Without the ocean Earth would be a pretty inhospitable place even though we lie within our Sun's Goldilocks Zone. Those of you who live by the ocean can probably figure out why that is the case. You see the ocean is a temperature moderator and a heat transport mechanism that evens out the climate across the planet.
Some of you who know me personally know that in my formative years I started studying geophysics in university before a physical accident laid me up for more than a year and I in an epiphany changed my major to Islamic Studies and Medieval History. So I was both a science and history nerd all at the same time. Well nothing has changed.
NASA in the news the last few days is getting prepared for Pluto and beyond while some of its scientists further speculate on finding alien life on a New Earth within the next two decades. Wasn't it just a couple of weeks ago when the SETI folks said something similar? In any event, here are the stories that made middle-page headlines in the last week.
When existing in outer space becomes second nature to humanity it will be accompanied by gardens and robotic helpers to ensure their survival. By gardens I'm not referring to the planting of rose bushes. I'm talking about food gardens.
When Planetary Resources and Deep Space Industries, two private initiatives hoping to mine asteroids, finally arrive at their first celestial destination they will have an act of the U.S
At the end of June, the Mars One team announced it was seeking proposal from academics and researchers as well as commercial businesses to populate the payload that will be on board the unmanned Mars Lander scheduled for launch in 2018. This spacecraft and lander will be the first in a series of robotic unmanned devices that Mars One will place on the Red Planet before the proposed first colonists fly there in 2024.
Over the weekend NASA test flew its Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator (LDSD) near the Hawaiian Islands. It is NASA's solution for landing heavier payloads on the surface of Mars and the test produced "nominal" results. Nominal is NASA jargon for "as expected." The LDSD plucked from the Pacific appears in the image below.
It will cost $465 million but the Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2) will be the first satellite of its type focused solely on observing CO2 levels on Earth. The launch date is July 1st. This is OCO-2 and not just OCO because in 2009 a first attempt to launch an orbiting CO2 monitoring satellite failed.
I used to write compiled Friday headlines as a regular feature of this blog, but have strayed away from that approach for many months. I thought today I would revisit the model to share with you stories about space that made headlines in the last week.
In an interview on CNBC this week, Elon Musk told viewers, "I'm hopeful that the first people could be taken to Mars in 10 to 12 years, I think it's certainly possible for that to occur... but the thing that matters long term is to have a self-sustaining city on Mars, to make life multiplanetary."