The world’s leading space agencies are reportedly discussing the use of the International Space Station as a launch pad for a manned trip around the moon. The goal would be to test whether the station could be a base camp for missions to asteroids and Mars, the BBC reports today.
Dust may help astronomers understand the formation of stars and planets
By Katie PeekPosted 10.11.2010 at 10:11 am 0 Comments
Riding in a car through space, if you were to hang your white-gloved hand out the window, it would come back dirty. The space between the Milky Way's stars is filled with gas and dust—lots of dust.
This summer, the European Space Agency's Planck satellite produced a high-resolution dust map. The ultimate goal of the project is to map the cosmic microwave background, the electromagnetic leftovers of the universe's violent beginning.
Welcome back to This Week In The Future. As you can see, things are going a little awry. Can you name the four PopSci stories from this week that led to the mayhem above?
Post your answer in the comments. The first comment with the correct, complete answer will be chosen to win a copy of the illustration on a T-shirt. (If you can't wait, you can buy your own right here.)
NASA is preparing a flurry of new spacecraft launches, planetary flybys and orbital insertions in the next two years, and is celebrating the "Year of the Solar System" to mark the occasion. Twenty-three months is actually a Martian year, so hey, it works.
The space agency has dozens of missions at any given time, and scientists are always maneuvering some spacecraft into a new orbit or into a new trajectory. But the next two years will see triple the usual amount of activity, NASA says. The second half of 2011 will be as busy, space-wise, as entire decades of the space age, according to Jim Green, NASA's planetary science director.
Scientists studying Titan’s atmosphere have learned it can create complex molecules, including amino acids and nucleotide bases, often called the building blocks of life. They are the first researchers to show it’s possible to create these molecules without water, suggesting Titan could harbor huge quantities of life’s precursors floating in its atmosphere. It’s a breakthrough that even has implications for the beginning of life on Earth.
Over the last four years, 20 to 40 percent of the honeybee colonies in the U.S. have mysteriously collapsed. The killer has remained unknown--until now. A team of entomologists, along with military scientists from the Department of Homeland Security, have a new prime suspect (or rather, suspects), as shown in a new report on the science website PLoS One. A tag-team of a virus and a fungus show every sign of being the culprit. Now it's just a matter of eradicating that dastardly partnership.
The Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe, or WMAP, has been gathering information about the Big Bang, dark matter, and the nature of the universe for nine years now, and it's finally being put to rest (rest being a "parking orbit" around the sun).
First graphene, now this: Carbon is just the hottest element on the block these days. The 2010 Nobel Prize for Chemistry has just been awarded to three chemists who have come up with a technique that allows them to build carbon-based molecules as complex as those found in nature.
Mutant silkworms can produce miles of super-strong silk, in a new breakthrough that could lead to mass production of tough, flexible spider-silk material. Thanks to the efforts of these genetically modified spider-worms, along with spidergoats and spider-alfalfa, spider clothes may soon be upon us.
The U.S. may be years behind some European nations and China when it comes to taking advantage of solar power tech, but even global superpowers have to start somewhere. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar has approved the first large-scale solar energy projects to be built on public lands, a first step in unlocking the acres upon acres of federal and state managed real estate for clean energy production.