Keyword: xplanets

Brevity: Headers | « Text »
  • Interstellar Trade Is Possible

    03/16/2018 9:36:20 PM PDT · by LibWhacker · 54 replies
    Tough SF ^ | 3/21/17
    Interstellar Trade Is Possible In this post, we will detail a method for developing interstellar trade using near-future technologies and commercially realistic requirements. We will then look at the various outcomes, challenges and development models that will follow the first interstellar operation. There is now a Summary at the end of the post. A tough taskTravel between stars is hard. The distances are measured in trillions of kilometers and the space between destinations is not really empty. Attempting the crossing at interplanetary speeds is ludicrously slow; the only way is to reach velocities measured in percentages of the speed of...
  • How Did Uranus Form?

    03/09/2018 9:43:05 AM PST · by Simon Green · 83 replies ^ | 03/08/18 | Nola Taylor Redd,
    Although planets surround stars in the galaxy, how they form remains a subject of debate. Despite the wealth of worlds in our own solar system, scientists still aren't certain how planets are built. Currently, two theories are duking it out for the role of champion. The first and most widely accepted, core accretion, works well with the formation of the terrestrial planets but has problems with giant planets such as Uranus. The second, the disk instability method, may account for the creation of giant planets. "What separates the ice giants from the gas giants is their formation history: during...
  • What scientists found trapped in a diamond: a type of ice not known on Earth

    03/09/2018 10:09:59 AM PST · by Red Badger · 28 replies ^ | 03-09-2018 | Deborah Netburn
    Trapped in the rigid structure of diamonds formed deep in the Earth’s crust, scientists have discovered a form of water ice that was not previously known to occur naturally on our planet. The finding, published Thursday in Science, represents the first detection of naturally occurring ice-VII ever found on Earth. And as sometimes happens in the scientific process, it was discovered entirely by accident. Ice-VII is about one and a half times as dense as the regular ice we put in our drinks and skate on in winter, and the crystalline structure of its atoms is different as well. In...
  • Scientist Says He's Found Fossilized Alien Footprints On Mars, Blames NASA For Cover-up

    03/06/2018 10:49:22 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 42 replies
    BGR Media ^ | March 5th, 2018 | Mike Wehner
    ...there's been no concrete evidence of life ever having existed on the Red Planet -- that is, if you believe the official version of things. Barry DiGregorio, a researcher with the University of Buckingham, doesn't buy it, and he says he's already discovered clues to Mars' past in the form of fossilized alien tracks. Now, he's trying to get others on board with his theory and blow the top off of an alleged NASA cover-up in the process. DiGregorio... believes previously-released NASA imagery from the planet offers clear evidence of Martian tracks. He believes photos showing small indentations in rock...
  • If We Receive a Message From Aliens, Should We Delete it Without Reading it?

    02/13/2018 1:12:06 AM PST · by LibWhacker · 73 replies
    Universe Today ^ | 2/13/18 | Matt Williams
    Roughly half a century ago, Cornell astronomer Frank Drake conducted Project Ozma, the first systematic SETI survey at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in Green Bank, West Virginia. Since that time, scientists have conducted multiple surveys in the hopes of find indications of “technosignatures” – i.e. evidence of technologically-advanced life (such as radio communications). To put it plainly, if humanity were to receive a message from an extra-terrestrial civilization right now, it would be the single-greatest event in the history of civilization. But according to a new study, such a message could also pose a serious risk to humanity. Drawing...
  • Meet TESS, NASA’s Next Step in the Quest for Alien Earths

    03/02/2018 3:39:16 PM PST · by LibWhacker · 21 replies
    Scientific American ^ | 3/1/18 | Irene Klotz
    In a clean room inside a clean room at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, a petite telescope is perched on a stand for a final series of checkouts prior to launch. The extra fastidiousness is because the observatory’s four cameras will fly without protective covers—one of several simplifying design decisions made to help ensure the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, or TESS, will meet its goal of measuring the masses of at least 50 small, rocky and potentially Earth-like worlds as part of the first all-sky, exoplanet survey. TESS was proposed even before NASA’s planet-hunting Kepler space telescope, launched in 2009, demonstrated...
  • 314 Action Wants to Elect Scientists, But Only if They're Democrats

    02/28/2018 7:33:52 AM PST · by Heartlander · 18 replies
    ACSH ^ | February 22, 2018 | Alex Berezow
    314 Action Wants to Elect Scientists, But Only if They're Democrats The U.S. Congress is made up mostly of professional politicians and lawyers. This comes as a surprise to precisely no one, but the sheer numbers are rather striking.According to the Congressional Research Service (PDF, Table 2), the 115th Congress consists of 168 Representatives (out of 435) who are lawyers, and the Senate has 50 lawyers (out of 100). Combined, lawyers make up nearly 41% of Congress.How many lawyers are in the U.S.? One law firm (with a nifty interactive map!) estimates roughly 1.3 million. Given that the U.S. population...
  • Survey suggests group of Milky Way stars are homegrown, not alien invaders

    02/26/2018 4:07:30 PM PST · by BenLurkin · 6 replies
    upi ^ | Feb. 26, 2018 at 4:08 PM | Brooks Hays 
    Like our sun, the majority of the Milky Way's stars are located within the galaxy's central disk. A comparatively smaller portion of stars can be found distributed throughout the galaxy's outer halo. The star aren't scattered randomly, however. Many of them can be organized into large-scale structures -- structures astronomers believe hold clues to the Milky Way's violent past. Scientists believe at least some of these stellar structures are the remnants of smaller galaxies that have collided with and were absorbed by the Milky Way. As part of the latest study, astronomers analyzed the properties of 14 stars located within...
  • Proxima Centauri's No Good, Very Bad Day

    02/27/2018 2:25:58 AM PST · by zeestephen · 15 replies
    Science Daily ^ | 26 February 2018
    Astronomers have detected a massive stellar flare -- an energetic explosion of radiation -- from the closest star to our own Sun, Proxima Centauri, which occurred last March. This finding raises questions about the habitability of our Solar System's nearest exoplanetary neighbor, Proxima b [an Earth-like planet], which orbits Proxima Centauri.

    02/23/2018 9:21:36 PM PST · by MtnClimber · 41 replies
    SYFYWire ^ | 22 Feb, 2017 | Phil Plait
    Despite being only 4.3 light-years away from Earth, the trio of stars comprising Alpha Centauri still holds a lot of mysteries. It being the closest star system to us, you'd think we'd have teased out most of its secrets by now, but in fact we're still learning basic stuff about it. We know some of the basics, of course. The system has two stars that orbit each other in a binary, one of which (called Alpha Centauri A) is much like the Sun and the other (Alpha Cen B) is a tad smaller and cooler. Nearby is a third star,...
  • Are you rocky or are you gassy? Astronomers unlock the mysteries of super-Earths

    02/08/2018 10:45:25 AM PST · by Red Badger · 20 replies ^ | 02-08-2018 | Carnegie Institution for Science
    An artist's impression of a stellar system with three super-Earths. Credit: ESO. ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ A star about 100 light years away in the Pisces constellation, GJ 9827, hosts what may be one of the most massive and dense super-Earth planets detected to date according to new research led by Carnegie's Johanna Teske. This new information provides evidence to help astronomers better understand the process by which such planets form. The GJ 9827 star actually hosts a trio of planets, discovered by NASA's exoplanet-hunting Kepler/K2 mission, and all three are slightly larger than Earth. This is the size that the Kepler...
  • Belgian Astronomers Named Newly-Found Planetary System After Their Favorite Beer

    03/14/2017 8:08:22 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 27 replies
    Tech Times ^ | 14 March 2017, 7:22 am EDT | Amy Gordon
    A crew of five astronomers from Belgium have discovered an exceptional planetary system and surprisingly it has got the name of their favorite beer. The planetary system has been christened TRAPPIST-1 by the astronomers after The Transiting Planets and Planetesimals Small Telescope or TRAPPIST. It is an arrangement of seven planets just 40 light-years away, surrounding a dwarf star. The sizes of the planets are almost similar to that of the Earth. Three of the seven planets are in the liveable area of the star to ensure that they can reinforce liquid water in the external zone and support life....
  • TRAPPIST-1 Planets Are Even More Like Earth Than We Thought

    02/05/2018 1:59:12 PM PST · by Red Badger · 27 replies ^ | 02/05/2018 | By David Grossman
    The TRAPPIST-1 system is made up seven roughly Earth-sized planets orbiting a dwarf star around 39 light-years away and is often hailed as the most likely place for life outside our solar system that we know of. A new study offers further insight into each TRAPPIST planet's biological properties and the signs are encouraging. The new research comes from scientists around the globe, including University of Bern in Germany, the Sorbonne in France, Cambridge, NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston and others. Their paper, "The nature of TRAPPIST-1 Exoplanets," shows that the planets don't have an excess of hydrogen. This...
  • The search for life on other planets could get a boost from biosignatures

    01/24/2018 10:24:50 PM PST · by BenLurkin · 19 replies
    L A Times ^ | Jan 24, 2018 | 3:25 PM | Amina Khan
    Scientists have focused on a few potentially telltale molecules, such as methane. Methane is produced in large quantities by microbes on Earth (including those in the bellies of cattle). But methane can also be produced by nonbiological sources, such as volcanoes. Molecular oxygen (two oxygen atoms bonded together) is produced in massive amounts today by photosynthesizing algae, plants and microbes. But the photosynthetic mechanism is so complicated that scientists think it evolved only once on our own planet. That means there's no guarantee of finding oxygen-producing photosynthesis on other worlds, even if life does exist there. Thus, relying on any...
  • TRAPPIST-1 system planets potentially habitable

    01/23/2018 2:23:29 PM PST · by Red Badger · 32 replies ^ | 01/23/2018 | Planetary Science Institute
    A size comparison of the planets of the TRAPPIST-1 system, lined up in order of increasing distance from their host star. The planetary surfaces are portrayed with an artist’s impression of their potential surface features, including water, ice, and atmospheres. Amy Barr's paper “Interior Structures and Tidal Heating in the TRAPPIST-1 Planets” shows that planets d and e are the most likely to be habitable due to their moderate surface temperatures, modest amounts of tidal heating, and because their heat fluxes are low enough to avoid entering a runaway greenhouse state. Planet d is likely covered by a global water...
  • Distant Galaxies Challenge Our Understanding of Star Formation

    01/22/2018 3:50:38 PM PST · by MtnClimber · 20 replies
    Real Clear Science ^ | 22 Jan, 2018 | Marie Martig
    The most massive galaxies in our neighbourhood formed their stars billions of years ago, early in the history of the universe. At the present day, they produce very few new stars. Astronomers have long believed that is because they contain very little gas – a key ingredient necessary to produce stars. But our new study, published in Nature Astronomy, is now challenging this long held view. Through probing the extreme environments of faraway massive galaxies, we can learn not only about their evolution and the history of the universe, but most importantly about the fundamental processes regulating the formation of...
  • Researchers Probe Origin of Superpowerful Radio Blasts from Space

    01/10/2018 4:21:23 PM PST · by BenLurkin · 38 replies ^ | January 10, 2018 01:00pm ET | Charles Q. Choi, Contributor |
    New work probes the extraterrestrial source of incredibly powerful explosions of radio waves, investigating why that spot is the only known location to repeatedly burst with these blasts.  These repeating bursts may come from a dense stellar core called a neutron star near an extraordinarily powerful magnetic field, such as one near a massive black hole, the study finds. Fast radio bursts, or FRBs, are intense pulses of radio waves lasting just milliseconds that can give off more energy in a fraction of a second than the sun does in hours, days or weeks. FRBs were discovered only in 2007,...
  • Earth Resides in Oddball Solar System, Alien Worlds Show

    01/16/2018 2:11:31 PM PST · by BenLurkin · 60 replies ^ | January 16, 2018 12:40pm ET | Elizabeth Howell
    A new study using data from NASA's Kepler Space Telescope shows that in most cases, exoplanets orbiting the same star have similar sizes and regular spacing between their orbits.  By contrast, our own solar system has a range of planetary sizes and distances between neighbors. The smallest planet, Mercury, is about one-third the size of Earth — and the biggest planet, Jupiter, is roughly 11 times the diameter of Earth. There also are very different spacings between individual planets, particularly the inner planets.  This means our solar system may have formed differently than other solar systems did, the research team...
  • The Plasma Magnet Drive: A Simple, Cheap Drive for the Solar System and Beyond

    12/31/2017 10:21:30 PM PST · by LibWhacker · 21 replies
    Centauri Dreams ^ | 12/29/17 | Paul Gilster, Alex Tolley
    The Plasma Magnet Drive: A Simple, Cheap Drive for the Solar System and Beyondby Paul Gilsteron December 29, 2017 Can we use the outflow of particles from the Sun to drive spacecraft, helping us build the Solar System infrastructure we’ll one day use as the base for deeper journeys into the cosmos? Jeff Greason, chairman of the board of the Tau Zero Foundation, presented his take on the idea at the recent Tennessee Valley Interstellar Workshop. The concept captured the attention of Centauri Dreams regular Alex Tolley, who here analyzes the notion, explains its differences from the conventional magnetic sail,...
  • We Might Have Just Discovered 2 Dark Moons Hidden Near Uranus

    12/22/2017 6:11:50 AM PST · by Red Badger · 50 replies ^ | 17 OCT 2016 | FIONA MACDONALD
    ================================================================================================================ Researchers have re-examined data captured by the Voyager 2 spacecraft back in 1986, and think they've found evidence of two never-before-seen moons hidden in the rings of Uranus. Uranus, the third largest planet in our Solar System, already has 27 moons that we know of - but these two new ones appear to orbit the planet more closely than any of its other natural satellites, and are causing wavy patterns in its closest rings. Although Saturn is the most famous ringed planet orbiting our Sun, it's not the only one, with the three other gas giants - Jupiter, Uranus,...