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Posts Tagged "venus"

Life, Unbounded

NASA Goes Big and Bold for Exoplanet Science

The NASA vision for its Nexus for Exoplanet System Science (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. Yet over the last half-century this is precisely where some of the greatest practical progress has been made. [...]

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Life, Unbounded

The Grand Texture of Planets

color_etopo1_ice_low

              In an idle moment, while staring at a set of solar system data, it occurred to me that it might be interesting to display a set of planetary surfaces on an equal footing, where the overall texture of these worlds was visible (although topography is probably a more [...]

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Life, Unbounded

Notes From The Frontier: Life’s Origins

(Credit: Wikipedia/Swollib)

I spent some of last week at a fascinating and lively symposium on the origins of life and the search for life in the universe, held at the Earth-Life Science Institute (ELSI) at the Tokyo Institute of Technology. To say that the science under discussion was broad in scope would be the understatement of the [...]

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Life, Unbounded

Snow, a Slowing Planet, and a Last Dangerous Dance with Venus

20140516_Venus_Express_aerobraking_f537

                In about a month’s time, the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Venus Express spacecraft will adjust its orbit and dip into the outer venusian atmosphere. This hypervelocity skimming will allow scientists to not only obtain a little more data on Venus’s atmosphere, but to also learn more about [...]

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Life, Unbounded

Venus was Just the Beginning: The Science of Planetary Transits

transit_cartoon.001

Are you sick of reading about the transit of Venus this year? Yes? Me too. But the fact is that when astrophysical objects move between us and something else, like the convenient blaze of a star, there is an extraordinary amount that can be learned. I won’t go far into the delights of a venusian [...]

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Observations

Where to Watch the Transit of Venus

1882 Transit of Venus

Today offers a final opportunity for 21st century stargazers to observe a transit of Venus. For those of you who forgot to bring your telescope to work today, we’ve got a guide for viewing the transit both indoors and outside. DIY Viewing If the weather is cooperating and you’ve got your pinhole projector in hand, you [...]

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Observations

Forget Asteroids—Send a Manned Flyby Mission to Venus

Wikimedia Commons NASA/Image processing by R. Nunes

  Recently, I received a press release from the American Museum of Natural History on their excellent exhibit about the future of space exploration. I did a quick word search: “Mars” got 14 hits; “asteroid” 12; “moon/lunar” 11; “Europa” and “Jupiter” a total of four. A check of “Venus” came up empty. Considering that all [...]

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Observations

Japanese space agency set to make history with launch of the solar-sailing IKAROS probe

IKAROS solar sail

The Japanese space agency is preparing to launch what could become the first spacecraft to sail across the solar system on sunlight. IKAROS (Interplanetary Kite-craft Accelerated by Radiation of the Sun), piggybacking on the launch of a Venus climate orbiter, is scheduled for a May 20 liftoff at 5:58 P.M., Eastern Daylight Time, according to [...]

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Observations

More evidence suggests Venus has recent volcanic activity

Volcano on Venus

Venus, the closest planet to Earth in both size and proximity, remains a source of considerable mystery. Its reflective clouds prevent a clear view of the planet, and for centuries little was known about its surface and inner workings. But radar and gravity data acquired in the past few decades by spacecraft such as NASA’s [...]

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