Midnight In The Desert — satellites

NASA announces search for alien planets in solar system

Posted by K R on

NASA announces search for alien planets in solar system

The space agency's Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) has been delivered to its Kennedy Space Centre ahead of launch. Experts will send the ship hurtling through space in the hunt for exoplanets over a period of at least two years. The agency vowed to discover thousands of the new planets and will scan the new worlds for extraterrestrial life. "TESS is NASA's next step in the search for planets outside of our solar system, known as exoplanets, including those that could support life," the space agency reports. "The mission is expected to catalog thousands of planet candidates and vastly increase...

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Why Are People Freaking Out About These Boring SpaceX Satellites?

Posted by K R on

Why Are People Freaking Out About These Boring SpaceX Satellites?

SpaceX pulled off another successful launch today, lofting a set of new polar-orbiting satellites. By itself, this Falcon 9 launch isn't unique. It's the fifth SpaceX launch this year. The launch was far less pioneering than SpaceX's maiden flight of the more massive Falcon Heavy rocket (carrying a Tesla car and a mannequin called "Starman") in February. SpaceX did reuse one of its rockets for today's liftoff, but that's old hat by now for the space company, which started reusing rockets exactly a year ago. Yet, the new launch still generated worldwide attention. Why? The answer has to do with...

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Alien satellites might offer a new way to find E.T.

Posted by K R on

Alien satellites might offer a new way to find E.T.

By Seth Shostak It’s another scheme for finding the Romulans or the Borg — and it definitely has some advantages. The usual approach to looking for alien societies is to scan the skies for signals like radio transmissions or bright, flashing lasers. Either would tell us that someone’s out there. Lamentably, these schemes have a troublesome drawback: the need for synchronicity between the sender (aliens) and the receiver (us). What are the chances that, when our attention is directed to a particular planetary system, their transmitters are aimed our way? It’s like two pairs of eyes meeting across a crowded...

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Start-up accused of launching mini satellites without permission

Posted by K R on

Start-up accused of launching mini satellites without permission

A Silicon Valley start-up has been accused of sending four tiny satellites into orbit without permission. If it did so, this would be the first ever unauthorised satellite launch, and it could put other larger satellites in danger. The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which regulates commercial satellites from US companies, made the accusation in an email exchange with Sara Spangelo, CEO of Swarm Technologies, which was put online by IEEE Spectrum. The FCC had denied Swarm’s application for their “SpaceBee” satellites in December 2017. A manifest released by the Indian Space Research Organisation indicated that the tiny satellites were...

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Alien Satellites and Other Space Junk Could Help Us Find Extraterrestrial Intelligence

Posted by K R on

Alien Satellites and Other Space Junk Could Help Us Find Extraterrestrial Intelligence

Earth is surrounded by a giant bubble of space junk—but similar trash rings around other planets might be a clue as we go hunting for technologically advanced life beyond humans. That's according to a recent paper posted to the physics pre-print site arxiv.org. Its author, Héctor Socas-Navarro, spends most of his time at the Canary Islands Institute of Astrophysics in Spain studying the sun. But he was struck by a weird side effect of the ring of active and retired satellites circling Earth: it's a little bit opaque. And the more satellites we throw up there, the more opaque it...

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