Oceans of the outer solar system, lost contact with Hitomi and Diwata-1 satellite

lead_960.jpgExploring the oceans of the outer solar system

The oceans offered humanity’s first passage beyond the boundaries of the known world. Ships brought people to unfamiliar shores on voyages of discovery, often just because they could. Today, the oceans of other worlds are the edges of our unknown. In the next decade, scientists will dispatch an armada of ships to these oceans, in hopes of discovering entirely new forms of life.

In the past few years, planetary scientists have learned that some of the moons around the solar system’s biggest planets are full of water. Europa, one of Jupiter’s moons, is thought to have an ocean of liquid water beneath its icy crust. A few million miles away, Saturn’s satellite Enceladus has a water ocean, too. Its sister moon, Titan, has lakes and oceans made of liquid methane. All these moons also have energy sources and hydrocarbons, long thought to be the ingredients for life. If a spacecraft could somehow sample the water, it might be able to look for signs of something living in it.

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Debris spotted floating around silent Hitomi X-ray satellite

The U.S. Joint Space Operations Center on Sunday said it has spotted five objects floating near Japan’s brand new Hitomi X-ray astronomy satellite that lost communication with Earth the previous day.

In a Twitter post, the center, which tracks objects in orbit, said it identified five pieces of “break up” debris in the vicinity of the satellite. Jonathan McDowell, an astronomer at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, said it is not known whether the Hitomi was struck by space debris and destroyed or whether minor pieces of it were knocked off.

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Diwata-1 to help study weather patterns, disaster ops, agri-aqua research

Diwata-microsatelliteWhat will Diwata-1 — the  first Philippine-made micro-satellite — do after it was launched in space? According to Dr. Carlos Primo C. David, director of the Philippine Council for Industry, Energy, and Emerging Technology Research and Development (PCIEERD),the satellite’s two powerful cameras that can capture high-resolution images would be useful in studying weather patterns, agriculture, among others.

“Per pixel of that is 3 meters. Anything larger than 3 meters can will be imaged by the camera,” he said. David noted how it would be beneficial in studying disasters. “When we image clouds, it’s an added image for PAGASA to interpret strengths of typhoons, saan ang track niya and so on,” David explains.

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A job opening for a Robotics Engineer, Aurora Flight Sciences (USA). Aurora Flight Sciences is looking for a Robotics and Computer Science Engineer to work on and help architect autonomy software and algorithms for robotics systems in aerospace applications.  The qualifying engineer will have a background in computer science, mechanical engineering, or aero/astro engineering, and experience in software development for control of robotic systems. More information

Contribute to space exploration by participating in the project Astro Pi: devise computer science experiments to be run on board the ISS. There will be opportunities to examine the results of the winning competition experiments, and there will also be a data analysis activity where you can obtain a CSV file full of time-stamped sensor readings directly from Tim Peake. More information


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