Friday, May 24, 2019

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🚀 60 Starlink Satellites Launch! Surviving a Star's Death, How Humans Will Evolve on Mars, and More...


SpaceX Just Launched 60 Satellites To Bring the Internet to Almost Every Corner of the Earth. Starlink has Begun

When we look back in history, I think May 23, 2019 will be an incredibly important day. On this day, SpaceX launched the first 60 satellites of their Starlink constellation. Over the next few years they will bring that number into the thousands, and eventually as many as 12,000 low-Earth orbiting satellites to provide high speed internet to every corner of the planet.

It was a picture perfect launch on board a Falcon 9 rocket, carrying 18.5 tons, which was the heaviest payload that's ever been carried by a Falcon 9 (or even a Falcon Heavy). And we learned from SpaceX that the satellites deployed, and they're all operational.

SpaceX is planning to get the first 400 satellites operational with 6 more launches, and should be able to provide initial internet connectivity. 12 launches will bring significant connectivity, and 24 launches will provide worldwide internet service.

In case you're worried about space junk, they've also decided to lower the altitude significantly, which means the satellites will burn up in the atmosphere very quickly, and won't stick around to endanger future launches.

Stay tuned. And if I was running an existing internet provider... I'd be very very worried.

This is how SpaceX will pay for trips to Mars.

Fraser Cain
Universe Today

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Artemis Project

Project Artemis: NASA's Plans To Return To The Moon By 2024

On Monday, May 13, 2019, NASA declared: "We are going to the Moon to stay" by 2024.

It's an exciting announcement; the return to a place humans haven't set foot on in more than 45 years. A serious goal that will test the ability of technology and engineering, as well as the bravery of the men and women who will carry out this task.

But we've also heard announcements like this before, many times. How will the mission come together? What are the risks? What's new this time? 

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Advanced Civilizations Could be Communicating with Neutrino Beams. Transmitted by Clouds of Satellites Around Neutron Stars or Black Holes

Astronomers have been scanning the skies for radio signals, evidence of extraterrestrials. But what if they're using neutrinos to communicate? A new paper proposes that advanced alien civilizations might be using clouds of satellites around neutron stars or black holes to focus neutrino beams in any direction they like. A galactic internet.

White dwarf

Small, Tough Planets can Survive the Death of Their Star

When our Sun dies in about 5 billion years, it'll expand as a red giant, consuming the inner planets in a fiery death. Or will it? A new study proposes that dense planets like the Earth might actually be able to survive the catastrophic end of a star, and continue orbiting once it's turned into a stellar remnant white dwarf. 

Planetary nebula

Can You Spot a Planetary Nebula from a Few Blurry Pixels? Astronomers Can – Here's How

When a star like our Sun dies, it puffs off its outer layers into space and then collapses down into a white dwarf. This leaves behind a beautiful remnant called a planetary nebula. Each one is unique and they only last for 10,000 years or so, but astronomers have developed a new technique to spot the faintest planetary nebulae in the skies.

Mars evolution

Humans on Mars Might Change Significantly Over Generations on the Red Planet

In a recent TED Talk, biologist Scott Solomon looked into what might happen to humans who spend multiple generations on Mars. According to Solomon, time on Mars might evolve humans in unpredictable ways, making them nearsighted, have less dense bones, and learn to use oxygen more efficiently. In fact, after long enough, mating with humans might be deadly.

Solar System

Most of the Solar System Should be a Protected Wilderness. One-Eighth Left for Mining and Resource Exploitation

It might sound incredible, but humanity continues to grow its global economy, it'll get to the point that it's consuming a large amount of the Solar System in just a few hundred years. Some of it is just dead rocks, the perfect place to start a mining operation, but other parts are unique geological landscapes and might even have life. Which parts can we extract resources from, and which should we leave as wilderness?



Planetary Society's Light Sail 2 is Set to Launch on a Falcon Heavy Rocket Next Month

I'm a huge fan of solar sails, and so is the Planetary Society. In fact, they're working on a test spacecraft called Light Sail 2. And if all goes well, it'll fly to space on a Falcon Heavy rocket on June 22nd from Florida. It'll be launched to an altitude of 720 km, and then it'll use its solar sail to raise its orbit by a measurable amount, demonstrating that we can use nothing but the Sun's light pressure to fly around the Solar System.

Lunar Lander

NASA has Picked the Companies That'll Help Build its Lunar Landers

We talked about NASA's announcement of the Artemis mission, a return to the Moon by 2024. And this week the agency announced the 11 companies that will help make this mission possible, providing the hardware to put humans on the Moon. It's companies you've heard of, including SpaceX, Blue Origin, Boeing, and many others that you might not have heard of.

New planets

18 - Yes, 18 - new Earth-Sized Exoplanets Have Been Found in Kepler's Data

Welcome to the future, where a team of astronomers will casually mention that they just found an additional 18 Earth-sized worlds they've discovered out there in the Milky Way. 18 EARTH-SIZED WORLDS! Anyway, they developed new techniques to study the data from Kepler mission, catching the faint signals of these worlds in the transiting noise.

White dwarf merger

Bizarre Star Could be the Result of Two White Dwarfs Merging Together

A team of astronomers from Germany and Russia have found a very strange star in the sky, that might have been created by the merger of two white dwarf stars. They discovered this bizarre object in a planetary nebula without a central white dwarf star. Instead, there's a faint glowing infrared object in the middle, the unfortunate result of two dead stars smushed together.

Going to Mars

Fly your name to Mars with the 2020 Rover

Want to visit Mars? Well, you can't yet, sorry. But NASA is offering you an opportunity to send your name to Mars, written in teeny tiny letters on its Mars 2020 Rover, the twin to Curiosity. NASA will use an electron beam to stencil the names onto a silicon chip, with lines 75 nanometers across. This way they'll be able to put a million names in a single dime-sized chip. (Of course I did it). :-)


Which Part of Bennu Should OSIRIS-REx Bring Back to Earth? You can Help Decide

NASA's OSIRIS-REx spacecraft is at asteroid Bennu, mapping out the rubble pile in great detail. The next step will be to choose an appropriate sample to bring back to Earth. Where should they start? What's the right rock? Just to get a sense of scale, that light-colored rock in the upper left is 7.4 meters across. You can use the Cosmoquest mapping app to help map out rocks and help the team decide.

Early Earth

The Collision that Created the Moon Might Have Also Brought Water to the Early Earth

The leading theory for the formation of the Moon was that a Mars-sized planetoid - called Theia - crashed into the early Earth, and the debris turned into the Moon. But a new theory proposes that this impact might have also been the one that brought water to the Earth as well. Instead of being rocky in nature, Theia might have been largely composed of water, and come from the outer Solar System. We got our moon and our oceans from the same catastrophic impact.

Other Interesting Space Stuff

Amazing Astrophotography on @universetoday


Check out this amazing photograph of an incredibly bright meteor blazing in front of the Milky Way. It was captured by @astropolo_ in a beach in Uraguay.

We have featured nearly 1,000 astrophotographers on our Instagram page, which has more than 173,000 followers. Want to do a takeover? Use the hashtag #universetoday and I'll check out your photos.


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