Posts Tagged ‘space’

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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Space Aliens Communicate With Earth. Maybe.

January 3, 2017

Space Aliens Communicate With Earth. Maybe.

“Two Canadian astronomers published a study that claims an anomaly in the pulsing of a group of stars is possibly evidence of an alien civilization. ….

The scientists Ermanno Borra and Éric Trottier from the Université Laval in Quebec analyzed modulations in 2.5 million stars from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey project and concluded that 234 of them exhibited strange behavior. In fact, the stars seemed to be signaling, with the conceivable explanation that it’s aliens trying to make contact.”

— “Astronomers Detect Strange Star Signals That Are ‘Probably’ Aliens Making Contact,” Paul Ratner, Big Think

More:

“Either stars are strange, or there are 234 aliens trying to contact us,” Evan Gough, Universe Today via Phys.org

Download the paper here.

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

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Space Elevators

June 12, 2016

Space elevators explained, by Kurzgesagt (German for “in a nutshell”).

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Here Comes a Comet. Duck!

March 22, 2016

Here Comes a Comet. Duck!

Comet P/2016 BA14 is passing close to Earth today, whizzing by a mere 2.2 million miles above our planet. You may have felt the breeze from its twin yesterday. Comet 252P/LINEAR came within 3.3 million miles of us.

More:

“A ‘Tail’ of Two Comets,” Jet Propulsion Laboratory, NASA

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Image (“Comet, after Charles Martin”) by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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Congress Versus Mars!

February 11, 2016

Congress Versus Mars!

The House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology thinks NASA’s Journey to Mars initiative is lost in Space. “This is a misguided mission without a mission, without a launch date and without ties to exploration goals. It’s just a time-wasting distraction,” said committee chair Rep. Lamar Smith (R, TX-21) in hearings last week.

More:

“Congressional committee says NASA’s Mars mission is in critical need of a plan,” Loren Grush, The Verge

“Congress Scolds NASA, Underscoring How Far We Are From Mars,” Dianna Wray, Houston Press

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Outer Space Salad!

August 11, 2015

Outer Space Salad!
Astronauts on the International Space Station grew and ate heads of red romaine lettuce. With extra virgin olive oil and Italian balsamic vinegar. Next stop: Entrées  Mars!

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Comet Lander: It’s Alive!

June 15, 2015

Comet Lander: It's Alive!

The Philae device the European Space Agency landed on a comet has emerged from 7 months of hibernation and phoned home, sending a radio signal from Comet 67P. The ESA Rosetta Orbiter landed Philae after a 10 year space voyage, but the washing-machine-sized device bounced into a shadowed part of the comet’s surface and couldn’t recharge its solar cells until now.

More:

“European space probe, thought lost, awakes in comet’s shadows,” Thomas Atkins, Reuters

“ESA’s Philae comet lander wakes up after seven months of hibernation,” Sebastian Anthony, Ars Technica UK

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Espresso in Space!

April 22, 2015

Espresso in Space!

If  you want decent coffee in space, invite the Italians.

When Italian astronaut Luca Parmitano was on the International Space Station in 2013, he really missed having a decent cup of coffee. Samantha Cristoforetti, an Italian flight engineer from the European Space Agency, has been on the ISS for a year and feels the same. Lavazza and Italian tech firm Argotec just delivered an experimental ISSpresso Machine to her so she can finally get espresso in space. NASA threw in a matching set of high-tech coffee cups for zero-gravity sipping.

Of course now an Italian astronaut will want a decent bombolone or cornetto.

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