Is Pluto still not a planet again?

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Pluto might not be a planet anymore, according to the definition of planethood adopted by the International Astronomical Union in 2006, but the icy little orb on the edge of the solar system still has a lot going on. Today NASA’s Hubble telescope has discovered a 4th moon around the new non-planet. The space telescope was searching for rings around the planetary oddball at the edge of our solar system when it came across P4, the temporary name for the newly discovered moon. With an estimated diameter of 8 to 21 miles, P4 is the smallest of Pluto’s four moons, the U.S. space agency said in a statement.

Pluto’s largest moon, Charon, is 648 miles across, and its other moons, Nix and Hydra, are in the range of 20 to 70 miles in diameter. P4 was found orbiting between Nix and Hydra which were both discovered by the Hubble telescope in 2005. Charon was discovered in 1978 at the US Naval Observatory.  Continue reading “Is Pluto still not a planet again?” Is Pluto still not a plan…

Mile High Club? How about the 22,000 Mile High Club?

While humans have been a spacefaring species for more than 50 years, it’s quite possible we have not performed that most basic of acts, sex, beyond terra firma. Yet.

Rumors have long swirled that astronauts may have hooked up in orbit, perhaps even as part of secret sex-in-space experiments run by the Russian or American governments. But those stories are likely the product of overactive and overheated imaginations, experts say. A Russian space official, for example, has been quoted as categorically denying his country’s space program has conducted any such weightless experiments. “There is no official or unofficial evidence that there were instances of sexual intercourse or the carrying out of sexual experiments in space,” Valery Bogomolov, the deputy director of the Moscow-based Institute of Biomedical Problems, told the news agency Interfax. “At least, in the history of Russian or Soviet space exploration, this most certainly was not the case.”

What about NASA astronauts?  Continue reading “Mile High Club? How about the 22,000 Mile High Club?” Mile High Club? How about…

New planet, new life?

So the smart people with telescopes have found another possibly-habitable planet – in the Gliese 581 system about 120 trillion miles away. I think I’ll pack my ‘Stang and start heading over. I should be there almost never. However with our “advanced” technology, it would only take a few generations to arrive… which of course means that none of us will ever get to see this new world in action. Our kids won’t, either.

So here’s the upside: it’s larger than Earth, with a small sun – so much smaller that the planet is only 14 million miles away from its sun, unlike our planet which is 93 million miles away. As such, the planet rotates around the run every 37 days, as opposed to us having our planet rotate every 365 days. That means Christmas comes a lot sooner, kids.

For every upside, there is also some downside: the planet does not seem to rotate much. Or at all. So the bright side of the planet remains around 160-degrees, while the dark side chills around 25 below zero. This being the case, most of the planet is rather uninhabitable. However that “in between” area, where it’s always sunny in Gliese 581g, the temperature is “just right”, like Goldilocks’ porridge.

Astronomers claim there to be a 100% chance of life sustaining on this planet, if there is not life already (in the form of algae, bacteria, mold, etc) existing. They also believe there to be liquid water on the planet.