Does Proxima Centauri Create an Environment Too Horrifying for Life?
Does Proxima Centauri Create an Environment Too Horrifying for Life?

In 2016, the La Silla Observatory in Chile spotted evidence of possibly the most eagerly anticipated exoplanet in the Galaxy. It was a world orbiting the nearest star to the sun, Proxima Centauri, making this our closest possible exoplanet neighbour. Moreover, the planet might even be rocky and temperate.

[READ MORE]

What Would Happen If Mars And Venus Swapped Places?
What Would Happen If Mars And Venus Swapped Places?

What would happen if you switched the orbits of Mars and Venus? Would our solar system have more habitable worlds?

[READ MORE]

Prepare For Lift-off! BepiColombo Launches For Mercury
Prepare For Lift-off! BepiColombo Launches For Mercury

This Friday (October 19) at 10:45pm local time in French Guinea, a spacecraft is set to launch for Mercury. This is the BepiColombo mission which will begin its seven year journey to our solar system’s innermost planet. Surprisingly, the science goals for investigating this boiling hot world are intimately linked to habitability.

[READ MORE]

Asteroid Remains Around Dead Stars Reveal the Likely Fate of Our Solar System
Asteroid Remains Around Dead Stars Reveal the Likely Fate of Our Solar System

June 30th has been designated “Asteroid Day” to promote awareness of these small members of our solar system. But while asteroids are often discussed in the context of the risk they might pose to the Earth, their chewed up remains around other stars may also reveal the fate of our solar system.

[READ MORE]

Know Thy Star, Know Thy Planet: How Gaia is Helping Nail Down Planet Sizes
Know Thy Star, Know Thy Planet: How Gaia is Helping Nail Down Planet Sizes

Last month, the European Space Agency’s Gaia mission released the most accurate catalogue to date of positions and motions for a staggering 1.3 billion stars.

Let’s do a few comparisons so we can be suitably amazed. The total number of stars you can see without a telescope is less than 10,000. This includes visible stars in both the northern and southern hemispheres, so looking up on a very dark night will allow you to count only about half this number.

[READ MORE]

NASA’s Planet-Hunter TESS Has Just Been Launched to Check Out the Near Exoplanet Neighborhood
NASA’s Planet-Hunter TESS Has Just Been Launched to Check Out the Near Exoplanet Neighborhood

On January 5, 2010, NASA issued landmark press release : the Kepler Space Telescope had discovered its first five new extra-solar planets.

The previous twenty years had seen the discovery of just over 400 planets beyond the solar system. The majority of these new worlds were Jupiter-mass gas giants, many bunched up against their star on orbits far shorter than that of Mercury. We had learnt that our planetary system was not alone in the Galaxy, but small rocky worlds on temperate orbits might still have been rare.

[READ MORE]

The Just-Approved European ARIEL Mission Will Be First Dedicated to Probing Exoplanet Atmospheres
The Just-Approved European ARIEL Mission Will Be First Dedicated to Probing Exoplanet Atmospheres

The European Space Agency (ESA) has approved the ARIEL space mission—the world’s first dedicated exoplanet atmosphere sniffer— to fly in 2028.

ARIEL stands for the “Atmospheric Remote-sensing Infrared Exoplanet Large-Survey mission.” It is a space telescope that can detect which atoms and molecules are present in the atmosphere of an exoplanet.

[READ MORE]

Can You Overwater a Planet?
Can You Overwater a Planet?

Wherever we find water on Earth, we find life. It is a connection that extends to the most inhospitable locations, such as the acidic pools of Yellowstone, the black smokers on the ocean floor or the cracks in frozen glaciers. This intimate relationship led to the NASA maxim, “Follow the Water”, when searching for life on other planets.

[READ MORE]

Phobos and Deimos: Captured Asteroids or Cut From Ancient Mars?
Phobos and Deimos: Captured Asteroids or Cut From Ancient Mars?

The Martian Moons eXploration (MMX) spacecraft will arrive at Mars in August 2025 and spend the next three years exploring the two moons and the environment around Mars. During this time, the spacecraft will drop to the surface of one of the moons and collect a sample to bring back to Earth. Probe and sample are scheduled to return to Earth in the summer of 2029.

[READ MORE]

Does Proxima Centauri Create an Environment Too Horrifying for Life?
What Would Happen If Mars And Venus Swapped Places?
Prepare For Lift-off! BepiColombo Launches For Mercury
Asteroid Remains Around Dead Stars Reveal the Likely Fate of Our Solar System
Know Thy Star, Know Thy Planet: How Gaia is Helping Nail Down Planet Sizes
NASA’s Planet-Hunter TESS Has Just Been Launched to Check Out the Near Exoplanet Neighborhood
The Just-Approved European ARIEL Mission Will Be First Dedicated to Probing Exoplanet Atmospheres
Can You Overwater a Planet?
Phobos and Deimos: Captured Asteroids or Cut From Ancient Mars?
Does Proxima Centauri Create an Environment Too Horrifying for Life?

In 2016, the La Silla Observatory in Chile spotted evidence of possibly the most eagerly anticipated exoplanet in the Galaxy. It was a world orbiting the nearest star to the sun, Proxima Centauri, making this our closest possible exoplanet neighbour. Moreover, the planet might even be rocky and temperate.

[READ MORE]

What Would Happen If Mars And Venus Swapped Places?

What would happen if you switched the orbits of Mars and Venus? Would our solar system have more habitable worlds?

[READ MORE]

Prepare For Lift-off! BepiColombo Launches For Mercury

This Friday (October 19) at 10:45pm local time in French Guinea, a spacecraft is set to launch for Mercury. This is the BepiColombo mission which will begin its seven year journey to our solar system’s innermost planet. Surprisingly, the science goals for investigating this boiling hot world are intimately linked to habitability.

[READ MORE]

Asteroid Remains Around Dead Stars Reveal the Likely Fate of Our Solar System

June 30th has been designated “Asteroid Day” to promote awareness of these small members of our solar system. But while asteroids are often discussed in the context of the risk they might pose to the Earth, their chewed up remains around other stars may also reveal the fate of our solar system.

[READ MORE]

Know Thy Star, Know Thy Planet: How Gaia is Helping Nail Down Planet Sizes

Last month, the European Space Agency’s Gaia mission released the most accurate catalogue to date of positions and motions for a staggering 1.3 billion stars.

Let’s do a few comparisons so we can be suitably amazed. The total number of stars you can see without a telescope is less than 10,000. This includes visible stars in both the northern and southern hemispheres, so looking up on a very dark night will allow you to count only about half this number.

[READ MORE]

NASA’s Planet-Hunter TESS Has Just Been Launched to Check Out the Near Exoplanet Neighborhood

On January 5, 2010, NASA issued landmark press release : the Kepler Space Telescope had discovered its first five new extra-solar planets.

The previous twenty years had seen the discovery of just over 400 planets beyond the solar system. The majority of these new worlds were Jupiter-mass gas giants, many bunched up against their star on orbits far shorter than that of Mercury. We had learnt that our planetary system was not alone in the Galaxy, but small rocky worlds on temperate orbits might still have been rare.

[READ MORE]

The Just-Approved European ARIEL Mission Will Be First Dedicated to Probing Exoplanet Atmospheres

The European Space Agency (ESA) has approved the ARIEL space mission—the world’s first dedicated exoplanet atmosphere sniffer— to fly in 2028.

ARIEL stands for the “Atmospheric Remote-sensing Infrared Exoplanet Large-Survey mission.” It is a space telescope that can detect which atoms and molecules are present in the atmosphere of an exoplanet.

[READ MORE]

Can You Overwater a Planet?

Wherever we find water on Earth, we find life. It is a connection that extends to the most inhospitable locations, such as the acidic pools of Yellowstone, the black smokers on the ocean floor or the cracks in frozen glaciers. This intimate relationship led to the NASA maxim, “Follow the Water”, when searching for life on other planets.

[READ MORE]

Phobos and Deimos: Captured Asteroids or Cut From Ancient Mars?

The Martian Moons eXploration (MMX) spacecraft will arrive at Mars in August 2025 and spend the next three years exploring the two moons and the environment around Mars. During this time, the spacecraft will drop to the surface of one of the moons and collect a sample to bring back to Earth. Probe and sample are scheduled to return to Earth in the summer of 2029.

[READ MORE]

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