What would happen if you tried to land on Jupiter  

First of all, trying to land on Jupiter would be a bad idea:

Jupiter is made of mostly hydrogen and helium gas. So, trying to land on it would be like trying to land on a cloud here on Earth. There’s no outer crust to break your fall on Jupiter. Just an endless stretch of atmosphere.

The big question, then, is: Could you fall through one end of Jupiter and out the other? It turns out, you wouldn’t even make it halfway. Here’s what would happen if you tried to land on Jupiter.

Go to the whole article (and watch the fascinating animated video).

A billionaire just launched a company to sell hotel reservations in space — and outdo NASA with a ‘monster’ space station  

From Business Insider:

Robert Bigelow, who made his billions from the hotel chain Budget Suites of America, has officially launched a new spaceflight company called Bigelow Space Operations (BSO).

Bigelow, age 72, founded Bigelow Aerospace in 1999. That company develops space hardware and built an inflatable room, called the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module, which NASA attached to the International Space Station in 2016.

But the hotel mogul has grand ambitions to use BSO to commercialize space — and outdo NASA with a “monster” space station.

In 2021, BSO plans to launch two 55-foot-long inflatable modules, called B330-1 and B330-2, that link together to form a private space station. The new company wants to sell time aboard to countries in need of orbital laboratory space, as well as multi-million-dollar reservations to tourists seeking the trip (and hotel stay) of a lifetime.

“These single structures that house humans on a permanent basis will be the largest, most complex structures ever known as stations for human use in space,” the company said in a press release.

Falcon Heavy may have drastically increased the number of asteroids we can mine  

From Gizmodo:

Asteroid mining is about more than just heading up into space and bringing back a rock full of platinum—you actually need to land something on just the right asteroid.

Falcon Heavy, the world’s most powerful rocket launched by Elon Musk-led SpaceX two weeks ago, may have changed the game, says one astronomer.

“Instead of a few hundred we may have thousands of ore bearing asteroids available,” Martin Elvis from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics told an audience at the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual meeting in Austin, Texas.

Iceland considers criminalizing circumcision  

From The Washington Times:

The first shot has been fired in the 21st century European war on religion. The front line is the tiny country of Iceland.

Members of Iceland’s parliament from five different parties have proposed a law banning circumcision. Punishment for those convicted of performing the religious practice would be six years in prison.

It is no surprise the first shot in this war is aimed at minority religions, too few in number to have any national clout. There are only about 100 Jews in Iceland, and some several hundred Muslims. They are too weak to speak out for themselves, but others outside of the country who understand the danger of criminalizing religious practices are speaking out on their behalf and on behalf of religious freedom. […]

Today’s Europeans may consider themselves sophisticated, modern or post-modern, but their words conceal primitive motivations. They are poised to endorse an ancient anti-religious tactic, and for the same old reasons — to impose their dominant religious culture on minorities in their midst.

The first shot in Europe’s war on religion may come from little Iceland, but don’t ignore it. Similar legislation is under discussion elsewhere in Europe.

The Sound and the Fury: Inside the mystery of the Havana embassy  

“More than a year after American diplomats began to suffer strange, concussion-like symptoms in Cuba, a U.S. investigation is no closer to determining how they were hurt or by whom, and the FBI and CIA are at odds over the case. A ProPublica investigation reveals the many layers to the mystery — and the political maneuvering that is reshaping U.S.-Cuba relations.”

From ProPublica:

It was a cool night for Havana, with the temperature falling into the mid-70s, and the diplomat and his family were feeling very good about their assignment to Cuba. They were still settling into their new home, a comfortable, Spanish-style house in the lush enclave that had been called “el Country Club” before wealthy families abandoned it in the early years of the revolution. “We were just thrilled to be there,” the diplomat recalled. “The music, the rum, the cigars, the people — and a very important moment for diplomacy.”

Eight months earlier, in March 2016, President Barack Obama had swept into town to commemorate the two countries’ historic rapprochement, vowing to bury “the last remnant of the Cold War in the Americas.” Now, weeks after the election of Donald Trump, that entente was suddenly doubtful. Fidel Castro had just died, opening a new chapter in the Cuban saga. The diplomat could hardly have imagined a more fascinating time to arrive.

As the sun slid into the Florida Straits on that late-November evening, the diplomat folded back the living room doors that opened onto the family’s new tropical garden. The warm night air poured in, along with an almost overpowering din. “It was annoying to the point where you had to go in the house and close all the windows and doors and turn up the TV,” he recalled. “But I never particularly worried about it. I figured, ‘I’m in a strange country, and the insects here make loud noises.’”

A few nights later, the diplomat and his wife invited over the family of another American embassy official who lived next door. Around dusk, as they chatted on the patio, the same deafening sound rose from their yard again.

“I’m pretty sure those are cicadas,” the first diplomat said.

“Those are not cicadas,” his neighbor insisted. “Cicadas don’t sound like that. It’s too mechanical-sounding.”

The colleague had been hearing the same noises at home, sometimes for an hour or more at a stretch. After he complained to the embassy housing office, a couple of Cuban maintenance workers were dispatched to look around. They checked for electrical problems and scanned the yard for strange insects, but they left without finding anything out of place. In February, the nightly racket finally began to fade. Then it went away altogether.

It was not until a Friday in late March that the diplomat realized he might be facing something more dangerous than bugs.