Astronomy and space exploration

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by eloyc, Apr 10, 2017.

  1. eloyc

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    A few Mars-related news:
    https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/09/180924102040.htm


    https://www.space.com/41843-growing-crops-on-mars.html
    https://www.space.com/41863-antarctic-greenhouse-eden-iss-project.html
     
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  2. eloyc

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    https://www.space.com/42008-first-exomoon-discovery-kepler-1625b.html
     
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  3. nutball

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    Maybe. I mean it's interesting, but...

    (Cue the "that's no Moon" jokes!).
     
  4. eloyc

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    Yeah, maybe... :-D

    I just wonder when we'll get images of exoplanets and exomoons. Better ones than those we already have, I mean.
     
  5. nutball

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    Well as direct imaging techniques improve, the images will get better. I seriously doubt that they will ever be much more than point sources though. Maybe space-based interferometry will get something, though I'm not aware of any proposed mission that has a hope in hell of getting funding in my lifetime to do that.

    If you're wanting in-situ imaging (ie. sending a probe there to take a photo) you will be waiting a long time.
     
  6. eloyc

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    But... we already have "points", sort of. But you say that it will get better. How do you improve the image of an exoplanet without being something better than just a point? o_O
     
  7. nutball

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    I mean that what we have are images of planets that are very distant from their star, compared say to those in the Solar system, or the bulk of known exoplanets. Over time techniques will improve that will allow us to image planets closer to their host star.

    More important direct imaging is probably the best way to get a spectrum of the atmosphere exoplanet that's more or less uncontaminated by the spectrum of the host, or dependent on some very marginal(*) techniques to disentangle the planet spectrum from the star. If you want to find biosignatures, this is perhaps your best bet.

    You might not get pretty pictures, at best maybe something like the Voyager family portrait, but the best science doesn't always come from pretty pictures.

    (*) techniques that are very difficult, low signal-to-noise, easy to get wrong, and the results of which are often presented with an ... *ahem* optimistic interpretation.
     
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  8. eloyc

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    That reminds me of the proposed starshade in the future New Worlds mission: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Worlds_Mission
     
  9. nutball

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    Something like that, yes. That idea has been floating around for well over a decade now. Who knows if it will ever fly, particularly if they are proposing their own dedicated space-based 4m telescope to go along with it ($3bn? yeah right).

    JWST going over budget and falling so far behind schedule has really killed the prospect for any large NASA astronomy missions for a long time to come. If NASA flies anything like New Worlds before the 2040s I'd be quite surprised. ESA likewise, their missions are basically all committed until the late 30s AFAIK.

    Maybe some rich person will come along and stump up the cash. The two obvious high-profile names seem more intent on putting human footprints on the ground than astronomy.
     
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  10. eloyc

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    https://www.space.com/42011-lockheed-martin-unveils-huge-moon-lander.html
     
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  11. eloyc

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    https://www.space.com/42041-space-elevator-test-stars-me.html
     
  12. eloyc

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    Falcon 9 first landing at new landing pad in California (the video shows the launch, too, from the launching pad in a different place):
     
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  13. nutball

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    Meanwhile, trouble with Hubble. Sounds like it's lost a gyro and is currently in safe-mode.

     
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  14. eloyc

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    Yeah, poor thing. I hope we can still get the most of it before new tech completely replaces it.
     
  15. eloyc

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    BepiColombo mission (Mercury) launched today. More info on the mission here:
    http://sci.esa.int/bepicolombo/
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    https://www.space.com/42092-nasa-sls-rocket-delays-overruns-oig-report.html
     
  16. eloyc

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    https://www.space.com/42093-air-force-launch-vehicle-awards-blue-origin-northrop-grumman-ula.html
    -------------------------------------------------------------------
    Mars related news:

    http://astronomy.com/news/2018/10/scientists-are-figuring-out-how-to-farm-mars

    http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2018...former-mineral-springs-and-fossil-river-delta
     
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  17. hoom

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    A Soyuz heading for ISS had 2nd stage failure, crew pod successfully separated & crashed/landed, both crew OK.
     
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  18. Lightman

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    I watched it 'Live' yesterday. This was the first time they successfully executed safety protocols after failure mid flight. Everything worked well for ballistic re-entry and this shows that engineers covered all eventualities.
    I've seen some speculation about strange coincidences with hole on Soyuz 9 and now this separation issue. Two separate failures (or sabotages) in a short span of time. Hopefully it's just a coincidence, as risking astronauts life for some kind of personal gain is not acceptable.
     
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  19. nutball

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    Yeah, the Internet loves a conspiracy. If there isn't a conspiracy, the Internet will make one up to fill in the gap.

    The Russian space programme is chronically under-funded, the engineers are under-paid, and for them the future only looks worse. Morale is unlikely to be high. Not exactly the sort of environment that fosters a culture of attention to detail and just plain giving a shit really.

    So yeah, count me in the cock-up over conspiracy camp.
     
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  20. cheapchips

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    They had a more severe failure and ballistic reentry in 1975. The cosmonauts pulled +20g on that one!

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soyuz_7K-T_No.39

    Hopefully so. The worry I have is that the ISS leak looked like someone covering up incompetence. Regardless of that being due to an individual or supervisors, that's smacks of something worrying going on at Roscosmos. Yesterday's incident isn't encouraging in that regard.
     
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