Manned moon base, the hottest white dwarf and a list of habitable planets

Moon-base-being-constructed-using-3-D-printerManned moon base by 2030 to discover alien life and explore Universe

A manned moon base by 2030 is being planned by the European Space Agency (ESA), the aim being explore the solar system, the Universe, and also discover alien life. The ‘Moon Village’ will be constructed utilizing 3D printers using materials that exist naturally on the Moon, say ESA scientists.

During a two day conference – ‘International Symposium on Moon 2020-2030’ – which was held at the Space Research and Technology Centre of the European Space Agency (ESA/ESTEC), 35km south-west of Amsterdam International Airport in The Netherlands, scientists said robots would land on the Moon first and prepare the surface for humans, who would arrive later.

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Which planets are habitable? Astrophysicists have fresh insight.

By looking at slight variations in the brightness of distant stars, scientists say they can determine their surface gravity, a technique that provides important clues to life-hosting properties of the planets that orbit them.

An international team of astrophysicists has devised a way to measure the surface gravity of distant stars to help determine if the planets in their orbit are hospitable to life.

Led by a researcher at the University of Vienna, the team calculated the surface gravity of stars that are too distant to study with conventional methods by looking at the slight variations in their brightness, which is caused by convection and surface turbulence, the same forces behind a pot of boiling soup.

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This white dwarf is hotter than the rest

122815_cc_largemagellaniccloud_freeThe heat is on in the outskirts of the Milky Way. A white dwarf sizzling at around 250,000˚ Celsius is now the hottest known member of this class of dead stars, researchers report in the December Astronomy & Astrophysics. This scorcher, designated RX J0439.8-6809, sits about 30,000 light-years away in the constellation Dorado and is about 50,000 degrees hotter than the previous record holder.

J0439, discovered more than 20 years ago in data from the ROSAT satellite, first showed up as a smudge of X-rays. Researchers thought J0439 lived in the Large Magellanic Cloud, the largest satellite galaxy of the Milky Way, and might be a white dwarf fusing hydrogen on its surface or possibly a neutron star (the core of a dead massive star) sucking down superheated gas. Astrophysicists Klaus Werner and Thomas Rauch, both of the Eberhard Karls University in Tübingen, Germany, sussed out J0439’s true location, temperature and composition with more recent data from the Hubble Space Telescope.

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