Over the years, the spacefaring nations of Earth have sent dozens of probes and rovers to explore Mars. Today there are three active satellites circling the red planet while two rovers, Opportunity and Curiosity, wheel across the red sands below. Mars is dry, barren, and apparently lifeless.
Soon, those assets could find themselves exploring a very different kind of world.
"There is a small but non-negligible chance that Comet 2013 A1 will strike Mars next year in October of 2014," says Don Yeomans of NASA's Near-Earth Object Program at JPL. "Current solutions put the odds of impact at 1 in 2000."
The nucleus of the comet is probably 1 to 3 km in diameter, and it is coming in fast, around 56 km/s (125,000 mph). "It if does hit Mars, it would deliver as much energy as 35 million megatons of TNT," estimates Yeomans.
Families will be paying almost £300 a year in green energy taxes by 2020.
The levy will more than double until a quarter of every pound spent on electricity goes on wind, solar, nuclear or home insulation schemes.
Energy Secretary Ed Davey insisted last night that households will be better off thanks to the benefits of electricity-saving initiatives.
But families will be able to claw the money back only if they buy more efficient domestic appliances and boilers.
The average power bill is now £1,267 – with £112 of that going on green taxes, including an £18 wind farm subsidy.
By 2020, green taxes will have risen by more than 150 per cent, ensuring each family contributes £286, according to the Department for Energy and Climate Change.
It reckons that by then households will be saving £452 a year by taking up schemes to lower energy use and by switching to more efficient kettles, fridges and TVs.
The ministry also hopes smart meters, which track energy consumption, will alter consumer behaviour and lower consumption.
But John Constable, of the charity Renewable Energy Foundation, said: ‘DECC is clearly embarrassed by the terrifying costs of its ever-growing range of green policies, and is covering up with a whitewash of wildly optimistic assumptions about energy efficiency.
No one seems upset that in modern Britain, old people are freezing to death as hidden taxes make fuel more expensive
A few months ago, a group of students in Oslo produced a brilliant spoof video that lampooned the charity pop song genre. It showed a group of young Africans coming together to raise money for those of us freezing in the north. “A lot of people aren’t aware of what’s going on there right now,” says the African equivalent of Bob Geldof. “People don’t ignore starving people, so why should we ignore cold people? Frostbite kills too. Africa: we need to make a difference.” The song – Africa for Norway – has been watched online two million times, making it one of Europe’s most popular political videos.
The aim was to send up the patronising, cliched way in which the West views Africa. Norway can afford to make the joke because there, people don’t tend to die of the cold. In Britain, we still do. Each year, an official estimate is made of the “excess winter mortality” – that is, the number of people dying of cold-related illnesses. Last winter was relatively mild, and still 24,000 perished. The indications are that this winter, which has dragged on so long and with such brutality, will claim 30,000 lives, making it one of the biggest killers in the country. And still, no one seems upset.
Somewhere between the release of the 1984 Band Aid single and Al Gore’s 2006 documentary An Inconvenient Truth, political attention shifted away from such problems. The idea of people (especially old people) dying in their homes from conditions with which we are all familiar now seems relatively boring. Much political attention is still focused on global warming, and while schemes to help Britain prepare for the cold are being cut, the overseas aid budget is being vastly expanded. Saving elderly British lives has somehow become the least fashionable cause in politics.
I had to smile at this charity YouTube from Africa, most of us have been focused on helping starving people in Africa to take any notice that these guys have a real sense of humour when given the opportunity. The theme of sending radiators to Norway is a touch or pure genius....I bet way back in November 2012 when this YouTube was registered the authors had no idea as to the irony of what they had to say, who knows in years to come this YouTube may be put forward in a more serious context!
Published on 16 Nov 2012
You too can donate your radiator and spread some warmth! http://www.africafornorway.com/ Twitter http://bit.ly/Y4NWPH On Spotify http://spoti.fi/Y4NMb8 and iTunes http://bit.ly/Ubik4A T-shirts are available! http://bit.ly/SI8bhG
Imagine if every person in Africa saw the "Africa for Norway" video and this was the only information they ever got about Norway. What would they think about Norway?
If we say Africa, what do you think about? Hunger, poverty, crime or AIDS? No wonder, because in fundraising campaigns and media that's mainly what you hear about.
Virus affecting sheep and cattle in England and Wales has now been confirmed north of the border.
SCOTS farmers fear a deadly livestock disease could be “another nail in the coffin” for their struggling industry.
They were dealt a hammer blow yesterday after it was confirmed the Schmallenberg virus (SBV), which has already badly affected sheep and cattle in England and Wales, has been found north of the border.
The disease, which is spread by midges, can cause ewes and cows to miscarry or lead to birth defects in lambs and calves.
Some farmers in England and Wales have reported losing between 20 and 50 per cent of newborns to the virus.
Eight cows at Scotland’s Rural College’s Barony campus in Dumfries have tested positive for the disease – but no deformed calves have yet been born to the 160-strong dairy herd.
The shock news adds to the misery of farmers who have had to dig their sheep and cattle out of snow after the coldest March for 50 years.
BRITAIN could face another month of bitter winter weather with the big freeze killing one person every five minutes.
Forecasters warned the bitter cold is likely to continue over Easter and through much of April.
Temperatures will stay well below-average for at least a fortnight with no sign of any real turnaround until the beginning of May.
Government officials said the cold snap is likely to send the death toll “substantially” up on the winter average. Deaths in March are already up 10 per cent to 1,715 a week – around one every five minutes.
The Met Office has a level-3 health alert for “severe cold weather” until tomorrow, with severe weather warnings for icy conditions in the East.
An elderly couple in Llangollen, north Wales, almost died from carbon monoxide poisoning after snow blocked the vents to a generator at their home.
From 1 to 26 March the UK mean temperature was 2.5 °C, which is three degrees below the long term average. This also makes it joint 4th coldest on record in the UK........
The cold weather is expected to continue through the Easter weekend and into April.
Looking at individual countries, March 2013 is likely to be the 4th coldest on record for England, joint third coldest for Wales, joint 8th coldest for Scotland and 6th coldest for Northern Ireland.
Clearly March has been extremely cold and snowy and joins 2006, 2001, 1995, 1987, 1979, 1970 and 1962 as years when March saw some significant snowfall. Once all the figures are in, it's possible that the December to March period for 2012/13 will be comparable with 2010/11, 2009/10 or winters in the mid-1980s.
Throughout the cold spell which started at the end of January Met Office forecasts and warnings have given accurate and timely advice to the public, emergency services and business across the UK.
Speaking on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme on 12 March, Catherine Brookes of the Highways Agency, said about significant snowfall: "We knew this was coming. It was forecast, we had plans in place and we followed them. All of our resources were available and we have been gritting continually."
The bitter Arctic conditions continuing to hold Europe and North America in a vice-like grip have killed thousands of people so far, with no sign of a let-up, and in the UK at least March is shaping up to be the coldest in 100 years.
It’s now the fifth winter in a row that’s broken cold records, and scientists are beginning to talk about the elephant in the room: are we actually at a tipping point to get colder, rather than warmer?
In New Zealand, there’s been huge media coverage of one hot summer drought as evidence of climate change in action, yet summers for the previous two years were wet and cool and no-one in the media batted an eyelid. Conversely in the northern hemisphere, with each winter apparently worse than the last, media coverage has studiously avoided the obvious – until now.
“Mentioning the lethal “100-year, record-smashing” spring cold and snow spreading across Europe over the past month has for the most part been avoided like the plague by Germany’s mainstream media. The silence over the record cold and frost, which has killed thousands and cost billions, has been ear-ringing,” writes commentator Pierre Gosselin.
The Committee on Climate Change is an independent, statutory body established under the Climate Change Act 2008. Its role is to advise the UK Government and Devolved Administrations on emissions targets, and report to Parliament on progress made in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and preparing for climate change. It says it conducts independent analysis into climate change science, economics and policy.