space

New Lease on Life for the Voyagers

Voyagers 1 and 2 have the distinction of being in space for 42 years and still operating. And even though they’re 18 billion km (11 billion miles) from the Sun, they’re still valuable scientifically. But they’re running out of energy, and NASA has been working on how to stretch their remaining power for as long as possible.

https://www.universetoday.com/142802/nasa-has-figured-out-how-to-extend-the-lives-of-the-voyagers-even-longer/

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Originally posted on Twitter.

Hunting Mirror Universes

“Scientists Are Hunting For a Mirror Universe and Attempting to Open Portals Into it”: https://www.disclose.tv/scientists-are-hunting-for-a-mirror-universe-and-attempting-to-open-portals-into-it-370794

Just so long as MirrorMe doesn't have a goatee. Because that would be...bad.😟

...Obviously, the headline is a bit sensationalistic, as they so often are, and the experiment is being conducted on the tiniest scale. But the science is still cool and thought-provoking.👍

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Originally posted on Facebook.

Dragonfly is Headed to Titan

NASA has announced its next big "New Frontiers" mission: DRAGONFLY, a nuclear-powered drone/rotorcraft lander, will visit Titan, the only moon in the solar system with a dense atmosphere rich in nitrogen and carbon (and one of the coolest stellar bodies to boot), to search for the molecules of alien life.

Dragonfly will launch in 2026 and arrive at Titan in 2034.

Much more at: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/new-nasa-mission-will-fly-titans-frigid-skies-to-search-for-lifes-beginnings/

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Originally posted on Facebook and Twitter (additional tweets: here and here.

Falcon Heavy Fireworks

The good kind ;). From the hugely difficult - and - hugely successful - SpaceX Falcon Heavy launch this week, an incredible image by astrophotographer Erik Kuna. In the photographer’s own words: “Cannot believe this happened just above the earth on the edge of the Mesosphere and Thermosphere around 85-120km in altitude yet it looks like something from a deep space Hubble telescope image.”

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Initially posted on Twitter.

Tumultuous Clouds of Jupiter

This stunning image of Jupiter's stormy northern hemisphere was captured by NASA's Juno spacecraft as it performed a close pass of the gas giant planet. Some bright-white clouds can be seen popping up to high altitudes on the right side of Jupiter's disk.

Juno took the four images used to produce this color-enhanced view on May 29, 2019, as the spacecraft performed its 20th science pass of Jupiter. At the time the images were taken, the spacecraft was between 11,600 miles (18,600 kilometers) and 5,400 miles (8,600 kilometers) above Jupiter's cloud tops.

https://www.nasa.gov/image-feature/tumultuous-clouds-of-jupiter/

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Initially posted on Twitter.

2 Earth-mass Planets Orbit Teegarden's Star a Mere 12.5 Light-years Away

Astronomers have found two Earth-sized and *potentially Earth-like* planets orbiting a star just 12.5 light years away. The planets were found using an instrument called CARMENES, which stands for Calar Alto high-Resolution search for M dwarfs with Exoearths with Near-infrared and optical Échelle Spectrographs). That's a mouthful, but it means an extremely sensitive detector mounted on a telescope at the Calar Alto observatory in Spain that looks for alien worlds like Earth orbiting very cool red dwarfs.

http://edit.syfy.com/syfywire/two-earth-sized-planets-found-in-a-nearby-stars-habitable-zone

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Originally posted on Twitter.

Stunning Close-Up of Asteroid Bennu

NASA's OSIRIS-REx Spacecraft Takes Stunning Photo of Asteroid Bennu From Just 0.4 Miles Away. This image of asteroid Bennu was captured on Jun. 13, 2019, shortly after NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft executed its second orbital insertion maneuver. From the spacecraft’s vantage point in orbit, half of Bennu is sunlit and half is in shadow. At this distance, details as small as 1.6 ft (0.5 m) across can be resolved in the center of the image.

https://gizmodo.com/nasas-osiris-rex-spacecraft-takes-stunning-photo-of-ast-1835601275

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Originally posted on Twitter.

Bam! Fresh Crater Spied on Mars — and It Looks Spectacular

A small space rock crashed into the Red Planet's surface recently, producing a fresh crater that researchers estimate is 49 feet to 53 feet (15 to 16 meters) wide. The dramatic feature is clearly visible in a newly released image from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO).

https://www.space.com/mars-fresh-crater-nasa-mro-photo-2019.html

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Originally posted on Twitter.

Extrasolar Fireworks

For the 1st time, we've detected a coronal mass ejection (CME) from a star other than our own. This event, located 450 light years from Earth, was marked by an intense flash of X-rays followed by the emission of a big bubble of plasma, and was captured by the Chandra X-ray Observatory: https://www.nasa.gov/image-feature/chandra-detects-a-coronal-mass-ejection-from-another-star

Hey, CMEs figure prominently in The Stars Like Gods….

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Originally posted on Twitter.

Asteroid Selfie

Japan's Hayabusa2 spacecraft grabs epic close-up just 30 feet above asteroid Ryugu: https://www.cnet.com/news/japans-hayabusa2-spacecraft-snaps-close-up-just-30-feet-above-asteroid/

Hayabusa2 has been hanging out orbiting Ryugu for almost a year now, doing science, shooting cannonballs at it, snapping pics and, soon, snagging a material sample.

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Originally posted on Twitter.

The Sky In X-Ray

NASA is building up a map of the entire sky seen in X-rays, line by line with its NICER experiment.

In this image, numerous sweeping arcs seem to congregate at various bright regions. You may wonder: What is being shown? Air traffic routes? Information moving around the global internet? Magnetic fields looping across active areas on the Sun?

In fact, this is a map of the entire sky in X-rays recorded by NASA's Neutron star Interior Composition Explorer (NICER), a payload on the International Space Station.

https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2019-05/nsfc-nnm053019.php

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Originally posted on Twitter.

Is Our Universe Too Vast For Even the Most Imaginative Sci-Fi?

Thoughts? Agree, or disagree?

Of course even wild science fiction tends to be (though not always) distinctly human in character. No matter how far into the universe we one day reach, we'll still see it from a human perspective. Also, getting outside a "human" head and imagining the viewpoint of a truly *alien* alien is no easy feat. Hopefully I've accomplished it once or twice.😌

It's also true that the vast, mind-boggling distances involved are humbling. Even the 40 galaxies of the Anaden Empire, even the 16 million light-years distance to the Asterions' Gennisi Galaxy, are just a teeny tiny neighborhood of the universe. I keep going bigger, but the universe continues to stretch for what feels like infinity.

https://aeon.co/ideas/our-universe-is-too-vast-for-even-the-most-imaginative-sci-fi

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Originally posted on Facebook.

Ice On Mars

New layers of water ice have been found beneath Mars' North Pole . These layers were found to be 90% water in some places, and are believed to be the remnants of ancient polar ice sheets. If melted, the researchers indicate that they would create a global ocean with a depth of at least 1.5 meters.

https://www.universetoday.com/142308/new-layers-of-water-ice-have-been-found-beneath-mars-north-pole/

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Originally posted on Twitter.

The Next Space Race

In 2019, on the brink of the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11, the competition that will rocket humanity into the cosmos is between two passionate and brilliant multi-billionaires: Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk.

This blog outlines each of their capabilities, as well as their near-term and long-term vision for the final frontier: https://singularityhub.com/2019/05/24/the-next-space-race-bezos-vs-musk/.

The article includes a lot of insights into the personalities at play, their origins, and the details of their respective visions.

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Originally posted on Twitter.