Category Archives: Space Science

The Younger Dryas

It was apparently much worse than we thought:

As Kennett noted in a recent article in The Current (a university press maintained by UCSB), the crater would have led to widespread destruction, characterized by biomass burning, megafaunal extinctions and global cooling. “It’s much more extreme than I ever thought when I started this work,” he said. “The more work that has been done, the more extreme it seems.”

The discovery was made possible by a Chilean group of scientists who were studying sediment layers at the well-know Quaternary paleontological and archaeological site, known as Pilauco Bajo. Years ago, these scientists recognized changes in the sediment record that were associated with the YDB impact event.

These included a “black mat” layer that coincides with the disappearance of South American megafauna fossils and human artifacts dated to the Pleistocene (12,800 years ago), indicating a severe shift in the climate. This was a major find since the vast majority of evidence for the YDB Impact has been found in the northern hemisphere.

Imagine that happening today. And here we’re obsessing over two degrees Celsius.

Better get moving on that vital SLS, so we can protect ourselves. #NotReally

The 2020 Trump Budget Request

NASA starts at page 97.

It’s the beginning of the end for SLS. NASA wants to do Europa on a “commercial vehicle,” plans for Block 1B are “deferred,” and they propose commercial providers for getting to and from the moon itself, which means that SLS has nothing to do except the Gateway, and it can’t do the Gateway without the new upper stage planned for Block 1B.

It will be interesting to see the Congressional response. One thing it does do is continue to flow the wasteful funding for Block 1 to the right zip codes, so Congress may not care. Culberson is gone now, and if this budget passes with that wording, it would end the legislative requirement to use SLS for Europa.

[Update a few minutes later]

This is an OMB proposal. Bridenstine had to provide lip service to SLS to get confirmed. I wonder what he’ll say when he gets called on the carpet by Congress?

[Tuesday noon update]

Yes, Dr. Stofan, NASA could get to Mars sooner, but it doesn’t need more money, it just needs to spend the money it gets more sensibly. They could get to Mars in five years if they could use the SLS/Orion budget for something useful.


[Update a while later]

But other than that, it’s had a great two years.