Life, Unbounded

Life, Unbounded

Discussion and news about planets, exoplanets, and astrobiology

  • Does a Multiverse Fermi Paradox Disprove the Multiverse?

    Does a Multiverse Fermi Paradox Disprove the Multiverse?

    By Caleb A. Scharf | June 23, 2015 |

    Having just orbited our way through another summer solstice, it feels like time to let slip some more speculative ideas before the hot days of the northern hemisphere shorten too much again and rational thinking returns. So, grasping a fruity alcoholic beverage in one hand, consider the following thought experiment. […]

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  • Dissolving Surface May Form Titan's Lakes

    Dissolving Surface May Form Titan's Lakes

    By Caleb A. Scharf | June 22, 2015 |

    Titan's lakes of methane and ethane are some of the most impressive discoveries from the Cassini mission. Although it had long been suspected that Titan could operate a hydrocarbon equivalent of Earth's hydrological cycle (evaporation, condensation, rain-out and accumulation of liquids), it wasn't until Cassini's radar mapping that we knew there were indeed bodies of surface liquid on this distant moon. […]

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  • There's Methane in Them Thar Martian Rocks!

    There's Methane in Them Thar Martian Rocks!

    By Caleb A. Scharf | June 17, 2015 |

    You can be forgiven for not necessarily associating the word "Mars" with the word "methane". After all, one of these is a 700,000,000,000,000,000,000 ton rocky planet circling our parent star. The other is a simple organic molecule that sometimes helps generate the hot water for your tea, or wafts across you when a cow belches in your face...if such things are part of your daily life. […]

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  • The Pluto Punch-Through

    The Pluto Punch-Through

    By Caleb A. Scharf | June 8, 2015 |

    On July 14th 2015 NASA's New Horizons spacecraft finally reaches Pluto. But the encounter is brief. During the span of just a few hours, the mission will punch through the principle plane of the Plutonian system - containing the orbits of its currently identified set of five companion moons . […]

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  • 1,776 Portraits of a Comet

    1,776 Portraits of a Comet

    By Caleb A. Scharf | May 29, 2015 |

    How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. Between the 23rd of September and the 21st of November 2014 ESA's Rosetta mission made its closest orbital passes of Comet 67-P/C-G, coming to within 8 km of the surface during and after Philae's plucky landing sequence. […]

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  • Crazy, Wonderful Spacecraft Orbits

    Crazy, Wonderful Spacecraft Orbits

    By Caleb A. Scharf | May 26, 2015 |

    Over the years humans have deployed spacecraft into some wild, wacky and extremely clever orbital configurations to better study the cosmos. From a really long way away, the gravitational field of our solar system -  due to the combined mass of a modest star and an assortment of planets and billions of small chunks - reduces to a near perfect symmetry. […]

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  • Just Another Cloudy Morning on a Hot Exoplanet

    Just Another Cloudy Morning on a Hot Exoplanet

    By Caleb A. Scharf | May 19, 2015 |

    NASA’s Kepler mission has provided a treasure trove of stellar ‘Big Data’ that continues to yield marvelous results. Now a new study , to be published in The Astrophysical Journal by Esteves et al., is providing some remarkable clues to the characteristics of planets on very short orbits around their stars. […]

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  • Salty, Alkaline Curtains are Erupting from Enceladus – and That’s Good

    By Caleb A. Scharf | May 7, 2015 |

    (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech) Two new studies hint at a richer picture of what’s happening on Saturn’s extraordinary icy moon Enceladus. At about 500 kilometers in diameter, Enceladus is a diminutive natural satellite. But when it comes to scientific discovery it punches way, way above its size. […]

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  • Rosetta Captures Stunning New Images of Comet’s Surface and Activity

    By Caleb A. Scharf | April 27, 2015 |

    Comet surface at 1.7 meter/pixel resolution (Credit: ESA/Rosetta/NAVCAM - CC BY-SA IGO 3.0) What happens when you make a low-level flyby of a cometary nucleus? You get jaw-dropping images. The above 2-shot mosaic of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko was taken by ESA’s Rosetta orbiter at an effective altitude of just 19.9 kilometers. […]

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  • NASA Goes Big and Bold for Exoplanet Science

    By Caleb A. Scharf | April 24, 2015 |

    The NASA vision for its Nexus for Exoplanet System Science - who knows what the kite-flyers signify...but it's uplifting(Credit: NASA)                   A United States federal agency is not necessarily the first place you think of when it comes to answering some of the deepest existential questions for our species. […]

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