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The Asteroid Mining Company – Mission There are near-limitless numbers of asteroids and more being discovered every year. More than 1,500 are as easy to reach as the Moon and are in similar orbits as Earth. Asteroids are filled with precious resources, everything from water to platinum. Harnessing valuable minerals from a practically infinite source will provide stability on Earth, increase humanity’s prosperity, and help establish and maintain human presence in space. Mars One (and done?) In 2012, the “Mars One” project, led by a Dutch nonprofit, announced plans to establish the first human colony on the Red Planet by 2025. The mission would initially send four astronauts on a one-way trip to Mars, where they would spend the rest of their lives building the first permanent human settlement. It’s a bold vision — particularly since Mars One claims that the entire mission can be built upon technologies that already exist. As its website states, establishing humans on Mars would be “the next giant leap for mankind.”

Astrobiology: Life in the Universe Motivated by the rapidly increasing number of known Earth-sized planets, the increasing range of extreme conditions in which life on Earth can persist, and the progress toward a technology that will ultimately enable the search for life on exoplanets, the Vatican Observatory and the Steward Observatory announce a major conference entitled The Search for Life Beyond the Solar System: Exoplanets, Biosignatures & Instruments. The goal of the conference is to bring together the interdisciplinary community required to address this multi-faceted challenge: experts on exoplanet observations, early and extreme life on Earth, atmospheric biosignatures, and planet-finding telescopes. The sessions of the five-day meeting will include invited review and contributed talks, followed by extended discussions. There will be posters, but no parallel sessions. We will limit the number of attendees to 250 to allow interactions between the participants.

Exoplanet Atlas full of errors – VisualJournalism When you do graphics for print in Wired – and then post on your blog about the process – stressing how much attention you pay to the details, then you’re asking for it. Sorry, David McCandless … (Click the graphic for full-size at Wired and read the blogpost at information is beautiful here) Your Exoplanet Atlas is full of errors. According to your own description, you have three designers and three researchers working on the project for nine months doing 26 drafts, and yet it takes only a very simple check-up to realize, that this Atlas is not to be trusted.

California's Velcro Crop Under Challenge by Ken Umbach California's important Velcro crop, vital to the clothing, footwear, and sporting goods industries, has been severely stressed by drought, disease, and pests. Background Velcro®, an engineered crop, consists of two distinct strains: hooks and loops. As any user of Velcro knows, a strip of hooks clings to a strip of loops as the springy hook-shaped fibers latch through tiny but firm loops. Gentle pressure allows the hook strip to be pulled from the loop strip. O'Neill cylinder Artist's depiction of a pair of O'Neill cylinders The O'Neill cylinder (also called an O'Neill colony) is a space settlement design proposed by American physicist Gerard K. O'Neill in his 1976 book The High Frontier: Human Colonies in Space.[1] O'Neill proposed the colonization of space for the 21st century, using materials extracted from the Moon and later from asteroids.[2] Interior view, showing alternating land and window stripes

Mars One Torn To Shreds In MIT Debate Whatever your views on Mars One, at the very least they have put the topic of Mars colonization in the public eye. Their plan, although ambitious, has received coverage from media across the world. For that, they can be applauded. But when it comes to technical details on how they plan to actually send people to live out the rest of their lives on Mars, they are left wanting. You’d be hard-pressed to find anyone in the space industry who thinks they can do what they’ve claimed. MSLED: Micro Subglacial Lake Exploration Device The MSLED project runs out of the Extreme Environments Robotics and Instrumentation Lab (link is external) at Arizona State University under the direction of Dr. Alberto Behar from the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory. MSLED is working with WISSARD (Whillans Ice Stream Subglacial Access Research Drilling) and will be the first instrument to explore a subglacial lake outside of the borehole profile. MLSED is largely funded by the National Science Foundation with contributions from JPL and ASU. This project is largely operated by under graduate students designing and building micro submarines to explore the lakes that have been under the ice for hundreds of thousands of years. Project Overview

Kepler's Exoplanets Visualized Super-Earths? Hot-Jupiters? Habitable zones, sun-like stars, Earth-like planets? 1.5 carat meal: Man swallows diamond in Sri Lanka COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — A man visiting a gem exhibition in Sri Lanka's capital swallowed a 1.5 carat diamond in front of the owner and was taken by police to a hospital, where an X-ray showed the $13,000 stone inside him. Exhibitor Suresh Wijekoon said the man was behaving suspiciously at his stalls and when he reached closer to the suspect, the man suddenly swallowed the diamond at his hand before Suresh alerted police at the exhibition venue. Chou Wan, a 32-year-old from China, is in custody pending further investigation, police spokesman Ajith Rohana said. An X-ray proved the diamond was inside Chou's body, said hospital director Dr. Anil Jasinghe at Colombo National, where the suspect was taken for the test.

11 of the Weirdest Solutions to the Fermi Paradox Most people take it for granted that we have yet to make contact with an extraterrestrial civilization. Trouble is, the numbers don’t add up. Our Galaxy is so old that every corner of it should have been visited many, many times over by now. Colonization of Mars An artist's conception of a human Mars base, with a cutaway revealing an interior horticultural area The colonization of Mars refers to the concept of humans setting out to live permanently on Mars. Originally a science fiction idea, it is now the subject of serious feasibility studies.

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