The space agency’s website’s Asteroid Watch Widget shows the next five asteroids and comets that are expected to make relatively close approaches to earth in the next few days.
Among these is a large comet that is expected to be 1,100 feet wide (335 meters), approximately the size of a football stadium or the Wilshire Grand Center skyscraper in Los Angeles and larger than New York’s Empire State Building.
The asteroid, which is named 2002 NN4, is expected to come closest to our planet on Saturday, June 6th, according to NASA. The space rock is categorized as an
Aten-class Asteroid, but is also classified by the space agency as a Near-Earth Asteroid (NEA) and Potentially Hazardous Asteroid (PHA), reports Tech Times.
Scientists are making it clear that any possibility of a collision here on Earth is EXTREMELY remote – in fact, its closest approach will be a distant 3,160,000 miles
(over 5 million km.) away from home base.
While the asteroid is considered somewhat small in relation to the much larger rocks shooting across our galaxy, the 2002 NN4 is also 90 percent larger than the four others listed. These include three others about the size of a plane and another the size of a house that are approaching the Earth. The closest one is expected to come within 1,830,000 miles of Earth today.
Researchers say that the asteroid completes its orbit around the sun every 0.82 years, or 300 days.
Scientists predict numerous “close approaches” of the asteroid to the Earth in the future. While only 30 close approaches are forecast at the moment, 2002 NN4 will
return to our neighborhood in nine years, on June 29 – so if you want to wave at this distant traveler, Saturday will be your only chance for some time.
Space.com has also reported that small asteroids pass by our planet on a monthly basis. One such small asteroid, 2020 HS7, safely passes near Earth several times
each month, NASA Planetary Defense Officer Lindley Johnson said in an April 28 statement.
“It poses no threat to our planet, and even if it were on a collision path with Earth it is small enough that it would be disintegrated by our Earth’s atmosphere,”
the planetary defense official added.
Yet 2020 HS7 was still came startlingly close to the planet, coming a mere 26,550 miles (42,735 km) within the Earth’s center and only 750 miles (1,200 km) from the
closest satellite in geostationary orbit, which is one of the more distant satellite rings surrounding Earth. The space rock passed well below the satellite, however,
leaving it unscathed.
The flybys are a good display of our planetary defense apparatus in action. Space authorities like NASA and the European Space Agency identify the asteroids
in our galactic “neighborhood” beginning with the largest, while tracking their orbital trajectory. As scientists compile more and more data on these space rocks,
they are able to plot their orbits more accurately and calculate the probability – or lack thereof – of any impact with our planet.
It is believed that the pool has never before been seen by human eyes.
An incredible network of “virgin” cave passages has been discovered underneath Carlsbad Caverns National Park in New Mexico.
It is believed that the wondrous pool, which lies 700 ft. below the park, has never before been seen by human eyes.
In a post to their official Facebook page, Carlsbad Caverns called the site “completely pristine” and noted that they believe the bacteria living in the water had “evolved entirely without human presence.”
The immaculate pool discovered in the cave network appears almost unearthly and is surrounded by white frosted rock. The pool itself appears to be filled with a
milky aquamarine liquid described as resembling thick lime yogurt, reports Miami Herald.
“This pool has been isolated for hundreds of thousands of years and had never seen light before that day,” said Carlsbad Caverns natural and cultural resources
chief Rodney Horrocks.
The passage was discovered in 1993 lying 700 feet below the entrance to Lechuguilla Cave, one of the 10 longest caves in the world. However, the network was not entered until this past October.
Wisshak and his team mapped out 1.3 miles of passages and went on multiple “rope drops” in the course of the expedition. In a Facebook post, Wisshak said:
“Exploration in caves sometimes yields wondrous sights.”
“This cave pool, found in Lechuguilla Cave, appears to be completely pristine.
“The edges beneath this pool appear to be ‘pool fingers’, which could be bacterial colonies that have evolved entirely without human presence.”
While the discovery of the alien-like cave may seem unsettling to some, geoscientist and expedition leader Max Wisshak said that the water in the pool is actually “crystal clear,” with the creamy appearance actually being the result of an optical illusion.
The pool is roughly a foot wide, 2 feet long, and “several inches deep,” Horrocks said. The water is believed to have come from ancient rainwater that seeped
through the limestone lying overhead and dropped or slid along the cave walls into the pool.
Microbiologists have already found new microbe species in Lechuguilla Cave’s pools – such as the “Lake of Liquid Sky” discovered in 1993 – and this latest discovery could yield further results.
It is not known when the cave network was actually formed, but the expedition also stumbled across a number of bat skeletons, including those believed to be thousands of years old.
“Such untouched pools are scientifically important because water samples are relatively free of contaminants and the microbial organisms that may live in those pools are only those that belong there.”
Contamination can occur from the surface above the cave, but in case of Lechuguilla Cave, that’s not a big issue, since it is situated in a well-protected wilderness area. Contamination can also occur via aerosols in the air. However, a newly discovered pool in Lechuguilla Cave is about as pristine as it gets.”
The team took a number of special precautions to ensure that it introduced no contaminants into the pools. Wisshak is now applying for grants in order to continue studying his discoveries at Lechuguilla Cave, including the cave’s unique barite crystals. It is generally quite rare to find the mineral barite in caves.
No signs of life “visible to the naked eye” were found in the passages, Wisshak said – besides the huge number of skeletal bat remains.
So far, there are 118 known caves at Carlsbad Caverns National Park, with many more likely undiscovered.
Researchers have captured stunning aerial footage of thousands of green turtles gathering on the Great Barrier Reef at the height of nesting season.
Researchers have captured beautiful aerial footage of thousands of green turtles congregating on the edge of Australia's Great Barrier Reef during the nesting season.
Scientists from Queensland Government's Department of Environment and Science (DES) captured the footage using a drone at the world's largest green turtle rookery at Raine Island, a vegetated coral cay approximately 620 kilometers (385 miles) northwest of Cairns.
Green turtles, named after the color of their cartilage and fat, are found mostly in tropical and subtropical waters, and migrate long distances between feeding grounds and the beaches where they emerged as hatchlings, some 35 years after they were born.
The creatures are endangered and are under threat due to hunting, overharvesting of their eggs, loss of beach nesting sites and becoming trapped in fishing apparatus.
Raine Island is the biggest remaining turtle rookery in the world, but despite attracting a "massive aggregation" of the creatures, scientists noticed that they were not reproducing as expected due to nests flooding and inhospitable terrain.
"We sort of became aware that although there's these massive aggregations, the actual reproduction isnt working so well," Dr Andrew Dunstan, from the DES, said
Tuesday, explaining that his team noticed turtles were falling off cliffs, becoming trapped in the heat and suffering flooding in their nests.
After implementing a series of interventions to help the struggling turtles, scientists then sought to track the population.
In research conducted in December and published in scientific journal PLOS ONE on Thursday, they found that using drones -- or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) -- was the most accurate way of documenting the endangered sea creatures.
In order to count the creatures, researchers had initially painted the turtles' shells with a white stripe of non-toxic paint while they gathered on the beach and then
waited for them to return to the water.
When they tried to count the turtles from the boat, they found that they came away with biased results. For accuracy and ease, scientists deployed drones to film the creatures.
"Trying to accurately count thousands of painted and unpainted turtles from a small boat in rough weather was difficult. Using a drone is easier, safer, much more accurate, and the data can be immediately and permanently stored," Dunstan, senior research scientist and lead author of the paper, said in a statement.
Using drones, the team revealed up to 64,000 turtles swimming around the island waiting to come ashore to lay their eggs.
Researchers plan to use the results to understand and manage the turtle population, and hope that in the future they will be able to automate the counts from video footage using artificial intelligence.
“Marine turtles have roamed the world’s oceans for more than 100 million years, and are an integral part of our tropical coastal ecosystems,” WWF-Australia
wrote on its website. “It’s taken humans just 200 years to tip the scales against their survival and these ancient mariners are now considered endangered or vulnerable.”
When it comes to fictional fantasy destinations, for many, Willy Wonka's chocolate factory is pretty high up on their list of places they'd love to visit.
The mega factory was inspired by the wonderful and weird Willy Wonka chocolate factory in Roald Dahl’s book, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
Dutch confectionery company, Tony’s Chocolonely shared more information on the plans for their ‘mega chocolate factory with roller coaster’, including what it will look like.
According to Time Out, the Tony Chocolonely mega factory was inspired by the wonderful and weird Willy Wonka chocolate factory in Roald Dahl’s book, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Tony’s Chocolonely factory aims to have loads of fun for chocolate lovers of all ages at their mega factory which will be built in Zaanstad, northwest of Amsterdam.
A rendering for the project, released by Dutch architect firm SeARCH, shows a central bright red unit with a rollercoaster track looping around it, as promised when Tony Chocolonely announced the complex build in November 2018.
Time Out reports that the new factory is going to cost the chocolate marker around $115 million, and it's hoped that it will be opening its doors to its first wild-eyed visitors in 2024.
The chocolate giant also hopes the attraction will have the capacity for up to 500,000 visitors a year.
The company confirmed details on their website, saying: “There will be a mega chocolate factory that everyone can visit, with a roller coaster. Really. We have been dreaming of it for ages… and it will really happen now.”
“Tony’s Chocolonely has found a crazy location on the border of Zaanstad and Amsterdam: Pakhuis ‘De Vrede’, on the IJ / North Sea Canal.”
‘De Vrede’ used to be a storage and handling facility for grains and seeds, including cocoa. The ‘impressive building on the water with a beautiful story’ will be enhanced with the surrounding land set up as a public park and two new factories to produce the chocolate and produce the bar, with the entire process visible to visitors.
The post continued: “It will be a total experience. A Tony’s Chocolonely Chocolate Circus, where you can learn and experience everything about chocolate, the problems in the cocoa industry and what Tony’s Chocolonely does about it.”
"Every year we ultimately want to receive 500,000 chocolate fans. With a ride on the roller coaster through the factory, we hope that visitors are so upset by Tony’s
mission that they will participate to realise it.”
“Together making 100% slave free the norm in chocolate is leading in everything we do. In the national monument Pakhuis ‘De Vrede’ the head office of Tony’s Chocolonely will be located and as we are used to with Tony’s, the door is always open for everyone. The building therefore has a public character with restaurants, sports facilities and flex spaces for impact organisations.”
“It will be some time before the Tony’s Chocolonely Chocolate Circus opens its doors. But we have taken the first step. In a year or 3 it will be there. In the meantime, we will keep you informed.”
Adding: “We are SUPER happy and cannot wait.”
We have little doubt the world’s chocolate lovers can’t wait either! Roll on 2024!
(NJS)- Multiple major tech companies have announced plans to stop selling facial recognition to police, or to stop developing the technology entirely.
After IBM, Amazon, and Microsoft upend their facial recognition businesses, attention turns to federal lawmakers. As impressions of law enforcement continue to change, multiple major tech companies have announced plans to stop selling facial recognition to cops, or to stop developing the technology entirely.
As scrutiny of law enforcement ramps up, it looks as though there could be a referendum on the surveillance tools police can access, though it’s notoriously difficult to determine what surveillance systems police departments actually have. Law enforcement agencies and tech companies are typically secretive
about these products, which are by no means limited to just facial recognition.
“IBM firmly opposes and will not condone uses of any technology, including facial recognition technology offered by other vendors, for mass surveillance, racial profiling, violations of basic human rights and freedoms, or any purpose which is not consistent with our values and Principles of Trust and Transparency. We believe now is the time to begin a national dialogue on whether and how facial recognition technology should be employed by domestic law enforcement agencies,” Krishna said.
Microsoft is the most recent company to announce that they are reconsidering some of their business relationships with police in response to the ongoing protests.Microsoft president Brad Smith announced on Thursday that his company did not sell facial recognition to the police, and would not until the government passes federal legislation regulating the technology. His statement follows a Wednesday announcement from Amazon explaining that the company would institute a one-year moratorium on police use of Rekognition, the company’s facial recognition software.
Some libertarian Republicans have also expressed alarm at government use of facial recognition, and one key White House ally — Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio — has pushed for a “time out” on its deployment by federal agencies.
However, Microsoft, Amazon, and IBM not the primary companies that are currently providing the technology to police, so this measure doesn’t seem to represent a large financial loss for these companies, according to the Washington Post.
Police and government agencies have been increasingly reliant on facial recognition software to hunt for suspects in recent years, despite the fact that this technology is notorious for falsely identifying innocent people as criminals.
In one of the most recent cases, Amazon’s facial recognition technology falsely identified 27 different professional athletes as criminals. While it may be true that
professional football players have been known to get in trouble from time to time, this is obviously a failure of the software.
According to a Freedom of Information request filed by Wired, these are actually typical numbers for the facial recognition software used by the South Wales Police.Data from the department showed that there were false-positive rates of 87 percent and 90 percent for different events.
Similar numbers were released by the FBI in 2016, with the agency also admitting that their facial recognition database consisted of mostly innocent people since they use driver’s license and passport photos for their searches. In fact, there is an equal chance that your picture is in a facial recognition database. Also in 2016, another study found that facial recognition software disproportionately targeted people with dark skin.
What that regulation will ultimately look like remains unclear. The fact that Amazon, at least, is only pausing its facial recognition business — Microsoft seems to be just waiting until legislation is in place before moving forward — seems to imply that some companies assume a ban on the technology’s use by police is not on the table. With or without regulation, many organizers still warn that facial recognition might simply be too dangerous to use in the first place.