Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Moon Trips

SpaceX announced yesterday it plans to fly two paying tourists around the Moon and back late next year.

It plans similar flights at least yearly after that.

Monday, February 27, 2017

UAE To Mars

The United Arab Emirates has announced a project to build a city on Mars by 2117.

It also plans to launch its first probe to Mars by 2020.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Trappist SETI

With the discovery of 7 Earth-sized planets in the Trappist-1 system, including 3 in the star's habitable zone, SETI researchers will likely listen to the system.

The discovery also suggests dwarf stars, the most common stars in the universe, should be fully in play in the search for life.

Friday, February 24, 2017


UFO sightings, according to the National UFO Reporting Center, have spiked to an all-time high worldwide.

The vast majority of sightings, however, occur in the United States.

Thursday, February 23, 2017


Trappist-1 is an ultracool dwarf star only slightly bigger than Jupiter.  It is the most common type star in the universe.  Orbiting it are seven Earth-sized worlds-- three of which orbit in the star's habitable zone.

Trappist-1 is only 39 light years away, so the next generation of large telescope will be able to study the worlds' atmospheres in detail, in a search for life.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Streaky Slopes

There is reason to think that liquid water spasmodically flows down certain slopes on Mars, and that such streaks may contain life.

Knowing where water flows may be key to human exploration and colonization.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Opening Deep Space

NASA will spend up to $30 million over the next five years to develop technologies for deep space human excursions.

The money will be spent by two new research institutes.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Return To Flight

SpaceX successfully launched a Falcon 9 yesterday for the first time since an explosion last September.

The first stage was also successfully soft-landed.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Ceres Organics

Organic molecules, the precursors of life, have been found on the dwarf planet Ceres.

A new study suggests the organics formed on Ceres rather than being delivered by comets or asteroids.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Calling ET

Stephen Hawking, among others, has warned against alerting aliens that we're here, for fear they might destroy us.

There is another school of thought, however.   Advocates of sending messages to the stars note our radio and television transmissions have already reached the nearest stars and suggest powerful transmissions targeted on those stars.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Churchilll On Aliens

An essay written by Winston Churchill has been discovered among his papers.  It was written in 1939, when Europe was sliding into war.

In the essay, Churchill speculates about life elsewhere in the universe, and lays out essentially the same logic scientists use today to argue advanced life may be fairly common.  He also wrote he saw no  reason to think humans were the only, or the most intelligent, advanced race in the cosmos.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

104 For India

India successfully launched 104 satellites into orbit on one rocket last night.

The nation is quietly building quite a capable space program.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

North Korea

North Korea tested a new ballistic missile over the weekend.

Some analysts have always argued North Korea's space efforts were simply a cover for rocket development.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Europan Lander

NASA is looking at a mission concept that would put a lander on Europa to search for life.

The mission would launch in 2024 and reach Jupiter five years later.

Saturday, February 11, 2017


A joint Europe-Japan mission to Mercury is scheduled to launch in 2018.

After several gravity assists, Benji-Colombo will reach Mercury in 2020.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Trump Space?

A new report holds that the Trump administration might refocus NASA on helping the private sector build a space-based economy.

Done correctly, such an effort would fundamentally change the future.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Forming Luna

With the help of atomic tests, scientists are building a case that the Moon is so dry because volatiles like water were driven out if the material that formed the Moon when a huge body crashed into Earth.

The Moon does have water ice, but it was probably brought by comets.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017


Experiments show that helium can form compounds with other elements under the pressure deep within giant planets.

Science had traditionally held helium did not form compounds.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Alpha Centauri

Research suggests there's an 85 percent chance of finding a world in the habitable zone of at one of the two main stars of the Alpha Centauri system.

A world has already been found in the habitable zone of Proxima Centauri.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Anakyzing Asteroids

A new concept for studying the composition of asteroids involves shooting tiny impactors inti them and analyzing the plasma raised.

First flights could occur in five to ten years.

Saturday, February 4, 2017


Cryovolcanoes relax and disappear over time, a new study suggests.

They are principally made of water ice, and such ice is not structurally strong enough to support the mass of a mountain over time, so the ice slowly relaxes and the mountain goes away.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Another Near Miss

A 30-foot long asteroid missed Earth by about 100,000 miles yesterday.

The miss was the third close call in only nine days.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Orbiting Proxima b

A new study finds it might be possible to put nanoprobes into orbit around Proxima b.

That's the good news.    The bad news is that an orbital mission would take several times longer the a flyby because of the need to manage flight speed.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017


Apple has reported quarterly earnings of over $78 billion.

That's more than four times NASA's proposed annual budget.