The journey of the Voyager space probes

Wednesday, 29 June, 2016

Voyagers, a short film about the two Voyager space probes, launched in 1977, that are now in, or near, interstellar space. Theirs is a fascinating journey.

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Wanted, bold pioneers to explore Mars

Wednesday, 22 June, 2016

Even if you don’t want to go there yourself – it’s cold, you’d need to live underground, mail can takes years to get through, and so on – you can help with the effort to explore Mars, by pinning up these promotional posters, encouraging others to emigrate to the red planet.

Via Hypnophant.

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Does the solar system play host to an exoplanet? Possibly…

Thursday, 2 June, 2016

The solar system is host to eight regular planets, any number of dwarf planets, and now, possibly, an exoplanet. That’s if the planetary body, known as Planet 9, that is said to orbit on the far fringes of the solar system, can be shown to have originated elsewhere, something mathematical modelling suggests is possible.

Through a computer-simulated study, astronomers at Lund University in Sweden show that it is highly likely that the so-called Planet 9 is an exoplanet. This would make it the first exoplanet to be discovered inside our own solar system. The theory is that our sun, in its youth some 4.5 billion years ago, stole Planet 9 from its original star.

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One day I went to lunch and never came back, on Mars

Tuesday, 31 May, 2016

It’s one thing to lose your job, but to lose your job in a place you cannot possibly leave, is another matter all together. This is the predicament that an explorer of Mars – who was sent to the red planet on a one way, no return trip ever, sort of undertaking – finds himself in. Thus you have the premise for Fired on Mars, a short film by Nick Vokey and Nate Sherman.

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How do you announce contact with extraterrestrials anyway?

Thursday, 26 May, 2016

SETI scientists had developed procedures for announcing the discovery of, or contact with, an extraterrestrial intelligence, more than thirty years ago. Long before the internet became mainstream, and the advent of social media.

But there is a problem. Since the guidelines were written, the way news stories evolve and spread through society has changed dramatically. In the 1980s, 24-hour news channels were a novelty. Now they have been superseded by Internet news sites and aggregators such as Reddit and Slashdot and by online social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and so on.

So, how would they go about disseminating such news now? It looks as if the process will need to thought through again.

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Space exploration has its hazards, so take care out there

Wednesday, 18 May, 2016

Cardiff based illustrator and animator Thomas Lucas outlines the grizzly ways in which you could meet your death, while exploring the cosmos. Take care out there.

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2016 has been a bumper year for exoplanets and it’s only May

Thursday, 12 May, 2016

1284 exoplanets, found by by the Kepler Space Telescope, have been validated as being the real deal so far this year. I’m not sure if they were all discovered in 2016 though, but you have wonder what the tally might be by the end of the year. There sure are a lot of planets out there.

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That time we attached a camera to a rocket we launched into space

Friday, 6 May, 2016

A GoPro camera is attached to a SL-10 rocket, and reaches and altitude of about one hundred and twenty kilometers. Needless to say, the resulting video footage is incredible.

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The glorious blue-white disk that is Earth seen from the ISS

Wednesday, 27 April, 2016

Spectacular footage of our planet, as recorded by the crew of the International Space Station.

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Wanted, two comets transmitting would-be signals from aliens

Tuesday, 19 April, 2016

In 1977, US astronomer Jerry Ehman, while listening into the cosmos by way of the Ohio State University’s Big Ear radio telescope, detected a short radio signal that some scientists felt could only have been transmitted by an extraterrestrial intelligence elsewhere in the galaxy.

Ehman’s find soon became known as the WOW! signal, but to the disappointment of those hoping to have found another civilisation within the Milky Way, no more transmissions were ever picked up in the vicinity of the Chi Sagittarii group of stars, the signal’s apparent source.

Now forty years later, Antonio Paris, a professor at Florida’s St Petersburg College, thinks he has found an explanation for the mysterious signal, it may have something to do with two comets that were in the same part of the sky, when the WOW! signal was detected.

Known as 266P/Christensen and 335P/Gibbs, they have never been investigated before because they were only discovered in 2006 and 2008 respectively. Paris found that they were both in the vicinity of Chi Sagittarii on the day that the ‘Wow!’ signal was detected. This could be significant because comets are surrounded by clouds of hydrogen gas that are millions of kilometres in diameter. The ‘Wow!’ signal itself was detected by Ehman at 1420MHz, which is a radio frequency that hydrogen naturally emits.

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