What Would Happen in a Nuclear War?

With talks of another world war in the news, it is a frightening thought of what actually would happen if the United States were to become involved in a war with Russia or Iran. As we live in the modern age, wars have changed greatly compared to the last world war. We have better-developed weapons, we have better ammunition, and worst of all, many of the world’s countries have nuclear weapons. Nuclear weapons have the ability to kill substantial portions of the population of a country or state. The thought of such a war happening is heartbreaking and frightening.

Historians and climatologists have tried to map out exactly what would happen if a nuclear war were to occur and as expected the results were horrendous. They believe that the people within a specific radius of the bomb would be obliterated immediately, but the impact would not stop there. Every part of the world would feel the impact of the bomb, including the oceans and wildlife.

They refer to the nuclear bomb as the sun coming to the surface of the Earth for a flash of a second and destroying everything with fire and storm. The nuclear bombs dropped on Nagasaki and Hiroshima proved just how devastating they can be at ground zero. Those two nuclear bombs contained 15 kilotons of ammunition and incinerated everything in the two cities.

Scientists report that in a nuclear war that there would be so much smoke and dust generated that it could block the Sun’s light for up to 5 years. They believe that not only would it be much colder with a significant lack of sunlight, but also there will be excess UV rays as the ozone layer would become damaged or even destroyed during a nuclear war. Lower temperatures, due to smoke and dust blocking the sun would result in freezing, even in the summers, destroying fruit, vegetable and grain crops.

The impact of nuclear war on the Earth’s climate would not be limited to the land areas of Earth. Increasing the carbon dioxide content of the Earth’s air would mean that the air absorbed by water would turn the water acidic. The water would become acidic enough to dissolve shelled creatures and kill aquatic plants resulting in the extinction of marine life.

With a little study, it is obvious that there would be no winners in a nuclear war. All of humanity and Earth as we now know it would be lost.

Time Machine

Inspired from many stories and movies like “Back to the Future”, everyone dreams of traveling back in time for many different reasons. Scientists and Astrophysicists are also keen to pursue this subject and after an immense struggle, they have been able to say that they know how to turn this fictional idea into a reality.

One such astrophysicist named Ron Mallett was confident that he had theoretically found a way to travel to the past. In an interview with CNN, he said that he has written a scientific equation that can be used as the basis for the actual time machine. He further said that using this equation, he had made a preliminary version of the time machine to demonstrate the main components of his theory to the world.

Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity performed an exceptional role in the making of Mallett’s time machine. Einstein’s theory of relativity states that time accelerates or decelerates depending upon the speed at which an object is moving. Based on this theory Mallett thought that if a person is traveling at the speed of light in a spaceship, time will pass slowly compared to the time passed by someone on Earth. Basically, this means that an astronaut can go around space in less than a week, but a decade would pass by the time of his return to earth.

Many physicists do agree that while going forward in time is possible, traveling back in time is not. This raised another issue, but Mallett proposed that by using lasers he can make that possible too.

For traveling back in time, the astrophysicist again used Einstein’s theory that states that space-time is bent by gigantic objects subject to gravity. The stronger the gravity is, the slower time passes and vice versa. Mallett told CNN that in Einstein’s theory when we talk of space, we involve time in it too and that’s why it is called space time, whatever you do to space also happens with time. He further said that if you can bend space, the possibility exists that you can twist it too.

Mallett argued that it is possible to bend time into a hoop or a loop, doing this will allow time to travel to the past. Using lasers, he even built a prototype and argued that by carefully studying the type of gravitational field that was produced by a ring laser, a new way of looking at the possibility of a time machine could be found based on a circulating ray of light.

Mallet is extremely positive about the success of his work, but his colleagues are doubtful whether he is on the right path to a working time machine or not. Astrophysicist Paul Sutter expressed his reservations on Mallett’s work as he identified some mathematical errors and mistakes in his theory.

Magnetic North Pole Movement

Like all the other known planets that neighbor earth in our spiral galaxy, our planet also has a magnetic field around it of its own. This field has two known poles – the north magnetic pole and the south magnetic pole. The north magnetic pole has recently caught the attention and interest of scientists because of an interesting shift they observed in its movement over the past few years.

The North Pole Movement in Past

Generally, the north magnetic pole has been observed to constantly wander around the northern hemisphere. First discovered in 1831, scientists kept on observing the same trend in the North Pole’s movement for years until a deviation was noticed a few years ago.

The northern pole’s magnetic movements slowly changed position over time due to the changes that occurred in the magnetic core of the Earth. It was found that the North Pole was moving in loops that made it travel around 50 miles in 24 hours. The actual location of these loops, however, varies at a pace of around 25 miles in 365 days. Constant observation during the last one and a half century has seen the north magnetic pole travel a total distance of around 685 miles or 1102Kms. The movement of the south magnetic pole, has also been observed and it is no different than that of its northern counterpart.

An unexpected change has been observed in the North Pole’s movement

The north magnetic pole was previously moving nearer to Russian with a speed of around 35 miles per year. The expected movement pattern for the north magnetic pole was for it to move in a steady speed around Canada. However, now this pole is frantically moving from Canadian Arctic towards Siberia since it has drifted away from its previous place of stay – the Canadian Arctic. Over the past 20 years, scientists have observed the pole moving towards Siberia, even crossing the prime meridian, something that was not expected. The prime meridian is an imaginary divide that is accepted as the standard time zone of the world. The crossing of the meridian by the north magnetic pole has happened for the first time after its discovery and this has led scientists to try and predict the future.

What will happen next?

Now the pace of the north magnetic field is making it difficult to track its path since it has been rapidly increasing over the past few years. This rapid increase in speed of the north pole’s movement is expected to void our conventional compass systems. It is also being feared that the nature of the north pole’s movement will affect the famous aurora borealis.

Extending Lifespans

Aging is a subject that effects everyone and almost everyone in the modern world is busy finding effective and harmless ways to slow it down. Scientists have recently made an incredible step forward in their experiments by extending the life span of worms. According to a study published in July in the journal Cell Reports, a team of international researchers have made it possible for a worm, that lives typically for three or four weeks only, to live five times longer than his expected life-time. This is similar to a human being living 400 years. Scientists are confident that some additional research can turn this study into reality in near future.

How will this be done?

Molecules in a cell act as the pathway to carry various cellular functions. One molecule receives a signal to do something then transfers that signal to another molecule. The other molecule transfers the message to the next one and so on until the signal or message is acted upon. As the field of biology is very wide, researchers found a link between the insulin signalling pathway and the aging signalling pathway.

All the experimenting was done on a worm. When scientists changed the first pathway, the life span of the worm doubled, but by altering the second pathway the life span increased by about thirty percent. So, logically it was concluded that by changing both the pathways the average life span can be increased by about 130 percent.

However, the scientists argued that doing this should actually increase the life span by about 500 percent. To support this statement Jarod Rollins of the MDI Biological Laboratory said in a press release “…the synergistic extension is really wild, the effect is not one plus one equals two, it is one plus one equals five. Our findings demonstrate that nothing in nature exists in a vacuum; in order to develop the most effective anti-aging treatments we have to look at the longevity networks rather than individual pathways…”

These findings showed that aging is not simply the result of one specific gene or pathway acting on its own, but rather a union of networks all working together for the long term. This will certainly help explain why no single gene or pathway has been found that can provide longer life for worms, humans, or any other animal.

Although worms are not like humans, they do share many similar cellular pathways with us. So, scientists have now agreed that the process used to extend the lifespan of worms could also be applied to human beings.

Despite all efforts, the manner of interaction between pathways has not been found yet. The president of MDI Biological Laboratory Hermann Haller in a press release said “… by helping to characterize these interactions, our scientists are paving the way for much needed therapies to increase a healthy lifespan for a rapidly aging population…”

Water Vapor on Europa

There are certain elements that are required for the possibility of life on any planet. These include all essential chemical elements (including Carbon, Hydrogen, Nitrogen, Oxygen, etc.), sources of energy, and of course liquid water. After much research, scientists have been able to find hints of small amounts of water on other planets in our universe. Does this mean that maybe Earth is not the only planet where life is achievable?

Europa is one of Jupiter’s 79 moons. About forty years ago, a voyager spaceship was sent to photograph it and it was able to take a close-up photograph of the exterior of the moon. In these pictures it was visible that Europa had an ice surface, with cracks and splits, which gave it the look of an eyeball.

What makes this planet of great interest to the scientists is the fact that it may contain all the requirements for life. Scientists believe that under the moon’s thick outer surface, there might be liquid water present. According to the evidence they have, it is thought that this water might even erupt into space in the form of huge geysers. Recently, an international research team was able to prove the presence of water when they used one of the world’s largest telescopes and measured a water molecule by peering at Europa through it.

Then further research took place where scientists started researching the inner workings of the planet and the water’s location. It is believed by many researchers that a large water ocean, double the size of the Earth’s surface is present underneath the icy surface of Europa. Another theory which the scientists believe is that there might be shallow reservoirs of melted water below the thick exterior of the moon. The third theory was that the reason water vapor exists outside Europa is Jupiter’s powerful radiations, which are stripping water vapors off of the ice shell of its moon. This theory was made due to the fact that when water was discovered on Europa, it was always near the part of the moon which was facing Jupiter during the orbit.

By investigating further, researchers will be able to explain the exact location of the water, its amount and whether or not it is a hint towards the possibility of achievable life.

NASA’s Most Powerful Rocket

After NASA’s marvelous achievement of sending humans to the moon for the very first time in 1969, NASA is now aiming to send the very first woman to the moon through its Artemis program.

Image: https://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/thumbnails/image/sls_block1_on-pad_sunrisesmall.jpg

NASA recently revealed a new rocket named the Space Launch System, entrusted with the responsibility of carrying the first woman to the moon at the beginning of the new decade. Almost 212 feet tall, the Space Launch System is the tallest of NASA rockets to be constructed with more than a thousand businesses taking part in the construction of the SLS. Not just the tallest, the Space Launch System is the most technologically sophisticated rocket built by NASA. The rocket is expected to play an instrumental role in future space endeavors.

Before being publicly revealed, the Space Launch System had been tested for its reaction to compression, tension, and integrity. SLS behaved accordingly to the engineers’ expectations so will now be launched on an unmanned mission to the moon in 2020 which, if proven successful, could open new doors for NASA to explore our vast solar system with the next destination being Mars.

Of course, exiting the Earth’s atmosphere and escaping into the vast universe is no easy job. For a rocket to overcome such a strong gravitational force, it requires an extremely powerful thrust and that is exactly what the engineers at NASA had in mind when designing the Space Launch System. While taking off Space Launch Rocket is capable of producing an unbelievable 8.8 million pounds of thrust. To imagine such a figure is mind-boggling let alone building a machine capable of doing it. If you think that wasn’t “jaw-dropping” enough, the Space Launch System is capable of achieving a record speed of Mach 23 or more than 17,000 miles per hour before separating from the crew capsule. For a rocket the size of a 20 story building, exiting earth at a rate of 17,000 miles per hour is simply a scientific marvel.

According to the NASA officials, The Space Launch System is capable of scientific feats.

“Missions to the Moon are about 1,000 times farther from Earth than missions to the International Space Station, requiring systems that can reliably operate far from home, support the needs of human life, and still be light enough to launch”

Moreover, According to NASA:

“These technologies will become increasingly more important for the 34 million mile trip to Mars.”

With billions of dollars spent on the construction and testing of NASA’s most powerful rocket the discovery of other distant planets including Mars may be another step closer.