Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Missing Stars

Researchers have found globular star clusters that don't have as many stars as current theory says they should have.

Therefore, a new theory of globular cluster formation is needed.   That's how science works.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Exploration Flight Test-1

NASA plans to conduct the first test flight of its new Orion capsule on December 4.

Exploration Flight Test-1 will test Orion's systems, including its huge heat shield-- the largest yet made-- in a high speed re-entry that will simulate a return from the Moon.  The flight will be unmanned.

Monday, November 24, 2014

To Bolldly Go

Fifty years ago this week, filming began on the original STAR TREK television series.

That series has been followed by four more television series, plus a series of feature films, not to mention a cottage industry centered on novels.  STAR TREK, its characters, and its optimistic view of the human future, have become part of a worldwide popular culture.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

What Is It?

Astronomers have found an object in the bowl of the Big Dipper that could be a supernova that has been exploding for 60 years.  Or, it could be two black holes in the process of merging.  Or it could be a huge variable star that will eventually become a supernova.  Further research will resolve the matter.

Nature has a deep bag of tricks.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Binary Planets

Researchers using computer simulations have found that two worlds the size of Earth could exist in orbit around each other.

They found the situation could be stable for billions of years if the planets orbited far enough away from their star that the star's gravity did not disrupt the delicate balance between the planets.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Philae Sniffs Organics

Before losing  power, sensors on the Philae lander detected organic compounds in the atmosphere of its comet.

Philae also found the comet's surface is much harder than previously thought.  That might be a factor in Philae's bouncing landing.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Lunar Mission One

Lunar Mission One is a Britain based non-profit, private effort to put a lander in the southern polar region of the Moon by 2024 and drill down perhaps 330 feet to obtain ancient rock samples.

LMO says such samples would be of immense scientific value, as well as being useful in determining whether that area could support a manned outpost.