July 23rd, 2019
On October 19th, 2017 astronomers detected the first interstellar asteroid (or maybe comet) passing through the Solar System: Oumuamua. It had a brief encounter with the inner Solar System and then hurtled back out into interstellar space.
Once astronomers noticed it, they directed the world’s telescopes on the object, but it was too far away to reveal anything more than a faint dot.
Until now, we’ve only been able to study objects in our own Solar System. We have no idea what the rest of the Milky Way is like.
But we were too late to catch it, no spacecraft was ready to make a quick intercept.
Well, scientists aren’t going to make that mistake again. The European Space Agency announced their plans to build a comet interceptor. A spacecraft that will lurk out at the Earth-Sun L2 Lagrange point, waiting for a long-period comet or interstellar object to pounce on, and give us the first close up view ever.
July 4th, 2019
This past weekend Skylias moderated a debated between John Michael Godier and Fraser Cain over their Fermi paradox theories. If there are aliens where are they? The Fermi paradox theory asks where are the alien civilizations in the galaxy? And in the universe. If they exist. Where are the extraterrestrials?
July 3rd, 2019
In this week's questions show, I explain how astronomers know what the Milky Way looks like, what would happen in a catastrophic impact on the International Space Station, and who is the team who works with me on Universe Today?
July 1st, 2019
The Solar System is a really big place, and it takes forever to travel from world to world with traditional chemical rockets. But one technique, developed back in the 1960s might provide a way to dramatically shorten our travel times: nuclear rockets.
Of course, launching a rocket powered by radioactive material has its own risks as well. Should we attempt it?
June 21st, 2019
In this week's questions show, I explain why NASA decided to build James Webb and not more Hubble Space Telescopes, what would happen if you opened up a jar in space, and do we know of any stars without planets?
June 18th, 2019
Explorers have always brought stowaways with them on board. Thanks to our travels around the world, hardy creatures like rats, goats, pigs and starlings and more have found their way to every corner of the globe. Not to mention our plants, microbes and viruses.
Wherever we go, life goes with us, whether we want it to or not. And when we travel to other worlds, it looks like the most extreme life Earth has ever cooked up is ready and willing to make the journey with us.
Now that the big flybys are over, it’s time to dig into the regolith, search for life in underground lakes and oceans, return samples back to Earth. We’re going to give life every opportunity to contaminate other worlds.
What can we do to prevent it?
June 18th, 2019
In this week's penultimate episode of Open Space before our summer hiatus, I give tips and tricks on seeing Jupiter, what's a good starting telescope, updates on LIGO, why rockets launch straight up, and more...
June 6th, 2019
In this QA, I explain why only gas giants have rings, if it would be possible to cool down Venus, what would it take to build a generational ships and more...
June 4th, 2019
Every time we send a spacecraft to another world, our Earth-based lifeforms are going with us. No matter how well we try to keep them clean, a few stowaways will always come along for the ride.
You’d think that years in the cold hard vacuum of space, suffering extreme temperature changes, and receiving brutal doses of radiation would be all it takes to sterilize any life caught on the outside of a lander or rover headed to Mars or Europa.
Well, think again. Life just demonstrated that it’s surprisingly ready to make the journey, and happy to get back to work the moment conditions improve.
May 31st, 2019
In this week's questions show, I give my personal experience of how bright the Starlinks are, and I wonder if companies like SpaceX have the right to provide internet to the planet. Who asked them? Why do people think black holes are so cool? They're scary!