Monday, February 29, 2016


The next SpaceX launch was scrubbed yesterday shortly before scheduled liftoff.

Whenever it goes, the company will try again to softly land the booster.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

2014 MU59

The Kuiper Belt object 2014 MU69 will be the next target for the New Horizons space probe that flew past Pluto last July.  The encounter will take place in January, 2019.

NASA and Congress still haven't approved funding for an extended mission, however.

Friday, February 26, 2016

BA To Launch

Bigelow Aerospace is set to launch two of its inflatable modules in April on a two-year mission to ISS.

BA plans to use its inflatable approach to build entire space stations, as well as habitats on the Moon and Mars.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Cold Titan

NASA's Cassini probe has found the temperature of the southern hemisphere of Saturn's giant moon Titan in summer is around -292 F.

Cassini is scheduled to burn up in Saturn's atmosphere next year.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016


Seekers of life in the universe are beginning to look for exomoons-- moons of exoplanets.

Such moons could help stabilize climates on the larger world, as Earth's Moon does, thus making it easier for life to arise on the exoplanet, or possibly harbor life themselves.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Cislunar Outpost

NASA wants an outpost in space in the vicinity of the Moon, and a team at Locheed is looking at using its Orion capsule to establish one.

Such a manned outpost could control rovers on the lunar surface, perform life science research, and test technologies for a Mars ship.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Weird Music

A report came out this weekend that the Apollo 10 crew heard "weird music" while flying over the far side of the Moon, and thus cut off from Earth transmissions.

NASA still has no explanation for the incident.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Astronaut Application

NASA announced yesterday it has received more than 18,000 applications for its next astronaut class.

It's by far the most for a single class ever, smashing the previous record of about 8.000 in 1982.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Virgin Galactic Returns

Virgin Galactic intends to resume test flights of its SpaceShipTwo today.

The flights have been halted since October 2014 when an accident killed one pilot and badly injured another.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Photonic Propulsiom

On the technological horizon for NASA is photonic propulsion, a rocket that uses electromagnetic force rather than chemical reactions.

Photonic propulsion would reach relativistic speeds, allowing three day trips to Mars and making interstellar flight possible.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Boeing Commercial

A Boeing television commercial now showing predicts a thriving community on Mars and Earth being powered by solar power satellites by 2116.  It also depicts space elevators.

It's a vision worth pursuing.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Maybe Follow The Salt

NASA's basic strategy for seeking life is to follow the water.  A new study of Mars, however, suggests that if life ever arose there, that life might have gravitated towards salty areas as the planet dried up, because salt holds moisture.

So, future Martian rovers might follow the salt.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Philae Lost

The European Space Agency is discontinuing attempts to communicate with its comet lander, Philae.

ESA last heard from Philae in June, but it will continue to listen for signals.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Space Defense

The Pentagon's 2017 budget proposal asks for an increase on money to secure U. S. space assets against potential attack.  Last year, that line item was $5.5 billion.

The U. S.  military and economy are more dependent on space assets than any other nation.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Greenhouse Effect

A new study suggests heating caused by a greenhouse effect can render a planet hostile to life just as easily as if the planet orbited too close to its sun.

Scientists are developing tools, techniques, and a base of understanding that will allow them to zero in on possible life bearing worlds.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Gravitational Waves

Scientists have finally directly detected gravitational waves-- one more confirmation of Einstein's General Relativity.

The detection comes in the centennial year of the theory.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Possible Delay For Europa

Based on President Obama's budget proposal, NASA's mission to Europa may be delayed until the late 2020s instead of a 2022 launch.

Congress can still increase funding, however.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Asteroid Strike

A new study finds a kilometer-wide asteroid striking Earth on land could bring about a mini-ice age.  A rock ten times that big could cause a mass extinction.

The case for a strong planetary defense program is solid.  An asteroid strike is the only natural disaster we have a chance to stop.

Monday, February 8, 2016

North Korrea

North Korea launched a satellite into orbit over the weekend, saying it was for scientific and peaceful uses.

Many nations, however, see the launch as another step towards Pyongyang developing an ICBM capable of delivering a nuclear warhead.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Edgar Mitchell

Former astronaut Edgar Mitchell, the sixth man to stand on the Moon, died Thursday.  He was 85.

Mitchell was not your stereotypical astronaut.  He conducted ESP experiments while on the Moon, and he believed aliens had visited Earth.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Maybe No Planet Nine

Last month, two astronomers argued the movements of some objects in rhe Kuiper Belt points to the existence of a huge planet far out in the Solar System.  A new study, however, says many smaller bodies could accomplish the same thing.

Observation should settle the matter in a few years.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

That Star..... Continued

That star that could potentially have an alien megastructure orbiting it?  Astronomers had said the likeliest explanation for the observed dips in the star's brightness was a swarm of huge comets.  Now, researchers say that doesn't really fit.

Currently, they have no good explanation for the dimming.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016


Luxembourg is taking steps to build a legal structure to support the utilization of space resources.

Coupled with a recent U. S. move in the area, Luxembourg's initiative suggests governments are beginning to grasp the possibilities of space.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Quasar No More

Quasars are some of the brightest objects in the universe, created when huge amounts of gas falls into black holes.

Astronomers have recently seen a quasar blink out.   When the supply of gas runs out, the shining stops.

Monday, February 1, 2016


Thirteen years ago today, space shuttle Columbia disintegrated during re-entry, killing all seven members of the crew.

The tragedy marked the beginning of the end of the shuttle program, and, as it happened, a return to capsule style manned spacecraft.