July 2008

On Cycles of Exploration

July 19, 2008

The latest Carnival of Space is now available, with several items of particular interest to those of us fixated on deep space from the edge of the Solar System to nearby stars. Have a look, for example, at this take (from Astronomy at the CCSSC) on Makemake, a dwarf planet in the newly minted IAU […]

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EPOXI: Clues to Terrestrial Worlds

July 18, 2008

You must see new video from EPOXI, whose effect can only be suggested by the photo montage below (click the link below for the movie). EPOXI is the combined extended mission of the Deep Impact spacecraft. As we discussed in an earlier story here, EPOXI turned its cameras on the Earth to view the moon […]

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Red Dwarf Tides: Disrupting Life?

July 17, 2008

It’s easy to see why interest in planets around red dwarfs is growing. The low mass of such a star makes finding smaller planets feasible. It also produces orbits closer to the star, another aid to their detection. We know that planets can form near the habitable zone of such stars because we have the […]

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Detecting Life in Enceladus’ Plume

July 16, 2008

Now in press at Astrobiology is a look at the possibilities of life on Enceladus that holds out hope for detecting biomarkers with data gathered during a Cassini flyby. That’s an exciting possibility, depending as it does not on an orbiter or lander mission from an indefinite future but on equipment we’ve currently got in […]

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Planetary Prospects Around Proxima

July 15, 2008

We’ve been paying a lot of attention to Centauri A and B in the past two years, but what about Proxima Centauri? After all, this is the closest star to our Sun, a fifth of a light year out from the two major Centauri stars, and free of the close binary problem. You would think […]

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A Discouraging Outlook for Centauri A Planets

July 14, 2008

The news about planetary prospects around the Centauri stars has been positive enough lately that a paper suggesting otherwise introduces a rather jarring note (to me, at least). After all, we’ve detected more than forty extrasolar planets in multiple systems, a significant percentage of all detected exoplanets, and while most of these are in systems […]

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Exploring Titan via Blimp

July 12, 2008

The latest Carnival of Space is now available at the Space Disco site, where Dave Mosher has put together a helpful slideshow of entries handsomely illustrated and linked to the originals. With seven new blogs coming online at Discovery Space, we’ll doubtless be seeing contributions from many of these fine writers, people such as Ray […]

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Creating Binary Asteroids

July 11, 2008

Photons streaming outward from the Sun can impart momentum, which is how a solar sail works. But even more subtle effects produced by the warming of irregular objects may have visible results. A new study of asteroid moons and how they form invokes the tongue-twister known as the Yarkovsky, O’Keefe, Radzievskii, Paddack effect, mercifully shortened […]

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On the Speculative Edge

July 10, 2008

The continuing activity on the Practical Positronic Rocket threads has made it clear that we need a place for speculations that do not flow out of particular posts. What we’re aiming at down the road is to implement discussion software that will make such threads easy to follow and contribute to, but for now we’re […]

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A Scarcity of Gas Giants?

July 10, 2008

We’d all like to think our Solar System is a run-of-the-mill place, filled with the kind of planets, including our own, likely to be found around other stars. But maybe it’s not so ordinary after all. For recent work suggests that stars like the Sun aren’t all that likely to form planets the size of […]

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