February 2017

Exoplanet News Conference

February 22, 2017

You’ll want to see the news conference scheduled by NASA at 1300 EST (1800 UTC) today, an exoplanet finding of considerable interest to Centauri Dreams readers (I’ll have more on this later in the day). The event will air live on NASA Television and the agency’s website. Links available here. Briefing participants: * Thomas Zurbuchen, […]

Read the full article →

Interstellar Conference News

February 21, 2017

Registration is now open for the 2017 Tennessee Valley Interstellar Workshop, which will be held in Huntsville, AL on October 4-6. The title for this year’s conference is “Step By Step: Building a Ladder to the Stars.” The registration page is here, and if you’re thinking of attending, I recommend registering right away, as spaces […]

Read the full article →

Martian Civilization

February 17, 2017

What kind of civilization might eventually emerge on Mars? Colonies of various kinds have been examined in science fiction for decades, but as we close in on the possibility of actual human arrival on the planet, perhaps in the 2030s, we can wonder how living on a different world will change the people who eventually […]

Read the full article →

Deep Space Projects for Citizen Scientists

February 16, 2017

I’m always interested in ways readers can dig directly into data from our telescopes, and this morning I can point to two. I’ll begin with the Lick Carnegie Exoplanet Survey, which has just released 60,949 precision Doppler velocities for 1,624 stars. The data draw on observations using HIRES (the High Resolution Echelle Spectrometer) on the […]

Read the full article →

Stellar Pulsations Induced by Planet

February 15, 2017

It’s no surprise that planets can affect the stars they orbit. We’ve used that fact for several decades now, relying on radial velocity studies that showed the movement of a star toward us and then away again as it was tugged on by the planet under investigation. But now we’re hearing about another kind of […]

Read the full article →

A KBO-like Object around another Star?

February 14, 2017

We’re beginning to find evidence of objects like those in the Kuiper Belt beyond our own solar system. In this case, the work involves a white dwarf whose atmosphere has been recently polluted by an infalling object, giving us valuable data on the object’s composition. The work involves the white dwarf WD 1425+540, whose atmosphere […]

Read the full article →

NASA Report on Europa Lander

February 13, 2017

With an ocean containing twice as much water as Earth’s oceans, Europa is a high-priority target for astrobiology. But the presence of water alone is not what gives the Jovian moon such interest. After all, we’re learning that icy worlds beyond the snowline can feature oceans beneath the surface, and we’re learning more all the […]

Read the full article →

Dr. Andy Aldrin joins Tau Zero Foundation team as Chief Strategist

February 12, 2017

The Tau Zero Foundation, a non-profit foundation dedicated to developing the capability for interstellar robotic exploration and human travel, has selected Dr. Andrew Aldrin as chief business strategist on our board of directors. In this role he will provide pragmatic objectivity, and insight while advocating for the nonprofit’s mission. “The frequency of the discovery of […]

Read the full article →

Tightening the Parameters for Centauri A and B

February 10, 2017

When it comes to the nearest stars, our focus of late has been on Proxima Centauri and its intriguing planet. But of course the work on Centauri A and B continues at a good clip. The prospects in this system are enticing — a G-class star like our own, a K-class dwarf likewise capable of […]

Read the full article →

A New Look at Habitability around Red Dwarf Stars

February 9, 2017

We’ve looked at the factors that are problematic for life around red dwarf stars for some time now, focusing on tidal lock (in which one side of the planet always faces the star) and stellar flare activity, which could dramatically affect life on the surface. A new paper from Vladimir Airapetian (NASA GSFC) and colleagues […]

Read the full article →