Wednesday, August 31, 2016


Researchers found a radio signal in May 2015 that was consistent with what they'd expect from an alien civilization.  It was from a star 94 light years away.

The signal,  however, has not been found a second time.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016


CNBC is doing reports all day today about the space industry.

The first looked at the burgeoning space sector in Colorado.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Dragonfly 44

Astronomers have discovered a galaxy they call Dragonfly 44 that is composed of 99.99 percent dark matter.

Now they are looking for more such galaxies.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Clarke's Three Firsts

Arthur C. Clarke wrote there are three great firsts in space exploration-- the first human on another world, the first human on another planet orbiting the Sun, and the first human on a world orbiting another star.  We now have a good handle on that sequence.

The first occurred in 1969.

If all goes well, the second will occur on Mars in two or three decades.

And the third will take place on a world now called Proxima b.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Reaching Proxima b

Some commentators have noted getting to Proxima b would take thousands of years with current technology, so finding it is of limited interest.

In fact, the Breakthrough Starshot project hopes to launch nanoprobes there in about 20 years, using lightsail technology to accelerate them to 20 percent of the speed of light.  If all goes well, we could have data back from a flyby of Proxima b yet this century.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Proxima b

Astronomers announced yesterday the discovery of Proxima b, an Earth-like world orbiting Proxima Centauri.

Further, it orbits in that star's habitable zone, which means it may possibly support life.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Right Place, Rght Time

A NASA probe investigating the Van Allen radiation belts around Earth happened to be in the right place at the right time last year when mass ejected from the Sun during a powerful solar storm slammed into the belts.

Such events can damage spacecraft, so studying this one will be helpful.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Musk on Mars

Elon Musk is set  to lay out his plans for putting humans on Mars at the meeting of the International Astronautical Congress next month.

If all goes as planned, Musk will beat NASA to Mars by several years.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Tabby's Star

Some scientists are still considering alien explanations for the unprecedented dimming of Tabby's Star.  No natural explanation has yet snugly fit the data.

Another search for radio signals coming from the star will be conducted in October.  The first such search found nothing.

Saturday, August 20, 2016


NASA's new rocket, the SLS, will be more powerful than the legendary Saturn V, the agency confirms.

SLS, besides launching astronauts to Mars, will also be able to fling planetary missions on more direct paths to the gas giants and beyond, thus cutting years off mission times.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Colonizing Space

The recent announcement that an Earth-like world may orbit Proxima Centauri, 4.25 light years away, seems to have sparked new discussion about interstellar travel.

The existence of an attractive destination so close by, it's thought, may focus efforts to reach the stars.

Thursday, August 18, 2016


A new study shows crystals, including protein crystals,  can be grown bigger and purer in microgravity than on Earth.

That could have fundamental implications in many fields, including medical research.  Growing crystals could be an early space profit center.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Life On Early Venus?

A new study using computer modeling of the atmosphere suggests life may have existed on early Venus.

That was before the roasting began.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016


According to a report in the German publication Der Spiegel, astronomers have found a potentially Earth-like world orbiting the red dwarf Proxima Centauri, the closest star to the Sun.

If so, that world would be the obvious target for humanity's first interstellar flight.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Sixth Success

SpaceX successively soft landed a booster for the sixth time yesterday after launching a communications satellite.

The next step in the process is to launch a booster for a second time, which is scheduled to be attempted shortly.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Einsteinian Black Holes

Astronomers have established that matter in the accretion disk of a black hole twists in response to gravity just as Albert Einstein predicted.

It's yet another confirmation of Einstein's theories.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Almost Doomsday

A powerful solar event that knocked out American early warning radar nearly led to nuclear war in 1967, according to a new study.

Luckily, U. S. Air Force physicists were quickly able to determine the damage was done by the Sun, not the Soviets.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Twenty Earths

Scientists have selected 20 worlds that could be most similar to Earth out of 4.000 possible exoplanets found by Kepler.

The next step is to closely study those twenty.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

ALH 84001

Twenty years ago this month, scientists studying a meteorite from Mars dubbed ALH 84001 announced they may have found evidence for life on Mars.

Most biologists reject that claim today, but the debate continues.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Tabby's Star

Tabby's Star, the star that might host an alien megastructure, is also dimming significantly, astronomers say, and they can't yet say why.

The alien hypothesis is still alive.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Colonies, Settlements, And Bases

We tend to use certain words when describing humans on other worlds, and we should be aware of the distinctions among them.

A base may be intended as a long-term project, but it is manned by crews for specific amounts of time.

A settlement is a community where people make their lives, raise families, run businesses, etc.

A colony is a settlement, but the word suggests a subordinate political relationship to another, older entity, such as a nation.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Speedy Comet

A comet plunged into the Sun at 373 miles per second this week.

It was one of the fastest comets ever recorded.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Curiosity At Four

NASA's Curiosity rover has now been on Mars, exploring Gale Crater and now climbing Mount Sharp, for four years.

Curiosity has helped lead a revolution in our knowledge of Mars while also establishing, along with other NASA rovers, that remote exploration of other worlds is possible.

Thursday, August 4, 2016


The 1980 UFO incident at Bentwaters Air Base in Britain was more extensive and complex than generally reported, according to Linda Moulton Howe.

She speculates the "aliens" involved were in fact time traveling humans from our far future.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Moon Ho!

Moon Express has been given the green light by the U. S. Government to land a probe on the Moon.

The company plans to make that attempt next year.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Dream Chaser

The Sierra Nevada Corporation is preparing a series of test flights for its Dream Chaser lifting body spacecraft.

SNC plans its first flight to ISS for 2019.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Mars Gullies

A new study of  the gullies on Mars suggests they were not cut by flowing liquid water.

That, in turn, argues water only flowed on Mars early in its history.