Music of the Spheres discusses the work at Stone Aerospace on robotic explorers that could lead to a robotic explorer for Europa’s icy ocean. There is a video in the article from the TED conference, where Bill Stone, of Stone Aerospace proposes that space-based fuel depots will be the key to opening up space for private enterprise. He plans to lead a robotically supported and privately funded mission by 2015 to access the possible icy water on the moon. I agree that this would be a fantastic plan that would open up and lower the cost of near earth space exploration if successful.
Amanda Bauer discusses past and future space science She notes that it would have been better to not have fixed the Hubble space telescope but launched several telescopes instead.
The Panspermia theory is that asteroid impacts could spread single cell life around the planets.
A new paper that just came out in the peer-reviewed journal Astrobiology says that some bacteria could, in fact, survive the initial launch event. Amazingly, the enormous pressure generated in an asteroid impact on the surface of Mars may be survivable, if you’re really really tiny.
The researcher made models of the Martian ground seeded with bacteria, then subjected these samples to the pressures expected in an impact event. Amazingly, many of the bacteria survived. Lichens and bacteriospores did the best, surviving pressures from 5 – 40 billion Pascals, which is about 50,000 to 400,000 atmospheric pressures. That’s a lot. Cyanobacteria were the wussies of the lot, only surviving up to 100,000 atmospheric pressures.