Showing posts from November, 2015

The 5 Exoplanets Astronauts Might Be Able to Terraform

Could life exist on these worlds? Could humans manage to survive on them? Last week brought some crushing news for all the exoplanet enthusiasts out there: Kepler-438b, officially the most Earth-like exoplanet discovered so far, is actually an irradiated wasteland — meaning the chances it could sustain life of any kind are practically zero.

I know it sucks. But we should look on the bright side: According to the Planetary Habitability Laboratory at the University of Puerto Rica at Arecibo, there are actually 30 other potentially habitable exoplanets. Some of those are close to Earth’s size; many are much larger. And none of them is remotely like Earth. If there’s life on those planets, it’s probably just surface microbes that still have a few billion years of evolving to do. For humans to survive on those worlds, they’ll need a lot of new technology that hasn’t been invented yet, as well as a little bit of luck.

Exoplanet researchers use something called the Earth Similarity Index to…

SpaceX making progress on Crewed Dragon and Falcon Heavy

SpaceX continues to make progress on numerous fronts as they move forward to developing a set of flight capabilities which could enable a return to flight for U.S. astronaut. Pad 39A is one of two launch sites used for the former Space Shuttle Program that sat idle until NASA put the site up for lease. SpaceX and Blue Origin both competed for the rights to use the facility – with SpaceX eventually being approved to utilize the iconic site.

SpaceX has signed a 20-year lease for use of Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A and they have wasted little time in getting it converted for Falcon Heavy and Falcon 9 launches.

Work began on the Horizontal Integration Facility (HIF) with the driving of piles into the soft Floridian earth in late 2014. Since then The steel framing and beams have gone up and have been covered with a sheet metal skin. The finished HIF structure is approximately 285 feet (87 meters) long, 120 feet (37 meters) wide and 55 (17 meters) feet tall.
After the doors we…

Scientists spot the closest Earth-sized exoplanet yet

Scientists have discovered an exoplanet named GJ 1132b, which is Earth-sized and rocky, orbiting a small star located just 39 light-years from Earth. But you wouldn’t want to live there.

Scientists have discovered a new exoplanet that, in the language of “Star Wars,” would be the polar opposite of frigid Hoth, and even more inhospitable than the deserts of Tatooine. But instead of residing in a galaxy far, far away, this new world is, galactically speaking, practically next door.

The new planet, named GJ 1132b, is Earth-sized and rocky, orbiting a small star located a mere 39 light-years from Earth, making it the closest Earth-sized exoplanet yet discovered.

Based on their measurements, the scientists have determined that the planet is a roasting 500° F (260° C), and it is likely tidally locked, meaning that it has a permanent day and night side — presenting the same face to its star, much like our Moon is locked to Earth.

Because of its scorching temperatures, GJ 1132b most likely c…

In a new round of testing, NASA confirms yet again that the 'impossible' EMdrive thruster works

Engineer Roger Shawyer’s controversial EM Drive thruster jets back into relevancy this week, as a team of researchers at NASA’s Eagleworks Laboratories recently completed yet another round of testing on the seemingly impossible tech. Though no official peer-reviewed lab paper has been published yet, and NASA institutes strict press release restrictions on the Eagleworks lab these days, engineer Paul March took to the NASA Spaceflight forum to explain the group’s findings. In essence, by utilizing an improved experimental procedure, the team managed to mitigate some of the errors from prior tests — yet still found signals of unexplained thrust.

Isaac Newton should be sweating.

Flying in the face of traditional laws of physics, the EM Drive makes use of a magnetron and microwaves to create a propellantless propulsion system. By pushing microwaves into a closed, truncated cone and back towards the small end of said cone, the drive creates the momentum and force necessary to propel a cra…