Archive for the ‘ Space Science ’ Category

Kepler Telescope Finds a Cash of Exoplanets

Planets Orbiting 55 Cancri

Planets Orbiting 55 Cancri - Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

On June 15th, The Kepler team at NASA announced that the space based telescope found a veritable cash of potential exoplanets. The team released information on more than 300 of the objects, many of which could turnout to be false-positives. The expectation is that some of these would be planets will actually be, for example, twin stars orbiting each other in close proximity.

The Kepler telescope was designed to search for Earth-like planets in other solar systems. Kepler’s findings total more than 700 possible exoplanets, but NASA will not make public information about the remaining 400 objects until February of next year. The Kepler team will be researching those objects through the summer in hopes that at least one turns out to be an alien Earth.

Approximately 156,000 stars were surveyed for evidence of orbiting planetary bodies in the constellations of Lyra and Cygnus.

Where Does Space Begin?


Where does space begin?

In light of the burgeoning space tourism industry, a clarification on exactly where space begins seems to be in order. After all, there is a continually growing list of space tourists eagerly willing to pay a substantial fee to exit Earth. So, where does space begin? Well, it depends on who you ask. Really, it does. If you’re okay with an ambiguous definition, The National Aeronautics and Space Act of 1958, discusses aeronautical and space activities “…outside the Earth’s atmosphere.”  (Title I, Sec. 103)

Ambiguity continues in an explanation of the combined environment of air and space (aerospace), in the Basic Aerospace Doctrine of the United States Air Force Vol 2 (1992)  which states that “the environment extends from the earth’s surface toward infinity…The difference between (the) atmosphere and space is obvious but where the transition takes place is not clear.”

If you’re seeking a firm line of demarcation, the United States Air Force  honors its pilots with astronaut wings if they successfully reach an altitude of 50 miles (80 km). However, this boundary is not internationally recognized.

At an altitude of 62 miles (100 km) above see level, the Kármán Line is generally accepted as the de facto boundary that separates Earth’s atmosphere from outer space. The Kármán Line is also recognized by the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI), which in part establishes “rules for the control and certification of world aeronautical and astronautical records.”