“What’s the Best Way to Sail From World to World?”

“What’s the Best Way to Sail From World to World?” November 14, 2019


Taken, with caption (modified), from Wikimedia Commons s.v. exoplanets.
This artist’s conception illustrates a Jupiter-like planet alone in the dark of space, floating freely without a parent star. Astronomers recently uncovered evidence for ten such lone worlds, which are thought to have been “booted,” or ejected, from developing solar systems. The planet survey, called the Microlensing Observations in Astrophysics (MOA) project, scanned the central bulge of our Milky Way galaxy from 2006 to 2007. It used a 5.9-foot (1.8-meter) telescope at Mount John University Observatory in New Zealand, and a technique called gravitational microlensing. Astronomers estimate that free-floating worlds are more common than stars in our Milky Way galaxy, and perhaps in other galaxies, too.


“Did you miss seeing Mercury transit the sun? Don’t worry, it’ll happen again in May 2049”


“What’s the Best Way to Sail From World to World? Electric Sails or Solar Sails?”


“This Stingray-Shaped Spacecraft Could Be Perfect For Exploring Venus’ Dark Side: Could a stingray-shaped spacecraft get to the dark side of Venus by flapping its wings?”


“Proposed Interstellar Mission Reaches for the Stars, One Generation at a Time: Starting in the early 2030s, the project could become our first purposeful step out of the solar system—if it launches at all”


“NASA gave Ultima Thule a new official name: The far-flung solar system body is now Arrokoth, the Powhatan word for ‘sky’”




“[J]ust as I believe that the Book of Scripture illumines the pathway to God, so I believe that the Book of Nature, with its astonishing details – the blade of grass, the Conus cedonulli, or the resonance levels of the carbon atom – also suggest a God of purpose and a God of design. And I think my belief makes me no less a scientist.”  (Owen Gingerich, former Research Professor of Astronomy and of the History of Science at Harvard University, currently senior astronomer at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory)


“Scientific progress is the discovery of a more and more comprehensive simplicity. . . .  The previous successes give us confidence in the future of science: we become more and more conscious of the fact that the universe is cognizable.”  (Father Georges Lemaître [1894-1966], Belgian astronomer, physicist, and priest, and, arguably, originator of the theory of the “Big Bang”)


“The most incomprehensible thing about the universe is that it is comprehensible.”  (Albert Einstein, German-American physicist [1879-1955])


“The idea of a universal mind or Logos would be, I think, a fairly plausible inference from the present state of scientific theory.”  (Sir Arthur Eddington, British astronomer, physicist, and mathematician [1882-1944])


“Let me say that I don’t see any conflict between science and religion. I go to church as many other scientists do. I share with most religious people a sense of mystery and wonder at the universe and I want to participate in religious ritual and practices because they’re something that all humans can share.”  (Sir Martin Rees, British cosmologist and astrophysicist; Astronomer Royal since 1995; president of the Royal Society 2005-2010; Master of Trinity College, Cambridge, 2004-2012.)



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