from the urls-we-dig-up dept
People have been looking up into the sky for centuries, wondering what’s out there and if we’re alone on this world. Astronomers, more recently, have been looking into deep space with some relatively high-tech equipment — finding some strangely inexplicable phenomena (that could be alien megastructures?!) and still wondering if we’re alone in the universe. We may never know for sure if intelligent life exists anywhere else, but it doesn’t hurt to look, does it?
- The Breakthrough Prize Foundation is aiming to shoot lasers at a light-propelled nanocraft that could reach Alpha Centauri in a few decades (instead of millennia). This lightsail spacecraft would have a mass of just a few grams, so it could be accelerated to speeds of 100 million miles per hour — much faster than any existing spacecraft we’ve ever built (like Voyager I zipping away at about 38,500 mph). [url]
- The Kepler space telescope has gotten plenty of headlines for finding thousands of exoplanets, but the far lesser-known TRAPPIST (TRAnsiting Planets and PlanetesImals Small Telescope) in Belgium is also finding some exoplanets, too. The TRAPPIST telescope is stuck on the ground (unlike KST), but it’s looking at a few dozen ultracool dwarf stars and has found 3 planets orbiting a star that’s just 0.05 percent as bright as our Sun. [url]
- Kepler 36b and Kepler 36c are two exoplanets orbiting the same star which could possibly harbor some kind of microbial life (but probably not). Still, it’s an interesting question whether or not life — if it exists on either Kepler 36b or 36c — could be transferred to its neighboring planet. (Though maybe we should focus on looking at Venus and Mars first….) [url]
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Filed Under: alien megastructures, aliens, astrobiology, astronomy, breakthrough prize foundation, et, exoplanets, extraterrestrial life, kepler space telescope, life, lightsail, nanocraft, seti, spacecraft, telescopes, trappist