The most eccentric planet, hypersonic plane and sublimation of Pluto

oo111463_web.jpgThe most eccentric planet yet discovered

Led by San Francisco State University astronomer Stephen Kane, a team of researchers has spotted an extrasolar planet about 117 light-years from earth that boasts the most eccentric orbit yet seen.

What’s more, Kane and his colleagues were able to detect a signal of reflected light from the planet known as HD 20782 — a “flash” of starlight bouncing off the eccentric planet’s atmosphere as it made its closest orbital approach to its star. In this case, “eccentric” doesn’t refer to a state of mind, but instead describes how elliptical a planet’s orbit is around its star. While the planets in our solar system have nearly circular orbits, astronomers have discovered several extrasolar planets with highly elliptical or eccentric orbits.

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Lockheed Martin’s SR-72 hypersonic plane could be ready in 2030s

Lockheed Martin Corp. said Tuesday it was on the verge of a technological breakthrough that would allow its conceptual SR-72 hypersonic plane to reach six times the speed of sound, or Mach 6, according to reports. Marillyn Hewson, CEO of Lockheed, said that a hypersonic demonstrator aircraft the size of an F-22 stealth fighter could be built for less than $1 billion.

The company is working on an “aerodynamic configuration” that would allow the successor to the famed SR-71 Blackbird spy plane to fly at Mach 6 speed, Hewson said, according to Reuters. Such a plane would give the U.S. military a major advantage, allowing it to reach targets before the enemy could react.

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What’s eating at Pluto?

bite_of_pluto_annotatedFar in the western hemisphere, scientists on NASA’s New Horizons mission have discovered what looks like a giant “bite mark” on Pluto’s surface. They suspect it may be caused by a process known as sublimation — the transition of a substance from a solid to a gas. The methane ice-rich surface on Pluto may be sublimating away into the atmosphere, exposing a layer of water-ice underneath.

In this image, north is up. The southern portion of the left inset above shows the cratered plateau uplands informally named Vega Terra (note that all feature names are informal). A jagged scarp, or wall of cliffs, known as Piri Rupes borders the young nearly crater-free plains of Piri Planitia. The cliffs break up into isolated mesas in several places.

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A job opening for a F-2016-3015 – Flight Mechanics Engineer, Philotech (Germany). Tasks will include: Preparation of the models, check cases and input files; Maintenance and update of available self-prepared tools; Performance of linear and non-linear assessments; Analysis of the assessment results; Documentation and summary of the assessment results. More information


Build up your space resume by participating in the CFD Launch Simulation challenge. Make a CFD model for spacecraft launching process. You can use any rocket or shuttle model that was launched already. Try to experiment with various weather conditions and find which weather is good enough for aerospace launches. More information

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