A new private company called Deep Space Industries announced today that it intends to send a fleet of small spacecraft to near-Earth asteroids with the aim of mining resources and turning them into products using space-based 3-D printers.
Last year was thick with audacious private spaceflight company unveilings, including the announcement from Planetary Resources, Inc. of their plans to mine relatively valuable platinum group metals from asteroids. With the formation of Deep Space Industries, it seems that 2013 could see a new crop of private space companies with lofty goals.
Blue, Not Red: Did Ancient Mars Look Like This? Is that Earth? Nope! That’s Mars… well, it might’ve been Mars a couple of billion years ago when it had a thick atmosphere and oceans (yes, oceans). Although the inclusion of a Martian biosphere (the green bits) is a little, well, fanciful, software engineer Kevin Gill used real elevation data from NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Obiter (MRO) to render the planet and then added water and an atmosphere (and a touch of green for some hypothetical Martian vegetation).
“I am a software engineer by trade and certainly not a planetary scientist, so most of my assumptions were based on simply comparing the Mars terrain to similar features here on Earth (e.g. elevation, proximity to bodies of water, physical features, geographical position, etc) and then using the corresponding textures from the Blue Marble images,” Gill told Discovery News.
To be honest Kevin, we think you did an awesome job.
Most earth-like planet possibly found With a radius that is just 1.5 times that of Earth, the potential planet is what a so-called ‘super-Earth,’ meaning it is just slightly larger than the Earth. The candidate planet orbits a star similar to the sun at a distance that falls within the ‘habitable zone’ — the region where liquid water could exist on the planet’s surface. Scientists say the planet, if confirmed, could be a prime candidate to host alien life.