Seriously Amazing Science 2 (links)

A post at Centauri Dreams suggest that instead of building very large interstellar probes (and their inherent logistic problems), we could look into building a swarm of very small ones. There are probably a whole bunch of story indeas incorporated in this very interesting post.

This coming Friday, 5 August, the Juno spacecraft takes off for a mission to Jupiter. Believe it or not, there are Lego figures aboard. One can only wonder at what the aliens (or future humans) are going to think when they find it. As aside here is a picture of the Lego figures in question.

New dwarf planets and other objects continue to be discovered in the vicinity of Pluto.

Astrobiology Magazine examines the influence of the absence or presence of a moon on a planet’s stability.

Scientists announce they have found signs of liquid water on Mars. Watch this space. There have already been models that suggest that in small micro-environments liquid water could exist on Mars. We may well find it sooner rather than later.

And this is just too silly to be true, but it seems it is: a man builds a nuclear reactor in his kitchen. Somewhere on my hard drive, I have a story about some Ethiopian thugs cobbling together a fusion reactor that ends up working a little bit better than they expect. I shelved it a while ago as being ‘too stupid’. Maybe it’s time to pull it out again…

Seriously Amazing Science (links)

Here is a new series which I’ll use to post fascinating science-related links I come across on the internet.

First of all, consider this image of a giant space squid

Secondly, this article about the Moon is rather long, but not overly scientific. About two-thirds down, it says “the Moon may still have a molten outer core”. Wow, just wow. I don’t know if there is a geologist in the house who can tell us about how, failing drilling in the surface, we can determine how warm a planet is at what depth, but it would be amazing to discover that the Moon is not as cold and dead as we thought.

Also an article on the future of manned (peopled?) space flight

Added to the above link, history is being made sooner, rather than later, with private space flight edging close.

Recently, astronomers have discovered trojan asteroids in Earth orbit. Trojans are objects that share the same orbit as their ‘host’ body, usually at a gravitationally stable point, such as the L4 and L5 Lagrange points. Because they share the same orbit as Earth without even being in danger of colliding with it, they are extremely hard to detect, because they’re near the Sun when seen from Earth, and you only get a bit of time after sunset or pre-dawn to observe them. It’s also thought that the Lagrange points are collection points for various items of natural space junk, and people have long been talking about sending missions there. That may happen since we now know there is something hanging around there for us to investigate.