Category Archives: Space Exploration

Amazing Moon-Earth Photo by the Amateurs using a Chinese Satellite

Amateur astronomers in the Netherlands took an amazing Moon-Earth photo using a Chinese satellite. On May 20, 2018, China launched Queqiao lunar communications relay satellite, a key component of the upcoming Chang’e 4 lunar landing mission. During its journey to the Moon (actually Earth-Moon L2 point Notes 1), it dropped off a pair of student-made small satellites, Longjiang-1 and Longjiang-2, bound for lunar orbit called. Their purpose was testing out future radio astronomy and interferometry techniques.

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To find aliens, we must think of life as we don’t know it

From blob-like jellyfish to rock-like lichens, our planet teems with such diversity of life that it is difficult to recognise some organisms as even being alive. That complexity hints at the challenge of searching for life as we don’t know it – the alien biology that might have taken hold on other planets, where conditions could be unlike anything we’ve seen before. ‘The Universe is a really big place. Chances are, if we can imagine it, it’s probably out there on a planet somewhere,’ said Morgan Cable, an astrochemist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. ‘The question is, will we be able to find it?’

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Earth can be a model for detecting vegetation on exoplanets

Back in December 1990, during its flyby of Earth, NASA’s Galileo spacecraft, which studied the planet Jupiter and its moons, as well as several other Solar System bodies, pointed its instruments towards Earth, at the urging of Carl Sagan. And, it has found evidence of life on our planet. This can be a key to detect vegetation on exoplanets – which is a key to a possible intelligent extraterrestrial life.

In a paper published on Nature, researchers wrote “The Galileo spacecraft found evidence of abundant gaseous oxygen, a widely distributed surface pigment with a sharp absorption edge in the red part of the visible spectrum, and atmospheric methane in extreme thermodynamic disequilibrium. Together, these are strongly suggestive of life on Earth.”

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5 Surprising Facts about Mars

For eons, skywatchers have been fascinated by the pale red dot that not only unpredictably moves backward in the night sky but also shines a compelling blood-red. Its color, indeed, is one of the first features we notice about Mars. It seizes our attention, and its compelling ambiguity has evoked a deep visceral reaction from the nomad in ancient savannas to modern astronomers. The ancient astronomer may be satisfied to know that, in fact, Mars is literally blood-red: the same chemical reaction that occurs in the iron in Mars’ soil is the same is the same chemical reaction that occurs in the hemoglobin molecule. Mars, is, quite literally, blood red. Even with our cutting-edge technology and science, Mars still bewitches and amazes us as seen with these five surprising facts about Mars.

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How NASA Reinvented The Wheel

On August 6, 2012, at 05:17 UTC, NASA has successfully landed a Mini-Cooper-sized rover, Curiosity, on Aeolis Palus in Gale Crater on Mars. The 900-kg rover (899 kg, to be exact, which is 1,982 lbs) is equipped with six 50 cm (20 in) diameter wheels in a rocker-bogie suspension. Notes 1 For the first time in the history of the space exploration, the suspension system also served as landing gear for the vehicle, unlike its smaller predecessors.

Curiosity “soft-landed”  (wheels down) on the surface of Mars. But, even it’s called “soft-landing”, the touchdown speed was 0.6739m/s vertical and 0.044m/s horizontal, which could damage the wheels. Plus, while the rover is moving, the wheels should withstand the substantial damage through the rough Martian surface. That’s why the wheels of the Curiosity rover have been one of the biggest technical difficulties encountered on the mission. Notes 2

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A Quick Peek Into the Future: 10 Ways Technology Will Transform Our Lives by 2050

All of us remember the iconic opening scene from Wall-E, where the lone robot goes about his daily routine, clearing up rubble. Amid the debris-filled surface of the planet, we see glimpses of how things used to be, before a gross violation of the ecosystem and rampant consumption of energy resources made our planet inhabitable. It is a gloomy picture indeed, and fills us with despair to witness what we are doing to our planet, armed with technological advancements that are gradually eating into the earth’s very soul.

However, the movie also teaches us that it is never too late to turn over a new leaf and mend our ways. Technology, when used to benefit humankind, can actually be the very tool with which we can build our futures, and make our planet a better place for the generations to come. This post is an overview of what could happen in 2050, given the rate of technological progression, with a special emphasis on how we can do good to the planet that has sustained us for so long.

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Video: RemoveDEBRIS satellite deploys a Net and Captures Space Debris for the First Time in History

Orbital debris is a really big problem: they can cause collisions in space, and these collisions could have serious consequences to the space station and satellites. The space junk literally can end space exploration and destroy the modern way of life. And the problem is getting worse each year as we are slowly filling the most important part just above us, the Low Earth Orbit (LEO), with junk.

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How far beyond Earth will we go to safeguard our species?

The human future in the cosmos could be all but limitless, if we don’t destroy ourselves first. The same would be true of intelligent aliens elsewhere in the Universe, assuming they exist: how far they travel depends strongly on how long they survive as a species. That survival variable, which the US astronomer Frank Drake incorporated into his famous equation on the likelihood of technological civilisations beyond Earth, is unknowable at present because we are the only such civilisation yet identified. Let’s be optimistic and assume that humans are persistent, working their way through the manifest problems of mastering their tools – or at least mastering them long enough to plant colonies off-world, so that our destruction in one place doesn’t mean the death of the species.

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