3D-Printed ceramics, 100 new exoplanet finds and “twins” of superstar Eta

space-shuttle-ceramic-tiles3D-Printed ceramics could build next-gen spaceships

Engineers have always liked ceramic parts – they are strong, lightweight and handle heat better than many metals, ideal for crafting parts for airplanes or rockets. Heat-shielding tiles on the space shuttle were made from ceramics, for example.

Now researchers have used a 3D printer to make customized ceramic parts that have also overcome the Achilles’ heel of ceramic objects: their tendency to crack.

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NASA’s Kepler comes roaring back with 100 new exoplanet finds

NASA’s Kepler spacecraft has bounced back nicely from the malfunction that ended its original exoplanet hunt more than two years ago. Kepler has now discovered more than 100 confirmed alien planets during its second-chance K2 mission, researchers announced today (Jan. 5) here at the 227th Meeting of the American Astronomical Society (AAS).

The $600 million Kepler mission launched in March 2009, tasked with determining how commonly Earth-like planets occur throughout the Milky Way galaxy. Kepler has been incredibly successful, finding more than 1,000 alien worlds to date, more than half of all exoplanets ever discovered.

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Space telescopes see “twins” of superstar Eta Carinae in other galaxies

EtaTwinsEta Carinae, the most luminous and massive stellar system within 10,000 light-years, is best known for an enormous eruption seen in the mid-19th century that hurled an amount of material at least 10 times the Sun’s mass into space. This expanding veil of gas and dust, which still shrouds Eta Carinae, makes it the only object of its kind known in our galaxy. Now a study using archival data from NASA’s Spitzer and Hubble space telescopes has found five similar objects in other galaxies for the first time.

“The most massive stars are always rare, but they have tremendous impact on the chemical and physical evolution of their host galaxy,” said Rubab Khan from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. These stars produce and distribute large amounts of the chemical elements vital to life and eventually explode as supernovae.

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A job opening for a Launch Engineer, SpaceX (USA). The company is looking for an experienced mechanical engineer to join the team and help us continue redefining the way rockets are processed, launched, and landed. Our environment is fast-paced and you will be given significant autonomy over all aspects of one of our fluids system upgrades. Key responsibilities include system design, implementation, activation, and sustainment planning. More information


Build up your space resume by participating in the project Asterank: to discover an asteroid, watch the animation of the night sky and look for a moving white dot. There’s a good chance that moving dot is an asteroid. The first user to notice the dot gets potential discovery credit and naming rights. You can contribute to the project and help with issues or additional features on GitHub. More information

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