Category: space

5 Spectacular Space Discoveries in Five Years

Earth is an amazing place. It’s filled with different people, cultures, cities, towns and countries, and it’s home to millions of species of wildlife like algae. While Earth is largely a source of amazement, with new things being discovered on a regular basis, the planets, suns and stars encompassing it are equally as exciting. They too, are involved in major discoveries.

Therefore, it’s important to shine the spotlight on the many new discoveries that have been made in the last five years. So, what has been happening while we go about our daily lives here on Earth?

Proxima B was discovered

Approximately 4.2 light years from Earth’s sun lies a star called Proxima Centauri. While this star has been known to exist for many years, a planet surrounding that star has just been discovered. Aptly named Proxima B, it has a mass of around 1.27 times Earth’s mass, and there’s every possibility life exists on it.

From this discovery, a group called Project Blue began fundraising for a space telescope in order to study Proxima B in much finer detail. The ultimate goal is to look for signs of life.

From this fundraising effort, Breakthrough Foundation which is headed by people such as Stephen Hawking and Mark Zuckerberg, launched an initiative called Breakthrough Starshot. The goal is to now not only look for signs of life, but to send a spacecraft the size of a microchip to Proxima B for a better look.

Ice deposit discovered on Mars

There has always been a possibility that eventually Mars could be habitable, but a new discovery has made that more possible than ever. Last year, an ice deposit comparable in size to the size of New Mexico was discovered in the mid-northern latitudes of Mars. It sits approximately 3-33 feet below the surface, and is made up of 50-85 percent water. It’s similar in volume to Lake Superior, and could prove useful if humans decided to inhabit the red planet.

Juno visits Jupiter

While it hasn’t provided any major breakthroughs, the news that NASA’s spacecraft Juno made it to Jupiter last year was music to the ears of many. Settling into orbit, Juno now approaches Jupiter every 53 days, providing stunning pictures with every rotation.

Human colonies to be built on Mars

It’s an exciting yet scary thought – relocating to Mars. Imagine telling your friends and family you’re moving ‘out of state’, only to buy a one-way ticket to Mars instead? Ask Elon Musk!

That could soon be the reality. SpaceX plans to build human colonies on Mars, with a sample collection mission to take place first in 2020. In fact, they even intend on sending unmanned landers to the surface of Mars by as early as 2018!

Ice volcanoes discovered on planet Ceres

You’ve heard of volcanoes spouting lava, but have you heard of ice volcanos? You have now. NASA’s Dawn spacecraft discovered cryovolcanoes could exists at the bottom of many craters on the small planet of Ceres. These volcanoes may spout ice and mud instead of lava.

Earth is an amazing place, but with major discoveries still being made about the planets surrounding us, it seems like we’re only just scratching the surface!

Space Algae ready For Travel to Colonize New Worlds?

Algae is known for its toughness and able to handle extreme weather on earth.  The toughest of all algae or from the areas of the Arctic were the weather is unfulfilling.  It is known as a photosynthesis type organism and produces over 70% to 90% of the world’s oxygen.  Another interesting fact is that there are over 20,000 different types of algae.

Recently, scientists took two hardy species of Arctic  algae and brought it on board the International Station in space.  The algae spent 16 months not from the inside of the space station, but out side the space station.  It was basically literally in space.  After over 500 days, the algae returned back to earth and was further study by scientist.

algae example – Not ones sent to space

Some of the interesting facts was that it was able to withstand the intense energy from space radiation and on top of a that handled temperatures that fluctuated from minus 20°C and upwards to 47°C.  Also take into account it was in the space vacuum as some would call it.  The algae was able to two continue its growth and behaved like normal algae when it was back on earth.  The next step is for scientists to further see if there is any damages done to their DNA of both specimen.  From further reading, it seems that the algae was first dehydrated and then was launched onto the station.

Overall the algae was kept at a low metabolic state and basically didn’t grow.  In other words it was in a dormant state capable of surviving in space.  The purpose of the study was to demonstrate that organisms from Earth could withstand space by just being bare.  It also provides the case of meteorites are the spawn of creation.