Monday, August 21, 2017

Eclipse

Today a total eclipse runs coast-to-coast across the United States.

Total solar eclipses are among the most awe-inspiring spectacles in nature, and the most benign.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Powering Mars

According to the engineering firm Siemens, powering a Mars colony could involve a combination of solar power, with solar panels deployed on the surface, wind farms, and batteries.

It would be a decentralized system, not dependent on any one factor.

Friday, August 18, 2017

TRAPPIST-1

TRAPPIST-1 and its planets may be twice as old as the Sun, a new study suggests.

That would give life plenty of time to evolve.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Perspective

Wal-Mart has announced quarterly revenues of over $123 billion.

That's more than six times NASA's annual budget.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

For All Mankind

A group called For All Mankind is working to protect the six Apollo landing sites on the Moon as heritage areas.

It intends to present its plan to the United Nations shortly.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

WOW!

Forty years ago today, Ohio State's Big Ear radio telescope picked up the famous WOW! signal, the best known presumed false alarm in SETI history.

The signal has never been acquired again, and it remains unexplained.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Voyagers

Both Voyager spacecraft, launched in 1977, are still functioning today.

It's a remarkable tribute to the engineers who designed and built them.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Cellphone Home

A startup company plans to demonstrate cellphone technology can work on the lunar surface next year.

It also plans to send two rovers to the Apollo 17 landing site.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Proxima b

The James Webb Space Telescope, scheduled for launch next year, could give us our first detailed look at Proxima b, an Earth-sized world in the Alpha Centauri system.

JWST could look at the planet's atmosphere to determine if it might support life.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Magnetic Moon

A new study suggests the Moon had a magnetic field a billion years longer than previously thought.

That might suggest other worlds kept their magnetic fields long enough to protect early life.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

North Korea

North Korea seems to be able to build nuclear warheads that fit atop their ICBM, U. S. intelligence says.

If true, it's a dangerous development.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Limiting Life

A new study suggests some worlds may go from icy cold to hellishly hot without ever going through a habitable phase.

That would cut down on the number of habitable worlds in the galaxy.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Laser SETI

SETI researchers are expanding their toolkit.  In addition to listening for radio signals, they're going to start looking for laser flashes, since lasers do not occur naturally.

The SETI Institute is trying to raise $100,000 by August 18 to start the program.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Virgin Galactic

Virgin Galactic is successfully continuing its series of test flights of SpaceShipTwo.

The company has not yet said when commercial flights will begin.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Deep Space Gateway

NASA's Deep Space Gateway, a small space station in lunar orbit, will probably run science experiments on its own when astronauts aren't present.

DSG might launch in 2020.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Exoplanet Stratosphere

Astronomers using Hubble have detected water molecules high in the atmosphere of a hot Jupiter 880 light years away.

It marks the first establishment of a stratosphere around an exoplanet.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

NASA PPO

NASA is looking for a planetary protection officer.

The job is to protect Earth from alien microbes, and to protect other worlds from Earthly contamination.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Testing Tracking

A tiny asteroid could come within 4200 miles of Earth October 12.

Astronomers will use the event to test their tracking system.