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Earth and Space

This presentation is for my year 8 science assessment.

Oliver Denny

on 23 November 2014

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Transcript of Earth and Space

By Oliver Denny
Earth and Space
What research have scientists carried out into the possibility of living away from Earth?
What Solutions have Scientists come up with to solve the problems of living in Space?
What is Essential for Life on Another Planet?
What Problems are Caused by these Solutions?
Even if we are not struck by a meteorite or invaded by aliens, the evidence suggests that human beings will, sooner or later, destroy the planet. Human behaviour is now proven to be an important contributing factor to global and the pollution of the sea. Overpopulation is also putting strain on the planet's resources. If by some miracle humans mature enough to alter their behaviour and not destroy the planet, our sun will die. However this will happen maybe in the next 5 billion years so that gives us some time to advance our technology and leave Earth for good (http://www.enchantedlearning.com/subjects/astronomy/sun/sundeath.shtml)
Meteor Collision
Scientists around the world have pondered over the possibility of moving to other planets for hundreds of years, but we have never come as close to figuring out this problem than in the last few centuries. More and more money has been poured in to this subject. This is shown when an Astronaut named Neil Armstrong went up into space in a rocket called Apollo 11 and stepped on to the moon in the year of 1969 on July 20. This was a giant leap for man kind and since then many more technological advances concerning space have been made. One of these is when two NASA spacecrafts were launched into space in 1977. They were called Voyager 1 and Voyager 2.
In order for life or even just us humans to be able to live on another planet, there would have to be certain elements in place that are essential for us to survive. It is impossible to know the conditions needed for life on every planet in the universe with only the statistics taken from only one. However, if we assume that other life forms in space are like Earth life and so need the same conditions, then the following conditions would be what all life needs to survive in space. First of all, the planet must have a temperature that is suitable. Technically, it must be in the habitable zone. The habitable zone is a specific distance from the sun or stars like it that might support life on a planet that is in it. i.e. it is not so close to the sun that all life will burn or too far away from the sun so that no life can grow because it so cold. Secondly, the planet has to have water thus implying there is an atmosphere unless the water is below the surface.
Living in space is something humans have thought about ever since we realised Earth isn't really the only planet in the universe, but soon thinking about it won't be enough. Humans have a choice, either to await their doom on this planet or leave Earth and colonise other planets, other solar systems, other galaxies. We can't stay here forever and expect everything to be perfect because it won't. One way or another life on Earth or even just Earth will cease to be. Already the International Space Station is housing people in space for extended periods of time, but we have encountered many setbacks.
As we all know, nothing is a free lunch. There are always unintended or overlooked problems to any solution. Especially with solutions to problems of the scale I have told you earlier. In the following slides I will show you two issues that might be caused due to the solutions I have introduced in the last few slides.
In conclusion, I believe that the best solutions to the problems I have addressed above are, firstly to build a space elevator once we have developed our nanotechnology to be at the level of which we are able to build a very sturdy, very thin 65,000-mile-long cable and secondly to build a space station with rotating platforms thus generating artificial gravity. I believe these are the best solutions because, so far we have not come up with solutions as simple to achieve and practical as these.
What might cause our planet to become uninhabitable?
Is there a future to life on Earth or must we seek elsewhere?
Most people may believe that the world will become uninhabitable or spin off its axis because of a gigantic meteor crashing through the Earth's atmosphere, but I believe that by the time something like this happens, and it just might, we will easily be able to alter its course or burn it up before it could cause any damage. But what if we aren't ready? What if our fate will be just like the fate of the dinosaurs' 65 million years ago?
Asteroid Collision
The lifecycle of any star is determined by the mass of the star. Our Sun is an average-mass object, and it lives an average life. Stars of lower mass live very boring lifecycles. Stars with a higher mass live very exciting lifecycles. On this page you will learn about the lifecycle of the Sun. The key events in our Sun's life are

1) A giant cloud of dust and gas begins to collapse under the influence of gravity. As the particles of gas move closer to the center, they rub against each other and heat up from the friction. The cloud will begin to glow in infrared, and is called a PROTOSTAR.

2) When gravity causes the center of this cloud to squeeze so tightly together that pressures and temperatures soar, thermonuclear fusion ignites Hydrogen in to Helium, and the object will generate light (gamma rays). A STAR IS BORN.

3) The outward pressure from nuclear fusion is balanced by the inward pressure of gravity, and the star will be round. This balance is called HYDROSTATIC EQUILIBRIUM.

4) When all of the Sun's core supply of Hydrogen has been converted into Helium, nuclear fusion will stop. With no outward pressure, gravity will crush the core smaller and smaller. The pressure and temperature becomes so great that Helium is converted into Carbon. Nearby this Helium-Carbon core, the temperture is hot enough for neary Hydrogen to fuse into Helium. The Hydrogen-Helium shell around the Helium-Carbon core adds up to create tremendous outward pressure. The Sun's outer photosphere expands to tremendous size, engulfing Mercury, Venus, and perhaps even Earth and Mars. The same amount of mass spread out over a larger area results in a lower surface temperture for the Sun's photosphere, and the color drops from yellow to red. The Sun is now a RED GIANT. The Sun is no longer considered to be living, but now is dying.

5) During this Red Giant phase, the shell of Hydrogen will fuse into Helium and collapse inward into the core. There is a brief time when the star shrinks and turns more orange in color. Then a new shell of Hydrogen will fuse into Helium and the star will expand again and turn red. The sudden burst of outward pressure will blow a bubble of stellar matter out into space, as if the star is shedding a layer of skin. The star does this shrinking and expanding event repeatedly. This is called the AGB STAGE (Asymptotic Giant Branch). Stars that have as much as 8 times the mass of our Sun might blow out 7/8 of its matter into space during this stage of death.

6) When all of the core supply of Helium is converted into Carbon, nuclear fusion stops and gravity goes to work again. The core collapses. Pressures soar. However, the mass is insufficient to generate the high temperatures necessary to fuse Carbon into something else. The core will shrink to an Earth-size ball with densities 100,000 to 1,000,000 times greater than the Sun's core at present. Most of the outer gas has been blown into space. The core is called a WHITE DWARF. The shells of gas around the White Dwarf creates a PLANETARY NEBULA.

7) Eventually, the nebular gases dissipate into space and all that remains is a "naked" White Dwarf. This will slowly cool off and die as a BLACK DWARF.
Solar Apocalypse
Global Warming
The ozone layer surrounding the planet literally shields us from death. It deflects the ultraviolet light that is emitted from the sun thus stopping radiation from giving us cancer and other similarly horrible and fatal diseases. In fact depletion of the ozone layer would massively effect the population of the planet. It would wipe out whole species and effect the food chain. It could even mean the end of life on Earth. Unfortunately, research shows that the effects of a nuclear war between two countries could well create huge holes in our ozone layer. Currently about 40
Nuclear Warfare
Alien Invasion
The possibility of aliens from outer space coming to our planet is a hugely controversial topic. Personally I believe humans will never come in contact with any alien life, least of all, ones that want to destroy our population or eat our brains.

Space is phenomenally gigantic. The distance from Earth to the edge of our solar system is 21.24 billion km. It would take 19.7 hours to get there travelling at warp speed. As yet we know of no extraterrestrial life in our solar system and the space between solar systems can be impossibly big. The closest planet out of our solar system is a planet orbiting Alpha Centauri B and with nowadays technology we would get there in thousands of years as it is 4 light years away. This particular planet orbits its sun once every 3.2 days. It's so close to its star that its surface might be made of super hot molten rock, more than 2000 degrees Fahrenheit.
Death of the dinosaurs. Will we have the same fate?
The age of the rocks in Chicxulub dates back to the end of the Cretaceous period roughly 65 million years ago. Scientists guess this was the reason for the extinction of the dinosaurs, but it might not have been the only one. They believe it might have been only a fraction of a much larger meteor, broken up in the Earth's atmosphere. Whether another event like this will happen before something else forces us off our planet, we don't know but if it happens every 50-100 million years then it could happen any time within the next 35 million years.
How likely is something like this happening again?
Chicxulub crater in the gulf of Mexico
Geophysicist, Glen Penfield found one of the largest identified craters caused by the impact of an asteroid or comet. The crater is more than 180 km in diameter and the asteroid must have been at least 10 km wide travelling at somewhere between twelve and forty-two miles per second with the almost incomprehensible force of 100 million megatons (some 5 billion times more powerful than the Hiroshima explosion) (http://www.scienceclarified.com/scitech/Comets-and-Asteroids/When-Comets-and-Asteroids-Strike-Earth.html#b) . Named Chicxulub after the city now built around it, this crater is the product of an incident said to only happen every 50-100 million years (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chicxulub_crater and http://www2.jpl.nasa.gov/sl9/back2.html).
The death of the dinosaurs

Photosynthesis is the process in which the leaves of a plant take the energy from the sun and the moisture from the ground to provide the plant with food. A by-product of this process is oxygen that escapes through the leaves.

Here is the process step-by-step: Carbon dioxide enters the plants through microscopic holes in the stem and leaves. These holes are called stomata. During the time in which Carbon dioxide enters the plant, water is absorbed by its roots. The water travels all the way up the stem to get to the leaves. Leaves are usually green due to a green pigment inside them called chlorophyll. As sunlight hits the leaves, this pigment captures the energy and stores it away until it is eventually used to convert water into hydrogen and oxygen. The hydrogen produced is then combined with the carbon dioxide that had entered through the stomata to provide the plant with food. The oxygen is then let out through the stomata as it is just a bi-product of the process. This whole process is used by organisms like bacteria and algae, in which hydrogen is used to produce food, and oxygen is released as what is left over.
Diagram of a typical plant, showing the inputs and outputs of the photosynthetic process
There is, however a possibility of some technologically advanced species out there inventing a craft that can travel at warp speed and then travel across the universe to come and see the blue planet or exploit some of the goods it holds. In the event of such an occurrence, these aliens might not want to kill us. They might just want to trade special elements. But there are other dangers. They could bring with them diseases that our immune systems can't fend off thus wiping out the human race. These are unintentional consequences and the list goes on and on.
In the event of an Alien invasion

Alien Invasion
Solar Apocalypse
These are the stages of our sun's life sourced from: http://cde.nwc.edu/SCI2108/course_documents/the_sun/sun_lifecycle/lifecycle.htm
The dying of the Sun. The dying of the Earth
The most important part of the stages of the sun's life is stage number 5:

5) During this Red Giant phase, the shell of Hydrogen will fuse into Helium and collapse inward into the core. There is a brief time when the star shrinks and turns more orange in color. Then a new shell of Hydrogen will fuse into Helium and the star will expand again and turn red. The sudden burst of outward pressure will blow a bubble of stellar matter out into space, as if the star is shedding a layer of skin. The star does this shrinking and expanding event repeatedly. This is called the AGB STAGE (Asymptotic Giant Branch). Stars that have as much as 8 times the mass of our Sun might blow out 7/8 of its matter into space during this stage of death.

This is because it says that our sun will expand and contract repeatedly. Even though it may do this process over a long period of time, it still will not give the Earth or its inhabitants a chance to adapt to the change in climate. For there will be huge swings of climate as the sun gets smaller and then bigger, freezing the Earth then scorching it. During this stage of the sun's death, all life on Earth save the toughest of species will die out. In order for us, as a race to survive we will have to become refugees in the vast openness of space and seek elsewhere for refuge.
Alien Spaceship
Without trees, life on Earth would be impossible with the technology we have at present. Trees make our planet what it is. They cover 30% of the land mass and provide enough oxygen along with plants for us to breathe (http://environment.nationalgeographic.com/environment/global-warming/deforestation-overview/).
Recent statics show that 12-15 million hectares of forest are lost each year. This is equivalent to 36 football fields worth of trees destroyed every minute (http://wwf.panda.org/about_our_earth/about_forests/deforestation/). On average, one tree produces enough oxygen to support two human beings (http://forestnation.com/en/About-us/Blog/Campaign-News/12-10-23/One_tree_supports_two_of_you.aspx) and with over 6.96 billion people in the world (http://www.howmanyarethere.org/how-many-people-are-there-in-the-world-2012/) we would need at least 3.48 billion trees to provide enough oxygen for the whole of the human race. Currently we have 9.5 Billion acres of tree land (http://howmanyarethere.net/how-many-trees-are-there-in-the-world/). This may be enough now, but if we don't act now, it will be gone before we know it.
Here is depicted, a barren wasteland, a desert. This was once a flourishing forest full of animals. Now that the roots of trees do not hold the soil in place, all of the nutrients in the ground has been eroded soon leaving this, an uninhabitable cracked land, useful for nothing. There are more and more areas in the world turning in to this because of deforestation. Without trees, everywhere you looked would be this.
In the process of producing oxygen, trees also extract CO2 from the air. This series of events is called Photosynthesis (we will dwell more in to this later on). This is why the elimination of forests is one of the main causes of global warming. 15% of all global greenhouse gas emissions are caused by deforestation. Of these, carbon dioxide emissions represent up to one-third of total carbon dioxide emissions released because of human causes (http://wwf.panda.org/about_our_earth/about_forests/deforestation/).
Overview of the two steps in the photosynthesis process
Human Beings
In 1977, NASA sent two spacecrafts out into space in the hope that one day they might send back information that could help give the human race a better understanding of space. At first these little wonders had the task of exploring Jupiter and Saturn. There, they uncovered many secrets including the many active volcanoes on one of Jupiter's moons (Io) and the intricacies of Saturn's rings. Because of such success, the mission was extended. Voyager 2 later on explored Uranus and Neptune becoming the first and only probe to visit those outer planets. Their current task, the Voyager Interstellar Mission (VIM), is to travel to the edge of the sun's domain. And beyond. At present they are the furthest a man made object has ever reached from Earth (Voyager 1: 18.39 billion km. Voyager 2: 14.99 billion km) and are still sending information back (http://voyager.jpl.nasa.gov/).
The Voyagers
What is science doing now?
The examples I have shown you so far have been centered more around finding more information about space, but what I want to know is more information about living in space. You may not know it but there are people living in space right at this moment in time. The International Space Station (ISS) is the largest, most complex international scientific project in history. It is our biggest project in space as yet and was officially designated a National Lab in 2005. Since then the station has been a test bed for future technologies and a research laboratory for new, advanced industrial materials, communications technology, medical research, and much more (http://www.boeing.com/defense-space/space/spacestation/). A particularly fascinating project running at the moment on the ISS is the "Vision for Space Exploration". In this, scientists on the ISS research into ways of exploring space. Tests they are doing right now concern living on Mars for extended periods of time (http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/station/).
This patch was created in celebration of the 35th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission. Credit: NASA
Vision For Space Exploration
Of course, for people to live on Mars, they would need plants. This is because they produce oxygen and provide food but the problem is, how could such plants grow in the environment of Mars. Mars has a decreased gravity and low atmospheric pressure meaning it would make growing things very difficult. Instead of ignoring these problems, NASA has decided to tackle them. In the greenhouse on the International Space Station, plants are being grown to be shipped back to Earth. The purpose of this is so that scientists there can look at the test plants grown in space and try to invent better ways of growing them so that they are more successful next time. NASA has also thought about health hazards caused by space radiation. A spacecraft traveling towards Mars will be exposed to large amounts of radiation. Because of this scientists on board the space station are trying to develop ways of protecting humans inside such a spacecraft from exposure. Researchers as still working on this and whether they will ever succeed in finding a solution I do not know but with the ISS in place, it seems very likely to me.
This video shows the average day on the International Space Station
The chemistry of life on Earth relies heavily on the element carbon. It being one of the most versatile elemnts, carbon is able to join with 1,2,3 or 4 other atoms. It can even hook up with other carbon atoms to make long chains or rings. It can also be used to make amino acids if mixed with the right elements. These are the ingredients of protiens. the building blocks of life as we know it. Jack Cohen, from the university of Warwick in the UK, says "Carbon is a very useful element to sit at the centre of life's chemistry. There's a lot of it in the universe. It's made very easily in stars. It makes very
Why Carbon is a Key element to Life on Other Planets
Link: https:// www.youtube.com/watch?v=fXIFDHUr4QE
In this video we are led through why liquid water is a key element to life on other planets and why it is the only reason why we have as yet found no life in our solar system. Life has been found to thrive everywhere on Earth, from the hottest and driest of places to the coldest, most desolate landscapes. If water was on other planets like Mars then maybe life would grow. In fact water looks like it was on Mars once. Exclusive pictures from missions sent to Mars have uncovered many signs to show there might have been water in Mars. Huge ravines and river beds are etched into the surface of Mars suggesting that life may have been there. This video may explain that liquid water is such an important element for life to exist, but it also says that life might be in places we never thought to look before. A planet has
Why Water is also crucial to Life on Other Planets
Biospheres on Earth
There are a selection of 'biospheres', man-made enclosures designed to hold an entire ecosystem which is not dependent on a host planet's own atmosphere, all around the world in the UK, Canada and the United States. These dome-like structures give us a pretty good idea of what we need to survive as the inner environment is completely self-reliant and has no connection with the outside. Trees are planted to produce oxygen and other needs are provided as to create a whole other world in one closed space. If we can do this on Earth, why not on another planet as these structures do not need anything but themselves to allow life to live within them. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biosphere_2 and http://www.biology.ed.ac.uk/archive/jdeacon/biosphere/biosph.htm)
Thirdly, the planet must not be in a field of intense radiation, such as in orbit around a pulsar. A pulsar is what is left over after a massive star (about 10-30 times the size of the sun) collapses in the final stages of its life. This star explodes as a super nova, collapsing to become a neutron star. While all of the material is repelled from the star at a very rapid speed, the neutron star is spinning very quickly and the magnetic field from the original star gets compressed and freezes to the surface of the star. This turns the neutron star into a strong spinning magnet in space. Of course, whenever you spin a magnet, you accelerate particles therefore creating an electronic field. With the neutron star in particular, particles can move up to the speed of light meaning that strong pulses of radiation are given off (scientists are still unsure of how this happens). What usually happens in most pulsars is you get radio waves that come out of the magnetic pole of the neutron star and because the star is spinning and because the magnetic north is not the same as the rotational north (just like on Earth), then the beams of radiation flash across the whole universe occasionally crossing Earth's line of sight. When it does then we see pulses of radio waves, hence the name. More energetic pulsars may even give off optical light, x rays and now a lot are even giving off gamma rays (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G08RsjkR_28). Finally, the planet must be made up of elements suitable for life, such as carbon and oxygen. There may be many other things out there in the vastness of space that allows life to thrive on planets, but these are the main ones on our own planet and they are what we need to survive.
What is a Pulsar
The video below is where I sourced all of the information about pulsars in the last slide.
complicated formations together compounds which have the possibility of taking each other's properties. You can have a really complicated and complex setup with carbon. I expect that all life forms we come across that are matter based are carbon based" So if carbon is one of the key elements to life, then life might be more frequent in the universe than some might believe. As far we know, carbon is one of the most common elements in the universe.
Zero Gravity
First of all, the zero gravity in space is affecting astronauts who have been up in space for over a week or so. Because of the lack of strength and muscle usage needed in space, soon your muscles and bones start turning to jelly. When these astronauts returned home, they discovered they were suffering from a lack of calcium and the skeletal and nervous systems were having associated problems that caused a lot of worry. There is a way, however, in which this problem can be solved, and that is to artificially generate gravity using rotation. Another possibility would be to continuously be in a state of travel but that is currently impractical (http://www.essortment.com/living-space-problems-61693.html).
Leaving Earth. Is what is safe also affordable?
In the past, space shuttles bearing people flew at around $450 million a trip, and today sending unmanned payloads costs about $12,000 a pound, with the majority of the money going towards the fuel used to get past the first few hundred miles. Judging that each space shuttle could hold about 6 people, how much money would it cost to send every last person into space nowadays? The answer is "a lot". This is one of the many problems that scientists have come across and it has been met with many solutions. Nearly all of these solutions are based on ways of getting people or cargo into orbit without using a rocket. During the peak of the Cold War between Russia and America, the U.S. Navy investigated whether they could blast payloads into the atmosphere using a giant cannon as part of its High Altitude Research Program and Derek Tidman (Doctor of Physics) thought of using something which he calls a “slingatron,” which is a massive centrifuge that spins objects so fast, they eventually reach a velocity at which they can be flung out of Earth's gravitational field. Another idea that has been the dream of many an engineer is to build a space elevator, 62,000 miles long. Like a spinning lasso, this elevator will be held up using centripetal force. Brad Edwards, founder of the company Carbon Designs, was given $570,000 in 2000 by NASA’s Institute for Advanced Concepts, to research into the plausibility of building such a device. Later he said that if he had $14 billion he could construct something like it. This could only happen, of course, if someone developed the nanotechnology that would allow strong thin tubes to be made as to create the elevator's cable (http://www.popsci.com/science/article/2011-02/after-earth-why-where-how-and-when-we-might-leave-our-home-planet?page=2)
There are many questions that have arisen since these solutions have been brought to the surface especially concerning whether the solutions themselves cause any ethical problems. Some questions which need to be addressed are “Can everyone on Earth evacuate the planet if there is a situation in which the world is in danger? If so, can everyone evacuate in time?” These particular questions bring to light some quite important points. If not everyone can evacuate in time or if there isn't enough room on the new planet or space station, then who will go and who will have to stay? Will the decision be based on a person's wealth or their qualifications? Who decides on who will go and who will stay? What will happen to the people left behind? Will they be left to clear up the mess or face the consequences? Will it cost money to go or will it be free? What happens, if everyone could go, to the people who can't or won't because of claustrophobia, or advanced age or disease?
Social problems that need to be addressed are, will the influx of people into the new land be gradual or in one big movement? If it is gradual, then people just arriving at the new community will expect the same sort of lifestyle and social system as there was on Earth. This will most likely not be the case as cultures change in new surroundings and groups of people, so how will they react to this change? For example, different skills are likely to be more important in a “frontier” situation. Engineers, blacksmiths, nurses, doctors, builders, architects, town planners will be among those highly sort-after. Financiers, accountants and lawyers may be among those not thought so important in the early years of settlement. What will the financial system be or will everyone get the same thing and live on rations? More and more problems keep on slapping us in the face making almost every solution look impossible, but to make these solutions come to life we must overcome every flaw and deal with every issue to make a rock solid plan that can't go wrong.
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recently been found orbiting Jupiter that is completely covered in ice creating the possibility of liquid water being not too far beneath and given that life thrives everywhere on Earth, why can't there be life on this planet?
countries in the world possess enough plutonium, uranium or a combination of both to construct substantial nuclear arsenals. If a nuclear war does happen, the consequences will affect every species on the planet. Many Eastern powers with unstable governments are filled to the brim with nuclear weapons and it only takes one over-religious, anti-life human being to set off a war and annihilate life as we know it (http://www.livescience.com/7479-regional-nuclear-war-affect-entire-globe.html).
More greenhouse gases, such as CO2 are entering the atmosphere and creating a layer around the planet that keeps the warmth of the sun in. The heat of the sun passes through the gases but then can't escape, thus super-heating the planet. The environment and evolution can't keep up with the rapid change in temperature and so species die and the ice caps melt. This is hugely affecting the sea and the land and if we don't find a solution i.e. plant more trees and stop burning so many fossil fuels, then we might as well pack up shop and leave.
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