Centauri Dreams 15 Jan 2019, 14:57 UTC ‘Oumuamua continues to inspire questions and provoke media attention, not only because of its unusual characteristics, but because of the discussion that has emerged on whether it may be a derelict (or active) technology. Harvard’s Avi Loeb examined the interstellar object in these terms in a paper with Shmuel Bialy, one we talked about at length in these pages (see ‘Oumuamua, Thin Films and Lightsails). The paper would quickly go viral.
Bad Astronomy 15 Jan 2019, 14:00 UTC Last year, astronomers saw a really weird flash of light in the sky. About all anyone can agree on is that it was an extremely big explosion seen from very far away, but other than that there are as many explanations as there are observations. Something catastrophic happened in a distant galaxy, but what? I love stuff like this. A mystery is afoot! Watson! To the telescope!
Scientific American 14 Jan 2019, 19:30 UTC For more than two decades, scientists have wondered whether extraterrestrial life may be flourishing deep below the icy coatings boasted by moons in our outer solar system. But new research is looking deeper, into the rock itself, and suggesting that these worlds may be dead inside—not just biologically, but geologically as well.
Scientific American 14 Jan 2019, 17:00 UTC Picture a group of adventurous companions setting out into the great frontier to explore a barren, wild land. They must bring only the most important things they’ll need to survive on their own. Every ounce of weight they decide to take with them means another ounce they must transport. It sounds like an extreme backpacking trip, but I’m actually talking about a future mission to the surface of Mars.
io9 Space 14 Jan 2019, 13:56 UTC The human tolerance for sound is, on a galactic level, puny. Volcano eruptions, jackhammer-intensive construction work, My Bloody Valentine concerts—these tinnitus-inducing phenomena are barely whispers besides the majestic, roiling bursts and collisions going on in outer space. Of course, much of this activity is technically soundless—space’s atmosphere lacks the material that make sound waves possible. So for this week’s Giz Asks, we asked experts in astronomy and astrophysics what the loudest sound would be, if sound as we understand it existed up there. As it turns out, it sometimes does—and when it doesn’t, we can sometimes convert the relevant emissions to a sound tolerable to our tiny, earthbound ears.
NASA Space Station Blog 14 Jan 2019, 00:22 UTC The SpaceX Dragon cargo craft was released from the International Space Station today at 6:33 p.m. EST. Robotics controllers remotely commanded the Canadarm2 robotic arm to let go of the U.S. space freighter sending it on a solo trajectory back to Earth.