Showing posts from December, 2017

New Approach For Detecting Planets In Alpha Centauri System

Yale astronomers have taken a fresh look at the nearby Alpha Centauri star system and found new ways to narrow the search for habitable planets there. According to a study led by Professor Debra Fischer and graduate student Lily Zhao, there may be small, Earth-like planets in Alpha Centauri that have been overlooked. Meanwhile, the study ruled out the existence of a number of larger planets in the system that had popped up in previous models. “The universe has told us the most common types of planets are small planets, and our study shows these are exactly the ones that are most likely to be orbiting Alpha Centauri A and B,” said Fischer, a leading expert on exoplanets who has devoted decades of research to the search for an Earth analog. The new study appears in the Astronomical Journal. Co-authors are John Brewer and Matt Giguere of Yale and Bárbara Rojas-Ayala of Universidad Andrés Bello in Chile. The Alpha Centauri system is located 1.3 parsecs (24.9 trillion miles) from

NASA is planning an interstellar mission for 2069, may head to nearby Alpha Centauri

Mankind hasn’t yet explored some of the most interesting objects in our own solar system — heck, we still don’t even know all that much about Earth itself — but that isn’t stopping NASA from setting its sights at a destination so distant that it would take decades for a spacecraft to even get there. A tentative mission is currently being outlined that would see NASA send a spacecraft on an interstellar mission to explore the Alpha Centauri system. The proposed journey, which was revealed by scientists with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory at the 2017 Geophysical Union Conference and reported by New Scientist, was born out of a budget mandate to make progress on interstellar travel. Now, NASA is working on technology that, if all goes as planned, could allow a spacecraft to reach ten percent of light speed, and the goal is to have it ready by 2069 with Alpha Centauri in its sights Alpha Centauri is a system made up of three stars, with the two primary stars being Alpha Centauri A

SpaceX is sending barley to space for Budweiser research

SpaceX is sending barley seeds on a round trip mission to space in the name of better beer -- and some brand cool for Anheuser. It's part of a research project backed by Budweiser, which says it wants to develop the first beer that space foragers can drink on Mars. The launch was slated for liftoff from Cape Canaveral's Air Force station on Tuesday morning. But SpaceX said late Monday that it's been delayed till Wednesday afternoon to allow time for additional checks. It's part of SpaceX's ongoing partnership with NASA to complete unmanned trips to the International Space Station. Each trip sends supplies for the crew and scientific experiments. Six people are currently on board the space station -- three NASA astronauts, two Russian cosmonauts and one Italian astronaut. Budweiser's plan to brew space beer may sound like a gimmick. Indeed, the funding for the project is coming out of Budweiser's marketing budget, according to Ricardo Marques, the

Trump puts Moon back on NASA’s road map to Mars

President Trump on Monday ordered NASA to send astronauts back to the moon and then eventually to Mars, part of the administration’s focus on manned space exploration. “This is a giant step toward that inspiring future,” Mr. Trump said. “We are the leader and we are going to stay the leader.” The president signed the Space Policy Directive-1 on the 45th anniversary of the last crew mission to land on the moon, which was Apollo 17 lunar lander that touched down on the moon Dec. 11, 1972. Vice President Mike Pence has spearheaded the administration’s space policy and was on hand for the signing of the directive. Mr. Trump credited the vice president with helping restore “American leadership” in space. The Obama administration had given up on moon landings and instead planned to use asteroids as steppingstones to reach Mars. Source:

Elon Musk dares the CEO of Boeing to race SpaceX to Mars

Whether it’s DC Comics versus Marvel, Nike versus Reebok, or Apple versus Microsoft, there is nothing like some friendly competition to raise the stakes — and spark a bit of crazy innovation in the process. Now we have our latest standoff to add to the collection: SpaceX founder Elon Musk versus Boeing. What’s at stake? Being able to lay claim to getting the first human to Mars, apparently. The first shots were fired Thursday, December 7, when CNBC host Jim Cramer quizzed Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg over whether the established giant would be able to beat SpaceX. “We’re working on that next generation rocket right now with our NASA customers called ‘Space Launch System,’” Muilenburg said. “This is a rocket that’s about 36 stories tall. We’re in the final assembly right now, down near New Orleans, and we’re going to take a first test flight in 2019. And we’re going to do a slingshot mission around the moon.” He added that, “Eventually we’re going to go to Mars and I firmly believ