This week in space

Russia eyes caves on moon for setting up a lunar base

Wait... you know what this reminds me of? This reminds me of 1901's First Man in the Moon story and 1964's First Man In The Moon film.

For the time being, it appears NASA has set aside any ambitions to return to the Moon with human missions. But Russia may consider sending cosmonauts to the lunar surface to set up a colony using natural caves and possible volcanic tunnels as protection from the harsh lunar environment.

Read more HERE


Record-breaking photo reveals a planet-sized object as cool as the Earth

Now the important question, do we start listening to it or do we start broadcasting?

The photo of a nearby star and its orbiting companion -- whose temperature is like a hot summer day in Arizona -- will be presented by Penn State Associate Professor of Astronomy and Astrophysics Kevin Luhman during the Signposts of Planets conference at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center on 20 October 2011. A paper describing the discovery will be published in the Astrophysical Journal.

Read more HERE


Youngest planet seen as it's forming

That's neat, that's all I really have to say about it.

The first direct image of a planet in the process of forming around its star has been captured by astronomers who combined the power of the 10-meter Keck telescopes with a bit of optical sleight of hand.

Read more HERE


Spitzer detects comet storm in nearby solar system

This is cool as it could add considerable amounts of water to planets in the system, similar to the article just below this.

NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has detected signs of icy bodies raining down in an alien solar system. The downpour resembles our own solar system several billion years ago during a period known as the "Late Heavy Bombardment," which may have brought water and other life-forming ingredients to Earth.

Read more HERE


Nearby planet-forming disk holds water for thousands of oceans

If you look back to some of my earlier installments of this week in space you'll find that a generally accepted theory for how planets get their water is from comets and similar bodies in space, now here we have evidence of a water disk that might be how the comets are created to start the process.

For the first time, astronomers have detected around a burgeoning solar system a sprawling cloud of water vapor that's cold enough to form comets, which could eventually deliver oceans to dry planets.

Read more HERE