July 2010

Can the Pioneer Anomaly Be Explained by Inertia Modification?

July 30, 2010

by Richard Obousy Physicist Richard Obousy here takes a look at an intriguing new paper by Mike McCulloch, a researcher at Plymouth University. In addition to his work in theoretical physics and warp drive possibilities, Obousy is current project leader and primary propulsion design lead for Project Icarus, a joint venture between the British Interplanetary […]

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Statites: Hovering Over the Pole

July 29, 2010

Robert Forward’s Indistinguishable from Magic is a genial and absorbing read, a collection of essays and fiction illustrating some of the scientist’s most memorable ideas. And while gigantic lightsails driven by laser beam to other stars always come to mind when Forward’s name is mentioned, it’s fascinating to page through his thoughts on antimatter, black […]

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New Planets Highlight Orbital Resonance

July 28, 2010

We’re learning a lot more about how planets interact with each other gravitationally. ‘Resonance’ is the operative term here. When planets are locked in a 2:1 orbital resonance, the outer planet orbits the host star once for every two orbits of the inner planet. A 3:2 resonance occurs when the outer planet orbits the star […]

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The Enduring Legacy of the Voyagers

July 27, 2010

by Larry Klaes The Faces from Earth project, run so energetically by Tibor Pacher, is planning its next ‘E.T. Are You Out There?’ campaign, following a successful campaign in May that introduced interstellar concepts to school children in five countries. In this piece, journalist Larry Klaes looks back at the Voyager spacecraft, which will be […]

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Time Travel: Ways Around Paradox

July 26, 2010

Time travel holds such perennial fascination that even though its relationship with interstellar issues is slim, I can’t resist reporting on new ideas about it. John Cramer’s time experiments seem stuck in limbo, but now we have new work from Seth Lloyd (MIT) and colleagues about one way out of the paradoxes time travel seemingly […]

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Solar Sailing’s ‘Gossamer Road’

July 23, 2010

With more attention now being focused on possible missions to an asteroid, we should keep in mind that DLR, the German Aerospace Center, has been looking into an asteroid mission via solar sail for some time now. One 2006 paper from DLR’s Institute of Space Simulation pondered a 70-meter sail for use in a projected […]

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Sasselov: Planets ‘Like Earth’ in Kepler Data

July 22, 2010

Dimitar Sasselov, a co-investigator on the Kepler mission, said in a TED Talk just posted that Kepler had uncovered numerous terrestrial planet candidates in its early data. Have a look at the video below (around the 8-minute mark). “Small planets dominate the picture,” says Sasselov, showing a chart of planet candidates. A great deal of […]

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The Solar Sail in Context

July 22, 2010

The final day of the Second International Symposium on Solar Sailing (ISSS 2010) kicks off this morning with Roman Kezerashvili (City University of New York) discussing solar sail missions as a way of testing fundamental physics. Last year in Aosta I listened with fascination as Kezerashvili discussed close solar passes (‘Sundiver’ missions) that could approach […]

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A New View of Ontario Lacus

July 21, 2010

Before I move into today’s story on Titan, I want to mention that those of us who weren’t able to attend the ongoing Second International Symposium on Solar Sailing (ISSS 2010) can take heart in the fact that selected papers from the proceedings have been quickly published online. Conferences vary tremendously in the resources they […]

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Musings on Sails and Stars

July 20, 2010

Solar Sails in Brooklyn I should probably clean out my office, and would, if I could find the time, but things keep happening in the deep space community and I keep writing about them. I had the program for ISSS 2010 (the Second International Symposium on Solar Sailing) right beside me when I started to […]

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