planetary surface

Humans are weird, and there’s an obvious reason

If you want to understand Humanity, take  a good look at our planet. Bit of headcanon I wrote a little while ago from a trekkie perspective but would apply generally.

Vulcans disregarded Earth (Sol 3) as a potential sentient life supporting planet because of it’s tumultuous origins, erratic axis and rapid spin (extreme weather, extreme environments, unstable planetary atmosphere, unstable planetary surface, unstable planetary aquatic systems, unstable magnetic core etc.). The system, only having one remaining naturally M class planet as well as a relatively bright star and an asteroid belt which made navigation complicated was generally left alone until some Vulcans visited Earth investigating the plant and animal life that had manage to evolve there and were astonished to find a bipedal species thriving across the planet with clear evidence of tool making.

So the planet is quarantined for twenty thousand years to allow their uninterrupted development but four thousand years later they make it into space, and less than two hundred years after that to warp.

Vulcans are stumped as it took them much longer, and they have better logical thinking conducive to undertaking such a task; less/no wars or conflicts and longer lives that allows better development of experience.

Humans have short lives, high reproduction rates, emotions, wild imaginations and an alarming capacity to disregard their own safety. In short they behave as erratically as their planet.

when you look at the stars,
do you think about how
they’ve witnessed all we’ve become?
they’ve seen us meet,
strangers at best,
two shooting stars in opposite skies.
they’ve observed your tenderness,
my struggles,
our clashing, 
like asteroids impacting our planetary surfaces.
most importantly,
they’ve seen us come together,
like two space rocks, 
dubiously flying through space,
finally meeting in the same orbit.

force of gravity // April 7th, 2017

for @anglophileandbooklover who asked a poem about Ari & Dante

Under pressure: Extreme atmosphere stripping may limit exoplanets' habitability

New models of massive stellar eruptions hint at an extra layer of complexity when considering whether an exoplanet may be habitable or not. Models developed for our own Sun have now been applied to cool stars favoured by exoplanet hunters, in research presented by Dr Christina Kay, of the NASA Goddard Flight Center, on Monday 3rd July at the National Astronomy Meeting at the University of Hull.

Coronal mass ejections (CMEs) are huge explosions of plasma and magnetic field that routinely erupt from the Sun and other stars. They are a fundamental factor in so called “space weather,” and are already known to potentially disrupt satellites and other electronic equipment on Earth. However, scientists have shown that the effects of space weather may also have a significant impact on the potential habitability of planets around cool, low mass stars – a popular target in the search for Earth-like exoplanets.

Keep reading

Collecting memories of Earth’s plant life. Please keep my caption, it’s important to the narrative of the image. 

2099. The physical bottom limit to how small computer transistors (or another equivalent, albeit more effective components, such as memristors integrated into Crossbar latches) can be shrunk is reached. From this moment onwards, computers can only be made more powerful if they are made larger in size. Because of this, A.I.s convert more and more of the Earth’s matter into engineered, computational substrate capable of supporting more A.I.s. until the whole Earth is one, gigantic computer, except for a few nature reserves set aside on the planetary surface for those humans who decided to remain in their natural state. “MOSH’s” (Mostly Original Substrate Human) who choose to remain purely organic would still possess virtual assistants that will act as their transcendent servants, living in the blurred real world (“foglet-reality”) and being provided with environments and everything they could possibly need as they live out the rest of their normal lives unless they enhance themselves. At this point, the only possible way to increase the intelligence of the machines any farther is to begin converting all of the matter and energy in the universe into similar massive computers. A.I.s radiate outward from Earth, first into the Solar System and then out into interstellar space, then galaxies in all directions, utilizing starships that are Von Neumann probes with nanobot crews, breaking down whole planets, stars, moons, and meteoroids and reassembling them into computers. This, in effect, “wakes up” the universe as all the inanimate “dumb” matter (rocks, dust, gasses, etc.) is converted into structured matter capable of supporting life (albeit synthetic life). With the entire universe made into a giant, highly efficient supercomputer, AI and human hybrids (so integrated that, in truth, it is a new category of “life”) would have both supreme intelligence and physical control over the universe. Humanity will still not possess infinite levels of any attributes, as the accelerating change of evolution never reaches an infinite measure (though it moves rapidly in that direction), becoming, as Kurzweil writes, “moving inexorably toward this monotheistic conception of God, though never reaching this ideal”; even with theories such as the holographic universe. The final chapter however notes that, if possible, the ability to create and colonize other universes (and if there is a way to do this, humanity’s vast intelligence is likely to harness it, as with surpassing/bypassing the speed of light) could allow the intelligence of the human/machine civilization to extend indefinitely, akin to a mathematical singularity. If not, then saturating humanity’s own universe will remain their ultimate fate. - Based on a future prediction of the universe by Ray Kurzweil.

10 Technologies That Are Changing the Game

Earlier this year, we hosted a Game Changing Technology Industry Day for the aerospace industry, and in October our engineers and technologists visited Capitol Hill showcasing some of these exciting innovations. Check out these technology developments that could soon be making waves on Earth and in space.

1. Wearable technology

With smartwatches, glasses, and headsets already captivating users around the world, it’s no surprise that the next evolution of wearable technology could be used by first responders at the scene of an accident or by soldiers on a battlefield. The Integrated Display and Environmental Awareness System (IDEAS) is an interactive optical computer that works for smart glasses. 

It has a transparent display, so users have an unobstructed view even during video conferences or while visualizing environmental data. 

And while the IDEAS prototype is an innovative solution to the challenges of in-space missions, it won’t just benefit astronauts – this technology can be applied to countless fields here on Earth.

2. Every breath they take: life support technologies

Before astronauts can venture to Mars and beyond, we need to significantly upgrade our life support systems. The Next Generation Life Support project is developing technologies to allow astronauts to safely carry out longer duration missions beyond low-Earth orbit. 

The Variable Oxygen Regulator will improve the control of space suit pressure, with features for preventing decompression sickness. The Rapid Cycle Amine technology will remove carbon dioxide and humidity and greatly improve upon today’s current complex system.

3. 3-D printing (for more than just pizza)

New Advanced Manufacturing Technologies (AMT), such as 3-D printing, can help us build rocket parts more quickly and aid in building habitats on other planets. 

These manufacturing initiatives will result in innovative, cost-efficient solutions to many of our planetary missions. Back in 2014, the International Space Station’s 3-D printer manufactured the first 3-D printed object in space, paving the way to future long-term space expeditions. 

The object, a printhead faceplate, is engraved with names of the organizations that collaborated on this space station technology demonstration: NASA and Made In Space, Inc., the space manufacturing company that worked with us to design, build and test the 3-D printer.

4. Spacecraft landing gear

Large spacecraft entering the atmosphere of Mars will be traveling over five times the speed of sound, exposing the craft to extreme heat and drag forces. The Hypersonic Inflatable Aerodynamic Decelerator (HIAD) is designed to protect spacecraft from this environment with an inflatable structure that helps slow a craft for landing. 

To get astronauts and other heavy loads to the surface safely, these components must be very strong. The inflatable consists of a material 15 times stronger than steel, while the thermal protection system can withstand temperatures over 1600°C.

5. From heat shield technology to firefighter shelters

For the Convective Heating Improvement for Emergency Fire Shelters (CHIEFS) project, we partnered with the U.S. Forest Service to develop safer, more effective emergency fire shelters for wild land firefighters. 

Using existing technology for flexible spacecraft heat shields like HIAD, we are building and testing new fire shelters composed of stacks of durable, insulated materials that could help protect the lives of firefighters.

6. Robots and rovers

Real life is looking a bit more like science fiction as Human Robotics Systems are becoming highly complex. They are amplifying human productivity and reducing mission risk by improving the effectiveness of human-robot teams. 

Our humanoid assistant Robonaut is currently aboard the International Space Station helping astronauts perform tasks.

A fleet of robotic spacecraft and rovers already on and around Mars is dramatically increasing our knowledge and paving the way for future human explorers. The Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover measured radiation on the way to Mars and is sending back data from the surface. 

This data will help us plan how to protect the astronauts who will explore Mars. 

Future missions like the Mars 2020 rover, seeking signs of past life, will demonstrate new technologies that could help astronauts survive on the Red Planet.

7. Robotic repairs

Currently, a satellite that is even partially damaged cannot be fixed in orbit. Instead, it must be disposed of, which is a lot of potential science lost.

Satellite Servicing technologies would make it possible to repair, upgrade, and even assemble spacecraft in orbit using robotics.

This can extend the lifespan of a mission, and also enable deeper space exploration. 

Restore-L, set to launch in 2020, is a mission that will demonstrate the ability to grab and refuel a satellite.

8. Low-cost spacecraft avionics controllers

Small satellites, or smallsats, are quickly becoming useful tools for both scientists and industry. However, the high cost of spacecraft avionics—the systems that guide and control the craft—often limits how and when smallsats can be sent into orbit by tagging along as payloads on larger launches. 

Using Affordable Vehicle Avionics (AVA) technology, we could launch many more small satellites using an inexpensive avionics controller. This device is smaller than a stack of six CD cases and weighs less than two pounds!

9. Making glass from metal

After a JPL research team of modern-day alchemists set about mixing their own alloys, they discovered that a glass made of metal had the wear resistance of a ceramic, was twice as strong as titanium, and could withstand the extreme cold of planetary surfaces, with temperatures below -150 degrees Fahrenheit.

Bulk Metallic Glass (BMG) gears would enable mechanisms to function without wasting energy on heaters. Most machines need to maintain a warmer temperature to run smoothly, which expends precious fuel and decreases the mission’s science return. 

By developing gearboxes made of BMG alloys, we can extend the life of a spacecraft and learn more about the far reaches of our solar system than ever before. Plus, given their extremely high melting points, metallic glasses can be cheaply manufactured into parts by injection molding, just like plastics.

10. Lighter, cheaper, safer spacecraft fuel tanks

Cryogenic propellant tanks are essential for holding fuel for launch vehicles like our Space Launch System—the world’s most powerful rocket. But the current method for building these tanks is costly and time-consuming, involving almost a mile of welded parts.

Advanced Near Net Shape Technology, part of our Advanced Manufacturing Technologies, is an innovative manufacturing process for constructing cryotanks, using cylinders that only have welds in one area. 

This makes the tank lighter, cheaper, and safer for astronauts, as there are fewer potentially defective welds.

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The Executor:

The Super Star Destroyer Executor was the personal flagship of the Sith Lord Darth Vader, the premier command ship of the Imperial Navy, and the first of the Executor-class Star Dreadnought line. Designed by starship engineer Lira Wessex as a successor to the original Imperial-class Star Destroyer, the Executor, at a monumental 19,000 meters in length, represented the largest traditional warship the galaxy had ever seen by the time of its completion. The Executor bristled with more than 5,000 weapon emplacements, enough firepower to blast any planetary surface to slag in hours, and a military complement capable of annihilating any ground installation. The Executor’s presence alone, however, was enough to frighten an entire star system into submission.

Construction on the Executor began under complete secrecy in the secluded Scarl system, where Vader raised and trained Galen Marek, his secret dark side apprentice, in a failed plan to overthrow Emperor Palpatine as galactic ruler. By 0 ABY, the Executor was transferred to the Starship Yards of Fondor for the final stages of construction, under the overall direction of Admiral Amise Griff. At Fondor, the Executor became the failed target of internal sabotage by a group of traitorous Imperial admirals, who hoped to destroy Vader’s project to prevent their own decline in power. Once completed, the Executor made for Yavin 4, site of the Rebel Alliance base. Vader hoped to crush the Rebellion once and for all with his new weapon, but the Executor failed to stop the Rebel evacuation from Yavin, and Griff died in the process.

For three years after Yavin, under the command of Admiral Kendal Ozzel, the Executor led Vader’s Star Destroyer fleet, the Imperial Death Squadron, in the Empire’s hunt for the Rebellion’s secret headquarters as part of Vader’s personal mission to locate his son, Luke Skywalker. In 3 ABY, the Executor led the Imperial victory at the Battle of Hoth, but due to the tactical blundering of Ozzel, Skywalker and the Rebellion leadership escaped, and Vader executed Ozzel for his failure. The Executor’s admiralty immediately passed to Captain Firmus Piett, under whom the Executor chased the Millennium Falcon from Hoth to Bespin’s Cloud City in continued pursuit of Skywalker. The Executor again failed to capture Skywalker at Bespin, however, and so Vader’s search for his son continued.

For a time, with the search for Skywalker on hold, the Executor returned with Vader to Coruscant, where, in 3.5 ABY, tensions between Vader and Prince Xizor of the Black Sun crime syndicate came to a head. In orbit above the Imperial capital, the Executor obliterated Xizor’s personal skyhook, killing Vader’s nemesis and ending Black Sun’s threatening influence on the Empire. Immediately afterward, the Executor was assigned to protect the construction site of the incomplete second Death Star in the remote Endor system.
In 4 ABY, the Executor’s relatively short life came to a crashing end above the Forest Moon of Endor. During the Battle of Endor, the Executor led a massive Star Destroyer armada in trapping the Rebel Fleet between itself and the Death Star battlestation. However, the Rebels turned the tables on the Empire by attacking the Executor at point-blank range. A concentrated assault on the Executor at the climax of the battle brought down the massive Super Star Destroyer’s bridge deflector shields, before a wayward A-wing starfighter, piloted by Arvel Crynyd, crashed into the Executor’s command bridge. With navigation failing, the Executor was sucked into the gravity well of the Death Star and collided with the battlestation, disintegrating on impact.

anonymous asked:

How about some headcanons or a scenario for when Sans's s/o takes him to a planetarium

  • Alright, first off- get there when it opens because you best believe you are spending all day there. 
  • He spends hours fiddling with the rolling ball machines, loves the models of the planets and enjoys the planetary surface displays. He gets so invested in the those silly games where you launch comets into orbit and watch them circle around planets, and the things that tell you how much you’d weigh on what planet. 
  • Of course he takes the time to read up on every ounce of information provided by the displays, and he tells you everything he finds cool- which is… well. Everything he reads. 
  • Honestly, he’s not trying to ignore you. He’s so glad you took him here, and so glad that you’re the one beside him and he’s not going to stop talking about this date for days.
  • In the star projection room he’s just. In awe. He takes your hand and squeezes, just watching the ceiling, utterly enchanted. 
  • If the planetarium includes a theater with documentaries or little educational shorts, he wants to see them all. And of course he hits up the shop too- he definitely brings home glow in the dark stickers to put on his wall and ceiling. 
  • As you exit, he gives you the tightest hug ever, absolutely elated that you did this for him- and he thanks you so, so sincerely. God, what a good date.

The Medusa Nebula in Gemini

The Medusa Nebula, PK 205+14.1, is also known as Abell 21. This very large, low surface brightness planetary nebula is a challenge object for visual astronomers, spanning nearly 11.5 arc-minutes of sky. The Medusa’s central star is the bluish colored star lying just left of the nebula’s center.

Credit: Dave Jurasevich and David Held

[O]ne trillion, trillion, trillion years from now, the accelerating expansion of the universe will have disintegrated the fabric of matter itself, terminating the possibility of embodiment. Every star in the universe will have burnt out, plunging the cosmos into a state of absolute darkness and leaving behind nothing but spent husks of collapsed matter. All free matter, whether on planetary surfaces or in interstellar space, will have decayed, eradicating any remnants of life…. [T]he stellar corpses littering the empty universe will evaporate into a brief hailstorm of elementary particles. Atoms themselves will cease to exist. Only the implacable gravitational expansion will continue, driven by the currently inexplicable force called ‘dark energy’, which will keep pushing the extinguished universe deeper and deeper into an eternal and unfathomable blackness.
—  Ray Brassier, Nihil Unbound 
Krypton, Rao and the physics of their planetary system

I just want to take a moment to talk about fictional solar systems, because why not.

So Rao (the star) is generally said to be either a red dwarf (early comics) or a red giant (a later retcon), and tbh the difference between those two stars is pretty damn big

A red giant is a star of intermediate mass (somewhere between 0.5 and 8 times the mass of our Sun) that is in a late stage of its stellar evolution. They are very large (a radius tens to hundreds of times larger than the sun) and they used to be stars kind of like our own Sun, before they expanded. They are incredibly bright, but not in the way we think of it when looking at the Sun, part of their brightness isn’t actually visible to our human eyes. Still, pretty bright. They also have a pretty short lifespan (astronomically speaking, so a few billion years at most; the bigger the star, the shorter the lifespan, is a general rule) before their core collapses and the star ejects its outer layers, destroys any of its remaining planets, and turns into a little white dwarf star.

A red dwarf is a small (somewhere between 0.01 and 0.50 times the mass of our Sun) and pretty damn faint. They also live an incredibly long time, theoretically up to trillions of years.

If Rao was a red giant (as they’ve said more recently): 

  • Theoretically Krypton would have received a lot more sunlight than Earth ever has, though at a different peak wavelength (though I’m not sure how much that would matter in comparison to how the planet’s atmosphere scattered and filtered that light before it hit the surface (planetary atmospheres aren’t my speciality). Depending on it’s composition, it’s possible that Rao’s light would look remarkably similar to the Sun’s with a blue sky and everything or the sky could be orange with a red sun, idk). 
  • If life began on a planet back when the star first formed, it would have likely been eaten up by the expanding red giant at the beginning of the red giant stage of its evolution (like the Earth will when the Sun eventually turns into a giant). So, we have to start the biological clock at the point the star becomes a red giant. 
  • It’s generally thought that a planet orbiting a red giant would be inhabitable, but some research suggests that a planet could exist in the “habitable zone” for a few billion years at most if it’s in juuuust the right position. Considering it took Earth 4.5 billion years to produce us, I’m not sure if a few billion would be enough to create a species as advanced as the Kryptonians. BUT, it is possible.

If Rao is a red dwarf: 

  • Krypton would be tidally locked with Rao, meaning that the same side of the planet would always face the star (kind of like our moon), leaving half the planet in perpetual day and the other in eternal night (which is honestly kind of cool). 
  • And that means that the atmosphere of the planet could be very uneven, and possibly freezing the air on the far side of the planet. 
  • They also produce a lot of sunspots and sun flares, which would drastically decrease and increase the star’s energy output, respectively, for months at a time possibly.
  • Also, red dwarfs emit almost entirely in the infrared spectrum, with little visible light and almost no UV light. so Kryptonians would have to evolve an entirely different method of seeing than us (meaning they’d probably have eyes sensitive to infrared radiation, making their vision more like a thermographic camera). Again, kind of cool.

I don’t really have anything conclusive to say, just that fictional planets and stars are very interesting to me.

(but take all this with a grain of salt, because my speciality was in cluster and galaxy dynamics, not in exoplanets and stellar evolution. anyone else please contribute bc I want to know all about it.)

[O]ne trillion, trillion, trillion years from now, the accelerating expansion of the universe will have disintegrated the fabric of matter itself, terminating the possibility of embodiment. Every star in the universe will have burnt out, plunging the cosmos into a state of absolute darkness and leaving behind nothing but spent husks of collapsed matter. All free matter, whether on planetary surfaces or in interstellar space, will have decayed, eradicating any remnants of life…. [T]he stellar corpses littering the empty universe will evaporate into a brief hailstorm of elementary particles. Atoms themselves will cease to exist. Only the implacable gravitational expansion will continue, driven by the currently inexplicable force called ‘dark energy’, which will keep pushing the extinguished universe deeper and deeper into an eternal and unfathomable blackness.
—  Ray Brassier, from ‘Nihil Unbound’

anonymous asked:

talk the resurgent-class star destroyer finalizer to me 🎷

The Finalizer clocks in at a length of 2,915.81 meters  and is outfitted with over 3,000 turbolasers and ion canons. Its turbolasers are known to overload shields, punch through thick armor, and “reduce planetary surfaces to molten slag.” They also have a faster recharge rate and and more firepower and the incredibly terrifying reason for this is that the Finalizer’s turbolasers utilize kyber focusing crystals. That’s right, the First Order has somehow found a source for kyber fucking crystals in the unknown regions!! However, as far as we know the Finalizer is the only Star Destroyer in canon to use this technology. Other First Order Officers want this technology on their own ships but the supply of crystals is known to be in short supply. It should say something about the Finalizer’s (and General Hux’s) status in the First Order that the flagship can equip it’s entire arsenal of turbolasers with military grade kyber crystals

Phase one of the ExoMars mission launches to find life on the Red Planet

The ExoMars program consists of two launches to the Red Planet: today’s and one in 2018. Today’s rocket launch carries the Trace Gas Orbiter and the Schiaparelli EDM Lander into space, which will both arrive at Mars in October of this year, according to the ESA. Once there, the Trace Gas Orbiter will put itself into orbit around the planet and measure the types of gases in the atmosphere. Specifically, the orbiter is looking for traces of methane — a potential indicator of biological life on the planetary surface below.

Titan may be older than Saturn, a new study suggests

It’s well accepted that moons form after planets. In fact, only a few months ago, astronomers spotted a new moon forming deep within Saturn’s rings, 4.5 billion years after the planet initially formed.

But new research suggests Saturn’s icy moon Titan — famous for its rivers and lakes of liquid methane — may have formed before its parent planet, contradicting the theory that Titan formed within the warm disk surrounding an infant Saturn.

A combined NASA and ESA-funded study has found firm evidence that the nitrogen in Titan’s atmosphere originated in conditions similar to the cold birthplace of the most ancient comets from the Oort cloud — a spherical shell of icy particles that enshrouds the Solar System.

The hint comes in the form of a ratio. All elements have a certain number of known isotopes — variants of that element with the same number of protons that differ in their number of neutrons. The ratio of one isotope to another isotope is a crucial diagnostic tool.

In planetary atmospheres and surface materials, the amount of one isotope relative to another isotope is closely tied to the conditions under which materials form. Any change in the ratio will allow scientists to deduce an age for that material.

Kathleen Mandt from the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio and colleagues analyzed the ratio of nitrogen-14 (seven protons and seven neutrons) to nitrogen-15 (seven protons and eight neutrons) in Titan’s atmosphere.

“When we looked closely at how this ratio could evolve with time, we found that it was impossible for it to change significantly,” Mandt said in a press release. “Titan’s atmosphere contains so much nitrogen that no process can significantly modify this tracer even given more than four billion years of Solar System history.”

The team found that our Solar System is not old enough for this nitrogen isotope ratio to have changed as much as it has. By comparing the small change within this ratio, Mandt and colleagues found that it seemed more similar to Oort cloud comets than to Solar System bodies including planets and comets born in the Kuiper belt. The team is eager to see whether their findings are supported by data from ESA’s Rosetta mission, which will study comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko later this year.

Finally, the study also has implications for Earth. In the past, researchers assumed a connection between comets, Titan and Earth. But these results show that the nitrogen isotope ratio is different on Titan and Earth, suggesting the sources of Earth’s and Titan’s nitrogen must have been different.

It’s unclear whether Earth received nitrogen from early meteorites or if it was captured directly from the disk of gas that formed the Solar System.

Image credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech / Space Science Institute

Icy moon Enceladus has underground sea

Saturn’s icy moon Enceladus has an underground sea of liquid water, according to the international Cassini spacecraft.

Understanding the interior structure of 500 km-diameter Enceladus has been a top priority of the Cassini mission since plumes of ice and water vapour were discovered jetting from ‘tiger stripe’ fractures at the moon’s south pole in 2005.

Subsequent observations of the jets showed them to be relatively warm compared with other regions of the moon and to be salty – strong arguments for there being liquid water below the surface.

But planetary scientists have now been able to investigate the interior of the enigmatic moon directly, using Cassini’s radio science experiment.

On three separate occasions in 2010 and 2012, the spacecraft passed within 100 km of Enceladus, twice over the southern hemisphere and once over the northern hemisphere.

During the flybys, Cassini was pulled slightly off course by the moon’s gravity, changing its velocity by just 0.2–0.3 millimetres per second.

As tiny as these deviations were, they were detectable in the spacecraft’s radio signals as they were beamed back to Earth, providing a measurement of how the gravity of Enceladus varied along the spacecraft’s orbit. These measurements could then be used to infer the distribution of mass inside the moon.

For example, a higher-than-average gravity ‘anomaly’ might suggest the presence of a mountain, while a lower-than-average reading implies a mass deficit.

On Enceladus, the scientists measured a negative mass anomaly at the surface of the south pole, accompanied by a positive one some 30-40 km below.

“By analysing the spacecraft’s motion in this way, and taking into account the topography of the moon we see with Cassini’s cameras, we are given a window into the internal structure of Enceladus,” says Luciano Iess, lead author of the results published in Science.

“The perturbations in the spacecraft’s motion can be most simply explained by the moon having an asymmetric internal structure, such that an ice shell overlies liquid water at a depth of around 30–40 km in the southern hemisphere.”

While the gravity data cannot rule out a global ocean, a regional sea extending from the south pole to 50ºS latitude is most consistent with the moon’s topography and high local temperatures observed around the tiger stripes.

Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech


BEAM’s Installed!

Early this morning NASA used the giant robotic arm attached to the side of the ISS to install the first ever inflatable module to the space station.

The module, known as BEAM (Bigelow Expandable Activity Module) may well be the future of space stations. Created by Bigelow Aerospace, BEAM has the goal of opening up a future of deep-space and long duration journeys into the final frontier.

Imagine if your entire home for the six month journey to Mars had to fit inside the tiny space at the tip of a rocket. Now imagine if your entire home could be inflatable…

BEAM’s technology may prove to be a major step forward for NASA as we seek to expand the size of our space stations. The BEAM that got installed onto the space station today is only about the size of one of those sheds you might see in some neighborhood backyards.

Luckily Bigelow Aerospace is already working on 330+ cubic meter sized space stations, and some specifically designed for the Lunar surface.

In addition to a huge expansion in size for our space stations, the inflatable space stations of Bigelow Aerospace may also prove to be extremely safe in that the physics of the material better wards off radiation than our current metal structures (and believe it or not but the inflatable structures are made of much stronger material than titanium - vectran).

Personally, this is an exciting thing for me. I’d love to be able to conduct planetary science on the surface of the Moon (well or simply visit the Moon at all).

(Image credit: Bigelow Aerospace)

I am all space matter,
scattered and incomplete
and catastrophic.
All these contents, these
planets that orbit bone,
knew infinite only when
they met you, not a
moment before.

Your name is sewn into
every planetary surface
within this solar system
of a body. My eyes, like
satellites, watch as the
crops burst into flames,
we can read their
messages from here.

It’s all “we are safe, do
not worry about us”, it’s
all “we love this body
we are watching your
spaceship become”, it’s
all “these fires are just
to burn out the dead

It’s as if my skin knows.
It’s as if this stellar
makeup understands
what it takes for all the
foreign matter inside of
me to recognize these
planets as home.

It’s as if letting my limbs
expand, calling it exploration,
torching the bad, dead
land in patterns that look
like your eyes, will make me
want to come back to it.

It’s as if this body knows
I left in search of you.

—  we the explorers, Emma Bleker