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Friday 11 September 2015

Latest from Pluto, 'Wafer sats' could reach up to 25% of lightspeed, and more..

Asteroid deflection and high speed 'wafer sats':
A company named DE-star has released their latest video on their laser propulsion project. The projects aims are to develop a realistic means of deflecting an asteroid on a collision course with Earth, and a means of photon based propulsion for interstellar space craft. A poster explaining how the technology would enable a range of missions to the nearest stars is here.
Laser being fired at simulated asteroid.

New data comes back from new Horizons :
The latest data is back from Pluto, and it's proving to be a strange world:
Colour image courtesy of Phil Stooke on

Chaotic terrain on Pluto, courtesy of NASA.
“Pluto is showing us a diversity of landforms and complexity of processes that rival anything we’ve seen in the solar system,” said New Horizons Principal Investigator Alan Stern, of the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI), Boulder, Colorado. “If an artist had painted this Pluto before our flyby, I probably would have called it over the top — but that’s what is actually there.” the dwarf planet also shows signs of dunes, something that was predicted before the flyby

Pluto's Moon Charon has been known for a while to have a mysterious reddish cap over one pole. Now the New Horizons team think they understand why - the cap is actually part of Pluto's atmosphere

Tornado of iron vapour on the sun:
The Solar Dynamics Observatory can look for different frequencies of light, such as those that correspond to vapourised iron in the Sun's atmosphere. Which it how it spotted this titanic tornado in the super hot gas of the Sun's atmosphere... 

Ceres's bright spot's definitely not made of ice:
The latest images from the Dawn mission, currently in orbit around Ceres has given us the closest views yet of the dwarf planets mysterious bight spots, and now scientists know... that they're still confused. Occator crater contains some very odd geology, including very bright deposits, systems of cracks, and an odd triangular hole in the surface.
Above: The latest view of the mysterious bright spots on Ceres. Courtesy of NASA/ JPL.
One thing has emerged - whatever the bright stuff is it contains no sign of water ice. according to spectral scans.

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