Universe Today 15 Aug 2017, 18:19 UTC Studies of low-mass, ultra-cool and ultra-dim red dwarf stars have turned up a wealth of extra-solar planets lately. These include the discoveries of a rocky planet orbiting the closest star to the Solar System (Proxima b) and a seven-planet system just 40 light years away (TRAPPIST-1). In the past few years, astronomers have also detected candidates orbiting the stars Gliese 581, Innes Star, Kepler 42, Gliese 832, Gliese 667, Gliese 3293, and others.
Centauri Dreams 15 Aug 2017, 17:28 UTC If life can arise around red dwarf stars, you would think TRAPPIST-1 would be the place to look. Home to seven planets, this ultracool M8V dwarf star about 40 light years away in Aquarius has been around for a long time. The age range in a new study on the matter goes from 5.4 billion years up to almost ten billion years. And we have more than one habitable zone planet to look at.
Starts With A Bang! 15 Aug 2017, 12:45 UTC We talk about the origin of life on Earth with bated breath, wondering all the time how things occurred to make our planet unique. But within that big question lies an assumption that may not be true: that life on Earth originated on Earth itself. It’s entirely possible, based on what we’ve seen out there in the Universe, that life didn’t originate here at all. Rather, it could have come from a primitive, pre-existing world, or even from the depths of interstellar space itself.
The Planetary Society Blog 15 Aug 2017, 11:00 UTC On a sunny Saturday morning in June, a line of antique green tractors puttered and popped down the main boulevard of Ravenna, Nebraska. The classic car club followed, with chrome bumpers polished like mirrors, and the high school band – “Pride of the Blue Jays” – thundered along, their brass instruments gleaming in the late-morning sun. But the parade floats carried a darker tone. “Don’t be in the Dark: Plant Pioneer,” warned the local seed corn dealer. “Don’t market your corn in the dark!” advised the local ethanol plant. Beneath a giant cardboard Death Star, the Ravenna Public Library let it be known: “Your feeble skills are no match for the Dark Side…” Even the Ravenna Cheer & Dance squad, in glittered letters, proclaimed: “Ready for Totality!”
AmericaSpace 14 Aug 2017, 22:17 UTC There are now less than five orbits left in the Grand Finale until Cassini’s awe-inspiring mission at Saturn comes to an end. With each remaining orbit, Cassini comes closer to plunging into Saturn’s atmosphere, never to be heard from again. Saturn’s largest moon, Titan, assists the spacecraft during this phase of the mission, nudging on it with its gravity to keep Cassini in the right orbits for when it dives between the innermost rings and the planet itself. And now those final moments are almost here.
No Place Like Home 14 Aug 2017, 20:48 UTC Forty years ago, we sent a map to Earth sailing deep into the cosmos. Copies of this map are etched into each of the twin Voyager spacecraft, which launched in the late 1970s and are now the farthest spacecraft from home. One of the probes has already slipped into interstellar space, and the other is skirting the fringes of our sun’s immediate neighborhood.
Air & Space Magazine 14 Aug 2017, 19:01 UTC On August 21, as millions of Americans turn their faces to the sky and marvel at a total solar eclipse, Jenna Samra’s eyes will be glued instead to a laptop screen. She will miss the spectacle because she’ll be inside a Gulfstream V jet, racing at more than 500 miles per hour to do science in the moon’s shadow. Read more at http://www.airspacemag.com/daily-planet/eclipse-airplane-study-180964493/#woxQazXHFoppRCJ1.99
Cosmic Diary 14 Aug 2017, 17:35 UTC Along the right side of this 0.5×0.5 km (0.31×0.31 mi) scene is the rim of a crater – the stripes are layers exposed (and then perhaps draped by falling ejecta) as the crater formed. To the left is the crater’s interior wall, dropping downward. Deep gullies have been eroded into the crater walls, probably by water, carrying sediment downslope. Rivers and landslides are generally great sources of sand-sized sediment, and this place is no exception. The sediment piled up downslope, and then the wind came along and sculpted it into beautiful cross-hatched patterns (click on the image to see full resolution)