What's happening in space (that's interesting)


#2210

https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/12/11/569936446/president-trump-is-sending-nasa-back-to-the-moon
Unfortunately, the headline sounds better than the actual news. Going to moon is supposed to be a stepping stone to Mars, but the Obama administration had considered an asteroid in that role. Switching back to the moon isn’t bad, necessarily, but isn’t likely to make any real difference. Especially when the money allocation is inevitably smaller than necessary.


#2211

I will still applaud anything that helps us build a base on the moon.


#2212

Are you trying to get this thread Godwinned?


#2213

You know I want to punch Nazis, and doing it on the moon is my greatest dream.


#2214

The first rule of being the president is that you have to overturn whatever space policy the last guy had.


#2215

The best part is, as long as you aren’t saying ‘abandon space entirely’, some subset of space fans will say it’s a good change. More probes, rovers, and planetary science, less of that, going back to the Moon, ignoring the Moon…


#2216

Despite being pretty hopeful, I love articles like these.

Are intelligent extraterrestrials trying to communicate with or study us? Some scientists think that’s a possibility—and that it’s happening right now. Starting at 3 p.m. EST on Wednesday, researchers with the Breakthrough Listen initiative began pointing a powerful radio telescope toward a mysterious object visiting the solar system, hopeful they could detect signs that the interstellar interloper is actually of alien origin.
[…]
Breakthrough Initiatives, launched by Russian billionaire Yuri Milner to study the galaxy for signs of extraterrestrials, is most famous for its Stephen Hawking–backed Starshot project to send cheap spacecraft to Alpha Centauri at one-fifth the speed of light to find signs of habitability or alien life. Its more conventional SETI sister project, Listen, uses radio telescopes to scan space and listen for complex radio signals that might be signs of an alien civilization.

For 10 hours on Wednesday, Breakthrough Listen will point the Green Bank Telescope, based in West Virginia, at ‘Oumuamua and listen for anything unusual emanating from the object that doesn’t have a conventional explanation. The Green Bank Telescope could detect signals on the scale of a mobile phone coming from ‘Oumuamua, Milner tells Scientific American.

Even if there’s no signal coming from ‘Oumuamua, the Green Bank observations can still collect valuable insight on whether the asteroid possesses water or ice or exhibits any strange chemistry.

There’s no exact timetable for when Breakthrough Listen will announce its findings, but it should be sooner rather than later. It’s highly unlikely ‘Oumuamua is a sign aliens exist, but even skeptics will have to admit there’s rarely been a better object to pin our ET hopes on than this bizarre-looking rock.


#2217

Looks familiar.


#2218

Green Bank Telescope info:


#2219

Looking for dark sky? http://darksitefinder.com/maps/world.html


#2220

Interstellar fleshlight.


#2221

#2222

SpaceX did it’s first launch today re-using the first stage, to the ISS.

I really dug this part of the launch. The view of the rocket thrusters is really cool (EDIT: starting at 17:16)


#2223

Love the routine of it, and I could watch those rockets land all day.


#2224

Just for anyone who doesn’t follow this, this is not the first time they re-used the first stage. It’s the first time they did so on a mission to the ISS or for NASA or any government agency. This one had both the capsule/spacecraft and the first stage re-used at once for the first time, though I don’t think it has a fairing so they naturally wouldn’t be able to re-use that like they’ve been trying to do otherwise.


#2225

They also set a record for most number of launches in a year by a commercial venture. (I assume ULA held the prior record, anybody know?) Between the various resuability metrics and the launch Falcon Heavy next year, I’m sure 2018 will be another banner year.

SpaceX also tops the list of most desirable companies to work for. I’m sure I’m not the only one who cries a little when they put in a hiring plug at the end of their broadcast.

To be 20+ years younger and have 20 more IQ points so I could work there.


#2226

UFOs are real.


#2227

Neato. I bet if they got closer they would see a logo with a black skunk on it.


#2228

I wonder which is tougher in the long run? Moon base or Mars base?

Moon has more cosmic radiation, and Moon dust is the worst kind of dust ever, since it is razor sharp and statically charged, damaging equipment and pressure seals. (Mars has weather, so the dust is eroded until it is more smooth.)


#2229

I would think Mars’ gravity well makes it much more challenging. That combined with the thin atmosphere also makes landing very difficult.