Bad Astronomy 20 Aug 2019, 13:00 UTC Of all the other planets in the solar system, Mars is the one most like Earth in terms of the ability of humans to live there. Venus is closer in size and mass to Earth, but its ridiculously thick atmosphere of carbon dioxide gives it a surface pressure 90 times Earth’s and a runaway greenhouse effect that would soften and/or melt the metal in a housing structure. Not to mention the sulfuric acid rain. Not that Mars is hugely better. It has only 0.6% the atmospheric pressure Earth does, so standing on the surface without a pressure suit is the equivalent of trying to breathe 30 kilometers above Earth’s surface — three times higher than jets fly. You’d suffocate before you could freeze to death in the frigid temperatures there.
SPACE.com 19 Aug 2019, 20:26 UTC It's time to talk about Apophis again, I guess. Please calm down first. The asteroid is about 1,100 feet (340 meters) wide, was discovered in 2004 and will make a reasonably close flyby of Earth on Friday, April 13, 2029. Apophis will not hit Earth during that flyby; more on that later. Nevertheless, it's large and close and has a snappy name, and the internet loves its asteroids.
Centauri Dreams 19 Aug 2019, 16:56 UTC You would think that heading toward the Sun, rather than away from it, would not necessarily fall under Centauri Dreams’ purview, but missions like the Parker Solar Probe have reminded us that extreme environments are ideal testing grounds for future missions. Build a heat shield that can take you to within 10 solar radii of our star and you’re also exploring possibilities in ‘sundiver’ missions that all but brush the Sun in a tight gravity assist.
Starts With a Bang! 19 Aug 2019, 14:01 UTC We’re one step closer to solving the mystery of how they get so big so fast.
New Scientist 19 Aug 2019, 12:26 UTC Weird blasts from space called fast radio bursts are some of the most mysterious phenomena in the universe, and now astronomers have spotted eight new and particularly unusual ones, including one that may be the closest we’ve ever seen.
SPACE.com 19 Aug 2019, 10:56 UTC Titan has hydrocarbon rivers and seas, a subsurface water ocean — and perhaps life.
Centauri Dreams 16 Aug 2019, 18:57 UTC The faint glow of a directly imaged planet will one day have much to tell us, once we’ve acquired equipment like the next generation of extremely large telescopes (ELTs), with their apertures measuring in the tens of meters. Discovering the makeup of planetary atmospheres is an obvious deep dive for biosignatures, but there is another. Biofluorescence, a kind of reflective glow from life under stress, could be detectable in some conditions at astronomical distances.
Parker Solar Probe Mission Blog 16 Aug 2019, 17:00 UTC After Parker Solar Probe’s successful first year in space, the mission team has decided to extend science observations as the spacecraft approaches its third solar encounter.
Starts With a Bang! 16 Aug 2019, 14:01 UTC For many years, astronomers have looked forward to a coming revolution in ground-based astronomy: going from the current generation of 8-to-10 meter telescopes to the next generation of 30-meter class telescopes. Approximately a decade ago, a variety of partnerships selected their preferred sites, instruments to build, and facilities to construct. Now, in 2019, two of them are right on track, while one — the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) in Hawaii — is years behind. The overwhelming majority of astronomers recognize that the preferred site for TMT, atop Hawaii’s Mauna Kea, would be the technically superior location to build it. But doing so would ignore the objections of many citizens whose concerns and values have been marginalized for over a century. As astronomers prepare for a field-defining choice, here’s what everyone should know.