Space Features of the Week (14 May)

It’s the moment for another summary of space news worth discussing this week (and in the past few). This time there are not amazing discoveries but interesting subjects picked up here and there. As usual, links and a couple of comments included.

Our View of the Cosmos Is About to Get a Tremendous Upgrade

The article relates that Nasa’s Kepler Telescope has confirmed 3486 exoplanets, 361 of which it considers terrestrial: how are scientists responding to the question of how to detect life on these promising but distant worlds? As a matter of fact, worlds like our Solar System’s planet are everywhere.  “On the 20th of April, it was announced that the study of exoplanets and extra-terrestrial life had taken a huge leap forward. Worlds similar to Earth, with high likelihoods of surface water, are far more common than we had previously thought and so we are now questioning how to find life on them.

Read the whole story here.


In looking at NASA images of Mars a few years ago, Brown University geologist Peter Schultz noticed sets of strange bright streaks emanating from a few large-impact craters on the planet’s surface. The streaks are odd in that they extend much farther from the craters than normal ejecta patterns, and they are only visible in thermal infrared images taken during the Martian night. Using geological observation, laboratory impact experiments and computer modeling, Schultz and Brown graduate student Stephanie Quintana have offered a new explanation for how those streaks were formed. They show that tornado-like wind vortices – generated by crater-forming impacts and swirling at 500 miles per hour or more – scoured the surface and blasted away dust and small rocks to expose the blockier surfaces beneath.”

The article explains all the details here.

Another interesting link is one that tells more about the reality of a life in space.

It might be different of what you think – and gloomier. Here it is.


  1. sjhigbee

    As ever, a superb roundup, Steph. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Steph P. Bianchini (Post author)

      Thanks! 🙂


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