Centauri Dreams 22 Jun 2018, 16:28 UTC Yesterday I looked at the prospect of using technology to move entire stars, spurred on by Avi Loeb’s recent paper “Securing Fuel for Our Frigid Cosmic Future.” As Loeb recounts, he had written several papers on the accelerated expansion of the universe, known to be happening since 1998, and the resultant ‘gloomy cosmic isolation’ that it portends for the far future. It was Freeman Dyson who came up with the idea that a future civilization might move widely spaced stars, concentrating them into a small enough volume that they would remain bound by their own gravity. This escape from cosmic expansion has recently been explored by Dan Hooper, who likewise considers moving stellar populations.
Starts With a Bang! 22 Jun 2018, 14:01 UTC In 2004, NASA launched two exploration vehicles to the red planet: the Spirit and Opportunity rovers. These two Mars Exploration Rovers were originally designed for 90-day missions to image, explore, and investigate the Martian surface. Yet these twin solar-powered rovers far exceeded their design lifetimes. Half a world away from one another, Spirit and Opportunity revealed a world that humanity had wondered about for millennia. Evidence of a watery past abounded, from hematite spheres (Martian blueberries) to sedimentary rock. Crater walls and sand dunes were observed up close. The first iron meteorites on another world were discovered. And under its own power, Opportunity became the most-traveled vehicle to ever grace another planet.
Scientific American 22 Jun 2018, 12:00 UTC Astronomers have used a pair of galaxies far beyond the Milky Way to test general relativity with unprecedented precision. Three years ago astrophysicist Tom Collett set out to test a theory. Not just any theory, but one that sets scientists’ expectations for how the universe operates at large: Einstein’s general relativity.
SPACE.com 22 Jun 2018, 11:30 UTC The first spacecraft to demonstrate active space debris-removal technologies — such as a harpoon, a net and a drag sail — in orbit has been released from the International Space Station to commence its mission. Astronauts at the space station sent the 100-kilogram (220 lbs.) RemoveDebris spacecraft off for its pioneering mission using Canadarm2, the 17.6-meter-long (57.7 feet) robotic arm used for servicing and capturing cargo ships.
ESO Blog 22 Jun 2018, 10:00 UTC Exoplanets have fast become a huge research area and astronomers are now trying to study their atmospheres. The possibility of finding an exoplanet with an atmosphere that may be able to support life is incredibly exciting. We spoke to Jens Hoeijmakers, from the Geneva Observatory and the Center for Space Habitability in Bern, Switzerland, to find out more about these distant worlds.
CosmoQuest 21 Jun 2018, 18:48 UTC Asteroid Day, the official United Nations’ day of global awareness and education about asteroids, has announced worldwide events for the week of 25-30 June. Co-founded by astrophysicist and famed musician Dr. Brian May of the rock group Queen, Apollo 9 astronaut Rusty Schweickart, filmmaker Grig Richters, and B612 president Danica Remy, Asteroid Day began with two major events in 2015 and has grown to more than 2,000 self-organized events worldwide.
Astronomy Now 21 Jun 2018, 17:52 UTC The European Space Agency has released a complete archive of imagery and data from the historic Rosetta mission, allowing armchair astronauts to relive the spacecraft’s thrilling final descent to the surface of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko and the challenging search for the wayward Philae lander. It even includes a reconstructed final frame that wasn’t initially recognized as an image.
Scientific American 21 Jun 2018, 17:15 UTC NASA has updated its plans to deflect potentially hazardous Earth-bound asteroids—and none of them involve Bruce Willis. The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy released a new report today (June 20) titled the“National Near-Earth Object Preparedness Strategy and Action Plan.” The 18-page document outlines the steps that NASA and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will take over the next 10 years to both prevent dangerous asteroids from striking Earth and prepare the country for the potential consequences of such an event.
The New York Times 20 Jun 2018, 21:59 UTC As you mark the longest day of the year, consider the debate among astronomers over whether Earth’s tilt toward the sun helps make life on our world and others possible. On the summer solstice Thursday, the Northern Hemisphere will dip toward the sun and bathe in direct sunlight for longer than any other day of the year. That will cause the sun to rise early, climb high into the sky — sweeping far above city skylines or mountain peaks — and set late into the evening.