Most of the armchair aliens shared a demographic, the young-man Marsophile: guys with tattoos across their necks and arms, goatees and mustaches, variations on the Weird Al look. But there were also older women in the room, and kids too young to drive. What brought them together was an abiding belief in Lansdorp’s central message, that humans should be expanding onto other planets, and they should do so now. A few years ago, President Obama announced that the U.S. would put astronauts in orbit around Mars by the mid-2030s, but budget cuts and sequestration have slowed the project down, if not killed it outright. Even if NASA gets the mission back on track, the agency has said it will only send humans to Mars if it can also bring them back—a maddening bit of bureaucratic circumspection for the crowd assembled in Washington, D.C. “The technology to get you back from Mars simply doesn’t exist,” Lansdorp said, stirring up his audience, and it may not exist even 20 years from now. “We need to do this with the stuff that we have today, and the only way we can do that is by going there to stay.”
Philae has successfully landed on comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko and reported back to European Space Agency Mission Control. The team in Darmstadt, Germany broke into applause when they started receiving data.
The Philae lander sent back telemetry information that confirmed it was on the surface, which was relayed from the overhead Rosetta spacecraft to Earth. The signal takes a bit more than 20 minutes to travel from Rosetta to Earth, a distance of 316 million miles.
Though this is just a test, paid for by a campaign on Kickstarter, a crowdfunding website, and launched gratis by NASA, SpaceX’s customer for the resupply mission, Mr Manchester thinks clouds of sprites could have real applications. Swarms of magnetometer-armed sprites might, for example, be a cheaper and more comprehensive way than existing satellites of monitoring the ebb and flow of charged particles that constitute space “weather”, which sometimes interferes with telecommunications back on Earth.
For non-astronomers, stargazing may seem simple: Just plop down a scope, and peer toward the heavens. It’s usually not quite that easy. Scopes can be tricky to set up and celestial objects elusive. The Celestron Cosmos 90 GT uses a Wi-Fi connection with a smartphone to do the hard work for you. To align it, users point it at any three bright objects in the sky; the scope uses them to triangulate its precise location. Through an app, users then select the celestial body they want to see from Celestron’s 120,000-entry database. Motors in the base position the scope in seconds.
Technology at the UK company which has gained notoriety during the search for MH370...
“Each Global Xpress satellite costs about $400m and is the size of a London bus. The new generation can run 100 times faster than the old technology and the potential size of new markets is said to be worth $3bn a year across maritime, aviation, energy, government and commercial fields.
In aviation, where Inmarsat's broadband service is already on 5,000 planes, it could mean high-quality 3D pictures being received by passengers on planes. Business people flying across China could be able to join video conferences hosted in the US. "That's the era that's coming," says Pearce.
The new technology will also be capable of streaming critical positioning and cockpit data from aircraft in real time, reducing the urgency of finding the black box in cases like MH370. “
In the past 15 years or so, astronomers have discovered more than 4,200 potential exoplanets—planets orbiting distant stars—and confirmed the existence of more than 1,050 of them. In a galaxy with 300 billion stars, there are surely untold billions of other planets out there. Is anyone home on any of them?
Few astronomers are approaching that question as creatively as Lisa Kaltenegger, 36, an exoplanet investigator who is a lecturer at Harvard University and leader of a research group at the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy, in Heidelberg, Germany. The focus of her work is not discovering exoplanets, most of which have been detected by the Kepler space telescope. Rather, she and her team are modeling them—hoovering up massive amounts of data from Kepler, the Hubble Space Telescope and various ground telescopes and processing it through computer models to determine which worlds could harbor life. These days, so-called Big Data is inescapable, from algorithms that predict what you'll buy to government surveillance. Now it seems Big Data may also be the key to finding extraterrestrial life.
“As part of my research (for the Iron Man project), I wanted to interview two people: John Underkoffler [the chief scientist at computer interface company Oblong] and Elon. I thought it was really interesting that he literally had decided to become a rocket scientist. And although the similarities kind of end with a certain -- what would you say? -- just an amazing self-agency, you know, that I think Elon really embodies. I was looking to Underkoffler for straight technology [advice]. You remember in Minority Report, the character is wearing those gloves and moving the screens around? He and his company built that into a reality, so I was taking some cues from him: If Tony had designed his own software and his own programs and the machinery to operate them, what sort of language would he design to be able to manipulate his environment? And over the course of all these movies, that's been as much a part of Tony's character as anything else. The spirit of Elon was really inspiring to me because Tony goes from doing one thing so well and so successfully, and goes to do something that's a lot more risky and much more far reaching.”
The company, called Planet Labs, flew four prototype satellites in 2013. Those proved successful, enabling the firm to quickly follow up with production of a 28-member network that already is aboard the International Space Station and awaiting launch.
The constellation, called Flock 1, is comprised of 4 inch-sided, cube-shaped satellites stuffed with mostly off-the-shelf consumer electronics components, including imagers.
“Things that were once the province of huge 10-ton satellites are now in these tiny things. That’s what enables us to generate a data set that is unprecedented in terms of coverage and cadence,” company co-founder and chief executive Will Marshall told Discovery News.
Regularly scheduled flights for customers doing research and development would be a major leap beyond what government programs had offered the private sector in the past, says Sean Casey, the managing director of the Silicon Valley Space Center, which advises space startups. “Researchers have been turned off by NASA’s traditional time scale,” he says. “With Xcor, you can spend $1 million to $2 million and do 10 flights each with about six minutes of microgravity and make sure your experiments are working.” Blue Origin (logo on left) business development manager Erika Wagner said during the recent space conference that the company’s goal is spaceflight at a moment’s notice. “We will roll out of the garage,” she said. “This is gas and go.”