RocketSTEM Magazine – Sept.2016

The latest issue of RocketSTEM magazine is now available online: Issue #13 • September 2016 – RocketSTEM


Articles include:

  • Mining the sky – A race is underway to profit from mining asteroids for water and resources.
  • Destination: Bennu – Spacecraft to retrieve a piece of an asteroid for analysis on Earth.
  • Ticket to space – The KSC Visitor Complex lets people get up close to real space hardware.
  • Jupiter’s mysteries – Juno has arrived and begun its scientific analysis of the solar system’s largest planet.
  • Mission to Europa – If life exists in our solar system beyond Earth, then the best place to find it may be here.
  • Revealing Pluto – Discoveries abound even as New Horizons continues to send back data from Pluto.

The magazine is

geared towards teachers, students and parents as well. The publication blends space history – past, present and future – with interviews, career paths, astronomy lessons, aerospace and astronomy news, museum features, NASA technology spinoffs, and educational resources; along with explanations of the mathematics and physics of all things to do with aerospace and space travel.

Update on that unusual signal from a distant star

[ Update: As many suspected, it appears the signal was of terrestrial origin: Turns out the signal astronomers saw was “strong” because it came from Earth – Ars Technica.

+ Here is a brief video from Seth Shostak:


That odd signal from a star 94 light years away is fun to ponder but very unlikely to have been sent by an alien civilization. Here was the first report to hit the Internet: An Interesting SETI Candidate in Hercules – Paul Clister/Centauri Dreams

A candidate signal for SETI is a welcome sign that our efforts in that direction may one day pay off. An international team of researchers has announced the detection of “a strong signal in the direction of HD164595” in a document now being circulated through contact person Alexander Panov. The detection was made with the RATAN-600 radio telescope in Zelenchukskaya, in the Karachay–Cherkess Republic of Russia, not far from the border with Georgia in the Caucasus.

The signal was received on May 15, 2015, 18:01:15.65 (sidereal time), at a wavelength of 2.7 cm. The estimated amplitude of the signal is 750 mJy.

No one is claiming that this is the work of an extraterrestrial civilization, but it is certainly worth further study. Working out the strength of the signal, the researchers say that if it came from an isotropic beacon, it would be of a power possible only for a Kardashev Type II civilization. If it were a narrow beam signal focused on our Solar System, it would be of a power available to a Kardashev Type I civilization. The possibility of noise of one form or another cannot be ruled out, and researchers in Paris led by Jean Schneider are considering the possible microlensing of a background source by HD164595. But the signal is provocative enough that the RATAN-600 researchers are calling for permanent monitoring of this target.

No one has yet seen a subsequent pulse from the star and, as mentioned above, there are various background sources that could have generated the original signal. Here are some updates on the analyses and observations from other radio telescopes:

Video: TMRO 9.26 – NASA’s Lunar Flashlight has posted a video of its latest live program: NASA’s Lunar Flashlight – TMRO

Dr. Barbara Cohen leads the planetary science group at the Marshall Space Flight Center. Currently, Dr. Cohen is a Principal Investigator on multiple NASA Science Mission Directorate projects and is a Co-Investigator on several spacecraft and instrument proposal teams, including the Mars Exploration Rovers (Opportunity) and Mars Science Laboratory (Curiosity). She is the Principal Investigator for the Lunar Flashlight mission, which will send a cubesat to the Moon in 2018 to search for water ice frost.

News topics discussed:

* Ariane 5 launches Intelsat 33e and Intelsat 36
* Exoplanet Discovered Around Nearest Star, But It’s A Terrible Place For Life To Be
* SpaceX Dragon returns to Earth from ISS
* NASA Hears From Lost Spacecraft After 2 Years
* Astronauts install new docking adapter
* Juno To Make Closest Approach to Jupiter Today

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