Last week the Library of Congress hosted a two-day symposium entitled "Preparing for Discovery: A Rational Approach to the Impact of Finding Microbial, Complex, or Intelligent Life Beyond Earth." The timing seemed right with the discovery of thousands of exoplanets, some lying within Earth-like Goldilocks Zones around their parent stars, and with further evidence from Martian meteorites and discoveries made by Curiosity, the Martian rover, showing a past habitable environment on the Red Planet.
India has done something no other space-faring nation could achieve. Their Mars Orbiter Mission entered orbit around Mars on September 23rd after a successful orbital insertion burn. The milestone achieved - successful on the first try. Russia, the United States, the European Space Agency and Japan cannot make the same claim.
This is just too cool to not share. One of my readers sent me the link to Solar System Scope. Click on the thumbnail of Mars and start the autocam feed. Enjoy!
Quietly lost in the background of this week's NASA announcements is the news that Jeff Bezos' company, Blue Origin, is to provide United Launch Alliance, owners of the Atlas V rocket, with a next generation engine technology for a next generation rocket. Although Boeing and SpaceX got the major headlines as the companies selected to provide crew-manned capsules for the International Space Station (ISS), Blue Origin may have the last laugh.
One of my readers shared the following infographic, titled NASA Spinning Off Since 1962. It highlights the inventions, discoveries and economic return on investment resulting from NASA. For every dollar invested by the government the American economy and other countries economies have seen $7 to $14 in new revenue, all from spinoffs and licensing arrangements. That amounts to in $17.6 billion current NASA dollars spent to an economic boost worth as much as $246.4 billion annually.
In case you missed it, the rover in Gale Crater on Mars has achieved another milestone, having traversed across rough terrain with minimal damage to its delicate wheels and now sits at the base of Mount Sharp, where it will begin its ascent. What's on its agenda?
Back in July 2012, I wrote about Made in Space, a company focused on developing 3-D printers that could be used to build components, satellites and habitations in the environment of space. Two years later, the 3-D printer is ready to go and should be delivered to the International Space Station (ISS) by SpaceX in the next two weeks. What will the crew use it for?
A labor of love is about to be carried out by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) involving Opportunity, the ten-year veteran Martian rover. It seems fitting to write about this on Labor Day as the rover continues to set new records for distance and longevity on the Martian surface.
While away on vacation, I read about LiftPort Group, a Kickstarter-funded space elevator project that received over $110,000 U.S. from more than 3,400 backers. The company, located in Tacoma, Washington, originally sought $8,000, so one would think this was largely fantasy, but with the amount of money that has come in it would seem it owes its investors something more than one it has delivered to-date.
The Perimeter Institute at University of Waterloo, Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario, has proposed in recent discussions among its faculty focused on cosmology, that the Big Bang may have been the back side of a black hole.