Tag Archives | Space Exploration

Patent Issued For Space Elevator

An elevator to space has long been dreamed of, but now a Canadian company has been granted a patent for just such an elevator, suggesting that it may become a reality. CBC has the details:

Pembroke, Ont.-based Thoth Technology has patented an inflatable tower that could carry a “space elevator” higher than passenger jets fly – and eventually into low-Earth orbit.

Photo: Thoth Technology, Inc.

Photo: Thoth Technology, Inc.


The patent, which has been granted in the U.K. and the U.S. so far, describes a tower with a space launch platform on top that could theoretically be built to more than 200 kilometres high, and reach into low Earth orbit.

It would be made of stacked rings of Kevlar cells inflated with hydrogen or helium to an extremely high pressure. An elevator could ride up the tower, carrying spacecraft, satellites and other goods to be launched into space – along with tourists looking for an extraordinary view.

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Welcome to the family, Pluto

Welcome to the family. Ben Gross/twitter, CC BY-SA

Welcome to the family. Ben Gross/twitter, CC BY-SA

What an amazing time for space exploration. The picture of the solar system from my childhood is now complete, as seen in this great family portrait produced by Ben Gross, a research fellow at the Chemical Heritage Foundation, and distributed via twitter.

I love this image because it shows each world in close-up, using some of the latest pictures from space exploration. As we celebrate seeing Pluto for the first time, it’s remarkable to think that this completes a 50 year task.

It has been NASA that has provided the first close-up views of all these worlds. Here’s the rundown:

  • Mercury: Mariner 10 (1973)
  • Venus: Mariner 2 (1962)
  • Mars: Mariner 4 (1965)
  • Jupiter: Pioneer 10 (1973)
  • Saturn: Pioneer 11 (1979)
  • Uranus: Voyager 2 (1985)
  • Neptune: Voyager 2 (1989) and
  • Pluto: New Horizons (2015)

But science never stays still. When New Horizons left Earth in January 2006, Pluto was a planet.… Read the rest

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You Are Here

Ellie Zolfagharifard and Ollie Gillman Via Daily Mail:

Dr Brent Tully made headlines earlier this year when he unveiled a road map of the universe with pathways between the Milky Way and 100,000 other far away galaxies.

Now the University of Hawaii professor is hoping to map out an even greater concentration of galaxies, known as the Shapley Supercluster, to help us better understand our place in the universe.

It’s a massive task. The Shapley Concentration is so huge that it is pulling our home supercluster, including us, toward the constellation Centaurus in the southern sky.

‘I don’t think the story is going to be close to well understood until our maps are encompassing the whole domain around the Shapley Concentration,’ Tully told Discover magazine.

The project would involve maps stretching to over a billion light-years.

‘It’s a huge job, but doable on a time-scale of decades,’ said the University of Hawaii professor.

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Porn in the Final Frontier: Sexploration

Screen shot 2015-06-11 at 2.05.04 PM
Who: Pornhub.

The Goal: Make a sextape in space.

Pornhub has launched an Indiegogo campaign to crowdfund the first ever porno in space. Understandably, they need a hefty sum of $3,400,000 to send DP 2015 Winner, Eva Lovia, and the well-hung Johnny Sins to space where they will get-it-on for all of us voyeurs.

The campaign has perks ranging from $1 for a certificate to $150,000 for one of the two spacesuits complete with underwear. Meow.

These are high aspirations and the folks at Pornhub know it. Their campaign overview starts with a grandiose opener:

Without great explorers and adventurers, the world as we know it would be a completely different place. Be it by the discovery of new lands or even by way of industrial and cultural innovation, great minds and brave souls have forever changed the way that we see and experience the world. Columbus, Gallileo, Da Vinci, Edison and Ford, among others, have all physically and culturally helped shape the planet that we currently call home.

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The Land Grab In Space

The US has space experts worried about an extra-terrestrial land grab, reports Quartz (and lest you should think that’s a joke, first check out leading property sales firm Knight Frank’s Asteroid Index):

asteroid index

Plans to make money in space are missing one of the fundamental ingredients to any business: property rights.

If you go mine an asteroid, as several companies plan to do, and bring some minerals back to earth, can you sell them? If you build a moonbase, as entrepreneur Robert Bigelow is contemplating, and someone else wants to land a rocket there, what’s to stop them?

Asteroid miners eager to raise funds to raid space rocks—some of which are packed with minerals valued in the trillions of dollars—are faced with a legal code that was never meant to apply to private enterprise in space, since it was written well before it took anything less than the resources of a national government to get to orbit.

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This Is The International Flag Of Planet Earth

earth flag

Now that we’re planning missions to colonize other planets, Earth needs a flag, don’t you think? Oskar Pernefeldt, a student at Beckmans College of Design in Stockholm, has come up with this design for an International Flag of Planet Earth and it seems like it’s catching on if the positive media reaction is anything to go by. His website explains his rationale for the flag’s design:


The scientific study of flags is called vexillology, and the practice of designing flags is called vexillography. Both of these are an outcome of heraldry. In these practices there are different unofficial design rules/costums, about colors, placement, proportions, typography, and aestethics in general.

This proposal is accurate according to the regulations regarding flags.


Centered in the flag, seven rings form a flower – a symbol of the life on Earth. The rings are linked to each other, which represents how everything on our planet, directly or indirectly, are linked. 

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Neil deGrasse Tyson Says Space Ventures Will Spawn First Trillionaire

One can almost imagine TV scientist Neil deGrasse Tyson saying “Go into space, young man” as a latter day Horace Greeley. NBC News reports on his prediction that space pioneers will be the first trillionaires:

A passion for exploration is the fuel to an innovative economy, says astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson.

In an interview with CNBC’s On the Money, the host of the new National Geographic Channel show StarTalk — based on Tyson’s podcast and Sirius XM radio show of the same name — described the dynamic implications of scientific discovery.

“You have to innovate,” said Tyson, arguably the most famous astrophysicist in America. When “an engineer comes out with a new patent to take you to a place — intellectually, physically … that has never been reached before, those become the engines of tomorrow’s economy.”

When it comes to space innovation, many of the headlines about exploration beyond Earth have been generated by private enterprises like Elon Musk’s SpaceX, tech giant Google and even Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.

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Space travel may be bad for your brain – here’s why

I really hope this is the right flag. NASA/flickr, CC BY

I really hope this is the right flag. NASA/flickr, CC BY

Magdalena Ietswaart, University of Stirling and Paul Dudchenko, University of Stirling

There is bad news for those planning to go to Mars in the near future: a study in mice has suggested that radiation in space could cause cognitive decline in astronauts. However, we know from past research that mental, social and physical exercise can boost cognitive functions. With planned Mars missions moving ever closer, it might be be worth exploring activity as a way to counter radiation damage.

There are many hurdles to overcome to get to Mars. The obvious one, of course, is the amount of time it takes – about eight months. But for those brave enough to attempt such a journey, this may well be acceptable. What could be harder to accept, however, are the harmful galactic cosmic rays you’d be subjected to, produced by supernovae far away from Earth.… Read the rest

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Hubble Space Telescope: 25 Years Exploring the Cosmos

Hubble captured this mountain of dust and gas rising in the Carina Nebula. The top of a three-light-year tall pillar of cool hydrogen is being worn away by the radiation of nearby stars, while stars within the pillar unleash jets of gas that stream from the peaks. Photo by NASA, ESA, and M. Livio and the Hubble 20th Anniversary Team (STScI)

Hubble captured this mountain of dust and gas rising in the Carina Nebula. The top of a three-light-year tall pillar of cool hydrogen is being worn away by the radiation of nearby stars, while stars within the pillar unleash jets of gas that stream from the peaks. Photo by NASA, ESA, and M. Livio and the Hubble 20th Anniversary Team (STScI)

Jasmine Wright and Margaret Myers Via PBS.org:

Hubble’s contributions to space exploration are countless. Its images, explains Hubble Space Telescope Senior Project Scientist Jennifer Wiseman, have shown the first definitive detection of supermassive black holes at the centers of galaxies. They also have provided measurement of the expansion rate of the universe, and detection (along with ground-based telescopes) of acceleration in that expansion, caused by mysterious “dark energy” that appears to be pushing the universe apart.

“Hubble will go down in history as having changed the textbooks by totally revolutionizing humanity’s view of the universe, and our place in it,” Wiseman says.

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NASA’s Chief Scientist Certain We’ll Find Alien Life in 10-20 Years

The cynic in me says NASA has probably already found evidence of alien life but it will take 10 to 20 years to persuade the US Government to let them reveal it… Popular Science reports on the surprisingly forthright statement from Ellen Stofan, NASA’s Chief Scientist:

NASA is certain: We’re not alone in this universe.

Speaking at a public panel on Tuesday in Washington D.C., NASA scientists discussed the likelihood of finding organic life in our solar system. Given the surprising number of oceans residing throughout our celestial home, they say “it’s definitely not an if, it’s a when.”


“I believe we are going to have strong indications of life beyond Earth in the next decade and definitive evidence in the next 10 to 20 years,” Ellen Stofan, NASA’s Chief Scientist, said at the panel.

Of course, the space agency isn’t talking about deadly xenomorphs or intelligent beings that can take on the personas of hot teenagers.

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