Sillof’s Road Wars

Sillof is a skilled amateur doll-maker who enjoys making thematic variations on Star Wars tropes and publish photos of the dolls on his website. Now he has made a Road Wars set, i.e. Star Wars meets Mad Max. Great-looking as always — link >>>

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Complex planetary system found

European astronomer have published the news of their finding a complex extra-solar planetary system that apparently is the second known one with great potential for Earth-like planets in the habitable zone. Link >>>

The Milky Way grows more and more hospitable for each year as astronomers make new discoveries with space-based telescopes. When I was young, the common attitude among scientists was rather that planetary systems ought to be extremely rare.

China’s Lunar Rabbit

China pursues an ambitious space program, trying to catch up with the big two by carrying out a limited number of missions where each comprises a big step forward. Now it is time for her first lunar rover, named Yutu (“Jade Rabbit”, which is an apt name because the rabbit is associated with the moon in Chinese folklore). Read more here — link >>>

The Soviet Union dispatched a few Lunokhod rovers to the moon in the 1970s, a subject that I earlier mentioned here. It seems likely that the Chinese mission will have little ability to add significantly to the scientific understanding of the lunar surface, so instead it is probably more about learning the art of executing complex interplanetary missions than about exploring the moon as such.

The Chinese Yatu moon rover

Lunatic plants

NASA is planning to establish remote-controlled plant habitats (i.e. mininiature “hothouses”) on the Moon in 2015 to investigate how to grow plats in that alien environment: the Lunar Plant Growth Habitat project — link >>>

The delivery to the Lunar surface is to be handled by private space ventures competing for the Google Lunar X Prize. This arrangement ties neatly to the on-going entry of new actors in the space research field, a subject that was covered in the previous blog post.

An experimental Lunar Plant Growth Habitat.