NASA needs a camera to spot killer asteroids — Quartz

Forget aliens. We’ve got to find the asteroids.

Astronomers tend to be patient people. When it comes to stars, much of what they examine happened millions of years ago, and when it comes to space probes, even pre-launch prep can take a decade or more.

But they are getting impatient about launching an infrared space telescope called NEOCam. It has a very specific mission: Spotting near-Earth objects—astronomical bodies, most commonly asteroids, whose orbits around the sun could pass close to Earth and potentially collide with our planet, some of which could damage or destroy civilization itself.

It’s not speculative; a major meteoric impact is inevitable, and we need to keep a better eye on the solar system.

Source: NASA needs a camera to spot killer asteroids — Quartz

How to see the International Space Station from your backyard

The International Space Station is the largest human-made object to fly in outer space and can be seen from anywhere around the world when the conditions are right.

While some may think it may be too small to see without a telescope, it is one of the easiest objects to find in the night sky with the unaided eye.

“You can’t miss the ISS, even in urban areas, as it is as bright as Venus [the third brightest natural object in the sky],“ AccuWeather Astronomy Blogger Dave Samuhel said.

“It will appear like a plane at first, but you will notice the steady movement without flashing lights as it grows brighter,“ Samuhel said.

Although the ISS is always orbiting the Earth, it is not always visible to the unaided eye and requires a small amount of planning, and cloud-free weather, to spot.

Source: How to see the International Space Station from your backyard

New NOAA weather satellite suffers instrument anomaly –

A cooling problem with a key instrument on a new NOAA weather satellite could degrade its performance, officials said May 23.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said that the cooling system of the Advanced Baseline Imager (ABI) on the GOES-17 weather satellite did not startup as planned during on-orbit checkout a few weeks ago. The satellite, previously known as GOES-S, launched on an Atlas 5 March 1.

The cooling system is needed to keep ABI’s detectors at an operating temperature of 60 kelvin. That system is not working sufficiently for 13 of the instrument’s 16 bands, at infrared and near-infrared wavelengths, during part of each orbit. Three other bands, which operate at visible wavelengths, are not affected by the cooling issue. Other instruments on the spacecraft are also not impaired.

Source: New NOAA weather satellite suffers instrument anomaly –

‘Lost’ asteroid the size of the Statue of Liberty to buzz by Earth Tuesday | Fox News

An asteroid the size of New York City’s Statue of Liberty is expected to buzz by Earth Tuesday, and this time, scientists are ready and waiting.

At its closest point, the asteroid – called 2010 WC9 – will be roughly 126,000 miles from earth, about half the distance between Earth and the moon at approximately 6:05 ET, according to NASA’s Center for Near Earth Object Studies (CNEOS).

The estimated diameter of the asteroid ranges from 197 to 427 feet, making this “pass one of the closest approaches ever observed of an asteroid of this size,” EarthSky reports.

That’s nothing compared to asteroids that make up the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, which can measure to about 580 miles across, NASA explains on its website. Those asteroids, however, pose no threat to Earth.

The Catalina Sky Survey (CSS), a space project backed by NASA’s Near Earth Object Observation Program (NEOO), was first to spot the asteroid back in November 2010.

Source: ‘Lost’ asteroid the size of the Statue of Liberty to buzz by Earth Tuesday | Fox News

Too much junk floating in space

ou can see the night sky full of stars, but what you cannot see with bare eyes is the enormous amount of junk material that is also floating in the air. Yes, it’s true, too much of garbage is floating in the space, and the credit goes to us, i.e., the humans for the same.

We, the humans have been sending lots of satellites, spacecraft up in the space. Concerning numbers, almost 1700 are revolving around our planet. Every machinery does not come back in proper shape when its job gets done. Many times it has happened that after the work is over, the scientists have failed to retain control over the machinery and left them to speed past through space at enormous speed. Some of them get crashed into one another leading to the formation of further debris in the space. The NASA has predicted that there might be more than 23,000 pieces of debris more than 10 centimeters long that might be hovering around in orbit o the Earth.

According to NASA small pieces of steel might not be as harmful as the big chunk. But then also such parts can prove to be quite deadly. The International Space Station says that since these bits of junk move at a tremendous speed in the space, even they can damage the craft’s quadruple thick windows. This is posed to be one of the leading causes of worry. The astronauts might be at risk when they go out of space for a spacewalk outside the International Space Station because even if such small bits of steel or metal hits them at such a high speed, it can cause severe damage to the humans.

Source: Too much junk floating in space

Is there life in the multiverse? | Space | EarthSky

New research shows that life might be common throughout the multiverse … if there is a multiverse.

The word universe used to imply all that exists, but no longer. Today’s cosmologists – scientists who study the biggest of all possible big pictures – now consider the idea that our known universe might be just one of many unknown (and unknowable?) universes. They call this plethora of possible universes the multiverse. Now scientists in the U.K. and Australia have taken an interesting step toward probing the multiverse. Their work, which is based on computer simulations, suggests that life could potentially be common throughout the multiverse, if a multiverse exists. The findings are published May 14, 2018, in two related papers in the peer-reviewed journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

This research, and in fact the idea of a multiverse, stems from astrophysicists’ calculations regarding dark energy. That’s the mysterious force that appears to be accelerating the expansion of our universe.

Source: Is there life in the multiverse? | Space | EarthSky

Can Artificial Intelligence Help Find Alien Intelligence? – Scientific American

Scientists are considering whether AI could help us search for alien intelligence in ways we haven’t even thought of yet

In early 2018, astronomers, neuroscientists, anthropologists, AI researchers, historians and others gathered for a “Decoding Alien Intelligence” workshop at the SETI Institute in Silicon Valley. Astrobiologist Nathalie Cabrol organized the workshop around her 2016 paper “Alien mindscapes,” where she calls for a new SETI road map and a long-term vision for “the search for life as we do not know it.”

Source: Can Artificial Intelligence Help Find Alien Intelligence? – Scientific American

Exiled Asteroid Discovered in Outer Reaches of Solar System | ESO

An international team of astronomers has used ESO telescopes to investigate a relic of the primordial Solar System. The team found that the unusual Kuiper Belt Object 2004 EW95 is a carbon-rich asteroid, the first of its kind to be confirmed in the cold outer reaches of the Solar System. This curious object likely formed in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter and has been flung billions of kilometres from its origin to its current home in the Kuiper Belt.

The early days of our Solar System were a tempestuous time. Theoretical models of this period predict that after the gas giants formed they rampaged through the Solar System, ejecting small rocky bodies from the inner Solar System to far-flung orbits at great distances from the Sun [1]. In particular, these models suggest that the Kuiper Belt — a cold region beyond the orbit of Neptune — should contain a small fraction of rocky bodies from the inner Solar System, such as carbon-rich asteroids, referred to as carbonaceous asteroids [2].

Now, a recent paper has presented evidence for the first reliably-observed carbonaceous asteroid in the Kuiper Belt, providing strong support for these theoretical models of our Solar System’s troubled youth. After painstaking measurements from multiple instruments at ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT), a small team of astronomers led by Tom Seccull of Queen’s University Belfast in the UK was able to measure the composition of the anomalous Kuiper Belt Object 2004 EW95, and thus determine that it is a carbonaceous asteroid. This suggests that it originally formed in the inner Solar System and must have since migrated outwards [3].

Source: Exiled Asteroid Discovered in Outer Reaches of Solar System | ESO

Could space aliens on hefty super-Earths be trapped by their own gravity?

New paper argues that some extraterrestrials may be struggling to make it off their planets.


Our rockets are like airplanes: They take their fuel with them. The faster you want to go, the more kerosene and liquid oxygen you have to take along. Escaping the gravity of a super-Earth would require rockets that dwarf those we’ve built. And so Hippke argues that the challenge of building such massive missiles might discourage the denizens of a super-Earth from venturing beyond their home world.

That’s a strong statement, and it seems off target. It would be harder for the super-Earth citizenry to boldly go, but it wouldn’t be that much harder.

Source: Could space aliens on hefty super-Earths be trapped by their own gravity?