168: Microbial Life Transport Theory. What??
In fifteen seconds guidance been journal and nine technician sequence spence nuts three to two meals good here we go again with another episode of the space nets. Let's podcast. My name is andrew with me as always is professor fred watson. Hello fred dunkley. How are you well. Thank you still alive which is good. That's and i hear that <hes> katmandu now has a twitter page. It does in in in response to popular not popular demand. He has his own twitter feed. He woke up this morning. Just long long enough to sign in and then he went off noughties breakfast and went back to sleep but within five minutes he had four followers. I think he's got a lot more than that. Now because people people on the space nuts podcast page have been asking for a photo of man so i did put that up and a with the twitter links identify. He's had to have many more friends very very soon. Well be very good because god knows he needs. That's ever wakes up to actually instant messages. That's great news. He's a funny. All fellow is man do now today fred. We've got a couple of things to talk about that are of great interest when we're talking about life and how it gets around the planet something could be said for how it gets around the universe as well perhaps perhaps because they've looked at how microbes travel on earth and they get around they do get around and we'll explain that very soon we've also found an earth sized rocky exit planet which could be could be law sustaining except for one minute glitch from what i read very very quickly and we had some some questions we got a question only yesterday in fact from a young and fellow who messaged me and said i'm not sure where to ask questions. Is this okay. I think it came up as a facebook message and i said yeah sure i'll send it to fred and and what are you going to tackle it. Straight up about flying fly out astronauts. I think the basic crux of the question so we'll we'll look into that there was also also a question following on from something we talked about recently and that was the israeli crash on the moon that may have you know put life on the moon in advertently and someone says well you know okay they broke into national law by doing that but what about chang a. four four with its frogs and dogs and everything else and <hes> we've got a question from dear old school friend of mine who found on me recently. I've been trying to hide from school france but they've tracked me down. I don't know how they do it and he wanted to talk about warp drive so we'll be tackling all of those things on this episode one hundred sixty eight of the space nuts podcast and that's all we have time for this way now i i now. I now use that jack a lot but it's one of my dear circles to the bone. Yes indeed to tell you under hours you mean you haven't managed yet because on management now this first story is is all about how life can move around and i've been looking at microbial life and how it disperses using dust as a transporter this this is rather fascinating in probably could open the door into how life my of moved around the universe even that's correct. It's <hes> it's it's a piper a scientific paper with very dry title which is alien transporter viable viable microbial life across the atacama desert chile implications from mars and i think most of those are from the chilean spanish institutions but what they have done. I think that spanish actually from from a mother consent throw the lord as my best spanish. It's rubbish by the mind anyway. That's the university the city of madrid astrology astro biology center about madrid it will be the university that's right so what they've done is really really neat experiment to do they've gone to the atacama desert and i was in the atacama desert about a month and a half ago but not doing experiments that that was looking at the scenery. So what they've done is that drives place on earth pretty well apart from buffer montoc ticker is very very dry and he's a desert and it's warm and is near the equator so it's got pretty hefty ultraviolet bombardment from the sun's ray so there's a fair chunk of radiation there but what they did was they basically collected bacterial and fungal entities species. He's from basically areas where the <hes> you know <hes> on either side of the the the hardest bitterly atacama and they were able to drill the draw the conclusion that the species a different enough that that sort of indigenous species if i put it that way were different enough so that they won't shed between the two. I thought they found that that is evidence <music>. I'm not quite sure how they did this. I need to read the paper and a bit more detail but the recipients that the living organisms can actually move across the desert that they say they. They've basically taken samples. The demonstrate that these guys came from the other side but the now on the on the far side of the atacama desert so then they may have done species comparisons and say well this one couldn't have been born he doc staff and that could have happened was transport transport. That's correct or as it's called alien transport the paper so what they were trying to do was essentially just ask. The question can microbial life disperse. You know on dust that that that's the key thing that these things hitch a ride on dust particles which is transported by the wind in the desert and y the main point is that the atacama desert is kind of analog model for the planet mars because mars is dry and his co. Winds much much less atmospheric pressure bunch low temperature and of course the other issue is that that is a high level of solar radiation and karachi cosmic radiation from bombarding the surface of mars. You've got to kind of rule that one out and say well. We don't know about the radiation but the the fact that <hes> as they say that paper a number of viable bacteria and fungi are in fact able to traverse the driest and most u._v. <unk> irradiated the desert on earth unscathed using wind transported dust particularly. They not in the later afternoon hours. That's when you'd think things were worst. Suggestion is that that microbial life on mars and they say extant or past may have similarly benefited from alien transport bought a on the wind to move across the planet and find suitable habitats to thrive in evolves so it's a really interesting experiment of an interesting finding that they've done this. This suggests that maybe like groups could zoom around on the window laws. I suppose for a micro by speck of dust would be like a planet yes that's right and and in those circumstances for micro died believing in a micro environment so the outer atmosphere or the atmosphere is we know wouldn't be not the same for them. They often be living in micro bubbles of water and things like that. Would they not there would if there was any water yeah he was anymore it but yeah that's right so i think you points well made that they they are taking a ride on bits of dust and so that will be that whole environment in a sense of the fact it is being blown around on the wind is not necessarily detrimental to their existence what might be detrimental is that things up by cosmic rays and things things bother being blown around which will probably be the case on yeah okay but it does sort of open the door <hes> into how microbes can you can travel and whether or not a tap into on other planets like mas or some other rocky exoplanet one of which we're going to talk about shortly <hes> <hes> it's starting to the evidence is building more and more about the potential for mcreavy life to exist probably probably is more than anything quite so <hes> and i suppose the question then comes up as to whether or not they could survive <hes> spice travel on asteroids of the like and some you know that's the big theory of <hes> fred toyland chandra wickremesinghe missing microbes zoom around the solar system on bits of dustin find a way to like us and in case it was <hes> just write the party and you shall not too hot to cold exactly all right. I'll be interested interested to see more of this research as it comes out and what else they can learn the atacama desert. I've never been to you have an it sounds like a fascinating applies but here's a few places in the world where they've they've sort of looked at. This is what mars would be like. Let's see if we can live here for six months. Stein end environment and it would be tough. You're listening to space nuts andrew dunkley and fred watson's. Thanks nuts okay for straight under these extra planet that has been spotted with finding them at a right. I did not say these days. We've hit the tens of thousands in terms of numbers or over ten thousand. I think is the number four thousand four thousand with with another. I think another six hundred candidates from the still remaining from the space mission is because they getting the dot of it. It's the analysis that takes the time and so the cat until they've done the analysis benowitz. Get ten thousand from but we'll get. We'll be alone you quite right. We'll go along um. This one is just three four bay. What's special about this. One chess usually means left hand side but it doesn't in this case. It's a catalog name but it has been observed by two nasa space telescopes to find out more about it so i like chess three eight. Four four b is about an o._s. Planet in orbit around the red dwarf star forty light years. He is away as the crow flies so it's been known since two thousand eighteen and it was discovered by tests which is the transiting exoplanet survey anti-satellite but nasa spacecraft and what tests let you do basically what it does is it looks for the dip in brightness of a style when the planet passes in front of it and if you know the damage of the style and you know you do physical properties and then if you know oh how much the planet has dimmed the stands light you basically know how big the planet in terms of its time and this one turns out to be about one point three times the diameter of the earth so what you might call a super earth however the next step was to try and investigate it's atmosphere and for that you need different <hes> different assist all a different facility than <hes> than the tests spacecraft and and so what they used was necessary spitzer satellite spitzer is the name of an infrared telescope actually <hes> it's one that can look at what we call thermal emission which is the <hes> the the heat radiation the heat signature of of any object and so <hes> spitzer was looked up to study the way the infrared light from both the planet and the star. This is a tricky bit. You've got you basically get both together because you can't separate one from the other in the field of view of the telescope looking at essentially a single object the planet too close to the star to be resolved as we say you don't see it as a separate entity. How close is it well. It's close enough that one year for this planet senate electchester thirty eight forty four b. One year is actually eleven of our hours. Oso eleven hours is quite a quick year and quite rapid turnover in birthdays. I ice and things like that. Yes now what that means because it means all day what it means is that because he's so close <hes> this phenomenon of tidal breaking will have slowed down its rotation so always keeps the same face towards the some so what that means is. It's going to have a side and a cold side but they might not be that different. If the planet has an atmosphere so what you're looking for is some way of being able to find out you know whether the hot side of the planet side facing some of the cold side different similar in temperature so the way you do that is very very clever if you imagine the time when the planet is translating across the face of the star so it's it's going across the stars <hes> disk. We don't see that always as the point of light <hes> but the spitzer telescope can look that amount can basically look the the combination of the star and the duck side of the planet on it and work out how much hate is being radiated from the dockside of the planet the follow the logic there because that's the side. That's facing you that you know the amount of radiation that's coming from the star club the planet in the middle of the star disc as it goes around in orbit then do the same measurements again what what you get also includes the contribution of the planet itself which turns out to be not much more than absolute zero. It's very very cold on the side away from the style then you wait till the planet the five and a half hours. If it's an eleven year wait for five and a half hours until the planet is just about to go behind the star on the other side of its orbit and what you've got there is an observation of the star aw with the daylight side of the planet facing you and so you can make the same measurement you can work out what the daylight side temperatures and it is seven hundred seventy degrees celsius found so you've got this huge difference absolute zero one side nearly not that far above the big advantage paying. If you've got an eleven how year you're going to have a really quick suntan to joy birthday the exact fact he bought before. I never mind up so so that i'll not planet. You've got these two very distinct sides the day side and the nightside with this you know almost thousand degree temperature difference between them dot all that suggests that there is no trace of an atmosphere must feel that because if that was <hes> you would expect while probably very high winds between the side and the gold sign but you would expect expect temperatures to be even doubt they are largely on venus a a plus around the sub because its atmosphere is so so think then that tends to even out the temperature <hes> between the dos the day side and the nightside on this particular object chess thirty eight forty four. That's not happening thank you so the inference is that it does not have an appreciable atmosphere so even though it's a nice roomy planet just a bigger than the earth. It's got not much to offer for in terms of breath ability so would it be fair to say it's more akin to album mercury mercury negligence it because mercury's hot on one side freezing cold on the other concern and people might have trouble getting their heads around that because mercury so close to the sun in but you can you can do the experiment when you standing in the sun and then step retrea is the same effect isn't it. It's very similar. Yes anyway so this one no good for cosmic holidays but i think starting undefined candidates that may will be potentially livable planets and as we previously discussed with the way back microbial life can travel and fungal life and they may well be live on those planets if they have liquid water. That's the key. Ingredient bruno's won't be yes to the story. Andromeda mentioned that this research has been done by strong as the harvard smithsonian center vastra physics in cambridge massachusetts one of the great names james in astronomical institutions so the suddenly the lead author is fantastic all right well. There's there's another nonconformist conformist planet into the life experiment but we looking on looking this is space nuts your listening to enter john kelly but mostly fred watson space nuts afraid before we hit some and questions once again a big shout of appreciation to our patrons who signed up at patriotair dot com slash patient space shuttle the pace nuts pretty speedy so forty four people now fred who contributing to the space nuts that is fantastic. We just thrilled that you enjoy it enough to one put a couple of dollars in the teen so fantastic well done thank you and i also want to mention the space nuts podcast group and i did tell you that i've put a federal mandate up there for all to see and we're getting comments. Yes so that's good too. If you want to join the space nuts podcast group just put searching for it and just put put your request in to join and that's all there is to it to sit back and wait and after a few weeks of committee meetings and bureaucratic nonsense we will probably approve it pending the approval but then <hes> we might just say straightaway and if you do have questions questions for us a lot of people say where to us in questions the space podcast group is designed for you to talk to each other and discuss barrier astronomical things so that's what it's for we do often get questions through our official facebook page which is fine but we find the best swipe do it is to send them to our website bites b. I t. e. S. zayd dot com slash space nuts down down the quantum of that page as i little <hes> contact us alive message or comment for us spice phil at app and that'll get straight to us and those questions get fed immediately too afraid in myself so that's probably the best way i._t. Dot com slash spice snacks and that's where you can listen to all their episodes as well. Although we're also on google podcast apple podcasts spotify stitcher pod bay in i heart radio podcasts cass box and you can even save up your own hours this podcast plenty of ways to to keep in touch with us now fred. Let's hit this first question. This one allen came in yesterday from for me. Young fellow named devon devon lee. I hope i'm pronouncing that properly devon hello andrew my question is would it ever be feasible to send astronauts to work in space daily or possibly by daily so the astronauts can return home to help retain calcium in their bones as well as send smaller smaller cheaper rockets just as an astronaut shuttle shuttle. I believe this would be an interesting experiment that would at the very least help us improve smaller reusable rocket look at technology as well as minimize the white time for astronauts to leave the earth. Thank you for the education and entertainment and have a great day. Devon great question fred was really keen to have a god. If there's one thing yeah it's i mean theoretically it could happen but it seems to fly in the face of all we know about space travel at the moment <hes> and it is you know that the correct devon smacking the correct comments comments about things like calcium in the bones because sunny that's one of the things that bone density as one of the things that gets lost by astronauts and but i think the the real answer is that it is not going to be practicable just because of the length of time the human body aches to adapt to space so you need that <hes> duration in zero gravity to able to work effectively <hes> in in space ace eight. I was in a couple of times actually recently at medical conferences which have been concerned with the effects of space light on the human body. I wanna particular. I got a whole lot of information about the the effects of weightlessness on that very profound. You know they make a big difference to your body <hes> but you get used to them on on so you can function really well if you take the time in the new environment so it's a bit like getting over jet lag. Now i know some of my colleagues the this done it for something like four days but i know people have gone to europe for a weekend from australia and then come back again. Coming is is that they didn't have time to get the jet lag at the other end the they canceled out by the time they got bought comb an actually the it's a couple of times on my short trips. I've been a little bit of evidence of this but still i think <hes> going into is quite different thing. You're expending ending a lot of energy to get up to that eight kilometers per second that you need to stay in orbit and <hes> basically dock with the international space station then. You've got to slide down to come back to earth. I think that's the killer so the expense. I imagine yes so it just gonna about to talk about that. So the moment you know the canonical price if i can put it that way accepted price for sending things into overseas about twenty thousand dollars per kilogram is possible with spacex is use of reusable boosters now that might come down even by as much as a factor of ten this the different slant till the expense but i don't think the economics of it will be much better to send people up there for a reasonably like. Did you arrive at the moment. It's six months standard stay. They would cost them one million six hundred thousand dollars to send main despite workout you weigh one and a quarter tons. Is that right. They had an extra nought knows may be added calculation so you with your pencil type of that's dangerous in itself medical history at school the degrees great idea but not feasible yet might oh i think visible in the future maybe <hes> maybe not day-trips maybe maybe shorter stints than they do at the moment like the do several wakes and even months sometimes longer these days but the they the the price you pay on your body's is pretty heavy and that's one of the big challenges challenges especially if we're going to send people mas which is starting to look less and less likely at this stage but there's so many challenges we have to have to overcome devon so thanks for the question and hopefully that gave you the answer you may or may not been looking for now. Let's move onto the next question. Firstly thanks for great podcast asked always interesting in good to listen to it has talking about recently you were discussing the crash of sheet on the moon and the fact that it violated the planetary protection protocol by carrying todd grades. Yes we did talk about that. My question is how is this different to the janghi. Four craft raft sending <unk> carrying seeds fruit flies some of which within germinated in a bias fee many thanks russell from walking ham. Is it walking ham in go right retain probably working. I i can't see the question of the state but copies of everything is so the answer is yes. It is no different and so the planet <unk> protection detection rules. <hes> get really stringent. When you going to somewhere like myers that's got an atmosphere in could have its own viable population of <hes> of microbes the the the much reduced when he's talking about going to a subject line with no atmosphere in fact the mercury and the asana other places that you might visit without too much too much worry on the planetary protection rules. I think to some extent there's a there's a pragmatism about the yes. China four took took a was it fruit fruit flies and i think some seedlings as well which it's germinated but didn't last very long i think only lasted twenty four hours a fourteen thousand something like that <hes> but the so how does that negate right you know how does that sit with the planetary protection rules is probably okay but i think with with very sheets the <hes> the israeli experiment. I don't know that there was any announcement made that these things were going to the moon before event. Maybe you know the protocol would dictate. That trump should say yes. We're going to send few microbes up there or whatever and i think they get the tick of approval. I mean you know the the bottom. Line is we've sent human. Pinkston moved bags of mike had just rancid bags of bacteria in yourself. Eh viral load is high. That's why you redouble. He has no water and he gonna any water. That's right well so you won't have any microbes not anyway. I think that's the bottom line is it's a very let's put it that way and it will become even greyer when we started sending people to mars because of places what to go. We'll be the places where you've really require. What's called category for sterilization. I think it's foresee which is the most stringent didn't and says that you must have no more than thirty spores post vice craft bacteria talking about then you put a person in there with mrs it up doesn't it and of course most of the astronomical world is stunned that israel would do that without telling anyone but china. Oh my oh my gosh how could they. I've already been there so i'd have to go back and get arrested in surrounding a gulag for dizzying jonah. We'll live it right there. Next question very much appreciated <hes>. Let's move on to another one. This is from tony buzek tiny and i went to school together data and as i said earlier on how he found me up in hiding at here for so long but some of them are school nights have started tracking me down so tony's a recent <hes> <hes> join the ranks of the space nuts fraternity so welcome along tony happy looking after my hometown. He says my burning question. Regards physicist meal miguel l. qibiya basis on warp drives like is star trek. His theory suggests it would be possible to travel faster than the speed of light by not moving as your spacecraft would be inside a bubble of space that can travel it spades that space itself is capable of the journey to alpha centauri could take as little as two weeks as opposed to something like four point one light years or one hundred ninety thousand years at normal rocket speed which i'd prefer ken for a disgust this or is this something you've discussed in previous episodes. Yes we have thanks tiny and that's. Let's leave it for this night. We've talked about it but it's worth investigating again because this this is a theory. This is a concept the has been brought forward as a potential <hes> y of traveling whether or not it's feasible verses. The theory is another matter. It's real. It's a really interesting idea. Which i confess. I haven't looked at the work of miguel al could be adas or whatever his name is <hes> his work <unk> drives but the equipment right that space expands a has it's expanded we know in the past in such a way that to places in space being separated by greater than the speed of light that certainly it happened but that's spaces a whole now how you isolate a bubble of space that is going to do something different from that is is a very interesting question. I cannot think of any way in physics or metaphysics that you've been able to do that. <hes> because does your space time itself is the underlying fabric that we are attached to chopping out a little bit of it to go its own way is a difficult thing. Then you've got the problem i mean difficult by the possible probably but then you've got the problem of whether you get the energy from track celebrate it to these extraordinary speeds and i do remember reading is probably about ten years ago even longer more like twenty probably <hes> some work that was done i think in university college london and by specialists in relativity <hes> who an you and i spoke about this before andrew but they they looked at the you know the the the demand for warping space literally walking's base so that you bring to places closer hosted together and travel between them faster than the speed of light so that's the principle of the warp drive and the bottom line was the us up more than the more than the entire energy budget of the universe to do that so you can't do it but you need more energy than the universe universe actually possesses so that makes it a bit tricky. I'm so i think these things will always remain in the realm of science fiction unt unless there is a breakthrough of a very weird kind at my guess is that it wouldn't be to do with whooping space that it will be something to do with getting getting down to quantum mechanics getting into things like quantum teleportation things of that sort but we haven't done that yet so i. Why do i still reckon the time will come when they'll they'll crack this one. It might take a few thousand years not but i do think that will crack at one day. Well that's right yeah see some. It's a fund hope sofa down the trap. Never going to see the first intimate i think a and unless we get that time machine yes taught my time machine. I don't know what's wrong with it today but it was fine tomorrow. Sorry about and it's very good one. I'll look it's worth telling once in a lifetime but then you can go back that comment here it again all right thanks to the question. The answer is not yet but maybe one day many many moons down the dry. It is a good ati and thank you to everyone who contributed this way. You can thank you for listening and thank you for chasing up podcast group group and to patrons to everybody and thank you for it as always it's. It's fantastic fund and we'll do it again next week. I hope we will sounds good. Thanks hundred season. The professor fred watson astronomer. Lodge joins us every week here on space and that says do i and we you can join us again next week. For another episode of space space nuts to this podcast subscribe to the podcast on and stitch-up or your favorite podcast distributed this vein another quality podcast production from dot com.