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The Rosetta spacecraft takes a selfie Oct. 7 with its target, 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko, from an altitude of about 9.9 miles (16 kilometers). Credit: ESA/Rosetta/Philae/CIVA

The Rosetta spacecraft takes a selfie Oct. 7 with its target, 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko, from an altitude of about 9.9 miles (16 kilometers). Credit: ESA/Rosetta/Philae/CIVA

With the Philae mission down on the comet and preliminary science results coming from its brief science surge on the surface, little has been said about the delivery vehicle. But while Philae is in hibernation, the Rosetta spacecraft remains quietly in orbit around Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko for what will prove to be a dramatic 2015.

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The total solar eclipse of November 2012 as seen from

The total solar eclipse of November 2012 as seen from Port Douglas, Australia. Credit & Copyright: www.HughCA.com.

Where will YOU be on August 21st, 2017?

Astronomy is all about humility and thinking big in terms of space and time. It’s routine for astronomers to talk of comets on thousand year orbits, or stars with life spans measured in billions of years… [click to continue…]

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This is the signature of one of 100s of trillions of particle collisions detected at the Large Hadron Collider. The combined analysis lead to the discovery of the Higgs Boson. This article describes one team in dissension with the results. (Photo Credit: CERN)

This is the signature of one of 100s of trillions of particle collisions detected at the Large Hadron Collider. Their combined analysis led to the discovery of the Higgs Boson. This article describes work by one research group in dissension with the results. (Photo Credit: CERN)

At the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) in Europe, faster is better. Faster means more powerful particle collisions and looking deeper into the makeup of matter. However, other researchers are proclaiming not so fast. LHC may not have discovered the Higgs Boson, the boson that imparts mass to everything, the god particle as some have called it. While the Higgs Boson discovery in 2012 culminated with the awarding in December 2013 of the Nobel Prize to Peter Higgs and François Englert, a team of researchers has raised these doubts about the Higgs Boson in their paper published in the journal Physical Review D.
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The Mars Society's prototype Mars habitat in Utah. Image Credit: Mars Society MRDS

The Mars Society’s prototype Mars habitat in Utah. Image Credit: Mars Society MRDS

If you wanna get humans to Mars, there are so many technical hurdles in the way that it will take a lot of hard work. How to help people survive for months on a hostile surface, especially one that is bathed on radiation? And how will we keep those people safe on the long journey there and back?

NASA is greatly concerned about the radiation risk, and is asking the public for help in a new challenge as the agency measures radiation with the forthcoming uncrewed Orion test flight in December. There’s $12,000 up for grabs across at least a few awards, providing you get your ideas into the agency by Dec. 12.

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The 70 meter Evpatoria Planetary Radar radio telescope in the Crimea was used to transmit interstellar messages in 1999, 2001, 2003, and 2008

The 70 meter Evpatoria Planetary Radar radio telescope in the Crimea was used to transmit interstellar messages in 1999, 2001, 2003, and 2008 Photo by S. Korotkiy

Over the last 20 years, astronomers have discovered several thousand planets orbiting other stars. We now know that potentially habitable Earth-like planets are abundant in the cosmos. Such findings lend a new plausibility to the idea that intelligent life might exist on other worlds. Suppose that SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) researchers succeed in their quest to find a message from a distant exoplanet. How much information can we hope to receive or send? Can we hope to decipher its meaning? Can humans compose interstellar messages that are comprehensible to alien minds?

Such concerns were the topic of a two day academic conference on interstellar messages held at the SETI Institute in Mountain View, California; ‘Communicating across the Cosmos’. The conference drew 17 speakers from a wide variety of disciplines, including linguistics, anthropology, archeology, mathematics, cognitive science, philosophy, radio astronomy, and art. This article is the first of a series of installments about the conference. Today, we’ll explore the ways in which our society is already sending messages to extraterrestrial civilizations, both accidentally and on purpose. [click to continue…]

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