Scientists Perplexed By Deep-Space Explosions

Iinternational astronomers have detected four interstellar explosions, known as Fast Radio Bursts (FRBs), above the plane of our Milky Way Galaxy. They last only a few thousandths of a second and send powerful signals billions of light years.

Principal investigator Dan Thornton of the University of Manchester in England said, “These bursts gave off more energy in a millisecond than the sun does in 300,000 years,”

Using the CSIRO Parkes radio telescope in Australia the team spotted 4 new sources across the sky. Ranging up to 10 billion light-years away. To put that in perspective, the universe is only 13.8 billion years old, so some of these bursts have taken nearly the entire history of the universe to get to our planet.

Check out the full article with a bunch more info at space.com

Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo Rocket Test

Virgin Galactic has successfully tested their SpaceShipTwo rocket. While there hasn’t been much news about them the past couple years what with SpaceX and the like stealing the thunder with the cargo contracts with NASA, Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipOne actually won the Ansari X Prize worth $10 Million for the first privately developed piloted spacecraft.

What does all this mean you may ask? Well this is one of the biggest milestones in the long and hard path for Virgin Galactic to begin providing commercial suborbital service from Spaceport America in New Mexico.

If anyone wants to take notes now, I will accept a paid trip on a Virgin Galactic flight as a present. Just sayin’.

 

Check out full article and a few videos on space.com

NASA To Shell Out For Ramped Up U.S. Plutonium Production

Space.com reported the other day that in a new agreement NASA will now foot the entire bill to ramp up our Plutonium-238 production. Originally the bill was going to split between the U.S. Energy Department and NASA, however as NASA is the only expected user of the Pu-238 they’ve been told they’ll now foot the entire bill.

Now this may not seem like too big of a deal but keep in mind, that we as a country, have not produced any Pu-238 in over 25 years. Now this is not used for bombs, it’s the wrong type of fuel, Pu-238 is used to fuel deep space probes (Voyager 1 and 2), and even some long running rovers (Curiosity).

Since the U.S. stopped producing it’s own, we’ve been getting our Pu-238 from Russia. Our last shipment was in 2010 and we’re starting to run out. Add to this that NASA is being tasked with getting deeper and deeper into space, we’ll need more Plutonium-238 sooner rather than later. This restart will cost an estimated $75 million to $90 million.

Read the rest of the story here.

What Might Alien Life Look Like on New ‘Water World’ Planets?

Space.com has an article about a few planets that were announced that are in the ‘habitable zone’ of the star, which is the area that’s just far enough from the star to be able to contain liquid water. The planets were discovered by the Kepler Space Telescope and are called Kepler-62e and Kepler-62f. Unfortunately the system is over 1200 light-years away which means we won’t be going there anytime soon.

Based on computer models the systems may be covered in continuous oceans, meaning that they’re the best chance of extraterrestrial life.

Check out the article here.