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    Anyone for an astronomy thread?

    oooh wow. Yeah that seems to come up a lot in any programme about trying to travel in space. Space junk and micrometeoroids behave in much the same way. They are talking about send up special satellites with huge sails, to start gradually cleaning some of this up, because as you said it is going to cause real problems over time.

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      Anyone for an astronomy thread?

      Fucking hell, that was amazing to watch. I particularly like the camera on the side of the rocket showing you the whole way down. and the thing they land on is so fucking tiny. I feel like my parents seeing their first lightbulb.

      Here are the last four minutes of the flight

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        Anyone for an astronomy thread?

        The Awesome Berbaslug!!! wrote: oooh wow. Yeah that seems to come up a lot in any programme about trying to travel in space. Space junk and micrometeoroids behave in much the same way. They are talking about send up special satellites with huge sails, to start gradually cleaning some of this up, because as you said it is going to cause real problems over time.
        In the novel of 2001: A Space Odyssey, Arthur C. Clarke points out that, given the velocities and materials involved, a collision with any object roughly the size of a human fist is enough to basically doom any spacecraft. He was writing that in 1968 and while I'm no scientist I don't think technology has advanced far enough in the interim for that to no longer be the case.

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          Anyone for an astronomy thread?

          Even a paint flake moving at orbital velocity becomes something you don't want any part of.

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            Anyone for an astronomy thread?

            ouch. Yeah, space junk and micrometeroids are travelling at about seven times the speed of a bullet, and if you're coming the other way, the speeds are additive. so it's a pretty horrible prospect.

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              Anyone for an astronomy thread?

              The Awesome Berbaslug!!! wrote: Fucking hell, that was amazing to watch. I particularly like the camera on the side of the rocket showing you the whole way down. and the thing they land on is so fucking tiny. I feel like my parents seeing their first lightbulb.
              Here are the last four minutes of the flight
              That's absolutely brilliant Berba. A rocket's-eye view of reentry Ė and yes, what an absurdly small target to hit when being dropped from space at thousands of miles per hour. Thanks for posting it.

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                Anyone for an astronomy thread?

                Woo-hoo! We made this!

                (That is to say, the University Of Surrey's 'Surrey Space Centre' did. As a deskbound grunt in the library, I didn't contribute directly, you understand!)

                I hope that isn't too off-topic.

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                  Anyone for an astronomy thread?

                  so.... you're spying on russia with the algerians? That's not going to end badly

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                    Anyone for an astronomy thread?

                    so, er, NASA is having real trouble getting Boeing and Space-X to keep on schedule with their efforts to be able to ferry people to the ISS, so they've beeing lining up more flights on soyuz.

                    unfortunately it now turns out that someone at one of Russia's rocket factories, has been replacing highly expensive, heat resistant high tech alloys, with porridge and chewing gum, so now both the Proton and soyuz rockets are all grounded for an unspecified period of time, so it's not entirely sure how they're going to get people to or from the ISS.

                    And while it may be made out of elastic bands and pritt stick, I have to say that the proton rocket really fucking looks the part.

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                      Anyone for an astronomy thread?

                      Fine conjunction tonight for UK and Irish OTFers - the Moon, Venus and Mars forming a clearly-visible triangle.

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                        Anyone for an astronomy thread?

                        It's really beautiful.

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                          Anyone for an astronomy thread?

                          Does anyone know any more about this Em drive Is it basically steorn in space?

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                            Anyone for an astronomy thread?

                            So Space-X launched a capsule up to the ISS at the weekend. They called off the first launch at literally the last second, because they were unsure about something in the second stage. So they had a look at it, and launched the next day, and it all went relatively smoothly (though the capsulte hasn't docked with the station yet)

                            This sort of thing is a big part of what Space-X actually do to keep the lights on. A lot of the financial basis of their company is built on flying stuff to the ISS, and they would never have made it this far without those contracts. And they're about to re-use one of the cargo capsules that they fly up there, which is going to be a pretty big milestone for them. The problem they have is that they were supposed to have finished the human ferrying version of this capsule already, and they're not going to be ready to start testing this until probably next year. This is a problem because the US needs to buy seats on the Soyuz in order to get people up to the space station, and the Russians are really jacking up the price. And.....you know..... sanctions.

                            So into the gap steps the Senate Science Committee, who oversee the Nasa Budget. Not content with the slow pace of progress of these commercial methods of getting to space. they've decided that they want to help out the companies that already make Nasa's stuff, in their own states, by getting NASA to spend a fortune making the Orion Capsule compatible with the ISS so it too can dock with the space station and deliver goods and people. The other major issue with this is that they will have to adapt a pre-existing rocket for Human use, and that also will be ruinously expensive and time consuming.

                            The thing is that this is completely and utterly pointless, and a total waste of money. Nasa is soon going to have access to three vehicles that can go to the ISS, and two Rockets capable of launching humans. It will have access to these vehicles, long before the Orion Capsule is made compatible with the ISS.

                            I can only assume that there are a lot of people in NASA praying for the day when they have nothing to do with building Rockets

                            Oh and This is fascinating

                            Apparently this thing has been on the ISS for over a year It's an inflatable space station component, made of layers of polyurethene and kevlar. which are launched folded up, and then Expanded with compressed Gas. It's apparently much better at dealing with small impacts than the Space Station, they're Checking to see if it leaks, and how it copes with radiation.

                            I think this is really rather exciting, because it opens up the possibility of building much larger space stations relatively cheaply. For instance, they're currently building This which weighs 20 tonnes, and can be loaded on a pretty standard rocket. The thing is that because it expands to that shape, it has about 1/3rd of of the internal pressurized space of the ISS, but weighs less than a twentieth as much. If you can build something like this, It should be relatively cheap and easy to build quite large spacestations, and because they are so light and small, you can do things like send them to orbit the moon

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                              Anyone for an astronomy thread?

                              Seven Earth sized planets!!! We will be monitoring for life on these planets by peering through a telescope and trying to see Farts.

                              Isn't science wonderful

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                                Anyone for an astronomy thread?

                                All seven of these worlds orbit closer to their sun than Mercury. If some are in the "goldilocks zone" how faint must that star be? Would it be like looking at our sun at sunset through low cloud? And the other planets in the night sky - they'd all appear huge to each other, wouldn't they? Like something sci-fi artists paint as backdrops.

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                                  Anyone for an astronomy thread?

                                  NASA have some great simulations on their Twitter feed, if you'd like to see their illustration of what it would be like to stand on the surface of one of the planets. The star itself is considerably smaller than our Sun.

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                                    Anyone for an astronomy thread?

                                    From Phil Plait:
                                    TRAPPIST-1 is a very small, cool star ó itís what we call an M8 red dwarf. It only has a mass 8% of the Sunís and a radius 10% of the Sunís (thatís only a wee bit bigger than Jupiter!), and shines at a feeble 0.05% of our own star.

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                                      Anyone for an astronomy thread?

                                      Sign me up! I want to go.

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                                        Anyone for an astronomy thread?

                                        yes yes, join the bloody queue.

                                        39 light years is a long way mind you. A really really long way.

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                                          Anyone for an astronomy thread?

                                          It only has a mass 8% of the Sunís and a radius 10% of the Sunís
                                          That's really surprising. So its volume is around 1/1000th that of the Sun's, meaning that to have 8% of its mass it must have an average density around 80 times that of the Sun's. I guess there must be forces in the Sun which counteract its internal gravity (and so reduce density) which just don't operate the same way in a much smaller cooler star.

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                                            Anyone for an astronomy thread?

                                            39 light years is a long way mind you. A really really long way.
                                            Quite. Not wishing to pour cold water on everyone's dreams, but...... There are many and varied explanations on the Internet of why interstellar travel can never be anything other than a fantasy, and the one lnked below from the boingboing site is perhaps one of the very best. Leaving aside the challenging engineering issues around generating (never mind controlling and stopping from) sufficient speed to make a journey in a feasible length of time (bearing in mind that 1 light year = over 6 million million miles), and managing the risks of collision (bearing in mind that at such speeds collision with anything bigger than a scrap of dust is highly problematic), the main issues are biological - with regard to which it's quite enlightening to reflect on how little we still understand about biological systems in their entirety. But the most thought-provoking aspects discussed in the piece are the psychological and sociological issues around such a flight, which are truly the stuff of nightmares.

                                            http://boingboing.net/2015/11/16/our-generation-ships-will-sink.html

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                                              Anyone for an astronomy thread?

                                              That's really surprising. So its volume is around 1/1000th that of the Sun's, meaning that to have 8% of its mass it must have an average density around 80 times that of the Sun's. I guess there must be forces in the Sun which counteract its internal gravity (and so reduce density) which just don't operate the same way in a much smaller cooler star.
                                              Thermal pressure, basically. The hotter the core the more it pushes against gravity.

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                                                Anyone for an astronomy thread?

                                                If this is an old dense star much further along in its lifecycle than our sun, then presumably it's gone through various awful intermediate stages that have sterilized everything on those seven planets. Or am I thinking about timescales and stars all wrong?

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                                                  Anyone for an astronomy thread?

                                                  If this is an old dense star much further along in its lifecycle than our sun, then presumably it's gone through various awful intermediate stages that have sterilized everything on those seven planets.
                                                  Not at all. Red dwarfs burn low and slow. They can stay in the main sequence for far longer than the sun can, and in fact the smaller they are the longer they last.

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                                                    Anyone for an astronomy thread?

                                                    So that's how it's kept going for 11 series despite the last bit of anything vaguely resembling excitement, energy or interest being way back in about season 2.

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