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Habitable Exoplanets Debunked!

Kepler 186f rekindled our hopes and dreams of colonizing space. “Habitable exoplanet!” we heard, “Space Travel IS NOW!” Top that off with multiple breakthroughs in companies like SpaceX and BAM. The Future is now! But there’s a small problem… When we say a planet is habitable, we aren’t REALLY saying what we think we are saying. “Habitable” means something else. Is Kepler 186f habitable, in the true sense of the word? And if not, what other planets should we be looking at? Watch this episode of PBS SpaceTime and find out!

Watch here: http://buff.ly/2k0bwL4
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Colin Jones (Ponder - FUHA)'s profile photo
 
Best channel on YouTube. I've been subscribed for ages.
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Paranal bow

The four huge Unit Telescopes (UTs) at ESO's Paranal Observatory in Chile are among the most advanced in the world. The perfect backdrop is provided by a view on the galaxy in which we live — the Milky Way.

Credit: P. Horálek/ESO

Larger image: http://buff.ly/2kbes6U
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Wolf Campbell,'s profile photoRodolfo Humberto Meléndez Cañas's profile photoM Jb's profile photo
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M Jb
 
Absolutely amazing... wow
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A Colorful ‘Landing’ on Pluto

What would it be like to actually land on Pluto? This movie was made from more than 100 images taken by NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft over six weeks of approach and close flyby in the summer of 2015. The video offers a trip down onto the surface of Pluto -- starting with a distant view of Pluto and its largest moon, Charon -- and leading up to an eventual ride in for a "landing" on the shoreline of Pluto's informally named Sputnik Planitia.

To create a movie that makes viewers feel as if they’re diving into Pluto, mission scientists had to interpolate some of the panchromatic (black and white) frames based on what they know Pluto looks like to make it as smooth and seamless as possible. Low-resolution color from the Ralph color camera aboard New Horizons was then draped over the frames to give the best available, actual color simulation of what it would look like to descend from high altitude to Pluto’s surface.

After a 9.5-year voyage covering more than three billion miles, New Horizons flew through the Pluto system on July 14, 2015, coming within 7,800 miles (12,500 kilometers) of Pluto. Carrying powerful telescopic cameras that could spot features smaller than a football field, New Horizons sent back hundreds of images of Pluto and its moons that show how dynamic and fascinating their surfaces are.

Credits: NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI

Watch here: http://buff.ly/2kaKvYC
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Mid-infrared Data from SOFIAtelescope Shows Ceres’ True Composition

Using data primarily from NASA’s Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy, SOFIA, a team of astronomers has detected the presence of substantial amounts of material on the surface of Ceres that appear to be fragments of other asteroids containing mostly rocky silicates. These observations are contrary to the currently accepted surface composition classification of Ceres as a carbon-rich body, suggesting that it is cloaked by material that partially disguises its real makeup.

“This study resolves a long-time question about whether asteroid surface material accurately reflects the intrinsic composition of the asteroid,” said Pierre Vernazza, research scientist in the Laboratoire d’Astrophysique de Marseille (LAM–CNRS/AMU). Our results show that by extending observations to the mid-infrared, the asteroid’s underlying composition remains identifiable despite contamination by as much as 20 percent of material from elsewhere,” said Vernazza.

Astronomers have classified the Ceres asteroid, as well as 75 percent of all asteroids, in composition class “C” based on their similar colors. The mid-infrared spectra from SOFIA show that Ceres differs substantially from neighboring C-type asteroids, challenging the conventional understanding of the relationship between Ceres and smaller asteroids.

Read more: http://buff.ly/2jt35I6
Scientists discover that a surface layer of dry interplanetary dust partially masks the water-rich interior of dwarf planet Ceres.
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Happy birthday, New Horizons! Today marks the 11th anniversary of the launch of NASA's New Horizons spacecraft, which flew by Pluto in 2015. To celebrate, the New Horizons team is hosting a live webcast today at 4 p.m. EST (2100 GMT) to discuss the historic Pluto flyby and the tantalizing adventures that still lie ahead.

Now hundreds of millions of miles past Pluto, the spacecraft is currently on its way toward the outskirts of the solar system with its eyes set on another distant target: 2014 MU69, a small, icy rock inside the Kuiper Belt. It is scheduled to fly by there on Jan. 1, 2019.

You can watch the New Horizons team's discussion on the New Horizons Facebook page. To ask a question, you can log in to Facebook and leave a comment on the live video there.

More info: http://buff.ly/2iNmi5t

New Horizons FB page: http://buff.ly/2jCJzv4
NASA's New Horizons team is hosting a live webcast today at 4 p.m. EST (2100 GMT) to discuss the historic Pluto flyby and tantalizing adventures that lie ahead.
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Ashwini Khandare's profile photo
 
Cool...😍😘😎
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Microbes Could Survive Thin Air of Mars

Methanogens are among the simplest and most ancient organisms on Earth. These microorganisms are anaerobes, meaning they do not require oxygen. Instead, they often rely on hydrogen for energy, and carbon dioxide is the main source of carbon atoms they use in creating organic molecules.

To see if methanogens might survive such extremely thin air, Mickol and Timothy Kral, the senior author of the study and an astrobiologist at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, experimented with four species of methanogens. They included: Methanothermobacter wolfeii, Methanosarcina barkeri, Methanobacterium formicicum, and Methanococcus maripaludis. Previous experiments on these four species over the course of more than 20 years generated a lot of data on these organisms and their rates of survival in simulated Martian conditions.

The researchers found that these methanogens all survived exposure of lengths varying from 3 to 21 days at pressures down to roughly six-thousandths of Earth’s surface pressure. “These experiments show that for some species, low pressure may not really have any effect on the survival of the organism,” Mickol said.

Read more at: http://buff.ly/2joCBrs
Extremely low atmospheric pressures not a game changer for life.
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trang mai's profile photoBinh Tran's profile photo
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Methanogens are among the simplest and most ancient organisms on Earth. These microorganisms are anaerobes, meaning they do not require oxygen. Instead, they often rely on hydrogen for energy, and carbon dioxide is the main source of carbon atoms they use in creating organic molecules.
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ICYMI: Mid-infrared light reveals a contaminated crust around Ceres

Using a combination of space telescope data, as well as recent data acquired with the SOFIA Airborne telescope and lab experiments, a team of astronomers including researchers from the SETI Institute and Jet Propulsion Laboratory have revealed the presence of dust of exogenic origin at the surface of dwarf planet Ceres. This contamination likely stems from a dust cloud formed in the outer part of the main belt of asteroids following a collision in recent times. That study challenges the relationship proposed between Ceres and asteroids in the C spectral class and instead suggests an origin of this dwarf planet in the transneptunian region. This study was published on January 19 2017 in Astronomical Journal.

Interplanetary dust particles (IDPs), which form meteors when they cross Earth’s atmosphere, represent the largest fraction of extraterrestrial material accreted on Earth. A team led by Pierre Vernazza, research scientist CNRS in the Laboratoire d’Astrophysique de Marseille (LAM – CNRS/AMU), have shown that IDPs are also an important and continuous source of material captured on the surface of asteroids.

Pierre Vernazza explains that « by analyzing the spectral properties of Ceres we have detected material made up of fine particles of dry silicate called pyroxene. However, thermal evolution models proposed for Ceres have predicted a surface composed of aqueously alterated (e.g., clays, carbonates) which was confirmed from recent observations collected by the NASA Dawn mission. Hence the researchers concluded that it is unlikely that those fine grains of dry material could still be preserved in Ceres’ interior.

Read more: http://buff.ly/2iMJ2r5
Using a combination of space telescope data, as well as recent data acquired with the SOFIA Airborne telescope and lab experiments, a team of astronomers including researchers from the SETI Institute and Jet Propulsion Laboratory have revealed the presence of dust of exogenic origin at the surface ...
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Astronomers search for signs of life on Wolf 1061 exoplanet

As one of the world's leading "planet hunters," San Francisco State University astronomer Stephen Kane focuses on finding "habitable zones," areas where water could exist in a liquid state on a planet's surface if there's sufficient atmospheric pressure. Kane and his team, including former undergraduate student Miranda Waters, examined the habitable zone on a planetary system 14 light years away. Their findings will appear in the next issue of Astrophysical Journal in a paper titled "Characterization of the Wolf 1061 Planetary System."

"The Wolf 1061 system is important because it is so close and that gives other opportunities to do follow-up studies to see if it does indeed have life," Kane said.

But it's not just Wolf 1061's proximity to Earth that made it an attractive subject for Kane and his team. One of the three known planets in the system, a rocky planet called Wolf 1061c, is entirely within the habitable zone. With assistance from collaborators at Tennessee State University and in Geneva, Switzerland, they were able to measure the star around which the planet orbits to gain a clearer picture of whether life could exist there.

Read more at: http://buff.ly/2j63fqv
Is there anybody out there? The question of whether Earthlings are alone in the universe has puzzled everyone from biologists and physicists to philosophers and filmmakers. It's also the driving force behind San Francisco State University astronomer Stephen Kane's research into exoplanets—planets that exist outside Earth's solar system.
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Jerome Hill's profile photoAshwini Khandare's profile photoAlexis Logié's profile photoGentleman Adventurer's profile photo
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+Jerome Hill​ Cultural appropriation: Have you been to the NASA g+ They post pictures and stories about their all black staff. It gives me the impression no actual White or Asian people work there.

We wuz KANGZ!!!
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Extreme Astronomy Unlocks Cosmic Secrets From the South Pole

Imagine doing astronomy where grease won't stay greasy, where it's nighttime all day during the winter, and where nighttime temperatures fall to -100 Fahrenheit. Well, there's a hardy group of astronomers that enthusiastically do that, year-in, year-out, at Antarctica's South Pole Telescope.

The South Pole is a harsh environment, but it's excellent for astronomy due to its dry atmosphere (water vapor interferes with observations). Researchers at the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics are even considering building a telescope at a site called Dome A, about 1,000 miles from the pole and a long trek from habitation.

What is it really like to work down there for up to a year, which is the typical over-winter stay of Antarctic personnel? According to University of Toronto experimental cosmologist Keith Vanderlinde, who spent 11 months there over the winter, it attracts a certain type of person who doesn't necessarily need the company of other people to work well.

Read more: http://buff.ly/2k9pr0F
The South Pole Telescope is perfectly located to gaze deep into the universe, but it takes a hardy group of astronomers to live there over the winter.
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Public to Choose Jupiter Picture Sites for NASA Juno

Where should NASA's Juno spacecraft aim its camera during its next close pass of Jupiter on Feb. 2? You can now play a part in the decision. For the first time, members of the public can vote to participate in selecting all pictures to be taken of Jupiter during a Juno flyby. Voting begins Thursday, Jan. 19 at 11 a.m. PST (2 p.m. EST) and concludes on Jan. 23 at 9 a.m. PST (noon EST).

"We are looking forward to people visiting our website and becoming part of the JunoCam imaging team," said Candy Hansen, Juno co-investigator from the Planetary Science Institute, Tucson, Arizona. "It's up to the public to determine the best locations in Jupiter's atmosphere for JunoCam to capture during this flyby."

More info: http://buff.ly/2jVpePk
For the first time, the public can vote on which pictures the spacecraft's JunoCam imager takes of Jupiter.
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Robert Johnson's profile photo
 
So Cool to be a part of this...
Go JUNO !
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Moon Express has raised enough money for its first mission

Moon Express has raised the funds as part of its attempt to win the Google Lunar XPRIZE, which aims to reward the first private company to land a robot on the Moon. The $30 million prize (£23m) will be awarded to the first company to soft-land on the moon, travel 500 metres across the surface and transmit high-definition video and images back to Earth. The company that comes second will win $5m (£4m).

The start-up is planning to launch its MX-1E spacecraft to the Moon at the end of this year. If successful Moon Express would become the first private company, and only the fourth entity ever, to soft-land on the Moon.

Moon Express wants to explore our lunar companion in order to investigate the Moon’s resources, describing it as an “eighth continent, holding vast resources” that could benefit life on Earth. “In the immediate future, we envision bringing precious resources, metals and moons back to Earth,” co-founder and chairman, Naveen Jain said in August 2016.

In order to make its dream possible, Moon Express is working with launch provider Rocket Lab USA, and plans to use its Electron rocket to take Moon Express’ MX-1E on its lunar journey. Though Rocket Lab USA is yet to fly its experimental rocket, the first launch is set for later this month.

Read more: http://buff.ly/2iOjs06
The company is in the Google Lunar XPRIZE competition
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Colin Jones (Ponder - FUHA)'s profile photoOliver Hamilton's profile photo
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I'd love to see a lander packed with cameras pointed back at Earth that continuously streams live video back using (LLCD)
nasa.gov - NASA Laser Communication System Sets Record with Data Transmissions to and from Moon

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Daphnis Up Close

The wavemaker moon, Daphnis, is featured in this view, taken as NASA's Cassini spacecraft made one of its ring-grazing passes over the outer edges of Saturn's rings on Jan. 16, 2017. This is the closest view of the small moon obtained yet.

Daphnis (5 miles or 8 kilometers across) orbits within the 42-kilometer (26-mile) wide Keeler Gap. Cassini's viewing angle causes the gap to appear narrower than it actually is, due to foreshortening.

The little moon's gravity raises waves in the edges of the gap in both the horizontal and vertical directions. Cassini was able to observe the vertical structures in 2009, around the time of Saturn's equinox.

Like a couple of Saturn's other small ring moons, Atlas and Pan, Daphnis appears to have a narrow ridge around its equator and a fairly smooth mantle of material on its surface -- likely an accumulation of fine particles from the rings. A few craters are obvious at this resolution. An additional ridge can be seen further north that runs parallel to the equatorial band.

Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

Read more: http://buff.ly/2iNcKHC
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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.

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