Archive for the ‘space’ Category

Million-Mile-High Club

May 1, 2018

“Space Sex is Serious Business,” produced for fivethirtyeight.com.

Research and Narration: Maggie Koerth-Baker; Writer and Producer: Christine Laskowski;  Design and Animation: Tom McCarten.

More:

“Space Sex Is Serious Business,” Maggie Koerth-Baker, FiveThirtyEight

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Water. Not Just For Earthlings Anymore.

February 9, 2018

Water. Not Just For Earthlings Anymore.

With the help of HiRISE, a powerful camera aboard NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, scientists have found vast quantities subsurface ice reserves that astronauts could mine for drinking, growing crops, or converting into hydrogen for fuel.

“The deposits begin at depths as shallow as one meter and extend upwards of 100 meters into the planet. The researchers don’t estimate the quantity of ice present, but they do note that the amount of ice near the surface is likely more extensive than the few locations where it’s exposed. And what’s more, the ice looks pretty damn pure.”

— “Scientists Discover Clean Water Ice Just Below Mars’ Surface,” Robbie Gonzalez, Wired

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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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SpaceX to Launch World’s Most Powerful Rocket

February 6, 2018

Elon Musk’s SpaceX corporation is scheduled to launch its Falcon Heavy rocket today. The 200 foot tall, 1500 ton space vehicle will be powered entirely by loud electric guitars, if the SpaceX video (above) is any guide.

More:

“Can Elon Musk disrupt deep space with the world’s most powerful rocket?” Tim Fernholz, Quartz

Updates:

“SpaceX successfully launches the world’s most powerful rocket, in a spectacle that sends a Tesla on its way to Mars,” Christian Davenport, Washington Post

“The middle booster of SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket failed to land on its drone ship,” Loren Grush, The Verge

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Home Sweet Supercluster

October 30, 2017

Superclusters, the biggest structures in the Universe, are regions of space densely packed with galaxies.  A team based in Hawaii redrew the boundaries of the cosmic map and redefined Earth’s home supercluster. They named it Laniakea, Hawaiian for “immeasurable heaven.”

More:

“Earth’s new address: ‘Solar System, Milky Way, Laniakea,'” Elizabeth Gibney, Nature

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Voyager Space Probe Survives From the Age of Disco

September 14, 2017

Voyager Space Probe Survives From the Age of Disco

The NASA Voyager space probes were launched in 1977, the Age of Disco. They’ve been staying alive for 40 years, and are now 13 billion miles from Earth, traveling through deep interstellar space. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory is celebrating the anniversary with free commemorative posters.

See the  Voyager film, The Farthest, on PBS.

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China Launches ‘Space Truck’

April 25, 2017

China Launches 'Space Truck'

Last Thursday a Long March-7 Y2 rocket took off from the Wenchang Satellite Launch Centre on Hainan carrying an unmanned Tianzhou-1 cargo resupply spacecraft, which will dock with the “Heavenly Palace 2” Tiangong 2 space laboratory. Billionaires Jeff  Bezos and Elon Musk were not involved, so you heard nothing about it.

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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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New Earth-Like Planets Discovered

February 23, 2017

Seven new Earth-sized planets have been discovered orbiting a (relatively) nearby star. The star, called Trappist-1, is much smaller than our sun, and is classified as an ultra-cool dwarf.

To this stunning announcement we only add this observation:  Ultra-Cool Dwarf would be a great name for a rock band.

The newly discovered exoplanets very likely have liquid water, meaning they may host alien life forms not yet in the Trump Administration.

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Radio in Space @ Distance

February 13, 2017

Radio in Space @ Distance

If extraterrestrials out in space are listening to Earth’s radio broadcasts right now, what are they hearing? Hip Hop? The Beatles? Walter Winchell? Al Jolson? Enrico Caruso? That depends on how far away they are. That’s the premise behind simulation website Lightyear.fm.

More:

“Lightyear.fm shows the ‘contemporary’ music extraterrestrials are rocking out to,” Christopher Curley, A.V. Club

“Stunning Sim Shows How Far Hit Songs Have Traveled in Space,” Tim Moynihan, Wired

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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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Did Comets Prepare Earth for Life?

February 9, 2017

Did Comets Prepare Earth for Life?

One of the big Space stories last year involved the European Space Agency’s Rosetta mission to the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.  Data from the mission found that the 2.5 mile long “dirty snowball” orbiting the sun every 6.44 years contains not just frozen water and water vapor but the mineral phosphorus and the amino acid glycine, two more of the building blocks of life.

More:

“Rosetta’s comet has the right ingredients for life,” Rachel Feltman, Washington Post

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Image (“Comet, after Charles Martin”) by Mike Licht, who knows 67P has no tail. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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NASA Wants Better Astronaut Diapers

January 19, 2017

NASA Wants Better Astronaut Diapers

NASA scientists are good at … well rocket science, but t here’s one problem that has them stumped: how to handle space suit poop. The agency issued the Space Poop Challenge late last year, and is currently judging the entries. The winner will get $30,000.

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