October 2012

Circumbinary Planet in a Four Star System

October 16, 2012

Continuing with what promises to be a seriously interesting week in exoplanet studies, I want to home in this morning on PH1, a planet that reminds us how much the public has become involved in ongoing science thanks to the widespread distribution of computer power. As presented at the annual meeting of the Division for […]

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Exoplanet Missions Beyond Kepler

October 15, 2012

Because it’s going to be an interesting week for exoplanet studies (for reasons I’ll talk about soon, though not today), I’ll lead off with some thoughts on eta-Earth, defined as the fraction of Sun-like stars with a planet like Earth orbiting them. We have a lot to learn about the frequency of terrestrial worlds, and […]

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The Institute for Interstellar Studies

October 12, 2012

by Kelvin F. Long I recently asked Kelvin Long to write an introduction to the Institute for Interstellar Studies he has created, and he was kind enough to send along a useful overview, along with a backgrounder on his own work: “Kelvin Long is an aerospace engineer and physicist. He is chief editor of the […]

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Dyson Sphere Hunt Using Kepler Data

October 11, 2012

The idea of the multiverse — an infinite number of universes co-existing with our own — has a philosophical and mathematical appeal, at least if you’re a follower of string theory. Indeed, there are those who would argue there could be as many as 10500 universes, each with its own particular characteristics, most probably inimical […]

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Musings on Solitude and Contact

October 10, 2012

Back in 2007, science writer Lee Billings put together a panel for Seed Media Group on “The Future of the Vision for Space Exploration.” The session took place at the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill, and I remember flying to Washington with a bad head cold to moderate the event. Miraculously, my cold […]

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Growing Into an Interstellar Civilization

October 9, 2012

While I’ve often opined in these pages that a Solar System-wide infrastructure must emerge before we can contemplate interstellar flight, the obvious question is how we get there. Stephen Ashworth (Oxford, UK), who writes the insightful Astronautical Evolution blog, recently tackled the subject with such vigor that I asked him for permission to run his […]

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Titan Exploration Options

October 8, 2012

One of the challenges of running a site like Centauri Dreams is that deep space news accumulates so swiftly that it’s easy to focus on one issue while another timely story slips away. I don’t want to get too far past the European Planetary Science Congress, which ended in Madrid on September 28, without mentioning […]

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Colors of a Living World

October 5, 2012

Gliese 581d seems more and more to be considered a habitable zone planet, as Siddharth Hegde (Max Planck Institute for Astronomy) and Lisa Kaltenegger (Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics) describe it in a new paper. They’re homing in on how to characterize a rocky exoplanet and point to HD 85512b and Gliese 667Cc as well as […]

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Cometary Dust Around β Pictoris

October 4, 2012

New findings from the Herschel space observatory demonstrate how effective the infrared telescope can be at teasing out details of distant planetary systems. At issue is the system around Beta Pictoris, a young star (12 million years old) some 63 light years from the Earth. We’re looking at planetary system formation in progress here, with […]

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Remembering “Men Into Space”

October 3, 2012

Yesterday’s discussion about Man Will Conquer Space Soon!, the landmark series in Collier’s that so elegantly defined the 1950s view of space travel, has me in a retrospective mood. The Collier’s series was highly visible, and those old enough to have seen it tend to remember its concepts whether or not they’re in an aerospace-related […]

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