Space & Planetary Science: June 2020 Archives

One Of Everything: The Breakthrough Listen Exotica Catalog

"We present Breakthrough Listen's "Exotica" Catalog as the centerpiece of our efforts to expand the diversity of targets surveyed in the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI). As motivation, we introduce the concept of survey breadth, the diversity of objects observed during a program. ... As far as we are aware, this is the first object list in recent times with the purpose of spanning the breadth of astrophysics. We share it with the community in hopes that it can guide treasury surveys and as a general reference work. Accompanying the catalog is extensive discussion of classification of objects and a new classification system for anomalies. We discuss how we intend to proceed with observations in the catalog, contrast it with our extant Exotica efforts, and suggest similar tactics may be applied to other programs."

Making a Splash With a Hint of Mars Water, Science 30 June 2000

"It began as a whisper on the Web a week ago Monday evening, grew to a noisy torrent of media babble by Wednesday, and on Thursday morning crashed onto the front pages. Moving at the light-speed pace of modern media, a wave of chatter about water and therefore possible life on Mars swept a paper at Science into headline news a week before its scheduled publication. ....

.... Opening the press conference, planetary geologist Michael Malin of Malin Space Science Systems Inc. (MSSS) in San Diego warned that "the actual science may pale before the science fiction that has been written." The fiction grew out of an accurate, if vague, item on the independent watchdog Web site, NASA Watch (http://www.nasawatch.com/), late afternoon on 19 June. It reported, apparently from sources in the astrobiology community, that NASA had briefed the White House (presidential science adviser Neal Lane, as it turned out) on a major discovery involving water on Mars. Other Web sites added details through Tuesday, 20 June; USA Today put a Web-sourced story at the top of its front page Wednesday morning. The information gleaned anonymously from NASA headquarters personnel and researchers around the country ranged from on target--signs of recent spring activity--to unlikely: ponds and even the possibility of geysers. Although no reporters appeared to have seen the paper (by Malin and his MSSS colleague Kenneth Edgett), Science decided to stem the flow of misinformation by releasing it."

Keith's note: I almost forgot about this little scoop that was on NASAWatch on 19 June 2000. It caused quite a stir and a media feeding frenzy. Those older pages from NASAWatch are sitting on a Zip Drive somewhere. But Science magazine - which rushed the scientific article to publication - chronicled the scoop.

Here's the article "Evidence for Recent Groundwater Seepage and Surface Runoff on Mars", Science

Lessons learned from (and since) the Voyager 2 flybys of Uranus and Neptune, Heidi Hammel

"More than 30 years have passed since the Voyager 2 fly-bys of Uranus and Neptune. I discuss a range of lessons learned from Voyager, broadly grouped into process, planning, and people. In terms of process, we must be open to new concepts: reliance on existing instrument technologies, propulsion systems, and operational modes is inherently limiting. I cite examples during recent decades that could open new vistas in exploration of the deep outer Solar System. Planning is crucial: mission gaps that last over three decades leave much scope for evolution both in mission development and in the targets themselves. .. I turn to people: with generational-length gaps between missions, continuity in knowledge and skills requires careful attention to people. The youngest participants in the Voyager missions (myself included) now approach retirement. We share here ideas for preparing the next generation of voyagers."


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This page is an archive of entries in the Space & Planetary Science category from June 2020.

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