Posted on November 23, 2021Categories News   Leave a comment on Is That a Fossil on Mars? Non-Biological Deposits can Mimic Organic Structures

Is That a Fossil on Mars? Non-Biological Deposits can Mimic Organic Structures

There’s nothing easy about searching for evidence of life on Mars. Not only do we somehow have to land a rover there, which is extraordinarily difficult. But the rover needs the right instruments, and it has to search in the right location. Right now, the Perseverance lander has checked those boxes as it pursues its mission in Jezero Crater. But there’s another problem: there are structures that look like fossils but aren’t. Many natural chemical processes produce structures that mimic … Continue reading “Is That a Fossil on Mars? Non-Biological Deposits can Mimic Organic Structures”

Posted on November 23, 2021Categories News   Leave a comment on If Alien Probes are Already in the Solar System, Maybe we Could Detect Them Calling Home

If Alien Probes are Already in the Solar System, Maybe we Could Detect Them Calling Home

It’s been seventy years since physicist Enrico Fermi asked his famous question: “Where is everybody?” And yet, the tyranny of the Fermi Paradox is still with us and will continue to be until definitive evidence of Extraterrestrial Intelligence (ETI) is found. In the meantime, scientists are forced to speculate as to why we haven’t found any yet and (more importantly) what we should be looking for. By focusing our search efforts, it is hoped that we may finally determine that … Continue reading “If Alien Probes are Already in the Solar System, Maybe we Could Detect Them Calling Home”

Posted on November 23, 2021Categories News   Leave a comment on South Korea Launches its First Rocket. The Third Stage cut off Short.

South Korea Launches its First Rocket. The Third Stage cut off Short.

So far, only six countries have successfully launched more than 1 ton of equipment into space using domestically developed rockets.  A seventh, North Korea, has successfully done so with a slightly smaller payload.  Recently, their southern neighbor attempted to get into this exclusive club by testing its first-ever three-stage orbital rocket.   All three stages fired successfully, but the last one didn’t do so long enough, stopping 46 seconds before it was supposed to.  So while South Korea did manage to … Continue reading “South Korea Launches its First Rocket. The Third Stage cut off Short.”

Posted on November 23, 2021Categories News   Leave a comment on Here are Hubble’s 2021 Photos of the Outer Solar System

Here are Hubble’s 2021 Photos of the Outer Solar System

If we had to rely solely on spacecraft to learn about the outer planets, we wouldn’t be making great progress. It takes a massive effort to get a spacecraft to the outer Solar System. But thanks to the Hubble Space Telescope, we can keep tabs on the gas giants without leaving Earth’s orbit. NASA’s Outer Planet Atmospheres Legacy (OPAL) program keeps an eye on the outer planets to monitor changes in their atmospheres. Changes on Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune … Continue reading “Here are Hubble’s 2021 Photos of the Outer Solar System”

Posted on November 22, 2021Categories News   Leave a comment on You can Watch Ingenuity’s Flight on Mars, Captured by Perseverance

You can Watch Ingenuity’s Flight on Mars, Captured by Perseverance

New video beamed back to Earth from the Perseverance Rover shows an incredibly detailed view of the Ingenuity helicopter’s flight back in September. The video – taken from about 300 meters (328 yards) away — shows Ingenuity’s takeoff and landing with such detail, that even a little plume of dust is visible during the helicopter’s ascent. It’s hard to overstate how amazing this is. The precise nature of the planning and execution of capturing this video meant coordinating the timing … Continue reading “You can Watch Ingenuity’s Flight on Mars, Captured by Perseverance”

Posted on November 21, 2021Categories News   Leave a comment on We’re Constantly Battling Invasive Species Here on Earth. What Does That Teach us About Infecting Other Worlds With Earth Life?

We’re Constantly Battling Invasive Species Here on Earth. What Does That Teach us About Infecting Other Worlds With Earth Life?

When Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins returned from the Moon in the summer of 1969, they spent three weeks isolated in quarantine to make sure that they hadn’t brought back any microbial lifeforms from the Moon, which could prove harmful to Earth life. Later, once the Moon had been unequivocally proved to be a dead world, future Apollo missions were allowed to skip quarantine. Elsewhere in the solar system, however, NASA still has to take planetary biosecurity seriously, … Continue reading “We’re Constantly Battling Invasive Species Here on Earth. What Does That Teach us About Infecting Other Worlds With Earth Life?”

Posted on November 20, 2021Categories News   Leave a comment on There’s So Much Pressure at the Earth’s Core, it Makes Iron Behave in a Strange Way

There’s So Much Pressure at the Earth’s Core, it Makes Iron Behave in a Strange Way

It’s one of nature’s topsy-turvy tricks that the deep interior of the Earth is as hot as the Sun’s surface. The sphere of iron that resides there is also under extreme pressure: about 360 million times more pressure than we experience on the Earth’s surface. But how can scientists study what happens to the iron at the center of the Earth when it’s largely unobservable? With a pair of lasers. Earth is not the only body with an iron core. … Continue reading “There’s So Much Pressure at the Earth’s Core, it Makes Iron Behave in a Strange Way”

Posted on November 20, 2021Categories News   Leave a comment on There’s Enough Oxygen in the Lunar Regolith to Support Billions of People on the Moon

There’s Enough Oxygen in the Lunar Regolith to Support Billions of People on the Moon

When it comes to the future of space exploration, a handful of practices are essential for mission planners. Foremost among them is the concept of In-Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU), providing food, water, construction materials, and other vital elements using local resources. And when it comes to missions destined for the Moon and Mars in the coming years, the ability to harvest ice, regolith, and other elements are crucial to mission success. In preparation for the Artemis missions, NASA planners are … Continue reading “There’s Enough Oxygen in the Lunar Regolith to Support Billions of People on the Moon”

Posted on November 19, 2021Categories News   Leave a comment on SpinLaunch Hurls a Test Vehicle Kilometers Into the air. Eventually, it’ll Throw Them Almost all the way to Orbit

SpinLaunch Hurls a Test Vehicle Kilometers Into the air. Eventually, it’ll Throw Them Almost all the way to Orbit

For today’s commercial space companies providing launch services to orbit, the name of the game is simple: “do it cheaper.” To reduce the costs of launching payloads to space and encourage the commercialization of Low Earth Orbit (LEO), entrepreneurs have turned to everything from reusable rockets and 3-D printing to air-launch vehicles and high-altitude balloons. And yet, there is one concept that truly seems like something out of this world! This concept is known as a mass accelerator, a kinetic … Continue reading “SpinLaunch Hurls a Test Vehicle Kilometers Into the air. Eventually, it’ll Throw Them Almost all the way to Orbit”

Posted on November 19, 2021Categories News   Leave a comment on An Absolutely Bonkers Plan to Give Mars an Artificial Magnetosphere

An Absolutely Bonkers Plan to Give Mars an Artificial Magnetosphere

Terraforming Mars is one of the great dreams of humanity. Mars has a lot going for it. Its day is about the same length as Earth’s, it has plenty of frozen water just under its surface, and it likely could be given a reasonably breathable atmosphere in time. But one of the things it lacks is a strong magnetic field. So if we want to make Mars a second Earth, we’ll have to give it an artificial one. The reason … Continue reading “An Absolutely Bonkers Plan to Give Mars an Artificial Magnetosphere”