutrients and energy to microorganisms. [102] It is also possible that Europa could support aerobic macrofauna using oxygen created by cosmic rays impacting its surface ice. [103]

The case for life on Europa was greatly enhanced in 2011 when it was discovered that vast lakes exist within Europa's thick, icy shell. Scientists found that ice shelves surrounding the lakes appear to be collapsing into them, thereby providing a mechanism through which life-forming chemicals created in sunlit areas on Europa's surface could be transferred to its interior. [104] [105]

On 11 December 2013, NASA reported the detection of "clay-like minerals" (specifically, phyllosilicates), often associated with organic materials, on the icy crust of Europa. [106] The presence of the minerals may have been the result of a collision with an asteroid or comet, according to the scientists. [106] The Europa Clipper, which would assess the habitability of Europa, is planned for launch in 2024. [107] [108] Europa's subsurface ocean is considered the best target for the discovery of life. [40] [42]

Saturn system Edit

Like Jupiter, Saturn is not likely to host life. However, Titan and Enceladus have been speculated to have possible habitats supportive of life. [76] [109] [110] [111]

Enceladus Edit

Enceladus, a moon of Saturn, has some of the conditions for life, including geothermal activity and water vapor, as well as possible under-ice oceans heated by tidal effects. [112] [113] The Cassini–Huygens probe detected carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen and oxygen—all key elements for supporting life—during its 2005 flyby through one of Enceladus's geysers spewing ice and gas. The temperature and density of the plumes indicate a warmer, watery source beneath the surface. [76] Of the bodies on which life is possible, living organisms could most easily enter the other bodies of the Solar System from Enceladus. [114]

Titan Edit

Titan, the largest moon of Saturn, is the only known moon in the Solar System with a significant atmosphere. Data from the Cassini–Huygens mission refuted the hypothesis of a global hydrocarbon ocean, but later demonstrated the existence of liquid hydrocarbon lakes in the polar regions—the first stable bodies of surface liquid discovered outside Earth. [109] [110] [111] Analysis of data from the mission has uncovered aspects of atmospheric chemistry near the surface that are consistent with—but do not prove—the hypothesis that organisms there, if present, could be consuming hydrogen, acetylene and ethane, and producing methane. [115] [116] [117] NASA's Dragonfly mission is slated to land on Titan in the mid 2030s with a VTOL-capable rotorcraft with a launch date set in 2026.

Small Solar System bodies Edit

Small Solar System bodies have also been speculated to host habitats for extremophiles. Fred Hoyle and Chandra Wickramasinghe have proposed that microbial life might exist on comets and asteroids. [118] [119] [120] [121]

Other bodies Edit

Models of heat retention and heating via radioactive decay in smaller icy Solar System bodies suggest that Rhea, Titania, Oberon, Triton, Pluto, Eris, Sedna, and Orcus may have oceans underneath solid icy crusts approximately 100 km thick. [122] Of particular interest in these cases is the fact that the models indicate that the liquid layers are in direct contact with the rocky core, which allows efficient mixing of minerals and salts into the water. This is in contrast with the oceans that may be inside larger icy satellites like Ganymede, Callisto, or Titan, where layers of high-pressure phases of ice are thought to underlie the liquid water layer. [122]

Hydrogen sulfide has been proposed as a hypothetical solvent for life and is quite plentiful on Jupiter's moon Io, and may be in liquid form a short distance below the surface. [123]

The scientific search for extraterrestrial life is being carried out both directly and indirectly. As of September 2017 [update] , 3,667 exoplanets in 2,747 systems have been identified, and other planets and moons in our own solar system hold the potential for hosting primitive life such as microorganisms. As of 8 February 2021, an updated status of studies considering the possible detection of lifeforms on Venus (via of phosphine) and Mars (via methane) was reported. [124]

Direct search Edit

Scientists search for biosignatures within the Solar System by studying planetary surfaces and examining meteorites. [13] [14] Some claim to have identified evidence that microbial life has existed on Mars. [127] [128] [129] [130] An experiment on the two Viking Mars landers reported gas emissions from heated Martian soil samples that some scientists argue are consistent with the presence of living microorganisms. [131] Lack of corroborating evidence from other experiments on the same samples suggests that a non-biological reaction is a more likely hypothesis. [131] [132] [133] [134] In 1996, a controversial report stated that structures resembling nanobacteria were discovered in a meteorite, ALH84001, formed of rock ejected from Mars. [127] [128]

In February 2005 NASA scientists reported they may have found some evidence of extraterrestrial life on Mars. [135] The two scientists, Carol Stoker and Larry Lemke of NASA's Ames Research Center, based their claim on methane signatures found in Mars's atmosphere resembling the methane production of some forms of primitive life on Earth, as well as on their own study of primitive life near the Rio Tinto river in Spain. NASA officials soon distanced NASA from the scientists' claims, and Stoker herself backed off from her initial assertions. [136] Though such methane findings are still debated, support among some scientists for the existence of life on Mars exists. [137]

In November 2011 NASA launched the Mars Science Laboratory that landed the Curiosity rover on Mars. It is designed to assess the past and present habitability on Mars using a variety of scientific instruments. The rover landed on Mars at Gale Crater in August 2012. [138] [139]

The Gaia hypothesis stipulates that any planet with a robust population of life will have an atmosphere in chemical disequilibrium, which is relatively easy to determine from a distance by spectroscopy. However, significant advances in the ability to find and resolve light from smaller rocky worlds near their star are necessary before such spectroscopic methods can be used to analyze extrasolar planets. To that effect, the Carl Sagan Institute was founded in 2014 and is dedicated to the atmospheric characterization of exoplanets in circumstellar habitable zones. [140] [141] Planetary spectroscopic data will be obtained from telescopes like WFIRST and ELT. [142]

In August 2011, findings by NASA, based on studies of meteorites found on Earth, suggest DNA and RNA components (adenine, guanine and related organic molecules), building blocks for life as we know it, may be formed extraterrestrially in outer space. [143] [144] [145] In October 2011, scientists reported that cosmic dust contains complex organic matter ("amorphous organic solids with a mixed aromatic-aliphatic structure") that could be created naturally, and rapidly, by stars. [146] [147] [148] One of the scientists suggested that these compounds may have been related to the development of life on Earth and said that, "If this is the case, life on Earth may have had an easier time getting started as these organics can serve as basic ingredients for life." [146]

In August 2012, and in a world first, astronomers at Copenhagen University reported the detection of a specific sugar molecule, glycolaldehyde, in a distant star system. The molecule was found around the protostellar binary IRAS 16293-2422, which is located 400 light years from Earth. [149] [150] Glycolaldehyde is needed to form ribonucleic acid, or RNA, which is similar in function to DNA. This finding suggests that complex organic molecules may form in stellar systems prior to the formation of planets, eventually arriving on young planets early in their formation. [151]

Indirect search Edit

Projects such as SETI are monitoring the galaxy for electromagnetic interstellar communications from civilizations on other worlds. [152] [153] If there is an advanced extraterrestrial civilization, there is no guarantee that it is transmitting radio communications in the direction of Earth or that this information could be interpreted as such by humans. The length of time required for a signal to travel across the vastness of space means that any signal detected would come from the distant past. [154]

The presence of heavy elements in a star's light-spectrum is another potential biosignature such elements would (in theory) be found if the star was being used as an incinerator/repository for nuclear waste products. [155]

Extrasolar planets Edit

Some astronomers search for extrasolar planets that may be conducive to life, narrowing the search to terrestrial planets within the habitable zone of their star. [156] [157] Since 1992 over four thousand exoplanets have been discovered (4,768 planets in 3,527 planetary systems including 783 multiple planetary systems as of 22 June 2021). [158] The extrasolar planets so far discovered range in size from that of terrestrial planets similar to Earth's size to that of gas giants larger than Jupiter. [158] The number of observed exoplanets is expected to increase greatly in the coming years. [159]

The Kepler space telescope has also detected a few thousand [160] [161] candidate planets, [162] [163] of which about 11% may be false positives. [164]

There is at least one planet on average per star. [165] About 1 in 5 Sun-like stars [a] have an "Earth-sized" [b] planet in the habitable zone, [c] with the nearest expected to be within 12 light-years distance from Earth. [166] [167] Assuming 200 billion stars in the Milky Way, [d] that would be 11 billion potentially habitable Earth-sized planets in the Milky Way, rising to 40 billion if red dwarfs are included. [22] The rogue planets in the Milky Way possibly number in the trillions. [168]

The nearest known exoplanet is Proxima Centauri b, located 4.2 light-years (1.3 pc) from Earth in the southern constellation of Centaurus. [169]

As of March 2014 [update] , the least massive exoplanet known is PSR B1257+12 A, which is about twice the mass of the Moon. The most massive planet listed on the NASA Exoplanet Archive is DENIS-P J082303.1-491201 b, [170] [171] about 29 times the mass of Jupiter, although according to most definitions of a planet, it is too massive to be a planet and may be a brown dwarf instead. Almost all of the planets detected so far are within the Milky Way, but there have also been a few possible detections of extragalactic planets. The study of planetary habitability also considers a wide range of other factors in determining the suitability of a planet for hosting life. [4]

One sign that a planet probably already contains life is the presence of an atmosphere with significant amounts of oxygen, since that gas is highly reactive and generally would not last long without constant replenishment. This replenishment occurs on Earth through photosynthetic organisms. One way to analyze the atmosphere of an exoplanet is through spectrography when it transits its star, though this might only be feasible with dim stars like white dwarfs. [172]

Terrestrial analysis Edit

The science of astrobiology considers life on Earth as well, and in the broader astronomical context. In 2015, "remains of biotic life" were found in 4.1 billion-year-old rocks in Western Australia, when the young Earth was about 400 million years old. [173] [174] According to one of the researchers, "If life arose relatively quickly on Earth, then it could be common in the universe." [173] ¨

Scientists have calculated that there could be at least 36 active, communicating intelligent civilizations in our Milky Way galaxy, according to a study published in The Astrophysical Journal. [175] [176]

In 1961, University of California, Santa Cruz, astronomer and astrophysicist Frank Drake devised the Drake equation as a way to stimulate scientific dialogue at a meeting on the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI). [177] The Drake equation is a probabilistic argument used to estimate the number of active, communicative extraterrestrial civilizations in the Milky Way galaxy. The equation is best understood not as an equation in the strictly mathematical sense, but to summarize all the various concepts which scientists must contemplate when considering the question of life elsewhere. [178] The Drake equation is:

N = the number of Milky Way galaxy civilizations already capable of communicating across interplanetary space

R* = the average rate of star formation in our galaxy fp = the fraction of those stars that have planets ne = the average number of planets that can potentially support life fl = the fraction of planets that actually support life fi = the fraction of planets with life that evolves to become intelligent life (civilizations) fc = the fraction of civilizations that develop a technology to broadcast detectable signs of their existence into space L = the length of time over which such civilizations broadcast detectable signals into space

Drake's proposed estimates are as follows, but numbers on the right side of the equation are agreed as speculative and open to substitution:

The Drake equation has proved controversial since several of its factors are uncertain and based on conjecture, not allowing conclusions to be made. [180] This has led critics to label the equation a guesstimate, or even meaningless.

Based on observations from the Hubble Space Telescope, there are between 125 and 250 billion galaxies in the observable universe. [181] It is estimated that at least ten percent of all Sun-like stars have a system of planets, [182] i.e. there are 6.25 × 10 18 stars with planets orbiting them in the observable universe. Even if it is assumed that only one out of a billion of these stars has planets supporting life, there would be some 6.25 billion life-supporting planetary systems in the observable universe.

A 2013 study based on results from the Kepler spacecraft estimated that the Milky Way contains at least as many planets as it does stars, resulting in 100–400 billion exoplanets. [183] [184] Also based on Kepler data, scientists estimate that at least one in six stars has an Earth-sized planet. [185]

The apparent contradiction between high estimates of the probability of the existence of extraterrestrial civilizations and the lack of evidence for such civilizations is known as the Fermi paradox. [186]

Cosmic pluralism Edit

Cosmic pluralism, the plurality of worlds, or simply pluralism, describes the philosophical belief in numerous "worlds" in addition to Earth, which might harbor extraterrestrial life. Before the development of the heliocentric theory and a recognition that the Sun is just one of many stars, [187] the notion of pluralism was largely mythological and philosophical. The earliest recorded assertion of extraterrestrial human life is found in ancient scriptures of Jainism. There are multiple "worlds" mentioned in Jain scriptures that support human life. These include Bharat Kshetra, Mahavideh Kshetra, Airavat Kshetra, Hari kshetra, etc. [188] [189] [190] [191] Medieval Muslim writers like Fakhr al-Din al-Razi and Muhammad al-Baqir supported cosmic pluralism on the basis of the Qur'an. [192]

With the scientific and Copernican revolutions, and later, during the Enlightenment, cosmic pluralism became a mainstream notion, supported by the likes of Bernard le Bovier de Fontenelle in his 1686 work Entretiens sur la pluralité des mondes. [193] Pluralism was also championed by philosophers such as John Locke, Giordano Bruno and astronomers such as William Herschel. The astronomer Camille Flammarion promoted the notion of cosmic pluralism in his 1862 book La pluralité des mondes habités. [194] None of these notions of pluralism were based on any specific observation or scientific information.

Early modern period Edit

There was a dramatic shift in thinking initiated by the invention of the telescope and the Copernican assault on geocentric cosmology. Once it became clear that Earth was merely one planet amongst countless bodies in the universe, the theory of extraterrestrial life started to become a topic in the scientific community. The best known early-modern proponent of such ideas was the Italian philosopher Giordano Bruno, who argued in the 16th century for an infinite universe in which every star is surrounded by its own planetary system. Bruno wrote that other worlds "have no less virtue nor a nature different to that of our earth" and, like Earth, "contain animals and inhabitants". [195]

In the early 17th century, the Czech astronomer Anton Maria Schyrleus of Rheita mused that "if Jupiter has (. ) inhabitants (. ) they must be larger and more beautiful than the inhabitants of Earth, in proportion to the [characteristics] of the two spheres". [196]

In Baroque literature such as The Other World: The Societies and Governments of the Moon by Cyrano de Bergerac, extraterrestrial societies are presented as humoristic or ironic parodies of earthly society. The didactic poet Henry More took up the classical theme of the Greek Democritus in "Democritus Platonissans, or an Essay Upon the Infinity of Worlds" (1647). In "The Creation: a Philosophical Poem in Seven Books" (1712), Sir Richard Blackmore observed: "We may pronounce each orb sustains a race / Of living things adapted to the place". With the new relative viewpoint that the Copernican revolution had wrought, he suggested "our world's sunne / Becomes a starre elsewhere". Fontanelle's "Conversations on the Plurality of Worlds" (translated into English in 1686) offered similar excursions on the possibility of extraterrestrial life, expanding, rather than denying, the creative sphere of a Maker.

The possibility of extraterrestrials remained a widespread speculation as scientific discovery accelerated. William Herschel, the discoverer of Uranus, was one of many 18th–19th-century astronomers who believed that the Solar System is populated by alien life. Other scholars of the period who championed "cosmic pluralism" included Immanuel Kant and Benjamin Franklin. At the height of the Enlightenment, even the Sun and Moon were considered candidates for extraterrestrial inhabitants.

19th century Edit

Speculation about life on Mars increased in the late 19th century, following telescopic observation of apparent Martian canals—which soon, however, turned out to be optical illusions. [197] Despite this, in 1895, American astronomer Percival Lowell published his book Mars, followed by Mars and its Canals in 1906, proposing that the canals were the work of a long-gone civilization. [198] The idea of life on Mars led British writer H. G. Wells to write the novel The War of the Worlds in 1897, telling of an invasion by aliens from Mars who were fleeing the planet's desiccation.

Spectroscopic analysis of Mars's atmosphere began in earnest in 1894, when U.S. astronomer William Wallace Campbell showed that neither water nor oxygen was present in the Martian atmosphere. [199] By 1909 better telescopes and the best perihelic opposition of Mars since 1877 conclusively put an end to the canal hypothesis.

The science fiction genre, although not so named during the time, developed during the late 19th century. Jules Verne's Around the Moon (1870) features a discussion of the possibility of life on the Moon, but with the conclusion that it is barren.

20th century Edit

Most unidentified flying objects or UFO sightings [200] can be readily explained as sightings of Earth-based aircraft, known astronomical objects, or as hoaxes. [201] A certain fraction of the public believe that UFOs might actually be of extraterrestrial origin, and the notion has had influence on popular culture.

The possibility of extraterrestrial life on the Moon was ruled out in the 1960s, and during the 1970s it became clear that most of the other bodies of the Solar System do not harbor highly developed life, although the question of primitive life on bodies in the Solar System remains open.

Recent history Edit

The failure so far of the SETI program to detect an intelligent radio signal after decades of effort has at least partially dimmed the prevailing optimism of the beginning of the space age. Belief in extraterrestrial beings continues to be voiced in pseudoscience, conspiracy theories, and in popular folklore, notably "Area 51" and legends. It has become a pop culture trope given less-than-serious treatment in popular entertainment.

In the words of SETI's Frank Drake, "All we know for sure is that the sky is not littered with powerful microwave transmitters". [202] Drake noted that it is entirely possible that advanced technology results in communication being carried out in some way other than conventional radio transmission. At the same time, the data returned by space probes, and giant strides in detection methods, have allowed science to begin delineating habitability criteria on other worlds, and to confirm that at least other planets are plentiful, though aliens remain a question mark. The Wow! signal, detected in 1977 by a SETI project, remains a subject of speculative debate.

In 2000, geologist and paleontologist Peter Ward and astrobiologist Donald Brownlee published a book entitled Rare Earth: Why Complex Life is Uncommon in the Universe. [203] In it, they discussed the Rare Earth hypothesis, in which they claim that Earth-like life is rare in the universe, whereas microbial life is common. Ward and Brownlee are open to the idea of evolution on other planets that is not based on essential Earth-like characteristics (such as DNA and carbon).

Theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking in 2010 warned that humans should not try to contact alien life forms. He warned that aliens might pillage Earth for resources. "If aliens visit us, the outcome would be much as when Columbus landed in America, which didn't turn out well for the Native Americans", he said. [204] Jared Diamond had earlier expressed similar concerns. [205]

In 2013, the exoplanet Kepler-62f was discovered, along with Kepler-62e and Kepler-62c. A related special issue of the journal Science, published earlier, described the discovery of the exoplanets. [206]

On 17 April 2014, the discovery of the Earth-size exoplanet Kepler-186f, 500 light-years from Earth, was publicly announced [207] it is the first Earth-size planet to be discovered in the habitable zone and it has been hypothesized that there may be liquid water on its surface.

On 13 February 2015, scientists (including Geoffrey Marcy, Seth Shostak, Frank Drake and David Brin) at a convention of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, discussed Active SETI and whether transmitting a message to possible intelligent extraterrestrials in the Cosmos was a good idea [208] [209] one result was a statement, signed by many, that a "worldwide scientific, political and humanitarian discussion must occur before any message is sent". [210]

On 20 July 2015, British physicist Stephen Hawking and Russian billionaire Yuri Milner, along with the SETI Institute, announced a well-funded effort, called the Breakthrough Initiatives, to expand efforts to search for extraterrestrial life. The group contracted the services of the 100-meter Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope in West Virginia in the United States and the 64-meter Parkes Telescope in New South Wales, Australia. [211]

International organisations and treaties Edit

The 1967 Outer Space Treaty and the 1979 Moon Agreement define rules of planetary protection against potentially hazardous extraterrestrial life. COSPAR also provides guidelines for planetary protection. [212]

A committee of the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs had in 1977 discussed for a year strategies in interacting with extraterrestrial life or intelligence. The discussion ended without any conclusions. As of 2010, the UN doesn't have response mechanisms for the case of an extraterrestrial contact. [213]

United States Edit

In November 2011, the White House released an official response to two petitions asking the U.S. government to acknowledge formally that aliens have visited Earth and to disclose any intentional withholding of government interactions with extraterrestrial beings. According to the response, "The U.S. government has no evidence that any life exists outside our planet, or that an extraterrestrial presence has contacted or engaged any member of the human race." [214] [215] Also, according to the response, there is "no credible information to suggest that any evidence is being hidden from the public's eye." [214] [215] The response noted "odds are pretty high" that there may be life on other planets but "the odds of us making contact with any of them—especially any intelligent ones—are extremely small, given the distances involved." [214] [215]

One of the NASA divisions is the Office of Safety and Mission Assurance (OSMA), also known as the Planetary Protection Office. A part of its mission is to “rigorously preclude backward contamination of Earth by extraterrestrial life.” [216]

Russia Edit

In 2020, Dmitry Rogozin, the head of the Russian space agency, said the search for extraterrestrial life is one of the main goals of deep space research. He also acknowledged the possibility of existence of primitive life on other planets of the Solar System. [217]

Japan Edit

In 2020, the Japanese Defense Minister Taro Kono stated that Self-Defense Forces pilots have never encountered a UFO, and that he does not believe in UFOs. He also said he would consider issuing protocols for such encounters. [218] Several months later, the protocols were issued, clarifying what the personnel should do when encountering unidentified flying objects that could potentially pose a threat to national security. [219]

China Edit

In 2016, the Chinese Government released a white paper detailing its space program. According to the document, one of the research objectives of the program is the search for extraterrestrial life. [220] It is also one of the objectives of the Chinese Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Telescope (FAST) program. [221]

EU Edit

The French space agency has an office for the study of “non-identified aero spatial phenomena”. [222] [223] The agency is maintaining a publicly accessible database of such phenomena, with over 1600 detailed entries. According to the head of the office, the vast majority of entries have a mundane explanation but for 25% of entries, their extraterrestrial origin can neither be confirmed nor denied. [222]

In 2018, the German Ministry of Economics stated that the German government has no plans or protocol for the case of a first contact with aliens, as the government perceives such event as "extremely unlikely". It also stated that no cases of a first contact are known. [224]

Israel Edit

In 2020, chairman of the Israel Space Agency Isaac Ben-Israel stated that the probability of detecting life in outer space is "quite large". But he disagrees with his former colleague Haim Eshed who stated that there are contacts between an advanced alien civilization and some of Earth's governments. [225]

  1. ^ For the purpose of this 1 in 5 statistic, "Sun-like" means G-type star. Data for Sun-like stars wasn't available so this statistic is an extrapolation from data about K-type stars
  2. ^ For the purpose of this 1 in 5 statistic, Earth-sized means 1–2 Earth radii
  3. ^ For the purpose of this 1 in 5 statistic, "habitable zone" means the region with 0.25 to 4 times Earth's stellar flux (corresponding to 0.5–2 AU for the Sun).
  4. ^ About 1/4 of stars are GK Sun-like stars. The number of stars in the galaxy is not accurately known, but assuming 200 billion stars in total, the Milky Way would have about 50 billion Sun-like (GK) stars, of which about 1 in 5 (22%) or 11 billion would be Earth-sized in the habitable zone. Including red dwarfs would increase this to 40 billion.
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Wikimedia Commons has media related to Extraterrestrial life .
Wikiquote has quotations related to: Alien life
Wikisource has original works on the topic: Extraterrestrial life
  • Baird, John C. (1987). The Inner Limits of Outer Space: A Psychologist Critiques Our Efforts to Communicate With Extraterrestrial Beings. Hanover: University Press of New England. ISBN978-0-87451-406-3 .
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  • Crowe, Michael J. (2008). The extraterrestrial life debate Antiquity to 1915: A Source Book. University of Notre Dame Press. ISBN978-0-268-02368-3 .
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  • Dick, Steven J. (2001). Life on Other Worlds: The 20th Century Extraterrestrial Life Debate. Cambridge. ISBN978-0-521-79912-6 .
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Mars Loses an Ocean But Gains the Potential for Life

It’s hard to believe it now looking at Mars’ dusty, dessicated landscape that it once possessed a vast ocean. A recent NASA study of the Red Planet using the world’s most powerful infrared telescopes clearly indicate a planet that sustained a body of water larger than the Earth’s Arctic Ocean.

If spread evenly across the Martian globe, it would have covered the entire surface to a depth of about 450 feet (137 meters). More likely, the water pooled into the low-lying plains that cover much of Mars’ northern hemisphere. In some places, it would have been nearly a mile (1.6 km) deep.

Three of the best infrared observatories in the world were used to study normal to heavy water abundances in Mars atmosphere, especially the polar caps, to create a global map of the planet’s water content and infer an ancient ocean. Credit: NASA/ GSFC

Now here’s the good part. Before taking flight molecule-by-molecule into space, waves lapped the desert shores for more than 1.5 billion years – longer than the time life needed to develop on Earth. By implication, life had enough time to get kickstarted on Mars, too.

A hydrogen atom is made up of one proton and one electron, but its heavy form, called deuterium, also contains a neutron. HDO or heavy water is rare compared to normal drinking water, but being heavier, more likely to stick around when the lighter form vaporizes into space. Credit: NASA/GFSC

Using the three most powerful infrared telescopes on Earth – the W. M. Keck Observatory in Hawaii, the ESO’s Very Large Telescope and NASA’s Infrared Telescope Facility – scientists at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center studied water molecules in the Martian atmosphere. The maps they created show the distribution and amount of two types of water – the normal H2O version we use in our coffee and HDO or heavy water, rare on Earth but not so much on Mars as it turns out.

Maps showing the distribution of H20 and HDO (heavy water) across the planet made with the trio of infrared telescopes. Credit: NASA/GSFC

In heavy water, one of the hydrogen atoms contains a neutron in addition to its lone proton, forming an isotope of hydrogen called deuterium. Because deuterium is more massive than regular hydrogen, heavy water really is heavier than normal water just as its name implies. The new “water maps” showed how the ratio of normal to heavy water varied across the planet according to location and season. Remarkably, the new data show the polar caps, where much of Mars’ current-day water is concentrated, are highly enriched in deuterium.

It’s thought that the decay of Mars’ once-global magnetic field, the solar wind stripped away much of the planet’s early, thicker atmosphere, allowing solar UV light to break water molecules apart. Lighter hydrogen exited into space, concentrating the heavier form. Some of the hydrogen may also departed due to the planet’s weak gravity. Credit: NASA/GSFC

On Earth, the ratio of deuterium to normal hydrogen in water is 1 to 3,200, but at the Mars polar caps it’s 1 to 400. Normal, lighter hydrogen is slowly lost to space once a small planet has lost its protective atmosphere envelope, concentrating the heavier form of hydrogen. Once scientists knew the deuterium to normal hydrogen ratio, they could directly determine how much water Mars must have had when it was young. The answer is A LOT!

Goddard scientists estimate that only 13% of Mars’ original water reserves are still around today, concentrated in the icy polar caps. The rest took off for space. Credit: NASA/GSFC

Only 13% of the original water remains on the planet, locked up primarily in the polar regions, while 87% of the original ocean has been lost to space. The most likely place for the ocean would have been the northern plains, a vast, low-elevation region ideal for cupping huge quantities of water. Mars would have been a much more earth-like planet back then with a thicker atmosphere, providing the necessary pressure, and warmer climate to sustain the ocean below.

Mars at the present time has little to no liquid water on its cold, desert-like surface. Long ago, the Sun almost certainly saw its reflection from wave-rippled lakes and a northern ocean. Credit: NASA/GSFC

What’s most exciting about the findings is that Mars would have stayed wet much longer than originally thought. We know from measurements made by the Curiosity Rover that water flowed on the planet for 1.5 billion years after its formation. But the new study shows that the Mars sloshed with the stuff much longer. Given that the first evidence for life on Earth goes back to 3.5 billion years ago – just a billion years after the planet’s formation – Mars may have had time enough for the evolution of life.

So while we might bemoan the loss of so wonderful a thing as an ocean, we’re left with the tantalizing possibility that it was around long enough to give rise to that most precious of the universe’s creations – life.

To quote Charles Darwin: “… from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.

Illustration showing Mars evolving from a wet world to the present-day where liquid water can’t pond on its surface without vaporizing directly into the planet’s thin air. As Mars lost its atmosphere over billions of years, the remaining water, cooled and condensed to form the north and south polar caps. Credit: NASA/GSFC


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Filer&rsquos Files salutes our fighting men and women God Bless Our Troops, and Georgie, Elizabeth, and Victoria Filer, and Eddie Pedrick. May the Angels be your guide and take you to paradise.

Put another way, a young person in the U.S. is nearly 11 times as likely to die in a swimming pool than in a school shooting. Few public officials would say pools are doing a poor job protecting swimmers, but the statistics suggest that we need &ldquomore lifeguards at pools, as opposed to guards at schools,&rdquo Fox said

The Filer Research Institute feels the scientific study of UFOs is for the benefit of humankind and is an important endeavor. The US Air Force investigated UFOs publicly for more than twenty years under Project Blue Book and I continue this advanced research. I believe the God of the universe has spread life throughout the cosmos and UFO&rsquos are visiting us in ever-increasing numbers.

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Filer&rsquos Files salutes our fighting men and women Georgie Filer and Eddie Pedrick my grandsons who both drowned. We pray that God will bless those who read these files spiritually.


Substellar Objects in Orion

Although I carry on about upcoming observatories on the ground and in space, I never want to ignore the continuing contribution of the Hubble telescope to our understanding of planet and star formation. As witness the latest deep survey made by team lead Massimo Robberto (Space Telescope Institute) and colleagues, which used the instrument to study small, faint objects in the Orion Nebula. At a relatively close 1,350 light years from Sol, the nebula is something of a proving ground for star formation, and now one that is yielding data on small stars indeed.

Identifying some 1,200 candidate reddish stars, the survey tapped Hubble’s infrared capabilities to extract 17 candidate brown dwarf companions to red dwarf stars, one brown dwarf pair and one brown dwarf with a planetary companion. We also learn that a planetary mass companion to a red dwarf has turned up as well as, interestingly enough, a planet-mass companion to another planet, the duo orbiting each other in the absence of a central star.

Image: This image is part of a Hubble Space Telescope survey for low-mass stars, brown dwarfs, and planets in the Orion Nebula. Each symbol identifies a pair of objects, which can be seen in the symbol’s center as a single dot of light. Special image processing techniques were used to separate the starlight into a pair of objects. The thicker inner circle represents the primary body, and the thinner outer circle indicates the companion. The circles are color-coded: Red for a planet orange for a brown dwarf and yellow for a star. Located in the upper left corner is a planet-planet pair in the absence of a parent star. In the middle of the right side is a pair of brown dwarfs. The portion of the Orion Nebula measures roughly 4 by 3 light-years. Credit: NASA , ESA, and G. Strampelli (STScI).

How to separate brown dwarf candidates from small red dwarfs? The technique in play was identification of water vapor in their atmospheres, which can peg cool red dwarfs as well, according to this Space Telescope Science Institute news release:

“These are so cold that water vapor forms,” explained Robberto. “Water is a signature of substellar objects. It’s an amazing and very clear mark. As the masses get smaller, the stars become redder and fainter, and you need to view them in the infrared. And in infrared light, the most prominent feature is water.”

The free-floating brown dwarfs and planets within the Orion Nebula are all new discoveries, a tribute to Hubble’s continuing role in astrophysical discovery. The search for binary companions to the 1,200 candidate stars in the original sample relied on high-contrast imaging techniques developed at STScI by Laurent Pueyo. The presence of water vapor in the atmospheres of the candidate companions is evidence that they are not the result of a chance alignment with background stars but rather must be brown dwarfs or exoplanet companions. Says Pueyo:

“We experimented with a method, high-contrast imaging post processing, that astronomers have been relying on for years. We usually use it to look for very faint planets in the close vicinity of nearby stars, by painstakingly observing them one by one. This time around, we decided to combine our algorithms with the ultra-stability of Hubble to inspect the vicinity of hundreds of very young stars in every single exposure obtained by the Orion survey. It turns out that even if we do not reach the deepest sensitivity for a single star, the sheer volume of our sample allowed us to obtain an unprecedented statistical snapshot of young exoplanets and brown dwarf companions in Orion.”

What other discoveries are waiting to be made in the Hubble archive? That data trove is soon to be complemented with the launch of the James Webb Space Telescope next year, an observatory designed to operate at infrared wavelengths.

Meanwhile, we have an early sample of low-mass objects early in the formation process, some of them solitary stars or brown dwarfs, others companions to other objects. Watching the formation process here may provide helpful insights into the boundary between star and planet as they evolve in such stellar nurseries.


NASA Selects Two Asteroid Missions

Among the five finalists for NASA’s Discovery program, I had become attached to the Near Earth Object Camera (NEOCam), whose purpose was to expand our catalog greatly, with the potential, according to mission backers, of finding ten times more NEOs than we’ve found to date. We’ll see if NEOCam has a future (I’ve just learned that it has been given extended funding for an additional year by NASA), but for now NASA has announced two other Discovery-class missions, both of which have objectives among the asteroids.

Lucy, scheduled for a launch in the fall of 2021, is to be a robotic mission with the goal of exploring six of the Jupiter Trojan asteroids. The Trojans share Jupiter’s orbit while moving swarm-like around the planet’s L4 and L5 Lagrangian points. Over 6000 Jupiter Trojans are now known, but the population is thought to be vast, with as many as 1 million Trojans larger than 1 kilometer in diameter. As to their origin, there is much to learn. They may be captured asteroids or comets, or as this short NASA video explains, even Kuiper Belt Objects.

From the standpoint of Solar System evolution, the Trojans make for interesting science. They’re relics of the primordial material of the outer system, and I see that principal investigator Harold F. Levison cites the mission’s name in connection with another Lucy, the fossil fragments that have been so significant in our understanding of human development. We’ll see if this Lucy gets as much public attention as its namesake, which acquired its name from the Beatles song ‘Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds,’ played at the recovery site in Ethiopia. Breaking out the Sgt. Pepper album on this Lucy’s arrival at its first target seems a natural.

There are connections between the Lucy effort and the highly successful New Horizons mission, in the form of later versions of the familiar RALPH and LORRI science instruments, and evidently several members of the Lucy mission team are connected with New Horizons as well. Lucy also benefits from the contributions of several members of the OSIRIS-REx team, the latter a robotic spacecraft now on its way to rendezvous with asteroid Bennu.

Image: (Left) An artist’s conception of the Lucy spacecraft flying by the Trojan Eurybates – one of the six diverse and scientifically important Trojans to be studied. Trojans are fossils of planet formation and so will supply important clues to the earliest history of the solar system. (Right) Psyche, the first mission to the metal world 16 Psyche will map features, structure, composition, and magnetic field, and examine a landscape unlike anything explored before. Psyche will teach us about the hidden cores of the Earth, Mars, Mercury and Venus.
Credit: SwRI and SSL/Peter Rubin.

The other mission is Psyche, dedicated to a single asteroid of that name that appears to be the survivor of an early collision with another object that violently disrupted a protoplanet. About 210 kilometers in diameter, 16 Psyche is thought to be composed mostly of metallic iron and nickel, a composition similar to the Earth’s core. We seem to be looking at what would have become the core of a Mars-sized planet, now without its outer rocky layers. Thomas H. Prettyman, a co-investigator on the Psyche mission, explains:

“Psyche is thought to be the exposed core of a planetary embryo – perhaps like Vesta – that initially melted and later cooled to form a central metallic core, silicate mantle, and basaltic crust. The outer layers may have been removed in a violent collision, leaving the core exposed. Psyche will provide a close-up look at a planetary core, providing new insights into the evolution and inner workings of terrestrial planets.”

The robotic Psyche mission will launch in the fall of 2023, with arrival at 16 Psyche in 2030 after two gravity assists, one from an Earth flyby, the second from a flyby of Mars. Both missions have this is common: They target the development of the early Solar System, one by observing the remnants of formation among the Jupiter Trojans, the other by seeing the interior of what might have become a planet. Let’s hope for the kind of success for both that we saw in earlier Discovery missions like MESSENGER and Dawn. OSIRIS-REx, meanwhile, is on course for a 2018 rendezvous with asteroid Bennu, with sample return to follow.


Mercedes Richards (1955-2016)

We are in mourning at PSU astronomy. Our colleague Prof. Mercedes Richards died yesterday from complications of a chronic medical condition.

Mercedes Richards. Image by Wendy Estep and Sara Brennen.

I first met Prof. Richards when I visited Penn State as prospective faculty. The interview was supposed to be about my exoplanet work, but we ended up talking about stars and stellar clusters. After I was hired, it was always a pleasure to stop by her office for her thoughts on stellar activity, stellar evolution, spectroscopy, and teaching. Her home in College Township is just a few doors down from ours, and the Richardses were always warm and welcoming neighbors.

Mercedes Tharam Davis was raised in Kingston, Jamaica, where her father, a police detective, and her mother, an accountant, taught her the power of deductive reasoning and care in one’s work. She received her BSc in Physics from the University of the West Indies before moving to Toronto, where she earned her MSc (at York) and PhD (U Toronto) in astronomy. She joined the faculty at the University of Virginia in 1987, and came to Penn State as a full Professor in 2002.

Prof. Richards is especially well known for her pioneering work in tomography of binary star systems and CVs. By strutinizing spectroscopic and photometric time series of stars and compact objects in close orbit, Prof. Richards could create three-dimensional “movies” of mass-exchange systems, answering important questions about how mass transfer occurs.

Her research has been recognized with a Fullbright Distinguished Chair, and the Musgrave Medal. The latter has been awarded occasionally by the Institute of Jamaica for over 100 years for achievement in art, science, or literature Prof. Richards was just the 14th scientist to be so honored.

Prof. Richards’s service to the profession is exemplary. She served as President of IAU Commission 42, a Councillor of the AAS, and organized numerous international conferences. She served as our assistant department head from 2003-2008.

Prof. Richards’s dedication to students of all ages is well known. Her introductory astronomy class was one of the most popular on campus. She was a founder and director of SEECoS, a high school science outreach program of Penn State, and a Harlow Shapely Lecturer for the AAS.

I’m going to miss Dr. Richards she has served as a role model educator, researcher, and scientist for me since my arrival.

Prof. Richards is survived by her husband Donald, who is a professor of statistics at Penn State and occasional co-author with her, and two daughters, Chandra and Suzanne. They have always been joyful presences at department events, and our hearts and thoughts are with them today.

Contact

525 Davey Laboratory
Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics
The Pennsylvania State University
University Park, PA 16802