Four Earth-sized planets discovered orbiting the nearest sun-like star

August 9, 2017 by  
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We may be one step closer to finding a “second home” for humans, thanks to research conducted by an international team of astronomers. By observing wobbles in Tau Ceti, a sun-like star 12 light years away, scientists discovered that four Earth-sized stars are orbiting it. Two of the planets have masses as low as 1.7 Earth mass (which is rare), while the other two are super-Earths — meaning they could potentially support life. To monitor the wobbles of the sun-like star, the team employed techniques sensitive enough to detect variations as small as 30 centimeters per second. “Our detection of such weak wobbles is a milestone in the search for Earth analogs and the understanding of the Earth’s habitability through comparison with these analogs,” said lead author Fabo Feng, from the University of Hertfordshire in the UK. “We have introduced new methods to remove the noise in the data in order to reveal the weak planetary signals.” While the outer two planets around tau Ceti are the right size to be habitable worlds, massive amounts of debris around the star likely reduce their habitability due to the intense bombardment of comets and asteroids . Nonetheless, the discovery is an exciting one. “We are now finally crossing a threshold where, through very sophisticated modeling of large combined data sets from multiple independent observers, we can disentangle the noise due to stellar surface activity from the very tiny signals generated by the gravitational tugs from Earth-sized orbiting planets,” said co-author Steven Vogt, professor of astronomy and astrophysics at UC Santa Cruz. Mikko Tuomi, from the University of Hertfordshire, added, “We are slowly learning to tell the difference between wobbles caused by planets and those caused by stellar active surface. This enabled us to essentially verify the existence of the two outer, potentially habitable planets in the system.” Related: Couple buys 100% sun-powered home built for the Solar Decathlon The team wrote that sun-like stars are believed to be the best targets for finding habitable Earth -like planets. Tau Ceti is, indeed, very similar to our solar system’s Sun in both its brightness and size. Additionally, both stars host multi-planet systems. The research was published in the Astrophysical Journal and is available online. + Astrophysical Journal Via Phys.org Images via Colourbrand, Pixabay and J. Pinfield/RoPACS/University of Hertfordshire

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Pence vows America will put boots on the face of Mars in near future

July 7, 2017 by  
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During a speech at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Thursday, Vice President Pence made a bold promise that in the near future, the United States of America will send astronauts to both the moon and Mars. Now the chair of the National Space Council — which was revived this last Friday – Pence explained that new, ambitious goals will ensure America becomes a leader in space exploration  once again. “Here from this bridge to space, our nation will return to the moon and we will put American boots on the face of Mars,” said Pence. He then applauded the space organization’s efforts to make “science fiction ‘science fact.” Pence made sure to pay homage to Donald Trump, as well, who he referred to as a “champion” who will “usher in a new era” of American space leadership. According to CNN , Pence then noted the importance of space exploration for American national security interests. He also reaffirmed President Trump’s desire, which was revealed during his inaugural address in January, for the US to “unlock the mysteries of space.” He said, “I can assure you that under President Donald Trump , American security will be as dominant in the heavens as we are here on Earth.” Plans to reconvene the National Space Council before the end of summer were also shared. Reportedly, the Council will be comprised of many experts who are sourced from government agencies, such as the military , private industries, and academic institutions to enhance the present space policy. Related: NASA unveils 6 prototypical deep space human habitats for Mars and beyond Originally established in 1989 by President George H.W. Bush, the National Space Council was discontinued in 1993. One individual pleased with President Trump’s executive order to revive the Council is NASA Administrator Robert Lightfoot. Said Lightfoot, “The establishment of the council is another demonstration of the Trump administration’s deep interest in our work, and a testament to the importance of space exploration to our economy, our nation, and the planet as a whole.” Support from the White House is undoubtedly a positive achievement for the NASA, which already has plans to send humans — specifically teachers, farmers, and engineers — to Mars by 2030. With the revival of the National Space Council and a renewed vigor to investigate the “final frontier,” America may very well become a leader in space exploration. Via CNN Images via  Schriever Air Force Base , Pixabay

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NASA scientist thinks lasers could cut the trip to Mars down to 30 minutes

February 24, 2016 by  
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So, everyone knows that Mars is really far away, right? Right now, it takes months to travel the vast distance, but one scientist thinks there is a way to cut that down to half an hour . This wild idea belongs to Philip Lubin, a researcher at the University of California at Santa Barbara’s Experimental Cosmology Group . His theory involves firing a laser at a tiny spacecraft to help it achieve much faster travel speeds. Read the rest of NASA scientist thinks lasers could cut the trip to Mars down to 30 minutes

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Foster + Partners unveils 3D-printed Mars settlement built by robots for NASA competition

September 28, 2015 by  
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Thoth Technology patents 12-mile-high inflatable space elevator

August 14, 2015 by  
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The hardest part about space travel is actually getting to space. Tearing through Earth’s atmosphere and escaping its gravitational pull requires a huge amount of fuel and money to be successful. A Canadian space technology company, Thoth Technology, has just been granted a patent for an inflatable space elevator that promises to reduce the cost of getting to space by 30 percent. The patent is for an elevator more than 12 miles (20 km) high and 755 ft in diameter, supported by pneumatically pressurized cells filled with air or another gas. Read the rest of Thoth Technology patents 12-mile-high inflatable space elevator

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Increased demand for lion bones threatens endangered species more than ever

August 14, 2015 by  
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The king of the jungle is in more trouble than ever. Researchers are now warning that endangered lions could be targeted for their bones , in addition to all the other reasons hunters are killing the majestic cats. In parts of Asia, tiger bones are used in traditional medicine and lion bones are replacing them to a growing degree. This increasing market could lead directly to a further decline in already unstable lion populations in Africa. Read the rest of Increased demand for lion bones threatens endangered species more than ever

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Can solar power pull Greece out of debt?

August 14, 2015 by  
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There are few signs for relief for Greece as their government agrees to yet more harsh austerity terms in exchange for another bailout from international creditors. The debt crisis began in 2009, and as the Greek government struggles to find a resolution, living conditions are rapidly deteriorating. But Greenpeace believe they can help boost the economy and provide energy security by installing solar panels across the country. The organization plans to start with installations on the island of Rhodes—dubbed the “Island of the Sun”—and has launched a crowd funding campaign with a “symbolic” goal of $1 million to support the project. Read the rest of Can solar power pull Greece out of debt?

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These super-customizable Monarch Tiny Homes cost just $22,000

August 14, 2015 by  
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MIT Study Shows Mars One Colony is Dangerously Unsustainable

October 13, 2014 by  
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Mars One has captured a lot of attention with plans to build the first colony on the red planet – but a new paper from MIT warns that the project has little chance of success. According to the MIT paper, the success of the mission in its current form relies on “in-situ resource utilization (ISRU) and life support technologies that are more capable than the current state of the art.” While the volunteer astronauts in the Mars One program have all signed up for a one-way ticket, the paper reveals that there several unexpected deathtraps within the proposed habitat system, and that the first astronaut fatality could occur as early as day 68, simply due to low oxygen levels in the artificial environment. Read the rest of MIT Study Shows Mars One Colony is Dangerously Unsustainable Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: astronauts , Growing Food in Space , mars , mars colony , mars one , Mars One astronauts will die , MIT , MIT study shows Mars One unsustainable , space travel

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Japanese Construction Giant Obayashi Plans to Build a Space Elevator by 2050

September 23, 2014 by  
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Get yourself ready for the ride of a lifetime, because Japanese construction company Obayashi has announced plans to build a fully-functioning space elevator by 2050. The elevator will extend 60,000 miles into the wild blue yonder, where, after 7 short days of travel watching the space floors fly by, you will land at a specially-constructed space station . Once the project is completed, it will be able to transport people and cargo much more affordably and efficiently than launching a rocket. Missing Attachment Missing Attachment Read the rest of Japanese Construction Giant Obayashi Plans to Build a Space Elevator by 2050 Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: carbon nanotechnology , carbon nanotechnology elevator , nanotechnology , Obayashi , Obayashi Corporation , Obayashi elevator , Obayashi space elevator , Obayashi space travel , Obayashi travel , space elevator , space elevator travel , space transportation , space travel

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