Saturday, January 9, 2010

Party Time, Excellent

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2009 was pretty spectacular for space enthusiasts - the Hubble telescope was fixed and NASA released some stunning images, the 40th anniversary of the Moon Landing passed by, and to celebrate, a group of engineers crashed a module right into it, spewing out all sorts of useful information.

The new year is picking up the pace already. Several new planets have been spotted in distant star systems - including one bigger than Jupiter with a density of styrofoam, a new space telescope, Hershcel, might even overshadow Hubble in the months to come, and data from the moon crash are showing more water than we previously thought, making the Moon even more attractive for colonization.

To underscore this point, Japanese and German scientists have been analyzing high-resolution images of the Moon from the Kaguya spacecraft, and have discovered a cave that could be a perfect candidate for human colonization, as it would provide shelter from the harsh lunar surface. Not to mention a wicked party space (think Matrix Reloaded).

The cave is likely a lava tube - a geological formation fairly common on Earth but never discovered on the Moon before. Kaguya photos showed a circular hole which they believe is a sort of skylight, a collapsed part of the cave roof.

Add to all of this the unveiling of the VSS Enterprise, the first commercial spaceship from Virgin Galactic…and sometimes it truly feels like the dawning of a new age.

~Rheanna Sand

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