The New York Times 11 Feb 2018, 19:28 UTC Sending astronauts back to the moon is one of the top space priorities of President Trump. But his administration wants to accomplish that without giving NASA additional money, and it won’t occur until after he leaves office, even if he wins re-election. Instead, it aims to give the private sector a greater role, according to a budget proposal to be released on Monday. The administration is also looking to end American payments for the International Space Station by 2025. The space station is currently scheduled to operate through 2024, but the expectation was that it would be extended through at least 2028.
SPACE.com 11 Feb 2018, 15:33 UTC There was a second payload on board the SpaceX Falcon Heavy that launched Tuesday (Feb. 6), and (unlike the Tesla Roadster) it's built to last 14 billion years. SpaceX confirmed during its pre-launch livestream that the gadget, called an Arch, is tucked away somewhere inside the red Tesla Roadster now floating through space. It's a simple-looking object: a clear, thick disk of quartz crystal, about an inch across, with lettering across its face. It could almost be a small business award — best car dealership maybe, or top pizza restaurant — except for the data etched microscopically into its body with powerful, high-frequency lasers.
Astro Bob 10 Feb 2018, 14:37 UTC Saturn’s back! I spotted the ringed one low in the southeastern sky around 6:15 Friday morning. It’s the final runner in a planetary relay race that starts with Jupiter in the south and Mars in the southeast. Saturn takes the baton to the dawn finish line. Because of its low altitude you might not notice the planet without a little help from our friend, the moon. It’s a waning crescent, traditionally called the “old moon” because of it advanced age. On Sunday morning, it’s all of 25 days old and won’t regain its youth until it’s made “new” again on the 15th
Researchers Just Scanned 14 Worlds From the Kepler Mission for “Technosignatures”, Evidence of Advanced Civilizations9 Feb 2018, 20:19 UTC When it comes to looking for life on extra-solar planets, scientists rely on what is known as the “low-hanging fruit” approach. In lieu of being able to observe these planets directly or up close, they are forced to look for “biosignatures” – substances that indicate that life could exist there. Given that Earth is the only planet (that we know of) that can support life, these include carbon, oxygen, nitrogen and water. However, while the presence of these elements are a good way of gauging “habitability”, they are not necessarily indications that extra-terrestrial civilizations exist. Hence why scientists engaged in the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI) also keep their eyes peeled for “technosignatures”. Targeting the Kepler field, a team of scientists recently conducted a study that examined 14 planetary systems for indications of intelligent life.
AAS Nova 9 Feb 2018, 17:00 UTC The boundary between the solar wind and the interstellar medium (ISM) at the distant edge of our solar system has been probed remotely and directly by spacecraft, but questions about its properties persist. What can models tell us about the structure of this region?
The Daily Galaxy 9 Feb 2018, 15:21 UTC "We now know for sure that turbulent dynamo exists, and that it's one of the mechanisms that can actually explain magnetization of the universe," said Petros Tzeferacos, research assistant professor of astronomy and astrophysics and associate director of the Flash Center. "This is something that we hoped we knew, but now we do."
Centauri Dreams 9 Feb 2018, 15:13 UTC The search for life in the solar system has been one of the guiding goals of space exploration since its conception. The recent discoveries that the icy moons of the giant planets in our solar system contain vast oceans, has made them prime targets for that search. In particular, Jupiter’s moon Europa and Saturn’s moon Enceladus (Figure 1) are currently the most promising candidates among the icy moons, as they appear to fulfill the basic requirements for them to host life: the heat that is generated by the tidal pull of the parent planet maintains a subglacial ocean in the liquid state and in direct contact with the rocky core of the moon, through which reactions critical for the creation of the building blocks of basic life as we understand it can occur. Exchange processes through the thick ice shells covering those moons, much like in the polar regions of Earth, mean that further chemicals needed for life are transported from the surface where they have been delivered by e.g. micrometeoroids, all the way down to the ocean. The chemical makeup of plume jets found to emanate from the south pole of Enceladus by the recently decommissioned Cassini spacecraft further ...