Thursday April 8th 2010



‘Space’ Archives

Reaching Starward: Faces from Earth

by Larry Klaes Faces from Earth is an ambitious plan to send information about our species to the stars. We’ve done this before, in the form of the plaques mounted on the Pioneer spacecraft and the famous Golden Record of Voyager. What more can we do to ensure that future missions leaving Earth will carry such representation? Larry Klaes [...]

SETI Realities

by James & Gregory Benford Talk of interstellar beacons invariably heats up the discussion, and I was fascinated to read not only Bob Krekorian’s take on the concept, but the follow-up comments of James and Gregory Benford, whose work on beacons has been examined previously in these pages. See A Beacon-Oriented Strategy for SETI, as [...]

Apocryphal Tales and Long-Term Results

Since starting this site in 2004, I’ve periodically emphasized the value of long-term thinking as we consider interstellar flight. This is not to suggest that travel to other stars will not undergo some kind of breakthrough that lets us manage it within a single human lifetime — we can hope and work for such technological advances. [...]

Keeping Tabs on CoRoT

The Exoplanets Rising conference, now in progress at the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics (UC Santa Barbara), is offering a treasure trove of online material, including one I’m currently watching, a presentation by Magali Deleuil (Astronomy Observatory of Marseilles Provence) on CoRoT results. It’s extraordinary for those of us [...]

Expect the Unexpected: Mimas and the LHC

I know I should be staggered by everything about the Large Hadron Collider, but frankly, what really has me jazzed this morning is that I’m writing this with a window on one side of my screen showing a live webcast from CERN and another in an upper corner showing a Saturnian moon. There is something truly science fictional at being able to [...]

SETI’s Best Chance: Find the Beacon

If we’re going to get lucky with SETI, it’s probably going to be through the reception of an interstellar beacon rather than the chance detection of an electronic emission from space. Sure, chance catches are possible, and for all we know odd receptions like the WOW! signal of 1977 might be cases in point. But we can’t confirm [...]

Lensing Confirms Cosmic Acceleration

Ordinary baryonic matter (think protons and neutrons) is thought to account for no more than one-sixth of the total mass in the universe, the rest being dark matter that does not reflect or emit light. Usefully, though, dark matter does interact with the rest of the universe through gravity, and it can be probed by studying gravitational lensing. [...]

Keeping Tabs on Kepler

Making discoveries with new space missions always seems frustratingly slow, probably because with missions like Kepler, our expectations are so high. So it’s interesting to ponder what all is involved in getting the data analyzed and the discoveries pegged. This post from the Kepler team’s Charlie Sobeck points out that the first five [...]

New Model Looks Beneath Jupiter’s Clouds

Live by the cloud, die by the cloud. At least, that’s the way it felt this morning when I realized Gmail was down, and along with it, several emails with pointers to stories I had planned to look at for possible use today. But let’s talk about a different kind of cloud, for we still have the interesting news out of UC-Berkeley about [...]

Black Hole Clues to Dark Matter

Yesterday’s look at black holes and their potential role in generating energy for advanced civilizations flows naturally into newly released work from Xavier Hernandez and William Lee (National Autonomous University of Mexico). The astronomers have been studying how dark matter behaves in the vicinity of black holes, simulating the way early [...]

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