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How the Trip to Titan Changed Everything

By on Mar 7, 2017 in Solar System | 0 comments

There are many missions and discoveries that have truly reshaped the way we think about the planets, stars, solar system and beyond. However, the Cassini-Huygens mission is arguably one of the most important missions for humankind. A moon that truly opened our eyes is Titan. It’s Saturn’s largest moon and the only moon in our solar system to have a dense atmosphere. Many people are familiar with our missions to the Moon or Mars but not everyone is familiar with the mission to Titan. We’ll take a look at the story of getting to Titan and its challenges as well as what we were expecting vs. what was found when we took a closer look at Titan.   Finding a Way to Get to Titan Together Getting to Titan wasn’t going to be easy and NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) were already thinking about how to accomplish this in 1982. Remember, Saturn is about 10 AU or...

2016 Guide to Astronomy Discoveries

By on Dec 26, 2016 in Astonishing Discoveries | 0 comments

I try and keep up with the latest astronomy discoveries and still have a hard time catching everything. 2016 has been nothing short of exciting and has left me in awe on more than one occasion. So here’s a list of all the space science discoveries made in 2016. Be sure to bookmark this page and come back as it’ll be updated until the last day of the year. Here we go!   Jan 7th, 2016 – Most Distant Massive Galaxy Cluster Identified 2016 starts off with a grand find. Coming to you from MIT is a discovery of a gargantuan galaxy cluster that dates back 3.8 billion years just after the Big Bang. Of course, “just” is a relative term here. This galaxy cluster is a memorable name that goes by “IDCS J1426.5+3508” or our friends call it “IDCS 1426” for short. If you were to fly there it would take you about 10 billion years travelling at...

How Direct Fusion Drive (DFD) will Revolutionize Space Travel

By on Oct 1, 2016 in Space Technology | 1 comment

Direct Fusion Drive (DFD) could possibly pave the way of traveling in space and to planets. Sometimes I daydream and wish we could somehow speed up the process of getting to planets. It’s a very hard problem and we’re still testing out various solutions for different situations. History shows that humans have planned to go to the moon and beyond since the Apollo program in the early 1970’s. During that time the most advanced propulsion engines were nuclear fission thermal rockets. However, these rocks barely got any use as it was tested a handful of times before the Apollo program was ended. There is a fantastic and nostalgic video for you NASA and space fans on the subject of nuclear thermal rockets. But as science and technology move forward we learn more about space as well as the obstacles it presents. For example, in recent studies where radiation data was...

Gorgeous Sagittarius Sunflowers Blooming in the Cosmos

By on Aug 17, 2016 in Nebula | 0 comments

This is a beautiful cosmic family portrait of what is known as the “Sagittarius Sunflower.” What you are looking at are 3 distinct cosmic nebulae. On the left we have the famous M8 or “Lagoon Nebula,” located about 4,400 light years from Earth. This nebula alone is about hundreds of light years across or about 1 quadrillion KM. To try and put that in perspective, if we travelled at 50 km/s (which we have before) it would take us 5 trillion hours or 26 million years!! And this is in our own Milky Way. We haven’t even left our neighborhood! On the bottom we have M20 or the “Trifid Nebula,” located 5,200 light years from Earth. Finally on the right we have NGC 6559 located 5,000 light years away. This narrowband data records ionized hydrogen, oxygen, and sulfur atoms radiating at visible wavelengths. Further Reading or Sources:...

New Exciting NASA Telescope TESS Looks for Planets Closer to Home

By on Jul 31, 2016 in Exoplanets, NASA Missions | 0 comments

Is there life beyond Earth? A question so imperative that it has powered numerous sci-fi genres as well as historic missions like NASA’s Kepler Spacecraft. The implications of that question being answered will change the course of humanity forever. Currently, we have 2,237 confirmed planets. Meaning we have identified that many planets exist with actual observations that lie beyond our solar system. Of course, we estimate there to be at least 100 billion in our own galaxy, but observing them with our own eyes is a different story. Enter the new age of hunting for exoplanets. NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite or (TESS) will usher in a new set of fresh eyes for us. Let’s take a look at what TESS is, how it’ll find these planets, and why it’s an incredibly exciting mission that will launch in 2017-2018. How does TESS work? Exoplanet hunters, like...

Carnival of Space 462: This Week’s Top Space Stories

By on Jun 19, 2016 in Carnival of Space | 2 comments

Welcome to another edition of Carnival of Space! For those of you who are new to this it’s a collection of the best space stories from around the community. Today BrownSpaceman is hosting Carnival of Space 462. Let’s take a look at some of our awesome space stories today! First 3D Tools Printed Aboard Space Station An article by Universe Today about the first 3D tools printed in space! How cool is that? Read on to find out what tools they printed and how it’ll help our astronauts on those long missions. Read more... 470 Million Year Old Meteorite Discovered In Swedish Quarry A 470 million year old meteorite was found in Sweden that was believed to have originated from an asteroid calledOsterplana 65. However, what can we learn from this? Well this meteorite comes from a time where the solar system was a different place and it can help us uncover what that landscape...

Why I’m Excited for NASA’s Juno Mission

By on Jun 5, 2016 in NASA Missions | 0 comments

On July 4th, 2016 the Juno spacecraft will arrive to the largest gas planet in the solar system, Jupiter. This is particular mission is very exciting and I’m going to tell you why. For those of you who don’t know, Jupiter is vital to life on Earth. How so? Well what makes our solar system unique isn’t just the fact that Earth has water and it’s in the goldilocks zone, but the fact that Jupiter paved the way for our rocky planets to form effectively. Without Jupiter Earth may have been bombarded by more asteroids or comets. This leaves us with the palpable curiosity of understanding this gas giant that also harbors moon’s that are straight out of sci-fi novels. One famous example you may have heard about is the moon Europa. A moon that has more water than Earth itself. Furthermore, the best part about Juno studying Jupiter is the fact that it will help...

The Coldest Region in the Universe: The Boomerang Nebula (Bow Tie Nebula)

By on May 15, 2016 in Nebula | 0 comments

If we take a trip 5,000 light-years away from Earth and towards the constellation Centaurus we will find one of the coldest regions in the universe. Say hello to the beautiful Boomerang Nebula. The Boomerang Nebula or what is also known as the “Bow Tie Nebula” is a protoplanetary nebula. What is fascinating about this nebula is that it’s only 1 degree above absolute zero! Meaning it’s 1 degrees Kelvin or -271 degrees Celsius. The bow shape you see here is due to the outflow of gas originating from the core of the star. The gas itself is traveling at 164 km/s which this rapid expansion is the cause of the unusually low temperatures. To paint a clearer picture of why this nebula is essentially a cosmic freezer and the fact that we don’t see these low temperatures elsewhere is the magnitude of which the gas is escaping from the star. The star’s core is...