Google to launch 180 low-orbit satellites that provide Internet access

google satellite

The billion-dollar project will complement Google’s balloons and drones.

Google wants to deploy a fleet of satellites to extend internet access to areas around the world that do not have internet access. The fleet of satellites will cost Google $1 billion. Google “will start with 180 small, high-capacity satellites orbiting the earth at lower altitudes than traditional satellites, and then could expand.”

 

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The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency plans to build an orbiting solar farm

mirrors

Mirrors in orbit would reflect sunlight onto huge solar panels.

What if you could imagine looking at Tokyo Bay from high above and seeing a man-made island in the harbor, 3 kilometers long. There is a massive net stretched over the island and studded with 5 billion tiny rectifying antennas, which convert microwave energy into DC electricity. Also on the island is a substation that sends that electricity coursing through a submarine cable to Tokyo, to help keep the factories of the Keihin industrial zone humming and the neon lights of Shibuya shining bright.

 

 

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Lunar scientists’ plan for sustainable and affordable Moon base

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Settlement on the Moon

It’s been a dream for a long time to have a human settlement on the Moon, but in this age of budget cuts and indecisive plans for NASA’s future, a Moon base may seem too costly and beyond our reach.  But a noted lunar scientist, Dr. Paul Spudis from the Lunar and Planetary Institute and a colleague, Tony Lavoie from the Marshall Space Flight Center, have come up with a plan for building a lunar settlement that is not only affordable but sustainable. It creates a Moon base along with a type of ‘transcontinental railroad’ in space which opens up cislunar space – the area between Earth and the Moon – for development.

 

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Space junk at a ‘tipping point’: study

space junk

Space junk: a conceptual artwork representing defunct satellites, failed missions, and shrapnel orbiting Earth.

“A tipping point” for collisions has been reached with the amount of debris orbiting the Earth, which would in turn generate more of the debris that threatens astronauts and satellites, according to a U.S. study released on Thursday.

 

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Earth had two moons that collided to form one: study

two moons

This diagram shows a simulation of four stages of a collision between the Moon and a companion moon.

There may have been a tiny second moon that had once orbited Earth before catastrophically slamming into the other one.  The clash of the two moons could explain why the two sides of the surviving lunar satellite are so different from each other, according to a new study.

 

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New Class of Planets Discovered that Have No Stars

planetsthath

Artist’s conception illustrates a Jupiter-like planet alone in the dark of space, floating freely without a parent star.

David Bennett, University of Notre Dame astronomer, is co-author of a new paper describing the discovery of a new class of planets.  The new class of planets are dark, isolated Jupiter-mass bodies floating alone in space, far from any host star. The team of astronomers involved in the discovery believe that the planets were most likely ejected from developing planetary systems.

 

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The Search is On for a Giant New Planet Hiding on the Outer Edge of Our Solar System

tyche

Researchers propose new planet “Tyche” on distant fringe of solar system.

If you grew up thinking there were nine planets and were shocked when Pluto was demoted five years ago, get ready for another surprise. There may be nine after all, and Jupiter may not be the largest.

 

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Astronauts Could One Day Reach Mars by Riding Asteroids

asteroids-space-taxi-mars-travel

In 2005, Japan’s unmanned Hayabusa spacecraft (illustration) successfully landed on an asteroid.

Getting to Mars is going to involve building a huge spacecraft and loading it up with tons of fuel and radiation shielding. Unless, that is, we could just tag along with a spacecraft that’s already headed in that direction, like an asteroid.

 

 

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