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Why Is an Atmosphere Lost over Time?

There are a lot of planetary atmospheres in the solar system. They vary a lot and this can be seen by comparing Earth and Venus which are of the same size and mass roughly, The surface of Venus is extremely hot which is caused by an atmosphere of carbon dioxide that has the weight of [...]

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Fancy Building and Then Getting Your Satellite Launched into Space?

A revolution in satellite engineering has started. As long as I can remember governments and corporations have been building expensive satellites and they just get more and more expensive with each new design. The cost rises because the satellites take longer to design, new launch facilities are needed, global monitoring stations must be built, mission [...]

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Carnival of Space 181

Lots of links from astronomy and space blogs including a little science.

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Identifying Exoplanets by Their Dust Tails

Are we losing the Sahara to space? No, is the simple answer to that. The Earth has a trail of dust behind it but the dust is interstellar dust which is already present in the solar system. This interplanetary dust comes from the fragments of comets and asteroids that have collided. As the Earth travels [...]

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What Are Pulsars?

What is a pulsar? As its name suggests it is an object that emits regular pulses of different types of radiation. Normally the pulses are detected as radio emissions but can be detected in the visual wavelengths, x-ray wavelengths and gamma ray wavelengths. Pulsars are neutron stars that have different characteristics to a neutron star. [...]

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How Did the Earth Get It’s Water?

How did the Earth come to possess water? Did some alien ship have too much and dump it or is there some simpler explanation? Through a process that lasted millions of years the Earth was made from a cloud of dust and gas. At the later stages of formation the Earth was an extremely hot [...]

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Actual and Artist Images of Exoplanets

Extrasolar planets or for short exoplanets have been found in orbit around many different star systems other than ours. Exoplanets are being found all the time but take a look at this database of exoplanets for an idea on their characteristics. An actual image has been shot sometime back of an exoplanet but as you [...]

aliens

Where Should We Look for Alien Artefacts?

There is a problem with our approach at the moment when looking for alien civilisations. SETI looks for signals that are sent by the electromagnetic spectrum and their are a lot of frequencies to search. If you pair this with the size of the universe you can see how SETI is really looking for a [...]

aliens

How to Talk to Aliens

Lots of signals have gone into space such as TV, radar and radio. The signals have been betraying our presence for 60 years and have passed over about 6000 star systems and are reaching new systems every day. This would seem to be enough, even though we haven’t received anything back yet, but what if [...]

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Preventing Contamination from Reaching Planetary Bodies and from Contaminating the Earth

We have been looking for alien life elsewhere in the universe for quite awhile now. Mars has been the main focus of attention and it looks like in the future Europa and Titan will also attract a lot of attention. But how do we know that what we have found is alien life and that [...]

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Viking’s Search For Life on Mars Leaves Echos

The first mission to Mars that was to make a successful landing consisted of Viking 1 and Viking 2. It was an exciting mission with the orbiter picking landing spots for the lander to make a landing. Both spacecraft launched in 1975. They both made a successful landing and have lasted for about six years [...]

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How Did Those First Organic Molecules Get to Earth?

How did life start? You would be talking to a Nobel prize winner if I could tell you that. Unfortunately nobody knows. There are a few theories around and a few advances have been made in this field but I will talk about the one that is most widely accepted in scientific circles. The starting [...]

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The New Horizons Spacecraft Halfway to Pluto

The new Horizons spacecraft was launched in 2006 for a trip to Pluto and beyond. Unfortunately for this mission there is a little controversy about Pluto as you probably know. Pluto, to put a long story short, has been deemed a dwarf planet by the IAU and this doesn’t really suit the image that NASA [...]

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Kuiper Belt Discovery, Classification, Shape and Size.

The Kuiper belt is a region beyond Neptune that is full of comets, asteroids and other debris. It circles the solar system and has always been a little bit of a mystery as it is so far away and hard to explore. The inkling that the Kuiper belt existed first came from Kuiper and a [...]

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