Doctor Who Underrated Villain of the Week The Editor

first_img You know Daleks and Davros and Missy the Master, Angels and Silence hell-bent on disaster. But do you recall the most underrated Doctor Who villains of all?Each week, I will dig into the depths of the Whoniverse to examine one rejected, misjudged, or altogether forgotten big bad. And while Simon Pegg (Spaced, Shaun of the Dead, Mission: Impossible, Hot Fuzz, Star Trek) doesn’t easily escape one’s memory, his fleeting performance in Doctor Who very well might.Simon Pegg is The Editor (via DailyMotion)THE EDITORFirst appearance: “The Long Game” (2005)—season 1, episode 7Home planet: EarthDoctor: NinthCompanions: Rose Tyler, Adam MitchellIt’s the year 200,000, and the Fourth Estate has come undone.The Doctor, Rose, and short-lived companion Adam arrive on Floor 139 of space station Satellite 5—a broadcast tower transmitting news across Earth.But something is wrong; someone is stunting the development of mankind. And none of the onboard journalists are asking the right questions. Or any questions, for that matter.Upstairs on Floor 500 (where the walls are decidedly not made of gold), a pale, bleach-blonde man with a creepy smile and menacing goatee senses “a tiny little shift” in the network.Simon Pegg is The Editor (via DailyMotion)The Editor (played by the incomparable Simon Pegg)—a human servant himself—orders a team of frozen slaves to conduct a security check, which identifies Suki Macrae Cantrell, née Eva Saint Julienne, as the security breach.Meanwhile, Team TARDIS continue their adventures undetected.That is, until the Doctor and Rose sojourn to Floor 500, where they meet the smooth-and-sinister Editor, who claims to represent a consortium of interstellar banks bent on manipulating facts and lying to people.“For almost a hundred years, mankind has been shaped and guided, his knowledge and ambition strictly controlled by it’s broadcast news,” the redactor explains, “edited by my superior, your master, and humanity’s guiding light—the mighty Jagrafess of the Holy Hadrojassic Maxarodenfoe.Max (via DailyMotion)“I call him Max,” he says with a smile.When Russell T. Davies wrote this prescient episode, there was no way for him to know how on-target “The Long Game” would be 12 years later—in the days of fake news and covfefe.“Create a climate of fear and it’s easy to keep the borders closed. It’s just a matter of emphasis,” according to The Editor. “The right word in the right broadcast repeated often enough can destabilize an economy, invent an enemy, change a vote.”And the Doctor can reverse those effects.Simon Pegg is The Editor (via DailyMotion)Shackled and awaiting his imminent death, the Time Lord spots reporter Cathica—who he once dismissed as a “stupid little slave”—outside the room, and loudly comments that altering the environmental systems could kill the Jagrafess.She takes the hint and reverses the cooling system, turning Floor 500 into a sauna, and subsequently causing the overhead monster to expand and eventually explode bits of flesh onto the fleeing Editor.In some ways, Pegg’s performance served as a precursor for how the BBC show would eventually portray the modern Master: golden-haired and gleefully ghoulish.Stream all of Doctor Who now for free with your Amazon Prime membership.Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey. Stay on target ‘Doctor Who’ Underrated Villain of the Week: Mire’Doctor Who’ Underrated Villain of the Week: Zygon last_img read more

Updated NASAs new satellite brings the search for Earthlike exoplanets closer to

first_imgA new probe seeks rocky exoplanets orbiting red dwarf stars, as shown in this artist’s impression. After a 2-day delay for extra checks, NASA’s latest exoplanet-hunting satellite, the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), launched yesterday on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. Within an hour, the solar arrays that will power the spacecraft were deployed. TESS is the first of a new generation of exoplanet hunters that will home in on temperate worlds close to Earth.The brainchild of researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, the $337 million project aims to identify at least 50 rocky exoplanets—Earth-size or bigger—close enough for their atmospheres to be scrutinized by the much larger James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), due for launch in 2020, or giant ground-based telescopes now under construction. “Where do we point Webb?” TESS Principal Investigator George Ricker asked rhetorically at the American Astronomical Society annual meeting at National Harbor in Maryland in January. “This is the finder scope.”Yesterday’s launch went smoothly, but it will be a couple of months before TESS starts work. Over the next several weeks, TESS will use boosters to elongate its orbit until it reaches as far as the moon. It will then use the moon’s gravity to boost it into a particular 13.7-day orbit never before used by a satellite, which swings between 400,000 and 100,000 kilometers above Earth. To save on power, TESS will take advantage of each close approach to Earth by turning its antenna toward home to transmit data it has collected in a 3-hour download. The orbit is synchronized with that of the moon; for every lunar orbit, TESS does two. This helps by using the moon’s gravity to stabilize TESS’s orbit, so it can stay on this trajectory for decades with little need for adjustment by thrusters. By Daniel CleryApr. 19, 2018 , 4:30 AM Then, after 60 days of checks, TESS will begin scanning the skies for exoplanets.Over 9 years in space, NASA’s pioneering Kepler probe has already found more than 2600 confirmed exoplanets, implying hundreds of billions in the Milky Way. But TESS and other upcoming projects sacrifice sheer numbers and target Earth-size planets whose composition, atmosphere, and climate—factors in whether they might be hospitable to life—could be studied.Like Kepler, TESS finds planets by staring at stars and looking for a dip in brightness as a planet passes in front, blocking some of the star’s light in a so-called transit. But whereas Kepler kept a fixed view, watching just 0.25% of the sky out to a distance of 3000 light-years, TESS will maneuver to observe 85% of it, out to about 300 light-years.The spacecraft carries four telescopes that together will survey a strip of sky extending from the solar system’s pole to its equator, known as the ecliptic. The scopes will watch a strip for 27 days, then shift sideways and repeat the process. After observing 13 such strips over a year, covering almost an entire hemisphere of sky, TESS will flip over and survey the other hemisphere.Over 2 years, TESS should measure the brightness of some 2 million stars, says project scientist Stephen Rinehart of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. “If there is one planet per star [as Kepler predicts], we will see many. It’ll be a firehose of data.”TESS’s primary targets are red dwarf stars, the most common stars in our neighborhood. Red dwarfs weigh less than half as much as the sun, so they do not burn brightly, offering several advantages to exoplanet hunters. A planet passing in front of a small, dim red dwarf blocks more of its light, yielding a stronger transit signal. Moreover, planets can whip around red dwarfs in orbits closer than Mercury’s and still have hospitable climates. More orbits mean more opportunities for transit detections. TESS researchers are targeting speedsters that would circle the star at least twice during a 27-day TESS watch. Spotting two transits is key because it tells astronomers the length of the planet’s orbit. Other features of the transit—its duration, how much light is blocked, and how quickly the brightness dips—provide additional details such as the planet’s diameter.Transits don’t reveal a planet’s mass, however, which is vital to determining its density—a clue to whether it is made of iron, rock, or ice. For this, TESS is relying on follow-up studies by ground-based telescopes, which can watch for tiny periodic Doppler shifts in the frequency of a star’s light caused by an orbiting planet tugging on it. The shift is a clue to the planet’s mass. Of the 5000 transitlike signals that the TESS team expects to detect, the clearest will be chosen for ground-based follow-up, says MIT’s Sara Seager, the mission’s deputy science director. The aim is to identify and weigh 50 planets to serve up to the JWST.Although detecting planets around red dwarfs is easier, life may be less likely to arise there. Red dwarfs are erratic, prone to blasts of lethal radiation, and because the planets are so close, “they feel the effects of the star,” says NASA astronomer Elisa Quintana, who also works at Goddard. Close-in planets are also likely to be “tidally locked,” with one side always facing the star in an eternal scorching day while the other side freezes in an endless night. “Can they be habitable?” Quintana asks. “The debate goes back more than 10 years.”Later this year, the European Space Agency will launch another eye on exoplanets: the Characterising Exoplanets Satellite. Rather than searching for new worlds, it will take a second, much longer look at transits of known planets to pin down their sizes more precisely. In combination with mass measurements from the ground, that should provide a better fix on planets’ densities.Also debuting in the next few months is a ground-based search in Chile: SPECULOOS, the search for habitable planets eclipsing ultracool stars. The project’s four 1-meter telescopes have near-infrared sensors to detect transits of the very dimmest, coolest stars; a similar array in the Canary Islands will survey the northern sky. These stars are too faint for TESS’s small telescopes to see, but they could give the JWST valuable targets, says Michaël Gillon of the University of Liège in Belgium, which is leading the project.SPECULOOS may be especially sensitive to small planets because even small bodies will block noticeable amounts of light from the dim target stars. “TESS will find many more planets, but in the temperate—and potentially habitable—Earth-size regime, SPECULOOS’s detection potential should be significantly better,” Gillon says. “The next years are going to be very exciting!”*Updated, 19 April, 4:30 a.m.: This story was originally posted on 28 March and updated on 19 April after TESS’s launch. Email Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Countrycenter_img Updated: NASA’s new satellite brings the search for Earth-like exoplanets closer to home Click to view the privacy policy. 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