Russia's future space plans

First let me apologize... I haven't done a This Week in Space for a bit... I'll do one soon, probably.

Leaked documents from the Russian space agency Roscosmos reveal what the country has planned for the next 18 years of its space program. The ambitious list includes multiple permanent research stations on Mars, probes exploring Venus and Jupiter, and a manned Moon landing.

Russia plans to send probes to Jupiter and Venus, land a network of unmanned stations on Mars and ferry Russian cosmonauts to the surface of the Moon — all by 2030.

Read more HERE

My plan for Venus

Culture a ton of that, load it onto a rocket with a dispersal system and disperse it into the atmosphere.
Better yet, set up a moon base for manufacturing rockets and helium 3 (in the soil, great rocket fuel) and send one ever 1-2 months for a decade or two, then go out to the asteroid belt and mine a ton more raw materials and get an automated production facility pumping out rockets full of that extremophile and just keep hurling them at venus... it'll eat up all the co2, and generate absurd amounts of bio-fuel... just collecting on the surface until the co2 is considerably reduced and you can just land.
Better yet, find/engineer one that eats up the carbon and just releases oxygen.... It'd be a super oxygen rich environment after a while (you'd have to do it way past the 20% that Earth has because you'd need to reduce the pressure and subsequent temperature the CO2 is making but meh)... Venus is 96.5% co2 and only 3.5% where Earth is 78% nitrogen 20.95% oxygen and CO2 is only .03% so you probably could go colonize it BUT if you could reduce the pressure and heat I'm sure there are depoits of all the ores you'd find on earth you'd need for construction. Also deuterium and hydrogen in the atmosphere in greater quantities than here.
Generate the oxygen, combine with hydrogen... water. Set up work colonies, mine, refine, fabricate metals and parts you could launch into orbit using oxygen rockets or even biofuel. Lots of sulfuric acid so you can make fertilizers for the work colonies also use it in production of explosives for the mining operations.
It'd give us excellent skill with working on a foreign planet, not to mention give us materials (while of course we are mining the asteroid belt too, more material out there than 100, hell 1000 earth's)... then I'm sure you find something in the soil you could convert to nitrogen and turn it into Earth 2 (if in fact Earth isn't Venus 2)... Mars will never be an option as the atmosphere is just gone.
As we continue to mine stuff in the asteroid field and work towards FTL propulsion or at least near speed of light (which we can already due with nukes, look at Project Orion)... we'd have materials to build massive ships, probes, sattelites etc to start spreading around our solar system and sending out of it. Not to mention we could jsut produce giant ships in orbit near Earth and the Moon, near Venus and Mars that could be life boats, as well as look like a giant navy in the event hostile ET's show up and see these massive ships parked around the planets that might make them think twice about attacking us (we could also load them with massive projectiles made from mined asteroids as massive impact weapons to use against invading enemies like in the Lost Fleet Series)...

This week in space

New super-earth detected within the habitable zone of a nearby star

Too bad it's 22 light years away and not say 3 or 4. Project Orion could get us there well within an acceptable amount of time if it was 3-4, but nooo no one wants to do it.

An international team of scientists has discovered a potentially habitable super-Earth orbiting a nearby star. With an orbital period of about 28 days and a minimum mass 4.5 times that of the Earth, the planet orbits within the star’s “habitable zone,” where temperatures are neither too hot nor too cold for liquid water to exist on the planet’s surface. The researchers found evidence of at least one and possibly two or three additional planets orbiting the star, which is about 22 light-years from Earth.

Read more HERE


Russia sets its sights on the moon for 2020

Good, now lets start a cold war with them again so we go back too! I swear, war is the only way we will achieve more space exploration via governments, fortunately private space industry is growing ever day.

Looks like Republican Presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich might have some competition if he wants to be the first to build a base on the Moon. Last week, the Russian Space Agency Roscosmos announced plans to put a man on the Moon by the end of the decade with a lunar base as its next step.  

Read more HERE


Classic portrait of a barred spiral galaxy

Here is your beautiful photo for the week.

The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has taken a picture of the barred spiral galaxy NGC 1073, which is found in the constellation of Cetus (The Sea Monster). Our own galaxy, the Milky Way, is a similar barred spiral, and the study of galaxies such as NGC 1073 helps astronomers learn more about our celestial home.

Read more HERE

This week in space

AVIATR: An Airplane Mission for Titan

It upsets me greatly that we won't be sending a mission there in the next decade with a plane, the plane would likely be able to stay aloft for months and gather all kinds of data. Oh well, as long as we have idiots deciding what we do this will continue to happen

It has been said that the atmosphere on Titan is so dense that a person could strap a pair of wings on their back and soar through its skies.

Read more HERE


Should we terraform Mars?

Yes, we should. It would provide insurance in our own Solar System for the human race. We need a domed colony on the moon, we need a colony on Mars, and we need to escape the solar system if we want to ensure our future. Supernova, alien invasion, all sorts of things can end the existence of humans as long as we remain only on Earth.

As we continue to explore farther out into our solar system and beyond, the question of habitation or colonization inevitably comes up. Manned bases on the Moon or Mars for example, have long been a dream of many. There is a natural desire to explore as far as we can go, and also to extend humanity’s presence on a permanent or at least semi-permanent basis. In order to do this, however, it is necessary to adapt to different extreme environments. On the Moon for example, a colony must be self-sustaining and protect its inhabitants from the airless, harsh environment outside.

Read more HERE


Twin Grail spacecraft reunite in lunar orbit

I'm glad these two made it safely to their destination and are ready to start collecting what will be a fantastic amount of data! A couple more months and we will start getting all sorts of info from them!

The second of NASA's two Gravity Recovery And Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) spacecraft has successfully completed its planned main engine burn and is now in lunar orbit. Working together, GRAIL-A and GRAIL-B will study the moon as never before.

Read more HERE


Space Image: Fastest rotating star found in neighboring galaxy

Rotating a million times an hour... that just makes me dizzy!

The massive, bright young star, called VFTS 102, rotates at a million miles per hour, or 100 times faster than our sun does.

Read more HERE


Space Image: Ring of fire

I fell in to a burning ring of fire...

This composite image shows the central region of the spiral galaxy NGC 4151. X-rays (blue) from the Chandra X-ray Observatory are combined with optical data (yellow) showing positively charged hydrogen (H II) from observations with the 1-meter Jacobus Kapteyn Telescope on La Palma. The red ring shows neutral hydrogen detected by radio observations with the NSF's Very Large Array. This neutral hydrogen is part of a structure near the center of NGC 4151 that has been distorted by gravitational interactions with the rest of the galaxy, and includes material falling towards the center of the galaxy. The yellow blobs around the red ellipse are regions where star formation has recently occurred.

Read more HERE

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

Moon 9-12-11

More lunar photography added to my MOON ALBUM links to the larger version in the ablum below each photo. Navigate to their individual page and click the photo on that page to see a larger version, or click the thumbnails below for the 100% full size image then when the larger image opens save it to your computer as you can't scroll in the photo viewer that the thumbnails launch. Yeah, I know it's complicated but deal with it!!!

Today in Space

Wind delays NASA launch of twin moon spacecraft

I hope this thing launch happens tomorrow, this mission should give us more awesome data of the moon.

High wind forced NASA on Thursday to delay the launch of twin spacecraft destined for the moon, the first mission dedicated to measuring lunar gravity.

See the rest HERE


Kepler spacecraft discovers 'invisible world'

Kepler has been hard at work finding cool stuff, this is yet another cool find... let's just hope it's another planet that made it 'late' and not something more sinister

Usually, running five minutes late is a bad thing since you might lose your dinner reservation or miss out on tickets to the latest show. But when a planet runs five minutes late, astronomers get excited because it suggests that another world is nearby.

Read more about it HERE


Space image: The Moon's North pole


I love it, it's kinda trippy, I want to print it on a disc and spin it haha

The Earth's moon has been an endless source of fascination for humanity for thousands of years. When at last Apollo 11 landed on the moon's surface in 1969, the crew found a desolate, lifeless orb, but one which still fascinates scientist and non-scientist alike.

Read more about it HERE

Earth's second moon

Earth may once have had a tiny second moon that was destroyed when it crashed into the other, larger moon, according to a new study.

Erik Ausphaug of UC Santa Cruz and Martin Jutzi at the University of Bern, Switzerland, say that the second moon was around 750 miles wide, and had only 4% of the primary moon’s mass.

The second moon may have sat in the Earth’s orbit at a Trojan point where the gravity of the Earth and the Moon balance out to keep objects relatively stable. (note One of the Earth’s two Trojan points is now occupied by a recently-discovered asteroid, read about it HERE)

Go read about it HERE