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  1. #1501
    On the road, but not! Danik 2016's Avatar
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    Good News! Worms Make Babies in ‘Martian’ Soil

    "Worms can not only survive in faux Martian soil — they can start a new generation. That’s the conclusion from biologist Wieger Wamelink who recently discovered two baby worms in his simulated Mars soil experiment.

    http://www.astronomy.com/news/2017/12/worms-on-mars
    "You can always find something better than death."
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  2. #1502
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    https://astronomynow.com/2016/07/20/...teroid-impact/

    "Around 3.8 billion years ago, an asteroid more than 150 miles across, roughly equal to the length of New Jersey, slammed into the Moon and created the Imbrium Basin — the right eye of the fabled Man in the Moon. This new size estimate, published in the journal Nature, suggests an Imbrium impactor that was two times larger in diameter and 10 times more massive than previous estimates."

    “We show that Imbrium was likely formed by an absolutely enormous object, large enough to be classified as a protoplanet,” said Pete Schultz, professor of Earth, environmental and planetary sciences at Brown University. “This is the first estimate for the Imbrium impactor’s size that is based largely on the geological features we see on the Moon.”

  3. #1503
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    More about https://www.universetoday.com/138054...t-a-spaceship/.

    "On October 19th, 2017, the Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System-1 (Pan-STARRS-1) in Hawaii announced the first-ever detection of an interstellar asteroid, named 1I/2017 U1 (aka. ‘Oumuamua). Based on subsequent measurements of its shape (highly elongated and thin), there was some speculation that it might actually be an interstellar spacecraft (the name “Rama” ring a bell?).

    For this reason, there are those who would like to study this object before it heads back out into interstellar space. While groups like Project Lyra propose sending a mission to rendezvous with it, Breakthrough Initiatives (BI) also announced its plans to study the object using Breakthrough Listen. As part of its mission to search for extra-terrestrial communications, this project will use the Greenbank Radio Telescope to listen to ‘Oumuamua for signs of radio transmissions."

    I don't believe this myself, but it makes for a good fill-in post!

  4. #1504
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    https://www.space.com/39032-nasa-ali...ouncement.html

    There will be an announcement on Thursday 14 December about alien planets that have been discovered by Kepler:

    "NASA is about to announce some more big alien-planet news.

    The agency will hold a news conference Thursday (Dec. 14) at 1 p.m. EST (1800 GMT) to reveal a new discovery made by its prolific Kepler space telescope, which has been searching the heavens for alien worlds since 2009. Space.com will air the briefing live, courtesy of NASA.

    "The discovery was made by researchers using machine learning from Google," NASA officials wrote in a media advisory. "Machine learning is an approach to artificial intelligence, and demonstrates new ways of analyzing Kepler data." [7 Ways to Discovery Alien Planets]

  5. #1505
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    http://www.astronomytoday.com/astronomy/earthmoon.html

    "The Earth is unique amongst the terrestrial planets in having a large satellite, the Moon, which, relative to the Earth, has the largest mass of any satellite-parent system. Numerous lines of evidence indicate that the Moon was derived from the Earth as the result of a singular impact event soon after the initial formation of the Earth. As a result, the subsequent evolution of the Earth and the emergence and development of life has been strongly influenced by the presence of the Moon.

    This article will highlight and explain the key areas in which the Moon has both directly and indirectly influenced the emergence and evolution of life on the Earth, a process that has culminated in the development of an intelligent, technologically advanced species."

    Tides
    Perhaps the most obvious manifestation of the influence of the Moon on the Earth are the ocean tides, particularly the spring tides where the gravitational pull of the Sun and Moon combine to give the greatest effect. The regular rise and fall of sea level creates an unique environment in the Solar System, where life is exposed to both immersion in water and exposure to air in the space of a few hours. This interface between two distinct ecological niches is thought by many to be crucial in evolutionary terms.

  6. #1506
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dreamwoven View Post
    More about https://www.universetoday.com/138054...t-a-spaceship/.

    "On October 19th, 2017, the Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System-1 (Pan-STARRS-1) in Hawaii announced the first-ever detection of an interstellar asteroid, named 1I/2017 U1 (aka. ‘Oumuamua). Based on subsequent measurements of its shape (highly elongated and thin), there was some speculation that it might actually be an interstellar spacecraft (the name “Rama” ring a bell?).

    For this reason, there are those who would like to study this object before it heads back out into interstellar space. While groups like Project Lyra propose sending a mission to rendezvous with it, Breakthrough Initiatives (BI) also announced its plans to study the object using Breakthrough Listen. As part of its mission to search for extra-terrestrial communications, this project will use the Greenbank Radio Telescope to listen to ‘Oumuamua for signs of radio transmissions."

    I don't believe this myself, but it makes for a good fill-in post!
    I believe that the most startling feature of Oumuamua is its elongated shape. But I don´t know if there is much to discover there. it looks more like a joke of the universe.
    "You can always find something better than death."
    Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, The Bremen Town Musicians

  7. #1507
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    http://earthsky.org/space/juno-probe...great-red-spot

    Juno has been probing the Great Red Spot on Jupiter, by diving into it and then emerging out of it:

    "Data collected by NASA’s Juno spacecraft during its first pass over Jupiter’s Great Red Spot in July 2017 indicate that this iconic feature penetrates well below the clouds. The findings were announced Monday (December 11, 2017) at the annual American Geophysical Union meeting in New Orleans.

    To date, NASA’s Juno spacecraft, launched in 2011, has completed eight science passes over Jupiter. Juno’s ninth pass will be on December 16. During these flybys, Juno is probing beneath the obscuring cloud cover of Jupiter and studying its auroras to learn more about the planet’s origins, structure, atmosphere and magnetosphere. Scott Bolton is Juno’s principal investigator from the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio. Bolton said in a statement:

    One of the most basic questions about Jupiter’s Great Red Spot is: how deep are the roots? Juno data indicate that the solar system’s most famous storm is almost one-and-a-half Earths wide, and has roots that penetrate about 200 miles (300 kilometers) into the planet’s atmosphere."

  8. #1508
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    https://www.space.com/39066-jupiter-...pacecraft.html

    Jupiter's red spot is 50 times deeper than the Earth's oceans, and it is warmer the lower down in the spot that the probe goes.

    "One of the most basic questions about Jupiter's Great Red Spot is, how deep are the roots?" Juno principal investigator Scott Bolton, of the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, said in a statement. Bolton and his team presented Juno's results at the American Geophysical Union meeting in New Orleans yesterday (Dec. 11).

    "Juno data indicate that the solar system's most famous storm is almost one-and-a-half Earths wide, and has roots that penetrate about 200 miles [300 kilometers] into the planet's atmosphere," Bolton said. [Jupiter's Great Red Spot: An Iconic Monster Storm in Pictures]"

  9. #1509
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    https://www.universetoday.com/120982...abitable-zone/

    "Red dwarf stars have become a major focal point for exoplanet studies lately, and for good reason. For starters, M-type (red dwarf) stars are the most common type in our Universe, accounting for 75% of stars in the Milky Way alone. In addition, in the past decade, numerous terrestrial (i.e rocky) exoplanets have been discovered orbiting red dwarf stars, and within their circumstellar habitable zones (“Goldilocks Zones”) to boot.

    This has naturally prompted several studies to determine whether or not rocky planets can retain their atmospheres. The latest study comes from NASA, using data obtained by the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) orbiter. Having studied Mars’ atmosphere for years to determine how and when it was stripped away, the MAVEN mission is well-suited when it comes to measuring the potential habitability of other planets."

    concluding:
    "In conclusion, the researchers determined that orbiting at the edge of the habitable zone of a quiet M-type star (instead of our Sun) could shorten the habitable period for a Mars-like planet by a factor of about 5 to 20. For a more active M-type star, the habitable period could be cut by as much as 1,000 times. In addition, solar storm activity around a red dwarf, which is thousands of times more intense than with our Sun, would also be very limiting.

    However, the study is based on how an exo-Mars would fair around and M-type star, which kind of stacks the odds against habitability in advance. When different planets are considered, which possess mitigating factors Mars does not, things become a bit more promising. For instance, a planet that is more geologically active than Mars would be able to replenish its atmosphere at a greater rate.

    Other factors include increase mass, which would allow for the planet to hold onto more of its atmosphere, and the presence of a magnetic field to shield it from stellar wind."

  10. #1510
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    https://astronomynow.com/2017/12/06/...planet-hunter/

    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. 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!”

  11. #1511
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dreamwoven View Post
    http://earthsky.org/space/juno-probe...great-red-spot

    Juno has been probing the Great Red Spot on Jupiter, by diving into it and then emerging out of it:

    "Data collected by NASA’s Juno spacecraft during its first pass over Jupiter’s Great Red Spot in July 2017 indicate that this iconic feature penetrates well below the clouds. The findings were announced Monday (December 11, 2017) at the annual American Geophysical Union meeting in New Orleans.

    To date, NASA’s Juno spacecraft, launched in 2011, has completed eight science passes over Jupiter. Juno’s ninth pass will be on December 16. During these flybys, Juno is probing beneath the obscuring cloud cover of Jupiter and studying its auroras to learn more about the planet’s origins, structure, atmosphere and magnetosphere. Scott Bolton is Juno’s principal investigator from the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio. Bolton said in a statement:

    One of the most basic questions about Jupiter’s Great Red Spot is: how deep are the roots? Juno data indicate that the solar system’s most famous storm is almost one-and-a-half Earths wide, and has roots that penetrate about 200 miles (300 kilometers) into the planet’s atmosphere."
    Interesting naming Juno the spacecraft that confronted Jupiter. Reminds one of mythological times
    "You can always find something better than death."
    Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, The Bremen Town Musicians

  12. #1512
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dreamwoven View Post
    https://www.space.com/39066-jupiter-...pacecraft.html

    Jupiter's red spot is 50 times deeper than the Earth's oceans, and it is warmer the lower down in the spot that the probe goes.

    "One of the most basic questions about Jupiter's Great Red Spot is, how deep are the roots?" Juno principal investigator Scott Bolton, of the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, said in a statement. Bolton and his team presented Juno's results at the American Geophysical Union meeting in New Orleans yesterday (Dec. 11).

    "Juno data indicate that the solar system's most famous storm is almost one-and-a-half Earths wide, and has roots that penetrate about 200 miles [300 kilometers] into the planet's atmosphere," Bolton said. [Jupiter's Great Red Spot: An Iconic Monster Storm in Pictures]"
    The Great Red Spot is impressive, but I got the impression that more sophisticated instruments are needed to get at the bottom of it.
    "You can always find something better than death."
    Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, The Bremen Town Musicians

  13. #1513
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dreamwoven View Post
    https://www.universetoday.com/120982...abitable-zone/

    "Red dwarf stars have become a major focal point for exoplanet studies lately, and for good reason. For starters, M-type (red dwarf) stars are the most common type in our Universe, accounting for 75% of stars in the Milky Way alone. In addition, in the past decade, numerous terrestrial (i.e rocky) exoplanets have been discovered orbiting red dwarf stars, and within their circumstellar habitable zones (“Goldilocks Zones”) to boot.

    This has naturally prompted several studies to determine whether or not rocky planets can retain their atmospheres. The latest study comes from NASA, using data obtained by the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) orbiter. Having studied Mars’ atmosphere for years to determine how and when it was stripped away, the MAVEN mission is well-suited when it comes to measuring the potential habitability of other planets."

    concluding:
    "In conclusion, the researchers determined that orbiting at the edge of the habitable zone of a quiet M-type star (instead of our Sun) could shorten the habitable period for a Mars-like planet by a factor of about 5 to 20. For a more active M-type star, the habitable period could be cut by as much as 1,000 times. In addition, solar storm activity around a red dwarf, which is thousands of times more intense than with our Sun, would also be very limiting.

    However, the study is based on how an exo-Mars would fair around and M-type star, which kind of stacks the odds against habitability in advance. When different planets are considered, which possess mitigating factors Mars does not, things become a bit more promising. For instance, a planet that is more geologically active than Mars would be able to replenish its atmosphere at a greater rate.

    Other factors include increase mass, which would allow for the planet to hold onto more of its atmosphere, and the presence of a magnetic field to shield it from stellar wind."
    If I understood that rightly, Red Dwarfs have become an important object in the study of the atmosphere of exo-planets.
    "You can always find something better than death."
    Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, The Bremen Town Musicians

  14. #1514
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    They also need to dive deeper into the Red Spot. Another couple of dives are planned i believe.

  15. #1515
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    I guess red dwarf stars are important, especially as there are so many of them in the Milky Way, and quite a few that look promising for life in planets that have a decent looking habitable zone. But the real test will come when the new telescopes have been launched and also become operable.

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