Rocky planet found Proxima Centauri

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A rocky planet found orbiting the star closest to Earth’s sun is the nearest exoplanet that might have water and support life, researchers said.

The discovery of the planet, Proxima b, has been years in the making. It is within the habitable zone of its star, Proxima Centauri, meaning liquid water could exist on the surface.

SMALL ASTEROID EXPLODES OVER ARIZONA

Space Weather News for June 2, 2016
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SMALL ASTEROID EXPLODES OVER ARIZONA: During the early hours of June 2nd, a 3-meter wide asteroid struck Earth’s atmosphere over Arizona.  The resulting explosion shook the ground and blinded cameras with a flash of light 10x brighter than the full Moon. Meteorite hunters are now scouring the landscape north of Tucson for fragments of the space rock. Visithttp://spaceweather.com for more information and updates on this developing story.

Remember, Spaceweather.com is now on Facebook!

How Breakthrough Starshot’s Interstellar Probes Would Work (Infographic) –

starshot-starchip-alpha-centauri-160412b-02Postage-stamp-sized space probes could make a flyby of planets around Alpha Centauri within 20 years after launch.

The Breakthrough Starshot initiative intends to develop, within a generation, the capability to launch tiny laser-propelled space probes to the nearest star.

Stephen Hawking Helps Launch Project ‘Starshot’ for Interstellar Space Exploration

The ongoing miniaturization of electronics has made it feasible to create a chip weighing about the same as a paper clip (1 gram, or 0.035 ounces) that could include the communications lasers, cameras, nuclear battery, computer and other devices needed for an interstellar space probe. The “Starchip” would be about the size of a postage stamp.

Breakthrough Starshot in Pictures: Laser Sail Nanocraft to See Alpha Centauri

Many Starchips would be launched at a time, propelled by a 100-gigawatt laser blast from a ground-based light-beamer array. This is about the same amount of energy required to launch a space shuttle. The probes would be accelerated to 20 percent of the speed of light in about two minutes (an acceleration of 60,000 times that of the Earth’s gravity). This velocity would get the probe past the orbit of Pluto in three days and to the nearest star in 20 years.

Stephen Hawking: ‘Transcending Our Limits’ With Breakthrough Starshot | Video

Many solutions must be found before Starchips could be launched to other solar systems. Present challenges include:

Building and cooling a ground-based light-beamer array

Overcoming atmospheric interference on the laser beams as they exit Earth’s atmosphere

Precise aiming of the probes at an exoplanet

Integrity and stability of the sail under thrust

Fast travel through the interstellar medium (dust, gas, cosmic rays)

Maintaining fuctionality over decades in space

Precision aiming of cameras at target

Precision aiming of transmitter at Earth

Transmitting images using a laser as a transmitter and the sail as an antenna

Power generation and storage

Policy issues

How Interstellar Space Travel Works (Infographic)

Gallery: Visions of Interstellar Starship Travel

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