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Posts Tagged ‘space’

Risk of asteroid hitting Earth is ten times higher than we thought

November 7, 2013 Comments off

gizmodo.com

This is frightening. Nature just published a study by astronomers who have reanalyzed and recalculated the estimate of asteroids that could hit Earth and it’s a lot worse than we thought. Ten times worse.

As in, researchers are now saying we are 10 times more likely to get struck by an asteroid than before. As in, scientists are saying we need to improve our early warning systems. As in, yikes.

Here’s the thing. Researchers have always had a fairly decent track record in spotting humungous asteroids that might hit Earth. That’s because NASA previously only looked for space rock 100 feet wide and bigger. But in the aftermath of the meteorite that exploded over Russia, they’re beginning to realize that smaller asteroids are still insanely powerful and damaging and desperately need to be kept track of too.

For example, the meteorite in Russia was only 62 feet wide but still exploded over Read more…

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Categories: astronomy Tags: , , ,

Hubble sees the fireball from a kilonova

August 7, 2013 Comments off

earthsky.org

NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has detected a new kind of stellar blast called a kilonova that’s about 1,000 times brighter than a regular nova.

A kilonova happens when a pair of compact objects such as neutron stars crash together. Hubble observed the fading fireball from a kilonova last month, following a short gamma ray burst (GRB) in a galaxy almost 4 billion light-years from Earth.

These Hubble images show the fireball afterglow of Gamma-ray Burst 130603B. Image credit: NASA, ESA, N. Tanvir (University of Leicester), A. Fruchter (STScI), and A. Levan (University of Warwick)

In the image at left, the galaxy in the center produced the gamma-ray burst, designated GRB 130603B. The galaxy resides almost 4 billion light-years away. A probe of the galaxy with Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3 on June 13, 2013, revealed a glow in near-infrared light at the source of the gamma-ray burst, shown in the Read more…

Categories: astronomy Tags: , ,

China Dominating Orbital Space

February 13, 2013 Comments off

strategypage.com

February 13, 2013:  This year China expects to launch 20 satellites and by the end of the decade have 200 satellites in orbit (about a fifth of the total and nearly half as many as the United States). At that point China expects to be launching 30 satellites a year and accounting for over a quarter of the worldwide launch capability. All this momentum has been the result of a quarter century of effort and an enormous spurt of activity in the last two years. In the two decades after 1990 China has carried out 30 commercial satellite launches, putting 36 satellites in orbit. Now China puts that many satellites up in 18 months.

China’s main satellite launcher, the “Long March” rocket, is based on Russian designs, meaning it is simple, cheap and reliable. This has made China a major player in the satellite launching business. China competes on price. The U.S. Space Shuttle was retired because it was the most expensive way get stuff into orbit. Satellites sent up via the Read more…

Categories: China Tags: , ,

Disintegrating Alien Planet Has Comet-Like Tail

September 5, 2012 Comments off

space.com

A potential alien planet that is so close to its parent star that it appears to be disintegrating from the scorching heat was recently found by a team of astronomers. The planetary candidate is only slightly larger than the planet Mercury, and researchers estimate that it is shedding so much material that it could completely disintegrate within 100 million years.

Astronomers at NASA and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) detected the tiny planet, which is located roughly 1,500 light-years away, using data from the planet-hunting Kepler mission. As the possible planet evaporates, researchers theorize that it is followed by a trail of dust and debris, similar to the tail of a comet.

The dusty planet circles its host star once every 15 hours, which indicates that the star, named KIC 12557548, likely heats the planet to blistering temperatures of about 3,600 degrees Fahrenheit (1,982 degrees Celsius). The researchers hypothesize that under these conditions, the Read more…

Categories: astronomy Tags: ,

China’s Space Advances Worry US Military

February 29, 2012 1 comment

space.com

Video still showing China's Shenzhou 8 spacecraft docked with the Tiangong 1 lab module on Nov. 3, 2011. Video still showing China’s Shenzhou 8 spacecraft docked with the Tiangong 1 lab module on Nov. 3, 2011.
CREDIT: China Central Television

The rise of China’s space program may pose a potentially serious military threat to the United States down the road, top American intelligence officials contend.

China continues to develop technology designed to destroy or disable satellites, which makes the United States and other nations with considerable on-orbit assets nervous. Even Beijing’s ambitious human spaceflight plans are cause for some concern, since most space-technology advances could have military applications, officials say.

“The space program, including ostensible civil projects, supports China’s growing ability to Read more…

China preparing for space warfare

February 24, 2012 Comments off

freebeacon.com

Army Lt. Gen. Ronald L. Burgess, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, disclosed new details of China’s space weapons programs last week, including information regarding China’s anti-satellite missiles and cyber warfare capabilities.

Burgess stated in little-noticed written testimony prepared for an appearance before the Senate Armed Services Committee that Beijing is developing missiles, electronic jammers, and lasers for use against satellites.

Much of the space warfare activity is being carried out under the guise of China’s supposedly non-military space program, he said.

“The space program, including ostensible civil projects, supports China’s growing ability to deny or degrade the space assets of potential adversaries and enhances China’s conventional military capabilities,” Burgess said.

“China operates satellites for Read more…

Space nuclear bomb attack on Britain ‘quite likely’

February 23, 2012 Comments off

theweek 

MPs warn that cities could become very difficult to live in if we are attacked with an EMP weapon

BY Tim Edwards A SPACE-BASED nuclear attack on Britain is “quite likely”, according to a Conservative MP. Such an explosion would create an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) which would knock out electrical systems and make it very difficult to live in cities.

The warning follows the publication of a report by the Defence Select Committee which urges the government to take seriously the threat to infrastructure such as the national grid, GPS satellites and communication networks from EMPs and naturally occurring solar flares. The electromagnetic radiation from such events can Read more…