June 2007

A Mundane Cause for the Pioneer Anomaly?

June 30, 2007

Everybody loves a mystery, and the one surrounding Pioneer has everything going for it, an unusual effect observed via two of the most distant spacecraft ever launched. Both Pioneer 10 and 11 are slowing a bit more than expected as they move through the outer reaches of the Solar System. Explanations range from a variety […]

Read the full article →

Exoplanet Announcements at Santorini

June 29, 2007

Steinn Sigurðsson (Pennsylvania State) has been reporting from the Greek island of Santorini, where he is attending the Extreme Solar Systems conference. I want to send you at once to Steinn’s Dynamics of Cats weblog, where updates are being filed and will presumably continue through today, the conference’s last day. It sounds like a terrific […]

Read the full article →

The Latest Carnivals of Science

June 28, 2007

The 11th edition of the monthly science carnival Philosophia Naturalis is now up at Chris Rowan’s Highly Allochthonous site, where discussions move from the Higgs boson to Cassini’s extended mission, with time in between to investigate puddles on Mars. Take note as well of the weekly Carnival of Space, now in its 9th edition, this […]

Read the full article →

Asteroid Watch: Saving Arecibo’s Radar

June 28, 2007

“Let’s hope that we find all the dangerous asteroids in the next few months,” says Cornell astronomer Joseph Burns. He’s talking about the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico, which Cornell manages for the National Science Foundation. Word is that Arecibo’s radar system may lose its NSF funding as early as 2008, leaving us without our […]

Read the full article →

DNA as Cosmic Code

June 27, 2007

If you possessed technologies so advanced that you could seed life throughout the cosmos, wouldn’t you leave some marker that would identify your work? We can’t know what a hypothetical extraterrestrial intelligence might do, but we do know enough about human nature to acknowledge the desire for recognition. It shows up every time a new […]

Read the full article →

Woodward, Mach and Breakthrough Propulsion

June 26, 2007

Four trips to the Moon a day? That’s one capability of a theoretical vehicle discussed in last January’s newsletter from the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. I hadn’t realized the AIAA was putting these newsletters online until I saw Adam Crowl’s post on Crowlspace discussing the above possibility. Adam notes that a vehicle powered […]

Read the full article →

Of Telescopes on the Moon

June 25, 2007

Putting an enormous radio telescope on the far side of the Moon has so many advantages that it’s hard to imagine not doing it, once our technology makes such ventures possible. Whatever the time frame, imagine an attentuation of radio noise from Earth many orders of magnitude over what is possible anywhere on the near […]

Read the full article →

Ceres, Vesta and the Dawn Mission

June 23, 2007

With launch of the Dawn mission to Ceres and Vesta coming up on July 7, NASA has announced a news conference for next Tuesday, the 26th, to discuss details of the four year journey to the asteroids. Held at NASA headquarters, the event is due to be streamed on the agency’s homepage. The Hubble Space […]

Read the full article →

The Colors of Exobiology

June 22, 2007

Speaking of bio-signatures, as we did at the end of yesterday’s post on planetary atmospheres, take note of the Virtual Planet Laboratory, a working group at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory that is trying to figure out what life’s markers might look like across a wide range of biological types. The most obvious signature for life […]

Read the full article →

Modeling Exoplanet Atmospheres

June 21, 2007

Where does the Solar System keep its water? Beyond Mars, the trend seems to favor more and more water content the farther out we go. Thus Jupiter, which is considered depleted in water, is eclipsed in these terms by Saturn, though that planet has less water than other volatiles. Move on to Uranus and Neptune […]

Read the full article →