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Space decisions, the sun, extraterrestrials and Ronald Reagan

February 6, 2011Comments 2 comments

A quick Sunday update with some recent space and UFO news.

Alex Pareene over at Salon.com writes about Ronald Reagan and his interest in extraterrestrials. The former U.S. president claims to have seen UFOs on at least two occasions, and even alerted the Navy to one of his sightings. He loved to talk about “how quickly our differences world wide would vanish if creatures from another planet should threaten this world”, like in this speech he gave to high school students in 1985:

NASA reports that their two STEREO probes are now in position on opposites sides of the sun, giving scientists a complete view of our star. This means better space weather predictions, as space forecasters get to observe the far side of the sun and any upcoming sunspots in real-time.

BBC’s science correspondent Jonathan Amos writes about last week’s gathering in Paris, where more than 300 of Europe’s leading space scientists met to decide how to spend more than a billion euros.

Should they invest in (1) a 20m-long telescope called IXO that could see the very “edge” of a black hole; or (2) a trio of satellites collectively known as LISA which might be able to detect the ripples in space-time left by the moment of creation itself; or (3) a pair of spacecraft that would visit two of the most promising locations for life beyond Earth in our Solar System?

The European Space Agency is working through the process of selecting a large mission to do something extraordinary, with the idea of launching the venture in 2020 or soon after. The start of the next decade might seem a long way away, but in the business of space this type of extended planning is very common.

Why not go back to the moon?

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2 comments

  1. Or launch a manned mission to Mars? Europe is uniquely placed to aim for a truly ambitious project and rally behind it at a time when America can’t agree on which day of the week it is without becoming embroiled in bizarre conspiracy theories. Who knows, the UK might even join in for a change…

  2. I really think the moon needs exploring. It’s with us every night and we don’t know a thing about it. It’s like there’s something wrong with us – checking Mars out before our own moon. Is it just me? US does Mars, ESA does moon? Only problem is that if they find anything interesting, we’ll be the last to know.

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