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NASA is making plans to send a probe to Europa — one of Jupiter's more than 60 moons — and you wanna know why we should all be excited about this?

Image from NASA/JPL-Caltech.


There's a chance (probably a good one) they're gonna find aliens there.

He's not mad, he's just excited about so much science happening. GIF from "Star Wars: A New Hope."

Here's the thing — while Europa's surface might look like a big, dusty rock, it's actually ice. And below that ice might be a gigantic ocean.

Seriously, Europa's ocean is huge. Even though Earth is more than four times larger in diameter than Europa, it is estimated that Europa has more than twice as much ocean water.

Image from Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

That's important because liquid water and life are totally in love with each other. In fact, just about every place on Earth where we've found liquid water, we've found life.

Image from Bruno de Giutsi/Wikimedia Commons.

High in the atmosphere? Check. Buried under miles of rock? Is there water? Then there's life! There's even bacteria inside nuclear waste disposal dumps!

Life, uh, finds a way. Image from Michael Daly/Uniformed Services University/Wikimedia Commons.

So, if there is liquid water under Europa's icy surface, it is extremely likely that there are signs of life below.

Image from Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

OK, yes, we know, we know — if the entire moon is covered in ice, then how is that alien life getting energy? Doesn't it need sunlight?

Image from NASA/JPL-Caltech.

And that's very astute of you to wonder — but here's your answer: On Earth, deep-sea vents are capable of powering entire alien ecosystems.

Yes, Europa's icy surface probably means the oceans are completely dark, and yes, most food chains on Earth are based around the sun, but let us introduce you to our little friend: thehydrothermal vent.

Image from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

On Earth, these vents exist deep under the ocean where sunlight never penetrates. Instead the life around them gets its energy from the superheated water and chemicals that erupt up from vents.

Europa is constantly being squeezed by Jupiter's gravity like an giant stress ball, which means it probably has an active, molten core just like Earth's.

An artist's impression of Europa's surface, with Jupiter visible in the background. Image via NASA/JPL-Caltech.

A molten core means vents, and vents may mean life. In fact, there's even a theory that suggests life on Earth first developed around similar vents on Earth!

To find out if there is life under Europa's icy surface, scientists are sending a probe into orbit around Jupiter that will also make close passes by Europa.

The surface of Europa. Image from NASA/JPL-Caltech/SETI Institute.

This will give the probe a chance to examine the moon, using tools like radar and spectrometers to learn more about its geology, it's stress-ball relationship with Jupiter, and what kinds of processes might be going on under the ice.

But that's not even the coolest thing about the probe — the coolest thing is the taste test the probe will conduct on one of its trips past Europa.

Images from the Hubble Telescope hint that giant plumes of water sometimes blast out of Europa's ocean like geysers, shooting some of its ocean water high into space.

Artist's depiction. Image from NASA/ESA/K. Retherford/SWRI/Wikimedia Commons.

The scientists are planning to add a bunch of robot tongues — essentially — to the front of their spacecraft and send it diving through the spray from these geysers to "taste" all that water and see what kinds of chemicals or possible lifeforms it can detect.

If there are aliens to be found, it's likely we'd find some trace of them on Europa. Meaning this mission could be the single biggest scientific discovery ever.

OK, so if they do find aliens, they're probably not going to look as pretty as Spock...

GIF from "Star Trek."

...or as be as suave as Chewie.


GIF from "Star Wars: A New Hope."

In fact, they'll probably look more like bacteria or algae. But alien algae would be totally cool too – because anything we find down there that's alive would totally revolutionize our concept of life in the universe. If life is so common that it could arise twice around a single star, then imagine what an entire galaxy's worth of planets and moons and stars could look like.

And even if they don't find any aliens, this mission is still worth celebrating because it's an awesome chance for us to explore our solar system and learn more about the universe we live in.

Watch NASA's animation about their mission to Europa below. And get excited! This could be the first step to finding aliens — real aliens — in our lifetime.

All images provided by Bombas

We can all be part of the giving movement

True

We all know that small acts of kindness can turn into something big, but does that apply to something as small as a pair of socks?

Yes, it turns out. More than you might think.

A fresh pair of socks is a simple comfort easily taken for granted for most, but for individuals experiencing homelessness—they are a rare commodity. Currently, more than 500,000 people in the U.S. are experiencing homelessness on any given night. Being unstably housed—whether that’s couch surfing, living on the streets, or somewhere in between—often means rarely taking your shoes off, walking for most if not all of the day, and having little access to laundry facilities. And since shelters are not able to provide pre-worn socks due to hygienic reasons, that very basic need is still not met, even if some help is provided. That’s why socks are the #1 most requested clothing item in shelters.

homelessness, bombasSocks are a simple comfort not everyone has access to

When the founders of Bombas, Dave Heath and Randy Goldberg, discovered this problem, they decided to be part of the solution. Using a One Purchased = One Donated business model, Bombas helps provide not only durable, high-quality socks, but also t-shirts and underwear (the top three most requested clothing items in shelters) to those in need nationwide. These meticulously designed donation products include added features intended to offer comfort, quality, and dignity to those experiencing homelessness.

Over the years, Bombas' mission has grown into an enormous movement, with more than 75 million items donated to date and a focus on providing support and visibility to the organizations and people that empower these donations. These are the incredible individuals who are doing the hard work to support those experiencing —or at risk of—homelessness in their communities every day.

Folks like Shirley Raines, creator of Beauty 2 The Streetz. Every Saturday, Raines and her team help those experiencing homelessness on Skid Row in Los Angeles “feel human” with free makeovers, haircuts, food, gift bags and (thanks to Bombas) fresh socks. 500 pairs, every week.

beauty 2 the streetz, skid row laRaines is out there helping people feel their beautiful best

Or Director of Step Forward David Pinson in Cincinnati, Ohio, who offers Bombas donations to those trying to recover from addiction. Launched in 2009, the Step Forward program encourages participation in community walking/running events in order to build confidence and discipline—two major keys to successful rehabilitation. For each marathon, runners are outfitted with special shirts, shoes—and yes, socks—to help make their goals more achievable.

step forward, helping homelessness, homeless non profitsRunning helps instill a sense of confidence and discipline—two key components of successful recovery

Help even reaches the Front Street Clinic of Juneau, Alaska, where Casey Ploof, APRN, and David Norris, RN give out free healthcare to those experiencing homelessness. Because it rains nearly 200 days a year there, it can be very common for people to get trench foot—a very serious condition that, when left untreated, can require amputation. Casey and Dave can help treat trench foot, but without fresh, clean socks, the condition returns. Luckily, their supply is abundant thanks to Bombas. As Casey shared, “people will walk across town and then walk from the valley just to come here to get more socks.”

step forward clinic, step forward alaska, homelessness alaskaWelcome to wild, beautiful and wet Alaska!

The Bombas Impact Report provides details on Bombas’s mission and is full of similar inspiring stories that show how the biggest acts of kindness can come from even the smallest packages. Since its inception in 2013, the company has built a network of over 3,500 Giving Partners in all 50 states, including shelters, nonprofits and community organizations dedicated to supporting our neighbors who are experiencing- or at risk- of homelessness.

Their success has proven that, yes, a simple pair of socks can be a helping hand, an important conversation starter and a link to humanity.

You can also be a part of the solution. Learn more and find the complete Bombas Impact Report by clicking here.

via UNSW

This article originally appeared on 07.10.21


Dr. Daniel Mansfield and his team at the University of New South Wales in Australia have just made an incredible discovery. While studying a 3,700-year-old tablet from the ancient civilization of Babylon, they found evidence that the Babylonians were doing something astounding: trigonometry!

Most historians have credited the Greeks with creating the study of triangles' sides and angles, but this tablet presents indisputable evidence that the Babylonians were using the technique 1,500 years before the Greeks ever were.


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This article originally appeared on 08.05.21


Six years ago, a high school student named Christopher Justice eloquently explained the multiple problems with flying the Confederate flag. A video clip of Justice's truth bomb has made the viral rounds a few times since then, and here it is once again getting the attention it deserves.

Justice doesn't just explain why the flag is seen as a symbol of racism. He also explains the history of when the flag originated and why flying a Confederate flag makes no sense for people who claim to be loyal Americans.

But that clip, as great as it is, is a small part of the whole story. Knowing how the discussion came about and seeing the full debate in context is even more impressive.

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via Tod Perry

This article originally appeared 8.18.21


18-year-old Twitter user Aimee recently took to Twitter to ask something most of us have probably wondered about without even realizing it:

"Serious question, what the fuck is this for?" she asked, next to a photo of that handle on the ceiling of every car that we all knew about and probably wondered about but never thought to even ask for some reason?!?!?!?!?!?

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