UFO Buster Radio News – 393: NASA Money Moves with Psyche, Is SpaceX Headed to Europa?, and Billions of Earth-Like Planets
NASA Teases ‘Psyche,’ A Robot To Explore An Asteroid Worth More Than Our Global Economy
NASA is about to begin building its latest spacecraft. Called “Psyche” it will explore a 140 miles/226 kilometers-wide asteroid called “16 Psyche.” Today it’s passed a major milestone.
Why is NASA going to ‘16 Psyche?’
Located in the Solar System’s main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, metal-rich 16 Psyche is thought to be the exposed metallic iron, nickel and gold core of a protoplanet. Most asteroids are rocky or icy.
a large body of matter in orbit around the sun or a star and thought to be developing into a planet. “this analysis supported the view that the moon originated from a glancing collision between the earth and another protoplanet 4,500 million years ago”
16 Psyche’s core is tantalizingly similar to Earth’s, which means that it could be the heart of a dead planet that lost its rocky outer layers or suffered from violent collisions.
The metals that make-up this one-of-a-kind asteroid could, according to some, be worth $10,000 quadrillion.
When will NASA’s ‘Psyche’ launch?
Due to launch from Pad 39A at Cape Canaveral, Florida, in August 2022 on top of a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket, fly-past Mars in 2023, and begin orbiting the asteroid in January 2026, Psyche has just passed its “critical design review” stage.
SpaceX could send NASA to Jupiter’s potentially habitable moon Europa
Congress has opened the door to a commercial rocket launching a NASA mission to deep space.
A Falcon Heavy, or another big SpaceX rocket, could carry NASA’s planned Europa Clipper mission to the icy Jupiter moon Europa, which hides a subsurface ocean many scientists think may be able to support alien life.
A draft of a congressional appropriations bill released Tuesday opens the door for Elon Musk’s rocket company, or even a competitor like Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin, to provide the ride that’ll send an orbiter to the Jovian system by 2025 and a lander to Europa by 2027.
“The National Aeronautics and Space Administration shall use the Space Launch System, if available, as the 10 launch vehicles for the Jupiter Europa missions,” reads the draft bill from the House Appropriations Committee.
The bill also provides over $400 million for NASA to build the Europa orbiter.
The same bill also allocates funds for NASA’s Artemis mission to return astronauts to the moon, though it offers less than half of what the White House has asked for.
The Trump administration has set a goal of sending the first woman astronaut to the surface of the moon by 2024, a goal that many inside the space industry are skeptical can be accomplished, particularly without the full support of Congress and its pocketbook.
Are We Alone? Discovery of Billions of Earth-Like Planets May Hold the Answer
Study estimates there may be up to 6 billion Earth-like planets in our galaxy.
Earth is the only planet that’s capable of hosting life in the universe. For years, scientists have been hunting for exoplanets – planets beyond our solar system – to discover the probability of life elsewhere in the Milky Way. To be considered Earth-like, a planet must be rocky, about the same size as Earth and orbit Sun-like (G-type) stars. It also needs to orbit in the habitable zones of its star, the distance where the planet isn’t too hot or too cold for life to exist.
Anybody out there?
Over 4,100 exoplanets have been identified with the right size and right orbit of their star to support liquid water and potentially life.
Earlier estimates of the existence of Earth-like planets range from about 0.02 potentially habitable planets per G-type star to more than 1 per G-type star.
Milky Way Galaxy – 105,700 light years
Stars in the Milky Way Galaxy – 250 billion ± 150 billion
Galaxies in the Universe – 2 Trillion
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