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Survival Systems Suits May Solve Hygenic Issues For The Orion Crew.

Vacuum Pressure Integrated Suit Test (VPIST) Manned Altitude Runs (AKA Tests of the spacesuit meant for the Orion capsule)

You may already know that astronauts already wear diapers, ahem, Maximum Absorbency Garments under their spacesuits when they are preparing for launch. They’re a good way to avoid Alan Shepard’s dilemma on Freedom 7, in which he and ground control faced a choice between the indignity of becoming a “wetback” (yes, we know.) and having to leave the spacecraft to use …

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James Webb Telescope to Look at Mars

Picture of Mars taken with the Hubble Space Telescope. Image credit

At one time, Mars might have had oceans of liquid water. Why did that change? Scientists hope to refine current theories about why Mars transitioned from a wet world that was possibly capable of supporting life to a dry one with the James Webb Space Telescope. This is part of the Guaranteed Observation Time (GTO) project being led by Heidi …

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AIAA SciTech Forum 2018: “Seizing the Next Digital Transformation”

In between presentations at the AIAA Sci-Tech Forums. One of the better pictures I was able to get on my phone.

I attended the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics SciTech Forum on the week of January 8-12. Officially, it was an event for aerospace professionals and students to network and listen to presentations regarding the latest in aerospace technology. The theme for the event was “Seizing the Next Digital Transformation”. Most of the talks I attended were along those lines with …

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NASA Has Plan for Alpha Centauri Mission

Hubble took this image of Alpha Centauri. Image credit NASA

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory unveiled plans for an Alpha Centauri mission that could launch as early as 2069 at the 2017 Geophysical Union Conference. This tentative mission answers a budget mandate to look into the possibility of interstellar travel. Alpha Centauri is a three-star system residing 4.3 light-years from Earth and consisting of Alpha Centauri A, Alpha Centauri B, and …

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NASA Shortlists Two Candidates for 2020s New Frontiers Missions

Image credit Kosmonautix

In April, NASA received 12 proposals for a future New Frontiers mission to be launched in the 2020s. Out of those 12, two finalists have been selected. One proposed mission will send a flying lander to the surface of Saturn’s moon, Titan. The other will send a spacecraft on a sample return mission to a comet. Both missions will receive …

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Oddly Shaped Alien Asteroid May Not Be an Extraterrestrial Spacecraft

Artists' rendition of 'Oumuamua. Image credit Media INAF

If you’re a fan of science fiction, you might have wondered if Oumuamua, the cigar-shaped, visiting asteroid from interstellar space, might have come straight out of an Arthur C. Clarke tale. The group behind the extraterrestrial-hunting Breakthrough Listen thought so, too, and announced that it would monitor Oumuamua for signals that might indicate that it is occupied by an intelligent …

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Machine Learning System Discovers Two New Exoplanets Around Kepler-90 and Kepler-80

An artist's rendition of the Kepler 90 system. Image credit

NASA recently announced the discovery of an eighth planet around a star system called Kepler-90, which now officially ties our own solar system for number of planets. NASA has also discovered a sixth planet orbiting Kepler-80. These discoveries were made using a machine learning system that was “taught” how to recognize the small dips of starlight that might indicate the …

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Cosmic Hitchhikers and the Genesis of life: Panspermia Theory

Panspermia 1

  Imagine yourself on a crash course with certain death. Or maybe not so certain: It depends. You are a microbial hitchhiker on cosmic debris flung from the darkest recesses of outer space. There is a slim chance that the planet you are going to collide with has an environment conducive to your survival and propagation. Considering you have survived …

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Interstellar Asteroid ‘Oumuamua Looks Like A Giant Cigar

The trajectory of this cosmic "visitor" is likely to take it out of our solar system. Image credit

Astronomers may be breaking out the cigars after the discovery of the first visitor from interstellar space, an asteroid that now bears the name of ‘Oumuamua, which is Hawaiian for “a messenger from afar arriving first.” The International Astronomical Union has given this cigar-shaped asteroid the designation of ‘Oumuamua: 1I/2017 U1. ‘Oumuamua was first spotted by the Pan-STARRS1 telescope in …

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Loft Orbital Aims To Launch Condominium Satellites


Loft Orbital, a new aerospace company based in San Francisco, has raised $3.2 million in seed funding to build a constellation of satellites packed with payloads from various customers. Each satellite could carry up to five instruments from multiple customers. For instance, one university might want to fly an instrument that measures cosmic rays and another might want to take …

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Two Recently Detected Supernovae Defy Expectations

Artist's rendition of a supernova. Image credit Wallpaper Cave

Most supernovas tend to last several months at most. However, one explosion known as PS1-10adi was detected in 2010 and was monitored by telescopes in La Palma and Hawaii for the next several years, defying all but the wildest expectations. By way of comparison, a long-duration supernova called iPTF14hls has been observed for two years and the researchers’ initial reaction …

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NGTS Challenges Planetary Formation Theory with First Exoplanet Discovery

Concept art of NGTS-1b.  credit University of Warwick & Mark Garlick

The discovery of a Jupiter-sized planet has challenged current theories of planetary formation by orbiting a star that should have been too small for the planet. NGTS-1b has been called a “monster” planet due to its size relative to its star. Is this new exoplanet really all that big, though, or is it just an unusually small star to be …

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Astronomers Announce Detection Of First Known Interstellar Visitor

The trajectory of this cosmic "visitor" is likely to take it out of our solar system. Image credit

Astronomers have detected the first known foreign object to visit our solar system: a fast-moving comet or asteroid that zipped by our sun last month. Its velocity may send it back out into interstellar space. Professor Alan Fitzsimmons from the School of Mathematics and Physics at Queen’s University, has been collaborating with colleagues in the UK, USA and Chile to …

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Astronomers Discover Sunscreen Snow on Exoplanet Kepler-13Ab

An artist's rendition of Kepler-Ab. Image credit SpaceRef

If exoplanet hunters have learned anything, it’s that exoplanets and the star systems that host them can be super weird. There are hot Jupiters, diamond planets, and now a planet that apparently provides its own sunscreen in the form of titanium oxide snow. This discovery was made while using the Hubble Space Telescope to make atmospheric observations of Kepler-13Ab, which …

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Outer Planet Visible With Naked Eye This Weekend

Uranus in Pisces. Image credit National Geographic

If the weather is clear in your area on the night of October 19th, you may be able to spot Uranus with the naked eye or a pair of binoculars. Uranus will be in the constellation Pisces in the southeastern sky. Uranus will be the “wandering star” with a blue tint due to the high concentrations of methane in the …

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