SpaceFlight Insider 4 Oct 2018, 00:09 UTC SpaceX has made history by having the first stages of its Falcon 9 rockets conduct controlled landings. One of the side effects of those landings has been triple sonic booms – something the U.S. Air Force noted in a statement issued on Tuesday.
The New York Times 3 Oct 2018, 01:42 UTC Among some astronomers, there is a growing suspicion that our solar system’s distant reaches conceal a large, ninth planet that we have not yet seen. New findings about a small ice world far beyond Pluto buttress this idea.
Planetaria 2 Oct 2018, 22:38 UTC We often hear the term “habitable” next to the word exoplanets. Which exoplanets are habitable; that is, which are capable of supporting life? But how do scientists determine that? Are there different kinds of habitability? Rice University announced on September 17, 2018 that – to help answer these questions – NASA’s Nexus for Exoplanet System Science (NExSS) has awarded it $7.7 million for a new 5-year research program that will explore exoplanet habitability in depth. The new program will take a multidisciplinary, multi-institutional approach to finding out what natural recipes might allow a rocky planet – like Earth – to become habitable.
Centauri Dreams 2 Oct 2018, 17:23 UTC A new paper from Jason Wright (Penn State) and colleagues Shubham Kanodia and Emily Lubar deals with SETI and the ‘parameter space’ within which we search, with interesting implications. For the researchers show that despite searching for decades through a variety of projects and surveys, SETI is in early days indeed. Those who would draw conclusions about its lack of success to this point fail to understand the true dimensions of the challenge.
Starts With a Bang! 2 Oct 2018, 14:01 UTC When it comes to stars, there’s a huge variety of different types out there. Our Sun is nothing spectacular, as there are stars both redder and bluer, brighter and dimmer, and more-or-less massive by great amounts. While our Sun will live a total of around 10–12 billion years, some stars may live up to trillions of years, while others will explode or collapse after mere millions. The diversity among stars is enormous. And yet, many of the objects in the Universe we call stars — like white dwarf stars, brown dwarf stars, neutron stars and more — aren’t actually stars at all. In order to be a star, you need to do more than simply give off light from across the galaxy. Here’s why, according to astronomy, a huge set of objects we call “stars” don’t make the cut.
The Guardian 2 Oct 2018, 14:00 UTC An extremely distant dwarf planet, named The Goblin, has been discovered in observations that are redefining the outer reaches of the solar system. Astronomers made the discovery while hunting for a hypothetical massive planet, known as Planet Nine, that is suspected to be in orbit far beyond Pluto in a mysterious region known as the Oort Cloud. Planet Nine has not yet been seen directly, but The Goblin appears to be under the gravitational influence of a giant unseen object, adding to astronomers’ certainty that it is out there.
The Planetary Society Blog 2 Oct 2018, 11:00 UTC The search for extraterrestrial intelligence is set to get a big signal boost, thanks to renewed interest from NASA and a private effort to scan the skies using an array of 64 radio telescopes.
Centauri Dreams 1 Oct 2018, 16:49 UTC Can rapidly advancing laser technology and optics augment the way we do SETI? At the University of California, Santa Barbara, Phil Lubin believes they can, and he’s behind a project called the Trillion Planet Survey to put the idea into practice for the benefit of students. As an incentive for looking into a career in physics, an entire galaxy may be just the ticket.