Posts categorized as Space RSS feed for this section

Where does the plutonium come from?

Last week I wrote about how the shortage of Pu-238 might impact the exploration of the outer Solar System, but I didn’t much get into where the plutonium comes from. After all, while there are trace amounts of natural plutonium, there certainly isn’t nearly enough to fuel a space probe. So this week it seemed […]

On to Mars!

One of my favorite quotes is, sadly, unattributable (at least as far as I’ve been able to find): “The cowards never started and the weak died along the way.” I first came across this in an explanation of why the American West is traditionally more of a bastion of rugged individualism than is the East […]

Weapons in space

Space may be the final frontier, but it’s likely to be the next battleground. At least that was the conclusion I drew from a distinguished panel that spoke to the Fletcher Club of New York a few days ago (May 9). The evening’s topic, the weaponization of space, seemed reasonably innocuous – I’d expected to […]

Solar Storms

Over the weekend Earth was slammed by the biggest solar storm in about a decade. Days earlier a huge x-class solar flare (the most powerful category) had blasted millions of tons of hydrogen into space, with Earth in the cross-hairs. The eruption – called a coronal mass ejection – blasted through space at more than […]

Who gives a fig for the Higgs?

A few months ago the Center for European Nuclear Research (which goes by the acronym CERN) reported it had found evidence of the most-wanted subatomic particle – the Higgs Boson (aka the God particle). If this finding is confirmed it will wrap up one of the longest-standing loose ends in our current model (the Standard […]

Water on Mars?

By Dr. Y The last years have seen an increasing number of observations showing that Mars once had liquid water and that it has ice not far underground today. In the 36 years since the equivocal results of the Viking probes’ search for life space scientists have scaled back their experiments, looking instead for evidence […]