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Archive for the ‘space’ category

Jan 15, 2018

Simply fix the Moon Treaty

Posted by in categories: economics, geopolitics, space, treaties

My article with Jeff Sommers (see “The emerging field of space economics: theoretical and practical considerations”, The Space Review, December 18, 2017) raised considerable criticism regarding the Moon Treaty, particularly, the inclusion of the Common Heritage of Mankind (CHM) doctrine. Leigh Ratiner, L5 attorney during the 1980 Senate ratification hearings, had identified CHM as the reason for rejecting ratification:

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Jan 13, 2018

Meet the robo-MANTIS unveiled for the first time at CES

Posted by in categories: robotics/AI, space

MotivRobotics, which is also responsible for creating the robotic arms for NASA’s next Mars rover, debuted the robot for the first time at CES in Las Vegas. The mantis is semi-autonomous.

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Jan 12, 2018

Citizen science bags five-planet haul

Posted by in categories: science, space

Astronomy enthusiasts help to confirm the existence of a five-planet system orbiting a far-off star.

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Jan 12, 2018

Martian ice deposits could sustain human outposts in the future

Posted by in categories: futurism, space

WASHINGTON (Reuters) — Scientists using images from an orbiting NASA spacecraft have detected eight sites where huge ice deposits near the Martian surface are exposed on steep slopes, a potential source of water that could help sustain future human outposts.

While scientists already knew that about a third of the surface of Mars contains shallow ground ice and that its poles harbor major ice deposits, the research published on Thursday described thick underground ice sheets exposed along slopes up to 100 yards (meters) tall at the planet’s middle latitudes.

“It was surprising to find ice exposed at the surface at these places. In the mid-latitudes, it’s normally covered by a blanket of dust or regolith,” loose bits of rock atop a layer of bedrock, said research geologist Colin Dundas of the U.S. Geological Survey’s Astrogeology Science Center in Flagstaff, Arizona, who led the study.

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Jan 11, 2018

Rotation of fast radio burst reveals origins of the cosmic blast

Posted by in category: space

Jan. 10 (UPI) — By analyzing the unique rotation of FRB 121102, a fast radio burst discovered by Cornell astronomers, scientists have been able to study the nature of its cosmic origin.

While studying the giant pulse of radio waves, researchers realized the waves gyrate, or “twist and shout,” as they pass through a veil of magnetized plasma. The twists represent what’s called Faraday rotation, while the shouts describe the bursts.

By measuring these two phenomena, scientists can better understand the cosmic conditions that inspired the massive pulse of radio waves.

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Jan 9, 2018

Want faster data and a cleaner planet? Start mining asteroids

Posted by in categories: business, economics, habitats, space

Mining asteroids might seem like the stuff of science fiction, but there are companies and a few governments already working hard to make it real. This should not be surprising: compared with the breathtaking bridges that engineers build on Earth, asteroid-mining is a simple, small-scale operation requiring only modest technological advances. If anything is lacking, it is the imagination to see how plausible it has become. I am afraid only that it might not arrive soon enough to address the urgent resource challenges that the world is facing right now.

As an academic researcher, I work with several asteroid -mining companies to address that urgency. I depend on their funding, so there are trade secrets I cannot share. However, I can reveal the core reasons why I am optimistic about the business case for asteroid-mining, and what it will mean for our future.

Many people are skeptical of asteroid-mining because they imagine that the goal is to bring platinum back for sale in Earth’s metals market. Reporters repeatedly cite an irresistible statistic that the platinum in an asteroid can be worth trillions of US dollars, but anyone with an understanding of economics realises that bringing home a huge stash of precious metal would crash the market, reducing the valuation of the asteroid.

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Jan 6, 2018

The moon is about to do something it hasn’t done in more than 150 years

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, space

Call it whatever you like—a blue red moon, a purple moon, a blood moon—but the moon will be a special sight on Jan. 31.

Three separate celestial events will occur simultaneously that night, resulting in what some are calling a super blue blood eclipse. The astronomical rarity hasn’t happened for more than 150 years.

A super moon, like the one visible on New Year’s Day, is the term for when a full moon is closest to the Earth in its orbit, appearing bigger and brighter than normal.

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Jan 6, 2018

This AI-Fortified Bot Will Build the First Homes for Humans on Mars

Posted by in categories: habitats, robotics/AI, space

These humanoid bots can handle tools, shoot and upload photos, catch flying objects, and navigate obstacles—even think for themselves.

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Jan 5, 2018

Experiments Show The Effects of a Fourth Spatial Dimension

Posted by in categories: quantum physics, space

We’re used to dealing with three physical dimensions and one extra dimension of time as we move through the Universe, but two teams of scientists have shown that a fourth spatial dimension could reach beyond the limits of up and down, left and right, and forwards and backwards.

As you might expect given this is bending the laws of physics, the experiments involved are partly theoretical and very complex, and touch on our old friend quantum mechanics.

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Jan 4, 2018

Speed breeding LED technique grows food six times faster than conventional farming

Posted by in categories: food, space

Speed breeding was initially explored by NASA over a decade ago as a means to enhance food production during space missions where efficiency is critical and every square inch counts. Scientists at the University of Sydney, the University of Queensland, and the John Innes Centre, continued the project, picking up from where NASA left off.


A welcomed solution to our growing food problems.

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