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#4081
Sciencerocks

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Earthworms can thrive and reproduce in Martian soil simulants

Michael Irving

 

If humans are ever going to colonize Mars – which we will, if NASA and Elon Musk have their way – then we need to make sure we can grow food locally. Now a team from Wageningen University & Research has found that earthworms might soon need a name change: the creatures, a crucial part of making soil fertile, can thrive and reproduce in simulated Martian soil.

The red dust that covers the surface of Mars is so barren and dry that scientists are hesitant to call it "soil" at all: the word implies the presence of organic matter from plants and animals. Without that, the Martian regolith is mostly dust and rock that won't be much use to future farmers without some prior treatment.

 

https://newatlas.com...ps-worms/52372/


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#4082
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By 2020, upgrades to gravity wave detectors will detect one to two neutron star collisions per month

 

The August 17, Gravitational wave measurements of a Neutron star collision have opened a window onto nuclear astrophysics, neutron star demographics and physics and precise astronomical distances said Scott Hughes, an astrophysicist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research.

 

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#4083
Sciencerocks

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Spacex reusable rockets will start saving significant money in 2018 and Ariane is doomed
brian wang | November 29, 2017 |

1

The German Aerospace Center, DLR, conducted an analysis of Falcon 9 first-stage reuse and concluded that SpaceX could begin to realize significant cost savings with as few as 20-25 launches per year, lower than previous outside assessments. SpaceX has launched 16 times in 2017, likely will end 2017 near 20 missions and plans to increase the per-year rate in 2018 to about 30 and even more in 2010 and beyond.

* Germany is not as committed as France and Italy to Ariane
* Europe’s launch sector may not remain viable

Ariane will be doomed without EU government support

SpaceX is launching Germany’s three-satellite second-generation military radar satellite system, called SARah, in 2018 and 2019 on two Falcon 9 missions. The contract, awarded in 2013, was explained then as a special case given that Airbus had a long-standing SpaceX contract that could be leveraged for the SARah work at an unbeatable price. In 2017, SpaceX is ready to bid for Germany’s first optical reconnaissance system, an apparently three-satellite network to be owned by the German Federal Intelligence Service, BND. Germany has long complained that Europe’s rockets are overly dependent on subsidies and are still too expensive.

 

https://www.nextbigf...-is-doomed.html


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#4084
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First Spacex Falcon Heavy Launch slips to January 2018
brian wang | November 29, 2017 |
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SpaceX’s first Falcon Heavy rocket will have a hold-down firing of its 27 Merlin main engines in December but the first test launch will not be until January, 2018.

 

https://www.nextbigf...nuary-2018.html


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#4085
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Mars may not have the water we thought it did, study shows

 

http://www.latimes.c...1121-story.html

 

Introduction:

 

When it comes to signs of flowing water on Mars, planetary scientists might be getting left high and dry. New research reveals that mysterious dark streaks long thought to be signs of seasonal water activity might actually just be caused by dry sand.

 

The findings, described in the journal Nature Geoscience, indicate that the idea that microbial life might exist on the planet today may not hold water.

 

Scientists believe our rusty, dusty neighbor once had an atmosphere capable of supporting puffy clouds and bodies of liquid water. If this habitat lasted long enough, it could have allowed for microbial life to emerge.

 

Even though the planet looks dry and desolate today, Mars still has water — except it’s mostly locked up in polar ice caps or frozen beneath the ground. But researchers have increasingly seen hints that water may, rarely and briefly, flow just beneath the Red Planet’s surface, and have wondered whether there could be extreme forms of life surviving there today.


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#4086
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MUSE probes uncharted depths of Hubble Ultra Deep Field
November 29, 2017  


    Astronomers using the MUSE instrument on ESO's Very Large Telescope in Chile have conducted the deepest spectroscopic survey ever. They focused on the Hubble Ultra Deep Field, measuring distances and properties of 1600 very faint galaxies including 72 galaxies that have never been detected before. This groundbreaking dataset has already resulted in 10 science papers that are being published in a special issue of Astronomy & Astrophysics. This wealth of new information is giving astronomers insight into star formation in the early Universe.

 

 

https://phys.org/new...ths-hubble.html


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#4087
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NASA’s next flagship telescope is “not executable” in its current form

 

First came the Hubble Space Telescope. Now, NASA is finalizing development of the James Webb Space Telescope for launch in 2019. And finally, the space agency is beginning to design and develop its next great space telescope, the Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope, or WFIRST.

...

But a new report—released without fanfare on the Wednesday before the Thanksgiving holiday—calls into question the viability of the project. "The risks to the primary mission of WFIRST are significant and therefore the mission is not executable without adjustments and/or additional resources," the report states. It estimated the cost of the project at $3.9 billion to $4.2 billion, significantly above the project's $3.6 billion budget.

Uh-oh.


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#4088
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#4089
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Giant black hole pair photobombs Andromeda galaxy
November 30, 2017

Credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/Univ. of Washington/T.Dorn-Wallenstein et al.; Optical: NASA/ESA/J. Dalcanton, et al. & R. Gendler

It seems like even black holes can't resist the temptation to insert themselves unannounced into photographs. A cosmic photobomb found as a background object in images of the nearby Andromeda galaxy has revealed what could be the most tightly coupled pair of supermassive black holes ever seen.

 

Read more at: https://phys.org/new...obombs.html#jCp


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#4090
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NASA Plans to Send a Robot to Hunt for Life on Saturn’s Moon

by Kristin Houser and Chelsea Gohd on November 30, 2017 2075
NASA/JPL
In Brief


Researchers suspect that life might exist under the icy crust of Saturn's small moon Enceladus. Now, NASA has confirmed support for the development of a new, uber-sensitive device that could allow them to find out once and for all.

 

https://futurism.com...e-saturns-moon/


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#4091
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Within my opinion it would appear that if humans are going to mars within the next 20 years it will probably be done by spacex.

 

Nasa human exploration appears dead.


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#4092
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Dark Matter space probe detects cosmic ray gap which might be evidence of dark matter
brian wang | December 2, 2017 |
1

 

A China-led space science mission provide a tantalizing hint—but not firm evidence—for dark matter. Initial analysis of 1.5 million cosmic rays detections has shown a gap in the spectrum. Something is interfering with these cosmic ray energy signals and it might be the decay of dark matter.

They expect the satellite to last 5 years and it should record more than 10 billion cosmic ray events.

 

https://www.nextbigf...ark-matter.html


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#4093
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NASA testing ultra-simple small nuclear reactors that will power missions to Mars and beyond
brian wang | December 4, 2017 |
1

 

NASA is pushing forward on testing a key energy source that could literally “empower” human crews on the Mars surface, energizing habitats and running on-the-spot processing equipment to transform Red Planet resources into oxygen, water and fuel.

* A small pill size rod of Boron Carbide will turn on the reactor
* Beryllium oxide reflectors will enhance the nuclear reaction so less uranium is needed
* a 6 inch uranium core is used

Well established physics are used for a design targeted at needing almost no control system to safely generate up to 10 kilowatts of power for many years.

 

https://www.nextbigf...and-beyond.html


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#4094
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Research bolsters possibility of plate tectonics on Europa
December 4, 2017 by Kevin Stacey

A Brown University study provides new evidence that the icy shell of Jupiter's moon Europa may have plate tectonics similar to those on Earth. The presence of plate tectonic activity could have important implications for the possibility of life in the ocean thought to exist beneath the moon's surface.

 

https://phys.org/new...ics-europa.html


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#4095
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First Light for ESPRESSO — the Next Generation Planet Hunter
6 December 2017

 

The Echelle SPectrograph for Rocky Exoplanet and Stable Spectroscopic Observations (ESPRESSO) has successfully made its first observations. Installed on ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) in Chile, ESPRESSO will search for exoplanets with unprecedented precision by looking at the minuscule changes in the light of their host stars. For the first time ever, an instrument will be able to sum up the light from all four VLT telescopes and achieve the light collecting power of a 16-metre telescope.

ESPRESSO has achieved first light on ESO’s Very Large Telescope at the Paranal Observatory in northern Chile [1]. This new, third-generation echelle spectrograph is the successor to ESO’s hugely successful HARPS instrument at the La Silla Observatory. HARPS can attain a precision of around one metre per second in velocity measurements, whereas ESPRESSO aims to achieve a precision of just a few centimetres per second, due to advances in technology and its placement on a much bigger telescope.

The lead scientist for ESPRESSO, Francesco Pepe from the University of Geneva in Switzerland, explains its significance: “This success is the result of the work of many people over 10 years. ESPRESSO isn’t just the evolution of our previous instruments like HARPS, but it will be transformational, with its higher resolution and higher precision. And unlike earlier instruments it can exploit the VLT’s full collecting power — it can be used with all four of the VLT Unit Telescopes at the same time to simulate a 16-metre telescope. ESPRESSO will be unsurpassed for at least a decade — now I am just impatient to find our first rocky planet!”

 

http://eso.org/public/news/eso1739/

 

This is one of the most interesting pieces of news posted in this thread this year! The discoveries will be amazing.


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#4096
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Hubble and Gaia team up to measure 3D stellar motion with record-breaking precision [heic1719]

27 November 2017


A team of astronomers used data from both the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope and ESA's Gaia satellite to directly measure the 3D motions of individual stars in a nearby galaxy. The achieved accuracy is better than anything previously measured for a galaxy beyond the Milky Way. The motions provide a field test of the currently-accepted cosmological model and also measure the trajectory of the galaxy through space. The results are published in Nature Astronomy.

 

http://sci.esa.int/h...king-precision/


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#4097
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http://sci.esa.int/c...nt-is-complete/

The scientific instrument at the heart of the CHEOPS mission has been fully assembled, marking an important milestone in the development of this small, fast-track exoplanet-characterising mission


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#4098
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2 Bizarre Ancient Galaxies Found in a Colossal Sea of Dark Matter

7 December 2017

 

Two enormous galaxies seen merging in the distant universe have astronomers rethinking the leading theory of how galaxies form. 

When the universe was in its infancy, the very first galaxies were tiny "dwarf galaxies" that clumped together to form the larger galaxies seen today. Known as hierarchical formation, this theory suggests that galaxies form in a step-by-step process as smaller galaxies are pulled together by their mutual gravitational attraction.

But now, the recent discovery of two distant galaxies that are abnormally huge has led astronomers to rethink that theory because it suggests that those dwarf galaxies assembled into large galaxies a lot faster than previously thought.

Astronomers at the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) in Chile were surprised to find that these gigantic galaxies existed when the universe was only 780 million years old, or about 5 percent of its current age of 13.8 billion years. Because the light from those galaxies takes about 13 billion years to reach Earth, astronomers observing those galaxies are looking back in time at how the galaxies appeared 13 billion years ago.

 

https://www.space.co...matter-sea.html


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#4099
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Gaia mission extended through 2020.
http://sci.esa.int/d...ience-missions/

  

  The lifetime of Gaia, ESA's billion star surveyor, was extended by eighteen months, from 25 July 2019 to 31 December 2020. This is the first time that Gaia, which was launched in 2013 and originally funded for a five-year mission, has been subject to the extension process.

 


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#4100
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“Space Kingdom” Asgardia Says It’s the First Nation with All of Its Territory in Orbit

 

In Brief A "space kingdom" started by Russian billionaire, Igor Ashurbeyli, has successfully deployed a satellite into space, claiming this establishes the first territory in space. Legal experts tend to disagree with this assertion, also doubting that the international community would ever recognize Asgardia as a sovereign nation.

 

I really don't want to hear any more BS about this "space kingdom" until they have a manned space station. Ideally a self-sustaining one where people actually live.


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Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: space exploration, aerospace engineering, astronomy, NASA, SpaceX, interstellar, telescopes, satellites, Mars, space

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