Most astronomers today believe that one of the most plausible reasons we have yet to detect intelligent life in the universe is due to the deadly effects of local supernova explosions that wipe out all life in a given region of a galaxy.
While there is, on average, only one supernova per galaxy per century, there is something on the order of 100 billion galaxies in the observable Universe. Taking 10 billion years for the age of the Universe (it’s actually 13.7 billion, but stars didn’t form for the first few hundred million), Dr. Richard Mushotzky of the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, derived a figure of 1 billion supernovae per year, or 30 supernovae per second in the observable Universe!
Certain rare stars -real killers -type 11 stars, are core-collapse hypernova that generate deadly gamma ray bursts (GRBs). These long burst objects release 1000 times the non-neutrino energy release of an ordinary “core-collapse” supernova. Concrete proof of the core-collapse GRB model came in 2003.
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Even more from NASA here: A Hypernova: The Super-charged Supernova and its link to Gamma-Ray Bursts
Heading into their second week of space travel the crew of NASA’s space shuttle Atlantis have a lot on their schedule. Today two of the astronauts will venture out for the mission’s third and final space walk.
During the spacewalks the crew perform a variety of physical tasks to the outside of the International Space Station. For example, Atlantis is carrying two ‘ spare parts container known as the Express Logistics Carriers. The shuttle’s robotic arm lifted them into place and the spacewalkers helped attach them to the ISS. In all there are 27,250 pounds worth of spare parts onboard this mission.
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A new exhibit at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum asks the big questions: How can human spaceflight become routine? How can a home and workplace be created in the extreme environment of space? What does the future hold for humans in space?
“Moving Beyond Earth” at the Washington D.C. museum features launch-vehicle models representing the quest for space, telescopes brought back from the Hubble, the suit worn by space tourist Dennis Tito and other items from NASA’s space exploration history.
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The United States and China have agreed to step up discussions on cooperative space exploration, as both countries separately pursue ambitious plans to send a manned mission to the Moon by around 2020.
US president Barack Obama and Chinese president Hu Jintaro have agreed during a summit in Beijing this week to formalize joint space talks, beginning with exchange visits of their respective space agency chiefs next year.
“The United States and China look forward to expanding discussions on space science cooperation and starting a dialogue on human space flight and space exploration, based on the principles of transparency, reciprocity and mutual benefit,” a US-China joint statement released Tuesday said. “Both sides welcome reciprocal visits of the NASA Administrator and the appropriate Chinese counterpart in 2010.”
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