NASA turned the 230-foot (70-meter) Deep Space Network antenna at Goldstone, California towards Asteroid 1998 QE2 as it was heading towards its closest approach to Earth, and they got a big surprise: the asteroid is a binary system. 1998 QE2 itself is 1.7 miles (2.7 kilometers) in diameter, and the newly found orbiting moon is about 600 meters in diameter.
The Meridiani Journal – The three best places in the solar system to look for life (other than Mars) Europa, Enceladus and Titan are thought to have subsurface water oceans, deep underground where it is warmer.
Nextbigfuture – components of a solar power space satellite are described in the NASA Innovative advanced concepts project final report by John Mankin. John Mankins, a longtime U.S. SSP advocate, presented an update on an advanced concept under study with NASA funding known as Solar Power Satellite by means of Arbitrarily Large Phased Array (SPS-Alpha). The idea “represents a very different architecture for SPS, using a hyper-modular approach in which all platform elements can be mass-produced, and none are larger than a ‘smallsat,’” he writes. “This could enable significantly lower development time/cost, much greater ease of manufacturing at lower cost, and significantly higher reliability.”
Basically, mass-produced “intelligent” spacecraft weighing 100-300 kg (220-660 lb.) would assemble themselves into a constellation shaped to collect, convert and transmit solar energy through the “hive” of other spacecraft to a transmitter array assembled in the same fashion. Mankins says the idea is based on the behavior of bees and ants.
Futurist Schwarz sees 4 possibilities for interstellar ship. Freeman Dyson sees bio-tech as the way of the future in space, to the point where genetic engineering allows us to create tree-lite plants that can grow their own vacuum-sealed habitats, with oxygen etc contained inside. Much more from Zubrin, Landis, Crowl, Cramer and others