Friday, October 24, 2014

Aldrin On Mars

Buzz Aldrin, at a MIT conference, said sending people to Mars and leaving them there at least until some critical mass of personnel is reached makes sense.

Others disagreed.  Clearly, settling Mars will test, and perhaps alter, how we view ourselves.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Beta Pictorris Comets

Astronomers have detected swarms of comets orbiting the young star Beta Pictoris, which is 63 light years away.

The situation there is similar to the one in our system, suggesting the processes involved are common throughout the universe.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Moon Launch For China

China may be launching its next robotic mission to the Moon Thursday.

This one will feature a capsule that will re-enter Earth's atmosphere at high speed in preparation for a sample return mission.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Ten Thousand Years

Climate change aside, many Earth scientists think long-term climate patterns say the planet will plunge into another ice age in about ten thousand years.

That's good to keep in mind when hunting ET.  Planetary climates are likely cyclical.  Because a planet can't support life now doesn't necessarily mean it hasn't in the past or won't in the future.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Comet Siding-Spring

Comet Siding-Spring, on its first visit to the inner Solar System from the Oort Cloud, whizzed past Mars yesterday, missing the planet by only 87,000 miles.

All the probes now at Mars were focused on observing the comet.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

X-37B

The USAF's secretive unmanned spaceplane, the X-37B, landed uneventfully in California yesterday after a 674 day mission.

Exactly what, if anything, was accomplished during the mission is classified.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Cassini Zapped

The Cassini spacecraft was zapped by a beam of electrons which emanated from Saturn's moon Hyperion recently.  The beam resulted from an interaction between static electricity on Hyperion and Saturn's magnetosphere.

Cassini was not damaged.