This Week in Space: Mercurial meteorites and hopes of space habitation
After about 15 minutes of attempting to somehow alter this feature to trick you with an appropriately themed April Fools’ joke, I have given up. Instead, I present to you a series of interesting stories about space that are in no way foolish or manipulative. You’re welcome.
A green meteorite, discovered in Morocco last year might not be a typical space rock after all. During the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference last month, scientist Anthony Irving suggested that the meteorite, named NWA 7325, might hail from that tiny planet closest to the sun rather than from Mars or an errant asteroid.
According to the story on Space.com, NWA 7325 is a group of meteorite samples that have been dated to be over 4 billion years old. After months of examination and testing, Irving’s team has gathered enough information about the makeup of the rock to hypothesize that NWA 7325 originated on Mercury. This hypothesis is backed up by data from the MESSENGER mission (which made an appearance on This Week in Space just a few weeks ago).
Also, forgive the alliteration in the title, but I couldn’t help myself. The first draft was even worse—trust me.
Although I’m not ashamed to admit the trailer for Before Midnight has been my favorite of the year so far, NASA might have unseated it with a stunning short that manages to both encapsulate the never-ending quest of human discovery and deliver a hopeful message for the future of space exploration.
After a depressing few years of decreased funding and lack of interest in the space program (Curiosity notwithstanding), the Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) has taken to crowdfunding to reignite our passion for discovery by launching an interesting Indiegogo campaign. After just a few days, the campaign has already surpassed its initial goal of $33,000, which means that a 30 second trailer cut from the “We Are the Explorers” short will now play in 59 theaters ahead of Star Trek Into Darkness.
If you still want to contribute, there is a stretch goal of $94,000, and meeting it will allow AIA to expand the reach of the trailer to 750 screens. There’s no telling what the impact of the campaign will be, but it certainly seems like a step in the right direction. [via The Verge]
Brent Sherwood, a space architect and program manager at NASA’s JPL, has spoken extensively about the possibilities of space habitation. In a recent interview with Forbes, he goes into detail about the obvious and not-so-obvious difficulties of putting hotels, apartments and even restaurants into orbit.
Most importantly though, he believes that within the next several decades, we will be technologically capable of surviving in Low Earth Orbit (LEO). And by surviving, I mean eating McDonald’s in a hotel room that happens to float miles above another fast food establishment. Bring on the future!