Space

They’re Still Out There

As someone with a deep interest and (belief) in U.F.O.s, I’ve often wondered why suddenly, from the mid-Nineties onward, we stopped hearing about opalescent flying saucers and blocky shapes in the sky.

It turns out that even though they’d all but vanished from the public conversation, a secret program in the C Ring of the Pentagon—Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program—has, all along, been investigating reports of scores of aerial objects that move at very high speeds with no apparent propulsion or hovered with no means of lift.

The program remains in existence, even though the Defense Department claims that it shut down five years ago.

h/t: NYT

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Space

A Rock From A Foreign Star System Is Unlike Anything Seen Before

This is what Oumuamua would look like.

This past October, a telescope in Hawaii caught a glimpse of something both “familiar and alien”: a space rock from a foreign star system.

The “interstellar emissary,” named Oumuamua (pronounced: Oh-moo-a-moo-a), which is Hawaiian for “messenger,” looks nothing like its counterparts in our own solar system. About 10 times longer than it’s wide, it resembles a giant cosmic cigar.

h/t: NYT 

Space

NASA Probe Will “Touch” The Sun

The surface of the Sun is 10,000 Fahrenheit, but its outer atmosphere—the corona—is way hotter, about 3.5 million Fahrenheit. Its blistering heat is the reason why no spacecraft has been able to go anywhere it.

But in July 2018, NASA will send a piece of hardware to reconnaissance it from close quarters. The Parker Solar Probe will get within four million miles of it with the gravitational assist of seven Venus flybys and make 24 orbits of our parent star.

It’ll be protected by a shield made from a carbon-carbon composite, which will keep its instruments safe in the range of 70 Fahrenheit.

h/t: NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC