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Buckyballs Detected In Space

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the you-may-know-his-work-from-epcot-center dept.

Space 117

Rhodin writes "Fullerenes, also known as buckminsterfullerenes or 'buckyballs,' were detected about 6,500 light years from Earth in the cosmic dust of Tc 1 (PDF; abstract), an object known as a planetary nebula. 'We found what are now the largest molecules known to exist in space,' said astronomer Jan Cami of the University of Western Ontario, Canada, and the SETI Institute in Mountain View, Calif. 'We are particularly excited because they have unique properties that make them important players for all sorts of physical and chemical processes going on in space.'" (More, below.)These results hark directly back to the experiments that originally identified Buckminsterfullerene, which mimicked the outer atmospheric chemistry of red giant carbon stars. Harry Kroto, who jointly won a Nobel Prize for this discovery in 1996, is excited by the findings' clarity. 'The spectrum is incredibly convincing,' the Florida State University academic said. 'I thought I would never be as convinced as I am. The fact that the four lines are there, and C70 is there, is just unbelievable. It's a spectacular paper.'"

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Cool (5, Interesting)

mcvos (645701) | more than 4 years ago | (#33000760)

I thought the fact that these had to be explicitly manufactured and seemed to be a human-invented molecule meant that they'd never appear naturally in space.

Apparently there are no lab conditions on earth that are not duplicated somewhere else in the universe.

Re:Cool (4, Funny)

h4rm0ny (722443) | more than 4 years ago | (#33000816)

Apparently there are no lab conditions on earth that are not duplicated somewhere else in the universe

Somewhere out there is an underfunded galaxy filled with old computers that I can't get permission to throw out?

Re:Cool (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33001218)

Apparently there are no lab conditions on earth that are not duplicated somewhere else in the universe

Somewhere out there is an underfunded galaxy filled with old computers that I can't get permission to throw out?

I had the same problem but I managed to get permission to dispose of the damn things. I was just about to dump them into a black hole when this earther called Michael Dell came along and bought them off me. Apparently he re-sells them on his home-world to all kinds of yuppies and corporations as quality gear.

Re:Cool (4, Funny)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 4 years ago | (#33001438)

Somewhere out there is an underfunded galaxy filled with old computers that I can't get permission to throw out?

No, no, you have permission. Go ahead.

Re:Cool (1)

gorzek (647352) | more than 4 years ago | (#33003172)

Informative? Really? Did a mod just need to burn off a point? :-p

Re:Cool (1)

BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) | more than 4 years ago | (#33003722)

Don't worry, in a second you'll be modded troll for questioning the holy ones. Then some human sympathizer will mod you underrated. Then someone who is stoned will mod you funny. And finally all those mods will get their mod privileges revoked by kdawson for abuse. Meanwhile you'll end up with a net Karma score of "P." It is Slashdot 2.0 after all.

Re:Cool (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33003678)

You really should have posted that as AC. I'd love to hear him use "some AC on /. said I could do it" on his boss.

Re:Cool (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33000826)

Apparently there are no lab conditions on earth that are not duplicated somewhere else in the universe.

Yet I'm sure somebody holds a patent for these molecules.

Re:Cool (4, Funny)

quantumghost (1052586) | more than 4 years ago | (#33001820)

FLASH: Man sues Nature over patent infringement...

Mr I. M. Atwit, lead council for Dewy, Suck'em, and Dry Corp headquartered in Topeka KS, was quoted as saying "Nature has finally overstepped her bounds by infringing on our copyright! We intend to prosecute this to the fullest extent of the law [of man]."

Nature, unfortunately, could not be reached for comment.

In unrelated news, NASA and several prominent astronomers today warned of an impending meteorite strike that was predicted to hit somewhere in the Mid-West of the US. The most like impact site was around Topeka, KS.

Actually (5, Informative)

twisteddk (201366) | more than 4 years ago | (#33000828)

Actually, the C-60 has been known to exist (albeit in extremely limited number) in nature on earth. Fullerenes have later been found to exist also in very "short" chains, AFAIK down to like 20-30 atoms.
The real challenge is making stuff like tubing in desired lengths and thickness. Though the ball that is the C-60 is also very intresting, because like some of the molecular medical delivery systems invested recently, you may be able to contain smaller molecules within. This is very helpfull for nano weaponry and medicines, where all you'd need is a molecular glue that will attach (only) to your target, a container (like the buckyball) something within the container, and some sort of trigger, as presumably the fulerenes are very very stable.

Re:Actually (2, Insightful)

Zocalo (252965) | more than 4 years ago | (#33000856)

AFAIK down to like 20-30 atoms

Given that a single molecule of C-60 contains 60 carbon atoms, you probably meant to put "molecules" there.

Re:Actually (3, Informative)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 4 years ago | (#33000888)

Given that a single molecule of C-60 contains 60 carbon atoms, you probably meant to put "molecules" there.

GP was referring to buckytubes.

Re:Actually (2, Interesting)

Zocalo (252965) | more than 4 years ago | (#33001008)

Yes, I know. As in they might be naturally found in lengths of 20-30 molecules of BMF and not 20-30 carbon atoms. Technically through, bucky tubes are not actually formed from a collection of bucky balls, but are actually molecules in their own right with a structure resembling a single bucky ball that has been split in half and had a cylinder of carbon atoms inserted at the split. In theory it should be possible to create bucky tubes of arbitrary length by repeating the structure of the cylindrical section, it's "just" a matter of working out how.

Ah... I understand (1)

twisteddk (201366) | more than 4 years ago | (#33001056)

You were talking about buckyballs in specific, I was talking about fullerene in general, of which the buckyballs is only one of many combinations.

Now I understand the cause of the misunderstanding. Thank you very much for the clarification.

Re:Actually (1)

twisteddk (201366) | more than 4 years ago | (#33000966)

Oh no. A fullerene is a molecule of ATOMS. The C-60 fullerene is merely a molecule consisting of 60 carbon atoms. They (fullerenes) DO exist in forms of lesser (and greater) density. Like C-50 and C-72.

Good chemical engineering indicates that it may be possible in the future to generate some very long chains arteficially. Try reading the wikipage, it's very good at putting things into laymans terms: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buckyballs [wikipedia.org]

Re:Actually (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33001228)

Oh no. A fullerene is a molecule of ATOMS.

Durrrrr. What molecules are not made up of atoms, genius?

Re:Actually (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33001318)

atomic molecules, twit.

Incorrect Geometrical Assumptions (2, Informative)

Wdi (142463) | more than 4 years ago | (#33002356)

The interior of a buckyball (even the larger variants with C70+) is too small to hold any molecule of pharmacological interest. One or two metal ions, yes, even ammonia, methane and similar small molecules (all known), but nothing beyond that. The only payload with some potential usefulness are radioactive metal atoms for radiation therapy, but certainly not normal drugs.

Re:Cool (4, Interesting)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#33000886)

I thought the fact that these had to be explicitly manufactured and seemed to be a human-invented molecule meant that they'd never appear naturally in space.

Apparently there are no lab conditions on earth that are not duplicated somewhere else in the universe.

Candle flame is loaded with Buckminsterfullerene. These molecules have been right under our noses for that long.

Re:Cool (4, Funny)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 4 years ago | (#33001062)

Candle flame is loaded with Buckminsterfullerene. These molecules have been right under our noses for that long.

Perhaps a more scientific method of detection than "sniffing fire" would have had better results earlier on.

Re:Cool (5, Interesting)

Velox_SwiftFox (57902) | more than 4 years ago | (#33001154)

Soot was just so ordinary no one ever bothered to distill the different molecules out of it, to see if any had unusual properties.

C60 is just too big a fraction, with too distinct properties, to have been missed otherwise for so long.

Re:Cool (3, Interesting)

locallyunscene (1000523) | more than 4 years ago | (#33002234)

This reminds me of a story I once heard(maybe a Fable, I'm not sure). There was a village that had the policy of euthanizing anyone that reached past a certain age so that the village would remain strong. A old woman was nearing this age when there appeared a threat to the village. A great conqueror descended upon them that they knew they could not defeat. The conqueror, wishing to take the village by peaceful means to save his men for other battles, sent a messenger proposing that he would give them 3 challenges. If they succeeded he would bypass their village. If they failed they must submit to his rule or be slaughtered. I don't remember the first two challenges, but needless to say the old woman's experience was called upon to pass them. The final challenge was to construct a rope of ash that could hold weight. Of course it was impossible for the weavers of the village to construct and no amount of the warriors' strength could press the ash together to form something cohesive. The village thought they were doomed so once again they went to the old lady because she had helped them through the previous two challenges. She told them to soak a normal rope is salt water and then burn it. This would caused the rope to retain its original shape and strength. The conqueror was confounded at the ashen rope, and the village was saved. From that point forward it let its citizens live to whatever ripe old age they wanted.

I've never tried it myself, but I wonder if this is an ancient form of constructing bucky tubes.

Re:Cool (5, Informative)

dbraden (214956) | more than 4 years ago | (#33003696)

I think I spent way too much time tracking this down ;)

I finally found a version of it in a Japanese folktale called The Wise Old Woman by Yoshiko Uchida. Here's a version of it that looks like it was formatted for a play, but at least it's an easy read: The Wise Old Woman [usu.edu] .

Interesting story, thank you!

Re:Cool (1)

TeethWhitener (1625259) | more than 4 years ago | (#33002466)

Soot was just so ordinary no one ever bothered to distill the different molecules out of it, to see if any had unusual properties. C60 is just too big a fraction, with too distinct properties, to have been missed otherwise for so long.

There are literally thousands of different species produced when even the simplest organic compound is burned incompletely (i.e., to form soot). C60 is a tiny fraction of what's produced in most soot from ordinary flames. This is why C60 is still $50 a gram. It actually took the researchers who found C60 in candle soot a pretty heroic effort, and even then, they already knew what they were looking for. The manufacture of C60 on an industrial scale occurs by maintaining an electrical arc across two graphite rods in a rarefied atmosphere. The temperature of the carbon plasma created is around 10000-15000 K, as opposed to a candle flame, which usually isn't more than a few thousand Kelvin. The exciting thing about this study is that there have been several groups that have proposed areas in space where these kinds of high temperature, low pressure conditions exist (namely in the atmospheres of aging red giants) which should, with the carbon rich atmospheres of these stars, form detectable amounts of fullerenes. Until now, this was just a theory. Obviously, it's still just a theory, but at least now it has some evidence to back it up.

Re:Cool (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33003518)

a candle flame, which usually isn't more than a few thousand Kelvin

A few thousand kelvin, from a candle flame?! - what have you been smoking?

For reference:

Burning point of wood: ~507k
Melting Point of Copper: ~1358k
Melting Point of Stainless Steel: ~1636k
Melting Point of Iron: ~1804k
Melting Point of Titanium: ~2068k
Melting Point of Carbon: ~4000k
Mean temperature (est) of the Sun's surface (non-coronal): ~5500k ...apparently a birthday cake in your house could smelt Titanium...

Really, given your belief in the mean temperature of candles, you must be shocked that it took mankind so long to get into smelting steel! -- didn't you ever wonder why the Bronze Age lasted so long?!

-AC

Re:Cool (2, Insightful)

twisteddk (201366) | more than 4 years ago | (#33001070)

I think the "news" is that this time they've been detected in space, where there may be less cnadle flames than there's room for ;)

Re:Cool (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#33001114)

Plenty of hot carbon, particularly around supernovas.

Re:Cool (2, Funny)

coffii (76089) | more than 4 years ago | (#33001320)

Candle flame is loaded with Buckminsterfullerene. These molecules have been right under our noses for that long.

You're telling me there's a bunch of aliens out there with candles? Shit, break out the nukes.

Re:Cool (1)

ctchristmas (1821682) | more than 4 years ago | (#33002436)

Would that be Universal thermonuclear war

Re:Cool (1)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 4 years ago | (#33003568)

You're telling me there's a bunch of aliens out there with candles? Shit, break out the nukes.

Should we not, instead, welcome these space hippies with open arms and a nourishing bowl of lentil soup?

Re:Cool (3, Interesting)

feidaykin (158035) | more than 4 years ago | (#33001550)

Apparently there are no lab conditions on earth that are not duplicated somewhere else in the universe.

Not the case for temperature. Scientists have cooled a piece of rhodium metal to 100 picokelvin. The coldest observed temperature in the universe is about 1K. I remember reading an article where some scientist joked that any region of space colder than what we've achieved in a laboratory would have to be in the laboratory of an alien civilization. ;)

Re:Cool (2, Informative)

Alsee (515537) | more than 4 years ago | (#33002062)

As others have noted buckyballs are a significant component of common soot. They form naturally in almost any high temperature carbon vapor. The surprising thing is that they had been overlooked by scientists for so long.

Apparently there are no lab conditions on earth that are not duplicated somewhere else in the universe.

Actually there is a pretty easy example of conditions that are not duplicated anywhere in the universe (except perhaps within some alien scientist's lab). Science experiments can't even begin to compete with the natural universe on the high end, the bigger hotter faster high energy stuff. However in the laboratory we have nature beat cold in.... cold. Space is filled with thermal radiation from the big bang. This radiation has a temperature of about 2.7 degrees above absolute zero and it constantly shines from all directions. An object floating in the deepest emptiest intergalactic space will not cool below 2.7 degrees. In fact any object colder than that would be soon be warmed to at least 2.7 degrees because of the thermal radiation from every direction in space.

A expanding gas cloud in space can cool below that temperature because a gas cools as it expands, but that cooling won't go very far. Background thermal radiation will shine into the expanding gas and quickly warm things back up.

In the laboratory we can actively cool stuff. We have gotten temperatures down to a few billionths of a degree above absolute zero. We are pretty dang certain that these conditions have never existed in the history of the universe, unless some alien science lab beat us to it. At these temperatures you can achieve an entirely new state of matter called a Bose-Einstein condensate.

A superfluid (sort of a liquid equivalent of a superconductor) is another example state of matter that has probably never existed outside a lab. Helium becomes a superfluid at about 2.1 degrees above zero. Expanding gaseous nebulae are known to cool below this temperature, however they would never have the pressure to maintain a fluid in the near vacuum of space.

-

Re:Cool (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 4 years ago | (#33004046)

In the laboratory we can actively cool stuff. We have gotten temperatures down to a few billionths of a degree above absolute zero. We are pretty dang certain that these conditions have never existed in the history of the universe, unless some alien science lab beat us to it. At these temperatures you can achieve an entirely new state of matter called a Bose-Einstein condensate.

Generally I agree with everything you said.

But, I'm more inclined to believe that somewhere, due to some natural process we can't even think of, that if we've done it in a lab, the universe has done it as part of something else. Of course, that's not really based in anything more solid than many years of being amazed that the kind of stuff that comes along that everybody said was impossible.

Same goes for the Bose-Einstein condensate -- I'm fairly confident that the universe has done this before. It might be fleeting and exceedingly rare. But, I also find it highly unlikely we've been able to push the laws of physics beyond what the biggest experiment ever (the universe) has managed to do.

I mean, with all of the vastness and diversity that exists in the universe, it seems somewhat arrogant that we've been able to generate something which has never happened anywhere else. We likely will never know about it, but I still believe deep in space, wacky stuff that we can't even conceive of happens all the time (in a relative use of the word).

Somewhere, there is a whale and a potted petunia falling to the ground. :-P

Dark matter? (2, Insightful)

captainpanic (1173915) | more than 4 years ago | (#33000770)

We're still searching for dark matter, right?

So, now we found yet another material that absorbs light. So that could mean that the stars we see actually burn brighter (and are more massive?) than we thought. And in addition, there is a material previously unknown to exist in space.

Could is be possible that dark matter is just ordinary matter, made up of atoms and such, and that we just haven't found it yet because it absorbs the radiation we scan for?

-- I admit that I'm no expert, so don't mod me down for stupidity. Just correct me instead, please.

Re:Dark matter? (4, Informative)

psone (1416351) | more than 4 years ago | (#33000850)

There are several theoretical candidates for Dark Matter. Non-Baryonic Dark Matter (aka matter not made of quarks, protons, neutrons and not interacting with electrons and photons) is expected to contribute for the greater part to it. Fullerenes fall in the first category. Additionally, the observations of stars (gravitational interactions) are in accordance with the standard model and that pleads for the absence of Dark Matter in or around stars. However the cohesion or consistency of galaxies is not expectable if the only mass present in them comes from stars and stellar systems. That pleads for the presence of dark mater in the halo of galaxies and in clusters of galaxies.

Re:Dark matter? (1)

psone (1416351) | more than 4 years ago | (#33001432)

"First category" was meant for 'baryonic matter' — which vanished between my brain and fingers.

Re:Dark matter? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33002454)

There are several theoretical candidates for Dark Matter. Non-Baryonic Dark Matter (aka matter not made of quarks, protons, neutrons and not interacting with electrons and photons) is expected to contribute for the greater part to it. Fullerenes fall in the first category.

But these Fullerenes absorb light which means they must interact with photons, right?
and they are made or Carbon which, in turn, is made up of the things you say its not made of.

and now I'm confused. poop.

Re:Dark matter? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33000864)

I find dark matter from time to time, usually in or around toilets.

Re:Dark matter? (3, Interesting)

twisteddk (201366) | more than 4 years ago | (#33000918)

Also not an expert. But if we eventually manage to find a molecule that can absorb energy without emitting it again in some form or other, that'd be pretty amazing from a chemistry standpoint. Our current undestanding of energy is that all energy input corresponds to a certain output. That is, energy may change form, but it may not cease to exist. this is generally also how we manage to identify molecules and objects, by measuring how they reflect radiation, or convert it to heat, mass etc.

But certainly a molecule that can absorb radiation without leaking it again, would revolutionize nuclear waste storage and facilities, where currently excess materials are encased in glass, then stainless steel, then put into storage for 6-800 years before the decay is sufficient for the material to be reused as nuclear fuel. Throughout those 6-800 years emission can be detrimetal to your health, a case that ensures 100% absorption of the radiation would be excellent !

That said, I doubt that is the case. I love the idea of it though. And I'm sure that in the future we will have a far better understanding of physics which will hopefully yield such bounties.

Re:Dark matter? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33000990)

It still exists, it just transverses dimensional boundaries.

Re:Dark matter? (1)

captainpanic (1173915) | more than 4 years ago | (#33000996)

While I agree that energy absorbed must eventually be emitted, the emissions can be extremely faint.

Dark matter is supposed to be the majority of the matter in the universe. So, even if it does absorb and emit radiation, it will be extremely cold.

We did find a cosmic background radiation of just a few degrees above absolute zero. It's supposed to originate from the early days of the universe... which makes sense (since we can also see very old stars).

But couldn't that also be radiation with an origin much closer to home, emitted by dark (but ordinary) matter?

-- I should keep stressing that I am no expert... and that this is just speculation, not an actual theory.

Re:Dark matter? (1)

juasko (1720212) | more than 4 years ago | (#33001834)

Who says it does not emmit energy in an unknown way? How did we first manage to find darkmatter, trough electomagnetic radiation or?

Re:Dark matter? (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#33002910)

That is, energy may change form, but it may not cease to exist.

It can appear to cease to exist, though. If you take two waves of identical frequency and combine them exactly out of phase, both waveforms will disappear; they cancel each other out.

Re:Dark matter? (1)

morty_vikka (1112597) | more than 4 years ago | (#33001346)

Could is be possible that dark matter is just ordinary matter, made up of atoms and such, and that we just haven't found it yet because it absorbs the radiation we scan for?

Thankyou. I have often wondered the same thing. How exactly can we assume that all non-dark matter is detectable using today's instruments? Isn't it possible that there is one hell of a crapload of normal matter out there that we just can't see? That it isn't some mysterious force that we have to give a spooky name to?

Hope some cosmologists out there can shed some light on this, preferably in layperson's terms.

Re:Dark matter? (1)

BForrester (946915) | more than 4 years ago | (#33001946)

Isn't it possible that there is one hell of a crapload of normal matter out there that we just can't see? That it isn't some mysterious force that we have to give a spooky name to?

If anyone is thinking of mentioning midi-chlorians, please beat yourself senseless and save us the time and effort.

Re:Dark matter? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33002550)

Normal matter gathers photons.
Anything that gathers photons heats up, and anything that is hot glows. There is no "black" regular matter in space.

When you add spectrum analysis to this (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spectrum_analysis) you can say that all regular matter in space is pretty much detectable and identifiable.

Re:Dark matter? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33001866)

I'm also no expert, but if a star has a certain mass and composition of elements that are fusing, it surely emits light with specific wavelength and intensities.
If dusts absorbs some of the light and glows, that effect is surely distinguishable.
More mass doesn't mean only brighter, but also a different spectrum. Higher temperature means more energy emitted at shorter wavelength. The star becomes more 'blue'.

Re:Dark matter? (1)

michaelwv (1371157) | more than 4 years ago | (#33002274)

Anything that absorbs also emits. When we (IAAA) say "dark" matter, we mean matter that does not interact at all with photons. We've scanned much of the electromagnetic spectrum and do not see it.

Re:Dark matter? (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#33002710)

I admit that I'm no expert, so don't mod me down for stupidity. Just correct me instead, please

You got a 2 so far, so don't panic, Captain.

Re:Dark matter? (1)

marcosdumay (620877) | more than 4 years ago | (#33004244)

Most dark matter isn't dark, it is transparent. In fact, it is nearly invisible (and completely invisible to light), and can only be detected by gravity. Of course, not shnning, planets and gas are dark matter, but they are the minority out there, there is something else that is much more massive.

Cellulose Detected in Space, too (4, Informative)

mhh5 (176104) | more than 4 years ago | (#33000776)

The molecular weight of cellulose in deep space might not surpass C70, but it *might* exceed C70... see one of the questions in this TED talk:
http://blog.ted.com/2009/10/qa_with_garik_i.php [ted.com]

We can detect tiny, molecules... (5, Insightful)

h4rm0ny (722443) | more than 4 years ago | (#33000784)

and tell what they are at a distance that take light slightly longer than our recorded history as a species to travel.

Fuck yeah!

(That is all)

Re:We can detect tiny, molecules... (4, Informative)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 4 years ago | (#33000984)

Preach it! It's at times like this that I like to break out the SCIENCE: it works, bitches [xkcd.com] shirt.

Re:We can detect tiny, molecules... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33001242)

best xkcd tshirt ever!

Re:We can detect tiny, molecules... (1, Insightful)

Tom (822) | more than 4 years ago | (#33001148)

But remember, it's only a theory! If you find a tiny snippet in some backwater part of the bible that contradicts it, then of course the old book is right. So don't get your hopes up.

Re:We can detect tiny, molecules... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33001588)

I think we all expect more from you, #822. Space is very, very weird and very, very big. Try not to be so small.

Re:We can detect tiny, molecules... (1)

Tom (822) | more than 4 years ago | (#33002566)

Space doesn't exist. The bible doesn't mention it, so it doesn't exist. Was it created, hm? No! The stars and the moon, yes. Cosmic nebula? No. Black holes? No. All wishful thinking of these science heretics! Burn them, burn... oh, wait. What do you mean, "wrong century"?

(in case you need it spelt out: yes, I am being sarcastic. We have all this wonderful, fantastic, blow-your-mind stuff out there in the universe, and we are seriously debating whether some folk lores from two-, three-, four-thousand years ago, written by people who thought the earth is flat, light is magical and infinite in speed, and all-powerful beings talk through burning bushes at the wayside could be true in any meaningful sense of the word.)

Re:We can detect tiny, molecules... (1)

Eudial (590661) | more than 4 years ago | (#33001956)

Well, the universe is only 6000 years old, and light did not exist before "let there be light". So it's blasphemy to acknowledge anything farther away than 6000 lightyears.

Re:We can detect tiny, molecules... (1)

arthurpaliden (939626) | more than 4 years ago | (#33002136)

Except God can change physical constants if She wants to. She can make if go faster in space and the slow it down when we go to measure it.

Re:We can detect tiny, molecules... (1)

MaWeiTao (908546) | more than 4 years ago | (#33003128)

Get over it already. The religious conspiracy to force you to stop believing in science exists only in your mind. Every time a scientific story is posted dealing with the nature of the universe somehow, someone has to inevitably drag out the tired stereotype that anyone who's religious, well specifically a christian is an uneducated moron who believes in the 6000 year old universe.

The Vatican has specifically stated that science and Christianity can co-exist. One doesn't refute the other. There have been discussions and debates on all kinds of scientific discoveries and in the end they choose to accept them. They've embraced evolution for example.

This is not to say there aren't religious idiots out there and even some odd denominations somewhere preaching garbage. But the fact of the matter is that the vast majority of people probably don't care about science nearly as much as people here seem to think they do, admittedly that's not necessarily a good thing. Most people aren't ever questioning the veracity of scientific discovers so there isn't even a conflict of science contradicting anything they believe.

Of course, don't let that stop you from stereotyping. I've dealt with a few programmers who were elitist jerks not nearly as talented as they liked to believe they were. I suppose it's safe to say all programmers are like that.

Re:We can detect tiny, molecules... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33003772)

Only in his mind, eh? You might have heard of an event known as 9/11? You might want to read up on the philosophies of its perpetrators for starters (see qutbism on wikipedia) and their views on science, economics, and 'forbidden knowledge'.

The "religious conspiracy" (or, rather, many such conspiracies and oppositions) exists currently, and has existed for thousands of years. You really need to read some history, or just read some news! Sure, some religious people are happy to live alongside science. Plenty aren't. From the first tribal shamans, through the prosecution of Greek philosophers and Galileo, to the present day Pope (God bless his funny hats) speaking out against HIV/AIDS prevention, 'Intelligent Design' museums seeking to undermine science in schools, and many religious and political leaders declaring war openly or not on science, you'd have to be blind or stupid not to see it.

You speak about the Vatican and Christianity as if that's the be-all-and-end-all of religious opinion. There are thousands of other religions out there, many adhered to by vastly greater numbers of people than Christianity (or just Catholicism for which the Vatican speaks, not Christianity as a whole), and many are quiet unashamedly anti-science, in whole or in part. Sounds to me like your mind is just as closed as the those religious zealots of which you seem to know so little.

Re:We can detect tiny, molecules... (2, Insightful)

FuckingNickName (1362625) | more than 4 years ago | (#33001400)

We've decided we can do it because we assume the conclusion is correct, and we assume the conclusion is correct because we've decided we can do it. It's all too easy in astronomy and theoretical physics to go all Platonic and rejoice at something seductively beautiful rather than something with enough evidence.

What if we are misinterpreting the results as referring to a combination of other signatures or combination fo sources, perhaps partially absorbed? What if we're hearing local noise? This is a uniquely sensitive telescope and results have not been duplicated.

Re:We can detect tiny, molecules... (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 4 years ago | (#33001836)

Obviously god faked the results of these measurements to test our resolve to worship him.

SETI can't find aliens (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33000796)

SETI can't find aliens, however they can detect individual molecules?

Reminds me of this joke:

"Is it just me, or does anyone else find it amazing that during the mad cow epidemic our [British] government could track a
single cow, born in Bourne almost three years ago, right to the stall where she slept in the county of Lincolnshire?
And, they even tracked her calves to their stalls.
But they are unable to locate 125,000 illegal immigrants wandering around our country. Maybe we should give each of them a cow. "

Re:SETI can't find aliens (1)

SimonTheSoundMan (1012395) | more than 4 years ago | (#33000810)

Just to clarify, the joke as used because we seem to be able to detect one thing which is tiny from a long distance, but the bigger thing (planets with life) we can't find.

Re:SETI can't find aliens (3, Interesting)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#33001000)

It is possible that aliens will make conclusions about our development of semiconductors by looking for the signature of LEDs and lasers in our night side light emissions, but would be in the dark about our biology. Photons are a great invention.
 

In 1835, Auguste Comte, a prominent French philosopher, stated that humans would never be able to understand the chemical composition of stars. He was soon proved wrong. In the latter half of the 19th century, astronomers began to embrace two new techniques—spectroscopy and photography. Together they helped bring about a revolution in people's understanding of the cosmos. For the first time, scientists could investigate what the universe was made of. This was a major turning point in the development of cosmology, as astronomers were able to record and document not only where the stars were but what they were as well.

link [aip.org]

Re:SETI can't find aliens (1)

Alsee (515537) | more than 4 years ago | (#33002370)

Photons are a great invention.

Shhhhhhh!
You don't want the software-patent-nazis hearing that sort of talk.

-

Re:SETI can't find aliens (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#33003428)

It is possible that aliens will make conclusions about our development of semiconductors by looking for the signature of LEDs and lasers in our night side light emissions

They'd have to have some damned impressive telescopes to do that. From a bit of my own fiction [slashdot.org] :

"Of course not. Any electromagnetic communications would be completely drowned out by the radiation from the system's star. 'Listening' for electromagnetic radiation is futile; no way would we ever hear another intelligence's electromagnetic communication, and even if we did it would appear to be random noise."

Re:SETI can't find aliens (-1, Flamebait)

Leperous (773048) | more than 4 years ago | (#33000820)

They're not detecting individual molecules, but an amount sufficient enough to noticeably absorb certain frequencies of light. You'd understand if you had RTFA. Cows have chips in their ears and farmers keep a tally of them, unlike immigrants. You'd understand why if you DRTDFM (Didn't Read The Daily Fucking Mail).

Re:SETI can't find aliens (-1, Offtopic)

tnok85 (1434319) | more than 4 years ago | (#33001078)

So what you're saying is that we need to start putting chips in all our immigrants? Sounds like a plan!

Re:SETI can't find aliens (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33000874)

Maybe we should give each of them a cow. "

The solution would be to pierce every person's ear with an RFID-enabled ear tag. They could even be colour-coded by ... oh I don't know ... how about religion? White for christians, black for atheists, yellow for jews ... yes ... yes I went there.

Re:SETI can't find aliens (1)

dimethylxanthine (946092) | more than 4 years ago | (#33001412)

How will you give them one if you can't find them? And if you find them to give them one, then you would have already found them...

Re:SETI can't find aliens (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33001802)

The aliens are already taking our cows and mutilating them. I guess they want to prevent themselves being tracked that way...

hope they won't find... (1)

eexaa (1252378) | more than 4 years ago | (#33000798)

...atomic-scale vuvuzelas in space.

Re:hope they won't find... (4, Funny)

SimonTheSoundMan (1012395) | more than 4 years ago | (#33000844)

At least in space, nobody will be able to hear your vuvuzela.

Re:hope they won't find... (1)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 4 years ago | (#33000982)

At least in space, nobody will be able to hear your vuvuzela.

If not in space, what about in time? Maybe if you listen to the space long enough, you'd be able to hear them even now?

Re:hope they won't find... (3, Funny)

JustOK (667959) | more than 4 years ago | (#33001198)

it's just the farting of the Time Lords

Re:hope they won't find... (2, Funny)

Alsee (515537) | more than 4 years ago | (#33002270)

I suggest anyone blowing a vuvuzela be placed in the vacuum of space so we don't have to hear it.

-

Re:hope they won't find... (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 4 years ago | (#33001366)

...atomic-scale vuvuzelas in space.

Bucky balls, not footy balls.

No (1)

AmonTheMetalhead (1277044) | more than 4 years ago | (#33000942)

We cannot condone bouncing of the seventh variety.

Re:No (2, Funny)

macara (1813628) | more than 4 years ago | (#33001050)

The Elders tell of a young ball much like you. He bounced three metres in the air. Then he bounced 1.8 metres in the air. Then he bounced four metres in the air. Do I make myself clear?

Think GeeK? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33000944)

Doesn't thinkgeek sell these?

Balls (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33001004)

Aren't space buckyballs usually found just the other side of Uranus?

What? No Spaceballs jokes or references? (5, Funny)

erroneus (253617) | more than 4 years ago | (#33001044)

Am I really that old?! Oh well...

May da schwartz be witcha.

Re:What? No Spaceballs jokes or references? (1)

JustOK (667959) | more than 4 years ago | (#33001204)

Hey! That's the combination to my luggage! Wait. I don't have any luggage.

They do exist in nature (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33001136)

Bucky-balls have been observed in natural things such as carbon rich fires albeit in minute quantities They have even been observed in a standard candle flame.

Natural Buckyballs (2, Funny)

Montrey (912098) | more than 4 years ago | (#33001238)

Does this mean that there will be a new group of people calling for the use of "only all-natural, organic" buckyballs?

Deep space, the new frontier... (2, Funny)

ctrl-alt-canc (977108) | more than 4 years ago | (#33001324)

...for patent attorneys! Now they can start arguing if alien prior art exists about methods for synthetizing fullerene, thus voiding several patents. A good excuse for skyrocketing their bills.

A Tank of the Precious Juice (1)

Ol Biscuitbarrel (1859702) | more than 4 years ago | (#33001364)

Already added to the Wiki entry on interstellar molecules. [wikipedia.org] Now if we could only find some gasoline floating around out there, if only to make pundits' heads spin...why is our oil (product) floating in their planetary nebula!?!?!?

Re:A Tank of the Precious Juice (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#33003654)

Now if we could only find some gasoline floating around out there, if only to make pundits' heads spin...why is our oil (product) floating in their planetary nebula!?!?!?

I read last year about a nebula containing ethyl alcohol. Unfortunately my googlefu is weak today, and I can't find the citation.

The thing's hollow... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33001374)

The thing's hollow... it goes on forever, and... oh my God! It's full of balls!

Lots of Buckyballs Here in Wisconsin (1)

mim (535591) | more than 4 years ago | (#33001548)

But many have been found to be ego inflated.

The Chaga is coming (1)

Lproven (6030) | more than 4 years ago | (#33001644)

We can expect the first biological package to hit Kilimanjaro soon... right after Iapetus turns black and Hyperion disappears.

(Hint [amazon.co.uk] for the terminally unhip.)

new patent meme (1)

Darth Sdlavrot (1614139) | more than 4 years ago | (#33001664)

Instead of "on the internet" now we can re-patent everything with "in space."

Buckyballs in space.

ecommerce -- in space.

software delivery -- in space.

etc.

Re:new patent meme (1)

JazMuadDib (600258) | more than 4 years ago | (#33004286)

Piiiigs iiin Spaaaace!

Am I the only one... (1)

HopkinsProgramming (1633737) | more than 4 years ago | (#33001712)

Am I the only one who read the title and started wondering how the magnetic "BuckyBalls" toy [thinkgeek.com] ended up in outer space?

Re:Am I the only one... (1)

ironicsky (569792) | more than 4 years ago | (#33002890)

I thought the same thing... My first thought was, "Why is NASA allowing people to bring strong, small magnets in space. Surely this will mess up some electronics" My BuckyBalls are safely attached to the side of my fridge where they cant do any harm

SETI signature (1)

GayBliss (544986) | more than 4 years ago | (#33002840)

Maybe ET thinks it's better to send messages through chemical patterns rather than electro-magnetic patterns.

New discovery!!!!! Buckyballs are..... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33003544)

Buckyballs = Proto Proto Proto Planets

heh heh you said "balls" (1)

Thud457 (234763) | more than 4 years ago | (#33003872)

Who would've thought Bucky was such a manslut.
We keep finding his balls everywhere, and people are always talking about his balls.
"World's most successful failure"?
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