Space news stories

Planet Nine Just Got An Unexpected New Team of Hunters
19th February 2017 gizmodo.com | Space

Since Pluto was infamously demoted to a dwarf planet in 2006, some astronomers have turned their attention to finding the true Planet 9, a hypothetical, Neptune-sized world that orbits the Sun at least a few hundred times further out than Earth.

This Is Why Sending Messages to Aliens Might Be a Good Idea
19th February 2017 | seeker.com | Space

With SETI — the Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence — we use radio telescopes to search for signals from alien civilizations. This is a relatively passive system, where we sit back and listen for what signals might be out there. As of yet, the search has come up empty handed.

By contrast, “Active SETI” or what is now called Messaging Extra Terrestrial Intelligence, or METI, is a proactive system of sending a message to a specific place to say “hello” to let potential alien astronomers know we’re here.

Turn satellites into sparkling fireworks to burn up space junk
19th February 2017 | newscientist.com | Space

The chemistry that gives festive sparklers their sparkle could be used to reduce the hazards of falling space junk. Researchers have demonstrated that a mixture similar to that used in fireworks can help bring dead satellites back to Earth safely.

Far-off asteroid caught cohabiting with Uranus around the sun
19th February 2017 | newscientist.com | Space

A rare Trojan asteroid of Uranus has been found, following the same orbit as the planet. Its existence implies there could be many more of these companion asteroids, and that they are more common than we thought.

Ancient Jars Hold Clues About Earth’s Fluctuating Magnetic Fields
18th February 2017 | nytimes.com | Ancient, Earth, Space

The Earth’s magnetic field — which deflects harmful space radiation from the surface — has been weakening, losing about 10 percent of its strength over the last two centuries, and the decay may have been accelerating in recent years.

That weakening led to speculation that the magnetic field may be on the cusp of disappearing during a reversal, when the planet’s north and south poles flip, which could have consequences for civilization and life. But geoscientists have little knowledge of what has been occurring with the magnetic field during recent millenniums.


Alt: Astonishing geomagnetic spike hit the ancient kingdom of Judah

Winston Churchill’s views on aliens revealed in lost essay
18th February 2017 | bbc.com | Ancient, Space, Weird

A newly unearthed essay by Winston Churchill reveals he was open to the possibility of life on other planets.

Churchill’s interest in science is well-known: he was the first British prime minister to employ a science adviser, Frederick Lindemann, and met regularly with scientists such as Sir Bernard Lovell, a pioneer of radio astronomy.

Will moon mining be BANNED? International space law could prevent billionaires from extracting precious metals from the lunar surface
17th February 2017 | dailymail.co.uk | Space

This year, five space mining companies plan to send missions to the lunar surface in the hopes of mining the moon for precious metals.

But a caveat in international space law could prevent the firms from cashing in.

The moon is on a collision course with Earth: Doomsday impact will turn our planet into a ball of magma (but thankfully not for 65 billion years)
17th February 2017 | dailymail.co.uk | Space

The moon is currently spinning away from Earth at a rate of around 3.8 centimetres a year.

But experts believe that in the future this could change, and the two bodies could one day be on a collision course.

Black holes are even stranger than you can imagine
17th February 2017 phys.org | Space

We already knew that some black holes are just a few times the mass of our sun, while others are more than a billion times as massive. But others with intermediate masses, such as the one 2,200 times the mass of our sun recently discovered in the star cluster 47 Tucanae, are surprisingly elusive.

So what is it about black holes, these gravitational prisons that trap anything that gets too close to them, that captures the imagination of people of all ages and professions?

Ancient signals from the early universe
17th February 2017 | eurekalert.org | Space

For the first time, theoretical physicists from the University of Basel have calculated the signal of specific gravitational wave sources that emerged fractions of a second after the Big Bang. The source of the signal is a long-lost cosmological phenomenon called “oscillon”.

Magnetic meteorites narrow down solar system’s birthdate
17th February 2017 | newscientist.com | Space

They grow up so fast. A new limit on how long the early solar system was full of dust and gas gives us clues about how and when the sun and planets grew and evolved.

NASA wants to send a life-detecting lander to Europa
16th February 2017 | engadget.com | Space

Back in June 2016, NASA commissioned 21 scientists to design a lander headed for Europa, conjure up science objectives for it and figure out if the mission is feasible.

We finally have a computer that can survive the surface of Venus
16th February 2017 arstechnica.co.uk | Space, Tech

Venus is one of the most inhospitable places in the solar system. Descending through the clouds of boiling sulphuric rain is actually the easy bit—the hard bit is not being cremated by the surface temperature of 470°C (878°F) or crushed by the atmospheric pressure, which is about 90 times that of Earth, the same as swimming 900 metres under water.

NASA’s Curiosity Rover Sharpens Paradox of Ancient Mars
16th February 2017 | jpl.nasa.gov | Space

Curiosity rover findings add to a puzzle about ancient Mars because the same rocks that indicate a lake was present also indicate there was very little carbon dioxide in the air to help keep a lake unfrozen.


Alt: Curiosity Just Sent Back Some Mysterious Inconsistencies

Mercury’s Water Ice Deposits Have a Mysterious Origin
16th February 2017 | seeker.com | Space

Although Mercury is the closest planet to the sun, some of its craters hide water ice in their shaded depths — but how much ice is there, and where exactly did it come from?

Giant Arecibo telescope faces closure
16th February 2017 | theguardian.com | Space

It has helped guard our planet from the threat of wayward asteroids, studied some of the most remote bodies in the cosmos and been used to make countless invaluable astronomical discoveries.

White-Dwarf Pulsar First Ever Discovered –“Electromagnetic Field is One Billion Times More Powerful than Earth’s”
16th February 2017 | dailygalaxy.com | Space

An exotic binary star system 380 light-years away has been identified as an elusive white dwarf pulsar – the first of its kind ever to be discovered in the universe. The white dwarf pulsar has eluded astronomers for over half a century.

News stories covering Space, from the macro to the micro, including Space exploration, quantum physics and quantum weirdness.