September 3, 2012: This Week's Alien and Space News

By on 11:33 PM

Most of the scientific space news this week, sadly, doesn't touch too directly on any sort of 'space and alien' theme. There's some pretty cool stuff out there (like studying Earth's radiation belts), but that's more terrestrial than anything else. That aside, a few cool things have happened in the past week, like plans to explore asteroids and some Curiosity action.

Kepler Strikes Again – Times Two: NASA’s Kepler mission just keeps on giving. The program that found some of the first Goldilocks planets en masse discovered planets orbiting a binary sun system. While this doesn’t have much to do with alien life, besides there being at least one in the habitable zone, it does demonstrate the wide variety of solar systems out there. It’s also a good demonstration of the long-term viability of NASA missions, since it’s tracking planets 4,900 light-years away long after it started.

A Study in Asteroids: Humans have two basic plans related to asteroids. One, to use them as a resource and, two, to not get hit by one. NASA’s probe Dawn will hopefully be useful to both rather important goals. It was supposed to orbit the giant asteroid Vesta for the last little while and will spiral away from it at some point tomorrow. This journey will hopefully not only give us more information about the beginning of our solar system and how asteroids operate in general, but also further our grasp of technology for operating near (and eventually landing and mining on) asteroids.

JAXA’s Getting in on Long-Term Space Action: Not only is a joint American-European venture supposed to bring humans to Mars in the 2020s, Japan has plans to land a craft on an asteroid in 2018. Primarily, this is supposed to give the world more information about how life began on earth. However, just like Dawn, the practical implications of successfully navigating in and around asteroids bode well for a future in space mining.

Curiosity on the Move: Curiosity might have landed almost a month ago, but it’s still big space news – especially as it sets out on its longest drive. It hasn’t quite reached Glenelg, the location for the first in-depth rock study, but the rover is slowly coming out of test mode to full rock-blaster mode.

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Rachel is the co-founder of How To Survive Alien Invasion Novels, and spends her time writing, studying, and reading what would probably be considered far too many books. Connect with her and Rusty on Twitter and Facebook, and click here to read more of her articles about alien theories and how to survive alien invasion novels.

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