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#SETITalks: Bringing Nuclear Power to Mars - Frank H. Shu

Establishing a lunar base is probably a wise first first step to colonizing Mars, and colonizing Mars will be a giant leap forward for humankind to travel to the stars. We begin our discussion by noting that the bare minimum for sustaining life on the Moon exists in the water brought by comets to the bottoms of some lunar craters. Electrolysis of this dirty water can produce clean oxygen (and hydrogen) for the lunar base, A reliable source of primary energy is needed for such tasks, but anywhere on the surface of the Moon, there is no sunlight two weeks out of four, and no wind whatsoever. Nuclear power is the default option, just as is the case of naval submarines where the crews need to live and work in closed environments submerged under the water of the ocean for months at a time. However, the light water reactors of naval submarines are not a good choice for environments that lack large bodies of water, and we argue, as first realized by a former NASA Engineer, Kirk Sorensen, that molten salt reactors, of the type invented by Oak Ridge National Lab in the 1960s, are much better suited for a lunar base, or for that matter, a Mars colony.

Dr. Shu will then discuss his patented design for the best possible two-fluid molten-salt breeder-reactor (2F-MSBR) that one could build, using thorium that can be mined locally without requiring shipments from mother Earth. He will close by considering two spin-off applications:

(1) saving civilization on Earth from the worst ravages of climate change by scaled-up 2F-MSBRs;

(2) using the fission fragments of related nuclear fission reactions for ion-propulsion that produces rockets two to three orders of magnitude faster than achievable with chemical rockets, making possible, perhaps, a first generation of starships.

Watch here: http://buff.ly/2aDAEae
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Support the Campaign for SETI to allow us to innovate our quest for ET signals: http://buff.ly/2abiebq
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Could Saturn's rings be very young? http://buff.ly/2axUySR
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NASA's next planet hunter will look closer to home

Compared to the Kepler mission, which has searched for exoplanets thousands to tens of thousands of light-years away from Earth towards the constellation Cygnus, NASA's Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) will search for exoplanets hundreds of light-years or less in all directions surrounding our solar system.

TESS will survey most of the sky by segmenting it into 26 different segments known as tiles. The spacecraft's powerful cameras will look continuously at each tile for just over 27 days, measuring visible light from the brightest targets every two minutes. TESS will look at stars classified as twelfth apparent magnitude and brighter, some of which are visible to the naked eye. The higher the apparent magnitude, the fainter the star. For comparison, most people can see stars as faint as sixth magnitude in a clear dark sky and the faintest star in the Big Dipper ranks as third magnitude.

Among the stars TESS will observe, small bright dwarf stars are ideal for planet identification, explained Joshua Pepper, co-chair of the TESS Target Selection Working Group. One of the TESS science goals is to find Earth- and super-Earth-sized planets. These are difficult to discover because of their small size compared to their host stars, but focusing TESS on smaller stars makes finding these small planets much easier. This is because the fraction of the host star's light that a planet blocks is proportional to the planet's size.

Scientists expect TESS to observe at least 200,000 stars during the two years of its spaceflight mission, resulting in the discovery of thousands of new exoplanets.

Read more at: http://buff.ly/2aifrTl
As the search for life on distant planets heats up, NASA's Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) is bringing this hunt closer to home. Launching in 2017-2018, TESS will identify planets orbiting the brightest stars just outside our solar system using what's known as the transit method.
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Potentially habitable exoplanets 
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Water Clouds in the Atmosphere of a Jupiter-Like Brown Dwarf

With a chilly temperature of 250 K, the brown dwarf WISE 0855 is the closest thing we’ve been able to observe to a body resembling Jupiter’s ~130 K. WISE 0855 therefore presents an intriguing opportunity to directly study the atmosphere of an object whose physical characteristics are similar to our own gas giants.

A team of scientists led by Andrew Skemer (UC Santa Cruz) set out to observe WISE 0855 with the Gemini-North telescope and the Gemini Near-Infrared Spectrograph. Though WISE 0855 is five times fainter than the faintest object previously detected with ground-based 5-µm spectroscopy, the dry air of Mauna Kea (and a lot of patience!) allowed the team to obtain unprecedented spectra of this object.

By modeling the spectrum of WISE 0855, Skemer and collaborators demonstrate that it’s completely dominated by water absorption lines. This represents the first evidence of water clouds in a body outside of our solar system.

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New observations have provided evidence of water clouds in the atmosphere of a brown dwarf located just 7.2 light-years away.
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Jupiter climate, but I think there is too dense
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This supernova exploded not once, but twice

A recently discovered class of supernovae called superluminous supernovae (SLSN) are brighter and longer-lasting. Only a dozen or so have been found, and using the Gran Telescopio CANARIAS (GTC), astronomers have found evidence of another, but reveals surprising behavior. It seems to have exploded not only once, but twice. The findings are published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters.

There are several different types of supernovae; the most well known type Ia, where a white dwarf star absorbs mass from another star or collides with another white dwarf which causes a thermonuclear explosion as its mass becomes unstable. The other types of supernovae are caused when massive stars use up all their fuel and can no longer fuse atoms together in its core. They then collapse under their own gravity causing a supernova.

The research has revealed that the supernova had an initial increase in brightness, declined for a few days, then increased again even stronger than before.

Read more: http://buff.ly/2ahxAhq
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Meanwhile back on Earth:

Lava From Hawaii's Kilauea Volcano Oozes Into Ocean For First Time Since 2013

The United State Geographical Survey's Hawaiian Volcano Observatory said the lava flow extending southeast of Pu'u O'o toward the coastal plain on Kilauea's south flank reached the ocean about 1:12 a.m. local time.

The flow started May 24 and it's the first time it has traveled south down Kilauea and across the coastal plain since 2013.

USGS officials are warning those venturing out to view the spectacular display to use caution:

"There are additional significant hazards besides walking on uneven surfaces and around unstable, extremely steep sea cliffs," wrote the USGS in an update. "Venturing too close to an ocean entry exposes you to flying debris created by the explosive interaction between lava and water."

Read more: http://buff.ly/2a6LAvK
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Engine burn gives Mars mission a kick

The firing was planned well in advance, and its duration was carefully calculated to minimise fuel consumption for the overall set of cruise and Mars capture manoeuvres. These include a second burn on 11 August and smaller ‘trim’ manoeuvres on 19 September and 14 October.

A brief burn was made on 18 July to test the engine for the first time. The performance that day was not as expected because of a misconfiguration, so a repeat test was done on 21 July, which ran perfectly.

“Today’s burn was the biggest of the four planned that will enable ExoMars to intercept Mars and precisely deliver the Schiaparelli lander on 19 October onto Meridiani Planum, a large, flat region near the equator,” says flight operations director Michel Denis.

Read more: http://buff.ly/2aDyJCD
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Good Job ESA !
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Philae prepares to take its eternal rest

It's been more than a year since ESA has heard from Philae. The probe missed its intentional landing spot in November 2014 and instead landed in a poorly lit area of the comet, dooming the solar powered probe to frequent moments of powerlessness. Now, with Rosetta itself winding down its mission and aiming for a controlled descent onto Comet 67P as the comet heads out past Jupiter, out of reach of the Sun.

The probe needs all the power it can get in the meantime — including that coming from the communications relay with the sleeping lander.

So on Tuesday, Philae lost its last link with the world. In its short time, it still returned data on the surface composition of the comet, as well as the sort of "atmosphere" around it from the sublimation of ices on the surface. It also detected a series of organic compounds on the comet. Not bad for a lander that went dark not long after it landed and only intermittently came back to life afterward for a few days in July 2015.

Read more: http://buff.ly/2ajcsEc
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Its me from Tz
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'Aquanauts' Study Space Living from Under the Sea

The international crew — including members of NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) — is participating in a 16-day underwater expedition designed to simulate the extreme environments astronauts may face in future deep-space missions like the journey to Mars.

The expedition — also known as the NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations 21, or NEEMO 21 — began last week (July 21) when a group of astronauts, engineers and scientists ventured deep into the sea to experience what it might be like to live on the International Space Station (ISS).

"NEEMO 21 astronauts and crew will pioneer complex tasks on the seafloor utilizing the most advanced underwater navigation and science tools, which are methodically choreographed to mimic a Mars exploration traverse," Bill Todd, leader of the NEEMO Project, said in a statement from NASA.

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NASA aquanauts are living 62 feet below the ocean surface at an undersea habitat called Aquarius to prepare for the challenges of deep space missions.
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I also wan to be an astronaut

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Are microscopic Martians buried here?
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I would be Shocked if there were not...
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Streak of light across night sky is reentry of decaying Chinese rocket

The visual streak was the remnants from a Chinese CZ-7 rocket, which reentered the atmosphere over Northern America near California at 9:36 Pacific time, said department spokesman Lt. Colonel Martin L. O'Donnell. So far, there have been no reports of damage.

The rocket was one of 16,000 man-made objects that the Joint Space Operations Center tracks in Earth’s orbit, he said.

The objects usually die off in the atmosphere, which O’Donnell said would explain the glowing trail seen by many. In instances when a object does land, it’s usually over water, he said.

The rocket, he said, did not pose a threat.

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A streak of light seen bursting across the night sky late Wednesday was a Chinese rocket that reentered the atmosphere near California, the U.S. Strategic Command confirmed.
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y ahora por que estos anuncios?? solo pregunto
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Our mission is to explore, understand and explain the origin, nature and prevalence of life in the universe.
Introduction

We believe we are conducting the most profound search in human history — to know our beginnings and our place among the stars.

The SETI Institute is a private, nonprofit organization dedicated to scientific research, education and public outreach.

The Institute comprises 3 centers, the Center for SETI Research, the Carl Sagan Center for the Study of Life in the Universe and the Center for Education and Public Outreach.

Founded in November 1984, the SETI Institute began operations on February 1, 1985. Today it employs over 120 scientists, educators and support staff. Research at the Institute is anchored by two centers. Dr. Gerry Harp leads the Center for SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) Research and  Dr. David Morrison is the Director for the Carl Sagan Center for the Study of Life in the Universe. Edna DeVore leads our Center for Education and Public Outreach.