Tabby Star dimming is likely in solar system dust or exocomets

Tabby’s star exhibits two unique and very difficult to understand behaviors: the short-term”dips” in brightness (of up to 22%) and long-term brightness variations on years-to-centuries timescales. Since the Kepler mission stopped observing it, it seems to have continued its slow decline in brightness over the past few years, and that dimming does not seem to …

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Plasma Magnet Sails to get manned missions to Mars in 1 week

The plasma magnet sail engine is little more than 2 pairs of charged rotating coils and is therefore extremely simple and inexpensive. A fully powered plasma magnet sail using a small nuclear power source could accelerate at 0.5G and reach 400-700 km/sec (0.2% of lightspeed) in half a day. (H/T Centauri Dreams) * Carrying a …

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NASA JPL trying to develop 2069 mission to Alpha Centauri

NASA JPL is targeting an interstellar mission to launch by 2069 to Alpha Centauri. A 2016 funding bill called upon NASA to investigate methods of interstellar travel that could reach at least 10 percent of the speed of light by 2069. It also requested a mission to Alpha Centauri, the closest star system to our …

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Jupiter’s Red Dot is 100 times deeper than Earth’s Oceans

Data collected by NASA’s Juno spacecraft during its first pass over Jupiter’s Great Red Spot in July 2017 indicate that this iconic feature penetrates well below the clouds. Other revelations from the mission include that Jupiter has two previously uncharted radiation zones. The findings were announced Monday at the annual American Geophysical Union meeting in …

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Spacex has successful ISS mission with reused rocket and Dragon capsule

Loaded with some three tons of experiments and supplies, the SpaceX Dragon cargo craft arrived at the International Space Station Dec. 17, where Expedition 53 crew members Mark Vande Hei and Joe Acaba of NASA captured it by using the Canadian-built robotic arm. Ground controllers at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston took over after …

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Artificial Intelligence helps NASA find 8th exoplanet in another solar system

Our solar system now is tied for most number of planets around a single star, with the recent discovery of an eighth planet circling Kepler-90, a Sun-like star 2,545 light-years from Earth. The planet was discovered in data from NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope. The newly-discovered Kepler-90i – a sizzling hot, rocky planet that orbits its …

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Astronomy transformed in the 2020s to rapid event response with real time observations

The world currently has three gravitational wave detectors (two LIGO detectors and the Virgo detector. These were used last month to detect and spot the location of a neutron star collision 300 million light years away. This was the first time that a neutron star collision has been detected and observed with x-ray, gamma ray, …

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We can send missions to the interstellar objects like 1I/’Oumuamua

The first definitely interstellar object 1I/’Oumuamua (previously A/2017 U1) observed in our solar system provides the opportunity to directly study material from other star systems. Can such objects be intercepted? The challenge of reaching the object within a reasonable timeframe is formidable due to its high heliocentric hyperbolic excess velocity of about 26 km/s; much …

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Dark Matter space probe detects cosmic ray gap which might be evidence of dark matter

A China-led space science mission provide a tantalizing hint—but not firm evidence—for dark matter. Initial analysis of 1.5 million cosmic rays detections has shown a gap in the spectrum. Something is interfering with these cosmic ray energy signals and it might be the decay of dark matter. They expect the satellite to last 5 years …

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NASA Jet Propulsion Lab Video on the first Interstellar Object

Scientists were surprised and delighted to detect –for the first time– an interstellar asteroid passing through our solar system. Additional observations brought more surprises: the object is cigar-shaped with a somewhat reddish hue. The asteroid, named ‘Oumuamua by its discoverers, is up to one-quarter mile (400 meters) long and highly-elongated—perhaps 10 times as long as …

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