Space

What would it take to grow potatoes or tomatoes in space? Some mycorrhiza, it turns out.

Currently NASA can't even get a telescope into space without being wildly over budget and 10 years behind schedule so they are not putting colonies on the moon any time soon. But the private sector might. And if that is going to be more than the plot of a film, it will take agriculture. 

This is a rather fun idea by Peter Koch originally suggested in the Moon Miner's Manifest Classics - 1987-1988 (see page 31). It's not so likely in the early stages, because of the large amounts of water needed to construct it, but it may perhaps be of great value at a later stage, especially for bases that have a lot of traffic in and out. If the liquid is water, it has to be over sixty meters deep (62.3 meters), to equalize the pressure inside and outside the habitat. The depth can be much less, if it is a denser fluid. You then don't need any doors but can just dive through it and come out on the surface of the Moon.

Just before the flyby of Pluto by New Horizons I wrote a speculative fun article about whether it could spot moonlets of Pluto’s moons. Can Moons Have Moons? Or Rings? Theoretically it seems possible that moonlets just possibly might be dynamically stable, there as with many of the moons of our solar system such as the more distant moons in the Saturn system.

Does this discovery of 'The Goblin make 'Planet 9' more likely? Yes I’d say so. It’s looking really strange. I’m beginning to be won around to the idea :). There is plenty of space for planets to exist beyond Neptune. No known big gas giants to get in their way. And - objects get far far fainter the further they are from the sun. It was hard to find, even though it was only 80 au from the Sun - at it's furhest it would be 2300 au away. They spotted it first in 2015 and it's taken since then to figure out its orbit.

Dear Mr Musk, you should hire me to fly Yusaku Maezawa to the Moon and back.  Especially if you want to connect to the past and future history of space flight.  I am a fully qualified scientist with a MS in Physics and a thesis in Astronomy meeting all the basic NASA requirements for an astronaut candidate.  More importantly there are historical reasons, of place and person, that would make you want to hire me as your chauffeur to the stars.

You could hire and probably have hired veteran NASA astronauts and some are training for Crewed Dragon… but not for the BFS.  

Planet dwellers like us naturally look first to other moons and planets for colonization. Yet, asteroids have enough resources to build space habs for trillions, with the same living space per person as for Earth.

The idea is to use the materials from the asteroids and NEOs to make new habitats. This gives far more living space than the amount you get if you hollow asteroids out, and live inside them.

The Moon and Mars are our only choices for surface colonization in the near future. Neither is a second Earth; both have many issues at present, especially, the almost total lack of atmosphere. Technically, Mars does have an atmosphere, true, enough for winds and dust storms, but it is so thin it would count as a laboratory vacuum on Earth.

People often ask, "How close are we to sending humans to Mars" and it's not surprising given the optimistic presentations by Elon Musk and others. However, Mars is just too far away to send humans at this stage.

Consider the statistical challenges around Dysonian SETI. The standard approach (for searches within the Milky Way) is to find stars that are "outliers", e.g. those that are significantly dimmer than their spectrophotometric characteristics and parallax would suggest. Statistical interpretation of the outliers of a single metric's distribution is not straightforward, however.

The normal/gaussian distribution is not normally found in nature. Real-world distributions are often skewed and long-tailed. Outliers (or "black swans") are to be expected.

Some exoplanets with masses two to four times the size of Earth can be explained by large amounts of water - and they may be more common than previously thought, say researchers.

The 1992 discovery of exoplanets orbiting other stars has sparked interest in understanding the composition of these planets to determine, among other goals, whether they are suitable for the development of life. Now a new evaluation of data from the exoplanet-hunting Kepler Space Telescope and the Gaia mission indicates that many of the known planets may contain as much as 50% water. This is much more than the Earth's 0.02% (by weight) water content.

About 1 billion years after the Big Bang, the gas in deep space was highly opaque to ultraviolet light and its transparency varied widely from place to place, obscuring much of the light emitted by distant galaxies. This opaque quality contains tantalizing mysteries about the universe.

That's because now the gas between galaxies is almost totally transparent thanks to being kept ionized-- electrons detached from their atoms--by an energetic bath of ultraviolet radiation.