Thursday, July 2, 2015

No More Hazards At Pluto

The New Horizons probe has found no additional moons of Pluto nor any rings, so the flight should go as planned.

The flyby is set for July 14.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Mars Glider

A team of engineers is working on building a one pound glider that would fly in the skies of Mars for perhaps ten minutes, maybe imaging possible sites for manned landings.

The team says the glider could go along on a NASA rover mission to launch in the 2022-2024 period.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Exomoons

A new study argues that huge exoplanets, several times bigger than Jupiter, could have moons as large as Mars.

Such super Jupiters orbiting in a star's habitable zone would not be good candidates to be the home of civilizations, but big exomoons could be.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Falcon 9 Explosion

SpaceX' Falcon 9 exploded two minutes into its cargo flight to ISS yesterday.

Oddly, it was the third flight to resupply ISS to fail in less than a year, and three separate launchers were involved-- rockets from Orbital Sciences, Russia, and SpaceX.  A common weakness, therefore, seems unlikely.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Closing On Pluto

The New Horizons spacecraft is already delivering fantastic images of the Pluto system, among them photos of a dark patch in the polar region of the largest moon, Charon, and others showing a Pluto of an incredible range of terrain types.

Closest approach to Pluto is next month.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Impact Glass

When a meteorite slams into a planet or moon, rock can be melted to form glass.  It's called impact glass.  A new study shows impact glass can preserve traces of life that existed before the meteorite hit.

Scientists are thus suggesting looking for impact glass as a way to look for life on Mars.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Nearby Life

Planetary scientist Nathalie Cabrol of the SETI Institute thinks life on Earth may have originated on Mars.  Over three billion years ago, during the Late Heavy Bombardment, she thinks life could have traveled between a warmer, wetter Mars and Earth inside rocks thrown away from their mother worlds.

She also thinks life in the outer Solar System is possible, but it would have a different origin.