Top 5 Engineering Technology Articles This Week – Space Edition!

Welcome to the end of another week. Lots in the engineering technology news over the last seven days, so let’s explore. I’m a lover of all things space, so out-of-this world items dominate this week’s list.

Barack Obama: America will take the giant leap to Mars
Deep space: Are we smart enough to beat the physics?
A Friend For Pluto: Astronomers Find New Dwarf Planet In Our Solar System
Asgardia, Proposed Space-Based Nation Accepting Citizenship Applications
Trekkie—OK, and President—Barack Obama on Why Star Trek Is So Important

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Barack Obama: America will take the giant leap to Mars
CNN

The US president made some news this week, when he penned an editorial for CNN.com supporting manned space exploration and a future mission to Mars. Obama eloquently describes sitting on his grandfather’s shoulders as a child, waiting for astronauts to return to Hawaii.

That childlike enthusiasm prompted him to write about the future of the space program – as well as the goal of landing people on Mars in the 2030s. He concludes:
“Someday, I hope to hoist my own grandchildren onto my shoulders. We’ll still look to the stars in wonder, as humans have since the beginning of time. But instead of eagerly awaiting the return of our intrepid explorers, we’ll know that because of the choices we make now, they’ve gone to space not just to visit, but to stay — and in doing so, to make our lives better here on Earth.”

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Deep space: Are we smart enough to beat the physics?
CNN

If Mars isn’t an audacious-enough goal for you, what about exploring beyond our solar system? CNN has a wide-reaching piece that discusses some of the issues facing extra-solar explorers, from radiation to propulsion.

And if actually traveling to another planet outside of our solar system seems far-fetched, the article also previews some future telescopes that would allow us to see stars in galaxies more than 10 million light-years away.

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A Friend For Pluto: Astronomers Find New Dwarf Planet In Our Solar System
NPR

Steering back into our solar system, scientists at the University of Michigan have discovered a new draft planet, like Pluto. The awkwardly named 2014 UZ224 is only about 330 miles across and 8.5 billion miles from the sun. A single year on UZ takes 1,100 Earth years.

The Michigan scientists found the mini-planet using the Dark Energy Camera, which was commissioned by the U.S. Department of Energy to make a map of distant galaxies.

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Asgardia, Proposed Space-Based Nation Accepting Citizenship Applications
SPACE.com

If you want to hang out closer to 2014 UZ224 full time, you might want to consider applying for citizenship to Asgardia. This would-be nation, named after the Norse gods’ home, is planning a home in space and may be interested in having you join them.

During a press conference in Paris last week, Asgardia’s founders announced plans to launch a satellite in 2017 and a space station later. More than 100,000 people have expressed interest in this new endeavor. The group is also crowdsourcing ideas and designs for its flag, anthem and insignia. Go to http://asgardia.space/ for more information.

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Trekkie—OK, and President—Barack Obama on Why Star Trek Is So Important
Wired

We’ll end where we began, with Obama. The president recently spent some time as the guest editor of Wired, where in between talking about artificial intelligence and autonomous vehicles, he discussed his love of Star Trek.

No, he doesn’t discuss phasering an enemy, but he does appreciate the optimism of the show and its team members’ ability to solve problems by leveraging their diversity. It “was really talking about a notion of a common humanity and a confidence in our ability to solve problems,” Obama said.

Sounds like a good way to start a new week to me! We’ll be scouting for more engineering technology articles to share with you next weekend.

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