Watch online as huge asteroid hurtles past Earth tonight A large asteroid discovered only days ago is set to sweep past the Earth on June 14, 2012. The great team at Slooh.com is going to try to catch it on camera as it goes by – so that you can watch it, too. Looking for the September 13-14 asteroid passage? Click here How many killer asteroids are out there? The asteroid will pass within about 3.35 million miles (5.4 million kilometers) of our planet, or roughly 14 times the distance between Earth and the moon. Artist's concept of an asteroid passing near Earth via the European Space Agency (ESA) You can watch the asteroid flyby on Slooh’s website, at events.slooh.com. This object was discovered only days ago and has been labeled 2012 LZ1 by astronomers. The online viewing is free to the public, starting at 5 p.m. Here's where near-Earth asteroid 2012 LZ1 will appear in the sky on the evening of June 14, 2012. Click here to expand image above Gallery: Partial and ring eclipse of May 20-21 Gallery: Venus transit June 5-6
Competition Grows For Orbital Solar Power Jun June 25, 2009 | 35 Comments PowerSat Corp. has filed a provisional patent for two technologies called BrightStar and Solar Power Orbital Transfer, that are expected make the transmission of space solar power more cost-effective by reducing the price for launch and operation of systems as large as 2,500 megawatts by about $1 billion. This follows Solaren’s recently signed deal for the first-ever power purchase agreement to deliver 200 megawatts of solar energy from space with California’s Pacific Gas & Electric. Meanwhile the Swiss company Space Energy is working toward the launch of a prototype satellite in the next 2 to 3 years. Quickly reviewing, the idea is to use orbiting satellites, called powersats, to collect solar energy in space, many times more potent than the hottest brightest desert sun and beam it down to earth. PowerSat Corp., a partner of PowerSat Limited in London and a subsidiary of PowerSat International in Gibraltar has filed U.S. PowerSat's Brightstar.
Brief Answers to Cosmic Questions Structure of the Universe Does the Universe have an edge, beyond which there is nothing? Are the galaxies arranged on the surface of a sphere? Why can't we see the whole universe? Does the term "universe" refer to space, or to the matter in it, or to both? Evolution of the Universe Did the Universe expand from a point? More about the Big Bang When they say "the universe is expanding," what exactly is expanding? Structure of the Universe Does the Universe have an edge, beyond which there is nothing? Are the galaxies arranged on the surface of a sphere? Why can't we see the whole universe? If you could suddenly freeze time everywhere in the universe, and magically survey all of creation, you would find galaxies extending out far beyond what we can see today. Does the term "universe" refer to space, or to the matter in it, or to both? Today, the situation is reversed. Discovering the properties of space remains one of the deepest and most important problems in modern science.
Space Solar Power About Space Solar Power (SSP, also known as Space-Based Solar Power, or SBSP): The United States and the world need to find new sources of clean energy. Space Solar Power gathers energy from sunlight in space and transmits it wirelessly to Earth. Space solar power can solve our energy and greenhouse gas emissions problems. The solar energy available in space is literally billions of times greater than we use today. Another need is to move away from fossil fuels for our transportation system. While all viable energy options should be pursued with vigor, space solar power has a number of substantial advantages over other energy sources. Advantages of Space Solar Power Unlike oil, gas, ethanol, and coal plants, space solar power does not emit greenhouse gases. Disadvantages of Space Solar Power High development cost. Requirements for Space Solar Power The technologies and infrastructure required to make space solar power feasible include: Low-cost, environmentally-friendly launch vehicles.
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Power company plans first orbital solar power satellite - Boing Boing Pacific Gas and Electric is reportedly seeking permission to test a solar power satellite, which would send energy generated in orbit to a radio receiver station in Fresno County, California. the solar energy available in space is eight-to-ten times greater than on earth. There’s no atmospheric or cloud interference, no loss of sun at night, and no seasons. That means space solar can be a baseload resource, not an intermittent source of power.In addition, real estate in space is still free (if hard to reach). Solaren needs to acquire land only for an energy receiving station. It can locate the station near existing transmission lines, greatly reducing delays that face some renewable power projects sited far from existing facilities.While the concept of space solar power makes sense, making it all work at an affordable cost is a major challenge, which Solaren says it can solve. Unfortunately, despite the 200 megawatt output. the frequency used means that it’s completely safe.
Bad Astronomy Well now, this is an interesting discovery: astronomers have found what looks like a "super-Earth" – a planet more massive than Earth but still smaller than a gas giant – orbiting a nearby star at the right distance to have liquid water on it! Given that, it might – might – be Earthlike. This is pretty cool news. Now let me be clear: this is a planet candidate; it has not yet been confirmed. The star is called HD 40307, and it’s a bit over 40 light years away (pretty close in galactic standards, but I wouldn’t want to walk there). Massive planets tug on their star harder, so they’re easier to find this way. In this case, HD 40307 was originally observed a little while back by HARPS, and three planets were found. We don’t know how big the planet is, unfortunately. But the very interesting thing is that it orbits the star at a distance of about 90 million kilometers (55 million miles) – closer to its star than is is to the Sun… but that’s good! Image credits: ESO/M. Related Posts:
Japan Plans $21 Billion Solar Space Post to Power 294,000 Homes The concept of space-based solar power was introduced way back in 1968, but it’s only recently that the world has latched on to the idea. Japan is definitely getting in on the action with its latest spacey plan – a $21 billion solar-powered generator in the heavens to produce one gigawatt of energy, or enough to power 294,000 homes. The Japanese government announced the plan back in June, but there has been an important new development – Mitsubishi Electric Corp. and industrial design company IHI Corp. are now teaming up in the race to develop new technology within four years that can beam electricity back to Earth without the use of cables. Mitsubishi and IHI are joining a research group containing 14 other countries to tackle the daunting task of getting Japan’s four square kilometer solar space station up and running in the next three decades. There are still a number of hurdles to work through before space-based solar power becomes a reality though. Via Bloomberg
s WMAP Science Team Awarded 2012 Gruber Cosmology Prize NASA's WMAP Science Team Awarded 2012 Gruber Cosmology Prize NASA's Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe, known as WMAP, transformed the science of cosmology by establishing the age, geometry, and contents of the universe to astonishing precision. On June 20, the Gruber Foundation recognized this accomplishment by awarding its 2012 Cosmology Prize to WMAP principal investigator Charles L. "It is tremendously exciting to be recognized with the Gruber Cosmology Prize," said Bennett. Image of Charles Bennett courtesy JHU WMAP was launched June 2001 to make fundamental measurements in cosmology, the study of our universe as a while. WMAP achieved this success by scrutinizing the cosmic microwave background, the oldest light in the universe, emitted when the cosmos was just 378,000 years old. The latest analysis, released in 2011, shows that the universe is 13.75 billion years old, a figure accurate to within 1 percent. “Dr. Related Links:
Space Future Journal - Space-based Solar Power by 2016? In 2009, Manhattan Beach, CA-based company Solaren, Inc. signed a contract with Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) to provide 200 megawatts (MW) of clean, reliable electrical power to customers at a rate comparable with existing power generation facilities. But unlike hydroelectric, coal, fossil fuel, and nuclear production, this power will come from that constant, inexhaustible source, the Sun. This is known as “Space Based Solar Power,” and until recently, it was also known as “science fiction.” But in the here and now, Solaren designers have developed a system involving multiple satellites to be delivered into geosynchronous orbit ( GEO ) on heavy lift launch vehicles similar to the Falcon 9 being tested successfully by the US firm SpaceX Solaren plans this for 2016—and as of now, the company is on schedule. To learn more about the current status of the project, Space Future Journal interviewed Mr. Cal Boerman: Solaren was issued our US patent No. 2006/185726-A1 on August 24, 2006. system.
NASA discovers portals (but don’t book your ticket yet) Madeleine L’Engle called them tesseracts. The Syfy channel calls them wormholes. Gamers call them portals. Whatever you call them, they are fictional doorways to faraway places: another planet in the solar system … another star in the galaxy … another restaurant where the service doesn’t suck quite so bad. But today they’re perhaps a little less fictional than yesterday. At least according to a Science@NASA post: Hidden Portals in Earth’s Magnetic Field, which says they are real, sort of. University of Iowa plasma physicist Jack Scudder is studying them. Above: A view of one of NASA’s X-points Image Credit: NASA “We call them X-points or electron diffusion regions,” he says. NASA’s THEMIS spacecraft and Europe’s Cluster probes have been observing the portals, and NASA is sending a new mission, “MMS” (Magnetospheric Multiscale Mission) in 2014 to study them in more detail. However, there’s no doubt that this is a pretty cool announcement. Here’s the full video from NASA:
Science & Environment - Space-based solar farms power up It would solve our energy needs overnight. But with huge technological and financial challenges, can space-based solar power ever take off? “Ex-Nasa scientist seeks visionary billionaire to help change the world. High risk venture. John Mankins, the scientist in question, has not yet reached the point of placing a classified ad, but it could soon be an option. Mankins initially had research funding from an advanced concepts arm at Nasa, but that money dried up in September 2012; hence his continuing search for a benefactor. “I can't think of a better solution than to find somebody who is very wealthy, very visionary and willing to make this happen,” he says. But not everyone shares Mankins' optimism. High times SBSP has its roots in the 1941 short story Reason, by Isaac Asimov, which depicts a space station – run by robots – collecting energy from the sun to distribute to Earth and other planets. “England dominated the world economy during the industrial revolution because of coal.
The Incredible Beauty of the Orion Nebula Learn about the beauty of the Orion Nebula. Photo: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center The Orion Nebula is one of the brightest in the night sky and lies south of Orion’s Belt. It is 1344 (plus or minus 20) light years away and is the closest huge star formation area to earth. Photo: NASA, ESA, M. The area in the image above is a called the Trapezium and is an area of very young stars; six of the main stars that can often be seen from earth on a clear night. Photo: NASA, ESA, M. The Orion Nebula has been seen from earth for thousands of years. Photo: NASA/JPL-Caltech/STScI The Orion Nebula includes neutral clouds of gas and dust, ionized gas, associations of stars and reflection nebulae, which are clouds of dust reflecting the light of stars. Photo: Steve Black Orion is a stellar nursery where stars are born, and there are about 700 stars in various stages of birth within it. Photo: Opo Terser The Orion Nebula is an interstellar cloud like others found in the Milky Way. Photo: ESO/J. Source: 1