Today’s Deep Space Extra

January 5th, 2021

In Today’s Deep Space Extra… An astrophysicist poses questions about dark matter noting that NASA’s Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope could help provide answers. A new virtual reality series puts viewers aboard the ISS.


Space Science

Bad space weather may make life impossible near Proxima Centauri via The Conversation (1/3): At 4.2 light years away, Proxima Centauri is the closest star. A red dwarf, Proxima Cen has planets, one of which, a rocky super Earth designated Proxima Cen b, has been speculated to be potentially habitable. However, new observations suggest the planet is so close to its star it is likely blasted by harmful magnetic fields and particles.

Puerto Rico government supports rebuilding Arecibo (1/1): Wanda Vazquez Garced, the outgoing governor of Puerto Rico, signed an executive order last week stating as formal policy the reconstruction of the 305-meter radio telescope at Arecibo Observatory. However, the National Science Foundation (NSF) has not committed to rebuilding Arecibo and Congress did not earmark any money for doing so in the fiscal year 2021 spending bill passed in December. 

Geomagnetic storm predicted (1/4): A double Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) is predicted by NOAA to strike the Earth on Wednesday due to magnetic eruptions detected over the weekend. Contact with the Earth’s magnetic field could produce the first Arctic aurora of the New Year.



Can space bridge a widening partisan divide? (1/4): Sunday marked the start of a new Congress, but a clean slate does not necessarily mean there isn’t unfinished space business. For example, the last Congress did not deliver a NASA Authorization Act and an effort to pass it at the beginning of the new Congress might not come to fruition due to potential partisan divides, writes Jeff Foust.

Is there more than one dark energy? (1/4): Dark energy is the term given to the force responsible for the expansion of the universe. However, what if there might be more than one force behind dark energy? Astrophysicist Paul M. Sutter explores the possibilities, noting that NASA’s Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope, once known as the Wide Field Infrared Space Telescope (WFIRST) and planned for launch in the mid-2020s, could help clear up the mystery.


Other News

Why I’m flying to space to do research aboard Virgin Galactic via The Hill (1/4): Veteran planetary scientist Alan Stern, principal investigator for NASA’s New Horizons mission, explains why he will soon launch aboard Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo. Stern hopes to demonstrate the value of a hands-on approach to research and technology development in space rather than remotely commanding robots and other hardware from Earth.

‘ISS Experience’ puts viewers aboard the Space Station in 3-D 360-degree VR (1/4): “Space Explorers: The ISS Experience” from Felix & Paul Studios, in association with TIME Studios, uses 3-D, 360-degree virtual reality (VR) footage to not just show the viewer the inside of the International Space Station, but add them to its crew. The viewing experience is almost like actually being aboard, according to NASA astronaut Jessica Meir. Episode 1 of the “Space Explorers: The ISS Experience” is available now for virtual reality headsets on the Oculus Store for Oculus Quest and Oculus Rift headsets.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.