Centauri Dreams 6 Apr 2021, 19:45 UTC Let’s take a look at how Earth’s carbon came to be here, through the medium of two new papers. This is a process most scientists have assumed involved molecules in the original solar nebula that wound up on our world through accretion as the gases cooled and the carbon molecules precipitated. But the first of the papers (both by the same team, though with different lead authors) points out that gas molecules carrying carbon won’t do the trick. When carbon vaporizes, it does not condense back into a solid, and that calls for some explanation.
SPACE.com 6 Apr 2021, 15:00 UTC When humans build the first bases and habitats on other worlds, they'll confront dangers and challenges unlike any faced by the astronauts who went before them. To prepare for such challenges, scientists are descending deep underground into lava tubes in Hawaii that simulate conditions on rocky alien worlds.
Scientific American 5 Apr 2021, 16:00 UTC Now on the surface, the interplanetary aircraft could soar as early as next week.
Centauri Dreams 5 Apr 2021, 12:08 UTC The Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope is the instrument until recently known as WFIRST (Wide-Field Infrared Survey Telescope), a fact I’ll mention here for the last time just because there are so many articles about WFIRST in the archives. From now on, I’ll just refer to the Roman Space Telescope, or RST. Given our focus on exoplanet research, we should keep in mind that the project’s history has been heavily influenced by concepts for studying dark energy and the expansion history of the cosmos. The exoplanet component has grown, however, into a vital part of the mission, and now includes both gravitational microlensing and transit studies.
Centauri Dreams 2 Apr 2021, 15:58 UTC Just as Earth’s atmosphere scatters light from the Sun, both Jupiter and Saturn scatter X-rays produced by our star. In a new study using data from the Chandra X-ray Observatory, we now learn that Uranus likewise scatters X-rays, but with an interesting twist. For there is a hint — and only a hint — that scattering is only one of the processes at work here, and that could produce insights into a system that thus far we have been able to study up close only once, through the flyby of Voyager 2. As the paper on this work notes: “These fluxes exceed expectations from scattered solar emission alone.” Just what is going on here will demand further work.
Universe Today 2 Apr 2021, 14:45 UTC Jupiter’s Great Red Spot – the largest and most powerful of all the storms in the solar system – has been churning for hundred of years. Recently dozens of smaller storms have slammed into the Red Spot. Those smaller storms only caused superficial damage – and may have ended up feeding the beast itself.
Starts With a Bang! 1 Apr 2021, 14:03 UTC When you measure not just light, but light’s polarization, you learn so much more.
Universe Today 1 Apr 2021, 03:09 UTC Computer models are continuing to play an increasing role in scientific discovery. Everything from the first moments after the Big Bang to potential for life to form on other planets has been the target of some sort of computer model. Now scientists from the RIKEN Astrophysical Big Bang Laboratory are turning this almost ubiquitous tool to a very violent event – Type Ia supernovae. Their work has now resulted in a more nuanced understanding of the effects of these important events.